from December 23, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than three years
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
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from December 23, 2018:
1. The Narcissistic Donald Trump’s Latest
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:
2. Are Democrats Attempting to Kneecap
the Green New Deal?
3. Here's why Trump is a great gift to America
4. Yes, there is a war between science and religion
5. 10 Steps to Save American Democracy
Narcissistic Donald Trump’s Latest Antics
This article is by
James Risen on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Well... yes and no, though
mostly yes. But I am a psychologist and Risen is not,
so I do want to say that - according to many psychologists,
myself, and many psychiatrists - Trump is insane because he
is a grandiose narcissist aka (and better, but this good English
since 1895 - has been totally removed from Wikipedia) a
but saying he is a psychopath is far less precise than the
just gave, and besides at least somewhat confusing.
A malicious loner paralyzed
one of the world’s great cities this week. Meanwhile, a drone operator
shut down a major international airport.
Donald Trump and the drone
enthusiast who halted flights out of London’s Gatwick Airport
apparently have a lot in common. Both have been willing to wreak havoc
with a callous disregard for the public.
The motivation behind
Trump’s pre-holiday assault on Washington — sowing chaos, breaking
promises, shutting down the federal government, changing his policies
from one minute to the next, forcing out one top official after
another, spooking the stock market – is easily explained. Trump is a
psychopathic criminal who feels cornered by Special Counsel Robert
Mueller, so he is lashing out in every direction.
After two years in office,
at least one thing about Trump has become predictable: He reacts
violently whenever Mueller appears to be making progress in his
Indeed, here is the first paragraph of the item ¨Psychopathy¨ on the
Wikipedia (minus note numbers):
I more or less agree with
the above first statement, but I completely disagree with the thesis
that psychopathy is synonymous with sociopathy (which essentially
means: not having
the accepted social norms - as e.g. in the Soviet Union, which shows
sociopathy is basically bullshit).
traditionally a personality disorder characterized by
persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy
disinhibited, and egotistical
traits. It is sometimes considered synonymous
Different conceptions of psychopathy have been used throughout history that are only partly
overlapping and may sometimes be contradictory.
In any case, this is sufficient for this review. Here is more from
Trump has plenty of
worry about Mueller these days. The signs are everywhere that Mueller’s
investigation is intensifying and closing in on Trump and the crooks
around him. It is even possible that Mueller may soon complete his work
and issue a final report – or even a criminal indictment of Trump.
What’s worse, from Trump’s point of view, is that in January the
Democrats will take over the House of Representatives from his
Republican enablers, making it far more difficult for him to get rid of
Mueller. In fact, the House Intelligence Committee, which has been a
laughingstock under Republican rule, will soon have a Democratic chair
with subpoena power to conduct an aggressive investigation of Trump,
perhaps picking up where Mueller leaves off.
This is all correct, to the
best of my knowledge. This is followed by a fairly lengthy survey of
Trump´s present main problems, but I skipped all that and only give you
the ending of this article:
No, I disagree, indeed in
part because I am a psychologist. Here is my argument:
With so many of his cronies
facing serious legal trouble and ready to cooperate with Mueller, it’s
no wonder that a weak and frightened Trump has started insulting them
in public. He called Cohen a “rat” for being willing to talk.
Bottom line: Anyone who
thinks that Trump’s frenzied troop pullouts and government closure this
week have anything to do with substantive policy issues hasn’t been
paying attention for the last two years. Anyone who thinks that Trump
actually cares about immigration, border security, the well-being of
American troops, or U.S. involvement in Syria or Afghanistan will be
deeply disappointed when he suddenly reverses himself again a few days
or weeks from now, if and when he believes such a reversal will help
him survive Robert Mueller.
Never forget that
everything Trump does is about saving his own skin.
First, I agree with Risen (if that is what he means) that Trump is insane because he is a grandiose
narcissist. (Please check the latest link but one if you never did
so.) In fact, this is what I think, based on my own
knowledge of psychology and psychiatry, and my own experiences
But second, I think that Trump does have an ideology, and
that ideology is neofascism.
Here is how I define neofascism (and this is a good definition,
at least from a technical point of view, unlike nearly all attempts at
defining things by journalists that I have read):
Neofascism is a. A social system that is
marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where
the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that
propounds an ethics which has profit as
its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist,
anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist,
and that has a corporative
organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are
stronger than a national government or state, b. A political philosophy or
movement based on or advocating such a social system.
I insist that all 10 points of this definition can be
supported from videos by Trump, but I leave it at that in this
review. And this is a recommended article.
Democrats Attempting to Kneecap the Green New Deal?
This article is by
Jake Johnson on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as
Yes, I agree (and the last
indented bit is by Ocasio-Cortez), and in fact I may go a bit further,
for I think there are basically two kinds of
In what critics denounced
as a blatant
attempt to shield fossil fuel executives and cripple
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) proposed Green New Deal
Select Committee before it even gets off the ground, incoming House
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters
on Wednesday that—unlike other
congressional committees—the new panel “will not have subpoena power”
and will serve as a mere “recommendatory committee.”
Hoyer’s remarks immediately
sparked fury from progressives, including Ocasio-Cortez herself, who
noted that while the Select Committee isn’t “our ultimate end goal,” a
“weak committee misses the point and endangers people.”
Those who depend on financial support by the rich, which
seems the present majority, that also has nearly all the powers in the
Democratic Party, and to whom Steny Hoyer belongs, and those which
do not (at present) depend on financial support by the rich, to who
Ocasio- Cortez belongs, and which is a minority of mostly newly elected
Here is more from the article:
Yes, I completely
agree. Here is more:
In a statement,
Sunrise Movement spokesperson Varshini Prakash condemned the expected
decision to deny the Green New Deal Select Committee subpoena power as
“an insult to the thousands of young people across the country who have
been calling on the Democratic Party leadership to have the courage to
stand up to fossil fuel billionaires and make sure our generation has a
While Hoyer—whose office
has recently been targeted by youth-led climate protests and
sit-ins—claimed to have no idea why the Green New Deal Select Committee
would need subpoena power, critics were quick to point out that such
authority would be necessary for the body to compel fossil fuel
executives to testify and turn over crucial documents.
“The sole purpose of this
is protecting fossil fuel executives,” HuffPost reporter Zach
Carter said in response to Hoyer’s remarks.
I once again completely
agree - and I think it is Good News that ¨the vast
majority of the American public¨ seems to approve.
Waleed Shahid, spokesperson
for Justice Democrats, argued that the Democratic leadership’s move to
create a toothless Green New Deal committee represents yet another
glaring example of how out of touch the party establishment is with the
surging support for bold climate action among the vast
majority of the American public.
“The Democratic Party
establishment never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity,”
Shahid declared in
a statement. “They have failed to propose solutions that match the
scale of the climate crisis and they have failed to fully hold fossil
fuel billionaires accountable.”
“Instead of seizing the
opportunity right in front of them,” he concluded, “they have decided
to violate the norms of most select committees by stripping away its
power to bring the barons of the industry to account.”
Indeed, here is the last bit from this article:
“We think that the
needs to have the authority and the capacity to develop a plan for a
Green New Deal to transition our economy to a zero-carbon economy in a
10-year timeframe,” Trent said. “Without subpoena power, without the
ability to draft legislation, without the commitment to not put members
in seats that are taking money from the fossil fuel industry, then we
don’t think we would have the capacity to do so.”
According to a survey published
this week by Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication
and George Mason University, a Green New Deal is extremely popular
among the American public. The new poll found that 81 percent of
Americans—including 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of
Republicans—support the ambitious proposal.
I completely agree,
find it somewhat inspiring that ¨92
percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans (..) support the
ambitious proposal¨. And this is
a strongly recommended article.
why Trump is a great gift to America
is by Jeremy Sherman on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
Assuming he goes down in
flames before he causes us to; assuming that what’s left of our
democracy ends him before he ends what’s left of our democracy, Trump
will have been the best thing that ever happened to America, indeed,
among the best for our global survival imperative – figuring out how to
spot and thwart the asshole impulse in human nature.
You can’t thwart what you can’t spot. Even with all our experience with
the asshole impulse, we’re still lousy at spotting it.
Trump is the absolute best, the greatest, the most tremendous negative
role model we could ask for. He is the e-z reader of sleazy leaders,
the large print edition, the 1st grader’s Where’s Waldo or word finder
puzzle for spotting assholes.
No, I disagree that (as the
¨Trump is a great gift to America¨, although I do think that
election of Trump as president of the USA did show one thing: How stupid
vast parts of the American electorate is.
I am also quite certain of this, but
this is not at all what Sherman has in mind. What Sherman has in mind
is this ¨diagnosis¨:
Trump is different. He’s
generic. He has no ideology to distract us. He’s essence of asshole,
authoritarian distillate. He’s pure, uncut, unalloyed, unadulterated by
any tinge of cover-story ideology. Eau de asshole.
That is, in Sherman´s opinions (i) Trump
an asshole, and indeed I don´t disagree, but also (ii) being an
is a sort of political diagnosis of the man, which I think is a
that only allows Sherman to pretend that his scolding has a
If he has (which I do not think, but suppose
so), here is his ground:
If humanity is to survive, we
therefore, need to know how to spot an asshole, an authoritarian who
will end free society. It’s no good getting distracted by this or that
asshole’s style or platform. We need to be able to spot assholes from
any corner no matter how they’re camouflaged. We need to be able to
recognize essence of asshole.
case you doubt my
So what is the essence of
asshole stated as simply as possible so everyone can learn to spot it?
It comes down to this: Assholes and asshole movements (cults) have a
simple formula that proves that they deserve all the power no matter
what they do. It’s a trump card that justifies a wild card and a wild
card that justifies a trump card.
If you are convinced by this, I do not
you are intelligent enough to read Nederlog.
there is a war between science and religion
is by Jerry Coyne
on AlterNet and originally on The Conversation. It starts as follows:
Yes, I fundamentally
with Jerry Coyne, that
is, to be a bit more precise:
As the West becomes more
and more secular, and the discoveries of evolutionary biology and
cosmology shrink the boundaries of faith, the claims that science and
religion are compatible grow louder. If you’re a believer who doesn’t
want to seem anti-science, what can you do? You must argue that your
faith – or any faith – is perfectly compatible with science.
And so one sees claim after
claim from believers,
science organizations and even
atheists asserting not only that science and religion are
compatible, but also that they can actually help each other. This claim
is called “accommodationism.”
But I argue that this is
misguided: that science and religion are not only in conflict – even at
“war” – but also represent incompatible ways of viewing the world.
I agree that science and religion ¨represent incompatible ways of viewing the
world¨, and I possibly agree
that science and religion are at war - but to fully agree I
need some more precision on what science is (I am a scientist and a
philosopher of science, who maintains that at present considerable
parts of what is presented as science in fact is not
science, but some
kind of pseudoscience)
and also what religion is (because there are very many
religions, that widely differ).
Here is more:
I mostly agree, although I
probably do not believe as much as Coyne does that many scientists are ¨trying [their] hardest to prove that [their]
hypothesis is wrong¨, but I
am willing to agree that this
part is mostly happening by trying to replicate ¨ [their] and others’
results to increase confidence in your inference¨ (although this also seems to happen too little, but
My argument runs like this.
I’ll construe “science” as the set of tools we use to find truth about
the universe, with the understanding that these truths are provisional
rather than absolute. These tools include observing nature, framing and
testing hypotheses, trying your hardest to prove that your hypothesis
is wrong to test your confidence that it’s right, doing experiments and
above all replicating your and others’ results to increase confidence
in your inference.
And I’ll define religion as
does philosopher Daniel Dennett: “Social systems whose participants
avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be
sought.” Of course many religions don’t fit that definition, but the
ones whose compatibility with science is touted most often – the
Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – fill the bill.
Here is more about the differences between science and religion:
Yes, I think this is
correct - and here is my own definition of faith, which I
think you should read if you are interested in the present subject (the
distinction of science and religion) and did not do so before.
In contrast to the
science, religion adjudicates truth not empirically, but via dogma,
scripture and authority – in other words, through faith, defined
in Hebrews 11 as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen.” In science, faith without evidence is a vice,
while in religion it’s a virtue.
Here is more:
Two ways to look at
the same thing, never the twain shall meet. And yet, without supporting
believe a number of religious claims: 74 percent of us believe in
God, 68 percent in the divinity of Jesus, 68 percent in Heaven, 57
percent in the virgin birth, and 58 percent in the Devil and Hell. Why
do they think these are true? Faith.
Well... it is not
faith, but also stupidity and ignorance, I am quite certain. (And it is
true that scientists, as a group, are more intelligent than all
Here is more:
Yes. I suppose I agree,
although I believe(d) that there are over 3000 religions. In any case,
there are many, and they all disagree with each other as well.
There are over 4,000 religions on this planet,
and their “truths” are quite different. (Muslims and Jews, for
instance, absolutely reject the Christian belief that Jesus was the son
Here is some more:
Yes, I think that is
correct, although I also insist that science is - at least, and for the
most part, in so far as it is real science - is rational.
The “war” between science
religion, then, is a conflict about whether you have good reasons for
believing what you do: whether you see faith as a vice or a virtue.
Here is more:
Yes, I mostly agree,
although I did not know that 64 percent of ¨our elite
the USA) are agnostics or atheists, and I also am quite certain there is
a difference in intelligence between ¨elite
scientists¨ and the
What is not disputable is
that today science is practiced as an atheistic discipline – and
largely by atheists. There’s a
huge disparity in religiosity between American scientists and Americans as a whole:
64 percent of our elite scientists are atheists or agnostics, compared
to only 6 percent of the general population – more than a tenfold
difference. Whether this reflects differential attraction of
nonbelievers to science or science eroding belief – I suspect both
factors operate – the figures are prima facie evidence for a
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I agree and this is a strongly
In the end, it’s
decide what’s true in your daily life using empirical evidence, but
then rely on wishful-thinking and ancient superstitions to judge the
“truths” undergirding your faith. This leads to a mind (no matter how
scientifically renowned) at war with itself, producing the cognitive
dissonance that prompts accommodationism. If you decide to have good
reasons for holding any beliefs, then you must choose between faith and
reason. And as facts become increasingly important for the welfare of
our species and our planet, people should see faith for what it is: not
a virtue but a defect.
5. 10 Steps to Save
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
I mostly agree with Reich
(althoug he is less radical than I am, it seems to me), and I will copy
the 10 points in so far as he bolded them, but suppress the associated
text, which you can read bt going to the above article:
Trump isn’t the only
problem. As Big Money floods our political system, and some in
power are intent on making it harder for certain people to vote, we
need a movement to save our democracy.
Here are 10 steps:
I agree with each of these
steps and this is a recommended article.
Number 1: Make voter
registration automatic for all eligible voters
Number 2: Pass a new
Voting Rights Act
Number 3: Implement
public financing of elections
Number 4: Require
public disclosure of the sources of all political donations
Number 5: End the
revolving door between serving in government and lobbying
Number 6: Ban members of
Congress from owning specific shares of stock while they’re in office
Number 7: Require that
all candidates running for Congress and the presidency release their
Number 8: Eliminate
gerrymandered districts by creating independent redistricting
Number 9: Make the
Electoral College irrelevant
10 and finally: Fight
for a Supreme Court that will reverse its Citizens United decision
Follow these 10 steps and
begin to make our democracy work again.
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).