Saturday, August 19, 2017

Crisis: Bannon Out, Remove Trump *2, On TV, Freud The Fraud

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 19, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Saturday, August 19, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection (usually) from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 19, 2017

The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

This article is by Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept, and indeed one of many articles about Bannon's dismissal, that I like (and see the item 2 and item 4 below). This is from near the beginning:

Bannon, as of Friday morning, is out, six months after his controversial switchover from Trump campaign chief executive to White House chief strategist. He joins Gen. Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Katie Walsh, and Anthony Scaramucci on the outside. As Oscar Wilde nearly remarked: to lose one member of your inner circle may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose six in six months looks like sheer chaos.

Let’s be clear: Trump’s sacking of “Mr. Bannon” is not a repudiation of Bannon-esque, or Breitbartian, white nationalism. Rather, it is a clear consequence of Bannon, like Icarus flying too close to the sun. As Trump’s remarks on Tuesday indicated, he wanted to make clear to the world that he is his own man — or, as he once declaimed in an early-morning tweet: “I call my own shots.” For the thin-skinned, egomaniacal, and attention-hungry president, White House staffers have only one mission: to boost him, not themselves.

The first paragraph mostly gives the plain facts. And I agree with the second paragraph since I myself think for a long time now that Trump is a megalomaniac, and for that reason should be removed as president as fast as possible.

There is considerably more in the article, that ends as follows:

The Leader of the Free World has form on nativism, xenophobia, and racism, as I have pointed out before. Consider the past few days: Bannon may have influenced Trump’s response to the domestic terror attack in Charlottesville, but he did not force Trump to provoke howls of outrage across Capitol Hill, the business community, and the wider West on Tuesday by referring to the “very fine people” on the neo-Nazi, KKK-aligned side; nor did Bannon dictate Trump’s dog-whistling tweet on Thursday praising the “beauty” of Confederate monuments.

Yes, Bannon has finally gone and we can all rejoice. Sebastian Gorka and maybe even Stephen Miller might eventually follow him out of the White House doors. But Trump remains. That’s the inescapable, unavoidable, undeniable problem; that’s the orange-skinned gorilla in the room. I hate to agree with Trump but Bannon or no Bannon, John Kelly or no John Kelly, the president does indeed call his own shots. Especially the racist ones.

I agree, and this is a recommended article.

2. Remove Him Now

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. This is from the middle of this (short) article:

Let’s be clear. There is already enough evidence to impeach Trump on grounds of abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

There is already enough evidence of mental impairment to invoke the 25th amendment.

I know, Republicans are in control of Congress. But this is no license for Trump to destroy the nation we love.

I know, removing Trump would mean having Mike Pence as president. But a principled right-winger is far better for America and the world than an unhinged egomaniac.

I agree, indeed also with the last paragraph (as I have also argued before). And this is a recommended article.

3. How Movies Like 'Toy Story 3' and 'The Incredibles' Are Turning Our Children into Violent, Militarized Monsters

This article is by Heidi Tilney Kramer on AlterNet and originally on OpenDemocracy.

It starts as follows - and my readers should remember that (i) I do and did not owe a TV since 1970, although I have, very occasionally, seen some of it, that only fortified my 1970 decision that I did not want this instrument of propaganda, advertisements and lies, lies, plentiful, false and degenerate lies in my house, and that (2) I have no children because I fell ill at 28, and am still ill:

“Ten percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and ten percent is merciful, no matter what, and the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction.” Susan Sontag.

Who would ever have thought that there would be torture scenes in G and PG-rated children's films, or that video games would allow someone to feel the rush of killing

Seeing “little Boo,” the toddler who can barely speak in Monsters, Inc., strapped into a seat with holes in the bottom for draining bodily fluids just like the electric chair on death row convinced me to take a closer look at what children all over the world are watching as their purported ‘entertainment;’ what this might be doing to their minds and their emotions; and how all this is related to public policy and the institutions of society.
In the film The Incredibleschildren are shown the 9/11 trope of a plane bent on destruction that’s heading toward a U.S. city while an entire family ends up on a torture table; the film also shows “Mr Incredible” being blasted by viscous bubbles similar to the supposedly non-lethal incapacitant sticky-foam weapons that are currently being proposed for crowd control in the U.S. and elsewhere. And what are children to think when their beloved Buzz Lightyear—shown as a friend to all for two of the three films in the series—is tortured, has his personality changed, and becomes a prison guard for the cruel overlord in the surveillance-laden dystopia of Toy Story 3?

In fact, I completely agree with the above quotation, except for one thing: I made the same diagnosis, albeit not in the relative detail of the present article, in 1984, after having studied some "children's programs" on my mother's TV.

That is, it was then at least mostly like it is now on the USA's "children's TV" a full 33 years ago, although I am willing to believe - three year olds who can see "an entire family" ending up "on a torture table" etc. - that it is worse now than the utterly atrocious sadism I watched, indeed quite astonished, half of my life ago.

Then again, I happily do not have a TV and do not want one. The article seems quite OK to me and this is from the ending:

Where is all this leading? As Hitler’s deputy Hermann Goering said at the Nuremberg trials:

“Of course the people don't want war...That is understood...But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Propaganda and other more subtle forms of media communication have always been used to build support for war, militaristic policing and government surveillance on the grounds of ‘national security.’ The images and messages contained in film, TV, popular music and video games form an important part of this process, especially because there are now only five big media conglomerates that control over 90 per cent of everything that is seen and heard across America.

Against this background we are growing accustomed to torture and militarism in children’s films.
I completely agree, except for the quite pessimistic addition that I did complain (in my journal) about precisely the same 33 years ago, and that I presume this sick and sadistic implantations of sick sadism in three to eight year old American children has been systematic for at least 33 years.

It also explains - implicitly and indirectly - various things about Trump's supporters if, as I believe is correct, the vast majority has been propagandized like this ever since they were three. And this is a recommended article.

4. 4 National Publications Call for Trump's Removal from Office

This article is by Chris Sosa, and in a way continues item 2, where Robert Reich made the same call. I merely copy the headlines:

Washington Post: "President Donald Trump Must Go" —David Rothkopf
Rolling Stone: "Republicans Must Tell Trump to Go - Now" —Jesse Berney
Glamour: "It's Time to Impeach Donald Trump" —Hillary Kelly
Huffington Post: "Trump Must Go, Now!" —Lance Simmons

There is more in the article, including quotations from each of the above four sources, and this article is recommended.

5. The Curious Conundrum of Freud’s Persistent Influence

This article is by George Prochnik on The New York Times. It is not a crisis file. It is here because I think Freud was a fraud ever since first reading about him and the psychoanalysts he influenced in 1966 (when I was 16), and also because I am a psychologist, who dislikes Freud, Freudianism, psychoanalysis and modern - DSM-5 based - American psychiatry (and for one long and good article see my DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis").

Also, I have previously reviewed this book of Frederick Crew, but do so again here, for one thing because I did not know that Freud also was a rather sick personal bastard. This is from the beginning of the review:

Instead “Freud: The Making of an Illusion” focuses on the man — specifically how a reflective young scientist with high ambitions and gifted mentors lost perspective on his “wild hunches,” covered up his errors and created “an international cult of personality.” In practice, this translates into 700-plus pages of Freud mangling experiments, shafting loved ones, friends, teachers, colleagues, patients and ultimately, God help us, swindling humanity at large. Here we have Freud the liar, cheat, incestuous child molester, woman hater, money-worshiper, chronic plagiarizer and all-around nasty nut job. This Freud doesn’t really develop, he just builds a rap sheet.

I knew Freud was a liar and a cheat since 1966, and I know he did not seem to like women, but that he was an "incestuous child molester", a "moneyworshiper", a "chronic plagiarizer", and also an "all-around nasty nut job" I had - so far - mostly missed.

Then again, since the man was a liar and a cheat (and used cocaine for 15 years) it does not amaze me very much. Prochnik also has some criticism:

The usefulness of the aggregation would have been greater had Crews presented his story with more of that objectivity he finds so damningly absent in Freud. Here, “Freud outdid himself in thickheadedness.” There we encounter the “apogee of Freud’s willful blindness.” Elsewhere we read of Freud indulging his “yen for borrowed power,” and exhibiting “madcap self-deception.”

I do not know whether the criticism is correct. In any case, it does not seem to be serious. The article ends as follows:

Crews has been debunking Freud’s scientific pretensions for decades now; and it seems fair to ask what keeps driving him back to stab the corpse again. He may give a hint at the opening of this book, when he confesses that he too participated in the “episode of mass infatuation” with psychoanalysis that swept the country 50 years ago. The wholesale denigration of its founder is what we might expect in response to a personal betrayal of the highest order, such as only an idol can deliver. Paraphrasing Voltaire, if Freud didn’t exist, Frederick Crews would have had to invent him. In showing us a relentlessly self-interested and interminably mistaken Freud, it might be said he’s done just that.

This is a recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better.

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