Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Crisis: USA, Frederick Douglass, Noam Chomsky, Bernie Sanders, F**ck You Presidency

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from July 5, 2017 

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from July 5, 2017

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. How to Love This Freaky Country

This is from The Intercept:

American progressives can’t ever match conservatives in displays of febrile patriotism, and for good reason. What Jesus told his followers about prayer is also good advice about loving a country: “Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.”

Moreover, anyone who’s spent five minutes thinking about human history knows how dangerously volatile nationalism is. This is especially important to keep in mind in a country that has used nuclear weapons and pondered whether to drop tungsten rods on our enemies from orbit.

Nonetheless, I believe it behooves all of us to consider and celebrate what is resplendent about the United States of America.
The right loves to accusingly demand, “Do you love this country?” We need the confidence to give the correct answer, which is “I love the parts you’re trying to destroy.”

This is by Jon Schwarz. I am not American and I don't see why I should love the USA, but I agree it is - still - better than quite a few other places. (Then again, I think it is considerably worse than some European countries, such as - notably - Norway.)

2. "What to the Slave is 4th of July?": James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass's Historic Speech

This is from Democracy Now!:
In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro." He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, "Voices of a People’s History of the United States." He was introduced by Zinn.
And here is the beginning of Frederick Douglass's speech, of the 4th of July 1852:

FREDERICK DOUGLASS: [read by James Earl Jones] Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?

There is more on Democracy Now!

3. Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky: How the U.S. Became an Oligarchy That Makes War on the Middle Class
In the first part of a two-part conversation, renowned intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges discuss the shift in the U.S. and U.K. in the late 1970s towards neoliberalism, an ideology that “claims it’s increasing freedom [while] it’s actually increasing tyranny,” among other subjects.
This is quite interesting and quite clear. Recommended!

4.  Bernie Sanders: Why the Democratic Party Is an 'Absolute Failure' and More

In fact, this is also from Democracy Now! but I found it on Alternet. Here is the beginning of Bernie Sanders' speech:
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I want to thank many, many of you for your work on our presidential campaign. You understood something that the establishment, the pundits and the corporate media did not know and still do not know. And that is that the American people are profoundly sick and tired of establishment politics and establishment economics. As RoseAnn just said, the question all over this country that people are asking themselves is: When will my life get better? And it ain’t gonna get better through establishment economics or establishment politics, that’s for sure. At a time of massive—and vulgar—income and wealth inequality, and the movement of our country toward an oligarchy, where a handful of billionaires control our economy, our political life and much of the media, you understood that the American people want a government that represents all of us, not just the 1 percent. And that’s what all of us are fighting for, and I thank you very much for all that you have done, are doing and will do.
All over the world—all over the world, people are asking: How does it happen that, globally, the top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the bottom 99 percent? How does it happen that the eight wealthiest people on this planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population—3.4 billion people?
There is considerably more under the last link, for Amy Goodman quotes the whole speech. This is the ending:
Now, the fight that we are engaged in now is a tough one. No question about it. We are taking on an extremely powerful billionaire class whose greed has destroyed the middle class of this country, whose greed says that it is not enough that the top 1 percent today owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Not enough! They want it all. And what we are saying today: We are going to stand up to that greed, to that recklessness, and tell the billionaire class that this nation belongs to all of us, this democracy belongs to all of us. And when we stand together, when we stand together and not allow demagogues to divide us up by the color of our skin or the country we came from or our sexual orientation or our gender, when we stand together, there is nothing that will stop us! Thank you all very much!
I recommend that you read it all.  
5.  Trump and Allies: It's the F**k-You Presidency

This is by Kali Holloway on Alternet:

Trump’s presidency is what happens when you elect a vengeful man-baby with an insatiable lust for power, a desperate need for attention, and endless reserves of contempt for the masses. Instead of accountability or transparency, ideas or innovation, you get a commander-in-chief whose most salient traits are narcissistic self-interest, hypersensitivity to criticism and a kneejerk tendency toward abuse. Question the job Trump is doing and instead of a vigorous defense of his policies or proposals you’ll get a hastily worded middle finger.Who are you to question me, the president? Trump seems to be saying: You’re nobody.

This isn’t just Trump’s philosophy, it’s the Republican brand. The demarcation between us and them is money and power, and we’re just peons who stand in the way of their ability to accrue more of both. Their contempt is woven into every cruel GOP policy proposal that aims to steal what little the have-nots possess in order to re-gift it to the haves. As long as such a sizeable portion of this country aspires to be just like them—to attain the means to bully and screw over people with the impunity of rich white men—Republicans will keep getting elected to office.

Yes, indeed.

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