Sunday, October 15, 2017

Crisis: Trump: On Knowledge, On Rage, And Brezinski, And Incompetence; Ai Weiwei

Sections                                                crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from October 15, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Sunday
, October 15, 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 will continue with it.

On the moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from October 15, 2017
1. Trump’s War on Knowledge
2. Donald Trump and the Rage of Rural Voters
3. Mika Brzezinski Believes John Kelly Is Moving to
     Oust Trump from Office

4. Artist Ai Weiwei on the Ingredients for Effective

5. Is the 25th Amendment a Solution to Trump
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:

1. Trump’s War on Knowledge

This article is by Ariel Dorfman on The New York Review of Books.This article starts as follows:
The date October 12 has been much on my mind this year. It was on this day in 1936 that the fascist forces of General Francisco Franco celebrated El Día de la Raza, the Hispanic world’s alternate version of Columbus Day. (...) In front of numerous dignitaries and emboldened by a mob of nationalist youth and legionnaires, Franco’s friend and mentor General José Millán Astray desecrated that temple of learning with six words: ¡Abajo la inteligencia! ¡Viva la muerte! (“Down with intelligence! Long live death!”)
I say. I agree this sounds extremely stupid, extremely ignorant and - in the mouth of a general - extremely dangerous, but then again I have been meanwhile also convinced that something much like this attitude, and certainly its first half, “Down with intelligence!”, is now very widespread in the world. [2]

Indeed, it has been abled to spread very much especially thanks to the "social media" - which should be called the a-social media, because they are the very dedicated spreaders of lies, propaganda, bullshit, and ignorant stupidities, that mostly appeal to the half of humanity with very little real education and very little or no ability to think rationally and factually themselves, that also normally operate anonymously on the internet, and that must number around 1 billion persons only on Facebook [3], whose IQs are maximally 100, but who now all can "write" their opinions on Facebook and elsewhere, and do so in good part with wild abandon.

More below. First there is this in the article (after considerably more that I skip and leave to your interests):

There has always been a disturbing strand of anti-intellectualism in American life—the very title of Richard Hofstadter’s 1963 book—but never has an occupant of the White House exhibited such a toxic mix of ignorance and mendacity, such lack of intellectual curiosity and disregard for rigorous analysis (despite his untested boast that his IQ is “one of the highest,” certainly higher than Obama’s and a host of other worthies’).

“The experts are terrible,” Donald Trump said during his campaign. “Look at the mess we’re in with all these experts that we have.” It is hardly surprising, then, that his administration is over-stocked with know-nothing fundamentalists. Across the board, he has appointed amateurs who are hostile to science and sport obscurantism as a badge of honor. Accordingly, the policies they have adopted are as stultifying as they are noxious.
Yes indeed - but the big difference compared with ALL the foregoing times is that there are now two billion members on Facebook alone, each of whom can write his or her opinions, and can quote anything, while at least half of them have IQs that are maximally 100.

This is totally new in history, and it does lead rather automatically to the widespread popularity of opinions like this, that seem most appealing to the billion members of Facebook whose IQ is maximally 100:

¡Abajo la inteligencia! ¡Viva la muerte!

Still more urgently apocalyptic than these policies is the “oppressive ignorance”—to borrow Tom Nichols’s phrase from The Death of Expertise—President Trump has displayed when he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. Trump evidently neither knows nor cares that such an action would violate the Geneva Conventions, the conclusions of the Nuremburg Tribunal, and the UN Charter. It is frightening that this felonious stupidity has not aroused more revulsion among US citizens.
But what if the majority of "US citiziens" who now can write and publish as they please on internet simply is too stupid and too ignorant to see through the stupidity and the ignorance of their president?

And that seems to be the real situation and I - who does belong to the small minority of the truly intelligent and well-educated ones - am very frightened by it, and do not know what to do about it.

This article is recommended, even though it does not address the real problem, which is more than a billion of utterly untalented and utterly ignorant "writers" with an IQ of maximally 100 who are the favorite audience of Suckerbug's because they are stupid and ignorant, and can be mostly manipulated, and also are mostly manipulated, by cynical appeals to their massive ignorance and stupidity.

For me this is extremely frightening, and no: I am not going to "communicate" with the half of humanity whose maximum IQ is 100,
and who all can "write" and troll and scold anyone, and nearly all anonymously (for me, though not for the secret services).

And this is a recommended article (recommended by someone whose IQ and whose learning are in the highest 1%, which makes him rather rare on the net).

2. Donald Trump and the Rage of Rural Voters

This article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. This is from near the beginning (and this article can be seen as a continuation of the previous article):
Yesterday [David French (..) a conservative lawyer - MM] wrote not about the alt-right, but about ordinary rural conservatives who support Trump:
Trump is stoking a particularly destructive form of rage — and his followers don’t just allow themselves to be stoked, they attack Trump’s targets with glee.
And I have never in my adult life seen such anger. There is a near-universal hatred of the media. There is a near-universal hatred of the so-called “elite.” If a person finds out that I didn’t support Trump, I’ll often watch their face transform into a mask of rage.
Partisans are so primed to fight — and they so clearly define whom they’re fighting against — that they often don’t care whom or what they’re fighting for….Don’t like the media? Shut it down. Don’t like kneeling football players? Make them stand. Tired of American weakness overseas? Cheer incoherent and reckless tweets as evidence of “strength.”
Where does this end? Does this rural rage become a permanent part of American life? Or does something happen to finally let the air out of it?
No, I think that the billion or so persons on Facebook whose IQ is maximally 100 and whose ideas are often both primitive and quite totalitarian will be a very major influence in the coming years, simply because they all can "write", and they all can be deluded more or less as pleased by cynical manpulators.

3. Mika Brzezinski Believes John Kelly Is Moving to Oust Trump from Office

This article is by Travis Getty on AlterNet and originally on Raw Story. It starts as follows:

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said the president’s behavior is growing increasingly “erratic” — and co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested his Cabinet may be preparing a constitutional challenge.

The “Morning Joe” host and his panelists reacted to the alarming Vanity Fair report that described the crisis within the White House, where aides say the president is “unraveling” in a job he’s not suited to hold.

“He’s isolated,” Brzezinski said. “He’s probably going crazy.”

In fact, I selected this article because Mika Brzezinski is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski (<-Wikipedia, who was a very strong American player in American foreign policies and security for more than fifty years.

He also attended me (quite unwittingly, and thanks to Stephen Spender's The Year of the Young Rebels, that I first bought and read in 1970 [4]) on the real forces that designed the internet so as to become what it has become: The spies and controllers of authoritarian and  neofascistic governments, who can and do use it to get to know everyone in secret, so as to control them in secret (as indeed is also done by many of the rich corporate entities).

This is from Spender's book (from 1969), and that was first quoted by me in 2012:

The idea of the technotronic society seems to be under the auspices of Zbigniev Brezezinski, until recently a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department, and now Director of the Research Institute of Communist Affairs at Columbia University. The 'techno- tronic society' seems to be the exact opposite of the society of 'spontaneity' demanded by revolutionary students, who Mr Brezezinskin evidently regards
as pathetic throw-backs, survivors of Romantic days, forlornly playing out anachronistic roles
However Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite
lovers of freedom and anarchy will seriously obstruct the new order. For one thing, 'it will soon be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain  up-to-date, complete files, containing even personal information about the health and personal behaviour of the citizen, in addition to the more customary data.' Moreover it will be possible to anticipate and plan to meet any uprisings in the future. The police will even be able to forecast crises before the rioters themselves are conscious of wanting them.

Apart from the long discarded term "technotronic", this sketches (in 1967 or 1968) precisely what the internet has become since 1997, and since I do not know of anybody who could make accurate technological predictions into the future of 30 or more years, I do not think this holds for Mr Brzezinski either: He predicted it because he was planning it, and his plans completely succeeded.

His daughter Mika is a bit interesting to me because she is Brzezinski's daughter, and because she and Joe Scarborough do look much as if they are imporant public players who implement the policies of the American Deep State a.k.a. the military-industrial complex, that very probably knew Trump is insane long before he was elected president, and who are now trying to remove him because he is unmanageable and quite risky:

Scarborough and Brzezinski, who have known the president for years, said Trump spent most of his career greeting associates and well-wishers in his office, fielding phone calls and gossiping with reporters — but all that has changed in the White House.

“When he wasn’t isolated, he had people like Omarosa (Manigault) giving him things that got him spinned up and made him act erratically,” Scarborough said. “What we have found through this analysis is, when the president is isolated from people, he’s erratic. When the president is surrounded by people, he’s erratic.”

Chief of staff John Kelly hasn’t been able to stop the chaos since taking the job, and even Trump’s longtime friend Tom Barrack is expressing concern about the president’s temperament and fitness.

I think that is mostly correct, but as I indicated I also think this is just the surface: much more is brewing under the surface, but then I agree I also do not have Zbigniew Brzezinski's grasp of the things the NSA etc. do.

Finally, as to Trump: I - a psychologist - think he is mad, and that as such he is a worse risk than virtually anyone else. I very much dislike the NSA, the Deep State, and/or the American military-industrial complex, but if these  succeed in making this madman disappear before he launches nuclear arms, I also think that outcome is much desirable over a nuclear war.

4. Artist Ai Weiwei on the Ingredients for Effective Activism

This article is by Jordan Riefe on Truthdig. This article starts as follows:
In 2003, artist and activist Ai Weiwei landed a plum commission from the Chinese government: designing the Beijing National Stadium (the “Bird’s Nest”), which became a symbol for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The government’s decision was in part due to Ai’s unique vision, honed by a decade of living and working in New York’s art scene, but it also might have been an attempt to mend fences. Ai’s father, poet Ai Qing, was a dissident who spent roughly 20 years in exile until he was reinstated following the death of Mao Zedong. Ai was raised in the dire conditions of a refugee before finally moving to Beijing in the late 1970s to study art. Although jailed by the Chinese government in 2011 for his political activism, this experience hasn’t stopped him from speaking out for human rights.
Yes indeed. And this is here mostly because I like and admire Ai Weiwei. Here is some more:

Jordan Riefe: The biggest political problem facing refugees isn’t just leadership in Europe and North America, but emboldened racist and nationalistic sentiments among populations.

Ai Weiwei: I think it’s become so obvious. People are not hiding their shameful ideas. They’re even proud to show them. The idea, “America First,” that openly [boasts of] the superiority of the United States. All of those ideas are so out of date. It means you discriminate and dissociate yourself from the rest of the world. You have the wrong image and the wrong approach to the human condition.

Yes, indeed - but then see item 1 and item 2 above for my explanation about how human history got radically changed by the admission of more that a billion "writers" without intelligence and without knowledge, who are free to utter what they are manipulated to feel.

I agree with Ai Weiwei, but about a billion "writers" on Facebook very probably do not.

And there is this from the ending:

JR: President Xi Jinping has cracked down on free speech since taking office. What gives you confidence going forward?

AW: I have no confidence in whoever or whatever powers that be. You have to examine it by policy.
I quite agree with this. And this is a recommended article.

5. Is the 25th Amendment a Solution to Trump Madness?

This article is by Jefferson Morley on AlterNet. This starts as follows:

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for the succession of power when the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." It empowers the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to remove an incapable president, over his objections, with the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress.

As alarm about Trump’s mental state ripples from the 30 percent of Americans who think it is "poor" to the 62,000 mental health professionals who have signed a letter of warning to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)—who worries about Trump starting World War III—to the White House staffers who think he is "unraveling," the 25th Amendment is now getting attention previously devoted to the Constitution’s provisions for impeachment.

Yes indeed, and ths is also an adequate summary, except that it misses a link to the Twenty-fifth Amendment  (<-Wikipedia).

Here is some further background, that gives reasons and evidence that - it seems - quite a few Republicans now also are aware that Trump is either not sane (as I and 62,000 other psychologists think) or else (and in any case) cannot be relied upon to behave rationally:

Ever since Trump’s unhinged speech in Phoenix in August, his erratic behavior has shifted attention from his political actions to the underlying question of his mental competence.

“I really question his ability to be—his fitness to be—in this office,” former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said after Trump's rambling speech to a crowd of supporters who grew bored and puzzled by his ranting. 

That view seems to be gaining credence within Trump’s own camp.

In August, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called a Trump a "moron" after the president demanded a 10-fold increase in the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Numerous reports from the White House indicate that Chief of Staff John Kelly is tightly controlling access to Trump in order to curb his self-destructive behavior.
That is all correct. Here is more:

While the 25th Amendment solution now seems highly unlikely, it was highly unlikely nine months ago that any Cabinet member would disparage Trump’s intelligence (and not publicly deny that he had done so), or that Bannon, of all people, would see the 25th Amendment as a threat to Trump's presidency.

A year from now, things could be very different. If Trump has failed to pass tax cuts or tax reform; stumbled into war in North Korea or Iran; and alienated more GOP allies with his “malignant narcissism," the feeling that he is simply incapable of carrying out the duties of office may well grow and spread within his own administration.

Yes - but note the very dangerous possibility that Trump may need to stumble first "into war in North Korea or Iran" (which both may be nuclear wars, that involve some 120 million persons in Korea and Iran).

Here is the end of the article:

In short, if the problem is that the president is clinically incompetent, the solution is the 25th Amendment. If the problem is that the president is constitutionally dangerous, the solution is impeachment. If the president is both—and there is plenty of evidence that he is—the country will have to choose between the political remedy and the medical remedy.

I agree that "there is plenty of evidence" that Trump is both "clinically incompetent" and "constitutionally dangerous" but I think it is considerably less likely that "the country" will have or make a real choice than that the Deep State or the military-industrial complex will be able (somehow) to get rid of him.

But this is a recommended article, for nearly everything in it seems correct.


[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] In fact, I first ran into this nearly forty years ago, in the "University" of Amsterdam (UvA), when this was officially and publicly opened by professor Brandt, who undoubtedly stated the opinions of the Board of Directors of the UvA when he said (opening the academic year of a university), when he uttered the gross and self-contradictory lie that
"Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist"
I protested, but was defeated - and I was one of the maximally 5% who did protest this fascistic lie (according to Hannah Arendt). Everybody else in the UvA embraced it, from 1978 till 1995, at least.

And this was long before the billion or more totally ignorant and prejudiced anonymous "writers" were unleashed on the internet by Facebook and Twitter, who all can scold anyone who is more intelligent than they are, and who massively do so. And see item 1 and item 2.

[3] The calculation is pretty simple: Facebook has more than two billion members; half of all people that there are has an IQ of maximally 100; therefore it is very probable that at least half of the people on Facebook have an IQ of maximally 100.

And all of them now can "write" and quote what they please, and do so mostly anonymously.

And this means that there is about a billion times more bullshit spread by internet (at least) than before the internet, when - for the most part - it required at least some intelligence and some knowledge to get published by someone.

[4] In fact, Spender's "
The Year of the Young Rebels" is the best book that I have read about the events in France in May and June of 1968 (<-Wikipedia). I visited France in both May and June of 1968, and this is how I also got interested in the near revolution that then happened, and how I got to buy and read Spender's book in 1970.

Then again, like very many really good things: There is not a trace of it on the internet (and for all I know I am the only one who read it who is still alive).

(The quotes I gave from it are literal.)
      home - index - summaries - mail