1. ‘Spectacular Betrayal’ as Trump Rolls Back Wall Street
2. Many from the Washington Power Elite Are United in Their
Dismay About Trump's White House
3. Analyzing the Mindset of President Trump: Does Antisocial
Personality Disorder Fit?
4. Trump’s Vision of a Militarized America
5. George Carlin On Bullshit
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, February 4, 2017.
Summary: This is
a crisis log with 5 files and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is a fine article - except for 10 Tweets, which I decided to wholly skip because I am not an idiot who communicates at a maximum of 140 characters - about a vast increase in the probability of another crisis; item 2 is an interesting article about "the Washington Power Elite" (although it is vague about who they are); item 3 is about another attempt to diagnose Trump with the DSM, which this time is mostly rejected by this psychologist; item 4 is about a decent article about a vastly militarized America (that - therefore - probably will go to war); and item 5 is a bit by George Carlin, because I like him a lot, and the present bit, on bullshit, seems to be almost wholly literally true (and the bullshit is produced and spread by everyone, including "the people").
As for today
(February 4, 2017): I have changed my site on February 1, 2017 to make
that it might be read,
because it now happened for most
of last year that both of my sites are not uploaded
1. ‘Spectacular Betrayal’ as Trump Rolls Back Wall Street Regulations
On xs4all.nl it may be days, weeks or months behind to show the proper
last date and the proper last files (in the last 4 years always
date it was that day) and of course it was yesterday already not uploading; on one.com it may be shown as
December 31, 2015
often was!!!) but it was OK yesterday; and indeed I am sick of being systematically made
unreadable and therefore changed
the site to allow most readers of reading it more easily.
For more explanations, see here - and no:
with two different sites in two different countries
with two different providers, where this has been
happening for a year (and not over 20 and over 12 years before) now I'm absolutely certain that
this happens and that it's not due to me.
The first item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Yes indeed: Quite so, and there are two aspects about this decision that need some comments.
President Donald Trump is handing the U.S. economy "back over to Wall Street" on Friday, with a regulatory rollback that critics say could put consumers and the financial system at risk.
According to the Wall Street Journal,
Trump signed executive orders Friday "establish[ing] a framework for
scaling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law" and rolling
back an Obama-era regulation requiring advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. That rule was set to go into effect in April.
Trump signed the orders after meeting with bank CEOs.
"The Wall Street bankers against whom Trump ran are making policy now," said Robert Weissman, president of watchdog group Public Citizen.
First, I entirely agree this will (and not merely "could") "put consumers and the financial system at risk".
I expected another crisis ever since 2009, after it had become clear
that Obama was just another Clintonesque fraud with nice stories for
his voters, but very much less nice decisions that helped - especially
- the mega-rich bankers who financially (also) supported them, and this
decision makes this far more likely.
And second, a mere questions that I do not know the answer to: How will this influence Trump's voters? (I really do not
know: There are over 60 million of them, and while I think there will
remain a core of Trump supporters very probably till the end (impeach-
ment, removal of nuclear war), I have no good idea about how large this
Then there is this, that extends the above:
Yes indeed (and his few rich "cronies and the well-connected" will get a whole lot richer, unlike anybody else who is not very rich already).
"The worst job-destroying economic crisis since the Great Depression
was directly caused by deregulation and regulatory failure," he said.
"Now the president who ran on a jobs-creation platform announces that he
aims to slash the modest measures put in place to prevent a recurrence
of the crisis. If Trump succeeds in rolling back Dodd-Frank rules he
will rush the country straightforward into another job-killing financial
crisis. This may be the most spectacular betrayal yet by the president
of his voters, as he shunts aside their concerns and pushes forward the
agenda of his cronies and the well-connected."
Here is some more on the financial background:
the orders as "the most aggressive steps yet by Trump to loosen
regulations in the financial services industry and come after he has
sought to stock his administration with veterans of the industry in key
In addition to Cohn, Trump's cabinet includes Goldman alums Steven Mnuchin, the nominee for treasury secretary, and chief strategist Steve Bannon, who worked at the institution in the 1980s. Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton, Trump's pick to run the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also has ties to Goldman Sachs.
Then there are no less than ten Tweets all signed "Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein) February 3, 2017". I am very sorry, but I find Tweets deliberate degenerate total stupifications of all rational discourse, and they are besides constant personal advertisements for their signers (I got twenty
times informed about the existence of Alexis Goldstein about whom I
don't know shit, and since he is tweeting, I also do not want to know
of him and his likes.)
I am very sorry but I skip all tweets, and will do the same elsewhere: I am not
an idiot and I don't want to be treated as one by idiots: If you have
to say something rational and decent you can e-mail it or write it as
html, and if you don't want to do that, I don't want to review you since your chosen mode of communication (Twitter) does not allow rational and decent communications. Period.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
Yes indeed. As to the last two statements:
Yes, of course Trump betrayed his promises "to stand up to Wall
Street". And the last statement indeed depends on the approvals of the
Senate and the House - but these will very probably arrive, at this
early stage of Trump's presidency, who is governing with an enormous
In a separate statement after Trump signed the orders, Donner declared:
"Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs seems to be taking over financial
regulation in the United States, trying to make it easier for them and
other big banks like Wells Fargo to steal from their customers and
destabilize the economy. That is a betrayal of the promises Trump made
to stand up to Wall Street. If they succeed it will have painful
This is a recommended article (but I strongly dislike tweets in what is presented as decent journalism: Tweets are intentionally simplified Newspeak ).
2. Many from the Washington Power Elite Are United in Their Dismay About Trump's White House
The second item is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
I say - which I do because I did not know this, and also I don't quite know whether to believe this.
From the center-right apparatchiks who reigned in the Reagan-Bush era to
the center-left bureaucrats who rose in the Obama-Clinton years to the
apolitical functionaries of the civil service and the U.S. military, the
Washington policy class is turning on embattled president Donald Trump
and his chief policy adviser Steve Bannon.
The massive women’s marches across the country nearly two weeks ago
signaled the emergence of a broad-based popular and liberal opposition
to Trump’s minority presidency. Now the Washington power elite is on the
march—not in the streets of the capital, but in the suites of power.
I'm not talking
about right-wing intellectuals appalled by Trump. I'm referring to the
people whom sociologist C. Wrights Mills dubbed “the Power Elite.”
Washington journalists usually call them the Establishment. Whatever the
label, they have wielded power in Washington for decades. In the 34
years I have covered Washington politics, they have never been so united
in their dismay about the man occupying the Oval Office.
As to the second point: I have read nearly everything C. Wright Mills
(<-Wikipedia) wrote and I think he was a very admirable sociologist
(with whom I also don't always agree, but let that be), who also had
the fairly rare distinction - for "a scientist" - that he could write
really well, but Mills died in early 1962, and I am rather unsure what
Morley means (especially at present) with the terms "the Power Elite"
and "the Establishment".
To be sure, Morley probably has better ideas than I have, and I don't distrust him:
It is just that I know both terms for over 50 years now; that I always was at least a bit hazy who were meant; and also that there simply is a lot about the inner workings of the American government, the secret services, and the military that simply have been intentionally kept secret, which makes me a bit wary when two vague terms are introduced in explanation.
And I do suppose Morley means something, and talked with some persons that he believes belong to the present Establishment/Power Elitee.
Here is some more:
The opposition to Trump is spilling across partisan and ideological
boundaries as the realization grows that the awesome power of the U.S.
government, its mass surveillance and law enforcement agencies and its
nuclear arsenal, is now controlled by a band of amateur renegades who
are out to dismantle the American state.
I doubt whether "the Establishment/Power Elite"
- whoever they are precisely, which Morley does not say - would agree
to describing Trump's cabinet - of millionaires, billionaires and
ex-generals - as "a band of amateur renegades", but that is an aside.
Here is some more, and this seems mostly correct:
What is unprecedented is Trump's radicalism. Whereas previous GOP
presidents paid tribute to Ronald Reagan’s resolute opposition to
communism, the Trump White House is controlled by Bannon, a man who is
frank about his Leninist mode of thinking.
wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too,” Bannon told
historian Ron Radosh. “I want to bring everything crashing down, and
destroy all of today’s establishment."
fast consolidating power as the government's de facto chief executive
while Trump settles into the more ceremonial role as the reality TV
Yes indeed, though it is very early days
in Trump's presidency and Trump is very difficult to predict (though he
is mostly following a neofascistic program).
Then there is this:
The Trump/Bannon White House rejects the authority of the federal
courts. They are hostile to our ideals of a free press and the First
Amendment. And they are imbued with a racial chauvinism and
anti-Semitism that are increasingly prideful. As pundit Yonatan Zunger
notes on Medium, “Their omission of Jews from the statement for
Holocaust Remembrance Day was deliberate and is not regretted."
Again: Yes - and I agree Trump c.s. "reject the authority of the federal
courts", and "are hostile to our ideals of a free press and the First
Amendment", and this also will probably not change - but is is still very early days for Trump.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
Yes, this sounds quite credible, though it would have been nice to know more about whom Morley thinks do belong to the present "Establishment/Power Elite".
The traditional mandarins are not just offended by Trump’s cavalier
treatment of the CIA and Pentagon in his first week in office or the
callous, pointless and chaotically implemented immigration order. They
are disturbed by his systematic contempt for the standard procedures of
governance followed by every Democratic and Republican administration
since the passage of the National Security Act of 1947.
procedures include the vetting of executive orders, nominal respect for
judicial authority, consultation with relevant Cabinet secretaries, and
notification of congressional leaders. Trump’s team respects none of
This is a recommended article.
3. Analyzing the Mindset of President Trump: Does Antisocial Personality Disorder Fit?
The third item is by Katherine Van Wormer on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Because so many of his executive actions and remarks on Twitter and in
interviews seem rash, commentators, including psychiatrists and
psychologists are raising questions about the stability of President
Donald J. Trump’s mind. Reportedly, there is a good fit with Trump’s
personality characteristics and the DSM-5’s (Diagnosis and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality
Disorder. Characteristics of this trait include a desire for
unwarranted admiration, obsession with one’s own success and
accomplishments, and a sense of entitlement. Certainly, these traits
can be said to apply, even just based on Trump’s speeches alone.
Yes, indeed - and I am a psychologist (who
did study 6 years to get his M.A.) and I have said already, indeed
first in March 2016, that I agree with the majorities of psychologists
and psychiatrists who say that Trump has a Narcissistic Personality
Disorder (which I prefer to write in English - that is not and should not be psychiatrese - as megalomania).
I do not know anything about Katherine Van Wormer except that she is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa (plus the few things added to that under the article).
And it seems to me rather probable that she did not study psychiatry,
while it also is not clear at all that she studied psychology. Given
these unclarities, I am rather hesitant about the following:
But another, more serious diagnosis might also be worth a look. This is
Antisocial Personality Disorder, a diagnosis assigned to individuals
who habitually violate the rights of others without remorse. Psychopathy
is an earlier term that was used for the same personality traits.
What I am hesitant about are in fact two kinds of things:
The first is that anybody can get a copy of some DSM (we are at
number 5 now) and can start leaving through it and may well decide that
this diagnosis or that diagnosis might be rather fit for this person or
for that person.
This is quite possible, and indeed anybody could do this, but I am rather skeptical if anybody
does this - say: a historian, or a physicist, or a journalist, or a
priest - simply because they generally do not know much or anything
about either psychology or psychiatry, whereas some solid knowledge of
these at least is a considerable help in diagnosing.
And the second problem I have is that I disagree with the current - DSM 5 - form of the "Antisocial Personality Disorder" aka Sociopathy because this differs from Psychopathy (and therefore it is simply false to say that this was (bolding added) "an earlier term that was used for the same personality traits": No, it certainly was not - and see dr. Robert Hare (<-Wikipedia)), especially in making the main reasons for a psychiatric diagnosis mere deviance from current social norms, which is precisely
what the Soviet psychiatrists did to lock up dissidents: "You are a
dissident, therefore you are crazy, and therefore we are right in
locking you up and 'treating' you".
So I simply disagree with sociopathic diagnosis, and not because I may
not agree that something is or may be wrong with those diagnosed with
it, but because the diagnosis itself is based on mistaken notions.
Here is Katherin Van Wormer's list of "the DSM criteria"
she uses - and in what follows I skipped all the texts she gives for
these diagnosis, and only repeat the diagnoses (if you want the texts,
click on the last dotted link):
Let us review the DSM criteria in light of our president’s actions and statements.
I have already indicated why I reject the
diagnosis of sociopathic disorder (which only dates back to 1980 and
the DSM-III). The problems I have with the above list (as a
psychologist, who has read several DSMs, though indeed not fully), apart from my objections to the psychiatric diagnosis of "sociopathy" are again two:
Disregard for others' needs or feelings
Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, conning others
Recurring problems with the law
Repeated violation of the rights of others
Aggressive, often violent behavior
Disregard for the safety of self or others
Lack of remorse for behavior
First, it seems Van Wormer is using the DSM-IV, which
significantly differed from both the DSM 5 and the DSM-III (in some
good ways and some bad ways). And second, the above fat terms are not
all of the diagnostic phrases that are used, nor is there a mentioning
of additional criterions (such as that the above behaviors are also
often seen before age 15).
The article ends as follows:
Readers can form their own conclusions to what extent the diagnosis of
Antisocial Personality Disorder applies to President Trump. And one can
only fear for the fate of America and for the world to the extent that
even some of these personality characteristics apply.
I don't say "No" to this last bit, but if
all you need to make a diagnosis is some leavings through some copy of
some DSM to arrive at the conclusion that someone
who satisfies some of the symptoms of some of these diagnoses might cause "fear"
then diagnosing is a bit too simple for me to take seriously, as serious psychology.
4. Trump’s Vision of a Militarized America
The fourth item is by William Hartung on Common Dreams and originally on TomDispatch:
This starts as follows (and is recommended and well worth reading, and too long to properly abbreviate):
At over $600 billion
a year and counting, the Pentagon already receives significantly more
than its fair share of federal funds. If President Donald Trump has his
way, though, that will prove a sum for pikers and misers. He and his
team are now promising that spending on defense and homeland security
will increase dramatically in the years to come, even as domestic
programs are slashed and entire civilian agencies shuttered.
The new administration is reportedly considering
a plan -- modeled on proposals from the
military-industrial-complex-backed Heritage Foundation -- that would cut
a staggering $10.5 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.
The Departments of Energy, Commerce, Transportation, and State might see
their budgets slashed to the bone; the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting would be privatized; and (though the money involved would
amount to chicken feed) the National Endowments for the Arts and for the
Humanities would be eliminated altogether. In the meantime, the ranks
of the Army and Marines would be expanded, a huge naval buildup would be
launched, and a new Star Wars-style missile defense system would be
developed -- all at a combined cost of up to $1 trillion beyond the already munificent current Pentagon plans for that same decade.
Yes indeed - and you should realize that (i) the "spending on defense and homeland security
will increase dramatically in the years to come" in considerable part because
spending on other ends is slashed or entirely cut; and that (ii) most
of the taxes this is going to be paid with are from the non-rich (who
hardly saw any rise in their real incomes since 1980); and that (iii)
strong spending on military matters are generally a preparation for war.
And besides, the non-rich will loose "$10.5
trillion in federal spending over the next decade" (which will be
reinvested in the Pentagon and the military and the secret services).
Here is one consequence:
One thing is already clear: this drastic tilt toward yet more Pentagon
spending and away from investment in diplomacy abroad and civilian needs
at home will only further militarize American society, accelerate
inequality, and distort the country’s already highly questionable
foreign policy. After all, if your military is the only well-funded,
well-stocked arm of the government, it’s obvious whom you’re going to
turn to in any crisis.
And besides, one of the changes that Obama
introduced is that now the American military may act legally on
American soil against American civilians.
Here is some background:
President Trump won’t, of course, be starting from scratch in his urge
to further elevate the military in foreign and domestic affairs. He’s
building on a process that’s already well under way. In the Obama
years, for instance, there were a record number of drone strikes,
especially outside official U.S. war zones -- 10 times
the number launched by the Bush administration. Similarly, the Obama
administration paved the way for various Trumpian urges by waging wars
on multiple fronts and instituting a historic crackdown
on whistleblowers in the military and the intelligence
communities. It also approved record levels of U.S. arms sales
abroad, $278 billion worth of them, or more than double those of the Bush years. (In Trumpian terms: jobs!)
Yes indeed (incidentally strongly
supporting my notion that Obama, like Clinton, was a fraud, who worked
for the rich while talking for the non-rich). Also, Obama introduced
the warring president: He can attack with drones on countries that the
USA is not at war with (and so can Trump now), for the president may do
these things now.
Here is more background:
President Obama oversaw a sharp increase in the size of the U.S. Special Operations forces, sending them abroad to arm, train, and fight alongside militaries in 138 countries
in 2016. Think of this approach -- having a “lighter footprint” while
expanding the number of conflicts the United States is involved in -- as
a case of what I’ve called “politically sustainable warfare.” It seems cheaper, is far less visible, and involves fewer U.S. casualties than full-scale invasions and occupations.
Note that there are around 190 countries
in the world (it differs a bit depending on how you count), and thay
138/190 = 73% (rounded): The US military is in 3 out of 4 countries in
the world (sometimes with very large bases, sometimes with small bases,
and also sometimes with hidden bases).
Then there is this - and the State Department (<-Wikipedia) "is the United States federal executive department that advises the President and leads the country in foreign policy issues" as Wikipedia has it:
The Pentagon’s budget is today more than 12 times
as large as the State Department’s, a disparity sure to grow in the
years to come. As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted some
years ago, there are more military personnel
stationed on one aircraft carrier task force than trained diplomats in
the U.S. Foreign Service. And keep in mind that the United States
currently has 10 active aircraft carriers, which themselves will be just a small part of the Trump administration’s proposed 350-ship Navy.
Incidentally, another name for the Pentagon (<-Wikipedia) - "the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense" - is the war department.
Then there is this about the secret spies ("intelligence community" is far
too complimentary a term for these thieves of the privacies of billions
- I am sorry,
but this is what they are, and what they also get paid
for very well):
Even the intelligence community is likely to be further militarized in
the Trump years. While he was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA), National Security Advisor Michael Flynn tried
to increase its influence at the expense of the CIA. Expect him to
attempt to seize control of the nation’s intelligence apparatus and put
it in service to his own distorted view of the world. From failing to
predict the collapse of the Soviet Union to allowing itself to be used
to put forward misleading information
about Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of weapons of mass
destruction, the U.S. Intelligence Community has hardly covered itself
Hm. I agree Flynn seems much like the
Trumpian false pick for the job, but I also observe that the secret
spies not only spy in secret, but also are supposed to lie for the government and to provide all manner of grossly misleading information to the media.
And in any case, they succeeded - very
probably: I must guess but my guess is supported by Snowden's
materials - in compiling dossiers on anyone and everyone who has an internet-computer or a cellphone, even if these dossiers are mostly unread by human eyes.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
In the years to come, expect the Cheney model of intelligence
manufacturing to be replicated, especially by Flynn, whose extreme views
include a belief that Islam is not a real religion, that Iran is the “linchpin”
of a global anti-American coalition of enemies extending from Cuba and
Venezuela to North Korea, China, and Russia, and that Islamic “Sharia
law” is actually being imposed in parts of our country.
Flynn’s views on Islam would have been beyond the pale for a top
adviser in any prior administration. Now, however, he’s positioned to
regularly press his views on Donald Trump, who doesn’t read and seems
inclined to believe the last person he talks to.
Yes, and judged by the above Flynn does seem pretty mad, as indeed Trump is.
5. George Carlin On Bullshit
And there is a lot more in the article, which is strongly recommended.
The fifth item today is by George Carlin, whom I like a lot ever since discovering him in 2009 (for then I got fast internet, which displayed videos), although he died in 2008.
In fact, while I think he is also quite funny, he excelled at
presenting the truth in such a way that people laughed about it. The
following bit is a fine example:
And I should perhaps add that this is on
Youtube with the title "George Carlin: Politicians can't be honest" but
- while politicians are mentioned and indeed thus diagnosed - it really
is about bullshit, and indeed it starts out thus:
"You know whenever you are
exposed to advertizing in this country, you realize allover again that
America's leading industry is still the manufacture, distribution,
packaging and marketing of bullshit."
Yes indeed! The video takes 7 minutes and is warmly recommended, and almost everything Carlin says is - often bitterly - true. If you want some background, see my On some of the roots of the crisis that ends as follows:
One result (..) is this:
"I fear we live
in a world in which war and racism are
ubiquitous, in which the powers of government
mobilization and legitimization are powerful and
increasing, in which a sense of personal
responsibility is increasingly attenuated by
specialization and bureaucratization, and in
which peer-group exerts tremendous pressures on
behavior and sets moral norms. In such a world,
I fear, modern governments that wish to commit
mass murder will seldom fail in their efforts
for being unable to induce "ordinary
men" to become their "willing
executioners." " (Christopher
R. Browning, "Ordinary men", p. 222-3)
 am sorry, but I think this is a firm decision:
If you Twitter, your Tweets will not be reproduced here, and not because I necessarily believe they are idiotic (although that is my usual diagnosis, but not always), but because I do believe that those who use Twitter decided themselves that their wisdoms, insights, intelligence, knowledge, morality, philosophy and verbal abilities all can be rendered in 140 characters maximal, and can be send around to hundreds, thousands or tenthousands with two indications of their enormously important (possibly totally anonymous) selfies at the end.
The limitations you consent to are the limitations of Newspeak, and I am not collaborating with that deliberate attack on all rationality and all intelligence.
Tweets and Twitter are out for me, just as Google, Amazone, Microsoft, Bing, Yahoo and cellphones.