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Nederlog

March 25, 2015
Crisis: Gitmo, English Labour, Chomsky, Obama, GOP plans
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton















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Sections
Introduction

1. Gitmo Detainee’s Life an “Endless Horror Movie”
2. Labour, drop the benefits doublespeak and let’s hear
     your underdog-whistle

3. Noam Chomsky: Nuclear Weapons and Unchecked
     Climate Change Are Leading Us Toward Doomsday

4.
Obama Announces No Troop Withdrawal from
     Afghanistan in 2015

5. 14 ways Republicans have declared war on the middle
     class



Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about a Gitmo detainee, and shows American justice at work; item 2 is about English Labour; item 3 is about a recent talk by Noam Chomsky; item 4 is about Obama's integrity, honesty and decency; and item 5 is about the horrific plans
of the GOP.

1. Gitmo Detainee’s Life an “Endless Horror Movie”

The first item is an article by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi, a Yemeni national who has been detained at the American prison facility at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, weighs only 98 pounds. Never charged with a crime, al-Alwi, now 35 years old, is one of many detainees at the camp who have gone on a prolonged hunger strike.

As described in a recent petition submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) by his lawyers, al-Alwi’s mental and physical state is seriously deteriorating after two years on hunger strike, and subsequent force-feeding. 

Since commencing his strike in February 2013, al-Alwi alleges that he has been subjected to escalating physical and psychological abuse from guards, as well as increasingly brutal force-feeding procedures administered by medical personnel at the camp. Human rights organizations have described the force-feeding procedure employed at Guantánamo as torture, and the U.S. government has fought to keep video footage of the force-feeding of al-Alwi and other hunger-striking detainees from public view.

Al-Alwi, who has described his strike as “a form of peaceful protest against injustice,” has said that he will not resume eating until there is some sort of legal resolution to his case. Prison officials have responded to his hunger strike by placing him in solitary confinement, denying him access to prescribed medical items and subjecting him to extreme temperatures in his cell.

And this is about Al-Alwi's present position:
In his petition, al-Alwi describes his life in Guantánamo as “an endless horror story.”
(...)
Describing his brutal treatment by riot guards who come to restrain him for force-feedings, al-Alwi told his lawyers in the petition:  “I weigh less than 100 pounds. I wear braces on both ankles, and both wrists, and one around my lower back. I am five foot five … and they claim that I am ‘resisting’ … How can I possibly resist anyone, let alone these men?”
He has been in the U.S.'s concentration camp since 2002, and has been accused of nothing...

This must be American justice at work.

2. Labour, drop the benefits doublespeak and let’s hear your underdog-whistle

The next item is an article by Polly Toynbee on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

A hailstorm of Twitter fury pounded Labour’s Rachel Reeves last week when she told the Guardian: “We are not the party of people on benefits … We’re not the party to represent those who are out of work.” Rage, despair and walkouts ensued. Doesn’t Labour know most people relying on benefits are in work anyway? Reeves hastened to explain: she meant Labour would tackle root causes of rising benefits with lower rents, better jobs and higher pay. When she promised that “Labour will be tougher than the Tories”, she meant on cutting the bill, not benefit rates.

Really? But Polly Toynbee trusts Rachel Reeves:

Reeves offers guaranteed paid jobs to the young unemployed, no more unpaid slave labour. She wants to revive the culture of jobcentres that helps rather than punishes, that makes food banks redundant, that abolishes the bedroom tax and speeds up payments for the thousands left in limbo. Having watched her with people in despair at losing their homes to the bedroom tax, I don’t doubt her decency.
I am sorry, but I don't. I checked the Wikipedia on her - Rachel Reeves - and
she seems much like the Dutch narko-nazis that form the top of Dutch Labour,
who brought it about that since 1988 at least 270 billion euros (only counting
hashish and marijuana) and quite possibly 5 times more (also counting heroin,
cocain, speed, ecstasy etc.) have been turned over on and from Dutch soil, and
who made Holland the leading drugsnation of Europe. [1]

Also, while I am quite willing to believe that a Labour government will be better than a Conservative government for anyone who is not a rich Englishman, this
is not at all due to the excellence or the integrity of Labour but to the sick and depraved degeneracies that the Tories committed and plan.

3. Noam Chomsky: Nuclear Weapons and Unchecked Climate Change Are Leading Us Toward Doomsday

The next item is an article by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig:

This starts as follows and introduces a video:

“It’s now 70 years since the end of the most horrific war in history,” the renowned intellectual said in a disquieting recent talk for the Lannan Foundation’s “In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom” lecture series. The war “ended with the use of an ultimate weapon which can bring human history to an end.” Soberingly, Chomsky added: “We’ve been living under that shadow ever since.”

The video is 36 m 52 s. Chomsky's talk starts at around 6 m. It's an interesting talk (though it seems that Chomsky put the Russell-Einstein Manifesto in 1965 saying it came "twenty years" after the war, and also was "fifty years ago": No, it was ten years after the war and happened sixty years ago).

But it is interesting, and includes a bit were Chomsky speaks about a congregation of the world's top CEOs in January of this year, in Davos, who listed the 19 greatest dangers they saw: Climate change did not even occur on the list, and the Number One problem that faced the top CEOs was ... regulation.

4. Obama Announces No Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2015 

The next item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Under the guise of a transfer of power, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's and U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday new "flexibility" in the U.S. military's drawdown plan in Afghanistan, scrapping previous pledges made to reduce troop levels by the end of the year.

During the joint address, Obama said that none of the 9,8000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn in 2015—despite his initial pledge to reduce troop levels to 5,500 during that time.

"It means some folks are going to be rotating back into Afghanistan for a few extra months," Obama said during the press briefing.

While U.S. troops would no longer be serving a "combat" role, Obama said that they will continue to train, advise and assist Afghan Security Forces, as well as maintain targeted counterterrorism operations, or drone strikes, in that country.

I say - which I do say specifically for those who still believe in Obama's promises. ("Change!" "Yes, we can!" etc. etc.) In case you do, and indeed also in case you don't, here is Sonali Kolhatkar, who heads the Afghan Women's Mission and is a journalist, on what the U.S. brought to Afghanistan:
"Last year, 10,000 people died, among them thousands of civilians. This was the worst violence since 2009. This is happening under U.S. occupation. Having the U.S. stay on cannot make the situation any better as it is U.S. involvement that has taken Afghanistan to the brink of utter devastation. We have ruined Afghanistan so that we can claim to save it from ruin."
There is more in the article.

5. 14 ways Republicans have declared war on the middle class 

The next item is an article by Steven Rosenfeld that I found on Salon, but that originally appeared on Alternet:
This starts as follows:
If you’re among the millions of Americans who feel bypassed by the economic recovery, you should pay attention to what the GOP-controlled Congress says it wants do to the federal government—via the 2016 budget—because if Republicans get even a fraction of what they have proposed, your living standards will start sliding downhill.

This is the takeaway from economists and experts who know how to ignore the right wing’s ridiculous rhetoric about freedom and opportunity, and instead see exactly who will be hurt, and how that will unfold—if the GOP rips the floor out of virtually every federal social safety net, as they propose, and also raises taxes on already struggling lower wage earners, which they also propose.

“The simplest way to understand these budgets is surely to suppose that they are intended to do what they would, in fact, actually do: make the rich richer and ordinary families poorer,” wrote Paul Krugman, The New York Times’columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist. “We’re looking at an enormous, destructive con job, and you should be very, very angry.”

The GOP-controlled House and Senate budgets not only drastically cut spending on education, retirement, environment, road and bridges, climate change, immigration, job creation, Obamacare, food stamps, and other social welfare programs; but it gives the Pentagon a blank check, and includes tax cuts for the rich and corporations while raising taxes for lower-income Americans. That’s the analysis by the National Priorities Project (NPP), not just Krugman, and they make an even more disturbing point.

There is a lot more under the last dotted link. I will copy the 14 ways, but not the explanatory texts of each way, that you can get by clicking the last dotted link:

  1. Bleed domestic programs to death.
  2. Who needs new or better jobs?
  3. Who needs a good education?
  4. Who needs healthcare anyway?
  5. Next on the chopping block: Social Security.
  6. Privatize Medicare, health care for seniors.
  7. Kick 7 Million Poor People Off Medicaid
  8. Our century’s version of “Let Them Eat Cake.”
  9. But give the Pentagon more blank checks.
  10. And use the excuse of endless war to do it.
  11. Corporate taxes are still too high, right?
  12. And the rich can’t afford to pay, either?
  13. But working class and poor must pay more.
  14. Why Krugman called all of this a “con game.”
As I said, all of the above 14 points are explained in the text, and they are all quite horrible and very unfair.

And here is Paul Krugman (with a small correction):

“Think about what these budgets would do if you ignore the mysterious trillions in unspecified spending cuts and revenue enhancements,” Krugman wrote. “What you’re left with are huge transfers of income from the poor and the working class, who would see severe benefit cuts, to the rich, would would see big tax cuts.”

Krugman said this wasn’t Republican extremism as usual, but a declaration of economic warfare on behalf of wealthy Americans at the expense of everyday Americans who want, and expect, more from federal government.

“Look, I know that it’s hard to keep up with the outrage after so many years of fiscal fraudulence,” he concluded. “But please try. We’re looking at an enormous, destructive con job, and you should be very, very angry.”

Yes, indeed. And this is a good article that deserves full reading.

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Notes


[1] NB: My numbers come from the 1996 Parliamentary Van Traa report, but after Van Traa had an accident or was killed in 1997 hardly anything was heard or written about the Dutch narko-nazis in Holland - not in the press, and also not by the hundreds of Dutch judges, who have tolerated this illegal mega-
scamming for 27 years now.

And I am writing about it because Amsterdam'ßs mayor Van Thijn put his illegal drugsdealing friends on the bottom floor of the house where I lived, and gave them his "personal permission" to deal in illegal drugs - and who gassed me, literally,  threatened me for three years with murder, and kept me out of sleep, all without any Dutchman doing anything for me, including the municipal police (that refused to do anything for me at least fifty times) and all of Amsterdam's bureaucracy: In Holland rich illegal drugsdealers come first, and outlaw any legal ordinary citizen who is not as rich as they are.


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