1. “Misunderstanding Terrorism”: How the Us vs. Them Mentality
Will Never Stop Attacks
2. Oliver Stone on the History of Wall Street Corruption and the
Future of American Military Power
3. The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate
4. Sorry, Folks, But Donald Trump Is Everything We Deserve
5. Commemorating George Carlin
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, May 14, 2017.
Summary: This is a crisis log
with five items and six dotted links: Item 1 is about the review of a book ("Misunderstanding Terrorism") that may be quite good; item 2 is about a long and good interview of Oliver Stone by Robert Scheer; item 3 is about Russia-gate and Trump; item 4 is a quite good satirical piece in Trump; and item 5 commemorates George Carlin, who was born on May 12, and also links to a clip.
And I today uploaded an updated version of the crisis index: Until the end of April, I wrote 1562 crisis files, starting September 1, 2008.
is the usual about the updating problem that I am now plagued with for no
less than 1 1/2 years, though now only at one of my two
May 14: As to the
The Danish site was againon
time today. The Dutch site was on time today, probably because it is
Sunday, and that is the only time it is on time (mostly) each week...
1. “Misunderstanding Terrorism”: How the Us vs. Them Mentality Will Never Stop Attacks
well from 1996
2015, updating within minutes at most and without any
problem, as indeed is the work of ISPs.
they totally stopped doing this to limit the
readings of my site. I think (but I don't know
anything whatsoever about "xs4all") they now update once
which means that they are - for me - over
10,000 times worse
than they were between 1996 and 2015.
happen now for the 16th month in
succession. And they happen on purpose, because it is extremely simple to do this properly,
and it was done properly from
1996 till late in 2015. (If you want these
horrors, then sign in with
"xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them like the plague.)
And what changed is that you have to refresh (and refresh and refresh
and refresh) to get the latest, which is again NOT as it was
before, from 1996 till 2015, and which for me this only
serves to make it extremely difficult for naive users to get
the latest from my site - that for them may seem to have stuck
somewhere in 2016 or 2015.
And I have to
add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (Xs4all wants immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
article today is by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say, which I do because I completely agree
with this (terrorism is (i) hysteria in the public, and (ii) the intentionally false
bullshit argument to break everyone's privacy), but indeed I also
seldomly read this. And so it is fine this happens here, indeed based
on a solid study.
Finding and stopping terrorists before they strike is often
compared to looking for a needle in a haystack, a cliché that speaks to
the difficulty of preventing a crime that, while deadly, is
uncommon. Counterterrorism officials still suggest that the task would
become easier if they could use profiling to target Muslim
communities. In other words, if they could shrink the size of the
But a new book by Dr. Marc Sageman, a veteran counterterrorism
researcher and former CIA operations officer, argues that this approach,
even if carried to its fullest extension in a nightmare scenario for
civil liberties, would still be ineffective, because jihadist terrorism
is such a statistically rare phenomenon.
In his book “Misunderstanding Terrorism,” Sageman counts 66 Islamic
jihadist terrorist plots in Western countries between 2002 and 2012,
involving a total of 220 perpetrators. This figure works out to an
average of 22 terrorists per year, across a population of roughly 700
million people. Even narrowed to just the Muslim population in Western
countries, estimated at roughly 25 million people, that’s less than one
in 1 million Muslims a year who could be considered terrorists.
Incidentally, note please that for these 220 perpetrators, the privacies of at least 700
million people are now - to the best of my knowledge - part and parcel
of the dossiers of many secret services, who will be able to abuse
their knowledge in myriads of ways, all completely secret: That is the
Here is more:
Because terrorism is so uncommon, he writes, any strategy for combating
it that involves policing entire communities is likely to end up harming
huge numbers of innocent people — thus feeding the same climate of
alienation and hostility that fosters political violence in the first
Yes and no: I agree but - to the best of my
knowledge - stealing the privacies of hundreds of millions of people
without any connection to terrorism is harming exceedingly huge numbers of hitherto private persons (now fully albeit secretively known).
Here is what the research was about and concluded:
“Misunderstanding Terrorism” analyzes every jihadist terrorist plot that
occurred in the United States and Europe over a 10-year period ending
The first paragraph is nice to know. The
first conclusion in the second paragraph was completely known to me by
2005, when I first wrote about terrorism, in Dutch (here).
His research comes to two broad conclusions. The first is that violent
terrorist plots in Western countries are a statistically tiny
phenomenon, which makes blanket counterterrorism approaches an
ill-suited response. The second takeaway is that “social identity
theory” — that is, how people self-identify in a crisis — is the
primary motivating factor behind terrorist attacks.
Also, this means if "blanket counterterrorism" occurs, as it still does on a truly enormous and very frightening scale then (i) "terrorism" was far
more probably a lie, in order to secretly acquire everybody's privacies
(incomes, tastes, values, beliefs, preferences, ownerships - in brief:
everything), which is indeed what I think, and indeed since 2005.
As to the “social identity theory”: People do
not "identify themselves", but they get important part of their
identities by playing parts in diverse groups (families, friends, and
colleagues, notably). So for me (a psychologist) it is - probably - not a “social identity
theory” that plays the main role, but groupthinking.
Here is the last part that I'll quote from this article:
But why does the threat of terrorism resonate so much more in the
popular imagination than other dangers? Sageman argues that identity
politics influence our response to violence, both for victims and for
perpetrators. Most Americans perceive terrorism as something that comes
from an “out-group” rather than from people with whom they identify. As a
result, an attack creates a sense of solidarity, leading people to
react emotively, in contrast to the oft-muted response to more common
forms of violence.
First, again see my groupthinking. Second, I once more quote Hermann Goering:
common people are afraid of terrorism because they are systematically
made afraid of terrorism and terrorists, while it ought to be clear,
that even now, in a time of purported "terrorism" (that state's
terrorists systematically plead, to further the chances and the extents
of their own terrorism of people's personal privacies) fewer people are
killed by terrorists than by cows or by lightning.
It's crazy, from a fairly objective and rational point of view, but it works. For more, see items 4 and 5 below.
And this is a recommended article.
2. Oliver Stone on the History of Wall Street Corruption and the Future of American Military Power
The second article is by Emma Niles on Truthdig:
This starts as follows (and thankfully Truthdig has now attached a written version, which I very much prefer, because I read very much faster than speech, and I only extremely rarely wish to listen to interviews that take several hours):
While the first half of Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer’s hard-hitting conversation with acclaimed director Oliver Stone focused largely on foreign policy, Part 2 of the “Scheer Intelligence” interview centers on the transformation of the American economy.
First, the first half is also well worth reading, as it also comes with text
supplied. And second, as I said, I almost always avoid listening to
three hours of text, if I can read the same in 10 to 20 minutes, as
happens to be the case, for me. (So I am grateful that the texts are supplied.)
One of the films Oliver Stone made is "Wall Street"
Stone, who says his hardworking father inspired him to make “Wall
Street,” tells Scheer he “wanted to do something quite different” from
his earlier films.
“Money, when I grew up, was never talked about. It was considered
gauche, it was not something you were proud of,” Stone explains. “ ‘Wall
Street’ started when I was researching ‘Scarface’ in Miami in 1980 and
running into this phenomenon of the ‘get rich quick’ schemes. ... I
traveled up to Wall Street from Miami, and ... a lot of people who I’d
known as young men were now working on Wall Street—at the same age I
was—and making millions of dollars a year.”
Stone adds that by the 2000s, when he made the sequel, Wall Street
was unrecognizable. “It was another world,” he says. “We were saying
[that] the corruption is beyond just being corruption, it’s just reached
another level of acceptance. It’s a low-hanging fruit to become rich.”
I think that is probably quite true, but I
have no direct experience. Here is the last bit of Emma Niles's
introduction that I'll quote:
I think Stone is quite right. Now to the interview:
Stone also shares his fears about the future of U.S. military power,
telling Scheer that nuclear war seems more likely than ever.
RS: The new crowd, the Gordon Gecko crowd that came in, they
just wanted to get theirs and get out before the shit hit the fan. That
was the basic idea.
OS: Yeah. Because the money was so big.
RS: And that’s what your movie captured; it was a swing moment
in American society. Now we accept and we know that, these guys were a
bunch of swindlers, you know, made legal because they could change the
law and make what they do legal. But they were totally irresponsible,
totally out of control. The thing that from a partisan point of view
that is missed, is that it was Bill Clinton who revived this radical
deregulation, worked with the, you know, the republicans in the Senate
and in Congress, and pushed through the reversal of Franklin—he did what
the original republicans had said they wanted to do. He reversed
Franklin Roosevelt’s legacy.
Yes indeed - or in my own words:
First, the bankers of Wall Street are
swindlers and criminals who now "work" almost completely without any
control, and who can make billions in illegal ways that are never
punished, for the utterly bullshit reason that if they would be punished for their
major crimes, their banks would collapse. This is utter illegal crap,
but very widely accepted.
Second, Bill Clinton in effect signed the laws which allowed the
bankers to go full tilt in almost every kind of fraud and criminality.
And Scheer is completely correct, I think, when he said: Bill Clinton "reversed
Franklin Roosevelt’s legacy".
He did, very consciously as well, and he has meanwhile been made a
multi-millionaire by extremely well-paid and repeated thank-yous from
the bankers. ("And that is how it goes, these days.")
Here is Oliver Stone:
OS: And Clinton, I think, realized that that’s where the bread
was; the butter would be the banks, the money; the Democratic Party
could find a new life out of the banks. And he somehow changed the
whole—the whole system did shift about that time. And you know, the
Clinton years were thought of as good years, but there was a lot of
things that were happening underneath the surface that we now see were
disastrous, such as the reestablishment of NATO in 1999, major countries
in Eastern Europe joining NATO. His—the power of the Rubin—Robert
Rubin, remember him, and the head of the Federal Reserve Board. And
Larry Summers, I played tennis with him not too long ago. These people
came into being, it was a “committee to rule the world,” remember those
Again yes indeed: Quite so. And Rubin and
Summers are two of the sickest persons known to me, simply because they
are more than clever enough to understand quite well what they are
doing, and who they are systematically ripping off: The poor and the uneducated.
Here is more Oliver Stone:
OS: (...) But the truth was, we had changed. And in a sense, there was no need to
do a Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps because our Wall Street, our
society had become so corrupt by 2008 that money was being made. In
other words, the Geckos were out of business because the banks had
become the Geckos. And we’re talking, not $20, $30, $40 million, $50,
$200 million; we’re talking a billion dollars now, per individual. That
never, that concept very rarely existed in the old days; it would be
five, six individuals, the Gettys, the Rockefellers, who would talk that
kind of money. All of a sudden, anybody could make a billion dollars.
Again precisely so, and this was also done
deliberately, and much of it was done to the tunes of "Freedom!
Freedom! Freedom!" - but for the few very rich, to rob the very many
poor, which was precisely never added.
And this is on Trump and his power to blow absolutely everybody up (at least twenty times as well, with modern nuclear weapons):
RS: And we have a president who many people feel is somewhat
unstable, or very much unstable, who is salesman before he’s anything
else, and blah, blah, blah. And he has the power, as any president has
had, to destroy life on this planet in a matter of moments. Right? And
the question is, why hasn’t that been contained?
I am a psychologist, and I say he is a
narcissist, which is a personal pathology, that also means he should
never have been allowed to become president. But alas.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote, from the end:
RS: And mentioning Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not a bad way to
end an interview of this sort, because the fact is, it’s the greatest
act of terror in world history in that you deliberately, deliberately
decide to incinerate people in daytime when children are going to school
to maximize the casualties, to show that your investment in this bomb
was actually justified.
OS: I most fear North Korea right now, in this moment, because
it’s a natural place for Mr. Trump to try out his new—if he wants to be
the tough guy, as Bush was, we’re going to see an example somewhere
I completely agree. This is a recommended article, in which there is also a lot more than I quoted.
3. The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate
The third article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
Where is Stanley Kubrick when we need him? If he hadn’t died in 1999, he
would be the perfect director to transform today’s hysteria over Russia
into a theater-of-the-absurd movie reprising his Cold War classic, “Dr.
Strangelove,” which savagely satirized the madness of nuclear
brinksmanship and the crazed ideology behind it.
The question is a good one in principle, but less so in fact, because Stanley Kubrick
(<-Wikipedia) died at 70, and "Dr. Strangelove" (<-Wikipedia), one of the best and one of the funniest films I have seen, is from 1964 (53 years ago, this year).
But this was an introductory question. Here is more on many Democrats and Donald Trump:
I realize that many Democrats, liberals and progressives hate Donald
Trump so much that they believe that any pretext is justified in taking
him down, even if that plays into the hands of the neoconservatives and
other warmongers. Many people who detest Trump view Russia-gate as the
most likely path to achieve Trump’s impeachment, so this desirable end
justifies whatever means.
I have thought about this question before, and my answer is indebted to the fact that I am a psychologist:
Some people have told me that they even believe that it is the
responsibility of the major news media, the law enforcement and
intelligence communities, and members of Congress to engage in a “soft
coup” against Trump – also known as a “constitutional coup” or “deep state coup” – for the “good of the country.”
I dislike and fear the deep state (especially because it is nearly
completely secret), but I also dislike and fear being blown up,
together with hundreds of millions more, because Donald Trump had a fit
of pique, and while I dislike both the persons of the deep state and
Donald Trump, I also think Trump is not sane (<- evidence by
psychiatrists and psychologists) and should for that reason not be
president of the USA. I want him removed, because not removing him
risks the lives of hundreds of millions and the total civilization
(such as it is).
Here is more on Russia-gate:
That is where Russia-gate comes in. The gauzy allegation that Trump
and/or his advisers somehow colluded with Russian intelligence officials
to rig the 2016 election would probably clear the threshold for an
extreme action like removing a President.
And, given the determination of many key figures in the Establishment
to get rid of Trump, it should come as no surprise that no one seems to
care that no actual government-verified evidence has been revealed publicly to support any of the Russia-gate allegations.
There’s not even any public evidence from U.S. government agencies
that Russia did “meddle” in the 2016 election or – even if Russia did
slip Democratic emails to WikiLeaks (which WikiLeaks denies) – there has
been zero evidence that the scheme resulted from collusion with Trump’s
Yes indeed, as I have been saying since 2016 as well: There is not any evidence known to the public that Russia-gate is true. And after 7 months, and what with 17 secret services in the USA, it seems rather unlikely there will ever be real evidence of this kind.
Here is the end of the article:
Russia-gate, the hazy suggestion that Putin put Trump in the White
House and that Trump is a Putin “puppet” (as Clinton claimed), became
the principal weapon to use in destroying Trump’s presidency.
However, besides the risks to U.S. stability that would come from an
Establishment-driven “soft coup,” there is the additional danger of
ratcheting up tensions so high with nuclear-armed Russia that this
extreme Russia-bashing takes on a life – or arguably many, many deaths –
of its own.
Which is why America now might need a piercing satire of today’s
Russia-phobia or at least a revival of the Cold War classic, “Dr.
Strangelove,” subtitled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the
I mostly agree - but I also want to get rid of Trump,
and I know, as a psychologist, that it is most unlikely that he will
get any saner than he is. And if I have to choose from two evils, as it
seems I must, I choose against the insane one with his finger on the
4. Sorry, Folks, But Donald Trump Is Everything We Deserve
This starts as follows:
The fourth article today is by David Macaray on Common Dreams:
The main reason (besides the grinding repetition) why I can’t bear to
watch comedians do their self-congratulatory Donald Trump shtick is that
their phony indignation is based on the premise that this guy is
somehow unworthy of being our president, which is ludicrous. Trump is
not only worthy of being president, he’s perfect for it.
Well... I have said, quite a few times
already in Nederlog, that Donald Trump got elected because many
Americans are stupid and many Americans are ignorant, and
I still think so, indeed in good part because I am neither.
Then again, I am also well aware that there is a minority of quite
intelligent and reasonably educated Americans, but indeed this is a
minority, and about the majority the following is (more or less) true - and I quote the headings, but
suppressed the texts, that you can read if you want by clicking the
last dotted link:
Consider: The U.S. is, first and foremost, a nation of dedicated consumers. (..)
The one bit I have left standing is about the strong hatred most ordinary Americans have for real intellectuals.
Consider: We Americans don’t form long queues outside of poetry or literature readings. (..)
Consider: We idolize rich people.(...)
Consider: We idolize TV celebrities, and Trump was a TV celebrity. (...)
Consider: Unlike much of the world, we Americans
despise intellectuals. We pretend we don’t, but we do. We hate
know-it-alls, we hate smarty-pants media types, and we hate "deep
thinkers." We don’t want to be reminded of how ignorant we are. We
like brevity and plain talk. We like certitude. We hate nuance,
ambiguity, and self-doubt. Arguably, not counting Ronald Reagan, Trump
is the most anti-intellectual president since Andrew Jackson. (...)
Consider: We Americans respect muscle, strength and power, which is to say, we prefer war to peace. (...)
Consider: We Americans are a narcissistic people. (..)
I have learned about that hatred especially on Phoenix Rising, indeed
not because it is for people with ME/CFS, but because it is an almost
wholly anonymous site, where I have seen quite a few really intelligent
people being hunted away by hordes of totally anonymous idiots, with an
average IQ of around 85, and with "arguments" that only appeals to
people with those gifts.
It also seems - I despise and abhor Facebook too much to be willing to
find out - there are some 2 billion mostly anonymous members there, of roughly
the same gifts, and with very similar attitudes. And I am sorry, but I
am out, indeed because I fear that these enormous amounts of totally ignorant quite
stupid people, who attack anyone who is more intelligent than they are,
may be the end of the world as well (as "social media"), for policies
are made for majorities, and hardly ever by enlightened
Here is the end:
And yet, for all this, we pretend to be surprised that we have elected a
shallow, dishonest, narcissistic bully as our president? As Kurt
Vonnegut wrote in Mother Night, "We are what we pretend to be. So we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
I like this, for this satire, and it
is also satire based on fact. This is a recommended article, and here
is some more from a similar, but greater source:
5. Commemorating George Carlin
The fifth and last article
today is by Abby Zimet on George Carlin (<-Wikipedia), who was born on May 12, 1937,
which I knew but forgot, indeed in part because May 12 is also
international M.E. day.
Then again, the big difference between George Carlin and the very great number of anonymous writers I know of, is that Carlin was far more intelligent, far better learned, and far more courageous than any of them - and he was extremely funny, and often spoke the truth.
Here is Abby Zimet's article:
This is from Common Dreams, and it backs up the previous item:
The take-no-prisoners George Carlin, who died of heart failure in 2008, would have turned 80
on Friday. It's impossible not to wonder what Carlin - the guy who
famously proclaimed, "In the United States, anybody can be president.
That's the problem" - would have made of the Trump catastrophe, other than a nice spicy stew. Carlin's prescient, brutal, truth-telling cynicism extended not just to politicians but to the soulless corporations that owned them and the shoddy culture that produced them, arguing,
"This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage
in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to
get selfish, ignorant leaders." He portrayed a bleak landscape of "no
rights, only temporary privileges," where no important questions were
asked and "if you think too much, they'll take you away." "When fascism
comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts," he once warned. "It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts."
Quite so! There also is clip of George Carlin, who explains that he likes ordinary people, but "in short bursts", precisely because he hates stupid bullshit. He could have spoken for me:
Enjoy! (And thank you, Common Dreams: This is one of the reasons I really like you.)