Jul 24, 2016

Crisis: Police, Hillary-Kaine, Reich on Hillary, Trump Psychopath, Trump Danger
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Paris Officials Seek to Destroy Potential Evidence in
     Attack in Nice, France

2. Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center
3. Does Hillary Get It?
4. Could Donald Trump Pass a Sanity Test?
5. Donald Trump is a unique threat to American


This is a Nederlog of Sunday, July 24, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about how the police in a non-free state is quite capable of suppressing all evidence that might be used against them; item 2 is about a good article that sensibly discusses the Clinton-Kain match-up; item 3 is about Reich, who simply is mistaken about the (anti-)establishment; item 4 is about a fine article by Keith Olbermann who scores Trump on a much used psychopathic test; and item 5 is another fine article by The Washington Post, that correctly identifies Trump as a major danger to American democracy.

Paris Officials Seek to Destroy Potential Evidence in Attack in Nice, France

The first item today is a brief item by Emma Niles:
  • Paris Officials Seek to Destroy Potential Evidence in Attack in Nice, France
This is here because it stresses that: more power to the police = more power to suppress inconvenient evidence. This starts as follows:

Just over a week ago, a truck sped through the popular boardwalk in Nice, France, in a terrorist attack that killed more than 80 people and left many more wounded. The driver of the truck, who was killed by police during the rampage, has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, and five suspected accomplices have been charged.

In the aftermath of the attack, officials in Nice are clashing with federal authorities on how to respond and implement future security measures. The Paris prosecutor’s office has requested that security footage of the tragedy be destroyed, but Nice officials have fired back by filing legal paperwork to prevent the destruction of potential evidence, which could be used in upcoming trials. The BBC reports:

“This is the first time we are asked to destroy evidence,” French newspaper Le Figaro quoted a source as saying. “The CCTV department and the city of Nice could be prosecuted for this, and also the officers in charge do not have jurisdiction to engage in such operations [to delete material].”

The paper said police and prosecutors wanted footage of the attack destroyed to preserve the dignity of victims and so it could not be used by jihadists for propaganda purposes.

But why does the Paris prosecutor's office demand that security footage be destroyed if they better could have asked not to show it? Because - as the article makes clear - the real point is that they want all evidence that can be used to criticize the police be destroyed.

It is not that the Paris prosecuters care about "the dignity of the victims" (which would require that evidence about the causes of their deaths is not destroyed), but that the Paris prosecutors care about destroying all evidence
that the French police did not do its job properly.

And whether or not the present effort to destroy all inconvenient evidence will succeed: With sufficient "legal" powers - as exist now in France - the "legal" powers will be quite capable of destroying all evidence that could have been used to criticize the police.

It is straight from Orwell: The government designs the fake "truths" that are convenient for itself, in part by repressing, destroying and denying all existing evidence to the contrary.

This will probably become a lot worse.

2. Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center

The second item is by William K. Black (<-Wikipedia) on Consortium News:
  • Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center
This starts as follows, and is here because I like Bill Black:

By picking Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true preferences and shown that her move to the left on policy issues during the primaries was simply a tactical move to defeat Bernie Sanders. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric.

The two politicians to whom she gave serious consideration to choosing as her running mates were Kaine and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. What both men share in common is, like the Clintons, being leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC was, on economic and foreign policy issues, a servile creature of Wall Street – funded by Wall Street.

As Tom Frank’s new book Listen, Liberal documents, the DLC vilified the New Deal, financial and safety regulation, organized labor, the working class, opponents of militarism, opponents of the disastrous trade deals that were actually backdoor assaults on effective health, safety and financial regulation, and the progressive base of the Democratic Party.

Yes, indeed - and all of this vilification of "the New Deal, financial and safety regulation, organized labor, the working class, opponents of militarism," and  "opponents of the disastrous trade deals" was started by Bill Clinton, who also started his own ideology to do so: the Third Way (<-Wikipedia) which was a set of lies that replaced socialism, leftism, progressivism and liberalism by pretense to care for the poor coupled with policies that helped the rich.

Here is what Clinton and Gore did, back in the second half of the 1990ies:

The DLC leadership, which included President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, entered into a series of cynical bipartisan deals with the worst elements of the Republican Party, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Wall Street elites that:

–Destroyed Glass-Steagall (the New Deal reform that separated commercial and investment banks)

–Created a massive regulatory “black hole” in financial derivatives that Enron and later the world’s largest banks exploited to run their fraud schemes that led to the Enron-era scandals and the Great Recession

–Drove Brooksley Born from government because she warned about these derivatives and sought to protect us from the coming disaster

–Cut the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) staff by over three-quarters, destroying effective supervision of banks

–Cut the Office of Thrift Supervision’s (OTS) staff by over half, destroying effective supervision of savings and loans such as Countrywide, Washington Mutual (known as WaMu, the largest “bank” failure in U.S. history), and IndyMac. OTS was also supposed to regulate aspects of AIG and Lehman, but had no capacity to do so given the massive staff cuts and its deliberately useless regulatory leaders chosen by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

In short, they liberated the CEOs of the banks to do what they pleased, also covered by Eric Holder's (<- Wikipedia) 1999 (!!) announcement that he would do nothing to restrain the big banks, which may have won him Obama's selection as the minister of "justice" (for Obama belongs to the same clique as both Clintons do: "leftish" to get votes, rightist in politics).

The above was quoted from the beginning. There is a considerable amount more about Kaine and Hillary Clinton. This is a recommended article.

3. Does Hillary Get It?

The third item is by Robert Reich on his site:
  • Does Hillary Get It?

This starts as follows, and is here because I generally like Robert Reich because he is intelligent. This time I think he is mistaken. He starts as follows:

Does Hillary Clinton understand that the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment?

I worry she doesn’t – at least not yet. 

O, Lord! To me this sounds as if Reich believes the middle 1960ies are back, when Provo (in Holland), parts of the SDS in the United States, and quite a few pop-musicians claimed that the days of Right and Left were passed, and now - that is: around 1966 - the real opposition was between the anti-establishment forces and the establishment forces.

I was there at the time (50 years ago, meanwhile) and did not believe it then, and I certainly don't believe it now. Here is my main reason not to believe it:

Since 1789 (when the terms "the Left" and "the Right" were created by reference to how groups of candidates were seated in parliament) the differences between the Left and the Right have been fairly constant and consistent, at least until 1995 when Bill Clinton and Tony Blair denied the differences:

The Left is for the non-rich, for political freedoms and rights, against the rich, against exploitation, for more economic equality, for democracy, for a free and honest press, and for legal rights, legal protection and a fairly strong but honest state; the Right is for the rich, against political freedoms and rights, against the non-rich, for exploitation (styled "free trade"), for less economic equality, against democracy (unless it can be abused), against a free and honest press, against legal protections (except for the rich), against legal rights for the non-rich, and against a fairly strong and honest state.

These differences have been constant for over 200 years, and the reason is simple and true: the underlying major differences between the interests of (most of) the rich, and the interests (if not deluded) of most of the non-rich.

According to Reich, these distinctions no longer apply. What applies - according to Reich - are the differences between (it seems) those who oppose the government (or any government) and those who defend the government.

Somewhat more precisely:

The most powerful force in American politics today is anti-establishment fury at a system rigged by big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy.

This is a big reason why Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. It’s also why Bernie Sanders took 22 states in the Democratic primaries, including a majority of Democratic primary voters under age 45.

But this means that Reich seems to have lost track of the enormous deceptions
propaganda made these days: The "
system rigged by big corporations, Wall Street, and the super-wealthy" succeeded in having both (main) candidates for the presidency to spin its tales, and will come out protected and served by whoever wins, while it also succeeded in deceiving - it seems - most voters about what the real issue is. Namely, to reduce it to the one important issue: Are you for the rich or are you for the non-rich? [1]

Here is how Reich perceives the present situation:

There are no longer “moderates.”  There’s no longer a “center.” There’s authoritarian populism (Trump) or democratic populism (which had been Bernie’s “political revolution,” and is now up for grabs). 

And then there’s the Republican establishment (now scattered to the winds), and the Democratic establishment.

If Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party don’t recognize this realignment, they’re in for a rude shock – as, I’m afraid, is the nation. Because Donald Trump does recognize it. His authoritarian (“I’ am your voice”) populism is premised on it.

No. First, there still are moderates and there still is a center, especially if we consider ordinary people (much rather than the tops of the main two political parties). Second, I dislike the term "populism", and Trump is an authorita- rian rightist whose populist false pretense is that he will save the non-rich. Third, Bernie Sanders also was not so much a populist as an anti-authori- tarian leftist (as he also said: he said he is a socialist).

As to the two political establishments: They both still exist, for most Republicans now support Trump, and most Democrats Hillary Clinton.

Finally, as to the "realignment": I agree Hillary Clinton's political propaganda is mostly boring, uninspiring and "professional", but the reason for that is not
that she misses the opposition Robert Reich now sees, but that she is a pro- rightist who must compete to get the votes of many non-rightists (indeed rather like Trump, but so far his propaganda was more successful).

Here is one of the last bits of Reich's article:

Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to move toward the “middle.” In fact, such a move could hurt her if it’s perceived to be compromising the stances she took in the primaries in order to be more acceptable to Democratic movers and shakers.

She needs to move instead toward the anti-establishment – forcefully committing herself to getting big money out of politics, and making the system work for the many rather than a privileged few.

Well... that is precisely what Hillary Clinton did not do when she picked Kaine (a man after her own tastes) as VP: He too is pro-right, pro-rich, pro deregulations, pro TPP etc. And she did knowingly "compromis[e] the stances she took in the primaries" when she pretended to be far more Leftish than she really is.

Also she precisely did not move into "
the anti-establishment" direction, where indeed she never belonged, and she also did not move towards "getting big money out of politics" ("big money" made her a major multi-millionaire).

In brief: Both main presidential candidates are pro-rich, but not to the same extent, and not with the same program. And if there is an anti-establishment feeling, it is not what Reich seems to think it is, but is the anger of many voters that they will be screwed no matter whom they vote for, for both realistic candidates are - really, underneath all the propaganda, all the lies, all the deceptions - pro right, pro rich, pro banks, and pro big money in politics.

4. Could Donald Trump Pass a Sanity Test?

The fourth item today is by Keith Olbermann on Vanity Fair:

  • Could Donald Trump Pass a Sanity Test?

This starts as follows:

First, several important caveats. There is little worse and nothing cheesier than questioning the psychological stability of a public figure, especially a candidate for president, even in this case.

Except that in his year of campaigning, Donald Trump has called Lindsey Graham “a nut job,” Glenn Beck “a real nut job,” and Bernie Sanders “a wacko.” Trump has insisted Ben Carson’s got a “pathological disease,” and asked of Barack Obama: “Is our president insane?” He called Ted Cruz “unstable,” “unhinged,” “a little bit of a maniac,” and “crazy or very dishonest.” He also called the entire CNBC network “crazy.” He called Megyn Kelly “crazy”—at least six times.

Yes, quite so: Somebody who publicly calls so many people - by name, often with ugly terms before their names - insane needs some looking into. I did and I am a psychologist, and I concluded that Trump indeed is not sane, for he is an evident a grandiose narcissist, which is a psychiatric disorder. (It really is and is also known as megalomania (<- Wikipedia)).

I still think so, but here is some more by Keith Olbermann on Donald Trump's surfeit of attacks on people:

This could also explain Trump’s seeming imperviousness to his own mind-bending campaign. Surely it must be exhausting to attack Mexicans (June 16, 2015), to attack John McCain (July 18), attack Muslims (December 7), attack the Pope (February 18, 2016), attack President Clinton (May 18), attack candidates who use a teleprompter (May 27) a day after you give a speech using a teleprompter (May 26). It’s got to be exhausting—unless, as the old joke goes, “No pain, no gain. And: no brain, no pain.”

Again, quite so. Here is what Olbermann (who is not a psychologist) did: He looked for a test, and what he found was this:

The actual sanity test I found is called, by delicious coincidence, “The Hare Psychopathy Checklist.” Introduced by Canadian criminal psychologist Robert D. Hare in 1980, it is still in use, though with ever more diffuse and specific mental-health diagnoses, it is not without its critics. However, as a practicing therapist who walked me through it agreed, it serves as a kind of triage device to separate the injured from the tripping from the psychopathic.

And about that word. We seem to have completely muddied up sociopath and psychopath.

I think he did well, and indeed I wrote before about Robert Hare (<- Wikipedia), indeed as long as 4 1/2 years ago, and that also is a decent introduction to both psychopaths (like quite a few bank managers, as was explained then) and psychopathology, in an article with many links.

And I also wrote about Robert Hare in 2015. This is another good article,
from which I quote a definition of what it means to be a psychopath, in part
to elucidate the concept, and in part because Olbermann is quite right that
psychiatrists have "
completely muddied up sociopath and psychopath". The quote is between two occurrences of "---":


And I quote one definition from it, because it defines the term "psychopath", which I think much better than "sociopath", for a reason I will give after the definition:

Psychopathy (..) is a personality disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deception. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are disproportionately responsible for violent crime when in a violent emotional state or situation. Though lacking empathy and emotional depth, they often manage to pass themselves off as average individuals by feigning emotions and lying about their past.

I think that is a reasonable definition that locates the reasons for psychopathy in a person. It is better than the term "sociopathy" (that is claimed by many to be equivalent and better), for a reason Hare states (from Psychopathy on the Wikipedia):

Hare also provides his own definitions: he describes psychopathy as not having a sense of empathy or morality, but sociopathy as only differing in sense of right and wrong from the average person.

Yes: sociopathy is relative to a society's dominant norms; psychopathy says individuals who have it are somehow - in empathy and morality - different
from most others, regardless of the dominant norms.


So Olbermann made the right choice, and says this:

For each of the 20 items on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, you’re supposed to assign the subject a 0, 1, or 2. The highest and most dangerous score is a 40. In the U.S., the accepted minimum score for possible psychopathy is 30.

And then he discusses each and every of these 20 items with reference to Donald Trump and his behaviors. This is quite interesting and recommended reading, but I will quote none of it.

Keith Olbermann's article ends as follows, after having discussed all his entries fairly carefully:

Final Score: 32, out of 40

So, there you have it. He peters out toward the end there, but with 30 points being the marker at which professionals could present a diagnosis of psychopathy, the implications are clear. Our Trumperor’s New Clothes media rightly sees the latest Trump “event”—whatever it is this time—as one of the most unbelievable developments in American political history. But the simple mechanics of following, reporting, and writing the proverbial “new high in low” every single day means that they could be missing one overriding truth about the health of the most remarkable presidential candidate since at least 1864.

In short, our amateurs’ exercise with the very professional Hare Psychopathy Checklist suggests that if you were betting on it, you’d probably want to bet that Donald Trump couldn’t pass a sanity test—open book.

So Donald Trump is not only a grandiose narcissist, he also is a probable psychopath (and indeed the two are also related). [2]

I agree, and this is a recommended article.

5. Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

The fifth
and last item today is by the Editorial Board of The Washington Post - and is quite good (in my opinion):

  • Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

This starts as follows:

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril.
Yes, indeed. There is also this, somewhat further on:
The lack of experience might be overcome if Mr. Trump saw it as a handicap worth overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact. Throughout the campaign, he has unspooled one lie after another — that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after 9/11, that his tax-cut plan would not worsen the deficit, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started — and when confronted with contrary evidence, he simply repeats the lie. It is impossible to know whether he convinces himself of his own untruths or knows that he is wrong and does not care. It is also difficult to know which trait would be more frightening in a commander in chief.
Incidentally, as to "In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact": See the previous item.

The previous quote is continued as follows:

Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.

What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous.

Again, quite so. There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended reading. And I wish I would see more of this, by other leading papers. [3]
[1] For the few rich and the many non-rich now both exist at least since 600 BC and were always opposed in interest, simply because the rich exploited the non-rich, whereas even the meanings of the phrases "establishment" and "anti-establishment" depend a lot on the contexts in which they are used, and date back mostly to the 1960ies (when they also were unclear).

In case you don't get this: Click the last link, that articulates the differences.

[2] In case you do not get why you don't read the same from psycho- logists and psychiatrists: The main reason is that most academics are not real intellectuals, and have been bought for their services by paying them an appreciable salary, that will keep the large majority nicely well-behaved.
This is how it was (see Julien Benda (<- Wikipedia)) and this is how it is and will be.

[3] In case you do not get why you don't read the same from other papers: The main reason is that the main papers have been bought by a few rich men, ceased being a real free press, and mostly simply relay the propaganda their editors desire. (There still are remnants of the free press,
but not anymore in the main media, and mostly only on the internet.)

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