October 31, 2018

Crisis: The Killing Internet, Anti-Semitism, On U.S. Warfare , On Ellsberg, Trump´s Economy


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from October 31, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, October 31, 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 31, 2018:
1. The Internet Will Be the Death of Us
2. White Supremacist Ideology & Conspiracies Have Fueled U.S. Domestic

3. A Glimpse Into the U.S. Warfare State Abyss
4. Daniel Ellsberg: The Threat of Nuclear Catastrophe Is All Too Real
5. The Truth About Trump’s Economy
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 Internet Will Be the Death of Us

This article is by Frank Bruni on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

Nora Ephron once wrote a brilliant essay about the trajectory of her and many other people’s infatuations with email, from the thrill of discovering this speedy new way of keeping in touch to the hell of not being able to turn it off.

I’ve come to feel that way about the whole of the internet.

What a glittering dream of expanded knowledge and enhanced connection it was at the start. What a nightmare of manipulated biases and metastasized hate it has turned into.

I selected this article because of its title, for I quite agree that the internet will (probably) be the death of us. In fact I also agree with the arguments Bruni gives, but then again they are not mine for the thesis that is the title of this article.

Here are my arguments - and since I wrote them out two days ago, in reaction to a very fine article by Robert Scheer (the chief editor of Truthdig) here they are again - and the next bit is a selection from what I wrote on October 29, 2018:

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.
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 the 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.
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).

Back to Bruni´s article, which is not concerned with the fact that everyone´s personal data are stolen by the secret services and by rich corporations who live on advertising, but on what the internet does for the more than 2 billion people it gave a voice to:

It was on the internet, with its privacy and anonymity, that Dylann Roof researched white supremacy and formulated his evil conviction that violence was necessary. He then went into a historic church in Charleston, S.C., and fatally shot nine African-American parishioners in June 2015.

It was on the internet — on Facebook, to be exact — that Alek Minassian posted a pledge of allegiance to the “incel rebellion,” which refers to the resentments of “involuntarily celibate” men who can’t interest the women around them in sex. He then used a van to mow down and kill 10 people in Toronto in April.

Enclaves of the internet warped the worldviews of all of these men, convincing them of the primacy and purity of their rage.
In fact, there are many more examples as given in the last quotation, but Bruni is right.

Here is more by Bruni:

The internet is the technology paradox writ more monstrous than ever. It’s a nonpareil tool for learning, roving and constructive community-building. But it’s unrivaled, too, in the spread of lies, narrowing of interests and erosion of common cause. It’s a glorious buffet, but it pushes individual users toward only the red meat or just the kale. We’re ridiculously overfed and ruinously undernourished.

It creates terrorists. But well shy of that, it sows enmity by jumbling together information and misinformation to a point where there’s no discerning the real from the Russian.

Yes I agree, but I add that this is only partially due to the internet itself, and is mainly due to three facts:

(1) Until the internet, it took some qualifications to publish anything in a publication
that was somewhat widely read
, but the internet gave the possibility of publishing to everyone with internet, normally anonymously, and quite regardless of their education, intelligence or relevant knowledge, and

(2) this gave far more voice and influence to the stupid and the ignorant (who all also can buy things on the internet, and are therefore followed by Google and Facebook) who are the majority of everyone. And besides:

(3) the internet made it possible to know everything about anyone, and store the results, which is the complete end of all privacy, which - I am certain - also is the beginning of a tyranny of the very few who have access to this knowledge about everyone, notably the secret services (of every country, to the best of my knowledge) - and see my arguments.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

That same Times article noted that a search for the word “Jews” on the photo-sharing site Instagram on Monday led to 11,696 posts with the hashtag “#jewsdid911,” insanely blaming them for the attacks that brought down the World Trade Center, along with similarly grotesque images and videos that demonized Jews. Anti-Semitism may be ancient, but this delivery system for it is entirely modern.

And utterly terrifying. I don’t know exactly how we square free speech and free expression — which are paramount — with a better policing of the internet, but I’m certain that we need to approach that challenge with more urgency than we have mustered so far. Democracy is at stake. So are lives.

I say, for I did not know this. I agree with Bruni´s conclusion - the internet may well be the primal cause of what will kill everyone - but my arguments are supplementary to his, and seem considerably stronger to me. And this is a strongly recommended article.

2. White Supremacist Ideology & Conspiracies Have Fueled U.S. Domestic Terror

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Domestic terror swept the country last week, when a white gunman stormed a peaceful synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 peaceful worshipers in what has been described as the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. The attack came a day after an avid Trump supporter in Florida was arrested and charged with mailing bombs to more than a dozen of the president’s prominent critics, and three days after a white gunman fatally shot two African Americans at a grocery store shortly after trying and failing to enter a black church. We speak with Lois Beckett, a senior reporter for The Guardian covering gun policy, criminal justice and the far right in the United States. “The shooter in Pittsburgh was not just anti-Semitic,” Beckett says. “He had been radicalized by white supremacist ideology.”
Yes, although I should say that I am no fan of The Guardian since this made copying impossible or difficult, and besides, I very much dislike Tony Blair, whereas the political and moral position of The Guardian seems (to me, at least) best described as Blatcherist.

Anyway... here is more:
AMY GOODMAN: (..) Lois, welcome back to Democracy Now! Can you talk about what has happened this week, the weapons used, the people behind these attacks?

LOIS BECKETT: In the discussion that we’ve had over these three incidents, and especially these two shootings—one in which the gunman looks like he initially tried to target a church and another an attack on a synagogue—we’ve often been talking about this in terms of hate or political rhetoric. And what’s really important to advance the discussion is to look at the evidence that the shooter in Pittsburgh was not just anti-Semitic, that he had been radicalized by a white supremacist ideology. We saw in the criminal complaint against the Pittsburgh shooter that he told a SWAT officer, while in custody, that he had wanted to kill Jews because Jews were trying to commit a genocide on his people. This is the central conspiracy of contemporary white supremacist movements in the United States, the idea that there is a massive plot to make white people extinct and that everything from immigration to accepting refugees to feminism to multiculturalism, that they’re all part of this plot.

I did not know this, but if these anti-semitists are thinking that (and I suppose Beckett is right but I do not know this) it shows they are either quite stupid and ignorant themselves or else (indeed) are intentionally trying to get a lot of support from the stupid and the ignorant (and possibly both).

Here is some more:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Lois Beckett, both—in many of these cases, the folks are fed or nurtured through social media. In fact, many of their thoughts were—reporters initially got through checking their social media accounts. The New York Times has a fascinating story today saying that just since the shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday, on Instagram there were over 11,900 posts with the hashtag #JewsDid911, so that there’s an enormous—social media is still becoming the main organizing form for many of these extremists. I’m wondering if you could comment on that.

LOIS BECKETT: It’s absolutely true that social media and online spaces have become really crucial places for radicalization. But it’s also important to realize that these social media platforms are tools that white supremacists are using to try to recruit and radicalize people.
Yes, but I think there is an enormous numerical and factual difference between publishing before the internet and publishing since the internet and the a-social media (for to say that Facebook is ¨a social medium¨ is plain bullshit).

Here is the last bit I quote from this article:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the Anti-Defamation League has found that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose by 57 percent in 2017, the largest single-year increase since it started recording such statistics. I’m wondering if you—your sense—and this is, of course, not an isolated situation here in the United States. There’s been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe, as well. I’m wondering if you could talk about the context in which this is occurring, as more and more right-wing governments are coming to power across the industrial world and even in many parts of Asia and Latin America, as well.

LOIS BECKETT: (...) I spoke to one activist who’s an anti-fascist from Charlottesville, who says that she constantly monitors Gab for the harassment of white supremacists, and she actually got some of these Robert Bowers posts, that she passed them by, she saw them, she has screenshots of a couple of them, but that the kind of hatred that he was spewing was so common on this platform, that there were so many dozens and hundreds of men sharing equally extreme racist propaganda, that nothing about what he had said had stood out to her.
My own conclusion is that the tremendous rise in anti-semitism is especially due to the tremendous rise in people who can publish their ideas on the internet, which again is almost completely due to the a-social media. (If Facebook did not supply html-without-any -problem, most of the 2 billion or more new publishers would not have been abled to publish except by email.) And this is a recommended article.

3. A Glimpse Into the U.S. Warfare State Abyss

This article is by John Bachar on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Perpetual War

In the 242-year existence of the U.S. (1776–2018), the nation has been involved in 79 wars.

If we define a “war year” as one during which the U.S. was involved in war part or all of the year, and if we define a “peace year” as one during which the U.S. was not involved in war, then the record shows there were 224 war years (92.5 percent) and only 18 peace years (7.5 percent).

There have been 45 presidents. If we define a “war president” as one whose entire term included at least one war year, and if we define a “peace president” as one whose entire term included only peace years, then the record shows there were 45 war presidents and no peace presidents!

In addition to the aforementioned 79 wars, the U.S. is involved in many “secret wars.” In 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces, including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, deployed to 149 countries around the world, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command.
Precisely - and this is the beginning of an excellent article (by a mathematician). Here is more:

Prisoner of the Military-Industrial Complex

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell address to the nation on Jan. 17, 1961, warned against a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

I agree with Eisenhower and have several times quoted him in Nederlog, but it should be admitted that Eisenhower´s very correct warning has been totally in vain. (See the next item for a partial explanation of this fact.)

Here is more:

Department of Defense (DOD)

The defense industry is a partnership between government agencies and the private-sector industry involved in research, development, production and service of military programs, arms, personnel and facilities.

DOD is the largest employer in the world. It has 3.2 million employees, including 1.6 million active-duty military personnel, of which 250,000 staff foreign U.S. military bases. There are 801,000 in the Coast Guard and Reserves and 800,000 civilian employees.

DOD defense contractors include over 50,000 corporations. The total employment is just under 2,000,000.

DOD has contractors in 190 of the 200 nations on earth.

There are between 1,077 and 1,180 U.S. military bases dotting the globe. In each of 80 different countries, there are at least one or more bases.

I completely agree (and in the original article there are several maps and charts).

Here is the ending of this excellent article, that outlines how the enormous amounts spend on war in the USA (from the taxes) could have been used in the last 19 years of wars:

A future outlay of at least $23.374 trillion (= military/national debt spending for the 19-fiscal-year period 2001 to 2019) would go a long way in providing the trillions of dollars to pay for:
• Free tuition for every enrolled post-secondary student.
• Free job training for anyone who seeks employment.
• Rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure of America.
• Medicare for all citizens.
• Free internet service for all households.
• Free mass transit for all urban regions.
• Free U.S. Postal Service.
• Conversion from fossil fuel usage to clean energy sources (i.e., wind, solar).
• Restoration and creation of national parks, wilderness areas, and national monuments with free access to all.
•Establish regulations for organic farming and the elimination of harmful pesticides.

This long-overdue transformation would enable all to thrive and enjoy the benefits of a much more humane society.

Are you ready to start?

If not now, when?
As I said, this is an excellent article in which there is a lot more, which is very strongly recommended.
4. Daniel Ellsberg: The Threat of Nuclear Catastrophe Is All Too Real

This article is by Paul Jay on Truthdig and originally on The Real News Network. It starts as follows (and is part 1 of more parts):

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, and this is Reality Asserts Itself. And I’m in Berkeley, California.

Daniel Ellsberg is a former U.S. military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, the top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision making about the Vietnam War. He has written many books and has been the subject of documentary films. Perhaps no single whistleblower has made such a heroic contribution in exposing the real aims of U.S. foreign policy and war planning. His recent book is entitled “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.”

“The Doomsday Machine” is, to my mind, the most important modern history book certainly I’ve ever read. Ellsberg not only debunks the central thesis of the Cold War and U.S. foreign policy for the last 75 years, but warns of the current danger of nuclear catastrophe. Because of what’s at stake it’s an absolute must-read for anyone that cares about our future.

Daniel Ellsberg is a quite important American, who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, that helped to bring down president Nixon. He recently published The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, a book with his recollections and analysis of a second cache of secret documents related to the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This book seems to be completely uninteresting to Wikipedia, for it is not reviewed. This is another sign that Wikipedia is growing worse every day.

In any case, I like Paul Jay´s argument (who also is not anonymous, as are the writers of Wikipedia).

Here is more:

Here’s how Ellsberg describes the book’s objective:

“The hidden reality I aim to expose is that for over 50 years all-out thermonuclear war—an irreversible, unprecedented, and almost unimaginable calamity for civilization and most life on Earth—has been, like the disasters of Chernobyl, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, Fukushima, and before these World War I, a catastrophe waiting to happen, on a scale infinitely greater than any of these. And that is still true today.

“No policies in human history have more deserved to be recognized as immoral or insane. The story of how this calamitous predicament came about and how and why it has persisted over a half a century is a chronicle of human madness.“
I completely agree with Ellsberg. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I don’t think that any of our presidents wanted a nuclear war at all. But they did want to threaten that they wanted to base alliances on that threat and that promise, and to prepare for it. And the preparing was not a cost, really. It was a benefit to General Dynamics, and Raytheon, Lockheed, Boeing, who to this day depend for most of their sales and their profits and their jobs on new weapons, despite the fact that we’ve had the ability to blow up most humanity for over half a century.

So that cost is being maintained, essentially. Why? I’ve asked myself this, and I’ve asked others, in the last 10 and 15 years. Why again is Russia and Putin, no longer leaders of a communist philosophy which at least pretended to global ambitions, not that it was ever able to come close to achieving those. But Russia makes no appearance of that. You know, with the loss of East Europe and the Warsaw Pact, their economy, I’ve been told, their GDP, GNP, is somewhat on the level of Italy.

But they are not—not a great world power, ever. And why this- the, why this fear? And I think the answer is much as it was 70 years ago, that only Russia provides a rationale for this defense mobilization, these budgets, year after year.

Again I quite agree (and I have pointed out many times in Nederlog that Russia is no longer communist or socialist but is capitalist since 1992): In fact, the war hysteria of the Americans seems to be fuelled by ¨General Dynamics, and Raytheon, Lockheed, Boeing, who to this day depend for most of their sales and their profits and their jobs on new weapons, despite the fact that we’ve had the ability to blow up most of humanity for over half a century¨. This is a strongly recommended article.

5. The Truth About Trump’s Economy

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows, and this is also the only bit I will quote from this brief article:

I keep hearing that although Trump may be a scoundrel or worse, he’s done a great job for the economy.

Baloney. Yes, the stock market is great, but 84 percent of it is owned by the richest 10 percent of Americans.

The economy is growing, but very little of that growth is trickling down to average Americans. Jobs may be back but they pay squat, especially compared to the rising costs of housing, healthcare, and education.

Trump slashed taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and he promised everyone else a wage boost of $4,000 but it never happened.

Meanwhile, employers continue to cut pension and healthcare benefits. Jobs are less secure than ever. One in 5 jobs is now held by a worker under contract, without any unemployment insurance, sick leave, or retirement savings.

Housing costs are skyrocketing, with a large portion of Americans now paying a third of their paychecks in rent or mortgages.

Yes indeed. And in brief: The American economy is good for the 10% of the richest Americans, and is bad for the remaining 90%, and I think that is quite correct. 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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