Oct 10, 2016

Crisis: Prisons & Slavery, Trump Is Insane (*3)
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The New Slave Revolt
2. Trump Unleashes at Debate, Tells Clinton She'll "Be in
     Jail" If He Wins

3. Sex, Lies and America’s Deplorable Democracy
4. In Second Debate, Donald Trump Showcases His Dark

This is a Nederlog of Monday, October 10, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about the latest column by Chris Hedges, which is about the - extremely unfair - American prison system: I like it (with some criticisms); item 2 is about the Clinton - Trump debate and makes clear that ini the last debate Trump said he will imprison Hillary Clinton if he wins: Trump is insane; item 3 is one of extremely many bullshit pieces I have seen on this election and these "debates"; while item 4 is an example of a (considerably more rare) more or less rational response.

Meanwhile, I have given up criticizing Donald Trump, and merely repeat what I think for seven months now, and as a psychologist:
Trump is insane. I am not going to debate the points an insane person makes. I merely say what is my honest opinion: Trump is insane. And it would be major folly to let him win the presidency.

And there is an earlier file of today: Autobio 1992: Woning St. Antonies- breestr, Verhuizing, Jolanda Onredelijk, Landsmeer
that is part of my Dutch autobiography.

-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice or more 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. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now works again (!), but I do not know how long it will keep working.

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.


1. The New Slave Revolt

The first item today is Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

A nationwide prison work stoppage and hunger strike, begun on Sept. 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising, have seen over 20,000 prisoners in about 30 prisons do what we on the outside should do—refuse to cooperate. “We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves,” prisoners of the Free Alabama Movement, the Free Ohio Movement and the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee wrote in a communique.

This round of prison strikes—there will be more—has had little outside support and press coverage. There have been few protests outside prison walls. Prison authorities—unlike during the 1971 Attica uprising when the press was allowed into the yard to interview the rebellious prisoners—have shut out a compliant media. They have identified strike leaders and placed them in isolation. Whole prisons in states such as Texas were put on lockdown on the eve of the strike. It is hard to know how many prisoners are still on strike, just as it is hard to know how many stopped work or started to fast on Sept. 9.

I say. I have three remarks:

First, I agree with the "prison work stoppage and hunger strike" - and I note that both strikes must have been going on for a month now.

Second, I much doubt that the prisoners who are both on strike and on hunger strike will succeed in ending "prison slavery". (I agree their fates are horrible and mostly unfair. But "ending slavery" while you are imprisoned, discriminated and risk being locked up in isolation seems ... well: very unlikely to me.)

And third, Chris Hedges is quite right that the present round of prison strikes "has had little outside support and press coverage" and indeed - while the strike now is in its second month - and he is quite correct that "[i]t is hard to know how many prisoners are still on strike, just as it is hard to know how many stopped work or started to fast on Sept. 9".

Here is some more, which I think is a bit exaggerated:

These prison strike leaders put no hope in a “national conversation” about race and mass incarceration. They know that corporations, the courts and politicians will never halt the lethal police violence against unarmed men and women of color or dismantle the vast gulags for the poor that dot the country. The mechanisms of repression are by design. They are the logical consequence of deindustrialization. The corporate state uses fear, police violence and huge networks of jails and prisons to keep hundreds of millions of underemployed and unemployed poor people from revolting.

What is exaggerated is not Hedges' imputation that America's prison system is "the logical consequence of deindustrialization": I think he may be (and probably is) quite right about that. But since there are in 2016 nearly 325 million Americans, to speak of "hundreds of millions of underemployed and unemployed poor people" (implying at least 200 milion of such persons) simply is exaggerated. (And note there are in all about 40 milion blacks in the USA.)

The same applies to this:

These striking prisoners are far more effective, and far more threatening to the corporate state, than the outside multitudes entranced and manipulated by the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Goon Show. Denied the right to employment, to vote and to public assistance because of felony convictions, denied the right to justice because they are poor, and denied a voice because they have been silenced by state censorship and a bankrupt media, these prisoners were some of the first to understand the totalitarian nature of the corporate state.

I have two remarks:

First, to say that these "striking prisoners are far more effective" "than the outside multitudes entranced and manipulated by the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Goon Show" is quite irrealistic: The prison strikes - which I support - are hardly reported in the news, and not even Chris Hedges, who is quite well placed to know these things, knows "how many prisoners are still on strike" nor does he know "how many stopped work or started to fast on Sept. 9."

It would have been a lot better if a lot more attention had been paid to the strike, but this simply did not happen.

Second, it simply is false to say that "these prisoners" - in 2016, mind you - "were some of the first to understand the totalitarian nature of the corporate state." No. Totalitarianism was not discovered nor first understood by American prisoners in 2016: it was discovered and analyzed at least 75 years ago by journalists like George Orwell, and intellectuals like Karl Popper and J.L. Talmon and some (quite a few) others.

Then again, all of the following seems quite correct to me:

The 2.3 million human beings, most of them poor people of color, who are locked in cages across the country provide billions in salaries and other revenues for depressed rural towns with large prisons. They provide billions more in profits to phone card companies, money transfer companies, food service companies, merchandise vendors, construction companies, laundry services, uniform companies, prison equipment vendors and the manufacturers of pepper spray, body armor and the many other medieval instruments used for the physical restraint of prisoners. They also make billions for corporations—Whole Foods, Verizon, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Sprint, Victoria’s Secret, American Airlines, J.C. Penney, Sears, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Eddie Bauer, Wendy’s, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Fruit of the Loom, Motorola, Caterpillar and dozens of others—that collectively exploit 1 million prison laborers.

Why pay workers outside the walls the minimum wage when you can pay workers behind walls only a couple of dollars a day? Why exploit sweatshop workers in countries like Bangladesh when you can exploit sweatshop workers in U.S. prisons? Why permit prison reform that would impede profits?  Why not expand a system that reduces labor costs to slave wages?

I do have an answer to one question: "Why exploit sweatshop workers in countries like Bangladesh when you can exploit sweatshop workers in U.S. prisons?"

The answer is that there are some 2 million Americans who may be exploited in prison for a couple of dollars a day, while there is "a capitalist need" - so to speak - for hundreds of millions of workers who don't get paid more than a couple of dollars a day (and also do not need imprison- ment in expensive jails).

Here is the last bit that I'll quote. It explains the system of exploitation American prisoners are subjected to:

Prisoners are the ideal workers in corporate America. They earn from 8 cents to about 44 cents an hour. In some states, such as Alabama, they earn nothing. They receive no Social Security, pensions or other benefits. They do not get paid overtime. They are prohibited from organizing or carrying out strikes. They always show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot complain about poor working conditions or safety hazards. If they protest their meager wages or working conditions they instantly lose their jobs and are placed in isolation cells. They live in an environment where they daily face the possibility of torture, beatings, prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, racial profiling, rancid food, inadequate medical care, little or no heating and ventilation, and rape. In short, they are slaves.

Quite so. And while this is technically/judicially not slavery, it is very much like it.

2. Trump Unleashes at Debate, Tells Clinton She'll "Be in Jail" If He Wins

The second item is by Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:


In what was dubbed by numerous commentators as a nearly unbearable spectacle to witness—with Politico describing it as the "ugliest debate ever" and Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi declaring that "having a railroad spike driven through my foot would be more enjoyable than watching this"—Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump debated in a town hall-style event Sunday night.

The debate culminated a weekend of ongoing controversy and chaos after revelations on Friday that Trump—who has previously been accused of sexual harassment and assault—was caught on tape bragging to a TV host about his freedom to kiss and grope women without their consent.

I did not watch it (and indeed I very rarely watch videos of long debates: Too slow, too boring), and I seem to have done myself a service.

Here is another piece of insanity Trump let loose, this time in the debate:

In perhaps the most acrimonious and eye-popping exchange between the two candidates, Trump announced that if elected he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton for misdeeds and later echoed a popular chant of his supporters—who frequently tell "Lock her up" during his campaign rallies—by saying she'd "be in jail" when he is president.

As I have said many times by now: I am a psychologist and I think Donald Trump is insane:

3. Sex, Lies and America’s Deplorable Democracy

The third item is by Peter Bloom on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows (and seems a fair indication of the great amounts of baloney I am seeing served by "journalists" and "intellectuals" [2]):

Only a little more than a month before the November election, both Trump and Clinton were rocked by new scandals. Headlines around the country and world reported on secretly recorded tapes and speech that reaffirm the public’s worst suspicions of each of them. In an already in many ways unprecedented election, the contest for the American President has perhaps hit a modern low.

Trump’s crimes are the most salacious and obviously morally troubling. In a just released hidden audio recording he casually brags about his penchant for sexually assaulting women. Further, he openly declares that his celebrity gives him full license to do so.

While Trump grabbed most of the media attention – perhaps for once completely unwanted – slightly under the radar was Clinton’s Wikileaks released speeches from Goldman Sachs. In them she admits her support for Wall Street and her intentional attempts to hide this from the public.  

These scandals expose the moral bankruptcy of both candidates. The respective actions of Trump and Clinton should seriously challenge their legitimacy as presidential candidates. More fundamentally these revelations reveal just how morally unacceptable American democracy has become.

Especially the last paragraph is typical: Bloom does not even seem to have reasoned himself to the conviction that he must choose between Clinton and Trump or throw his vote away on a candidate who certainly will not win, while what he means by "just how morally unacceptable American democracy has become" also is (and remains) completely vague.

4. In Second Debate, Donald Trump Showcases His Dark Soul

The fourth and last item today is by David Corn on Mother Jones:

This is from near the beginning and is a bit better than the previous item:
But one matter loomed larger than all of that: what's inside Trump?

Throughout the 100-minute-long face-off, Trump did not change his style. He was combative, angry, and mean, as he stalked about the stage during the town hall-style event. He said that were he to win the White House, he would prosecute Clinton and promised to toss her in jail. This was throwing a blood-dripping bone to his "lock her up" base. Were this anything like a normal election, this Trump vow—which undermines democratic rule—would be the screaming headline out of the debate. This year, it's just another thing Trump said. He also declared of Clinton, "She has tremendous hate in her heart." As if threatening to imprison your political opponent is not a thuggish act of demagoguery and hatred.

Yes. And Donald Trump is insane. This may be a correct analysis:

Ultimately, this creepy move was born of frustration. Much of the Republican Party had finally dumped Trump, and, as one former Trump adviser told me, Trump and his inner circle believed he had only one play: go nuclear. It was a crude step, debasing this campaign further, but one in sync with Trump's pettiness and malice.

Indeed. And Donald Trump is insane. There is this - brief - analysis of Trump's insanities:

It was Trump who attacked Judge Curiel in a racist manner. It was Trump who assailed Khizr and Ghazala Khan. It was Trump who mocked a reporter with a disability. It was Trump who called a POW a loser. It was Trump who encouraged violence at his campaign rallies. It was Trump who attempted to turn tragic attacks against Americans into proof he ought to be president. It was Trump who proposed to ban Muslims from the United States. It was Trump who derided the looks of Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz. It was Trump who made the crack about Megyn Kelly. It was Trump who defended calling women pigs and who body-shamed a former Miss Universe.

He did this because Donald Trump is insane. This raises the following question:

At this stage, there is little need for a debate on anything but Trump's ability to function as a sane, rational, deliberate, and decent person. The video showed that his misogyny runs deep—after this race had already produced much evidence casting Trump as a lewd, crude, and cruel man. During the debate, he did little to challenge this impression. He really is that asshole on the bus.

Not for me: "Trump's ability to function as a sane, rational, deliberate, and decent person" = 0. Th reason is that Donald Trump is insane. He is also irrational and indecent.

But I will not discuss Trump's debating points: He is

[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" destroy (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] One of the (many) reasons for quoting terms (as in "journalists" and "intellectuals") is to suggest that an "X" may say he is an "X" (lying is very easy, after all) but that one doubts this.

Well... most journalists I know of seem more like "journalists" (people who claim to be journalists but don't do much or any real journalism), and the same applies to the vast majority of "intellectuals" I have known.

But OK... I am merely reminding you of my terminology.

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