September  2, 2018

Crisis: The German Neo-Nazis, Chemnitz, U.S. Defense Budget, The Next Crash, Evidence Deleted


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from September 2, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, September 2, 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 September 2, 2018:
1. German Police End March Envisioned as Far-Right Springboard
2. The Riots in Chemnitz and Their Aftermath
3. A Guide to America's Exploding Defense Budget and Military Failure
4. The Next Crash
5. Trump Suppressing 100,000 Pages of Kavanaugh's Record
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. German Police End March Envisioned as Far-Right Springboard

This article is by Adam Pemble and Kirsten Grieshaber on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It starts as follows:
Police in eastern Germany halted an anti-migration protest march that emboldened far-right activists started Saturday hoping would launch a nationwide movement capable of challenging the political establishment.

A trio of nationalist groups held separate daytime rallies in the city of Chemnitz over the Aug. 26 killing of a German citizen, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. The two largest groups also organized a joint nighttime march, thinking a broader force might emerge from the display of unity and take hold.

If the number of people who attended is any gauge, the envisioned far-right movement was in the earliest of embryonic stages. It drew about 4,500 participants, Saxony state police reported before citing security concerns as the reason for ending the event early.

Yes, I think that is correct, including the "the earliest of embryonic stages" - at least, if I judge from the much stronger German students' protests of the later 1960ies and early 1970ies, that I still recall.

Here is more:

The opposing camps clashed in Chemnitz on Monday, the day after the fatal stabbing of the 35-year-old German citizen and the arrests of the migrants on suspicion of manslaughter. Scenes of vigilantes chasing foreigners in the city’s streets have shocked people in others parts of Germany since then.

Police, at times, were unable to control the earlier protests and clashes.

This is also true, to the best of my knowledge. Here is more:

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said Saturday that authorities should investigate the role of networks from the radical far right in spearheading the week’s protests.

“We do not tolerate that right-wing extremists infiltrate our society,” Barley told weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “It’s about finding out who’s behind the mobilization of far-right criminals.”

Local police appeared to have been caught unprepared when the slaying triggered the protests, which attracted crowds openly engaging in Nazi veneration and devolved into violence.

This requires a comment on two partial sentences in what I just quoted, namely "Local police appeared to have been caught unprepared" and "German Justice Minister Katarina Barley" insisting on "It’s about finding out who’s behind the mobilization of far-right criminals":

I see something rather close to a contradiction:

On the one hand, I think it is a virtual certainty that, after 17 years of almost complete freedom of every secret service organization to collect, read, store and sort absolutely everything on every kind of internet computer, and with the same privileges for Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple, I think it is rather certain that almost all the information the German govern- ment's secret services seek, in fact is somewhere on the German secret service organization's disk, although I admit it may only have been read by machines and not by living persons.

On the other hand, this is the way out for ignoring the ignorance of the German police: For various reasons, they may not have known what the German secret service has on their disks about neo-Nazi sympathisers and organizers.

This is a guess of mine, but it is a well-founded guess. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Chemnitz, a city known for its hardened neo-Nazi scene, at first attracted a comparatively weak response to the recent anti-migrant activity.

My reason to be a little more interested in Chemnitz is that I have been there, indeed 54 years ago, when it was still part of the GDR and was called Karl-Marx-Stadt. There is a bit more in the next article, and the present article is recommended.

2. The Riots in Chemnitz and Their Aftermath

This article is by the Spiegel Staff on Spiegel International. This is from not far from its beginning and contrasts what happened in Chemnitz (former Karl-Marx-Stadt) with what happened in two other German cities (which are reviewed in the article, but skipped here):
Then, at 3 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2018, in Chemnitz, Yousif A. from Iraq and Alaa S. from Syria are suspected of having stabbed a 35-year-old Cuban-German man to death. Just hours after the crime, some 800 demonstrators marched through the city, some of them shoving police to the ground while others threatened people who looked like they might be refugees. The next evening, some 6,000 right-wingers and right-wing sympathizers gathered. "We'll get you all," they chanted as some of them stretched out their right arms in the Hitler salute. The message: In Chemnitz, neo-Nazis and hooligans are leading the city's response to the crime.
Yes, and as also explained in the previous article. Here is more:

In Chemnitz, by contrast, a strike force was quickly assembled, made up of neo-Nazis, hooligans, AfD supporters and so-called "concerned citizens." They cast blame on migrants as a group and declared open season on them. The images they created are evocative of an era that Germany had thought it had left behind; they are reminiscent of the racist 1992 attacks in the Lichtenhagen neighborhood of Rostock, which saw a mob set fire to an occupied hostel for Vietnamese workers as neighbors stood by applauding. The mob is back, is the message sent by the images from Chemnitz, just like 26 years ago. We have regressed.

The revulsion over this fact can be heard in many voices, from the chancellor to the German president, from German business leaders to foreign commentators. The ugly German -- racist, xenophobic and full of rage -- is back.
Well, I am not German but Dutch, and in fact I do not recall "the racist 1992 attacks in the Lichtenhagen neighborhood of Rostock" but the neo-Nazis in Chemnitz remind me rather strongly of what happened in Germany in the early 1930ies, that also strongly effected my father and grandfather, who were part of the anti-Nazi resistance in WW II, arrested in 1941, and convicted as "political terrorists" to German concentration camps, where my grandfather was murdered.

Here is some more:
Bautzen, Freital, Heidenau, Clausnitz and now Chemnitz. These places have become shorthand for scenes of enraged crowds, their faces contorted in anger as they chant vulgarities against refugees or the chancellor. They chase down and attack migrants, they set fire to asylum-seeker hostels, they have apparently abandoned human decency itself, along with civilized debate and the political system of representational democracy. They apparently dream of a different model: nationalist, monoethnic, authoritarian and anti-liberal. A bit like Trump, a bit like Orbán.
And a bit like Hitler, for their behavior, their name (neo-Nazis) and their nationality are all like Hitler's supporters of the early 1930ies.

Here is some background information:
It is a disaster for Saxony, a state that, on the one hand, has been remarkably successful. Its economy is doing well, its schoolchildren score well on the international PISA test comparing educational attainment, its tourism industry is flourishing and it has the second-lowest unemployment rate among the five eastern German states. On the other hand, though, it is widely seen as having a neo-Nazi problem. Saxony is the fertile soil out of which Pegida (which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) sprouted, the xenophobic group that has been staging weekly marches against Muslims since autumn 2014. And the group is still going strong in Saxony, with hundreds of sympathizers still taking to the streets each week.
I think this is all factually correct. Here is some more:
Right-wing extremism is a nationwide phenomenon, not a specifically Saxon one. That has been the mantra of Saxony's political leadership for years, whenever the criticism has mounted. It is half true, and half false. Saxony has become a breeding ground of right-wing activists, with right-wing structures having become solidified shortly after German reunification. In no other German state is the AfD so successful: According to the most recent surveys, the party stands to win 26 of the 60 direct mandates in the state in next year's election. Every fourth voter plans to cast their ballot for the right-wing populists, putting the party in second place behind Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Note that in Saxony "Every fourth voter plans to cast their ballot for the right-wing populists".

Here is a little background:

Both of my parents were - intelligent, sincere, but not well-educated - communists 45 years of their lives, and started to be so in the middle thirties because of Nazism. I got - I suppose - a communist education, and until 1964 (when I was 14) I trusted my parents in their conceptions, including that the Soviet Union and its associated countries were socialist, and that this was more or less as Marx and Engels had (roughly) described it.

In 1964 I went with a group of 11 other communist children and a leader of 19 for 5 weeks of holiday to the Wilhelm Pieck Pionier Lager close to the Polish border in the GDR, and there I found very quickly that in fact it was a totalitarian and militaristic camp, where one had to assemble every  morning in military fashion around the flag, and listen to speeches by 7-year old German pioneers that they loved Brehznev, loved his policies, loved his values etc. etc.

I was appalled and refused. After some weeks we were sent, as a group somehow representing Holland (?!) to Karl-Marx-Stadt, where we also visited the house of some prominent German communist who lived there, who looked me - a boy of 14 - silently and privately in the eye with the fiercest hatred I have ever seen in anyone.

In brief, when I came back I totally rejected any notion that the Soviet Union, the GDR etc. were in any sense that I recognized
socialist or humanitarian or free. I regarded them ever since as dictatorships, and indeed also lost my communism totally in 1970, when I was 20.

And while I do not know any direct connection between the hating German of 1964 and the neo- Nazis in 2018, it is a fact that East Germans, if they are over 30, have been raised in a very authoritarian and very totalitarian way, were everyone was constantly controlled by the secret services, and mere difference of values or ideas were sufficient reasons for one's arrest - and these facts do have some relvance to the present happenings in Saxony.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

It is, of course, inaccurate to say that AfD supporters are synonymous with right-wing hooligans. But they do have quite a bit in common: They all believe that they are part of a rebellion against the West, against its established political parties and against the "lying press." Indeed, against the liberal, universal values of an enlightened, cosmopolitan society. The scenes from Chemnitz are merely the ugly symptoms of a gradual process of separation.

The violence in Chemnitz "is the intentionally provoked apex of a development that has been coming for almost 30 years," Christian Wolff, the former pastor of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, writes on his website. "The systematic implementation of ethnonationalist, right-wing nationalist ideas in too many heads and hearts, rejection of liberal democracy, militant xenophobia, suspension of fundamental rights -- and all of it with the acquiescence or even support of the Saxony CDU, consummated by Pegida/AfD and violence-prone neo-Nazis."

Yes indeed. There is a lot more in this article and there also is a follow-up article. This is a recommended article.

3. A Guide to America's Exploding Defense Budget and Military Failure

This article is by Lucian K. Truscott IV on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows (and the following is based on original reporting Truscott IV did from that border):
Every night, weapons destined for the insurgency in Iraq were smuggled from Syria across the berm of earth that stood as the only barrier between the two countries. Money was smuggled in the other direction. The upper-class Sunni gentry of Saddam’s Baath Party was eager to get its cash out of the country before the Shiite majority took charge in Iraq, so garbage bags filled with cash were smuggled every night, strapped to backs of donkeys in long convoys.

The American soldiers stationed at the outpost in Rabihya didn’t know it, but what was happening all around them was the beginning of the Iraqi insurgency that the American military would fight for the better part of the next decade, before the United States pulled its combat troops out of the country in 2011. 
I think this is correct. Here is more:

The U.S. invaded Iraq in March and took Baghdad in three weeks. Eight months later, the “architects” of the war were riding high. At the same moment we were sitting there in Tal Afar having breakfast, Feith was standing in front of this roomful of lobbyists, congressional staffers and defense industry hacks holding forth on the subject of “Transforming the U.S. Global Defense Posture.” Feith was rambling on, spewing macho military strategy-speak about “updating the types, locations, numbers and capabilities of our military forces and the nature of our alliances.” We had to get away from our “Cold War posture,” Feith was saying, when “U.S. forces deployed forward were defensive, tripwire units that were expected to fight near where they were based. The kind of forces used for that mission are not the agile, fast, lean forces we need for the future.”

The sergeant sitting next to me was covered in dried mud and dust. He had gone six weeks in Sinjar without a bath or hot food. Breakfast that morning was his first taste of civilization, and there was Feith on the TV telling him: “We no longer expect our forces to fight in place; rather, their purpose is to project power into theaters that may be distant from where they are based.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” the sergeant yelled at the man on the screen. Shaking his head in amazement, he asked me, “Sir, you got any idea who that asshole is?”

I told him he was Douglas Feith, one of the “architects” of the war who had sent him and the other soldiers over there to Iraq.

“Stupid motherfucker doesn’t know what the fuck he doesn’t know,” the sergeant said between bites.
I think either that sergeant was right or else Feith did know what he was doing: spreading the propaganda for the U.S. Army. I suppose the second possibility is more likely but have no evidence.

Here is more, still on the contrasting opinions of Feith and his soldiers:

Feith was still talking: “We intend to increase combined training for expeditionary operations, for example, to encourage Allied participation in so-called ‘high-end’ U.S. exercises. For this deployability concept to work, U.S. forces must be able to move smoothly into, through, and out of host nations.”

“We been here for 10 fuckin’ months, you idiot,” one of the soldiers yelled.  “Tell me about into and out of this fuckin’ host nation! They’ll be sending our sorry asses back! You can count on it.”

By now, the television screen was covered in bits of egg and buttered toast and jelly. Feith finally reached his grand finish: “Whatever improvements in military effectiveness the actual posture decisions produce, they will serve our interests fully only if they also help sustain and strengthen our ties with our friends, allies and partners around the world. We are confident that they will."
In fact, here is the real mover of the U.S. wars that now are continuing for 17 years:

But that didn’t stop think tanks in Washington like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute and the American Enterprise Institute from lobbying for higher and higher defense budgets. (Douglas Feith is now “director for national security strategies” for the Hudson Institute.) This year, President Trump signed the largest defense budget in our history: $700 billion. The budget includes $13.7 billion for 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which according to CNN are “in service and mission capable only 26 percent of the time.” Not a single F-35 jet has yet to see combat duty.

That real motive are the enormous profits for big corporations involved in the war. (And since Nixon ended the draft, the rich do not risk to loose any of their children in wars the rich make and lead.)

Here is the ending of this article:

We’ve still got exhausted, dusty, hungry sergeants and corporals and privates over there in Iraq. If they’ve got C-Span on the TVs in the mess halls, they’re still listening to defense intellectuals like Douglas Feith giving speeches at those think tanks in Washington, which are still holding symposiums. They’re still talking about our “strategic footprint,” and “pursuing peace through strength” and “offshore balancing” and how “the strength of the unilateral pre-eminence vision is that it appears to provide an opportunity to reassert U.S. leadership and stave off risks for U.S. security in a rebalancing world.” This from Gordon Adams, a “distinguished fellow” at the Stimson Center in Washington, who wrote something called “U.S. Global Engagement and the Military” for the Foreign Policy Association.

Not billions, not tens of billions, not hundreds of billions. Trillions of dollars spent.

Fifteen years in Iraq. Seventeen years in Afghanistan. There is no end in sight.

And there is no end of sight because of - Follow The Money! - the enormous profits made on the "Trillions of dollars spent". This is a recommended article.

4. The Next Crash

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

September 15 will mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and near meltdown of Wall Street, followed by the Great Recession.

Since hitting bottom in 2009, the economy has grown steadily, the stock market has soared, and corporate profits have ballooned.

But most Americans are still living in the shadow of the Great Recession. More have jobs, to be sure. But they haven’t seen any rise in their wages, adjusted for inflation.

Many are worse off due to the escalating costs of housing, healthcare, and education. And the value of whatever assets they own is less than in 2007.

Last year, about 40 percent of American families struggled to meet at least one basic need – food, health care, housing or utilities, according to an Urban Institute survey.  

All of which suggests we’re careening toward the same sort of crash we had in 2008, and possibly as bad as 1929.

Yes indeed: I totally agree. Here is more:

Clear away the financial rubble from those two former crashes and you’d see they both followed upon widening imbalances between the capacity of most people to buy, and what they as workers could produce. Each of these imbalances finally tipped the economy over.

The same imbalance has been growing again. The richest 1 percent of Americans now takes home about 20 percent of total income, and owns over 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.

These are close to the peaks of 1928 and 2007.

I again totally agree. Here is more:

Almost 80 percent of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. In a recent Federal Reserve survey, 40 percent of Americans said they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills if faced with a $400 emergency. 

They’ve managed their debts because interest rates have remained low. But the days of low rates are coming to an end. 

The underlying problem isn’t that Americans have been living beyond their means. It’s that their means haven’t been keeping up with the growing economy. Most gains have gone to the top.

It was similar in the years leading up to the crash of 2008. Between 1983 and 2007, household debt soared while most economic gains went to the top.
And I again totally agree, and have a personal comparison: I live in Holland and very probably have earned the lowest income any Dutchman has earned over the last 50 years (provided they did not go to prison), for everything was minimized for me, while also my "serious chronic disease ME/CFS" was denied to exist from 1979 till 2018.

But even so, I am much better of than 40 percent of Americans (though perhaps I should add that I do not drink, do not go out, and do live very carefully).

Here is the ending of this article:

Ten years after Lehman Brothers collapsed, it’s important to understand that the real root of the Great Recession wasn’t a banking crisis. It was the growing imbalance between consumer spending and total output – brought on by stagnant wages and widening inequality.

That imbalance is back. Watch your wallets.

I think Reich may well be correct, although I like to add that "the growing imbalance between consumer spending and total output" seems to require some sort of banking crisis to become widely know. And this is a strongly recommended article.

5. Trump Suppressing 100,000 Pages of Kavanaugh's Record

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to hold its first confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump's right-wing Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, the Trump White House reportedly directed on Friday that over 100,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh's tenure as an associate White House counsel under former President George W. Bush be withheld from senators.

According to a letter notifying Senate leaders of Trump's directive, which was obtained by Buzzfeed, the White House has decided to withhold documents "including advice on judicial nominations and "advice submitted directly to President Bush; substantive communications between White House staff about communications with President Bush; and substantive, deliberative discussions relating to or about executive orders or legislation considered by the Executive Office of the President."

"In total," Buzzfeed continued, "27,110 of Brett Kavanaugh's documents from his time in the White House counsel's office under Bush—101,921 pages—are not being turned over to senators considering his Supreme Court nomination at the direction of the Trump administration."

I say! And I add: How can Kavanaugh's nomination ever be legal, if it is based on the suppression of no less than 101,921 pages (i.e. quite a few books) of relevant information Senators should see so as to be able to make a reasonable and rational decision on Kavanaugh?!

What Trump is doing is insisting on a nomination of his candidate while his candidate's relevant information is intentionally kept secret. (And no, I don't think this is legal in Holland.)

Here is more:

Activists and legal experts reacted to Friday's news with outrage, arguing the move is further evidence that the White House is working to suppress elements of Kavanaugh's record, which has already been panned as anti-environment, anti-reproductive rights, anti-worker, and thoroughly pro-corporate.

Additionally, according to documents that were released on Friday, Kavanaugh has suggested that limits on individual contributions to political campaigns have "some constitutional problems."

As I indicated, I agree with the "outrage": You cannot nominate a judge for life if books and books and books of relevant information are suppressed as unfit to be seen by the Senators who decide on his nomination.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Despite the secrecy surrounding Kavanaugh's record as well as his quite public right-wing positions, the Democratic caucus has still failed to fully unite against the judge.

According to the Whip the Vote, a coalition of advocacy groups mobilizing against Kavanaugh, 22 Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) still have not vowed to oppose Trump's Supreme Court pick.

Since I believe most Democrats (and most Republicans) are corrupt, I believe what they are really waiting for is how to get as much as possible for themselves out of this nomination. That is not a good foreboding. 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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