Nov 23, 2016

Crisis: Rosenfeld, Gallagher, González, Fulton, Tristam
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Echoes of 1930s Germany and 1950s McCarthyism

2. U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking
     and Surveillance Powers

"Heil Victory!" Alt-Right Groups Emboldened by Trump's
     Election & Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

4. As Trump Stomps on Fourth Estate, Corporate Press
     Rolls Over

5. It’ll Be Alt-Right.

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, November 23, 2016.

This 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 of the USA:

Item 1
is on the racist Nazi Spencer and asks what is more likely: A Hitlerite Trump or a McCarthylike Trump; item 2 is about how Great Britain voted itself into a neofascist or fascist nation where the government + spies know absolutely everything about absolutely everyone in LAW (and I am sorry, but this is neofascism or fascism: See [4]); item 3 is nominally about Deborah Lipstadt on Steve Bannon, but in fact Lipstadt hardly could be reached (which may very well have been achieved by the NSA); item 4 is about how the mainstream media roll over towards Trump (which is also very threatening for all American non-mainstream media); and item 5 is a reflection on the rule of the alt right, the fascists, the Nazis, and the neofascists that all trail Trump (and will get very much more powerful as soon as he is president of the USA, I very much fear).

-- Constant part, for the moment --
B. 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
was 19.xi. 20.xi again was a stinking mess, as was 21.xi and 22.xi.

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: This worked correctly on 11 and 12 xi.2016, but not the day 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 were 19, 20, 21 and 22.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, nor for 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.

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. Echoes of 1930s Germany and 1950s McCarthyism Abound

The first item today is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet (and I shortened the title):
This starts as follows:
When Richard Spencer, a leading alt-right white power ideologue finished his speech at Saturday’s day-long “Become Who We Are” summit at Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building, someone yelled, “Heil the people!” and the room shouted back, “Heil victory!”

It wasn’t the evening’s first Nazi reference, nor most brazen. Soon after Spencer started slamming the mainstream media, overlooking how they gave the president-elect endless free coverage, he jeered, “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” The crowd shouted back, “Lügenpresse,” a Nazi-era word for “lying press.” Spencer said, to cheers, that white power was rising. “America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity… It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us."
Richard Spencer is a racist and a Nazi, it seems. (He probably is also a neofascist in my sense - see Note 2 - but I do not know enough about his opinions to affirm that.) Also, if his audience can shout back the German "Lügenpresse" for "lying press", I really don't see why they don't say "Sieg Heil!". It's considerably shorter, a lot clearer, and it is simpler than "Lügenpresse".

Next there is this:

America under Donald Trump is entering an uncharted authoritarian era. Whether apt historical precedents are in the first months of Hitler’s rule in 1933 in Germany or closer to the 1950s anti-Communist witch hunts led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, remains to be seen. But there are myriad events everyone is seeing and unfolding behind closed doors that are forming a prologue to Trump’s authoritarian rule.
My own guess is that Trump is more like Hitler or Mussolini than like McCarthy, and my main reasons are that he is the new president of the USA (aka NUSA [3]), which means that he will have very much more power than a mere Senator. It is a guess, but we shall find out soon.

There is this on Trump's racism:

It looks like Trump is posed to deport millions of migrants, roll back civil rights and go after his critics, by appointing race-baiting propagandist Steve Bannon as a top adviser; Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General; and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as top national security adviser, a man who supports racial profiling and repeats the lie that Islamic law is spreading across America. Trump seems to be relishing his unfolding role as an American strongman (..)
Yes, indeed. And there is this analogy with Hitler's earliest days in power:
As with Hitler’s earliest days in power, we are seeing an increase in race-based hate crimes. Back then, the targets were communists, socialists and Jews. Today the targets are Muslims.
This is an analogy, and Trump does not yet have presidential power. It is quite frightening, but it is an analogy only, and one relevant difference is that there were proportionally far more communists, socialists and Jews in Germany when Hitler started his rule than there are Muslims in the USA.

Whether this should calm you down is another question, since Hitler succeeded in murdering most communists, most socialists and most Jews within the 12 years of his power.

There is also an analogy with Obama:
People forget that President Obama oversaw the arrest and deportation of 2 million immigrants before signing executive orders suspending deportation of 40 percent of the 11 million undocumented migrants here. It’s an open question what Trump would do to accelerate the federal police state. In Germany, Nazi-supporting paramilitary groups created their own arrest, detention and torture stations during the first year of Hitler’s rule.
I infer from this that Obama deported 2 million immigrants, and suspended deporting 4.4 million more immigrants. (I do not know whether this is correct, but Obama did deport a lot of immigrants.)

And I think the reference to German "
Nazi-supporting paramilitary groups" is to the SA (<- Wikipedia), that was partially demoted in 1934 (see the Night of the Long Knives (<-Wikipedia) if you are interested), but which existed till 1945.

We will find out which side Trump will turn to, and this is a recommended article.

2. U.K. Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers

The second item is
by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for the British government to admit that it was hacking into people’s
computers and collecting private data on a massive scale. But now, these controversial tactics are about to be explicitly sanctioned in an unprecedented new surveillance law.

Last week, the U.K.’s Parliament approved the Investigatory Powers Bill, dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter” by critics. The law, which is expected to come into force before the end of the year, was introduced in November 2015 after the fallout from revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden about extensive British mass surveillance. The Investigatory Powers Bill essentially retroactively legalizes the electronic spying programs exposed in the Snowden documents — and also expands some of the government’s surveillance powers.

For me this means that Great Britain now has "legally" [4] changed into a neofascist nation (and see note 2 for what I mean by that): Any government that asserts it legitimately may spy on each and everyone of its inhabitants, and indeed may know everything they do, and want, and think and value, is a fascist, neofascist or perhaps a Stalinist government - though you should keep in mind that the spying powers that the present government of Great Britain has are incredibly much stronger than those the SA, the SS or the KGB had (and they will be sorely abused, although that will probably happen again in the deepest possible secrecy).

There is this on some aspects of the new "law" that makes Great Britain into Neofascist Great Britain:

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new law is that it will give the British government the authority to serve internet service providers with a “data retention notice,” forcing them to record and store for up to 12 months logs showing websites visited by all of their customers. Law enforcement agencies will then be able to obtain access to this data without any court order or warrant. In addition, the new powers will hand police and tax investigators the ability to, with the approval of a government minister, hack into targeted phones and computers. The law will also permit intelligence agencies to sift through “bulk personal datasets” that contain millions of records about people’s phone calls, travel habits, internet activity, and financial transactions; and it will make it legal for British spies to carry out “foreign-focused” large-scale hacks of computers or phones in order to identify potential “targets of interest.”

Ahem. No, "the most controversial aspect of the new law" is not that "it will give the British government the authority to serve internet service providers with a “data retention notice"", but the fact that the English government embraced spying on everyone in law, and not just in fact (which they have been doing, mostly in the deepest secret, for 15 years now).

Here is how your computer and your phone - if you live in Great Britain - are very soon to be abused by secret legal government spies:

“Every citizen will have their internet activity — the apps they use, the communications they send, and to who — logged for 12 months,” says Eric King, a privacy expert and former director of Don’t Spy On Us, a coalition of leading British human rights groups that campaigns against mass surveillance. “There is no other democracy in the world, possibly no other country in the world, doing this.”

In actual fact, Eric King should have said: There is NO democracy in the world that does this, and indeed any government that decides it can spy legally on everything all its inhabits do with a computer or a phone is a fascist, neofascist or Stalinist government, and as such also a state-terrorist govern- ment. [5]

Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:

The U.K.’s National Union of Journalists, however, believes that the law does not go far enough in protecting press freedom. The union is particularly alarmed that any potential surveillance of media organizations will be kept completely secret, meaning they will not be afforded the chance to challenge or appeal any decisions relating to them or their sources. “The bill is an attack on democracy and on the public’s right to know and it enables unjustified, secret, state interference in the press,” the union blasted in a statement last week, adding that “the lack of protection for sources has an impact on journalists working in war zones or those investigating organized crime or state misconduct.”

Yes - and in fact "the law does" not only go not "far enough in protecting press freedom": It will completely destroy it. You cannot be a decent journalist when secret anonymous government spies are checking every letter you write, and everything any of your sources says, and can do as they please, including destroying yourself, your paper or your source in almost any possible way in secret.

This is from years ago when it was all secret and not allowed:

Now this all will be allowed in Great Britain, where the government and the secret services will know all, control all, and Deny/Disrupt/Degrade and Deceive anyone who doesn't like this.

This is a recommended article.

3. "Heil Victory!" Alt-Right Groups Emboldened by Trump's Election & Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

The third item is by Juan González on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction:
A video leaked Monday from a self-proclaimed "alt-right" conference that took place over the weekend in Washington, D.C., shows hundreds gathering to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory and raising their arms in the traditional Nazi salute and saying "Heil victory!" Leaders of the alt-right movement have been emboldened since Trump’s election, particularly since he named Steve Bannon to become his chief strategist after first being his campaign manager. Bannon is the former head of the right-wing news outlet Breitbart Media. We speak with Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of Holocaust studies at Emory University, who says Bannon’s appointment is "the most depressing of almost anything I’ve heard thus far." Lipstadt is also the subject of a feature film now in theaters called "Denial," which is based on a court case in which she was sued by a leading Holocaust denier.
I like Deborah Lipstadt (<Wikipedia) and she is the main reason I selected this item. So it is unfortunate that the connection between Democracy Now! and Emory University was very bad, as you will find out.

Also - given the enormous powers that the NSA and other secret services arrogated to themselves for over 15 years now - I think it is a fair guess that the connection may have been disturbed by the NSA (since both Democacy Now! and Deborah Lipstadt are leftists), and indeed you may read this considerably
more often in Nederlog, now that the neofascist Trump - see [2] - is going to be president of the USA.

Anyway... this starts as follows:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today with a look at the growing movement in the United States that calls itself the alt-right. On Monday, a video was leaked from an alt-right conference that took place over the weekend in Washington, D.C., where hundreds gathered to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory. In the video, alt-right leader Richard Spencer recites Nazi propaganda in original German, as some attendees raise their arms in the traditional Nazi salute.

RICHARD SPENCER: Heil Trump! Heil our people! Heil victory! To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer and a conqueror. We build. We produce. We go upward. And we recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don’t exploit other groups. We—we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around. America was, until this past generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.

As I have said already in item 1, Richard Spencer seems like an evident racist and an evident Nazi. Here is Deborah Lipstadt about Steve Bannon:
DEBORAH LIPSTADT: Let me say at the outset that I don’t know Steve Bannon personally. I know very little of him personally. So I have no idea if he is personally an anti-Semite or racist or any of his personal feelings. But what I do know is that he has facilitated the rise of alt-right, or maybe not the rise, but the entry of alt-right into more of the mainstream through Breitbart News. (..)
She says a little more but then the connection "failed to work", as I suspect will happen very much more in the next four years - that is, if the alternative media
like Democracy Now! are allowed to exist, which I do not know yet.

4. As Trump Stomps on Fourth Estate, Corporate Press Rolls Over

The fourth item is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The American press must not be complicit as President-elect Donald Trump attempts to neutralize and game the fourth estate, critics said this week.

From his unusual "off-the-record" summit with corporate media executives and reporters at Trump Tower on Monday, to his on-again, off-again meeting with the New York Times, to his employing scripted video briefings in place of press conferences, Trump has in the past two days further exhibited his disdain for, and willingness to sidestep, the establishment press.

Even before the election, the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone wrote: "With executive power at his disposal, and a reputation of retaliation, it is not a stretch to imagine Trump disrupting the press' traditional—and vital—role of covering the White House."

Recent developments suggest that prediction is coming to pass (...)
Yes indeed. And while I have no idea where this will end, I have definite ideas about America's mainstream media, and these are like Glenn Greenwald's:
"Rather than doing their jobs and being adversarial to Trump, rather than responding to this sort of bullying with some dignity and return aggression, it is a very good bet that they will respond with greater submission (the way they all stayed passively in their assigned press pens during Trump rallies)," Greenwald wrote. "The supreme religion of the U.S. press corps is reverence for power; the more Trump exhibits, the more submissive they will get."
I think this is a correct and reasoned estimate, and the reasons are that the mainstream media have long supported Trump, because this made them a lot of money.

And here is one estimate of the things that may happen to the American media when Trump is president:

"This is a moment of high danger for the press," New York Univeristy journalism professor Jay Rosen told Pilkington. "We're heading into a dark period for American democracy and American journalism."
Yes, indeed. And since I have to guess, my guesses are that most of the mainstream media will support Trump and that most of the non-mainstream media will try to oppose Trump.

Whether they will succeed in any serious way remains to be seen, as it remains to be seen whether Trump will not forbid any media that criticize Him, America's Greatest Leader. (He may and he may not. The second possibility may look considerably more probable with internet, but then internet these days seems to be THE means to introduce neofascistic total knowledge of everything anyone does to the very few who govern and have power.)

This is a recommended article.

5. It’ll Be Alt-Right.

The fifth item today is by Pierre Tristam on Common Dreams and originally on FlaglerLive:

This starts as follows:

What do you get when you replace a brain surgeon with a chiropractor, or the pilot of a B-1 bomber with a school bus driver? Well, you get Donald Trump trying to be the leader of the free world. It’s been less than two weeks, but it’s been as incessantly awful as the year and a half since he declared for president. Not just in New York, where the tragedy’s first act is playing out to disbelieving reviews in this scheduled five-act play, barring re-election, but here.

Going around town on assignments I run into the usual suspects who, being all Republicans, pat me on the head in that good-doggy fashion and say, it’ll be all right. I’m not sure what reality show they’ve been watching, but it ain’t been the one playing out before our eyes right now.
Yes, indeed: Donald Trump not only is a neofascist (see [2] below for my meaning of that term) who will be the next president of the USA but he is also stupid and totally unqualified. (But no, this will not stop him at all.)

There is this on the present triumphs of the racists and the alt righters that also seems correct to me, with a small correction by me:

There’s an in-your-face quality to it all, intentional and triumphant, as with any reversal of roles in an insane asylum. The disbelieving reviews are a joke, too–those plaintive, pleading editorials, this one among them, written as if they could affect a single synapse’s direction in Trump’s tower after an election that saw all but something like three newspapers and magazines around the globe endorse Clinton, or plead against Trump. It made no difference. The press’ influence, such as it was, is dead, displaced by the echo chambers of fake news and trolls, whose dogma-proteined mercenaries begin foaming at the slimmest point of view that doesn’t fit their narrative. (See the comment section below.)
Yes, but it should have been remarked - I think - that the mainstream media
were not so much "
displaced by the echo chambers of fake news and trolls" as they were by their own conformism and laziness when they were effectively displaced by the lack of advertisements: they chose to propagandize rather than to investigate, and indeed that is also much easier and much cheaper.

As to Donald Trump, there is this:
He’s a pretty straight-forward guy. Too straight-forward, is what his aides kept telling him during the campaign. Anything he says is easily understood by the average 8 year old, and usually relatable to the average adolescent. Build a wall. Bomb ISIS. Repeal Obamacare. Check his birth certificate. Grab that pussy. It doesn’t get more complicated than that. So it’s as easy to fact-check as, say, whether the wheels on the bus go round and round. And when the fact-checkers get to work, they find that he lies about 70 percent of the time. That’s not an opinion. It’s not fiction. It’s fact, verified, documented, easily linked.

But facts are irrelevant anymore. Donald Trump is the post-modernist president to whom facts are themselves constructions of his own desires. There is no “truth.” No evidence, no documentation (there weren’t even any tax returns). There’s only what he says and what you want to hear. It works. It got him elected.
Yes, indeed: Trump is "a pretty straight-forward guy" in most respects (although you should keep in mind that he also is a megalomaniac [6], who for that reason is extremely difficult to predict), and indeed he is a postmodernist who
does not believe in truth and facts, and who replaces them by his fantasies and his propaganda.

Here is Pierre Tristam's final conclusion:

That’s why the hollow ring of phrases like “it’ll be all right” (the jarring rhyme with it’ll be alt-right aside). All we need is the present and the recent past, the last few weeks at most, to know the direction of the next few years. And if you can still tell me with a straight face that it will be all right, then I salute you: your kind of optimism must be a new discovery on the periodic table, right there between Americium and Plutonium. That still won’t change the 140-character quackery in control of our fate.

Yes. Trump's election as president also was the triumph of the ignorant and the stupid - and indeed there are far more ignorant and stupid folks than there are knowledgeable and intelligent folks.

It's a very great pity, but that also is a fact. 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.

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 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.
See the following if you are interested: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. (This lists 22 definitions of the term "fascism", and critically reflects on them.)

[3] The "NUSA" = "Neofascistic United States of America", which is what it will be from Trump's presidency. I am sorry, but I call it as I see it: My grandfather was murdered by the German Nazis, my father survived more than 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camps, and I am supposed not to identify these sick creeps? After having been denied the right to get my M.A. in philosophy in the sick University of Amsterdam because I instisted on truth, science and facts?!!

[4] When I write ""legally"" with quotes rather than without (as in "legally") I generally mean there is something questionable (in my opinion) about the legality. It is similar in the present case, but with a difference: The law has been approved by parliament, but it is a law that - I think - cannot possibly be approved in any real democracy, because it gives the government and its spies incredible powers over anyone. This is what has happened in Great Britain.

[5] I have already in 2005 (in Dutch) and in 2012 (in English, repeated and a bit shortened in 2014) said that one quite plausible explanation that the state's terrorists (its spies, its police and its military, at least in a terrorist state) tried to grab all powers under the guise of battling with non-state terrorists was in fact the whole point of the exercise, and indeed may have been the point of 9/11 (for there are very many things questionable about the official story of that).

I do not know what is true here because I lack most relevant evidence, but I do know that state terrorism has murdered very far more people than non-state terrorists, and the reason is that state terrorists have the state, the police and the military support its terrorism.

I have earlier - starting on March 14, last - called Trump by the correct present-day psychiatric/psychological term "grandiose narcissist", but I decided now to call him a megalomaniac, because this is a bit clearer - I think - than the other term, though indeed megalomania in Wikipedia links to "narcissistic personality disorder" and seems meanwhile also to have deleted the item "megalomania" (which still was there in March).

I think that deletion was a mistake, but I do not distinguish between megalomania and grandiose narcissism (for the purpose of diagnosing Trump): I only insist megalomania is a bit clearer, a bit simpler, and very probably better known than grandiose narcissism, and that is my reason for preferring megalomania.

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