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Nederlog

Sep 28, 2016

Crisis+me: Ẁar on Truth, Trump as Tyrant, Seditious Libel, My Autobiography
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Introduction

1.
 Donald Trump Leads the War on Truth — but He Didn’t
     Start It

2. You Cannot Worry About Health Care Reform When
     You Must Bow Down to a Tyrant

3. Donald Trump and the Return of Seditious Libel
4. Improved version of Part I of my autobiography
Introduction: 

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is on Trump and truth: It is said Trump leads the war on truth but didn't start it: Yes, indeed, for it started, for me and the Dutch, in 1978; item 2 is about a black follower of Trump who indeed does see him as her favorite kind of tyrant; item 3 is about Trump's proposal to return to seditious libel in the USA; and item 4 is about an improved version of my autobiography, Part I (from age 0 to age 28).

Incidentally:

One. I decided not to review the Clinton-Trump debate at all, because I didn't see it (I much dislike watching 1 1/2 hours of "political debate") and because there are, probably literally, hundreds of thousands of journalists who did.

Two. Most of my autobiography is in Dutch, and it probably doesn't interest many. It does interest me, and item 4 gives a brief outline, in English, of the things I improved since first publishing the parts of it in Nederlog.

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. And it was yesterday still or again the case. Indeed, this also holds for the opening pages: These too are not renewed at "xs4all", or at least: Not for me.) [1]

1. Donald Trump Leads the War on Truth — but He Didn’t Start It

The first item
today is by Mattathias Schwartz on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

As the first presidential debate looms, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is being billed as something more than red versus blue, rich versus poor, or war versus peace. The election is being billed as something even larger — a national referendum on the nature of truth itself.

I say, although I don't quite believe it. I have two reasons for this:

First, elections cannot be "
a national referendum on the nature of truth itself": Elections are not the place for such a referendum, and they are also
never about truth, but about politics and about power.

Then again, I should add that Mattathias Schwartz didn't say the elections are a referendum on
truth: he said what seems factually correct, namely that some have billed it as such.

Second, there is (or was) a - more or less - serious debate about truth, but it wasn't started by Trump at all, and in fact happened in four moves, spread over some 30 years (at least):
  • In 1978 (in August) the academic year of the University of Amsterdam was opened officially, on invitation by the Board of Directors, by a historian called Brandt, who said in a public speech literally (and was applauded for it) that (in English translation)

             "Everybody knows that truth does not exist."

    This was a sick and sickening lie. But from then on this also was the ever more popular ideology in the University of Amsterdam, where it became the official teaching in 1982/3.

  • This was postmodernism, but it was very early: The term "postmodernism" seems to have been created in 1979, and postmodernism was very influential in the 1980ies and 1990ies, and
    was well described in 1991 by Chip Morningstar:

I also note this was three years after my published attacks on postmodernism in the University of Amsterdam; three years after I was denied the right of taking an M.A. in philosophy in the University of Amsterdam because ... I had dared to criticize my incompetent, lying, parasitical, postmodernistic teachers of philosophy: Forbidden in the University of Amsterdam, and punished with - illegal - removal. (Also see: Morningstar shines a bright light on postmodernism: many links.)
  • Postmodernism was first attacked and to a considerable extent brought down by the Leftist physicist Alan Sokal in 1994:

But while this did bring postmodernism down - as a set of academic lies and postures - for many who did know physics, mathematics or philosophy, it took far longer to eradicate its popularity in the social "sciences" and the "science" of literature:
Since I have been argueing against postmodernism since 1978, and was removed from university because I did, you will forgive me if I leave it at this, in the present review. BUT:

There is a great lot more on various places at my sites, for postmodernism effected very much: The universities were destroyed, to the extent that now anyone with an IQ above 100 can get "an academic degree" (in some nonsense subject), and to the extent that the courses offered are half as long, four times as easy, and - at least - fifteen times as expensive as when I studied; medicine was mostly destroyed, though not only by postmodernism but also by medical greed and medical dishonesty, especially by psychiatrists, who now have been lying systematically from 1980 onwards; and public discussions have suffered very much, for ordinary non-academic people have "learned" one thing: Truth - they think - is mostly propaganda, and what counts most - see Trump - is total impertinence and utter relativism.

Back to Donald Trump... here is a good survey of Trump as a major liar:   

Those who are calling Trump out as a liar are right. He is a liar. His deceptions are apparent both from the records compiled above, and in the way he talks. And for those who might believe that these charges are extensions of bias, we have Politifact and the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, designated experts with the authority to call a lie a lie. A friend who works in New York City real estate once told me that Trump’s syntax is a familiar one in his business. The goal is to keep on filling the air with meaningless noise until your opponent adopts a defined position, which you can then proceed to undermine. Sometimes Trump lies to adjust his stated positions to the contingencies of the moment. Sometimes, as in this interview on foreign policy, his casual, fragmented way of speaking comes across as an attempt to conceal how little he knows. Sometimes, as with his claims that some U.S. cities are more dangerous than Afghanistan, and that African-American communities “are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before,” Trump’s words are so egregiously wrong, so obviously playing to emotion, that they are something closer to apocalyptic wishes than outright lies.
Note that Trump can lie and does lie - copiously, every 3 1/4 minute - in part because of 30 years of postmodern bullshit that "Everybody knows that truth does not exist" (so there were no concentration camps, neither in Hitler's Germany nor in Stalin's Soviet-Union, for example, for these are direct logical consequences of the thesis that there is no truth).

And in fact the real situation is even considerably worse:

The backlash against Trump isn’t really about his lying. It’s that he is lying too clumsily, too openly, and in the service of the wrong causes. Earlier this month, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a summary of their report on Edward Snowden’s disclosures. They wrote that Snowden washed out of the Army because of “shin splints,” “doctored his performance evaluations,” and never received a high school degree. All three of these claims are lies, as spelled out by Barton Gellman. These lies came from 24 sitting members of Congress who are charged with overseeing the intelligence community. But there has been little outcry, no correction, and no demands that these assertions be backed up by evidence. This may be because our political culture has come to accept certain abuses of the truth as normal, and the lack of accountability for those officials behind the Bush-era deceptions has not improved matters.
I agree with the last thesis about "our political culture": It consists of lies; most of the political leaders excel in one thing only: lying; and a considerable part of the attractiveness of lying and the consequent "lack of accountability" is again due to 30 years of postmodernism.

Finally, here is how "truth" is dealt with both by the government and by the main media:

Today, if you want to use your official position to slander Edward Snowden, or to claim that only three men were waterboarded at Guantánamo, or to argue against the release of 28 pages of a publicly funded report on the 9/11 attacks, the worst that most newspapers will do is quote someone who disagrees with you. Senior official says X, some critics say Y. This is stenography, and for those interested in figuring out how we came to inhabit a post-fact world, this might be one place to begin.
I mostly agree, but those who want to figure "out how we came to inhabit a post-fact world" have to go back at least 25 years, and study postmodernism and the enormous changes that utter bullshit produced everywhere, simply because - in the end - it is complete relativism; pronounces everybody to be "of equal value"; denies almost all expert knowledge; and sides with the stupid, the ignorant and the sadists who all love saying what they want to hear, and who despise everything their small brains cannot master.

And yes: There are far more
stupid, ignorant or sadistic people than there are people capable of understanding real science. [2] If the number of votes are all that matters, the stupid, the ignorant and the sadists have won.

2.
You Cannot Worry About Health Care Reform When You Must Bow Down to a Tyrant

The second item is by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal:

This starts as follows:
We started Health Care Renewal to highlight major health care problems whose discussion had previously been nearly taboo, with the hopes that this discussion would lead to true health care reform.  These problems included concentration of power within health care organizations; leadership of such organizations that was often generic, and hence ill-informed, unsympathetic or hostile to the values of health care professionals, self-interested, conflicted, or outright criminal or corrupt; and threats to the scientific basis of health care, including manipulation and suppression of clinical research.

We have come a long way in our understanding of these issues since we began in 2004.  But until now, we never needed to discuss some fundamental assumptions underlying what we were doing.  In particular, we could only pursue such discussions within societies that, however imperfectly, respected individual rights, particularly the rights to free speech, free press, free expression, and free association; operated under the rule of law; and were representative democracies.
I like Health Care Renewal mostly because I am interested in a renewal of health care, since I have been arguing now for 37 years that I am ill, but most doctors and most bureaucrats pretend I am not (and completely fail to explain why I should accept the lowest income anybody receives in Holland, for 37 years also, while I got an M.A. in psychology that is far better than almost anyone's, and a B.A. in philosophy which is the same).

Then again, most of my readers probably missed it. Here is another consequence of Trump's presidential candidacy:
Now maybe we should not feel assured that these discussions will continue to be useful in the US.  So far, reported only in a few outlets has been a crucial interview that appeared in a trailer for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary Frontline episode that will air tomorrow (September 27, 2016) on the two candidates running for the US presidency.
(..)
At about 3 minutes into this trailer, Ms Omarosa Manigault, who was on the original Apprentice, and who is now Director of African-American Outreach for the Trump campaign, is heard to say:
Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.
As reported in a brief story from the Huffington Post, she followed that up with:
It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.
These statements were also covered briefly by Talking Points Memo, and a number of entertainment sites, but has gotten almost no coverage and generated almost no discussion from larger general media outlets.
Incidentally, the reason why this "has gotten almost no coverage and generated almost no discussion from larger general media outlets" is that
this is the postmodern way in which the mainstream media these days treat news: First, they don't anymore distinguish between what is true or probably true, and what is false or probably false; and second, they mostly simply ignore what they do not want to see publicly discussed.

But Health Care Renewal is quite correct:
This story is more than creepy.  Here is an apparently senior, paid staffer for the campaign of a major party candidate for the US presidency threatening that anyone who disagreed with her candidate will have to "bow down" should he become president.  That seems to be an overt threat of dictatorship should that candidate win.  I do not recall ever hearing any such statement made by any such staffer in any such campaign in the past.
3. Donald Trump and the Return of Seditious Libel

The third item is by Richard Tofel on Truthdig, and originally on ProPublica:
This has the following:
For at least the last 30 years, since Chief Justice William Rehnquist acquiesced in the constitutionalization of the law of libel, which has safeguarded the American press for more than a half century, we appeared to have a consensus in this country around our modern system of protections for the value of a free and untrammeled press to the process of self-government.

Until now. This year, for the first time since at least Richard Nixon, the leader of one of our major political parties has pledged to limit press freedom by restricting criticism of his prospective rule.

But Nixon’s threats were private, revealed only by his own taping system, while Donald Trump’s are very public, loud and clear.
Yes, indeed - and not only that:
In fact, Trump is more hostile to the legal and constitutional rights of the press than any major presidential candidate of the last two centuries.
This I cannot judge (for I just don't know enough about all American presidents) but I am willing to accept.

Here is what Trump said and wants:

Trump has said that most reporters are “absolute dishonest, absolute scum.” He’s said that “I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible.”

In February he pledged that “one of the things I’m gonna do if I win, and I hope that I do, and we’re certainly leading, is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws. So that when the New York Times writes a hit piece that is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money rather than have no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money, I’m not taking their money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re gonna have people sue you like you never got sued before.”

I have said before that he is a mad neofascist, and I repeat it. Then again, there may be sufficiently many stupid and ignorant voters to elect him.

This is a recommended article.

4. Improved version of Part I of my autobiography

The fourth and last item today is by me and is about my autobiography, that starts here:

To begin with, here are two general remarks on my autobiography:

One. It is written mostly in Dutch (which will stop most of the readers of my sites). The reason is that I am Dutch and have - alas, alas, alas - lived most of my life in Holland (which I certainly would have left ca. 1980 - when I got my philosophy B.A. - if I had been healthy). There are considerable parts in English, but these are due to the fact that there are many quotations from my journals, and these were in part written in English.

Two, I wrote it mostly for my self, for two reasons: I wanted a survey of my life that is much briefer than my journals, and I wanted to know whether my
usage of megavitamins
(since 1983) has helped my health.

I do now have a survey of the first 43 years of my life [3], in two parts, of which Part I arrived yesterday, and Part II will arrive later, though quite possibly in 2016, for this has also been written mostly, and only needs some extensions and corrections, most of which meanwhile have been made. And I also found, quite conclusively as well, that megavitamins have helped me significantly, especially from 1984-1988, and since 2012. [4]

The rest of this item is given to explaining how the present part I and the future part II differ from the first version. There are basically three differences.

One. I started writing my autobiography in Nederlog in January 2013. I did so for two reasons: My eyes had deteriorated rapidly and quite painfully in 2012, which meant that it was absolutely certain I could only write it in incidental bits and pieces. [5] And I knew from the beginning, also because I had to write it fast or not at all, that there would have to be major corrections in style and in facts, mostly because much was written - especially in Part I - from memory only, and while my memory is quite good, it certainly is sometimes mistaken.

I have written all of my autobiography (for the first 43 years) within three years (2013-2015) in my Nederlog; then copied everything I had written (over 3 MB, without appendixes) to the /Autobiography/ section in /Maartensz/ and then started to correct these bits, and did so, namely as follows:

Two. I have rewritten or extended several parts, and corrected everything in Part I, but also decided not to rewrite it as a book, mostly because this required extensive rewritings that would be appreciated by few, whereas the
originals, which have more repetitions than are admissible in a book, have
the advantage that it makes it easier to read only parts of the autobiography.

Nevertheless, there were many usually small changes and corrections, and one major change:

Three. The major change I introduced were named sections: The whole autobiography gets presented (apart from quite a few appendices) in about 43 files that now all start with a list of links to named sections.

This makes it a lot easier to see what is in the file; a lot easier to only pick out the parts one is interested in; and also makes the whole autobiography appear considerably more orderly than it originally was (and still is, in Nederlog, for I only correct typos there, after two days or so).

I could say a lot more, but will not. For the few who are interested, my autobiography now starts here. I think it is well told, and it summarizes a
rather strange life, upset as this was by currently 37 years of serious illness that still is admitted by few, but I really don't know how interesting it is for other people.

What is certain, though, is that the story I tell holds for almost no one, which is also one of my main reasons to publish it: You may have lived in the same place and at the same time as I did, but your life is almost certainly quite different from mine.

---------------
Notes
[1]  Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] Here is the proof: 50% of all persons have an IQ that is maximally 100; you may add at least 5% for people who may not be quite stupid but who are quite ignorant; and then there are also (at least) 10% of people who have a definite taste for sadism. Together, that is around 65%.

In contrast, especiallly if we demand a decent understanding and knowledge of mathematics, at most 5% is capable of understanding most real science. And even if you make that 10% or even 25%: That still is far less than the above 65%.

[3]
It is quite possible that I will not write more about my life. The reason is simply that there is little to tell about my life since 1993: Until 2012 I did and could do little more than write my site, which I did do between 1996 and 2016, and which presently takes around 500 MB (not all by me: there are quite a few philosophical classics on it, mostly with my extensive comments) and indeed I did very little else.

Also, since 1993 I have lived reasonably and calmly and did not have to defend myself and my health against a mad and sadistic neighbor (as I had to do between 1981 and 1983) nor against murderous illlegal drugsdealers who were protected by everyone who worked for the City of Amsterdam, from the last four mayors down to the city police (from 1988 till 1992).

[4]
This is "quite conclusive" for two simple reasons: (1) I have tried very many things other than vitamins, and none of these helped in any way, while vitamins helped me a lot from 1984 till 1988, and helped me considerably from 2012 onwards, and (2) I also have several years worth of careful and honest statistics on the experiments I did with vitamins, which - in my opinion - is better than most of the evidence I have seen for new medical patents, for these often take as few as 12 or 16 subjects, and experiment only a few weeks.

I did not know any subjects with M.E. who wanted to follow me in taking a lot of vitamins, but I do know a lot about philosophy of science, experiments and statistics to know that what I did was done as well as I could.

Everything might have been done a lot better, but for that I needed honest, interested and competent medical people, and of those I found no more than
three in 37 years (and these were usually very busy).

[5]
As to my eyes: They quite suddenly, quite painfully and quite radically collapsed in May/June of 2012. As usual (!), there is a Latin name for the disease (keratoconjunctivitis sicca aka dry eyes), but hardly any explanation.

In my case, this remained painful until the end of 2015 (for 3 1/2 years) and then, again quite suddenly, in January 2016, got rather a lot better, although
my eyes haven't healed yet and I still need an adapted computer. But they are a lot less painful than they were.

(Again, there is no good explanation.)


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