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Nederlog

Sunday, August 27, 2017 

Crisis: Wikileaks, Zapatistas, Trump´s Removal, Deep State, Health Matters



Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 27, 2017 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, August 27, 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 [1] 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 (usually) 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 August 27, 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:

This article is by Sam Biddle on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

It used to be easy to cheer on WikiLeaks. But since 2010, many (myself included) have watched with dismay as WikiLeaks slid from the outlet courageous enough to host Chelsea Manning’s data dump to a murky melange of bad-faith propagandizing and newsworthy disclosures. At a time when WikiLeaks and its founder are willing to help push Pizzagate, and unable to tweet about sunglasses sans conspiracy-think, it’s not unfair to view Assange as being motivated as much by his various axes to grind as by a zeal for transparency. But even the harshest WikiLeaks critics should resist the Senate’s attempt to brand the website a “non-state hostile intelligence service” in the 2018 intelligence authorization bill.

First, it seems that I have less against Julian Assange than Sam Biddle does, but this may be due to the fact that I know less about Julian Assange than Sam Biddle. In any case, as far as I am concerned, I look upon Wikileaks and Assange more or less as I did in 2010 or 2013:

I am not quite certain nor quite informed about their politics and their morals, but I do much appreciate that they are courageous enough individuals to publish many things that the whole present American mainstream media do not wish to publish at all, although these things are true and important to know for very many.

Also, Julian Assange has been locked up in the Ecuadorian embassy since August of 2012, on quite irrational grounds, that seem designed to shut him up, get him arrested, and close Wikileaks.

Second, I agree with Sam Biddle that to brand Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” is evil propagandistic bullshit, that also is either quite incomprehensible or else complete nonsense.

In fact, here is Senator Ron Wyden (<-Wikipedia) - who also does not seem to be inspired by much love or liking for Assange - explaining why saying that Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” is dangerous bullshit (my terms), that may serve as propaganda designed to bring Wikileaks down:

The Hill reports that Wyden objected to the “use of the novel phrase” to label WikiLeaks because the ambiguous term “may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets,” adding that the notion the “U.S. government has some unstated course of action against ‘non-state hostile intelligence services’ is equally troubling.” When CIA director Mike Pompeo used the “non-state hostile intelligence service” phrase to describe WikiLeaks in a think tank address in April, the words were equally unclear, and nothing has changed four months later, except the possibility that the language would be become government policy. That’s significant, and should worry you whether you hate WikiLeaks or not.

Yes indeed. And here is lawyer Floyd Abrams quoted:

The broader issue is whether our government should be designating any entity as a non-state hostile intelligence agency. I’m not sure of the intended consequences of such a designation but I’m pretty sure it could open WikiLeaks to threats and perhaps even violence. It has the sound of some official finding, which it is not, with some legal meaning to it, which it is not. So while I wouldn’t object to high ranking intelligence officials harshly criticizing WikiLeaks, I’d stay away from faux official designations.

I completely agree with Abrams. And this is a recommended article, in which there is considerably more.


2. In a Mexico ‘Tired of Violence,’ Zapatista Rebels Venture Into Politics

This article is by Paulina Villeglas on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

The Zapatistas, the most powerful political rebels in Mexico in nearly 100 years, are renouncing armed revolution, after decades of opposing the government, for a simple reason: Mexico is so riddled with violence, they say, that the country cannot handle any more of it.

The decision is a searing commentary on the state of Mexico today, analysts say. The rebels have not reached a peace deal with the government, nor won their longstanding push for indigenous rights. But killings in Mexico are rising so quickly that even a movement rooted in armed struggle feels compelled to back away from violence.

“This shows the extent to which Mexicans are tired of violence,” said Jesús Silva-Herzog, a political-science professor at the School of Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey. “Political radicalism today has to be pacifist because the public, social and economic life in Mexico has been stained with blood for far too long.”

There is a whole lot more in the article, that is recommended. And I quoted this bit, because I think it is quite paradoxical (and for that reason not easy to believe) that ¨the most powerful political rebels in Mexico in nearly 100 years, are renouncing armed revolution¨.

And indeed I do not know whether to believe this or whether - for one example - that the Zapatistas may have been beaten or may risk being beaten by other violent groups operating in Mexico, and for that reason announced they are giving up violence.

Anyway...


3. Will Trump Have to Be Forcefully Removed?

This article is by Bob Brigham on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story. It starts as follows:

An expert on Latin American dictators says President Donald Trump may refuse to leave office.

“What if Donald Trump refuses to leave the presidency peacefully when it’s time for him to go?” Tim Rogers asked at Fusion. “And after watching his deranged cult rally in Phoenix this week, I’m starting to think that Trump could be positioning himself to stay in power at all costs, especially in the case of an impeachment attempt.”

Rogers is an expert on Nicaragua’s Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) and President Daniel Ortega. He has noticed striking similarities.

“Ortega orchestrated his power grab by polarizing the country, dividing the opposition, attacking congress, demonizing the press, forbidding protest, demanding personal loyalty from all government workers, and turning all his public appearances into campaign rallies for his core base of supporters,” Rogers noted. “He institutionalized his cult of personality and normalized the threats of violence and chaos that he could summon at the snap of a finger.”

Well... I guess it will be quite difficult to remove Trump from office (but the sooner this happens the better it is, for I - a psychologist - am firmly convinced he is a madman who cannot be trusted with the nuclear codes, to which he should have no access (but that is impossible in the present circumstances)).

But there are two possibilities (at least):

Either a considerable part of the American institutional more or less democratic institutions, and especially the - independent!! - courts, the police and the military are still standing, mostly independently of Trump and his government, or else these institutions have been mostly destroyed by Trump.

My own guess is that - at present, at least - these institutions are still mostly standing. The article ends as follows (quoting Tim Rogers):

“This is a dangerous moment for the country. Trump has shown no interest in preserving the sanctity of the presidency or the traditions of U.S. democracy. He might not even be familiar with the[m]” Rogers noted. “Trump is only interested in Trump. He’s willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of self-preservation. This is how dictatorships are born.”

Well, yes - but dictatorships are not born by the actions or desires of just one man, even if he has been elected president.

4.  How the Deep State Ties Down Trump

This article is by Alastair Crooke (<-Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

President Trump has had his foreign policy hands and feet tied by the Russia (and Iran) Sanctions Act. He now has been rendered “helpless”: in respect to détente with Russia — gulliverized, spitefully, by his own party, working with the Democrats, to empty Trump’s constitutional prerogatives in foreign policy – and to seize them for Congress.

And in a further humiliation, Trump has been “rolled” by his military minders (Generals James Mattis, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly) on his Afghan policy: he has relinquished civilian oversight of this military expedition in Afghanistan to McMaster and Mattis — the former being the presumed author of the “new” Afghan policy. The President was “rolled” on his foreign military prerogatives too – as Commander in Chief – by his triumvirate of military minders in the White House. The “civilian” leadership has given place to the “military.”

The question is whether these humiliating concessions will appease his opponents sufficiently to allow the President to “live on,” albeit as an incapacitated President, or is this just the hors d’oeuvre? It seems that the entrée may be being planned as the complete discrediting of Trump’s base – ordinary Republicans being lashed to the Trump “Titanic” – to be sunk along with its captain – as “white-supremacists, white bigots and Nazis.”

Ahem. Clearly Alastair Crooke, who is my age but is a former British diplomat and - I quote Wikipedia on him - who used to be ¨a ranking figure in both British intelligence (MI6) and European Union diplomacy¨ - does know considerably more about diplomacy and intelligence than I do, but the above quoted bit goes considerably farther than I have evidence for.

Crooke also asks the following questions:

Here is the point: Will the political zombiefication of President Trump satisfy the two party Establishments? Are they mollified enough, to come together to agree on a budget and a new “clean” debt ceiling (the “ceiling” arrives on Sept. 29)? And, even if achieved, will so-called “normalization” of Trump policies really take the U.S. back to the nirvana of “how things used to be”?

Again I really don´t know, although my own guesses at answers for the first and third questions are ¨No¨. But Alastaire Crooke should give more evidence to support his opinions than he did, in this article.


5. A Stealth Marketer Goes Through the Revolving Door to ... the President's Council of Economic Advisors?!

This article is by Roy Poses MD on Health Care Renewal. This starts as follows:
Stealthy, deceptive systematic marketing, lobbying, and policy advocacy
campaigns on behalf of big health care organizations, often pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, have long been a subject of Health Care Renewal.  A relatively recently revealed example was the stealth marketing campaign used by GlaxoSmithKline to sell its antidepressant Paxil.  This campaign included manipulating and suppressing clinical research, bribing physicians to prescribe the drug, use of key opinion leaders as disguised marketers, and manipulation of continuing medical education.  Other notable examples included Johnson and Johnson's campaign to sell Respirdal (look here),  and the infamous Pfizer campaign to sell Neurontin (look here and here).   Notably, stealth marketing seemed to be one reason for the growing popularity of narcotics (opioids) starting in the 1990s (look here).
I think this is a crisis item, although I am following Health Care Renewal for quite a long time now (at least since 2010) mostly because of my own ill health, which - in my case - has a whole lot to do with the fact that medicine, also in Holland, is no longer the medicine I grew up with:

Modern medical doctors are more stupid, less well educated, and very much more interested in money for themselves than they were in the Sixties and the Seventies, also in Holland (where the premiums for insurance are seven times higher than they were in the Sixties and Seventies, whereas the medical services covered by the insurances are considerably less than they were and keep lessening all the time [2]).

And the situation that is sketched in the above first quote does have several causes, but - it seems to me, at least (and I am a psychologist) - the main reason for the truly frightening health care situation in the USA is eagerness of very many nominal medical doctors to become millionaires through medicine: Very many medical men, and certainly most American psychiatrists, have simply been corrupted, indeed rather a lot like most American politicians, who also got paid a lot by the corporations they should have protected the population against.

There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended. It ends as follows:
I began to think in the years after 2008 that the increasing exposure of stealth marketing (and related stealth lobbying and policy advocacy) campaigns would lead to their eventual decrease.  Never in my wildest dreams in 2008 did I foresee a stealth marketing master transiting the revolving door to be appointed to the President's Council of Economic Advisors.  (But then again, back then I would have laughed out loud at the notion of Donald Trump as President).  I seem to be really bad at prophecy.

We are slipping farther and farther from my ideal of true health care reform.  
I agree with Roy Poses MD (but I know most people are only interested in health care when there own health has broken).

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Notes

[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 1 1/2 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 (!!).

[2] Just one example of the madness that rules medicine in Holland: I am using the same type of glasses since the late 1970ies, that I got for free on my health insurance from the late 1970ies till 2016: In 2016 I had to pay no less than 800 euros (for which I also can buy two quite good and quite recent secondhand computers) for such a bit of technology (that exists since around 1500 A.D.) composed of around 40 centimeters of metal wire and two pieces of plastic...
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