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Nederlog

Jul 23, 2016

Crisis: Trump *3, Clinton & Kaine, Erdogan's Putsch
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Introduction

1.
Classic Authoritarianism: In a Speech Filled with Fear
     & Xenophobia, Donald Trump Accepts Nomination

2. Donald Trump Has Much in Common With Someone You
     Would Least Expect

3. Robert Reich Horrified By Trump’s Speech: The Most
     Negative Acceptance Speech I Have Ever Heard

4. Clinton Inflames Progressive Base with Choice of Tim
     Kaine as Vice President

5. Erdogan's Putsch: Turkey's Post-Coup Slide into
     Dictatorship

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, July 23, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about Amy Goodman plus three guests on Trump's speech (with an aside by me about the Guardian); item 2 is about an article that starts more or less OK but rapidly descends to the thesis that Trump and Bin Laden are something like one of a kind (which I regard as bullshit); item 3 is again about Trump (the last today) and charts Reich's and Maher's responses to Trump's acceptance speech (that I sofar have not been able to see, and I mean Maher's program); item 4 is about Clinton's nomination of Kaine as VP (and I explain again why I think it is better to vote for Clinton, who is evil but not mad, than for Trump, who is both evil and mad); and item 5 is about a fairly long article written by committee of eleven (11) Spiegel journalists about Turkey: The first page is OK, but I didn't much like the rest, mostly because of the style.

1
.
Classic Authoritarianism: In a Speech Filled with Fear & Xenophobia, Donald Trump Accepts Nomination

The first item today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:
In a scene few would have predicted 12 or even six months ago, real estate mogul Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination. In an hour-and-15-minute speech, Trump warned the nation was facing an imminent crisis at home and abroad, and that he alone was qualified to solve it. Trump’s speech included so many factual inaccuracies that The Washington Post called it "a compendium of doomsday stats that fall apart upon close scrutiny. Numbers are taken out of context, data is manipulated, and sometimes the facts are wrong."
Yes, indeed. Here is some more:
AMY GOODMAN: Donald Trump’s speech included multiple factual errors. According to The Washington Post, the speech was, quote, "a compendium of doomsday stats that fall apart upon close scrutiny. Numbers are taken out of context, data [is] manipulated, and sometimes the facts are wrong," The Washington Post said. The Guardian reported, quote, "Comparisons with Hitler and Mussolini have been made so often and so glibly that they tend to obscure rather than clarify. Yet the ability of this demagogue to play the crowd, switching its anger on and off like a tap, carries too many echoes of the past century to ignore," The Guardian wrote. Meanwhile, Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke praised the speech. In a tweet, he wrote, quote, "Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!" he tweeted.
Both quotations are from the beginning. There is rather a lot more, with three
people being interviewed, but I will leave this to your interest.

But I do want to say something about the Blairite Guardian (that's steadily growing worse and worse).

When the Blairite (<- Wikipedia) Guardian writes that "
[c]omparisons with Hitler and Mussolini have been made so often and so glibly that they tend to obscure rather than clarify" it should be understood that (1) the Guardian does no such things at all (which is quite true), and (2) the Guardian also is lying: I have been reading over 30 of the news sources daily for over three years now, and "[c]omparisons with Hitler and Mussolini have been made" so rarely, so hesitatingly, so qualifiedly, and so tamely in the mainstream media that they were hard to find, which means that (3) the Guardian's thoroughly false assertion that these "tend to obscure rather than clarify" is propaganda talk that really expresses their wishful thinking much rather than fact. Also (4) while the two quoted statements of the Guardian may be too vague - "carries too many echoes of the past century": how much more unclear can you make that? - to say the second outright contradicts the first, they certainly don't cohere well, logically speaking.

But this was an aside. The article is recommended.

2. Donald Trump Has Much in Common With Someone You Would Least Expect

The second item is by Daniel Miller on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Politico compared Donald Trump to Hugo Chavez and Augusto Pinochet. New York magazine noted a similarity between Trump and Kim Jong-Il and Joseph Stalin. Meg Whitman recently compared him to Benito Mussolini. And pretty much everyone who isn’t voting for him, including two former presidents of Mexico, has publicly or privately (or secretly to themselves) compared him to Hitler. Trump himself, although loath to accept these comparisons, seems to respect, if not like, Vladimir Putin, and it’s even been reported that for a time he kept a collection of Hitler’s speeches at his bedside table.
I think the last statement - that Trump "kept a collection of Hitler’s speeches at his bedside table" - is probably false, for Trump isn't a reader of books.

The rest is probably correct, but then these were mostly vague analogies between some (presumed) characteristics of the authoritarian rightist Trump with some
(presumed) characteristics of some more or less wellknown other authoritarian rightists.
Boy, does this paint a picture. And what’s more, these aren’t facile comparisons. They actually reflect Trump’s persona, his values and his policies: his misogyny and his ridiculous “machismo,” an almost unabashed narcissism, his skill at blaming our problems on “the other,” whether they happen to be Mexicans, Muslims or immigrants in general, his relentless fear-mongering, and the fact that when he speaks or writes anything he is probably lying. Indeed, these are traits that would make Latin American despots, Communist dictators, eastern European strongmen and Nazis alike proud. And Trump embodies them all.
Yes and no. Yes, for Trump is an authoritarian rightist, and most authoritarian rightists share quite a number of traits, among which are misogyny, machismo, blaming immigrants, fear-mongering and (not mentioned above) racism. But no, these are not traits that "would make Latin American despots, Communist dictators, eastern European strongmen and Nazis alike proud", if only because "Communist dictators" have other (unsympathetic) traits.

So Miller seems to me to be exaggerating, and indeed the "
Someone You Would Least Expect" in the title is Osama Bin Laden: "Like Trump, he was twice divorced (at least) and had children with several different women." And there are even four other traits he shares with Trump!!! (Wow! Amazing!!)

I say... I am sorry, but this is plain bullshit.

3. Robert Reich Horrified By Trump’s Speech: The Most Negative Acceptance Speech I Have Ever Heard

The third item is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

Robert Reich joined "Real Time With Bill Maher" on the last night of the Republican National Convention to weigh in on Donald Trump's speech. Reich, the former U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, was baffled by its demagoguery, even for Trump.

“Honestly, Ive never heard a speech that was as long-winded, as undisciplined, as full of fear," Reich told Maher, calling it "the most negative acceptance speech [he] had ever heard." 

“If you look actually at what he has said, he wants the biggest tax cut for the wealthy in history and how is he going to afford that at the same time he delivers everything else he is talking about?" Reich asked.

I should start this review by saying that I like Bill Maher and am on the latest Ubuntu with the latest Firefox, but I could not run any of the three videos that are in this article, nor could I find them (quickly) on line. So I couldn't see all that is relevant.

As to the above quotation: Clearly, Reich is right when he asks "he wants the biggest tax cut for the wealthy in history and how is he going to afford that at the same time he delivers everything else he is talking about?", but then logic and fact are not things Trump cares about. (He should, I agree. But he does not.)

Here is Bill Maher:

Maher, on the other hand, called the speech "completely fact-free."

“All politics is somewhat fact-free but they have just taken it to a whole new level," the host remarked. "‘Hillary’s going to abolish the Second Amendment’—as if any Democrat ever said anything like that," Maher remarked, quoting one of Trump's new favorite lies.
Yes, I think Maher is right - and in case you want to read Trump's speech: It is available from here and is well worth reading and pondering, as is this.

Here is the final quote I'll give from this article:

Getting back to the fact-free aspect of the speech, the GOP nominee didn't just flub figures, he ignored clear trends.

"The number of undocumented workers is down. It was down last year from the year before, but he is using Orwellian logic. Did you hear him say tonight, ‘Hillary Clinton is dividing us.’ Hillary Clinton is dividing us? I mean, he is the biggest divider I know," Reich exclaimed.

I agree Trump is a far bigger divider than is Clinton, but she (like any politician, and indeed any religionist) also divides people.

Anyway... I recommend this article in the hope that those who read it have better ways than I do to see the videos in it.

4. Clinton Inflames Progressive Base with Choice of Tim Kaine as Vice President

The fourth item today is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Hillary Clinton's Friday night announcement of Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her vice-presidential running mate stirred immediate disappointment and outrage among the progressive wing of her party and the army of supporters inspired by Bernie Sanders' historic and visionary campaign.
(...)
Reporting in recent days increasingly signaled that Kaine was Clinton's top choice, but the official announcement confirmed the worst fears of progressives who warned such a pick would be taken as "a pronounced middle finger" to the millions who voted for Sanders during the primary season. At stake, many critics of the choice indicate, are pressing issues—including reproductive rights, climate change, financial regulation, and corporate-friendly trade agreements—where Kaine holds positions far to the right of where they think the party, and the country, should be headed.

I reported yesterday on this, and said then "while you can't trust the lunatic Trump, you also cannot trust Hillary Clinton, although she has the advantage of not being mad", and I now want to say a little more on that theme.

First, both Trump and Clinton are for the rich and against the non-rich: both are millionaires (Trump claims to be a billionaire), and Clinton got to be a millionaire by making (secret, extremely well paid) speeches for (extremely rich) bankmanagers. (There is considerably more to be said, but I suppress that for the moment.)

Second, their bases are quite different, so the lies with which they address their audiences angling for their votes are quite different: Trump's audience is mainly that of the elderly white, the deceived white poor, and the rich, while Clinton's public is considerably more diverse and possibly a bit less stupid.

Third, Clinton is as much for the rich as Trump is, but in a different way: She is for deregulations (even more), for these are good for the bankers, who are good for her, and she is for the TPP, for a similar reason. (Trump is for deregulations, but sometimes says he is not, and is against the TPP, probably for strategic reasons.)

Fourth, the basic difference I see between the two presidential candidates, both of whom are excellent liars who lie a lot, and both of whom can't be believed (although Clinton is considerably more correct about the facts than
is Trump: what Clinton lies about are her plans if she is elected) is this: Trump is mad (he is a grandiose narcissist, which is a psychiatric disorder, which is also very hard to cure - and I know, for I am an M.Sc. in psychology), while Clinton is not mad.

Fifth, for me that is quite decisive: I do not wish to give the most powerful position on earth to a mad person.

There is a lot more that could be said about this theme, but I leave it for the moment at this, and turn to the next bit:

Reporting in recent days increasingly signaled that Kaine was Clinton's top choice, but the official announcement confirmed the worst fears of progressives who warned such a pick would be taken as "a pronounced middle finger" to the millions who voted for Sanders during the primary season. At stake, many critics of the choice indicate, are pressing issues—including reproductive rights, climate change, financial regulation, and corporate-friendly trade agreements—where Kaine holds positions far to the right of where they think the party, and the country, should be headed.

Yes, indeed. In fact, I do not know whether the "pronounced middle finger"
was really there, but clearly Kaine is a candidate quite like Clinton is:

In the last week alone, Kaine is on the record as pushing for new rounds of Wall Street deregulation and voicing active support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement—both in direct contradiction to what grassroots progressives have been demanding.

So this is what you are going to get if Clinton becomes president:

Even more
deregulations, to make the bank managers even richer and totally impossible to legally check or curtail, plus the neofascism that is the TPP (which is not about "free trade" but about making all states, all governments and all tax payers depend on the multi-national corporations much rather than their own laws, their own politics, or their own choices), which again will make the few rich a whole lot richer, namely by robbing the non-rich in all possible - deregulated - ways.

But as I said: The choice for president of the USA is from two evils - and given that, I strongly prefer an evil that is not also quite mad, quite narcissistic, very temperamental, most unreasonable and an obvious incompetent for the job he seeks.

5. Erdogan's Putsch: Turkey's Post-Coup Slide into Dictatorship

The fifth
and last item today is by a committee of eleven (11) journalists on Spiegel [1]:

The first quotation is from near the beginning, and this also is an article of four pages (of which I will not review the last three, although I have read them):

On Wednesday, Erdogan declared emergency rule and partially suspended the European Convention on Human Rights for three months. During that time, the president can rule by decree: He can ignore fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of assembly and press freedoms, government authorities can impose curfews and media coverage can be outlawed.

A 'Holiday of Democracy'

Erdogan has also announced his intention to "cleanse the state." He wants to have parliament vote on the reintroduction of the death penalty to provide him with the ultimate punishment as he goes after those involved in the coup and he has called on Turkish citizens to occupy streets and squares across the country.

They have listened. Mostly in the evenings, thousands of demonstrators gather in prominent places, such as Ankara's Kizilay Square or Taksim Square in Istanbul. The carry mock gallows and pay homage to their leader Erdogan: "Say the word, and we'll die. Say the word, and we'll kill." Men shoot blanks and speakers incite the mob. Erdogan's loyal prime minister, Binali Yildirim, has spoken of a "holiday of democracy."

I'm sorry, but if you address your political leader with the words "Say the word, and we'll die. Say the word, and we'll kill." you are not a democrat but an authoritarian totalitarian.

Also, a
"holiday of democracy" tends to be a feast day for the military, the police and their torturers, and often starts the complete absence of any democracy and any decent law for a long time.

Here is more on the process that is unfolding in Turkey at present:

Erdogan called the failed uprising a "gift from God," a gift that now gives him the latitude to silence his opponents and critics. His government has claimed that a minority within the Turkish military was responsible for the putsch attempt, but the president has also accused Fethullah Gülen of instigating the coup -- the Turkish cleric who used to be a close ally of Erdogan's but has been living in American exile since the late 1990s.

The president and his entourage have left no doubt about how they intend to react to the revolt: With merciless severity. Erdogan has had over 2,000 soldiers arrested and several tens of thousands of civil servants have been fired. Among them are 36,200 teachers and officials in the Education Ministry, 8,000 police officers and almost 3,000 judges, many of them alleged followers of Gülen. Forty-seven provincial governors were forced to resign as were the deans of all of Turkey's universities. Academics and scientists are no longer allowed to leave the country.

Given these facts (I take it) it seems quite possible that "the failed uprising" is not "a "gift from God"" but may have been allowed and/or engineered by the Turkish secret services, although - of course - I do not know that.

In any case: While I can understand why "2,000 soldiers" were arrested after the failed coup, the only way I can understand why "36,200 teachers and officials in the Education Ministry, 8,000 police officers and almost 3,000 judges" (together 47,200 persons) have been arrested is that they were not
sympathizers with Erdogan - which now seems to be a crime, in Turkey.

And there is this about Erdogan and the media:

In recent years, it had become increasingly difficult for Turks to criticize Erdogan, with intellectuals and journalists having been arrested and opposition newspapers shut down. Investigative journalism is unlikely to come from the country's large media organizations, says Erol Onderoglu, the Turkish representative of the organization Reporters without Borders. State repression has become too great and the economic interests between the media and the government have become too interwoven, he says.

Now, though, in the wake of the failed coup, what remains of public opposition is likely to disappear entirely. In the last few days, the government has blocked dozens of websites of small, independent media organizations while critical radio and television broadcasters have been taken off the air.

In brief: It seems that Turkey is rapidly heading towards another dictatorship - and no, I do not know Turkish and do not know much about the country (like most Westerners), but this is easy to see and conforms with many similar events, which includes earlier events in Turkey.

This was all from the first page, and was decent reporting. There are three more pages, which I have read all, but there is considerably less reporting in them, and I didn't like the writing much.

I leave them to your interests, but the above seems a more or less fair summary of what is currently happening in Turkey.

---------------
Note
[1] I don't like journalism that is being written as if it is written by a whole committee (as in medicine, often). This is also a new trend, and it seems to me one possible reason for it is that each of the 11 journalists (who wrote on average 4/11th (around one third) of a page in a 4 page article) can deny almost all personal responsibility for what all wrote together. I don't know this is the reason, but it may be. And besides, a 4-page piece written by 11 persons is much more likely to be ill-written than a similar piece written by 1 person (supposing that person can write).

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