1. Donald Trump Warns of Riots at Convention if He Is
2. Fascism: Can It Happen Here?
Crazy GOP Establishment
4. An American Mussolini
5. Study 329: Republic to
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, March 17,
1. Donald Trump Warns of Riots at Convention if He Is
It so happens this crisis blog is mostly about fascism, of the American
variety. I did not choose it, but it is in the news. Therefore
it also makes sense to refer to yesterday's
crisis blog, which has a brief consideration of both fascism and twenty
- sometimes quite different - definitions of it. This will not
settle disputes, but is relevant to know.
There are 5 items with 5 dotted links:
Item 1 is about Trump's incitements to
riot if he doesn't get the GOP's nomination served on a platter; item 2 poses the question whether fascism is possible
in the USA (yes); item 3 is about how crazy the GOP
establishment is (quite); item 4 is about Trump as
Mussolini; and item 5
is basically about a medical theme, but also about fascism and general
human weaknesses (and is limited by me to those issues, in fact).
first item is by Robert Mackey on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that
his supporters could riot at the Republican convention in Cleveland if
he is notThere are 5
“automatically” made the party’s nominee if he arrives with the
most votes but fails to secure a majority of convention delegates.
Speaking to Chris Cuomo on CNN, Trump
said that he hoped to win the nomination outright before the convention
in July, but warned that if he goes to Cleveland with more delegates
than any of his rivals and the nomination goes to anyone else, “I think
you’d have riots.”
I say. I suppose this is Trump's reaction
to the news that the leadership of the Republicans are (or might be)
considering to get rid of him at their convention.
Clearly, it is a threat, and not a democratic one.
Here are some of the myths
He went on to argue that since many of
his voters were new to the process, they might simply refuse to accept
Party rules that make it possible to deny the nomination to a
candidate who won the most votes but did not secure a majority of
“I’m representing a tremendous — many,
many millions of people — in many cases, first-time voters. These are
people that haven’t voted because they never believed in the system,”
“Now, if you disenfranchise those people
and you say, ‘Well, I’m sorry, but you’re 100 votes short, even though
the next one is 500 votes short,’ I think you would have problems like
you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen, I really do.
I believe that. I wouldn’t lead it but I think bad things
Translated: "I, Donald Trump, head many
millions of supporters who are too stupid to know the law and too
degenerate to be moral or decent: Therefore,
if you don't hand me the presidential candidacy, given that I
have the majority, these many millions will raise hell for you. (And I
wouldn't lead it. O no! I merely applaud them.)"
This is what I think he means. And
he may succeed, for I do not think there are many moral
heroes in the GOP.
Then again, some are really frightened of
what a Trump presidency may bring, and they are right, and quite
possibly less because Trump is a fascist, as because he looks and
talks like a madman, as illustrated above - for it is clearly mad
to threaten the leadership of your party with physical violence on
a possibly very large scale if your desires are not
Can It Happen Here?
is by Amy Goodman
and Denis Moynihan on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
“When Fascism comes to America, it will
be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross,” goes a saying that is
widely attributed to the first American to win the Nobel Prize for
Literature, Sinclair Lewis. In 1935, Lewis wrote a novel called “It
Can’t Happen Here,” positing fascism’s rise in the United States. We
were taught that fascism was defeated in 1945, with the surrender of
Germany and Japan in World War II. Yet the long shadows of that dark
era are falling on the presidential campaign trail this year, with
eruptions of violence, oaths of loyalty complete with Nazi salutes and,
presiding over it all, Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
In fact, this definitely does not
hold for me: I was not taught by my parents "that fascism was defeated in 1945".
On the contrary, especially my
father, but also my mother, both of whom had been in the
communist resistance against the Nazis (which was rare in Holland: six
times more Dutchmen volunteered for the SS between 1940 and 1945 than
went into the resistance, to quote one number ),
which also cost my father more than 3
years and 9 months of concentration camp imprisonment (as a
"political terrorist", according to his collaborating Dutch judges in
1941, who simply judged on as judges without any
punishment after May 1945) insisted that while fascism was beaten,
there was a very serious chance
it might return, and they spent much of their lives in the
and 70ies of warning against it, with which they also had some success.
For one thing, my father was knighted
as a communist, which happened to only one other communist in all
of Dutch history; for another thing, there were hundreds of thousands
of Dutchmen who saw the exhibition my father and his comrades made
about fascism, the resistance, and the dangers of the recurrence of
Then again, I must be one of the very,
very few who comes from a family like mine , and I suppose that Goodman and Moynihan tell the
truth about the vast
majorities of both the Americans and the Dutch: These believed fascism
was over and done with in 1945, and that it would never return.
Here is some about Mussolini's fascism (that lasted 21 years):
I note that there may be in fact more
who might remember the past but who rather do not, at least
when judged by the Dutch experiences of 1940-1945. 
“Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it,” the 20th-century philosopher George Santayana
wrote. He lived in Europe through both world wars, and witnessed
Italian fascism firsthand. Fascism was the violent political movement
founded by Benito Mussolini, who took control of Italy in 1922.
Mussolini had his political opponents beaten, jailed, tortured and
killed, and ruled with an iron fist until he was deposed as Italy
surrendered to the Allies in 1943. He was known as “Il Duce,” or “The
Leader,” and provided early support to the nascent Nazi movement in
Germany as Adolf Hitler rose to power in the 1930s.
For one thing, the Dutch managed to have more than 1% of their total
population - more than 100,000 "Jews", which term is between quotes
because many did not have the religion
anymore, and I disbelieve in racism  - to get
murdered by the Nazis, albeit the Nazis got a lot of help from two rich
"Jews" (both of whom survived the war, with their
riches, and none of whom had ever even to face a judge)
for another it seems - judging from reports about the 1950ies - that
the Dutch were more anti-semitic in the 1950ies, after hearing
Auschwitz etc. than they had ever been before (and this fashion changed
again in the late 60ies, when it became, quite suddenly also,
fashionable for a "Jew" - written thus because most had lost the
religion - to be a prominent Dutch politician, because he was a
Back to the article:
If only the fascist comparisons
were limited to his tweets. His rallies have become hotbeds of violent
confrontations, consistently fanned by Trump’s heated rhetoric from the
podium. After a Black Lives Matter protester was kicked and punched at
one of his rallies, Trump said, approvingly, “Maybe he should have been
roughed up.” At a rally in Las Vegas in February, after an anti-Trump
protester disrupted the event and was escorted out, Trump bellowed:
“You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a
place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” He went
on, “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that.”
This is sickening, but it is Trump. And to
answer the question the title of the article asks:
Of course fascism (or what looks a lot like it) can
happen in the USA, and indeed it is not just Trump: He may be a
(or more like it than like an other kind of politician), but much of
the present GOP leadership isn't much better.
See the next item in case you doubt this:
3. The Crazy GOP Establishment
The third item is by Bill Moyers (<- Wikipedia) and Michael Winship
This starts as follows:
From their “Dark Money” bagman Karl Rove
to their philosophical
guru David Brooks, the GOP elites are in a tizzy over saving
the Republican Party from Donald Trump and the other intruders,
extremists and crackpots who have fallen in behind Trump as if he were
the Pied Piper of Hamelin. But who will save the party from the elites?
Look around at just some of the other
sheer lunacy their party perpetrates when it’s not trying to shut
government down, redistribute wealth upward, and prevent the president
of the United States (who, the last time we looked, has the
constitutional right and mandate) from filling a vacancy on the Supreme
- Actually, David Brooks is not a
philosopher at all: I checked it and he graduated in history.
But apart from that, Moyers and Winship are right (and they may
be right in assuming Brooks would like to be "the philosopher"
of the right, but this I don't know).
Also, the question they ask is a good one:
- With a GOP elite that seems firmly
dedicated to greed, egoism
it is difficult to see who, in the GOP, will stop Trump.
Then again, I am also sure that (1) electing Trump to be president of
the USA would be a disaster (and indeed not because he is a
fascist (or not), but because he is evidently not quite sane),
and that (2) many Republicans - though not all - think similarly: Trump
is "too much" for them, and in this they are right, in my opinion, at
But here is some more on the recent GOP
The Republicans in southern California
just got a 7-6 majority on the region’s air quality board and have set
out to reverse all of its safeguards, “reaffirming new smog rules
backed by oil refineries and other major polluters,” according
to the Los Angeles Times.
Mary Lou Bruner, a Republican crank in
Texas who claimed that a young Barack Obama had worked as a black male
prostitute, is on track to become a key vote on the state’s board of
education, the group that, as
Matt Levin at the Houston Chronicle writes,
is, “already drawing intense criticism for textbooks that, among other
issues, downplayed slavery and racial segregation.”
Ms Bruner looks quite insane (from my
European psychologist's perspective, to be sure), and there is more in
the article on her, but - alas - she is far from the only one
in the GOP.
Here are some others, unnamed in Louisiana:
The Washington Post, Chico Harlan
reported, “Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster.
Without sharp and painful tax increases in the coming weeks, the
government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including
education opportunities. … A few universities will shut down and
declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose
scholarships. … Since the 2007-08 school year, Louisiana has cut
funding for higher education by 44 percent, the sharpest pullback in
And named (to a small extent) in Kansas:
And while we’re at it, ponder, too, the
once-great state of Kansas, where, under the right-wing ideology and
bumbling leadership of Republican Gov. Sam
Brownback, the clowns are running the circus. The state legislature
there is moving toward passage of a bill that would allow the
impeachment of Kansas Supreme Court justices for, among other
newly-thought of high crimes and misdemeanors, “attempting to usurp the
power” of said same legislature or the executive branch.
I agree that the developments in both
states sound awful. Then again, I must suppose that in both states the
rules of democracy held, in the sense that a majority of the ignorant
and the stupid
elected a candidate whose lies they believed
you disagree, reread the last two quotes).
And there is this:
Finally, this is the party whose elites deceived
America into war after cutting taxes on the wealthy so they
wouldn’t have to pay for it. And so it goes. All of which leads us to
the conclusion that what’s wrong with the GOP ain’t just about Donald
Trump, apoplectic, mendacious malcreant though he is.
Over decades, the Republicans have built
castles of corruption and citadels of crony capitalism across the
country and now the angry villagers are climbing over the ramparts. Not
one step backwards? Too late.
I agree that there
is a lot
more wrong in the GOP than Donald Trump, and I also am willing
that the GOP has effectively been in power since 1980, that is, if you
consider that "New
Democrats" like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were not
real democrats (or Democrats) but were in fact New Republicans pretending
to be democrats. (See the Third Way for
support for this.)
That may not be accepted by many (I don't know), but it is true
that both Clinton and Obama were - quite a lot also - to the right
the Republican president Eisenhower, and mostly supported the few rich
rather than the many poor.
Indeed, that is a major problem in the USA:
It is less that there are a few fascist demagogues, than that
there are so many corrupt millionaires who are not
fascists, but who are corrupt, incompetent (outside there own narrow specialisms), and lying most of
the time , and who also quite often are members of the Senate
or of the House.
An American Mussolini
The fourth item is by John Kiriakou (<-
Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
As you probably heard, Donald Trump canceled
a rally in Chicago after scuffles broke out between Trump
supporters and opponents around the arena where the candidate was
supposed to speak.
True to form, Trump blamed everybody but
himself for this debacle. He eventually decided that Democratic
presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was somehow at fault — and even
threatened to send
protesters of his own to disrupt rallies for Sanders.
Yes, and Trump's form - it appears to this
psychologist - is that of a grandiose narcissist (see March 14, 2016) and indeed grandiose narcissists never
blame themselves for anything they did, simply because they
believe they are superior to anyone and they never make mistakes.
The following also seems to be correct:
These confrontations have become
routine, with the real estate mogul usually egging on his supporters to
“rough up” interlopers. He’s cheered on supporters who’ve shoved,
kicked, and punched protesters — even people who’ve simply stood
silently at Trump’s rallies.
Throughout it, he’s had the gall to
claim that he deserves
credit for keeping the events as calm as possible.
Despite the incendiary tone of his
rhetoric — that all Muslims are our enemies, that Mexicans are rapists
and drug dealers, and that practically anybody who disagrees with him
is an ISIS supporter or a “socialist” — Trump refuses to take
responsibility for the violence he incites among his followers.
Or indeed - as he said Sanders is, who isn't
one at all - "a communist".
As to political violence, there is this:
But violence at American political
rallies has never been acceptable, especially violence encouraged by
the candidate. That’s why comparisons of Trump with other American
demagogues aren’t an easy fit.
Trump’s events are more akin to the old
fascist rallies of figures like Benito Mussolini. The Italian leader
and his “brown shirt” goons routinely beat protesters at rallies around
Italy in the 1920s and 1930s. They targeted communists and anarchists
at first, but graduated to socialists and then to all small-d democrats
as they solidified their iron grip on power.
There was a considerable amount of
violence in 1968
in Chicago, but that was not due to American politicians, and is in
fact mostly blamed on "a police riot".
Whether Trump's doing at present is "more akin
to the old fascist rallies of figures like Benito Mussolini"
I find difficult to judge, but the rest of the paragraph, that sketches
what happened when Mussolini had taken power, is quite correct.
In any case, here are Trump's own
comments, that end this article:
Anyone who challenges them, they claim,
just wants to tear the country down. “These people are so bad for our
country, you have no idea,” Trump has complained
to his supporters. “There used to be consequences” for protesting.
But Americans shouldn’t be fooled. Trump
isn’t at all unique or special. He doesn’t have a gift for connecting
with the common man. He’s just a bully and a demagogue.
Whether "the American people" are capable
of not being fooled, in majority, remains to be seen.
5. Study 329: Republic to Empire
The fifth and last item today is not about
fascism and is in fact about medicine and its radically having grown a lot
worse and lot less moral since 1980 or so.
It is here because I am ill since 1.1.1979, and because it does ask a question that is important in the
context of fascism and widespread moral degeneracy:
This has the following close to the beginning:
How do good people become corrupted?
Unless you buy into the idea that every
one of the million or more people who have ever worked for a drug
company is inherently lacking any moral compass, then it is imperative
to wonder what happens such that one giant corporation can ruthlessly
and without any expression of regret kill people in the interests of
profit. Corporations aren’t some weird, otherworldly entity, a life
form that has developed somewhere in the outer reaches of the galaxy,
like the Daleks that terrified me at the age of 8. Corporations are
people. From the chief executive down to the people who make the
products on a factory line – they are all human.
To start with, here are two corrections.
First, corporations are not
people. This is as clear and as plain as saying that a team made of
people is not a person, and as clear and as plain as saying that a
group made of people is not a person.
Second, the initial question is ill posed:
There are no reasons whatsoever to believe that just anyone is
a good person. For one thing, to be a good
person, just like being a bad person, is not normal,
for precisely the same reason as being tall or small is not
normal (for most are neither).
However, when rephrased as a question about ordinary people - e.g. as:
how do ordinary people get corrupted - the question is good, and I will
try to answer it after considering the next and last quotation for this
attribute hubris, overweening greed and psychopathy to those at the
very top but not, I think, to all the tens of thousands of employees.
Thoughts of Nazi Germany spring to mind – the millions of ‘ordinary’
Germans who kept quiet, or turned a blind eye to the persecution of the
Jewish people and the Holocaust. Maybe there is something similar at
work, but it doesn’t quite fit the whole picture for me.
I am sorry,
but the question is not about distinguishing between the "hubris, overweening greed and
psychopathy" of "those at the very top" and that of
the tens of thousands of employees" they employ.
Put like that, the answer is very simple: It is simply not
true that "all the tens of thousands
of employees" are as bad (or worse) than those who command them.
But then that is a silly question. Then again, if the question is
recast in a form
that is reasonable and might be answered, e.g. as "what is the
proportion of employees in a firm that have values that are more like
unlike those of the top who command them" I am afraid
this may very well be 1/2 or higher.
I do not know, but my personal experiences and personal
background suggest that it is very probable that most men with
ordinary intelligences (say, with IQs between 70 and 130, that covers
98%) are not very definite in their opinions about science and
are just as indefinite, or indeed more so, about questions of morals
or ethics, and
they are so mostly out of self-interest:
They know that their own opinions don't matter much to the vast
majority, and that uttering it may lead to problems with their
employers, so generally they do not say what they - really
- think or feel.
And I think that is the normal situation, which also says a lot
about the rise of
fascism: Most of those who tolerated it were not fascists, but
they also were not honest nor forthright, and this fact
itself shows much is wrong, for in a democratic society one should
be able to say honestly and forthrightly what one thinks and feels, and
without this - at least: if it is not legally
offensive - leading to any legal consequences.
But either the
many are not honest and forthright, or else the many believe it is not
safe for them to be honest and forthright, and therefore they are not,
I think that is the case in corporations and in society: Most
most men deceive;
most men are dishonest to most about most things that
touch on their own interests.
And I believe that is the same for those with corporate power,
and for most who lack corporate power. As Hazlitt put
I know this is not optimistic, but it seems
realistic to me.
Man is a
animal. The admiration of power in others is as common to man as the
love of it in himself: the one makes him a tyrant, the other a slave.
mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it long ago.
The theory is plain enough; but they are
prone to mischief, "to every
good work reprobate."
P.S. Mar 18, 2016: I repaired the initial links to the sections, which linked wrongly.
 I quote, I don't make these numbers up. (Also, the great
majority of the Dutch volunteers for the SS were killed in Russia.)
I do not know whether the
quoted is correct, but I suspect it is, and one reason it probably is,
is that about 1 in 500 Dutchmen went into the real resistance, and the
rest, voluntarily or not, collaborated with the Nazis.
And it seems also true, as former Dutch president Piet de Jong
told, who lived in England during WW II, commanded a submarine, and who
returned to Holland briefly after the war, that he was told very
briefly after returning to Holland:
"Everybody had been in The
Except that about 499 out of 500 Dutchmen lied.
at the numbers in the previous quote; realize that my father, my mother
and my grandfather were communists, since before or in WW II also; that
there were some 10,000 communists in Holland at the start of WW II; and
that only the communists and some small Christian groups really
went, as a
group, into the resistance.
In fact, I never heard of any Dutchman with an equally strong
anti-fascist past. That is: They may exist, but in the 66 years I lived
I never heard of them, and if they do exist, they are extremely
 First, consider the previous two notes.
Second, as to "the history of
Holland in WW II": This has been written by a man who spent the years
of the war safely in England. I take it that was the main
nominate him for the job, but it also means - for me, and I have tried
to read a few of his books (there are 20 or more), but could not: Too
horribly boring - that "the history of Holland
in WW II" has been lost, for it was written by someone who did not
live through it, and for that reason should not have written it.
I also think there were some Dutch historians who probably would have
done it considerably better (e.g. Jacques Presser),
but they were not
nominated for the job by the Dutch government.
 This is simply historically and
factually correct: There were more than 100,000
Jews in Holland; most of them no longer had the Jewish faith; and most
of them were poor.
Also, more than 100,000 of them were murdered by the Nazis, which
indeed is more than 1% of the Dutch population of 1940.
As to the Jewish race: There are only three groups - to my knowledge -
who have faith in
it: Some of the religious Jews; the Nazis, including Goebbels and
Heydrich; and those who cannot think rationally.
I say: Genetically, there is no Jewish race; I don't
have the religion;
I am not a Nazi; therefore to speak of a "Jewish race" just is
 These rich Jews were called David Cohen
and Abraham Asscher. Both survived WW II with their riches and
their healths in tact. More than 100,000 other Jews were murdered, with
Their direct descendants are - still - very rich and very
powerful in Holland, and some of them also insist that Cohen and
Asscher did not do anything wrong. What is true is that
they were not even prosecuted in Holland, nor anywhere else.
 These again are simply facts. Ed van
Thijn was made mayor of Amsterdam as an atheist social democrat, while
the members of the Amsterdam City council proudly cried out "A Jew! A
Jew! We Want A Jew!" (And then he was a very bad mayor...)
O, and incidentally: I am not an anti-semite and never was one.
Jewish- ness: It is a religion, like
Catholicism or Protestantism, and
therefore one may both loose it and acquire it. To me it seems
as nonsensical to call an ex-Catholic a Catholic as is it to call an
ex-Jew a Jew. (I side with my father here, who had quite a few friends
who were ex-Jews and communists while my father - who was an
ex-Protestant - knew them. Indeed, one of these survived years of
German concentration camps because he was in the resistance, but he
never told the Nazis he was a Jew indeed in part because he was a