August 29, 2018

Crisis: Google & China, GOP & Violence, From 1968, On Narcissists, On Trump As Narcissist


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from August 29, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

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.

2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from August 29, 2018:
1. World’s Leading Human Rights Groups Tell Google to Cancel Its China
     Censorship Plan

2. If G.O.P. Loses Hold on Congress, Trump Warns, Democrats Will Enact
     Change ‘Quickly and Violently’

3. 50 Years Ago: Antiwar Protesters Brutally Attacked in Police Riots at
     1968 Democratic Convention

4. A Neuroscientist Explains What Happens When a Narcissist Starts to
     Lose Power

5. Evidence Mounts that President Trump May Have a Serious Personality
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. World’s Leading Human Rights Groups Tell Google to Cancel Its China Censorship Plan

This article is by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

Leading human rights groups are calling on Google to cancel its plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, which they said would violate the freedom of expression and privacy rights of millions of internet users in the country.

A coalition of 14 organizations — including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, Access Now, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, PEN International, and Human Rights in China — issued the demand Tuesday in an open letter addressed to the internet giant’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. The groups said the censored search engine represents “an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights” and could result in the company “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.”

Yes indeed. As to Google´s ¨alarming capitulation¨ there is the following bit plus more in the article that I do not quote:

The letter is the latest major development in an ongoing backlash over the censored search platform, code-named Dragonfly, which was first revealed by The Intercept earlier this month. The censored search engine would remove content that China’s ruling Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It would “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to confidential Google documents.

Google launched a censored search engine in China in 2006, but ceased operating the service in the country in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech, block websites, and hack Google’s computer systems. The open letter released Tuesday asks Google to reaffirm the commitment it made in 2010 to no longer provide censored search in China.

Well... here is an argument:

Google is a capitalist corporation; capitalists are predominantly concerned with increasing their profits (and according to Milton Friedman this should be their only norm); selling out to China - with more than 1 billion inhabitants - would much improve their profits; ergo, Google loves to work for China and to help eradicate ¨
political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest¨ in China (for Google´s profits).

I see nothing wrong with the argument, and its premises are quite true.

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

The letter calls on Google to explain the steps it has taken to safeguard against human rights violations that could occur as a result of Dragonfly and raises concerns that the company will be “enlisted in surveillance abuses” because “users’ data would be much more vulnerable to [Chinese] government access.” Moreover, the letter said Google should guarantee protections for whistleblowers who speak out when they believe the company is not living up to its commitments on human rights. The whistleblowers “have been crucial in bringing ethical concerns over Google’s operations to public attention,” the letter states. “The protection of whistleblowers who disclose information that is clearly in the public interest is grounded in the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”

Google has not yet issued any public statement about the China censorship, saying only that it will not address “speculation about future plans.” After four weeks of sustained reporting on Dragonfly, Google has not issued a single response to The Intercept and it has refused to answer dozens of questions from reporters on the issue. The company’s press office did not reply to a request for comment on this story.

I say, although it is not very amazing, and I have two remarks:

First, on whistleblowers (inside Google):

I think the letter is quite realistic about whistleblowers, who are necessary if one wants to know more about Google than Google´s public relations propaganda. Then again, my own guess about whistleblowers inside Google is that when they are identified, they soon will be outside Google (for profits make money for Google, and respecting moral and legal norms does not).

Second, on Google´s silence on its plans to help the Chinese Communist Party police all of China:

I would not be amazed at all if Google continues not to reply to any of its plans with China, and instead simply starts its search machine that is meant
to eradicate ¨political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest¨ in China. Of course, it also depends on the amounts of profit Google expects, but these are sure to be quite large, simply because China
has more than a billion inhabitants.

There is considerably more in this article, that is strongly recommended.

2. If G.O.P. Loses Hold on Congress, Trump Warns, Democrats Will Enact Change ‘Quickly and Violently’

This article is by Michael Shear on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
President Trump warned evangelical leaders Monday night that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if Republicans lose control of Congress in the midterm elections.

Speaking to the group in the State Dining Room of the White House, Mr. Trump painted a stark picture of what losing the majority would mean for the administration’s conservative agenda, according to an audiotape of his remarks provided to The New York Times by someone who attended the event.

“They will end everything immediately,” Mr. Trump said. “When you look at antifa,” he added, a term that describes militant leftist groups, “and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”

A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, declined to elaborate on what the president meant.

Well, let me help Hogan Gidley a bit. If Gidley were out to tell the truth (which is not the case) something like the following might have resulted: ¨The president is head of the Trump Gang that serves its own interests by lies, propaganda, deceptions and violence - indeed like any other gang, except that its chief also managed to be president of the USA. And the president of the USA sees no problem whatsoever with lying, deceiving and violence¨.

Of course, Gidley will never say this, although it seems a lot like the truth.

Here is more:

The blunt warning — delivered to about 100 of the president’s most ardent supporters in the evangelical community — was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s attempts to use the specter of violence at the hands of his political opponents and to fan the flames of cultural divisions in the country.

In the wake of racial violence last year in Charlottesville, Va., Mr. Trump said there was “blame on both sides” and equated liberal, anti-fascist protesters with Nazis and white supremacists. In spring 2016, the president warned of violence by his own supporters if he did not get the Republican presidential nomination, saying “I think you’d have riots.”

Yes indeed. There is considerably more in this article, that is recommended.

3. 50 Years Ago: Antiwar Protesters Brutally Attacked in Police Riots at 1968 Democratic Convention

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
It was 50 years ago this week that the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago became a national spectacle, as a major political event turned into chaos that culminated with a police riot, much of it unfolding on live national television. Chicago met the protesters with 24,000 police officers, National Guardsmen and Army soldiers using tear gas and clubs. We feature Newsreel clips from the week and go to Chicago to speak with former SDS and Weather Underground member Bill Ayers, who was arrested 50 years ago.
Yes indeed. I think that the events at the 1968 Democratic National Convention were quite important anyway, but I grant that I may be more interested because I recall these events
rather well
, because I was 18 in 1968, and a leftist, and these events were also reported in Holland, where I lived and live.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: It was 50 years ago this week that the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago became a national spectacle, as a major political event veered into chaos that culminated with a police riot, much of it unfolding on live national television. The 1968 DNC came in the middle of a year of mass protests against the Vietnam War. Protests had also erupted and civil disorders in April, when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Then, on June 5th, Robert Kennedy was killed as he sought the Democratic Party nomination for president.

Democrats had to select a nominee after President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek another term amid fallout over Vietnam. His vice president, Hubert Humphrey, was ultimately nominated for president without competing in the primaries, after party bosses arranged for his support from most delegates.
Yes indeed, and this also is a good brief summary of 1968: Martin Luther King was murdered; Robert Kennedy was murdered; and there were mass protests about the Vietnam War.

Here is more:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Despite months of organizing that brought tens of thousands of people to the city during the Democratic National Convention, Chicago refused to issue permits for almost any of the demonstrators. Instead, they met protesters with an estimated 24,000 police officers, Illinois National Guardsmen and Army troops, who patrolled the streets with fixed bayonets. This is a clip from a documentary by Newsreel that captures the tension of the protests and how police escalated the situation on August 28th, after someone lowered an American flag in Grant Park. The police, under apparent orders from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, responded by tear-gassing and clubbing their way through a crowd of about 10,000 people.
Yes indeed, and the violence of the police was very ugly.

Here is more:

AMY GOODMAN: After four days and nights, ending August 29, 1968, more than 650 people were arrested, more than 1,100 injured. Despite the police attacks, thousands headed back to their communities as re-energized and radicalized activists.
I think Amy Goodman's "re-energized and radicalized activists" may well be a bit too optimistic. Indeed, as far as my memories go, 1966 and 1967 were radical years, with many leftist groups arising in the USA and elsewhere, but from 1969 onwards (and in 1968 Nixon was elected president, and started to govern in the beginning of 1969) I think the left slowly collapsed in the USA, albeit not totally.

This also may be a bit difficult to see, because from 1969 onwards till the early 1970ies what did grow, and quite strongly, were the number of hippies, but for the most part these were not political but were mostly interested in sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Anyway. Here is the last part that I quote from this article:
BILL AYERS: (...) But what Mayor Daley did—and you have to remember the context is a year before was the riots, you know, all over Chicago and uprisings all over the country. And Mayor Daley had famously said, “We’re going to shoot to kill all arsonists and shoot to maim anyone who’s looting.” That kind of violence was in the air. And what Daley did to suppress the numbers was he went on a national public relations campaign to say, “Don’t come to Chicago. You’ll be slaughtered.” And we came anyway. Probably the numbers were suppressed by his campaign, but we came anyway. And it wasn’t—it wasn’t an exaggeration. The police had a sustained, planned riot, attacking us and really hoping to put an end to the antiwar resistance.
Yes indeed. There is a lot more in this article, and there are two additional articles on the same event on Democracy Now! and this is a strongly recommended article.

4. A Neuroscientist Explains What Happens When a Narcissist Starts to Lose Power

This article is by Bobby Azarian on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
The list of people close to President Donald Trump who have recently turned on him just keeps growing. His personal lawyer and longtime companion, Michael Cohen, has already implicated him as a co-conspirator in felony crimes. Last week, two Trump loyalists were granted immunity—National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and Trump organization CFO Allen Weisselberg—in exchange for potentially damaging information on Trump. If that weren’t enough, a doorman at the Trump World Tower whose hush contract expired is claiming that Trump had an additional affair which resulted in an illegitimate child. Needless to say, things don’t look good for The Donald. As the possibility of impeachment looms over the president, and as more damaging information comes out, we should be prepared for the erratic and impulsive behavior to which we’ve grown accustomed to get worse.
Yes indeed. Then again, I am a psychologist who got convinced that Trump is not sane in March of 2016 and - sort of - formalized it with reference to the definition of "narcissistic personality disorder" (which is a worse name than megalomania, but that term was deleted from the Wikipedia) in the end of 2016, and that is also still my opinion on Trump, except that I meanwhile have seen a lot more evidence that I am right. (And the last link is quite good.)

Here is more:
While the exaggerator-in-chief is well known for his habitual lying, the most common psychological diagnosis he’s been given by experts in the field is narcissistic personality disorder. While any diagnosis should require a full mental examination before accepted as clinical truth, the mountains of behavioral evidence for Trump’s narcissism arguably provides more justification for the label than any standard clinical test. At this point, the claim can hardly be debated, and even staunch supporters would admit that Trump thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. It takes a special kind of narcissist to shamelessly compare their book to The Bible in front an audience full of conservatives. His narcissism knows few limits, and it’s hard to imagine even the man himself denying such an obvious fact.
Quite so, although I think I should add that I have seen rather surprisingly many American journalists who uttered all different opinions to explain Trump's evident lying and evident grandiosity, who also usually gave no evidence that they knew any or much of psychology or of neuroscience.

Then again, I agree with Azarian. Then the question is: What happens if someone with a narcissist personality disorder gets into serious troubles that threaten his grandiosity?

Here is Azarian's answer:
So, the question becomes, what happens when a narcissist is being threatened with the loss of power and control? The answer is something psychologists call “narcissistic injury.” The phrase was coined by none other than Sigmund Freud in the 1920s, and it occurs when a narcissist feels that they have been disrespected, belittled, or their true self revealed. This often happens when they are experiencing a “fall from grace,” which is why understanding the phenomenon is so important at present.
Yes. And this is were Donald Trump may be now. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
When a narcissist’s self-esteem or self-worth is badly injured, their whole identity begins to fall apart, and they often respond with what is referred to as “narcissistic rage.” When this happens, the lashing out, bullying, threats, and erratic behaviors rise to new levels. Rather than accepting the blame one deserves for their own actions, narcissists tell themselves that others are responsible, and that they deserve to be punished. They often become obsessed with revenge, which comes in many forms, such as verbal or even physical abuse.
And if they are president of the USA, they may well start a nuclear war - or so I fear. This is a strongly recommended article, and also see the next article.

5. Evidence Mounts that President Trump May Have a Serious Personality Disorder

This article is by Pam Martens and Russ Martens on Wall Street On Parade. It starts as follows:

The media’s focus on President Donald Trump currently revolves around whether he is or is not an unindicted co-conspirator in criminal campaign finance fraud following that implication by prosecution documents and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, in Federal court testimony on Tuesday. Democrats want congressional hearings to gather more evidence while Republican leaders are simply ducking press interviews.

The graver risk to the country, however, may stem not from whether Donald Trump is a crook but whether he is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, a condition with the potential to elevate to dangerous psychotic behavior.

Yes indeed, although I should add that I don't think either of the Martens is a psychologist, whereas I am, and I had very little difficulty (in the beginning of 2016) to conclude that Trump very probably does suffer from narcissistic personality disorder.

Here is more:

Psychology Today, citing the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, writes that narcissistic personality disorder is “indicated by five or more of the following symptoms”:

  • Exaggerates own importance;
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance;
  • Believes he or she is special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions;
  • Requires constant attention and admiration from others;
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment;
  • Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals;
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy;
  • Is often envious of others or believes other people are envious of him or her;
  • Shows arrogant behaviors and attitudes.

That’s a total of nine symptoms with only five needing to be present to qualify an individual for NPD. Yesterday, Fox and Friends released Ainsley Earhardt’s interview with President Donald Trump at the White House. Each and every one of the nine symptoms listed above were on dramatic display.

I totally agree, and indeed listed the symptoms to try to convince non-psychologists. Also, I think I should add two remarks on the symptoms:

First, the symptoms are intended to be behavorial characteristics, that one simply can see and hear. This was essential to the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Second, while Trump was not clinically diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist, I think it is quite fair to insist that a non-clinical diagnosis, based on the real behavior of the patient (outside a clinic) is very probably the best basis for a diagnosis.

Now, this is rarely possible for ordinary people, it is quite possible in Trump's case, simply because there are very many videos of him.

And I must add that in March of 2016, when I first considered the question whether Trump does have a narcissistic personality disorder (1) I knew very little about Trump, simply because I am not an American, and have no interest in such types, but (2) when I started to look at the many videos of Trump, I found - in March, 2016 - that "Each and every one of the nine symptoms listed above were on dramatic display".

Here is a little more from this article:

When asked how he would grade himself as a President, Trump said: “I would say I would honestly give myself an A-plus and so would many other people.” Trump also volunteered that “We have the best economy we’ve ever had in the history of our country,” a remarkably untrue statement on almost any measure (like wages, income and wealth equality, GDP growth, labor participation rate, etc.)

As for the President’s willingness to take advantage of others to reach his own goals (like throwing red meat to his base) and lacking empathy, Trump said this about his immigration policy: “The immigration laws are horrible. We’re doing an incredible job.”

I think the first paragraph provides good examples, but there are better examples of Trump's lack of empathy, but OK. And this is a strongly 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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