Nov 8, 2016

Crisis: Michael Moore, Chris Hedges, Cenk Uygur, Paul Buchheit, Bill Curry
Sections                                                                     crisis index

Michael Moore: If Elected, Donald Trump Would Be "Last
     President of the United States"

2. Chris Hedges: The End of the Election Will Not Mean the
     End of Public Anger

Cenk Uygur of ‘The Young Turks’ Explains Why He’ll Vote
     for Hillary Clinton

4. How a Disappearing and Deluded Middle Class Awaits
     the New President

5. I Was With Bernie Till the End; Now We All Must Vote

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Today is the day of the presidential elections in the USA. All of the articles I review relate to that.

A. This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about Michael Moore on Trump (and I think he is mostly right about Trump); item 2 is about Chris Hedges (mostly on 15 years of wars and on Obama, whom Hedges doesn't like at all, which is the same for me); item 3 is on Cenk Uygur of TYT who explains - correctly, in my opinion - why he votes for Hillary Clinton (without liking her one bit); item 4 is about the quite awful economical situation of the
majority (!!) of Americans; and item 5 is by a counselor of president Bill Clinton, who supported Bernie Sanders, and who now urges everyone to vote
for Hillary.

-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It was OK for two days now, but again didn't work out in Holland the last days: It keeps being horrible most days.

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. It did most of the last week so that is something. (But did not work yesterday, again.)

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. Michael Moore: If Elected, Donald Trump Would Be "Last President of the United States"

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

This starts as follows:

With the presidential election just a day away, we continue our conversation with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, the director of "Roger & Me," "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Bowling for Columbine," "Sicko," "Capitalism: A Love Story" and "Where to Invade Next." He has just released a surprise new film titled "Michael Moore in TrumpLand." On Thursday afternoon, we spoke with Michael Moore about his new film, in which he suggests that the election of Donald Trump will herald the end of the United States.

I think Michael Moore is probably correct in saying that "the election of Donald Trump will herald the end of the United States", indeed rather like someone who
predicted in 1933 that the election of Adolf Hitler would herald the end of Germany. (It did, though it got reconstructed again, after causing over 60 million dead, between 1937 and 1945.)

Here is Amy Goodman, introducing a theme that is treated in more detail in the original:

AMY GOODMAN: In late October, Donald Trump sent out a tweet that may have surprised many of his followers. In the tweet, he linked to a video of filmmaker Michael Moore along with the words "I agree, @MMFlint." That’s Michael Moore’s Twitter handle. Trump went on to say, "To all Americans, I see you & I hear you. I am your voice. Vote to #DrainTheSwamp w/ me on 11/8."

Well, Trump’s tweet included a four-minute audio recording pulled from Michael Moore’s new film, Michael Moore in TrumpLand. The recording was edited to make it sound like Michael Moore was endorsing Trump. Well, in response, Moore tweeted, quote, "Look at this Orwellian tweet by Trump! Donald, u either haven’t seen my movie or u are conning your followers. The clip u show [u] doctored," unquote.
So this was a typical Trump lie. (There is more in the original.)

Here is Michael Moore explaining the reasoning of Trump voters:
MM: Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant, because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting. And it’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for, the human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.
They see that the elites who ruined their lives hate Trump. Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hates Trump—after they loved him and created him, and now hate him. Thank you, media. The enemy of my enemy is who I’m voting for on November 8th.
This sounds plausible but I do not know whether it is true, because I do not know who is "the typical Trump voter": The very poor and ignorant whites, or the less poor middle class, or perhaps both. (I have read arguments for each conclusion.)

And here is Michael Moore asserting what he thinks the USA will be like if it elects Donald Trump for president:
Good night, America. You’ve just elected the last president of the United States.
MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, well, that’s what I think—you know, the United States that we know now, for better or worse, won’t be the United States that we know after four years of Donald Trump.  

I agree, as should anyone who recognizes that Trump is a grandiose narcissist, and as such insane, and as should anyone who has recognized that most of what Trump has been saying is neofascistic. [2]

There is more in the article, which is recommended.

2. Chris Hedges: The End of the Election Will Not Mean the End of Public Anger

The second item is by Sophie Shevardnadze on Truthdig and originally on The Real Time Network:

This starts as follows:

Sophie Shevardnadze: Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, author, welcome to the show once again, great to have you back. Hillary was seemingly cruising to victory just after the debates - some polls gave her a 10 point lead - and now there’s virtually nothing separating the candidates. Today, if you had a million bucks who’d you bet it on - Clinton or Trump?

Chris Hedges: It’s impossible to tell you, because it really will depend on the mood, on the emotions of the voters on election day. That’s all these campaigns are about, because they both essentially are neo-liberal candidates who will do nothing to impede imperial expansion and corporate power. The whole campaign has descended to, you know, not surprisingly, to the level of a reality TV show, with presidential debates featuring women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault being brought in by Donald Trump; videos - I’ll go back to the primaries - of the size of people’s genitals. I mean, it’s just appalling, but all of that is emblematic of a political system in deep decay and one that no longer revolves around fundamental issues.
So if you had to ask me, I don’t think Trump will win, but I don’t rule out the possibility that he will win - we have to look at the Brexit polls in Britain…
I agree with all of this, with one possible exception: "the presidential campaign" has been on "the level of a reality TV show" from  the very beginning. (But Chris Hedges might agree with me.)

This is on the 15 years of continuous wars that the USA started under Bush Jr:

SS: We’re used to the fact that ordinary Americans don’t really care about foreign policy, but this campaign has focused a lot on foreign issues and Russia in particular. Are candidates trying to unite the nation by creating the image of a foreign threat? 

CH: Yeah. It’s very disturbing on many levels, the kind of neo-conservative foreign policy cabal led by Robert Kagan and others that is around Clinton. The very people who gave the disastrous Iraq war, are now proposing policies to bait Russia. You know, it makes absolutely no sense to those of us who spend as many, as I did, two decades abroad as a foreign correspondent, except that it plays well politically into this very stunted, peculiar, neocon vision of the world, and that is that everybody out there only understands one language, and that’s force. That’s how you see these 15 years now of war, the longest war in U.S. history. It’s been an utter disaster, utter failure, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of course, Syria, and Libya - and yet, what’s the response? More bombs, more bombs, more bombs, which created the problems in the first place.

Again I quite agree. There is this on "the elites":

CH: It’s the Romneys, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Obamas, it’s that establishment that people are turning against - which is why Hillary Clinton is having such a difficult time competing against such an imbecilic, undisciplined and impulsive and, frankly, ignorant candidate.

This is also true, as is the next bit on Obama, whom Hedges does not like at all, and neither do I:

CH: I don’t think Obama has achieved very much. His healthcare program which is essentially forcing citizens to buy defective corporate products and we’re watching now massive increases, on an average of 22%, and people that have the bronze plan, different levels of plans cannot even afford the kinds of premiums and copayments… - I mean, the whole system is a disaster. His assault on civil liberties has been worse than under Bush, he has expanded imperial wars, in places like Libya, create more failed states. I don’t think Obama has much of a legacy. He’ll walk out and get rich and will start his own Foundation like the Clintons - there’s almost a complete continuity between Bush and Obama.

I do not know enough about health care in the USA to judge Obama's healthcare program, but I agree with the rest (and decided myself by the end of 2009 that Obama is a clever fraud, for the reasons Hedges explains in the quote, and more).

Here is the last bit I'll quote, which is again on Obama's many failings:

SS: Was it a genuine inability to make things better, were his hands tied?

CH: No. He was an establishment candidate, he was selected, anointed and promoted by the Democratic Chicago political machine, which is one of the dirtiest in the country, he got more money in 2008 from Wall St. than the Republican candidate who was against him - McCain. No, he’s very cynical…bright, talented, unlike George Bush, but deeply cynical candidate. He brought in the old establishment, including the old Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who had been the Secretary of Defence under Bush, he brought in old these figures like Larry Summers and Geithner who are Wall St. marionettes. No, Obama knew very well what he was doing from the very beginning and effectively… Look, he won Advertising Age’s top annual award which was “Marketer of the Year”. His campaign did, because the professionals knew just what he done - he functioned as a brand for the corporate state, a very powerful and a very effective one.

And again I agree, except perhaps about the last bit, for I think Obama was - intentionally, very trickily, completely dishonestly - positioned as if he was a major opponent of Bush, and as if he was an opponent of the corporate state.

He was not at all, and indeed "
Obama knew very well what he was doing from the very beginning".

3. Cenk Uygur of ‘The Young Turks’ Explains Why He’ll Vote for Hillary Clinton

The third item is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

After supporting Bernie Sanders for president, Cenk Uygur, founder and host of “The Young Turks,” tells audiences that “begrudgingly, reluctantly, but yes—affirmatively—I will be voting for Hillary Clinton.”

He explains: “So, I’ve got all these problems with Hillary Clinton, I’ve got all these videos explaining all the systemic corruption around her. Then why am I voting for her? Well, it’s very simple. … Yes, her opponent is worse. Significantly worse.

“I’m not in the camp that this was an easy decision,” Uygur says. He believed that if voters had been given the opportunity to hear from Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, for instance, they might have elected her. “But the reality is,” on the eve of the election, “Jill Stein is at 2 percent.”

I liked The Young Turks a lot more in 2009 when I discovered them, briefly after getting fast internet. But then they were a lot more simple and direct, and they had a lot less money. These days they are far more popular and I like them less, but quite possibly that is mainly due to me or my age.

Then again, I agree mostly with Cenk Uygur, except that it was for me a quite easy decision not to vote for Trump (but I am a psychologist, and I know Trump is insane, while most people are not psychologists and don't know much about it).

Here is some more on Cenk Uygur's choice:

Does voting for Clinton mean Uygur supports her? “No,” he says. “It just means I have two realistic choices and I’m making one of them,” and “on day one, in hour one, we plan to protest her.” And that includes demanding “that she gets big money out of politics for the next election.”

“I get it,” Uygur continues, “but cutting your nose off to spite your face” by voting for a third party “doesn’t help you get out of the trap” of the two-party system. “What it does is it leaves you nose-less. OK? It’s a very bad strategy. The correct strategy is you live to fight another day.

“So yes, we avoid fascism. Check. Then we go fight the establishment. Check. And then we win. Check. That’s how it works.”

Yes, indeed.

4. How a Disappearing and Deluded Middle Class Awaits the New President

The fourth item today is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows˙and is here mostly to remind American voters about the crisis in their economy:

Disturbing truths about the wealth gap in America have surfaced in recent months. Our nation is breaking in two. Yet downtrodden Americans are hoping for a fairy-tale ending to their misery, instead of demanding the progressive measures that would empower them.

Collapse of the Middle Class

For every $100 owned by a middle-class household in 2001, that household had just $72 in 2013.

Half of us are barely surviving, and it may be more than half.

I say. And I believe this is correct. As is the following to the best of my knowledge:

More Rich, More Poor, Less Empathy

Nearly two-thirds of American families were considered middle class in 1970. Today it's half or less. The rest of us have gone up or down, mostly down.

And there is also this:

No Money for an Emergency

Just a year ago it was reported that 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. That number is now up to 69 percent.

I say, again. I must admit that this has been my position for some 30 years (in which I had the sub-minimal income of the dole) but this is now considerably better (and I am out of the dole and into a minimum pension).

But it is rather frightening that 7 out of 10 Americans have less than $1000 in savings, and more frightening that many have been brought this low in order to give the rich few even more, for that is what it comes down to.

And this is a recommended article.

5. I Was With Bernie Till the End; Now We All Must Vote Hillary

The fifth and last item today is by Bill Curry on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and Bill Curry was Bill Clinton's presidential counselor):

The most consequential election of our lives may end in a photo finish. Many progressives who backed Bernie Sanders support Jill Stein or plan on staying home. I write to implore them to vote for Hillary Clinton; for our country’s and our planet’s sake and because, for progressives, it’s the smart move.

I served as counselor to the president in the Clinton White House but backed Bernie to the last day of his improbable, inspiring campaign. I did so because I believe we cannot endure, politically or economically, without reforming global finance capitalism and the pay-to-play politics it feeds on. I still believe it.

Among the political choices I’ve had to make, the one between Clinton and Trump isn’t the happiest, but it’s still the clearest. The big reason is, of course, Trump. To the media’s lasting shame, he snatched a major party nomination without serious vetting. Many still won’t tell the truth about him; that he’s emotionally unbalanced, a fascist, and a fraud.

I’ve never before called a politician a crazed fascist. But this is no time for politesse. Look up “narcissistic personality disorder” on Wikipedia, and you’ll find everything but Trump’s picture. Scholarly essays on fascism read like Trump playbooks.
Yes indeed, although I'd say myself that Trump is a fraud; a neofascist [2] (rather than a fascist [3]); and that he is "emotionally unbalanced" (he is) because he is insane and suffers from a grandiose “narcissistic personality disorder” (as I've recognized from March 14, 2016 onwards).

There is this on fascism, which is not very good (compare my "On Fascism and Neofascism") but is at least a bit adequate:
Fascism is ideologically nondescript; a fascist can be for or against single payer health care, global trade or the Iraq war. Its trademarks include annihilating the truth; defaming minorities; inciting violence; using government to punish opponents and quash dissent; hyper-nationalism; and grandiosity. Trump checks every box. He isn’t Hitler, but he’s sure within shouting distance of Mussolini. The sacred duty of every citizen is to kill fascism in its crib.
As I said, I have reservations but this will do, except for the last statement -  "The sacred duty of every citizen is to kill fascism in its crib" - with which I myself agree, but with which about half of the Americans do not seem to agree with, because Trump still has about half the vote (though it seems he is slightly less popular than Clinton).

Here is a final bit:
The most heated arguments against Clinton pertain to character. When cornered, her first instinct is to dissemble. As I’ve noted, she denies a vital truth; that saying you can take bundles of Wall Street cash and still fight for the middle class is like thinking you can smoke crack and still be a good parent. The conflict is at the heart of all that is wrong in our politics. But these real flaws pale next to Trump’s pathological lying and plutocratic greed.
Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.
[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).

I am saying this not because I want to offend but because I want to explain, and my own explanatory definition of neofascism is this:
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.

And the link in which I argue this is the following: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions.

[3] And this is fascism as I defined it:
Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
Again see the following if you are interested: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions.

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