Thursday, December 7, 2017

Crisis: Daniel Ellsberg, Palestine, Physics, US Gestapo, Roy Moore, Ralph Nader

Sections                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from December 7, 2017
3. Extra: Ralph Nader:
The Republicans’ Devious Tax Attack on the People

This is a Nederlog of Thursday
, December 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 will continue with it.

On the moment and since 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.

Section 2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from December 7, 2017
1. Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He was a Nuclear War Planner, Warns of
     Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation

2. Zero Hour in Palestine
3. The Last Refuge of Cowards
4. The Last Thing America Needs Is Trump Armed with His Own
     Private CIA

5. Roy Moore and the Triumph of Partisanship
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. Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He was a Nuclear War Planner, Warns of Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction (bolding added):
Could tension between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un bring us to the brink of nuclear war? As tensions ramp up, we discuss what nuclear war would look like with a former nuclear war planner and one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers—Daniel Ellsberg. In 1971, Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications, which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. He played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. Few know Ellsberg was also a Pentagon and White House consultant who drafted plans for nuclear war. His new book, published Tuesday, is titled “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.” We speak with Ellsberg about his top-secret nuclear studies, his front row seat to the Cuban missile crisis, whether Trump could start a nuclear war and how contemporary whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden are his heroes.
I say. And I think this is a VERY important article that I STRONGLY recommend you read all of, save it on your harddisk, and contemplate it again and again, for this is the probable future of mankind: No Future at all, not for human beings and not for most non-primitive animals.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, few know that 10 years before, in 1961, Daniel Ellsberg was a consultant with the Pentagon and the the White House, where he drafted plans for nuclear war. In his book, just out this week, titled The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Dan Ellsberg reveals for the first time he also made copies of top-secret documents from his nuclear studies—an entire second set of papers in addition to the Pentagon Papers, for which he is known.
I say, again. Would Ellsberg be arrested this time? (He is 86 now.) I have no idea, but here he is - and read closely:
DANIEL ELLSBERG: I was given the job of improving the Eisenhower plans, which was not a very high bar, actually, at that time, because they were, on their face, the worst plans in the history of warfare. A number of people who saw them, but very few civilians ever got a look at them. In fact, the joint chiefs couldn’t really get the targets out of General LeMay at the Strategic Air Command.

And there was a good reason for that: They were insane. They called for first-strike plans, which was by order of President Eisenhower. He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.

And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.

This was and is stark raving insanity - and you should realize or remember that this was in the late Fifties and early Sixties, and that at the present time, in the 2010s, there are hundreds, thousands, or tenthousands or more nuclear arms than there were then, depending on how you count them, numerically (the number of nuclear bombs) or in terms of explosive powers.

Here is more Ellsberg:

DANIEL ELLSBERG: First I asked, in the USSR and China alone, in the thought that, by the way, they’d be embarrassed to discover—to say, “We have to have more time. We’ve never really calculated that.” I was wrong. And my friends were wrong in the Air Force. They came back with an answer very quickly: 325 million people in the USSR and China alone.

Well, then I asked, “All right, how many altogether?” And a few days later, 100 million in East Europe, the captive nations, another 100 million in West Europe, our allies, from our own strikes, by fallout, depending on which way the wind blew, and, however the wind blew, a third 100 million in adjoining countries, neutral countries, like Austria and Finland, or Afghanistan then, Japan, northern India and so forth—a total of 600 million people. That was a time, by the way, when the population of the world was 3 billion. And that was an underestimate of their casualties—a hundred Holocausts.

Utter stark raving insanity, though indeed not by Ellsberg: The American Army, already in the Sixties, counted with murdering 600 million people (almost all civilians) at least (and very probably many more).

Here is more:

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Six hundred million, that was a hundred Holocausts. And when I held the piece of paper in my hand that had that figure, that they had sent out unembarrassedly, you know, proudly, to the president—”Here’s what we will do”—I thought, “This is the most evil plan that has ever existed. It’s insane.” The weapons, the machinery that will carry this out, this was no hypothetical plan, like Herman Kahn might have conceived at the doomsday machine that he thought up at the RAND Corporation as my colleague. This was an actual war plan for how we would use the existing weapons, many of which I had seen already that time.

More utter insanity. Here is the last bit that I quote from this excellent article:

DANIEL ELLSBERG: But the recent discussions of that, which emphasize his sole authority to do that, don’t take account of the fact that he has authority to delegate. And he has delegated. Every president has delegated. I don’t know the details of what President Trump has done or since the Cold War. Every president in the Cold War, right through Carter and Reagan, had delegated, in fact, to theater commanders in case communications were cut off. That means that the idea that the president is the only one with sole power to issue an order that will be recognized as an authentic authorized order is totally false.

How many fingers are on buttons? Probably no president has ever really known the details of that.

In brief, very many generals or indeed colonels may start a nuclear war that will murder everybody. (And see Dr Strangelove, that I strongly recommend: It is probably the best film I ever saw, and it is both very funny and quite bitter.)

This is an excellent interview that is very strongly recommended. There is considerably more in the original, that I very strongly recommend you to read all of (and save it, and reconsider it again later).

As I said before in Nederlog: I have demonstrated against nuclear arms since 1959 or 1960 (because my parents were much opposed to them). And with an insane president like Trump, I think I am optimistic if I say that the chances are 50/50 at best that there will be no nuclear war (that will destroy everyone) before 2022. [2]

2. Zero Hour in Palestine

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Wednesday’s announcement by President Trump, who finds a soul mate in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that he will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem solidifies our status, along with Israel, as a rogue state and an international pariah. The United States long ago lost credibility as an honest broker in any Mideast peace agreement. We have provided $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the last decade despite Israel’s flagrant disregard for international law and its well-documented war crimes. We do nothing to halt the expropriation of Palestinian land. We give unequivocal support to Israeli attacks on Palestinians, including the bombardment of largely defenseless civilians in Gaza, that have left thousands of dead and destroyed whole neighborhoods.
Yes indeed - these are all facts, that also are very well-known to Chris Hedges, for he is an Arab speaker who spent much time in the Middle East as war correspondent.

Here is more:
The Trump decision sends a message to those who demand justice for the Palestinian people: Our only hope is to strengthen the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to isolate and cripple Israel. This would involve a robust boycott of Israeli cultural and academic institutions. It demands divestment from companies with financial interests in Israel. And it seeks to impose international sanctions on the Jewish state. The goal of the BDS movement is to end the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, achieve equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and ensure the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in the diaspora. If we fail to act we must accept our complicity in the slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people.
Yes, I agree. Incidentally, my father and my grandfather were in the Dutch communist resistance against the Nazis; they were arrested in 1941, and condemned as ¨political terrorists¨ to concentration camp imprisonments, where my grandfather was murdered, while my father - barely - survived 3 years and more than 9 months of four of these concentration camps.

Also, a personal detail: My father´s father had been married to what was in Goebbel´s mad racism ¨a Jewess¨, who had given him two children, of which my father was one, and who had then divorced him. It follows that according to Goebbels´ mad racism my father was ¨a Jew¨, although in fact he was an atheist since his late teens, and his mother was a strong Protestant, as had been his father until he lost his faith as well.

What was the supposed race of my mother´s parents and my mother I have no idea of, except that my mother´s parents were anarchists most of their lives, and also were complete atheists.

So... while I totally reject all racism and have been an atheist all my life it is possible that I may be ¨a Jew¨ according to Goebbel´s insane racism (and I am ¨a quarter Jew" according to this madman´s insane racism). I do not know; I do
not know how to find out; and I do not care, except by saying that I am a total opponent of all racism and I am not and I never have been a Jew in any religious sense.

3. The Last Refuge of Cowards

This article is by Peter Woit on Woit´s site Not Even Wrong:

The talks and panel discussions from the 2018 Breakthrough Prize symposium are available via Facebook video. They ended with the following, from prize winner David Spergel:

Well, alright, I’m going to say something that I probably shouldn’t say in Palo Alto. I don’t think the multiverse is a testable and interesting scientific hypothesis. I think it doesn’t explain anything.

The way the multiverse tends to be used is together with the anthropic principle. The idea is that the universe is the way it is because that’s the way we get to live in it. I find the multiverse solutions to these problems, it’s a lot like if you ask me “why am I wearing a black shirt today”. My answer would be: “you wouldn’t have asked the question if I wasn’t wearing a black shirt”. That’s not a satisfactory answer.

The way we have advanced in science is by falsifiability. By developing hypotheses, testing them (that’s why we do experiments) and ruling things out.

Ideas that are not testable, it’s interesting metaphysics, perhaps interesting for philosophers. What has driven four hundred years of scientific progress is the fact that ideas can be wrong. And, the multiverse, I think is kind of the last refuge of cowards… [nervous laughter from the audience] That’s why it’s great to have tenure.

I say and I quite agree, although I do not have the mathematics required to do or properly understand string theory (and indeed also lack the interest and the health to even try). Then again, I did read most of Feynman´s three volumes of ¨Lectures of Physics¨ back in the 1980ies, and understood most of it (I think).

That constitutes also most of my knowledge of physics, that accordingly is mostly quite outdated these days. But I still have an interest in it, and I still agree with Richard Feynman in his saying and complaining, back in the early 1980ies, that he thought that string theory was untestable.

It still is, and a reason to deal with it as a crisis subject is that this is also one of the very many radical declines in real science that I have seen since the 1970ies.

This is a recommended article.

4. The Last Thing America Needs Is Trump Armed with His Own Private CIA

This article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

President Trump is maneuvering to establish his own intelligence service to do what the CIA cannot or will not do for him.  

According to BuzzFeed, Trump is considering a proposal for a private company, the Amyntor Group, “to set up a large intelligence network and run counterterrorist propaganda efforts.”

The Intercept reports the plan was developed by Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater private security firm, with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. Their plan is an outgrowth of Prince’s proposal, floated earlier this year, to privatize U.S. covert operations in Afghanistan.

The goal is "to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies.”

That is, Trump wants to create is very own - privatized - Gestapo (= Secret State Police), led by some of the worst terrorists there are in the USA.

This is a recommended article.

5. Roy Moore and the Triumph of Partisanship

This article is by Michael Winship on Consortiumnews. This has a subtitle:

Partisanship has reached such extremes in U.S. politics that Republicans are prepared to brush aside multiple allegations that Roy Moore preyed on teen-age girls to keep a Democrat from winning in Alabama, writes Michael Winship.

Yes indeed. Here is Michael Winship on Moore:

(..) [I]nstead of campaigning about how to get the federal government to help his state pull itself from the clutches of such poverty, hunger and addiction, Roy Moore acts like a crackpot false prophet, preaching Islamophobia, homophobia and the dominance of “God’s law” over the Constitution; denying the allegations of the many women who say he assaulted or harassed or stalked them when they were teenagers (on Tuesday, a Moore spokesperson described the accusers as “criminals”) and all the time hammering away at his Democratic opponent Doug Jones on abortion.

Well... if that is true, I think Moore is a sadist (which I think that most powerful men are who impose their sexual desire on women who are very much less powerful than themselves), and he seems a rapist as well as insane and a criminal.

And here is a philosopher who ought to called to the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam to teach philosophy there:

Then there’s Tully Borland, philosophy professor at a Baptist university in Arkansas, convolutedly writing in The Federalist that relations between older men and teenage girls are “not without some merit if one wants to raise a large family,” but adding, “Moore was a dirtbag and is currently lying about his actions rather than confessing the truth and asking for forgiveness.” And then adding, “That being said, I don’t think it’s wrong to vote for Moore.” As they used to say on Monty Python, “There! I’ve run rings around you logically.”

No wonder my head hurts.

Yes indeed.

And I am serious he is a perfect candidate for a professorship in philosophy in the ¨University of Amsterdam¨, where almost everyone except professor Jon Dorling - who was English and quite smart, for which reasons he was removed in 1992 as a philosopher teaching there, and may have suicided for that reason [3] - believed and certainly practised as if they all thought that

¨Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist¨

ever since 1978. For that was the official ideology of the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam from 1978 till 1995, at least. (It probably still is, although it is repeated less, for they still invite postmodernists as philosophers.)

3. Extra: The Republicans’ Devious Tax Attack on the People

This article is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Have the Republican greed-hound toadies gone too far? How much are the American people going to take before they replace the reckless Republicans in the next election? Low and middle-income Americans are bracing for the likely passage of a Trump-supported tax bill that deviously redistributes even more of the people’s income to the richest one percent (including a big tax cut for Trump) and the unpatriotic giant corporations.
I quite agree with Ralph Nader, although I may be more pessimistic than he is, indeed for the simple reason that many of the ¨[l]ow and middle-income Americans¨ do not read outside the mainstream media and the idiocies on Facebook.

Here is more:

Namely, this utterly complex brew of greed and handouts for the super-rich gives a gut punch to the masses, including people making below $30,000. Far from a tax cut the Republicans are trying to peddle to the people, the Senate bill is projected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over ten years to pay for the huge tax cuts enriching the corporate plutocrats who are laughing all the way to the bank. Such unsustainable losses in revenue sets the stage for cutting Medicare, Medicaid and other critical services to vulnerable Americans, with Republicans using the ballooning deficit they created as their excuse.

Slashing and burning in every direction, this legislation endangers the financial security of regular Americans of every age, every occupation and, by ending many deductions for local sales and income taxes, hurting state and local budgets.

Quite so, to the best of my - extensive - relevant knowledge. And here is more:
To make matters worse, Senate Republicans prevented their Democratic colleagues from even seeing clean portions of the bill until just before the final vote at 1:25 am on Saturday, December 2. When faced with such hyper-partisan foul play, the Democrats should have shut the Senate down with a sit-in until they were given a reasonable amount of time to read this raid on the regular taxpayers, before the final vote.
I completely agree with Nader, but to the best of my knowledge the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats is bought i.e. corrupt, while everyone in the Senate has at least ten lobbyists.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
The last minute gifts to monied interests emerged as usual from the darkness at the last minute – what the New York Times called “Last-Minute Breaks for Developers, Banks and Oil Industry” plus tax breaks for offshore profits by the likes of Pfizer, Google and Apple, lower taxes for the top one percent, benefits for car dealers and other goodies for people dealing with speculative security derivatives on Wall Street.
As I have been saying now for over a year: Trump is a neofascist who tries to introduce neofascism (in my sense) in the USA:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
And I think Trump is succeeding. This is a strongly recommended 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 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 (!!).

And let me add something personal:

I have no family that I know or have seen since the middle 1960ies other than my brother (who doesn´t live in Holland since over 30 years); I am not married; I have no children; and I am meanwhile 67, so I am not writing this, or Nederlog, or my whole site of 500+ MB for myself.

I am writing my site because I am very much concerned about the future of humanity, and because I am absolutely certain that I have interesting ideas and original values.

But see note [1] above how this is appreciated in Holland - where I have been literally terrorized for 7 years, first by a madman no one protected myself or my ex from, and then by illegal drugsdealers that were allowed, by mayor Van Thijn, his aldermen, the city council, and all Amsterdam´s bureaucrats to gas me (literally: I almost died) and threaten me with murder.

And no: I think protesting against the rich, against the ISPs, against the politicians, against the bureaucrats in personal letters is a total loss of time:

I have done so until the beginning of the 2000s, and although my letters were excellent, they were never answered and they are never answered): In Holland these are all neofascists who have far too much power, no personal responsibility of any kind, and who are all only interested in themselves and their own riches.

Then again, I agree this was all in Dutch, while the only thing I know that the Dutch excelled in was helping to murder Jews in World War II (namely: around 116,000), so maybe I try to attack the sadistic terrorists from the ¨University¨ of Amserdam, who let me be terrorized by a sadistic madman for three years because I opposed them with a student party, and because these sadistic terrorists are now all dead, so I can say what I please about them.

You may find out later what I´ll do. (I am severely handicapped by my diseases, which also forces me to remain in Holland, that I would have escaped in 1980, at the latest, if I had been healthy.)

[3] I liked Jon Dorling, indeed as the only philosopher I knew in the UvA whom I liked, for he was quite intelligent and quite sensible. He was nominated as a full professor, teaching the philosophy of science in the UvA in 1980, as an Englishman with excellent degrees in medicine and pohilosophy from Cambridge, and he also liked me and helped me sometimes, though he did not understand my criticisms of the UvA until it was too late.

The last time I saw him and talked some hours with him was in 1992, in my own home, briefly after he had heard the news he was dismissed from the UvA.

At the time I was quite ill (after 3 1/2 years of terrorism and murder threats by the illegal dealers in soft drugs that mayor Van Thijn had given permission to deal soft drugs from the bottom floor of my house), while Dorling struck me then, in 1992 (but not before, and I had known him reasonably well since 1980) as being both quite hurt and quite nervous or upset by his dismissal.

He was in his late forties in 1992, and he has not published anything since 1991 and he also is difficult to find on the internet: There is one paper by him, that is published by someone else (who meanwhile  died) but that is all.

Since he was quite young then, and since he also was quite confused and quite hurt, I would not be amazed if he suicided, although I do not know this.

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