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Nederlog

September 8, 2018

Crisis: Trumpian Horrors, Michael Moore, Trump IS dangerous, Kidnapped Children, Bill Clinton


Sections
Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from September 8, 2018
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, September 8, 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 September 8, 2018:
1. There Oughta Be a Law …
2. Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease in Michael Moore’s Terrifying
     'Fahrenheit 11/9'

3. Mental Health Professionals Agree: Trump Is Dangerous
4. As 400+ Children Remain Separated From Parents, Trump Admin Wants
     to Detain Kids Indefinitely

5. How Bill Clinton Paved the Way for Trump's War on Immigrants
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. There Oughta Be a Law …

This article is by The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:

President Trump has never handled criticism well, but this past week has proved especially challenging.

First came the portrait of Mr. Trump in a new book by Bob Woodward — a scathing account featuring members of Mr. Trump’s own administration characterizing him as “an idiot,” “a professional liar,” the mayor of “Crazytown,” and a clueless, hopeless man-child with the comprehension of a “fifth or sixth grader.” A day later, a second blow landed: an Op-Ed article in this newspaper, by an anonymous senior administration official, that recounted how members of Mr. Trump’s team have worked to protect the nation from his “worst inclinations.”

Mr. Trump quickly corroborated these accounts by demonstrating precisely the sort of erratic, antidemocratic behavior that is driving administration officials to come forward with their concerns. He ranted that the stories were all lies and raved that the gutless traitors who had slandered him must be rooted out and handed over to the government. Finger-pointing, name-calling, wild accusations, cries of treason — it was an unsettling display, not simply of Mr. Trump’s emotional fragility and poor impulse control, but also of his failure to understand the nature of the office he holds, the government he leads and the democracy he has sworn to serve.

Twenty months into the job, Mr. Trump has yet to grasp that the highest law of this land is the Constitution, not whoever occupies the Oval Office at any given moment.

Yes. I mostly agree although I do not take the anonymous Op-Ed article serious, for reasons that are well explained here. Then again, the new Woodward book seems good, although the style of writing could have been a lot better.

His blind spot for the Constitution has been much on display in other ways in recent days. Asked about protests that erupted during this week’s confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump expressed dismay and puzzlement:

“I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that. I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.”

Someone with the president’s best interests at heart may want to explain to him that the First Amendment specifically protects political expression, no matter how befuddling some find it. Presidents do not get to outlaw speech simply because they find it distasteful.

Well... except if the president is Donald Trump, who does not seem to have much understanding of American law (though he litigates a lot). Besides, I think I should add that the readings of the First Amendment proposed by Citizens' United (which were accepted by the majority of the Supreme Court) were simply horrible.

Here is one last bit that I am quoting from this article:

Three weeks after his election, President-elect Trump shared his take on flag burning: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Such a move may strike some people as a bold and patriotic step toward making America great again. It was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1990.

That is, it was ignorant or a lie on Trump's side. Anyway... more on Trump below, especially item 3.


2. Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease in Michael Moore’s Terrifying 'Fahrenheit 11/9'

This article is by Sophia McClennan on AlterNet and originally on Saloon. This is from near its beginning:
“Fahrenheit 11/9” draws on this rich legacy to offer viewers Moore’s most powerful movie yet. The film uses the story of the rise of Trump to document the failures, weaknesses and flaws in our democracy. For Moore, the story of Trump is not a story about a momentary breakdown in a system that allowed a dangerous, narcissist to come to power; it is a story about a system that has been careening towards this outcome for decades.
In fact, this article is a review of Michael Moore's latest film. I haven't seen it and probably never will (because I lack the required health), but it seems to me Moore's point of view, stated in the last quoted statement, is a bit ambiguous, and for the folllowing reason:

I think there is a whole lot wrong with American democracy and with American laws, that also goes back many decades, but I also would not believe someone as evidently insane, crude, and ignorant as Trump could ever be elected president of the USA.

And this was not just my belief - say: "Americans are not as stupid and ignorant as that!" -
but was widely believed in November 2016. And we were all mistaken.

Anyway... here is more:

In characteristic Moore style, the film offers a lot of juicy Trump insights, including the claim that Trump decided to run because he was jealous of the fact that Gwen Stefani was earning more money than him at NBC. Ultimately, though, Moore refuses to give Trump too much screen time. “Yes, I will show you some stuff about Trump that you haven't seen,” Moore told Hollywood Reporter, “but if you're coming to see the pee tape, you're going to the wrong movie."

If you were looking for an easy out of the Trump era, like impeachment, this isn’t the movie for you either. But, if you are looking for a movie that reveals the complex web of political manipulation, abuses of power and institutional failures that made Trump possible, then this film is must-see.

OK. I am willing to believe this, and this is a strong recommendation. Here is more:

What makes Trump especially frightening, though, as Moore makes clear, is that he is not like the rest of the ruling class. Rather than hide his abuses of power in the shadows, he takes the limelight. And, rather than try to repress his megalomania, Trump basks in it. Even more, Trump is a master at manipulating the media and controlling the narrative.

But most importantly Trump doesn’t believe that any rules apply to him and he is obsessed with holding absolute power. This is why the title of the film references Moore’s earlier work in “Fahrenheit 9/11” — the message is that if the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 distressed you, then you should be truly terrified by what a Trump administration might make of a similar event.

Yes, I think this is also right about Trump, although I do like to add that "Trump is a master at manipulating the media and controlling the narrative" because he is taken mostly seriously by at least half of the American population, who - I am sorry - are ignorant and stupid. (And that is also a major underlying problem almost no one as much as mentions!)

At the heart of the film is the message that abusive systems of power depend on a public that is complacent, compromising, passive and distracted. In order to draw out how we came to be a nation where so few people vote and even fewer feel like their voices matter, Moore takes aim across the political spectrum. One of the most powerful aspects of the film is the way that Moore pulls no punches as he outs the establishment left and faults them for their complicity with corporate capital. Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all come under fire as Moore reveals how they sold out the ideals of the Democratic Party to corporate backers.

I agree again, but - once again - insist that if the American "public that is complacent, compromising, passive and distracted" is is because the majority is stupid and ignorant.

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

It’s not unusual to describe a creative triumph as a “tour de force.” But in this case the phrase, which stems from the French for “feat of strength”, is especially apt. This film really is Moore’s tour de force — a forceful, moving, and compelling call to action.   A number of Michael Moore’s films have made history. This time he’s asking his audience to be the ones to do it.

And I am willing to believe this. This is a recommended article.


3. Mental Health Professionals Agree: Trump Is Dangerous

This article is by Bandy X. Lee on AlterNet and originally on The Conversation. Incidentally, I do want titles that are not Tweet-length: I am not an idiot, and I do not want to be treated as one either.

Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” describes a “nervous breakdown of Trump’s presidency.” Earlier this year, Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” offered a similar portrayal.

Now, an op-ed in The New York Times by an anonymous “senior White House official” describes how deeply the troubles in this administration run and what effort is required to protect the nation.

None of this is a surprise to those of us who, 18 months ago, put together our own public service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

Well, I like Bandy Lee and I more or less like Bob Woodward, but I do not like nor respect the contributions of "an anonymous White House Official". Some of my reasons are here. Also, in case you want my 2016 reactions to Trump, they are here and here (and these in fact go back to March 14, 2016, when I first seriously considered Trump).

Here is more, that refers to the Goldwater Rule, one of the many crazy rules the American Psychiatric Association adopted a long time ago, which effectively stipulated no American psychiatrist was ever to be abled to diagnose or describe any candidate for high office, also if they though they knew the candidate was insane:
Our conclusion was overwhelmingly that our responsibility to society and its safety, as outlined in our ethical guidelines, overrode any etiquette owed to a public figure. That decision led to the collection of essays in the book, which includes some of the most prominent thinkers of the field including Robert J. Lifton, Judith Herman, Philip Zimbardo and two dozen others.
I have kept this small, but dr. Lee and her group did the right thing. Here is more:

The author of the New York Times op-ed makes clear that the conflict in the White House is not about Trump’s ideology.

The problem, the author sees, is the lack of “any discernible first principles that guide his decision making … his impulsiveness [that] results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back, and there being literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next.”

These are obviously psychological symptoms reflective of emotional compulsion, impulsivity, poor concentration, narcissism and recklessness. They are identical to those that Woodward describes in numerous examples, which he writes were met with the “stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters.”

Well... I can't take the anonymous writer seriously, in part indeed because he (or she) has no problems whatsoever with Trump's neofascism, but only with the control of his impulses.

Here is more:

There is a strong connection between immediate dangerousness – the likelihood of waging a war or launching nuclear weapons – and extended societal dangerousness – policies that force separation of children from families or the restructuring of global relations in a way that would destabilize the world.

I think I agree (but have not much of an idea about what "a strong connection" might mean). But yes, I am afraid Trump may use nuclear weapons.

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

At least several thousands of mental health professionals who are members of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental Health Experts share the view that the nuclear launch codes should not be in the hands of someone who exhibits such levels of mental instability.

Just as suspicion of crime should lead to an investigation, the severity of impairment that we see should lead to an evaluation, preferably with the president’s consent.

Mental impairment should be evaluated independently from criminal investigations, using medical criteria and standardized measures. A sitting president may be immune to indictments, but he is subject to the law, which is strict about public safety and the right to treatment when an individual poses a danger to the public because of mental instability. In the case of danger, the patient does not have the right to refuse, nor does the physician have the right not to take the person as a patient.

I agree (and am a psychologist, which does make a difference), but I do not see how these agreements about the nuclear codes - "No, Trump should not be allowed to fire nuclear arms!" - can ever be implemented, which is a great pity. And this is a recommended article.


4. As 400+ Children Remain Separated From Parents, Trump Admin Wants to Detain Kids Indefinitely

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
The Trump administration is attempting to remove court-imposed time limits on the detention of immigrant children. The administration’s proposal would allow immigrant families to be held in detention indefinitely, ending the long-standing 1997 Flores agreement which says that children cannot be jailed for more than 20 days. More than 400 children remain separated from their parents more than a month after a court-imposed deadline requiring the Trump administration to reunite all of the separated families. The American Civil Liberties Union says it appears ICE officials had access to the phone numbers of hundreds of parents of separated children before a federal court’s June 26 family reunification deadline, but intentionally withheld the phone numbers for months. We speak with Cathleen Caron, founder & executive director of Justice In Motion, a group spearheading an effort to find parents of detained children.
I say, for I did not know the - scandalous - bit of information that "it appears ICE officials had access to the phone numbers of hundreds of parents of separated children before a federal court’s June 26 family reunification deadline, but intentionally withheld the phone numbers for months".

If so, these ICE officials are all intentional and deliberate sadists. You do not lock up small children, and if you do you are a sadist.

Here is more:

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn to the ongoing crisis of family separation at the border, as the Trump administration attempts to remove court-imposed time limits on the detention of immigrant children. The Trump administration’s proposal would allow immigrant families to be held in detention indefinitely, ending the long-standing 1997 Flores agreement which says that children cannot be jailed for more than 20 days.

Over 400 kids remain separated from their parents more than a month after a court-imposed deadline requiring the Trump administration to reunite all of the separated families. The American Civil Liberties Union says it appears ICE officials had access to the phone numbers of hundreds of parents of separated children before a federal court’s June 26th family reunification deadline but intentionally withheld the phone numbers for months.

Well... I have been saying it quite a few times now, but do it again: These "400 kids" are not so much "separated" as they are kidnapped - and here is the beginning of the item kidnapping on the Wikipedia:

Kidnapping

In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person against their will. Thus, it is a composite crime. It can also be defined as false imprisonment by means of abduction, both of which are separate crimes that when committed simultaneously upon the same person merge as the single crime of kidnapping. The asportation/abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear.
And that is what it is. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

AMY GOODMAN: The ACLU just said that it turns out that the government has withheld hundreds of phone numbers of parents, numbers they knew well, to make it more difficult to reunite children with their parents.

CATHLEEN CARON: Well, it is been really difficult, and that new information just shows how it is kind of intentional infliction of emotional harm and distress on these families.

It has nothing to do with preventing migration from Central America. This is just a damning policy to hurt a population that Trump’s base—many voted for him because they were anti-immigrant. But it has made it difficult.
Quite so and this is a recommended article.
5. How Bill Clinton Paved the Way for Trump's War on Immigrants

This article is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
This week, the Department of Homeland Security proposed a new regulation that would allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain migrant children and their parents indefinitely, upending 20 years of legal precedent. Critics have decried the sadism of such a proposal, but few have acknowledged how multiple Democratic administrations helped pave the way for the Trump administration’s violence and cruelty. In the latest installment of Scheer Intelligence, immigration attorney Helen Sklar reminds us that it was President Bill Clinton who first branded immigrants without the necessary documentation an “unlawful presence in the U.S.”
I agree with both points: Locking up children is sadistic (and I am glad to see the term correctly used), and locking up children "indefinitely" is both extremely sadistic and frightfully insane. Also, I completely agree that Bill Clinton was a bad and fraudulent president (and not because of Lewinski but because his treatment of the rich and the poor).

Here is some more:
Ultimately, Clinton’s elimination of laws that made it easier for Mexican immigrants to establish permanent legal status has enabled Trump to separate families at the border, an act Sklar abhors. While she acknowledges certain historical parallels, Sklar admits this “singling out of children, and making them orphans” is unlike anything she has ever seen. As of Aug. 31, as many as 500 minors remain separated from their parents, victims of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
Yes - and "singling out of children, and making them orphans" simply is extremely cruel sadism
Helen Sklar: (...) There’s a lag time, because when these documents are sought, either through court actions or through Freedom of Information Act requests, when the data is finally produced, it tends to reflect things that happened, say, between 2010, 2017. So we’re seeing now activity that you would really describe as unconscionable, horrific, to people in the most vulnerable positions, people detained by these agencies that really lack accountability, that lack oversight, that lack systems through which to discipline people.
    (..)
But this is the singling out of children, and making them orphans. And as of now, they haven’t all been reunited. And the way it looks, they may never be reunited with their parents. Children were taken without gathering data on who they are, and they were taken at an age when they cannot identify themselves.
Precisely. It is and was extremely cruel sadism; it is and was kidnapping; and it happened because the president of the USA is an evident madman. This is a recommended article.
Note

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that xs4all.nl 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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