Prev-IndexNL-Next

Nederlog

Saturday, Apr 1, 2017

Crisis: National Insecurity, Conmanship, Blaming Russia


Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. National Insecurity
2.
The Art of the Con
3. Blaming Russia for Everything
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday
, April 1, 2017.

Summary: This is an ordinary
crisis log with three items and three dotted links: Item 1 is about the national insecurity, and is not bad but suffers from an ambiguous use of "(in)security"; item 2 is about Trumps art of conmanship; and item 3 is about the factually very totalitarian climate of opinion that rules both the mainstream media and
Trump's government.

There are just three items because I didn't find any more that I want to review, and besides because I did sleep very badly again.
April 1: As to the updating problem: The Danish site was again on time today; and even the Dutch site was on time! I say! For the third day in succession! Nearly unheard of in the last 15 months! I have to admit that I am so amazed that I'll wait a little longer, but if this persists I can go back to the old site opening that worked for 20 years.

I still have to add that where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others I have NO idea AT ALL: It may be December 31, 2015. (Xs4all wants  immediate payment if you are a week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying my site now for over a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)

1. National Insecurity

The first article today is by Rajan Menon on Truthdig (and originally on TomDispatch):

This starts as follows:

Donald Trump’s supporters believe that his election will end business as usual in Washington. The self-glorifying Trump agrees and indeed has, so far, been the most unorthodox presidency of our era, if not any era. It’s a chaotic and tweet-driven administration that makes headlines daily thanks to scandals, acts of stunning incompetence, rants, accusations, wild claims, and conspiracy theories. On one crucial issue, however, Trump has been a complete conformist. Despite the headline-grabbing uproar over Muslim bans and the like, his stance on national security couldn’t be more recognizable. His list of major threats—terrorism, Iran, North Korea, and China—features the usual suspects that Republicans, Democrats, and the foreign policy establishment have long deemed dangerous.

Yes, that is mostly true, although I think it should have been added that Trump also differs about "national security", for he is not "a complete conformist": His treatment of Russia is quite different from Obama's treatment of the same.

Here is more:

Trump’s conception of security not only doesn’t break the mold of recent administrations. It’s a remarkably fine fit for it. That’s because his focus is on protecting Americans from foreign groups or governments that could threaten us or destroy physical objects (buildings, bridges, and the like) in the homeland. In doing so, he, like his predecessors, steers clear of a definition of “security” that would include the workaday difficulties that actually make Americans insecure. These include poverty, joblessness or underemployment, wages too meager to enable even full-time workers to make ends meet, and a wealth-based public school system that hampers the economic and professional prospects, as well as futures, of startling numbers of American children. To this list must be added the radical dangers climate change poses to the health and safety of future citizens.

Hm. I noted above Trump's lack of conformism as regards Russia. And the present paragraph seems to use a somewhat tendentious definition of "(in)security" that mixes politics and economics.

In fact, I agree that the poor are very much more harmed by the unfair economic regulations of the American economy, which are quite unjust, but this kind of insecurity is of a quite different kind than the - factually negligible - risk of being murdered by some kind of political or religious terrorist.

And in fact there is this, in which I have bolded two words:

Many Americans believed him. Fifty-two percent of voters who did not have a college degree chose him. Among whites with that same educational profile, he did even better, winning 67 percent of their votes. Unemployment, underemployment, stagnant wages, and the outsourcing of production (and so jobs) have hit those who lack a college degree especially hard. Yet many of them were convinced by Trump’s populist message.

I agree with this, but I stress the fact that most of these people who did not get a college degree are - probably - not intelligent and - probably - do not know much. Yet the basis of a real democracy consists of intelligent persons who do have adequate knowledge of their situation.

The facts suggest that the currently existing American "democracy" is not a real democracy, but is mostly a way - very much helped by the mainstream media, also - for the politicians and the rich to mislead the majority about the real facts, and thus to further their own interests. And I think that is - at least - pretty close to the real facts.

Then there is this on terrorism or "terrorism" in the USA:

Since 9/11, only 95 Americans—95 too many, let it be said—have been killed in terrorist attacks in the U.S. Not one of the perpetrators was a tourist or someone on another type of temporary visa, and several were non-Muslims. Nor were any of them refugees, or connected to any of the countries in Trump’s two Muslim bans.
(..)
Still, Trump’s hyperbole has persuaded many in this country that terrorism poses a major, imminent threat to them and that measures like a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by the citizens of certain Muslim countries will protect them.

That is to say: In actual fact, the chances for any American of being killed by a terrorrist  = 0.0000003  (appr) that is 1 divided by 3,473,684. Nevertheless hundreds
of millions
of Americans are very much worried "about the grave dangers of terrorism". In fact, this means that all of them are fed a diet of propaganda and straight lies - that the vast majority also believes.

It also seems as if Goering's totalitarian advice for manipulating the majority of the people towards war works - the average is stupid enough to be tricked by the few:

   

There is considerably more that I leave to your interests, including quite a few interesting numbers about the economy. The article ends as follows:

So expect President Trump to dwell obsessively on threats that have a low probability of harming Americans, while offering no effective solutions for the quotidian hardships that actually do make so many citizens feel insecure. Expect, as well, that the more he proves unable to deliver on his economic promises to the working class, the more he’ll harp on the standard threats and engage in saber rattling, hoping that a continual atmosphere of emergency and vulnerability will disarm critics and divert attention from his failures. 

In the end, count on one thing: voters who were drawn to Trump because they believed he would rein in interventionism abroad and deal with festering problems at home are in for a disappointment.

I suppose so, but I insist again that "the national insecurity" that does plague very many Americans is economical much rather than political, and that what is ordinarily called "the national security" is political rather than economical.

And the two "(in)securities" that are involved simply are quite different.

2. The Art of the Con

The second article is by E.J. Dionne Jr. on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Whatever happened to the interests of the working class? Weren’t they supposed to be front and center in the Trump administration? Here’s one clue: When a policy that helps some corporate sector can be repackaged to make it look like a pro-worker move, President Trump will always hide his real purpose behind a phalanx of workers. Thus did he surround himself with coal miners on Tuesday when he signed a shamefully shortsighted executive order nullifying President Obama’s climate-change efforts.
   
“Come on, fellas,” Trump said. “You know what this is? You know what it says, right? You’re going back to work.”
   
Actually, Trump’s promise to the “fellas” is no more believable than any of his other promises.
I agree president Trump is a conman, but I also think that the opening questions are a bit misleading:

To the best of my knowledge "the working class" disappeared from real American politics in 1980, since when
"the working class" did not advance one bit or lost a great amount of money and a great amount of power (via the trade unions, which also grew a lot smaller since 1980).

Also, this disappearance was arranged and made real by the corruptions of the mainstream media, that serve the interests of the few rich, while pretending to serve all.

Then there is this:
Trump already signaled his indifference to the lives of his working-class supporters by backing the failed House Republican health care bill. It would have deprived 24 million Americans of health insurance. And the administration’s next big priority is corporate tax cuts, not an issue high on voters’ wish lists in Erie, Pennsylvania, or Bay County, Michigan.
   
Then again, not many proletarians hang around at the Trump resorts and golf courses where our commander in chief has already spent nearly a third of his time in office.
I agree with the first paragraph, but the second seems fairly nonsensical: As if "proletarians" could find out anything about Trump's real intentions by watching him play golf.

Finally, here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
If moral imperatives won’t inspire our politicians, perhaps political interest might lead them to take the costs of class inequality to heart. The 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study released at the beginning of the month suggested that Trump’s victories (particularly in the swing Midwestern states and Pennsylvania) were driven by white voters without a college degree who either didn’t vote in 2012 or had supported Obama.
   
My reading of this survey and other post-election analyses so far is that while Trump’s core supporters were largely moved by issues related to race, culture, religion and immigration, the decisive swing voters were motivated by economic anxiety.
   
Trump has no coherent approach to lifting up working-class Americans.
Yes, that seems mostly correct, although I think the last paragraph may be strengthened to: Trump has a coherent approach to working-class Americans:
He will do nothing for them, but he will lie and pretend a lot that he is there
to help them.

3. Blaming Russia for Everything

The third article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:

This has a subtitle:

The Senate Intelligence Committee launched its Russia-gate investigation by inviting some “experts” in to rant about how everything that goes wrong in the United States is the fault of the Russians, observes Robert Parry.

This starts as follows:

It’s almost getting comical how everything that happens in the United States gets blamed on Russia! Russia! Russia! And, if any American points out the absurdity of this argument, he or she must be a “Moscow stooge” or a “Putin puppet.”

Yes indeed - and there is a word for this: totalitarianism. And I think that word is correct, for you must be able to disagree without being scorced as "a “Moscow stooge” or a “Putin puppet.”"

Here is more on Hillary Clinton:

When Hillary Clinton boots a presidential election that was literally hers to lose, you might have thought that she lost because she insisted on channeling her State Department emails through a private server that endangered national security; that she gave paid speeches to Wall Street and tried to hide the contents from the voters; that she called half of Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables”; that she was a widely disliked establishment candidate in an anti-establishment year; that she was shoved down the throats of progressive Democrats by a Democratic Party hierarchy that made her nomination “inevitable” via the undemocratic use of unelected “super-delegates”; that some of her State Department emails were found on the laptop of suspected sex offender Anthony Weiner (the husband of Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin); and that the laptop discovery caused FBI Director James Comey to briefly reopen the investigation of Clinton’s private email server in the last days of the campaign.

I am missing at least one important item about Hillary Clinton: She and the top of the Democrats intentionally destroyed Bernie Sanders' chances of winning the elections. I think that should have been mentioned.

Here is the message that is spread by the American mainstream media:

We are not to worry our pretty little heads about nuclear war or a future financial meltdown or police brutality toward racial minorities or race relations in general or armed right-wing clashes with authorities or spying on our Internet use or any government wrongdoing at all or even citizen protests against that wrongdoing. Because if we debate such issues – if we even read about such issues – we are playing into Vladimir Putin’s evil plans.

As I have said already, that is an out-and-out totalitarian message. And there is this about  "American democracy":

Which makes me wonder what kind of “democracy” these brave “defenders of democracy” have in mind. The New York Times, The Washington Post and some establishment-approved Internet sites already have begun work on establishing standards for what information the American people will be allowed to see and hear – with disapproved sources of news marginalized by Internet search engines or prevented from earning any money by exclusion from Google and other ad programs.

This is again totalitarian ("with disapproved sources of news marginalized by Internet search engines or prevented from earning any money by exclusion from Google"), for
this amounts to the idea that one only should see what the American government or the American propagandistic and lying mainstream media will allow you to see.

Here is the end of the article:

With the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Thursday, this determination to squelch any dissenting American views as “Russian disinformation” moved up a notch, beyond some think-tank chatter, some newspaper articles or some initial planning for private-sector censorship.

The craziness has now become the focus of an official Senate investigation into Russian “meddling” in American political life. We have taken another step down the path of a New Cold War that blends a New McCarthyism with a New Orwellianism.

Yes indeed - and note that so far nobody has given any evidence (for more than 4 months now) that the Russians meddled in American political life: All there is are suspicions and claims.

And this is a recommended article.

------------------------


       home - index - summaries - mail