1. Noam Chomsky: ‘Most
Predictable Aspect of Trump I
2. Trumping The Times
3. The Democratic Party Lost Its Soul. It’s Time to Win It
4. The West’s Shift Toward Repression
is a Nederlog of Tuesday, November 29, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 4 items and 4 dotted links and it consists (mostly) of some
further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president
Item 1 is a very good interview with Noam
Chomsky on Al Jazeera: You are strongly adviced to watch it; item 2
is on an article by Todd Gittlin, which ends with my own tentative
explanation about the decrease of the importance of truth (and I recall
that the University of Amsterdam was officially and publicly opened in 1978
by a professor who insisted that "Everybody knows that truth does
not exist" (implying my father was a liar about the concentration
he survived, and Irwin was quite right in doubting the Holocaust - but
nobody except me and a few others drew these obvious
conclusions); item 3 is about an article by Robert
Reich that seems fairly naive to me; and item 4 is
about an article by Annie Machon who correctly says all of the West us
repression (and surveillance, and the rich, and massive corruption, and
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days.
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. And horrible on 26.xi and 27.xi.
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.
was correct as were 19, 20, 21 and 22.xi. This also was
correct on 25, 26
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. Noam Chomsky: ‘Most Predictable Aspect of Trump Is
Unpredictability’—It’s ‘Very Dangerous’ (Video)
The first item today is a video of 25 minutes by Al Jazeera that
consists of some 20 minutes of interview with Noam Chomsky:
It so happens that I do not
often put up videos of 25 minutes.  But this is
an exception: The above links to Youtube and is a good and interesting
interview with Noam Chomsky, who never gets interviewed
at this length on the American media.
This is a good interview with several interesting points, one of which
is that Chomsky says (literally) that in his opinion, Trump is an "ignorant, thin-skinned megalomaniac", which happens
to be very close - verbally, at least - to my opinion
Incidentally, the reason I inserted "verbally, at least" is that I do not
know in what more or less precise sense Chomsky uses
"megalomaniac". Then again, one of my reasons to start using
"megalomaniac" for "grandiose narcissist" - for which see here and here
- is that I believe the former term is much better
understood by most people than the latter - somewhat
artificial - term.
In any case, here is the definition of "megalomania" that was
Wikipedia in March of 2016, since when they removed it, which was an unwise
Megalomania is a
psychopathological condition characterized by fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence,
and by inflated self-esteem. Historically it was used as a
name for narcissistic personality
disorder prior to the latter's first use by Heinz
Kohut in 1968, and is used today as a non-clinical equivalent.
I strongly advice you to watch the
interview. It starts soon after the beginning,
and it takes most of the 25 minutes given to it, but there is one pause
in the middle in which the interviewer spends some 3 or 4 minutes
arguing - by himself, with statistics and facts - that Trump's winning
was (in his opinion) not due to "it's the economy, stupid!". It
is not bad, but it also is typically unprovable, for it
consists of statements about the ideas of over 120 million Americans absolutely
no one knows or interviewed.
But Chomsky's contributions are fine, and I agree with nearly all of
2. Trumping The Times
The second item is by Todd Gitlin
(<- Wikipedia) on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
We have plunged into an emergency, and
one reason is that journalists who are supposed to supply a picture of
the world failed to do so. Not the only reason, but one reason, which
is enough to prompt serious rumination.
Yes, indeed. Todd Gitlin happens to be a
professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, but he is
right in the above quotation. The following is a bit less clear:
last week about journalists searching their souls, trying to figure
out what they did wrong in this appalling campaign. Like the rest of us
— nobody deserves a free pass in an endangered world — they’re obliged
to think deeply about what to do better. Is it too impossibly
high-minded and do-goody to insist that their reason for being is to
offer the American people what they need to know in order to better
choose their course? If that is in fact their mission, they have failed
The two reasons this is a bit less clear
are that (i) I think it is quite clear why most journalists in
the mainstream media  failed: They were far
too much concerned with spreading propaganda, lies, deceptions,
half-truths or plain baloney, and (ii) I do not
think it is the duty of journalists to help others "to better choose
their course": it is their duty to write the truth and to
reflect on claims of truth. 
But in fact quite a few have given up
on truth, which is one reason why the Oxford
selected"post-truth" as "word of the year". This
is from the Wikipedia item "Post-truth politics":
Post-truth politics (also
called post-factual politics) is a political culture in which debate is
framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the
details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals
are ignored. Post-truth differs
from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by
rendering it of "secondary" importance.
So in fact "post-truth" is itself a
euphemism for emotion-based lies, falsehoods
for that is what "post-truth" comes down to.
Here is one of the outcomes of "post-truth
politics", according to Todd Gitlin:
Almost half of the voters have just
chosen to be led by a profoundly disturbed ignoramus who refuses to
understand he has obligations to Americans who are not members of his
family. For journalists who persist in believing their leaders are
chosen intelligently, the crisis is apparent and urgent. But the
so-called learning curve is getting an appallingly sluggish start.
Journalists who should know better are busy complaining about their
lack of access to the bullshitter-in-chief, as if access were the
golden road to truth and not, often at least, a shortcut over a cliff.
For me, journalists who complain "about their lack of access to the bullshitter-in-chief" are simply bullshitters or
invent excuses to continue their propaganda
(which is much easier to write and bettter paid).
You do not need to speak to Trump in order to judge his
his lies and his propaganda, and if you say you do, as a journalist,
you are lying.
The following is correct (I think):
In fact, you can read my review of that
interview (I think) here and this
is my judgement on the transcript of the interview (from November 24, last):
For evidence, reader, please peruse
the transcript of Trump’s on-again, off-again, back-on again
meeting in a New York Times conference room last week. Read the whole
thing. It’s not that long. Then consider The
Times’ headline the next day: “Trump, in Interview, Moderates Views
but Defies Conventions.” The le[ad]: “President-elect Donald J. Trump
on Tuesday tempered some of his most extreme campaign promises,
dropping his vow to jail Hillary Clinton, expressing doubt about the
value of torturing terrorism suspects and pledging to have an open mind
about climate change.”
Nothing to worry about, then.
Other news organizations followed suit.
As to the content of the
interview: I found it mostly quite obsequious
and complimentary to Trump, but then I must add that I do not
expect much of the present NYT or indeed of the present The Guardian:
Both are now good examples of the mainstream media, and the
mainstream media are dishonest, though indeed it varies also with the
subject and with the journalist.
Here is some more by Gittlin. I agree
with most that is quoted next, but it seems many journalists
and "journalists" (the fake article, that mostly propagandizes) do not:
When journalists sit down at a
table with a man so fundamentally ignorant, self-seeking, unscrupulous
and unreliable, a man who, when he doesn’t lie, characteristically
emits bullshit — the now academically
canonized term for propositions whose truth or falsity he doesn’t
know or care to know — is it not evident that they must gird themselves
at the first sign of flattery, to realize that his mission is to play
them, to keep them off-balance?
Gittlin's article ends as follows:
How much more of this garbage
must spew from Trump Tower before one of our crucial newspapers — one
that Trump himself, in full-on ingratiation mode, termed “a world
jewel” — calls a halt to tiptoeing around? I cannot help but think that
this is more than a tactic to earn access; it is abject servility. It
is, as Trump might put it, a show of pathetic weakness. At this late
date, do the standard-bearers of “neither fear nor favor” fear that a
shortfall in deference will inspire some Trump hack or Breitbart clone
to denounce them as “biased”? Are they capable of embarrassment? Have
they no shame?
I say. And Gittlin may be correct in his
diagnosis of the New York Times as having engaged in "abject servility"
to Trump in the transcript I reviewed.
There also is a somewhat different
explanation. It is as follows, and I give it without being
abled to judge it rationally:
It has struck me several times now
that quite a lot
of the strong opponents of Trump are in their fifties, sixties,
seventies and eighties. (I do not know whether that is really
for one thing because older people got more time to acquire some fame,
which again makes the more prone to be interviewed, but this is how it
One rather reasonable explanation is that these are among the last
persons who did get a good university education (compared to
what I saw arising already in the early 1980ies in the
University of Amsterdam, and in Holland, which was very much
less demanding, and much easier to pass ).
Also, their university education still was in the traditions of
and truth - but
quite a lot of that simply stopped for the most part in the
1990ies, with the rise and the strong academic popularity of postmodernism
(in linguistics, in literature, in philosophy, in political science, in
sociology, to name some seriously afflicted studies).
So one of my explanations for the
"post-truth politics" is that much of the academic education most
people received from the late 1980ies or the 1990ies onwards
was much less scientific, much more simple, and
especially much less concerned with real truth and real facts
than it was before the 1980ies.
I think I am quite right about my
judgements on the university education that I got (which mostly
happened in the shift between the genuinely academic tradition and the
new tradition that got quite popular in the 1990ies). But I can't judge
rationally whether it is a correct explanation for the servility of
many journalists, for I lack a lot of information (that is
probably simply unknown).
This starts as follows:
Democratic Party Lost Its Soul. It’s Time to Win It Back.
The third item is by Robert Reich on
Who will become the next chair of the
Democratic National Committee? This leadership contest has significant
implications for the future of American politics. The choice will help
determine how the Democratic party responds to its extraordinary
defeats in recent years, ending with the election of Donald Trump.
You might think this overwhelming
drubbing would cause the Democratic party to reorganize itself into a
very different party from the one it’s become – which is essentially a
giant fundraising machine, too often reflecting the goals and values of
the moneyed interests that make up the bulk of its funding.
Don’t bet on it.
That - "Don’t bet
on it" - seems a correct diagnosis: money =
power (and lack of money = lack of power).
The following seems less relevant
For one thing, many vested interests
don’t want the Democratic party to change. Most of the money it raises
ends up in the pockets of political consultants, pollsters,
strategists, lawyers, advertising consultants and advertisers
themselves, many of whom have become rich off the current arrangement.
They naturally want to keep it.
Of course, they "want to keep it", but
they or others who play similar roles will be there regardless
of the policies that the Democrats subscribe to. And the following also
seems less relevant to me:
For another, the Democratic party
apparatus is ingrown and entrenched. Like any old bureaucracy, it only
knows how to do what it has done for years.
The bureaucracy also is less important:
What is important is the above point that money = power,
and the implied points that the leading Democrats have - for many
years, also: at least 25 now - been paid by the rich, worked
for the rich (bankers, especially), propagandized for the rich,
and indeed also have totally given up on any radical
changes in the economy or the govern- ment (for that was instituted by
Bill Clinton: See the - completely fraudulent, extremely dishonest
- Third Way).
This is from near the end of the article:
I am sorry, but this seems most like wishful
thinking to me. It is true that the Democratic Party has "no deep or broad-based grass-roots, no capacity for
mobilizing vast numbers of people to take any action other than donate
money, no visibility between elections, no ongoing activism" - but why would it need to?
So what we now have is a Democratic
party that has been repudiated at the polls, headed by a Democratic
National Committee that has become irrelevant at best, run part-time by
a series of insider politicians. It has no deep or broad-based
grass-roots, no capacity for mobilizing vast numbers of people to take
any action other than donate money, no visibility between elections, no
In other words, to become a credible force that wins elections and
addresses what ails America, the Democratic party must no longer
represent America’s ruling class. It must be the voice of the
dispossessed – now the majority of Americans.
As I said, lack of money = lack of power, and the vast majority
of the Americans lacks both. And both dominant political
parties are now being paid by the very rich, and indeed have been so
for quite a long time.
This - it seems to me - makes it extremely hard to change,
indeed in considerable part because the very rich know very well that
they will not be benefitted by "broad-based
And while this is not as I would like to see it, this seems to be the
fact. Then again, I do not know enough about the Democratic
provide some numerical precision.
4. The West’s Shift Toward Repression
from near the beginning (and a considerable part of this article is
mostly a repeat of what any regular reader of Nederlog knows for
several years now - and see the crisis index if you are
The fourth and last item today is by Annie Machon
(<- Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews (and there is some more on Annie
If you work in finance anywhere in the
world and you see irregularities, it is apparently your legal duty to
report them through appropriate channels and then count the dollars as
they flow in as reward. Such is the power of globalization, or at least
the U.S. self-appointed role as the global hegemon.
However, if you happen to work inside
the U.S. government, its intelligence agencies or its military, under
the terms of the U.S. Constitution, it would appear that you also have
a solemn duty under
oath to report illegalities that violate the Constitution by going
through the officially designated channels and hoping that reform is
I think the first paragraph is a bit
exaggerated, but the second is quite correct. Here is more on it:
[Thomas] Drake had gone through all the
prescribed routes for such disclosures, up to and including a
Despite all this, Drake was abruptly
snatched by the FBI in a violent
dawn raid and threatened with 35 years in prison. He (under the
terrifying American plea bargain system) accepted a misdemeanor
conviction to escape the horrors of federal charges, the resulting loss
of all his civic rights and a potential 35 years in prison. He
still, of course, lost his job, his impeccable professional reputation,
and his whole way of life.
Here is more on Thomas Drake
(<-Wikipedia) and also on William
He was part of a NSA group that also
included William Binney,
the NSA’s former Technical Director, and his fellow whistleblowers
Kirk Wiebe, Ed Loumis and Diane Roark. These brave people had developed
an electronic mass-surveillance program called Thin Thread that
could zero in on those people who were genuinely of security interest
and worth targeting, a program which would have been relatively cheap,
costing only $1.4 million and would have been consistent
with the terms of the Constitution. According
to Binney, it could potentially have stopped 9/11 and all the
Instead, it appears that bureaucratic
backs were scratched and political favors called in by the incoming
neoconservative government of George W Bush in 2000, and another
program called Trail Blazer was developed, to the tune of $1.2
billion – and which spied on everyone across America (as well as
the rest of the world) and thereby broke, at the very least, the terms
of the Constitution.
Binney was still subjected to an FBI SWAT team raid – he was
dragged out of the shower early one morning at gunpoint. All this is
well documented in an excellent film “A Good American” and I
recommend watching it.
Yes, that is mostly correct (and has been
documented in much more detail in Nederlogs since 2013). Then
this, which seems to me to confuse two issues:
President Dwight Eisenhower, in his valedictory speech
in 1961, warned of the subversive interests of the
“military-industrial” complex. That seems so quaint now as we
face a steroid-pumped, globalized military surveillance industry that
will do anything to protect its interests. So, rather than holding
the powerful and well-connected accountable for fleecing and spying on
the American people, it is the principled whistleblowers who are
crushed — “pour encourager les autres.“
The two issues Annie Machon seems to
confuse are (i) an accurate diagnosis of the forces that rule the USA
(which is what Eisenhower tried to give) and (ii) the present - enormous
- size of the "military surveillance industry". Here is more
on the military-industrial
The military–industrial complex (MIC)
is an informal alliance between a nation's military
and the defense industry
which supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences
In a U.S. context, the trope is sometimes extended to military–industrial–congressional
complex (MICC), adding the U.S. Congress to form a three-sided
relationship termed an iron triangle. These
relationships include political contributions,
political approval for military spending,
lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry;
or more broadly to include the entire network of contracts and flows of
money and resources among individuals as well as corporations and institutions of the defense contractors,
military contractors, The
Pentagon, the Congress and executive branch.
There is a lot more in the Wikipedia-item
and it seems to me - still - a quite good analysis of some of
the main forces that rule the USA.
Annie Machon is British, and here is some on the recent turn to neofascism - see  for my
meaning - that Great Britain made, with parliamentary support,
that indeed were mirrored (to an extent) by Norway and Germany:
In the U.K., a country where the
intelligence agencies have for
the last 17 years been illegally prostituting
themselves to advance the interests of a foreign country (the
U.S.), this is simply unacceptable. Especially as the U.K. has just
made into law the Investigatory
Powers Act (2016), which legalizes
all this previously illegal activity and indeed expands
the hacking powers of the state. (This law was enacted over expert
More worryingly, the ultra-liberal
Norway, which blazed a calm
and humanist trail in its response to the murderous
attacks of Anders Breivik five years ago, has now proposed a draconian
And Germany – a country horrified by
revelations made by Snowden in 2013 which stirred memories of the
surveillance powers of the Gestapo and the Stasi last century – has
expanded the surveillance authority of its intelligence agencies.
I don't know whether I agree with
everything (I think not), but let that be.
Annie Machon is more or less right in
saying, as her title does, that "the West" is
shifting towards repression - or at least its governments are,
and its military is, and its secret services are, and
its police is.
Why are they? The simplest answer
is the one I gave in item 3: Money = power,
and the rich have learned from Lewis
(<- Wikipedia) that they should invest some more money in buying
politicians and political parties, and that if they do, they will get
their investments back ten-fold or a hundred-fold.
They did, and since in fact they needed to corrupt
only a few, the very rich were extremely successful. 
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.)
not? There are two general reasons. The first is that I read much
faster than people can talk, while written materials tend to be better
formulated than spoken material. And the second is that I just - still
- don't like TV: I don't have one since 1970, because I think most
programs are stupid and there is far too much advertising and
propaganda on it. The main reason is the first.
 Note that this is explicitly about the mainstream media.
 The reason that I reject that
it should be a journalist's end to help non-journalists "to better
their course" is mostly that two persons may be both completely
convinced that something is true (which it very well may be) without
having any agreement on what is the best course for themselves or their
country. I agree that you generally need to know at least part of the truth to
successfully plot your course, but what your course will be
depends not only on what you think or know to be true, but also
on your values.
I am sorry, but I think I am completely right about this: It is
much easier to attend a university: In 1965 you had to take written and
oral examnations in 14 or 16 different subjects, including at
least three foreign languages; by 1975 these were reduced to 6,
with just one foreign language;
and by the 1990ies all university studies were halved
in time, more than halved in difficulty, and were made much
This is what happened in Holland, and something rather similar happened
in most Western countries (in fact all I know, except for Finland).
In fact, here is a hidden reference to Aristotle's opinions, who was
quite dismissive of democracy, which he saw as an inbetween stage
between some kind of aristocracy, that he favored, and some kind of
tyranny. The USA may have arrived at the stage of tyranny, although I
grant that is as yet uncertain.