IndexNL-Next

Nederlog

May 24, 2019

   Crisis: On Julian Assange (1) & (2), On John Bolton, Nader: Who Gave Us Trump


“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.






Sections

Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from May 24, 2019
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Friday, May 24, 2019.

There will be more about computers and Ubuntu in Nederlog soon, but I am happy to announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, that I installed in 2017, works again as it did before, after 24 hours of misery.

And yesterday I also got a working computer with 18.04 LTS (which is worse than 16.04 LTS because its Firefox also is a menuless horror that I refuse to use, but happily SeaMonkey is not, for it still has it menus and can be installed on 18.04), so I am at present - and after two weeks of struggling - in the possession of two (more or less) decently working computers.

So today there is a more or less common Nederlog, where "common" is the style I developed in 2013.

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 three 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 four crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from May 24, 2019:
1. 18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World
2. Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act on 17 New Counts

3. The Pathology of John Bolton

4. What and Who Gave Us Trump?

The items 1 - 4 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. 18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World

This article is by Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Julian Assange is a dick. It’s important you understand that.

Assange and WikiLeaks revealed the American military’s war crimes, the American government’s corruption and the American corporate media’s pathetic servile flattery to the power elite. So, if you’re a member of our ruling class, you would view those as textbook examples of dickery.

Yes indeed - and no, of course Lee Camp does not think so but writes ironically. Here is some more:

But we are not evolved and this is not Gotham City and average Americans don’t root for the truth. Many Americans cheer for Assange’s imprisonment. They believe the corporate plutocratic talking points and yearn for the days when we no longer have to hear about our country’s crimes against humanity or our bankers’ crimes against the economy. Subconsciously they must believe that a life in which we’re tirelessly exploited by rich villains and know all about it thanks to the exhaustive efforts of an eccentric Australian is worse than one in which we’re tirelessly exploited by rich villains yet know nothing about it.

“Ignorance is bliss” is the meditative mantra of the United States of America.

Yes, I agree - but this poses a serious problem I have not seen discussed since 2013 by anybody: If the "average Americans don’t root for the truth" (which I think is true) and if they believe that “ignorance is bliss” (which I think is also true - and I am talking about average Americans and not about all Americans), then what is the use of democracy?

And what is wrong about Martin Luther King's statement extended to average Americans:
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
But I have never seen either the ignorance or the stupdity being seriously and competently discussed, even though it ought to be obvious these are very important.

Anyway... here is some more:

It is politically inconvenient at this time for the screaming corporate news to remind our entire citizenry what exactly WikiLeaks has done for us. So you won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves—in the same way the mainstream media did not begin every report about Chelsea Manning’s trial with a rundown of the war crimes she helped reveal.

Yes indeed. There follows a list of eightteen - mostly - crimes most of which end by stating that no criminals have been punished in any way but that
Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing them.
And this is a strongly recommended article.

2. Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act on 17 New Counts

This article is by Joe Lauria on Consortium News. The html on Consortium News is truly horrible, so I cannot show links (which you can see by clicking the last link). It starts as follows:
A journalist was indicted under the Espionage Act for the first time in U.S. history on Thursday when the Department of Justice charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Act in a move that opens the way for prosecution of anyone who publishes classified information.

The 37-page indictment charges Assange under four sections of the Act, including Section E for possessing and disseminating classified matter. It charged him with acts common to any investigative journalist:
“(i) circumvent(ing) legal safeguards on information; (ii) provid(ing) that protected information to WikiLeaks for public dissemination; and (iii) continu(ing) the pattern of illegally procuring and providing protected information to WikiLeaks for distribution to the public.”    
Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in London’s Belmarsh prison for skipping bail and seeking asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012 because he feared onward extradition from Sweden to the United States and prosecution under the Espionage Act. He was arrested on April 11 when Ecuador illegally lifted his asylum and let British police onto Ecuadorian territory to carry Assange from the embassy.

The U.S. had until June 12 to add additional charges in its extradition request to Britain. The decision on extradition rests with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who WikiLeaks said “is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the UK and elsewhere.”
Yes, I think that is a decent summary. Here is some more:
The indictment under the Espionage Act demolishes a democratic pretense of freedom of the press in the U.S. and makes all news organizations —indeed any citizen — liable for prosecution for disseminating classified information.

“Notably, The New York Times, among many other news organizations, obtained precisely the same archives of documents from WikiLeaks, without authorization from the government — the act that most of the charges addressed,” the Times reported.

“Though he is not a conventional journalist, much of what Mr. Assange does at WikiLeaks is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations like The New York Times do: seek and publish information that officials want to be secret, including classified national security matters, and take steps to protect the confidentiality of sources,” the Times report on the indictment said.
Yes, I mostly agree, though I do not know what the Times means by writing that Assange "is not a conventional journalist", but OK.

Here is some more:
In a statement, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristin Hrafnsson said:
“This is the evil of lawlessness in its purest form. With the indictment, the ‘leader of the free world’ dismisses the First Amendment — hailed as a model of press freedom around the world — and launches a blatant extraterritorial assault outside its borders, attacking basic principles of democracy in Europe and the rest of the world.”
In a tweet, Hrafnsson added that [s]he took “no satisfaction” in having correctly warned of the Espionage Act prosecution of Assange.
I find no satisfaction in saying ‘I told you so’ to those who for 9 years have scorned us for warning this moment would come. I care for journalism. If you share my feeling you take a stand NOW. Either you are a worthless coward or you defend Assange, WikiLeaks and Journalism. https://t.co/NkUfZWYan8

    — Kristinn Hrafnsson (@khrafnsson) May 23, 2019
Former British ambassador Craig Murray tweeted that “the poison is out.”
The US espionage act charges against Julian Assange for publishing leaked classified information showing US war crimes is a massive attack on media freedoms and free speech.

The poison is out – we always knew this was what we were really fighting.


    — Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) May 23, 2019
Yes again, and this is a strongly recommended article.
3. The Pathology of John Bolton

This article is also by Joe Lauria on Consortium News. The same remarks applies as under item 2. It starts as follows:
I knew John Bolton and interacted with him on a nearly daily basis with my colleagues in the press corps at United Nations headquarters in New York when Bolton was the United States ambassador there from August 2005 to December 2006.

Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN. But that turned out to be the point. It’s been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally.
Yes indeed, although I do not know John Bolton myself at all, which has the setback that while I am a psychologist I cannot judge his degree of "pathology", as I can and did with Donald Trump.

Here is some more:
Bolton possesses an abiding self-righteousness rooted in what seems a sincere belief in the myth of American greatness, mixed with deep personal failings hidden from public view.

He seemed perpetually angry and it wasn’t clear whether it was over some personal or diplomatic feud. He seems to take personally nations standing up to America, binding his sense of personal power with that of the United States.

It is more than an ideology. It’s fanaticism. Bolton believes America is exceptional and indispensible and superior to all other nations and isn’t afraid to say so. He’d have been better off perhaps in the McKinley administration, before the days of PR-sugarcoating of imperial aggression. He’s not your typical passive-aggressive government official. He’s aggressive-aggressive.

And now Bolton is ordering 120,000 troops to get ready and an aircraft carrier to steam towards Iran.
Yes indeed: I agree with the above.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Bolton is no fan of democracy if things don’t go his way. He is a vociferous instigator of the so-far failed U.S. coup in Venezuela and of course Bolton organized the “Brooks Brothers riot” that disrupted the recounting of votes in Florida in the disputed 2000 presidential election.
I say, for I did not know that "Bolton organized the “Brooks Brothers riot” that disrupted the recounting of votes in Florida in the disputed 2000 presidential election."
And this is a strongly recommended article.

4. What and Who Gave Us Trump?

This article is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Donald J. Trump’s presidential ambition has simmered for decades. He was and is a regular TV watcher and saw the changing political landscape. One by one, previous presidents diminished the integrity of the presidency and violated the rule of law, paving the way for Trump’s candidacy.

Bill Clinton was exposed for serial adulteries and abuses of women and lied under oath. This perjury led to him being impeached in the House (though he was acquitted in the Senate). “Hmm,” thought Donald, a serial abuser of women, “Clinton got away with it and was elected twice.” One potentially career-ending violation no longer had the weight it once did.

Then came George W. Bush – selected by the Electoral College and a Republican Supreme Court. “Hmm,” thought Donald to himself, “Even though Gore won the popular vote, Bush won because of Electors in swing states.”  Despite Gore’s crushing loss, the Democratic Party refused to support ongoing Electoral College reform (see nationalpopularvote.com). Once in office, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied repeatedly to start an unconstitutional illegal war with Iraq, which caused huge Iraqi and U.S. casualties and wreaked havoc on the U.S. budget. Bush and Cheney not only got away with these atrocities, but were reelected. A majority of voters believed their lies.  Violating the laws did not matter. “Hmm,” thought Donald to himself, “The President is above the law.” Positions of power and the trampling of laws appealed to Trump, a lawless, failed gambling czar.

Then along came Obama. He too got away with all kinds of slaughter abroad without authority of the Constitution, statutes, or international treaties. He too was reelected. Domestically, Obama did not prosecute any of the big Wall Street crooks that brought down our economy in 2008-2009, even though a vast majority of the population loathed these reckless financiers. With all of these misdeeds and violations of law on full display, Trump a big business crook himself, must have thought that he would not be held accountable. Even better, he knew how to use television to manipulate the media to his advantage.

Yes indeed. This is a good introduction, although I think Reagan's presidency is also relevant to Trump's arisal (and I don't think Nader disagrees).

Here is some more:

These examples are just some of the major ways that past presidents, Democrats especially, handed Trump his opportunity. I describe these and other presidential abuses of power in my recent book, To the Ramparts: How Bush and Obama Paved the Way for the Trump Presidency, and Why It Isn’t Too Late to Reverse Course.

Given these inoculations for breaking social norms and laws, Trump felt he could break additional norms and laws and still secure the Presidency. It almost didn’t work – Hillary Clinton’s campaign bungling lost three key states, which provided Trump a path to the White House. The crazy, antiquated Electoral College sealed the deal.

Yes, I agree. Here is some more:

Emboldened, Trump, with his television knowhow, grasped that many people prefer fiction to non-fiction. Fantasy is big business and it can serve to distract from grim real-life injustices.  Day after day, the mass media proved this point by giving huge time to entertainment compared to news and civic engagements locally and nationally.

Yes, I agree again - although this once again raises the serious problem I discussed above, that I may reformulate by saying asking what is left for - real - democracy if many Americans prefer "fiction to non-fiction" (which is true)?!

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

Today, Trump seems impervious to the many accurate accusations of corruptions and impeachable offenses. He ruthlessly scuttles lifesaving health/safety protections for the American people, undermines law enforcement, and breaks his repeated promises to provide “great” health insurance, “pure” clean air, and jobs for workers displaced by globalization. The norms that restrain politicians and their constitutional duty to “faithfully execute the laws” have been deeply eroded.

I completely agree and this is a strongly recommended article.

Note

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that xs4all.nl 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 3 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 (!!).
       home - index - summaries - mail
7