Oct 3, 2016

Crisis: Imperialism, Trump Looser & No Taxpayer, Clinton Dovish, Fake "News"
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The Empire Strikes Back
2. ‘Bombshell’: Thanks to Loopholes, Donald Trump May
     Have Avoided Paying Taxes for 18 Years

3. Clinton Shows a Dovish Side on Nukes
4. Fake News & False Flags: 

This is a Nederlog of Monday, October 3, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is on an article by Chris Hedges on imperialism in South-America: I liked it and have little to say about it; item 2 is about an interesting discovery: Trump lost a billion dollars in 1995, and because the rich have deregulated the rules in such a way that they get what they lost returned from the taxes without paying any taxes, he seems to have paid no taxes whatsoever for 18 years, while restoring his billions; item 3 is about a reported "dovish side" by Hillary Clinton, but I am skeptical (having learned how Obama the progressive before elections turned into Obama the conservative after elections), and it seems the author of the article agrees with me (but still it is a lot better to choose for Clinton as president); and item 4 is about fake news with fake flags that introduce real spying on false pretenses in Iraq (which is quite new in the real spying).

-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice or more to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now works again (!), but I do not know how long it will. ("xs4all" did OK for one - 1 - day, and then reverted to showing very old openings, also at a wrong place, while I had to click several times to see any new file I had added.)

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.


1. The Empire Strikes Back

The first item
today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
  • The Empire Strikes Back
This starts as follows:

A decade ago left-wing governments, defying Washington and global corporations, took power in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador. It seemed as if the tide in Latin America was turning. The interference by Washington and exploitation by international corporations might finally be defeated. Latin American governments, headed by charismatic leaders such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, won huge electoral victories. They instituted socialist reforms that benefited the poor and the working class. They refused to be puppets of the United States. They took control of their nations’ own resources and destinies. They mounted the first successful revolt against neoliberalism and corporate domination. It was a revolt many in the United States hoped to emulate here.

But the movements and governments in Latin America have fallen prey to the dark forces of U.S. imperialism and the wrath of corporate power. The tricks long practiced by Washington and its corporate allies have returned—the black propaganda; the manipulation of the media; the bribery and corruption of politicians, generals, police, labor leaders and journalists; the legislative coups d’état; the economic strangulation; the discrediting of democratically elected leaders; the criminalization of the left; and the use of death squads to silence and disappear those fighting on behalf of the poor. It is an old, dirty game.

This seems all correct to me. I have to be a little careful, simply because I know most about Europe and the USA, but yes: this is as I see it.

Here is more on what seems to be developing now, which mirrors the past:

President Correa, who earned enmity from Washington for granting political asylum to Julian Assange four years ago and for closing the United States’ Manta military air base in 2009, warned recently that a new version of Operation Condor is underway in Latin America. Operation Condor, which operated in the 1970s and ’80s, saw thousands of labor union organizers, community leaders, students, activists, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders, journalists and artists tortured, assassinated and disappeared. The intelligence chiefs from right-wing regimes in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and, later, Brazil had overseen the campaigns of terror. They received funds from the United States and logistical support and training from the Central Intelligence Agency. Press freedom, union organizing, all forms of artistic dissent and political opposition were abolished. In a coordinated effort these regimes brutally dismembered radical and leftist movements across Latin America. In Argentina alone 30,000 people disappeared.

So that was a view of the past, that may repeat itself now.

Chris Hedges interviewed Guillaume Long, who is Ecuador’s minister of foreign affairs and human mobility. Here is Long on "neoliberalism":

Long said the neoliberal economic policies of the 1980s and ’90s were profoundly destructive in Latin America. Already weak economic controls were abandoned in the name of free trade and deregulation. International corporations and banks were given a license to exploit. “This deregulation in an already deregulated environment” resulted in anarchy, Long said. “The powerful people had even less checks and balances on their powers,” he said.

“Neoliberalism is bad in most contexts,” Long said when we spoke in New York. “It’s been bad in Europe. It’s been bad in other parts of the world. It has dismantled the welfare state. In the context where we already have a weak state, where institutions are not consolidated, where there are strong feudal remnants, such as in Latin America, where you don’t really have a strong social contract with institutions, with modernity, neoliberalism just shatters any kind of social pact. It meant more poverty, more inequality, huge waves of instability.”

I agree with all of that, except that I am more negative about "neoliberalism" (itself a propaganda name rather than a real and proper name): I think it means either neoconservatism (of the most radical kind also) or else simply plain neofascism.

And I do not know any evidence that there is any context in which "neoliberalism" worked well for the poor or for the middle class.

Apart from that, I agree. Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:

Corporate leviathans and the imperialist agencies that work on their behalf are once again reshaping Latin America into havens for corporate exploitation. It is the eternal story of the struggle by the weak against the strong, the poor against the rich, the powerless against the powerful, and those who would be free against the forces of imperialism.

Yes, indeed. And this is a recommended article.

2. ‘Bombshell’: Thanks to Loopholes, Donald Trump May Have Avoided Paying Taxes for 18 Years

The second item is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
  • ‘Bombshell’: Thanks to Loopholes, Donald Trump May Have Avoided Paying Taxes for 18 Years

This starts as follows:

Amid the ongoing political uproar over Donald Trump's undisclosed tax records, the New York Times dropped a bombshell late Saturday when it reported that, due to a staggering loss of $916 million in 1995, it is possible that the Republican presidential nominee has not payed taxes in nearly two decades.

Times reporter Susanne Craig obtained three pages from Trump's 1995 tax returns—one page of a New Jersey nonresident return, one page of a Connecticut nonresident return, and a New York State resident income tax return—by way of an anonymous mailing, with a return address listed as Trump Tower.

The documents, verified by Trump's then-accountant Jack Mitnick, report a loss of $915,729,293 for that year. Tax experts hired by the Times confirmed that "tax rules that are especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period."

I say! This means that if you are rich enough to loose nearly a billion dollars, as Trump did in 1995, then you can, under the "neoliberal" (really: neoconservative or neofascist) rules for the rich that the rich have instituted for themselves since Reagan became president in 1980, get totally rid of that gigantic loss, by not having to pay nearly a billion in taxes afterwards.

In other words: If I - who is very poor - loose a 100 or a 1000 dollars (or euros), I have lost them; if an American billionaire (?!) looses a billion dollars, he gets the billion dollars back in terms of taxes he totally does not have to pay, even though he still is a billionaire.

That is "neoliberalism". That is the fruit of all deregulations that started under Reagan. And that is how the very rich steal their riches from the many poor: Either they invest and make a profit, and they own the profit; or they invest and make a loss, and the total loss, also if it is a billion, gets totally restored by not having to pay any taxes until the total loss has been totally restored.

Here is the New York Times quoted on "the technique":

The provision, known as "net operating loss," or "N.O.L.," allows a dizzying array of deductions, business expenses, real estate depreciation, losses from the sale of business assets and even operating losses to flow from the balance sheets of those partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations onto the personal tax returns of men like Mr. Trump. In turn, those losses can then be used to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income from, say, book royalties or branding deals.

Better still, if the losses are big enough, they can cancel out taxable income earned in other years. Under I.R.S. rules in 1995, net operating losses could be used to wipe out taxable income earned in the three years before and the 15 years after the loss.

In brief, this is how Trump may have avoided paying any taxes whatsoever during 18 years:

While he still was supposed to be a mega-billionaire, the only thing that counts is his income, and if he looses a billion on some operation then, in spite of his other billions, he gets the billion back from not having to pay any taxes on anything for 18 years.

That is how the rules have been rigged in the USA. To conclude this, here is
Clinton's campaign manager:

"There it is," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in response to Saturday's report, "This bombshell report reveals the colossal nature of Donald Trump's past business failures and just how long he may have avoided paying any federal income taxes whatsoever. In one year, Donald Trump lost nearly a billion dollars. A billion. He stiffed small businesses, laid off workers, and walked away from hardworking communities. And how did it work out for him? He apparently got to avoid paying taxes formerly two decades—while tens of millions of working families paid theirs. He calls that 'smart.' Now that the gig is up, why doesn't he go ahead and release his returns to show us all how 'smart' he really is?"

Actually, Donald Trump is not smart: First, he looses nearly a billion. Second, using the rules for the rich and the deregulations others have introduced to save the rich, he gets the billion back by not having to pay any taxes (on his supposed other billions) until the billion he lost has been returned in taxes he totally avoids paying over his other billions.

From the rich, for the rich, by the rich: The present USA. (And no: Trump will not save the non-rich: he will only save himself, and perhaps some other rich.)

And this is a recommended article.

3. Clinton Shows a Dovish Side on Nukes

The third item is by Jonathan Marshall on Consortiumnews:
  • Clinton Shows a Dovish Side on Nukes

This starts as follows:

Whoever is hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails just did her a big favor, at least with anti-war critics: One newly released message reveals her skepticism about wasteful and dangerous spending on new nuclear weapons in the name of “modernization.” It’s a refreshing change from her usual hawkish stand on national security.

An email leaked to the conservative Washington Free Beacon includes an audio file of Clinton’s remarks at a private fundraiser in McLean, Virginia, last February. Asked by a former senior Pentagon official about her willingness to cancel plans for a next-generation nuclear cruise missile program, she replied, “I certainly would be inclined to do that.”

“The last thing we need are sophisticated cruise missiles that are nuclear armed,” Clinton added.

I say. Then again, I am very doubtful, since anything you hear on the news these days may have been planted there (in fact, though this is never admitted) by some secret service, and the same applies to this.

Indeed, the reasons for my skepticism are especially that Obama, until he was elected, also was very much for peace and against weapons, and as soon as he was elected totally changed course, and now has introduced his plan "to spend more than $1 trillion over the next three decades on new land, sea, and air-launched nuclear weapons".

So the peace-president turned out to be a very handy very major liar who turned out to be a war-president giving a trillion dollars to the Pentagon.

And since Obama is a Democrat as is Clinton, and Clinton certainly cannot be trusted, I do not know whether Hillary Clinton's emails were really hacked, or
were only "hacked" to give her some more popularity, until she has been elected.

Here is some more on the trillion dollars Obama intends to give to the Pentagon (and take from the people, who have to pay this in taxes, that is, unless they are rich):

The LRSO program, in turn, is part of the Obama administration’s grandiose plan to spend more than $1 trillion over the next three decades on new land, sea, and air-launched nuclear weapons. That plan calls for building 12 new nuclear-armed submarines, 100 long-range strategic bombers armed with a new class of bombs, and at least 400 silo-based ballistic missiles, in addition to the new cruise missiles.

Here is the reply of the Pentagon to criticism:

To such criticisms, the Pentagon has argued chillingly that the new cruise missiles will give the United States greater “flexibility” in fighting a nuclear war — contrary to President Reagan’s common-sense dictum that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Which seems to entail that the Pentagon either knows or very seriously reckons with a nuclear war, although Reagan was quite right in saying that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought".

And in fact Jonathan Marshall ends his article as I started my review:

To be sure, history gives little reason for optimism that Clinton would follow through as president on her concerns.

President Obama’s transformation from an eloquent advocate of a nuclear-free world to a supporter of unprecedented nuclear spending suggests that the military-industrial complex remains a powerful force.

Yes, indeed: Obama before being elected seemed to be a wholly different man from Obama after he was elected, and probably the same applies to Hillary Clinton.

So why vote Clinton? Because she is not mad and is not a neofascist or neoconservative.

This is a recommended article.

4. Fake News & False Flags:

The fourth and last item today is by Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:
  • Fake News & False Flags:

This starts as follows (and I shortened the title):

The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.

Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.

The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking US military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.

Bell Pottinger's former chairman Lord Tim Bell confirmed to the Sunday Times, which worked with the Bureau on this story, that his firm had worked on a “covert” military operation “covered by various secrecy agreements.”

What I am especially concerned with are (boldings added) the "fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them": That is a style of conducting a war that seems quite new, not so much in producing fake reports that are totally different from what they purport to be, as in the ability of tracking anyone who watched them.

As to "Lord Tim Bell" and his firm, they are characterized as follows in the article:

Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq, he said.

Bell, one of Britain’s most successful public relations executives, is credited with honing Margaret Thatcher’s steely image and helping the Conservative party win three elections. The agency he co-founded has had a roster of clients including repressive regimes and Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president.

There is this on who Bell etc. cooperated with:

The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus – then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq – and on occasion by the White House, Wells said.

Bell Pottinger produced reams of material for the Pentagon, some of it going far beyond standard communications work.

And there is this on the process of producing faked messages:

There were three types of media operations commonly used in Iraq at the time, said a military contractor familiar with Bell Pottinger’s work there.

“White is attributed, it says who produced it on the label,” the contractor said. “Grey is unattributed and black is falsely attributed. These types of black ops, used for tracking who is watching a certain thing, were a pretty standard part of the industry toolkit.”

There is quite a lot more in the article, which is recommended.

[1]  Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all"destroy (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

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