Friday, November 3, 2017

Crisis: Hyperconvenience, Puerto Rico, Donna Brazile, Psychology Study, Trump

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from November 3, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Friday
, November 3, 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 November 3, 2017
1. The Serious Price of the Hyperconvenient

2. Puerto Rico Suffers While Defending Against
     'Disaster Capitalism'

3. Donna Brazile Reveals How Hillary Clinton Bought
     the DNC During the 2016 Primaries

4. Psychology Study Finds Trump Stands out as a
     'Low Analytic' Thinker

5. Is Trump trapped? He’s hemmed in by bad advice,
     with no way out

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. The Serious Price of the Hyperconvenient Economy

This article is by Ralph Nader on his site. It starts as follows:
Apart from sensual appeals, the chief marketing wave in our country is selling convenience. It has reached a level of frenzy with companies like Amazon and Walmart racing your order to your doorstep (with Amazon now wanting the electronic key to your house).

Ever since the industrial revolution, when the division of labor between consumers and producers widened and deepened, the convenience of not having to grow your own food, weave your own clothes and build your own shelter have become a given of economic progress. Expert specialization has tended to make products better and more standardized as well.

But, in recent decades, adding tiers of conveniences touted by the vendors’ television/radio/print advertisements has rarely mentioned the downsides.

Well... yes and no, but I take it Ralph Nader is aware of this. In any case, the presumed "convenience" does seem to presuppose two other changes:

A. The creation of consumers (rather than citizens), that has been going
    on for forty or fifty years, and that is quite well explained by The
    Century of the Self, [2] and
B. the great amount of small shops there were in the Sixties and
    Seventies, whereas nowadays there are almost only fish shops,
    laundromats and insurance companies: all other small shops have
    fallen under the monopolist (in Amsterdam) "Albert Heijn" [3].

So in fact (I take it) the "conveniences" Ralph Nader speaks of (mostly ironically, I'm sure) also involve these two changes, both of which were in fact large inconveniences for most people (who seem to be largely unaware of this, preoccupied as they are by saving a few pence by closely watching the "personalized adverts" that Facebook provides for them and by anonymously trolling their enemies).

Here is another "convenient" inconvenience:

There is the convenience of credit and debit cards. It started in the nineteen fifties when a businessman found it inconvenient in restaurants to have to make sure he had enough cash. Why not sign up restaurants to take the Diner’s Card? Before long the question became, why not take it all the way to enable massive impulse buying, massive invasion of privacy, revolving debt traps, bankruptcies, and the iron collar of unilaterally determined credit scores ratings? Why not deliberately overextend   credit and turn consumers into hooked supplicants who won’t complain  to their car dealers, insurance agencies or landlords for fear of a complaint lowering scores and ratings?

What could be more convenient than signing on the dotted line of fine print contracts or click-on agreements? You don’t have to read, understand, bargain or reject.
Yes, indeed - and soon physical money will also disappear: All you will have is a credit card - that extremely few really understand, simply because no one can read all the laws that come with buying stuff on credit.

And there are these "convenient" inconveniences:
How about the convenience of online gambling, pay-day loan rackets and cosmetic surgery—all loaded with their unpublicized and underreported costs or the “convenience” of outsourcing your judgement and self-control by omnipresent apps?
Yes, indeed. But it is true the billions on Facebook and Twitter love this, indeed mostly because there is no hope they will understand how they are deluded.

And then there are the major neofascistic thieves and deceivers who found internet is really made for them (and not for the poor or the non- rich):
But surely the “free” Facebook and Google do not come with such costs, do they? In return for this “free” service, you surrender your most personal information, which they turn into massive profits without giving you a share. Then they data-mine your buying profile for in-house use or outside sale; they select the news you get and expose you to anonymous, and often fraudulent, solicitations and propaganda. If these violations are invasive and omnipresent for you, just consider how it will affect your children and grandchildren?

I am very much afraid most consumers are simply too stupid and too ignorant to see most or any of the dangers that threaten them.

But this is a recommended article.

2. Puerto Rico Suffers While Defending Against 'Disaster Capitalism'

This article is by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Democracy Now! This article starts as follows:

President Donald Trump lavished praise on himself when commenting on the federal response to the disaster that has overwhelmed Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “I would give myself a 10,” he said on Oct. 19. “I think we’ve done a really great job,” he added, as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello sat silently by his side in the Oval Office. This was just two weeks after Trump’s visit to the island, where he lobbed rolls of paper towels at hurricane survivors. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, appearing on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, responded, “If it’s a 10 out of 100, I agree, because it’s still a failing grade.”

Like the mayor, few think Trump has responded effectively.
Yes, quite so. Here is some more on the situation in Puerto Rico:
“Democracy Now!” traveled to Puerto Rico last weekend to see the devastation firsthand. Well into the second month after Hurricane Maria hit, the island remains dark. By official estimates, almost two-thirds of the island is without electricity.
I say. And there is this:
There are people coming to the island, though: the disaster capitalists. As eloquently articulated by journalist Naomi Klein in her book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” disasters both natural and human-made are increasingly being exploited by for-profit corporations and so-called free-market ideologues to reshape vast swaths of impacted societies, undermining social-welfare systems, privatizing public utilities, busting unions and making obscene profits rebuilding. Post-hurricane Puerto Rico is shaping up to be a textbook case of the shock doctrine.

Yes indeed, and this is a recommended article.

3. Donna Brazile Reveals How Hillary Clinton Bought the DNC During the 2016 Primaries

This article is by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

In a bombshell piece for Politico, excerpted from an upcoming book, Donna Brazile, the former Democratic National Committee chair, outlines her search for evidence that the 2016 Democratic Party nomination process had been rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton—and her shock at finding it.

Brazile, who took over as interim chair after a leak of DNC emails published by WikiLeaks had taken down then-chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, begins the piece by relaying the promise she had made to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to sniff out any proof of collusion between the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign during the party’s primaries.

The leak already provided hints that the DNC had favored Clinton throughout the nomination process, but Brazile says she decided to “follow the money.” What she found was shocking evidence that, as many had suspected all along, Sanders never stood a real chance of becoming the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, not because he wasn’t the better candidate, but because the DNC was quite literally in the Clinton campaign’s pocket.

I say. Well... I agree that "the DNC was quite literally in the Clinton campaign’s pocket", and I also agree Sanders was the (much) better candidate than Clinton.

But I have to admit that I am a bit wary of Donna Brazile - and not because I know much about her, specifically, but because leading political players are anyway suspect in my eyes, and especially in the USA, where most profit on the side (by what seems to me intentional corruption).

And there is this:

The revelation comes shortly after news spread of an upcoming New York Times Magazine piece by Norman Solomon and several others that censures the DNC precisely for not moving forward from the 2016 election having learned any of the crucial lessons the Sanders’ campaign offered.

Brazile’s book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,” is set to come out Nov. 7,  one day shy of the anniversary of last year’s  election.

I will not read it and in fact have given up on the Democrats, at least as long as the present leaders - Clinton, Perez, Pelosi, Feinstein etc. - are in power there.

4. Psychology Study Finds Trump Stands out as a 'Low Analytic' Thinker

This article is by Bob Azarian on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story. It starts as follows:
As political experts remain baffled by Donald Trump’s popularity, scientific studies from the field of psychology continue to shed light on the phenomenon. A new study published in the journal Translational Issues in Psychological Science has shown that Donald Trump stands out amongst other politicians, including fellow presidential candidates and past presidents, as being exceptionally low in analytic thinking.
I am not one of those who "remain baffled by Donald Trump’s popularity" for I have been criticizing the ever increasing stupidity and ignorance that characterizes the majority for 50 years now (for the intentional growth and cultivation of the stupid and the ignorant started in Holland in 1965 [4]).

Also, I am a psychologist, but I must immediately add that I do not think psychology is much of a - real - science. But this is an aside, and I more or less agree with the following bit:
While the analytically-minded see Donald Trump’s opinions and answers as superficial and uninformed, his supporters view them as straightforward and relatable. As absurd as it sounds, now ignorance can apparently be considered a strength for a presidential candidate, as long as they can present it as being folksy.
Indeed ignorance is now much liked, as is the accompanying stupidity: I agree. Then again, I object to the artificial opposition between the supposedly analytically-minded and and the "non-analytically-minded", for this is just a euphemistic way of speaking about the minority that is neither stupid nor ignorant, and the majority that is.

And there are two other dominant reasons for the enormous growth of the influence of the stupid and the ignorant: There have been added - just by Facebook alone - over 2 billion mostly anonymous "writers" and  "commenters" to those who can publish their "ideas" and "values" in their own (for normal computer users) completely anonymous ways, without the least personal responsibility for anything they say or write.

These form what I call the a-social deluded media (but they are in the vast majority).

Here is how much Trump's intelligence scored:
Trump’s average analytic score was more than 3 standard deviations below that of the average Democrat or Republican from the last five election cycles, making him a clear outlier. While most presidential candidates tend to be analytic thinkers, or show a balance between analytic and intuitive thinking, Trump falls squarely on the intuitive side of the continuum.
I do not know (of course) the kind of statistics that were used, but I can say that "3 standard deviations" is a very great difference. (But there are about 2 billion users - just on Faceboook alone - who are not more intelligent of knowledgeable than Trump.)

And this is from the ending of this article (by "a cognitive neuroscientist"):

Essentially, among Trump supporters, it’s just not cool to be smart. The consequences of this mentality becoming widespread could be disastrous. The dumbing down of America, both in politics and society, must be opposed by all those who value rational and logical thought.
Well... "this mentality" - the strong preference of the stupid and the ignorant in almost everything, and especially in politics, the media, and "the news" - has been growing and have been widely practised since over 50 years, so to complain now about this seems extremely late to me.

5. Is Trump trapped? He’s hemmed in by bad advice, with no way out

This article is by Heather Digby Parton on Salon. It starts as follows:

According to The New York Times, the president is cool, calm and collected in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller's indictments of three of his close associates this week. He called up a reporter to say “I’m actually not angry at anybody. I’m not under investigation, as you know. . . . Even if you look at that, there’s not even a mention of Trump in there. . . . It has nothing to do with us.” He also said, “I just got fantastic poll numbers" and that he's "really enjoying" the job. Sure he is.

I say, except that - of course - Trump was lying.

Here is some more, this time related to (previous?) friends of Trump:

According to Sherman, Bannon and Roger Stone are both pushing Trump to take the fight to Mueller, which obviously appeals to Trump's own instincts. Even Bannon understands that firing Mueller at this point would be a political disaster, however. He has apparently suggested that Trump should hire some tougher lawyers to work above Ty Cobb in the White House and should persuade Congress to defund Mueller's investigation (which isn't going to happen.)

I did check out the last link, but it seems to me as if Parton is too certain Mueller will not defunded or taken down.


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] I add that The Century of Self has been appearing and disappearing on Youtubes. I have several links to the four parts of that series in earlier Nederlogs, but I now only say that you may be allowed to find it on Youtube, and that seeing it will help most people (and especially Part 1).

[3] I speak from personal experience: In late 1959 my parents moved to a fairly crowded and popular shopping area, that kept existing until well in the Eigties or Nineties. Since then nearly all the shops have totally disappeared.

The single replacement in Amsterdam ("Albert Heijn") is currently busy destroying everything that I have been eating for decades: baked beans, sour herrings, payable chili-sauce and much more has disappeared from Albert Heijn, all without saying, all to increase their profits.

[4] Yes indeed, though few of the non-Dutch will realize this: From 1865 till 1965 - one hundred years - there were quite good high schools in Holland, that (for entrance into the university) gave 14 or 16 subjects in written examinations, and taught everyone who could manage them at least three foreign languages, mathematics, physics, chemistry, history, geography etc.

From 1965 on this whole system was thrown away and replaced by a system where one could get entry into the Dutch universities by one examinations in one foreign language, and of 6 subjects in all....
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