This starts as follows:
Trump has virtually stopped trying to win this election by any
conventional metric and is instead stacking logs of grievance on the
funeral pyre with the great anticipation of setting it ablaze if
current polls turn out to be predictive.
something calamitous in the air that surrounds the campaign, a hostile
fatalism that bespeaks a man convinced that the end is near and aiming
his anger at all within reach.
path to victory grows narrower, his desperation grows more pronounced.
indeed. And there are some - Bill Maher, for example - who seem to
expect possibly a lot of violence if (as seems rather probable
Trump looses the presidential elections.
Maher may well be right, and if
he is it are mostly the media that are guilty, if only because
I know now for more than 7 months (as
a psychologist, I admit) that Trump is insane (mad, crazy), and
indeed clinically insane, for he is suffering from grandiose narcissism (see the link: this
is a psycho- pathology that is also very difficult to
Here is some more on the women
who have stepped forward to complain about Trump's sexual
assaults, that Trump says he is entitled to and can do because
he "is famous" (is "a star"), and that he summed up (a week ago, and also see here) as follows:
TRUMP: Yeah, that’s
her, with the gold. I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs just in case I start
kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just
start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait.
And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BUSH: Whatever you
TRUMP: Grab ’em by the
pussy. You can do anything.
are some of the women (14 at my last count, but probably more now) who
had the guts to complain about being assaulted, with Trump's
Last week a steady stream of
women stepped forward to accuse Trump of some form of sexual assault,
abuse or inappropriate behavior. Trump’s response has been marked by a
stunning lack of grace and dignity, let alone contrition or empathy, a
response much like the man himself.
he is doubling down on sexism.
As I suggested, I think he does
so because he is insane. Here is more on that (though I very
much doubt Charles Blow is a psychologist):
response to these charges has been surprisingly — and perhaps,
revealingly — callow. He has mocked, whined, chided, bemoaned and
belittled. It’s as if the man is on a mission to demonstrate to voters
the staggering magnitude of his social vulgarity and emotional
ineptitude. He has dispensed with all semblances of wanting to appear
presidential and embraced what seems to be most natural to him: acting
like a pig.
- and far better, according to this psychologist: acting as
if he is
insane, which indeed he also is. Here is more evidence:
everything is rigged against him, from the media to the election
itself. He’s threatening to sue The New York Times. He says he and
Clinton should take a drug test before the next debate.
the ravings of a lunatic.
Quite so, and as I
said, I am convinced for more than 7
months now that Trump is insane. Here is some more:
now looks like a madman from Mad Men, a throwback to when his
particular privileges had more perks and were considered less
repugnant. He looks pathetic.
In fact, I don't think he
looks "pathetic": He looks frightening. And here is the last
bit I'll quote from this article:
not a kid; he’s a cad.
seems constitutionally incapable of processing the idea that wealth is
not completely immunizing, that some rules are universally applicable,
that common decency is required of more than just “common” folks. He
seems genuinely offended that he should be held to the same standards
of truth, decorum and even law as those less well off.
in fact the logical extension of toxic masculinity and ambient
misogyny. He is the logical extension of rampant racism. He is the
logical extension of wealth worship. He is the logical extension of
the logical extension of the worst of America.
to Trump's supposed "constitutional" incapacity: I agree it is
"constitutional" but the reason is (for the most part) simply that he
is not sane: That explains in good part why he "seems genuinely offended that he should be held to the same
standards of truth, decorum and even law as those less well off".
As to Trump being "the logical extension of the worst of America":
Yes and no, but mostly no, in my opinion.
First, I do not see the logic
in Trump's supposedly being "the
logical extension" of American attitudes towards "masculinity",
"misogyny", "rampant racism", and "wealth worship" - and it so happens
that I know a lot about logic.
I agree with is that Trump very much played on these themes,
he did find quite a lot of similarly inclined Americans - which I think
is frightening, but is mostly not due to Trump, though he
as well as he can.
second: What prevented the The New York Times of writing a similar
article as this one, but some 6 months earlier? For if
he is "the logical extension of the worst of
America", then he was so six months ago
But OK - the article is very
late, but it is recommended.
Rules UK Mass Spying Was Unlawfully Conducted for Nearly Two Decades
The second item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say, which I do because I didn't know this
and because I am - at the very least - rather amazed that the
court concluded that "the surveillance regime
was "without adequate safeguards or supervision" during secret
spying operations over the course of 17 years, from 1998 to
In what rights campaigners heralded as a
"significant" reproach to government overreach, a British court which
oversees the nation's intelligence and clandestine services ruled
Monday that mass surveillance by agencies—including the bulk collection
of private data from unwitting citizens and residents—was unlawfully
conducted for nearly two decades.
Called the Investigatory Powers Tribunal,
the panel of judges which provides legal oversight and hears challenges
submitted against the country's Government Communications Headquarters
(GCHQ), as well as the clandestine services known as M15 and M16, said
the surveillance regime was "without adequate safeguards or
supervision" during secret spying operations over the course of 17
years, from 1998 to 2015.
What prevented all English courts of making similar
inferences for 17 years?! For it is not that they were not
asked by privacy groups.
Then this is quoted, from The Guardian:
If the failure of article 8 of the European
convention on human rights is the reason the court decided the case
(and it seems it is), then if I were the GCHQ (etc.) I would
appeal, for the simple reason that the so-called "European convention on human rights"
is not about human rights, but is about the
freedoms and allowances all
manner of spies should have to spy on any data produced by any
inhabitant of Europe.
The tribunal said the regime governing
the collection of bulk communications data (BCD) – the who, where, when
and what of personal phone and web communications – failed to comply
with article 8 protecting the right to privacy of the European
convention of human rights (ECHR) between 1998, when it started, and 4
November 2015, when it was made public.
It added that the retention of of bulk
personal datasets (BPD) – which might include medical and tax records,
individual biographical details, commercial and financial activities,
communications and travel data – also failed to comply with article 8
for the decade it was in operation until it was public acknowledged in
Proof: Here is first article 12 of the
original 1948 Declaration of Human Rights:
And here is article 8 of the European convention on "human rights", that says spies
have the rights to know everything and to glean it as they want:
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon
his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of
the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 8 – Right to respect for private and
Note that European inhabitants
are even denied the right that "No one shall be
subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or
correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation":
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his
private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public
authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in
accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the
interests of national security, public safety or the economic
well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for
the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights
and freedoms of others.
What they get is that they have the - completely useless - "right
to respect" for supposed rights, that they do not
have in fact:
For clause 2 of article 8 says that none of the European
inhabitants has any rights on any respect, let alone any
right that says that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to
attacks upon his honour and reputation":
No, article 2 ordains that these rights are nought in
case the secret services (or the police, or the
military, or the government) maintain that
are involved: Then the secret services,
the police, or the military can do as they please.
interests of national security, OR
- public safety, OR
- the economic
well-being of the country, OR
- the prevention of disorder, OR
- crime, OR
the protection of health, OR
- of morals need protection, OR ELSE
- the protection of the rights
and freedoms of others
These are not "human rights". These are the rights of the
secret services, the police and the military to break
all human rights for any of the above - extremely
vaguely formulated - reasons.
There is more on this in my Nederlog of September
20, and if I were the head of the GCHQ I would appeal, and
quote any or all of the above eight reasons.
But Privacy International sees it differently (or so it seems):
Privacy International, a surveillance
watchdog group which brought the challenge to the tribunal in the
summer of 2015, called
the tribunal's ruling "one of the most significant
indictments of the secret use of the Government’s mass surveillance
powers since Edward Snowden first began exposing the extent of US and
UK spying in 2013."
Further explaining the implications of the ruling, Millie
Graham Wood, a legal officer at Privacy International, added: "Today’s
judgment is a long overdue indictment of UK surveillance agencies
riding roughshod over our democracy and secretly spying on a massive
scale. There are huge risks associated with the use of bulk
communications data. It facilitates the almost instantaneous
cataloguing of entire populations’ personal data. It is unacceptable
that it is only through litigation by a charity that we have learnt the
extent of these powers and how they are used. The public and Parliament
deserve an explanation as to why everyone’s data was collected for over
a decade without oversight in place and confirmation that unlawfully
obtained personal data will be destroyed."
indeed - but one reason is the giving up of the real
human rights safeguarded by the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights,
and their replacements by the rights to spy on
anyone for any reason that the secret services can list.
indeed the article ends like this:
Again I merely repeat what I said: One reason is the giving up of the real
safeguarded by the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, and their
replacements by the rights to spy on anyone for any
reason that the
secret services can list.
Though the ruling was welcomed as a rebuke to the spying
regime, it was not a striking blow to all methods which groups like
Privacy International find problematic.
"While the tribunal found that the mass collection of data
lacked adequate oversight," reports
The Intercept's Ryan Gallagher, "it did not rule
that the surveillance itself was illegal. The judgment found in favor
of the government on that front, stating that the use of the
Telecommunications Act to harvest the bulk datasets was lawful."
This article is recommended.
Goodman Speaks After ND Judge Dismisses "Riot" Charges for Covering
The third item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
with the following introduction:
A North Dakota judge has
dismissed the "riot" charges against Amy Goodman for covering the
protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. Just after the decision
was announced, Amy addressed supporters outside the Morton County
Courthouse. Her attorneys, Tom Dickson and Reed Brody, spoke first.
I say. I did know Amy Goodman
was arrested for this (some time ago), and I knew she was prosecuted,
but I didn't know this yet.
Here is some that Amy Goodman
said after the prosecution's case was dismissed:
Yes, indeed. Here is some more - and please
note that one of the reasons Amy Goodman's case was dismissed
is that she is Amy Goodman, i.e. a very well-known journalist:
AMY GOODMAN: It is a great honor to be here
today. The judge’s decision to reject the State’s Attorney Ladd
Erickson’s attempt to prosecute a journalist—in this case, me—is a
great vindication of the First Amendment and of our right to report.
On September 3rd—on September 3rd, the Democracy
Now! team came to North Dakota to the Standing Rock Sioux
Reservation, to the resistance camps, to cover this epic struggle,
Native people on the front lines, particularly Native American women,
on—on the front lines, who are taking on not only the Dakota Access
pipeline, but a global issue of climate—climate justice, taking on the
global issue of global warming. Democracy Now! has been
covering climate justice issues for the full 20 years that we have been
broadcasting. We go to every U.N. climate summit. So often, it’s
indigenous people on the front lines. We covered the Keystone XL
pipeline. Now we’re covering the Dakota Access pipeline.
And the important role of a journalist is
to go to where the silence is.
We certainly will continue to
cover this struggle. It’s not only to protect the water and land
rights, but it’s your—but it’s covering your right to speak, to be
And here is Amy Goodman on the freedom of the
We are not the only ones who have been
charged. We faced misdemeanor. I faced misdemeanors. But I know there
are a number of people who are going to court even as we speak here.
Also important to point out other journalists who are being arrested.
The state’s—the state’s attorney was
attempting to stop journalism. The state’s attorney must respect
freedom of the press and the First Amendment.
Freedom of the press is about the
public’s right to know. That right to know is sacred. That’s what makes
a democracy meaningful, when you are able to make informed decisions.
We’ve got to open up the media to everyone’s voice. I see the media as
a huge kitchen table that stretches across the globe that we all sit
around and debate and discuss the critical issues of the day.
agree in principle, but I must add that (i) I think democracy is dead
or dying in the USA (since 9/11, at least) while (ii) the mainstream
media are closed "to everyone’s voice"
(in case you don't have considerable riches, that is).
Neither is the fault of Amy Goodman, but I think both are - sad and
dangerous - current facts.
Oligarchs Don’t Give Out Bread Anymore, but They Gleefully Supply
fourth item is by Juan Cole on Truthdig, and originally on Informed
This starts as
Rome was a republic until between 40 and
27 BCE, when the generals overthrew it. Military dictator Gaius
Octavius put the nail in the coffin when he made himself Augustus
Caesar on the latter date. The later satirist Juvenal, to whom we owe
the phrase ‘bread and circuses,’ is clear that it was the transition
away from the republic that required the bribing of the plebeian class
in this way. He says it used to be they were bribed for their
votes, but with the coming of dictatorship they had to be provided
bread to keep them from rioting and cruel public spectacles to divert
their attention from the reigning tyranny.
The US government offers a little bread
in the form of welfare, but not much and much less than it used
to. Most working people haven’t recovered from 2008. Mostly
nowadays we are being offered circuses by the billionaires who now rule
Yes. And Juvenal was mentioned earlier,
also in Nederlog: see e.g. here.
Here is some more, that explains the
Yes, indeed - and "3 million" is slightly
less than 1% of the American population. Here are some further
The pressing issues facing what’s left
of the republic (I guess we are in year 41 — you have to count backward
in this analogy) are these:
1. Our tax code is allowing 3 million
mega-rich to take home 20% of the country’s yearly income (since the 3
million include children, it is probably actually 1 million adults that
get the one-fifth of everything Americans earn annually). Tax
policy could be used to redistribute that wealth over time, but it has
been so blunted that it is useless. So if we have a hundred
people in a circle, and we distribute a thousand bananas in this
unequal way, Person Number One, let us say, the Billionaire, will get
200 bananas out of the 1,000. That should leave 8 apiece for the other
99, but Person Number Two, the multimillionaire, gets another
100. Some of the other 98 will only get 1 banana. A lot of the
rest of the people will only get that black part at the bottom of the
2. Worse, a high degree of
inequality ruins democracy. We ordinary mortals who count our
annual income in thousands of dollars can’t compete with people with
billions of dollars to buy campaign ads and campaign workers etc.
Some crazy rich people have even proposed that they should have more
than one vote, because they are “stakeholders” in America in a way the
rest of us are not.
I agree. There is more in the article, which
3. Climate change via spewing
carbon dioxide into the the atmosphere.
4. A crisis of educational
5. A crisis of basic
But none of these subjects is being
broached anymore, now that the crowd-sourced Bernie Sanders has been
sidelined. Hillary Clinton, worth a paltry few tens of millions,
depends on a handful of billionaires for her campaign funding, and her
policies are shaped by them (she waxed indignant at the very thought in
the primaries, but who was she fooling?)
Clinton, Paul Ryan, and the Crisis of American Capitalism
The fifth and last item today
is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as
Hillary Clinton won’t be the only
winner when Donald Trump and his fellow haters are defeated on Election
Day (as looks increasingly likely). Another will be Paul Ryan, who will
rule the Republican roost.
Democrats may take back the Senate but
they won’t take back the House. Gerrymandering has given House
impregnable fortress of safe seats.
This means that in order for President
Clinton to get anything done, she’ll have to make deals with Speaker
While the Clinton-Ryan years won’t be
marked by the same kind of petulant gridlock we’ve witnessed over the
last eight, the ascendance of Ryan and Clinton will mark a win for big
business and Wall Street over the strongest
anti-establishment surge America has witnessed since Great Depression.
Yes, indeed (supposing Clinton wins
the elections) - and I refer especially to "a
win for big business and Wall Street over the strongest
anti-establishment surge America has witnessed since Great Depression", while I must guess that
the "petulant gridlock"
Reich refers to was in fact due to Obama's blackness.
Here are two things the Republicans
But the price Ryan can be expected
to exact will be lower corporate tax rates, along with a tax amnesty on
corporate profits repatriated to the United States. And to offset the
spending and tax cuts, Ryan will probably want Clinton to trim Social
(perhaps reviving the terrible idea of a “chained” CPI for determining
living increases), and slow the growth of Medicare.
None of this will do much to remedy
the central economic challenge of our era – reversing the declining
wealth of most Americans.
As to the second of the last two
Although incomes rose in 2015, the
typical household is still worse
off today than it was in 2000, adjusted for
inflation. The assets of the typical family today are worth 14
than the assets of the typical family in 1984. And the typical job is less
secure than at any time since the Great Depression.
And these 14 percents went mostly to
increase the enormous incomes of the rich and very rich 1%, and
this is why:
Big money has corrupted
our democracy, resulting in laws and rules that systematically favor
corporations, Wall Street, and the very rich over everyone else.
That is: The few rich get so much
because they have changed most of the laws and the rules to "systematically favor big
corporations, Wall Street, and the very rich",
and they have done so with the help of most elected politicians, who
are corrupt (i.e. are bought or can be bought).
This is also why it will be extremely difficult to change the
situation, even to something like what existed between 1946 and 1980:
The very few very rich have used a small part of their riches to corrupt
most of the elected politicians.
One must hope for another major economical
collapse to change the USA fundamentally from the current pro rich
atmosphere, for most of the politicians who get elected are