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Nederlog

Monday, August 28, 2017 

Crisis: On
"Antifa", "Child King", Trump & Nukes, Gun Groups, Labor Day


Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 28, 2017 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, August 28, 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 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 [1] and with my health.

As I 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, followed by
      One selection (usually) from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.


2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 28, 2017

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:

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Behind the rhetoric of the “alt-right” about white nativism and protecting American traditions, history and Christian values is the lust for violence. Behind the rhetoric of antifa, the Black Bloc and the so-called “alt-left” about capitalism, racism, state repression and corporate power is the same lust for violence.The two opposing groups, largely made up of people who have been cast aside by the cruelty of corporate capitalism, have embraced holy war. Their lives, battered by economic misery and social marginalization, have suddenly been filled with meaning. They hold themselves up as the vanguard of the oppressed. They arrogate to themselves the right to use force to silence those they define as the enemy. They sanctify anger. They are infected with the dark, adrenaline-driven lust for confrontation that arises among the disenfranchised when a democracy ceases to function.
In fact, while I - who doesn´t live in the USA - know fairly well what the alt-right” is, I´ve read only ten days ago for the first time something about the so-called anti-fa”.

This is supposed to abbreviate
“anti-fascists”, but while my grandfather, my father, and my mother were genuine and very courageous, real anti-fascists (my father and his father were convicted as political terrorists” in 1941 and sent to the concentration camps) and while I always have been an anti-fascist, I very much doubt the genuine character of the so-called anti-fa”.

I stated my reasons on August 18, and you are referred to that, but here is just the last bit from it, that states one set of my reasons:

I am sorry, but my father, my mother and myself are not "on’-tee-fah"s and not even "antifa"s: I think it is utterly ridiculous to reduce those you are against from "fascists" to "fa"s, but indeed my parents and myself were or are genuine anti-fascists - which seems to be a quite rare breed, and certainly in Holland (where nearly everyone is a relativist and a conformist: that pays the most).

And while I have read this interview with Mark Bray and indeed also the next one (also on Democracy Now!), and while what he says about (classical, European) anti-fascists is mostly correct, one of my reasons to write the above is that I have been hearing much talk about "fascism" ("Nazism", "neofascism", "neo-fascism", "neo-nazis") for over 40 years now (indeed because I was falsely accused of being a fascist in 1977, which falsity was repeated and repeated until 1989) I have NEVER read any definition of "fascism" or "neofascism" (etc.) that made much sense or indeed was more or less adequate given the - enormous - amounts of facts known about the fascists.

Do people want to be ignorant? It seems like it (...)
My other reason is that the whole shape and content of any genuinely Leftist movement has been almost completely destroyed the last 40 years by pretended “leftists”, who reduced being a leftist from genuine political opposition to the capitalist system and its governments to some sort of personal opposition to political incorrectness and "alt-right".

And this happened not only in the USA, but also in Europe and in Holland, where in fact it seems to have gotten started nearly 40 years ago by the neofascistic statement, during the public opening of the
"University" of Amsterdam, that
"Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist"
which served then as the defense of the quasi Marxists who had taken over the "University" of Amsterdam, and later as the defense of the postmodernists, who ruled the "University" of Amsterdam from 1984 till 1995 (when the "parliamentary system" that had ruled the Dutch universities since 1971 was collapsed, and the universities were returned exclusively to the top of the Social Democrats and the professors, since when the "University" of Amsterdam is at least as authoritarian as it was until 1965, and very much worse intellectually speaking).

In brief, while I do know quite a lot about the almost total corruption of the Left and Leftism, most of my knowledge is limited to Holland.

Here is more by Chris Hedges about the deep corruption that has taken hold of the USA since Reagan was president (for many of his policies were also carried on by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom became multi-millionaires by helping the rich):

It was inevitable that we would reach this point. The corporate state has seized and corrupted all democratic institutions, including the two main political parties, to serve the interests of corporate power and maximize global corporate profits. There is no justice in the courts. There is no possibility for reform in the legislative bodies. The executive branch is a dysfunctional mess headed by a narcissistic kleptocrat, con artist and pathological liar. Money has replaced the vote. The consent of the governed is a joke. Our most basic constitutional rights, including the right to privacy and due process, have been taken from us by judicial fiat. The economically marginalized, now a majority of the country, have been rendered invisible by a corporate media dominated by highly paid courtiers spewing out meaningless political and celebrity gossip and trivia as if it were news. The corporate state, unimpeded, is pillaging and looting the carcass of the country and government, along with the natural world, for the personal gain of the 1 percent.
I agree with this diagnosis. Here is Chris Hedges on the white racists and neo-Nazis:
The white racists and neo-Nazis may be unsavory, but they too are victims. They too lost jobs and often live in poverty in deindustrialized wastelands. They too often are plagued by debt, foreclosures, bank repossessions and inability to repay student loans. They too often suffer from evictions, opioid addictions, domestic violence and despair. They too face bankruptcy because of medical bills.
But I do not agree with that bit: Surely, it was much the same in late twenties of the last century, briefly before Hitler was - democratically! - elected. But after Hiter was elected, his Nazis destroyed most of the Left, and in any case I do not see why one should sympathize much with the poor economic and financial situation of most whose stupidity and ignorance led to their becoming Nazis.

Then there is this, which seems to me much more relevant and much more true:

The protests by the radical left now sweeping America, as Aviva Chomsky points out, are too often little more than self-advertisements for moral purity. They are products of a social media culture in which we all are the stars of our own life movie.
(...)
“Rather than organizing for change, individuals seek to enact a statement about their own righteousness,” Chomsky writes in “How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence.”
Yes indeed - and this refers to my above point that the whole shape and content of any genuinely Leftist movement has been almost completely destroyed the last 40 years by pretended “leftists”, who reduced being a leftist from genuine political opposition to the capitalist system and its governments to some sort of personal opposition to political incorrectness and "alt-right".

That is, these are not genuine Leftists (as my grandfather, my father, my mother and very many others were in the Thirties, Forties, Fifties and Sixties of the last century), but they are genuinely confused.

I completely agree with Aviva Chomsky, and also reviewed her article here (a week ago). Here is my conclusion from that review:

There are several possible explanations for the fact that those who pose as "the left" these days are not at all like the vastly more traditional (and real) leftists among whom I was born [2].

Computers and the styles of quasi-communication these engender are part of that explanation, but - it seems to me, also using my own memory - I think the main reason is the rise of postmodernism, that I saw blossom in the 1980ies and 1990ies in the postmodernistic "University" of Amsterdam.

The thrust for postmodernism abated some, compared with the 1980ies and 1990ies, but one reason for this seems to be that it - "Everybody knows there is no truth", in other words - has won great popularity among the mostly ignorant and stupid billions that now "communicate" (mostly anonymously, often offensively) on the internet. [3]

And while this probably was not the end of Aviva Chosmky's article, which is recommended, my own conclusion from the forces of postmodernism, "fake news", bullshit, and the enormous amounts of propaganda and lies in the mainstream media, is that " “activism” [that] emphasize self-improvement or self-expression rather than seeking concrete change in society or policy" is much more like self-adornment, self- aggrandizement and self-promotion than it is like - real - leftist politics.

I simply do not believe in the honesty of postmodernists, and besides I think the vast majority of those I have spoken to (quite a lot since the 1980ies) are obscurantistic and ignorant fools. And indeed, if you are pretending that you oppose racism while you "studiously avoid topics like colonialism, capitalism, exploitation, liberation, revolution, invasion, or other actual analyses of domestic or global affairs", either you must be quite stupid or you must be trying to deceive others.
Finally, here is Aviva Chomsky´s father Noam:
Taking to the street to fight fascists ensures our defeat. Antifa violence, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, is a “major gift to the right, including the militant right.” It fuels the right wing’s paranoid rants about the white race being persecuted and under attack. And it strips anti-capitalists of their moral capital.
I think the Chomskys and Hedges are correct, and this is a - strongly - recommended article.


2. Behold Our ‘Child King’

This article is by Peter Wehner on The New York Times. Wehner, the NYT tells us, "served in the previous three Republican administrations", so he is - I suppose - a prominent Republican. The article starts as follows:

REPUBLICAN lawmakers have seen the Trump disaster coming for a while now. They simply have no clue what to do about it.

A couple of months ago — before we learned that Donald Trump Jr. wanted to spend quality time with people he believed represented the Russian government, before the president publicly humiliated his attorney general and was abandoned by top business executives, before he claimed “some very fine people” were marching in Charlottesville, Va., alongside neo-Nazis and white supremacists — a Republican member of Congress I spoke with called the president a “child king,” a “self-pitying fool.”

Even then, the words that came to mind when some congressional Republicans described the president were “incompetent” and “unfit.”
The reason this article is here is because - I take it - it is by a leading Republican.

And while I do agree (as a psychologist) with the theses that the president is
“incompetent” and “unfit” I somewhat disagree with calling him a “child king,” or a “self-pitying fool”.

My reason is mostly that there are far better diagnoses of Donald Trump´s incapacities for any leading political function (which I agree are difficult for Republicans to agree with), namely that he is a madman (according to - at least - 53,000 psychologists or more) and also a neofascist (in my plausible sense of that term).

The following is considerably more correct:
The political problem facing Republicans is that Mr. Trump’s presidency is a wreck. His agenda is dead in the water. A special counsel is overseeing an investigation of his campaign. The West Wing is dysfunctional. And President Trump is deeply unpopular with most Americans.
I more or less agree, and also with the following (from a leading Republican):

They need to accept, finally, the reality — evident from the moment he declared his candidacy — that Mr. Trump is unfit to govern. He will prove unable to salvage his presidency. As the failures pile up, he’ll act in an even more erratic fashion.

The mental hurdle Republicans have to clear is that in important respects the interests of the Republican Party and those of Donald Trump no longer align. The party has to highlight ways in which it can separate itself from the president.

The article ends as follows:

We are well past the point where equivocations are defensible, and we’re nearly past the point where a moral reconstitution is possible. The damage Mr. Trump has inflicted on the Republican Party is already enormous. If the party doesn’t make a clean break with him, it will be generational.

I tend to agree and this is a recommended article.


3. Get Trump's Finger Off the Nuke Trigger

This article is by Eric Margolis on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

President Trump's ability to trigger a nuclear war is "pretty damn scary" said former U.S. intelligence director James Clapper this week.  Remember when Trump vowed to "bomb the shit" out of his enemies?

I don't have much respect for Clapper, who brazenly lied to Congress and is a ringleader of the deep government’s efforts to overthrow Trump.  But this time, Clapper is 100 percent right.  He's scared and I am too.

I completely agree with Eric Margolis (though I don´t understand "government" after "deep", but that is an aside).

Here is some more:

Unless, of course, Trump, who managed to avoid Vietnam era military service because of a bump on his foot, decides to go nuclear. This would mean hitting North Korea with a score or more nuclear weapons, large and small, before the North could riposte.  North Korea would be totally destroyed, and its 25 million people left dying, maimed or starving.  Japan, the world's third largest economy, would also be shattered.

Nuclear fallout would shower South Korea, Northern China, and Pacific Russia—and eventually blow east to the U.S. and Canadian west coasts. If the Trump administration decided to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, then why not in Afghanistan?  The temptation will be obvious.

Possibly so. But for me the inital two paragraphs are sufficient. And this is a recommended article.

4. 6 Gun Groups That Aren’t for White Right-Wingers

This article is by Kali Holloway on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

I have a theory that the quickest way to get legislative gun control in this country would be to start a movement that successfully convinces millions of black folks to join the NRA. I’m not pro-gun, I just know that a gun rights movement fueled largely by white fright would suddenly see the logic in gun restrictions if more people that didn’t look like them carried firearms.

That’s what happened in the late 1960s when the Black Panther Party for Self Defense started patrolling Oakland’s black neighborhoods while openly carrying guns, which was perfectly legal according to California law. It took only a few months of that for the state legislature to draft the Mulford Act, aimed at ending open carry in the state. After 24 Panthers showed up at the state Capitol armed to the teeth to protest the bill, Gov. Ronald Reagan couldn’t sign it fast enough.

My theory is that this theory of Holloway is pretty silly, for several reasons, some of which were put forward in item 1.

Here is some more:

Having a president who sympathizes with neo-Nazis and fascists has helped mobilize and invigorate hate groups and other violent racists, inspiring some who oppose them to take up arms. To be clear, I am not in support of arming this country, and I’ve never thought throwing guns at the gun problem was a way to solve it. But with so much violence coming from the right, it’s unsurprising that some have decided to battle them on their own playing field. “We didn’t argue our way into white supremacy and slavery,” Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher told Shadowproof, “we’re not going to argue our way out of white supremacy.”

And this is followed by a survey of six armed groups that do not belong to the right. I leave this to your personal interests.


5. Trump’s Labor Day

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

This will be the first Labor Day of the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who came to office riding a wave of anti-establishment anger from average working people. No one can say they didn’t see it coming.

By the time Trump was elected, the typical American household had a net worth 14 percent lower than the typical household in 1984. The richest 1 percent owned more than the bottom 90 percent.

Last year’s annual Wall Street bonus pool alone was larger than the annual year-round earnings of all 3.3 million Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

While 90 percent of US adults born in the early 1940s were earning more than their parents by the time they reached their prime earning years, only half of adults born in the mid-1980s are earning more than their parents in their prime earning years.

Most also have less economic security than their parents.  Nearly one out of every five American workers is in a part-time job. Two-thirds are living paycheck to paycheck.

It so happens that in the USA Labor Day is the first Monday in September. In Europe it tends to be May 1, but - in my leftist experience - this also mostly was dead by the 1970ies.

But this is an aside, and Reich is quite correct in what he says about the USA. Here is some more:

To attribute all this to the impersonal workings of the market, and assume it’s because most workers aren’t “worth” as much as before, is to ignore the increasing ability of moneyed interests to alter the system for their own benefit – demolishing trade unions, turning full-time employees into contract workers, and monopolizing industry.

America’s economic and political elites could have used their growing political and economic clout to help workers get ahead – through better schools and more affordable college, comprehensive job retraining, wage insurance, better public transportation, and expanded unemployment insurance.

And here is the sum-up:

But they did the reverse: They spent more and more of their ever-growing wealth and power to rig the game to their own advantage.

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.

------------------------------
Note

[1] 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 (!!).

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