1. ‘It’s Not a Threat!’: Donald Trump Says He May Order
Supporters to Disrupt Bernie
2. Excerpt from 'My Turn, " a Critical Doug Henwood Book
3. Exposing the Libyan
Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary’s
4. It Can’t Happen Here... Can It?
5. Bill Clinton’s odious presidency: Thomas Frank on the
real history of the ’90s
This is a Nederlog of Monday, March 14,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about Trump's threats to Sanders, and includes a little
psychological exercise by me on the type of person Trump is (or seems
to be, from videos), which you may skip; item 2 is about an excerpt of what seems to be a good book on Hillary Clinton; item 3
is about Hillary's e-mails about Libya, that do not mention democracy
or human rights, but are about big money, big power and oil; item 4 is about the question whether fascism is possible in the USA; and item 5
is about Bill Clinton's "odious presidency", which indeed it was when
it is judged from what Clinton did to lessen inequality: Hardly anything; he much increased it.
1. ‘It’s Not a Threat!’: Donald
Trump Says He May Order
Supporters to Disrupt Bernie Sanders’ Rallies
Also, the present file was written very early in the morning, which is
one reason that I postpone reviewing Chris Hedges' article till
first item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump on Sunday morning went
after potential general election rival Bernie Sanders by calling him a
liar and indicated he might soon instruct his own supporters to attend
Sanders’ rallies in order to foment disruption and discord among his
progressive (aka “super-liberal”) base.
In a tweet, Trump declared:
The social media salvo followed a
chaotic cancellation of a Trump rally in Chicago that
turned violent on Friday and images of protesters being pepper-sprayed by police
outside a rally in Kansas City on Saturday night. With waves of
criticisms against Trump reverberating over the weekend for the role
he’s played in ginning up tensions, any expectations or hopes that the
Republican presidential candidate would make efforts to tamp down the
palpable tensions were dashed rather immediately.
I say. There are some four months to go,
but - it seems - we have arrived already at the stage of violence in
these pre-elections, that may soon get a lot worse as well.
So let me step back a little, and consider what I should call
Trump. As I have said before, I mostly agree with Robert Reich, except
that Trump seems to be more of a neo-fascist than a fascist.
Then again, these are - at least in
Reich's and my cases - political judgements rather than personal
ones, and it may very well be that personal judgements on a man like
Trump are better than political judgements.
So here is a little psychological
exercise that you may skip if you are not
interested in these things:
My point is mainly that on a personal
level - and now I am speaking as a psychologist - Trump also doesn't
seem kosher, so to speak, because he is far too much concerned
with and interested in insisting on his personal greatness, his
personal excellence, his personal superiority,
his personal riches, etc. etc. indeed ad nauseam.
And in fact there is a
psychological term for it, and that is in the Wikipedia: Megalomania
(<- Wikipedia). It gets defined there as follows:
Megalomania is a
psychopathological condition characterized by fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence,
and by inflated self-esteem. Historically it was used as a
name for narcissistic personality
disorder prior to the latter's first use by Heinz
Kohut in 1968, and is used today as a non-clinical equivalent.
Next, if you go to narcissistic
personality disorder you find this definition in Wikipedia:
Narcissistic personality disorder
(NPD) is a personality disorder in which a
person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity,
mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to
themselves and often others.
Finally, when you check out the references
given there, you'll find a link to this Wikipedia item:
refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority—a sustained view of
oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others
with disdain or as inferior—as well as to a sense of uniqueness: the
belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that
one can only be understood by a few or very special people.
I think this is the best description, and
I refer you to a list of points in this item:
I think each of these points - apart
from the first - corresponds to sayings by Trump that I have seen.
Pathological grandiosity has been
associated with one of the two subtypes of Narcissistic
Personality Disorder. (Gabbard, 1989)
Characteristics of the narcissist-grandiose subtype (as opposed to the
narcissist-vulnerable subtype) include:
- Being labeled the “oblivious
- Observed lack of insight into the
impact they have on others
- More likely to regulate self-esteem
through overt self-enhancement
- Denial of weaknesses
- Intimidating demands of entitlement
- Consistent anger in unmet expectations
- Devaluation of people that threaten
- Diminished awareness of the
dissonance between their expectations and reality, along with the
impact this has on relationships
- Overt presentation of grandiose
- Conflict within the environment is
generally experienced as external to these individuals and not a
measure of their own unrealistic expectations
Therefore, if I were to judge Trump as a psychologist -
admittedly based on his political videos - I would say he seems quite
clearly to be a grandiose narcissist - and for those who do not know
psychology, I add that this is a personality disorder, which
also is difficult to treat.
After this psychological exercise, back to
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union
with Jake Tapper on Sunday morning, Trump said that he is quite serious
about issuing orders so that his supporters would go and confront
people at Sanders’ rallies.
“It’s not a threat, it’s not a threat.
It’s not a threat at all!” Trump declared when asked by Tapper about
the tweeted message. “My people have said we ought to go to his
rallies, when liberals and super-liberals, I don’t even call ’em
liberals. ... These people are bad people that are looking to do harm
to our country. These people come into mine. … They’re being arrested
and all sorts of things are happening to them. There’s a horrible thing
going on in the media. We are treated so unfairly, and I’m treated so
Maybe Trump believes that if he repeats an
obvious lie three times, it gets converted to a truth? In any case, he is
making threats while saying he isn't;
2. Excerpt from 'My Turn, " a Critical Doug Henwood Book
he again at least implies Bernie Sanders is "unamerican" and "a
and he is again very much concerned with himself.
It seems likely that more violence is to follow, but we shall see.
is by Doug Henwood on AlterNet:
This is what it says it is: an
excerpt of a recent book on Hillary Clinton. It starts as follows:
The title of Daniel Halper’s
book, Clinton, Inc., is key to understanding the family.
Unlike the Bush family, neither Bill nor Hillary was born into anything
near the ruling class. There was no Prescott Bush—the son of a steel
company president who went to Yale, joined Skull and Bones (just like
his son and grandson), and later became a banker and then a senator—in
their separate pasts. Bill was born poor, in one of the poorest states
in the country and into an unstable family, while Hillary was born into
the provincial petty bourgeoisie. Entry into elite schools was their
ticket to eventual membership in the ruling class; it took decades of
striving for them to get there.
Yes, although the "decades
of striving" seem a little exaggerated, e.g. in
view of the fact that Bill Clinton was 30 when he got nominated
Attorney General of Arkansas.
But the rest is correct, as is the next paragraph:
Once established, however,
politics became the family’s business, and it’s been very good to them.
A 2014 Wall Street Journal analysis showed that the Clintons have
raised between $2 billion and $3 billion since 1992—more than
three-quarters of it from industry sources—for their campaigns,
philanthropies, and themselves. At the top of the list of corporate
donors were financial firms, and highest up among them was Goldman
Sachs. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase gave generously as well. Not far
behind Wall Street were communications/electronics firms and then, that
perennial bedrock of Democratic Party support, lawyers and lobbyists.
Those three sectors alone contributed more than ten times as much as
organized labor, which pitched in just $41 million of the total over
the period of the Journal’s study.
Here all I need to say is "Follow The Money!"
- and the Clintons are most beholden to (that is: got most
money from) "Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JP
Morgan Chase" and besides
to the "communications/electronics firms", which - I take it - refers to Google etc.
They literally got billions from these sources, and in fact the
division between their own riches and the riches they use for doing
politics is hard to draw:
It’s hard to separate the
Clintons’ personal fortune from the Foundation’s; the perks it provides
are a form of imputed consumer services, to use the language of
national income accounting—jetting all over, staying in fancy hotels,
eating very well, and the rest. But they have been prodigious earners
on their own account. Bill did most of the heavy financial lifting,
earning $105 million from speeches in the dozen years after he left the
White House; a good week could yield $1.4 million. According to
work by the website 24/7 Wall St, Bill is the 10th-richest of our
presidents, with a net worth of $55 million. (Five of the 10 richest
presidents have been Democrats, compared to two Republicans, and on
average, Democratic presidents are more than three times richer than
Republicans.) But Hillary wasn’t just sitting around baking
cookies: she’s worth $32 million, according to a Politico
analysis. The property taxes on their two houses, one in D.C. and the
other, for which they paid $4.5 million, in Westchester,
are $104,000, twice the average household’s income. It’s a
good life they’ve made for themselves.
In fact, this was the third paragraph, and I
admit that the personal riches of $87 million are lower than earlier
estimates I quoted, that amounted to $120 million dollars.
In any case, they made tremendous amounts of money, and that
seems to have been handed to Bill - at least - for services he had
rendered to the givers during his presidency.
This is an interesting article that is recommended, and you can read
more about Bill Clinton's presidency in item 5,
that is also recommended.
3. Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary’s
third item is by Ellen Brown
(<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This article has an adequate
summary, as follows:
Critics have long questioned why
violent intervention was necessary in Libya. Hillary Clinton’s recently
published emails confirm that it was less about protecting the people
from a dictator than about money, banking, and preventing African
This is about Libya until 2011, under Gaddafi:
Before 2011, Libya had achieved economic
independence, with its own water, its own food, its own oil, its own
money, and its own state-owned bank. It had arisen under Qaddafi from
one of the poorest of countries to the richest in Africa. Education and
medical treatment were
free; having a home was considered a human right; and Libyans
participated in an original
system of local democracy. The country boasted the world’s largest
irrigation system, the
Great Man-made River project, which brought water from the desert
to the cities and coastal areas; and Qaddafi was embarking on a program
to spread this model throughout Africa.
But that was before US-NATO forces bombed
the irrigation system and wreaked havoc on the country. Today the
situation is so dire that President Obama has asked his advisors to
draw up options including a
new military front in Libya, and the Defense Department is
reportedly standing ready with “the full spectrum of military
I add that Gaddafi was not a pleasant
person and was a dictator, but he also did the things ascribed to him.
The rest of the article is adequate and it ends as follows, which seems
Conspicuously absent is any
humanitarian concerns. The objectives are money, power and oil.
4. It Can’t Happen Here... Can It?
The fourth item is by Bob Dreyfuss on
This starts as follows:
Can it happen here?
That’s the question circulating now that
Donald Trump, the nativist, rabble-rousing xenophobe, and billionaire,
is threatening to capture the Republican nomination for president of
the United States -- and it’s a question that isn’t being asked only on
the left. It’s been raised by a New York Times editorial,
which claimed that Trump has brought the GOP “to the brink of fascism,”
Republicans, ranging from neoconservative pundit Max Boot to
Virginia's centrist former Governor Jim Gilmore. Conservative Times
columnist Ross Douthat was reasonably typical in a piece headlined “Is
Donald Trump a Fascist?” While he allowed that The Donald may not
be Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini, he added, “It seems fair to say
that he’s closer to the ‘proto-fascist’ zone on the political spectrum
than either the average American conservative or his recent
predecessors in right-wing populism.”
As far as I know, Robert Reich was one of
the first to call Trump "a fascist", and it is interesting that
few neoconservatives seem to agree with him, at least on a
As far as Bob Dreyfuss is concerned, he partially agrees:
I must admit, however, that
“proto-fascist” sounds about right to me. Certainly, the rise of
Trump has caused many voters to take notice -- the question being
whether the real estate mogul (who further stirred the pot recently by retweeting
a quote from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini) could cobble
together enough of a coalition of nationalists, Angry White Men, “poorly
educated” working-class backers, the disaffected religious right,
Islamophobes, immigrant-bashers, and others to wield the figurative
pitchforks in a march to victory in November.
This gives "proto-fascist" next to
"fascist" and "neo-fascist".
I will let you make your own judgement,
and I merely repeat that I consider it still more unlikely than
likely that Trump wins the presidency, though I must admit that (1) my
faith in the average intelligence and informedness of the American
public is not high, and never was high, and (2) I do not
know how many of his billions Trump will use in advertisements to elect
him, and also that (3) I do not have adequate ideas
about how much a wide and persistent and professionally made advertising
campaign would influence the average American voters.
The article ends as follows:
Though Trump has managed to bring
together disparate elements of what an American fascist movement might
roughly look like, he may not, in the end, be quite the right messenger
for its development, nor may this be quite the right moment for it to
fully develop. Among other things, for such a movement and the armed
militias that would go with it to coalesce, you might need another
2007/2008-style economic meltdown, a crisis long and profound enough
for such a movement to seize the moment. In that case, of course, it’s
also possible that a Bernie Sanders-like leftist or socialist -- or
maybe Sanders himself -- would emerge to capture the ensuing political
and economic unrest in a very different manner. But in The Donald’s
America, don’t rule out the possible emergence of an even more
formidable and threatening Trump-like figure, one unburdened by his
clownish persona, Trump University, and the rest of his billionaire’s
Whether or not Donald Trump wins the
Republican nomination or is elected president, for the gathering
members of his grassroots coalition, he’s certainly shown what can,
indeed, happen here.
This is mostly speculation, and I
know who would be the next Sanders.
I agree with the conclusion - that I
restate as: Yes, Donald Trump's
Bill Clinton’s odious presidency:
Thomas Frank on the real
history of the ’90s
that fascism is possible in the USA, and indeed may be elected
democra- tically, as was Hitler - and this is a recommended article.
The fifth and last item today is by Thomas Frank on Salon:
This has a summary that is adequate:
And this starts as follows:
Welfare reform. NAFTA. The crime bill.
Prisons. Aides wondered if Bill knew who he was. His legacy is sadly
Everyone remembers the years of the Bill
Clinton presidency as good times. The economy was booming, the stock
market was ascending, and the mood was infectious. You felt good about
it even if you didn’t own a single share.
And yet: What did Clinton actually do in
his eight years on Pennsylvania Avenue? While writing this book, I
would periodically ask my liberal friends if they could recall the
progressive laws he got passed, the high-minded policies he fought
for—you know, the good things Bill Clinton got done while he was
president. Why was it, I wondered, that we were supposed to think so
highly of him—apart from his obvious personal charm, I mean?
In fact, I do not recall "the years of the Bill
Clinton presidency as good times" but then I am
not American but Dutch, and this is due to my personal history.
And apart from that, I never was a
fan of Bill Clinton, and I was not because he seemed to be very
much the political type that I much dislike ever since my teens: The
charming grand liar, though I also admit that I was too occupied with my
personal problems due to my personal history in the 1990ies to care
much about American politics.
I do think I was quite correct in
the 1990ies: Bill Clinton was clever; he was charming - and he was
a clever fraud who mostly worked for himself.
As to the last fact, there is this - which gets here formulated a lot
more clearly than I could have done it in the 90ies:
Now we remember that it was Bill
Clinton’s administration that
deregulated derivatives, that deregulated telecom, and that put our
country’s only strong banking laws in the grave. He’s the one who
rammed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress
and who taught the world that the way you respond to a recession is by
paying off the federal deficit. Mass incarceration and the repeal of
welfare, two of Clinton’s other major achievements, are the pillars of
the disciplinary state that has made life so miserable for Americans in
the lower reaches of society. He would have put a huge dent in Social
Security, too, had the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal not stopped him. If
we take inequality as our measure, the Clinton administration looks not
heroic but odious.
Since I do tend to "take" economic "inequality" as my
main standard to judge political ideas and actions, I agree
with the judgement that in actual fact "the
Clinton administration looks not
heroic but odious".
There is a considerable amount more in the
article, which I will leave to your interests, except for remarking
that the article is recommended, and that it ends as follows:
Yes, I think that is fair.
Someday we will understand that the
punitive hysteria of the mid-1990s was not an accident; it was
essential to Clintonism. Taken as a whole with NAFTA, with welfare
reform, with his plan for privatizing Social Security and, of course,
with Clinton’s celebrated lifting of the rules governing banks and
telecoms, it all fits perfectly within the new, class-based framework
When you take Clintonism all together, it makes sense, and the sense it
makes has to do with social class. What the poor get is discipline;
what the professionals get is endless indulgence.