July 10, 2018

Crisis: MSNBC´s Lies, China´s Surveillance, Children´s Rights *2, ¨Liberal Partisan Politics¨


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from July 10, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, July 10, 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 10, 2018:
1. MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party
     Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them.
2. Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras
3. Trump’s Policies on Immigrant Children Violate the Convention on the
     Rights of the Child

4. ACLU Says Less Than Half of Kids Trump Ripped From Parents Will Be
     Reunited Before Court Deadline

5. How Liberal Partisan Politics Strengthen the Right Wing
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. MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them.

This article is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

During the 2016 primary and general election campaigns, various MSNBC hosts were openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton. One of the network’s programs featured Malcolm Nance (pictured above), whose background is quite sketchy but is presented by the cable network (and now by NBC News) as an “intelligence expert” and former intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy.

On August 20, 2016, weekend host Joy Reid asked Nance about the supposed “affinity” for Russia harbored by Jill Stein supporters. In response, Nance told MSNBC viewers: “Jill Stein has a show on Russia Today.”
Whatever your views might be about Stein and her third-party candidacy, there is no disputing the fact that Nance’s statement was a falsehood, a fabrication, a lie. Stein did not have a show on RT, nor did she ever host a show on RT. What Nance said was made up out of whole cloth — fabricated — in order to encourage MSNBC viewers to believe that Stein, one of the candidates running against Clinton, was a paid agent of the Kremlin and employee of RT.
I do not know who Malcolm Nance is (I don´t have a TV since nearly 48 years, and I avoid almost all TV on internet: Too stupid for me, in general), but the rest is undoubtedly correct.

Then again, I must speak about totalitarianism again - which has been reduced to the level of Brzezinski´s sick lies on the current Wikipedia of which the import is that no human being ever thinks totalitarian thoughts, has totalitarian plans, ideas, values or desires, unless that human being lives in ¨a totalitarian country¨ like the Soviet Union or Hitler´s Germany.

That redefinition is totally contrary to George Orwell´s use of it, and that of many other leftish intellectuals, but no matter: Wikipedia supports Brzezinski, indeed precisely as Wikipedia supports the Amerian Psychiatric Association.

I have expounded several times on these sets of Wikipedian lies, but I long ago decided I cannot and do not trust anonymous people, and while I have hesitated about this precisely because the earlier Wikipedia seemed more or less decent, I do not think so at all these days: I was quite right from the start. (And no, emails by anonymous persons are simply not answered by me as well.)

But I leave you with these general considerations on totalitarianism (that according to Wikipedia must be completely impossible in the USA) and turn to the above bit:

I agree that ¨
What Nance said was (..) to encourage MSNBC viewers to believe that Stein, one of the candidates running against Clinton, was a paid agent of the Kremlin and employee of RT.¨

But that indeed was a quite totalitarian notion and plan of Nance (as I use the term, but not as Brzezinski used the term, and Wikipedia since the last year or so), which again fits in with the
totalitarian plans of the Democratic Party to accuse Russia of being responsible for Hillary Clinton´s failure to become president.

Here is some more on Nance´s lies:

To date — almost two years later — neither NBC News nor MSNBC, nor a single journalist who works for either one of those media outlets has corrected this significant falsehood, despite obviously knowing that it was broadcast to their viewers. In other words, NBC News and MSNBC know that they told viewers something that was materially false, and yet refuse to correct it. Please, defenders of this network: Tell me what that says about its integrity, about its real function, about whether it is a real news outlet.

Worse, not only was Nance never sanctioned in any way for the lie he told, but he was rewarded: He has since gone from “MSNBC contributor” to “MSNBC intelligence analyst,” and is far more pervasive on the network, and its hosts have spent the month aggressively promoting his new book on how Vladimir Putin is destroying U.S. democracy.

On MSNBC, lies are not corrected; they are rewarded, provided the lies are designed to smear the reputations of Democratic Party critics. Is this not definitive and conclusive proof of that: that this is not a news outlet but a political arm of the Democratic Party?
I mostly agree, although my own conclusion would - rather - be that the MSNBC and the Democratic Party both play the same totalitarian game.

Here is more on Nance´s utter dishonesty, and this time it was directed against Glenn Greenwald:
What [Nance] did, instead, is exactly what he did on MSNBC to Jill Stein in August 2016: In two tweets, he outright lied about me on purpose, telling his 420,000 Twitter followers that I am “an agent of Moscow” and “deep in the Kremlin pocket.” He further lied by stating that I “helped Snowden defect” and that I “reports into [my] masters in Moscow.”
None of Nance’s statements here is opinion. These claims — especially that I am an “agent of Moscow” and “deep in the Kremlin pocket” — are intended to be factual statements: that I work for, and am paid by, Russia and the Kremlin, and that I aided Snowden in “defecting” to Moscow. They are all outright lies. There is no other way to describe them.

Thus far, his tweet has been retweeted by close to 5,000 people. After I noted that they were lies, Nance reaffirmed them and said how proud he was to have broadcast them.

This is because Nance knows that he is free to lie this way with impunity. That’s because he works for an organization — MSNBC — that masquerades as a news outlet but actively encourages its employees to lie this way about anyone who criticizes the Democratic Party.

I agree for the most part, although my own point of view is that both MSNBC and the Democratic Party have been hit by huge doses of totalitarianism (except that I am not allowed to say so nor think so according to Brzezinski´s lies that are these days faithfully copied on Wikipedia).

There is considerably more in the article, that is strongly recommended, indeed especially because I have seen large amounts of totalitarianism in the USA, both in the right and in the ¨left¨ - except that saying so makes me a liar according to Brzezinski and the Wikipedia.
(Well... fuck them: You cannot trust either to be honest, fair, decent, moral or truthful.)

2. Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras

This article is by Paul Mozur on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

In Qingdao, a city famous for its German colonial heritage, cameras powered by artificial intelligence helped the police snatch two dozen criminal suspects in the midst of a big annual beer festival.

In Wuhu, a fugitive murder suspect was identified by a camera as he bought food from a street vendor.

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.
China is reversing the commonly held vision of technology as a great democratizer, bringing people more freedom and connecting them to the world. In China, it has brought control.

I completely agree with Mozur, but I would like to extend his opinions as follows:

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, the USA (and England, and Holland, and most of the Western countries) is also building a high-tech authoritarian future. Washington´s politicians are like most other Western politicians, and are embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track everyone who is alive. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented worldwide surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

And I say so because I really think so (and also because I am 68, have no children, and will probably be dead when the totalitarian net has been both surrected and closed and does cover everyone, which may take two more decades).

Back to China, which indeed is the leading totalitarian and authoritarian country today:

Facial recognition scanners guard the entrances to housing complexes. Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States.

Such efforts supplement other systems that track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.
Far from hiding their efforts, Chinese authorities regularly state, and overstate, their capabilities. In China, even the perception of surveillance can keep the public in line.

And in fact, the last paragraph that is quoted is - as yet, at least - more or less the opposite of the average Westerner´s attitude, most of whom dismiss surveillance precisely because they have not lived in an authoritarian country or atmosphere, and indeed also have little real understanding of computers and computing.

Here is the last bit I quote from this article - and note the parallel to the West:

China’s new surveillance is based on an old idea: Only strong authority can bring order to a turbulent country. Mao Zedong took that philosophy to devastating ends, as his top-down rule brought famine and then the Cultural Revolution.

His successors also craved order but feared the consequences of totalitarian rule. They formed a new understanding with the Chinese people. In exchange for political impotence, they would be mostly left alone and allowed to get rich.

It worked. Censorship and police powers remained strong, but China’s people still found more freedom. That new attitude helped usher in decades of breakneck economic growth.

Today, that unwritten agreement is breaking down.

And it is breaking down simply because the Chinese authorities are now capable of following everyone who has a computer, and of reading everyone´s emails, and of knowing everyone´s real values and desires: It now can impose authoritarian pressure on absolutely everyone to be fully like the Chinese Communist Party´s leaders desire them to be or else to face the consequences, and be arrested and disappear.

I seem precisely the same dangers in the West, indeed simply because most political leaders who can impose their will on others will impose their will on others, and with the current computer-technologies and camera-technologies in principle everyone is fully known to the secret services (and besides to Facebook and Google).

But it will take more time in the West than in China, and meanwhile we can see in China what will be the likely consequences of modern computer technology a bit later in the West.

There is a lot more in the article, that is strongly recommended.

3. Trump’s Policies on Immigrant Children Violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child

This article is by César Chelala on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

After enacting a “zero tolerance” policy towards all adult immigrants crossing the border into the U.S., in effect separating parents from their children and keeping the children in inhumane conditions, the Trump administration now intends to rescind this measure. However, because some family records have been lost or destroyed, some children may never again be reunited with their parents. 

The separation of children from their parents violates basic tenets of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an internationally recognized agreement among nations that establishes a comprehensive set of goals for individual nations to improve children’s lives. Although the convention has worldwide recognition and support, the U.S. is the only country in the world that hasn’t yet ratified the CRC.

Yes indeed, although it may be doubted that ¨the Trump administration now intends to¨ return the children, firstly because it wants more time than the judge gave it, secondly because it often is not known where the children are, thirdly because quite a few of their parents have been returned to the country they came from, and fourthly because most of the children do not speak English.

Here is some more:

Trying to put a spin on a disgraceful decision is immoral, but not surprising in an administration for which morality in taking political decisions is of no concern. There are still 3,000 children separated from their parents, and 100 are under the age of 5, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Children and adolescents are kept in “cages”, a word disputed by the U.S. Border Patrol that says, in a statement, “It’s not inaccurate, but they are very ‘uncomfortable’ with this characterization.”

That is: the U.S. Border Patrol does lock up children in cages, but it does not want to hear or read this, which is rather like the torturing in Guantánamo.

Here is more about the practices of American officials:

An insider’s view of the situation of children under detention was described in an article by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times. She writes about Antar Davidson, an American of Brazilian descent who speaks Portuguese and who had been a youth care worker at the Tucson shelter Estrella del Norte. When three Brazilian children arrived at the center, officials told the siblings -aged 16, 10 and 6- that their parents were lost, which the children interpreted as dead.

When the 16-year old child ask Davidson about his parents, tears streaming down his face, Davidson decided to quit his job and speak about his experiences at the center in hopes of improving the system.
That was brave. And this is on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):

The CRC calls for all children, including those with disabilities, to be free from violence and abuse, and compels governments to provide them with adequate nutrition and health care.  The Convention also demands that children be equally and fairly treated regardless of gender, race or cultural background, have the right to express their opinions, and have freedom of thought in matters affecting them. 

In addition, the CRC emphasizes the primacy and importance of the authority and responsibility of parents and family, and is consistent with the principles contained in the U.S. Bill of Rights. According to the Convention, children have the right to live with their parents unless it is not in their best interest.

But the USA did not sign the CRC. Anyway... there is more in the article, which is recommended.

4. ACLU Says Less Than Half of Kids Trump Ripped From Parents Will Be Reunited Before Court Deadline

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows and is also about the rights and abuses of small children in the current USA:
Forcing families that have already suffered the immense trauma of being wrenched apart and jailed separately for weeks to wait even longer before they are reunited, the Trump administration is on pace to unify less than half of detained children under five years old with their parents before Tuesday's court-imposed deadline, the ACLU said late Sunday.
And as I have pointed out several times before in this context: The U.S. government has kidnapped these children, precisely as if they are Nazis who kidnapped black children and who promise their return on condition that their black parents sign legal documents that permit their whole families being moved to Africa ¨where they came from¨.

Here is some more:

As Common Dreams reported, a federal judge ruled late last month that the Trump administration must reunite children under the age of five within 14 days and all of the nearly 3,000 children it separated from their parents within 30 days.

Last Friday, the Trump administration complained that the deadline imposed by a federal judge was too "extreme" and could not be met. The judge didn't buy this argument, and the ACLU denounced the Trump administration's efforts to push back the deadline as a shameful attempt to "further prolong the suffering of these families."

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.

5. How Liberal Partisan Politics Strengthen the Right Wing

This article is by William Anderson on Truthout. It starts as follows:
“My mind is appalled at the thought of a political party having control of all the details that go to make up the sum total of our lives.” — Lucy Parsons

The desire to condemn evil and wrongdoing should not be a partisan matter, but the brutality of the present shows us how many people feel otherwise.

In the midst of each despicable advance the right wing makes at the expense of people’s lives, there is always shock and awe from the liberal class. There’s the shock that it’s actually happening, the shock that liberalism is failing to halt right-wing encroachments and the shock that oppression has happened under the direction of Democratic Party politicians as well Republican ones. This says a lot, but a very important takeaway is how liberalism coalesces the very oppressive forces many of its constituents think they are actively opposing by being liberals. The travesty that is immigration policy in the US gives us a very clear picture of contradiction.

Mostly yes, although in fact ¨[t]he desire to condemn evil and wrongdoing¨ has been for the most part a partisan matter always: You condemn the crimes of your opponents, while pretending not to see the crimes your own party nation commits, or indeed not seeing these at all.

And this is as old as human history, although I add that there always were a few who did not, and one of those was George Orwell, who complained in 1945:

"Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no outrage - torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonments without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians, which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side." (The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, vol 3, p. 419, written in May 1945.)

Yes, precisely - but Orwell belonged to a small minority. Here is more from the article:

A creation of the Bush administration, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was one of the sweeping reforms made after the 9/11 attacks. During a time in which war fever was being heavily stoked, the Democratic Party largely went along with virtually everything the Republicans were incentivizing in the name of nationalist fervor. Under the guise of patriotism, the Democrats enabled wars, policies and attitudes that have become some of the most atrocious events seen in our lifetimes.

The responsibility of maintaining empire and continuing violence isn’t one-sided within the US’s two-party system, it’s the only side. Our votes will elect those who enforce hegemony around the globe no matter if we cast them to the right or the relative left. This is how we ended up with ICE and foreign policy that destabilizes other nations abroad, producing unlivable conditions for many people around the globe.

I don´t think I agree with everything I just quoted, but Anderson seems right in saying that ¨the Democratic Party largely went along with virtually everything the Republicans were incentivizing in the name of nationalist fervor¨.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article, and it is still from its beginning:

The migrants, immigrants and refugees who have come or have attempted to come to the US are forced to make the journey through the grate of US politics. They cross the borders of an empire that has long crossed over them. In return, they are treated as if they are criminals for simply doing their best to survive. Though the language of the two parties may differ at times, the end result is the regular extension of empire’s violence, and that has remained the same no matter who is in power.

During the Obama presidency, the Democratic Party showed unabashed support for Obama’s attachment to the policies of the Bush administration that came before him. Whether it was Wall Street bailouts, immigration policy or the “war on terror,” when there was an opportunity to end the unacceptable, it was squandered instead. The Democrats excused their strengthening of Bush-era policy by wrapping atrocity in nicer language. President Obama always made sure to emphasize his record-level deportation apparatus was focusing on “criminals,” as if criminals should have less rights by default; President Trump entered the White House echoing this idea.

Yes indeed. There is a whole lot more in the 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 (!!).
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