1. 17 Reasons the
Opportunity for Transformational
Change Doesn't Belong to Trump
2. Donald Trump’s Presidency Will Be Like the George W.
Bush Disaster—Only Worse
3. Installing a Torture
Fan at CIA
4. The First 100 Day Resistance Agenda
5. Expendable America
is a Nederlog of Sunday, November 20, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 5 items and 5 dotted links and it consists (mostly) of some
further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president
Item 1 is about one of the first decent
analyses of the outcomes of the presidental elections that I have read
(other than - fake or genuine - hysteria from journalist); item 2 is a warning that Trump will be like Bush Jr.
but worse (which I think is a correct estimate); item
is about the fact that the nominated new head of the CIA is for torture
(and murder, and this is a good article, though it probably will not
make you happy); item 4 is about an article by
Reich, which doesn't seem very sensible, because he presumes too much
that Trump will be like Obama (he may be right, but let's wait
and see instead of simply assume it and base plans on that assumption);
and item 5 is about a quite good article by Charles
Simic, that I strongly recommend.
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days. And it
still does (on 11 - 17.xi.2016). 18.xi. was correct as
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.
But not on 16 and 17 xi.
18.xi. was correct as was 19.xi. (I say!)
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. (And this is not "automatic": it
changes from day to day.)
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.
1. 17 Reasons the Opportunity for Transformational Change
Doesn't Belong to Trump
The first item today is by Mike Davis on AlterNet and originally on
This starts as follows:
We should resist the temptation
to over-interpret Trump’s election as an American Eighteenth Brumaire
or 1933. Progressives who think they’ve woken up in another country
should calm down, take a stiff draught, and reflect on the actual
election results from the swing states.
In fact, I think this article is a decent
analysis of the results of the presidential election, and also one
of the first of that kind that I've read (a mere eleven days after
the election(!)), but I'll stop for a moment and consider the Eighteenth
Brumaire (<-Wikipedia), and do so because I know
what it refers to (but I had parents who were - intelligent, honest,
anti-Nazi - communists for 45 years), while I strongly doubt
most Americans can identify the reference.
As indicated by the
link, the Eighteenth Brumaire refers to France
when the months had been changed to suit the revolution of a few years
before, and to the fact that on that date (November 9, 1799, in more
familiar terms) Napoleon Bonaparte committed a coup d'état, and
seized all power in France.
Again, I know the term mostly because Karl Marx published
in 1852 an essay in which he satirized the coup d'état by
Napoleon's nephew Louis
Napoleon in 1851, who in fact ruled France as Napoleon III from
1852 till 1870. And I much doubt
most present-day Americans know this.
But this was merely an aside, and the article is a decent
analysis of the outcomes of the election (which - incidentally - are
not completed yet, in precise counts).
Here are the first two of seventeen numbered remarks:
1. Turnout was initially reported to be
significantly lower than 2012, but late returns indicate the same
percentage of voters (approximately 58 percent) although with a smaller
major party share. The minority parties, led by the Libertarians,
increased their vote from 2 to 5 percent of the total.
2. With the exceptions of Iowa and Ohio,
there were no Trump landslides in key states. He polled roughly the
same as Romney, making up smaller votes in the suburbs with larger
votes in rural areas to achieve the same overall result. His combined
margin of victory in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania combined
was razor thin, about 107,000 votes.
I merely note here that the first point
might be used to blame the minority parties for Trump's winning, while
the second point might be used to blame some kind of rigging (by fraud,
or by closing many places were people could vote).
In fact, I think both are difficult or
impossible to prove, even if true.
The third point is rather important,
especially because the press has made it look otherwise (for they
blamed the white working-class):
3. The great surprise of the election
was not a huge white working-class shift to Trump but rather his
success in retaining the loyalty of Romney voters, and indeed even
slightly improving on the latter’s performance among evangelicals for
whom the election was viewed a last stand. Thus economic populism and
nativism potently combined with, but did not displace, the traditional
social conservative agenda.
Put otherwise, one of the reasons for
Trump's winning is not the massive support of the white working-class,
but his getting the vote from most social conservatives of any income.
And there is also another important
factor: the evangelicals:
Yes, quite possibly so. And there are 13 more
points, and this is a recommended article.
4. The key factor in carrying the
Republicans was Trump’s cynical covenant with religious conservatives
following the primary defeat of Ted Cruz. He gave them a free hand to
draft the party platform at the Convention and then teamed with one of
their popular heroes, Mike Pence of Indiana, a nominal Catholic who
attends an evangelical megachurch. At stake for right-to-lifers, of
course, was control of the Supreme Court and a final chance to reverse Roe
v Wade. This may explain why Clinton, who unlike Obama allowed
herself to be identified with late-term abortions, underperformed him
by 8 points among Latino Catholics.
Donald Trump’s Presidency Will Be Like the George W. Bush Disaster—Only
The second item is by Sophia McLennan on
AlterNet and originally on Salon (and I shortened the short story that
is the title a bit ):
This starts as
In yet another post-election
example of wish fulfillment, there are rumors circulating that
president-elect Donald Trump won’t actually stay in office all four
years because he won’t want to do the job. After Trump met with
President Obama, we heard reports that he “seemed surprised” by the scope of the job. We have
also heard that Trump won’t want to sleep much in the White House and
that he is likely to spend more time at Trump Tower. Then there is the
idea that all Trump wanted to do was win, not actually lead. The New York Times reported back in July that
Trump stated that he wouldn’t rule out quitting after he had won.
I don't take any of this seriously, and
indeed consider it more likely these are examples of wish fulfillments. But there may be something to it, namely
But before you get too excited by
that prospect, we need to remember the presidency of George W. Bush,
because all signs suggest that Trump will be a lot like George W. —
only worse. Trump may not do the job, but that won’t mean he’ll step
down, and it won’t mean that his tenure as president won’t screw
The reason I take this more seriously is that
Trump is clearly incompetent to be a real president: he simply lacks
the knowledge (and he also lacks the talent and probably
also the wish to rapidly acquire most of what he so clearly lacks).
But this doesn't mean at all that Trump's government may not do major
to the USA or indeed destroy it:
Yes, indeed. Here is another similarity
between Bush Jr. and Trump, although I tend to regard this again as
And before you celebrate the idea of the
orange-faced goon staying away from Washington, remember who Bush left
behind to do the work. As Trump assembles his transition team and
floats ideas for cabinet members, there is an uncanny resemblance to
the Bush administration. Many think that it was the absolutely horrific team that
Bush assembled that fueled the disaster of his presidency. Trump shows
sign of doing him one better.
From Mike Pence (our new Dick Cheney) to
Michael Flynn (our new Donald Rumsfeld, even if he is sitting in
Condoleezza Rice’s old office as National Security Advisor), there is
simply no reason to think that the advisors to Trump will be anything
but worse, more extreme versions of the team that ran things under Bush.
The fact that both Trump and Bush
lost the popular vote is only one of the many pattern matches to their
campaigns. From election fraud to election rigging, the campaigns had
much in common. Both candidates had highly elite upbringings and yet
somehow managed to fashion themselves as folksy, regular guys who would
stand up for average America and represent the “silent majority.”
It is true that both Bush Jr. and Trump
succeeded in deceiving tens of millions of voters (it seems) by
pretending to be "regular guys who would stand
up for average America and represent the “silent majority.”"
And I wonder how long it will take for many to see through this. (In
fact, I have no idea, in considerable part because Republican voters
seem to live in their own counterfactual bubble anyway.)
3. Installing a Torture Fan
The third item is by Ray McGovern
(<- Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews
This starts as
President-elect Donald Trump’s
selection of Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo, an open aficionado of
torture practices used in the “war on terror,” to be CIA director shows
that Trump was serious when he said he would support “waterboarding and
But such advice is not likely from
Pompeo, who has spoken out against the closing of CIA’s “black sites”
used for torture and has criticized the requirement that interrogators
adhere to anti-torture laws. He has also opposed closing the prison at
Guantanamo, which has become infamous for torture and even murder.
After visiting Guantanamo three years
ago, where many prisoners were on a hunger strike, Pompeo commented,
“It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight.”
This appointment promises great
difficulties, in part because Pompeo is for torture (which is forbidden
by international agreements) and in part because
he seems to be an intentionally blind guy who chooses to see only
what his ideology says should be there - such as starving prisoners who are,
according to Pompeo, not starving but putting on weight. (In
fact, this blindness seems to apply to most of Trump's appointments.)
There is this from Lindsey Graham who is
for torturing people:
Torture also has its supporters in the
Senate, which will be called on to confirm Pompeo as CIA director. At a
Senate hearing on May 13, 2009, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina,
gave a tip of the cap to the Spanish Inquisition, which he cited as
proof that torture could elicit some useful confessions (as it was used
in the Fifteenth Century to detect “crypto Jews” and to burn several
thousand heretics at the stake).
During a hearing on detainee
interrogations, Sen. Graham said:
“Let’s have both sides of the story here,” pointing out that there
could be evidence that torture produced “good information.” Graham
added, “I mean, one of the reasons these techniques have survived for
about 500 years is apparently they work.”
Well... Ray McGovern provides evidence
that they are - at least - a lot less certain to provide reliable
information than most torturers would like to. I leave that to your
interests, and merely observe here that it is quite possible to break most people  by exceedingly cruel tortures, and that
- it seems to me - is the most important reason why they are claimed to
"work": Breaking your opponents in the most cruel ways that can be
Here is more on torturing by American
The selection of Pompeo came a few days
after Vice President-elect Mike Pence told
ABC that he would model his handling of the job after former Vice
President Dick Cheney under President George W. Bush.
Though Pence may have meant Cheney’s
assertive role and interaction with Congress, there was also Cheney’s
advocacy for “regime change” wars and what the Bush administration
called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which earned Cheney the
label from The Washington Post, “Vice President for Torture.”
Then there is this:
I don't know. I agree in a sense with Ray
McGovern, but (having confronted myself a whole university, the
University of Amsterdam, where it was officially anounced in 1978, and
supported by its Board of Directors, that "Everybody knows that truth
exist", which was kept up at least till 1995 (!!)). I also know that the
denial that truth exists gives on in fact extreme liberties in accomodating one's fantasies: Anything one says is "true", simply
because one says it is.
On a moral level, I also cannot quite
fathom the attitude of Pence – who says, “I’m a Christian, a
conservative, and a Republican, in that order” – tolerating torture and
torture advocates. If memory serves, Jesus Christ was tortured to death.
The article ends as follows:
Many years ago when I studied ethics at
Fordham, New York City’s Jesuit university, I was taught that there was
one immutable category called “intrinsic evil,” which included slavery,
rape and torture.
(A group that I helped found, Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, has written a number of Memoranda
on torture and most recently on the CIA’s
cover-up of torture, an issue completely neglected in the corporate
I do not know to what extent one can rely
on the teachings in a university that is still described as having
"academic ideals" that "are drawn from its Jesuit influences" - but then indeed I am a lifelong atheist (and know that the
4. The First 100
Day Resistance Agenda
have defended very many opposing things during the over 500 years of
But the last paragraph is quite good, with good links. This is a
The fourth item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
Trump’s First 100 Day agenda includes
repealing environmental regulations, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank Act,
giving the rich a huge tax cut, and much worse. Here’s the First
100 Day resistance agenda [with thanks to Alan Webber]:
In fact, I haven't seen Trump's first 100
day agenda and (so far as I know) it may not exist. Then again, it may.
This is Reich's resistance agenda (his term) that starts with these three points
(a bit abbreviated):
1. Get Democrats in the Congress
and across the country to pledge
to oppose Trump’s agenda. Prolong the process of approving choices,
hearings, stand up as sanctuary cities and states. Take a stand.
2. March and demonstrate—in a coordinated, well-managed way.
3. Boycott all Trump products, real estate, hotels, resorts,
everything. And then boycott all stores (like Nordstrom) that carry
from Trump family brands.
I much doubt points 2 and 3: There is not
much sense in merely protesting Trump, while boycotting Trump products
seems mostly dictated by envy.
Besides, and more importantly: There is no
certainty that protests will be allowed by Trump's government, which
seems to be willing - see this, which
starts as follows:
A Trump-supporting Republican
is trying to legally define protests, like some of those erupting
across the country against his candidate of choice, labeled a form of
- to say everyone who protests against the
decisions of the Great Leader Trump is guilty of "terrorism" (and I do
distinguish between two forms of terrorism: the relatively minor
political or religious terrorists, and the extremely dangerous state
terrorists, of which the above quoted bit is a very early example in Trump's government, indeed before it started).
What may happen to such "terrorists" (who
may have been simply stating their opinions) is unknown at present, but
I presume they may be arrested and, since they are "terrorists", also
be questioned physically (e.g. simply for boycotting Trump products).
As I said, I don't know what will happen
once Trump has been crowned as president, but indeed I do not expect
much that is good by my lights.
Here are three more of Reich's proposals:
6. Social media: What about a new
YouTube channel devoted to video testimonials about resisting Trump’s
Day Agenda? Crowd-sourced ideas, themes and memes. Who wants to start
7. Website containing up-to-date
daily bulletins on what actions people are planning around the country,
where, so others can join in. Techies, get organized.
8. Investigative journalism: We
need investigative journalists to dig into the backgrounds of all of
appointees, in the White House, the Cabinet, Ambassadors and judges.
I hate social media, and recommend
everybody who wants to become totally known to the secret services of
the USA to act against Our Great Leader Who Now Is President by means
of "social media" (which are in fact a-social media, that spread lies
and advertisements and steal all privacy).
And while I have a large website (of over 500 MB) since over 20 years
I also think - as a lone individual, who is the only one responsible
for his site -
that "websites" by individuals that are not part of the a-social media seem
to have become considerably more rare over the last 5 to 10 years.
As to investigative journalists: Where do
you find them these days? And how do you know they will be allowed to
publish critical articles about Our Great
Leader Who Now Is President?
I am merely asking. I do not know what
will happen when Trump is the President of the United States. And it
seems to me that Robert Reich is presuming that the USA will continue
more or less as it did under Obama,
which seems less likely to me.
And in any case, I am not enthusiastic for
5. Expendable America
The fifth item today is by Charles Simic (<- Wikipedia) on The New
York Review of Books:
starts as follows (and is here because I like Simic, who is quoted on
Wikipedia as having said - and he is a displaced person, who was born
in Serbia: "I'm still amazed by all the vileness and stupidity I
witnessed in my life." It's the
same for me.):
Donald Trump “may not be
good for America, but he’s damn good for CBS.”
—Les Moonves, President and Chief Executive
Officer of CBS
The Ship of State is sinking and a
rooster is chasing a hen in a neighbor’s yard. How can that be?
The president-elect with a spyglass and his orange pompadour shouts
from the crow’s nest that he can see thousands of Muslims on rooftops
in New Jersey still celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers—unless
I’m hallucinating, but who nowadays can be sure their eyes and ears
work? If he is bonkers, as he surely is, many of us are too (..)
Yes, indeed: I agree that Donald
Trump is "bonkers", and I am a psychologist. My reasons for
thinking so are straight psychology, and were summarized on March 14, 2016, and given Trump's
lie-filled campaign, I find it very difficult to doubt I am
right, although I am not amazed that at present the mainstream
media do their best to normalize him (because in fact most people are
Then there is this, which seems to me an
adequate portrayal of Trump and also
of the chances of the many poor he deceived:
All of us who are familiar with rural
areas and former industrial towns in this country know the
impoverishment and hopelessness of many men and women who live there.
Barely surviving by holding part-time jobs, since businesses now rarely
hire full-time workers in order to avoid paying benefits, they are not
just underpaid and constantly in debt, but know in their hearts that
they and their children are expendable. Understandably, they are angry.
When Democrats proclaimed that the economy was doing well and that we
were still the greatest country in the world, they started listening to
Trump, who told them what they could already plainly see, that we are
in decline. These unfortunates, who’ve been cheated and swindled by
bosses, mortgage banks, loan sharks, health insurance companies, and
both political parties, have put all their hopes in a billionaire who
has a long record of not paying taxes, cheating his workers and
contractors out of their pay, and seemingly using his own “charitable”
foundation as a slush fund. They voted for a buffoon who doesn’t care
whether they live or die.
In fact, quite a few members of Trump's
team may be for forcing the poor to die, probably not by using real
force, but by finishing all financial help to the poor (and giving what
they got to the rich, who - according to the Trumpians - must deserve
it because they are rich and therefore -
according to the Trumpians - morally, intellectually and financially
Then there is this on the latest presidential elections:
I more or less agree, although I do add that
from my - heavily intellectual, European - point of view most Americans
seem stupid and ignorant. I am sorry but that is the basic
reason for electing a cruel fraud and a madman like Trump president of
It took years of deliberate effort by
vested interests to create this “proudly ignorant populism,” as someone
called it, know-nothing voters who are easily led by the nose,
incapable of distinguishing lies from truth, or an honest person from a
crook. Easily duped, they can be depended on to act against their own
self-interest again and again. Throw into the mix racism, misogyny,
hatred of immigrants, gays, and other minorities, the dumbing down of
the population by inadequate education, suspicion of learning,
rejection of science and history, and dozens of other things like guns
and violence, and you have the kind of environment in which people
chose their next president.
And yes, I also agree part of the stupidity and ignorance are native
(half of any unsorted population has an IQ not higher than 100), and
part of the stupidity and ignorance have been intentionally produced,
but even so: I think it is a great shame that so many Americans know so
little and do not seem capable
of rational thinking, and certainly not if their emotions are appealed
There is this on propaganda, lies and liars:
“Propaganda works best when those
who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own
free will,” Goebbels said. Everywhere one turns one hears people
parroting lies as if they were their own carefully considered personal
opinions. The upshot is that an alternate reality has been constructed
for millions in this country over the last couple of decades thanks to
TV, talk radio, and the Internet. Spreading falsehoods, of course, is
very profitable, as con artists of every type from mealy-mouthed
preachers addressing their mega churches to those touting loans that
require no background check can tell you. Lies sell everything from
fattening foods to “your computer is damaged and we’ll help you fix it”
Yes, indeed. And this also needs two
One. The systematic abuse of propaganda and lies is very old in
politics (see complaints by Plato and Aristotle, for example),
but I also think that the money, the concerted interest, and the
planning to defraud large parts of the American population date back to
Lewis Powell Jr., who in fact advised the rich to start doing so in the
beginning of the 1970ies.
Two. And the result, in the end, was Fox News and also the almost
totally neutralized other mainstream media, that generated tens of
millions of people
who know very little, who are not clever, and who can be deceived about
things - that includes electing a madman for president because he is
(supposed to be) a billionaire who lies three quarters of the time he
says something (in public).
There is this on democratic government:
The basic requirement for
democratic governance—that the majority of the population agrees on the
parameters of what is true and what is false—has been deliberately
obfuscated in this country. The absence of accountability for repeated
fraud by those in power, both in government and in the private sector,
the proliferation of fake grass-root organizations, think tanks, and
lobbyist firms funded by the wealthy to deceive their fellow citizens
and turn them against one another, has become the most characteristic
feature of our political life.
Again I have two additional remarks:
It is not so much agreement "on the
parameters of what is true and what is false"
that is required for democratic government (for to do that rationally,
one has to study philosophy and logic), but - far more simply - the
(i) there are truths and facts, and that (ii) it needs discussions and
disagree- ments to settle what these are.
Put otherwise: A real democracy requires a majority of people
who know that
their own fantasies and desires are not the
right measure for what is factually true, and who are
capable of listening to arguments that aim at settling what is
the (probable ) truth.
Also it is not so much "[t]he absence of accountability for
repeated fraud" that matters (the rich and the powerful have rarely
been accountable and responsible as the non-rich and non-powerful), but
the deliberate reorgani- zation of the legal norms, principles and
punishments for repeated fraud: Rich bankers and rich pharmacists simply need to return a small part of the profits
they made to be declared free from all crimes and all bad intentions, after which
they can continue to grow rich as before, by frauding again and again.
But Simic is quite right in his suggestion that (mostly thanks to the
Supreme Court's decisions that amounted to the bullshit theses that
money = votes and corporations = people) very rich persons and very
rich corporations now manipulate everywhere with bullshit, fake organizations, lies and
Here is his ending:
The world seems to be divided
today between those horrified to see history repeat itself and those
who eagerly await its horrors.
Indeed. And I am in the
first class, and this is a strongly recommended article.
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
am sorry I abbreviated it, but I both dislike big letters and very long
titles, and I have normally more than enough space to accomodate the
titles I wish to review. This time the title was too long, and I made
this note, but I may not make it the next time.
Definitely, though indeed not all: Jean Moulin was
one of them. Here is the Wikipedia on him (quoted minus a note number)
never revealed anything to his captors and died near Metz on a
train headed for Germany from injuries
sustained either during torture or in a suicide attempt. Moulin's
ability not to provide information to the Gestapo was extraordinary
given the ferocity of the torture he was subjected to, which reportedly
included hot needles being put under his fingernails, doors being
closed on his hands until his knuckles broke, the use of screw-levered
handcuffs to cut into his wrists and whipping and beatings."
Another was the Dutch
communist leader Jan Postma
(<- Dutch link) who refused to name any names, and who persisted, in
spite of serious tortures.
A "collaborator" is someone who works with others, in a minimal sense.
I do not know the numbers or percentages for non-Dutch people, but in
Holland, during the Nazi-poccupation of WW II, at most 2% of the
population did something brave to resist the Nazis. I think this is a
fairly typical number for the amount of persons who are willing to risk
their life and their health for their ideals, if these ideals are much
threatened or totally destroyed. (Both of my parents and 3 out of 4
grandparents did resist the Nazis, and indeed my father and his father
were arrested and locked up in German concentration camps.)
 The "probable" is
inserted because - as a rational fact - it is true that many
empirical questions can only be solved with probability: One
does not know the truth, with absolute certainty, one only
knows the probable truth (and that also may vary, from not much above
50% to 99% or so, and these estimates may themselves be false).