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Nederlog

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 

Crisis: ¨Hate Speech¨, Harvey, Trump Unfit, Trumpocalyps, On Big Brother



Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 30, 2017 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, August 30, 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 30, 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 Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Terrorist attacks, and the emotions they spawn, almost always prompt calls for fundamental legal rights to be curtailed in the name of preventing future attacks. The formula by now is routine: The victims of the horrific violence are held up as proof that there must be restrictions on advocating whatever ideology motivated the killer to act.

In 2006, after a series of attacks carried out by Muslims, Republican Newt Gingrich called for “a serious debate about the First Amendment” so that “those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules.”

Of Islamic radicals, the former U.S. speaker of the House argued that they do not believe in the Constitution or free speech, and the U.S. should thus “use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people.” In an essay defending his remarks, Gingrich argued that “free speech should not be an acceptable cover for people who are planning to kill other people who have inalienable rights of their own,” adding that “the fact is not all speech is permitted under the Constitution.”

I completely agree with the first paragraph, but I do like to add that the whole concern with terrorism was and is very suspect to me from the very beginning (in 2001), and my reason is in fact Hitler´s Hermann Goering, who said long ago the following:

  

That is, if you tell people they are terrorized by terrorists they will - for the most part - believe you, especially if you are from the government.

And this has been so since 9/11/2001, and has given the secret services the full - factual - liberty to spy on absolutely everyone (with a computer connected to the internet) and find out absolutely everything, which has, at least in my opinion, completely changed politics as they are now, and for the coming period: People who have that amount of power almost certainly will abuse it.

As to the second and third paragraph: What Gingrich does not say is that the American government, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and the US military are doing state terrorism on an enormous scale. What Gingrich does say is to deny free speech to anyone who does not agree with the American government Gingrich likes to see. These ideas are out and out totalitarian or dictatorial.

This is how it goes in Europe:

In 2015, France’s highest court upheld the criminal conviction of 12 pro-Palestinian activists for violating restrictions against hate speech. Their crime? Wearing T-shirts that advocated a boycott of Israel — “Long live Palestine, boycott Israel,” the shirts read — which, the court ruled, violated French law that “prescribes imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000 for parties that ‘provoke discrimination, hatred or violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion.'”
That is, the French government ¨commits violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion¨, or so it seems to me (in so far as - supposed or real - Muslim terrorists are concerned).

Here is more of this utter totalitarian degeneracy at work:
In the UK, “hate speech” has come to include anyone expressing virulent criticism of UK soldiers fighting in war.
Again, in effect (it seems) one is a terrorist in Great Britain if one disagrees - with some virulence, it is true, at least for now - with the policies of the government, or so it seems. And according to the British government and its secret services the British government and its secret services cannot commit terrorism of any kind (if you believe them), it seems because they have the absolute power anyway...

Here is Greenwald about ¨hate speech¨:
This is how hate speech laws are used in virtually every country in which they exist: not only to punish the types of right-wing bigotry that many advocates believe will be suppressed, but also a wide range of views that many on the left believe should be permissible, if not outright accepted. Of course that’s true: Ultimately, what constitutes “hate speech” will be decided by majorities, which means that it is minority views that are vulnerable to suppression.
Yes, indeed: I hate this, you don´t hate it; you hate that, I don´t hate it, and so on for everyone, and the whole idea that there is something objective that is ¨hate speech¨ itself is politically correct bullshit.

Here is the last bit that I quote from Greenwald:
Even if “hate speech” laws were magically applied by authorities exactly as advocates would wish — whereby only the ideas one hates would be suppressed and punished while the ideas one loves would be allowed to flourish — there would still be very good reasons to oppose such laws.
Yes indeed, for the simple reason that it is not true that good and bad are objectively and factually so, as are colors: There are enormous differences between what different people like and approve, and in a - real - democratic society there is and ought to be ample space for many different opinions.

But not according to Gingrich and Goering: They know what is good and bad, and anybody who disagrees with them they call a terrorist.


2. Stalled Over Gulf, Harvey Deepens Texans’ Soggy Misery

This article is by Jack Healy, Richard Perez-Pena and Allen Blinder on The New Yprk Times. It starts as follows:
Five days after the pummeling began — a time when big storms have usually blown through, the sun has come out, and evacuees have returned home — Tropical Storm Harvey refused to go away, battering southeast Texas even more on Tuesday, spreading the destruction into Louisiana and shattering records for rainfall and flooding.

Along 300 miles of Gulf Coast, people poured into shelters by the thousands, straining their capacity; as heavy rain kept falling, some rivers were still rising and floodwater in some areas had not crested yet; and with whole neighborhoods flooded, others were covered in water for the first time. Officials cautioned that the full-fledged rescue-and-escape phase of the crisis, usually finished by now, would continue, and that they still had no way to gauge the scale of the catastrophe — how many dead, how many survivors taking shelter inland or still hunkered down in flooded communities, and how many homes destroyed.

As I said yesterday,

¨on the moment there is not much information about the damages that struck Texas, except that they do seem very considerable¨

and as the above quotation shows, the ¨officials¨

¨have still had no way to gauge the scale of the catastrophe — how many dead, how many survivors taking shelter inland or still hunkered down in flooded communities, and how many homes destroyed.¨

More later.


3. Who Decides Whether Trump Is Unfit to Govern?

This article is by Peter D. Kramer and Sally L. Satel on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

The mental health of Donald Trump has been under scrutiny since he began running for president. Now 28 Democratic Congress members have signed on to a bill, introduced in April, that could lead to a formal evaluation of his fitness.

The bill seeks to set in motion a part of the 25th Amendment that empowers Congress to establish a body to assess the president’s ability to govern. The commission created by the bill would have 11 members, at least eight of whom would be doctors, including four psychiatrists. If the commission doctors found Mr. Trump unfit to govern and the vice president agreed, the vice president would become acting president. Since the 25th Amendment was written to address temporary disability, it allows the president to announce that he has recovered — presumably Mr. Trump would do so immediately — and force a congressional vote on the finding of unfitness.

The role of psychiatry in this process would be problematic. One of us is a lifelong Democrat, the other a Republican (if an increasingly ambivalent one). But as psychiatrists and citizens, we agree on this point: The medical profession and democracy would be ill served if a political determination at this level were ever disguised as clinical judgment.

It so happens that I am a psychologist who is ill for nearly 40 years now, who did study both philosophy and psychology while I was ill, and who got an excellent M.A. degree in psychology while I was denied the right to take an equally excellent M.A. in philosophy, namely because I had criticized those teaching me (forbidden in Holland, it seems, in fact), because I had criticized the insane restructuring of all Dutch universities between 1971 and 1995, and because I headed a student party with a seat in the university parliament, and several seats in various faculty parliaments. [2]

And it so happens that I have been slandered, abused, and denied almost all medical services for nearly 40 years mostly because in Holland the bureaucrats say what the American psychiatrists decided is profitable for themselves, which is that everybody who
has an illness that cannot be found now is ... insane. (I have a real illness that is difficult to establish, precisely because psychiatrists have insisted for nearly 40 years that it doesn´t exist: ME/CFS. I am sorry: it does, and I am not insane and never was, and if I were - nearly forty years! - I would not have been able to become a psychologist.)

That is in itself an insane idea, but that is what one should judge the vast majority of American psychiatry by, in my opinion: Psychiatry is not and never was a real science or real medicine in any plausible sense; psychiatry is a pseudoscience, that also is used in an extremely fraudulent way and done in an extremely dishonest manner.

If you want to see my criticisms of psychiatry, look here: DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" (this is over 300 Kb but quite good and it was often dowloaded (and it is from 2012)) or else here: DSM-5: 100 Nederlogs  about and around the APA and the DSM-5 (this is more specific and from the point of view of a patient with ME who has been denied as a real patient for nearly 40 years now).

Finally, I do not quite understand what Kramer and Satel do want to say, but then again I have - meanwhile - read so much psychiatry that I know that most psychiatrists do tend to blabber.

Here is what they say:

Today, diagnosis is often linked to observable traits, making evaluation at a distance plausible. Even if Mr. Trump refused to cooperate, diagnosis might be the easy part — perhaps too easy. Whether or not they can say so, many experts believe that Mr. Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder. He is grandiose, entitled, desperate for admiration and so on.

But any number of presidents have remained in office despite some level of mental impairment.

The first paragraph is true (although it doesn´t circumvent the so-called Goldwater criterion, that also demands consent from the patient), indeed also in the sense that there are tenthousands of psychologists who say that, in their opinion, Trump is not sane, and there even are some psychiatrists who agree.

The second paragraph seems total bullshit to me: There have been bad and criminal American presidents before Trump, but Trump is unique in quite a few ways, indeed - among other things - precisely because tenthousands of psychologists have said he is evidently not sane (which definitely is a first).

Anyway...


4. John Nichols: "Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America"

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

John Nichols of The Nation talks about his new book, "Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America." The book looks at who is running the government under President Trump, from Betsy DeVos, to Scott Pruitt and Elaine Chao, to Steven Miller.

And that book is based on a good idea (and as an opponent of Amazon, I like it that the title is not linked to Amazon: Get it yourself from your own bookshop if it interests you).

JOHN NICHOLS: (...) Can you imagine, just imagine, any other president of the United States in history saying, at a time of crisis in the country—globally recognized crisis in Houston—that you might shut the entire federal government down because you want to build a wall that everyone agrees isn’t going to work, isn’t going to have any useful effect, just make people’s lives harder? Literally in the state where the flooding is occurring.

And you say, “Well where does this come from? Does this just come from Donald Trump?” And of course the answer is no. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was right. We have an imperial presidency. The way to understand an imperial presidency is immense power in the executive branch. But that power is then distributed by the president to mandarins, to viscounts, to all these people he puts in charge of different agencies, with a purpose.

And his purpose is to implement what Steve Bannon promised. Bannon may not be there, but the promise remains—deconstruction of the regulatory state. A real shifting of things over toward a certain type of highly politicized symbolic actions like the wall, even at the expense of shutting down the government.

I think this is mostly correct. Then again, I like to add that while I agree that Bannon did promise the ¨deconstruction of the regulatory state¨, this plan is in fact as old as Reagan (at least), who proceeded in a similar way as Trump does, namely appointing ministers etc. who do not want to maintain the institutions they head.

AMY GOODMAN: Right now the discussion is the adults in the room, like Ivanka Trump, like John Kelly, now the chief of staff—now President Trump is surrounded by his family members and generals. You’ve got the Chief of Staff—a a general—John Kelly, former head of DHS before that. SOUTHCOM, Southern Command. You’ve got H.R. McMaster who is the National Security Adviser. Not usually a general. He’s a general. And you’ve got General Mattis. People forget that the Secretary of Defense is not usually a general, but a civilian. He had to get a waiver for that position. What about the significance of this and who these people are?

JOHN NICHOLS: This is hugely significant, and I divide the book into different sections where I look at all the players in different areas, privatization being the biggest. But I have a section on the military industrial complex. And I think it’s important to understand it as such.
Yes, I agree with Amy Goodman that Trump´s fondness for generals suggests that he is coursing for war, which is quite frightening simply because I think Trump is not sane (and I am a psychologist, who has had quite extensive experiences with some mad  persons).

As to the
military industrial complex: First look at the last link (if you never did), and next realize that it, or something like it, is these days often referred as the Deep State (but both are conventional names with various uses).

Here is the last bit that I´ll quote:

JOHN NICHOLS: (..) And so here’s what I would say about Gary Cohn. And this is the important thing. I think we have—as people who talk about it—not you folks, but a lot of our media—we’ve lost sight of the fact that we’re living in a crisis of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is a disaster. It’s been a disaster for the U.S. and for countries around the world, combining austerity for everybody who works for a living, huge tax breaks, redistribution of the wealth upwards for the very rich, and hyper militarized—big military spending.

And Gary Cohn—that’s him. That’s what he advances.
Gary Cohn is a Jew who headed Goldman Sachs before he was nominated in Trump´s government, and who did not agree with Trump´s reaction to the event in Charlottes- ville, and who considered (or so he says) resignation because of this, but who did not resign. I agree with Nichols that he is a bad man, for the stated reasons.

As to neoliberalism: First check the last link (which is called ¨Critiques of Libertarianism¨, but this explicitly covers neoliberalism). I think this is well done.

And second, my own view of neoliberalism is that it is (for the most part, and not for all) the polite form of what I call neofascism - which I define as follows:
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 stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
There is considerably more in the interview, that is recommended.


5. How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother

This article is by Alfred McCoy and is taken from his book¨In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power¨. This starts as follows:

In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to a massive expansion of its intelligence infrastructure, particularly of the emerging technologies for digital surveillance, agile drones, and biometric identification. In 2010, almost a decade into this secret war with its voracious appetite for information, the Washington Post reported that the national security state had swelled into a “fourth branch” of the federal government — with 854,000 vetted officials, 263 security organizations, and over 3,000 intelligence units, issuing 50,000 special reports every year.

Though stunning, these statistics only skimmed the visible surface of what had become history’s largest and most lethal clandestine apparatus. According to classified documents that Edward Snowden leaked in 2013, the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies alone had 107,035 employees and a combined “black budget” of $52.6 billion, the equivalent of 10% percent of the vast defense budget.

By sweeping the skies and probing the worldwide web’s undersea cables, the National Security Agency (NSA) could surgically penetrate the confidential communications of just about any leader on the planet, while simultaneously sweeping up billions of ordinary messages.

Yes indeed.

And there is considerably more behind this whole set-up in which a very few people from the executive powers are capable of spying on absolutely everyone living absolutely anywhere (with an internet computer of some kind) and are capable of learning absolutely anyone in more detail than they know themselves.

In fact I think the changes are tremendous and extremely dangerous to everyone living anywhere, and I have outlined my own ideas about them in On The Crisis: 1 - Generalities (repetition) that I recommend you read.

There is also this:

From my own personal experience over the past half-century, and my family’s history over three generations, I’ve found out in the most personal way possible that there’s a real cost to entrusting our civil liberties to the discretion of secret agencies. Let me share just a few of my own “war” stories to explain how I’ve been forced to keep learning and relearning this uncomfortable lesson the hard way.

And this gets illustrated by the rest of the article (that is considerably more specific).

------------------------------
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 (!!).

[2] I have - in fact - explained this quite a number of times, and am too pressed for time to repeat these explanations here and now: Consult the
crisis indexes.
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