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Nederlog

January 4, 2017

Crisis: The Real USA, A Lie, Scandal-Ridden, Obama Neoliberal, 2017 Worse
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction   

1.
The Real Face of Washington (and America)
2. 'A Lie, Is a Lie, Is a Lie': Dan Rather Shreds WSJ Editor for
     Reluctance to Call out Trump's Dishonesty

3. 
Craig Holman: Trump Administration Gearing Up to Be "Most
     Scandal-Ridden in History"

4.
Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: Rightward Drift and Donald
     Trump

5. Let's Face It: 2017 Will Be a Lot Worse than 2016
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of January 4, 2017.

This is a
crisis log with 5 items and 5 links: Item 1 is an interesting article by Tom Engelhardt (I don't quite agree but it is good); item 2 is about Dan Rather insisting - completely correctly - that Wall Street Journal's editor Gerard Baker was lying (when he said he was "objective" in not wanting to say Trump is a liar); item 3 is about an article on Trump's corruptions and nepotisms; item 4 is a fine article on Barack Obama (whom I like as little as the writer of the article); and item 5 is about a fine although far from optimistic article about 2017, that promises to be a lot worse than 2016 was, what with the Trumpian presidency.

1. The Real Face of Washington (and America)

The
first item is an article by Tom Engelhardt (<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch.com:

This is from near the beginning:
I simply couldn’t accept that Donald Trump had won. Not him. Not in this country. Not possible. Not in a million years.

Mind you, during the campaign I had written about Trump repeatedly, always leaving open the possibility that, in the disturbed (and disturbing) America of 2016, he could indeed beat Hillary Clinton.  That was a conclusion I lost when, in the final few weeks of the campaign, like so many others, I got hooked on the polls and the pundits who went with them. (Doh!)

In the wake of the election, however, it wasn’t shock based on pollsters’ errors that got to me.  It was something else that only slowly dawned on me.  Somewhere deep inside, I simply didn’t believe that, of all countries on this planet, the United States could elect a narcissistic, celeb billionaire who was also, in the style of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, a right-wing “populist” and incipient autocrat.

There is more on the theme in the original. Three differences between Tom Engelhardt and myself are that he is six years older than I am; he is American; and he did believe the above, and I did not.

To be sure, I thought that Trump was less likely to win, but I certainly did not believe he could not.

Next, Engelhardt treats five major shifts - that he sees - in the USA that I will copy and review, but I should warn you immediately that there is considerably more text on each shift in the original.

He starts as follows:

As I see it, at least five major shifts in American life and politics helped lay the groundwork for the rise of Trumpism:

* The Coming of a 1% Economy and the 1% Politics That Goes With It:
(..) Looked at a certain way, Donald Trump deserves credit for stamping the true face of twenty-first-century American plutocracy on Washington by selecting mainly billionaires and multimillionaires to head the various departments and agencies of his future government.  After all, doesn’t it seem reasonable that a 1% economy, a 1% society, and a 1% politics should produce a 1% government?

I don't quite agree. As I pointed out yesterday - see here - and as I have in fact been pointing out for a long time now (and I wrote over 1440 articles on the crisis since it started in 2008 [1]) I think the 90% versus the 10% makes sense, and also is supported by statistics: The 10% of the richest did grow richer; the 90% of the poorer did grow poorer (or didn't earn any more - corrected - than they did in 1980).

And one good reason for this is that the rich (the 1%) need servants, and also pay them relatively well if they are served well.

Next, there is the second shift:
* The Coming of Permanent War and an Ever More Militarized State and Society: Can there be any question that, in the 15-plus years since 9/11, what was originally called the "Global War on Terror" has become a permanent war across the Greater Middle East and Africa (with collateral damage from Europe to the Philippines)?
(...)
And the role has expanded strikingly in these years, as the White House gained the power to make war in just about any fashion it chose without significant reference to Congress.  The president now has his own air force of drone assassins to dispatch more or less anywhere on the planet to take out more or less anyone.  At the same time, cocooned inside the U.S. military, an elite, secretive second military, the Special Operations forces, has been expanding its personnel, budget, and operations endlessly and its most secretive element, the Joint Special Operations Command, might even be thought of as the president’s private army.
Yes indeed, and this was a major shift in the direction on an effectively totally uncontrolled government, that can do as it pleases. Note that constitutionally, Congress decides on war; factually, it seems to be mostly the president and his advisers these days.

And the president and his advisers now have their own air force (drones) and their own army consisting of the (secretive) Joint Special Command.

Next, there is the third and most dangerous shift (in my opinion):
* The Rise of the National Security State: In these years, a similar process has been underway in relation to the national security state.  Vast sums of money have flowed into the country’s 17 intelligence outfits (and their secret black budgets), into the Department of Homeland Security, and the like.  (Before 9/11, Americans might have associated that word “homeland” with Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, but never with this country.)  In these years, new agencies were launched and elaborate headquarters and other complexes built for parts of that state within a state to the tune of billions of dollars.  At the same time, it was “privatized,” its doors thrown open to the contract employees of a parade of warrior corporations.  And, of course, the National Security Agency created a global surveillance apparatus so all-encompassing that it left the fantasies of the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century in the dust.
I consider this - by far - the most important shift, and I think the longer the secret surveillance of everyone occurs (15 years now!), the less democracy and the more authoritarian oligarchism there will be.

Also, I think a government that secretly knows everything about all its inhabitants can manipulate them (and arrest them, in secret, and lock them up indefinitely, without trial, if they are not disappeared without a trace, as the Gestapo did by Nacht und Nebel) and may keep its extreme and authoritarian secret powers forever.

The national security state = the end of democracy and the birth of an authoritarian state that may live forever, for it can manipulate nearly everyone, and arrest and disappear the intelligent minority it can not manipulate.

It is the most absolute power for the very few.

Then there is the fourth shift:
* The Coming of the One-Party State: Thanks to the political developments of these years, and a man with obvious autocratic tendencies entering the Oval Office, it’s possible to begin to imagine an American version of a one-party state emerging from the shell of our former democratic system.  After all, the Republicans already control the House of Representatives (in more or less perpetuity, thanks to gerrymandering), the Senate, the White House, and assumedly in the years to come the Supreme Court.
Perhaps. It is rather probable that Trump would like to be the dictator of a One Party Republican USA, but then again this would be a completely anti-constitutional and a totally anti-democratic authoritarian state, where there also probably would be no more opposition in the media, for only collaborating media would be allowed.

Whether there will indeed emerge a one-party state when Trump is president depends on the strength of the American institutions, and on the amount of civic opposition he gets.

Finally, here is the fifth shift:
* The Coming of the New Media Moment: Among the things that prepared the way for Trump, who could leave out the crumbling of the classic newspaper/TV world of news?  In these years, it lost much of its traditional advertising base, was bypassed by social media, and the TV part of it found itself in an endless hunt for eyeballs to glue, normally via 24/7 “news” events, eternally blown out of proportion but easy to cover in a nonstop way by shrinking news staffs.
I agree, and it is quite frightening, for the disappearance of "the classic newspaper/TV world of news" implied the rise of a far more comprehensive much more stupid set of ignorant viewers of TV, who all have a Twitter account, in which they can scold and demean anyone in 140 characters (completely anonymously, apart from the NSA, that keeps its knowledge secret).

This in effect was an enormous stupification and also implied the disappearance of the importance of truth (which in fact had already been mostly locked out in great parts of the academic world since 1978 and since postmodernism [2]), and not for a reason that most commentators see or acknowledge.

Here is William Hazlitt, who saw this (and very many other things) really well. This is from the early 1820ies and is about poor and not properly educated people:
The love of truth is a principle with those only who have made it their study, who have applied themseves to the pursuit of some art or science, where the intellect is severely tasked, and learns by habit to take a pride in, and to set a just value on, the correctness of its conclusions. To have a disinterested regard to truth, the mind must have contemplated it in abstract and remote questions; whereas the ignorant and the vulgar are only conversant with those things in which their own interest is concerned. All their notions are local, personal, and consequently gross and selfish. They say whatever comes uppermost - turn whatever happens to their own account - and invent any story, or give any answer that suits their own purposes. Instead of being bigoted to general principles, they trump up any lie for the occasion, and the more of a thumper it is, the better they like it; the more unlooked-for it is, why, so much the more of a God-send!
(...)
Persons of liberal knowledge or sentiments have no kind of chance in this sort of mixed intercourse with these barbarians in civilised life. You cannot tell, by any signs or principles, what is passing in their minds. There is no common point of view between you. You have not the same topics to refer to, the same language to express yourself. Your interests, your feelings are quite different.
This is from "On The Knowledge Of Character" from "Table Talk". Both are on my site under the links. In case you don't know who William Hazlitt (<-Wikipedia) was:

He was one of the finest minds I have ever read [3], and lived from 1778 to 1830; he was a great philosopher and a great writer, who did not go to university for lack of money but who developed himself; who was always a radical, and always much for freedom; and who did know the poor and the uneducated a lot better than most men who also wrote, indeed in part because he was closer to them, because he was never rich, and often had to live hand-to-mouth. [4]

Back to Tom Engelhardt's article: It is recommended, and there is a lot more in it than I quoted.

2. 'A Lie, Is a Lie, Is a Lie': Dan Rather Shreds WSJ Editor for Reluctance to Call out Trump's Dishonesty

The
second item is by Tom Bogggioni on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story:

This starts as follows:

Legendary CBS newsman Dan Rather lit into the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief for saying he was reluctant to call out obvious lies by Donald Trump by saying one had to consider the president-elect’s “moral intent.”

On Sunday’s Meet The Press, WSJ’s Gerard Baker was asked about Trump’s penchant to blurt or tweet things off the top of his head that have no basis in reality. According to the Baker, calling those things a “lie” would be going too far.

“I’d be careful about using the word, ‘lie.’” Baker said. “‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead…I think if you start ascribing a moral intent, as it were, to someone by saying that they’ve lied, I think you run the risk that you look like you are, like you’re not being objective.”

In fact I treated Gerard Baker yesterday. In case you did not understand my reaction:
I clearly thought he was lying and bullshitting, and did so out of self-interest,
so I am glad that Dan Rather (<-Wikipedia) thought the same and said so directly:

On Facebook, Rather blasted Baker by opening with “A lie, is a lie, is a lie.”

“Journalism, as I was taught it, is a process of getting as close to some valid version of the truth as is humanly possible. And one of my definitions of news is information that the powerful don’t want you to know,” Rather wrote. He continued:

“It is not the proper role of journalists to meet lies—especially from someone of Mr. Trump’s stature and power—by hiding behind semantics and euphemisms. Our role is to call it as we see it, based on solid reporting. When something is, in fact, a demonstrable lie, it is our responsibility to say so,” he continued. “As I have said before and will say as long as people are willing to listen, this is a gut check moment for the press. We are being confronted by versions of what are claimed to be ‘the truth’ that resemble something spewed out by a fertilizer-spreader in a wind tunnel. And there is every indication that this will only continue in the Tweets and statements of the man who will now hold forth from behind the Great Seal of the President of the United States.”

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.

3. Craig Holman: Trump Administration Gearing Up to Be "Most Scandal-Ridden in History"

The
third item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction:
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump refused to disclose his taxes, and now Public Citizen’s Craig Holman says the Trump administration is a scandal in waiting because of the vast number of conflicts of interest he brings. "If steps are not taken to manage these conflicts, the Trump administration is likely to become one of the most scandal-ridden in memory," Holman argues.
Indeed - provided there is still a somewhat free press left, it must be added.
Here are part of the reasons:

CRAIG HOLMAN: Donald Trump is setting the tone on this. You know, when I wrote about the Trump administration is likely to be the most scandal-ridden administration in history from top down, I was talking just about the executive branch. Now it looks like it’s spreading into Congress, as well. Donald Trump has shirked his ethics responsibilities. He has decided not to disclose his taxes. He is waffling on whether or not he’s going to set up a genuine blind trust and divest himself of the conflicts of interest that Richard Painter was just talking about. He is basically shunning his responsibility of complying with the ethics rules. And that tone has now reached into Congress.
I agree: Trump was corrupt from the start (and before his candidacy for president), and he simply insists on continuing it, and very probably will, because this makes a whole lot of money for him.

Here is some more: The Trump Organization is active in 23 countries:
CRAIG HOLMAN: (..) Pledging to have no new deals is meaningless. The conflicts of interest exist now, and they’re widespread. You know, as far as we can determine, even though Trump won’t be honest and reveal his actual, you know, tax filings so we can confirm where the conflicts spread, so far we’ve been able to track conflicts of interest from the Trump Organization spanning 23 different countries. These business enterprises exist. They’re operating. And the foreign governments and foreign special interests and foreign business interests understand this, and they are doing everything they can to find ways to throw money at the feet of Donald Trump in order to buy access and, in their minds, influence over the Trump administration.
Precisely. And if they do not influence the Trump administration, they will certainly increase his bank account.

Here is the last bit I'll quote, and it is on nepotism:

AMY GOODMAN: Now, many are expecting Donald Trump to give his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, official positions within the White House, a move that may violate anti-nepotism laws. Or does it?

CRAIG HOLMAN: It would if they’re being paid. That would be a violation of the anti-nepotism law. It’s rather easy to get around the anti-nepotism law by bringing them in as, say, informal consultants. You know, these are—these are people who don’t need to be paid. They are, you know, wealthy as is. It isn’t as if they need a $100,000 salary to be a consultant to the president. So, as long as they’re not paid, it gets around the anti-nepotism law.

But it certainly bodes poorly for conflicts of interest.
Indeed - although it would seem to me that nepotism is not only nor indeed primarily about payments as it is about power that one gets because one is a famili member. Indeed, Wikipedia describes nepotism wholly without mentioning payments:
Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives.
That is their definition, and the whole discussion - Nepotism (<-Wikipedia) - does not even mention payments.

So it seems to me that Trump's giving jobs to his children and children in law is nepotism, regardless of the amount of money they get. (But I do not know the US law, though it seems - from the above - hard to combine with a sound understanding of nepotism, which does not only mean giving money to relatives, but also power.)

And this is a recommended article.

4. Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: Rightward Drift and Donald Trump

The
fourth item is by Paul Street on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

In a parting shot near the end of his depressing, center-right presidency, Barack Obama wants the world to know that he would have defeated Donald Trump if the U.S. Constitution didn’t prevent him from running for a third term. It was a stab at Hillary Clinton as well as the president-elect.

I suspect Obama is right. Like Bill Clinton, Obama is a much better fake-progressive, populism-manipulating campaigner than Hillary. Also like Bill, he has more outward charm, wit, charisma, and common touch than Mrs. Clinton.
Yes indeed. I also grant that I really dislike Obama since 2009 (having been initially tricked by his opening statement as president in the beginning of that year, I admit), and that I think also for quite a while that he is a fraud like Bill Clinton was (and probably he also will become a multi-millionaire by rewards from the Wall Street bankers, though probably - because he is half black - not as much as Bill got, and I am merely being realistic here).

Here is some more on Obama:
Obama richly deserves Donald Trump as his legacy. As I predicted in my June 2008 book “Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics” (most of which was written in late 2007), Obama’s presidency has epitomized the late left political scientist Sheldon Wolin’s early 2008 description of “the Democrats’ politics” as “inauthentic opposition.” Wolin predicted that “should Democrats somehow be elected,” they would do nothing “to alter significantly the direction of society” and to “substantially revers[e] the drift rightwards. …
I agree, and I also grant that both Street and Wolin saw this earlier than I did. There is this on Obama's grand plan:
What followed under Obama (as under his Democratic presidential predecessors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton) was the standard “elite” neoliberal manipulation of campaign populism and identity politics in service to the reigning big money bankrollers and their global empire.
I agree Obama and Clinton did do this, but I am a bit doubtful about Carter, who also was president while there wasn't much identity politics.

And here is an excellent bit on how Obama betrayed the 90% and served the 1% - quite willingly, and quite from his own initiative:

Having ridden into office partly on a wave of popular anger at the economic power elite’s staggering malfeasance, Obama called a meeting of the nation’s top 13 financial executives at the White House. The banking titans came into the gathering full of dread, only to leave pleased to learn that the new president was in their camp. Instead of standing up for those who had been harmed most by the crisis—workers, minorities and the poor—Obama sided unequivocally with those who had caused the meltdown.

“My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” Obama said. “You guys have an acute public relations problem that’s turning into a political problem. And I want to help. … I’m not here to go after you. I’m protecting you … I’m going to shield you from congressional and public anger.”
(...)
“The sense of everyone after the meeting,” one leading banker told Suskind, “was relief. The president had us at a moment of real vulnerability. At that point, he could have ordered us to do just about anything, and we would have rolled over. But he didn’t—he mostly wanted to help us out, to quell the mob.”
(...)
No wonder 95 percent of national U.S. income gains went to the top 1 percent during Obama’s first term.

And no wonder he will be paid well after his presidency (I believe). There is also this by Mike Lofgren (<-Wikipedia):
As the retired and veteran Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren notes in his indispensable book “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government” (2016), “In 2008, Barack Obama the change agent ran against the legacy of George W. Bush. But when he assumed office his policies in the areas of national security and financial regulation were strikingly similar. Even the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans vilify with uncontrollable rage, is hardly different in outline from Bush’s Medicare [legislation] (both expand medical coverage by subsidizing corporate interests).”
In fact, the Affordable Care Act seems to have been the same as Romney's plan, when he was governor.

Here is another bit on Obama's totally faked "leftism":
In the summer of 2011, Obama offered the Republicans bigger cuts in Social Security and Medicare than they asked for as part of his “Grand Bargain” put forward amidst the elite-manufactured debt-ceiling crisis.
And this is on how the half black Obama helped to lessen the income of the blacks:
By the fifth year of Obama’s presidency, U.S. black households’ net worth had fallen to 1/13th of the wealth of U.S. white households at the median. This helped generate a sense of futility about voting among black citizens—a sense that contributed significantly to Mrs. Clinton’s failure to recreate the electoral coalition that elected Obama in 2008 and 2012. Talk about vote suppression.
To end, here is the USA that was produced by Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama:
American government has billions, nay, trillions of dollars to spend on rescuing and recapitalizing giant parasitic financial institutions, restoring outrageous Wall Street “compensation” levels, overturning the Libyan government, destabilizing Syria, militarizing Africa, undermining Venezuela, occupying Afghanistan and overthrowing governments in Honduras and Ukraine, and on keeping “more people in prison than any other country, including China, which has four times our population,” writes Lofgren. It has nothing really for the nation’s hard-working and increasingly surplus everyday people, a remarkable number of whom are thrown into jail and prison for victimless crimes like drug possession. The financial executives who criminally crashed the economy and threw millions out of their homes and out of jobs continue to escape prosecution. They live in style above the law.

Yes indeed. In fact, I have only one bit of hope: The American economy will collapse again, and sooner rather than later. And if it does (before a nuclear war) there are some chances of getting another kind of government than has ruled the USA since Reagan continuously and perhaps also of another kind of economy.

And this is a recommended article. 

5. Let's Face It: 2017 Will Be a Lot Worse than 2016

The
fifth and last item is by Conor Lynch on Salon:

This starts as follows:

Though 2016 has been, for many, one of the most harrowing and depressing years in recent memory — with the deaths of many beloved entertainers and artists, the rise of far-right populism throughout the Western world, and the ongoing geopolitical crises in the Middle East, to name just a few reasons — there is little reason to celebrate the year’s end this weekend, or to be hopeful for 2017.

And the reason has a name: Donald Trump. Here is some more on him:

In just a few weeks, a man as shameless and opportunistic as the race-baiting demagogue George Wallace; as vindictive and thin-skinned as the 37th president, Richard “Enemies List” Nixon; as phony as the original American charlatan, P.T. Barnum; as unhinged as Stanley Kubrick’s mad general Jack D. Ripper; and as sleazy and authoritarian as Joseph McCarthy will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. And when “deplorable Don” arrives in Washington, he will have a Republican-controlled Congress full of partisan lackeys, unscrupulous sycophants and empty-suit pontificators to lick his boots and kiss his ring — as long as they can slash taxes for their wealthy donors, privatize Social Security and Medicare and, of course, repeal the Affordable Care Act.

I think that is mostly correct (although I grant it is angry). And I should add that - indeed by far - the most dangerous aspect of Trump's presidency is that I agree (as a psychologist also) that he is mad ("unhinged", "not sane").

Here is more on him:

Of course, candidate Trump was a very dangerous man, and did more than any other individual in recent American history to normalize public racism, sexism and xenophobia, as well as political violence. His provocative campaign emboldened bigots and misogynists and rejuvenated white-supremacist and neo-Nazi hate groups, while poisoning political discourse and accelerating the country’s descent into a post-truth reality.

Yes, but I must insist here that the "post-truth reality" (1) is based on the complete and utterly degenerate stinking lie that "everybody knows that truth does not exist", that (2) this stinking lie was born, initiated, furthered and propagandized by considerable segments of the academic elite, that started to do so in the late Seventies. (I was there and one of the very, very few to protest.)

Then there is this on the powers of president Trump:

Instead, this lunatic will have real and terrifying powers — including the power to unilaterally wage war around the globe and indefinitely detain American citizens, to order drone assassinations and, of course, to drop nuclear bombs (Trump can thank his predecessors — Democrat and Republican — for many of these powers). President Trump will oversee the Justice Department, the IRS, the NSA, Homeland Security and countless other federal agencies that can potentially be used to go after both political and personal enemies.

I am a psychologist, and I think Trump is a lunatic (<-a letter by professors of psychiatry who think the same as I do) and indeed that is the most dangerous thing about him. And indeed he owes many of the powers he will get as a president to the Democrats and Republicans who broke down the laws precisely because they wanted to give the very few vastly more powers, just as both parties wanted to give the American government the rights to know everything about anyone in secret.

I say that a government that has those rights either is a (neo)fascistic government, or will be one soon, for these extra-ordinary powers are totally anti-democratic and anti-constitutional, and only serve the very few who govern, while giving these very few powers no man ever had (and all in secret, but paid from the taxes).

Here is more on the power of the American president, and its extreme dangers:

The power of the presidency is tremendous — especially when it comes to doing harm — and it is only slightly hyperbolic to say that a man as unprincipled and unhinged as Donald Trump in the White House, coupled with a Congress full of yes-men and fanatics, could singlehandedly destroy the United States (and the world along with it). It is, as the saying goes, much easier to destroy than to create, and the future of humanity will soon be in the hands of a petty, narcissistic reality-TV star who goes on impulsive Twitter rants at 3 o’clock in the morning and denies objective reality whenever it conflicts with his incoherent worldview.

Yes indeed. To end this, here is Paul Streets prediction for the Trumpian presidency:

There is no telling what Trump will do once he is in the Oval Office, or how much of his campaign rhetoric was empty talk. But his erratic behavior since the election and the far-right cabinet he has assembled over the past month indicates that he will be every bit as reactionary, demagogic and impulsive as he was on the campaign trail.

I agree, and will consider myself very lucky if I am still alive in 2021. Indeed, I may die before that date because of ill health during 38 years, insufficient sleep during 8 years, or old age (I will turn 71 in 2021 [5]), but I do think there is a very appreciable risk of a nuclear war as long as Trump is president.

And this is a recommended article.

----

Notes

[1] I do not know of anyone who did so (there may be some, but then I don't know), and you can read them all by way of the crisis index or indeed by way of the year indexes, for these also give access to all.

Incidentally the first 82 of the 1445+ articles are in Dutch; all the others are in English (starting in December 2010).

[2] I was welcomed in August of 1978, by the man given permission to publicly open the academic year of 1978-1978 in the University of Amsterdam with the sick and degenerate sado-fascistic lie that "everyone knows that truth does not exist" (which logically implies that it is not true there was a WW II; it is not true that 6 million Jews were murdered; and it is not true that my grandfather was murdered in a German concentration camp and not true my father survived three years, nine months and fifteen days as a "political terrorist" in four German concentration camps).

This was before the arrival of postmodernism, which arrived a few years later, and was adopted by virtually everyone who taught or studied at the University of Amsterdam. Again, I was one of the very few who opposed this (for this too is based on the denial of all truth).

And the fact that I opposed the thesis that "everyone knows that truth does not exist" was the reason that I was named "a dirty fascist" from 1977-1988 by many students, and was denied - very briefly before taking it - the right of taking my M.A. in philosophy by the utterly incompetent parasites who taught philosophy in the University of Amsterdam (that now since 21 years has refused to answer any of my mails - and any of ME in Amsterdam - because I am supposed "to use offensive language").

[3] This statement depends rather a lot on how much one has read. As it happens, I have read more than any man or woman I met, and here are three indications. The first is about fine literature: Some Favourite Books & Authors; the second is about philosophy: References to the Philosophical Dictionary; and the third is about politics: Politics - introductory texts.

What I am saying about Hazlitt is said with the above knowledge.

[4] That is, I differ from nearly everyone I've read in holding that the prime characteristics of most of the Trumpians are stupidity and ignorance (both of which are sins in my ethics): Either they are clever greedy conscious neofascists out to enrich themselves at virtually any cost, or they are angry people who could not see through Trump's extra-ordinary many lies.

And while I agree that the first lot may be clever (in a mostly egotistic and limited way) I don't think they are more than 5% or possibly 10% of Trump's voters. I have a really proletarian background (unlike most academics) and I see no reason not to say what I just said.

[5] I am 66 now and look a lot younger. But I have been ill since I was 28, and many of my ill years were very difficult, because I never got any protection from anyone in Amsterdam against the completely insane and murderous neighbor I had in the early 1980ies, nor against the illegal drugsdealers that the drugscriminal mayor Van Thijn gave his "personal permission" in writing to deal illegal drugs from the bottom floor of the house where I lived, instead of from his own house. (Dealing in drugs - like marijuana - was and is forbidden since 1965 in Holland, and still is in 2017.)


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