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Nederlog

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crisis: Trump & Alzheimer's, 5.5 Trillions For The Rich, Impeachment, WikiLeaks


Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. The Video That Suggests Trump Is Suffering from Alzheimer's
2. Trump's Trillion-Dollar Tax Cuts Will Take a Stunning Toll on
    American Society
3. The Push for Trump’s Impeachment

4.
Trump Must Halt Prosecution Against WikiLeaks
 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Summary: This is a crisis log with four items and four dotted links (and I am a bit sorry it's - yet again - only about Trump): Item 1 is about an alias scientist who proposes an inept process to establish the possibility that Trump may have Alzheimer's and I think that is solid pseudoscience (regardless of whether he has it); item 2 is about the $5.5 trillion that Trump wants to give to the rich and himself; item 3 is about a fine article by Robert Parry about the attempt to impeach Trump without good evidence (which happens only in authoritarian states); and item 4 is about a good letter in defense of Assange by Snowden, Chomsky, Patti Smith and quite a few others.

And this is the usual about the updating problem that I am now plagued with for more than 1 1/2 years, though now only at one of my two sites:
May 16: As to the updating problem: The Danish site was again on time today. The Dutch site was not on time today, probably because it is not Sunday, for that is the only time my site has a half-decent chance of beinh properly updated: It's still stuck on Sunday last.

They did it well from 1996 till 2015, updating within minutes at most and without any problem, as indeed is the work of ISPs.

I think they totally stopped doing this to limit the readings of my site. I think (but I don't know anything whatsoever about "xs4all") they now update once a week, which means that they are - for me - over 10,000 times worse than they were between 1996 and 2015.

These horrors happen now for the 16th month in succession. And they happen on purpose, because it is extremely simple to do this properly, and it was done properly from 1996 till late in 2015. (If you want these horrors, then sign in with "xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them like the plague.)

And what changed is that you have to refresh (and refresh and refresh and refresh) to get the latest, which is again NOT as it was before, from 1996 till 2015, and which for me this only serves to make it extremely difficult for naive users to get the latest from my site - that for them may seem to have stuck somewhere in 2016 or 2015.

And I have to add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others I have NO idea AT ALL: It may be December 31, 2015. (Xs4all wants  immediate payment if you are a week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying my site now for over a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. The Video That Suggests Trump Is Suffering from Alzheimer's

The first article today is by Kali Holloway on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
The most egregious parts of Donald Trump’s personality—his racism, his misogyny and his lack of scruples or ethics—have been on display for more than four decades. All of those traits have long been part of Trump’s unapologetic public persona. But in recent years, Trump has become an even more extreme version of himself. The behaviors that accompany that shift could be closely correlated with dementia and a general cognitive decline.
I say, and I have problems with this, although these may not be quite what naive readers expect. First then, it is a fact that Trump is 70, and it is possible that Trump may have dementia.

But second, I am a psychologist, and two of the things I have against psychology are that (1) it is not a real science (and I am sorry, but I think so since 1980, and my grounds were and are philosophy of science, and Paul Lutus has explained this several times quite well, see e.g. here) although some parts of it - statistics, methodology - are scientific (but usually not well studied by psychologists), and (2) I must say I get more and more sick with the pseudoscientific bullshit that allows them to say anything whatsoever about anyone, because "so-and-so may be" or "such-and-such could be", while at the same time sticking to the deeply immoral bullshit that emanates only from the American Psychiatric Association, which is to the effect that no one is allowed to diagnose anyone without his or her personal permission and personal acquaintance, also not if this concerns an evidently quite abnormal extremely powerful person whom psychiatrists never see, and who can blow up the whole world.

Also, I dislike it that scientists (purported highly educated people who specialize on telling the truth) hide behind aliases:

The blogger behind the Neurocritic laid out what he sees as proof of Trump’s mental deterioration. He notes that President Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 83, though he began to manifest symptoms far earlier. Researchers have combed through records of off-the-cuff speeches Reagan delivered and found significant declines in his mastery of language. By his second term, Reagan’s speech showed a deep drop-off in the use of unique words; a marked increase in the use of non-specific nouns (thing, something, anything); an uptick in filler words (well, so, basically, actually, literally, um, ah); and a greater use of low-imageability, high frequency verbs (get, give, go, have, do).

Trump seems to have parallels in all these areas.
I checked this out, and "Neurocritic" is, according to what I have read (and what can one say if even scientists insist on aliases that allows them to lie as they please?! [1]) not a he but a she. Also, she asks
Here I'll suggest a different approach: can we quantify age-related neurological change using spontaneous speech?
but a few lines lower adds (all with her own boldings):
Am I going to diagnose him with anything? Of course not. That's unethical!
No, as stated that is utter bullshit. And a few lines below that she adds:
I must emphasize that there is no magical scale to use for classification or comparison purposes (at least not yet). We don't know what's normal age-related decline and what's pathological.
So... we must accept total speculations by an alias who does not want to run any risks for her further career and who indulges in speculations without any adequate scientific status?!

I don't accept that. For all I know Trump "may"  have Alzheimer's but this is not the way to broach it, and also not to investigate it.

Then again there is one bit in this that is worth quoting, as it shows an example of Trump's extremely inept style of speaking:
He has become notorious for his word salads, incomprehensible soliloquies delivered at the speaking level of a fourth-grader. (...)

Alex Leo of the Daily Beast transcribed one sentence Trump delivered at a campaign stop in South Carolina, a series of dead ends, unfinished thoughts and ramblings:

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you're a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it's true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that's why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my, like, credentials all the time, because we're a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it's not as important as these lives are (..)
At this point, I have quoted about half of this Trumpian "explication". You can read all of it by clicking the last dotted link.

And this is the intellectual, mental and linguistic level of the most powerful man on earth...

2. Trump's Trillion-Dollar Tax Cuts Will Take a Stunning Toll on American Society

The second article is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

Vox.com has compiled a list of what President Trump's $5.5 trillion tax cuts over 10 years could pay for, and it's nothing short of shocking. 

The massive tax cuts are "so one-sided that Trump administration officials have even admitted, publicly, that they're not even sure if it's going to help the middle class at all," "Ring of Fire" co-host Farron Cousins began, in his breakdown of the report.

"Trump wants to eliminate the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, thereby benefiting many of the richest taxpayers," reported Fox Business. The right-wing network says the plan's boost to the economy could be "mild" at best.

In a parallel America, that $5.5 trillion sum could be used to solve many of the ills afflicting the country's poorest, rather than grossly benefiting its richest.

I say. Unfortunately, this is not very precise reporting, but there is also this:

According to Vox, $5.5 trillion is enough to cut the rate of child poverty in half, carry out Bernie Sanders' free college plan and eliminate all lead-contaminated soil, in addition to providing universal preschool and dramatically decreasing the ranks of the uninsured.

"We could drive down the cost of health insurance for every single person in this country and it would cost $1 trillion over 10 years," noted Cousins. "But instead of doing any of [the projects outlined by Vox], Donald Trump has decided to take that $5.5 trillion and give it to the wealthy."

"Keep in mind this is the largest tax cut in the history of the United States," Cousins added.

I do not know whether this is correct, but it certainly is true that Trump wants huge tax cuts for the rich and extremely rich, and that $5.5 trillion - five and a half thousand million dollars - is a huge amount of money, that all could have been used to do very many useful things for the many, instead of enriching the few very rich even more.

3. The Push for Trump’s Impeachment

The third article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews: 

This starts as follows:

The Russia-gate affair has taken a strange turn as advocates for President Trump’s removal say his ouster should take precedence over completing the investigation and actually seeing how much there is there – whereas at least one target of the inquiry wants the U.S. government to put its cards on the table.

Yes, precisely: As yet - and since six months - there is no evidence that the Russians interfered in the American elections. And what is quite strange about that is not the accusation that the Russians tried to do so (they may have), but the fact that the extremely well-paid secret services in the USA, of which there are no less than 17, have claimed that the Russians did so, but have given no evidence whatsoever.

And this again has moved quite a few very informed people - William Binney, Ray McGovern and others - to say that they very much doubt that the evidence exists, which
seems (to me, at least) quite plausible after half a year filled with accusations without
evidence.

Here is more on the present situation, and Page is a Trumpian:

In Page’s view, it was the Obama administration’s spreading of allegations about the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia that represented “government meddling in the 2016 election,” rather than Russia’s alleged hacking Democratic emails and publicizing them via WikiLeaks, a claim made by President Obama’s intelligence chiefs but denied by WikiLeaks and Russia.

Yet, what has been perhaps most remarkable about the entire Russia-gate affair is that it has been conducted with almost no evidence being shared with the American people. Thus, we have the prospect of a duly elected President of the United States being targeted for removal by the political and media Establishment without the citizens being let in on exactly what evidence exists and how significant it is.

Precisely. And if the USA is a democracy, the people have the right to know what is the evidence that is being appealed to, without it ever being shown, that is supposed to be capable of removing the elected president of the USA.

There is also this om the firing of the Director of the FBI:

Trump, whose fitness for the presidency was always a profound concern to many American voters, again displayed his incompetence in firing Comey. You might have thought that Trump — as a former reality-TV star whose trademark line was “you’re fired!” — would have had the process down, but apparently not.

Trump didn’t even fire Comey face to face, but rather clumsily at long distance.
I agree this appears quite inept (and Trump had met with Comey repeatedly before firing him) but there may have been reasons (that I don't know, indeed).

Then there is this, all of which is quite true to the best of my knowledge:

The curious role of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI in spearheading the Russia-gate investigation – including having handpicked “senior analysts” from the three agencies produce a clearly biased and nearly evidence-free report on Jan. 6 – has raised concerns of a “soft coup” or “deep-state coup” to negate the 2016 election.
(...)
Yet, instead of a commitment to openness, the intelligence community is telling the citizens that we must accept the fact of Russian “meddling” as “a given,” sans evidence. In addition, influential voices are emerging to declare that Trump’s impeachment should proceed even without the results of the Russia-gate investigation of possible Trump-Russia collusion being known to the public.
Again, if the USA is a democracy, the people have the right to know what is the evidence that is being appealed to, without it ever being shown, that is supposed to be capable of removing the elected president of the USA.

If the second paragraph is true, as I think it is, "the intelligence community" and the "influential voices" speak as if they belong to an authoritarian regime, and not to a democratic state and government.

And in fact, there is both a surprising lack of evidence, and a surprising lack of effort to get it:

Yet, beyond the fact that the Jan. 6 report offered no government evidence that the Russians even hacked the Democratic emails, there also seems to be no rush to question the “usual suspects” from the Trump campaign – Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Page – about what they might know regarding the possible delivery of the emails to WikiLeaks.

Nor has there been any public testimony regarding another source of the Russia-gate allegations, ex-British spy Christopher Steele who prepared a series of opposition research reports on Trump and Russia apparently funded by Clinton supporters. It’s still not even known who paid for the Steele dossier.

Precisely. Here is the ending of this article:

Negating the will of the voters as expressed through the constitutional process – as flawed as that process may be – requires its own process that is perceived as open and fair, not some star chamber or kangaroo court where the intelligence community gets to hide the evidence as “classified” and tells the citizenry to “trust us.”

As unfit and inept as Donald Trump may be, he was elected – and no one should underestimate how dangerous it could be for Washington insiders and other Establishment figures to undo the electoral choice through a process cloaked in secrecy.

Yes indeed. To remove someone as president without providing any real and valid evidence for his supposed misdemeanors happens only in authoritarian states.

And this is a recommended article.

4. Trump Must Halt Prosecution Against WikiLeaks

The fourth and last article today is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Legendary singer and artist Patti Smith, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, world-renowned scholar Noam Chomsky, and acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Stone are among those asking President Donald Trump to put the brakes on the escalating war on free speech and stop pursuing charges against WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

The noted figures make the plea in an open letter to the president (who once declared "I love WikiLeaks!").
I say! For I did not know this, and this is a good initiative, even if it is unlikely to be heard or read by Donald Trump.

Here is part of the letter they sent to the president [2]:

[a] threat to WikiLeaks' work—which is publishing information protected under the First Amendment—is a threat to all free journalism. If the DOJ is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalized.

We call on you as President of the United States to close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges planned against any member of WikiLeaks. It was a free and robust press that provided you with a platform on which to run for president. Defending a truly free press requires freedom from fear and favor and the support of journalists and citizens everywhere; for the kind of threat now facing WikiLeaks—and all publishers and journalists—is a step into the darkness.

I like the ideas and values behind the letter, and most of the persons who signed it that I know of, but I must add that if it is true that it "was a free and robust press that provided you with a platform on which to run for president" then I should add that they
also, in large part, abused the freedoms they had by spreading lies and propaganda, and by censoring true news as too unimportant to report.

But OK. Here are some of the signatories:

Among the other noted signatories are NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake; Pentagon Paper leaker Dan Ellsberg; anti-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou; Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire; former State Department official Matthew Hoh, who resigned in protest over the Afghan war; and former Greek finance minister and Democracy in Europe Movement co-founder Yanis Varoufakis.

And this is by Noam Chomsky:

Chomsky, for his part, has called the targeting of WikiLeaks and Assange—who remains inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London—"a disgraceful act." Pursuing criminal prosecution against him, Chomsky said to Democracy Now! last month, is "the kind of effort that a government would carry out that is dedicated to trying to protect itself from exposure of facts that citizens should have, but systems of power don't want them to have."

And if it's true that this new priority is due to Assange having helped Snowden or army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, "he should be honored for it [because] Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden carried out heroic, courageous acts," Chomsky added.

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.
--------------
Notes
[1] I am sorry, but the more correspondence I read by aliases the less I like it. And if you are a somewhat prominent scientist, I think you should not speak as an alias (usually, at least): Aliases cannot be relied on, and scientists are supposed to try to speak the truth.

[2] In case you missed it: I wrote "president" with a small "p" because I anyway do not see much reason for this kind of honoring, and because I want the present president to be impeached because I think he is mentally and morally incapable of doing it as he should.

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