Majority of Americans Now Support Donald Trump’s
Proposed Muslim Ban, Poll Shows
2. Will Obama's New Opioid Proposal Continue the Failed
War on Drugs?
3. Trump Says Women Who
Get Illegal Abortions Should
Face 'Some Kind of Punishment'
4. Why The Major Media Marginalize Bernie
Isn’t Following Through on Pardons Promise,
Says His Former Pardons
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, March 31,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about the fact that the majority of Americans now support
Trump's unconstitutional and discriminatory proposed banning of all
non-citizen Muslims; item 2 is about the very much
increased amounts of opioids that are (ab-)used in the USA; item 3 is about Trump's return to the 1950ies: In his
opinion abortion ought to be forbidden and women who have one need to
be punished; item 4 is about a Robert Reich article
that explains why the main media marginalize Sanders: I think Reich is
- a bit subtly - mistaken; and item 5 is (yet
another) illustration of Obama's tendency to say what the audience
wants to hear and to do what his financial backers like to see happen.
Majority of Americans Now Support Donald Trump’s Proposed Muslim Ban,
first item is by Murtaza Hussain on The
This starts as follows:
A MAJORITY of Americans now agree with
banning all non-citizen Muslims from the United States, according to a
new poll coming less than four months after Donald Trump
first proposed the policy.
A YouGov/Huffington Post poll published
this week found that 51 percent of Americans now support the ban, up
from 45 percent in December. The same poll also found strong support
for Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposal to “patrol and secure” Muslim
neighborhoods, with 45 percent of Americans in favor.
I say. This means - I think - that over
half of the American population has little or no idea of their own
Constitution and Bill of Rights.
And I can't say I am very amazed,
and indeed I am one of the few who agrees with Bill Maher that (i) most
Americans are - politely phrased - not intelligent,
and - more
importantly - that (ii) this fact is quite important if one
wants an adequate
understanding of the USA.
In case you did not - quite - get my
reference to the Constitution and Bill of
Rights, there is this:
The rhetoric about Muslims and
undocumented immigrants during this election cycle has raised fears
of an increasingly toxic political culture in the country.
Throughout the election campaign, Republican politicians have expressed
openly bigoted views about minority communities in the
United States, in many cases to widespread public approval. Trump’s
campaign kicked off with his characterization of undocumented Mexican
immigrants as “rapists,” and has seemingly gained steam with every
discriminatory remark made since.
While opinions on these issues
often split along partisan lines, a majority of Americans now
support policies like Trump’s, which would be both unconstitutional and
Quite so. Also - if I am right, which I think
I am - it seems rather unlikely that the majority of
those who like these "unconstitutional
discriminatory" policies are (even) aware
that their opinions are unconstitutional.
2. Will Obama's New Opioid
Proposal Continue the Failed War on Drugs?
is by Amy Goodman
and Juan González on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
This item is in Nederlog because I am ill for 37 years now, which made
me learn rather a lot about medicine and drugs that I would very
probably not have known without being ill.
President Obama has unveiled a series of
steps aimed at addressing the epidemic of opioid addiction in the
United States. In 2014, a record number of Americans died from drug
overdoses, with the highest rates seen in West Virginia, New Mexico,
New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio. Many states reported even higher
death tolls in 2015.
But I think this item is quite important, though not precisely
in the way Obama put it, when he said:
is not false, but it is incomplete, for it neither raises nor
answers the question how it is possible that more
people nowadays are killed "because of opioid
overdose" than by traffic accidents? (And
traffic accidents still kill quite a lot of people.)
It’s important to recognize that today we are seeing more people killed
because of opioid overdose than traffic accidents. Now, you think about
that. A lot of people tragically die of car accidents, and we spend a
lot of time and a lot of resources to reduce those fatalities. And the
good news is, is that we’ve actually been very successful. ... The
problem is, here, we’ve got the trajectory going in the opposite
direction. So, 2014, which is the last year that we have accurate data
for, you see an enormous, ongoing spike in the number of people who are
using opioids in ways that are unhealthy, and you’re seeing a
significant rise in the number of people who are being killed.
The basic reasons (I think) are these two: First, health insurance
is still a major problem in the USA, especially if you have to
survive on little money. This means that quite a few are not insured,
or are not insured well enough to get the treatments that are medically
required in their conditions. Second, "opioids" have recently become much
more popular.  This is from the Wikipedia lemma "opioids" (reprinted
without note numbers):
In the 1990s, opioid prescribing
increased significantly. Once used almost exclusively for the treatment
of acute pain or pain due to cancer, opioids are now prescribed
liberally for patients experiencing chronic pain. This has been
accompanied by rising rates of accidental addiction and accidental
overdoses leading to death. According to the International Narcotics
Control Board, the United States and Canada lead the per capita
consumption of prescription opioids. The number of opioid prescriptions
in the United States and Canada is double the consumption in the
European Union, Australia, and New Zealand. Certain populations have
been affected by the opioid addiction crisis more than others,
including First World communities and low-income
populations. Public health specialists say that this may result from
unavailability or high cost of alternative methods for addressing
The main point in this quotation is the last
statement: Opioids (i) are often prescribed these days for pain, also
for pains that could have been addressed if the insurance had been better
than it is, and (ii) it is often not said by the
doctors who prescribe them that these are opioids or that these drugs
are quite addictive. And that is - in brief - how many get addicted
without knowing it.
I don't think this is a problem that is easy to resolve, and therefore
I do think it is highly likely many more will get addicted. (All I can
say to help prevent it is to get good health insurance and to read up
on what is in the pills your doctor prescribes: Wikipedia has a lot of information.)
As to "the war on drugs", there is the following quite
interesting quotation in the article, which I have given before (in another
Nederlog) but repeat here because it shows (I think) what "the war on
drugs" was really about: Not about drugs, but the
opportunity to disrupt the leftists and black people in the early
GOODMAN: A recent article
in Harper’s Magazine
start of the war on drugs under President Nixon. The article cites a
1994 interview with John Ehrlichman, who served as President Richard
Nixon’s domestic policy chief. He revealed why the war on drugs began.
He said, quote, "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House
after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. ... We
knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black,
but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and
blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could
disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their
homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on
the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course
So - according to Ehrlichman, whom I
believe (about this) - the whole "war on drugs", which did (and
does) fill the U.S. prisons with very many
convicts who were convicted to prison sentences for smoking marijuana,
was in fact not directed against drugs but against leftists and
blacks. (And see item 5.)
3. Trump Says Women Who
Get Illegal Abortions Should Face 'Some Kind of Punishment'
The third item is by Kali Holloway on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
In Donald Trump’s America, there will be
no reproductive justice and the state will mete out punishments to
women who endure illegal abortions. That’s from the candidate himself,
who expressed his thoughts during an interview with MSNBC's Chris
Matthews. According to Trump, women who get abortions if the procedure
is outlawed should have to face "some kind of punishment."
I am not amazed. Then again, what I am
rather amazed about is the whole abortion argument in the USA, but then
this is going on since the 1970ies. There is a Wikipedia lemma on it: Abortion in
the United States, which is quite extensive, with a lot of information.
Here is a final bit by Kali Holloway:
News published quotes from the upcoming broadcast, which includes
the GOP frontrunner suggesting we return to the bad old days when
back-alley abortions were a woman’s only option.
“Well, you go back to a position like
they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but we have to
ban it,” Trump actually said.
So yes, Trump wants to forbid abortions and punish those who have one: Back to the 1950ies (or to the 1920ies-1030ies).
4. Why The Major Media Marginalize
The fourth item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
I am rather well acquainted with journalism
in The Guardian (once a liberal paper) and the Dutch NRC-Handelsblad (idem),
where "sympathizers" (or so they generally say or imply) of Bernie Sanders
can freely indulge these sentiments, that also often involve some journalist crouching down to a children's level to
explain that (in his or her truly enlightened opinion) "Sanders has no
“Bernie did well last weekend but he
can’t possibly win the nomination,” a
friend told me for what seemed like the thousandth time, attaching an
article from the Washington Post that shows
far behind Bernie remains in delegates.
Wait a minute. Last Tuesday, Sanders
won 78 percent of the vote in Idaho and 79 percent in Utah. This
he took 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 73 percent in Washington, and
percent in Hawaii.
In fact, since March 15, Bernie has won
six out of the seven Democratic
primary contests with an average margin of victory of 40 points. Those
victories have given him roughly a one hundred additional pledged
As of now, Hillary Clinton has 54.9
percent of the pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’s 45.1
percent. That’s still a sizable gap – but it doesn’t make Bernie an
Meanwhile Sanders is following Hillary closely, and probably will win
more in the coming weeks. And there is this:
Bernie is outpacing Hillary Clinton in
fundraising. In February, he raised
$42 million (from 1.4 million contributions, averaging $30 each),
her $30 million. In January he raised $20 million to her $15 million.
By any measure, the enthusiasm for
Bernie is huge and keeps growing. He’s
packing stadiums, young people are flocking to volunteer, support is
among the middle-aged and boomers.
That is or seems all true, although it is
also true that it may not be sufficient for him to win. (But he
shouldn't give up.)
Then there is this to explain the media, but I don't think I agree with
No, I don't think so, although there is some
truth in the explanation: Yes, the major interests of the main media are
the personalities and the money that carries them, and yes, the
national media exist inside a bubble of establishment politics.
The real reason the major media can’t
see what’s happening is
because the national media exist inside the bubble of establishment
politics, centered in
Washington, and the bubble of establishment power, centered in New
As such, the major national media are
interested mainly in personalities and in the money
behind the personalities. Political reporting is dominated by stories
quirks and foibles of the candidates, and about the people and
resources behind them.
But no: No amount of "living in a bubble" explains the large
amount of clever
filth I have seen in The Guardian and the Handelsblad: The
journalists (or "jour-
nalists") know very well what they are doing, which is helping to
destroy the real opposition to policies and politicians they defend,
and they are also doing it well, indeed in good part by pretending they
mean o so very well and are o so very sympathetic to Bernie Sanders.
Something similar holds for the last bit that I will quote from the
In addition, because the major
on the wealthy and powerful for revenues,
because their reporters and columnists rely on the establishment for
news and access, because their top media
personalities socialize with the rich and powerful and are themselves
rich and powerful, and because their publishers and senior
executives are themselves part of the establishment, the major media
to see much of America through the eyes of the establishment.
The reason I don't quite believe this,
although I agree with everything said, is that it denies the "reporters
and columnist" either the responsibility or the intelligence to make up
their own minds.
And I think most of the mainstream media's
journalists that I have read on Bernie Sanders and his chances have
made up their minds and don't want him.
5. Obama Isn’t Following
Through on Pardons Promise, Says His Former Pardons Attorney
The fifth and last item today is by Sarah Smith on ProPublica:
This starts as follows and is here
for one reason only:
Two years ago, President Obama unveiled
an initiative to give
early release to potentially thousands of federal prisoners serving
long sentences for low-level drug crimes. The initiative has barely
made a dent, and a resignation letter from the president’s recently
departed Pardon Attorney lays out at least one reason why.
“The position in which my office has
been placed, asking us to address the petitions of nearly 10,000
individuals with so few attorneys and support staff, means that the
requests of thousands of petitioners seeking justice will lie unheard,”
Deborah Leff, who resigned in January.
Leff also wrote that her office was
denied “all access to the Office of White House Counsel,” which reviews
prisoners’ applications before the president gets them.
Since his announcement two years ago,
the president has granted early release to just 187 prisoners.
Leff’s resignation letter was obtained
by USA Today.
The reason this is here is that it is yet
another illustration of Obama's saying what he thinks his
audience likes to hear, and doing something else - and in this
case you should also realize that (i) Obama smoked a lot of pot
in his youth (and he inhaled ), while (ii) there are extremely many
people locked up for years in American prisons who did no more than the
same or less: They smoked some marijuana, like the last three American presidents.
I blame a good part of the "significant increase" in the prescribing of
opioids to the DSM-III, which is "the psychiatrist's bible", that was
introduced in 1980, and that totally changed the face and contents of
It went from an admitted hardly scientific practice to a
pretended science that was based on illusions and lies,
that is even less scientific than it was till 1980, but that also very
much increased the prescribing of expensive pills and very much
increased the amount of "psychiatric ailments": There are now over 420
"ailments" (mostly with expensive pills, that contribute much to the
riches of psychiatrists and pharmaceutical corporations) while there
were around 50 until 1980.
And since I have (excellent) academic degrees in philosophy and
psychology, I wrote rather a lot about this. In case you care to know
more: Here is the index of DSM-5
papers (over 130 entries) while the best argument I wrote is both
quite long and quite good: DSM-5: The six most essential questions in
psychiatric diagnosis - 0.
This refers - for my young readers - to Bill Clinton, who also smoked a
lot of pot (as did George Bush Jr.), but who found it necessary to
insist that he "did not inhale".