June 27, 2019

Crisis: Rapist Trump, Solving the Climate Crisis, On Jeremy Corbyn, America's Economic Problems

“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 June 27, 2019

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, June 27, 2019.

I realize that I did not commemorate the fact that I am writing Crisis files for six years now, since I started to do so after June 10, 2013, which taught me about Snowden.

I am registering it now, and may write about it the coming days, but I am also somewhat worse at present than I was for a long time. (This still continues: I have ME/CFS since 40+ years.)

There will be more about computers and Ubuntu in Nederlog soon, but I am happy to announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, that I installed in 2017, works again as it did before on May 24, and after 24 hours of misery.

And on May 23 I also got a working computer with 18.04 LTS (which is worse than 16.04 LTS because its Firefox also is a menuless horror that I refuse to use, but happily SeaMonkey is not, for it still has it menus and can be installed on 18.04), so I am at present - and after two weeks of struggling - in the possession of two more or less, though not yet quite decently working computers.

So today there is a more or less common Nederlog, where "common" is the style I developed in 2013.

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 four crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from June 27, 2019:
1. Is Trump a Rapist?
2. We Could Solve the Climate Crisis With One Radical Change
3. Jeremy Corbyn and the UK’s Moment in History
4. America’s Biggest Economic Problem Isn’t China
The items 1 - 4 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. Is Trump a Rapist?

This article is by Charles M. Blow on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

I am simply disgusted by what’s happening in America.

My political differences with this president and his accomplices in Congress — and now on the Supreme Court — are only part of the reason. Indeed, those differences may not be the lesser reason, and that, for me, says a lot.

For me, the reason is that the country, or large segments of it, seems to be acquiescing to a particular form of evil, one that is pernicious and even playful, one in which the means of chipping away at our values and morals grow even stronger, graduating from tack hammer to standard hammer to sledgehammer.

America, it seems to me, is drifting toward catastrophe. Donald Trump is leading us there. And all the while, our politicians plot about political outcomes and leverage. Republican politicians are afraid to upset him; Democratic politicians are afraid to impeach him.
But, because nothing changes, because he is never truly held accountable, too many Americans are settling into a functional numbness, a just-let-me-survive-it form of sedation. But, that is where the edge of death is marked. That is where the rot begins. That is where a society loses itself.

Yes, I more or less agree with this, and I also agree with the title, that is, I believe that Trump is a rapist, though indeed I have no firm proof. Then again, the probable reason that there is no firm proof that the president of the USA is a rapist is that many possible court cases against him simply are not started because he is the president.

Well... here is some more, about E. Jean Carroll, who is the latest accuser that Trump raped her:

Carroll writes that Trump “pushed her against the wall, pushed his mouth against her lips, then pulled down her tights, unzipped his pants and forced his ‘fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me,’” as The New York Times reported it.
And now remember that the alleged perpetrator is now the president. And, remember that Carroll is by no means alone; a chorus of other women have also accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

But, Carroll’s account stands out for its brutality and severity.

And yet, her account landed like one more body on the pile in a mass grave: reduced by the multitude of other accusations rather than amplified by them.

Yes indeed, I think all of the above is correct. Of course my thinking so doesn't make this correct: To prove or disprove the above serious allegation and many more by other women is to investigate them in court.

But this doesn't happen. Here is Trump's sick and sickening response:

And Trump, in his swelling depravity, responded to the allegations by telling The Hill: “I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, O.K.?”

Well, sir, which type for you is rape-worthy?

To you, America, I ask: What is the breaking point? Is there a breaking point? Does nothing now matter that used to matter?

Yes, I think Blow's response is quite correct: Trump does not deny he raped women (and indeed he also has insisted he can shoot someone and not be prosecuted at all), he merely denied that she was his type, implying that if she had been, he might have raped her.

I prefer Carroll's reading and this is from the ending of this article:

This president acts as if he is above the law, or is the law. He lies and he cheats and he bullies. He is hateful and rude and racist. He talks about women to whom he is attracted as if they’re objects to be possessed and about women who dare to challenge him as enemies who must be destroyed.

Yes indeed and this is a recommended article.

2. We Could Solve the Climate Crisis With One Radical Change

This article is by Tim Radford on Truthdig and originally on Climate News Network. It starts as follows:

Resolving the climate crisis demands radical political change, a British author argues: the end of free market capitalism.

Well... I agree, but then again (i) this is not "one radical change", as the title has it, mostly because (ii) ending free market capitalism very probably requires a real revolution, while also (iii) nearly all attempted real revolutions fail in terms of the aims of the real revolutionaries.

In fact, it is especially my knowledge of (iii) which keeps me from strongly supporting radical socialism, simply because the socialism I imagine is unlikely to be the result of an attempted revolution, and the chances are that more tyranny will be the actual outcome, rather as in the former Soviet Union and the present China.

Here is some more:

So we don’t just have to think again, we have to rethink the whole basis of human behaviour. This means switching to vegetarian or vegan dietsabandoning plastic packaging, and cutting down on air travel (powered by biofuels, if we must, but the biofuel business is lunacy – he uses the word “bonkers” – in energy terms).

But these are small things. The big and not necessarily entirely popular message of the book is that we must change politically. Free market capitalism or neoliberalism or any pursuit entirely and only for profit cannot deliver answers to the coming climate crisis.

Yes, I think that is probably true, but then again the most probable outcome of a revolution is another dictatorship, which also will not do much or anying about the environment.

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

If the world shared its wealth (and wealth is a proxy for energy resources) more fairly, then it might be a great deal easier to be sure of democratic assent and international co-operation for radical shifts in the way we manage our food, water, transport and our precarious natural wealth in the form of biodiversity: all the wild birds, mammals, fish amphibians, reptiles, plants, fungi and microbes on which humankind ultimately depends.

The above is just a small sample of a rich, thought-provoking and easy-to-enjoy text. Berners-Lee doesn’t have all the answers, and admits as much, but he does know how to frame a lot of questions in illuminating ways.

He has packed his book with explanatory notes, supporting evidence and definitions, one of them being the case for democracy in the world of the Anthropocene.

“Fit for purpose democracy”, he warns, “entails not just voting but accurate information, and a widespread sense of responsibility for the common good.”

Well... yes, though I have to add that Mike Berners-Lee (the writer of the book that is being reviewed) and Tim Berners-Lee have the same father, and I do not trust Tim Berners-Lee (to whom the world owes the internet, which is, in my opinion, the strongest reason for a future neofascism, simply because anything about anyone now can be found out by the rich and by any government).

3. Jeremy Corbyn and the UK’s Moment in History

This article is by Craig Murray on Consortium News. It starts with the following subtitle:
While the media are concentrated on Tory shenanigans, Labour Party members must seize the chance to turn Corbyn’s insurgency into a decisive force, says Craig Murray.
Yes, I think I agree, and my reason is that Corbyn is one of the very few prominent politicians whom I (more or less) trust, as is Bernie Sanders in the USA, and the reason for mostly trusting both is my knowledge of 40 years of their political histories.

Here is more from this article:
The vast transfer of wealth from everybody else to the bankers in the great banking collapse, and the huge growth in wealth inequality and obscene concentrations of wealth in a tiny number of private hands, are the underlying causes of the collapse in old political party structures across the Western democracies and the rise of insurgent politics in all its various forms, mostly under the careful control of the elite using all their media control to misdirect popular blame for mass poverty against immigrants.

There are however genuine examples of insurgent politics seeking to craft a fairer society in the U.K., of which the SNP (Scottish National Party) and Yes Movement in Scotland, and Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in England and Wales, are the most important examples.

Unusually for me, this article is addressed primarily to Corbyn supporters down in England and Wales.
Yes, though Murray (who also is English) restricts his interests to Great Britain. There is this on Jeremy Corbyn:
Jeremy Corbyn represents the only realistic chance the people of England and Wales have been given in decades, to escape from the neoliberal economics that have impoverished vast swathes of the population. But he leads a parliamentary party which is almost entirely comprised of hardline neoliberal adherents.
Well, I agree on Corbyn because of my knowledge of Corbyn, and I agree on the parliamentary Labour party in part because of my knowledge of the neofascist Blair - and I am sorry but that is what this Catholic very rich man is, in my opinion - and his destruction of the Labour Party that was, although I know a lot less of nearly all or all British parlementarians than I know of Corbyn.

Here is some more on the
parliamentary Labour Party:
The majority of the parliamentary Labour Party are the people who brought in academy schools, high student tuition fees, introduced more privatization into the health service than the Tories have, and who brought you the Iraq and Afghan wars. They abstained on the Tory austerity benefit cuts and on Prime Minister Theresa May’s “hostile environment” immigration legislation. They support Trident nuclear missiles. Many hanker after bombing Syria, and most are members of Labour Friends of Israel.
I do not know this, but I do suppose Murray is correct about this. Here is more:
[I]t is essential that every Labour Party acts NOW to try to get rid of those dreadful Blairite MPs. If you do not act, the historic moment will be missed and the chance to move England and Wales away from neoliberalism may be permanently surrendered.
Yes, I agree, simply because I detest Blair and Blairites - but I do not know whether Murray will succeed. Here is the ending of this article:
Whether or not you are a Labour Party member (and remember I am not), please bring this article to the attention of any and every Labour Party member you know. Progress reports in the comments section would be extremely welcome, as would anyone willing to take the time to draw up “hit lists” based on the kind of criteria I outline above.

While the media are concentrated on the Tory shenanigans, it is the Labour Party members who have the chance to make choices which could have in the long term much more important effects upon society; if people act as I recommend, this could be a historic turning point. Otherwise it will just be one of those moments that passed, and the Corbyn insurgency a small footnote of might have been.
Yes, this may be correct and this is a recommended article. 
4. America’s Biggest Economic Problem Isn’t China

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

Xi Jinping might possibly agree this weekend when he meets Donald Trump on further steps to bring down China’s trade imbalance with the US, giving Trump a face-saving way of ending his trade war.

But Xi won’t agree to change China’s economic system. Why should he?

The American economic system is focused on maximizing shareholder returns. And it’s achieving that goal. Last Friday, the S&P 500 notched a new all-time high.

But average Americans have seen no significant gains in their incomes for four decades, adjusted for inflation.

China’s economic system, by contrast, is focused on maximizing China. And it’s achieving that goal. 

Well... yes and no. I agree with Reich on the USA but not on China, and my main reason is that China is a dictatorship, and has been growing a lot more into a dictatorship under Xi Jinping, in fact mostly thanks to the internet (which allows governments and rich corporations to find out anything about anyone, both in China and outside of China).

Anyway, here is more:

Forty years ago China was still backward and agrarian. Today it’s the world’s second-largest economy, home to the world’s biggest auto industry and some of the world’s most powerful technology companies. Over the last four decades, hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty.

The two systems are fundamentally different.

At the core of the American system are 500 giant companies headquartered in the US but making, buying and selling things all over the world. Half of their employees are non-American, located outside the US. A third of their shareholders are non-American.

These giant corporations have no particular allegiance to America. Their only allegiance and responsibility is to their shareholders.

They’ll do whatever is necessary to get their share prices as high as possible – including keeping wages down, fighting unions, reclassifying employees as independent contractors, outsourcing anywhere around world where parts are cheapest, shifting their profits around the world wherever taxes are lowest, and paying their top CEOs ludicrous sums.

Yes, I agree with the above - and observe once again that Reich appears to be a capitalist nevertheless, although indeed not like the leaders of the "500 giant companies headquartered in the US".

Here is some more:

At the core of China’s economy, by contrast, are state-owned companies that borrow from state banks at artificially low rates. These state firms balance the ups and downs of the economy, spending more when private companies are reluctant to do so.

China’s core planners and state-owned companies will do whatever is necessary both to improve the wellbeing of the Chinese people and become the world’s largest and most powerful economy.

Trump thinks that’s unfair. But it works. Since 1978, the Chinese economy has grown by an average of more than 9% per year.

Yes, I think all of the above is true - but China is still a dictatorship. Well, here is Reich:

But wait. America is a democracy and China is a dictatorship, right?

True, but most Americans have little or no influence on public policy – which is why the Trump tax cut did so little for them.

I think this is also true, and I would agree with Reich if he were to say that the USA is not a democracy anymore, indeed because "most Americans have little or no influence on public policy", but the USA still is not - yet, at least - the dictatorship that China is.

Here is more:

Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations, those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

Don’t blame American corporations. They’re in business to make profits and maximize their share prices, not to serve America.

I agree with the first quoted paragraph, but not with the latest, and I find it a bit difficult to see why Reich thinks so if he is pro capitalism (as his book "Saving Capitalism" strongly suggests). In any case, I do "blame American corporations", because they try to make the maximum profits for themselves, and because they invested a great amount of money in changing American politics and changing American laws to make the maximal profits.

And indeed, classical social democracy (which seems to have been mostly destroyed) was in favor of capitalism as long as it did distribute its profits so that the middle classes and the poor also got some welfare, which indeed also supported local capitalism (by supplying demand).

Here is the ending of this article:

Instead of trying to get China to change, we should lessen the dominance of big American corporations over American policy.

China isn’t the reason half of America hasn’t had a raise in four decades. The simple fact is Americans cannot thrive within a system run largely by big American corporations, organized to boost their share prices but not boost Americans.

I agree mostly, though I also think it would be very well if China became less dictatorial, indeed also if I do not think it will be. 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 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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