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Nederlog

Oct 21, 2016

Crisis: Trump vs. Democracy, Sensible Springsteen, Hedges & Glaude
Sections                                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
The Trumpdown
2. Bruce Springsteen: Donald Trump is a "Flagrant, Toxic
     Narcissist"

3. Chris Hedges vs. Eddie Glaude: Should Progressives
     Vote for Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein?

Introduction: 

This is a Nederlog of Friday, October 21, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 3 items and 3 dotted links: Item 1 is about Trump's refusal to admit defeat if he is defeated; item 2 is about Bruce Springsteen on Donald Trump: Quite sensible; and item 3 is about a discussion between Hedges and Glaude: Perhaps there is a (Chomskyan) compromise on what to do about Trump.

This is less than normal, but the reason was that there wasn't much to review about the crisis today. Also, I decided to work on my "On fascism and neo- fascism - 1", in the hope that will be published today or in the weekend.


-- 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. The Dutch site still is a mess (it wasn't on Oct 15, but has not worked properly since).

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 Trumpdown

The first item today is by Robert Mackey on The Intercept:

In fact "The Trumpdown" is a series of articles:

The Trumpdown is a live countdown to election day, charting Donald Trump’s public meltdown.

I quote a further development of Trump's position that he will not say whether he will accept the outcome of the elections:

Treating his refusal to endorse the basic premise of democracy in Wednesday’s debate as the set up for a gag, Donald Trump told supporters in Ohio on Thursday that he would certainly respect the results of the Nov. 8 election, as long as he wins.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make a major announcement today,” Trump said, reading from one of the two versions of his prepared remarks distributed by his staff.

“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win!”

I suppose that was indeed "a gag", but it hardly changes Trump's original position. (Incidentally, Trump doesn't doubt that if he wins - which at present is quite unlikely - he will win honestly, without rigging.)

Then again, Trump later mellowed his position (though the only thing that is reliable about Trump is that he is very unreliable):

“Of course, I would accept a clear election result,” Trump added later, “but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” He went on to cite, as precedent, the legal challenges filed by George W. Bush and Al Gore during the Florida recount in 2000.

If this is taken at face value (but see the last bracketed remark) and is combined with the probable fact that Trump will be defeated in a major way, it would follow Trump will not contest the outcome of the election.

Then again, these are at least two ifs, and Trump will remain unpredictable until he is definitely defeated.

2. Bruce Springsteen: Donald Trump is a "Flagrant, Toxic Narcissist"

The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This consists of quotations of an interview Bruce Springsteen had on the British Channel Four. I like it and here are some bits with some comments.

First, there is this:

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: I mean, I know some Trump voters, you know. But I think that he’s really—he’s really preyed upon that part of the country, because he gives these very glib and superficial answers to very, very entrenched and very difficult problems, but they’re answers that sound pretty good if you’ve struggled for the past 20 or 30 years. So—

MATT FREI: You can understand his appeal?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Yeah, yeah, I can understand that there’s somebody with simple answers to very complicated questions, who sound like they’re listening to you for the first time.

Yes, I think Springsteen is correct. I also think that many of the supporters of Trump are stupid or ignorant (and I think stupidity and ignorance are far more important in history than many seem to believe), but I am willing to concede that American education these days is very bad, and that many of those who strike me as very stupid or very ignorant might have seemed considerably more intelligent or more knowledgeable if only they had had a fairly decent education. But alas they didn't and that is both a pity and a danger.

The following seems also correct to me:

MATT FREI: Do you think the people who like him are racists?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: No, no, I don’t believe that—you can’t generalize like that. You know, I think—I think there’s all kinds of people that are interested in him for a variety of different reasons.

MATT FREI: Do you think that rage will go away after this election?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: No, no. I don’t know how it’s going to manifest itself, but it will manifest itself somehow, you know?

Yes. There certainly are quite a few racists, and Nazis and Ku Klux Klanners who like Trump very much, but it seems plausible to me they are in reality
a fairly small if also quite loud set, and that quite a few of Trump's followers are moved by poverty and anger.

And Springsteen seems correct in saying by implication that since the poverty and the anger remain, there will remain a large basis of poor angry people.

There is this on Trump's loosing the election and on Trump's character:

MATT FREI: Do you think there might be some trouble? I mean, you know, we’ve already seen some strife on the streets and—

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Well, the trouble at the moment is, is you have Donald Trump who is talking about rigged elections. And he’s not—he has a feeling he’s going to lose now, which he—of course, he is going to lose.

MATT FREI: You’re confident?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. He’s going to lose. And he knows that. He knows he’s going to lose. And he’s such a flagrant, toxic narcissist that he wants to take down the entire democratic system with him if he goes. If he could reflect on these things, maybe he’d have—but he’s such an unreflective person. And he doesn’t—he simply has no sense of decency and no sense of responsibility about him. And the words that he’s been using over the past several weeks really are an attack on the entire democratic process.

Yes. I agree with Springsteen that it seems quite probable Trump is going to lose, and that a major problem right now is that he is "such a flagrant, toxic narcissist that he wants to take down the entire democratic system with him if he goes".

I think that is quite correct and it also shows why I think - as a psychologist, also - that (i) "
such a flagrant, toxic narcissist" is indeed not sane [2], and that (ii) Springsteen is also right that Trump either "simply has no sense of decency and no sense of responsibility about him" or (as I guess is more probable) he does have a sense of "decency" and a sense of "responsibility", but both are fundamentally warped by his grandiose narcissism, that makes Trump's senses of "decency" and "responsibility" coincide with admiring, following and supporting Trump.

And this madness may be quite dangerous:

MATT FREI: And is that dangerous?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Yeah, it is. I think it’s very dangerous. He does have a lot of people’s ears. And I don’t think he’s going to go quietly into the—you know, gently into the good night. I think he’s going to make a[s] big a mess as he can. And I don’t know what that’s going to mean, but we’ll find out shortly.

Yes, indeed. And this is a recommended article.

3. Chris Hedges vs. Eddie Glaude: Should Progressives Vote for Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein?

The third and last item is by Amy Goodman ansd Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:

This starts with the following introduction:

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and Eddie Glaude, chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, debate the issue of strategic voting and the role of third-party candidates.

This starts as follows, and Hedges' "Donald Trump: The Dress Rehearsal for Fascism" was reviewed by me on October 17, and is well worth reading:

AMY GOODMAN: (..) Chris Hedges began by talking about his new piece, "Donald Trump: The Dress Rehearsal for Fascism."

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, that’s what we’re watching. Trump, for all his shallowness and narcissism and imbecility and self-destructiveness, nevertheless has been able to run a fairly close race with Hillary Clinton.
(...)
And the danger with this election is that the longer the policies of neoliberalism, austerity, the security and surveillance state—in essence, the paralysis on the part of our corporate state to deal with the suffering, grievances and mounting rage of now over half the country who live in poverty—the more these lunatic fringe candidates like Trump, these figures of ridicule—reminds me very much of what happened in Yugoslavia. The economic meltdown of Yugoslavia vomited up figures like Radovan Karadzic, Slobodan Milosevic, Franjo Tudman, who were buffoonish figures before they achieved political power, much like much of the Nazi Party in Weimar. And I think that’s what we’re watching. And if we don’t reverse the structural mechanisms by which we are disenfranchising and refusing to deal with the most fundamental rights and issues affecting now a majority of the American population, then we will get a fascist or a kind of quasi-protofascist, Christianized fascism, embodied in a figure with a little more intelligence and political savvy than Trump. And that’s why I find this election so frightening and so dangerous.

I mostly agree. More specifically:

(i) I agree with Hedges that Trump "has been able to run a fairly close race with Hillary Clinton", which I also think is quite frightening, indeed precisely because of Trump"s "shallowness and narcissism and imbecility and self-destructiveness".

You would assume - supposing you are a fairly rational and reasonable person - that a candidate like Trump would not bring it far, but then you simply are mistaken.

(ii) I also agree with Hedges on "neoliberalism, austerity, the security and surveillance state", and in fact I think each of these are heralds of what I call neofascism [3].

Then again, I doubt that what happened in Yugoslavia is very relevant to what is happening in the USA (but I wasn't there and Chris Hedges was), while I agree again that (at least) neofascism is approaching in the USA.

(iii) While I agree that the USA may be heading towards "a fascist or a kind of quasi-protofascist, Christianized fascism", I infer from the manner in which Chris Hedges casts his answer that he - also - believes it is quite unlikely by now that Trump will win the present presidential elections.

My own take is a bit different from Hedges (though I agree his expectations are fair): Given that we have it that the effective choice is between a bad candidate who isn't mad and an insane candidate with ideas that are much like neofascism, I say Trump must be beaten first.

Next, here is professor Eddie Glaude:

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Professor Eddie Glaude, let’s get your perspective on this. Earlier in the summer, you wrote a piece called "My Democratic Problem with Voting for Hillary Clinton." Now, some say that Clinton’s victory is now more or less a foregone conclusion. You also talked about the necessity of strategic voting. Can you talk about both the arguments that you’ve made in light of where we stand today in the campaign and with the election less than a month away?

EDDIE GLAUDE: Sure. You know, I think that it is—it is reasonable to conclude that Hillary Clinton is going to win. I think the internal polling for the Republican—on the Republican side suggests that Donald Trump is going to go down pretty badly, that it’s going to be a pretty decisive victory.
(...)
And a lot of this has to do with, right, the fact that Donald Trump moves between being, as I’ve said before, a lunatic and an adolescent. And we can talk about him, but in kind of orienting us to this campaign, to this election cycle, by emphasizing the ridiculousness of and the bombasity of Donald Trump, we have turned our attention away from, I think, Hillary Clinton and the policies that have defined the Democratic Party up to this point. And I think Donald Trump is just an exaggerated indication of the rot that’s at the heart of the country, and that Hillary Clinton is the poster child for, I think, a failed economic policy that has left so many fellow Americans behind, and particularly the most vulnerable.
I completely agree (and indeed especially - I am a psychologist [4] - with Glaude's "Donald Trump moves between being, as I’ve said before, a lunatic and an adolescent", because I am convinced that Trump is a lunatic, in psychological terms).

And I also completely agree with the following:
EDDIE GLAUDE: Well, I think we agree on principle. And part of what I think—where we agree is that we have to keep Trump out of office. And the question for me is that: How do we do that? And one of the ways I’m thinking we need to do it is to vote strategically. And that is, in those places where we can, for me, blank out or vote for Jill Stein, we should. And in those places where—the battleground states, where it matters, where Trump has a chance to win, I think we need to turn out in massive numbers and make sure that he doesn’t win those states. I think we have to do two things simultaneously.

There is no answer by Chris Hedges, but I think that Glaude (who said what Noam Chomsky said earlier) is correct: First Trump must be beaten. Then the situation still is quite bad, but at least it will be less bad than if Trump is the next US president.

---------------
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] I have said since March 14, 2016 that Trump is not sane, and since I am a psychologist, who also has seen more than enough persons who were not sane, I am rather certain.

Besides, anyone who has even very superficially followed Trump's sayings ought to be clear that he owes his probable serious defeat mostly to his own often crazy words.

[3] Which I define as follows - and see October 19 and later:

Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
[4] The point of repeating that I am a psychologist is not that I like being one or am proud of being one (neither is the case, in fact: I took an M.A. in psychology only after I was refused - illegally, as well - the right to take an M.A. in philosophy) but that by now I find it rather odd that so few psychologists and psychiatrists have owned up to saying what I said:

Obviously, Trump is a grandiose narcissist, and obviously grandiose narcissists (also known as: megalomaniacs) do suffer from a serious psychopathology, that is also difficult to cure.

Then again, I have learned the reason why so very few academic psychologists and psychiatrists publicly say what they privately know: It might hurt their incomes, and in fact they are psychologists and psychiatrists because they care for their incomes, while they care much less about truth, science, responsibility or honesty.

Incidentally, I said the same thing as a student of psychology. Here is the reaction of many academic psychologists (all incompetent, I can say 28 years later): "We would love to see you dead". (Dutch morality, also quite active in WW II, when more than 1% of the total Dutch population was murdered for "being of the wrong race".)

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