February 21, 2018

Crisis: On "The Media", The Common Good, U.S. Hegemony, Trumpian Theology, U.S. Empire


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from February 21, 2018.


This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) 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 more than 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 I shall continue.

Section 2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from February 21, 2018

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. What Can Noam Chomsky's Co-Author Teach Us in the Age of Trump?
2. Robert Reich: Morality & the Common Good Must Be at Center of
     Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

3. The World Will Not Mourn the Decline of U.S. Hegemony
4. Trump's Fast-Food Engorged World Is Petty, Small, Miserable, Anxious
     and Angry

5. U.S. Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years
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. What Can Noam Chomsky's Co-Author Teach Us in the Age of Trump?

This article is by Justin Poder on AlterNet. It starts as follows - and for the sake of clarity: Ed Herman is "Noam Chomsky's Co-Author", namely of "Manufacturing Consent":

The story goes that Einstein's theory of relativity began with a simple question: What if a person could sit on a beam of light? A single inquiry led to an entire field of study, and perhaps the world's most famous scientific breakthrough.

The late Ed Herman's questions were less playful. They were about war and death, lies and power politics, but they too created entire areas of study. If properly considered, they can even guide us through the perilous age in which we're living.

Herman is best known for co-authoring Noam Chomsky's iconic Manufacturing Consent, which explores how U.S. corporate media operates as a system of disinformation.
Yes. In fact, I just provided some links to Noam Chomsky, Ed Herman and "Manufacturing Consent" that may give you some background.

Here is more:
How could a diverse industry without official censors to monitor what it published or aired, that was neither owned nor controlled by the state, be used for social control? Quite easily, as it turns out.

The world offers an almost infinite array of events that can be covered, and media institutions must decide what's most relevant to their audiences. In other words, they operate as an information filter. But how do they provide their viewers, listeners and readers with the best possible understanding of the world? Ideally, these institutions produce the kind of coverage necessary to make informed decisions about public policy. In reality, Chomsky and Herman discovered, they serve the interests of the rich and powerful.

Yes, and let me expand this a little, namely in terms of three fundamental points.

First, each and every rational person wants sufficient rational information to make rational decisions about the things that interest or concern one.

Without sufficient rational information (that will depend on quite a few different sources for anyone) it is impossible for any rational person to make the kind of decisions one wants to make (in one's own interests, based on a reasonably good view of the real facts).

Second, information is a commodity: it is made, bought and sold for profit, and the main makers of information for nearly everyone in the West (at least) are the media, especially TV and the daily and weekly papers. (And for more intellectual types scientific journals and books.)

Note that nothing so far made the makers of information into liars, deceivers, or propagandists: They could have been the providers of - mostly - rational information (information that allows its readers of viewers to come to rational judgements about things that concern themselves or their interests).

But they are not:

Third, many makers of information - and especially TV and the press - design the information they provide in such a way that certain interests are served, and other interests are opposed or not mentioned, and in the world in which we live the interests that are served are nearly always the interests of the rich and the powerful.

In fact, note that this is the same for the vast majority of all commodities, for the selling of commodities generally profits the rich and the powerful. Then again, there is a crucial difference if the commodity is information, for the sale of any other commodity - a pound of bananas, a camera, a house etc. etc. - will (most probably) serve its makers, but few other people.

When the information that is sold in fact deceives, propagandizes or lies, this means that for those who buy this information [2], all the powers of decision that its buyers buy it for are being deceived, propagandized or lied to, which means that apparently rational decisions of its buyers are not based on rational information (that is either true or probable) anymore, but on planned fantasies that are meant to deceive or bias the buyers of the "information".

And that is what happened. Here are the outlines that Chomsky and Herman found - and I quote this with added boldings to distinguish the five filters that Chomsky and Herman distinguished:

In their propaganda model, the pair identified five distinct filters: Media ownership, which is concentrated in the hands of a few spectacularly wealthy corporations; ideology, specifically anti-communism, which “helps mobilize the populace against... anybody advocating policies that threaten property interests or support accommodation with Communist states and radicalism"; advertising, or the selling of audiences to advertisers, which can lead to any number of distortions and misconceptions; official sourcing, which often leads to self-censorship as media outlets become dependent on their access to members of the government; and finally organized flak, which allows lobbies to lean on journalists and outlets who deviate from the status quo.

I think that is a good analysis, although I stress myself especially the influence of advertising, for advertising is what changes rational information (that would have helped its buyers to make up their minds rationally) into fantastical "information" (that makes it impossible for its buyers to make up their minds in a rational fashion, at least on the basis of this "information").

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

Manufacturing Consent remains as vital today as it was when it first published in 1988. Anti-communism continues to dominate our discourse, even in the absence of a Soviet Union or communist China, while several prominent media personalities have made their careers decrying “leftist ideologues." Media ownership has become even more exclusive, and the advertising model has overtaken the whole of society by way of Google and social media. Twitter mobs can be manufactured and mobilized; organized flak is now a matter of life and death.

I agree, although I also add that vast parts of the mainstream media are not meant to inform their buyers anymore but to brainwash them: Advertising - which also brings billions to the media - has become the main end of the providers of "information".

There is a lot more in this article, that also is recommended.

2. Robert Reich: Morality & the Common Good Must Be at Center of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, the promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a $1.5 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly favors the richest Americans, including President Trump and his own family. We speak to Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. He is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book, out today, is titled “The Common Good.”
Yes indeed. (I normally copy the introductions on Democracy Now! when I review an item, simply because they are good introductions to what follows.)

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

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

DONALD TRUMP: Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, without cuts. Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse. But save it.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, that promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a $1.5 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly favors the richest Americans, including President Trump and his own family.

Yes indeed, from which - I think - it may be inferred that Trump's lies were worth $1.5 trillion.

There also is another question this bit raises: What is the point of eliminating "core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly"?

I do not know, but one likely explanation is that Trump and the Republications intend to solve part of the human population problem that way: If you take away all sources of life, people have to die, from starvation, poverty or suicide. (For more, see here: Crisis: Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS - and no, I certainly do not think this is beyond them.)

Here is Reich:

ROBERT REICH: Well, I think we’re all losing. That is actually the theme of my book. The rich in America cannot continue to do well when most others are not. If the social contract, that is the basis of this country, is coming apart, if we are basically saying to everyone, “You’re on your own,” we’re all going to be worse off. There is a common good. At least there was a common good. I think the purpose of the book is to ignite a discussion about whether we can re-establish a sense of common good in America.

Well... I agree there is a common good (although it is not easy to define in a satisfactory way), but I do not think that we are all losing: The rich have very much better chances of surviving a crisis than the poor, and as I pointed out in my comments on the previous bit, I do not put it beyond Trump or the Republicans that they may want to kill the poor - indeed not by actually killing them, but by taking away all the means by which the poor can have a somewhat decent life.

Here is Amy Goodman on a theme that interests me somewhat:

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Robert Reich, who was the labor secretary under President Clinton. And you had a lot of problems with Clinton. I mean, you talked about walking the streets the day he signed off on welfare reform, what some called “welfare deform,” walking the streets of Washington, wondering where all the people were.

In fact, Reich stopped working for Clinton in the second period of his presidency. But I think considerably more is involved, for Reich knows both Clintons quite well. And I do not think I will ever get what Reich really thinks about the Clintons, but I can tell you what I think:

One basic and fairly good explanation is that both were poor but clever lawyers, who manipulated their way into the presidency, fundamentally because they wanted to become rich. And they did succeed in doing just that, for by now the Clintons seem to have around $150 million dollars.

And yes, I know I am cynical, but I do think the Clintons are major frauds (and check that last definition if you want to understand my meaning - in fact, here it is: "In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. ")

Here is the last bit I quote from this article:

ROBERT REICH:  (...)  I mean, the Trump voters are the ones who are being shafted almost worse than anybody else. And yet, because of the lies, the big lies, they don’t know it—or at least don’t know it yet. I think they will. They can’t help but understand it. In fact, I have spent a lot of time over the last year and a half in so-called red states talking to people who voted for Trump, and many of them are becoming deeply disillusioned.

Perhaps. But in any case, I do not think that "the Trump voters" are one group or a few groups, if only because there are more than 60 million of them. And there is more in this article, that is recommended.

3. The World Will Not Mourn the Decline of U.S. Hegemony

This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. This is from near the beginning:
Last October, the leading neoconservative foreign policy intellectual and former George W. Bush administration adviser Eliot Cohen wrote an Atlantic magazine essay titled “How Trump Is Ending the American Era.” Cohen recounted numerous ways in which Trump had reduced “America’s standing and ability to influence global affairs.” He worried that Trump’s presidency would leave “America’s position in the world stunted” and an “America lacking confidence” on the global stage.

But it isn’t just the right wing that writes and speaks in such terms about how Trump is contributing to the decline of U.S. hegemony. A recent Time magazine reflection by the liberal commentator Karl Vick (who wrote in strongly supportive terms about the giant January 2017 Women’s March against Trump) frets that that Trump’s “America First” and authoritarian views have the world “looking for leadership elsewhere.”

Actually, I do not think these are interesting questions. So I am glad that Street in fact is trying to answer another question:

For the purposes of this report, I’ll leave aside the matter of whether Trump is, in fact, speeding the decline of U.S. global power (he undoubtedly is) and how he’s doing that to focus instead on a very different question: What would be so awful about the end of “the American Era”—the seven-plus decades of U.S. global economic and related military supremacy between 1945 and the present? Why should the world mourn the “premature” end of the “American Century”?

Well... I have two observations on the last two questions. The first is that they are quite difficult to answer, although Street makes a fair effort below.

And the second is that it all depends. For example, what if the next era is the Chinese era, which is still a totalitarian country led by the Chinese Communist Party? Or what if the next era - somehow: I am speculating - gets to be like the Soviet Union?

I certainly do not think these two alternatives are appreciably better than the American alternative. Then again, I am also willing to agree I am speaking here of extremely general terms.

Here are some facts about the present-day USA:

Still, by far and away world history’s most extensive empire, the U.S. has at least 800 military bases spread across more than 80 foreign countries and “troops or other military personnel in about 160 foreign countries and territories.” The U.S. accounts for more than 40 percent of the planet’s military spending and has more than 5,500 strategic nuclear weapons, enough to blow the world up 5 to 50 times over. Last year it increased its “defense” (military empire) spending, which was already three times higher than China’s, and nine times higher than Russia’s.

Think it’s all in place to ensure peace and democracy the world over, in accord with the standard boilerplate rhetoric of U.S. presidents, diplomats and senators?

Do you know any other good jokes?

I agree with the quoted facts, but not with the joke, for that depends on the meanings one provides for the terms "peace" and "democracy", and I think it is quite possible, indeed rather probable, that most "U.S. presidents, diplomats and senators" did (more or less) mean that they were for "peace" (i.e. the Americans win) and "democracy" (i.e. the American system of doing politics gets adopted, after the American have won).

And while I agree with Street that these are not the senses I would give to these terms, these terms are also so vague and poly-interpretable that one can be a "democrat" who is for "peace", at least in one's own opinions, while in fact supporting war and destruction.

Then there is this:

Any serious efforts to redesign the international status quo so that it favors any other states or people is portrayed in the report as a threat to U.S. interests. To prevent any terrible drifts of the world system away from U.S. control, the report argues, the U.S. and its imperial partners (chiefly its European NATO partners) must maintain and expand “unimpeded access to the air, sea, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum in order to underwrite their security and prosperity.”

Yes, I think this is quite true: efforts to redesign the present global status are interpreted by the Americans as threats to the U.S. interests, and the U.S. interests (and NATO) require access to "the air, sea, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum" of other countries that would be taken as acts of war if other countries had similar access to the USA (and NATO).

Then there is this:

It’s nothing new. From the start, the “American Century” had nothing to do with advancing democracy. As numerous key U.S. planning documents reveal over and over, the goal of that policy was to maintain and, if necessary, install governments that “favor[ed] private investment of domestic and foreign capital, production for export, and the right to bring profits out of the country,” according to Noam Chomsky.

I more or less agree with Chomsky, and I also agree that in Chomsky's or my sense of the term "democracy" the governments that the USA wants to see are not democratic, but then again at least "private investments" seem to be part of the meaning of "democracy" that American presidents like.

Here is more on democracy or "democracy":

“Democracy” was suitable to the U.S. as long as its outcomes comported with the interests of U.S. investors/corporations and related U.S. geopolitical objectives. It had to be abandoned, undermined and/or crushed when it threatened those investors/corporations and the broader imperatives of business rule to any significant degree. As President Richard Nixon’s coldblooded national security adviser Henry Kissinger explained in June 1970, three years before the U.S. sponsored a bloody fascist coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected socialist president, Salvador Allende: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.”

I think this demonstrates that my understanding of the various (and - I agree - often inconsistent) meanings of "democracy", but Kissinger's words are the words of a war criminal: Chili was and is an independent state, and Allende was elected with a majority of votes. To say Chilian independence and the majority of its voters can be set aside with a coup by the military is to be a war criminal.

Here is some about John Pilger (whom I like and admire):

“Since 1945, by deed and by example,” the great Australian author, commentator and filmmaker John Pilger wrote nearly nine years ago: “The U.S. has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements and supported tyrannies from Egypt to Guatemala (see William Blum’s histories). Bombing is apple pie.” Along the way, Washington has crassly interfered in elections in dozens of “sovereign” nations, something curious to note in light of current liberal U.S. outrage over real or alleged Russian interference in “our” supposedly democratic electoral process in 2016. Uncle Sam also has bombed civilians in 30 countries, attempted to assassinate foreign leaders and deployed chemical and biological weapons.

Yes indeed: quite so. Here is some more:

As John Pilger noted 10 years ago, “the U.S. embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a ‘zap list’ of Indonesian Communist party members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. … The deal was that Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called ‘the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia.’ ”

What happened in fact is explained by Wikipedia's "Indonesian mass killings of 1965–1966", that starts as follows (minus note numbers):

The Indonesian mass killings of 1965–1966 (also variously known as the Indonesian massacres, Indonesian genocide, Indonesian Communist Purge, Indonesian politicide, or the 1965 Tragedy) were large-scale killings and civil unrest which occurred in Indonesia over many months, targeting communist sympathizers, ethnic Chinese and alleged leftists, often at the instigation of the armed forces and government. Initially it began as an anti-communist purge following a controversial coup attempt by the 30 September Movement in Indonesia. The most widely published estimates were that 500,000 to more than one million people were killed, with some more recent estimates going as high as two to three million.

There is considerably more on Wikipedia.

Next, there is this on Obama (another "Democratic President of the USA" who managed to become a multi-millionaire like the Clintons):

In a foreign policy speech Sen. Barack Obama gave to the Chicago Council of Global Affairs on the eve of announcing his candidacy for the U.S. presidency in the fall of 2006, Obama had the audacity to say the following in support of his claim that U.S. citizens supported “victory” in Iraq: “The American people have been extraordinarily resolved. They have seen their sons and daughters killed or wounded in the streets of Fallujah.”

Where they had no business to be, but not according to Obama. Here is Chomsky on Obama:

Chomsky has called Barack Obama’s targeted drone assassination program “the most extensive global terrorism campaign the world has yet seen.” The program “officially is aimed at killing people who the administration believes might someday intend to harm the U.S. and killing anyone else who happens to be nearby.” As Chomsky adds, “It is also a terrorism generating campaign (..)

I more or less agree with Chomsky. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

The U.S. is not just the top menace only to peace on Earth. It is also the leading threat to personal privacy (as was made clearer than ever by the Edward Snowden revelations), to democracy (the U.S. funds and equips repressive regimes around the world) and to a livable global natural environment (thanks in no small part to its role as headquarters of global greenhouse gassing and petro-capitalist climate denial).

Yes, I agree mostly with this. And there is a lot more in the article, that is recommended.

4. Trump's Fast-Food Engorged World Is Petty, Small, Miserable, Anxious and Angry

This article is by Ed Simon on AlterNet and originally on History News Network. This is from near the beginning:
So, from my perspective, one of the most insightful methods of approaching Trump is theology.

I speak not just of the ways in which a profoundly irreligious man is able to conveniently don the minister’s figurative frock when it serves his purposes, mouthing spiritual inanities and corrupted civil religion as he did at the State of the Union. All empty faith, dog whistles, and red meat to his base. Rather, I write of the actual metaphysical qualities which define a man so rapacious, lustful, gluttonous, lazy, entitled, wrathful, and most of all vainglorious. Theology is capable of explaining a man who has so emboldened evil, as philosopher Susan Neiman has argued. And if Trump’s soul is so diseased, what does it imply about our nation that he’s been empowered to lead it?

I selected this article becaise I agree with the title, and because I was - mildly, indeed - interested in knowing what theology has to contribute about Donald Trump.

As my regular readers now, I am in fact a philosopher and a psychologist, who was born in 1950 and who had the good luck of having parents and grandparents who were entirely atheistic, which I am to this day for the simple reasons that (i) I do not know of any decent argument for the existence of any God (of any faith), and (ii) I reject all religions (I know) as irrational, inconsistent and false.

Note that the above two points differ: The first is about any divine explanation, more or less independently from what the supposed divinity is supposed to value; the second is about specific divine explanations, like Catholicism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism etc. [3]

So I am "profoundly irreligious", even though I have (as a philosopher) read a considerable amount of several religions, while I also grant that most philosophers I read (for their philosophies) were - in some sense - religious men.

Well... I do not know who Ed Simon is, but none of the things he writes about "the actual metaphysical qualities" of Donald Trump makes sense.

In case you doubt this is what Ed Simon wanted to do, here he is again:

But when I say that theology can be used to explicate Trump’s spiritual malignancy and the unfortunately outsize role that he plays in our national consciousness, I mean not simply tracing policy connections between various religious interest groups, but considering the metaphysics of the man’s soul itself – and the disastrous effect such a sadly shriveled thing has on the rest of us.

I am sorry, but I could not find any of "the metaphysics of the man’s soul itself" - and I do know a great lot about metaphysics.

Then again, I did see one thing I more agree with than I disagree:

Trump’s performance of a certain type of fast-food engorged, porn-obsessed, corpulent, digital depravity is so manifestly an incarnation of our worst national ideals, that the closest parallels to Trump as an authoritarian seem not to be a Viktor Orban or even a Vladimir Putin, but rather the Roman emperors.

But my reasons are that I think Caligula and Nero were madmen, as I think Trump is. And as I said: Although Ed Simon promised rather a lot about theology and metaphysics, all I could find was verbiage. (And I don't think that is just my atheism: He could have done better, in his own terms.)

5. U.S. Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years

This article is by Nicolas Davies on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
I recently reread Michael Mann’s book, Incoherent Empire, which he wrote in 2003, soon after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Mann is a sociology professor at UCLA and the author of a four-volume series called The Sources of Social Power, in which he explained the major developments of world history as the interplay between four types of power: military, economic, political, and ideological.

In Incoherent Empire, Mann used the same framework to examine what he called the U.S.’s “new imperialism” after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He predicted that, “The American Empire will turn out to be a military giant; a back-seat economic driver; a political schizophrenic; and an ideological phantom.”

What struck me most forcefully as I reread Incoherent Empire was that absolutely nothing has changed in the “incoherence” of U.S. imperialism. 
I have not read Mann's book. Here is more on what happened since 9/11/2001 (for that is when it started, quite independently of Mann):

In the intervening 15 years, U.S. policy failures have resulted in ever-spreading violence and chaos that affect hundreds of millions of people in at least a dozen countries. The U.S. has utterly failed to bring any of its neo-imperial wars to a stable or peaceful end.  And yet the U.S. imperial project sails on, seemingly blind to its consistently catastrophic results.

Instead, U.S. civilian and military leaders shamelessly blame their victims for the violence and chaos they have unleashed on them, and endlessly repackage the same old war propaganda to justify record military budgets and threaten new wars.

But they never hold themselves or each other accountable for their catastrophic failures or the carnage and human misery they inflict.
I more or less agree with this, but then I also know that the majority of the Americans - very probably - does not.

Here is more:

As Mann noted in 2003, imperial armed forces have to do four things: defend their own territory; strike offensively; conquer territories and people; then pacify and rule them.

Today’s U.S. military dwarfs any other country’s military forces. It has unprecedented firepower, which it can use from unprecedented distances to kill more people and wreak more destruction than any previous war machine in history, while minimizing U.S. casualties and thus the domestic political blowback for its violence.

Yes. Here is more about the actual facts of the wars the USA conducts since 9/11:

U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic, theater-wide use of torture; orders to “dead-check” or kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to “kill all military-age males” during certain operations; and “weapons-free” zones that mirror Vietnam-era “free-fire” zones.

When lower ranks have been prosecuted for war crimes against civilians, they have been acquitted or given light sentences because they were acting on orders from senior officers.  But courts martial have allowed the senior officers implicated in these cases to testify in secret or have not called them to testify at all, and none have been prosecuted.

Yes, I think all of this is - more or less - correct, but again this is a minority position in the USA. Here is more:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the chief US representative at the London Conference that drew up the Nuremberg Principles in 1945, stated as the official U.S. position, “If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

That was the U.S. government of 1945 explicitly agreeing to the prosecution of Americans who commit aggression, which Jackson and the judges at Nuremberg defined as “the supreme international crime.” That would now include the last six U.S. presidents: Reagan (Grenada and Nicaragua), Bush I (Panama), Clinton (Yugoslavia), Bush II (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia), Obama (Pakistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen) and Trump (Syria and Yemen).

Well... one could also include Kennedy and Johnson (for the war in Vietnam). Here is more:

American leaders at the end of the Cold War lacked the wisdom and caution of their predecessors in 1945, and quickly succumbed to what Mikhail Gorbachev now calls “triumphalism.”  The version of capitalism and “managed democracy” they expanded into Eastern Europe was the radical neoliberal ideology introduced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and consolidated by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.  The people of Eastern Europe were no more or less vulnerable to neoliberalism’s siren song than Americans and Western Europeans.

The unconstrained freedom of ruling classes to exploit working people that is the foundation of neoliberalism has always been an Ideological Phantom, as Michael Mann called it, with a hard core of greed and militarism and an outer wrapping of deceptive propaganda.

Yes indeed: quite so. There is considerably more in this long article, which is recommended.


[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] Incidentally: Almost all information is bought, that is, apart from the enormous amount of advertisements that appear in public spaces.

[3] And in fact the same applies to Buddhism, although in most of its variants there is no God. (But I will not explain this here and now.) 

       home - index - summaries - mail