1. Why I
Will March for Science on Saturday
2. North Korea’s Message for Trump: We
Will Protect Ourselves
With Nuclear Weapons (Video)
3. Trump's First 100 Days: More
Frightening, or More Pathetic?
4. Erdogan Leads His Country into the Abyss
is a Nederlog of Sunday, April 23, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with four items and
four links: Item 1
is about the march for science that was yesterday. I haven't seen any
results yet, and I admit - having very much experience with Dutch
"academically employed scientists" - that I am rather skeptical (but
would like to be refuted); item 2 is about North
Korea and the USA; item 3 is about Trump's first
100 days, but is not a good article; and item 4 is
about Erdogan's winning the Turkish elections, which seems the end of
Turkish democracy and law.
April 23: As to the
The Danish site was again
on time today; but the Dutch site - of course! - is still stuck
on April 15.
happen now for the 16th month in
succession. (If you want these horrors, then sign in with
"xs4all.nl"; if not, avoid them.)
1. Why I Will March for Science on Saturday
And I have to
add that about where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea AT ALL: It
2015. (Xs4all wants immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. I completely distrust them, but I also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
article today is by Laurie Garrett on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
On Saturday, scientists and their
supporters will leave the sanitized comfort of their labs and academic
environs to march in Washington, D.C., and more than 400 other cities
and 100 countries around the world.
It all started with a tweeted picture of
a child holding a pro-science sign at the Jan. 22 March for Women,
followed by health educator Caroline Weinberg’s tweet, “Hell hath no
fury like a scientist silenced,” and swiftly grew into the largest
protest since the women’s event.
It is Sunday morning as I write this, and
I have seen nothing as yet about the outcome.
Also, I should add that - in my
opinion - there are now more
people employed as "scientists" than there are people employed as
scientists, and this is a fact that has grown worse and worse since
1980, although this is mostly a personal remark. (But I did
study in and did
get my degrees from the University of Amsterdam, that taught between
1977 and 1995 that "everybody knows that truth does NOT exist": I think
I am right, and not only about the UvA, but being right and being
popular are two very different things. I was one of the very
few who protested against this insanity, and I am therefore rather
skeptical about 'scientists'.)
There is also this:
Most of the leading scientific
institutions in the United States are backing both propositions and
urging their members to hit the streets on Saturday. From the American
Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS, the publisher of
Science) to the editorial board of Nature and the New York Academy of
Sciences and its counterparts across the country, the admonishment is
clear: Get out and march!
This is OK, but the following is silly,
though I do not know whether that is Holt's fault:
“Scientists have to be reminded that the
response to a challenge to science is not to retreat to the microscope,
to the laboratory, to the ivory tower,” Rush Holt, CEO of the AAAS,
said recently. “This requires vigorous defense.”
In fact, the normal response of
scientists when faced by criticism is "to
retreat to the microscope, to the laboratory, to the ivory tower" and that response is generally correct.
I agree that shutting down the money
to do science is different, but my own experiences with
"scientists" and scientists taught me that (i) nearly all have
a middle class or upper middle class background; (ii) most
scientists who are employed as such (also the "scientists") do
earn a decent income; and (iii) in so far as they are radical,
the vast majority were radical only in their
The annual February meeting of the AAAS
found session after session overcome by anger and angst as researchers
and science educators tried to comprehend how America in 2017 had
seemingly become as anti-science as Trofim Lysenko’s Soviet supporters
in the Kremlin in the 1930s to 1950s. Those Soviets blindly followed
the idiotic agronomist Lysenko’s pseudo-biological claims to purge and
execute thousands of scientists across the USSR for the sin of
believing in Charles Darwin, evolution, Gregor Mendel, and genetics.
No, that seems bullshit to me: Stalin's Soviet Union
was a dictatorship
and had been a dictatorship for quite a long time, and "America in
2017" just cannot be decently compared with (in the present
style, also) "the Soviet Union in 1947".
Besides, if "America
in 2017 had seemingly become as anti-science" as
the Soviet Union was (in biology) in 1947, then one of the main reasons
must be the systematic
neglect of the vast majority of American scientists to explain why
science is important and needs investments.
I agree the situation for science in the
USA is not good, but it cannot be compared - as is -
with the science of Stalin's dictatorship.
Finally, there is this, that is
considerably more correct:
Our world is awash with dangerously
stupid ideas, in rejection of evidence and serious science. Crackpots
reign on the internet, of course. But worse, the very concept of
expertise is under attack, Tom Nichols argues, risking that “eventually
both democracy and expertise will be fatally corrupted, because neither
democratic leaders nor their expert advisers want to tangle with an
Yes. Most ideas of ordinary men
(who are not real scientists) are stupid, and most of
their desires are based on delusions. Most
ordinary men are neither rational nor reasonable and
believe in nonsense
and proudly reject knowing rational evidence that they are
mistaken. And "[c]rackpots reign on the
But a considerable part of the
reason is that most scientists rarely explain science to
non-scientists - or indeed do so only if they risk to be
dismissed for financial reasons.
And while I agree that "the very concept of expertise is under attack" I add that in Holland that attack started in
the University of Amsterdam in 1978,
when the official academic year was officially opened by a public
lecture in which it was very explicitly insisted - literally - that "Everybody
knows that truth does NOT exist".
The vast majority of all
scientists and all "scientists" who were - financially quite well -
employed by the University of Amsterdam embraced that notion
until 1995 (when the political structure that ruled the Dutch
universities from 1971-1995 was completely undone).
I also agree that "eventually both democracy and expertise will be fatally
corrupted, because neither democratic leaders nor their expert advisers
want to tangle with an ignorant electorate" -
but I insist that has happened for the most part, and
it has happened because - in my merely 50 years of
experiences with science and scientists - it was pure propaganda
that "Hell hath no fury like a scientist silenced": Virtually all scientists and "scientists" I have
known about shut up as long as they were paid well.
So while I like that - at long
last - scientists march for science, I must say that I do not
expect much of them, although I would like to be mistaken.
2. North Korea’s
Message for Trump: We Will Protect Ourselves With Nuclear Weapons
article is by Eric Ortiz on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
North Korea has a message for Donald
“If the United States encroaches on our
sovereignty, then it will provoke our immediate counter-reaction,” Vice
Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth
on Monday. “If the U.S. is planning a military attack against us, we
will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and
Han added that North Korea will continue to test missiles “on a
weekly, monthly and yearly basis.”
I say. In fact - North Korea is a
one-party dictatorship, and has about 25 million inhabitants - I don't
see what else the "Vice Foreign Minister" could have said, but
the situation is very tense.
Then there is this:
Vice President Mike Pence, who is on a
four-nation tour in Asia this week, also offered a warning, citing recent U.S.
military actions in Syria and Afghanistan, CNBC reports.
“Just in the past two weeks, the world
witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions
taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Pence said Monday in an appearance
with South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn. “North Korea would do
well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the
United States in this region.”
I suppose this also is a more or less
normal reaction in the existing situation.
The following is not:
Despite the military movement, the U.S.
has no plans to negotiate directly
with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at
“The only thing we need to hear from
North Korea is that they are ending and ultimately dismantling their
nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program,” Pence told CNN.
The Americans should be willing to
negotiate if they want to prevent war.
First 100 Days: More Frightening, or More Pathetic?
The third article is by Heather Digby Parton on AlterNet and originally
This starts as follows:
There is a lot of chatter these days
about the looming milestone of the “first 100 days” of the Donald Trump
administration and how he measures up in presidential history. This
trope goes back to Franklin Roosevelt’s first term, when he took office
in 1933 amid the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in America
history, and promised to get to work immediately to bring relief to
millions of suffering Americans. He declared a bank holiday to stop the
run on withdrawals and called Congress immediately into session to pass
legislation to help farmers and the unemployed and create a federal
If that is the background of the “first 100 days” baloney - and I did not know
- it still is baloney.
Then there is this on Trump (who indeed
cannot be compared with Roosevelt):
Back on the campaign trail in 2016,
Donald Trump portrayed the nation as a desperate dystopian hellscape
and promised his adoring followers that he would make America great
again. But he he went beyond that. From NAFTA to inner-city crime to bringing back jobs to undocumented immigrants to undoing regulations and fighting ISIS, Trump promised to fix it all “very, very
quickly.” Sometimes he’d add that it would “happen so fast your head will spin.”
Indeed, Trump’s pitch to his voters was
that none of these were difficult issues and that the problem had been
our “stupid” leaders who just didn’t know what
they were doing. He famously said in his nominating convention
speech, “I alone can fix it,” making it clear that he
planned to do it all at once.
Hm. Since then he has learned that things
are "more complicated" than he thought, or so he said. Also, I take
Trump's statement that “I alone can fix it,” not so much as evidence that "he planned to do it all at once", but
as evidence that he has
But OK: There are the first 100 days of
Trump. There is this on these days:
Really now? What about the nomination
of the lawyer Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on April
7, last?! Was that not a "real
But presidents are generally not
considered to have had a successful first 100 days without any major
legislative achievement, particularly when their party controls both
houses of Congress. And the great negotiator presented himself as
someone who could make “deals” almost magically. Indeed, it was the
single most important skill he allegedly possessed. He was so good at
it he would make Mexico pay for the wall and singlehandedly renegotiate
all the trade deals so thoroughly that our trading partners would give
up all their jobs and profits and thank us for the privilege.
Unfortunately for the president, he does
not have even one real legislative victory.
Finally, there is this:
I agree Trump's comment on his first 100 days
was - like many other things he said - "profoundly
delusional". But this means that Trump is not sane, and
indeed I agree.
According to the latest Gallup Poll, he
has the worst average approval rating (41 percent) during this period
of any president in that survey’s history, and by a margin of 14
points. Nonetheless, Trump says it’s been the most successful first 100
days in history, telling Fox Business News:
To borrow one of his favorite phrases:
That’s fake news. And it’s so profoundly delusional that it’s actually
kind of sad.
We freed up so much and we’re getting
great, great credit for it. We have done so much for so many people. I
don’t think that there is a presidential period of time in the first
100 days where anyone has done nearly what we’ve been able to do.
But if so, I do not think this is "actually
kind of sad": I think it is extremely frightening
to have a madman as the most powerful man on earth.
4. Erdogan Leads His
Country into the Abyss
The fourth and final article today is by Onur Burcak Belli and
Maximilan Popp on Spiegel International:
This starts as follows:
I doubt that "Nothing can hold them back"
(also not: more repression?), but OK.
Nothing can hold them back. Not the
rain, not the wind and not the well-armed anti-terrorism police. On
Tuesday evening, several thousand demonstrators marched through
Istanbul, a diverse group including students, pensioners, women in
headscarves and punks, and many of them held up signs as they walked:
"No to the presidency!" They also chanted: "Thief! Murderer! Erdogan!"
And: "This is just the beginning. Our fight goes on!"
The protests began on Sunday, just a few
hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed
victory in the referendum that grants him significantly expanded
powers and the demonstrations have become larger on each successive day
since then, spreading to more than three dozen cities.
This is about the elections, which Erdogan won with a very small
According to media reports, the
country's electoral commission accepted up to 2.5 million ballots
despite their not having been stamped in accordance with the rules.
Election observers from the OSCE found significant shortcomings with
the vote, outlined in a 14-page preliminary report that also noted the
unfairness of the campaign leading up to the referendum. The vote
itself, the organization found, also violated some aspects of Turkish
law. The opposition has refused to recognize the results.
But if the opposition "refused
to recognize the results" then the following is
a rather odd fact, also in view of the claim with which this
article started viz. that "nothing can hold them
For the time being, only a small
portion of the Turkish population is rising up against the government,
with a total of 20,000 people thought to have participated in the
Note that there are nearly 80 million
Turks. (I can think of one explanation, but I do not
know it is correct: The Turkish police was - historically - quite
severe in repressing any opposition.)
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article:
Yes, that seems correct. There is a lot more
in this article.
The vote last Sunday was the most
far-reaching political decision made in Turkey's recent history. The
constitutional amendments approved in the referendum essentially sweep
away what was left of democracy in Turkey, completing Turkey's
transformation from the republic of Atatürk into the republic of
Once the constitutional reforms come
into force following the next election in 2019, the president will be
able to pass laws by decree and dissolve the parliament whenever he
sees fit -- and the office of prime minister will also be eliminated.
It will mark the end of the separation of powers in Turkey. The
president alone will make decisions regarding war and peace and he will
have almost complete control over the judiciary.