A. Selections from August 23, 2017
This is a Nederlog of
This is a
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 probably will
continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health.
explained, the crisis files will have a different
format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items
I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one
selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit
of a taste of the item linked.
So the new format is as follows:
Link to an item with its orginal title,
One selection (usually) from that item
Possibly followed by a brief comment by
me (not indented).
This is illustrated below, in selections A.
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from
August 23, 2017
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:
This article is by
Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin on The New York Times. It starts as
The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch
McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that
they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has
privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage
his administration after a series of summer crises.
What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into
a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility,
complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in
Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on
their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing
have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to
oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing
to their defense.
I say. I much
dislike both, but McConnell does not seem insane to me, while Trump definitely does
(and I am a psychologist). Also
I did not know this, though I was aware of little sympathy between the
president and the majority leader.
Here is a bit
Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats
against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and
questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public
speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing
Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.
In offhand remarks, Mr. McConnell has expressed a sense of
bewilderment about where Mr. Trump’s presidency may be headed, and has
mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the
Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond, according to
people who have spoken to him directly.
think Trump is "unwilling
to learn the basics of governing", I think he is not capable of doing so, and
the reason is not his stupidity or
but his personal character, which is deeply flawed,
unstable, and addicted to the grossest forms of praise and
considerably more in the article, but the main point is that by now
Donald Trump does not have many friends, and he doesn't - it seems to
me and other psycho-
logists - because he is a
of friends also plays an important role in the next item:
Trump Will Resign In Disgrace...Soon
This is not an article
but a video by The
Young Turks (<-Wikipedia). The prediction is by Cenk Uygur
(<-Wikipedia), who is a smart man and who regularly has things right
that many other commentators miss or are wrong about.
Uygur predicted in June of 2015 that Trump would win the presidential
elections (and was right). He now - well, five days ago: sometimes I am
a bit slow - predicts Donald Trump will leave the presidency before the
end of his first term.
This is well worth seeing and takes around 10 minutes (and this is from
before Steve Bannon's dismissal).
One Percent Plans to Ride out the End of the World in Style
This is by Jim
Conn on AlterNet and originally on Capital and Main. This starts as
Maybe they’ve been
watching too many dystopian movies about the end of civilization as we
know it. Or perhaps they feel the anxiety other people feel about
social instability in the country. They may think nuclear war a high
probability or that climate change disasters are inevitable. But while
you and I fret over these apocalyptic scenarios, the super-rich are
planning their survival. Even as the nation suffers a coast-to-coast
housing crisis, they are investing in “safe” places to live.
I say. And while I am
not very amazed (I got somewhat similar instructions in the 1950ies:
covering my head and diving under the school desk, I would save myself
from nuclear explosions) but I agree with the end of the article:
Civilians explored their own
options, beginning with the 1950s fad of backyard bomb shelters. But
now the really rich – from New York to Silicon Valley to Florida – are
spending millions of dollars preparing for the worst. One developer
offers $3 million condos in
Kansas built inside a decommissioned missile silo. The units
come equipped with “state-of-the-art technologies,” walls covered with
the outdoor scenes of your choice, a five-year perpetual food system
and a self-contained source of electricity and water. The whole thing
is guarded by a 24-hour crew of guys with automatic weapons.
difference now is that too many of the super-rich – maybe too many of
all of us – believe a myth of the movies: that one guy with a gun and
enough money can survive anything.
And indeed it is a
Bannon, Destruction Machine: He's Back to Trying to Rebuild a
Right-Wing Media Empire
article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally on Salon.
This starts as follows:
One thing you can say for
Steve Bannon, the former presidential adviser and newly returned
Breitbart News executive editor, is that he knows how to make an exit.
Rumors had been out there since the spring that Bannon was on thin ice.
And the reason given, then and now, that makes the most sense is that
Donald Trump didn’t like his minion receiving so much attention. He was
angry last spring when Bannon made the cover of Time, which Trump
considers to be such a tremendous honor that he constantly boasts about
his own covers, even going so far as to mock up fake ones for Trump properties. The
headline for Bannon’s Time cover was even worse: “The Great
Yes indeed: Trump's main
concern seems to be his GIGANTIC self-image, which is very
than of other (healthier) men, including other rich men: See here. It seems Trump's
self-image was hurt by some of the publicity Bannon did get, and
therefore - or so it seems - Bannon was dismissed.
Here is some more on Bannon
Bannon is, however,
highly influential among Trump supporters, although not as
much as when he was building the Trump mystique. As conservative talk
show host and Never-Trumper Charlie Sykes has been pointing out for some time, Trumpism is
not a movement — it is now a full-fledged cult of personality in which
the president’s followers believe themselves to be under siege from the
same forces Donald Trump rails against: the media, political
correctness, elites of both parties, liberals, racial and ethnic
minorities. The more they see Trump being attacked the more they
identify with him.
It remains to be seen
what Bannon + Breitbart can do. As to Trump: I do not see the
difference between "a movement" and "a cult" (especially not as a cult
seems to me to be a movement), but OK.
The main two things I
hold on to are: Bannon is not any more in the White House,
I use that term), and what he can do with Breitbart remains to
Time to Talk About Trump’s Mental Health
This article is by Eugene Robinson on Common Dreams and originally on
The Washington Post.
I do like to say
immediately and with regards to the title of this article that Robinson
is some two years too late with his claim (at least) that now
it is "time to talk about Trump's mental health":
It has been clear a
long time (to psychologists and psychiatrists) that Trump is a megalomaniac,
which ought to have been a fundamental reason why he should never
have been elected and indeed should never have been given the chance to
be elected: Mad persons should not become presidents.
But this article
starts as follows:
unstable and divorced from reality is President Trump? We’ve reached
the point where the nation has the right and the need to know.
We’re not accustomed to
asking such questions about our presidents. We don’t know how to even
begin inquiring into a president’s mental health, so we rationalize
aberrant behavior as being part of some subtle strategy. We say that
Trump is cleverly playing to his base, or employing the “madman theory”
of foreign relations, or simply being unpredictable to gain an
advantage by keeping everyone off balance.
No, "we" have not
now "reached the
we should be "inquiring into a
president’s mental health": I am
a psychologist, and this should have been done
LONG before, during the primaries or before that. For
there were plenty of reasons.
Anyone can have a
bad day. But according to many published reports, Trump often erupts
into rage — especially when he sees something he doesn’t like on the
cable news shows he is said to watch compulsively.
I have spoken with people
who have known Trump for decades and who say he has changed. He
exhibits less self-awareness, these longtime acquaintances say, and
less capacity for sustained focus. Indeed, it is instructive to compare
television interviews of Trump recorded years ago with those conducted
now. To this layman’s eyes and ears, there seems to have been
deterioration.I am not
professionally qualified to assess the president’s mental health;
psychiatrists and psychologists who have the proper credentials and
experience to do so are silenced by ethical rules.
And again, Robinson
is something like two years to late (at least) - and it is no
excuse that he says
that he is "not
qualified to assess the president’s mental health": Quite a few of those who were have been
president's mental health is bad.
Besides, the "ethical rules" Robinson refers to are in fact financial
(imposed during Goldwater's time) that prevented psychiatrists (not:
psychologists) from speaking up if speaking up based on professional
knowledge would be important for the nation.
There is no scientific
reason whatsoever for these rules (that do protect the earning
potentials of any psychiatrist), and in so far as ethics is
concerned, it surely is ethical to try to warn the
nation if you have professional expertise that says
that the would-be president is not sane. (But psychiatrists
have forbidden themselves of saying so, because this might hurt the
financial benefits of other psychiatrists.)
So if this article is
worthwile reading, it is because it shows that Robinson is too late
something like two years (at least).
Oh well, he's from
The Washington Post...
I have now been saying since the 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.
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 (!!).