1. Five Faces Of Dystopia
2. Civil Rights Groups, Funded by Telecoms, Back Donald Trump’s
Plan to Kill Net Neutrality
3. Is Trump Headed for War With China?
4. Donald Trump Simplistically—and Dangerously—Sees the World
as One Big Reality Show
5. Michael Hudson on the Orwellian Turn in Contemporary
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, February 14, 2017.
a crisis log with 5 files and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is a fine article on dystopia, that compares Donald Trump with some famous persons; item 2 is
about internet neutrality (that seems to be soon finished by Trump); item 3 is about an article about Trump and China that did not start well, but is decent; item 4
is about an article that points out Trump's slogans are much like the
"high concepts" and "loglines" that are used to bait audiences (and I
more or less halfly agree); and item 5 is not a text, but is a video with a fine interview with a prominent economist, who happens to
think quite similarly about economics as I do.
As for today
(February 14, 2017): I have changed my site on February 1, 2017 to make
that it might be read,
because it now happened for most
of last year that both of my sites are not uploaded
1. Five Faces Of Dystopia
On xs4all.nl it may be days, weeks or months behind to show the proper
last date and the proper last files (in the last 4 years always
date it was that day), and it was this morning correct
(but do they "update" my site every fourth or fifth day now?!); on
one.com it may be shown
December 31, 2015
often was!!!) but was correct this morning; and
indeed I am sick of being system- atically made
unreadable and therefore changed
the site to allow most readers to find it more easily.
For more explanations, see here - and no:
with two different sites in two different countries
with two different providers,
where this has been
happening for a year (and not
for over 20 and over 12 years
before) now I'm absolutely certain that
this happens and that it's not due to me.
Incidentally, if you reached February 1, 2017 on one of
my sites you are in the new set-up and from there you can
find the latest Nederlog, and all others from there.
The first item today is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Based on reliable news sources, his biographer, and his own writings,
the most powerful man of his era has been referred to as an "egomaniac"
and "narcissist," possessing a "big mouth" with an "impulsive style,"
unable to differentiate between truth and falsehood, preferring emotion
over facts, focused on national greatness and law & order, fearful
of "foreignization," prone to coarseness and put-downs in speeches, and
fond of "mantralike phrases" filled with "accusations, vows of revenge
and promises for the future."
He sounds very familar indeed. But here is a catch:
I say - and I admit I was tricked as well,
for I did think of Trump, in spite of the fact that I have read several
biographies of Hitler and know a lot about fascism. Then again,
The man described above
is Adolf Hitler. All of the descriptions were attributed to the Nazi
leader: some of it by news media in the 1930s, some of it by modern
historian and biographer Volker Ullrich, some of it by Hitler himself in "Mein Kampf." Eerily familiar to the present day.
Paul Buchheit is simply correct in saying both Hitler and Trump may be
described in quite similar terms - although I think there are also
Then there is this, that points out a considerable similarity between Reagan and Trump:
Yes, I agree. (Again there are dissimilarities as well, but this is not a long article.)
Ronald Reagan said, "Government is the problem." Donald Trump said, "Good people don't go into government."
There are other similarities, many of them reported by historian William E. Leuchtenburg, author of "The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton." Says
Leuchtenburg, "No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill
informed." A Reagan presidential aide remarked, "He made decisions like
an ancient king...passively letting his subjects serve him, selecting
only those morsels of public policy that were especially tasty."
Through the 1980s, Reagan's staff "protected
him by severely restricting situations where he might blurt out a
fantasy" while "keeping the press at shouting distance or beyond." Yet
he "alarmed members of his staff by flying into a rage if the press
reported that he had changed his position on an issue, even when he
undoubtedly had." More similarities to the present day.
Here is yet another similarity, this time between Stalin's attitudes to nature, and Trump's attitudes to nature
I agree that this is a similarity while there
also are quite a few dissimilarities, but Trump's quoted statement is
both totally crazy (mad, insane) and involves incredible
"We cannot expect charity from nature," said Stalin. "We must tear it from her."
Donald Trump has shown the same disdain for the earth with statements like
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in
order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." His new Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson is an obfuscating climate change denier whose company, Exxon, has been linked to the great majority of other climate change deniers.
disdain for all climate scientists and biologists who have charted global warming, and
who have insisted, very correctly, that global warming is not politics but a real and a very important fact.
Here is the last simlarity, this time between Donald Trump and Warren Harding:
I agree again, and this is a recommended
article: It isn't subtle; there are many dissimilarities as well
between Trump and the four similar politicians he is above
Historian Kevin Kruse might
be providing some insight into Donald Trump's mind in his summation of
Warren G. Harding, considered by many to be the worst president:
"He felt woefully under-qualified for the job... so he surrounded
himself with old friends... who themselves were unqualified for the jobs
they held and many of them corrupt."
compared with, but I like it.
2. Civil Rights Groups, Funded by Telecoms, Back Donald Trump’s Plan to Kill Net Neutrality
This starts as follows:
The second item is by Lee Fang on The Intercept:
Leading civil rights groups who for many years have been
heavily bankrolled by the telecom industry are signaling their support
for Donald Trump’s promised rollback of the Obama administration’s net
neutrality rules, which prevent internet service providers from
prioritizing some content providers over others.
The Obama administration’s Federal Communications Commission
established net neutrality by reclassifying high-speed internet as a
regulated phone-like telecommunications service, as opposed to a mostly
unregulated information service. The re-classification was cheered by
advocates for a free and open internet.
But now Trump’s new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon attorney, is pushing to repeal the
net neutrality reform by rolling back that re-classification — and he’s
getting help not only from a legion of telecom lobbyists, but from
civil rights groups.
Here is a question: How much of a "civil rights group" is a "civil rights group" that is "heavily bankrolled by the telecom industry"? And before you try answering that - admittedly difficult (and not very clear) - question, how about the following question: How honest do you think telecom industry's CEOs are in their interests in "civil rights groups"? That may be also a difficult question because I grant that quite a few of
these - often exceedingly rich - CEOs are honestly interested in
civil rights. (Tim Cook, for example, that is Apple's CEO, is a
homosexual, and he very probably knows that until 1973 - when Cook was
12 - homosexuality was a ground for pronouncing someone as not sane,
according to the majority of the psychiatrists who made up the American
Psychiatric Association. )
Here is a final question on the subjects of "civil rights groups" that are being "heavily bankrolled by the telecom industry": What do you think is more important to a CEO of
a telecom industry: The profits his corporation makes or the moral principles that the CEO has (or professes to have)?
I think that question is fairly easily answered in a plausible way: The profits of the corporation are far more important than the moral principles of the CEO (in almost any case, I hasten to add: there are a few exceptions).
Therefore, it seems to me that the
investments that CEOs of rich corporations make (with corporate money)
into "civil rights groups" will tend towards "We support you,
but then you also have to support us, in some cases at least".
And I think that conclusion is probably correct; I think that is what we are seeing; and I would personally not feel comfortable with a "civil rights group" that is "heavily bankrolled by the telecom industry" or indeed by any corporate industry. 
There is considerably more in the article that I skip, but here are two quite relevant facts:
And indeed I am not amazed at all by either fact, and I more or less explained why above.
None of the civil rights groups that signed the joint letter responded to a request for comment.
It’s not the first time civil rights group have engaged in lobbying
debates seemingly unrelated to their core missions, but in favor of
their corporate donors.
Finally, here a the net neutraility activists:
I agree with them. (And I fear net neutrality will be removed under Trump.)
Net neutrality activists are crying foul.
“Net neutrality is based on a communications law that guarantees
vital nondiscrimination rights,” said Jessica J. González, the deputy
director and senior counsel of Free Press. “This joint statement may
seem innocuous but it actually endangers the communications rights that
have empowered people of color to tell our own stories, organize for
racial justice and earn a living online.”
“The Congress that tried to destroy net neutrality once would only
weaken it with legislation that fails to adequately protect those it is
meant to serve,” says Malkia Cyril, the executive director of the Center
for Media Justice. She noted that the civil rights groups that signed
the letter are now calling for putting the future of the internet “into
the hands of a GOP Congress that just appointed white supremacist Jeff
Sessions to be attorney general.”
3. Is Trump Headed for War With China?
The third item is by Rajan Menon on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch:
This starts as follows:
Forget those “bad hombres down there” in Mexico that U.S. troops might take out. Ignore the way National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” and the new president insisted,
that, when it comes to that country, “nothing is off the table.”
Instead, focus for a momenton something truly scary: the possibility
that Donald Trump’s Washington might slide into an actual war with the
planet’s rising superpower, China. No kidding. It could really
Incidentally, Michael Flynn dismissed himself late yesterday night. And I agree - of course - that a war with China seems a very real possiblity with Donald Trump as president of the USA.
There is this on the former CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson (reacting to the Chinese building of islands):
Evidently, [Tillerson] wanted to communicate to the Chinese leadership in Beijing that the
new administration was already irked beyond measure with them. So he
added, “We’re going to have to send China’s leaders a clear signal:
that, first, the island building stops and, second, your access to those
islands is not going to be allowed.” Functionally, that fell little
short of being an announcement of a future act of war, since not
allowing “access” to those islands would clearly involve military moves.
Yes, indeed. Here is some more:
In short, his administration has already drawn a red line -- but in the
way a petulant child might with a crayon. During and after the campaign
he made much of his determination to regain the respect he claims the
U.S. has lost in the world, notably from adversaries like China. The
danger here is that, in dealing with that country, Trump could, as is
typical, make it all about himself, all about “winning,” one of his most
beloved words, and disaster might follow.
I agree - and indeed I think Trump's narcissism (<- a letter of three professors
of psychiatry to Obama) which motivates Trump's own enormous interests
in His "winning" things is quite relevant here, as is his ignorance of
most things other
Here is some on some Chinese reactions:
But China’s conduct in the South China Sea leaves little doubt about its
determination to hold onto what it has and continue its activities.
The Chinese leadership has made this clear
since Donald Trump’s election, and the state-run press has struck a
similarly defiant note, drawing crude red lines of its own. For
example, the Global Times, a nationalist newspaper, mocked
Trump’s pretensions and issued a doomsday warning: “The U.S. has no
absolute power to dominate the South China Sea. Tillerson had better
bone up on nuclear strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power
to withdraw from its own territories.”
I say. But Rajan Menon is quite right that the biggest problem is Trump himself:
The bigger problem, however, will undoubtedly be his own narcissism and
his obsession with winning, not to mention his inability to resist
sending incendiary messages via Twitter. Just try to imagine for a
moment how a president who blows his stack during a getting-to-know- you phone call with the prime minister of Australia, a close ally, is likely to
conduct himself in a confrontation with a country he’s labeled a prime
Yes indeed. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
There has been lots of anxiety about the malign effects that Donald
Trump’s temperament and beliefs could have domestically, and for good
reason. But in domestic politics, institutions and laws, civic
organizations, the press, and public protests can serve, however
imperfectly, as countervailing forces. In international politics,
crises can erupt suddenly and unfold rapidly -- and the checks on rash
behavior by American presidents are much weaker. They have considerable
leeway to use military force (having repeatedly circumvented the War
Powers Act). They can manipulate public opinion from the Bully Pulpit
and shape the flow of information. (Think back to the Iraq war.)
Congress typically rallies reflexively around the flag during
international crises. In such moments, citizens' criticism or mass
protest invites charges of disloyalty.
Yes again. And this is a recommended article (though it started a bit simply).
4. Donald Trump Simplistically—and Dangerously—Sees the World as One Big Reality Show
The fourth item is by Neal Gabler on BillMoyers.com:
This starts as follows:
I say - and I admit that both terms are new to me, although the ideas are quite familiar: "Make it simple! Make it sensational! Keep it short!" (And here are links to Wikipedia: high concept and logline.)
Anyone who has ever pitched a movie or television idea in Hollywood
knows the tyranny of the “high concept.” It’s a staple of the
entertainment world. A high concept is a simple, succinct, immediately
comprehensible gimmick: Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter; the Tooth
Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Jack Frost team up to defeat an
evil villain; Superman and Batman face off as enemies; Pride and Prejudice is
reimagined as a zombie war in 19th-century England; Lucifer comes to
earth to consult with the LAPD. (By the way, these are all real movies
or TV shows.)
In Hollywood, one-sentence descriptions like these are called “loglines.”
Here is an application:
Donald Trump’s presidential victory has been ascribed to all sorts of
sociological phenomena, but there is also, I think, a cultural one that
largely has been overlooked. Trump was the first high-concept
presidential candidate, and now he is conducting the first high-concept
presidency. That matters, not only in how one gets elected but in how
Yes and no. As I said, both terms are new for me but the ideas are not, and Trump was definitely not "the first high-concept
presidential candidate". In fact, I think most
American presidents got elected on a few quite general and easily
comprehensible ideas (and not on any thorough understanding of the
majority of voters on their policies).
But I agree Trump seems to be first American president who thinks in loglines,
and indeed not because other presidents (such as Bush Jr. and Obama) did not try to
to use loglines, but because the internet is now quite comprehensive, because Trump was already a TV-star (unlike all other presidents), and because Trump not only uses
loglines, but he seems to think in terms of loglines (because
the president reads no or hardly any books, looks a lot at TV, doesn't
know much, and seems to express himself preferably in no more than 140
Here is an explanation of the Trump phenomenon in terms of "high concepts" and "loglines":
The biggest lesson Trump learned from all this was that grabbing
attention was paramount and that it didn’t make a whit of difference how
you grabbed it: blasting angry, idiotic tweets; leering over women;
mocking the handicapped; insulting opponents; threatening to put Hillary
Clinton in jail; and just plain inventing “facts” — lots and lots and
lots of invented “facts.”
Yes and no again: Yes he did all of this, and
he was elected president. And no, he could not do these things because
of "high concepts" or "loglines", but because he was very much helped by the mainstream media, who also hardly criticized him.
And this was again not because of his "loglines" - simple, sensational, short phrases - but because the mainstream media have been mostly corrupted and do not do proper journalism anymore (for Trump's "leering over women;
mocking the handi- capped; insulting opponents; threatening to put Hillary
Clinton in jail; and just plain inventing “facts”" were only "admitted" because the media chose to mostly not criticize these sick notions).
This is the end of this article:
Trump began his campaign this way, almost as if he were pitching a film
or TV series to the American people: Build a wall. Ban Muslims. Repeal
Obamacare. Level ISIS. Stare down China. And, of course, Make America
Great Again. These weren’t campaign promises or even campaign slogans.
They were loglines.
Again yes and no: They were loglines but clearly they were also campaign slogans.
Indeed, I do not see much difference between most campaign slogans and loglines,
except indeed that the latter term tends to be typically used to
summarize TV programs and to bait audiences by their brief descriptions.
But this is an interesting article that is recommended.
5. Michael Hudson on the Orwellian Turn in Contemporary Economics
The fifth and last item today is not a text but a video and is an
interview by Sharmini Peries of the Real Net with economist Michael
This is here because Michael Hudson
(<- Wikipedia) is a well-known economist who has quite similar ideas
about ecomomics as I have (it is not a real science, for example) and
because he formulates well.
I liked it rather a lot, and reproduce it here and now because of these
reasons, and because I saw it yesterday for the first time, although it
is from November 2016. It will not take more than slightly over 15
minutes of your time.
 In fact, this is one of many reasons why I can't take psychiatry seriously:
I am completely heterosexual, but I decided already when I was 16 - in 1966, when there was considerably more discrimination of homosexuals than there is now (in Holland and the USA) - that homosexuality is very probably genetical, simply because I could not believe that people would let themselves be discriminated as homosexuals were about a matter of taste or learned preference.
In fact, I go considerably further myself: Civil rights activism ought
to be done by ordinary people, who also have to get their money from
private donations by private
individuals. These private individuals may be CEOs of big corporations,
but they should not pay as CEOs of corporations, simply because this
might be - and is, it turns out - quite corrupting.
(And in case you say: But private individuals will not finance civil
rights as much as corporate CEOs do, my reply is (i) Bernie Sanders
proved differently and (ii) if ordinary people are not sufficiently interested in civil rights activism, including paying what is required for that, then civil rights are dead.)
It seems to me therefore more correct to (at least) put "civil rights group" between quotes, if it is in fact - as the phrase was - "heavily bankrolled" by some corporate industry.