Friday, July 7, 2017

Crisis: Trump*2, Noam Chomsky, Main Stream Media, Amazon, Wall Street - Changes

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from July 7, 2017 
Two Major Changes

This is a Nederlog of Friday, July 7, 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. Trump, in Poland, Asks if West Has the ‘Will to Survive’

This is by Glenn Thrush and Julie Hirschfeld Davis on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
President Trump said on Thursday that Western civilization was at risk of decline, bringing a message about “radical Islamic terrorism” and “the creep of government bureaucracy” to a European capital he views as hospitable to his nationalist message.

Mr. Trump, who broke with tradition by attacking American leaders and his country’s intelligence services while abroad, delivered his message in a speech to a friendly Polish crowd before a two-day summit meeting of Group of 20 leaders in Hamburg, Germany.
Mr. Trump roused his Polish hosts by recounting the country’s history of resistance to invaders, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But he said nothing about the right-wing government’s crackdown on judges and journalists and its refusal to accept more migrants, policies that have upset European Union leaders. He instead praised Poland as a defender of liberty in the face of existential threats.

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”
My own answers: Not with a megalomaniac neofascist like Trump.

2. Embraced by Far-Right Gov't in Poland, Trump Claims Future of Western Civilization is at Stake

This is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:
In a major speech in Poland, President Donald Trump said Western civilization is at stake, as he warned about the threats of "terrorism and extremism." He was cheered on by supporters of Poland’s right-wing government, who were bused in to the speech. Meanwhile, Trump is facing criticism after becoming the first U.S. president in decades to skip visiting the Warsaw ghetto uprising monument. We speak with Polish-Nigerian journalist Remi Adekoya, a regular contributor to The Guardian and the former political editor of the Warsaw Business Journal.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Remi, can you talk specifically about what the similarities are in the positions that the Trump administration has taken and those of right-wing governments in Eastern Europe, including Poland?

REMI ADEKOYA: Number one, essentially, the Polish government has said they’re not interested in accepting any migrants. So, generally, there’s a sort of anti-migrant, xenophobic stance in their policies. Number two, they question the existence of climate change, just like Trump does. And number three, in the case of the Polish government, they’re very skeptical of what they see as German domination of the EU, which is a theme which Trump also tossed in one of the interviews, saying the EU is essentially a union which is dominated by Germany.

So, on these three issues, the Polish government is very close to what Donald Trump is saying. Essentially, it’s a very right-wing view of the world, exclusivist, which believes that, as they say, Western civilization is under threat—read from brown people, from Muslims especially—and has to close ranks and defend itself, or else it essentially faces extinction.

3. Noam Chomsky: Here's How We Defeat Trumpism and Save the Planet

This is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:

The political scientist and world-renowned linguist went on to praise "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert's recent smackdown of Republican efforts to gut the country's climate laws. Chomsky has dubbed the current GOP "the most dangerous organization in world history." For him, the question is how Democrats can recapture the White House before the planet's fate is sealed.

“It’s necessary to address the concerns and beliefs of those who are taken in by the fraud, or who don’t recognize the nature and significance of the issues for other reasons," he noted. 

While the opposition remains fractured, talk radio "and other practitioners of alternative facts" are uniting Trump voters against a common enemy—the left.

"For the majority of the base, Trump and the more savage wing of the Republican establishment are not far from their standard attitudes," Chomsky asserted, noting that most Trump supporters "are relatively affluent."

"Three-quarters had incomes above the median," he explained. "About one-third had incomes of over $100,000 a year, and thus were in the top 15 percent of personal income, in the top 6 percent of those with only a high school education."

4.  MSM, Still Living in Propaganda-ville

This is by Robert Parry and starts as follows:
As much as the U.S. mainstream media wants people to believe that it is the Guardian of Truth, it is actually lost in a wilderness of propaganda and falsehoods, a dangerous land of delusion that is putting the future of humankind at risk as tension escalate with nuclear-armed Russia.

This media problem has grown over recent decades as lucrative careerism has replaced responsible professionalism. Pack journalism has always been a threat to quality reporting but now it has evolved into a self-sustaining media lifestyle in which the old motto, “there’s safety in numbers,” is borne out by the fact that being horrendously wrong, such as on Iraq’s WMD, leads to almost no accountability because so many important colleagues were wrong as well.

Similarly, there has been no accountability after many mainstream journalists and commentators falsely stated as flat-fact that “all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies” concurred that Russia did “meddle” in last November’s U.S. election.

For months, this claim has been the go-to put-down whenever anyone questions the groupthink of Russian venality perverting American democracy. Even the esteemed “Politifact” deemed the assertion “true.” But it was never true. 

5. The Destructive Power Trips of Amazon’s Boss

This is by Ralph Nader and ends thus:

Is Bezos laughing at many millions of Amazon customers who think temporary discounts and minor shipping convenience can make up for the billions of tax dollars Amazon has learned to avoid and the thousands of small business competitors whose closures shrink the local property tax base that supports schools and other essential public services?

As Amazon spreads around the world selling everything and  squeezing other businesses that use its platform, is Bezos laughing at humanity? His ultimate objective seems to preside over a mega-trillion dollar global juggernaut that is largely automated, except for that man at the top with the booming laugh who rules over the means by which we consume everything from goods, to media, to groceries. Crushing competitors, history shows, is leads to raising prices by monopolizers.

Consumers, workers and retailers alike must be on higher alert and address this growing threat. You have nothing to lose except Bezos’s tightening algorithmic chains. To start the conversation, you can wait for Franklin Foer’s new book out this September, titled World Without a Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. Until then, a good substitute is his 2014 article in The New Republic, Amazon Must be Stopped.

6. Why Wall Street Should Be Viewed as a Major National Threat

This is by Pam and Russ Martens and starts as follows:

The day before the 4th of July, when most Americans were hustling about preparing for family barbecues, the New York Times finally decided to publish an editorial warning about Wall Street’s potential threat to the nation. Unfortunately, it did so with the kind of timidity we see regularly from cowed or compromised Wall Street banking regulators. The editorial writers noted that: “It’s entirely possible that the system is more fragile than the Fed’s stress tests indicate,” and they called for “heightened vigilance of derivatives in particular” without providing any detailed data.

A more accurate assessment of the situation would have been this: There is only one industry in the United States that has twice in a period of less than 100 years brought about a devastating economic crisis in the country. Wild speculation coupled with poor regulation of mega Wall Street banks brought about the Great Depression in the 1930s, leading to massive job losses, bank failures, poverty and economic misery for tens of millions of innocent Americans. The precise same combination of wild speculation and crony regulators created the Wall Street crash of 2008, throwing millions of Americans into unemployment and foreclosure while creating obscene bailouts and bonuses for bankers, and leaving the U.S. with such a low economic growth rate to this day that many Americans feel they are still living in the Great Recession.

If a foreign country did this kind of damage to the U.S. economy with a military weapon, that country would have been reduced to bombed-out, smoldering ruins by now. But despite research coming directly from our own Federal government illustrating that Wall Street’s threat to the nation is more dangerous than ever, both the Obama and Trump administrations appointed Wall Street’s own former lawyers as regulators and allowed the derivatives bomb to re-arm itself and point directly at the heart of the nation’s economy.

B. Two Major Changes

There are a number of quite important changes on my computer. I do not quite know how much my readers will see of this (probably little, if I can remain writing and publishing) but for me it the changes are quite important.

I changed the OS I am using from Ubuntu 12.04 to Ubuntu 14.04

To effect this change took a week of work. The last 5 years - since June 2012 - I was on Ubuntu 12.04. This was (and is) a system that was to be maintained by Ubuntu for 5 years, and indeed it was.

I had nearly two years ago (November of 2015) changed to this, but the major problem for me is that I installed Ubuntu 12.04 at the same time as my eyes - quite spectactularly and quite painfully - collapsed: I could not see white screens for a second or they started to hurt rather badly.

The reason I could go on writing and publishing and indeed working with a computer since June 2012 is that Ubuntu 12.04 had a system that could be set so as to invert the colors. This made all system colors that were white black, and it is precisely this that allowed me keep writing.

My eyes got - very slowly - better, and improved - comparatively - quite a lot, but they are still not OK.

And 14.04 lacks the system to invert system colors, as I found out in November of 2015, when I also had to change back tot 12.04 to be able to keep using my computer.

One and half year have passed, and my eyes slowly improved, and now I can - just - use 14.04, with quite a few changes to the colors where these are possible, but (1) the file menus have a brightly white background, that can - contrary to what the help says - not be made less bright, and (2) in any case I will see considerably more white than before, especially in the file lists.

It is all working now, but my eyes again are more hurting. This may be because the last days I have had to see many white pages, that I probably will be able to avoid now  that the system is working, but it is more difficult than 12.04 was for me.

I will continue writing my site and will let you know how it effects my eyes. In any case, I am grateful to Ubuntu that I could continue the last five years, for this would have been totally impossible on - the awful - Windows and indeed also on Ubuntu with only normal colors.

       home - index - summaries - mail