2. Just How Close Is Donald Trump to Becoming a
3. How US Believes
4. Bernie Sanders: Trump 'Is a Fraud' Sending Nation in
5. Europe Must Defend Itself Against A Dangerous President
This is a Nederlog of Monday, February 6, 2017.
Summary: This is
a crisis log with 5 files and 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about an article by Chris Hedges about Trump's ends and also about
the chances of the opposition; item 2 is about
whether Trump is aiming at becoming a dictator; item 3
is about how the US believes in impossible things (and gives me an
occasion to repeat my definition of "propaganda"); item
4 is about Bernie Sanders who called Trump "a fraud", quite
correctly (in my view); and item 5 is about an
article in Spiegel that warns against Trump as "a dangerous president"
- which he is, although I disbelieve that the editor of
Spiegel feels "pain" when writing that Trump is a pathological liar: if he
has done anything the last year, he knows Trump is
(because of the statements that Trump made that were checked, 70% was false,
all year round).
As for today
(February 6, 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
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!!!) and it was still February 3 (three days ago); and indeed I am sick of being systematically made
unreadable and therefore changed
the site to allow most readers to find 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 for 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 Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
starts as follows:
Donald Trump’s regime is rapidly
reconfiguring the United States into an authoritarian state. All forms
of dissent will soon be criminalized. Civil liberties will no longer
exist. Corporate exploitation, through the abolition of regulations and
laws, will be unimpeded. Global warming will accelerate. A repugnant
nationalism, amplified by government propaganda, will promote bigotry
and racism. Hate crimes will explode. New wars will be launched or
I agree with the first statement, but the
rest of the first paragraph seems more doubtful to me, though I also agree
this seems a fair expectation of what Trump is trying to do.
Then there is this:
Flurries of executive orders and
memorandums are being issued to demolish the anemic remnants of our
bankrupt democracy. Those being placed in power—such as Betsy DeVos,
who if confirmed as secretary of education will defund our system of
public education and expand schools run by the Christian right, and
Scott Pruitt, who if confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection
Agency will dismantle it—are agents of destruction. In the eyes of the
Christian fascists, generals, billionaires and conspiracy theorists
around Trump, the laws, the courts and legislative bodies exist only to
silence opponents and swell corporate profits.
Yes, and I think myself that the last bit
- for Trump and the Trumpians "the laws, the
courts and legislative bodies exist only to silence opponents and swell
corporate profits" - is quite correct.
And there is this:
Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief
counselor, was behind the ban on Muslims entering the United States
from seven Muslim-majority countries—a ban you can expect to see
extended if the Trump administration is successful in removing a stay
issued by a district court. He was behind the order to the Department
of Homeland Security to draw up lists
of Muslim organizations and individuals in the United States that,
in the language of the executive action, have been “radicalized” and
have “provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in
countries that pose a threat to the United States.” Such lists will be
used to criminalize Muslim leaders and the institutions and
organizations they built. Then, once the Muslims are dealt with
domestically, there will be new Homeland Security lists that will allow
the government to target the press, activists, labor leaders, dissident
intellectuals and the left. It is the beginning of a fascist version of
Trotsky’s “permanent revolution.”
I have three remarks on this.
First, the Muslims are - it seems, for
Stephen Bannon and his likes, at least - rather like the Jews were to
Hitler (and Bannon seems to be an anti-semite i.e. he seems to
strongly dislike Jews because of "their race", as Himmler did ), so
it may be worth to point out that quite a few of the Muslims (not all,
but those surrounding Israel, for example) also are supposed to
For me, this is all racialist
idiocy (the Jews are not a race; the Muslims are not
a race; and anyway racism is degenerate) but not
according to Bannon, who seems currently Trump's right hand man.
Second, in fact Trump and some of his
mates (like Bannon) are targetting "the
press, activists, labor leaders, dissident intellectuals and the left" and they will continue to do so, and especially
the press (for if they can silence the press, they have won in the USA,
or so it seems to me).
And third, I agree that Trump is
trying to start a “permanent revolution” and
especially against the press, the media and the left, but I would call
rather than fascist
and I explain my distinctions here: On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. Another interesting article, that I will return to soon,
is here: Crisis: On The Deep State in the USA,
TTIP Has 'De Facto
Then there is this, which may be seen as a
precisification of the first paragraph (with which I did not quite
The Trump regime’s demented project of
social engineering, which will come wrapped in a Christianized fascism,
can be implemented only if it quickly seizes control of the
bureaucratic mechanisms, an action that Max
Weber pointed out is the prerequisite for exercising power in
industrial and technocratic societies. Once what the historian
Guglielmo Ferrero calls the “silken threads” of habit, tradition and
legality are gone, the “iron chains” of dictatorship will impose social
Yes indeed, but Trump still has to
do this (and I agree he is trying to do this), but he
has not succeeded yet, at least.
There is this on the use of violence:
If nonviolent protest is met with
violence, we must never respond with violence. The use of
violence, including property destruction, and taunting the police are
gifts to the security and surveillance state. It allows the state to
demonize and isolate a mass movement. It drives away the bulk of the
population. Violence against the state is used by the authorities to
justify greater forms of control and repression. The corporate state
understands and welcomes the language of force. This is a game the
government will always win and we will always lose. If we are perceived
as a flag-burning, rock-throwing, angry mob that embraces violence, we
will be easily crushed.
I more or less agree with this, though I
like to add that Trump does have a real problem due to the fact
that there are more guns than persons in the USA. And this is a
major difference from Europe, where no one but
the Swiss (I think) is still allowed to have arms in the house (without
a special and not easily awarded permit).
There is this on the "Trump regime":
The Trump regime is populated with blind
fanatics. They believe in one truth, which is whatever they proclaim at
the moment (any such declaration may contradict what they said a few
hours before). They are possessed with one idea—conflict. They venerate
a demented hypermasculinity that includes a sacralization of violence,
misogyny, a disdain for empathy, and the self-appointed right to engage
in bouts of frenzied rage. These characteristics, they believe, are a
sign of masculinity. The highest aesthetic is militarism, violence and
Yes and no. That is: I agree blind
fanaticism is a characteristic of some in Trump's cabinet, and
indeed Trump and Bannon seem two fair examples. Then again, it seems better
to me to be met by blind fanatics than by wily, scheming,
billionaires who are
pro rich and only pro rich, but are rational enough to lie and
deceive. And I think these are also in Trump's cabinet.
Then there is this on "moral monsters":
The inability of white supremacists like
Trump and Bannon to recognize the humanity of others springs from their
spiritual impoverishment. They mistake bigotry for honesty and
ignorance for innocence. They cannot separate fantasy from reality.
Such people are, as author James Baldwin said, “moral monsters.”
First of all, I definitely agree there are
moral monsters and that it is utterly false to declare every
human being the equal of everybody else (as "leftists" - who are not
real leftists (as my very courageous parents were ) - seem to
love to do).
Indeed here are a few of them: Hitler,
Stalin, Himmler, Goebbels, Beria, Heydrich and indeed very many
more from the Gestapo and the KGB who were immoral racists, sadists and
But second, although I agree Chris Hedges may
be correct in saying that Trump and Bannon suffer - or take pride in - "spiritual impoverishment", "bigotry"
and "ignorance" it seems to me that they also may be moral
monsters because they simply decided that only the rich are real
people, and only the rich deserve protection, and that everybody
who is not rich is a loser, and that losers deserve to die (and
should not be kept alive with welfare or Obamacare: Let them
starve for being not rich).
I do not know what is the correct
view of Trump, Bannon etc. (and it seems to me that the second view is
even sicker than the first, and this view also seems to be practised by
- at least - Trump and Bannon).
This is from the end of this article:
I agree. And this is a recommended article.
We have the power to make the country
ungovernable. But we do not have much time. The regime will make it
harder and harder to organize, get into the streets and carry out the
nationwide strikes, including within the federal bureaucracy.
Resistance alone, however, is not enough. It must be accompanied by an
alternative vision of a socialist and anti-capitalist society. It must
reject the Democratic Party’s attempt to ride anti-Trump sentiment back
into power. The enemy is, in the end, not Trump or Bannon, but the
corporate state. If we do not dismantle corporate power we will never
stop fascism’s seduction of the white working class and unemployed.
Just How Close Is Donald Trump to Becoming a Full-Blown Dictator?
The second item is by Phil Torres on AlterNet and originally on Salon:
starts as follows:
is widespread agreement among political commentators that Donald Trump
is a unique figure in the political history of the United States —
and a uniquely dangerous one as well. David Frum recently published a chilling article
in The Atlantic titled “How to Build an Autocracy,” and The
Washington Post’s John McNeill suggested last year that Trump was a “semi-fascist,” according to a
set of robust criteria assembled by “dozens of top historians and
As the comedian Jon Stewart recently
said on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “We have never
faced this before: purposeful, vindictive chaos.”
Yes, although I would call (and have
called) Trump a neofascist
rather than a "semi-fascist" (and I did study both fascism and
neofascism, and did compile my own definitions, and indeed I stem from
strongly anti-fascist parents and grandparents, with two parents and
one grandparent in the Dutch resistance against Nazism).
Also, it is worthwile to say that both Trump and his cabinet and
some on the left, like Chris Hedges, seem to want to make the USA
"ungovernable", though indeed also for opposed reasons.
Then there is this:
But what about the long-term stability
of American democracy? What might be the consequences of Trump’s
policies for the younger generations among us? Could our democracy sink
into autocracy, as some fear? To answer these questions, I
contacted Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair
Smith, professors at New York University and the co-authors of “The Dictator’s Handbook.”
These are decent questions (and I did not
read their book).
What are, in your opinions, the most
important differences between democracy and dictatorship?
Alastair Smith: We like to think of
them as not being distinct but existing on a continuum. They actually
share many features. At the top of an organization there’s a person who
wants to stay at the top of the organization, and so they generate
policies that get people who enable them to stay there to support them.
So the difference is a degree of magnitude as to how many people you
No, I disagree: There are definite
differences between a dictatorship and a democracy, and three imporant
ones are the following: (i) the laws are rather different: in a
democracy "general interests" prevail somehow (and not always fairly),
in a dicatorshop specific interests (generally: those in power and/or
the rich) prevail, and they do so (soon enough) in law; (ii) authority
is different: im a democracy again "general interests" prevail, while
in a democracy only or mostly the interests of specific groups are
furthered; and (iii) the media are quite different: in a democracy
there is real news that reports real facts, and that does so also from
different political directions; im a dictatorship all media are only
allowed to publish "the news" that is approved by the government.
I am sorry, but these differences are real
and important, and to deny them, and insist only on the amount of
support for the government simply is a mistake.
Then there is this:
I think this as well seems more naive to me
than I think is justified (and this is from an interview with two
professors of politics), although I agree Trump is not - yet? - "banning newspapers and prosecuting them".
In your view, how worrisome is Donald
Trump’s apparent delegitimizing of the press? For example, Trump called CNN “fake news,” Steve Bannon told the media to “keep its mouth shut.” And
both have repeatedly described the media as the “opposition party.” Is
this a dangerous push towards a less democratic form of governance?
Smith: People tend to think of
democracy as just being about free and fair elections. But democracy is
about a lot more than that, at least in the way we view things.
What’s very important is that people have
the rights of free speech and an independent media. I don’t see Trump
being particularly successful at making the media be quiet. It’s
worrying that he gets away with some of it. But he’s now being called
out for basically living in a post-factual world where these things
don’t matter. So, I’m less concerned in the long run. If Trump were to
start banning newspapers and prosecuting them, that’s very much how
dictators like to do things: Bankrupt newspaper owners if they print
stories that they don’t like and lock up journalists. I don’t think
that anybody perceives that Trump is going to do this in the near
future. The press will continue to talk about Trump; indeed, you’re
writing and you’re not feeling the risk of being censored.
Then there is this, which is a lot more sensible:
Yes - and I agree that "the press is not in the business of telling the truth. The
press is in the business of selling advertising space to make money", although indeed in the 1970ies (!!) the American press
seems to have been abled to do both: Make a decent living from
the advertisements they sold (which got a whole lot less in the
Bueno de Mesquita: I think there
are three pillars to an accountable government. Many of the things that
people think of as being pillars, like the rule of law,
follow from these three pillars. You need freedom of assembly, free
speech and free press.
That is, people have to be in a position to
exchange information and find out that they’re not alone in disliking
what the government is doing — and to organize and coordinate to oppose
the government. The two threats to the free press are a) fake news,
although “noisy news” has always been prevalent, like if you were
to go back to colonial times, you’d find that this was true, and
b) self-censorship: When Bannon says the press should shut up, he means
censor yourselves. That’s a real danger because, to put it harshly, the
press is not in the business of telling the truth. The press is in the
business of selling advertising space to make money. So if telling the
truth turns out to be a liability, then they might begin to self-censor.
- more or less, is true - telling the truth about those in power.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
Bueno de Mesquita: My own
personal opinion — again, not being a lawyer — is that Trump is much
more likely in the next four years to be removed from office under
the 25th Amendment, whereby the president is deemed to
be incapacitated. I think if he persists in using, as they have called
it, “alternative facts,” when the evidence does not support what he is
saying, and he nevertheless tries to shape policy on that basis,
there’s going to be a point at which there will be a judgment that he
is not mentally stable.
I more or less agree and hope he is correct.
This is a recommended article (though I don't think there is "a
continuum" between democracy and dictatorship).
3. How US
Believes Impossible Things
The third item is by William Blum on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
As the Queen in Alice in
Wonderland explained, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six
impossible things before breakfast.” Or as new Secretary of Defense
James Mattis has said, “Since Yalta, we have a long list of times we’ve
tried to engage positively with Russia. We have a relatively short list
of successes in that regard.”
If anyone knows where to find this long
list, please send me a copy.
This delusion is repeated periodically
by American military officials. A year ago, following the release of
Russia’s new national security document, naming as threats both the
United States and the expansion of the NATO alliance, a Pentagon
spokesman declared: “They have no reason to consider us a threat. We
are not looking for conflict with Russia.”
Yes, indeed: Much of what the Pentagon and
the American government claim consists of lies and propaganda (though
indeed not all).
And here is the reason to select this
The entire emphasis has been on whether
a particular news item is factually correct or incorrect. However, that
is not the main problem with mainstream media. A news item can be
factually correct and still be very biased and misleading because of
what’s been left out, such as the relevant information about the
Russian “invasion” of Crimea mentioned above.
Yes, indeed - as is also obvious from my
definition of propaganda:
Propaganda: Slanted, biased, prejudiced or
partial presentation of something that is meant to produce a state of
belief that is not proportional to the evidence.
Most points of view people get exposed
to are kinds of propaganda, whether political, religious or economical.
And indeed, the last kind of propaganda, also known as advertising,
is the most expensive and well-paid kind of writing or filming there
is, and the sort of information
most people are most exposed to.
relations are also kinds of propaganda, intended to
mislead a public into buying
products or believing institutions, political parties or
Of course, the commercial spreaders or lies that are public relations companies deny this,
but then their craft is the art of lying,
using the techniques of conmanship.
I repeat it (once again), because I think
it is quite clear and deserves to be better known.
4. Bernie Sanders: Trump
'Is a Fraud' Sending Nation in 'Authoritarian Direction'
The fourth item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
"I don't mean to be disrespectful," Sen.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday
morning, "but this guy's a fraud."
The immediate reference was to a meeting
President Donald Trump held with Wall Street executives on Friday in
which he vowed—in what Common Dreams reported
as a "spectacular betrayal"—to repeal key elements of the Dodd-Frank
financial reform bill enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
"It is hard not to laugh," Sanders said,
"to see President Trump sitting alongside these Wall Street guys. This
guy ran for the President of the United States saying, 'I'm Donald
Trump and I'm gonna take on Wall Street—these guys are getting away
with murder...' But suddenly he appoints all these billionaires; his
major financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs; and now he's gonna
dismantle legislation that protects consumers. This is a guy who ran
for president saying, 'I'm the only Republicans who's not going to cut
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid'—and then he appoints all of
these guys who are precisely going to cut Social Security, Medicare,
Yes indeed - quite so, although
I'd say that calling someone a fraud (<-Wikipedia) is
Then there is this:
Sanders described the current political
moment as "exceptional times," and said he worries "very much"
that "we have a president... moving us in a very authoritarian
He explained that he was very worried that Trump, who on Saturday sent
a tweet referring to a federal judge who ruled against his immigration
order a "so-called judge," is a president "who apparently has contempt
for the entire judiciary" and antagonstic towards separation of powers.
Yes indeed - and Trump does not
appear to see the difference between the executive power and the
And this is about the nomination of
Trump's candidate for the Supreme Court:
"We are living in a dangerous and
unprecented moment in modern American history," Sanders said. "What
this Supreme Court decision is about is whether we continue Citizens
United and allow billionaires to buy elections. It's whether or
not we continue Roe vs. Wade and allow a woman to control her
own body. It's whether or not we have a court that protects the right
of the government to make sure climate change is de[a]lt with and
whether workers have the right to join unions. So this is a major,
major nomination and it should require sixty votes and a serious
5. Europe Must Defend
Itself Against A Dangerous President
The fifth and last item today is by Klaus Brinkbšumer on Spiegel
This is from near the
must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States
and his government. That's difficult enough already for two reasons:
Because it is from the Americans that we obtained our liberal democracy
in the first place; and because it is unclear how the brute and
choleric man on the other side will react to diplomatic pressure. The
fact that opposition to the American government can only succeed when
mounted together with Asian and African partners -- and no doubt with
our partners in Europe, with the EU -- doesn't make the situation any
I say! And I do so mostly because Spiegel is
still an important German magazine and not merely a small paper: If
Spiegel says that "Europe
Must Defend Itself Against A Dangerous President", as the title of this article has it, this is a widely
shared feeling in Germany (or so I think).
Then again, I immediately add that I am not much impressed with
both difficulties thay Birkbšumer notes: I don't see that the
fact that it is "from the Americans that we
obtained our liberal democracy in the first place"
and I take it: in 1945, also thanks to the Marshall Plan
(<- Wikipedia), simply because that is all over 60 years ago and the
present circumstances are very different from what they were around
1950; and I also don't see why "partners" are necessary at the present
point (though I agree that the more who are willing to put pressure on
Trump, the better this may be).
Indeed, there is also this:
(...) Germany must build an
alliance against Donald Trump, because it otherwise won't take shape.
It is, however, absolutely necessary.
It is literally painful to write this
sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological
liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write
this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an
illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of
power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion
from his own and accused her of "betrayal." This is the vocabulary used
by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think.
I agree with the first of the above two
paragraphs (and indeed think Germany should take the initiative in
Europe, at least among the governments).
I disbelieve most that is said in the
First, I think it is totally incredible
that the chief editor of Spiegel insists that it is "literally painful"
to write that "the president of the United
States is a pathological liar": He clearly is;
he clearly has been lying - for 70% of the time also - for well over a
year now; and indeed being a liar, and even being "a pathological liar", seem to me to
be quite necessary, also in Europe, to make any political career. (All
politicians are liars, and indeed it seems to me that politicians are
far more often liars than non-politicians.)
Second, I also do not see why it would
"hurt" - the chief editor of Spiegel, specifically - to write that
"[t]he president of the U.S. is a ra racist": There have been more
racists who also were U.S. presidents, and there have been quite a few
racist politicians, who
also - Goldwater, Wallace (<- Wikipedia, both)- got quite far politically plugging racism.
Third, while I agree that Trump "is attempting a coup from the top", I
don't think he is aiming a "an illiberal
democracy" (and what is that? how does it differ
from a square circle, for example?): he is aiming at a dictatorship of
himself and his cabinet, and he does so - among other things - by
denying there is a difference between the judiciary and the executive
powers, and by insisting "the media" consists of liars and opponents
(which again is a lie).
Fourth, if it is "literally painful" to
write that Trump is a pathological liar (while that is the evident
truth for more than a year) and it "hurts" to say Trump is a racist,
then why doesn't it hurt to compare Trump to Nero? (And no, I don't
believe Birkbšumer is really pained or hurt.)
Then there is this, which I also think is
not very clear:
That's why under President Trump, both
the justified and the contemptible will be melded. Injustice is a major
issue of our times, as are fears of digitalization and globalization --
and rightfully so given that the division of society and the speed of
modern life is, in fact, extreme. Trump fuses these worries of his
voters with nationalism and xenophobia. That's how demagogues work and
it is how they become effective. The fact that the United States, a
nuclear superpower that has dominated the world economically,
militarily and culturally for decades, is now presenting itself as the
victim, calling in all seriousness for "America first" and trying to
force the rest of the world into humiliating concessions is absurd. But
precisely because this nonsense is coming from the world's most
powerful man, it is getting trapped by him.
For one thing, I don't fear
"digitalization": What I fear - and a whole lot more than Birkbšumer
seems to do - is the secret spying on everyone who is
connected to the internet by a computer or a cellphone. For me that is
fascism plain and simple, and it
can only end by being ended altogether by law, or by becoming the
dominant force in society, and with Trump as president, it will not be
ended by law.
For another thing, I don't fear
"globalization": I fear the transportation of most industries to the
third world, which has been happening since the 1980ies, and meanwhile
has happened; I fear the dominance of the rich over the non-rich and
the many; I fear the untold many lies I have read about the needs for
austerity and balanced budgets that only systematically helped the few
rich to become very much richer.
And I simply do not believe that
Birkbšumer - who uses these two awful euphemisms - doesn't see much of
the same (indeed while quite possibly not agreeing with me).
Then again, I more or less agree that "the United States, a nuclear superpower that has dominated
the world economically, militarily and culturally for decades, is now
presenting itself as the victim", which indeed
simply is a lie (although using that term - "lie" - might "pain" or
"hurt" the chief editor, especially if this lie is attributed to its
source, which is The President Of The United States).
Anyway... here is the end of the article,
that I agree with:
This article is recommended, even though I
can't take everything in it seriously.
What is does mean, though, is that
Europe must grow stronger and start planning its political and economic
defenses. Against America's dangerous president.
 Because Himmler and the Nazis insisted that the Jews are a race (which they are not according to biology).
 Because both of my parents were in the resistance against the Nazis in WW II, and my
father and his father were arrested in June 1941 for the same "crime"
and convicted to concentration camp imprisonment. My father survived
over 3 years and 9 months of this; my grandfather was murdered.