Sections crisis index
1. Information or Disinformation? Only 32 Percent of
Americans Trust the Media
2. New Study Says 1 Out of Every 5 Corporate Bosses Is
3. The Value of Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’
4. Hundreds of Thousands March in Germany Against
Sinister Trade Deals
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, September 18, 2016.
A. This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about an interesting article that details that less than 1 in 3 Americans trust the media (I explain - and most of this review is by me: For me that is about the end of democracy); item 2 is about psychopathology and CEOs and is also interesting, while once again most of the review is by me); item 3 is in part about "Snowden", but mostly about Snowden's opinions on privacy; and item 4 is about the TTIP and - what I think the TTP is the legal foundation for - neofascism.
In fact, by far the most of the text of today's Nederlog is by me. In part, this is because I explain rather a lot, and in part it is a probable consequence of the fact that I feel a bit better than before.
B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click twice to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.
In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am sorry if you have to click several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was.)
1. Information or Disinformation? Only 32 Percent of Americans Trust the Media
The first item today is by Donald Kaufman on Truthdig:
- Information or Disinformation? Only 32 Percent of Americans Trust the Media
This article ends (!) as follows:
Since 1972, the apex of trust in media by the general public was 76 percent in 1976.
Since I was born in 1950, I recall the Seventies very well. In Holland, where I lived most of the time (I also lived in Norway - nearly three years - and England - about a year) these years were also, both journalistically and for many people, the leftist or "leftist" years , and this applies both to moral and ethical values and to presumed social ends. 
The papers - although far from good by my own lights - still published most of the news, and did so while distinguishing facts from non-facts. I started reading the liberal NRC-Handelsblad in 1970, mostly because the formerly catholic Volkskrant that I had read since 1967 turned to quasi-marxist for my tastes.  There was an enormous amount of radio, and indeed there also still were radio-pirates. 
There were enormous amounts of economical propaganda in terms of advertisements in all the media, but most of the media themselves, although most did speak from some sort of background of political values, reported on many facts as if these were facts, and if they propagandized - as they frequently did - propagandized mostly in editorial columns, or in personal columns by well-known journalists or intellectuals.
All of this has thoroughly changed about 40 years later: The times now are definitely rightist, also for the poor and the middle class. Most people want more and more without considering the consequences (they pretend they do, but they buy what they want nevertheless); the papers have totally changed, and the NRC-Handelsblad, which I stopped reading after 40 years in 2010, is mostly trash, lies, and propaganda, and doesn't look like a paper anymore since most of what it publishes seems propaganda, and certainly very much of what is published only relates to what really happpened in very indirect ways. 
There is nothing on the radio that is worth listening to, except two minutes of cramped "news" on the hour, and those are mostly filled with non-events and sports news. The radio is in fact dead, and there is nothing on the air worth listening to. The TV is more trashy than it ever was. The Dutch papers are mostly trash.
And those were the main instruments of real democracy. They are all mostly dead or dying; they don't produce any real news in a systematic way; and much is propaganda. Also everything got a lot more expensive - if I do buy a NRC on Fridays now, it'll cost (reckoned back) around 6 guilders; slightly over 40 years "the same" paper, except that it was hundreds of times better, cost 25 cents (so the price increase in this case is about 25 times as much - while what is on offer now is mostly bullshit, propaganda, lies and irrelevancies).
How did "we" get there? The small article I am reviewing will not give us most of the answers, and is about the USA, but it does show some enormous differences in the purveyors of news and information there as well:
And this was for me a reason to start this review with a statement from the end of the article, because it says that in 1976 over 3/4s of the American population believed that the media reported "the news fully, accurately and fairly", whereas now, 40 years later less than 1/3rd do. That is, it fell from
A Gallup Poll released this week shows the largest decline in trust in the media since the organization started asking the public’s opinion on the subject in 1972. In a survey conducted among people over 18 years old, across 50 states, only 32 percent said they trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”
over 9/12ths to less than 4/12ths.
The trust in reliable news more than halved, and is now much less than 50%: 2 out of 3 Americans do not trust the news they get from their papers or their TVs.
Since they must rely for almost all their information that goes beyond what they see for themselves in their own neighborhoods and their own lives on the media, this means that - in fact - 2 out of 3 Americans believe that whatever they are being told about everything they didn't see themselves are more probably lies or propaganda than reliable factually correct news.
Here is some statistical information on diverse political groups and on ages:
Only 14 percent of Republicans trust the media, down from 32 percent in 2015. According to the poll, the steep decline in trust among Republicans has been influenced by Republican leaders, conservative pundits and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who continually claims the media is biased toward his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Democrats (at 51 percent, compared with 55 percent in 2015) and independents (30 percent versus 33 percent last year) have a little more faith in the Fourth Estate than Republicans.
Young and old alike are distrustful. For the 18-to-49 age group, only 26 percent say they have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the media, down 10 percent from 2015. For those 50 and older, it’s 38 percent, down 7 percentage points from 2015.
Note that this is not about how the papers and the TV look these days, nor is it about their styles of reporting, nor is it about the amounts of propaganda, lies, doubtful statements and perceived (approximate) truths people see in their media: It is only about the trust that the media inspire in their consumers. On average only 1 in 3 Americans trust what they get from the media.
If I am about to vote, and what I hear about the candidates is presumed by me to be false or colored or propaganda or lies or deceptions in 2 out of 3 times how can I ever come to some reliable decision about whom I am going to elect? I can't:
If the press is mostly dead because it doesn't report truly, honestly and reliably, or indeed - which is not the case - it were to report truly, honestly and reliably, but is not trusted by the majority, then democracy is mostly dead.
Here is one application of the above findings by Gallup on the coming American presidential elections:
The divisive presidential election this year may be corroding Americans’ trust and confidence in the media, particularly among Republicans who may believe the “mainstream media” are too hyperfocused on every controversial statement or policy proposal from Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign. However, the slide in media trust has been happening for the past decade. Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.
I forego commenting on the Republicans. Instead, I repeat that there simply is no basis for any real democracy if 2 out 3 who are supposed to vote simply do not trust much of the news they get from the media (for whatever reason, and whether or not they are correct).
There is also this at the end:
With the explosion of the mass media in recent years, especially the prevalence of blogs, vlogs and social media, perhaps Americans decry lower standards for journalism.
I don't think so, for the simple reason that almost none of the "blogs, vlogs and social media" are journalism: Journalism requires media, training, colleagues, editors, and mostly maintained standards of honesty, accuracy and facts.
Very few of the "blogs, vlogs and social media" are journalism in that sense, and most are simply individuals or small groups screaming out their convictions and trying to make them appear plausible.
Anyway... this was only a brief article, and a fairly long review, and neither the article nor my review satisfactorily answer many questions about the radical decline of "the media".
But less than 1 in 3 of Americans believe their media "report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”
I say. Bye bye democracy...2. New Study Says 1 Out of Every 5 Corporate Bosses Is a Psychopath
The second item is by Michael Arria on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
- New Study Says 1 Out of Every 5 Corporate Bosses Is a Psychopath
According to a new study, one out of every five corporate bosses is a psychopath.
The study surveyed 261 corporate professionals and determined that their "clinically elevated levels of psychopathy" were on par with the prison population. Nathan Brooks, a forensic psychologist at Bond University and researcher on this study, told ABC, "Their personality usually leads them to exploit every avenue open to them, whether it's in a criminal setting, or within organizations."
First, I am quite willing to believe this, and will explain below one reason why.
But I am also a psychologist, with a good understanding of psychiatry and psychiatrists (<- well worth reading, but long and intellectually informed), and I should start by saying that, since a long time also, psychopathy does not belong any more to the "new science" of psychiatry that was started in 1980, when the DSM-III was published.
The main reason for that is that it was replaced by another concept and term, that now are completely relativistic: "Sociopathy", which is being defined (from the Wikipedia) as
"antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and dissocial personality disorder respectively, stating that these diagnoses have been referred to (or include what is referred to) as psychopathy"
That is: You are a sociopath (or ASPD) if you disagree with the social norms (and therefore current American psychiatrists support - by logical implication - Soviet psychiatrists who locked people up and treated them as insane when they knew the people disagreed with Soviet norms: No decent Soviet person was allowed to disbelieve Soviet norms).
I think that is total relativistic rot, but indeed I am not at all amazed current psychiatry supports total relativistic rot. Happily, there still are some who disbelieve "sociopathy" and "psychopathy" are interchangeable or equivalent:
See Robert Hare if you want to know more about psychopathology: At least it is more sensible than the utterly relativistic "sociopathy".
Psychopathy is often defined as a clinical disorder, characterized by a lack of empathy and narcissistic traits. One out of every 100 people is believed to be a psychopath, but this investigation shows that the numbers for CEOs are much larger.According to Brooks, a certain "successful psychopath" has been allowed to rise in the corporate world, despite the fact that they're more likely to break the law or engage in unethical activity.
What matters here is especially the second paragraph, and I will now explain one reason why I think there are considerably more psychopaths among CEOs than among the general population:
The neolibertarian economist Milton Friedman (one of the boys from Chicaco who supported the torturers of Chili that arose after Salvador Allende (<- Wikipedia) was deposed) insisted that it is the moral duty of CEOs to be only interested in the profits their firms generated, and to nothing else (like social norms, utility, ethical norms, moral norms, honesty, decency, civilized behavior etc. etc.: these should all be irrelevant or of secondary importance to profits, in Friedman's conception).
If that is what you think CEOs should do, then it is not much of a miracle if there are percentually many more psychopaths who are CEOs than there are
in the general population (for Friedman is reported to be the first or second economist of the 20th Century ).
Here - to conclude - is psychologist Brooks on what I think is mere pretense:
"We hope to implement our screening tool in businesses so that there's an adequate assessment to hopefully identify this problem—to stop people sneaking through into positions in the business that can become very costly," said Brooks.Again, I am a psychologist - and no, one test proposed by one psychologist will hardly do anything to stop selecting exclusively profit-oriented CEOs, without any other value also.
It doesn't work like that: This is just the general pretense very many psychologists do engage in to support their work, but it is, like the pretense of other psychologists, bullshit. (And yes, I did see he hides behind his "hope", without saying anything about how utterly irrealistic his hope is.)
3. The Value of Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’
The third item is by Lisa Pease on Consortiumnews:
- The Value of Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’
This starts as follows:
Well... I think I do know "the story of Edward Joseph Snowden", after writing over 1320 articles in the crisis series, with over a 1000 since I first learned about his existence, and no, I also do not think that watching between 1 and 2 hours of fictional film about what he did will teach me more (and no, I also don't like "fictionalized" events "for dramatic effect", though I accept these may be necessary in a bit of partial fiction).
If you think you already know the story of Edward Joseph Snowden, the man who leaked evidence of the global mass surveillance programs that the U.S. and U.K. governments have been conducting not just on enemies abroad but on their citizens at home, think again. Very few people know the complexities of the man and his backstory.Even if you saw “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary about Snowden’s historic act, Oliver Stone’s movie, “Snowden,” tells a significantly different story, using dramatic license to take you on an emotional journey into Snowden’s experiences and motivations.
As Stone emphasized in person at a screening that I attended, the film is not a documentary and was decidedly fictionalized for dramatic effect. That said, many specifics and incidents are true — and Stone remained true to Snowden in terms of his intelligence, temperament and reasoning that helped shape the actions he took.
As I said, I very probably will not see it, because I am ill, and especially because I never liked fiction about real events, even if I can understand its
But anyone who wishes to see Stone's film is welcome to it. Then again, this is not why I selected this article. Part of the reasons are indicated here:
In the film, at one point, Snowden gets upset when his girlfriend says so what if the government listens in — she had nothing to hide. But everyone has something to hide. That’s why you have a password on your computer, why your medical records aren’t made public, why your taxes stay between you and the IRS (unless, of course, you are running for president, in which case there is an expectation of greater transparency).
The film showed the toll that bearing difficult secrets took not only on Snowden’s life but on the lives of his friends. Snowden’s girlfriend at one point complained that he hadn’t touched her in months, a result of Snowden’s acute awareness of how every breath could be heard, every action seen or recorded unless extraordinary precautions were taken.
First, everybody has a whole lot to hide, and mostly not because it is criminal, but simply because it either is nobody's business (except for a few, such as the government) or because it is really the business of a few, and you yourself are quite capable of identifying them, and telling them what they need to know.
Second, Snowden is and was bitterly right about the enormous extents to which it is now possible for secret services and dataminers to penetrate almost any defense on any computer they want to see, and any cellphone they want to use, in order to learn absolutely everything they can learn about anyone. 
Almost no one knows whether he or she is a special concern for the secret services, and almost no one knows whether the secret services have access to his computer and cellphone, but by now all intelligent persons know that if the secret services really want to, they can almost certainly get any word you
type and any word you say, on something connected to internet (and put these in your personal dossier, that may be used against you - and all members of your family, probably - all your life by any subsequent government, of any political quality).
And any intelligent person should be aware that all his or her mails are, as a matter of "hygiene", so to speak, automatically downloaded from the cables on which they are transported: Almost everything there is fully open and fully
readable to almost any secret service from almost anywhere.
And this is what got completely fucked over and totally destroyed by the illegal actions (if the Fourth Amendment (<- Wikipedia) has any meaning) of especially the NSA:
The real Edward Snowden, after noting how hard it was to watch himself portrayed in this scene to the world as the “worst boyfriend ever,” waxed eloquent on that subject during a live Q&A following a special screening of the film:
”Privacy isn’t about something to hide. Privacy is about something to protect. That’s who you are. That’s what you believe in, that’s who you want to become. Privacy is the right to the self. Privacy is what gives you the ability to share with the world who you are, on your own terms, for them to understand what you’re trying to be. And to protect for yourself the parts of you that you’re not sure about, that you’re still experimenting with.
“If we don’t have privacy, what we’re losing is the ability to make mistakes. We’re losing the ability to be ourselves. [Saying that you don’t care about privacy] because you have nothing to hide is like arguing that you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
Snowden is quite right: Without real privacy, when everything or most things you write and say are known to and (secretly) copied by the secret services, you are no longer a real person, nor a real self: You are the subordinate or the slave of those who know almost everything about you (and who also can trick almost any bit of information you hear or see on your computer), indeed whether you know it or not.
It is the most unequal situation there ever existed, simply because those who know about you, may know a whole lot more about you than you remember yourself. And this was not even true of the KGB in the Soviet Union, indeed not by a very great difference: The NSA knows very much more about you than the KGB ever could.
Lisa Pease ends her article with a good question:
I only wish Snowden had pointed out that one of the most terrible parts of government spying is how it provides blackmail material on those who would attempt to rein in the excesses of the National Security State. How can elected officials ever get the CIA or NSA to stop doing illegal things when the agencies hold all the darkest secrets of those same officials?
They cannot. Forget it. And indeed this is one of the reasons I hope now on a radical collapse, even though this will very probably kill me: The major, sick, degenerate evil that are the present day secret services will not go away by themselves, and will not cease to investigate everyone: They must be removed, and quite radically, indeed for the reasons that Frank Church (<- Wikipedia) already gave in 1975 (quoted from Wikipedia):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
For at present the secret services of the USA have the "technological capability" "to monitor any message" anyone sends by any computer or any cellphone (with very few exceptions).
This is a power no one should have, and certainly not at all as now: In almost complete secrecy, and defended nearly everywhere by the government and the law. 4. Hundreds of Thousands March in Germany Against Sinister Trade Deals
The fourth item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
- Hundreds of Thousands March in Germany Against Sinister Trade Deals
This starts as follows:
Hundreds of thousands took to city streets across Germany on Saturday as they marched against a pair of corporate-backed trade deals they say will undermine democracy, attack workers and local economies, and accelerate the threats posed by corporate hegemony and global warming.
Taking aim at both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), European Union deals with the United States and Canada respectively, opponents say the agreements are not really concerned with expanding trade but rather increasing corporate power.
"CETA and TTIP threaten environmental and consumer protection for millions of people in Europe and North America," said Jennifer Morgan, co-executive director of Greenpeace International. "These agreements will weaken food safety laws, environmental legislation, banking regulations and undermine the sovereign powers of nations."
As I have indicated quite a few times before, I think I am quite justified if I call a regime that only benefits the multinational corporations and that strives to
"weaken food safety laws, environmental legislation, banking regulations and undermine the sovereign powers of nations"
a neofascistic regime (and meanwhile I also think that those who knowingly disagree to be either blind or relativists).
Indeed, my own guess about the rich (as instructed by the late Lewis Powell Jr. and as led by Karl Rove and such) have a two-step plan to provide the legal arisal of neofascism in the USA and elsewhere:
Step 1 was the interminable deregulation of every law that bound the multi-national corporations to decency, restraint and democracy: It has been
going on now for 35 years since Ronald Reagan (also under Bill Clinton and Obama) and it has almost completely succeeded: Multinationals can do
as they please, and also hardly have to pay any more taxes.
Step 2 is the introduction of a completely new "legal" system under the guise of the myth of "free trade": The TTP, TTIP, TISA and CETA that all have one dominating end: To take nearly all powers from all goverments, and give these to the multi-national corporations, that can and will transform all of society: Any democratic or any legal decision by any nation that threatens to lessen the profits of the muti-nationals (if the nation was moved to support one of these neofascistic treaties) can be undone (however democratically taken), while the inhabitants for the nations that dared to upset the profits of the multi-nationals have to pay millions or billions to the multi-nationals in punishment from their taxes.
I think that is the future; I think that is and was fully planned; and I think Step 1 has been extremely successful for 35 years, and is by now mostly done. (And none but the rich got richer in those 35 years, by the way.)
Now all that remains to be done is to force parliaments and governments to adopt these "laws" (written thus because I reject them totally) - which is mostly done by trickery, secrecy, manipulation and dishonesty, and which is mostly helped, just as the 35 years of successive deregulations were mostly helped, by most politicians of almost any party, and by most governments:
Though TTIP negotiations, as Common Dreams reported, were said to have "de facto failed" last month, U.S. President Barack Obama has vowed to see the deal approved. And despite widespread opposition German Chancellor Angela Merkel also remains supportive.
Finally: Do Obama and/or Merkel know or realize they are furthering something most anti-democratic, most anti-equal and in fact quite neofascistic?
Actually, I don't care because I will never be able to interview them for several hours by myself, and I know that apart from deep interviews by clever and well-informed people they mostly lie about most things anyway (and Obama is also looking forward to being paid at least as well as Bill Clinton was, who scored a mere $120 million dollar or more, with some speeches for mega-rich bankers he helped a lot).
Also, they are very probably more politically correct than I am: They probably will never accept any term that describes their real acts or their real values in
a way that is unduly negative, regardless of how true it is.
But then that is the probable future I see: More of what Our Democratic Politicians delivered the last 35 years (from the "left", the right and the center) with less and less and less freedom for everybody who is not very
rich, with more and more financial inequalities, with a great amount of propaganda and lies in the media, and little real factual news, all towards
the cosy new future the rightists and neofascists want.
And if I am too depressed I am sorry, but I don't think I am so, at all. (And once again I am quite glad I was born in 1950 and do not have children: I lived mostly in freedom, and do not have any children who will be forced to live in unfreedom and poverty, if they are allowed to live.)