June 27, 2018

Crisis: Google + Facebook, Travel Ban, On Psychology, Killings on Killings, The Democrats


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from June 27, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, June 27, 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 mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from June 27, 2018:
1. Google and Facebook Are Quietly Fighting California’s Privacy Rights

2. Bigoted and Feckless, the Travel Ban Is Pure Trump
3. Psychologist: Separating Children at the Border Creates Trauma Passed
     Down Through Generations

4. Look Who's Making a Killing on Killing
5. Lessons From the Healthcare Wars: or Why Democrats Will Be
     Disappointed in 2018
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. Google and Facebook Are Quietly Fighting California’s Privacy Rights Initiative

This article is by Lee Fang on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Lobbyists for the largest technology and telecommunications firms have only three days to prevent the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, a ballot initiative that would usher in the strongest consumer privacy standards in the country, from going before state voters this November.

The initiative allows consumers to opt out of the sale and collection of their personal data, and vastly expands the definition of personal information to include geolocation, biometrics, and browsing history. The initiative also allows consumers to pursue legal action for violations of the law.

The idea that Californians might gain sweeping new privacy rights has spooked Silicon Valley, internet service providers, and other industries that increasingly rely on data collection, leading to a lobbying push to defeat the initiative before it gains traction. Their best hope may be to convince the sponsors of the initiative, including San Francisco real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, to pull the proposal in exchange for compromise privacy legislation, AB 375, which would achieve some of the same goals of the initiative.
Well... I do not know the California Consumer Privacy Act, but it sounds decent. Also, if I know that neofascist corporations like Facebook and Google object to it, as is the case, I am more for it.

Here is some more - and ¨her¨ = Deveau, mentioned a little later in the quotation:
In her update, she listed a vast array of changes lobbyists are still seeking, including a rewrite of the privacy law’s description of what counts as personal information, changes to the conditions under which a consumer can seek legal action, the preservation of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, and the removal of the mandate that firms display a button on their homepage giving consumers a clear way of opting out of data collection, among other changes.

Over the last few days, Deveau has continued to update a coalition of Sacramento lobbyists of her team’s efforts to ensure that if AB 375 passes, the bill provides significant changes compared to the original CCPA.
There is also this, on the neofascist liars of Facebook:
The inclusion of a Facebook representative is notable, given the company’s well-publicized announcement earlier this year that it would end its opposition to the initiative. In February, the company provided $200,000 to an account set up by the California Chamber of Commerce designed to defeat the CCPA initiative. But in April, following revelations about the extent to which British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica provided the Donald Trump campaign with illicit access to Facebook user data, Facebook announced that it would withdraw its opposition to CCPA and not provide additional funding to the Chamber account.
But no: As usual Facebook was lying. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
In addition to Facebook, Google, AT&T, Microsoft, Amazon, Verizon, and the California New Car Dealers Association have each contributed six figure donations to the Chamber account set up to defeat CCPA. Uber, the Data & Marketing Association, Cox Communications, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau have each contributed $50,000 to the account, according to disclosures.
I strongly hope the neofascist corporations - please check my definition if you did not already - ¨Facebook, Google, AT&T, Microsoft, Amazon [and] Verizon¨ - all will loose.

2. Bigoted and Feckless, the Travel Ban Is Pure Trump

This article is by The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

On Tuesday morning the five conservative justices of the Supreme Court — including the one who got the job only because Senate Republicans stole a seat and held it open for him — voted to uphold President Trump’s travel ban, which indefinitely bars most people from five majority-Muslim countries, and certain citizens from two other countries, from entering the United States.

The conservatives said the ban, Mr. Trump’s third version after the first two were struck down by lower federal courts, was a lawful exercise of presidential authority. They reached this conclusion despite Mr. Trump’s best efforts to convince them, and the country, that its real purpose was to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Remember his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”? That came in December 2015, when he was still a candidate. But the sentiments didn’t stop when he became president.
Yes, indeed. Also, while there is the fact that ¨Trump’s best efforts to convince [the Supreme Court], and the country, that its real purpose was to discriminate on the basis of religion¨ in fact these efforts were illegal:
All this looks a lot like a government official acting on religious animus, which is barred by the First Amendment and which, one would think, would especially offend the conservative justices.
The conservative justices surely believed then that, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent from the travel ban decision, “Our Constitution demands, and our country deserves, a Judiciary willing to hold the coordinate branches to account when they defy our most sacred legal commitments.” But the principle failed to carry over into Tuesday’s ruling, even though the government actor was not a state commissioner but the president, and the target of his remarks was not a single shopkeeper but millions of Muslims around the world.
Yes and no. I agree on what is being said here, but I also would like to point out that the First Amendment has been used by the Supreme Court´s majority to mean the absolute counterpart of what it originally meant.  For more, see here: Citizens United (and following decisions).

Here is the ending of this article:

White racial fear has always been at the core of Mr. Trump’s worldview. What’s so dangerous about Tuesday’s ruling is that the Supreme Court has now implicitly blessed his use of this strategy as a political organizing tool and as a governing philosophy.

On Jan. 27, 2017, as Mr. Trump signed the first version of the travel ban, he read out its official title, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” then looked up and said, “We all know what that means.”

Indeed we do, even if five Supreme Court justices refuse to admit it.

Namely, that these days both the president of the USA and the majority of its Supreme Court decide that Muslims from many countries are not allowed entry or immigration in the USA - which means, as dissenting Supreme Court judge Sotomayor said, that the majority of the Supreme Court now (and probably in the future) does not ¨hold the coordinate branches to account when they defy our most sacred legal commitments¨.

3. Psychologist: Separating Children at the Border Creates Trauma Passed Down Through Generations

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
More than 2,000 migrant children remain separated from their parents, jailed in detention centers across the country. The Washington Post reports that U.S. authorities are collecting mug shots of the detained minors, some showing the children in tears. Immigrant children jailed in a converted Walmart in Texas are being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in English each morning. At some of the facilities, the children are counted in “prison-style” head counts. In some cases, parents have already been deported, while their children remain in United States custody. For more, we speak with Dr. Dana Sinopoli, a psychologist who penned an open letter condemning the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border.
Well... I think the separation of children from their parents was intentional sadism thay should be completely illegal, and I think that ¨U.S. authorities¨ often do not know who the parents of these - often very young - children are, which makes this an extremely cruel case of kidnapping by the U.S. government, but - because I am a psychologist - I fear I do not agree with ¨Dr. Dana Sinopoli¨, who supports my ethical judgements, but wants to impose a further psychologized - as in: ¨medicalized¨ - explanation of it.

Specifically, at least from the title, what Sinopoli is suggesting that the children of the the children who now are separated from their parents will also be traumatized.

I deny there is much evidence for this, and I do so because I have seen a similar situation in Holland, but there about the children and the children of the children of former concentration camp prisoners.

First, that was utter rot in my case, but it was furthered by making a rather (in)famous film about one of the worst struck former concentration camp prisoner; by next suggesting he and his family were like all families of former
concentration camp prisoners, which I knew to be a lie because I knew the man and his family personally; and finally by refusing to help me with even the least amount of help ever since 1966, although my father survived more than three years and nine months of four German concentration camps, and my grandfather was murdered in a German concentration camp.

That is: According to - many, Dutch - psychologists and psychiatrists I am supposed to be crazy, not because they have any knowledge of me, but because of what happened to my father, but then it turned out that I have no right on getting any help whatsoever precisely because I am crazy, according to these psychologists and psychiatrists: That is how psychology and psychiatry often work.

And this was precisely the same game as kept my ex (who also has ME/CFS, and had no family in any resistance) and myself for forty years from getting any help whatsoever in Holland, while we had and have ¨a serious chronic disease¨ (it is now admitted, since 2018).

My own suggestion is that psychologists and psychiatrists who make such quite unscientific and utterly evidenceless extremely general judgements (about the children of the small children who now have been sadistically and cruelly locked up by the American government) are not so much interested in helping the unborn children of these children, but are much more likely to insist on their own importance, and the status of their supposed science.

Then again, I found that (at least) half of the interview with Sinopoli is not yet available on Democracy Now! so I end this article with just one more quotation:
AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined by Dr. Dana Sinopoli, a psychologist who penned an open letter condemning the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border. The letter has been signed by well over 12,600 mental health professionals. The letter states “children may develop post traumatic responses following separation from their parents and specifically lists immigration and parental deportation as situations of potentially traumatic separation. To pretend that separated children do not grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma.”
I am sorry, but this is mostly utter baloney, and it would have been much more credible if these ¨mental health professionals¨ would have subscribed to my judgements that these children are intentionally and sadistically abused, and have been kidnapped by the American government, which indeed may lead to later problems for these children.

But - I take it - they did not want to sign anything which spoke of sadism and kidnapping, and instead signed baloney, for what they claim about ¨child development¨ and ¨the brain¨ is far too little to support their judgements, whereas ¨trauma passed on through the generations¨ is - I am sorry - bullshit with little evidence.

4. Look Who's Making a Killing on Killing

This article is by Jodie Evans and Andrew Behar on AlterNet and originally on the Independent Media Institute. This is from near its beginning:

The U.S. is engaged in endless wars around the world. For 17 years, we have been fighting in the Middle East, leading us into seven active conflict zones and countless other proxy wars. We are still fighting an invisible war on drugs that takes the war zone from Afghanistan to Mexico. Most Americans have no idea that the U.S. maintains nearly 800 military bases around the world, or that the U.S. supplies the weapons that wreak havoc on innocent civilians and children in Yemen, Syria, Pakistan, and more.

So why the constant drive to fuel more and additional conflict? As the saying goes, follow the money: who profits from all this death and devastation?

The merchants of war who have shaped U.S. foreign policy since the end of WWII have a foothold so strong, the act of extracting ourselves from the war economy has become incredibly complex. In 2017, the U.S. gave more than $750 billion to the Pentagon, which turned around and handed $350 billion of that to weapons manufacturers—companies like Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman, some of whom are also currently profiting from the construction of immigrant detention facilities. The CEOs of those companies took home a combined salary of $96 million. Meanwhile, a U.S. worker on minimum wage cannot afford a standard two-bedroom apartment, working 40 hours a week.

Yes indeed, and this is an excellent introduction, precisely because it stresses where one should look if one searches for political explanations: At those who profit in money or in power - which are, in the present world, the same.

Here is some more:

Our communities are scrambling to find resources to pay for basic services. There’s still no power in Puerto Rico. Flint, Michigan, doesn’t have clean water. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Congress and the White House deal blow after blow to people and communities, slashing funding for SNAP, raising rent for those on Section 8 housing, and rolling back protections for LGBTQ+ students. Washington is simultaneously sowing instability, destruction, and poverty overseas and in our own backyard.

The military-industrial complex rewards Congress’s continued cooperation with a constant stream of campaign contributions, ensuring an endless cycle of tax dollars to fund their activities—a deadly revolving door that has cornered nearly all of our elected officials on the state and federal level.

This is also quite good (because I think it is quite true). Here is a conclusion of this article:

This is why As You Sow and CODEPINK have collaborated on Weapon Free Funds to allow individuals, communities, universities, foundations, faith-based institutions and others to search 3,000 commonly held mutual funds and ETFs to determine if they are invested in weapons and war, and if so, to find cleaner options.

While we continue to hold Washington accountable for its excess, we also encourage and celebrate the power of individuals, communities, and institutions to shift the conversation when they invest with their values.

I think this is a fine idea and this is a recommended article.

5. Lessons From the Healthcare Wars: or Why Democrats Will Be Disappointed in 2018

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

One of the things that came as a complete surprise to the establishment media and the punditocracy was the speed with which the attempt to repeal Obamacare mobilized support for it as well as for a single payer, Medicare for all approach to health care. A recent poll found that a slim majority now favors single payer or protecting Obamacare, but the trend is clearly upward on both, and that’s without a coherent and unified push from either party.

There’s a lot to learn from understanding why and how this transformation occurred, and if Democrats don’t learn those lessons, 2018 is likely to be disappointing and they could even lose to Trump in 2020. Oh, they’ll pick up some seats in the House in the midterms – maybe even enough to have a majority.  But unless Trump completely self-destructs and takes his party down with him, there ain’t gonna be no blue wave, let alone a tsunami if Dems don’t get smart.  So far, there’s no signs of that happening.

So let’s review the lessons being ignored by the neoliberals in charge of the party.

Yes, I think this introduction is quite correct, and the basic problem with the Democrats - that  is: especially those which are chosen as Congressmen or as Senators - is that there seem to be 100 lobbyists for each of them, who all try to buy them, and who generally succeed.

And I should add, I think, that it seems to me as if personal financial corruption is much more rewarding for most of these elected Democrats than is doing their duty. In fact, it seems as if Hilary Clinton + her husband managed to ¨earn¨ some $120 million dollars from contributions by rich bankers (and selling their autobiographies).

But lets review the lessons John Atcheson mentions. In fact, I will quote them, but mostly without any supporting text. (If you want to read all of that, go to the original.)

Here are the first three lessons:

Lesson One – If you try to meet them in the middle, they’ll drag you to the right. (...)
Lesson Two – If you want people to show up at the polls you have to be an advocate for their values. (...)
Lesson Three: Not showing up for the national debate translates into losing elections

This refusal to actually stand for something, while relying on poll-driven, spin doctored split-the-difference politics, is one of the major reasons the Democrats have been losing elections and the support of the people for more three decades now.  It explains why fewer then 35 percent of eligible voters believe the Democrats stand for anything.

I did include part of the text for Lesson Three, but this is mostly for clarification. I agree with all three lessons (but I expect they will not be heeded: it is much nicer to get personally rich from corrupt payments than doing your duty and getting no money for that).

Here is the last bit I quote from this article:

Lesson Four: Embracing a progressive brand is the only way for Democrats to win.
Indeed, thanks to the failure of the neoliberal establishment controlling the Democratic Party, Republicans are only one state away from being able to call a constitutional convention – something that should strike fear into the heart of any American who values science, reason, freedom and reality, and something the Koch brothers and other oligarchs are salivating over. But even if Republicans aren’t able to muster the 38 states needed to approve constitutional amendments, they will control redistricting in a majority of states, making fair elections even rarer than they are today.

In the face of these grim prospects, we see the neoliberal establishment and their corporate benefactors doing everything they can to retain control of the party. Talk about fiddling while the Titanic goes down – these folks would rather risk a government completely controlled by Republicans than relinquish their own privileged positions.

I agree, but as I said above: Most elected Democrats seem to feel that it is much nicer to get personally rich from corrupt payments, than doing your duty and getting no money for that.

And while I agree with Atcheson, that is what I expect (as he seems to do as well). This is a strongly recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
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