Thursday, August 10, 2017

Crisis: Nuclear Authority, Madmen, Allen Nairn, Wall Street Thieves, On ME/CFS

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 10, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, August 10, 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 with 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 (usually) 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 August 10, 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. 'Stop the Insanity': Demand Grows to Strip Trump of Nuclear Authority

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. This starts as follows (and I agree, as a psychologist, with the title: Trump is insane and should be removed a.s.a.p.):
The morning following his "fire and fury" remarks on Tuesday—which promised retaliation if the North Korean regime continues to threaten the United States—President Donald Trump took to Twitter to praise
America's "powerful" nuclear arsenal, comments that intensified the groundswell of calls to end the pro-war rhetoric and strip Trump of his nuclear-strike authority.

Trump's threat against North Korea came on the heels of a report by the Washington Post indicating that Pyongyang had "successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles." 

The Kim Jong-un regime responded just hours after Trump's remarks, promising to hasten "the tragic end of the American empire" and announcing it would review plans to "strike areas around the U.S. territory of Guam," where the U.S. maintains large military bases, "with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles."

Reacting to Trump's "crazy" comments and to the growing fear that the U.S. is inching closer to nuclear war, activists and lawmakers urged Congress to revive legislation that would strip the executive branch of the power to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

There is more in the article, that is recommended.

2. The Madman With Nuclear Weapons is Donald Trump, Not Kim Jong-un

This article is by Mehdi Hassan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

For once, Donald Trump has a point. “We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that,” he told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the transcript from their bizarre phone conversation that was leaked to The Intercept in May.

The madman the U.S. president was referring to, of course, was North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The madman the rest of us should be worried about, however, is Trump himself, who — lest we forget — has the sole, exclusive and unrestricted power to launch almost 1,000 nuclear warheads in a matter of minutes, should he so wish.

Well... I agree Donald Trump is insane but - while Kim Jong-un is not insane in the same ways as Trump is - my own estimate for the sanity of the third of the Kims is
not higher than it is for Trump. And indeed that is also one of the very worrying sides of the present conflict.

Then there is this:

Kim is bad, not mad.

The same cannot be said of The Donald. Think I’m being unfair? In February, a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers wrote to the New York Times “that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.” In April, another group of mental health experts told a conference at Yale University’s School of Medicine that Trump was “paranoid” and “delusional” and referred to the president’s “dangerous mental illness.”

I agree - as a psychologist - with these "mental health experts" about Trump (and my own standard reference, so to speak, about Trump's insanity is from December 2016). Then again, I'd say both Kim and Trump are bad (but not in the same way), and both
Kim and Trump are mad (but again not in the same way), and indeed one of the reasons why Trump's madness got more press than Kim's madness is simply that North-Korea is far more authoritarian than the USA (so far, at least).

Here is the ending pf the article (apart from last sentence):

Trump’s former ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, who spent 18 months in his company while working on The Art of the Deal, has called the president a “sociopath.” In fact, one quote more than any other stood out from Schwartz’s much-discussed interview with the New Yorker in July 2016 and, perhaps, should keep us all awake at night. “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes,” said Schwartz, “there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

Yes, I agree with Schwartz. And this is a recommended article.

3. A Rightist Revolution: Allan Nairn on Trump Admin's Radical Agenda to Roll Back Social Progress

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction - and remember that there are four very recent articles with Allan Nairn on Democracy Now!:
Tension between the U.S. and North Korea escalated sharply Tuesday after President Trump suggested he was prepared to start a nuclear war, threatening to unleash "fire and fury" against North Korea. Hours later, North Korea threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific. Guam is home to 163,000 people as well as major U.S. military bases. For more, we speak with longtime investigative journalist Allan Nairn.
Here is one quote from this interview:

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, the U.S. nuclear system was already dangerous, irresponsible, insane, because it’s on, most—many of the U.S. weapons are on hair-trigger alert. The missiles in the silos, the missiles on the submarines, they can be fired within minutes, which could easily lead to a mistaken firing. And now there’s a president who’s on hair trigger.

For years, there was a consensus, a complete consensus, within the U.S. establishment and military, that military action against North Korea was unthinkable, because, just with conventional artillery, North Korea could immediately devastate Seoul, killing more than 100,000, perhaps. But recently, the political culture and discussion around military action against North Korea has shifted. Colonel Guy Roberts, who’s a longtime Pentagon and NATO official, last year wrote an article calling for the U.S. to adopt a first-strike nuclear policy, to be willing to use nuclear weapons against a country—and he specifically mentioned North Korea as one—in the event they use conventional weapons. He wrote that last year. This year, Trump nominated him to be the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear policy. John Bolton recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the U.S. should consider a ground invasion of North Korea. Lindsey Graham recently quoted Trump as saying that the U.S. should be ready to destroy (...) North Korea itself.
I say! There is a lot more in the interview (of which there are in fact four) and this is a recommended article.

4. Wall Street Thieves Find New Ways to Steal From Us

This article is by Jim Hightower on Comon Dreams. This starts as follows:

In 2007, their stupid schemes and frauds crashed our economy, destroying middle-class jobs, wealth and opportunities. Far from getting punishment, however, these financial scofflaws were bailed out by their Washington enablers — so the moral lesson they learned was clear: Stupid pays!

Sure enough, only a decade later, here they come again! Rather than investing America's capital in real businesses to generate grassroots jobs and shared prosperity, Wall Street is siphoning billions of investment dollars into speculative nonsense — such as high-profit securities "secured" only by rickety bundles of subprime auto loans.

Car dealers, eager to goose up sales, have been hawking new vehicles to lower-income people, offering quick credit approval. Banks — eager to hook more people on monthly car payments — have been approving these subprime car loans without verifying the buyer's ability to pay. Then, a Wall Street bank's investment house buys up thousands of these iffy individual loans, bundles them into multimillion-dollar "debt securities," and sells them to wealthy global speculators. Last year alone, banks sold $26 billion-worth of these explosive bundles of car loans.

This does more or less describe what American banks are doing since 2007, and have been trying to do for many decades, but which they could not do until Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin deregulated them.

Then again, Hightower is mistaken when he wrote "the moral lesson [the leading American bankers] learned was clear: Stupid pays!". No, what they learned was something they already knew and had been trying to get for decades, until this was handed to them by Clinton and Rubin: Deregulation pays, for effectively deregulation gives all powers to the banks and the rich by robbing the non-rich from any legal protections.

The article ends like this:

So, the banksters crash the economy, you lose income and your home, they buy your house at auction, then they rent it to you at an ever-increasing price. The "new way" is the same old story of the rich robbing the rest of us.

Yes indeed, though I wish that deregulation had been mentioned. This is a recommended article.

5. The Real Action - The Working Group

This article, which is not a crisis file but is about ME/CFS that is a serious disease I have now nearly 40 years, basically without any help because most of the medical profession are interested in money much rather than in patients' rights these same 40 years, sketches a new development in the battle against ME/CFS.

I have paid attention to this before - see here - but this article got written half a year later. It is by Cort Johnson (whom I do not trust financially) and it is on his site Health Rising (that he created after being ousted from Phoenix Rising for - extremely obscure - financial reasons), but it is not a bad article.

It starts as follows:
The Open Medicine Foundation's "Community Symposium on the Molecular Basis of ME/CFS" is coming up next week. The Symposium follows a two-day workshop - an ME/CFS research jam session that dozens of researchers and MD's will participate in.

Davis has noticed that waiting for data to be validated in journal publications isn't exactly a pathway to quick results. Far better, he thinks, to give new data - recognizing that it's not been completely validated - the chance to inform and strengthen other researchers' work. (Suzanne Vernon did something similar with her Cold Spring Harbor meetings). The working session actually was planned before the Community Symposium; it's part of Davis' vision of a collaborative team of researchers working together to solve ME/CFS.

Drs. Bateman and Bell will provide clinical expertise to PhD's from a variety of fields. Some research names will be familiar (Naviaux, Younger, Hanson, Light, McGregor) but many others (Tompkins, Olivera, Xiao, Berg, Esfandyarpour, etc.) are experts from other fields whom Davis has enrolled in his fight to beat ME/CFS. Two Nobel Laureates (Paul Berg, Mario Capecchi) are attending, as well as several department heads/directors (Ron Tompkins, Michael Synder) and one person from industry (Integrative Bioinformatics). Stanford and Davis' Genome lab is widely represented.

That's a lot of brain power to assess the most recent findings in ME/CFS, suggest new directions, and produce new insights into ME/CFS.
There is considerably more in the article. And as I said in February of this year, this new scientific development inspired this - psychologically educated - scientist quite a lot, but it seems that the almost totally anonymous "patients' community" (which is not a real community but is in fact basically a list of mostly ill-written and ignorant comments) disagrees now, after the XMRV-collapse.

In any case, my own expctations are that if Ron Davis lives (he is 76 at present) and if he can find good subsidies for his group, he or they will probably unravel the causes of ME/CFS.

But it may be quite a while, and may be too late for me (since I am 67 and nearly 40 years ill). Even so, this is inspiring (and it also is the only reason I visit - the sickeningly anonymous - Phoenix Rising), at least if you have ME/CFS and have been actively discriminated for nearly 40 years as I have been.


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