July 12, 2018

Crisis: On NATO, Sick Sadism, Scheer´s Objections, On Nuclear War, The Rich Benefitted


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from July 12, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, July 12, 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 12, 2018:
1. “What Good Is NATO?” Trump Asks, Putting U.S. Commitment to
     Anti-Russia Alliance In Doubt
2. As Trump Admin Misses Deadline to Unite Families, HHS Head Calls
     Jailing Kids an Act of “Generosity”

3. When Resistance Becomes Capitulation: A Response to an Open Letter
     in The Nation

4. Global Survey Reveals Six in Ten People Think World More Dangerous
     Place Since Trump Took Power

5. Guess Who Benefits From Republican Tax Cuts?
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. “What Good Is NATO?” Trump Asks, Putting U.S. Commitment to Anti-Russia Alliance In Doubt

This article is by Robert Mackey on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Donald Trump threw the NATO summit in Brussels into chaos on Wednesday by pressing send on an inflammatory tweet in which he demanded that Germany and other European nations should all-caps “IMMEDIATELY” increase their spending on defense.

What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.

— Donald J. Trump
Well... what good is a sadist, a madman, a racist and a neofascist as president of the USA? I sincerely and deeply hope this horrible man dies as soon as possible. And in case you disagree: I am a psychologist, and Trump is much more probably than not a madman.

Here is some more on Trump´s insanities:
By claiming that the U.S. “is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on trade,” Trump returned to the complaint he first aired in 1987, in an open letter attacking the Reagan administration for not requiring American allies to pay more for their defense.

Trump posted the tweet after informing other NATO leaders that he wanted them to spend twice the previously agreed target of 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense.

At the start of the day, Trump had dispensed with polite formalities and stunned the alliance’s leader by claiming that “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia” as a result of a new pipeline to import Russian natural gas.
And in case you missed it:

In one part of his monologue, Trump claimed, inaccurately, that Germany would be buying “70 percent of their energy from Russia.” According to the German government, just 9 percent of the country’s energy needs come from Russian natural gas.

As I said: The sooner this madman is dead - provided this does not happen in a nuclear conflict - the better it is. O, and as to Trump´s racism and sadism, see the next item:
2. As Trump Admin Misses Deadline to Unite Families, HHS Head Calls Jailing Kids an Act of “Generosity”

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
The Trump administration failed to meet a court-imposed deadline Tuesday to reunite all of the children under the age of 5 whom immigration officials took from their parents at the border and then sent to jails and detention centers across the country. Only 38 of the 102 children under 5 have been reunited with their parents, some of whom say their young children did not even recognize them at first after the traumatic, protracted separation. On Tuesday, Judge Dana Sabraw
reiterated that all separated children—3,000 in total—must be reunited with their parents by July 26, saying, “These are firm deadlines; they are not aspirational goals.” On Tuesday night, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told CNN that the United States was acting “generously” toward the migrant children. For more, we speak with Lomi Kriel, immigration reporter for the Houston Chronicle, and Barbara Hines, an immigration lawyer and founder of the University of Texas Immigration Law Clinic.

Yes indeed. And here is Juan González on the racist sadist Trump:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Trump administration failed to meet a court-imposed deadline Tuesday to reunite all children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the border. According to the government, just 38 children out of the 102 children under the age of 5 have been reunited with their parents. Attorney Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the Trump administration for missing the deadline.
I want to insist again that Trump´s government has kidnapped these 3000 children, and it seems even as if it has kidnapped quite a large number forever.

Here is more:

AMY GOODMAN: Over 60 children under the age of 5 remain separated from their parents, as well as nearly 3,000 children over the age of 5. On Tuesday, Judge Dana Sabraw reiterated that all separated children must be reunited with their parents by July 26. He said, quote, “These are firm deadlines; they are not aspirational goals.” On Tuesday night, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told CNN the United States was acting generously toward the migrant children.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY ALEX AZAR: It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally.

Sorry but a man like the stinking liar Alex Azar is a sub-human sado-fascist compared to my father and my grandfather. (Both anti-Nazis who were convicted to concentration camp imprisonment because of their resistance. My grandfather was murdered; my father was - eventually - knighted.)

Here is more on the sub-human sado-fascist Azar:

AMY GOODMAN: Secretary Azar went on to explain the delays in reuniting the other children with their parents.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY ALEX AZAR: We could put children back with individuals who are murderers, kidnappers, rapists or are not their parents, but we’ve worked with the court to ensure that we do our duty, which is to protect child welfare and ensure that they are in fact that.-
Yes: Their parents are ¨murderers, kidnappers, rapists or are not their parents¨, in your words. I simply say you are a sub-human sadist, and a governmental torturer and a gross liar.

Here is one example of how Azar´s and Trump´s men sadistically abuse the parents, from whom they kidnapped their very small children:

YESSICA: [translated] They told us, “You are criminals. You will be imprisoned, and your kids will be given up for adoption.” They yelled at us so badly that our kids got scared. They told us to lay our kids on the floor. At midnight, they came to pick up the kids. There was a mom breast-feeding her baby, and one of the officers told her she wasn’t an animal to be taking her breast out like that, and they took her baby. They cuffed her and chained her in front of the kids. What they’ve done is horrible.

I have no information on my son. It’s been more than 50 days since I last heard of him. I call, and no one gives me any information. I can’t even sleep. I wake up, and my heart is beating so fast. I can’t even breathe. They told me my son is somewhere in New York. But no one answers the phone when I call. There are so many mothers like me, that have no idea where their kids are and that are still in the detention center. Never did I imagine it was going to be like this, that they would take our kids. Our kids have no fault for the mistakes the adults make.

Quite so, and this is a strongly recommended article in which there is a lot more.
3. When Resistance Becomes Capitulation: A Response to an Open Letter in The Nation

This article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Editor’s note: The Nation contributor Norman Solomon, who has written for Truthdig, drew our attention to the magazine’s publication Wednesday of an open letter signed by multiple scholars, diplomats, politicians, writers and activists calling for “secure elections and true national security.” Here is Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer’s response to the letter, followed by its full text.

While The Nation deserves credit for this important effort, and I am a huge fan of the magazine’s editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, I find this statement to be an inadequate response to the jingoistic blather of the Democratic Party, and of course the GOP leadership.

I say, and indeed I had no idea.

Well... I generally like Robert Scheer, without always agreeing with him, but then again the letter Scheer criticizes has been signed by a quite a few famous or well-known persons whom I also like (again without always agreeing with them), such as Noam Chomsky, Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Norman Solomon, Gloria Steinem and Katrina vanden Heuvel, and quite a few more.

A difference of opinions, and possibly a conflict between leftists!

I have read the letter (repeatedly, and you can find it on Truthdig, directly below´s Scheer´s response) and I think I agree more with Scheer than with the signers, and my reason is mostly that the letter seems mostly written from an American perspective while trying to be objective and neutral.

You may argue that these those who signed are all Americans and that if you try to convince someone it usually does not help to insist on all your own values, both of which are also true.

Here are parts of Scheer´s reply:

What the statement’s opening paragraph woefully ignores is the harsh reality that the U.S. political system is far less vulnerable to hacking attacks from any foreign source than the rest of the world’s nations are from such attacks by the United States—including surveillance of world leaders, such as the Obama administration’s tapping of Angela Merkel’s personal cellphone. The NSA probably gets an alert every time Putin snores.

I think this criticism is correct. It also seems to assume that the USA´s NSA can tap (almost)  everybody´s cellphone, including that of Angela Merkel (which has happened, in case you forgot that), and possibly also Putin´s, although - of course! - no one knows except the head of the NSA and a few others.

Scheer extends his criticism as follows:

When it comes to meddling in other nations’ histories, we wrote the book. Surely, the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee know that. Ask some of the experts who signed this letter about the U.S. attempts to undermine Mikhail Gorbachev’s reform efforts that led to the coming to power of the ever-drunk
Boris Yeltsin, who in desperation later picked Vladimir Putin to be his vice president and then to succeed him.

Here I agree with the facts Scheer refers to, but I doubt the past of around 30 years ago is very relevant today, and especially in a brief letter.

Then there is this:

Instead of acknowledging their own responsibility for the angst in America, the Democrats have countered the demagogue in chief’s long list of scapegoats to blame for our problems, beginning with immigrants, with an even more absurd and much shorter “list” of their own: Putin did it!

Thus was born the red-baiting revival of the Cold War—but without a Red to attack, desperately offering up Putin, a born-again Russian Orthodox and Peter the Great clone, to explain away the Democratic leadership’s own well-deserved repudiation in the last election. Trump ruthlessly exploited the pain in America; the Clintonistas blindly ignored it.
Here I should first mention that the open letter Scheer criticizes does not mention either the Democrats or the Republicans, but will - probably - be read as having been written mostly by supporters of the Democrats.

And I agree with Scheer that the Democrats´ response to Hilary´s loss of the presidency to Trump still seems mostly ridiculous to me (and probably to Scheer as well), even while I do not deny that the Russians did some things - but the things for which there is evidence that they did them amount to very little indeed. (And the rest must be considered propaganda so long as it is without evidence.)

Besides, I also agree with Scheer that Putin - whatever you think about him - is not a leader of a socialist or quasi-socialist country, but of a capitalist country, which in itself should relieve a considerable amount of the tensions - but instead, he has been accused of doing all manner of bad things, indeed especially by the Democrats, and of behaving as-if he were a ¨socialist¨.

Here is the last bit that I quote from Scheer´s response:
The Democrats are now the party of warmongers, and no clearer evidence is needed than the tweet from their Senate leader, Charles Schumer, issued as Donald Trump was en route for his eventual meeting with Putin, saying Trump “is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies … his duty is to protect the American people from foreign threats, not to sell out our democracy to Putin.” This is bizarre behavior on the part of the top Democrat in the Senate and reason enough never to trust the Democrats to be a “lesser evil” restraining force. Not back when Truman dropped those bombs, or when Johnson killed millions in Vietnam, or when both senators from New York endorsed George Bush’s regime change orgy. The same two senators—Schumer and Hillary Clinton—confused Wall Street with Main Street, ending the progressive tradition of their party and leaving aspiring neofascist Trump to harvest the populist discontent that resulted.
I mostly agree with Scheer, although for me both the Republicans and the vast majority of the Democrats, who are probably moved and paid by their lobbyists, are both guilty of all the wars the USA started since 2001.

Finally, here is one more reason why I agree more with Scheer: I do not think that the letter that
Chomsky, Drake, Ellsberg, Solomon, Steinem and others signed and sent has more than a very small chance of ever being answered, and a near zero chance of being followed.

In these circumstances,
I think it would have been reasonable to be a bit more critical of the USA and of both major American political parties.

4. Global Survey Reveals Six in Ten People Think World More Dangerous Place Since Trump Took Power

This article is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Ahead of mass protests planned in the UK to confront "the nuclear warmonger of our age," a worldwide survey focused on global stability and the trends of governance has found a majority of people believe the planet has become a riskier and more dangerous place since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected in 2016.

The results of the survey (pdf), conducted by the Global Challenges Foundation, show that people throughout the world perceive the president as a destabilizing force and "six in ten consider the world more dangerous in 2018 than 2 years ago. Politically-motivated violence was listed as the number one global risk by 88 percent of all respondents, while weapons of mass destruction were listed by 85 percent."

I say, for I did not know this. Also, I agree with the majority, although indeed I am not a big fan of most statistics. (I know a fair amount of statistics, and my criticism is too complicated to even attempt to summarize here, but one important part of it was already listed by George Orwell: You generally have no idea whatsoever of any of the variables that could have been listed as also relevant but are not, whereas the variables that are listed often are two or three, moving in one or two dimensions.)

Anyway. Here are a few of the key findings:

Among the key findings:

  • Respondents are most likely to say that issues related to violent conflict require urgent response, namely usage of weapons of mass destruction (64%) and politically motivated violence and conflict leading to war (61%);
  • Seven adults in ten (69%) think that a new supranational organisation needs to be created  to respond to global risks, similar to 2017 (71%). Issues relating to conflict and war are seen as most warranting the creation of a new organisation - 30% for weapons of mass destruction and 20% for politically motivated violence - both issues traditionally considered to be the remit of the UN. 16% of respondents think that a new supranational  organisation is needed to fight climate change, with 23% in Sweden agreeing; and
  • 74% of respondents agree that politicians are  not doing enough to combat climate change, with  two in five (42%) strongly agreeing. Respondents  in India (84%) and South Africa (82%) are most  likely to say that they are not doing enough, and  respondents in Australia and the US are the least  likely (both 68%
I agree mostly, and while I don´t think this research will help much, it is of some help to know that most agree with me about the risks of (nuclear) war.

5. Guess Who Benefits From Republican Tax Cuts?

This article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts as follows (and this time I copied the accompanying graphic, simply because it is quite convincing):
In news that will shock no one, the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy has tallied up the results of all the Republican tax cuts since 2000 and concluded that … most of it went to the rich. The average rich household today pays nearly $100,000 less in taxes than they would under the Clinton-era tax code, while the working and middle classes pay about $1,000 less:
                   [Clicking on the image moves you to its source]

ITEP figures that total taxes paid in 2018 are about $600 billion less than they would be if we had just left the tax code alone. That’s nearly the entire federal deficit projected for this year.

This shows The Goodness of Trump´s Heart, so to speak (and the graphics seem to be in scale), namely for the few rich like himself. 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 (!!).
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