Thursday, August 24, 2017

Crisis: Trump and: Clapper, Lies, Democratic Party, Nuclear Weapons, Lies (lies, lies)

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 24, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, August 24, 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 24, 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 Chris Sosa on AlterNet [2]. It is not long and I will give just one bit of it, and the reason is that this is by James Clapper (<-Wikipedia), who headed the NSA during Obama's government, and who is a degenerate liar. Well, he said this:

Clapper is a nonpartisan voice who has served in both the Obama and the George W. Bush administrations.

"I really question his ability to be—his fitness to be—in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it," Clapper told Lemon.

He called the rally "downright scary and disturbing," condemning the president for his "behavior and divisiveness and complete intellectual, moral and ethical void." 

Clapper wondered aloud about Trump's chances of remaining in office, asking, "How much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare?"

First, it is rather odd to see one of the biggest spies there has ever been, who spies on absolutely everyone with an internet computer of some kind, to be described as "nonpartisan", but let that be for the moment (and there is more on Clapper in item 4, below).

Second, while it so happens that I agree with Clapper, I think his "motivation" to speak up now has little to do with his personal worries, motives, or interests, while it has - probably - a lot tot do with the campaign he and his mates in the NSA and the Deep State have been conducting to stop Trump's presidency, which they are strongly interested in because they - the NSA and the Deep State - cannot control Trump (who is not sane, in my opinion, and that of many other psychologists).

And third, while I don't believe in either Clapper's motivations nor in his honesty or integrity, I think he is right here. This is a recommended article, and there is more in item 4 below.

2. Different Day, Different Audience, and a Completely Different Trump

This article is by Mark Landler on The New York Times. This starts as follows:
President Trump reverted to his script as commander in chief here on Wednesday.

The morning after he delivered an aggrieved and impromptu defense of his comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Mr. Trump spoke in a more measured tone to the national convention of the American Legion, telling its members that “we are not defined by the color of our skin,” and that the country will overcome its challenges by reaffirming its common values.

“We are here to hold you up as an example of strength, courage and resolve that our country will need to overcome the many challenges that we face,” the president said, speaking slowly and gravely as he read from a teleprompter. “We are here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation.”

It was a day-and-night contrast to Mr. Trump’s performance Tuesday night in Phoenix, where he lurched from subject to subject and accused the news media of ignoring what he insisted had been his message of unity in the aftermath of Charlottesville.

But such contrasts have become a recurring motif of his presidency: Mr. Trump has toggled between Teleprompter Trump and Unplugged Trump every day since the deadly clashes in Virginia, leaving Washington and the rest of the nation with a chronic case of rhetorical whiplash.

The reason this article is here is mostly because of the last paragraph:

"Mr. Trump has toggled between Teleprompter Trump and Unplugged Trump every day (...)"

And I think that is intentional (and he is mostly lying in either role). There is considerably more in the article.

3. Donald Trump’s Defining Moments

This article is by Lawrence Davidson on Consortiumnews. This starts as follows:
In the last few weeks, President Trump has gone through a series of defining moments in which his disturbing rhetorical reactions to historical developments have opened a window on his sense of the world and the nation.

Let’s pick up the story on Friday, August 11. On that day the New York Times (NYT) announced “Conservatives Relish the ‘Fury’ in Trumps Talk.” A blurb for the article said, “Fans of Tough Rhetoric See a Promised Kept.” The reference was to Donald Trump’s suggestion that he would respond to any North Korean aggression with a counterattack of “fire and fury.” Maybe he would even consider a preemptive strike.

The “fire and fury” talk seems to have been a spontaneous, uncensored display of what President Trump would do to North Korea if not precariously held in check by select others – perhaps certain Republican Party leaders and military advisers – who will now try to sublimate the President’s belligerency into a new strategy for Afghanistan.

As is typical of spontaneous responses, the “fire and fury” outburst was contextualized not by historical facts or thought-out policy, but rather by the uninhibited personality of the responder.

At this point it should be noted that it has taken centuries to mature a set of diplomatic rules and practices which even now only just manages to keep the aggressive behavior of most nation-states in check. To see the President of the United States treat that history as if it meant little is chilling. Just as chilling is the response of the President’s “base.”

In fact, this is part of a discussion of the first "defining moment" that Davidson discerns. There is more on this in the next item.

And this is from the end of the article (that is the reason it is here):

Most Americans, if pressed to take a side, would probably stand against the real Donald Trump revealed by these recent defining moments. However, in order for them to effectively take that stand, there needs to be a political alternative – an institutional choice that allows for the political defeat of the rightwing radicals.

When we look around for that alternative, all we find is a dysfunctional Democratic Party, which, under its present leadership, has proven incapable of checking the reactionary trend besetting the nation. So, the U.S. is in both political and cultural limbo. Its citizens are left asking if Donald Trump’s defining moments will also define their own future.

Yes indeed: The "alternative" to Trump "is a dysfunctional Democratic Party, which, under its present leadership, has proven incapable of checking the reactionary trend besetting the nation".

There is considerably more in the article, that is recommended. 

4. Can Anyone Stop Trump From Launching Nuclear Weapons?

This article is by David Corn on Mother Jones. It has a subtitle that answers the question in the title:

Probably not—unless there’s a “full-scale mutiny.”

And to the best of my knowledge that is a correct answer. The article starts as follows:

After President Donald Trump’s unhinged performance at a Phoenix rally on Tuesday night, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made a stunning statement: “I really question his ability to be—his fitness to be in this office.” Clapper, who is generally measured and nonpartisan, then said he was worried about Trump’s control of the US nuclear arsenal. “[If] in a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un, there’s actually very little to stop him,” he said. “The whole [nuclear weapons] system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.”

I quoted part of James Clapper in item 1. Here is a bit more on this - extremely frightening - person:

I think myself that Clapper is an enormous liar (see here, for example), who also is one of the greatest (in terms of materials stolen from probably billions of persons) and most contemptible spies there has ever been, who doesn't spy only on governments, on the military and on other spies, but who spies mostly, still in nearly total secrecy, on his own ordinary people and on the ordinary people who live everywhere.

The reason he does so is given as terrorism, which is a stark lie:

What he wants is the materials to have everyone known as fully as he can, in order to manipulate them in the interests of the American government and those who support it financially, that are the numerically few rich, and indeed to fully control nearly everyone in the near future. And he has been assembling the materials to do that ever since (at the latest) 9/11/2001.

Then again, as I explained in item 1, I happen to agree with Clapper, indeed fundamentally because of this reason:

"there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary."

And indeed Clapper also formulated the main reason why this "is pretty damn scary":

"I really question his ability to be—his fitness to be in this office."

So do I, and I am psychologist (among other things). And indeed David Corn says the following (which I have no reason to doubt):

No senior intelligence community veteran has ever publicly questioned the mental health of a president and suggested the sitting commander-in-chief was too imbalanced to be trusted with the nuclear codes. Clapper’s remarks were a stark reminder that Trump does hold the ultimate power. At any given moment, for any given reason—or for no reason—the president of the United States can launch nuclear weapons and destroy much, if not all, of the planet and human civilization. “People don’t believe it when you tell them that the president can do this,” says Joe Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund and a nonproliferation expert. “Whenever he wants. For whatever reason he wants. They think that is just to crazy to be true. But it is true. We have a nuclear monarchy. It is most consequential act any president can take, and it is the least democratic process in our entire government.”

That is, judged by my professional expertise, the most powerful man on earth is a mad megalomaniac, who

[a]t any given moment, for any given reason—or for no reason— (..) can launch nuclear weapons and destroy much, if not all, of the planet and human civilization.

I did know this already, and it is for this reason that I, who believes that Trump is a mad megalomaniac for a long time, do not feel capable of setting my probabilities for Trump's not launching atomic weapons at better than 50/50.

That is, I simply don't know: All human beings depend on the self-control of a madman - or so it seems to me. And here is more on the madman:

5. Donald Trump Lied and Lied and Lied in Arizona

This is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. This is from the (short) article:

The remarkable part is that he just told lie after lie after lie with barely a pause for breath. And everyone in the audience, most of whom probably don’t follow this stuff in gruesome detail, believed him. His 15-minute rant about Charlottesville—which he had prepared notes for—was just a flat-out lie about what he said, when he said it, and what he was criticized for. After that he lied about CNN turning off their cameras. He lied about the size of the protest outside. He lied about job creation. He lied about his tweeting. He lied (yet again) about the New York Times apologizing for its campaign coverage of him. He lied about the media ignoring big stories. He lied about auto companies bringing jobs back to America. He lied about how much illegal immigration has declined. He lied about extreme vetting. He lied about Obamacare. He lied about how close he was to repealing it. He lied about defense spending. He lied about clean coal. He lied about economic growth. He lied about corporate tax rates.

It was a 77-minute spittle-flecked presentation of alternate reality.

I totally agree, and this bit is here because Kevin Drum formulated it well, and insisted on saying Trump lied, lied, lied, lied, lied and lied (and did not use the nonsensical or euphemistic term "fake news").

And this is a - brief - 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 (!!).

[2] Incidentally, the "alternative media" (when contrasted with the mainstream media) are also getting worse all the time, and do so without any prior information: Truthdig vastly worsened it's screen presentation recently (it seems to get more readers who use cellphones) and AlterNet now forces one (in a completly unstated way) to use JavaScript if you want to read them (which I hate, because it is a spying instrument).
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