from May 5, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
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.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
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 all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 5, 2018
1. Is There Such a Thing as Truth?
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:
2. The Ghosts of ‘New Democrats’ Are Haunting Us
3. Senators Have a New Plan to Expand Indefinite Detention
4. Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes.
5. Reality Check – the Tories DID NOT win the local elections.
There Such a Thing as Truth?
article is by Errol
Morris on The Boston Review. This starts as follows:
It has now been over
fifty years since the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure
of Scientific Revolutions (1962), a book considered by many
to be one of the seminal works of the twentieth century. I do not
regard it as such. Although it has spawned thousands of worshipful
articles and books, it remains for me, at best, like Pet Rocks—a fad.
When I first wrote this, I received instant criticism from my editor
and others: fads are short-lived, while enthusiasm for Kuhn’s book has
persisted for half a century.
Yes indeed, I quite
agree. In fact, I wrote several times about Errol Morris, namely in 2011 and 2014, and my motivation
then is the same as my motivation now: truth, Kuhn, and philosophy.
A cult, then: misplaced
admiration for a particular person or thing. Or maybe it is the
Emperor’s New Clothes, a case of community madness, an almost
inexplicable desire to believe in something nonsensical because others
are doing so. The Structure of Scientific
Revolutions itself feasts on the offal of innuendo and
vagueness. It is, at best, an inchoate, unholy mixture of the work of
others— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Charles Darwin, Rudolf Carnap, Norwood
Russell Hanson, Alexandre Koyré, Jerome Bruner, and more. At worst, it
is an assault on truth and progress.
But I must move a bit slowly, and recount a bit.
First, the article´s title. It is a good title, and Morris´s
and my answer is the same: Of course there is truth, indeed truth
of the correspondence kind: If you and I are standing on the grass
in a park, and either of use points down and says ¨That is grass¨, then
whoever says so speaks the truth.
Second, I am two years younger than Morris, and had somewhat similar
experiences as Morris had, in that I got acquainted in the early
Seventies with several students of philosophy (which at that time I
studied for myself since I was not yet allowed to study at university,
because I had left my high school before graduating, because it was too
stupid for me) and these were all much impressed by Kuhn´s
And I was not, mostly because I had in 1970 freed myself from Marxism, while
having strong interests in mathematical
logic and philosophy
of science, and for me Kuhn was
basically both very vague and destructive of (almost) all
science and all truth. Besides, in the early 1970s I read very
much by Bertrand
Russell, and was mostly, though not completely, a Russellian.
Then again, I never met Kuhn; Kuhn never threw an
ashtray at me (as he did at Morris), and for me Kuhn
was mostly a representative of academic
philosophy, that I knew
by early twenties to be mostly academic
posturings for academic
careers, and having soon dismissed Kuhn (and also Feyerabend),
think also both for good intellectual reasons, I looked at him
as a typical philosophical academic: Dishonest, pedantic,
rather out of contact with the society they were part of (in the sense
that very few non-philosophers know much or anything about what
in philosophy departments), and simply not interesting because he was
fundamentally both mistaken and unclear.
But this is background. Here is a bit more by Morris, still from the
beginning of the article:
In my book, The
Ashtray, I discuss many aspects of Kuhn’s work—indeterminacy of
reference, incommensurability, scientific change triggered by
anomalies, Darwinian evolution as a model for the development of
science, the relativism of truth, the social construction of reality,
his philosophical idealism, and more. In each of these aspects, I have
found it to be wanting and, more often than not, false, contradictory,
or even devoid of content.
agree, and in fact wrote about Morris and his The
Ashtray in 2011.
There is a good introduction to Morris and Kuhn in my 2011 ¨Three philosophical interviews:
Kuhn, Searle, Gardner¨
and Morris and Kuhn are also mention in my Recommended Reading: Marks of
fraud and bullshit, also from 2011.
And here is the last bit I quote from this long article, and it is
And yet, we read
about endless varieties of truth. Coherence theories of truth.
Pragmatic, relative truths. Truths for me, truths for you. Dog truths,
cat truths. Whatever. I find these discussions extremely distasteful
and unsatisfying. To say that a philosophical system is “coherent”
tells me nothing about whether it is true. Truth is not hermetic. I
cannot hide out in a system and assert its truth. For me, truth is
about the relation between language and the world. A correspondence
idea of truth. Coherence theories of truth are of little
or no interest to me. Here is the reason: they are about coherence, not
Yes, I basically
agree. And there is a lot more in the present article by Errol
Morris, namely a long and fairly good interview with Hilary Putnam
(one of the few good academic
philosophers of the 20th century) and a brief interview with Noam
I leave both to your interests, and this is a strongly recommended
Ghosts of ‘New Democrats’ Are Haunting Us
article is by Norman Solomon on Consortiumnews. This is from near its
a dozen years of awful Republican presidencies, Bill Clinton and
running mate Al Gore proved to be just the ticket for the corporate
wing of the Democratic Party. Clinton settled into the White House in
early 1993 as the leader of pathbreaking New Democrats. Many media
outlets hailed him as a visionary who had overcome left-leaning
liberalism to set the party straight.
Although candidate Clinton
criticized Republican trickle-down economics and spoken about the need
for public investment by the federal government, as president he
proceeded along the lines of what Washington Post economics
reporter Hobart Rowan
described as a formula of “fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.”
That formula provided a template that the next Democratic president,
Barack Obama, deftly filled.
Clinton and Obama were youthful and articulate, breaths of fresh air
after repugnant Republican predecessors in the White House. Yet our two
most recent Democratic presidents were down with corporate power—not as
far down as the GOP, but nevertheless in the thrall of Wall Street and
the big banks.
Yes indeed: I completely
agree (and I also note, parenthetically, to be sure, that Bill Clinton
had a personal aim he quite successfully fulfilled: he
is a present a multi-millionaire who owns (it seems: again a partial
secret) around $150 millions, together with
his wife, it seems mostly thanks to payments for speeches - around
speech - he held for rich bankers).
Here is more:
the outset of the Clinton and Obama administrations, top appointees
reflected and propelled the deference to oligarchic power. Robert Rubin
went from being co-chair of Goldman Sachs (paid $17 million in 1992) to
serving wealthy interests as director of Clinton’s National Economic
Council, a post so powerful that it earned him the title of “economic
Brown, corporate lawyer and lobbyist for American Express and
Duvalier’s Haiti, would supervise a Clinton industrial policy at the
Department of Commerce,” economic analyst Doug Henwood wrote after
eight months of Clinton’s presidency. “Mickey Kantor, corporate lawyer,
would negotiate trade deals. Warren Christopher, corporate lawyer,
would oversee the New World Order. Hillary Rodham Clinton, corporate
lawyer and board member at Walmart, the low-wage retailer that’s
destroyed countless rural downtowns, would supervise health care.”
Again I say: Precisely
Rubin is one of the most horrible men I know of.)
Then there is this:
over the new welfare law, one of the lone holdouts against the
corporate sensibilities in the Clinton Cabinet, Labor Secretary Robert
Reich, exited as the first term ended. Meanwhile, Clinton doubled down
on selecting an intensely corporate crew for the administration. “The
firm—er, team—is still adding partners—er, members,” Time
December 1996, cataloging the array of investment bankers,
stock-market-friendly lawyers and wealthy financiers who had reached
newcomers “are don’t-rock-the-boat appointments, and they are exactly
what Wall Street wants,” a senior economist at an investment banking
firm told the magazine. During the last years of his presidency,
Clinton’s economic team implemented reckless Wall Street
the way for
the financial meltdown of 2007-2008.
Precisely. I like
Reich (without agreeung with him) but I think he was mistaken
in taking a position under Clinton (judged after the fact, to
be sure). One possible excuse is that he was good friends with both
Clintons since his early twenties or late teens.
In any case, there is a
lot more in this article, which is strongly recommended.
Have a New Plan to Expand Indefinite Detention and Endless Global War
article is by Christopher Andersen on Common Dreams. It starts as
Just when you thought
things couldn’t get any worse with this Congress, a bipartisan pair of
senators have teamed up to write the single most dangerous piece of
unconstitutional legislation of this Congress.
Last week, Sens. Bob Corker
(R-Tenn.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced S.
Res. 59, which is a new Authorization for Use of Military Force
(AUMF). An AUMF is roughly the modern equivalent of a declaration of
war, and the Corker-Kaine AUMF gives President Trump and lots of future
presidents the authority to take the country to war against an endless
list of groups and individuals in an endless list of countries.
The result will be true
global war without end.
Yes, I think that is
correct. Also, precisely this occurence has completely
destroyed any trust I have in nearly all Democratic Senators. Nearly
everyone seems to be there to push their personal interests and
increase their personal incomes, while lying, and lying, and lying, and
about their Good Intentions, indeed as the awful degenerate fraud
Tim Kaine does.
Here is more on what
Kaine is trying to create for the rich (and the bold parts are merely
titles: I removed the texts that belong to it in this quote):
Precisely: A totally insane idea. Strongly
supported by the Democrats.
Here are just some of the
harms packed into their proposed AUMF:
authorizes war against eight groups. (..)
U.S. could declare war on a person. (..)
its war-making powers. (..)
flips the constitutional order on its head since the Constitution says
a majority of both houses must agree to go to war before military
action is taken. By contrast, the Corker-Kaine AUMF requires two-thirds
of both houses to try to stop a president from using the war power that
the AUMF would give the president. This provision to swap the
Constitution’s requirement of a majority in both houses to declare war
for a two-thirds majority of both houses to stop war breaches checks
and balances and the separation of powers. It can’t possibly be
Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
AUMF is beyond dangerous. It is unconstitutional. And it is set
up to never end. The Senate has a duty to kill this legislation
immediately and show all members of Congress and the executive that
abdicating Congress’s duty to declare war stays with the people’s
representatives and no one else.
Yes indeed. I
completely agree, but fear that the present Senate is too
money from the rich to stop this proposal. (I strongly
hope I am
mistaken, but am a realist.) And this is a strongly recommended
Paid No Federal Income Taxes.
article is by Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
After Amazon stocks
soared last week—making founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, $12
billion richer—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted that the company
paid no federal income tax last year (..)
"He's right," PolitiFact
"We've taken a look at a series of exaggerated claims about Amazon in
But in this case, Sanders is on the money."
With no public tax return
and no cooperation from Amazon, fact-checkers dug into the company's
annual filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They
found, based on a February 2018 filing, "that not only would the
company not be paying anything in 2017 federal income taxes, but it
would be getting a $137 million tax refund."
Yes indeed, and I completely
agree with Sanders (and add myself that Bezos is one of the worst
bastards I know of, also judging the truly horrible worker policies of
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Quite so. And this
is a strongly recommended article.
Our Revolution, the
progressive political group that grew out of Sanders' 2016 presidential
that "Amazon is on pace to be the first trillion dollar company—which
makes it all the more despicable that it's extorting the city of
Seattle over a modest tax to fund affordable housing in the city."
Sanders also weighed in on
the company's recent decisions, tweeting: "This is what corporate power
and oligarchy is all about."
Check – the Tories DID NOT win the local elections.
article is by Kit on the Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
A brief look over
the headlines this morning would have you believing that yesterday’s
local elections all went very badly for Labour. The Times has
two headlines on this. Firstly:
Precisely so! I
read every morning materials from 35 sites (to write my
I admit there is only one British paper among these, and the is
Labour fail to seize
ground in biggest test since general election
And then, just to hammer the point home:
Corbyn never recovered
from botched response to Salisbury spy poisoning
Whilst Katy Balls,
political correspondent for the Spectator headlined her Guardian opinion piece
…which is one of the most
spectacular straw men I have ever seen. I don’t personally recall
anyone calling Corbyn “the Messiah”, or what effect this supposed
divinity would (or indeed should) have on the Peterborough council
The Tories are no longer
scared. They now know Corbyn isn’t the messiah
And I was deceived by The Guardian, which - I add - has
less totally collapsed, both as a more or less leftist newspaper, and as a more or
less honest newspaper. Neither is the
case since Katharine
Viner took over from Alan Rusbridger in 2015, and it will probably
also never return to being better.
Here is what really happened in
the British elections - and none of this could be found in The
I say! (But not
according to The Guardian, even though these are the real
The long and short of it is
that the press all seem to be uniformly committed to pretending that
this was a big Tory win.
The trouble is that the
results don’t really show that to be the case. At all. As of 3pm on May
4th, these are the results:
Labour have won almost as
many seats as all the other parties put together
They have control of
almost as many councils as all the other parties put together
They have the greatest net
gain of seats.
They’ve also won 4 of the
5 announced Mayoral elections, the Lib Dems won the 5th.
It’s the overall best
result since 1971
Finally, there is this bit about Jeremy Corbyn
(who I like, totally unlike the utterly
despicable frauds Tony Blair and Gordon Brown):
I take it this is
correct - which I do because in fact I miss most of the British press,
which I again do because so much of it is uninteresting and - as shown
in this article - often remarkably and totally dishonest. And this is a
strongly recommended article.
All of this happened whilst
the press coverage of Corbyn, and Labour in general, has been nothing
but relentlessly negative. In fact, the press coverage of Corbyn has
ALWAYS been negative. The nicest language ever used about the man is to
describe him as “principled but out of his depth”.
Incompetence is what
Corbyn’s supposed SYMPATHISERS label him with. His enemies? Well they
call him a communist, or a Leninist, or a traitor, or a racist.
have now been
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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
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
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
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 (!!).