Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Crisis: On Trump: As a racist, as unqualified, as sick, On Freud: As a fraud

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 16, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection (usually) from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 16, 2017

The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Donald Trump Has Been a Racist All His Life — And He Isn’t Going to Change After Charlottesville

This article is by Medi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

“Racism is evil,” declared Donald Trump on Monday, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

OK, “declared” may be too strong a word for what we heard from the president. “Stated” is perhaps a better descriptor. “Read out” might be the most accurate of all. Trump made these “additional remarks” with great reluctance and only after two days of intense criticism from both the media and senior Republicans over his original remarks blaming “many sides” for the neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The words were not his own: they were scripted by aides and delivered with the assistance of a teleprompter. The president reserved his personal, off-the-cuff ire on Monday for the black CEO of Merck, not for the white fascists of Virginia.

Much of the frenzied media coverage of what CNN dubbed “48 hours of turmoil for the Trump White House” has overlooked one rather crucial point: Trump doesn’t like being forced to denounce racism for the very simple reason that he himself is, and always has been, a racist.

I think I agree that Trump "is, and always has been, a racist" - where the reader should realize I am European and not American, and that I knew very little about Trump until 2016, who besides is, for me, at least, a quite uninteresting man (as a person).

As to Hasan's reasons for stating that Trump is a racist, here is about half of one paragraph of Hasan's text:
Over the next four decades, Trump burnished his reputation as a bigot: he was accused of ordering “all the black [employees] off the floor” of his Atlantic City casinos during his visits; claimed “laziness is a trait in blacks” and “not anything they can control”; requested Jews “in yarmulkes” replace his black accountants; told Bryan Gumbel that “a well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market”; demanded the death penalty for a group of black and Latino teenagers accused of raping a jogger in Central Park (and, despite their later exoneration with the use of DNA evidence, has continued to insist they are guilty); suggested a Native American tribe “don’t look like Indians to me”; mocked Chinese and Japanese trade negotiators by doing an impression of them in broken English; described undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists”; compared Syrian refugees to “snakes”; defended two supporters who assaulted a homeless Latino man as “very passionate” people “who love this country”; pledged to ban a quarter of humanity from entering the United States; proposed a database to track American Muslims that he himself refused to distinguish from the Nazi registration of German Jews; implied Jewish donors “want to control” politicians and are all sly negotiators (...)
There is considerably more in the article, that is recommened [2]. 

2. America Is Hooked on the Drug of White Supremacy—We're Paying for That Today

This article is by Carol Anderson on AlterNet, and originally from The Guardian. It starts as follows:

The United States is in a tailspin. White supremacists are on the march – and have left a trail of blood and destruction in their wake. A march in Charlottesville, Virginia, filled with torches, Nazi flags and chants of “White Lives Matter” culminated in violence that claimed at least one life, and left many more injured. 

This is just what many feared the Trump presidency would unleash. David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, supported that view when hesaid on Saturday that the march “fulfills the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back”.
It took more than 36 hours – and a killing believed to have been carried out by a neo-Nazi – for the White House to denounce white supremacists. Although the president prefers to communicate directly with the American people through Twitter, he didn’t do that this time. Instead, the delayed statement was attributed to an unnamed White House spokesperson. 

None of this makes sense. Unless, that is, we come to grips with the reality that we are seeing the effects of far too many Americans strung out on the most pervasive, devastating, reality-warping drug to ever hit the United States: white supremacy.

This is here because - even - The Guardian has concluded that Trump is a white supremacist. Then again I much dislike The Guardian since it was taken over by a new editor - see e.g. here and here - and I find it completely ridiculous (insane, extremely unreasonable) that now one cannot even copy internet links from The Guardian's site.

I think I will remove them from the list that I daily consult for writing my crisis series:

The leftist Guardian is completely dead, and has been replaced by a Guardian of rich wannabe Blairite millionaires, who are only interested (for the most part) in their own financial well-being.

3. The Thankless Task of ‘Saving’ Trump

This article is by Paul R. Pillar on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

Optimism has repeatedly been expressed, especially after any qualified and respected person has been appointed to a senior position in the current administration, that the “adults in the room” will check the excesses and compensate for the deficiencies of a blatantly unqualified president.
Repeatedly the excesses of Donald Trump have escaped any attempt to check them. Trump’s fire-and-brimstone threats against North Korea, which surprised his foreign policy advisers, are the latest
example. Trump’s emulation of Kim Jong-un’s scary rhetoric played into the hands of Kim’s regime, whose propaganda emphasizes threats from the United States, and escalated tensions to the point of shaking global stock markets. The rhetoric was the sort of thing Trump turns to when he evidently does not have any better ideas for addressing a problem.

About the "Optimism" (about Trump's chances to become a real and qualified president) with which this article starts, I can be very brief: If you believe that a man of 71 can change his character, you believe in myths.

Then again, Paul Pillar doesn't believe in myths. Here is is his appraisal of Trump:
The reasons the adults do not have any greater influence in preventing or limiting the damage Trump inflicts are centered primarily on the qualities of Donald Trump himself. An insecure narcissist who has used demagoguery to get where he is today is not a good subject for guidance and restraint by subordinates. Trump’s lack of self-control, and resistance to anything that looks like control by others, manifests itself especially in how much his presidency is defined by after-hours tweets.
Yes. There is considerably more in the article, that is recommended.

4. 'This Is Sick': Unscripted and Unhinged Trump Reverts to Defending Neo-Nazis

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

After largely sticking to the script on Monday, President Donald Trump "showed his true colors" once again at an impromptu press conference Tuesday at Trump Tower, where he suggested that white supremacists and counter demonstrators were both to blame for the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, and argued that torch-wielding neo-Nazis were merely expressing peaceful disagreement with the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

In what many observers characterized as an "unhinged" display for a president, Trump repeatedly assured reporters that he watched the events that unfolded over the weekend "very closely," and came away with the conclusion that anti-racist protesters—who Trump claims "came charging in without a permit"—were "very violent," and argued that there were many "good people" among the white supremacists who participated in the so-called "Unite the Right" rally on Saturday.

"I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it," Trump said of the violence that left one woman dead and dozens injured.

I say. There is more in the article, that is recommended.

5. Sigmund Fraud?

This article is by Alexander C. Kafka on It starts as follows:
Promethean revealer of the unconscious; dedicated healer of the neurotic; self-effacing scholar; beloved husband; brilliant protégé; devoted mentor; endearing literary stylist; bold cultural explorer.

Sigmund Freud may be out of fashion, but who could dispute his profound contributions to science and culture?

Frederick Crews could — and has, for close to four decades. He has urged a clear-eyed view not just of psychoanalytic theory but of the integrity, process, and motivations of Freud the man. Now, 11 years in the works, comes his capstone biography of the Master, Sigmund Freud: The Making of an Illusion (Metropolitan Books). It offers, not including notes, 666 pages — what would Freud the occultist make of that? — of diligently documented ugliness. The prose is brisk — neither sensationalized nor ranting. The result feels like a scorching summation for the prosecution.

I agree that Frederick Crews is an important opponent of Freud, as in fact was Richard Webster (1950-2011), who is also recommended by this psychologist and philosopher.

Also, I should add that I never believed in Freud, which may have to do with the facts that I am younger than Crews (who started as a sort of Freudian) and that I bought "Oedipus - Myth and Conflict" when I was 16, simply because I was interested in what
psychoanalysis/psychiatry had to say about me:

The book was a fair summary of Freudian thinking from 1900-1950 or so, but the theories it propounded struck me as utter nonsense for the most part (and also quite amazing nonsense in 1966: How could anyone be convinced of this bullshit?!?!) and this diagnosis stayed the same or got worse after I studied psychology.

That is, I really thought Freud was a fraud [3] in 1966, and I still think so over 50 years later - and I am a psychologist. I am glad that Frederick Crew - at long last, for he is in his 80ies - published this book, that I did not read, but with which I probably agree
with for the most part (and I did read essays by Crew, so I know what he is like).

This article is fair in the sense that it gives considerable space to Freudians and psycho- analists. I will not discuss their opinions, except for this bit:
And if psychoanalysis is so rickety, Harris asks, why do humanists who discover it in academe so often want to pursue training as therapists? And why are psychoanalytic institutes in Eastern Europe, China, and elsewhere so hungry for it?
Because humanists know very rarely much or anything about real science; because nobody knows how the brain generates human experience; because being a psycho- therapist is a very easy totally uncontrollable job that pays very well; and because most human beings are prone to believe all kinds of mythology, also if they are academics, and especially if they are academics without much or any idea about science, philosophy of science or logic - to name a few reasons.

There is this on the career that the young Freud carved out for himself:
The young Freud did make a name for himself, it’s true — but as a foolhardy shill for cocaine’s much wider and more indiscriminate medical application. That stance came to embarrass him and drive him even harder to seek some magnificent accomplishment that would eclipse it.

Having decided subsequently that psychoanalysis could be that breakthrough, Freud elaborates and reshuffles case details when not making them up whole cloth.

He is a reckless, greedy, bullying, inept, and monomaniacal clinician. He fosters some patients’ addictions to morphine, cocaine, or both. He treats symptoms with possible physiological causes — arthritis, say, or ovarian cysts — as obvious consequences of hysteria. He bilks rich but hopeless clients for whom he has no sympathy or coherent treatment plan. He sleeps through his afternoon sessions, confident nonetheless that he’s absorbing some psychic gist of his analysands’ complaints.

He also takes a lot of cocaine for a long time (no less than 15 years). And here is some more on Freud's character:

Crews’s Freud is also a backstabbing protégé and colleague — groveling for the attention of the physician Wilhelm Fliess, for instance, then blurring the record to suggest that Fliess’s notion of a universal bisexuality was Freud’s own.

He is a tyrannical husband, belittling and possibly cheating on his wife, Martha. He is a snob, notably toward Jews of a lower social order than his own. He is a depressive who self-medicates with cocaine on and off for 15 years, lofting himself into many of the grandiose flights of sloppy theorizing that become psychoanalysis.

Yes indeed. There is a lot more in the article, which is recommended.

It will probably not convince you if you are an academic with little real knowledge of real science, but then you can read the book by Crew, or papers and books by Webster, that do outline, in a quite rational fashion also, why Freud was an irrational

Also, here are links to two articles on psychiatry that I wrote in 2011: On natural philosophy, philosophy of science, and psychiatry, which lists some of the philosophy and philosophy of science people should know if they want to judge Freud rationally (only very few do), and More on Freud and psychiatry that gives further criticism of Freud, e.g. as given by Thomas Szasz and by Richard Webster.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better.

I remind you (again) that when I say "an article is recommended" I mean that I recommend you to read it all (which you can do by clicking its title).

[3] That is, he told fairy tales and myths in order to make (a lot) of money, and he was fundamentally dishonest and a cheater. It is somewhat interesting that the page on fraud in the Wikipedia starts as follows: "
In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right": That seems quite right.

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