This is a Nederlog
of Wednesday, December 9, 2015.
This is a fairly small crisis file. (Yesterday
I wrote nearly all of the circa 70 Kb on my autobiography, which was
rather a lot.) There are 4 items in this file: item 1
is about Glenn Greenwald's reaction to Trump's proposal to ban muslims
from entering the USA; item 2 is about a video with
Chris Hedges, that I interpret as 'democracy is dead, in the US'; item 3 is more about Trump (and is not quite
consistent); and item 4 is about Robert Reich, who
correctly points out that the rich have bought American
democracy, but who also is not quite consistent (for he seems to think
that the rich still can be stopped: no, for they succeeded).
1. Donald Trump’s “Ban Muslims” Proposal is Wildly Dangerous
But Not Far Outside the U.S. Mainstream
The first item is by Glenn Greenwald. I took the one on Common Dreams,
but it is also on The Intercept (and elsewhere):
Hours after a new
poll revealed that he’s trailing Ted Cruz in Iowa, GOP presidential
candidate Donald Trump issued a statement advocating
“a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States
until our representatives can figure out what’s going on.” His
spokesperson later clarified
that this exclusion even includes Muslim-American citizens who are
currently outside the U.S. On first glance, it seems
accurate to view this, in the
words of The Guardian, as “arguably the most extreme
proposal to come from any U.S. presidential candidate in decades.”
I think this may be a correct association:
That Trump trailed Cruz, and that Trump a few hours later made a speech
in which he wants to prohibit all Muslims - including American Muslims
who travelled outside the USA - to enter the United States.
And I think Glenn Greenwald is also quite
correct in pointing out that some writers in the New York Times and the
New York Daily News who wrote that critics of Trump were
"overreacting" because Trump would never win the presidential elections
were much too easy on Trump.
Surely, that was underreacting, and Glenn
Given that an ISIS attack in Paris
just helped fuel
election victory of an actually fascist party in France, it’s a bit
mystifying how someone can be so sanguine about the
likelihood of a Trump victory in the U.S. In fact, with a couple
of even low-level ISIS attacks successfully carried out on American
soil, it’s not at all hard to imagine. But Trump does not need to win,
or even get close to winning, for his rhetoric and the movement that
he’s stoking to be dangerous in the extreme.
Yes. If there are some Isis attacks on
American soil, Trump might win the elections, and in any case his
rhetoric is dangerous.
Glenn Greenwald ends his article as
All that said, it’s important not to
treat Trump as some radical
aberration. He’s essentially the American id, simply channeling
pervasive sentiments unadorned with the typical diplomatic and PR
niceties designed to prettify the prevailing mentality. (...) Whatever
else you want to say about him, Trump is a skillful entertainer, and
good entertainers – like good fascist demagogues – know
I certainly do not think that Trump is a "radical
aberration" in the Republican party, and he may
not be one either when the Democrats are also taken into consideration.
But I am a bit doubtful about him being "the
though that is mostly because of the Freudianism (which I think is
quite unclear, also in Freud). And I am somewhat doubtful about Trump's
being "a skillful entertainer": He does not entertain me, and I find both his
language and his poses quite stupid.
Then again, this last fact may be mostly me, though I think I
am correct when I say that Donald Trump is not intelligent - he
merely inherited a great amount of money.
VIDEO: ‘Days of Revolt’ With Chris Hedges: The Fracking Revolution Must
Be Local The second
item is by Jenna Berbeo on Truthdig:
Indeed this introduces a
video, which is worth seeing. This is from the
beginning of the article:
Linzey, the executive director and
senior legal council
for CELDF, explains that corporations can pre-empt or nullify community
actions or can use their corporate constitutional rights to sue
municipalities that attempt to pass laws to ban fracking projects.
“It’s almost like a myth in this country
that we have the
power to decide the fate of our own communities,” Linzey explains. “We
don’t. And it’s basically because of this collection of corporate law
and power that’s exercised against communities.”
“People think we have a fracking problem,”
Linzey goes on
to explain. “It’s not. It’s a democracy problem. It’s that it doesn’t
matter what we want at the local level. It doesn’t matter that we don’t
want fracking or corporate factory farms or corporate water
withdrawals. It doesn’t matter because we are under a system of laws
that doesn’t care what we want as a community.”
I think Linzey is quite correct, and I like
to point out that the corporatists have been intrigueing and investing since
1980 or before to reach the position they currently have,
where they effectively have left democracy, and make most of
the laws by themselves, which are then made into laws by corrupt
politicians. (And this is called plutocracy
The video is here:
3. With Anti-Muslim Bombast, Trump Doubles Down on
third item is by Deirdre Fulton on Truthdig and originally on Common
GOP presidential front-runner Donald
Trump is doubling down on his
xenophobic remarks about Muslims, even as they provoke widespread
outrage and condemnation across the political spectrum.
On Tuesday, Trump defended his fascist plan for a “total and
complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by comparing
it with President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to intern Japanese
Americans during World War II.
“This is a president who was highly
respected by all,” Trump said in morning TV interviews on Tuesday. “If
you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”
Actually, the last paragraph, in which Trump
is quoted (which I also saw on video) shows why it is difficult
for me to take Trump seriously: the argument he gives is plainly both very
vague and quite illogical.  (And this is
not limited to this argument of Trump: it is - in so far as I
saw or read Trump - typical.)
Glenn Greenwald also gets quoted:
“[I]t’s important not to treat
Trump as some radical aberration,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote on Tuesday. “He’s essentially the American id,
simply channeling pervasive sentiments unadorned with the typical
diplomatic and PR niceties designed to prettify the prevailing
mentality. He didn’t propose banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.
because it’s grounded in some fringe, out-of-the-mainstream ideas. He
proposed it in part to commandeer media attention so as to distract
attention away from his rivals and from that latest Iowa poll, but he
also proposed it because he knows there is widespread anti-Muslim fear
and hatred in the U.S.”
In fact, this is not quite consistent
with the earlier passage from this article that I quoted: Either
Trump is saying what many Americans think or else there was "widespread outrage and condemnation across the political
spectrum", but not both, it seems to me.
This starts as follows (and comes with a
video of 2 m 50 s that's worth seeing):
According to an investigation by
the New York Times, half of all the money contributed so far to
Republican presidential candidates—$176 million—has come from just 158
families, along with the companies they own or control.
Who are these people? They’re
almost entirely white, rich, older and male—even though America is
increasingly black and brown, young, female, and with declining
According to the report, most
of these big contributors live in exclusive neighborhoods where they
private security guards instead of public police officers, private
facilities rather than public parks and pools.
Most send their kids and grand kids
to elite private schools rather than public schools. They fly in
and get driven in private limousines rather than rely on public
Yes, indeed (and there is more).
My problem is mostly that -
currently - the rich have won, which means that democracy is
fundamentally dead, and it has
been replaced by plutocracy (of the 158, mentioned above, for example),
that meanwhile also seems to have corrupted or convinced most of the
legislature to adopt or interpret laws so that only the (very) rich
And again I point out that this defeat of
democracy has been planned since the 1970ies, and has mostly succeeded
already under Reagan and Clinton.
Here are Reich's final words (with a verbal mistake corrected):
These people [..] after all, are
living in their own separate society, and they want to elect people who
represent them, not the rest of us.
How much more evidence do we need that our
system is in crisis?
How long before we make it work for all of us instead of a handful at
We must not let them buy our democracy. We must get big money out of
I disagree for the most part.
The first paragraph simply is false: The
rich are not "living in their own
separate society". The (very) rich are
living in the society in which everyone lives, but they have very much
more money and very much more power than almost anyone else, and they have used their
money to buy politicians and the law, and have mostly succeeded
- and that is also the main reason that the many are poor and
powerless, while the few are rich and powerful.
And the second paragraph seems misleading to
me: The (very) rich have bought democracy, and have
abolished it. (See item 2.)
I agree with Reich that big money must somehow be gotten out of
politics, but on the moment the (very) rich run most politics, most
laws, and most politicians.
case you need an argument that the following argument
“This is a president who was
highly respected by all,” Trump said in morning TV interviews on
Tuesday. “If you look at what he was doing, it
was far worse.”
is very vague and quite illogical:
(1) FDR was not "highly respected by
(2) He was highly respected, but this does not mean that everything he did was.
(3) "what he was doing" is unclarified, but presumably this
internment of the Japanese Americans (<-Wikipedia)
which I agree was quite wrong, but
(5) how and why this was "far worse" than what Trump
proposed is again quite unclear.
And I have similar remarks - what does he mean? how
does this follow? - on most arguments I have seen or heard by Trump.
Also, I do not think this is intentional: Trump is
vague and illogical.