Sunday, October 8, 2017

Crisis: Trump´s Insanity, Bad Things, Zigzag, Putin´s Deeds, Modern ¨Journalism¨

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from October 8, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Sunday, October 8, 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 will continue with it.

On the moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading [2]:

A. Selections from October 8, 2017
1. Worried About Trump’s Mental Stability?
     The Worst Is Yet to Come.

2. 5 of the Worst Things We Know Were
     Emphatically Confirmed Again This Week

3. President Zigzag
4. Vladimir Putin’s 17 years in power: The

5. The problem with modern “journalism”
     summed up in one story
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. Worried About Trump’s Mental Stability? The Worst Is Yet to Come. 

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

Is Donald Trump psychologically unstable and unfit for office? Does the president of the United States have a dangerous mental illness of some shape or form?

Ask his fellow Republicans.

During the GOP primaries, Marco Rubio suggested he was a “lunatic,” Rand Paul dubbed him a “delusional narcissist,” and Ted Cruz denounced him as “utterly amoral” and “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen.” Mitt Romney opined, “His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader,” and Jeb Bush declared, “He needs therapy.”
Ask the ghostwriter of his best-selling book, “The Art of the Deal.”

Tony Schwartz has called Trump a “sociopath” and has said “there is an excellent possibility” that the Trump presidency “will lead to the end of civilization.”

Yes, indeed. Incidentally, there are more who said so. I leave them to your interests and turn to the psychologists and psychiatrists who said so (and register that I am a psychologist, and that I totally agree: See my Nederlog of March 14, 2016):

Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo — of the famous Stanford prison study — suggests the “unbalanced” Trump is a “specific personality type: an unbridled, or extreme, present hedonist” and “narcissist.” Psychiatrist Lance Dodes, a former Harvard Medical School professor, says Trump’s “sociopathic characteristics are undeniable” and his speech and behavior show signs of “significant mental derangement.” Clinical psychologist John Gartner, a 28-year veteran of John Hopkins University Medical School, argues that Trump is a “malignant narcissist” and “evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader.” For Gartner, the “catastrophe” of a Trump presidency “might have been avoided if we in the mental health community had told the public the truth, instead of allowing ourselves to be gagged by the Goldwater rule.”

Quite so, and Gartner may be right, and is right in implying that ¨we in the mental health community¨ should have ¨told the public the truth¨.

But instead nearly all psychiatrists hid behind a rule that seems to have been designed to let psychiatrists keep making money without any public responsibilities. [3]

Next, here is an introduction to the psychiatrist from the Yale School of Medicine who gets interviewed in this article:

“The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump” was conceived of and edited by Professor Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine, who writes of her profession’s moral and civic “duty to warn” the American public about the threat posed by their volatile, erratic and thin-skinned president.

Quite so. And the interview is interesting. It ends as follows:

MH: How worried should we be that Trump has access to the nuclear codes?

BL: Well, that is our critical concern: that his condition is actually probably far worse than people are detecting now; that [his] mental impairment goes deeper and is far more pervasive than people can understand when they are untrained in psychological matters. And that the worst is yet to come.

I entirely agree. Trump is insane, and should be removed from power as soon as possible. And this is a recommended article.

2. 5 of the Worst Things We Know Were Emphatically Confirmed Again This Week

This article is by Kati Holloway on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Time somehow seems both longer and shorter these days. The news cycle whizzes by, with multiple stories breaking at previously unheard-of hours, making it feel like we’re in some warp-speed crisis machine with the TRUMP logo emblazoned along its side. This produces the opposite effect as well, causing what happened just days ago to feel like months past, the wearing effect of having an open Pandora’s box calling the shots from the White House.
Here are 5 horrible things we already knew, that were confirmed this week.
Actually, this does not hold for me. But I agree I am every day making an effort in Nederlog, and I can understand people who have trouble in keeping up with Trump´s insanity and Trump´s neofascism (and if you disagree, you probably have not read my definition of the last term).

Kati Holloway identifies the following five things (just) from last week, and I only quote their titles, and leave the associated texts to your interests:
1. Trump is a moron—and everyone, including his
     staffers, knows it.

2. Breitbart is a white supremacist organization.
3. News coverage of mass shooters is racist.
4. Rape culture is real, and entire industries are

5. Donald Trump is a racist international
     embarrassment who is inept at leading in times of
     both crisis and stability.

I mostly agree, although I don´t think Trump is - literally, speaking with due precision - ¨a moron¨, but I do think he is a malignant narcissist (see item 1 for prominent psychologists and psychiatrists who agree with me) and I also think (wholly apart from his madness) that he lacks the intellectual and personal qualifications that are required in a president of the United States.

And this is a recommended article.

3. President Zigzag

This article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

President Trump’s bellicose speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month sparked a crisis for the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that was then reaching out to North Korea and Iran, with Trump’s comments jeopardizing not only the talks but the credibility of the intermediaries, according to a source familiar with those efforts.

Trump essentially pulled the rug out from under the intermediaries by insulting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” threatening to “totally destroy” Kim’s nation of 25 million people, and calling for regime change in Iran. Trump’s bluster on Sept. 19 also deepened internal tensions with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was privately supporting the secret diplomacy.

The next day, when one of the intermediaries complained about the harm that Trump’s speech had caused, the President glibly explained that he liked to “zigzag” in charting his foreign policy, the source said.

Yes indeed.

And let me once again point out that if North Korea goes, a large part of South Korea also goes, which means that Trump is risking to kill or help kill 25 million in North Korea + 51 million in South Korea, which sums together to 76 million persons, which is 15 million more than all the persons killed in World War II on the allied site, and - if all of them get killed, which seems probable if nuclear arms are used - also more than the total number of deads in World War II, which is 73 million persons.

But Trump is not only very sane in his own opinion, but also one of the greatest individuals that ever lived, again in his own opinion.

Here is one more bit from this article:

Trump’s “zigzag” approach to foreign policy has similarities to President Richard Nixon’s infamous “madman theory,” in which Nixon pretended to be crazy enough to launch a nuclear strike against North Vietnam in a ploy to gain concessions from Hanoi and its allies during the Vietnam War.

Quite possibly so. And this is a recommended article.

4. Vladimir Putin’s 17 years in power: The scorecard

This article is by Alex Krainer on The Off-Guardian and originally on The Naked Hedgie. This is from near the beginning (minus a footnote):

To start with, Putin played the pivotal role in keeping the country from disintegrating. When he came to power, Russia’s regional governors were writing their own laws, disregarded presidential instructions and were not even returning their republics’ tax receipts to the Federation’s purse. Mikhail Gorbachev stated that Putin “saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse. A lot of the regions did not recognize our constitution.” But this historical feat was only the starting point of the subsequent renaissance of the nation. Its economy returned to growth and became more vibrant and diverse than it had been perhaps since the reforms of Pyotr Stolypin of the early 1900s.

I think that is correct, i.e. that Putin “saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse. There is a whole lot more in the article, which was surprising to me.

For example, this:

In 2000, Russia was one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Without instituting draconian purges, Putin took on the oligarchs and steadily curtailed their power, gradually returning Russia to the rule of law.  By 2016, his government had reduced corruption to about the same level as that of the United States. That was the empirical result of the annual study on corruption published in 2016 by Ernst & Young.

And there is this:

One of the strategically important sectors where Russia has made striking progress is its agricultural industry. After the disastrous 1990s, when she found herself dependent on food imports, Russia again became self-sufficient in food production and a net food exporter. By 2014, Russian exports of agricultural products reached nearly $20 billion, almost a full third of her revenues from oil and gas exports. Not only is Russia now producing abundant food for its own needs, the government is explicitly favoring production of healthy foods, a strategy which includes a ban on the cultivation of genetically modified (GMO) crops, introduced by the State Duma in February of 2014.

And this is just the beginning of much more, including quite a few graphics, that all spell out the message that Russia is doing quite well under Putin in the eyes of most Russians.

This article may be a bit one-sided (and I don´t know Russian), but it certainly is quite interesting and is strongly recommended.

5. The problem with modern “journalism” summed up in one story

This article is by Kit on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows (and mind the title):
That a protest Facebook/twitter account focusing on the mistreatment of black people by American police was actually a fake account run by Russians to make the US look bad and spread division in the West…is one hell of a claim. If you were to make it, you’d probably be expected to supply evidence to back up your accusation. That’s only reasonable.

Well, CNN don’t feel the need.
Which meant that CNN was indulging in the providing of propaganda, and not in the providing of honest information. And indeed I agree with Kit that that is the main sin of the mainstream media in general.

But going back to the article, that treats one - exemplary - case:

Now, the headline doesn’t say HOW these accounts were linked to Russia, or indeed who linked them. But that’s OK, because neither does the body of the text. There’s not a single link, source or piece of evidence cited at all. The only basis for the claim is:

two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN

That’s it. In total. They never say who these two sources are (leaving the very real possibility they don’t even exist), they never say what their supposed “knowledge of the situation” is. They tell us nothing of any note, and have the gall to put “exclusive” in the headline.

Yes, and that made it into pure bullshit, for if one cannot judge something supposedly real on the basis of real evidence, what one is reading is not honest information but dishonest bullshit.

Here is Kit´s sum-up:

No reference to the keystone questions of journalism – who, when, where, why, how. No reference to evidence or sources, or agendas. Just a vague analysis of the plausibility of a rumor started by CNN on the basis of two anonymous sources with “knowledge of the situation”. This is the modern method of spreading propaganda – through a concerted effort of repetition without evidence, you can turn a lie into a “fact”.

That is the cancerous absurdity of today’s “journalism” in a nutshell.

Yes, indeed: I entirely agree (and I have been following the crisis since 2008, and in more detail than almost anyone I know of: see here).

And - I quite agree, on the basis of very much evidence about there being no good evidence whatsoever in the mainstream media for many of their claims - this is the level of a lot of the ¨news¨ you get these days in the mainstream media (which are far more important in terms of the number of its readers/viewers than the non-mainstream media): it must be considered as bullshit, because without real evidence about the sources of the news, these sources may as well not exist at all or may be pure liars from anywhere: You don´t know, and also you can´t know because your mainstream source simply does not give any real evidence that might be used to test their claims.

This is a recommended article.


[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 (!!).

[2] Yes, you are right: I start Nederlogs again with a list of the titles of the articles I review in that Nederlog. In fact, I did start that way around 2011/2012, and instituted it (so to speak) in 2013. This was maintained until June of 2017, when I stopped doing it mostly because my health got worse then. Since my condition now has again somewhat improved I return - more or less - to the style I used in 2013.

[3] For it may be considered fair not to diagnose a named private person who has little or no power, as nearly everyone does, but it is completely unfair to refuse to diagnose a person who sets out to become the most powerful man on earth, and who can fire nuclear missiles at his will: If psychiatry can tell anything about mental health, it should do so whenever possibly mad political leaders are involved, simply because mad political leaders may kill very many because of their madness.
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