from August 3, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
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.
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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from August 3, 2018:
1. Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
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. Why Isn’t the Media Talking About Climate Change?
3. Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History
4. Trump’s Two Kinds of Lies – and Why They’re Undermining
5. C’mon, Just Say It!
Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
This article is by
Nathaniel Rich on The New York Times. It starts as follows and it is
too large to properly excerpt. Besides, I did not like this
article much: it is reproduced here because there are journalists
talking about it: see item 2.
The world has
warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution.
The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already
unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming
to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study
based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we
are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to
negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise
of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. The climate
scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription
for long-term disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best-case
scenario. Three-degree warming is a prescription for short-term
disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities.
Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree
warming is the realistic minimum.
I say, although I knew
most of these things, and - living in Amsterdam, that is 2 meters below
sea level - this will probably finish Amsterdam and the West of the
Netherlands. And that seems the mild prediction, based on what
is probably a too low estimate of increasing temperatures.
Here is some more:
it a comfort or a curse, the knowledge that we could have avoided all
in the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent
opportunity to solve the climate crisis. The world’s major powers came
within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to
reduce carbon emissions — far closer than we’ve come since. During
those years, the conditions for success could not have been more
favorable. The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to
emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way — nothing except ourselves.
Clearly - I would say - the first
quoted paragraph is nonsense (unless
you grow orgiastic at the thought of a flooded New York, San Francisco
and Amsterdam, to name a few risky places).
the second paragraph: I am sorry, but I think this is more an effect of
Rich´s concentrating on ten years than it is actual fact. Besides, who is
¨ourselves¨? (I don´t like to be accused of things I did not
is the last bit that I quote from this article:
O, come on! The fossil fuel industry
knew what was happening - but did not or hardly inform the public. As
to the Republican Party: The 1980s were the decade of Reagan (and
didn’t we act? A common boogeyman today is the fossil-fuel industry,
which in recent decades has committed to playing the role of villain
with comic-book bravado. An entire subfield of climate literature has
chronicled the machinations of industry lobbyists, the corruption of
scientists and the propaganda campaigns that even now continue to
debase the political debate, long after the largest oil-and-gas
companies have abandoned the dumb show of denialism. But the
coordinated efforts to bewilder the public did not begin in earnest
until the end of 1989. During the preceding decade, some of the largest
oil companies, including Exxon and Shell, made good-faith efforts to
understand the scope of the crisis and grapple with possible solutions.
Nor can the Republican
Party be blamed. Today, only 42 percent of Republicans know that “most
scientists believe global warming is occurring,” and that percentage is
falling. But during the 1980s, many prominent Republicans joined
Democrats in judging the climate problem to be a rare political winner:
nonpartisan and of the highest possible stakes.
Also, Aldous Huxley´s ¨The Human
Situation¨ is of 1959, and already contains accurate
predictions what would happen to ecology (and was then and is now
happening in ecology);
Rachel Carson´s 1962 book ¨Silent Spring¨ articulated
the dangers in biological terms; by
1968 Paul Ehrlich published ¨The Population Bomb¨;
and by 1972 ¨The Limits to Growth¨ had appeared.
All of these are fairly well-known, and while all made mistakes, the
theory about the dangers of ecology were well known by the early 1970ies
- and then I haven´t mentioned Rexroth, who was well-known as a writer
of columns, and who had been addressing ecological themes since before
So in fact I did not
read most of this article, because I did not like its style,
and because I know most of the important points about ecology,
indeed since the late 1960ies. Also - as I indicated - I don´t
quite agree with Rich, and I do know a fair amount about
As an aside: The next article I review is also, in part at least, about
Nathaniel Rich (and it happens to be quite warm in Amsterdam at
Isn’t the Media Talking About Climate Change?
article is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! See the previous item for a long article by one of
the participants in the discussion that follows. It starts with this
broadcast networks reported on July’s 2-week global heat wave at least
127 times, but mentioned climate change only once. That’s according to
a report by Media Matters, which tracked coverage of the extreme
weather by ABC, CBS
and NBC. We host a panel discussion on the
media’s role in the climate change crisis, the fossil fuel industry and
global warming-fueled extreme weather across the globe. We speak with
Nathaniel Rich, writer-at-large for The New York Times Magazine. His
piece “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” was
published August 1 in a special edition of The New York Times Magazine
dedicated to climate change. We also speak with Rob Nixon, author of
“Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor,” and Brenda
Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist and director of climate science for
the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Yes, and I like to make
the points that (i) if the major corporate networks do report July´s ¨global heat wave at least 127 times, but
mentioned climate change only once¨ it is because they are
midleading the public, quite consciously as well, and also that
(ii) I do think the major corporate networks are systematically
misleading rather than systematically informing ¨the public¨ about
many things (and this will continue).
But this was an aside. Here is Amy Goodman:
GOODMAN: This is Democracy
Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh, as we talk about this
mass crisis in the world today, the crisis of climate change. Fire
tornadoes in California. The monsoon season so strong right now in
India, just in the last week some well over 500 people killed. We are
making a link between the issue that meteorologists talk about all
over, this extreme weather, but to climate change, which they rarely
mention in the U.S. corporate media. Studies have repeatedly, like
Media Matters, been done to show no matter how many times they
reference the firestorms in California, only once on NBC,
ABC and CBS
in the last few weeks did CBS mention the
link to climate change.
Brenda Ekwurzel, you’re
senior climate scientist, director of climate science for Climate and
Energy Program at Union of Concerned Scientists. Rob Nixon with us,
author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.
And Nathaniel Rich, who’s got the whole New York Times Magazine
under his name this week with his piece
“Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.”
Brenda, if you could
respond to The New York Times piece? And also talk about what
we were just talking about with Nathaniel. Talk about the issue of the
power of the corporations, specifically 90 corporations having been
responsible for two-thirds of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, an
issue that Nathaniel highlights in his piece.
Incidentally, as to the
first paragraph of the above quotation: I don´t like to be lied
to, nor propagandized, nor be forced to see endless advertisements so I
do not have a TV since 1970.
So I saw nothing of the above, but then tens of millions or possibly
several hundreds of millions were - systematically, intentionally -
lied to by NBC, ABC and CBS.
And as I said, the major corporate networks are
systematically misleading rather than systematically informing ¨the
public¨ about many things (and this will continue).
Here is one brief bit by
EKWURZEL: So what’s
different today is that the predictions that the scientists knew in the
'50s ’60s and ’70s, and the scientists working within the fossil fuel
industry knew, unfortunately, we're seeing them play out today.
Yes indeed: As I
pointed out in the previous section, these facts and predictions
were already rather well-known in the '50s ’60s and ’70s. (And I was there.)
Here is some by Nixon:
NIXON: Yes, I think one of
the successes of the right’s dissemination of anti-science has been
that climate change and global warming are perceived in the U.S., to a
far greater extent than they are in most of the world, as politicized
terms. And as a result, the corporate media, in particular, often
steers clear of them. And that has something to do the ownership of the
media. It has something to do with the advertising base and so forth.
But, you know, I think one cannot overestimate the degree to which the
funding of anti-science in the U.S. has been far, far greater—you know,
more than a hundred times greater—than in any other country in the
world. And this has permeated public perceptions and created a kind of
a skittishness around using that language, which is now perceived as
polarizing, in a way, say, that scientific language about gravity is
not. And that is the result of a very concerted campaign.
This is rather vague,
and in any case I do not see why intelligent people (which I
admit are everywhere in a minority) should feel like the more
stupid and the more ignorant folks feel.
And here is Rich:
RICH: Yeah, I don’t think
it’s an understatement to say that what the Republican Party is doing
now and what industry has propagated for the last couple decades will
be considered in the future, and probably the very near future, as
crimes against humanity.
And I think that, you know,
the conversation that we’re having today, one of the things that was
most striking to me about reading some of these conversations that were
being held in the '80s, it's identical. There’s nothing we’re saying
today that wasn’t said in 1980, including the North-South issues and
developing country issues. And it makes me wonder if we have come about
this in the right way. I mean, my sense in having these conversations
is that we’ve failed, as a society, to articulate an adequate moral
vision of this problem—and which is not to—putting aside the moral
vision of industry, which is obviously sociopathic.
Well... the murder of 6
million Jews also was a crime against humanity, and that is just one
item on a very long list of similar crimes against humanity
that occurred in the 20th century. And most of these crimes do not
move many, and indeed most are hardly known to many.
Also, I´d say that the ¨conversations that were being held in the '80s¨ were quite similar to what
scientists and ecologists and concerned intellectuals had been saying
since the 1950ies.
And I am getting quite
sick of being accused ¨that
we’ve failed, as a society, to articulate an adequate moral vision of
this problem¨: I did not
fail, nor did many scientists, ecologists and intellectuals
since the 1950ies. (And ¨we as society¨ is bullshit
What did fail
was its being picked up by the mainstream media. But that is not
the fault of ¨the people¨ but of the mainstream media. Anyway... this
is a recommended article.
Fascism and the Echoes of History
article is by Henry Giroux on Truthdig. I have indicated in at least
one previous Nederlog that I don´t like him, because his
writing style is that of my Amsterdam professors, and also he
seems to insist that his portrait of 40 years ago graces some of his
articles, as if he is a famous American actor.
I try again, but if this fails it will be the last time I review him in
Since the 1970s,
American society has lived with the curse of neoliberalism, or what can
be called the latest and most extreme stage of predatory capitalism. As
part of a broader comprehensive design, neoliberalism’s overriding goal
is to consolidate power in the hands of the financial elite.
To illustrate what I
mean when I complain of Giroux´s style: I have made the connection
between neoliberalism and fascism long
ago, but then I also considered 21
different definitions of fascism and settled for my own (under the
last link but one), but I do not know any journalist whatsoever
who either defined ¨fascism¨ or seems aware that it is
a quite ambiguous term.
Central to its philosophy is
the assumption the market drives not just the economy but all of social
life. It construes profit-making as the essence of democracy and
consuming as the only operable form of agency. It redefines identities,
desires and values through a market logic that favors self-interest, a
survival-of-the-fittest ethos and unchecked individualism. Under
neoliberalism, life-draining and unending competition is a central
concept for defining human freedom.
And here are some logical/linguistic difficulties I have with the first
paragraph (many of which arise because Giroux can hardly write a noun
without attaching an adjective, or two adjectives, or three adjectives
plus a divagation or two):
¨can be called¨: By whom? For what reasons? ¨the latest and most
extreme¨: Why not merely the latter term? ¨predatory capitalism¨: I
don´t say no, but why the ¨predatory¨ here? ¨A broader comprehensive¨:
Isn´t ¨comprehensive¨ sufficient? ¨overriding goal¨: Why ¨overriding¨?
Isn´t ¨goal¨ sufficient? ¨consolidate¨: Why not ¨give¨? And why
What if the beginning paraph had been:
I think that is a lot
briefer and a lot clearer. And my problem with somebody
who writes texts as Giroux does is that I have such questions about
virtually every paragraph.
- Since the 1970s,
American society lived with neoliberalism, that mostly helped the rich
and not the non-rich. Neoliberalism´s goal is to give as much power as
possible to the rich.
Here is more:
As an economic
policy, it creates an all-encompassing market guided by the principles
of privatization, deregulation, commodification and the free flow of
capital. Advancing these agendas, it weakens unions, radically
downsizes the welfare state and wages an assault on public goods. As
the state is hollowed out, big corporations take on the functions of
government, imposing severe austerity measures, redistributing wealth
upward to the rich and powerful and reinforcing a notion of society as
one of winners and losers. Put simply, neoliberalism gives free rein to
finance capital and seeks to liberate the market from any restraints
imposed by the state. At present, governments exist preeminently to
maximize the profits, resources and the power of the wealthy.
Yes, except for
the vaguaries and ambiguities (that I won´t list). And while I don´t
say ¨No!¨ I wonder how much this paragraph adds to the short version of
the first paragraph I presented above.
Here is some more:
neoliberalism is often associated with the work of Friedrich August von
Hayek and the Mont Pelerin Society, Milton Friedman and the Chicago
school of economics, and most famously with the politics of Augusto
Pinochet in Chile, President Ronald Reagan in the United States and
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom. Politically, it
is supported by various right-wing think tanks such as the Heritage
Foundation and by billionaires such as the Koch brothers.
Neoliberalism’s hatred of
democracy, the common good and the social contract has unleashed
generic elements of a fascist past in which white supremacy,
ultra-nationalism, rabid misogyny and immigrant fervor come together in
a toxic mix of militarism, state violence and the politics of
disposability. Modes of fascist expression adopt variously to different
political historical contexts assuring racial apartheid-like forms in
the postbellum U.S. and overt encampments and extermination in Nazi
Germany. Fascism—with its unquestioning belief in obedience to a
powerful strongman, violence as a form of political purification,
hatred as an act of patriotism, racial and ethnic cleansing, and the
superiority of a select ethnic or national group—has resurfaced in the
United States. In this mix of economic barbarism, political nihilism,
racial purity, economic orthodoxy and ethical somnambulance, a
distinctive economic-political formation has been produced that I term
The first paragraph is
fairly clear (!!). The second paragraph again is a mess:
¨Neoliberalism¨ is a theory not a person, and theories do not
hate; ¨generic elements of a fascist past¨ might sound impressive,
unless you realize Giroux doesn´t define ¨fascism¨ at all (which has more than 20 different
politics of disposability¨:
of what, by whom, for what reasons? - and I am just at the beginning.
(Also, I don´t like very colorful language that masquerades as
science, indeed also not if I agree with it.)
As the ideas, values and
institutions crucial to a democracy have withered under a savage
neoliberalism that has been 50 years in the making, fascistic notions
of racial superiority, social cleansing, apocalyptic populism,
hyper-militarism and ultra-nationalism have gained in intensity, moving
from the repressed recesses of U.S. history to the centers of state and
corporate power.6 Decades of mass inequality, wage slavery,
the collapse of the manufacturing sector, tax giveaways to the
financial elite and savage austerity policies that drive a frontal
attack on the welfare state have further strengthened fascistic
I merely mention here that
¨fascistic discourses¨ is undefined. Anyway... I have indicated why
I dislike the prose of Giroux.
He also quotes some persons,
and here is one quote from Shivani which is a lot clearer than
I have some objections against
this is as well, but comparatively it shines brightly compared wuth
Giroux. And no, I will not read Giroux anymore.
Neoliberalism believes that
markets are self-sufficient unto themselves, that they do not need
regulation, and that they are the best guarantors of human welfare.
Everything that promotes the market, i.e., privatization, deregulation,
mobility of finance and capital, abandonment of government-provided
social welfare, and the reconception of human beings as human capital,
needs to be encouraged, while everything that supposedly diminishes the
market, i.e., government services, regulation, restrictions on finance
and capital, and conceptualization of human beings in transcendent
terms, is to be discouraged….One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say
that everything—everything—is to be made over in the image of the
market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings.
Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to
neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic
politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.
4. Trump’s Two Kinds of
Lies – and Why They’re Undermining American Democracy
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
There are two kinds
of Donald Trump
lies. One is about facts. The other is about those who call him out on
It’s bad enough when a
the United States tells the public nonstop lies. It’s worse when he
those who are pointing out he’s wrong — the second type of Trump lie.
An example of this second
last week when Trump was speaking to a veterans group. “What you’re
what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” he said.
In other words, you should
only trust me.
Trump is ramping up both
lies — lies about the facts, and lies about those who are reporting the
Both categories of lies are
to a democracy. The first misleads the public. The second undermines
capacity of the public to discover they are being misled.
In the words of George
Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was
final, most essential command.”
Yes indeed - I quite
agree. Here is more:
on the media are causing journalists to worry about their safety. New
Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger warned that the attacks were
a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”
Democracy is imperiled when
president of the United States tells bald-faced lies. It is doubly
when a president convinces a portion of the public not to trust anyone
As statesman and poet
Havel put it, “If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then
it is not
surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth.”
Yes again. And here is an
important point of the last 40 years:
Despite low unemployment,
wage in the United States (adjusted for inflation) is barely higher
than it was
in the late 1970s, and economic insecurity is widespread.
So everybody who is
not rich has been stolen from, for 40 years in succession, for what the
many non-rich did not get, the rich did get.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
The logical endpoint to
both kinds of
lies is fascism.
Few living today remember
of fascism in Europe and Soviet Russia in the 1930s. Maybe that
the free world seems relatively passive in the face of these current
democracy and truth.
This is no time for
passivity. The truth is still getting
through to most people. But in sharp contrast to the 1930s, an American
president is now helping lead the charge against it.
I wish Reich would define
¨fascism¨. Apart from that, this is mostly correct, and this is a
Just Say It!
This article is by Mike Lofgren on
Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
According to an
Annenberg survey, only a quarter of Americans can correctly name
the three branches of the federal government. Is that sad fact,
like the weather, something that just happens, beyond anyone’s control?
Or does something make Americans resistant to the most elementary
information? Could the manner in which that information is conveyed to
them be so needlessly complex and hedged that people just give up and
prefer blissful ignorance?
Well... I think both the
education most Americans get is bad (as I know is the case in
Holland) and besides the majority of mankind is neither intelligent
knowledgeable, and indeed seems stupid and ignorant in the
USA if only 1 in 4 can correctly name the three branches of government.
Here is more:
I´d like to see Trump ¨roast and eat [the] first-born [of Trump
supporters] in front of their eyes¨ but did not, so far.
It is not as if Trump’s
antics, no matter how blatant, will cause the scales to fall from the
eyes of the Republican faithful. Were he to roast and eat their
first-born in front of their eyes, they’d say, “Oh, that Donald! He’s
just bein’ politically incorrect! Take that, librulls!”
For Republican pols, Trump is
merely the cost of doing business.
Here is more:
Another member of the
commentariat, Andrew Sullivan, also
has a theory of Trump. Why does he lick the polish off Putin’s
shoes while insulting our allies and calling them foes? Why does he
initiate a trade policy that is one of the wonders of the world for
sheer, self-defeating stupidity? Why does he attack the very government
he commands? “This is not treason as such,” explains Sullivan (warning:
is a weasel phrase prompting the reader to be on guard).
What is it, then? Trump
simply has a “vision” of a different America, a militarized hermit
kingdom that bullies democracies and sucks up to dictatorships. This
America maintains only the superficial forms of a democracy, but in
reality it practices one-man rule. And that, in Sullivan’s telling,
exonerates him of the graver charge of active betrayal.
Here is the
¨definition¨ of ¨treason¨ in the current Wikipedia (minus a note
In law, treason
is the crime
that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation
or sovereign. Historically, treason also covered
the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a
husband by his wife or that of a master by his servant. Treason against
the king was known as high
treason and treason against a lesser superior was petty treason. A person who commits treason
is known in law as a traitor.
clarifies its meaning, and therefore I do not know whether
Trump´s behavior or words constitute treason in a legal sense (and I am
not much interested, in fact, although I think the sooner he is
removed, the better it is).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Most of Western philosophy
since Plato (a figure much admired by Sullivan) is the product of minds
at once idle and restless. The life that passes before our eyes cannot
be what it looks like; there is always a deeper truth, hidden from the
rabble, which only the Elect can see. Hence Plato’s perfect, invisible
essences, religion’s gnostic truths, Jacques Derrida’s abstruse
gibberish. It is the intellectuals’ equivalent of woolgathering.
But I suspect the truth
about Trump is as Morgan Freeman memorably said in an otherwise
forgettable movie: “sometimes
things are exactly as they appear.”
Well... I dislike Plato
and despise Derrida, but I agree with Lofgren that Trump does not
make it difficult to understand him.
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 (!!).