A. Selections from
October 29, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, October 29,
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.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from October 29, 2017
Trump's Bizarre Obsession With His Obviously
2. Thousands Serving Long Sentences in an Era of
3. How to Reverse the
'Spiritual Blackout' That
Trump Has Ushered into America
4. Hillary Clinton
Keeps Pointing Fingers
5. Saving Orwell
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:
Bizarre Obsession With His Obviously Questionable Intelligence
article is by Peter Dreier on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Many Americans complain
that Donald Trump has a tiny vocabulary. But he disproved his critics
Wednesday during an impromptu press conference on the South Lawn of the
In the past, Trump has
repeatedly reminded people about his keen intellect by insisting “I’m
smart.” Wednesday, he dug deep into his massive personal word bank and
uttered a five-word sentence, “I’m a very intelligent person.”
take it this beginning is a bit sarcastic, but I agree that Donald
Trump is not "a
very intelligent person".
Then again, I also think this is not the most important fact
about him. I will come to that below, but here are first a few examples
of how Trump boasts his own - he thinks - extreme intelligence:
Even long before he
started running for president, Trump repeatedly claimed that he’s both
well-educated and brainy. Each time, it isn’t clear if he’s trying to
convince his interviewers or himself.
In a 2004 interview
with CNN, Trump said, “I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I got
very good marks. I was a good student. It’s the best business school in
the world, as far as I’m concerned.”
In 2011, in an interview
with ABC, Trump said,
“Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy. I was a really good student
at the best school in the country,” referring once again to Wharton,
the University of Pennsylvania’s business school, where he earned a
bachelor’s degree in 1968.
There is considerably more
in the article. Here I make just three points:
Trump was admitted
to Wharton because of special relations his father had, and not
because of his academic brilliance: That was wholly absent.
Second, if you attempt to prove your great intelligence by stating
that you got a B.A. it seems this itself is sufficient you are not
(which indeed also would have been different if he had gotten a
fine Ph.D. in mathematics or physics).
Third, his B.A. is in the
non-science of business.
Next, there is this about
Trump's real intelligence:
Anyone who feels
compelled to boast how smart he is clearly suffers from a profound
insecurity about his intelligence and accomplishments. In Trump’s case,
he has good reason to have doubts.
Trump has the kind of
street smarts (what he’s called “gut instinct”) characteristic of con
artists and hucksters, but his limited vocabulary, short attention
span, ignorance of policy specifics, indifference to scientific
evidence, and admitted aversion
to reading raise questions about his intellectual abilities—his
capacity to absorb and analyze information and ideas.
Many observers have noted
that Trump has a difficult time expressing himself and speaking in
complete sentences. A linguistic analysis
by Politico found that Trump speaks at a fourth-grade level. A study
by researchers at Carnegie- Mellon University compared last year’s
Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in terms of their
vocabulary and grammar. Trump scored at a fifth-grade level, the lowest
of all the candidates.
Well... yes and no.
That is, I agree
with the stated facts, but - being a psychologist - I explain
these facts in another way than the article does:
that the "profound insecurity
about his intelligence and accom- plishments" is part and parcel of his being - as the psychiatrists say
- "a malignant narcissist", which I translate from this awful
psychiatrese into English as: he
has megalomania, which is a quite serious mental
And it is this
fact that I think ought to typify Donald Trump, although it
also seems as if hardly any journalists reads psychology or
psychiatry, or knows much about it - which is the case (in my -
extensive - experience) since 1 1/2 years now (about Donald Trump).
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article, from near its end:
No, I think this is too
ignorant of what - it seems meanwhile 62,000 - psychologists
have argued, namely that Trump is a very bad choice as a
president because he is
Many observers have noted
Trump’s sociopathic, thin-skinned, demagogic, authoritarian, impulsive,
and vindictive personality. Although Trump has the self-awareness of an
adolescent, it is obvious to many others that his compulsion to
constantly boast “I’m smart” and to deride others as “losers” is rooted
in his profound sense of insecurity.
Presidents don’t have to be
geniuses. But a successful president must recognize his own limitations
and be willing to rely on others’ expertise.
am getting rather sick of pointing out that "sociopathy" and
indeed "malignant narcissism" are recent tech terms of American
psychia- trists that are both copied as a matter of course by
Wikipedia (that even banned the word megalomania from the
list of its lemmas) and that "sociopathy", like very much that
emerged from American psychiatry since 1980 is fallacious bullshit:
A "sociopath" is merely
someone whose opinions differ from
the currently most popular ones, and should not be a ground
to call someone insane, indeed except in the former Soviet Union,
where this was widely practised, also before "sociopathy" was advanced
by American psychiatrists for - what I take to be - the same reasons as
the Soviet psychiatry practised it: To defame persons and lock them
up as insane, while the only thing provably wrong with them is that
they disagree with the government.
And in fact the correct
term for "sociopathy", which also has a
rather different definition, is the term "psychopathy",
that again has been banished from American psychiatry, although
it is kept up by a few sane psychiatrists.
In any case, my reading of Trump is that he is mad because he
is an evident megalomaniac, and that he is very dangerous for these
But this is a recommended article, because it gives information
about Trump's fairly low intelligence.
Serving Long Sentences in an Era of Pot
article is by Tana Ganeva on AlterNet.
“There are people
serving life for marijuana,” Deedee Kirkwood says. “When I tell
people about this, they don’t believe me.”
It does defy
plausibility, even in the context of the American criminal justice
system, which is hardly famous for being rational or sane. According to
the ACLU’s “A
Living Death” report, as of 2012, 3,278 people were serving life
without parole for nonviolent crimes—and that’s just federally and in
nine states. The states that have locked away the most people per
capita are Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina,
Even at a time
when more Americans support pot legalization—a Gallup poll released Wednesday
found that 64 percent of Americans want legal weed—Fate Winslow is not
the only person serving an absurdly long sentence for marijuana.
I say, because I did not know that no less than "64 percent of Americans" want legal weed, although I did know that quite a few
are locked up for life for the crime of owning or selling small amounts
of marijuana, and quite a few others get very long sentences
for the same crime.
In contrast, being Dutch I could get stoned the
last fifty (!!!) years without running any risk
whatsoever on any legal prosecution (if one buys no more than 5
grams a day).
Also, while I think since 48 years (at least) that marijuana
is the least dangerous recreative drug of all (including the - much
more dangerous - alcohol) and while the Dutch have kept marijuana illegal
all these years (it seems because Dutch politicians have earned
large illegal amounts of money by keeping it illegal the
30 years), at least they were sane enough of not prosecuting
anyone at all for smoking or owning small amounts of marijuana.
Here is one
more bit from this article:
survey released this week(referenced
above) found that for the first time, even a majority of Republicans
support marijuana legalization.
Even if the
Sessions DoJ did shake up markets for a bit, that’s a far cry from
dying in prison for a drug most college kids can get any night of the
week by texting their weed delivery guy.
I did not
know that "even a majority
of Republicans support marijuana legalization" but I can assure them that anybody could get as
stoned as they pleased in Holland for the last fifty years, while all
these years there has been very little harm done by smoking
considerably more in the article, that is recommended.
to Reverse the 'Spiritual Blackout' That Trump Has Ushered into America
This article is by
Adam Szetela on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Not many people can say
they have done yoga with Amy Goodman. But then again, not many people
have been to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Founded in
1977, the institute has been a spiritual haven and progressive force in
a world cut through with hate, anger and ignorance. Last week, the
institute held a multi-day retreat focused on the union of
contemplative wisdom and political activism. In between yoga poses,
performative art, meditation sessions, and communal dining, leaders of
the progressive left gave talks on how to proceed in difficult times.
Here is what they had to say.
say that I am not
much (or at all) impressed by "a
spiritual haven and progressive force in a world cut through with hate,
anger and ignorance", if only
because this sounds far too dogmatic and far too vague.
is because I am
also not into "yoga
poses, performative art, [and] meditation sessions" and indeed none of these had much or
anything to do with Left politics, about which I do know
quite a lot. Or at least not till recently.
Here is some more:
Cornel West helped to
kick off Friday evening with a fiery sermon that condemned
neoliberalism and the rising tide of neofascism in America. His words
were soaked in metaphors, alliteration and the hip-hop style that
Harvard president Larry Summers once called "an embarrassment."
In between his rebuke of Wall Street and its political puppets, West
made the important point that what America is experiencing is not just
economic and political tyranny, but an “eclipse of integrity, honesty,
decency, and generosity. It is the escalation of gangster-like
Hm. I agree
often come to quite the same (read my lemma neofascism
before you disagree), but I deny that - right now, or in the recent
past - "what America is
experiencing is [..] just economic and political tyranny": It may grow into that, but it is not
Then there is this, that
for this psychologist is merely the latest of some 50 years of similar
For Jon Kabat-Zinn,
mindfulness is a valuable tool activists can use to better understand
how “conditioned” and “robotic” their minds are.
O wow! "mindfulness" can be used "to
better understand" "how “conditioned” and “robotic” their minds" (unenlightened by Kabat-Zinn, to be sure)
I am sorry, but this is
just fashionable bullshit.  And this article ends as follows:
the speakers concurred that the current historical moment is
representative of a broader moral and spiritual crisis in America. They
also made the point that Trump has enormous power as president to
further degrade the moral and spiritual climate in our country. It is
up to the people to ensure that greed, hate, anger, sexism, patriarchy,
transphobia, xenophobia, and the whole potpourri of what West describes
as "neoliberal soulcraft" does not continue to spread across America
and the rest of the world. To stop this, we will not only need mass
movements; we will need an understanding of where our shortcomings are,
the ability to listen to those we disagree with, and a whole lot of
empathy and love.
I am sorry, once again, to
read that "It is up to the people
to ensure that greed, hate, anger, sexism, patriarchy, transphobia,
xenophobia, and the whole potpourri of what West describes as
"neoliberal soulcraft" does not continue to spread across America and
the rest of the world."
My main reason is that "the people" did not ensure any
of that the last fifty years: It is just bombastic baloney.
Clinton Keeps Pointing Fingers
article by Dennis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows
and is in fact an interview with John Pilger:
of the failure of the corporate press to report fully on Hillary
Clinton’s policy failures throughout her career, it was difficult for
voters to perceive how dangerous her presidency might have been,
although many Democratic voters bolted to Bernie Sanders and enough
Americans voted against her last November to give Donald Trump his
narrow Electoral College victory.
following conversation with the legendary filmmaker and muckraking
journalist John Pilger, we leap off from his
recent article regarding Clinton’s new book and her recent
appearance on Australian Broadcasting (ABC).
I like John
Pilger and that is one reason to review this article. But here is more:
Pilger: (...) When I was in New York recently I read quite a few
interviews conducted by female reporters with Hillary Clinton in which
she was portrayed as a feminist and therefore all else should be set
aside if not forgiven. This was what came across in the Sarah
Ferguson interview. It opens with “your pain seemed almost
visceral, describe your pain to us.” It was as if she were being
invited to lie on a therapist’s couch instead of being interviewed.
This has run right through interviews with Clinton by women
journalists. The whole question of identity politics has such
potency now that a corrupt politician who deceived and abused the
electorate can be held up as a martyr.
Yes, and I
have two remarks on this:
since my parents were both communists all their adult lives, as was a
grandfather, while I also had two grandparents who were anarchists all
their adult lives, I am quite well informed about Left politics
including feminism. And about the "feminism" I have
seen since the late 1960ies, that introduced a lot of
I say it never was real feminism, as follows from the
fact that a few academic "feminists" helped to make all women into
wage-slaves, because that way the academic "feminists" had nice,
well-paid, mostly postmodernistic
"identity politics", like postmodernism and political
correctness, are all plain totalitarian
is this on censorship:
Dennis Bernstein: The
feeling you get in watching this whole thing unfold is that this is a
full-court press to distract from the content of the released emails.
John Pilger: It is very
easy to distract attention from something if you simply don’t mention
it. I have always felt that the most virulent form of censorship
is censorship by omission. The whole nefarious state of the
Clintons and the Clinton Foundation is simply left out of these
interviews. Hillary Clinton is able to plead a kind of special
case for herself because she is a woman and a feminist.
precisely. There is considerably more in this article, that is recom-
This article is by Peter Ross on the Boston Review Net.
This is from near the beginning:
We were in Senate
House, now part of the University of London, for 1984 Live.
For the first time in the United Kingdom, the book was to be read aloud
publicly from start to finish. It had been estimated that it would take
sixty or so readers—well-known journalists, academics, actors,
activists—thirteen hours, that Orwellian number, to get from the bright
cold day to the gin-scented tears.
This is from a rather
long article, and the only thing I have to note about the above bit is
that it does seem to be (bolding added) "the first time in the United Kingdom", that is, in the 68 years it
The event was being staged
as part of the University College London Festival of Culture and
organized by the Orwell Foundation, a charity celebrating the
author’s work and values. Its director, Jean Seaton, explained that the
idea had come “last summer, just after Brexit, but before Trump. The
world felt dark and full of lies. Still does.”
I skip a lot and arrive at this bit:
concerned that the novel was being interpreted across the Atlantic as
an anti-communist or anti-left polemic, rather than the warning against
totalitarianism that he had intended. True, he said, the name he had
given to the political ideology of Oceania was Ingsoc—or English
Socialism—but he could easily have chosen something different: “In the
USA the phrase ‘Americanism’ or ‘hundred per cent Americanism’ is
suitable and . . . as totalitarian as anyone could wish.”
Yes, that is also
correct (I know, for I have read almost all of Orwell): Orwell was a socialist, at least
since 1937, and he also died a socialist, and those who deny this
either lie or have not read him.
As to reading Orwell, here is the last bit that I quote from this
flesh-and-blood Orwell is not well known. He exists more vividly as a
set of ideas and moral positions that can be used to shore up one’s own
argument. Being conveniently dead, he has been pressed into the service
of various causes, from invading Afghanistan to remaining part of the
European Union. Conservative commentators have described as “Orwellian”
the removal of Confederate statues from public space, while liberal
pundits have suggested that Antifa—which supports taking down the
statues—displays a certain comradeship with Orwell in its willingness
to take a physical stand against fascism. There is a tendency by both
left and right, as the journalist Paul Gray once wrote, “to hold
Orwell’s coat while sending his ghost out to battle.”
Well... if the "flesh-and-blood Orwell is not well known" this must be because people
refuse to read him, but are not at all above pretending they did, and
falsifying his intentions and his - quite clear - words.
I have now been saying since
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl 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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
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).
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 observe that (i) the term
"megalomania" did exist in the Wikipedia, 1 1/2 year ago; (ii)
it has since been totally disappeared in favor of the bullshit
psychiatrese "malignant (or: grandiose) narcissism", while (iii) I see
no reason whatsoever for deleting the term "megalo- mania" and
on - the awful and ugly - psychiatrese.
Then again, I see many signs that the Wikipedia is being taken over.
 I am sorry, but I am a
philosopher and a psychologist, and I have recently looked into
mindfulness and Kabat-Zinn because a girlfriend that I had in the late
1960ies turned to that. Well, I say it is bombastic nonsense.