July 4, 2018

Crisis: Asylum Seekers, U.S. Embassador, Future Trumps, On Tear Gas, German Politics


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from July 4, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, July 4, 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 July 4, 2018:
1. Asylum Seekers on U.S.-Mexico Border Are Waiting for Days in the Hot
     Sun, Told the U.S. Is “Full”

2. Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged
     Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated

3. How To Prevent Future Trumps
4. Ban Tear Gas
5. The End of German Politics As We Know It
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.  Asylum Seekers on U.S.-Mexico Border Are Waiting for Days in the Hot Sun, Told the U.S. Is “Full”

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As the Trump administration accuses migrants of illegally entering the United States, Democracy Now! went to the international bridge in Brownsville, Texas, and found asylum seekers waiting for days in the hot sun after being told the United States was full. We are guided by Christina Patiño Houle, director of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, and Michael Seifert of the ACLU. We also speak with Juanita Valdez-Cox, longtime farmworker organizer and executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), about the separation of families at the border, and attempt to interview an official at Case Padre, the Southwest Key detention center housed in a former Walmart.
I have said over a year ago - see my Welcome to the NUSA! - that the USA with the nomination of Donald Trump (who is both a neofascist and a madman - and if you don't think so you don't have my very strong anti-fascist background, nor are you a psychologist) has entered the neofascist empire, and I think it now definitely has, after kidnapping over 2000 small children from their parents.

Also - incidentally - the above statement by Goodman that they "
found asylum seekers waiting for days in the hot sun after being told the United States was full" shows the lies and the sadism of the American police, whom I shall presume to believe that, really, as exceptional and white Americans, are supermen compared to the unexceptional brown sub-humans they so clearly love to abuse in a sadistic way.

Here is more from the article:

AMY GOODMAN: The Department of Health and Human Services is refusing to disclose how many migrant children separated from their parents at the border they’re still holding. Last week, the HHS Secretary Alex Azar said 2,047 separated minors were still in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. But the department has refused to give updated numbers, even though the Trump administration is facing a July 10th court-imposed deadline—that’s next Tuesday—to reunite all separated children under the age of 5 with their parents. Two weeks later, all children must be reunited.

Meanwhile, the separated children continue to be sent around the country from the border.
Precisely. And many of these children are between 4 and 10; they don't speak English; they are forcibly separated from their parents; and their addresses after forced separations seem to not exist.

Here is more from the sadists at a bridge:
LAURA GOTTESDIENER: (...) So, she had waited on one bridge and been told the U.S. is not allowing anybody in. So then she, finally, after about a day and a half, went to the next bridge, and they told her, you know, “The U.S. is full. You have to wait.” She had some hopes, because the Border Patrol was letting in about a family a day. This is one of the major international points of entry and legal ports of entry.
Then there is this sadistic sickness:

AMY GOODMAN: You’re talking about a 9-month-old child and a 1-year-old child alone, separated from their parents.

JUANITA VALDEZ-COX: Yes. They are in this detention center, but the parents are not there. And when the congressmen went in to see that, when they come back out and talk to the community, we had a meeting with them. They are the—they tell us what they see. And this is what they were seeing. Now, we put together what the congressmen see and the phone calls we get of parents that are looking for their children. Many times they can get a hold of a relative, and the relative comes to LUPE or to other nonprofit organizations and says, “We need your help in finding our children.” And so we know that this is happening. We know that they’re being separated. And the other thing that is just heartbreaking is to see that when the children crying, yes, they can feed them, and, yes, they can change their diaper, but they’re not allowed to—they’re not allowed to pick them up and to hold them and to soothe them.

AMY GOODMAN: They’re not allowed to hug them?

JUANITA VALDEZ-COX: No, not at all, because, apparently, the government wants to be careful about, I think, child abuse. Isn’t that ironic? They’re already doing—they’re already doing the worst thing that could happen to the children. And so, this is the situation that we’ve been going through, maybe for the last six or eight months, since this administration started that “zero tolerance” policy.

As I have said: The U.S. government has abducted and kidnapped over 2000 children between 1 and 15, because their parents were trying to flee horrors in their countries.

Here is how the govermental sadists and neofascists at the borders act:

AMY GOODMAN: We’ve come to the Southwest Key Programs facility, where up to 1,500 children, migrant children, are being held in cages inside. We want to know what’s going on. We asked to speak to a supervisor. The sheriff’s deputy, security all came out in their golf carts wherever we came, to this vast facility, very few windows, and the windows we see are blacked out. There are barricades up that say “keep out.” We asked to speak to a supervisor. They said they could only give us a phone number. That phone number, no one answered. Then we were able to leave a message. When we left the message, a while later someone did call back and said we’d have to call the Office of Refugee Resettlement. They said, possibly, we could get an interview in the next 10 to 14 days. We called the number they left, and there’s no answer. Again, this is where up to 1,500 children are being held. The barricades say “keep out” and “private property.”

AMY GOODMAN: “Private property.” The children, private property, detained in cages inside.
And once again: The U.S. government has abducted and kidnapped over 2000 children between 1 and 15, which it abuses sadistically because their parents are fleeing from horrors in their own countries.

This is Trump's Neofascistic United States of America
. And this is a recommended article.

2. Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated

This article is by Jack Matlock on Consortiumnews. Jack Matlock is a former U.S. ambassador to Russia. It starts as follows:
Did the U.S. “intelligence community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Most commentators seem to think so. Every news report I have read of the planned meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in July refers to “Russian interference” as a fact and asks whether the matter will be discussed. Reports that President Putin denied involvement in the election are scoffed at, usually with a claim that the U.S. “intelligence community” proved Russian interference. In fact, the U.S. “intelligence community” has not done so. The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as “proof” of “Russian interference.”
Yes indeed - and if you want to know some more on Jack Matlock, there is a link above. And I suppose that I am one of the relatively few commentators who does not (seriously) believe that "Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election", and I don't because I know about computers, I know about politics, I know about evidence, and I know about lying, deceiving and propagandizing, and also there were some very well-informed former employees of the NSA, who said the same, and whom I read early.

And Matlock is right in what he said, and here is more:
This report is labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment,” but in fact it is not that. A report of the intelligence community in my day would include the input of all the relevant intelligence agencies and would reveal whether all agreed with the conclusions. Individual agencies did not hesitate to “take a footnote” or explain their position if they disagreed with a particular assessment. A report would not claim to be that of the “intelligence community” if any relevant agency was omitted.

The report states that it represents the findings of three intelligence agencies: CIA, FBI, and NSA, but even that is misleading in that it implies that there was a consensus of relevant analysts in these three agencies. In fact, the report was prepared by a group of analysts from the three agencies pre-selected by their directors, with the selection process generally overseen by James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
I think that is also quite true, and Matlock is quite right this was totally different how things went when he was ambassador of the USA, in Russia.

Here is some more, about the agencies involved:
As I was recently informed by a senior official, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence Research did, in fact, have a different opinion but was not allowed to express it. So the January report was not one of the “intelligence community,” but rather of three intelligence agencies, two of which have no responsibility or necessarily any competence to judge foreign intentions.
The second thing to remember is that reports of the intelligence agencies reflect the views of the heads of the agencies and are not necessarily a consensus of their analysts’ views. The heads of both the CIA and FBI are political appointments, while the NSA chief is a military officer; his agency is a collector of intelligence rather than an analyst of its import, except in the fields of cryptography and communications security.
I think this is also correct. Here is more, this time about the report:
Let’s put these questions aside for the moment and look at the report itself. On the first page of text, the following statement leapt to my attention:

    “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on
     the outcome of the 2016
election. The US Intelligence Community is charged
     with monitoring and assessing the intentions,
capabilities, and actions of
     foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public


Now, how can one judge whether activity “interfered” with an election without assessing its impact? After all, if the activity had no impact on the outcome of the election, it could not be properly termed interference. This disclaimer, however, has not prevented journalists and politicians from citing the report as proof that “Russia interfered” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As for particulars, the report is full of assertion, innuendo, and description of “capabilities” but largely devoid of any evidence to substantiate its assertions. This is “explained” by claiming that much of the evidence is classified and cannot be disclosed without revealing sources and methods. The assertions are made with “high confidence” or occasionally, “moderate confidence.” Having read many intelligence reports I can tell you that if there is irrefutable evidence of something it will be stated as a fact. The use of the term “high confidence” is what most normal people would call “our best guess.” “Moderate confidence” means “some of our analysts think this might be true.”
Quite so: You can't say there was Russian "interference" when you don't make "an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had" (but the proven liar Clapper and his mates did); and you can't speak of "evidence" if "much of the evidence is classified and cannot be disclosed without revealing sources and methods" (but the proven liar Clapper and his mates did), and I guess Matlock is quite correct in his further criticisms as well.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Prominent American journalists and politicians seized upon this shabby, politically motivated, report as proof of “Russian interference” in the U.S. election without even the pretense of due diligence. They have objectively acted as co-conspirators in an effort to block any improvement in relations with Russia, even though cooperation with Russia to deal with common dangers is vital to both countries.
Yes, I think that is correct. Also, I add that Mother Jones, which supposes itself to be a non- mainstream source of information, mostly follows Clapper. In any case: This was - I think - an interesting article by a formed U.S. ambassador to Russia, that is recommended.

3. How To Prevent Future Trumps

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows (and no: I do not do titles that are wholly written in capitals):

Why did so many working class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president? 

It’s important to know, because we need to stop more Trumps in the future. 

The answer lies in the interplay between deep-seated racism and stagnant and declining wages. Both must be addressed.

Really now? Well... I think Reich has a point, but it does not explain (at all, in fact, or that is what I think) why "so many working class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president".

In fact, most of the "many working class voters" who voted for Trump did not (and for the most part do not) see that Trump is "a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president", and think instead he is unselfish, proud, calm, truth speaking, normal and not at all narcissistic or megalomaniac person they love as president.

And what is the explanation of that fact? I am sorry (but I am an academically educated person who does come from the lower - proletarian - class, which I do know quite well) but my explanation is that the majority of all Americans are stupid, ignorant, conformist wishful thinkers who lack all the talents to make them see themselves for what they are.

But Reich either does not think so - and in fact almost no American journalist addresses the problems of stupidity, ignorance, conformism and wishful thinking at all, ever - or indeed (for Reich is an intelligent and well-educated man) or pretends he does not think so.

What he thinks is the explanation is this:

What changed was the economy. Since the 1980s, the wages and economic prospects of the typical American worker have stagnated. Nearly 80 percent now live paycheck to paycheck, and those paychecks have grown less secure.

Meanwhile, all the economy’s gains have gone to the richest ten percent, mostly the top 1 percent. Wealthy individuals and big corporations have, in turn, invested some of those gains into politics.

As a result, big money now calls the shots in Washington – getting subsidies, tax breaks, tax loopholes (even Trump promised to close the “carried interest” loophole yet it remains), and bailouts.

As I started with saying: Reich has a point. But he does not explain how forty years of successive setbacks of a major part of the American population, while all that the time the 1% of the rich got enormously richer, can be true - and Reich is right that these are the facts - without a major part of the USA's population being stupid, ignorant, conformist wishful thinkers who lack all the talents to make them see themselves for what they are.

Here is the ending of Reich's column:

We also need ways to finance these things, such as a carbon tax, a tax on Wall Street trades, and a progressive tax on wealth.

To accomplish all this we have to get big money out of politics. 

Even if “Citizens United” isn’t overruled, big money’s influence can be limited with generous public financing of elections, full disclosure of the source of all campaign contributions, and a clampdown on the revolving door between business and government.

Trump isn’t the cause of what’s happened to America. He’s the consequence – the product of years of stagnant wages and big money’s corruption of our democracy combined with a long legacy of racism and bigotry. 

If we really want to stop Trump and prevent future Trumps, we will need to address these causes of Trump’s rise. 

Well... yes and no: Yes, these themes are important. But no, I do not consider the probability that they will be realized high, for if you really want to stop Trump, and Reagan, and Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., to name just the Republican presidents that were elected (or forced on the public, for neither Bush Jr. nor Trump had a majority of ordinary votes), then you will have to do something about the stupidity, ignorance, conformism and wishful thinking that move the thoughts and desires of very many Americans, and to do that you have to - radically - improve education.

But in Holland education has been mostly ruined between 1965 and 1977 (since when you can get an M.A. with an IQ of 105) and something similar happened in the USA, so I expect some improvements - possibly, that is - roughly by the time I am a mere 108....

4. Ban Tear Gas

This article is by David Swanson on Washington's Blog. It starts as follows:
Tear gas is among the least of the problems facing those who care about the murder and destruction of war. But it is a major element in the militarization of local policing. In fact, it is widely deemed illegal in war, but legal in non-war (although what written law actually creates that loophole is unclear).

Like blowing people up with missiles from drones, shooting people for being Palestinian, holding people in cages for decades without charge or trial on a stolen corner of Cuba, or zapping people with tasers for being African American, the legality of firing tear gas or mace or pepper spray at people — regardless of whether it harms or kills them, as it often does — is believed by many to hang on whether or not the action was part of a war.

I more or less agree with this, although I do not see this happening soon, and my reason is that I have been in many demonstrations, and did not like tear gas at all, in part because it is between unpleasant and quite painful, in part because it is wholly unspecific (and thrown at people who tend to demonstrate, without their having done something illegal, personally), and in part because I simply don't like to be gassed by either the police or the military.

Here are some of the - rather crazy - distinctions that are at work:

The distinction is a bizarre one in a number of ways. First, no current wars are themselves legal. So drone murders don’t get to be legal if they’re declared to be part of a war.

Second, state militaries openly wage war against governments, non-governmental groups, amorphous categories of people, and even against tactics or emotions (terrorism, terror). When a government wages war against distant people, such as the U.S. government in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, etc., it is theoretically forbidden to use tear gas (even while using napalm, white phosphorous, and far more deadly weapons that are not chemicals). But when the same government wages war against people it claims belong to it (sending National Guard troops to both foreign wars and New Orleans, Ferguson, Baltimore, etc., and not just Guard but also police troops armed and trained by both the U.S. and Israeli militaries) it is supposedly allowed to use weapons that are too evil to use abroad.

Yes, I believe that is both correct and fairly crazy. Here is Swanson's proposal:

So, here’s what I propose.

  1. The illegality of war under the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact be recognized.
  2. The legal standards on practices too evil for war be understood to apply universally to all human endeavors. In fact, nothing in the Chemical Weapons Convention or other treaties says otherwise.
  3. Those standards be steadily expanded to encompass more evil.

By dropping the “war time” vs. “peace time” distinction, in this way, we could lose the notion that by somehow being part one and part the other a death camp like Guantanamo escapes the legal restrictions of both. By making everywhere “peace time” rather than “war time,” and treating war as merely the greatest of all crimes, we would not be granting governments special wartime powers, but rather stripping them of those for good.

Well... as I said, I would like it if tear gas (and mace and pepper spray) were forbidden, but I do not think it will happen (before a socialist revolution). Also, I think David Swanson is - at least  - fairly naive about laws.

5. The End of German Politics As We Know It

This article is by Alexander Neubacher on Spiegel International. It starts as follows:

When young children quarrel with their parents, they often think about running away from home for good. I'll teach those parents of mine! German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer seems to be pulling exactly same kind of infantile tantrum. If Angela Merkel doesn't do what he wants, he'll quit. And for a moment on Sunday evening, it seemed like he was about to do exactly that.

The drama that unfolded in Germany as the weekend came to a close was nothing short of a farce. Seehofer, who is the head of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to the Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), set a new standard of childishness for German party leaders. Why would he announce his resignation only to reverse course a short time later the way he did?

It had been, Seehofer later said, an offer to Merkel. If so, it's a rather misguided offer. Why, after all, should the chancellor -- why should anyone, for that matter -- have any interest in Seehofer remaining in office?

I am Dutch (which borders on Germany), but I had no idea who Horst Seehofer is. Well... as the last link shows, he is a professional politician, rather like many Dutch professional politicians, who are professional politicians because their parents are very wealthy (although in Holland that is never clarified), while they themselves had no talents for science, nor for art, nor for civilization.

And thus they become "professional politicians", whom electors will see around forty years, while they get richer and richer, and get more and more vague but well-paying functions.

Anyway... that is enough about Seehofer and score upon scores of Dutch professional politicians. Here is what Seehofer (and, it seems, most of the current European politicians) wants:

Nevertheless, the message sent by Brussels was clear: European refugee policy will now focus on sealing the continent off from migrants and deterring them from coming in the first place -- precisely what the CSU has been demanding. Merkel brought enough back home to provide Seehofer with a face-saving way out of the conflict.

Precisely: Europeans are real human beings, with rights and good incomes (especially if they are not black nor muslim), but non-europeans are more like sub-humans, for they are not rich, are often not white, and may be muslims, and such "persons" simply do not belong between the superhuman Europeans.

I know - especially - German politicians do not like terms like "superhumans", but that is effectively their policy: "We Do Not Help Non-Europeans (And Do Not Want To See Them)".

Here is the Spiegel's ending:

The fallout from Sunday night's drama will have consequences that go far beyond the power-sharing agreement. It could have dramatic consequences for Germany's entire political party system. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have already sunk to below 20 percent in public opinion polls. And the CDU itself is now headed in the same direction.

I do not know whether this is correct.


[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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