May 19, 2018

Crisis: Daniel Ellsberg, Advice to ¨the left¨, Facebook, Trump´s Chances, On Haspel


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from May 19, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, May 19, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

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.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from May 19, 2018:
1. Daniel Ellsberg: Whistleblowing is Needed to Avert Catastrophic U.S.
     War with Iran & North Korea

2. How the Left Can Gain Footing in White America
3. "Alarming": Facebook Teams Up With Think-Tank Funded by Saudi

4. You Would Think It Would Be Impossible to Lose Ground to Trump and
     the GOP—But You'd Be Wrong

5. Gina Haspel and Pinocchio from Rome
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: Whistleblowing is Needed to Avert Catastrophic U.S. War with Iran & North Korea

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg is best known for leaking information about U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1971, but he also drafted plans for nuclear war as a consultant to the Department of Defense and the White House as detailed in his book, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.” He joins us in Santa Cruz to discuss nuclear war, North and South Korea and Iran. He says Trump withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal has “no imaginable benefit to anybody, except for those mad men who want to see Iran destroyed,” referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia.
Yes indeed - and incidentally: I like it that Amy Goodman does mention Ellsberg´s books but does not link to the sick, exploitative and immoral Amazon. Excellent: If you want books, buy them at your own local bookstore, and not from sick Amazon.

Here is some from this fine interview:

AMY GOODMAN: That is what I want to ask you about, Dan Ellsberg. If you see parallels between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Trump is almost blatantly talking about Nixon’s madman theory, the idea that he, Trump, as the president, as Nixon pretended to be at least, was unbalanced, capable of intemperate actions, capable of going to war using nuclear weapons. The problem of course with the world is that it’s all too easy to believe that Trump is mad in this case. Kim Jong-un gives a similar impression. I’m less convinced that Kim is not bluffing on this point.

But I’m increasingly feeling that President Trump is not bluffing when he appears to be ready to do the crazy actions of either getting into a war with a nuclear weapons state, North Korea, or attacking Iran, which would be another catastrophe. Not nuclear until we use them against Iran’s underground sites as Vice President Cheney wanted to do in 2006 and was exposed there I think by a leak by my friend Seymour Hersh, who showed that the joint chiefs were against that. I think that was a major factor in that not happening then.

Well... I am a psychologist, unlike Ellsberg, and I have in fact been saying since March 14, 2016 - over two years now - that Trump is a madman, and that besides he has a neofascistic ideology. Since I know a lot about both (psychology and fascism), and since there seem to be 70,000 psychologists and psychiatrists who agree on Trump´s madness, that is what I think.

And no: I heartily wish it were different, for a rather direct consequence of Trump´s madness is a major nuclear war that will destroy human civilization.

Here is Ellsberg on another madman in  Trump´s government:

AMY GOODMAN: What is your assessment of the national security advisor John Bolton who said in a Sunday talk show, as the summit was, well, about to get underway in a few weeks, that he was looking at the Libya option?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: That is such a macabre, black humor kind of joke. Of course, a major promoter of the expensive and difficult nuclear program in North Korea is precisely that example that Bolton is—he doesn’t want to end with a bayonet in his back any more than Gadaffi wanted that. And his notion of—his determination to have some nuclear weapons is precisely to avoid that. But Bolton of course has made no secret for years that he thought North Korea should be attacked. And that has extended into the period when North Korea is a nuclear state. We haven’t made threats against a nuclear state since the Cuban Missile Crisis, which I participated in, in 1962.


Here is the last bit that I quote from this article: Ellsberg on what a major nuclear war will mean:

DANIEL ELLSBERG:  (...) [W]hat I didn’t realize at the time was how very close we came to ending human civilization, most human life at that time.

What we already had was a doomsday machine, a system for destroying every city in Russia and China with the effect of causing smoke in the stratosphere, lofted into the stratosphere, that would block out 70% of the sunlight between the earth, and kill all the harvests. In effect, it would have led to worldwide starvation, including in this country. Not just an ordinary famine, but the end of food. That has been really the consequence we can expect since 1983 when it was discovered that smoke was the most widespread lethal effect of such a large nuclear attack. So that our strategic command…

AMY GOODMAN: Known as nuclear winter.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: …is in effect a starvation command. We’ve found a way to bring about the death by famine of virtually all humans.

Quite so. And this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably more than I quoted.

2. How the Left Can Gain Footing in White America

This article is by Paul Street on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Near the end of his life, the great civil rights and anti-war leader and democratic socialist Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that the “real issue to be faced” in the United States was “the radical reconstruction of society itself.” These words have never been truer than they are today, when the profits system threatens to end livable ecology in the historical near term.

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to carry out King’s reconstruction without backing from millions of white people in what is still very much the world’s most powerful state.

How might a U.S. left that mattered—currently nonexistent, thanks in part to its hyper identity-politicized alienation from everyday white people (not a new problem)—find a place in white America? How could it do that without dropping its principled and undebatable opposition to racism, ethnocentrism and nativism?

I generally like Paul Street, which is one reason I have reviewed quite a few of his article since June 10, 2013, but I do not think this is a good idea. Here is the start of it (and this is all I quote: there is a lot more text):

Here, for what it’s worth, are 12 recommendations for how my fellow leftist progressives might understand and communicate with “flyover zone” whites in ways that further our goals without sacrificing our commitment to racial, ethnic and gender equality and environmental sanity and without pushing middle-American and noncollege-educated white folks further to the right:

1. Drop the notion that you/we don’t need a lot of white allies to advance leftist goals. (...)
2. Avoid blanket statements about “white people” and “white America.” (...)
3. Avoid saying insulting and condescending things about nonmetropolitan and working-class whites (...)
4. Academic and other elite professional-class “progressives:” Please don’t brag about your advanced degrees, your next book publication, your next sabbatical, your latest European vacation, your small teaching load, your latest fine dining experience, your favorite French wines or the fancy and expensive college or university to which you are sending your children.
8. Stop accusing U.S. white working-class people of “lacking class consciousness” just because the multibillionaire Trump did better than multimillionaire Clinton with noncollege-educated white voters. (...)
I am a white ¨leftist progressive¨ since 55 years or so (and one of the very few real leftists of my generation of babyboomers, at least in Holland where I live). And I also am an academic with excellent degrees in philosophy and psychology and I am one of the - still - relatively few who studied and got a degree, who came from a really poor proletarian background. Finally, I strongly dislike lying.

First about lying. What Paul Street appears to be doing in the above (that is much longer than I quoted) is telling academically educated white progressives how they should change their ways of talking (and more) when making contact with non-academical whites.

I think Paul Street is in fact condescending to the non-academically educated whites; he advises academically educated whites to be and to talk differently from how they talk and behave normally; and he is effectively telling them to pretend to be other than they are, in order to make contact with the non-academically educated whites.

And while I do not think all his recommendations are nonsense, I think it is nonsense to tell academic whites that they should pretend to be other than they are, and that then they will make contact with non-academic whites.

I am sorry: I have been raised for the first twenty years of my life among real and poor white proletarians (in Holland), and it just won´t work, also not in Holland where I live, were it only for the fact that my normal Dutch is not flat enough since 56 years (and I also do not look like a proletarian, do not dress like one, my hair is still too long, and my interests are nearly all not those of the non-academic poor, again since 56 years).

Incidentally, while Street does not tell his academically educated progressive whites that they should dress and talk like non-academical whites (¨Do not use more than 10% words that have more than two syllables!!¨), that is the only way they might - for a short while - be seen as equals by the
non-academical whites.

And second about class consciousness. I think one main reason for my differences with Paul Street is that I have lost - long ago, also - the whole Marxist notion of classes and class consciousness, that is supposed to unify the workers from diverse countries to unite against their capitalistic exploiters.

It doesn´t - as has been shown over a hundred years ago, in WW I: The socialist workers ought to have united against war, but instead millions of exploited proletarians volunteered to fight with their nation against the exploited proletarians of other nations.

See ¨The Irrational in Politics¨ (by an anarchist and socialist English academically educated white person) where there are many more examples of similar irrationalities.

Anyway... there is a lot more in this article, but I think it is both mistaken and irrrealistic. What you have to do to popularize your opinions is to speak and write the truth, and to do so clearly. And if that doesn´t work, too bad. But you did your best and failed. And you did not lie.

3. "Alarming": Facebook Teams Up With Think-Tank Funded by Saudi Arabia

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
In a new project Facebook insists is a completely objective and nonpartisan effort to root out what it deems "disinformation," the social media giant announced on Thursday that it is partnering with the Atlantic Council—a prominent Washington-based think-tank funded by Saudi Arabia, major oil companies, defense contractors, and Charles Koch—to prevent its platform from "being abused during elections."
Well... if you believe anything whatsoever that comes from Zuckerberg or his associates, you are an utter fool. Zuckerberg earned $70 billions in 15 years with lying and deceiving two billion of the ¨dumb fucks¨ who trusted Zuckerberg (his term for those he so gladly and so professionally and so dishonestly deceives and steals from; not mine). Only idiots believe Zuckerberg and the officials of Facebook.

Then there is this:
While Facebook's statement fawned over the Atlantic Council's "stellar reputation," critics argued that the organization's reliance on donations from foreign oil monarchies and American plutocrats puts the lie to the project's stated mission of shielding the democratic process from manipulation and abuse.
Yes, of course. Here is the ending of this article:

And while the think-tank insists that it is "non-partisan" despite its overwhelmingly right-wing, corporate, anti-democratic funding sources, Splinter's Paul Blest noted on Thursday that "last week the Atlantic Council gave [former] President George W. Bush a 'Distinguished International Leadership' award at an event where Bush was reportedly received with a 'standing ovation.'"

Facebook's new partnership with the Atlantic Council comes amid growing concerns that the social media platform's attempt to establish itself as an arbiter of what news sources are "trustworthy" poses a serious threat to non-corporate left-wing outlets that don't hew to party lines or align themselves with dominant media narratives.

Writing for In These Times last year, Julianne Tveten noted that, thus far, Facebook's attempts to combat "fake news" through algorithm changes and other adjustments "haven't stifled propaganda."

"On the contrary, they may have stifled dissent," Tveten concluded.

Again: of course.

And Facebook will never not lie; it will always try to deceive you; and the only interests it really serves are (i) the interests of Zuckerberg and his mega-rich associates, who make their billions of dollars by lying and deceiving billions of their members, and (ii) those whose IQs are too low to write their own html for their own sites, but who want to publish their - utterly disinteresting, extremely ill-written, normally massively underinformed  - opinions nevertheless (anonymously, of course).

If you are a member of Facebook, you very probably are a moron. Besides, you also are an extremely immoral idiot, for all your family and all your friends - and the friends of your friends - are also followed by Zuckerberg´s AI so as to exploit not only you but also them. And they were never asked anything (if not on Facebook).

This is a recommended article.

4. You Would Think It Would Be Impossible to Lose Ground to Trump and the GOP—But You'd Be Wrong

This article is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. This starts as follows:

Imagine having the good fortune to run against a Party which is systematically screwing the people who voted for it; abandoning science; blatantly lying, dissembling, and deceiving on just about everything; appointing lobbyists, cronies and ideologues for the purpose of eviscerating agencies that enjoy the support of the majority of Americans (after promising to drain the swamp); and basically navigating on an irrational, ad hoc basis with no semblance of a strategic plan. Oh, and toss in a narcissistic, addle-brained thug as its leader. 

Now imagine losing ground in the court of public opinion to these assclowns and risking losing elections to them.

You’ve just conjured up the almost unbelievable “accomplishment “of the Democratic Party.  For several weeks Democrats have been slipping in polls, and now they are virtually dead even with Republicans.  Even Trump is getting more popular.

Perhaps Atcheson is right about the recent polls, but I don´t know. He is right about Trump and his government, and he is also right that these may win again (in 2018 or in 2020). In case they do, my explanation is the fact that many Americans are stupid or ignorant or extremely ill-educated.

Next, there is this by Atcheson:

To see how stunningly inept this is, you have to understand just how much Republicans in general and Trump in particular are doing to hurt their constituents.

I agree, but I´ll leave the list of his examples to your interests. Here is some by Atcheson on the Republicans:

This list could go on and on.  But the bottom line is, the big three issues as we approach 2018 are health care, gun control, and the economy—in that order—and Republicans are on the wrong side of all of them.  Even the economy.  For all the good news about unemployment, the rate of job growth was actually higher under Obama, and it has slowed since Trump took over. In fact, there were fewer jobs created in Trump's first year in office than at any time since 2011.

I would have put the economy first. Here is more by Atcheson on the Democrats:

As I’ve been saying for years now, it’s simply not enough to be against Trump and the Republicans.  Democrats have to be for something, and that something is a progressive agenda if they want to win. Instead, campaigns like Hillary’s are the preferred strategy for the neoliberal Democrats in charge of the Party. Heavily scripted; poll-tested; PAC funded; driven by tactics; vague on values. In short, campaigns that depend upon painting the other guy to be bad, rather than specifying exactly what it is you are in favor of.

I agree, and the underlying reason is that under Clinton, Pelosi and Kain nearly all Democrats have been corrupted by the rich bankers. And since sadist Haspel has been nominated with the help of sadistic Democrats to director of the CIA, I have given up on all Democrats. (And no, of course I don´t imagine this will make any difference to the Democrats´ chances.)

This is from the ending of Atcheson´s article:

Bottom line: Republicans work to shape polls, Democrats are driven by them. The result is a steady drift to the right, an increasingly divided nation, and elections that are controlled by a passionate minority that is motivated by fear, hate, greed, envy, and ignorance, while historically, those seeking progressive and rational candidates chose to stay home.

I don´t quite agree with this, but this is a recommended article.

Gina Haspel and Pinocchio from Rome

This article is by Edward Curtin on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
Being in Rome, Italy and thinking of Gina Haspel, the CIA nominee and admitted torturer who says her “moral conscience” has changed after the fact, seems most fitting.
So in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Haspel was asked by Senator Mark Warner, D-VA., the kind of question that allows a respondent to answer in a deceptive way that means nothing, but seems profoundly sincere. Warner asked:

If this president asked you to do something that you find morally objectionable, even if there is an [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, what will you do? Will you carry out that order or not?

To which Haspel replied:

Senator, my moral conscience is strong. I would not allow the CIA to carry out any activity that I thought was immoral – even if it was technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it.

From all reports, neither Warner’s nor Haspel’s nose grew longer (..)
Well... I think sick sadistic torturing degenerates like Gina Haspel will lie about anything whatsoever, and that she can only be trusted after she has been tortured by similar professional torturers.

And I am not for torturing her (and I respect the international laws against torturing people) but I am telling you why I totally disbelieve anything she says.

Also, I have concluded from the fact that Haspel now is the director of the CIA, thanks to the support of the Democrats, that the Democrats under Clinton, Pelosi and Kain are as bad and as rotten as the GOP in large majority and with very few exceptions like Warren (and Sanders, but he is an independent).

Here is more on Haspel:
So the woman who oversaw detainee torture at a CIA “black site” in Thailand tells us she has a strong moral conscience, but she doesn’t tell us what that conscience considers intrinsically evil, if anything. Nor what that “strong” moral conscience considers moral or immoral in any way, just that the “CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values,” whatever they might be. And if she were ordered to carry out an action – let’s say kill a foreign agent or assassinate a political leader – that was technically illegal but accorded with her strong moral conscience, would she do so? Don’t ask; she wasn’t.
And if she were asked, I would not have believed her. Then there is this about the Democratic sadist Warner:
Then Warner goes and votes for Haspel, who he says is “among the most experienced people to be nominated” to head the CIA, and Haspel says she thinks torture – excuse me, “enhanced interrogation” – doesn’t work anyway. Practicality wins the day.
All I want to know from Warner (which he never will tell) is: How much were you paid for your sadistic vote for the sadist Haspel?

Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
Thinking here in Rome of the Haspel vote, I am reminded of the ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles’s and long-time Chief of Counterintelligence James Angleton’s organized “Ratlines,” the escape routes for Nazi and fascist killers and torturers, so many of whom were brought to the United States and other countries after World War II through Italy to help the newly formed CIA torture the truth out of detainees and assassinate opponents. Operation Paperclip, they called it.
Yes indeed - and here is a link to Operation Paperclip. And this is a 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 (!!).
       home - index - summaries - mail