May 23, 2018

Crisis: Pompeo & Iran, Trump vs. The Law, World Temperature, Jeff Bezos, Real Corruption


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from May 23, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, May 23, 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 23, 2018:
1. Pompeo Threatens Iran With Strongest Sanctions in History, Speeding
     U.S. March Toward War

2. Trump Is Not “Above the Law”: John Bonifaz Warns Against Normalizing
     Impeachable Offenses

3. World Temperature Rise Nears Danger Level
4. Jeff Bezos as "Face of Greed" Gets Retail Giant's Attention
5. Real Corruption: Mick “Pay and We’ll Talk” Mulvaney
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. Pompeo Threatens Iran With Strongest Sanctions in History, Speeding U.S. March Toward War

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his first major policy address to threaten Iran with “the strongest sanctions in history.” Pompeo presented a list of 12 “basic requirements” for a new nuclear treaty with Iran, including “unqualified access” to all nuclear sites and an end to its interventions in Yemen. This comes just under two weeks after the Trump administration withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. “Pompeo and Bolton have made the choice for the international community much, much easier,” says Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. “Either you collaborate with the Trump administration and go along with these sanctions, walk away from this nuclear deal and speed up this march toward war—or you resist.”

I think all of that is correct. Here is Mike Pompeo reeling off his own set of lies:

MIKE POMPEO: (..) The Iranian regime should know that this is just the beginning. The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete. The regime has been fighting all over the Middle East for years. After our sanctions come in force, it will be battling to keep its economy alive.

That is: ¨I¨ - Mike Pompeo - ¨will blow all you 80 millions Iranians up by atomic weapons¨ (¨the strongest sanctions in history¨) ¨if you don´t do as I say.¨ At least, that´s what I make of Pompeo´s sayings.

Here is more:

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we are joined in Washington, D.C., by Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. His most recent book, Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy. Also author of A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran. Trita, what about this language of Mike Pompeo, the new secretary of state?

TRITA PARSI: I think he made it quite clear that the administration is not looking to get back to the negotiating table. What they’re doing is that they’re putting together a strategy that is based on maximum pressure, economic warfare, combined with completely unattainable objectives, demands that have a proven track record of not being able to be met. If you combine this type of pressure with these type of unattainable demands, what you are putting in place is a strategy to get yourself into a confrontation.

That is, Pompeo is heading straight for war, that is likely to be atomic. Here is more on the eagerness of the USA to make war upon Iran:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what about that confrontation? Do you get a sense that the United States really is eager to begin a military confrontation with Iran?

TRITA PARSI: Remember, John Bolton is the national security advisor. He is on record for the last 15 years arguing for war with Iran. Folks that I have spoke to that have access to the administration has made it very clear—ever since he got back into the administration, the plans have really sped up. Just look at how fast Pompeo is moving, from taking office as secretary of state and moving to get out of the nuclear deal and then putting forward this plan that in reality has been correctly perceived by many different commentators as something that is aimed at getting the United States into a confrontation with Iran.

I agree with Parsi and this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is considerably more.

2. Trump Is Not “Above the Law”: John Bonifaz Warns Against Normalizing Impeachable Offenses

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!
Top FBI and Justice Department officials have confirmed they will meet with congressional leaders to review classified information on the handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. This comes after President Trump demanded an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign. Trump has claimed for months, without evidence, that the Obama administration spied on his campaign. Legal experts say his tweet Sunday crossed a line by applying overt presidential pressure on the Justice Department, which could possibly set up a clash similar to the one between President Nixon and the Justice Department during the Watergate scandal. The finding of wrongdoing by Trump could ultimately be referred to Congress and make impeachment a topic of debate among candidates in the midterm elections, though few Democratic leaders have openly supported it. This comes as Texas Democratic Congressmember Al Green doubled down on his effort to impeach Trump, a year after he first announced he was drafting articles of impeachment. We get an update from John Bonifaz, an attorney and president of Free Speech For People, one of the organizations that launched the “Impeach Donald Trump Now” campaign.
I like Al Green though it is true he probably is one of the very few Democrats whose consciences have not been bought by money from lobbyists. Here is some more on him:

AMY GOODMAN: (...) Texas Democratic Congressmember Al Green of Houston doubled down on his effort to impeach Trump a year after he first announced he was drafting articles of impeachment. Green spoke Wednesday on the House floor.

REP. AL GREEN: You know that there’s bigotry emanating from the presidency, yet you would not want me to stand here and address it. I will address it. This president has exhibited a kind of bigotry that this country ought not tolerate. And when he said that there were some s-hole countries as he was addressing his immigration policy, he was putting his bigotry into policy, and that is something that we all should concern ourselves with—the fact that the president’s policies are based upon his bigotry. Impeachment is the remedy.

I agree with Green, though it is not just ¨bigotry¨ I complain about. And here is John Bonifaz:
AMY GOODMAN: (...) [W]hat is the state of the impeachment movement and why are you calling for it today?

JOHN BONIFAZ: Thank you, Amy, for having me. We have been calling for it since the day this president assumed the oath of office, because he created a constitutional crisis at that moment, refusing to divest fully from his business interests and treating the Oval Office as a profit-making enterprise at the public expense.

We now see the list of impeachable offenses growing by the day, really. Obstruction of justice, conspiring with a foreign government to violate federal campaign finance laws, giving aid and comfort to what supremacists and neo-Nazis, abuse of the pardon power, misusing the law enforcement agencies to attack political opponents, undermining freedom of the press.

This is a president—to pick up on your prior conversation and guest’s statement that we don’t have a monarchy in the United States, we don’t, but this president acts like he is above the law, that he is not needing to comply with basic constitutional principles and basic democratic principles that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States.

I agree with Bonifaz, although I think that it is unlikely that Trump will be impeached as long as the Republicans hold the Senate and the House. And this is a recommended article.

3. World Temperature Rise Nears Danger Level

This article is by Paul Brown on Truthdig and originally on Climate News Network. It starts as follows:

With world temperature rise already 1°C above pre-industrial levels, new research shows that there is only a 0.5°C safety margin left in the system before the most vulnerable groups of people suffer severely.

The current political target, agreed in Paris more than two years ago, of aiming to prevent temperature from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and certainly stopping a rise beyond 2°C, disguises the fact that we are already more than halfway to the danger point.

And scientists have now shown that there is a huge difference in the consequences to the human race if the 1.5°C limit is exceeded and temperatures allowed to reach 2°C.

Research to identify climate vulnerability hotspots has found that if the global temperature does rise by 2°C, then the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double the number affected by a rise of 1.5°C.

I say. Here is more:

In 2011, an estimated 767 million people were living on less than US$1.90 per day, classed as extreme poverty, and the researchers estimated that 3.5 billion more people were “vulnerable to poverty”, living on less than US$10 per day.
At 1.5°C of warming, 16% of the probable population of the world in 2050, 1.5bn people, will have moderate-to-high levels of multi-sector risk. At 2°C this almost doubles to 29% of the global population, 2.7bn people. And at 3°C, that figure almost doubles again, to 50% of the global population: 4.6bn human beings.

And I say again. Incidentally, I believe there are now more very poor people than there were in 1993, which is twentyfive years ago. (And this is all in spite of ¨Live Aid¨ and ¨Make Poverty History¨, that happened meanwhile, you´ll be amazed to learn!!!) And now a considerable number of the poorest will be slightly cooked when temperatures get close to 50 C...

Anyway. This is a recommended article.

4. Jeff Bezos as "Face of Greed" Gets Retail Giant's Attention

This article is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows and apparently was written twice. This is from the second ¨Update¨ stage:

It seems as though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) knows how to get the attention of a major corporation.

After the release of a video earlier in the day (see below) in which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) chided Amazon and its mega-billionaire founder and CEO Jeff Bezos as exemplifying the kind of gross inequality that must be addressed in order to un-rig the economy, the retail giant put out a statement defending itself against the charge it does too little for its workers and issued an invitation for the senator to visit one of its fulfillment centers.
Of course Bernie Sanders is right. Here is more by Bernie Sanders:

In response, Sanders issued a statement thanking the company for reaching out and said he would gladly visit one of its centers as soon as it could be arranged.

"I remain deeply concerned about Amazon, an enormously profitable corporation, paying workers wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on federal programs like Medicaid, food stamps and public housing for survival," Sanders said.

Precisely. Jeff Bezos is a very sick and very greedy man, just like Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are. Here is more:


Calling out the Grand Canyon-sized chasm between the wealth of average Amazon employees and that of Jeff Bezos, the company's founder and currently the single richest person on Earth, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday released a short video from his digital team which characterized this kind of vast inequality as epitomizing what the senator has long called the "rigged economy."

"Bezos' wealth increases by $275 million every single day," Sanders note in a tweet. "Meanwhile, Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps and public assistance just to survive. This is what a rigged economy is all about."

And Bezos ¨earns¨ the utterly obscene amount of ¨$275 million every single day¨. Because - among other things - part of his ¨$275 million every single day¨ are being earned through making Amazon employees amongst the most exploited persons there are in the USA: Their extreme poverty = his extreme richness. This is a recommended article.

5. Real Corruption: Mick “Pay and We’ll Talk” Mulvaney

This article is by Richard Eskow on Common Dreams. It was originally on People´s Action Blog and this is from near its beginning:

Mulvaney is Trump’s Budget Director. He is also doing double-duty as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency created  under President Obama to protect consumers from being ripped off by predatory and criminally- inclined banks.

As a member of Congress, Mulvaney once called the agency he now leads “sick, sad,” and a “joke.”

Even if Mulvaney uses his position at the CFPB to serve banks, it’ll still cost them. He pretty much said so, in a speech he recently gave to the American Bankers Association.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mulvaney told an audience of 1,300 bankers and loan company executives. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

That’s a vision of play-for-play government, and it’s a vision Mulvaney shares with Trump, his party, and other members of his administration.

Yes, I quite agree. In fact, I go further: I think both the Republicans and the Democrats have been massively corrupted by lobbyists, who now seem to control the vast majority of the members of both parities in the Senate or the House.

Here is some more

Mulvaney is not just a play-for-pay servant of the banker class, although he is clearly that. He is an economic extremist whose ideology demands that the poor and middle class be sacrificed on the altar of wealth. That’s why he wants to cut Medicare and Social Security, as well as programs to benefit the poor.

As Budget Director, Mulvaney has continued the ideological bait-and-switch he developed as a Tea Party Congressman and co-founder of the so-called “Freedom Caucus.” In Congress, he became known as a “deficit hawk.”

Mulvaney railed against government deficits whenever progressive programs came on the block – despite the growing number of economists who say federal deficits don’t matter, at least in the way most conservative policymakers believe.

But Mulvaney switched his tune about deficits as soon as the opportunity arose to give money away to the rich. “I’m really not interested in how tax reform handles the deficit,” Mulvaney told CNBC.

I quite agree and this is a recommended article in which there is a lot more than I quoted.


[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 (!!).
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