April 9, 2019

Crisis: War on Terror, 70 Years NATO, American Lies, Sanders & Right-to-Work, Insect Apocalypse

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from April 9, 2019

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

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 three 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 April 9, 2019:
1. Reckoning With Failure in the War on Terror
2. As NATO Marks 70th Anniversary A New Nuclear Arms Race

3. The Many American Lies Trump Has Laid Bare

4. Sanders Vows to Ban 'Disastrous' Anti-Labor 'Right-to-Work' Laws

5. The Insect Apocalypse Is Coming
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. Reckoning With Failure in the War on Terror

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency, as Max Blumenthal points out in his insightful book “The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump,” was made possible not only by massive social inequality and concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of the oligarchic elites but by the national security state’s disastrous and prolonged military interventions overseas.

Yes, I think the above is true - and the "concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of the oligarchic elites" started (in the USA) in 1980, with the election of Reagan as president, while "the national security state" furthered Brzezinski's 1968-1969 project of introducing neofascism - everybody overseen by anonymous spies who can read everything one writes, and know everything there is to know about anyone - that grew itself spectacularly with the introduction of the internet, and has been prospering ever since. (For more on Brzezinski's project see here: Crisis: propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968.)

Here is some more on what the anonymous spies caused:

The misguided interventions by the national security apparatus have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, over 5 million desperate refugees fleeing to Europe, the destruction of entire cities, the squandering of some $5 trillion of U.S. taxpayer money, rampant corruption and criminality. The mandarins of national security, rather than blunt the rise of radical jihadism, have ensured its spread across the globe. The architects of this imperial folly have a symbiotic relationship with those they profess to hate. The two radical extremes—the interventionists in the national security apparatus and the radical jihadists—play off of each other to countenance ever-greater acts of savagery. The more perfidious your enemy, the more your own extremism is justified. We are locked in a macabre dance with the killers we created and empowered, matching war crime for war crime, torture for torture and murder for murder.

Yes indeed, although perhaps this may be rather reformulated: "The national security apparatus" i.e. the anonymous spies of the government (and many other governments, but let's leave these out for the moment) are there, in part, to create the largest possible investments in weapons of all kinds, which is why war is both uppermost in their minds and strongly in their interests.

Here is some more:

The binary view of the world imagined by right-wing ideologues such as Richard Pipes during the Cold War, defined as a battle to the death against godless communism, has been reimagined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American neocons such as Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Fred Fleitz, Robert Kagan, Steve Bannon, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld and leaders of the Christian right including Gary Bauer and William Bennett to become a battle to the death between the “barbarity” of Islam and the “civilized” ethic of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a rebranding of the Cold War, so useful to the retrograde forces of capitalism in crushing popular dissent and so profitable to the arms industry.

Yes indeed, although in fact the previous Cold War, between the USA and the USSR (that went down in 1991 and was replaced by capitalism), also still lingers on, presumably because average Americans who lived between 1950 and 1990 swallowed enormous amounts of propaganda about "the Russians" (as is also shown by Russiagate).

Here is some more:

Those in the alternative media who question the Russia narrative and chronical the imperial disasters are in this new version of the Cold War branded as agents of a foreign power and hit with algorithms from Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to deflect viewers from reading or listening to their critiques. Politicians, such as Bernie Sanders and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who push back against the war lust are smeared with the same nefarious charge. It is, as Blumenthal writes, a desperate bid by the war industry and the interventionists to mask the greatest strategic blunder in American history, one that signals the end of American hegemony.

Yes indeed - and this is one of the - very many - signs that the internet was designed as and functions as the best way towards neofascism that has ever been designed: Now totalitarianism - except of course on Wikipedia, that completely redefined "totalitarianism" to fit Brzezinski's definition of it, which is completely incompatible with Orwell's use of the term - gets actively and extremely strongly furthered by the programs used by Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that make it impossible or difficult to find anti- fascists.

And this is the ending of the article:

The corporate state, its legitimacy in tatters, seeks to make us afraid in order to maintain its control over the economic, political and military institutions. It needs mortal enemies, manufactured or real, at home or abroad, to justify its existence and mask its mismanagement and corruption. This narrative of fear is what Antonio Gramsci called a “legitimation doctrine.” It is not about making us safe—indeed the policies the state pursues make us less secure—but about getting us to surrender to the will of the elites. The more inequality and injustice grow, the more the legitimation doctrine will be used to keep us cowed and compliant. The doctrine means that the enemies of the United States will never be destroyed, but will mutate and expand; they are too useful to be allowed to disappear. It means that the primary language of the state will be fear. The longer the national security state plays this game, the more a fascist America is assured

Yes indeed - and once again I point to the main example of the neofascists, which was the fascist (or Nazi) Hermann Goering, who said this:


And it still works, and this is a strongly recommended article.

2. As NATO Marks 70th Anniversary A New Nuclear Arms Race

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with the following introduction:

Commemorations—as well as protests—were held last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the formation of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. President Trump used the anniversary to push for NATO countries to increase military spending. During an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump demanded Germany and other NATO countries increase their military spending from 2 to 4 percent of GDP. The push for more military spending could benefit U.S. weapons manufacturers including Boeing. This comes as Acting Pentagon Chief Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for improperly advocating on behalf of Boeing, where he worked for 30 years. We speak with Joe Cirincione, president of the global security foundation Ploughshares Fund.

I say, although I knew about half of the above (but not about Boeing). Here is some more:

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to continue our look at the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The alliance was formed April 4th, 1949. Commemorations, as well as protests, were held last are to mark the anniversary. President Trump used the anniversary to push for NATO countries to increase military spending. During an Oval Office meeting Tuesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump demanded Germany and other NATO countries increase their military spending from 2 to 4% of GDP.
The push for more military spending could benefit U.S. weapons manufacturers, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and others. This comes as Acting Pentagon Chief Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for improperly advocating on behalf of Boeing, where he worked for more than 30 years.

Yes. Incidentally... what is the use of the NATO if the whole block it was designed to oppose in 1949 has completely disappeared since 1991?! It is certainly not anymore "to stop communism".

Then there is this:

JOE CIRINCIONE: We’re cursed in this discussion by a very narrow definition of national security. We’ve all come to accept that national security equals military forces and weapons, when, in fact, as you point out, a national security is more often determined by the health and welfare of its citizenry, the system of justice, whether citizens feel that they’re engaged in the country and have a role in the governance of that country. And spending on military is just one small part of national security, but this has become the test of whether a country is carrying its fair burden.
But let’s put this in perspective. What are we talking about here? The world as a whole, every year, spends about $1.7 trillion on military weapons and forces. One-point-seven. The United States and our NATO allies account for $1 trillion of that. So more than half of all global spending is spent by the United States and our NATO allies. The NATO allies alone account for about $240 billion. That’s what they spend. What are they spending it to guard against? Well, if you think that Russia is the main threat, Russia only spends about $66 billion every year on defense.
Who makes the money off of this? Well, most of the money that we spend in this country on defense, and that the Europeans spend, go to a relative handful of defense contractors: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, etc. And they lobby incessantly for these kind of increases, in Washington, in NATO headquarters, in the capitals of Europe.

Yes indeed: I think the above quoted bits are a very sound argument. Here is one more bit:

JOE CIRINCIONE: This is the kind of Cold War policy that we thought was behind us. We thought the arms race was over. It’s not over. We are in a new arms race. Every single nuclear-armed country is building new nuclear weapons and heading towards a confrontation point. You’ve got to be a real optimist to think that you can keep thousands of nuclear weapons in fallible human hands indefinitely and something terrible is not going to happen. I am very worried about the direction of the arms race, the direction of our policies.

Yes indeed, and so am I. And this is a very strongly recommended article.

3. The Many American Lies Trump Has Laid Bare

This article is by Andrew Bacevich on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch. This is from near its beginning:

Let me offer seven illustrative examples of myths that the Trump presidency has once-and-for-all demolished.

Myth #1: The purpose of government is to advance the common good. In modern American politics, the concept of the common good no longer has any practical meaning. It hasn’t for decades. The phrase might work for ceremonial occasions — inaugural addresses, prayer breakfasts, that sort of thing — but finds little application in the actual business of governing.

Yes, although I also grant that the phrase "the common good" might work in the USA if it is redefined to mean "the common good of white protestant Archie Bunker types", although this is an aside.

Here is more:

Myth #2: Good governance entails fiscal responsibility. This is one of the hoariest shibboleths of modern American politics: feckless Democrats tax and spend; sober Republicans stand for balanced budgets. So President Ronald Reagan claimed, en route to racking up the massive deficits that transformed the United States from the world’s number one creditor into its biggest debtor. George W. Bush doubled down on Reagan’s promise. Yet during his presidency, deficits skyrocketed, eventually exceeding a trillion dollars per annum. No apologies were forthcoming. “Deficits don’t matter,” his vice president announced.

Yes, that simply is true: The Republicans, since Reagan, were the big spenders (while they claimed to be the opposite).

Here is more:

Myth #3: Justice is blind. The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the controversies surrounding his confirmation affirmed in unmistakable terms what had been hidden in plain sight since at least 1987 when Robert Bork was denied a seat on the court. The Supreme Court has become a venue for advancing a partisan agenda.

Yes, I think this is also simply true, although I think I should add that "justice" comprises a great lot more than the actions of the Supreme Court, and that it seems to me that at least a part of the judges in the USA still seem to work more or less decently.

Here is more:

Myth #4: The “wise men” are truly wise. To keep America safe, protect core U.S. interests, and promote peace, presidents since World War II have sought advice and counsel from a small self-perpetuating group of foreign policy insiders claiming specialized knowledge about how the world works and America’s proper role atop that world. In the 1960s, thanks to the disastrous war in Vietnam, the reputation of this cadre of “wise men” cratered. Yet they weren’t finished, not by a long shot. Their ranks now including women, they staged a remarkable comeback in the wake of 9/11. Among the ensuing catastrophes were the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Yes again: This also seems quite true - and to call the men (and women) who mostly prepare for war "wise men" was anyway another lie.

Here is more:

Myth #5: The Persian Gulf is a vital U.S. national security interest. For decades now, Americans have been fed this line with unhappy results. Dominating the Persian Gulf, we’ve been told, is essential to preserving our way of life. Stripped to its essentials, here’s the gist of the argument: They have the oil and we need it.

Precisely - for (in case you didn't know) the Persian Gulf is on the other side of the globe compared to the USA. (But then again, American troops and American bases are located in most countries anyway.)

Hee is more:

Myth #6: Prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace depend on Washington playing the role of honest broker. Here, too, let’s give President Trump his due. He has definitively exposed the entire peace process as a fiction and a fraud. In fulfilling the promise made by previous presidents to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and by endorsing the Israeli claim to the Golan Heights, Trump has stripped away the last vestiges of pretense: Washington favors just one side in this festering dispute, as it has since at least the 1960s.

I think this is not formulated well, for it seems - to me, at least - better formulated as "Prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace depend on Washington's helping Israel" (which is a myth as well).

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

Myth #7: War is the continuation of policy by other means. So, in a riff on Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz’s famous maxim, generations of American statesmen and military officers have professed to believe.
Originally styled Operation Enduring Freedom, the war itself has certainly endured. It began when this year’s crop of high school graduates were just leaving the womb. In terms of total length, it’s on track to outlast the Civil War (1861-1865), U.S. participation in the two world wars (1917-1918, 1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), and the Vietnam War (1965-1973) combined.

Again, I fail to say how Clausewitz's dictum has been turned into a myth, although I agree that the US has been fighting "wars against terrorism" for nearly 20 years since 2001. But this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably more than I quoted.

4. Sanders Vows to Ban 'Disastrous' Anti-Labor 'Right-to-Work' Laws

This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday told a gathering of union machinists that as president he would keep states from undermining their rights by pushing for a federal ban on so-called "right-to-work" laws.

Calling the rules "disastrous," Sanders told the International Association of Machinists that he would call on lawmakers to pass the Workplace Democracy Act, a proposal which he has regularly introduced in Congress since 1992 and which he plans to bring to the Senate floor once again in the coming days.

Under "the most significant labor legislation introduced in very, very long time...we will end once and for all the disastrous right-to-work laws in 28 states," Sanders said to loud applause.

Yes indeed, and I agree with Sanders and like to add that the "so-called "right-to-work" laws" were intentionally called that, which again is a sign of how much is falsified in American politics. For the "right-to-work" laws were in fact laws that made unionizing more difficult, which in turn strongly helped the employers to pay as little as possible to their workers.

Here is one more bit:

Under right-to-work laws, unions are barred from requiring that all workers contribute dues if they benefit from the union's contract. The laws have been aggressively pushed by Republican governors and lawmakers in recent years, with proponents claiming they protect workers from being forced to join a union.

"The reality is that federal law already makes it illegal to force someone to join a union," the AFL-CIO says. "The real purpose of right to work laws is to tilt the balance toward big corporations and further rig the system at the expense of working families. These laws make it harder for working people to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions."

Precisely. And this is a strongly recommended article.

5. The Insect Apocalypse Is Coming

This article is by Robert Walker on Truthout. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

In a new report, scientists warn of a precipitous drop in the world’s insect population. We need to pay close attention, as over time, this could be just as catastrophic to humans as it is to insects. Special attention must be paid to the principal drivers of this insect decline, because while climate change is adding to the problem, food production is a much larger contributor.

The report, released by researchers at the Universities of Sydney and Queensland and the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, concluded that 40 percent of insect species are now threatened with extinction, and the world’s insect biomass is declining at 2.5 percent a year. In 50 years, the current biomass of insects could be cut in half. Such a sharp decline could trigger a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems.”

Yes indeed, and I have written about the disappearance of many insects before, which means, as I have also explained before, very much less food for humans (and mammals, birds etc.).

Here is some more:

While the volume of scientific research on the threat of species extinction is growing rapidly, most of the focus has been on the declining population of fish and large mammals. Compared to larger species, insect species and their populations get very little attention. In making their report, the authors conducted a comprehensive review and found 73 historical studies of insect decline. That’s a tiny fraction of the reports written about the population loss of larger species. Yet arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans) account for about half of the world’s animal biomass — 17 times more than humans.

Precisely - and incidentally, it also is a fact that far less is known about insects (etc.) than about larger animals.

Here is one reason why insects are important:

About 60 percent of bird species rely upon insects as a primary food source, and birds consume up to 500 million tons of insects every year. Moreover, it is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of wild plants depend upon insects for pollination.

I think it is a fair presumption that as the insects decline by 2,5 per cent per year, so do the 60 percent of the birds who feed on them.

Then there is this:

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that wildlife populations, on average, have declined 60 percent since 1970. The International Union for Conservation of Nature now classifies 26,000 species as threatened with extinction, and leading scientists publicly warn that a “sixth mass extinction” has commenced.

Note that "since 1970" is just less than 50 years. Well... in these 50 years there is no less than a 60% decline in wildlife. And of course I agree that this is well described as the “sixth mass extinction”.

Finally, here is the explanation for what is happening to insect life and wildflife:

Simply put, the insect decline, in one form or another (including climate change), is attributable to humans. Our growing numbers and our appetites are driving insects to extinction. There is no letup in sight.
Humans already use a land mass about the size of South America to produce crops for consumption and an area nearly the size of Africa to feed our livestock. Add in the pesticides and fertilizers that we depend upon to boost crop yields, and it’s no wonder that insect populations are suffering mightily.

I completely agree and this is a strongly 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 3 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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