reason I do not mention Amy Goodman or any of the other regulars on
Democracy Now is simply that this is only the record of a
speech by Bernie Sanders.
This article starts with the following
Prior to his interview with Amy Goodman
on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gave a speech at the Free Library
of Philadelphia talking about the election of Donald Trump, the
Democratic Party, his new book "Our Revolution" and more.
This is from near the beginning of the
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by
over 2 million votes, which is no small number. Second of all—and that
tells us that Mr. Trump has got to understand that he has no mandate.
He lost by 2 million votes. And we may want to talk about a little bit
later about the Electoral College and how it is that you win by 2
million votes and don’t get inaugurated as president, but that’s
Yes, that seems true. And 2 million votes
= (about) 1/30th of the total vote of Clinton and of Trump, and is
Then there is this:
But second of all, on every major
issue—and this is important to understand, for progressives to
understand—on virtually every major issue facing this country, whether
it’s raising the minimum wage, whether it is pay equity for women,
whether it’s rebuilding our infrastructure, whether it is making public
colleges and universities tuition-free, whether it is criminal justice
reform, immigration reform, etc., etc., whether it’s dealing with
income and wealth inequality, demanding the wealthy start paying their
fair share of taxes—on all of those issues and more, the strong
majority of the American people agree with us. You can go out, and you
can do a poll today, go out on the street and ask people whether they
think it’s a great idea to give tax breaks to billionaires, as Mr.
Trump and his friends will try to do, and cut Social Security, I would
say 90 percent of the American people do not think that that makes any
sense at all. So, point here is that on every major issue, virtually
every major issue, especially the economic ones, the American people
are on our side.
Yes and no, I would say. More precisely, I
think Bernie Sanders is mostly correct if "the American voters" are
represented as mostly rational and mostly self- interested persons.
Then again, about half of the voters did vote for Trump
(anyway), which means that many of those voted against their
self-interest. This is probably in considerable part due to propaganda
and advertisements, but is a fact. For more on this, see item 5 below.
Then there is this on bigotry:
Third point, in Trump’s campaign, he
said a whole lot of things. The ugliest things that he said, the most
disturbing things that he said, were based on bigotry. And in my view,
there can be a lot of discussion about a lot of issues, but there
cannot be a compromise on bigotry. I don’t have to—I don’t have to tell
anybody here, who has any familiarity with American history, starting
from way back when the first settlers came to this country, and they
lied to and cheated Native Americans, and they abrogated the treaties
that they had signed, to the horrors of slavery, to the fact that a
hundred years ago today women did not have the right to vote, could not
get the education they wanted, to the prejudice shown against Italians,
Irish, Jews, many nationalities, to the homophobia that has existed in
this country—and the good news, in a sense, is that we have come a
long, long way.
Hm. I dislike racism and bigotry, and in
that sense I agree with Bernie Sanders, but I also think disliking
racism and bigotry depends to a considerable extent on one's intelligence, one's knowledge, and also one's parents, and I
suppose I am (as a European also) a bit less convinced that the USA has
"come a long, long way". I wish it had, but I am
less convinced of this than Bernie Sanders is.
There is this about climate change:
And there is another area, several other
areas, where I think there is no compromise. During the course of his
campaign, Mr. Trump told the American people that he believed that
climate change is a hoax—never get this one—emanating from China. You
would have thought it would be emanating from Mexico or some Muslim
country, but from China. And what we have got to make clear to Mr.
Trump, by the millions, by the tens of millions, because we are
fighting for the future of this planet, is climate change is not a
hoax, is in fact the great threat or one of the great environmental
threats facing this planet.
I agree completely with Sanders, though
one of the frightening things is that a climate hoaxer like Trump did
win the elections.
There is this about Trump's delusions (and
I think, as a psychologist also, that Trump is a mad megalomaniac ):
And among—and among many other areas
that concern me about Mr. Trump’s stances really was highlighted
literally yesterday, when he sent out a tweet saying that millions of
people who voted voted illegally, that he would have won the popular
vote. This is delusional, which is frightening unto itself that you
have a president-elect who is delusional.
Yes indeed. And the reason Trump publicly
states these delusions is a strong ground for my thesis that he really
is mad (which in all probability will grow more and more important as
soon as he is president).
And there is this on campaign regulations,
which the rich and the right want to give up completely:
What the Republican leadership wants to
do, and they’ve been public about this, is end all forms of campaign
regulation, which means they want the day to come where the Koch
brothers don’t have to do independent expenditures, they can give money
directly to a candidate. So, in Pennsylvania, for example, they can
say, "OK, we’re going to run you for the U.S. Senate. Here is a check
for $100 million. Here is your campaign manager. Here is your media
person. Here is your speechwriter. In essence, you work for me." Direct
control over the candidate. So, add those two things together—and the
Republicans are moving in those directions—we should be very nervous
about the future of American democracy.
There is considerably more in the
article/speech - including deserved praise for Amy Goodman and
Democracy Now! - and it is recommended.
3. California Versus Trumpland
This starts as follows:
The third item is by Robert Reich on
That seems mostly correct, although
California, and Oregon and Washington, also are - as yet - part of the
USA. Here is more on the differences between - in fact, or so it seems
to me - the (progressive) Democrats and the Republicans:
California is now the capital of liberal
America. Along with its neighbors Oregon and Washington, it will be a
nation within the nation starting in January when the federal
government goes dark.
In sharp contrast to much of the rest of
the nation, Californians preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by
a 2-to-1 margin. They also voted to extend a state tax surcharge on the
wealthy, and adopt local housing and transportation measures along with
a slew of local tax increases and bond proposals.
In other words, California is the
opposite of Trumpland.
The differences go even deeper.
For years, conservatives have been saying that a healthy economy
depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages.
Are conservatives right? At the one end
of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest
taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.
At the other end is California, with
among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; toughest
regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; most
ambitious healthcare system, that insures more than 12 million poor
Californians, in partnership with Medicaid; and high wages.
So according to conservative doctrine,
Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the
Actually, it’s just the opposite.
For several years, Kansas’s rate of
economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy
Texas hasn’t been doing all that much
better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average.
Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.
But what about so-called over-taxed,
over-regulated, high-wage California?
California leads the nation in the rate
of economic growth — more than twice the national average. If it were a
separate nation it would now be the sixth largest economy in the world.
Its population has surged to 39 million (up 5 percent since 2010).
All of that is quite correct. There also
are downsides and difficulties (and Reich does not even mention the
water shortage in California):
California is far from perfect. A
housing shortage has driven rents and home prices into the
stratosphere. Roads are clogged. Its public schools used to be the best
in the nation but are now among the worst – largely because of a
proposition approved by voters in 1978 that’s strangled local school
financing. Much more needs to be done.
But overall, the contrast is clear.
Economic success depends on tax revenues that go into public
investments, and regulations that protect the environment and public
health. And true economic success results in high wages.
I’m not sure how Trumpland and
California will coexist in coming years. I’m already hearing murmurs of
secession by Golden Staters, and of federal intrusions by the incipient
But so far, California gives lie to the
conservative dictum that low taxes, few regulations, and low wages are
the keys economic success. Trumpland should take note.
This is a recommended article. And incidentally: With Trump president abd with "federal intrusions by the incipient
I do not think it is a mad idea - for California, Oregon and Washington
- to give up the United States, although I agree this may be quite
4. Why Corporate-Owned News Is ‘the Biggest Fake News That
Helped Elect Trump’
The fourth item is by Emma Niles on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
In a new segment on The Real News Network, host Paul Jay
speaks with journalist Abby Martin about the consequences of Donald
Trump’s election and current political turmoil.
First, the two discuss Trump’s Cabinet
appointments. “It is a fire sale right now in the White House of people
who are the craziest outliers of the GOP that hitched their wagons on
[Trump],” Martin says. “[People] that have been completely castigated
and ostracized from mainstream establishment. They’ve hitched their
wagons to Trump, and they are getting lavishly rewarded as we speak.”
In fact, I like all of those involved in
this - Paul Jay, The Real News Network and Abby Martin - and the above is also quite
correct, as seems this:
The two then move on to talk about Green
Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount effort.
Martin notes that while she doesn’t understand Stein’s motives, she
does support a recount. “I agree with Greg Palast where he’s saying
there were millions of people not that voted illegally ... but he’s
saying, yes, millions of people weren’t counted. Millions of
provisional ballots, millions of absentee ballots, millions of people
who were purged from the GOP scam Crosscheck,” she says. “That is a
fact. That happened.”
As I have said several times I don't like
Jill Stein much , but I completely agree with her desire to recount
the votes: She has the right to ask for that, and she got the
money to finance it.
There is also this on the Washington
Post's publishing utter - and very dangerous - bullshit:
I think Abby Martin is quite right about
PropOrNot, and that Paul Jay is quite right about "corporate-owned news". Finally, Abby
Martin is also quite right on this:
For the remainder of the interview, Jay
and Martin discuss The
Washington Post piece on “Russian propaganda” that relied on the
organization PropOrNot as a source.
“You have establishment media like The
Washington Post and you have this anonymous propaganda finder account
called PropOrNot, which is publishing this hit list—it’s essentially
McCarthyism, right?—in the new era,” Martin explains. “It’s including
very credible sites like Truthdig, Counterpunch, Black Agenda Report,
Naked Capitalism, conflating it with fake news sites that you can say
are legitimately fake or skewed or biased extremely, right? Like
INROWARS or Breitbart.”
“And if you want to talk about why Trump
won, and then you want to connect that to fake news, you need look no
further than all—almost all—of the corporate-owned news, which is the
biggest fake news that helped elect Trump,” Jay adds.
“I understand why people are
completely shutting out all of the establishment press and going to
these sites. The problem is these establishment press is blaming the
only solution, which is the credible, independent, grassroots
journalism that is telling the truth, that isn’t fake news,” Martin
That is: I do understand it, but I keep
looking at The New York Times, The Guardian and some others (and The
Guardian these days is mostly pretty awful) simply because I want to
know what they are saying as well. 
Here is the link to the whole interview of 25 minutes:
All of this is recommended.
5. Who’s Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the
The fifth and last item today is by Neil Gabler
(<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Consider for a moment the oxymoronic
concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about
lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation —
generated by the government, or foreign adversaries, or corporations —
to advance an agenda by confusing the public. It isn’t even the
familiar dystopian idea of manipulated fact designed to keep people
lobotomized and malleable in some post-human autocracy. Those scenarios
assume at least an underlying truth against which nefarious forces can
Fake news is different. It is an
assault on the very principle of truth itself: a way to upend the
reference points by which mankind has long operated. You could say,
without exaggeration, that fake news is actually an attempt to reverse
the Enlightenment. And because a democracy relies on truth — which is
why dystopian writers have always described how future oligarchs need
to undermine it — fake news is an assault on democracy as well.
I agree more or less. You can decide for
yourself whether "fake news" is an oxymoron
(<- Wikipedia). And I do agree that a real democracy does both rely
on and depend on real truth, but I have at least one point to make
about "fake news", that I will make after considering the following:
What is truly horrifying is that fake
news is not the manipulation of an unsuspecting public. Quite
the opposite. It is willful belief by the public. In effect, the
American people are accessories in their own disinformation campaign.
That is our current situation, and it is
no sure thing that either truth or democracy survives.
What I agree with is that "the American people are accessories in their own
but I also think that the main components in the spreading of "fake
news" are the stupidity, the ignorance and the prejudices of many
Also, while I completely agree with Gabler
that "fake news" consists of intentionally created falsehoods, I
think it is spread
mostly by people who are dumb or angry or prejudiced enough to believe
it. In fact, this is rather the same as for the acceptance of the
mainstream media: Those who accept that these are good or decent
sources of information also tend to be stupid and ignorant. 
Then again, I agree with Gabler that "it is no sure thing that either truth or democracy survives", for the simple reason that democracy is dead
if most of the people are deceived about most things and thus live in a
fake reality - which is what the mainstream media also try to do,
in their case by many ommissions of real news, by coloring the
news that they do relay, and by lying or deceiving, whereas "fake news"
simply spreads intentional lies, if we are speaking about those who
And my point about "fake news" is that it starts as intentionally
created falsehoods, that are picked up and spread mostly by people who
have been taken in because they are stupid, ignorant, prejudiced or
I also think the following is a bit of an exaggeration (and I have
heard for the first time that "Everybody knows there is no truth" in
1978, which is fully 38 years ago, and which was asserted with pride
and received with applause by the official and public opener of the
academic year in the University of Amsterdam):
Fake news is intended to slash that
webbing. It is not intended to pose an alternative truth, as if there
could be such a thing, but to destroy truth altogether, to set us
adrift in a world of belief without facts, a world in which there is no
defense against lies. That, needless to say, is a very dangerous place.
This is impossible: You can't live "in a world of belief without facts" -
you need to know very many real facts (that you don't reject and do accept)
to simply function in any society.
What Gabler is right about is that your
political or religious ideology may be almost wholly false
- but then that has been always
the case: There are extremely many different political and religious
ideologies, and all of which contradict each other in various often
quite blatant ways, for which reason only very few are mostly correct
in their beliefs about politics and religion.
Then there is this, that seems to confuse some issues:
It is, of course, no accident that the
ascendancy of fake news and the ascendancy of Donald Trump coincided.
They are made for each other — two nihilists in a pod. Trump’s modus
operandi is to make things up, which has placed a special burden
on traditional journalism. I hadn’t imagined I would ever see a
this one in The New York Times, much less a headline
about a president-elect: TRUMP CLAIMS, WITH NO EVIDENCE, THAT “MILLIONS
OF PEOPLE” VOTED ILLEGALLY.
With no evidence.
In the headline.
I agree - of course - that "Trump’s modus operandi is to make things up"
as do those who design "fake news", but it seems to me that Trump is
quite special, which he is because he is not sane.  Then again, The
New York Times does report on the president-elect, and its headline is
There is also this:
Like many depressed Americans, I have
pretty much stopped watching or reading the news since the election.
Partly, it is because I can’t face the oncoming catastrophe of a Trump
presidency and the way it will undo 50 years of social progress. Part
of it is because I can’t face the fact that the truth is a shambles,
and with it, our democracy.
I am still following the news, both the
mainstream and the non-mainstream, and my reasons are mostly that I want
to know the truth, indeed also if the
truth about the mainstream media is that they lie, mislead, or deceive
in various ways.
And while I agree that Trump's presidency
will probably be a "catastrophe"; that "the
truth is a shambles",
both in the mainstream media and in "fake news"; and that American
democracy is probably dying, I do like to face the - real - facts, also if some of these are intentional lies or are falsely reported. 
This article ends as follows:
The larger portion of the blame lies
with the citizens of the nation that Donald Trump insists only he can
make great again. Fake news thrives because there is a lazy, incurious,
self-satisfied public that wants it to thrive; because large swaths of
that public don’t want news in any traditional sense, so much as they
want vindication of their preconceptions and prejudices; because in
this post-modernist age, every alleged fact is supposed to be a
politico-economic construct, and nothing can possibly be true; and
because even rationality now is passé. Above all else, fake news is a
lazy person’s news. It provides passive entertainment, demanding
nothing of us. And that is a major reason we now have a fake news
We are a lazy people now — too lazy to hear anything we don’t want to
hear, too lazy to defend the truth against those who hope to subvert
it, and, finally, too lazy to protect our democracy.
I agree mostly but not wholly: There are
more stupid, ignorant, lazy and prejudiced people than there are
intelligent, knowledgeable, hardworking and rational people - but then
this has always been the case. But it is also true
(I think) that something like 20% of the Americans is somewhat decently
educated and at least fairly intelligent; it is true that there very
far fewer makers of "fake news"; it is true that Trump did not win with
a majority; and it is true that most Americans are probably against
So while the situation is dire, one has to
battle on. And indeed if one doesn't, the very rich will first win and
then destroy the earth, either by starting a nuclear war or by
destroying the earth's ecosystem.