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Nederlog

June 3, 2018

Crisis: Deep State, Hersh´s Memoir, Big Pharma, Maher & Sanders,
Emperor Trump, ME/CFS


Sections
Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from June 3, 2018
     B. One Extra Bit
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, June 3, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since more than two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from June 3, 2018:
1. The Deep State
2. Seymour Hersh’s New Memoir Is a Fascinating, Flabbergasting
     Masterpiece

3. Cities & States Sue Big Pharma, Targeting the Firms Who Profited from
     Peddling Addictive Opioids

4. Bill Maher to Bernie Sanders: 'I’ll Be with Ya If You Run Again' + video
5. 'Ludicrous': Critics Slay Memo From Trump Lawyers Claiming President
     Above the Law
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. The Deep State

This article is by Robert Paul Wolff on his site. It starts as follows:
We have heard a good deal lately about the Deep State, a cabal of career government officials in the Justice Department, the State Department, and other federal agencies who are opposed to the presidency of Donald Trump and are using their powers secretly to undermine his authority and resist his executive will.  The term “Deep State” seems to have been given currency by Steve Bannon, although I am sure it predates him.  References to the Deep State apparently abound in right wing media circles and form a part of conspiracy stories circulated on the Right.
I don´t often quote Wolff in Nederlog, and my reason is that he is a philosopher, and Nederlog may be sometimes about philosophy, but not often. (There is a lot of philosophy on my site, for I am also a philosopher.)

And I am quoting him here because he is talking about the Deep State, which I have been interested in ever since reading Mike Lofgren in January of 2016. At that time, I gave two quotes on the meaning of the term ¨Deep State¨.

Here is the first, from Wikipedia (from January 2016):

State within a state is a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep state"), such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies and police), does not respond to the civilian political leadership. The term, like many in politics, derives from the Greek language (κράτος εν κράτει, kratos en kratei, later adopted into Latin as imperium in imperio or status in statu).

Sometimes, the term refers to state companies that, though formally under the command of the government, act de facto  like private corporations. Sometimes, the term refers to companies that, though formally private, act de facto like "states within a state".
And here is the second, in which the idea of a Deep State is connected to Eisenhower´s 1960 warnings about the dangers of what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex (also from January 2016):

What are the key institutions and players within the deep state? 

The key institutions are exactly what people would think they are. The military-industrial complex; the Pentagon and all their contractors (but also, now, our entire homeland security apparatus); the Department of Treasury; the Justice Department; certain courts, like the southern district of Manhattan, and the eastern district of Virginia; the FISA courts. And you got this kind of rump Congress that consists of certain people in the leadership, defense and intelligence committees who kind of know what’s going on. The rest of Congress doesn’t really know or care; they’re too busy looking about the next election.
I do not say either characteristic is complete, but I do think both are clarifying. Now here is Robert Paul Wolff:
Is there in fact a Deep State?  Of course there is, but not only in the Federal Government.  There is also a Deep State in the military, in the Catholic Church, in every university, in every corporation, in the Boy Scouts, in every state government, even in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and of course there is a Deep State in the Internal Revenue Service.  All of these Deep States, and many others besides, have a name, made current in intellectual circles by the greatest sociologist ever [save for Marx], Max Weber.  They are called bureaucracies.
O Lord! According to Wolff the Deep State is another name for bureaucracies (which I am sorry, but is complete bullshit) and it also ¨apparently abound in right wing media circles and form a part of conspiracy stories circulated on the Right¨.

The last is also a bit misleading, at least: I am certainly not a rightist, and neither are quite a few others who wrote about the Deep State.

Here is Wolff´s ¨deeper analysis¨:
Let us remind ourselves of the etymology of the term “bureaucracy.”  A Democracy is a state ruled by the Demos, the people.  An Aristocracy is a state ruled by the Ariston, the best [never mind the truth.]  An Ochlocracy  is a state ruled by a mob.  And a Kleptocracy is a state ruled by thieves.  A Bureaucracy is, by extension, a state ruled by the Bureau, which is to say by the faceless occupants of government offices, or bureaus, the career employees, the paper pushers, the rule promulgators, interpreters, and enforcers.
I am sorry, but this is total bullshit. I like Robert Paul Wolff, but he is talking nonsense.

2. Seymour Hersh’s New Memoir Is a Fascinating, Flabbergasting Masterpiece

This article is by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept. This is from not far from its beginning and is about Seymour Hersh´s latest book ¨Reporter¨ (which I have not read):

“Reporter” demonstrates that Hersh has derived three simple lessons (...):

  1. The powerful prey mercilessly upon the powerless, up to and including mass murder.
  2. The powerful lie constantly about their predations.
  3. The natural instinct of the media is to let the powerful get away with it.
And I think these lessons or principles indeed are quite correct. Here is more on ¨Reporter¨:
“Reporter” provides detailed explications of how Hersh has used these lessons, making it one of the most compelling and significant books ever written about American journalism. Almost every page will tell you something you’ve never heard before about life on earth. Sometimes it’s Hersh elaborating on what he’s already published; sometimes it’s new stories he felt he couldn’t write about when he first learned of them; and sometimes it’s the world’s most intriguing, peculiar gossip.
Well... OK I am more or less willing to believe it, and Schwarz is quite enthusiastic. Here is one bit about Nixon, that Hersh did not publish:
In the category of stories Hersh did not report at the time is a disturbing account from a few weeks after Nixon resigned in 1974 and returned to California. Hersh writes that he had received a tip that Nixon had beaten his wife Pat so badly that she had to be treated at a local emergency room. Then John Ehrlichman, who’d been one of Nixon’s top aides, told Hersh that he knew of other incidents when Nixon had abused her. But Hersh did not report it, or even mention it to his editors, because he believed it would only qualify as news if he could demonstrate that Nixon’s behavior had affected government policy. Hersh later spoke about the story in public in 1998. Women in the audience, he writes, immediately informed him of just how illegitimate and dangerous this standard was.
I say. This is a recommended article.

3. Cities & States Sue Big Pharma, Targeting the Firms Who Profited from Peddling Addictive Opioids

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this year that the city would sue manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids to account for their part in the city’s ongoing deadly opioid epidemic. Firms named in the suit include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and McKesson Corporation. The Guardian reports that more than 60 cities are suing Big Pharma over opioids. An explosive New York Times report has revealed that manufacturers of the drug OxyContin knew it was highly addictive as early as 1996, the first year after the drug hit the market. The Times published a confidential Justice Department report this week showing that Purdue Pharma executives were told OxyContin was being crushed and snorted for its powerful narcotic, but still promoted it as less addictive than other opioid painkillers. Purdue executives have testified before Congress that they were unaware of the drug’s growing abuse until years after it was on the market. Today, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. We speak with Barry Meier, author of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic.”
I have written about this before, and my own position on Purdue is that they are criminal hard drugs producers who systematically lied about OxyContin (for 22 years, also) simply because this would increase their profits. Also the CEOs etc. of Purdue did not give shit about the people whom their drugs got hooked on hard drugs, and thought they could get rid of any blame by coughing up part of their enormous profits to the prosecuters, as indeed happened many times before.

Here is more:

AMY GOODMAN: Explain the nature of the settlement in 2007. Can the company—can individuals in the company be held criminally responsible today, what, 200,000 deaths later, in the last 20 years, though they would argue, “That’s not all us”?

BARRY MEIER: Right. So, the settlement was twofold. The company, Purdue Pharma, as a company, pled guilty to a felony charge called misbranding, which was essentially misrepresenting the drug, and paid $600 million in fines. The three executives, top executives, of the company pled guilty to a misdemeanor version of that charge. It was a sort of weird charge, because it only held him liable in their roles as corporate executives. It did not accuse them personally of any wrongdoing. They paid around—about $34 million in fines. But what we came to discover, and what was in the Times in the other day and in the expanded version of the book, is that the prosecutors on the case wanted to charge them also with very serious felonies, that could have put them in jail, had that case gone forward.

Then again, rich CEOs on the level of Purdue CEOs just don´t go to jail in the present USA, indeed - perhaps - in part because they got rid of all personal responsibilities for the deaths of very many Americans by coughing up part of their profits.

Here is how people who are not rich are treated in the present - neofascist, plutocratic - USA:

AMY GOODMAN: And talking about holding people responsible, you write about how those that do drugs together, a husband, could be found guilty of murdering his wife, etc. Talk about that.

BARRY MEIER: Well, you know, we have a different standard of justice in this country. One standard is for the person who gets caught with, you know, some drugs in their pocket. Another standard is for the person who’s caught selling drugs. And another standard is for the executives of corporations that allow these drugs to get into the wrong hands of people, or knowingly are aware that these drugs are being abused, and don’t say anything. And, you know, there seems to be very little punishment that those kinds of individuals face.

AMY GOODMAN: But what do people face on the ground, who are doing drugs?

BARRY MEIER: They face their—they face spending the rest of their life in prison.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain.

BARRY MEIER: You know, they can be sent away for 10 years, for 20 years. They can have their lives destroyed, whereas the corporate executives don’t see their bonuses going down. They don’t see their lives being ruined. They just go on with their lives.

Precisely. There is a lot more in the article, that is strongly recommended.


4. Bill Maher to Bernie Sanders: 'I’ll Be with Ya If You Run Again'

This article is by Nicole Karlis on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This starts as follows:

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) stopped by Bill Maher’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” show on Friday. Maher did not hesitate to flatter the former presidential candidate, telling him he was more popular than Stormy Daniels’ lawyer.

“Sounds like they want you to run again,” Maher said.

Actually, I don´t understand how telling the truth - Bernie Sanders is more popular than Stomy Daniels´ lawyer - can be accurately described as ¨flattering¨ (¨to praise or compliment unduly or insincerely¨ - Shorter Oxford Dictionary), but OK.

Here is more:

Kicking off the evening, he asked Sanders to explain why the 2020 presidential election is “the most important election” of all time.

“It is the most important because we have a president who is a pathological liar,” Sanders said. “We have a president who has strong authoritarian tendencies who wants to everyday undermine American democracy, and in my state and all over this country, you have men and women who have fought and died to defend American democracy, and this guy looks all over the world and he kind of likes all of these authoritarian leaders.”

”He attacks the media every day, trying to make it harder for them to be critical of him, and we have a president who is a billionaire himself, who has surrounded himself with billionaires who gave huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country and then brings forth a budget that would cut Medicaid by a trillion dollars” Sanders added.

I agree with Sanders. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Maher concluded his interview with a subtle endorsement.

“I’ll be with ya if you run again,” Maher said.

Well... the basic problem is - of course - also for Bernie Sanders that he will turn 79 in 2020. He is also one of the two Democrats I know of who would be credible presidential candidates (the other is Elizabeth Warren), but it is true that Sanders, if he became president in 2020, would be 83 at the end of his first term.

And I think that Sanders´ own problem (who looks quite healthy now) is that he doesn´t know how healthy he will be in his eighties as president. And I think this is a fair worry.

This is a recommended article, and here is a video of Maher´s interview with Sanders (9 m 57 s):


5. 'Ludicrous': Critics Slay Memo From Trump Lawyers Claiming President Above the Law

This article is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Government watchdogs and legal experts called collective 'bullshit' against the legal team of President Donald Trump on Saturday after it emerged his lawyers had sent a memo to Special Counsel Robert Mueller claiming that the president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice because, as the government's top executive, he has nearly unlimited authority over ongoing Department of Justice investigations and could also, if he desired, issue pardons for those found guilty of misdeeds or illegal behavior.

In what the Times characterized as a "brash assertion of presidential power," the 20-page letter—dated Jan. 29, 2018—states:

It remains our position that the President's actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.

This last quote amounts to this thesis, I think: The USA has elected an emperor as their ruler, and emperors are God-given and beyond any control whatsoever (except murder), indeed quite like the Roman emperors (such as Nero and Caligula).

It is an utterly insane notion in a real democracy, but then I do not think that the present USA is a real democracy. But there are considerable remnants of real democracy, and one consists of laws that were not made by Trump.

Here is some more:

Posted online, the confidential memo sent to Mr. Mueller by Trump's legal team can be read here.

Citing a recent 108-page legal paper produced for the Brookings Institute (see below), Noah Bookbinder, chairperson for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), pushed back hard against the the claim that the president cannot—based solely on his position of power—obstruct justice. "The most fundamental American principle of all is at stake," said Bookbinder: "No one is above the law."

I agree with Bookbinder, and this is a recommended article.


B. One Extra Bit

This is an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. This time it is about ¨the serious chronic disease¨ that both my ex-wife (common law marriage, but by both of us regarded as a real marriage) and I are now suffering from since 1.1.1979.

At looooooooooong last the medical world is in movement about ME/CFS. It was not for the last 40+ years, and indeed my ex and I (who both have ME/CFS since January 1979) met around 30 medical specialists in our attempts to get a rational diagnosis and some help.

It turned out that 27 of the 30 were utterly incompetent to do so, for nearly all of them were convinced that we were ¨psychosomatizers¨ - which is not even a medical diagnosis - and therefore either were hallucinating our pains and lack of energy and constant fatigue or else we were trying to deceive the medical geniuses we met into diagnosing us falsely.

Having experienced that for nearly 40 years; having had decent medical assistance of only one medical doctor (a G.P., not originally Dutch but Chechoslovak); I have concluded that the safest assumption I can make (who also knows that education on all levels has about halved in the last 50 years, including the study of medicine) is that 90% of all Dutch medical doctors are morally or intellectually incompetent to properly diagnose or take care of patients who have rare diseases:

In fact, what was done to my ex and myself - who both fell ill in the first year of our studies on study loans - was the constant trick (in 90% of the 30 medical specialists we tried) of Blaming The Victim: ¨Because we medics can´t find anything, we say that you are crazy, and crazy people are not helped by us¨. (¨And there is the door!¨ as the medic who acted for the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam told me, in 1982.)

Incidentally, my ex and I separated by the end of 1983, after 5 years of constant illness for both of us, without any help whatsoever, but we both have IQs over 140, which is the reason we both succeeded in getting our - excellent - M.A.s in psychology, without ever attending lectures, indeed in considerable part because the average student of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam had an IQ of 115 in 1984 (and very probably it is now lower still).

Anyway... here is a bit of news from a site for patients with ME/CFS:
This means - if Trump does not decide to blow up the world - that ME/CFS will probably be resolved. Then again, since the first decent medical report on ME/CFS dates back to 1965, this is over 40 years too late (and in fact seems to be mostly due because Stanford professor biochemistry Ron Davis has a son with serious ME/CFS).

Note

[1]I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that xs4all.nl is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
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