Saturday, October 21, 2017

Crisis: Bank of America, Pompeo, Lies Etc., Clinton & Assange, Nuclear Arms

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from October 21, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Saturday
, October 21, 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 will continue with it.

On the moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from October 21, 2017
1. Bank Downgrades Chipotle, Complaining It Pays
     Workers Too Much. Chipotle Says That’s Bunk.

2. Mike Pompeo: Trump's CIA Will Be a 'More Vicious

3. The Big Lie Pays Off: Trump Voters Believe Fake
     News (About the News Being Fake)

4. Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
5. Trump and the Second Coming of Nuclear
     Nightmares (Literally)
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. Bank Downgrades Chipotle, Complaining It Pays Workers Too Much. Chipotle Says That’s Bunk.

This article is by Ada Chavez on The Intercept. It starts as follows (and is - it seems - about something I have been expecting):

Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded Chipotle and warned investors that the stock will “underperform,” complaining that the restaurant chain is paying its workers too much, and that cutting labor costs further will be difficult for the chain.  

“We are downgrading Chipotle to Underperform from Neutral as we believe, assuming no significant tax reform, that 2018 and 2019 consensus EPS needs to drop at least 10 percent,” analyst Gregory Francfort told CNBC Wednesday. “We believe further gains from trimming hours will prove difficult which limits the opportunity to get labor below 27 percent of sales even if traffic recovers.”

I wrote ¨- it seems -" in my introduction because the article is not very clear, but what I expected is that the banks, that are by now mostly uncontrolled because they bought most or all of those who were elected to control them, are now directly implementing the desires of the rich onto the corporations that are not banks.

And they do this as said: By increasing the interests on those corporations they believe pay their workers too much.

That is what I believe Ada Chavez is saying - but I agree the reporting is not clear.

Here is one other bit:

The downgrade is a symptom of Wall Street’s maniacal obsession with labor costs.

The Bank of America analysis cut the 2017 earnings estimate from $7.60 to $7.40, and the 2018 estimate $10.50 to $9.50, according to the report. Meanwhile, Chipotle CEO Steve Ells raked in $15.7 million in 2016. Nonexecutives are not getting rich stuffing tortillas at Chipotle; the typical worker makes a little more than $9/hr.

I read this as saying: The Bank of America thinks $9 an hour is too much, and therefore increased the interest the Chipotle corporation has to pay them.

If so, it is evident manipulation by the very rich of the rich to bring down the payments to the poor in order to increase the payments of the rich, but I am willing to agree this rather horrible news is not quite clear in the present reporting.

2. Mike Pompeo: Trump's CIA Will Be a 'More Vicious Agency'

This article is by Andrea Germanos on Truthdig. It starts as follows (and is also about something I have been expecting):

According to Mike Pompeo, the agency he leads—which has supported coups across the globe, engaged in targeted killings, and led a detention and torture program—has not been harsh enough.

Speaking Thursday at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies forum, the CIA director, who has signaled suport for torture, said “we’ve now laid out a strategy for how we’re going to execute our strategy with incredible vigor. We’re going to become a much more vicious agency in ensuring that we are delivering this work. We are going to go to the hardest places with some of the hardest people and of our organization to crush it.”

President Donald Trump, he said, “has promised that he will have our backs and that he will resource us.”

I take it that Pompeo means that he will send many more people he wants to obtain confessions from (false or not) to Syria and other places with trained torturers to have their nails torn out and their genitals electrocuted.

And I am fairly certain this is what he does mean. This also applies to the other bit that I quote from this article:

He also said section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “was skewed by Edward Snowden,” adding that he’s “very hopeful that Congress will renew” the surveillance authority, which is set to sunset at the end of the year unless Congress renews it. Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, meanwhile, has called it a “key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program.”

I am afraid most of Congress is bought by the rich, and that most of the rich are willing to have others do whatever helps keeping and increasing their riches.

And this is a recommended article.

3. The Big Lie Pays Off: Trump Voters Believe Fake News (About the News Being Fake)

This article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet. I start after the beginning, by quoting a report on a poll done by Politico:

Just 37 percent of voters think the media do not fabricate stories, the poll shows, while the remaining 17 percent are undecided.

More than three-quarters of Republican voters, 76 percent, think the news media invent stories about Trump and his administration, compared with only 11 percent who don’t think so. Among Democrats, one-in-five think the media make up stories, but a 65 percent majority think they do not. Forty-four percent of independent voters think the media make up stories about Trump, and 31 percent think they do not.

Among the voters who strongly approve of Trump’s job performance in the poll, 85 percent believe the media fabricate stories about the president and his administration.

I say! I am reading this in a rather different way than Parton does, it seems, for I am not much interested in what Republicans believe [2], while I infer from what she reports that (according to the Politico poll) only 1 in 5 Democrats believe that the propaganda, the lies and the deceptions they read in the mainstream media are just that: 2 out of 3 (¨a 65 percent majority¨) seem to believe that ¨ẗhe media¨ don´t lie (according to that poll).

Here is Parton:

I am among the 37 percent who believe the president is exactly what we see: an unqualified, wealthy egomaniac who won the presidency on a fluke and is in so far over his head that he's incapable of doing the job. There is no plan and there is no no vision.

I am sorry, but I belong to the well-educated and intelligent small minority who also does not believe that: I am a psychologist who believes that Trump is mad and I also believe that Trump has a vision, namely neofascism, and he is indulging that vision as well as he can (though I allow that his madness makes this more difficult).

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Many people in the national press are now waking up to the consequences of years of excusing and enabling the right's undemocratic tactics, but they have yet to fully account for their role in it. After all, they eagerly embraced the last Republican Big Lie: the invasion of Iraq. It's undoubtedly the case that some number of those citizens who think the media is fabricating news stories today remember that.

Nonetheless, if nearly half the country believes the fake news that the news is fake, and the other half is being gaslit, we have a bigger problem on our hands than Donald Trump. It means we're losing our grip on reality itself.

First of all, I am following the news much more closely than almost anyone else, for I have been reading 35 sites every day for over 4 years, and writing reviews on what I read, and I have not seen much news that supports Parton´s statement that ¨[m]any people in the national press are now waking up to the consequences of years of excusing and enabling the right's undemocratic tactics¨.

And second, if one writes that ¨
It's undoubtedly the case that some number of those citizens who think the media is fabricating news stories today remember¨ something, you might as well write that it is undoubteldy the case that ¨some number of people¨ still support the idea that 2+2=4.

Finally, I take it that as many 2 out of 3 of all Americans who support the Democrats believe (and read and trust) the lies, the propaganda and the deceptions they read in the mainstream media.

I say!

4. Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth

This article is by John Pilger on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

On Oct. 16, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an interview with Hillary Clinton: one of many to promote her score-settling book about why she was not elected President of the United States.

Wading through the Clinton book, What Happened, is an unpleasant experience, like a stomach upset. Smears and tears. Threats and enemies. “They” (voters) were brainwashed and herded against her by the odious Donald Trump in cahoots with sinister Slavs sent from the great darkness known as Russia, assisted by an Australian “nihilist,” Julian Assange.

In The New York Times, there was a striking photograph of a female reporter consoling Clinton, having just interviewed her. The lost leader was, above all, “absolutely a feminist.”
I say, although I am quite willing to trust John Pilger. This is on the amazingly gifted or extremely much lying journalist who interviewed Clinton (who even seems to feel Clinton´s aches as if they are her own):

In New York magazine, Rebecca Trainster wrote that Clinton was finally “expressing some righteous anger.” It was even hard for her to smile: “so hard that the muscles in her face ache.” Surely, she concluded, “if we allowed women’s resentments the same bearing we allow men’s grudges, America would be forced to reckon with the fact that all these angry women might just have a point.”

Drivel such as this, trivializing women’s struggles, marks the media hagiographies of Hillary Clinton.
Quite so, and here are a few of the facts:

As Secretary of State, she approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her benefactors in Saudi Arabia, worth more than $80 billion. Thanks to her, U.S. arms sales to the world – for use in stricken countries like Yemen – doubled.

This was revealed by WikiLeaks and published by The New York Times. No one doubts the emails are authentic. The subsequent campaign to smear WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, as “agents of Russia,” has grown into a spectacular fantasy known as “Russiagate.” The “plot” is said to have been signed off on by Vladimir Putin himself. There is not a shred of public evidence.

There is much more, with fairly extensive quotations from this rather amazingly flattering interview of Hillary The Multimillionaire Clinton, who became a multimillionaire with her husband, because they successfully sold the American population to the rich bankers and were (I agree) handsomely rewarded for doing so by the same bankers.

At least that is how I see it, but then indeed I am also not a heavily paid liar for the mainstream media. And I will not quote from Clinton´s sick and false interviews, but do recommend them to your interests.

The article ends as follows:

The first serious attacks on Assange came from the Guardian, which, like a spurned lover, turned on its besieged former source, having hugely profited from WikiLeaks’ disclosures. With not a penny going to Assange or WikiLeaks, a Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. Assange was portrayed as “callous” and a “damaged personality.”
Today, Assange remains a political refugee from the war-making dark state of which Donald Trump is a caricature and Hillary Clinton the embodiment. His resilience and courage are astonishing. Unlike him, his tormentors are cowards.

Yes, I agree with John Pilger and this is a recommended article.

5. Trump and the Second Coming of Nuclear Nightmares (Literally)

This article is by Rick Salutin on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

The first age of nuclear nightmares came in the 1950s and 1960s. They chiefly afflicted the young. Their parents had experienced nuclear realities by way of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That was part of a war, and ended it. It was normalized and rational, though in a basically ungraspable way.

Their kids grew up in a peaceful world haunted by nuclear terrors. Their teachers taught them to "duck and cover" beneath their desks if they saw the nuclear flash. They had nightmares (and waking ones) of it. The only moment of apparent imminence came during the 1962 Cuba Missile Crisis. It all receded gradually, via détente, a non-proliferation treaty and the Cold War's demise.

Now it's back. The minds of the young (in particular) are haunted by nuclear annihilation.
I am sorry, but I did demonstrate quite a lot - from the early Sixties onwards - against nuclear arms. I was then quite young (in my teens)
but I recall this a bit differently:

The anti-nuclear campaigns were started by men like Bertrand Russell and Linus Pauling, and they were soon picked up by many people from the Left, including my parents and quite a few others of their age.

And I do not think that Rick Salutin´s story is quite like I recall it, which I do think I do fairly well. Likewise, I have not seen much evidence (in spite of reading 35 sites that are supposed to write the news) that ¨(in particular)¨ ¨[t]he minds of the young¨ are ¨haunted¨ - and I am sorry that this is so.

This is the other bit that I quote from this article, that seems rather strange from my point of view (and I almost certainly walked in many more demonstrations against nuclear arms since 1961 than did Salutin):

Now, remarkably, Corbyn is young again! In a U.K. parliamentary debate on renewing the Trident missile system, he was pilloried by his political and media peers for saying, "I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to go about dealing with international relations."

Another millennial I know was inspired, almost transported, by those words. Corbyn has been saying them in some form for half a century. The respectable voices in politics and public discourse simply snicker at his phrasing. But when the young hear it, in sober, adult forums, it gives them hope: they aren't alone.

In fact, what Corbyn says is entirely sensible, it's pure reason, and when the nuclear flash happens, and the skin is dripping off the faces of vast urban populations, everyone will suddenly get it. The sages of Mutual Assured Destruction will smack their own foreheads and say, "How did we miss that?"

I agree Corbyn has been opposing nuclear arms for about the same time as I have (half a century, and indeed Corbyn is one year older than I am and always was a real social democrat, quite unlike nominal social democrats like Blair, Brown and most others who led and destroyed most of social democrats in the name of neoliberalism).

But I am sorry: I am not at all interested in what ¨the sages of Mutual Assured Destruction¨ will say after ¨the nuclear flash¨ happened, and I find this a quite strange article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

[2] And I am not, because the American population seems mostly fairly split about the Republicans and the Democrats; because the Republicans are certainly very much lying; while the half that votes for the Republi- cans either are rich or are deceived by their many lies (and anyway half of the American population has an IQ of 100 maximum).

But I am interested in the beliefs of those who are Democrats (although I also believe that the present leadership of the Democrats is about as corrupt as the leadership of the Republicans).

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