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Nederlog

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Crisis: Christian Fascism, Criminology, Intel Vets, Food & Drugs, TiSA



Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from July 25, 2017 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.


2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from July 25, 2017

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. Chris Hedges: Trump and the Christian Fascists

This is by Chris Hedges on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump’s ideological vacuum, the more he is isolated and attacked, is being filled by the Christian right. This Christianized fascism, with its network of megachurches, schools, universities and law schools and its vast radio and television empire, is a potent ally for a beleaguered White House. The Christian right has been organizing and preparing to take power for decades. If the nation suffers another economic collapse, which is probably inevitable, another catastrophic domestic terrorist attack or a new war, President Trump’s ability to force the Christian right’s agenda on the public and shut down dissent will be dramatically enhanced. In the presidential election, Trump had 81 percent of white evangelicals behind him.

Trump’s moves to restrict abortion, defund Planned Parenthood, permit discrimination against LGBT people in the name of “religious liberty” and allow churches to become active in politics by gutting the Johnson Amendment, along with his nominations of judges championed by the Federalist Society and his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants, have endeared him to the Christian right. He has rolled back civil rights legislation and business and environmental regulations. He has elevated several stalwarts of the Christian right into power—Mike Pence to the vice presidency, Jeff Sessions to the Justice Department, Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Betsy DeVos to the Department of Education, Tom Price to Health and Human Services and Ben Carson to Housing and Urban Development. He embraces the white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, greed, religious intolerance, anger and racism that define the Christian right.

Yes, I agree. One reason - there are quite a few more: Read the article! -  is the following from the end page 2 of the article:

Presently, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. public believes in Creationism or “Intelligent Design.” And nearly a third of the population, 94 million people, consider themselves evangelical.

As I have been saying now for fifty years: The main problem for ordinary people is that they are on average both stupid and ignorant. (O, and anonymous!) These days, they also congratulate themselves on their stupidity and ignorance.

Oh well... But this is a recommended article (and a brave one).


2. Criminologist Phil Stinson: Police Shoot & Kill About 1,000 People Every Year in U.S.

This is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
As outrage grows in Minneapolis over the killing of an unarmed white Australian woman, we look at the staggering number of fatal police shootings in the United States. For more, we speak with Philip Stinson, criminologist and associate professor at the Criminal Justice Program at Bowling Green State University.
Actually, what I seemed to see was someone who seems to need a bit of a lift towards full professorship and therefore, like a real Dutch "social democratic" academic, presents his case, fully honorably, but with many academic warnings.

I am sorry if I did not get Stinson correctly, but I do have forty years of experiences with the Dutch "social democrats" who still seem to rule most of the Dutch "universities" (that were very bad in my time, and must be at least twice as bad and ten times as expensive today).

Here is the one fact that is served more or less correctly:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, Phil Stinson, you’ve been developing a database on police shootings nationwide. Could you talk about that database and what your preliminary findings are? And how big of a problem is police shootings in this country, say, compared to other nations?

PHILIP STINSON: Well, one of the problems is, we simply don’t have good data going back too many years. The best estimate that I can give you is that, over the last several years, on-duty police officers shoot and kill someone between 900 to 1,000 times each year. So, two to three times a day in this country, someone is shot and killed. That’s not even including the nonfatal shootings.

And this is why he seems to be talking about it...


3. Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence

This by the VIPS - Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, that includes William Binney, John Kiriakou, Ray McGovern, Coleen Rowley and Kirk Wiebe - and it starts as follows:

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year. 

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?

Executive Summary

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack.
And this article/memo ends as follows:

Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental. The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times. This is our 50th VIPS Memorandum since the afternoon of Powell’s speech at the UN. Live links to the 49 past memos can be found at https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/.

It is well worth reading and recommended.


4. How the Food and Drug Companies Ensure that We Get Sick and They Make Money

This is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Another reason for single-payer health care: The documentary What the Health shows how the lives and health of human beings are considered insignificant, and in many ways threatened, by the pursuit of profits in the meat and dairy and drug industries. 

The corporate disdain revealed by this film is nearly beyond belief. And our 'trusted' watchdog agencies, both non-profit and government, are beholden to the biggest companies, accepting money in return for their silence about the dangers of animal and pharmaceutical products. 

Some of the contentions in the documentary have been disputed, most notably the implication that sugar is not a major factor in diabetes, and that dairy is. Indeed there may be flaws in the documentary. But it clearly reveals the damaging behavior of the businesses and organizations that are contributing to human suffering.

Here is one more quotation:

We Can't Sue the Industries that Make Us Fat and Sick 

The average American has gained 25-30 pounds since 1960, along with the growth of the meat and dairy and sugar industries. But we can't fight the system. The so-called "Cheeseburger Law" bans lawsuits related to industry culpability for our obesity woes. 

We Can't Even Know What's in Our Food 

In a world of common sense, we would have the right to know what we're eating. Just the opposite. The food industry's DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) negated existing GMO labeling laws. 

We Become 'Terrorists' If We Object to Animal Cruelty 

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act denies the free speech rights of animal activists who object to the exploitative practices in animal production 

The Absurdity of the Capitalist Approach to Health 

Our system of health care focuses on symptoms rather than causes. A plant-based diet promotes good health, but thanks to Big Ag and Big Pharma our diets are built around meat and dairy products, and then drugs to fix the inevitable problems.

This is a recommended article.


5. Sleeping Monster: The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and Labor

This is by Lambert Strether on Naked Capitalism. If you want to know what TiSA is about: Read the last four points in the previous article, which is about how healthcare now has become utterly deregulated in the USA, and extend to every business anywhere, which is what the TiSA is about.

This article starts as follows:
In our previous posts in this series (here, here, and here) we treated TiSA as a sort of dream of the collective unconscious of the globalist elite hive mind; underneath it all, it’s what they really want, though expressed in prose both opaque and phantasmogoric. We saw how TiSA’s definition of services is so vague, so subject to the manipulations of The Trade Blob that provides legal and technical services to the global elites, as to make the scope of the agreement totalizing. We saw the global dominance of the forces behind TiSA: Really Good Friends of Services (23 WTO members, including the US and the EU and TeamTiSA (chaired by Citigroup, IBM, UPS, Walmart, MetLife and Liberty Mutual). We looked at how TiSA negotiations will be structured and showed how, through its standstill and ratchet limitations, TiSA seeks to arrest any government policies that do not put markets first (for example, Medicare for All) to create a neoliberal utopia. And we urged a re-orientation from defeating treaties — though defeating TPP, and putting TTIP on hold, are all good things — to defeating the forces behind the treaties, because when a treaty is defeated, The Trade Blob simply breaks it up for spare parts and tries again. In this post — after which I’ll give TiSA a rest, unless driven by events — I want to look at TISA and labor, again using using Professor Jane Kelsey‘s TiSA: Foul Play (PDF) as our guide. Of course matters are as horrible as you would think.
This is a recommended article.
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