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Nederlog

 Nov 26, 2016

Crisis: Chomsky, Street, Nader, Washington's Blog, Castro, Vitamins
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
Those Who Failed to Recognize Trump as 'Greater Evil'
     Made a 'Bad Mistake': Chomsky

2. How the Republican Party Rules a Nation That Hates It
3. Which Trump? Early Signs Not Good
4. Welcome Washington Post Readers
5. Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies
     at 90
6. No more monthly vitamin news
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, November 26, 2016.

A.
This is a crisis log with 6 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 about Noam Chomsky on Trump's election (and he is right, I think); item 2 is about a decent explanation by Paul Street of why the Republicans came to rule everything in the USA; item 3 is about an interesting article by Ralph Nader (from a week ago); item 4 is by Washington's Blog, and seems mostly a - correct, valid - defense of non-mainstream media; item 5 is a short item about the fact that Fidel Castro died (with a link to a very long article); and item 6 is the last item that says that I have stopped writing monthly updates about my use of vitamins (I continue taking them, but reporting on them seems senseless, and indeed never produced any mail).

-- 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. It was correct on 25.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. This also was
correct on
25.xi.

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. Those Who Failed to Recognize Trump as 'Greater Evil' Made a 'Bad Mistake': Chomsky

The first item today is b
y Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Leftist scholar Noam Chomsky has a message for voters who refused to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House: You made a "bad mistake." 

On both moral and practical levels, Chomsky told Al Jazeera's Medhi Hasan, the choice was clear. 

"Do you vote against the greater evil if you don't happen to like the other candidate?" asked Chomsky, who spoke out during the election against Trump's candidacy— and in fact predicted his rise six years ago. "The answer to that is yes."

With an argument similar to the one made by political scientist Adolph Reed prior to the election, Chomsky insists that voters did not have to ignore Clinton's serious shortcomings in order to recognize Trump as the much more serious threat.

"I didn't like Clinton at all, but her positions are much better than Trump's on every issue I can think of," the professor emeritus of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) told Hasan. Chomsky supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary.

I agree with (nearly) everything Noam Chomsky said here and indeed I've said the same. The one thing I (may) disagree about is the last point: I can think of one thing in which Trump may be bettter than Hillary Clinton, namely about the TPP.

But even this is uncertain, because Clinton was supposed to be against it while competing for the presidency, although she was for it otherwise.

Here is the ending of this article:

Chomsky also objected to philosopher Slavoj Zizek's post-election argument that Trump's victory would "shake up" status quo. "Terrible point," Chomsky said of Zizek's take. "It was the same point that people like him said about Hitler in the early 30s."

"He'll 'shake up the system' in bad ways," Chomsky said of the president-elect. "What it means is now the left—if Clinton had won, she had some progressive programs. The left could have been organized, to keeping her feet to the fire. What it will be doing now is trying to protect rights...gains that have been achieved, from being destroyed. That's completely regressive."

Indeed, Chomsky further warned in the aftermath of the election: "The outcome placed total control of the government—executive, Congress, the Supreme Court—in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history."

The GOP "is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand."

Yes indeed - and I never report on Slavoj Zizek because I regard him as an idiot. And I think I also agree with the following:

The GOP "is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand."

It's not a happy thought, I agree, but it seems true.

2. How the Republican Party Rules a Nation That Hates It

The second item is by Paul Street on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

The white nationalist and arch-regressive Republican Party is an unpopular political organization in the United States. Thanks to the chasm between its militantly pro-big business and right-wing record and agenda on one hand and the progressive sentiments of most Americans on the other, the Republican Party is viewed unfavorably by 62 percent of the nation’s populace. Just a third of the citizenry holds a favorable view of the “Grand Old Party” (GOP).

And guess what? The Republicans are about to assume control of all three branches of the federal government. They won the U.S. presidency (the executive branch) and retained control of both chambers of Congress (the legislative branch). Donald Trump’s presidential victory means the Supreme Court (the top of the judicial branch) will be tilted to a right-wing 5-4 majority sometime next year, with disastrous consequences.

Republicans—leaders of a party viewed with disapproval by nearly two-thirds of the population—have control of 34 of the nation’s 50 state governor positions, the GOP’s best gubernatorial showing since the 1920s. The Democrats have lost 939 state legislative seats under President Obama. They will control both the governor’s office and legislature in just five states (California, Oregon, Hawaii, Connecticut and Rhode Island). By contrast, the Republicans now hold both the executive and the legislative branch in 25 states.

How do we explain this seeming anomaly?

This is a good question and Paul Street gives 12 explanations that follow. These are all without the text that is in the original, except for the last item. I'll leave these to your interests and merely quote the titles of the first eleven:

1. Dismal “Dollar Democrats”
2. Change Rotation
3. Bad Candidates
4. Low Turnout
5. Trump Is Not a Traditional Republican
6. Devaluation of Policy
7. The Electoral College
8. Vote Fraud and Suppression
9. Gerrymandering
10. The Politics of Fear
11. Electoralism

As I said, there is quite a lot of text under these headings. The last item is as follows (and seems to have lost its number in the original), and it seems to me quite correct:

12. Mass Ignorance

A final factor is the supreme ignorance that the nation’s dominant ideological and cultural authorities and institutions have bred in much of the U.S. populace. Independent and critical thinking skills, and honest information and reporting, are under constant assault in the reigning corporate mass media. The double-whammy of infantilizing, unreal media and fading public education generates millions of dumbed-down people who know little about basic things like why the planet is warming, what fascism is (historical literacy being dangerously low) or even the names of the world’s continents. An open demagogue like Trump helps such Americans feel better about themselves. He channels their resentment of those who know about things such as why the Arctic ice cover is melting.

“We celebrate ignorance,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges notes. “We have replaced political discourse, news, culture and intellectual inquiry with celebrity worship and spectacle.”

Indeed - and this is also an important theme that seems to be never broached by the mainstream media that implement it. This is the end of the article:

So Why Did We Bet on Hillary?

Given all these factors, why did so many of us—this writer included—pick Hillary Clinton to win the election? We believed the “expert” pollsters. (I’ll never repeat that error.) And we could not fathom that someone as atrocious and noxious—sexist, racist, nativist, police-statist, climate-change denying, authoritarian, selfish, vicious, anti-abortion, juvenile, petty, Twitter-addicted and maybe even fascist—as the reality television bully Donald Trump could clear all the establishment hurdles and ascend to the most powerful office in the world. It was just too surreal, too dystopian, too appalling to wrap one’s mind around. We thought that in the special and awful case of Trump, the normal patterns favoring a Republican victory in the presidential election would not apply.

We were wrong. Now we are staring into the face of a coming presidency that promises to be catastrophic, something that is going to take heroic and dedicated mass activism to survive.

I mostly agree, although I do not believe Paul Street will "never repeat that error" (of believing the pollsters): After all, this is the best evidence on has, prior to the elections.

And this is a recommended article.

3. Which Trump? Early Signs Not Good

The third item today is by Ralph Nader:

This starts as follows (and is from last week, when I missed it for some reason):

Optimists are hoping for a Trump makeover. They cling to his brief victory remarks suggesting that he wants to be the “president of all the people.” In his 60 Minutes interview following the election Trump said that the protestors were out in the streets because “they do not know me.” They recall his statement some months ago that he had to say outlandish things in order to get greater media attention and reach more people than his Republican primary competitors.

Character and personality are not prone to change in most people. Especially in the case of Trump, who sees these campaign tactics as reasons for his “successes.” However, the assumption to exalted, higher offices of public trust and power sometimes brings out the better angels.

So far, though, the signs are foreboding. Trump values loyalty, and people like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich stuck with him at his lowest points earlier this year. Trump knows very little about the awesome job given him by that dead hand from the past – the Electoral College – which has once again caused a plurality of voters to see their chosen candidate lose (Even Trump acknowledged its unfairness on CBS’s Sixty Minutes after the election)

Yes indeed (although I would not trust any of Trump's sayings, simply because 71% of his earlier sayings that have been checked were lies).

Here is more, on how Trump's appointments are very pleasing to the very rich plus some on his military advisors:

His transition appointments are delighting the corporatists. The man chosen to oversee the changes in the Environmental Protection Agency denies that climate change is man-made and scowls at regulation of harmful pollutants. Trump has opened the door to the big oil and gas lobbyists to control the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior. Wall Streeters are smacking their lips over Trump cavorting with opponents of regulating that giant gambling casino.

His military advisors do not come from the ranks of prudent retired officials who see perpetual war for what it is – a mechanism for national insecurity, authoritarianism and profits for the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about in his 1961 farewell address. To the contrary, many of Trump’s military advisers have been quick to embrace an Empire mentality and its warfare state.

And there is this on nepotism (for Trump's children) and on immigrants:

Intrigue and internal fighting inside the White House and top Cabinet levels are likely if Trump insists on giving powerful roles to his three children and son-in-law (albeit without pay). Nepotism and conflicts of interest are acidic cocktails and undermine the integrity and transparency of public office.

Then there is the explosive crackdown on immigrants – many of whom benefit millions of Americans by working in low-wage jobs – that can produce daily turmoil, not to mention the exorbitant human cost of breaking up families in communities across the country.

And this is from the end:

Our country is in an extraordinarily high-risk condition, given who possesses the reins of power. Self-described conservatives and liberals can curb that power if they form alliances back in the Congressional districts around the major initiatives on which they agree (See my book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State). Such alliances have occurred with success in the past.

I agree mostly, although I am skeptical about an emerging left/right alliance.

And this is a recommended article.

4. Welcome Washington Post Readers

The fourth item today is by Washington's Blog on his blog:

This starts as follows and seems to be an article that draws up a defense of Washington's Blog and a promise that it will - try to - continue as before:

Washington’s Blog is written by American writers (with guest posts by Brits, Canadians, Aussies, etc).

The owner of this site is an American who was born and raised here, lived here his whole life, and loves the United States. He is a busy professional, former adjunct professor and family man.

A non-partisan site, we routinely interview high-level retired American military and intelligence officials, to provide the American view on the world.  But they often disagree with current policy, which they say harms America’s national security.

For example, we’ve consistently documented that:

[Here are the themes we write about. ]

Does saying these things consistently for years – even when the Bush Administration or others said the exact opposite – make us bad people or “fake news”?

The Founding Fathers said that dissent is the highest form of patriotism.  We agree.

I like Washington's Blog for quite a while now, although indeed I do not like all regular writers, nor do I agree with everything on it. But it is by and large good
alternative news
(as contrasted with the usually bad mainstream media).

Next, a considerable number of quotations are given, of which I will select quite a few simply because I like them. Here is the first bit:

“It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error”
– United States Supreme Court decision in American
   Communications Association v. Douds

“To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Ben Franklin

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
-Thomas Jefferson

And this is the second bit:

“The citizen who sees his society’s democratic clothes being worn out and does not cry it out, is not a patriot, but a traitor.”
– Mark Twain

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”
– Thomas Jefferson

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
– Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural

And this is the third and last group of quotations:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”
– Franklin Roosevelt
These quotations (and there are quite a few more in the original) served a point:

What do the quotes all have in common?

The great Americans who said them would be considered terrorists today.

Specifically, according to Department of Defense training manuals, protest is considered “low-level terrorism”. And see this, this and this.

An FBI memo also labels peace protesters as “terrorists”.

Indeed, police have been terrorizing children, little old ladies and other “dangerous” people who attempted to protest peacefully.

Yes indeed - and I refer you to the beginning of 2014 (which is a little improved repetition of something I wrote in the end of 2012) for my views on terrorism: I still am quite uncertain whether terrorism - that is: the secret introduction of spying on everyone anywhere by the secret services - wasn't the main point of 9/11 (indeed also quite independently of who caused it - and the official story about 9/11 is false anyway).

Here is some more on what the "
anti-terrorism laws" have been used for:

The government is also using anti-terrorism laws to keep people from learning what pollutants are in their own community. See this, this, this and this.

Claims of “national security” are also used to keep basic financial information – such as who got bailout money – secret. That might not bode for particularly warm and friendly treatment for someone persistently demanding the release of such information.

I am afraid this "anti-terrorism" will very much strengthen under president Trump, who might be so much involved in keeping up his own megalomania
that he considers everyone a terrorist who criticizes him. (We will find out.) [3]

This article ends with a note (which may be a little unwise, but is correct in principle, at least in my view):

Note: Government apologists are also eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a Stalinist trip to the insane asylum. I guess the famous Americans quoted above were not only terrorists, but they were also crazy.

In fact, most American insane asylums have been closed (because that was cheaper). And I have no really adequate ideas about what Trump will do if he is president, though indeed I expect nothing good and a great amount that is very bad.

And this is a recommended article.


5. Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90

The fifth item today is by Anthony DePalma on the New York Times:

This starts as follows:

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died Friday. He was 90.

His death was announced by Cuban state television.

In declining health for several years, Mr. Castro had orchestrated what he hoped would be the continuation of his Communist revolution, stepping aside in 2006 when he was felled by a serious illness. He provisionally ceded much of his power to his younger brother Raúl, now 85, and two years later formally resigned as president. Raúl Castro, who had fought alongside Fidel Castro from the earliest days of the insurrection and remained minister of defense and his brother’s closest confidant, has ruled Cuba since then, although he has told the Cuban people he intends to resign in 2018.z

There is a whole lot more under the last dotted link, but I leave all of that to your interests.

As to Fidel Castro (<-Wikipedia): I know of him since 1965 (at the latest) but I gave up on him already in the Sixties, and in fact was moved then mostly by seeing (i) he was a dictator, who (ii) spoke for six or more hours to his population (which I thoughty far too long). [4]

6. No more monthly vitamin news

The sixth and last item today has no link (well... there is this) and only serves to inform you that I stop giving monthly vitamin news. I think I have done this for over a year now, but I have had no response whatsoever on it, and - from my experiences on Phoenix Rising - it also seems likely to me that one needs both an IQ of 130 or higher (which few people have, especially those with brain fog and M.E.) and some education on reporting and testing to write reports in which the minimal necessary information is given.

This makes it likely hardly anyone on Phoenix Rising is capable of it (yes, indeed, though I should add that they also seem to have succeeded in hunting away nearly everyone with any real intelligence). And it seems I have been writing for no one.

So I'll stop (and have in fact stopped yesterday).

This doesn't mean I stop taking vitamins, because I have M.E. now for nearly 38 years (since 1.i.1979) and I am certain - in fact from writing my autobiography (in Dutch) - that this was the only thing that helped me (apart from sleeping pills).

I simply go on as before. But I give up preaching to the non-intelligent. It seems utterly useless and it only costs energy that I can use better for reporting on politics or science.

--------------------------
Notes
[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2]
I 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] In fact, I think Trump is a megalomaniac (by which I mean the same as the earlier "grandiose narcissist", which I think is too long and less clear than "megalomania"). Also, the main reason I think so is that I am a psychologist. We shall see whether I am correct in the next half year or so, but I fear I am.


[4] I realize this needs a note.

I did give up on Fidel Castro around 1968, before I was 20, and while I still considered myself a (neo-)marxist (which I stopped doing in the second half of 1970), but was acting in my own character, that apparently was born with a strong taste for personal freedom and against authoritarianism.

In any case, I did at least two similar things before:
  • In 1958 (I think, and at any rate before moving in 1959) I gave up on Stalin because I thought he was far too much engaged on having his own portrait everywhere in the Soviet Union: I thought that very unsympathetic and quite childish (when I was 8). And:
  • In 1964, while I was on holiday with a group but without my parents in the German Democratic Republic (i.e. "socialist" East Germany) I got in considerable trouble after I was not answered for three weeks about the strict militarism and the great totalitarianism practiced there and indeed
    said this seemed like "fascist bullshit" (German: "fascistische Schwein- erei") to me, which I also said in public, and repeatedly. I got in the end off scot-free but only because I was Dutch. And since then I refused to consider both the German Democratic Republic and the Soviet Union as real socialist states.
This was behind my disliking Fidel Castro's speeches of six hours (or more: he once lectured for 7 hours 10 minutes): I did not think anyone's speeches should last six hours, and that if they did the attendance was probably forced. And then the previous two points also set in. (And no, all three points were mostly caused by my character: While I was quite right that neither the GDR nor the Soviet Union were socialist, I lacked good theoretical reasons.)

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