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Nederlog

Jan 14, 2017
Crisis: NSA's Liberties, Trump, Era Of Bullshit, Healthcare, Trump & Secret Laws
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction   

1.
Obama Opens NSA’s Vast Trove of Warrantless Data to Entire
     Intelligence Community, Just in Time for Trump

2. ‘Intelligence Report’ Leak Damages Donald Trump, Just as FBI
     ‘Hit Job’ Hurt Hillary Clinton

3.
'Welcome to the Era of BS': A Message to My Doomed
     Colleagues in the American Media from a Russian Journalist

4.
Taking Healthcare Away From Millions = 7 Million For Each Of
     The Richest

5. Trump and the Dangers of Secret Law
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of January 14, 2017. I found a motto for today, by H.L. Mencken:

            “People do not expect to find chastity in a whorehouse. Why, then, do they expect to find honesty and humanity in government, a congeries of institutions whose modus operandi consists of lying, cheating, stealing, and if need be, murdering those who resist?”
             — H.L. Mencken









   
This is a
crisis log with 5 items and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is - once again - about Obama's giving vastly more permissions to the Trump government to spy in secret on anyone; item 2 is on a not so good article about Trump; item 3 is about advice of a Russian journalist about what is to be expected from Trump; item 4 is about taking healthcare from 20 to 30 million = giving each of the 400 richest people $7 million: A PERFECT Trumpian plan; and item 5 is about the dangers of secret laws, and quite correct.

My providers did - to my considerable amazement - both do OK the day before yesterday (which is the first time in several months: thence my amazement), but yesterday xs4all.nl went wrong once again, as they or some secret service have been doing most of the last year...

And incidentally: I can get rid of "December 31 2015" in Denmark (which the provider regularly shows, much rather than the current date, although it meanwhile is 2017 and I published many
megabytes since 2015, also on every day) by clicking on the rightmost globe twice, and then on a central globe (... and I am deeply sorry, but this is the level of idiocy that I am reduced to, either by my providers or by supermen from some secret service(s) from somewhere).

1.
Obama Opens NSA’s Vast Trove of Warrantless Data to Entire Intelligence Community, Just in Time for Trump

The first item is by Alex Emmons on The Intercept:
In fact this is about the same event as yesterday's review of a New York Times article. You are adviced to (re-)read that review. And I repeat this subject because the news is quite important while this report is from a rather different source than The New York Times.

This article starts as follows:

With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.

First see H.L. Mencken's motto, above. Next, consider this article: Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide that is about another American "legal rule", adopted on December 1, 2016, that makes the FBI (mostly in secret) the chief secret police organization that dominates the whole world:

The FBI has requested, and been granted, the lawful power (in the US) to intrude into any computer in the entire world. In 95% of the world, this makes the FBI no different from a Russian or Chinese criminal intruder, and it will be treated in the same way by people defending their systems; defending their homes.

I think myself that this formalizes the liberties that the FBI has been taking the last 15 years as American law: Now it is an American law that the American federal police can intrude in any computer anywhere.

Third, remind yourself that I said yesterday (about the same subject Alex Emmons' article is about):

The more I know about Obama, the less I like him, and this is typical Obama in my estimate: He is preparing for the neofascistic terrorist state that might already get realized by president Trump.

You do not need to believe me, but that is what I think [1]. And the same neofascistic terrorist state is designed, furthered and put together piece by piece by the NSA and the FBI and the other secret spies the Americans fund from the taxes, and by now they have almost completely succeeded, for they have "legal" access to virtually any computer anywhere, and know ("implicitly" normally: the material has been gathered by machines, but may not yet have been read by human eyes) everything there is to know about everyone. [2]

We go on with the article:

The new rules allow employees doing intelligence work for those agencies to sift through raw data collected under a broad, Reagan-era executive order that gives the NSA virtually unlimited authority to intercept communications abroad. Previously, NSA analysts would filter out information they deemed irrelevant and mask the names of innocent Americans before passing it along.

The change was in the works long before there was any expectation that someone like Trump might become president. The last-minute adoption of the procedures is one of many examples of the Obama administration making new executive powers established by the Bush administration permanent, on the assumption that the executive branch could be trusted to police itself.

The brief of it is that the secret services are allowed to do anything they want, mostly in the deepest secret, for the population may now know the forces assembled against them that they have paid and are paying from their own taxes.

And "the assumption that the executive branch could be trusted to police itself" only merits Mencken's motto above: It is utter bullshit, but it is true in the sense that "the executive branch" is by now, through 27 years of deregulations and over 15 years of systematic spying on everyone's private information, completely above the law and completely above control by Congress.

And that is exactly how the very few executives with top power want it: They are the law to themselves; they know everything about anyone; they can do whatever they please and they can do so in public or in secret. Whatever they do "the laws" have now
been created that cover and excuse them.

Here is more on "the law" as it now stands in the USA:

Executive Order 12333, often referred to as “twelve triple-three,” has attracted less debate than congressional wiretapping laws, but serves as authorization for the NSA’s most massive surveillance programs — far more than the NSA’s other programs combined. Under 12333, the NSA taps phone and internet backbones throughout the world, records the phone calls of entire countries, vacuums up traffic from Google and Yahoo’s data centers overseas, and more.

In 2014, The Intercept revealed that the NSA uses 12333 as a legal basis for an internal NSA search engine that spans more than 850 billion phone and internet records and contains the unfiltered private information of millions of Americans.

That is the neofascistic shape that "the law" has taken under Bush Jr. and Obama:

The state's own terrorists have all "legal" powers to do as they please, to anyone anywhere, regardless of whether they are American or not, and regardless of the fact that almost none who is spied on did anything reprehensible: Absolutely everyone needs to be fully known, so as to be fully approved or not, by the supermen who are secret service men. And those who are not fully approved risk anything, in secret or in public, false or true, and legal or illegal by the standards of their own counties.

To end this review, here is Edward Snowden's opinion:

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who gave reporters documents that revealed the breadth of the 12333 surveillance, tweeted this:

Yes indeed: The NSA can now share everything it knows, including full identities (names, passport numbers, bank information etc. etc.) with any American secret or non-secret police force.

2. ‘Intelligence Report’ Leak Damages Donald Trump, Just as FBI ‘Hit Job’ Hurt Hillary Clinton

The second item is by Bill Boyarsky on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The mass of news engulfing us as Donald Trump takes over the presidency is confusing. The murky world of spying, smears and dirty tricks are hard to follow. Nobody, including me, has made sense of it. But looking back on what happened during and after the presidential race, two points are clear: The intelligence community, in the form of the FBI, did a successful hit job on Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. And now the community seems to be doing another on Donald Trump.

FBI Director James Comey devastated Clinton’s campaign by telling Congress 11 days before the election that his agency was looking into whether there were previously unrevealed Clinton emails. He made the matter worse by saying, just before the election, that there was nothing of interest on the emails, reminding America of his first inflammatory statement, in case anyone had forgotten.

The result was clear. Comey played a big part in Clinton’s loss. What’s still not clear was his motive. Why did he care who won? He was given the job on the condition that he would be above politics. We didn’t want another J. Edgar Hoover.
Yes and no: I agree mostly but I do insist that (i) while it is true that "[t]he murky world of spying, smears and dirty tricks are hard to follow" it is false to say that "nobody, including me, has made sense of it" and it is false for three basic reasons:

First, there are some people who know a whole lot more about spying etc. than others while they are not spies themselves, and I refer here to people like Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Edward Snowden, William Binney, Ray McGovern and others.

Second, the main and the fundamental reason why spying is so extremely difficult to sort out is that it all is secret, while most of it should not be: A really democratic government should not spy on all of its own inhabitants and everybody else, all in the deepest secret, on the bullshit ground that "they might do something we will not like": That is fascism or Stalinism in disguise, and it seems to be what the secret services want and have tried to get legally, in which they also succeeded (and see item 1).

Third, it is also quite false to pretend that one either knows everything or that one cannot make sense of it. That is virtually always a false opposition, and the truth is nearly always that everyone knows something with various degrees of probability, that mostly depend on (i) his specific information about the secret services, and (ii) his general position and levels of knowledge in matters of politics
and law.

Then there is this in the article:

Even harder to figure out is the leak of a report by Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 intelligence agent whose firm was employed last year by opposition researchers—“oppo research,” they’re called in the trade—trying to bring down Trump. Among the report’s finding was an allegation that Trump engaged in weird sexual conduct in Moscow several years ago. The report also said Russians offered Trump real estate deals and help with his campaign.
I mostly disagree. First, I meanwhile do know that Steele's report was known to quite a few media several months before the elections, and that the media have tried to verify it and did not succeed. Second, I know that because they could not verify it, they did not publish about it - which seems a quite correct decision by my lights, for anybody can lie about anything with perfect ease. Third, to speak of "the report’s finding was an allegation" is bullshit: Allegations are not findings, and the report was investigated and was not verified. (To be sure, I would like it if it were true that Trump enjoyed golden showers in Moscow, but so far all I know about this purported fact is precisely nothing.)

Then there is this, that seems mostly correct (including Trump's extremely childish "moral rule" that he will say great things about whoever says great things about The Greatest Of The Great, Donald Trump
[5]):

Throughout the campaign, Trump showed high regard for the Russians, a quality that may have raised the suspicions of intelligence veterans of the Cold War. In July, Trump invited Russian intelligence to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and give them to the media. Trump repeatedly praised Putin during NBC’s “Commander-In-Chief Forum” for presidential candidates. “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him,” Trump said. He called Putin “a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

Next, there is this, that I consider more or less half true:

The losers are the journalists following the intelligence agencies, which have led the way. When Comey unleashed his hit against Clinton at a crucial time, it generally was reported uncritically, just as the entire Clinton email story had been. When the spooks wanted to dump on Trump, they did it at a time and place of their choosing, in Washington, just days before the inauguration. The news media have been reduced to being bystanders while the intelligence agencies run the show.

What can the media do about it? This story demonstrates the power of the intelligence community. It’s hard to beat.
I agree that "the journalists following the intelligence agencies, which have led the way" are made to look like "losers", but the rest, and notably that "the news media have been reduced to being bystanders while the intelligence agencies run the show" is not so much the work of "the intelligence agencies" but is - first and foremost - the result of the conscious choices of many editors and very many journalists to produce propaganda, lies and deceptions of the government and the secret services much rather than to try to investigate whether they are true or probable.

Besides, there is a perfectly correct answer to the question "
What can the media do about it?": Try to do decent investigative journalism that seeks to establish what is true or (at least) rationally credible.

And while it is true that some journalists and some magazines - Truthdig, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams, Mother Jones, AlterNet, for example - have tried to do so, it is also
true that the mainstream media - The New York Times, The Guardian, and many more - have mostly, quite consciously also, spread propaganda and deceptions (and The Guardian since its latest chief editor arrived).

Here is the end of the story:

But here’s a way the media could show its independence and courage. Start with Trump, whose constant denigrations of journalists are weakening them. Symbolism is important. The next time he treats a reporter with contempt at a news conference, as he did to CNN’s Jim Acosta, all the other reporters should rise and walk out in protest of him and of the administration he will be leading, including the intelligence community.

That would be a story.

Hm. I don't think this will happen, for reasons explained in the next item, and by someone who has a lot of experience working in an authoritarian climate. And I much doubt this is desirable, for it simply gives Trump a reason to refuse to speak to any reporter.

3. 'Welcome to the Era of BS': A Message to My Doomed Colleagues in the American Media from a Russian Journalist

The third item is by Alexey Kovalev on AlterNet and originally in Medium:
This starts as follows:
Congratulations, US media! You’ve just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We in Russia have been doing it for 12 years now — with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader — so quite a few things during Donald Trump’s press conference rang my bells. Not just mine, in fact — read this excellent round-up in The Moscow Times.
It is a good idea to print an article by a Russian journalist on "the style of The Leader with the press", but I should add that The Moscow Times makes its article - in the trusted neofascistic fashion [3] - completely unreadable, at least for me.

Anyway, here are "some observations" from a Russian:

I have some observations to share with my American colleagues. You’re in this for at least another four years, and you’ll be dealing with things Russian journalists have endured for almost two decades now. I’m talking about Putin here, but see if you can apply any of the below to your own leader.
  • Welcome to the era of bullshit.
Facts don’t matter. You can’t hurt this man with facts or reason. He’ll always outmaneuver you. He’ll always wriggle out of whatever carefully crafted verbal trap you lay for him. Whatever he says, you won’t be able to challenge him. He always comes with a bag of meaningless factoids (Putin likes to drown questions he doesn’t like in dull, unverifiable stats, figures and percentages), platitudes, false moral equivalences and straight, undiluted bullshit. He knows it’s a one-way communication, not an interview. You can’t follow up on your questions or challenge him.
Note that this is about Putin, but I agree that Putin's presidential style may look a lot like Trump's preferred presidential style, though I should add that, so far at least, the USA is considerably less authoritarian and more free in principle than is Russia.

Then there is this (and what I give are brief selections, which all have considerably more text than is quoted by me):

But your colleagues are there to help you, right? After all, you’re all in this together?

Wrong.

  • Don’t expect any camaraderie
These people are not your partners or brothers in arms. They are your rivals in a fiercely competitive, crashing market and right now the only currency in this market is whatever that man on the stage says.
Yes, and see the end of the previous item though I should add that, once again, the USA at least is now (and as yet) considerably less authoritarian and more free in principle than is Russia, though this may rapidly change if Trump succeeds in shutting down the non-mainstream media like Truthdig, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams, Mother Jones, AlterNet etc. (which he much likes to, for they have dared to criticize The Greatest Of All The Great Men There Ever Were, who now is president of the USA [5]).

Then there is this, which Trump already practiced in his last press conference:

Also, some people in the room aren’t really there to ask questions.

  • Expect a lot of sycophancy and soft balls from your “colleagues”
Yes indeed (says I, who knows that most men are conformists [4]). And besides, since Trump is president, he might also give his supporters (indirectly, "in secret", by an assistant) the names, addresses, incomes, email-addresses etc. etc. of those journalists he hates for daring to ask Him (The Greatest Of All [5]) critical questions. I am not saying he will; I am saying he may.

Here is the last bit that I'll quote:
But there will also be one token critic who will be allowed to ask a “sharp” question, only to be drowned in a copious amount of bullshit, and the man on the stage will always be the winner (“See? I respect the media and free speech”).
  • You’re always losing
This man owns you. He understands perfectly well that he is the news. You can’t ignore him. You’re always playing by his rules — which he can change at any time without any notice.
Yes, at least for now for Putin. Whether the same will hold in the USA remains to be seen, but I admit the signs are discouraging, indeed mainly because most men and most journalists are far more conformist than they pretend to be.

4. Taking Healthcare Away From Millions = 7 Million For Each Of The Richest

The fourth item's title is made up by me, as short for two articles on Common Dreams
The first of the above two articles, by Deirdre Fulton, starts as follows:

With a vote largely along party lines, the U.S. House on Friday pushed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, one step closer to death.

Ahead of the 227-198 vote (roll call here), GOP House leaders expressed confidence that their chamber would pass a budget resolution paving the way for ACA repeal, "despite lingering wariness from the rank-and-file about proceeding without a plan to replace the health law," as Politic reported. The Senate passed its version of the resolution in the wee hours of Thursday.

The legislation doesn't actually repeal the healthcare law that's delivered coverage to about 20 million people, but it does "clear the way for a subsequent repeal bill to advance in the Senate without the threat of a Democratic filibuster," the Chicago Tribune explained.

Yes indeed. All I want to add to this is that - in fact - what is called "Obamacare" was in fact the plan that the Republican Mitt Romney (<-Wikipedia) had as governor of Massachusetts: It was not a single payer plan, nor anything better than the earlier Republican plan of Romney (that was much for the insurances and for the pharmaceutical corporations), and indeed I take it that it will now be taken down especially because of the name of the half black "Obama".

Here is why the Democrats object against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act:

But Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups are sounding the alarm, warning that repealing the ACA would curtail access to birth control, hamper the fight against opioid abuse, raise healthcare prices for seniors, and make some cancer screenings unaffordable—all while offering a major tax break to the wealthy.

The Democrats are right on this.

Next, the second article, by Andrea Germanos, starts thus, and takes up the last point I cited from the previous article, "while offering a major tax break to the wealthy":

Repealing Obamacare, which Republicans on Friday appear closer to doing, would deliver a sizeable tax cut for the rich, a new report shows.

Released Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the publication shows that the repeal would give to each of the top 400 highest-income taxpayers—who averaged incomes of roughly $318 million in 2014—a tax cut of about $7 million a year.

That's because getting rid of the healthcare law would mean getting rid of its two Medicare taxes, which are paid for by individuals with incomes above $200,000 and couples with incomes above $250,000. One is a 3.8 percent Medicare tax that hits their unearned income (like capital gains) above those thresholds, while the other is additional 0.9 percent tax on earned income above those thresholds.

Isn't that A PERFECT Trumpian Plan?! I mean: You take away all healthcare from 20 million losers, and you add $7 million to the incomes of each of the 400 richest persons there are (The Winners), whose average yearly incomes rises from a measly $318 million a year to a mere $325 million a year. Gains for everyone, as The Donald might explain: The 20 million are rewarded by the chance to learn to stand on their own legs, and the 400 are rewarded for standing on their own legs. PERFECT Trump!

And here is an additional advantage: The low- and middle-incomes have to pay for it:

At the same time, low-and middle-income households would see a rise in taxes since they would lose premium tax credits to buy health coverage through the marketplaces, CBPP notes.
(...)
Apart from taking healthcare coverage away from some 30 million people, another study released last week showed that the repeal could cost states trillions in lost revenue and output.

As I said: A PERFECT Trumpian Plan.

5.
Trump and the Dangers of Secret Law

The fifth and last item today is by Elizabeth Gotein on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows, indeed with a perfectly legitimate question:

President-elect Trump has disdained the rule of law when it comes to national security, vowing to reinstitute torture and suggesting that the military should target terrorists’ families. In response, President Obama recently released a report describing the legal and policy framework for United States military operations. The idea is simple: If the rules are made public, it will be easier to hold the Trump administration accountable for violations—or to spot when the rules have changed.

Obama is undoubtedly correct in calculating that legal transparency will help safeguard the rule of law. But his initiative begs the question: why stop at military operations? 

Yes indeed - but in fact the government has been pushing the opposite rule: It tried to make as many laws as it could secret, for secret laws are the ideals of a  thoroughly anti-democratic government:

Since the attacks of 9/11, every area of national security policy has increasingly been regulated by secret law. For instance, much of the authority to conduct mass surveillance, and the limits that apply, are set forth in classified orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (or “FISA Court”). In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that this court had secretly interpreted the Patriot Act to allow the collection of nearly every American’s phone records.

A 2015 law ended the bulk collection program and brought some transparency to the FISA Court’s rulings. But other mass surveillance programs remain intact—and around 30 of the court’s most significant opinions are still secret.

Yes indeed - and the "national security policy" are the secret laws that give the secret services the secret right to spy (in secret) on everything anyone does - thinks, desires, values, writes, says, photographs - with an internet computer or cellphone. This was done under the deceptive disguise of the "War On Terrorism", but in fact was a war on democracy, that meanwhile has been won (in secret) by the secret services.

Here is more on secret legal rules and secret opinions of lawyers that the US government practices now (in secret) since 15 years:

National security policies are also governed by secret opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). OLC is best known for the infamous “torture memos” of the Bush presidency, which concluded that the laws prohibiting torture did not apply to the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Incidentally: These were just opinions of lawyers, but were given the status of commands or permissions through the fact that the lawyers that signed them belonged to the Office of Legal Counsel [6].

There is this on "secret laws" (which - to begin with - are not laws in any democratic sense, for these require the consent of the majority of the public they apply to):

Secret law is worrisome under any administration, let alone one headed by an admirer of Vladimir Putin. It allows the government to evade the democratic lawmaking process, and to give itself powers that conflict with the electorate’s wishes—or with published laws. Even when secret law limits government action, there is no way to hold the government accountable for violating unknown constraints. This practical immunity makes compliance optional.

To put this in a somewhat sharper form: "Secret laws" are the private decisions of our governors or their lawyers that say (on their own authority) that they may do as they please themselves, regardless (and usually counter to) of any accepted democratic law. They are wholly illegal in any real democracy. They can, and usually do contradict accepted democratic laws. They are the sign that the government has grown wild and is beyond democratic or legal control. They cannot be tested in any real sense by what remains of democracy.

And they make the government completely immune from any criticism: Critics don't know what to criticize (it is secret); critics know that if they criticize they risk persecution or prosecution by the government (quite possibly in secret); and anything that is done in secret can be denied in public, and undone, wholly or in part, in secret. That is not democracy: it is totally arbitrary authoritarian government.

A government that runs wholly on secret laws is an absolute dictatorship, and a government that runs in part on secret laws, as does the USA, is a partial dictatorship.

Here is something specific that may have been done (and - to the best of my knowledge - indeed has been done):

First, recent news reports revealed that the FISA Court in 2015 ordered Yahoo! to scan all of its customers’ incoming emails and turn over those containing a certain “digital signature.” If true, this would be an unprecedented expansion of the law that reportedly authorized the surveillance. But without access to the opinion, we don’t know what the court’s legal reasoning was or how broadly it sweeps. Would it allow Trump to order every company to scan the contents of all domestic email traffic?

I think it does, and - in so far as I know - Trump just got the powers from Obama: See item 1. Here is more of the same:

Second, a 2010 report by the Justice Department’s inspector general discussed an OLC opinion on FBI intelligence activities. While the discussion is heavily redacted, the OLC opinion seemingly concluded that the FBI may bypass statutory constraints on collecting data about Americans’ electronic communications. (..) Could Trump exploit this gap to resume bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, notwithstanding the 2015 law that prohibits it?

Again see item 1. And the dangers of secret law are as indicated: Secret laws are the preferred tools of an absolute, totalitarian, authoritarian, completely anti-democratic government, and will rapidly lead to such a government if not withdrawn, simply because they give the government far too much unrestricted, unrestrained and unchecked powers.

---------------------------------
Notes
[1] Yes indeed. In case you want a fuller explanation, you should read yesterday's review of a New York Times article.

And yes, I do grant that my perceptions have been sharpened by the fact that both my grandfather and my father were severely punished for resisting the Nazis: My grandfather was murdered in a concentration camp; my father was locked up for 3 years, 9 months and 15 days in four German concentration camps.

The vast majority of Dutchmen have considerably less sharp awareness of fascism and its dangers, simply because their parents or grandparents collaborated (which I admit was a whole lot safer, for themselves).

[2] Most of what I said in this paragraph (not: all) is covered by the 1245 or more articles that I wrote since June 10, 2013, when I learned of the existence of Edward Snowden, who had revealed that the NSA can and does read everything written or said by anyone on an internet computer or a cellphone.

That this will lead to a neofascistic terrorist state is my own inference, but then the three states with the highest degree of knowledge about the ideas and values of their inhabitants were Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, and Mao's China, and the secret services of these countries (and their eager helpers) managed to kill many tens of millions of persons (simply for disagreeing with their governments).

And the NSA knows millions of times more than the KGB and the Gestapo.

[3] I am sorry, but I regard the impossibility (apart from strong and time- consuming measures) of copying or of reading papers and magazines a neofascistic means of control: If I am not able to discuss ideas that are printed in the popular press, I do not live in a democracy. The Moscow Times does both: It completely hides the article (for me, at least).

[4] I am sorry, but this is simply a fact, and I am myself a non-conformist who is the child of two non-conformists (communists for 45 years), and the grandchild of three non-conformists (anarchists and a communist), and this is
Conformism: To behave according to the current social norms, ideals and practices.

Conformism is the basis of all social behavior and of all human groups: Without agreements in assumptions, ends and acts no group and no society can exist, whereas the great majority in any group is not capable of developing rational ideas about most problems by themselves.

The essence of all real social conformism is the clear understanding of the conformer that his conformism is a conscious lie, conscious role-playing, intentional theatre, and that his conformism is mostly collusion and deception in cooperation with other conformists, based on the same motives: fear and egoism.

What counts most in (almost) any society - for those who succeed or live peacefully in and with it - is the pretence and appearance of conformism and conformity, based on the conscious effort to conform.

The main problem with this is not that this is so, but that many can't do much better than conform, and indeed act wisely by following others, since they don't have the wherewithall to lead themselves.

[5] In case you don't like my styling of Trump as The Greatest Of The Great, Greater Than Any Great One (etc.): Neither do I, but it is perfectly consistent and consonant with Trump's own ideas about his Incredible Superiority To Anyone In Anything.

The reason I am (and will be) doing this are mainly (i) Trumps really seems to think so about himself, which (ii) means that he is quite mad, as indeed I think, together with quite a few other psychologists and psychiatrists.

[6] I am adding this because this is quite true, and because both the lawyers and those they "permitted" to torture could and should have known that torture is forbidden, and that both the lawyers and the torturers would have been held personally responsible by the Nuremberg Courts.

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