Thursday, December 21, 2017

Crisis: On Jill Stein, The Warmongers, The GOP, 10x More Deaths, The Opioid Epidemic
Sections                                                     crisis index

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

This is a Nederlog of Thursday
, December 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 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 21, 2017
1. Jill Stein Says Senate Request for Docs on Russia Probe is “New

2. Hail to the Warmongers
3. 'We Do Not Forgive...We Do Not Forget': Angry Vows to Oust
     GOP After Tax Scam Vote

4. US-Led Assault on Mosul Killed Ten Times More Iraqi Civilians
     Than Military Admitted

5. A Brief, Blood-Boiling History of the Opioid Epidemic
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. Jill Stein Says Senate Request for Docs on Russia Probe is “New McCarthyism”

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Dr. Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, for documents as part of its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Committee Chair Richard Burr of North Carolina said on Monday that they are looking for potential “collusion with the Russians.” Among the actions that reportedly drew their attention was Stein’s attendance at a 2015 dinner in Moscow sponsored by Russian state-run TV network RT, where she sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Also at that table was Michael Flynn, who went on to become President Trump’s national security adviser and has since entered into a plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference. Flynn pleaded guilty to a single felony count of lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador. We speak with Dr. Jill Stein, the 2016 presidential nominee for the Green Party.
Yes indeed.

I start this review by saying something about Jill Stein, about whom I do not know very much, but I did study her ideas and her modes of expression prior to the last presidential election.

The brief of it is this: I liked the program of her party considerably better than the programs of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But I would never have voted for her (if given the chance, which I did not have because I am Dutch) for two fundamental reasons: First, she didn't have a chance of being elected (and in fact scored around 1% of all votes). And second, she just is not good enough in public expression of her ideas.

Also, except for the last point, Jill Stein is not responsible, although the last point does count for me.

Here is Jill Stein (and sorry for deleting "DR.": I may call myself "Drs." but I rarely do, while she is supposed to be an egalitarian, while I am not really [2]):
The Senate Intelligence Committee contacted us and basically sent a letter requesting documents that we might have that would shed light on potential Russian interference in the election. And they were very clear in their letter that they were not targeting us. They were not blaming us. There was no suspicion of collusion. And this was also clarified in their dialogue with our legal team. And then, suddenly, when it hit the press two days ago, suddenly, the Senate Intelligence Committee changed its story, and now, suddenly, we were being investigated for collusion. So, this has been kind of a surprise.
Nonetheless, we support this limited inquiry into interference, targeting, in particular, Russian interference. And transparency is very important. So we have agreed, from the beginning, to cooperate with the legitimate and important aims of the committee and its mission. On the other hand, I think we’re in a perilous moment for democracy, and it’s very important that this inquiry not be a launching pad for political intimidation and for the effort to silence political opposition. That’s a very dangerous proposition.
I think I agree with all of this, and indeed there is also this point, that I let here be made by Amy Goodman with the help of Glenn Greenwald:
AMY GOODMAN: Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted Tuesday, “Click on 'Jill Stein' that’s trending & you’ll see countless leading Dems–with large platforms–strongly implying if not outright stating she’s a Kremlin agent: all because of a Congressional inquiry. They couldn’t better replicate McCarthyism if they tried.”
Yes indeed. And "McCarthyism" - in my view - should be replaced by "Totalitarianism", even though that is false by the sick and degenerate utterly false and totally partial "definition" now supported by Wikipedia, that for this and other reasons has totally lost my trust: Their definition of "Totalitarian" is utter crap, and very much helps the totalitarians (for it denies they are totalitarians unless it is part of a state and a political system - which just is total crap).

Finally, here is Jill Stein again:

DR. JILL STEIN: This is a shameful commentary, not only on the Republican Party, but really, I would say, on all of Congress, on the bipartisan establishment, which has—you know, the public is profoundly opposed to this bill. It’s something like—you know, it’s got a support level that’s, you know, just down at the 30 percent level. It’s really pathetic that Congress is as unresponsive as it is and that the so-called opposition party, in the form of the Democrats, have been focusing on Russia and not focusing on the harm being done right here in our own country.

This is why, you know, to my mind, the crisis of our democracy now is a crisis of economic survival, of economic security, of our climate, of the endless war, which is also costing us more than half of our discretionary budget.
I more or less agree, but - you know - also speaking quite fluently myself always, I think - you know - that somebody who expresses herself - you know - like this, is not particularly fit - you know, to my mind - as a president of the USA (though I am willing to agree she would have been a better and a more intelligent president than Donald Trump).

This is a recommended article.

2. Hail to the Warmongers

This article is by Maj. Danny Sjursen on Truthdig. It starts as follows (after a quotation I skip):

They all want to be “war presidents.” Most American chief executives learned long ago that the express lane to high approval ratings—at least initially—lay in military excursions and martial bombast. Just ask the Bush presidents, father and son.

Domestic consensus is hard. Republican health care policy: unpopular. The new tax reform bill: very unpopular.

But bombings, raids, even the death of an American commando or two are always good for a rally-round-the-flag publicity boost. And make no mistake: President Trump, the former reality TV star—and still my commander in chief—always can sniff out good ratings.

Yes, I think that is all correct, but there should be an addition: The American presidents may "want to be “war presidents”", but in fact most of the wars they have conducted since 9/11 simply are illegal by American law, that requires the approval of Congress for wars, and did not get that.

Here is more on warmaking (by Sjursen, who is a military man):

Perpetual war, of course, is now as American as apple pie. In the span of my own military career, we’ve even been through several names for the campaign. First, we called the actions the “war on terror,” then “Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom,” then the “long war,” and now who-knows-what. But despite changing tactics and several rebrandings, we seem no closer to victory. What remains is the culture of conflict, the reality of death and certainty of protracted war.

And, of course, the war culture demands its own discourse. Here, the president and a bevy of politicians stand ready to spew martial rhetoric on demand. A bipartisan array of mainstream Beltway figures agree that warmaking is oh so “presidential.” To unleash the war machine is to appear utterly “serious” as a commander in chief.
Yes indeed. Here is Sjursen's personal choice:
As for me, I’m no longer moved by uniformed pageantry, truculent swagger or bellicose action. While not an outright pacifist, my heart now lies forever with dead children on Baghdad’s streets and all the other helpless, innocent refuse of the chaos America unleashed in a troubled region.
What we—veterans, activists, human beings, take your pick—cannot countenance is bluster from a generation of leaders who have never seen the horror of combat. Not that all soldiers are right, or superior or more ethical. Far from it. But shouldn’t the line be drawn somewhere? I set that line at irresponsible, toxic gusto from policymakers spared by college deferments, bone spurs or the demise of conscription. They never have had to grapple with the honest, visceral stench of warfare.
Yes indeed: I agree and sympathize with Sjursen. Here is the last bit that I quote from him:
Do not be fooled. Nationalism, patriotism and the whole lot are at their core militaristic and chauvinistic emotions. We Americans are a violent lot and revere savagery in its sundry forms. Many men cling to the combative language of “national defense” because they—and guess who they vote for—sense a crisis of manhood, one that ties directly to the Weinstein scandal, et al. For these countless, terrified men—civilians and veterans alike—war and militarism are the last bastions where vulgar masculinity, in word and deed, remain acceptable.

I agree with the first part, but not quite with the last part, and I am not a military man but a psychologist, and as such I think that (i) Weinstein was less interested in sex than in sadism, as are some others of the very rich rapists: They could all have rented expensive prostitutes, but did not, quite possibly because prostitutes would be less scared and much less in their personal power, and (ii) while I do not know the extent of "vulgar masculinity" in the USA, I think I do know that this does not coincide with widespread sadism.

But this is a recommended article. And see item 4 below.

3. 'We Do Not Forgive...We Do Not Forget': Angry Vows to Oust GOP After Tax Scam Vote

This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

As congressional Republicans celebrate their narrow passage of a tax overhaul bill that has the approval of only 33 percent of Americans, progressive leaders urged supporters to keep their anger over the legislation, called the #GOPTaxScam by critics, in mind as the country heads into 2018.

By approving this measure, said Indivisible in a statement, the Republicans have "demonstrated that they care not for their constituents, or for democratic institutions, or even for objective reality. They care only about power and the short-term enrichment of themselves and their wealthy donors."

Yes, I agree. There is also this:

"Our message to the GOP is simple," said Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible, in a tweet. "We will replace you, and then we will repeal your god-awful legislation."

But even though the proposal, if fully enacted, will to lead to "pain and suffering" for years to come, said Levin, his group and others vowed to hold the Republicans accountable. "This is the GOP's Ghost of Christmas Future," he said. "They will be replaced, and their abominable legislation will be repealed."

Well... I agree it would be nice "to hold the Republicans accountable", but I don't think that is very likely without something like a revolution in the USA.

4. US-Led Assault on Mosul Killed Ten Times More Iraqi Civilians Than Military Admitted

This article is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

The number of civilian causalities from the U.S.-backed battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State was 10 times higher than previously reported, an Associated Press investigation finds. That figure, says a human rights group, shows a brazen disregard for the need to minimize civilian harm.

"We are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures," said Lynn Maalouf, head of research for Amnesty International in the Middle East.

I say. I do so because I did not know this, although I thought so. And I thought so because wars these days seem to be directed by both warring armies not so much against the opponent armies - as used to be the case - but against the civilian population that is or may be behind the opposing army.

This was so in Vietnam; it was so in Iraq; it was so in Afghanistan; and it is true in more wars: Target the civilians, for if you kill enough of them, the support for the army will be less (and they are much easier to kill, by the droves also).

In fact, this is wholly against the legal rules of war. Here is the ending of this article:

"The failure of Iraqi and coalition forces to acknowledge and investigate civilian deaths in Mosul is a blatant abdication of responsibility. We are demanding transparency and an honest public account of the true cost to civilians from this war, as well as an immediate investigation by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces into the violations and unlawful attacks documented by Amnesty International and other independent groups during the battle for Mosul," she added.

Questioned by AP about the tally, coalition spokesman Col. Thomas Veale said, "It is simply irresponsible to focus criticism on inadvertent casualties caused by the coalition's war to defeat ISIS."

Yet as author and commentator Tom Engelhardt has previously observed, "from Afghanistan to Libya, the war on terror has (not to mince words) been murder on civilian populations."

What kind of sick military sadist or totalitarian is Col. Veale? The American Army is killing 10 times more civilians than they claim they do.

Anyway... I agree with Tom Engelhardt, but reformulate the point a bit: The war on terror that the Americans engage in consists for a major part of terrorism by the American army and the American security forces of very many civilians.

And this is a recommended article.

5. A Brief, Blood-Boiling History of the Opioid Epidemic

This article is by Julia Lurie on Mother Jones.
The scale of the overdose epidemic is hard to fathom. In 2016, overdoses claimed 64,000 lives—more than the US military casualties in Vietnam and Iraq combined. The origins of today’s crisis, a perfect storm of potent, easily accessible opioids, trace back to aggressive pharmaceutical marketing and liberal painkiller prescribing in the 1990s and 2000s. Here’s how it happened:
Yes indeed.

And since I am now nearly 40 years ill with a serious and painful physical disease that all these nearly 40 years has been totally denied (until this year: See February 25, 2017), in the case of myself and my ex (also a psychologist, also ill as long as I am) 9 out of 10 of the 30 or medical doctors we consulted were plainly total liars, who also, in no case whatsoever, knew what M.E. is, although this was very clearly described by a fine English medical man in 1965.

I have given up on medical "scientists" (in Holland): 9 out of 10 are plain and evident liars, who only are interested in their own financial well-being and merely pretend to care for their patients. [3]

But this is my personal choice that was directed by my personal experiences with FAR too many utterly incompetent lying Dutch doctors.

Then again, the same or worse is true in the USA, for there medical men have helped to kill 64,000 persons merely in 2016. They did so by prescribing - as medical doctors - opium, heroin and much stronger opioids, all of which are strongly addictive by simply denying (and lying through their teeth) that these were addictive: They are, and strongly so. But who cares amongs the very rich American medics?

Well, here is some evidence:

1996: Purdue Pharma debuts OxyContin with the most aggressive marketing campaign in pharmaceutical history, downplaying its addictiveness. Over the next five years, the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions jumps by 44 million.

1997: Arthur Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, is posthumously inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for “bringing the full power of advertising and promotion to pharmaceutical marketing.”

1998: Purdue distributes 15,000 copies of “I Got My Life Back,” a promotional video featuring a doctor saying opioids “do not have serious medical side effects” and “should be used much more than they are.” It also offers new patients a free first OxyContin prescription.

These were all utter lies, but of course these utter lies helped medical persons to make a whole lot of money for themselves.

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

2016: An estimated 64,000 Americans die of drug overdoses—more than all US military casualties in the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined. In December, Congress passes legislation allotting $1 billion to fund opioid addiction treatment and prevention efforts over two years.

2017: President Donald Trump declares a public health state of emergency, which opens up a fund of just $57,000. The GOP tries repeatedly to repeal Obamacare, a move that would take away addiction treatment coverage for an estimated 3 million Americans.

Quite so - and see Trump's enormous largesse: $57,000 (not paid by him, of course).

And this is a strongly recommended article: This is how many "medical persons" take care of their patients in the USA.


[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 (!!).

[2] I am for equal treatments of people (in similar circumstances) and of equal laws applying (equally!) to all people, but I do not think different persons are equals.

In fact, I think there is at least as much difference in intelligences as there is in faces, lengths, strengths etc. and none of these differences argue for personal equality.

Finally about this point. There also is a lot of hypocrisy connected with this. Everybody agrees that - e.g. - female beauty may vary a great lot from person to person. Well, if that is a relevant difference between persons, then so is the difference in intelligence that allows the one to easily become a doctor, and the other not to finish high school.

[3] Since I am also not crazy, I will consult doctors if I am in pain or ill, but indeed I will not accept their diagnoses unless I explicitly agree, which is rather easy for me, since the (English) Wikipedia is quite good about diseases (but not about politics) and indeed I am a psychologist and also quite well-informed about science and medicine.
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