Thursday, October 12, 2017

Crisis: Nuclear Trump, Dictatorial Trump, Catalonia, Deregulatory Trump, On Power

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from October 12, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday
, October 12, 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:

A. Selections from October 12, 2017
1. Mr. Trump Alone Can Order a Nuclear Strike.
     Congress Can Change That.

2. Citing Dictatorial Tendencies, Critics Slam Trump
     for 'Madcap Threat' Aimed at NBC

3. As Catalonia Plans Independence from Spain,
     Julian Assange Advises Organizers on Secure

4. As Trump Pushes Massive Deregulatory Agenda,
     One Key Beneficiary: Donald Trump

5. Power Corrupts: A Culture of Compliance Breeds
     Despots and Predators
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. Mr. Trump Alone Can Order a Nuclear Strike. Congress Can Change That.

This article is by The Editorial Board of The New York Times. It starts as follows:

The broad debate over President Trump’s fitness for the difficult and demanding office he holds has recently been reframed in a more pointed and urgent way: Does he understand, and can he responsibly manage, the most destructive nuclear arsenal on earth?

The question arises for several reasons. He has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. He has reportedly pressed for a massive buildup in the American nuclear arsenal, which already contains too many — 4,000 — warheads. And soon he will decide whether to sustain or set a course to possibly unravel the immensely important Iran nuclear deal.

Yes indeed, but I can give at least a partial answer, by a psychologist, to the question posed in the first paragraph: Trump is not sane. And I must add that I think by now - and I formulated this the first time on March 14, 2016, and indeed simply applied the DSM-5, on which Trump evidently scores 8 out of 8 criterions for being a narcissist - after 53,000 psychologists agree, that it is a shortcoming in the NYT that it doesn't mention this possibility (one year and ten months after I formulated it, and I was - by far - not the first to do so).

But I agree with the rest, and here is more:

Mr. Trump’s policy pronouncements during the campaign betrayed either profound ignorance or dangerous nonchalance: At one point he wondered why America had nuclear weapons if it didn’t use them; at another he suggested that Japan and South Korea, which have long lived under the American security umbrella, should develop their own nuclear weapons. But nothing he said has been quite as unsettling as his recent tweetstorms about North Korea, his warnings of “fire and fury” and his quip about “the calm before the storm.”

Yes I agree, but being a psychologist who agrees with tens of thousands of other psychologists that Trump is evidently not sane make this even more serious.

Here is one bit from quite a few more that the NYT quotes to show that the amounts of nuclear arms that the USA presently has is already far too many:

A New York Times analysis found the U.S. could use 1,103 nuclear warheads and decimate China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and Syria...

... and still have 2,897 left.

I should add that if Trump does "decimate China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and Syria" or indeed "just" the first two, it is highly probable most of mankind will die, if not from being blown up then from radiation.

This article ends as follows:

Many have hoped, and still hope, that Mr. Trump’s aggressive posture is mostly theater, designed to slake his thirst for attention, keep adversaries off guard and force changes in their behavior by words alone. But there is no underlying strategy to his loose talk, and whatever he means by it, Congress has been sufficiently alarmed to consider legislation that would bar the president from launching a first nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress. It wouldn’t take away the president’s ability to defend the country.
As things stand now, the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, passed when there was more concern about trigger-happy generals than elected civilian leaders, gives the president sole control. He could unleash the apocalyptic force of the American nuclear arsenal by his word alone, and within minutes.

Again I insist that in my eyes, and in the eyes of tens of thousands of other psychologists, Trump is not sane, which also means that quite a few of his motives are irrational, personal, mad and unpredictable.

Then again, I agree with the last statement:

[Trump can] unleash the apocalyptic force of the American nuclear arsenal by his word alone, and within minutes.

This is a recommended article, in which there is considerably more. 

2. Citing Dictatorial Tendencies, Critics Slam Trump for 'Madcap Threat' Aimed at NBC

This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Free speech advocates and journalists spoke out against President Donald Trump's latest attack on the news media on Wednesday after he suggested a "challenge" of NBC's license.

Michael Copps, the former FCC commissioner who now serves as special advisor to the grassroots organization Common Cause, noted that while Trump isn't legally able to carry out his threats, his attempts to intimidate the press are deeply disconcerting:

This madcap threat, if pursued, would be blatant and unacceptable intervention in the decisions of an independent agency. The law does not countenance such interference. President Trump might be happier as emperor, but I think the American people would strip him of his clothes on this issue. Additionally, it's not just NBC stations that will find this threat chilling, but also smaller independent stations around the country who might lack the resources to fight back.

Trump made the comment about NBC's license after the network published a report saying the president shocked his national security team earlier this year by requesting a "tenfold" increase in the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal. Trump denied the report on Twitter, and in a televised Oval Office appearance he attacked NBC for its reliance on anonymous sources. "It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write," Trump told

Any autocratic dictator completely agrees with Donald Trump that
"It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write (..)"
It is called "freedom of the press" but clearly the president of the USA wants to forbid anyone writing anything that displeases him, while the present Supreme Court already has totally re-interpreted the First Amendment as a license for the rich to spend what they please on propaganda to manipulate the non-rich: See Citizens United v. FEC on Wikipedia.

And this is a recommended article.

3. As Catalonia Plans Independence from Spain, Julian Assange Advises Organizers on Secure Messaging

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau is calling for Spain to remove thousands of state police who have been deployed to Catalonia ahead of tonight’s expected declaration of independence by regional President Carles Puigdemont, possibly triggering intervention by Spanish forces. We speak with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has been advising those pushing to secede on how to communicate securely even as the state pushes back.

Incidentally, in case you have not read George Orwell's (<-Wikipedia) "Homage to Catalonia" (<-Wikipedia) - which is about Catalonia and Spain in 1937, and quite interesting and well-written - you should do so these days.

Here is some more from the beginning of this article:

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Spain, where thousands are expected to gather outside Catalonia’s Parliament in Barcelona this evening, when regional President Carles Puigdemont is expected to declare independence from Spain. This is Puigdemont’s first address to Parliament following an October 1st referendum that produced an overwhelming vote for secession and provoked a standoff with the Spanish government, which ruled the vote illegal. Tonight’s announcement could trigger intervention by Spanish forces. Puigdemont originally promised to declare independence within 48 hours of a victory for the secessionist campaign, but has instead called for negotiations.

Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau said Monday the results of the referendum are not enough to declare independence, but also urged Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to help decrease tension by removing thousands of state police who have been deployed to the region.

That is the present situation (or more precisely, yesterday's situation). Here is the last bit that I quote from this article, still from its beginning:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Catalans who support the independence referendum have had help from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who tweeted hundreds of times in the days leading up to the referendum, including a video that advised Catalans how to communicate and organize through secure channels. This is a clip.

JULIAN ASSANGE: The Spanish state security is repressive toward the Catalonian population, make it easy for them to understand the structure of Catalonian society—who speaks to who, what do they speak about, who’s important, who’s not important, etc. So, you protect yourself, you protect your friends. If you protect your friends, you protect your community. If you protect the community, you protect the whole society. …

In a situation like this, where there is serious repression developing against people who are trying to communicate their political desires, then, actually, we have a responsibility. A burden falls upon us, those people who understand, to try and teach everyone else.

Yes indeed. I agree with Assange - although I much doubt that the great majority of computer users will be able to protect themselves, simply because the secret services have now had 16 years of continuous freedom to spy on everyone, with means that very few completely understand.

There is considerably more in this article, that is recommended.

4. As Trump Pushes Massive Deregulatory Agenda, One Key Beneficiary: Donald Trump

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
As President Donald Trump and his cabinet move aggressively to implement their far-reaching and "potentially devastating" deregulatory agenda—slashing everything from environmental rules protecting the public water supply to labor standards shielding workers from harmful chemicals—many have begun to loudly raise the all-important question: who benefits? According to a Public Citizen report unveiled Wednesday, the answer in many cases is Trump himself.

Authored by Public Citizen research director Rick Claypool and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the new analysis finds that "Trump's flurry of deregulatory policies and executive orders—especially his unconstitutional 'one in, two out' order—all point to one goal: allowing reckless corporations to regulate themselves, a model that has been spectacularly unsuccessful in the past."

"Meanwhile," Claypool and Cicilline add, "Trump's refusal to cede ownership of his businesses means the president can personally profit from gutting environmental, worker, health, and financial protections."

Yes indeed, I nearly completely agree but like to precisify that "allowing reckless corporations to regulate themselves" has been spectacularly successful for the rich corporations and their rich owners, though indeed also spectacularly unsuccessful for nearly everybody else. And indeed Trump is one who will profit a lot from his own measures.

This is a recommended article in which there is more.

5. Power Corrupts: A Culture of Compliance Breeds Despots and Predators

This article is by John Whitehead on Washington's Blog and originally on the Rutherford Institute. This starts as follows:

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”        – Frank Herbert

Power corrupts.

Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.

We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.

Yes indeed. And let me add my - original - definition of power:

Power: In society: The ability to make someone do or believe something if one desires it. The ability to make someone believe something is also called influence.

There is considerably more in my Philosophical Dictionary, but most of the rest is logic (and I do not insist on it either: the above is crucial).

The powerful (who always are in a small minority, because one is powerful if one's own desires commands the doings of - often very many - others in crucial ways) can be tamed (to a considerable extent) by appropriate laws in a democratic society, but then Bill Clinton started to vastly deregulate the laws that displeased the rich (and Clinton earned around $120 million in speeches after he ceased being president: he was suitably rewarded for his betrayals of the rights and the laws that protected the many).

And this gave vastly more power to the few rich and the rich corporations, as Clinton very well knew, for that is why he did it.

Here are some of the consequences of deregulating the powerful to do what they please in the present USA:

Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.

Police officers will continue to shoot and kill unarmed citizens. Government agents—including local police—will continue to dress and act like soldiers on a battlefield.

Bloated government agencies will continue to fleece taxpayers while eroding our liberties. Government technicians will continue to spy on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors will continue to make a killing by waging endless wars abroad.

And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.

There is considerably more in this article, that ends as follows:

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, I’m not just talking about the political predators in office, but the ones who are running the show behind the scenes—the shadow government —comprised of unelected government bureaucrats whose powers are unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.

There is no way to erase the scars left by the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.

“We the people”—men and women alike— have been victims of the police state for so long that not many Americans even remember what it is to be truly free anymore. Worse, few want to shoulder the responsibility that goes along with maintaining freedom.

Still, we must try.

I add: For if you don't try, you can be pretty certain that - if Trump doesn't blow up the world: see item 1 - the vast majority will end up as fully known completely surveilled slaves in a neofascist state where the secret services know everything about anyome.

And 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 (!!).
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