1. Robert Scheer: Donald
Trump Is a Symptom;
Clintonism Is the Disease
2. An Illegal Military Strategy Disguised as
3. 'The Sham Is Over': Elizabeth Warren Has the Last
Word on 'Thin-Skinned Fraud'
4. Trump’s Co-Author Speaks: Donald Is a
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 7 dotted links. It so happens
that 3 out of the 4 items are about Donald Trump, but then this also
happens during the GOP convention: Item 1 is about
Scheer about Trump (I partially agree); item 2 is
about drones; item 3 is about Warren about Trump
(with too many tweets, but that is my personal taste); and item 4 is about Schwartz - the real writer of
"The Art of the Deal" - about Trump.
Scheer: Donald Trump Is a Symptom; Clintonism Is the Disease
first item today is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
starts as follows:
In an hour-long discussion about
the presidential race and U.S. politics with Philip Maldari, host of
KPFA’s “The Sunday Show,” Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer begs
liberals not to let the idea of Donald Trump getting his hands on
nuclear weapons scare them out of thinking critically about Hillary
Clinton and the Democratic Party.
In one way, Scheer is quite correct: You
should not stop thinking critically. Period. But I don't
think he faces the situation of electing a US president if the
following propositions are all true:
(1) both presidential candidates are a choice from evil: Neither is
(2) one of the presidential candidates is a neofascist, a racist, a
liar and a conman; and
(3) one of the presidential candidates is not sane, but is a narcissist who cannot be
trusted with the means to blow up everybody in an atomic conflict.
Now I think the three propositions are all true .
It is possible Robert
(<- Wikipedia) disagrees with me on these propositions. From what
I've read from him (quite a lot, meanwhile, and I agree he is a
reasonable man) I think it is most likely he might disagree with the
third proposition. But then (a) I am a psychologist, and Scheer is not,
and besides (b) there are intelligent persons (quite a few, indeed) who
agree with me - and seen item 3 and item
Here is more by Robert Scheer:
“Donald Trump is a
bait-and-switch kind of guy,” Scheer tells Maldari, who is focused on
the threat Trump poses to country. “He’s embraced neofascist thinking,
scapegoating the most vulnerable, blaming undocumented workers, somehow
dragging Muslims into the equation as a group. Yeah, he’s a demagogue
of the Mussolini variety, no question of it. I don’t underestimate the
danger of Donald Trump.
Yes, I agree, although this doesn't
mention Trump's sanity, which I think is quite relevant. Again
see item 3 and item 4 (and
there are quite a few more on the internet).
Then there are these questions, which are all quite relevant, and that
I (and many others) have thought a lot about:
“But then you have to ask yourself the
question: Why did reasonable folks who vote Republican, from Maine down
to Alabama, vote for the guy? And this is an age-old question. How do
we get madness in a society? Why do people turn to irrational,
jingoistic, race-baiting solutions? And they do it out of enormous
unhappiness. And you can’t ignore those problems. How did the most
civilized, well-educated, orderly country in the world—Germany—embrace
the scapegoating of Jews, Gypsies and gay people? Where did that come
from? And so the issue is not whether Trump represents an extremely
negative force. The issue is: How did we get to this place?”
I will not try to answer all
questions, but split them into two parts and formulate some general
answers (with much detail left unstated).
The first set of questions, dealt as one,
that I will answer are these: "How did the most
civilized, well-educated, orderly country in the world — Germany —
embrace the scapegoating of Jews, Gypsies and gay people? Where did
that come from?"
The main answer to this is:
Because of the great miseries of WW I (<-Wikipedia);
because of the enormous payments the Germans were forced to
by Keynes, (<- Wikipedia) and rightly so); and because of the
resulting poverty and misery in large parts of Germany.
This surely is correct if incomplete. (For
details: Read some good history.)
One part of the incompleteness may be
supplied by my answer to the other set of questions, that I again treat
as one: "Why did reasonable folks who vote
Republican, from Maine down to Alabama, vote for the guy? And this is
an age-old question. How do we get madness in a society? Why do people
turn to irrational, jingoistic, race-baiting solutions?"
Robert Scheer's answer is: "they do it out of enormous unhappiness".
I say: Yes and no, for while "enormous
unhappiness" is a part of the cause, it is surely not
the only part, nor the most important, which are the stupidity and
that supply most of the answers to the question "why am I unhappy?".
Most Americans are not really intelligent.
Many are rather stupid (as suggested by Bill Maher's often repeated and
never contradicted point that 60% - 6 out of
every 10: a majority - of Americans believe in the literal
truth of Noah's Ark story. ) Few of
the not really intelligent read much: most watch TV in their
free time. Few of the not really intelligent know much,
for they don't read much. And at least half of all Americans is not
intelligent: Half has an IQ below 100.
I am explaining this because I think it is
obviously true, at least for people who are really
intelligent (which is always a minority), and because I think
it is a shame that I do not see these points - viz. the great
influence that the stupidity and
of the majority have to mislead the
choices of the majority - ever discussed. Political
Anyway... Here is Scheer on the Democratic
“We’ve had false leadership on the
Democratic side saying, ‘Trust us, and everything’s gonna be wonderful
for all workers.’ And it isn’t. …
“Democrats have had a lot of power in
this country over the last 24 years. Two-thirds of that time Democrats
have been president. Where’s the great progress? Where is the great
effort to help ordinary people? So is a Hillary Clinton presidency
going to bring about progress in these areas? Or is it going to be more
of the same? And then the right-wing, the irrational forces that are
scapegoated, will be stronger four years later.”
I agree mostly.
I think the Democrats mostly sold out
their voters to the interests of the rich just like the Republicans. I
think a majority of the American politicians is corrupt. I
think the rich have far
too much influence on politicians, political programs and political
choices. I think that the majorities of Democrats and Republicans
choose more or less consistently for the rich, because the
rich pay them. I think politics in the USA is mostly quite corrupt,
and was corrupted mostly by political choice (with help from
the Supreme Court).
All true  as far as
I am concerned. But none of this answers what I think is the real
question: What to do if the real choice is between two evil candidates, one
of whom is sane and one of whom is insane (and see item
3 and item 4 below).
And my answer is like Noam Chomsky's: In states where there is a danger
Trump might win, anybody who does not want an insane
choose for Clinton, bad as she is. 
This is a recommended article, even though
I don't quite agree with it, for Robert Scheer is an intelligent man
and part of his arguments are quite correct.
2. An Illegal Military Strategy Disguised as Technological
The second item is by Rebecca Gordon on Truthdig and originally on
This starts as follows:
Think of it as the Trojan Drone, the
ultimate techno-weapon of American warfare in these years, a single
remotely operated plane sent to take out a single key figure. It’s a
shiny video game for grown ups—a Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty
where the animated enemies bleed real blood. Just like the giant wooden
horse the Greeks convinced the Trojans to bring inside their gates,
however, the drone carries something deadly in its belly: a new and
illegal military strategy disguised as an impressive piece of
The technical advances embodied in drone
technology distract us from a more fundamental change in military
strategy. However it is achieved—whether through conventional air
strikes, cruise missiles fired from ships, or by drone—the United
States has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil.
Successive administrations have implemented this momentous change with
little public discussion. And most of the discussion we’ve had has
focused more on the new instrument (drone technology) than on its
purpose (assassination). It’s a case of the means justifying the end.
The drones work so well that it must be all right to kill people with
I don't agree with all of this (and I see
some is written in irony), but it is correct enough. This also is the
beginning of three pages that I will not review, in part
because it is too much, and in part because I did write similar things
In fact, I will only quote the next two
The Bush administration launched
the assassination program in October 2001 in Afghanistan,
expanded it in 2002 to Yemen,
and went from there. Under Obama, with an actual White House “kill
list,” the use of drones has again expanded, this time nine-fold,
with growing numbers of attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia,
as well as in the Afghan, Iraqi, and Syrian
There’s an obvious appeal to a technology
that allows pilots for the CIA, Joint Special Operations Command, or
the Air Force to sit safely in front of video screens in Nevada or
elsewhere in the U.S., while killing people half a world away. This is
especially true for a president running a global war with a public that
does not easily accept American casualties and a Congress that prefers
not to be responsible for war and peace decision-making. Drone
assassinations have allowed President Obama to spread the “war on
terror” to ever more places (even as he quietly retired
that phrase), without U.S. casualties or congressional oversight and
This is all true to the best of my
knowledge. There is considerably more in the article, that is
3. 'The Sham Is Over': Elizabeth Warren Has the Last Word
on 'Thin-Skinned Fraud' Donald Trump
The third item is by Tom Boggioni on AlterNet and originally on Raw
This starts as follows:
Outside of a humiliating defeat in
November, Donald Trump’s biggest nightmare has to be the continuing
attacks by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren who continually leaves
him in a stuttering rage, only able to use smears about her heritage
that likely cost her former opponent, Scott Brown, his seat in the
Warren stomped all over Trump’s big day on Saturday when
the presumptive GOP presidential announcing his Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
as his choice of a running mate.
Sunday Morning Trump returned fire, calling Warren a “fraud” and Warren
was ready to point out who the real fraud is — and she had the
headlines to prove it.
I like Elizabeth Warren because she has
guts and because she is quite often right (in my opinion ).
The rest of this article consists mostly of copies of Tweets, which I
think is a stupid way of "conversing" and therefore usually
avoid , but here are the
first three by Elizabeth Warren:
name-calling & lies about my family aren’t going to shut me up, @realDonaldTrump. Is
that really all you’ve got?
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July
might blow your mind that a woman worked hard & earned a good job
on her own, @realDonaldTrump,
but it’s not the 1800s. It happens.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July
You want to talk about who’s a fraud, @realDonaldTrump? How
about this? https://t.co/5UB05u8L4xpic.twitter.com/sTQrNKOoA1
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) July
are three more Tweets, which I will not reproduce here (click the last
dotted link if you want to see them), but I am going to give three out
of five of the references Warren gives, and without
abbreviations or relinking:
they are, starting withn the last link in the last Tweet:
I should add that two out of five failed: In
one case, the article has been removed; in the other the link is to the
Washington Post that doesn't even allow linking (?!).
the ending of the article (another Tweet):
I think he is more (a mad narcissist, among other things),
but this will do.
In case you are not convinced, check out the following item:
4. Trump’s Co-Author Speaks: Donald Is a Sociopath
The fourth and last item today is by
Sarah Lazare on AlterNet
This starts as follows (and the last
paragraph is quoted from the New Yorker):
Throughout his presidential campaign,
Donald Trump has waved around his book, The Art of the Deal,
to bolster his image as a smooth negotiator and skilled leader.
Now, Tony Schwartz—the man who says
he actually wrote the book and is listed as its coauthor—is publicly
expressing remorse for promoting the image of a man he describes as a
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he told Jane
for The New Yorker. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed
to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made
him more appealing than he is."
Schwartz continued: “I genuinely believe
that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent
possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
If he were writing "The Art of the Deal"
today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very
different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, "The
That is: "The Art of the Deal" (Trump's favorite
book after the Bible, or so he said) was not written by Trump,
who is according to its real writer, who knows Trump quite
well, "a sociopath".
Here are some of the reasons why
Tony Schwartz knows Trump quite well:
According to Mayer, Schwartz has a
unique window into Trump’s life. “Starting in late 1985,” she writes,
“Schwartz spent 18 months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining
him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends
with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate.”
Schwartz attested to Trump’s stunningly
short attention span, telling Mayer, “Trump has been written about a
thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is
doesn’t seem to be fully understood. It’s implicit in a lot of what
people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it.
And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focused on any topic,
other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes,
and even then.”
Schwartz went on to say, “He lied
strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.” Since
most people are “constrained by the truth,” Trump’s indifference to it
“gave him a strange advantage.”
As I have said before (and as quite a few
others have said): Trump is a grandiose
narcissist, and grandiose narcissists have only one theme,
their own superhuman size, superhuman character, superhuman
potency etc. etc. for they are really fascinated
by their own thoughts about their own superhumanity,
and not really by anything else - and indeed why would they,
seeing that they excel all in everything (that matters)?
Clearly, I think that Donald Trump is the greatest narcissist I have ever
seen, who does not have any greatness apart from that.
And I think that is a dominant reason for voting against a madman like
Then again, he may win, for
reasons explained in item 1. If so, you can thank
the GOP for having fronted a mad narcissist neofascist.
Because I am a philosopher who knows a lot about logic and proba-
bility theory and epistemology, here is a small qualification: When I
say an empirical proposition is true, what I usually mean is
that it is true that it is
far more probable than not.
 Perhaps I should add that I am an atheist; my
parents were atheists; three out of four of my grandparents were
atheists; and that I also do not live in the sickeningly religious USA,
but in Holland. And if it were Dutchmen who believed in the literal
truth of Noah's Ark Story, I would probably say that either
they are religious extremists or else insane, for it is
impossible for an intelligent and informed man to believe that kind of
utter medieval nonsense.
 Incidentally (and as Chomsky also
said): If you do not live in a state were both may win (but one
will win, almost certainly), you can choose whoever you want
(Jill Stein, for example).
because I am a philosopher: There is a fundamental difference between
values and facts, which amounts to this: (Conscious) values are due to
personal choice; facts
have nothing to do with how much a person likes or dislikes them: they
are so, regardless of what anyone thinks. And rightness (as I used it)
is a value, not a fact.
"Conversations" limited to 140 characters are not conver-
sations but are normally mere sloganeering. I dislike that, and
I also think it
for everyone has e-mail who has a computer.