1. How Trump Won—and How
Candidates Will Win From
2. Ugly and Unprepared, 'Knife Fight' Breaks Out in Trump
3. RIP TPP
4. The Way to Stop Trump
is a Nederlog of Wednesday, November 16, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 4 items and 4 dotted links and it consists of some
further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president
Item 1 is an interpretation of one reason
why Trump won (I think it is mostly mistaken); item 2
is about Trump's transition (and I have little to say); item
3 is about the TPP (but I think it is far too positive about
"people's power"); and item 4
is about an article by the new director of the ACLU (who seems to like
Obama and to be more confident than I am about American democracy and
his chances to stop Trump and his new laws).
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days. And it
still does (on 11 - 15.xi.2016).
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
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
In case you visit my
Danish site: This worked correctly on 11 and 12 xi.2016, but not
before nor on 13.xi.2016. It was OK on 14.xi.2016 and on 15.xi.2016.
And I think now this happens intentionally on both my
sites, for this did not happen for 20 years on the one,
12 years on the other.
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.
keep this introduction until I get three successive days
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen
for many months now.
How Trump Won—and How Candidates Will Win From Now On
The first item today is by Jeremy Sherman on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Really now? I agree that "[t]here are
many plausible explanations" for Trump's win, and also (although
Sherman does not consider this) that it is difficult or impossible to
prove or disprove them, because one is talking about the decisions of
millions of individuals.
Caveat: Trump’s win was no
landslide. There are many plausible explanations for it, including that
it was a fluke. Here is one among many speculations I think is worth
considering about why he won and what it means for future elections.
Consider the possibility that the election
was not decided on issues, values, character, scandal or national
direction, but on confidence. Trump postured as the infinitely
confident candidate. Though most of us thought he would lose, he
campaigned throughout as though he were infallible.
But then Sherman starts to exaggerate. For his "possbility" is just one
of very many untractable hypotheses; it is formulated
in an extremist way: "the infinitely confident
candidate"; and besides projections of
confidence seem to be much less what Trump's stance was
about than the pretension that there is no truth and that there are
There are only statements, with varying amounts of propaganda
attached to them.
And this is in fact the postmodernistic
myth, with which I am acquainted since 1977 (!!) ,
and there is something to it, but not quite what Sherman says:
Trump employed a formula for
giving the impression of absolute invincibility. It’s not a complicated
formula. It simply requires an unfailing ability to treat truth and
reality as trivial, an ability to play presiding judge over every
decision, and a handful of rhetorical tricks for turning the table on
everything and everyone in his way, retaliating against all challenges
with counterchallenges tenfold.
Then again, Sherman is right in insisting
that the postmodernistic
"ability to treat truth and reality as trivial" was an important part of Trump's ideology.
Indeed, here is some more on this, for this kind of postmodernism goes
back to Bush Jr and his campaign:
Reporter Ron Suskind recounts a
conversation with Bush’s campaign manager, Karl Rove:
Note that Rove was talking contradictory
trash: On the one hand he says that everything is illusion, and
on the other hand he affirms that that's "the
way the world really works";
and on the one hand he says that all that Bush Jr's campaign pushed
were illusions, and on the other hand he affirms he is making real
history that way, namely by pushing illusion after illusion.
[Rove] said guys like me
were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as
people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of
discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about
enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the
way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now,
and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying
that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other
new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort
out. We're history's actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just
study what we do."
Then again, postmodernism
often works if your end is to convince ignorant people
people, for neither has any preparation for dealing with carefully
crafted systems of lies that are intendend to deceive the ignorant and
the stupid, and the chances are the greater if all of this happens in
arguments where there is little or no feedback from the real facts.
Here is Sherman's lesson:
Going forward, the question is
what could ever trump feigned invincibility? I’ll argue that the only
thing that can is hyper-confident exposure of the formula for feigned
invincibility. In other words, with relentless unshakable confidence,
drawing attention to the opposition’s realism-be-damned confidence
formula. To name it is to tame it. Expose how simple the formula is.
Play the judge of the self-appointed judge.
I disagree. First, one of Trump's
main strengths was not his projection of invincibility, but his
use of the postmodernistic
notions that there is no truth, there are no
and everything is just propaganda and
words, without any
that the terms are or could be about.
And second, you don't meet a pretense of feigned invincibility
with your own pretense of feigned invincibility: You meet it by showing
there are real facts and real truths,
and these are other than the lies about them.
Then again, this is bound to be difficult if your audience
consists of tens of millions of ignorant or stupid people who want formulas to clothe their ignorance
or stupidity and to support their choices, while the mainstream
media all embraced Trump for much of his career as a
presidential candidate, and refused to check his very many lies.
It may be a bit easier to correct political lies if political
lies are not anymore just promises, but relate to actual
policies, but then I did not see this happen during the
first four years of Bush Jr.'s government either.
2. Ugly and Unprepared, 'Knife
Fight' Breaks Out in Trump Transition
The second item is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
While Republicans have been outwardly
celebrating their victories, President-elect Donald Trump's transition to power
is reportedly mired in chaos and infighting as competing factions duke
it out to see whose version of "Make America Great Again" will dominate
under the new world order.
A "knife fight" is how one source
described the backroom disagreements over "key cabinet appointments and
direction, both for internal West Wing positions and key national
security posts," CNN reported.
On one side is the newly-appointed and
highly-controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon, who—as chairman of
the inflammatory Breitbart News and a figurehead
within the global alt-right movement—is seen as a political
outsider who is expected
to hold significant influence over Trump's international policy
On the other side, CNN
reported, are "more traditional Republican operatives" such as Trump's
chief of staff and former Republican Party chair Reince Priebus.
I say. I merely copied that for your
information (and I do not much trust CNN).
Here is some more:
On Tuesday, the "traditional" Republican
flank suffered another blow when Mike Rogers, former chair of the House
Intelligence Committee, announced that he would no longer be serving as
national security senior advisor to the Trump team, saying:
"Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team
leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally
is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove
President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last year."
Rogers' departure is the most recent
amid the "Stalinesque purge"—as one source called
it—of the team assembled by former transition leader
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was replaced last week by Vice
President-elect Mike Pence.
Again I merely copied this, but I have one
remark: It seems - see the end of Chris
Christie on Wikipedia - that Rogers' departure is closely connected
Christie's dismissal (and two of his associates).
The third item is by Lori Wallach
(<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams (and this is less about Trump, though he will be mentioned):
This starts as follows, with a
message that I find very hard to believe:
The news that the White House and
Republican congressional leaders have given up on passing the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) is welcome. That the TPP would be defeated by
Congress if brought to a vote signals that Trojan-horse “trade”
agreements that expand corporate power and shrink Americans’ wages are
simply no longer politically viable. People power beat the united
forces of a U.S. president, the Republican congressional leaders and
the entire corporate lobby.
understand why Lori Wallach would say so, for she is the founder and
director of Global Trade Watch, and she opposes the TPP etc., and
she would like it very much if "[p]eople power beat the united forces of a U.S. president, the
Republican congressional leaders and the entire corporate lobby",
and indeed so would I - but I haven't seen much evidence of
people power against the TPP, the TTIP, the CETA and the TISA , while it seems rather certain to me that the TPP
is off (for now) because Trump is against it, in the first place.
Here is Lori Wallach's view of things:
Six years of
relentless, strategic campaigning by an international movement
of people from the TPP countries united across borders to fight against
corporate power is why the TPP is all but dead.
Thanks to years of campaigning by people
across this country, since its February 2016 signing, the TPP could not
garner a majority of support in the U.S. House of Representatives.
First, I note that the TPP is not
completely dead yet, which is correct. Second, it seems almost
certain to me that Obama would have succeeded in pushing it
through in his last months as president if he would have been
followed by Hillary Clinton as president. And third, while I do not
deny that there were "[s]ix years
of relentless, strategic campaigning by an international
movement of people", I must say that not
much of that reached me - and I have been following the crisis closely
since September 2008 (that is, for
more than eight years, in currently more
than 1380 files).
So no, I do not believe Lori
Wallach's view. Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
That the TPP pushed by the most powerful
forces in the world is not being implemented represents the American
public’s resounding rejection of trade policies that not only
failed to live up to its proponents’ promises over the past 20 years,
but caused real damage to working people and the environment.
The only way forward is to create new
rules of the road for globalization that put people and the planet
first while harvesting the benefits of expanded trade. And we must roll
back the existing “trade” deals and extreme investor-state dispute
settlement regime that have caused people and the planet so much damage.
As I said, I think the TPP is in
difficulties because Trump rejected it, and Trump is going to
be the next president of the USA, and not because of "the American public’s resounding rejection of trade
Besides, if Trump alters his
opinion, the TPP is still not quite beaten and may be fully
restored (and would pass the Republican Congress and Senate).
Finally, while I would like
it very much if the interests of the "people and the planet" were put
first, but I see very little reason to believe this will happen.
4. The Way to Stop Trump
The fourth and last item today is by David Cole
(<- Wikipedia) onThe New York Review of Books:
This starts as follows (and David Cole, as
the above link shows, is going to be the next director of the ACLU (<-Wikipedia)):
The stunning upset election of Donald
Trump has left many Americans wondering what has become of their
country, their party, their government, even their sense of the world.
Purple prose has been unleashed on the problem; comparisons to fascism
and totalitarianism abound. Commentators claim that Trump’s election
reflects a racist, sexist, xenophobic America. But we should resist the
temptation to draw broad-brush generalizations about American character
from last Tuesday’s outcome. The result was far more equivocal than
that; a majority of the voters rejected Trump, after all. There is no
question that President Trump will be a disaster—if we let him. But the
more important point is that—as the fate of American democracy in the
years after 9/11 has taught us—we can and must stop him.
Hm. I think that the references to Trump's
fascism (more correctly: neofascism - see note )
are (mostly, more or less) correct, as are the references to his racism, sexism, and
xenophobia. Also, if "we should resist
the temptation to draw broad-brush generalizations"
from Trump's election (why?), then why should we not
resist the suggestion that "[t]here is no
question that President Trump will be a disaster—if we let him"?
And note that the last statement in fact
covers three claims: (i) it is self-evident that Trump will be
a disaster - but not if you are pro-Trump; (ii) Trump is a
disaster - but not according to Trump; and (ii) the American
people can stop Trump, if they want to - which seems (at
least to me, although it displeases me) not
likely with a Republican Senate, a Republican Congress, a Republican
government, and a Republican majority in the Supreme Court.
Then again, Cole indicates the problems
with the Trumpian government quite well:
The risks are almost certainly greater
than those posed by any prior American president. Trump, who has
no government experience, a notoriously unreliable temperament,
and a record of demagoguery and lies, will come to office with
Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, and, once he fills
the late Antonin Scalia’s seat, on the Supreme Court as well. His
shortlist of Cabinet appointees offers little hope that voices of
moderation will be heard. Who, then, is going to stop him? Will he be
able to put in place all the worst ideas he tossed out so cavalierly on
the campaign trail? Building a wall; banning and deporting Muslims;
ending Obamacare; reneging on climate change treaty responsibilities;
expanding libel law; criminalizing abortion; jailing his political
opponents; supporting aggressive stop-and-frisk policing; reviving mass
surveillance and torture?
There is this by David Cole on
restrictions imposed on Bush Jr by 2009:
By the time Bush left office in 2009, he
had released more than five hundred of the detainees from Guantanamo,
emptied out the CIA’s secret prisons, halted the CIA interrogation
program and extraordinary renditions, and placed the NSA’s surveillance
program under judicial supervision. His claims of uncheckable executive
power had been rejected, and the Geneva Conventions applied to all
Bush did not introduce these reforms because he came to realize
his wrongs. His memoir, like that of his vice-president, Dick Cheney,
is entirely unrepentant. But Bush was nonetheless checked—by American
civil society, international criticism, and, for the first time in
history, the Court and Congress.
I suspect David Cole is far more
positive about Obama and his government than I am. Completely apart
from that, he is talking about the end of Bush Jr's government,
while we are in fact considering the start of Trump's
government, and I don't think these two are fairly comparable.
Then there is this on the American laws:
Much of what Trump has proposed is
patently illegal. Torture violates the Constitution, international law,
and the Geneva Conventions. Deporting or singling out Muslims for
discriminatory treatment violates the freedom of religion. Congress
cannot expand libel, whose contours are determined by the First
Amendment. The right to terminate a pregnancy remains protected by the
Constitution, and the Supreme Court strongly reaffirmed that right just
last year. A bipartisan Congress ended the NSA’s bulk collection of
Americans’ phone metadata in 2015, after a court of appeals ruled the
program illegal. And the terms of our climate change treaty preclude
backing out for four years.
I say. I suppose David Cole knows the term
laws that protected the middle class and the poor, for example, have
been systematically broken down ever since Bill Clinton was president.
It seems to me that Trump will continue this, and the above
presentation is far
too optimistic. (Consider just the First Amendment: This has been
tortured into meaning that money = votes and that corporations =
persons by the Supreme Court. And I do not see why libel cannot
be much extended by Trump, with the help of the Senate and the
Congress, while press freedom may be very much restricted, again with
the same help.)
But then here is the ending of David
We live in a constitutional democracy,
one that is expressly designed to check the impulses of dangerous men.
It will do so if and only if we insist on it.
I am sorry, but I don't think so.
First, the USA is a constitutional republic much rather than a
democracy, in legal terms. (The founding fathers were not
democrats, and also did not provide for it.) Second, if
the constitution was designed "to check the
impulses of dangerous men", it failed to
check the rise of Donald Trump. Third, I think democracy is mostly
dead in the USA: There is no mainstream news anymore that gives
the facts and investigates whether claims are true. It disappeared
left the paper press and moved to the internet. And fourth, it is
difficult to trust the law if very many good laws have been deregulated as if these changes were
just, and if we are assured by a lawyer that the law will remain only
if "we, the public" insist on it.
I like the ACLU, but I do not
see much reason to believe it will stop Trump. And indeed it did not
stop Obama either, and he was both a Democrat and a lawyer.
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
 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:
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 state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
Also, I am
rather certain that most (not: all) of those who style
themselved as "neoliberals" in fact are neofascists as defined
(even though they probably do not like the term).
And this is
fascism as I
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.
following if you are interested: On Fascism
and Neofascism: Definitions.
(This lists 22 definitions of the term "fascism", and critically
reflects on them.)
As I have explained before, the academic year 1978-1979 in Amsterdam
was officially opened by the historian professor Brandt who announced
to the world and the University of Amsterdam the following crude lie (literally, albeit in
that truth does not exist"
And that was the beginning of
17 years of postmodernism in the Dutch universities, which also was
embraced by most of the students (who studied some science, but who
thought there is no truth and there are no facts...),
and carried the day for 17 years because the Dutch universities were
effectively given to the students in 1971 (in a rule that was completely
unique in the world).
There is a lot more on this in various places on my site.
 I am sorry, but if I did not
see the evidence that would support Lori Wallach, it is not because I did not try
to find it, nor that I am ignorant about the TPP, TTIP, TISA and
CETA. And while I grant I read some evidence about
some demonstrations against some of these, I have not
read evidence that made it clear to me that these demonstrations
influenced the reception of these (mostly secret (!)) "laws" in the
Senate or Congress.