April 9, 2018

Crisis: Exterminating Muslims, Fox & Friends, North Korea, John Bolton, Trump´s Madness


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from April 9, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Monday, April 9, 2018.

1. Summary

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

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) 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 more than 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 I shall continue.

Section 2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from April 9, 2018
1. The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims
2. Horror of Being Governed by ‘Fox & Friends’
3. North Korea: Kim Jong Un Ready to Discuss Nukes
4. John Bolton Is Just the Kind of Bully Donald Trump Admires
5. The Truth About an Untethered 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. The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims. Islam is condemned as barbaric and equated with terrorism. The resistance struggle against foreign occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Gaza, sees Muslims demonized as the enemy. Muslims are branded as irrational and inclined to violence and terrorism by their religious beliefs. We attack them not for what they do but because we see them as being different from us. We must eradicate them to save ourselves. And thus we perpetuate the very hatred and counterviolence, or terrorism, that we fear.

Well... yes and no: I agree with Chris Hedges that Muslims are abused as he says they are, indeed often on totalitarian grounds (unless you believe the total rot that the Wikipedia has now for ¨totalitarianism¨), but I keep disliking it that I am accused of this (and indeed that Hedges accuses himself of this) by the simple expedient of writing ¨We¨.

And indeed it is simply totally false of me. Here is more by Hedges:

Muslims in this age of racialized authoritarianism have been stripped of due process in our courts and are subject—as Abid Naseer and Haroon Aswat were in Britain before being extradited to the United States—to pretrial incarceration for years. They endure police brutality and secret trials, are convicted on secret evidence they cannot see and suffer long-term detention in solitary confinement, often in clandestine prisons known as black sites. They are kidnapped anywhere in the world and taken, hooded, drugged and shackled, to the secret sites. They are tortured through savage methods such as beatings, “walling,” sexual humiliation, close confinement, prolonged isolation, water dousing, electric shocks, waterboarding and so-called rectal rehydration. Their citizenships are revoked. Their communities and mosques are harassed, infiltrated and monitored by law enforcement. Muslim children are viewed as future terrorists. Muslim women as breeders of terrorists. Muslim men as dangerous.

Yes indeed - and in case you inquire why I believe there are two kinds of terrorists: Those without direct connections to a state, and the states´ terrorists who work for the national security services of their countries: Read some of the above, or else read this item on Wikipedia: Murat Kurnaz. (Yes, it is sickening, but it seems all bitterly true.)

Here is more on Israel:

Israel’s slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, justified by the racism and Islamophobia that are central to Israeli identity, has entered a new, deadlier phase. No longer constrained by any pretense of respecting human rights or a peace process, Israeli soldiers, although they are not threatened, fire indiscriminately into crowds of unarmed Palestinians, killing or wounding men, women, children, the elderly and journalists. The sheer number of the dead and wounded—nine or more Palestinians killed by Israeli fire and hundreds injured on Friday alone—testifies to raking the crowd with gunfire. In a civilized world, Israel would be immediately slapped with sanctions, boycotts and divestment—the only mechanism left to protect the Palestinian people from extermination—but we do not live in a civilized world. We live in a world where murder and racism are state policy, where the oppressed are dehumanized and unworthy of life and where our mutant demagogues and despots revel in the rivers of blood they create.

I think that may also be more or less correct, and I also definitely agree that ¨We live in a world where murder and racism are state policy¨.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

The decision to hunt down Muslims around the globe, giving to the so-called war on terror a transnational dimension, means also that those who oppose us are not restricted by national boundaries. The terrorists who carry out these attacks are mirror images of ourselves, consumed by the same narcissism and cult of the self that define celebrity culture. They post self-indulgent videos of rants against the West and of their beheadings of captives clad in orange jumpsuits. They replicate the cultural effort to film “Life the Movie.”

No, I am sorry, but I am nearly 68 and I refuse to accept that (boldings added) ¨[t]he terrorists who carry out these attacks are mirror images of ourselves, consumed by the same narcissism and cult of the self¨: I am not a terrorist, and never was one, and I also am not a narcissist and never was one.

And this is probably also the reason that I think this is one of Chris Hedges´ - whom I like a lot - lesser columns: There are not just two kinds of people - Us and Them - and  you must be for one of them, for there are various positions in between or outside all of that nonsense.

In fact, I think Hedges belongs there, and most good journalists I read belong there, and I belong there as well.

2. Horror of Being Governed by ‘Fox & Friends’

This article is by Charles Blow on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

During the early days of the Obama administration, I did a few appearances on “Fox & Friends.”

The conversations were predictably shallow, tilted and exploitive. The hosts had a particular knack for asking the idiotic with chipper earnestness, spewing venom through simpering smiles. There was, I felt, maleficence at work with a pretense of positivity.

I knew well that I was swimming in a shallow intellectual pool, and yet I told myself that I was doing yeoman’s work, doing my small part to try and correct misinformation and to reach those lost in Fox’s fog.

But I soon discovered that the show, and indeed the network, was beyond redemption.

I was simply being used to help give the show the appearance of fairness, impartiality and legitimacy, when it was anything but.

I did not know any of this, but suppose it is correct. Here is some more on “Fox & Friends”:

This show, with its kindergarten-level intellectual capacity, moved from parroting conservative policies to constructing presidential priorities. “Fox & Friends” has essentially become Donald Trump’s daily briefing.

Countless media outlets have written and talked about the strangely intense connection between Trump and the show.

As The Guardian put it, “The show manages to serve as a court sycophant, whispering in the ear of the king, criticizing his perceived enemies and fluffing his feathers.”

Politico Magazine concurred, saying the show “feels intentionally designed for Trump himself — a three-hour, high-definition ego fix.”

And the impact that the show is having on Trump is undeniable. Dan Snow, a master’s student at the University of Chicago, analyzed the president’s tweets and found that they are highly concentrated in the hours when the show is on.

As Politico wrote, Trump is “live-tweeting” Fox’s coverage.
And again I did not know any of the above, but I believe it. Here is again some more on “Fox & Friends”:
But these fact checks don’t even paint the full picture of how problematic this show is. Kilmeade once said on the show that “the Swedes have pure genes because they marry other Swedes,” and of Finland he said, “Finns marry other Finns so they have a pure society,” which was apparently better than America because, “We keep marrying other species and other ethnics.”
I say - and I agree this is quite racist. Here is Blow´s conclusion:
In a way, America is being governed by the dimmest of wits on the most unscrupulous of networks. The very thought of it is horror-inducing.

Well... I do not know about ¨Fox & Friends¨ (and indeed never saw it) but I have been saying for a long time now that in my view, most Americans, though indeed not all, are moved mostly by their own stupidity or their own ignorance, and I add that I do not see this change soon.

And this is a recommended article.

3. North Korea: Kim Jong Un Ready to Discuss Nukes

This article is by Josh Lederman on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It starts as follows:
North Korea’s government has communicated with the United States to say that leader Kim Jong Un is ready to discuss his nuclear weapons program with President Trump, officials said Sunday, increasing the likelihood that the unprecedented summit will actually occur.

The confirmation from Pyongyang directly, rather than from third countries like South Korea, has created more confidence within Trump’s administration about the wisdom of holding such a meeting, as U.S. officials make secretive preparations. The Trump administration has long said that if the North Koreans weren’t ready to discuss giving up their nuclear program, there was no reason for the two countries to hold negotiations.

Trump took his own administration and other countries by surprise last month when he accepted an unusual offer from Kim to hold a meeting.
I did not know of this, except for the last paragraph. Here is some more:

A Trump administration official on Sunday said that the U.S. had “confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula?.” A second official said that confirmation had come through direct contact between American and North Korean officials.

Neither of the officials would say when or how the contact took place, nor in what location. The officials weren’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

Is the fact that the American ¨officials weren’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity¨ an example of Trump´s policies? I am only asking for I do not know.

4. John Bolton Is Just the Kind of Bully Donald Trump Admires

This article is by Marjorie Cohn on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Nothing Donald Trump has done since his inauguration 14 months ago is more dangerous—to the United States, and indeed, to the world—than his selection of John Bolton for National Security Adviser. It is not surprising the president would feel most comfortable receiving advice from a fellow bully.

Trump bullies people on a nearly daily basis, directing his ire at immigrants, Muslims, women, LBGTQ people, the poor and the environment. He hurls Twitter attacks at those who disagree with him.

Yes indeed - and in case you doubt: This is a very good article.

Here is more on Bolton, who does seem a lunatic (in my psychologists´ eyes):

Trump’s fellow bully Bolton also engages in abusive behavior. Melody Townsel, working on a USAID project in Kyrgyzstan, became the object of Bolton’s wrath in 1994. Townsel had complained about incompetence, poor contract performance and inadequate funding of the project by a contractor Bolton represented. In a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Townsel wrote that Bolton “proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door, and generally behaving like a madman.” Townsel claimed Bolton threatened employees and contractors who refused to cooperate with him. She maintained Bolton’s behavior “wasn’t just unforgivable, it was pathological.”

Yes indeed: It looks as if Bolton at least was behaving in a ¨pathological¨ way, and ¨like a madman¨. I agree this also happened 22 years ago, but given Bolton´s more recent sayings
I think he probably still is pathological.

Indeed, here are more of Bolton´s recent sayings:

But Bolton doesn’t just bully individuals. He pushed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, advocates military attacks on North Korea and Iran, favors Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, and falsely claimed that Cuba had biological weapons.

As undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration, Bolton was instrumental in withdrawing the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which heightened the risk of nuclear war with Russia.

All of that is correct, and I completely agree that Bolton is a frightening choice by Trump. Here is more on him:

Colin Kahl and Jon Wolf, writing in Foreign Policy, described Bolton’s “pattern of warping and misusing intelligence to build the case for war with rogue states; a disdain for allies and multilateral institutions; a blind faith in US military power and the benefits of regime change; and a tendency to see the ends as justifying the means, however horrific.”

I think the above quotation is also correct. Also, all of these selections were selected from the beginning of the article, in which there is much more, divided into seven sections with the following titles:

Bolton Eschews Diplomacy and Slams the UN
Bolton Led the Charge to Invade Iraq
Bolton Wants to Rip Up the Iran Nuclear Agreement
Bolton Wants to Attack North Korea
Bolton Falsely Claimed Cuba Had Biological Weapons
Bolton Wants to Give ‘Pieces’ of Palestine to Jordan and Egypt
Bolton’s Appointment Is ‘a Disaster for Our Country’

And I think I agree with all of the above - which is a lot more text than merely the titles that were listed above - and this is a strongly recommended article.

5. The Truth About an Untethered Trump

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

The petulant adolescent in the White House – who has replaced most of the adults around him with raging sycophants and has demoted his chief of staff, John Kelly, to lapdog – lacks adequate supervision.  

Before, he was merely petty and vindictive. He’d tweet nasty things about people he wanted to humiliate, like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Now his vindictiveness has turned cruel. After smearing FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe with unfounded allegations that he lied to investigators, the new Trump made sure McCabe was fired just days before he would have been eligible for a pension after more than twenty-one years of service.

Before, he was merely xenophobic. He’d call Mexicans murderers and rapists.

Now his xenophobia has turned belligerent. He’s sending thousands of National Guard troops to the Mexican border, even though illegal border crossings are at a record low.

And he’s starting a trade war against China.

Well... in fact I think since March of 2016 that Trump is mad (see also here, if you are interested in a psychiatric statement of the same contention), so I am not much shocked by this quotation, although I more or less agree with Reich.

Here is more:

But the most dangerous thing about the new Trump is his increased attacks on American democracy itself.

Start with a free press. Before, he just threw rhetorical bombshells at the Washington Post, CNN, and other outlets that criticized him.

Now he’s trying to penalize them financially, while bestowing benefits on outlets that praise him.

Yes, I think that is also correct. Here is some more:

Even Trump’s tweets have become more brazenly divisive. Last week he called his predecessor “Cheatin’ Obama.” When was the last time you heard a president of the United States disparage another president?

He’s more determined than ever to convince supporters that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is in cahoots with Democrats and the FBI to unseat him.

Well... I think Obama was cheating and Trump is cheating, that is, if I am asked what the facts are. And since I also think presidents of the USA are not beyond criticism, I am not much effected by this.

Here is the ending of Reich´s article:

Trump untethered isn’t just a more petty, vindictive, and belligerent version of his former self. He’s also more willing to sacrifice American democracy to his own ends. Which makes him more dangerous than ever.

Perhaps. As I said, I am a psychologist who thinks Trump is insane, so I may be less wondering than Reich seems to be. And 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 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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