Media is the Opposition Party": Trump Adviser Steve
Bannon Tells Press to "Keep
Its Mouth Shut"
2. The President of the United States
Explicitly Endorses Torture
— a Crime Against Humanity
3. Noam Chomsky: Explaining
the 'Collapse' That Gave Us Donald
4. Mikhail Gorbachev:
Appears 'The World Is Preparing for War'
5. Trump the Man-Child
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, January 28, 2017. (I now started
including the day of the week.)
Summary: This is a crisis
log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an interview by Amy Goodman about Steve Bannon (who thinks that "[t]he media here is the opposition party. They
don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald
Trump is the president of the United States."); item 2 is about Trump's explicit personal support for torturing people, which is a crime against humanity; item 3 is about a good interview with Noam Chomsky; item 4 is about a good article
on Gorbachev (who warns - correctly in my view - for war); while item 5 is about an article by Robert Paul Wolff about Trump, that I found so-so (and much less clear than
the list of points I quote from the DSM 5 about the narcissistic personality disorder, which I think Trump evidently has).
As for today
(January 28, 2017): I have
meanwhile attached a message to the openings
of both of my sites which points out that for somehing like a year
of my sites more
or less systematically, but unpredictably, show the wrong date
and the wrong files, indeed going so far back as 2015, and as
if I did not
write anything since then.
Media is the Opposition Party": Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Tells Press
to "Keep Its Mouth Shut"
the Dutch site was
wrong again (it didn't pass January 25 for me, and God knows where it
stuck for you) but now the Danish site was right... (and I have been daily uploading my site for quite a few years now: not even that gets properly shown now, since about a year).
Somebody really wants you not to read my sites.
More about this later, probably in the weekend.
The first item today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
starts with the following introduction:
The battle between Donald Trump
and the press escalated Thursday after one of Trump’s top advisers
called the media the opposition party. In a rare interview with The New
York Times, Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said, "The media
should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just
listen for a while." Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, added,
"I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They
don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald
Trump is the president of the United States." We speak to reporter
Sarah Posner, who interviewed Bannon in July. In August, she wrote a
headline-grabbing article for Mother Jones about Steve Bannon titled
"How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for
White Nationalists."I say. And I should add immediately that somebody who says
"I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They
don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald
Trump is the president of the United States."
is talking extreme and pretentious bullshit, especially because he does not explain why the media "don't understand" the USA or Trump.
There is this about Steve Bannon (<-Wikipedia) in the article:
AMY GOODMAN: (...)
Bannon is the former head of right-wing Breitbart Media, which
frequently publishes racist, sexist, anti-immigrant and xenophobic
news. While he rarely speaks to the media, Breitbart is now playing a
key role in the new administration. According to reports, Bannon wrote
part of Trump’s inuaugural speech and penned Trump’s executive orders
on everything from expanding the border wall between the U.S. and
Mexico to weakening the Affordable Care Act.
This means that Bannon has a great lot of power, right now. Here is Sarah Posner on Bannon:
SARAH POSNER: Well, this is an effort by the
Trump administration to intimidate the media, first. And second, the
comments are directed not just at the media, which I would predict is
going to be not intimidated by Bannon, but it’s also directed at
Bannon’s own audience at Breitbart News and the entire constellation of
the alt-right, for which Bannon claimed that Breitbart is the platform.
He told me in July that Breitbart is the platform for the alt-right.
I think that is all correct. There is also this:
SARAH POSNER: So, Bannon, when I interviewed
him at the Republican National Convention in July, like I said, he told
me that Breitbart is the platform for the alt-right. He denied that the
alt-right is a white nationalist movement, but he basically admitted
that it’s an ethnonationalist movement, and he pointed to these
far-right, authoritarian, populist movements in Europe that were the
model for the alt-right. And he said that these nationalist movements
were alive and well in the United States before President Trump became
a candidate for president, that he did not create this movement. And
Bannon actually credited somebody else with really spurring this
movement, and that’s Jeff Sessions, who’s about to become Trump’s
I suppose that is correct as well, and it is at least a little
bit interesting that Trump's alt right secretary of state says that
Trump's attorney general in fact created the alt right movement in the
It does show you whence Trump comes.
The President of the United States Explicitly Endorses Torture — a
Crime Against Humanity
The second item is by Alex Emmons on The Intercept:
starts as follows:
Even George W. Bush called torture
“Freedom from torture is an inalienable
human right, and we are committed to building a world where human
rights are respected and protected by the rule of law,” he
wrote on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of
Torture in 2004.
Bush’s words were outrageously insincere
and hypocritical, considering that his administration brutally
tortured hundreds of
captives in the war on terror, referring to it euphemistically as
But in his first week as president,
Donald Trump won’t stop telling the world that he approves of torture,
thumbing his nose at a basic international norm of legality and decency.
What is entirely unprecedented is his
willingness to use the word “torture” — a crime by definition — while
openly defending it.
Yes indeed. Then again, I think I should add that I agree that Bush Jr. was very much a hypocrite, while I am not certain about Trump, except that I think - as a psychologist, with lots of experience with some insane persons - that he is not sane and that he reads no books and looks a lot of TV. I would tend to suppose that Trump knows torture is a crime, but I do not know.
And there is this (and Mattis does know that torture is a crime):
Trump conceded on Friday that he will
defer to his defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, who holds a contrary
opinion. But in doing so, he reiterated his personal support for
Mattis “has stated publicly that he does
not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding or however you want
to define it — enhanced interrogation I guess would be a word that a
lot of — words that a lot of people would like to use,” Trump said at a
joint press conference with U.K.
Prime Minister Theresa May. “I don’t necessarily agree, but I would
tell you that he will override because I’m giving him that power.”
Trump continued: “I happen to feel that
it does work. I’ve been open about that for a long period of time. But
I am going with our leaders. And we’re going to — we’re going to win
with or without, but I do disagree.”
I say. Here is the law (in the USA):
And I should also add here that there is a considerable difference between words and acts, and that there is much more torturing than is admitted by politicians. Then again, torturing is illegal.
Multiple federal laws establish “torture” as a punishable crime. The
Crimes Act punishes any “grave breach” of the Geneva conventions,
including “torture.” The 1994 U.S. anti-torture
statute says that someone who “commits or attempts to commit
torture” can be punished by a 20-year prison sentence. And the UN
Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. ratified in 1994, says
“no exceptional circumstances whatsoever … may be invoked as a
justification of torture.” The charter for the International
Criminal Court calls it a “crime against humanity” when conducted
on civilians, and a “war crime” in the context of war.
Chomsky: Explaining the 'Collapse' That Gave Us Donald Trump
The third item is by Noam Chomsky, Kenneth Palmer and Richard Yarrow on
AlterNet and originally on Chomsky.Info:
This is from near the beginning (and the "Chomsky:"s are put in by me for clarity and do not occur in the article):
Chomsky: (...) what’s
happening in Europe and the United States has certain similarities. It
fundamentally traces back, I think, to the new liberal programs of the
past generation which have just cast a huge number of people to the
side. These programs have improved corporate profit, kept wages
stagnant, and highly concentrated wealth and power. They’ve undermined
democracy. People have no faith or trust in institutions in Europe—it’s
actually worse than [in the United States]. Decisions are basically
made in Brussels; people can elect whoever they like, but [the EU
elections] have almost no implications for policy.I agree on "neo-liberalism" (a propaganda term) and on the fact that this has been going on and growing stronger and stronger since the 1970ies. But I do not think that the Brexit parallel (if it is indeed a parallel) explains much about Trump, while I really do not know whether "it’s
actually worse" in Europe (where I live) than in the United States.
Then there is this on the effects of a strong increase in deaths in the USA due to opioids and alcohol:
How would you say that change in
mortality rates has been affecting American culture or society?
Chomsky: It’s the other way
around, I think: the changes in American culture and society have led
to the mortality rates. This is a sector of exactly the kind of people
I was describing, mostly white and mostly male, in the sort of working
age period of their lives, who are apparently suffering from
depression, loss of face, lack of sense of any self-worth, and turning
to drugs and alcoholism. Something similar happened in Russia during
the market reforms of the 1990s. There was a huge increase in the death
rate, and probably millions of people died. And a lot of it was the
same sense that “everything’s falling apart, we have nothing, I’ll just
drink myself to death.”
I think Chomsky is wholly right on this. Then there is this on the - great - consequences of the lack of an organized labor movement in the USA:
Again I wholly agree. Then there is this about Steven Pinker (with whom I disagree - and see here):
Chomsky: It would be
quite different if, say, there was an organized labor movement, which
could mobilize people. In the 1930s the situation was objectively far
worse, but there was a sense of hopefulness. I am old enough to
remember—there was militant labor action, CIO organizing, left-wing
parties, and a relatively sympathetic administration, and so somehow we
were going to get out of this. And now people don’t have that. It’s a
I agree with Chomsky.
Psychologist Steven Pinker
argues that over time we’ve been able to use reason and the “better
angels of our nature” to make improvements in reducing violence. Would
you agree with his analysis?
There’s something to that, but the story
that he presents is pretty shaky. I mean, ninety-five percent, roughly,
of human history is in hunter-gatherer societies. He claims that they
were very violent and brutal, but the specialists on the topic don’t
agree with him. There’s work by some of the leading people who work on
indigenous societies—Brian Ferguson, Douglas Fry, Stephen Cory—they
just claim [that Pinker’s notion about hunter-gatherers is] completely
false. The large-scale killings are pretty much associated with the
origin of cities and the state system. (...)
So Europe had centuries of murders and
internal wars, but not after 1945 because the next one’s the end. I
don’t think that shows anything about the better angels of our nature.
In fact, most of the wars since 1945 have been exported, and if you
take a look at the way Pinker handles these, he mostly blames the
victims. The wars, he says, are in Southeast Asia and Muslim areas. I
mean, is that because of the Iraqis and the Vietnamese?
And here is the last bit that I'll quote from this interview, namely Chomsky on the two leading issues of the time in which we live - that are hardly ever discussed in the media:
I totally agree (and am quite pessimistic, myself). This is a recommended article.
What do you think is the most
important issue in international politics that is not being adequately
Well, there are two huge issues, neither of
them being adequately discussed. One is an increasing and very serious
threat of possible nuclear war, especially at the Russian border. The
other’s an environmental catastrophe, which is coming at us very fast,
and there’s nothing much being done about it. These are issues of
species survival, really, beyond anything that’s ever been written
about in human history.
Mikhail Gorbachev: Appears 'The World Is Preparing for War'
The fourth item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Yes indeed: I agree. There is also this on past agreements:
Former Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev has warned that it appears "as if the world is preparing
Writing in an op-ed published
Thursday at TIME magazine, Gorbachev, who won the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1990 for his role in ending the Cold War, writes that
the most pressing problem facing the world is "the militarization of
politics and the new arms race."
State budgets, he continues, claim
austerity to sacrifice social spending, but easily back funding for
weapons of war. At the same time, he writes of the buildup
on Russia's borders: "NATO and Russian forces and weapons" are now in
close proximity "as if to shoot point-blank."
While he and President Ronald Reagan
agreed in 1985 "that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be
fought," now, "the nuclear threat once again seems real," with
"advocates for arms build-up and the military-industrial complex [...]
rubbing their hands." And that, he declares, is absolutely the wrong
direction to solve the world's ills. Instead, war of any kind must be
abolished, he writes:
In modern world, wars must be
outlawed, because none of the global problems we are facing can be
resolved by war—not poverty, nor the environment, migration, population
growth, or shortages of resources.
He called on the United Nations Security
Council to adopt a resolution—which should be put forth by U.S.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin—that
restates that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. "
I do not think that wars can be outlawed (and they never have been), but I agree that
starting a nuclear war is utter madness, because it almost certainly will destroy the earth. Then again, I agree with Gorbachev that there are plenty of "advocates for arms build-up and the military-industrial complex [...]
rubbing their hands."
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
More recently, in 2016, he said,
"The window to a nuclear weapon-free world…is being shut and sealed
right before our eyes."
"As long as nuclear weapons exist, there
is a danger that someday they will be used as a result either of
accident or technical failure or of evil intent of man, an insane
person or terrorist," Gorbachev said.
Trump, however, out
of step with most of the world, used Twitter to call
for an expanded U.S. nuclear arsenal—a fact that contributed to the
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists this week moving
its symbolic Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.
Yes indeed. And as I have said before, I think Trump may start a nuclear war. This is a recommended article.
Trump the Man-Child
The fifth and last item today
is by Robert Paul Wolff (<-Wikipedia) on his site:
has the following in the beginning (and I undid the all capitals title):
I shall engage in some speculation about Trump the man, about what
tick, and how we might use our conclusions to influence him and even,
to damage his ability to harm this country and the world. My
observations will be psychological, not
political. Now, we litigated here some
while ago the appropriateness of using medical terms drawn from
to describe Trump, and we agreed that doing so was unwarranted since I
am not a
trained analyst and neither I nor anyone reading this blog has the sort
clinical access to Trump on which a medical diagnosis could be
based. But as I noted then, and will repeat now,
people have been sizing up other people at least since the start of
history and in all likelihood for 100,000 years before that. All
of us form judgments about people every
day, based on our experience and observations, and I do not intend to
doing so simply because I am unable to offer clinical justification for
I completely agree with the latter part of this, but not quite with the former part.
Since I am a psychologist, I can say immediately that clinical psychology and psychiatry are the only "sciences"  known to me that do not permit applying the science except under extremely irrealistic conditions, since in fact they only permit it to trained psychiatrists who (i) know the person and (ii) have his or her permission to diagnose the person.
In fact, I think myself that is total crap, especially about Trump, and I agree with Wolff for the reasons he gave. Besides, those who still have moral problems about "diagnosing" Trump, should be satisfied - I think, at least - by not using the term "diagnosis" but the term "personal or professional opinion".
Here is Wolff's personal opinion on Trump (in part):
The first thing we
must understand is that Trump is not a
normal person whose actions fall within the customary parameters of
adult behavior. (...)
I mostly agree, but I have some remarks.
One: Trump lies
about things that
are common knowledge to the people he is talking to. He tweets
that Meryl Streep is a failure as
an actress, for God’s sake. This has
been so widely commented on that I need not cite examples.
Trump is obsessed with issues of size. He exaggerates the
size of his hands, the
size of his genitalia, the size of his fortune, the size of the
bear his name, the size of his election victory, the size of the crowds
draws for his speeches. Three: Trump uses language in
primitive ways that
reveal an almost complete lack of thought or knowledge behind
them. One example that struck me especially
powerfully was his bizarre claim, in referring to his speeches, that “I
the best words.” Think about that for a moment. What
can he possibly have meant by that? Four:
Trump makes claims that are absurd and immediately refutable,
simply because at the moment he is
making them it feels good to make them.
First about size: My own guess is that this is in fact a derivation of Trump's fundamentally insane opinion that He Is The Greatest In Everything That Counts
(and much less concerned with size, though this may be mentioned, than He is with
His Supposed Gigantic Greatness).
Second about Trump's "almost complete lack of thought or knowledge": I do not think Trump is stupid.
He is neither the genius he thinks he is, nor is he brilliant or
bright, and he also doesn't know a lot, but he is - let me put it this
way - more intelligent than his very bad and very repetitive language might suggest to some academics.
And third, about Trump's very many evidently false claims: I probably agree that Trump's main motive for making them may very well be that (boldings deleted) "at the moment he is
making them it feels good to make them".
But the main point about Trump is not his motive for making them, but his absolute manic insistence that he is right, Right, RIGHT in whatever he says and that those who disagree with anything he says are disrespecting him, harming him, denying him and opposing him.
Then there is this:
First, it seems
obvious to me that Trump’s mental processes are
extremely psychologically primitive. They
are the thought processes of a child of three or four or five.
I disagree. Chronologically, Trump is 70. I am not able to say what his psychological age might be, except that it is definitely not that of "a child of three or four or five".
Then again, Wolff may have had some point (though not the one he literally makes) about Trump's emotional life, that I agree is odd, but that is part of his madness (and the link is to a letter by three professors of psychiatry to Obama of late November 2016).
I think it is simply is a mistake to underrate Trump
because of his simple-minded language (that may be in part intentional,
and he just may not be gifted linguistically) or because of his lack of sanity.
As to Trump's sanity, there is this:
The terms “narcissist”
and “sociopath” have been used a good
deal to describe Trump, and I think they are useful shorthand ways of
our observations and intuitions about him.
Countless observers have written about Trump’s need to exercise
dominance over those around him, about his bullying, his cruelty, hid
humiliate those who have opposed him. To
an extraordinary extent, Trump seems not actually to be able to grasp
employ the notion of other people. As an old friend
observed to me, he treats
his children as extensions of himself and his wives as possessions.
It seems to me that Wolff forgot or did not know that “narcissist”
and “sociopath” are actual terms in the DSM 5 , which means that they have some standing with psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, that goes considerably further than for other possibly quite adequate psychological terms that do not have a similar standing in the DSM 5. 
Also, while there are quite a few persons who are to some extent
narcissists (and in fact the great majority of persons have some love
for themselves), there is again a difference between mere narcissists, of which there are quite a few, and indeed especially among politicians and CEOs, and pathological narcissists, like Trump.
What I am saying (and what many other psychologists and
psychiatrists have been saying) is that Trump does not just have a bit
more self-love than others, or a bit more
pride or self-reliance than others, but that his need for admiration is altogether excessive and pathological, which is indeed why the term "grandiose narcissist" applies to him, in psychiatry and according to the DSM 5, although I prefer myself "megalomaniac" in English.
I agree with the fourth point (Trump has a striking lack of empathy) but then I also think I should repeat the definition that moved me, in March of 2016, to decide that
Trump is a pathological narcissist, because he satisfies 9 out of 9 criterions, at least in my opinion, which is based on videos of Trump that I saw:
And I think this list of symptoms of the Narcissistic
Personality Disorder simply is a lot better than what Wolff had to offer (for it is far more specific and detailed).
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM - 5, Cluster B) for
"Narcissistic Personality Disorder" by The American Psychiatric
Here, according to The APA, are the 9 criteria for "Narcissistic
Personality Disorder". If an individual has 5 out of the 9 they have a
confirmed diagnosis of this illness. Many individuals have "traits" of
narcissism but only about 1% of the population has clinical NPD.
1. Has a
grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and
talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate
"Summary : A
pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for
admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and
present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believe that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be
understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status
people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Is interpersonally exploitative
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes."
Finally, there is this in the article:
There are growing
evidences that Trump’s White House is chaos, that
staffers are deeply unsettled by the lack of ordinary routine
work. It seems clear, and terrifying, that Steve
Bannon has great influence over Trump.
But on the evidence we have seen thus far, Trump seems to be completely
by the job of President, flailing about for quick, symbolic actions
in act be effectuated [the confusion surrounding payment for The Wall
is a case
Perhaps. But this may well be straightened out, and Trump is in as president for just a week now, so quite a few problems there are may be starting problems.
And in any case, I think myself that Trump is mad simply because he shows all the criterions for a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but I don't think he is stupid (though
he is neither a genius nor brilliant) and I also think he is not a three-to-five-year old.
 In fact, I think most of psychology I know (which is a good lot) is not a real science; nearly all of clinical psychology is not a real science; and also psychiatry is not
a real science, where I understand by "a real science", sciences like
physics or chemistry, with strongly formalized disciplines and very
many strongly verified results.
You may disagree, but I finished an excellent M.A. in psychology, and
this is what I think (and yes, I also know a fair amount of physics).
Finally, while I don't think these "sciences" are real sciences like physics and chemistry, they also are among the best speculations, hypotheses and theories about the human mind that we have, and they are - to greatly varying extent, is also true - sometimes useful, both in practice and in theory.
 This note is about the DSMs
(<-Wikipedia) = the Dagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, and the next note is about terms that do (not) occur in it.
There are now DSMs since 1952, and all I will do here is quote the
third paragraph of the Wikipedia on them (without eight note numbers):
While the DSM has been praised for standardizing psychiatric diagnostic categories and criteria, it has also generated controversy and criticism. Critics, including the National Institute of Mental Health, argue that the DSM represents an unscientific and subjective system. There are ongoing issues concerning the validity and reliability of the diagnostic categories; the reliance on superficial symptoms; the use of artificial dividing lines between categories and from "normality"; possible cultural bias; and medicalization of human distress. The publication of the DSM, with tightly guarded copyrights, now makes APA over $5 million a year, historically totaling over $100 million.
I agree with all the criticisms (and those who want to read my long and fundamental criticism of psychiatry-as-is should read this: DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six
most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" (This is 371 Kb but is quite good, I think.)
Incidentally about validity and reliability: Psychiatry-as-is is still almost completely invalid (in the statistical sense), and no one knows how to test the validity of psychiatric concepts (which are about obscure processes in hardly understood human brains).
It gets confused (especially by psychiatrists) with reliability (which is the agreement between psychiatrists on the diagnoses they make, which incidentally is almost wholly
independent of their validities), which in turn is very much lower in many cases than it should be: Many psychiatric diagnoses are so vague that psychiatrists widely disagree on who to diagnose with it, while almost none of the diagnoses that psychiatrists do make (I think all except Alzheimer, and possibly some relating to sexual diseases like syphilis) has a known validity.
 This note is about the terms that do and do not occur in the DSM 5 (and/or other DSMs):
There are now over 400 "recognized psychiatric disorders", whereas there were around 50 in 1952.
(This is here mostly to start you thinking, e.g. about questions like this
"Who grew more mad: 7 billion persons or a few hundreds of
psychiatrists who composed the DSMs?").
There are many psychological terms in English that do not occur
(anymore) in the latest DSM; many psychiatric terms that do occur there
which were better replaced by English terms; and as I said in  hardly any psychiatric term has a known validity.
Then again "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" is in the DSM 5; it is defined in terms of 9
criterions, of which 5 are enough to warrant the diagnosis (of a
psychiatric disorder) and Trump - quite obviously, also, in my opinion
- shows all 9 criterions.
Incidentally...there are 126 distinct possibilities of taking 5 out of 9 things, which makes for pretty vague diagnosing (in case of 5). For more see here: The dangerous nonsense of the x out of y
diagnostic schema. (And there is but 1 possibility of selecting 9 out of 9.)