October 29, 2018

Crisis: Bolsonaro Won, Trump´s Corruption, Orwell´s Big Brother, Voter Suppression, Social Contract


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from October 29, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Monday, October 29, 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 mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from October 29, 2018:
1. Jair Bolsonaro Is Elected President of Brazil.
2. Trump’s Corruption: The Definitive List
3. Is Orwell's Big Brother Here? Bezos & Amazon Team up With Defense,
     CIA & ICE

4. Election Expert Greg Palast: Thanks to GOP Voter Suppression,
     'Democrats May Have Effectively Lost'

5. The American Social Contract
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. Jair Bolsonaro Is Elected President of Brazil.

This article is by Andrew Fishman on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil on Sunday evening. The far-right candidate received more than 55 percent of valid votes. His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, received less than 45 percent. In a country with compulsory voting, almost 29 percent of adults preferred to annul or not cast their ballot.

Across Brazil, city streets echoed with fireworks, shouts, and car horns as preliminary election results came in. Thousands of supporters, many dressed in green and yellow, assembled outside the president-elect’s beach-front residence in Rio de Janeiro. On São Paulo’s main street, Avenida Paulista, police used tear gas to separate Haddad and Bolsonaro voters.

Bolsonaro, who has taken aim at the media throughout his campaign, chose to make his first statement after the election via Facebook Live, rather than a press conference. “We could not continue to flirt with socialism, communism, populism, and the extremism of the left,” he said. The broadcast was picked up by major TV networks, but repeatedly froze due to connection issues. “All of the promises made to political groups and the people will be kept,” he added.

I say.

This is quite horrible because Bolsonaro is an obvious fascist while Brazil has 210 million inhabitants. Also, I admit that he very probably was elected democratically.

And I think this also marks the defeat of democracy in Brazil, indeed by democratic means, precisely like Hitler was.

And yes, even if I am the only one who says so: In either case this was the triumph of the stupidity and the ignorance that evidently mark the majority of the voters.

Here is more:

In short, every major political institution has been increasingly discredited as Brazil has spiraled deeper and deeper into a dark void. And from the abyss emerged a former army captain and six-term congressman from Rio de Janeiro, Jair Bolsonaro, with the slogan “Brazil above everything, God above everyone,” and promises to fix everything with hardline tactics.

Incidentally, I note that “Brazil above everything” is equivalent to Hitler´s and the Germans´ ¨Deutschland über alles¨ (Germany above everythng).

Here is more:

Riding the wave of public discontent, Bolsonaro campaigned against the Workers’ Party, corruption, politicians, crime, “cultural Marxism,” communists, leftists, secularism, and “privileges” for historically marginalized groups. Instead, he favored “traditional family values,” “patriotism,” nationalism, the military, a Christian nation, guns, increased police violence, and neoliberal economics that he promises will revitalize the economy.

Many of those who battled against Bolsonaro before the elections must now fear for their lives and indeed may risk a horrible tortured death.

Here are some of the ideas and values of Bolsonaro:

Here is Brazil’s next president in his own words over the years. In the coming months, Brazil and the world will discover if Bolsonaro will make good on these drastic promises when he takes office on January 1, 2019.
“I am in favor of a dictatorship, a regime of exception.”
“The pau-de-arara [a torture technique] works. I’m in favor of torture, you know that. And the people are in favor as well.”
“I’m a rapist now. I would never rape you, because you do not deserve it… slut!”
“[Homosexuals] will not find peace. And I have [congressional] immunity to say that I’m homophobic, yes, and very proud of it if it is to defend children in schools.”
“I would not employ [a woman] with the same salary [of a man]. But there are many women who are competent.”
“I’ll give carte blanche for the police to kill.”

As I have said before: I strongly recommend Glenn Greenwald and his husband to leave Brazil. And this is a strongly recommended article.
2. Trump’s Corruption: The Definitive List

This article is by David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

They don’t even try very hard to hide it.

President Trump, his family and more than a few of his appointees are using his presidency to enrich themselves. They are spending taxpayer dollars for their own benefit. They are accepting sweetheart deals from foreigners. And they are harnessing the power of the federal government on behalf of their businesses.

There’s a word for this: corruption.

Given how widespread Trumpian corruption has become, we thought it was time to make a list. It’s meant to be a definitive list of self-dealing by the president, his family, his staff or his friends — since he began running for president. To qualify, an incident needs to seem highly credible, even if it remains unresolved, and needs to involve making money.

Compiling the list made us understand why some historians believe Trump’s administration is the most corrupt since at least Warren Harding’s, of 1920s Teapot Dome fame. Trump administration officials and people close to them are brashly using power to amass perks and cash. They are betting that they can get away with it. So far, Congress has let them.

Quite so. And yes, this is corruption, on a very large scale as well.

And now I have a problem, that arises because the text is too long to fairly excerpt. What I´ll do is merely select the titles in this article that follow, and you should realized that below each title there is text:

Trump’s Cabinet, Aides and Allies
In fact, the above is a list of major corruptions of Trump, his family and his associates, and if you are in any way interested or concerned, you should read the whole article.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article, which also is the ending of the article, and I do it this time with some text:

It has shirked its constitutional duty.

The biggest scandal of all, however, is not even the corruption of the Trump administration. It’s the inaction of Congress.

The founders were well aware that the government they were creating could end up with corrupt or unethical leaders, all the way up to the president. That’s why the Constitution gives Congress tremendous power to investigate and even remove officials in the executive branch.

Yet the current congressional leaders — the Republican leaders — have refused to do so. They have shirked their duty to act as a check on the president and his appointees. They have instead defended Trump and made excuses on his behalf. They have enabled the most corrupt administration of our lifetimes.

Quite so and this is a strongly recommended article.

3. Is Orwell's Big Brother Here? Bezos & Amazon Team up With Defense, CIA & ICE

This article is by Marc Steiner of the Real News Network, who is interviewing Robert Scheer who is Truthdig´s editor in chief. It starts as follows:

MARC STEINER: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you with us.

Amazon CEO chief Jeff Bezos has been in the news for quite a while now for many reasons: becoming the world’s richest man, giving a $2 billion gift to build schools and help the homeless, buying the Washington Post. Most recently we saw the result of his being hounded by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna over working conditions and salaries of Amazon employees, which prompted Bezos to give his workers a raise to $15 an hour.

Most these stories are important and vital, but there’s one story that seems to have fallen through the cracks and has not been given the same kind of media attention. And that’s the close working relationship between Amazon, the Department of Defense, CIA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or as we know it, ICE, local law enforcement, and the secretive data mining firm Palantir. It appears that the intertwined relationship ominously involves the intersection of mass surveillance and military contracts.
Yes indeed. Here is Robert Scheer, and all of the texts I am going to quote are his.

Here is the first bit, which is very important:
ROBERT SCHEER: Well, first of all, understand that the key, as George Orwell pointed out, and others have, that our own Constitution points out, if you don’t have private space, if you can’t be alone with your thoughts, your associations, your books and so forth, you can’t have freedom. That’s the bottom line. The American Revolution was fought over that. And the Internet represents, yes, the best and the worst of worlds. We are connected. We offer a lot of ourselves. We learn a lot from it. But it’s also the worst in terms of individual space and privacy. This has come to be recognized particularly after Edward Snowden revealed the extent of cooperation between companies like Facebook and Google and Apple, and others, and the intelligence agencies and government. The Defense Department, the CIA, the NSA, and so forth.
I agree completely, except that I may be more negative about the internet than Scheer is, and I have three supplementary remarks:

First, I had realized everything that Scheer is saying in this very fine article by the end of 2012 and gave expression to it in my
Crisis: Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS.

I have since 2012 given several new editions of it, but none of them varied much (for the new editions were smaller, but otherwise the same) and the ideas expressed in the last link also still seem to me the best that I have read the last six years (in which I read and reviewed some tenthousand articles: See the crisis index).

Second, you may doubt my last statement, but you also should realize I wrote all of the last link without knowing anything about Edward Snowden, who only got well-known in June of 2013, and whose facts very strongly supported the ideas I had formulated in the last link. And incidentally, the next two articles of 2012,
Crisis: Hypotheses about CF+SS - P.S. with some about C.W. Mills and Varia: On Mills, hypotheses, "fascism" and George Carlin are also strongly recommended.

Third, it is not just
Facebook and Google and Apple who spy on absolutely everything you do, but it also are (probably) all the secret services in the world, quite a few more corporations, and in fact every corporation that lives on advertisements.

Here is more on Snowden´s revelations:
So before Snowden’s revelations, it was possible to minimize all of that. And these companies would say, hey, we’re private enterprises. You’re voluntarily giving over your data. And this is no threat to your freedom, we’re just helping you be better shoppers. Well, what Snowden revealed is this data was given or stolen by- when Apple and Google didn’t cooperate, the NSA and CIA just cut into their cables, went through backdoor access to their computers, and gathered up the most intimate details of your life. In the case of Amazon, for example, not only what books you bought, but how far you read in that book. What you wrote to friends about what you thought about that, or the movie you saw, or what have you. Your most private thoughts.
Precisely. And here is some background:

All of this data-stealing, that amounts to the secret services of every government and some of the richest corporations knowing absolutely everything about anyone (they like: I am not saying all of this is being read by human eyes) has been planned from the late 1960ies onwards, and notably by then head of American national security Zbigniew Brzezinski: See
Crisis: Propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968 : The American secret services planned to know everything about anyone - the ideal of the KGB and the Gestapo - from the late 1960ies onwards, and succeeded completely.

Here is more Scheer:
So then you have the 1984 world, where a government anywhere- and by the way, they service governments all over the world. Other governments can do it, can get information about what you are thinking, who you are associating with. And you end up in, basically, an unfree, untenable situation from a point of view of freedom.
In fact, it means to me that - if this goes on, and the internet remains more or less the same as it has been since 2001, when the data-gathering on everyone seriously started - I must be one of the last people who lived in real freedom and minimal welfare (from 1950 till 2000).

Here is more about Amazon:
And Amazon, one of their sources of profit, main sources, is building the cloud and doing Amazon Web Services. If you look at the profit picture, just today they’re announcing yet another billion-plus quarter; four times greater than it was last year. That’s not coming from selling you products on Amazon. What they’re gathering is your data. That’s coming from their building this whole web infrastructure of data seeking. And Amazon has been building the main cloud for the intelligence agencies. All right? They are collecting it. All this data that the government gets access to and so forth, most of that is going through Amazon-run enterprises. So no wonder Jeff Bezos is nervous about people focusing on that, because he’s in fact primarily, at this point, a military contractor.
I do not know whether this is correct, but I do trust Scheer.

And this is on the DARPA background of the internet, that existed since the late 1960ies (before the creation of any personal computer) and still exists:
But you know, we know that Google itself, the whole Internet itself, came out of a DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Project. You know, the Defense Department was developing communication in the event of a nuclear war. That’s where we got the web from, as a side product of defense spending. The association with many of these companies, most of them in the defense industry, the intelligence community, is long-standing.
Precisely - and again check out Crisis: Propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968 if you did not do so (and where Brzezinski said ¨technotronic¨ for the new society he was planning, read ¨neofascist¨, in my sense).

Here is more on how well everybody is known in secret right now:
Well, one of the big revelations is about facial recognition technology and their use of it. And again, it goes back to the basic point. A company like Amazon has much more information on us, our face, the pupils of our eyes, everything about us. Our most intimate habits, our travel, everything. And all this information that no secret police agency in the world could ever fantasize about; ever fantasize.
None of that is necessary now. Anywhere in the world, any dictator, any government in the world can now use our marketing services, our commercial- Facebook, Google, and Amazon to gather an incredible amount of detail about everything you do in your life. When that information is made available to the government, and when they are partners- mind you, Amazon is a partner with NSA, CIA, the FBI. All of these organizations are developing their data storage area. OK? And when they’re partners with them, and they themselves, these groups like Amazon have all this information, you have a violation basically of the constitutional protection and our Fourth Amendment to our privacy. Our right to not have our effects, our books, everything, our papers surveilled. They can’t come through your door. They must have a specific warrant. All thrown out by this new technology.
Precisely. And all of that spells both tyranny and neofascism, and if you disagree I only can conclude you must be utterly ignorant about politics.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this excellent interview:
Now we have a situation where private corporations, ostensibly, gather your most intimate data that no secret police would have ever been able to get- everything about you. Your eye scan, your facial recognition, where you’ve been, where you shop. You know, you give your location all the time, right. And so they can spot you be there, be there. What do you read, what did you write to your friends, what are you thinking, and so forth. And they develop a profile of you, and then you become a target of the surveillance society. And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Quite so, and this is the main reason why I am very glad I have no children, for they very probably would have to live in a society were anonymous people at the secret service, and at Google, and at Facebook, and at many more anonymous instances explicitly or implicitly know
absolutely everything about you.

I think this is extremely frightening and this is a very strongly recommended article.

4. Election Expert Greg Palast: Thanks to GOP Voter Suppression, 'Democrats May Have Effectively Lost'

This article is by Matthew Rozsa on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:

There are elements of about the current Georgia governor's race that may fundamentally undermine faith in democracy. If Republican candidate Brian Kemp, the current secretary of state, wins the election, his victory is likely to appear illegitimate. Impartial observers will never be able to tell whether he would have won had every eligible voter in the state been able to cast a ballot. If he loses, there is little question that the victory of Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams will be viewed as an existential threat to the same forces that tried to rig things against her in the first place.

Salon spoke by email with Greg Palast, the journalist who previously tipped Salon off to widespread voter disenfranchisement in Georgia earlier this month. Palast has created a website that can help you learn if you were purged from the rolls.

Yes indeed, and this article is reviewed mostly because of Greg Palast, about whom I wrote before (the latest is here), because he knows a whole lot about voter suppression.

Here is more, and this is about Georgia, but there is a lot more voter suppression in other American startes as well:

How many Georgians do you believe have been disenfranchised and what is your evidence?

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, purged 550,702 Georgians from the voter rolls in 2016 and 2017 — that is, canceled their registrations. I’m not guessing. After much resistance, Kemp turned over the names and addresses of each one of these purged voters in response to a threat of a federal lawsuit (which I filed in federal court in Atlanta and served on Kemp Friday).

Of these, we are certain that 340,134 were wrongly removed, with no notice that they were purged.
Incidentally, Georgia has slightly more than 10 million inhabitants, which means it has about 6 million voters, which again means that over 500,000 suppressed voters amounts to something like 1/12th (over 8%) of all voters - which indeed easily could make a win for the Republicans.

Here is more about the extent of voter suppression in the USA:

How is this part of a larger pattern nationwide in terms of voter disenfranchisement?

I’ve already filed 90-Day notices of intent to file federal lawsuits against 26 other secretaries of state and boards of elections. Kemp invented nothing — he and his crony Kris Kobach of Kansas are simply the advance guard of a new wave of officials, most (but not all) Republicans, who are using suspect and racially poisonous schemes such as Interstate Crosscheck to purge their voter rolls.

Most officials have come out with their hands up and their files open. In addition to Georgia, I’ve already posted the ridiculously large purge lists of Indiana, Nevada, Nebraska, Illinois and Colorado on, with more coming.

Quite so. Here is Palast´s opinion, which also is the end of this article:

The fact that millions of voters lost their registrations without notice that they’d been purged means that Democrats may have effectively lost any chance of winning key elections before a single vote is cast.

Yes indeed. And this is a strongly recommended article.

5. The American Social Contract

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It is a short article and I have just one quote from it:

Based on responses to polls,  a majority of us–Republicans, Democrats, and Independents– have consistently agreed to 5 simple principles. This is the American Social Contract.

First:  Everyone should have an equal chance to get ahead.

Second:  No one should be discriminated against because of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference.  

Third: No one who works full time should have to live in poverty.

Fourth: People should take responsibility for themselves and their families, but deserve help if they need it through no fault of their own.  

And fifth:  No one should have special privilege and power based on wealth or class.

These values are anchored in moral teachings and democratic ideals that often predate the founding of our republic.

I like Reich because he is intelligent and sensible, but I probably am a bit to the left of him on several issues. And I also like the above values - but I should note the following about them:

First: In fact, this is massively contradicted by the present USA, for someone born in a rich family has many more chances than those who are not, while those who are rich have many more chances to keep and extemd their riches than those who are not rich.

Second: In fact, I take it that most Americans are being discriminated because of their race or because of their religion (or being atheists), or of their gender (all women), or because of their sexual preference.

Third: At least tens of millions of Americans work full time (or more) and have to live in deep poverty.

Fourth: I think people who need help should get help. Period.

Fifth: But everyone with considerably more income or power than the majority (say: 90%) will have special principles because of his power or wealth.

I conclude that none of Reich´s ¨American Social Contract¨ works today. This is absolutely no reason to be against them, but it does seem to be a fact. For some of the best reasons why this is a fact, see item 3. And this is a recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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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