August 20, 2018

Crisis: Planet Earth, Dutch Memorial Day, CEO's Incomes, More Carbon, Feminism & Revolution


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from August 20, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Monday, August 20, 2018.

1. Summary

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.

On the moment and since more than two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] 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 mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 20, 2018:
1. Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth
2. Dutch Memorial Day: Erasing People After Death
3. The Market Made Them Do It
4. Trump's 'Immoral' Plan Could Send 365 Million Tons of Carbon Into

5. Feminism and Revolution: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
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:

1. Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
The spectacular rise of human civilization—its agrarian societies, cities, states, empires and industrial and technological advances ranging from irrigation and the use of metals to nuclear fusion—took place during the last 10,000 years, after the last ice age. Much of North America was buried, before the ice retreated, under sheets eight times the height of the Empire State Building. This tiny span of time on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old is known as the Holocene Age. It now appears to be coming to an end with the refusal of our species to significantly curb the carbon emissions and pollutants that might cause human extinction. The human-induced change to the ecosystem, at least for many thousands of years, will probably make the biosphere inhospitable to most forms of life.
I agree this is far from optimistic, but that does not mean at all that it may not be correct. Indeed, I fear it very well may be.

Here is more:

The planet is transitioning under our onslaught to a new era called the Anthropocene. This era is the product of violent conquest, warfare, slavery, genocide and the Industrial Revolution, which began about 200 years ago, and saw humans start to burn a hundred million years of sunlight stored in the form of coal and petroleum. The numbers of humans climbed to over 7 billion. Air, water, ice and rock, which are interdependent, changed. Temperatures climbed. The Anthropocene, for humans and most other species, will most likely conclude with extinction or a massive die-off, as well as climate conditions that will preclude most known life forms. We engineered our march toward collective suicide although global warming was first identified in 1896 by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius.
Yes, indeed - and the last link in this quotation is well worth reading. Here is more:
The failure to act to ameliorate global warming exposes the myth of human progress and the illusion that we are rational creatures. We ignore the wisdom of the past and the stark scientific facts before us. We are entranced by electronic hallucinations and burlesque acts, including those emanating from the centers of power, and this ensures our doom. Speak this unpleasant truth and you are condemned by much of society. The mania for hope and magical thinking is as seductive in the Industrial Age as it was in pre-modern societies.
Well... I do object (once again) to this - to me - fairly crazy term "we".

For one thing, I did no such things. For another thing, neither did my parents (who were sincere communists) nor my grandparents (who were anarchists or communists, at least three out of four).

I agree that we (that is: myself and my direct family) during three successive generations belonged to a quite small minority of at most 1% of the Dutch, but still: we (my direct family) did not do what "we" (everyone) stands accused of. (And there are more, though indeed never a majority.)

Besides: What is so difficult about saying instead of the totally comprehensive "we" something like "the majority" or "the vast majority"?!

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Astronomers call the inevitable death of advanced civilizations across the universe “the great filter.” Robin Hanson in the essay, “The Great Filter—Are We Almost Past It?” argues that advanced civilizations hit a wall or a barrier that makes continued existence impossible. The more that human societies evolve, according to Hanson, the more they become “energy intensive” and ensure their own obliteration. This is why, many astronomers theorize, we have not encountered other advanced civilizations in the universe. They destroyed themselves.
Well... I think this is a rather speculative possibility, and indeed I also do not take it serious.
Then again, I do agree that the present ecological situation - to select a term - is both quite dangerous for everybody and may lead to the extinction of much of the present nature.

There is considerably more in this article, which is recommended

2. Dutch Memorial Day: Erasing People After Death

This article is by Annemarie Toebosch on Truthout. I picked it because I am Dutch (as seems Toebosch, although she works in the USA) but this does not mean it is not interesting.

It begins as follows:
As the anniversary of Indonesian independence from the Netherlands approaches, a close look reveals a Dutch narrative that erases people along racial lines.

Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands on Aug. 17, 1945. This followed 350 years of Dutch East India Company control and Dutch state rule, as well as Japanese occupation during WWII.

After the declaration, the Netherlands waged a war to re-establish colonial control over Indonesia. The war, whose dead included Indonesians killed by summary execution, cost an estimated 300,000 Indonesian lives compared with around 6,000 casualties on the Dutch side.
How does the Netherlands deal with this history?

As a social scientist and director of Dutch and Flemish studies at the University of Michigan, I ask this question in my writing and teaching about issues of inclusion in the Dutch-language area.

The answer to that question: The Netherlands ignores the sacrifices of Indonesians. Here’s how and why.

Yes indeed, although instead of "ignores" it might as well (or perhaps better) be said "denies".

Here is more:

One expression of that struggle unfolds on Dutch Memorial Day, May 4, the day when the Netherlands remembers its dead from World War II and after. The day involves a ceremony with two minutes of national silence and the laying of wreaths by the Dutch king and queen.

The Indonesians who fought against the Dutch and were killed in the ‘45-’49 war are not commemorated in this ceremony, despite the Dutch officially considering them Dutch at the time.

Yes indeed, and the second paragraph also supports my "denies" rather than "ignores", for the point for the white Dutch (who came from Holland) was that the formerly Indonesian Dutch (whom the white Dutch had exploited for 350 years) were traitors of Holland because they insisted - quite correctly, in my opinion - that Indonesia had become independent in 1945.

Here is more on the Dutch ways of remembering:

Dutch Memorial Day is no stranger to protests against exclusion, and the Indonesian victims of the war are not the only ones who have been ignored on this day.

It took decades, for example, for Dutch Holocaust victims to be remembered.

Yes indeed, and this happened in the 1970ies, when I had stopped "remembering", because I could only see this as vast Dutch hypocrisy. Here is a very potted history how the Jewish victims were not remembered (on May 4) until the 1970s:

First, there were over 100,000 mainly Dutch Jews who were murdered in WW II, indeed in part because the Jewish Council (which was instituted by the Nazis, and not only in Holland) mostly cooperated with the Nazis, and furthered (at a very early stage in the war) that the Dutch Jews should state they were Jews, which many did, which in turn meant that most of these could be easily arrested and murdered a bit later on. (The leaders of the Jewish Council were promised both their money (a lot) and their lives by the SS, which indeed also kept word.)

And second, the Dutch did not commemorate these over 100,000 murdered fellow Dutchmen (on the official date of commemoration) because the Dutch reasoned as follows: What the Dutch commemorated were the victims of the war; the Jews were victims of genocide; and while the genocide happened during a war, the violence to which the Jews were opposed (that murdered over 100,000 of them) did not belong to acts of war.

Yes, indeed - though indeed this changed during the late 1960ies and the 1970ies, after which they were remembered, also officially.

Here is more on the Indonesians:

So who is, and who is not, commemorated on Dutch Memorial Day?

The key to the answer is this: The Netherlands does not officially recognize Indonesia’s 1945 independence – it recognizes the 1949 date of the sovereignty agreement instead.

Here’s why the Netherlands cannot recognize Indonesia’s 1945 independence: If the Netherlands recognized that date, that would mean that the country had attacked a sovereign nation after World War II with the purpose of recolonizing it. And then the massacres, euphemistically referred to in the Netherlands as the “police actions,” would not be “police actions” but war crimes, as explained in an upcoming book by Ady Setyawan and Marjolein Van Pagee.

I'd say that the Dutch did attack an independent nation from 1945 till 1949, and made around 300,000 Indonesian victims between 1945 and 1949. But since according to the white Dutch, these were traitors, they simply were not counted.

Indeed, that was also an instance of a far wider pattern:

Although the number is not verified, civilian casualties from World War II in Indonesia are commonly estimated at 4 million. The official document that counts the dead to be commemorated on Dutch Memorial Day lists around 20,000, a stunning discrepancy. The way that the Dutch come up with such a wildly different number is because they exclude all indigenous people. Millions of people are thus erased on Dutch Memorial Day.

I think it may be fairly surmised that the 20,000 who were commemorated all were white, whereas the 4 million who were also killed (in the Dutch Indies, between 1941 and 1945) were not counted because they were not white.

Incidentally, in later years - in the 90ies and early 2000s, at least the official commemorations on May 4 (there were and are others, that were less crazy) were quite odd in yet other ways: At various years various groups of victims of WW II were commemorated, that may have included "all victims" (including the Germans). It differed per year, and I forgot most of it, but no:

With parents and grandparents in the communist resistance against the Nazis, and with a grandfather who was murdered in a German concentration camp and a father who survived over 3 years and 9 months of four German concentration camps, I do not take part in any Dutch official commemoration of "the victims of war".

3. The Market Made Them Do It

This article is by Sam Pizzigati on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Back in 1999, near the dizzying height of the boom, no executive in Corporate America personified the soaring pay packages of America’s CEOs more than Jack Welch, the chief exec at General Electric. Welch took home $75 million that year.

What explained the enormity of that compensation? Welch didn’t claim any genius on his part. He credited his success, instead, to the genius of the free market.

“Is my salary too high?” mused Welch. “Somebody else will have to decide that, but this is a competitive marketplace.”

Translation: “I deserve every penny. The market says so.”

Top U.S. corporate execs today, on average, are doing even better than top execs in Welch’s heyday. In 1999, notes a just-released new report from the Economic Policy Institute, CEOs at the nation’s 350 biggest corporations pocketed 248 times the pay of average workers in their industries. Top execs last year averaged 312 times more.

Yes, indeed. Here is more (and I do not think a "management scientist" is a scientist - I am sorry):

One leading critic of these apologists, the Dutch management scientist Manfred Kets de Vries, neatly summed up this market world view earlier this year: Big CEO pay packages “reflect market demands for a CEO’s unique skills and contribution to the bottom line.” Mega-million executive paychecks “merely represent the market forces of supply and demand.”

Or, as the University of Chicago’s Steven Kaplan puts it, “The market for talent puts pressure on boards to reward their top people at competitive pay levels in order to both attract and retain them.”

And besides, these were all lies:

Simple market logic.

And simply wrong. American corporations today confront no scarcity of executive talent. The numbers of people qualified to run multi-billion-dollar companies have never, in reality, been more plentiful. These numbers have been growing steadily over recent decades, in part because America’s graduate schools of business have been graduating, year after year, thousands of rigorously trained executives.

Yes indeed - and Pizzigati comes by his conclusion by considering 1% of the "rigorously trained executives", which are still 74,000 persons (almost none of whom is any way a genius - and a real genius like Einstein earned $ 10,000 a year at the end of his life).

Here is more:
American executives take home far more compensation than their foreign counterparts, on average over triple the pay of execs in America’s peer nations. By classic market logic, any competition between highly paid American executives and equally qualified but more modestly paid international executives ought to end up lowering, not raising, the higher pay rates in the United States.
Yes, quite so - and this means it is not a matter of "classic market logic". Here is an alternative explanation:

Some analysts do have an alternate explanation to offer. Markets, they point out, still operate by supply and demand. But markets don’t set executive pay.

“CEOs who cheerlead for market forces wouldn’t think of having them actually applied to their own pay packages,” as commentator Matthew Miller has noted in the Los Angeles Times. “The reality is that CEO pay is set through a clubby, rigged system in which CEOs, their buddies on board compensation committees and a small cadre of lawyers and ‘compensation consultants’ are in cahoots to keep the millions coming.”

“CEO compensation,” agree Lawrence Michel and Jessica Schieder, the authors of the new Economic Policy Institute executive pay report, “appears to reflect not greater productivity of executives but the power of CEOs to extract concessions.”

I think that is correct. Here is the ending of this article:

And what might a reasonable CEO-to-worker pay ratio be? The new Economic Policy Institute research suggests one plausible goal. Back in 1965, Michel and Schieder calculate, America’s top execs only pulled down 20 times more pay than the nation’s average workers.

I say, and I do so for a good reason which is explained in my Crisis: On Socialism. This is strongly recommended, but I shall summarize by quoting just two bits from it.

The first is a definition by George Orwell from 1941, in which he defines what he meant by "socialism" (in England, at that time):
  1. Nationalization of land, mines, railways, banks and major industries.
  2. Limitation of incomes, on such a scale that the highest tax-free income in Britain does not exceed the lowest by more than ten to one.
  3. Reform of the educational system along democratic lines.
And the second bit is my own on what may be called "minimal socialism" (with added bolding):
In fact, I'd be willing to try just that: A system like the present one, but one which is considerably more fair, and where all incomes (and all ownership of things) are limited to be within (in Euro's) between 15,000 and 300,000 (within 1 to 20 times as much).

Is that socialism? Probably not, for socialism seems to involve considerable expropriation of the rich, on Orwell's line or my repropriation-lines. Then again, the proposed system amounts to little more than fixing the maximum amount that anyone can own or earn at 20 times of what the poorest can own or earn, which means that 99% of the people will not loose a cent (and may gain considerably).

Finally, will this system be adopted? Not as long as the media are in the hands of the few who get a lot more than 300,000 euros or dollars a year.

Quite so, and this is a strongly recommended article.

4. Trump's 'Immoral' Plan Could Send 365 Million Tons of Carbon Into Atmosphere

This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Weeks after President Donald Trump moved to keep California from applying its own stringent regulations to auto emissions, White House officials indicated that the president would soon unveil a plan to give several other states the right to self-regulate regarding pollution—but the states in question this time are coal producers, and Trump's proposal is likely to cause an explosion in emission rates as well as a worsening of the climate crisis.
Yes, indeed. Here is more:

"Emissions are going to go up, and I don't mean from where they would have been under the Clean Power Plan, but relative to the trends now," Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, told the New York Times. "This is to put the thumb on the scales and bring coal back."

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated in a 300-page analysis that the plan would affect about 300 coal plants, likely keeping them in operation and going against the will of 65 percent of Americans who, according to Pew Research, say the development of renewable energy should take precedence over fossil fuels.

The plan could release about 365 million metric tons of carbon into atmosphere which would have otherwise been prevented from being released under President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, according to the Washington Post.

Yes again. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

"These numbers tell the story, that they really remain committed not to do anything to address greenhouse gas emissions," Joseph Goffman, who worked in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation between 2009 and 2017 and helped write the Clean Power Plan, told the Post. "They show not merely indifference to climate change, but really, opposition to doing anything about climate change."

The proposal is expected to fully de-fang the Obama administration's regulation, which is currently suspended due to the lawsuit several coal-producing states filed to block the rule.

Quite so, and this is a recommended article.

5. Feminism and Revolution: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

This article is by Julie Matthaei on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

In the early 1970s, as an integral part of “second wave” feminism, Marxist-feminists insisted on recognizing that patriarchy and capitalism were intertwined oppressive systems: liberation could not be achieved without overcoming both. A simple identity politics of womanhood or a class-specific Marxist politics of a working-class revolution would not suffice.

Soon, though, we and other feminists were challenged by the need to broaden our lens further. The insight that identities of gender, class, race, sexuality, nationality, etc., are mutually determining gave rise to a new concept: intersectionality….

Well... first of all, this is the strongly academic prose - with words preferably 4 syllables long, or more - that also characterizes Henry Giroux, who is a (former) academic who also advertises himself with a picture of 40 years ago, as if he were a film star.

And second, I may as well explain (once more) why I - a philosophical anarchist, who is the son of two lifelong Marxists and the grandson of two anarchists and a Marxist - gave up feminism and Marxism in 1970, although for Marxism you have to go to the last link and the following: Marx.

This is all I will say about Marx and Marxism here. As to the above prose: I have excellent academic degrees in psychology and philosophy (only As), but I cannot follow most of the above and the following quoted prose. I will only say that "intersectionality" is so extremely vague that apart from this, I don't understand it.

Here is more (and I am sorry for the prose):

The splintering of feminism that characterized the “third wave” led many to believe that feminism was dying or dead. However, feminism did not die. Rather, through synchrony with other identity-based social movements, a new and more complex form of politics is emerging, which builds on and transcends identity politics: “solidarity politics.”

Simply put, the way out of the challenges posed by intersectionality for feminists, especially Marxist-feminists, has been to expand our practice of feminism. Feminists have found that we cannot bring women together to fight for our liberation if we do not also recognize and seek to eradicate the other forms of oppression that women face, both within our movement and in society. We need to reach beyond a politics that views feminism as a struggle of women against oppression by men for a solidarity politics that seeks to end all forms of oppression—patriarchy, racism, classism, homophobia, able-ism, neocolonialism, species-ism, etc.—from our movements, and from our economy and society.
Again, I do not understand what "solidarity politics" is supposed to mean, that is, if it is not what the second quoted paragraph is supposed to describe: Feminism is not so much an attempt at liberating women, no, no: feminism is only real feminism if it strives to liberate everybody from everything. (Or so I understand.)

Let me only explain why I gave up feminism in 1970:

What I saw were mainly academic women and students who were not against wage slavery, but instead wanted to extend wage slavery to both men and women - and they succeeded, and now it needs two salaries (of the male and of the female) to raise their children (whom they only will see briefly at night and in the weekends).

In contrast, I wanted women to study, paint, sport etc. etc. and I also wanted the ever increasing technological powers to limit the working times of males (which was already discussed in the 1960ies).

But the academic women wanted academic jobs and academic careers, and because they wanted that they also wanted all women to work, mostly in menial and little paying jobs, for most women were not academics.

And that is why I gave up feminism then, and still do not believe in it (apart from the fact that nearly all feminist philosophy I read - I am a philosopher - struck me as nonsense).

Back to the prose of Julie Matthaei:
Without an overarching vision of systemic transformation, the feminist movement in the US has tended to focus on demands for equal opportunity within the prevailing system, such as gaining representation in positions across the economic hierarchy previously monopolized by men. In so doing, feminism shrinks to a movement which takes the basic rules of our capitalist economy as given, and defines women’s oppression solely in terms of discrimination in the labor force and lack of reproductive rights. At its worst, this approach reduces feminism to “breaking the glass ceiling” whereby a minority of women gains access to top positions, almost always by doing things the way men do them.
Apart from "an overarching vision of systemic transformation" (????) I may agree to that, as I just sketched above, albeit not in Matthaei's prose. Also, these feminists not merely gained "access to top positions" for themselves; they also helped to make all women wage slaves, generally with far worse jobs than academic women, that also paid a lot more than non-academic jobs.)

This is from the ending of this article:
True feminism—feminism that seeks to liberate all women—leads inexorably to solidarity politics, solidarity economics, and r/evolution—a global citizens movement, as described by the Great Transition Initiative. It is important for feminists, both women and men, to continue to affirm this, and to ascribe to solidarity politics. Feminism must be r/evolutionary if it is to be fully feminist.

Moreover, it is imperative that all progressive movements be vigilant about the challenge of intersectionality and commit themselves to eradicating all forms of inequality—including male domination and gender oppression—that they encounter within their organizations and in their organizing.

So "true feminism" is "solidarity politics, solidarity economics, and r/evolution". I say. O yes, and
"true feminism" is for (bolding added) "eradicating all forms of inequality", such as differences in facial beauty, differences in length, and differences in intelligence. At least, so I understand (with a - male, it is true - logical mind).

In case you disagree: I have indeed not yet seen much activity to eradicating differences in facial beauty and length, but in Holland I have seen nearly 50 years of consistent denials of any differences in intelligence, which meant in effect an ever greater stupification, mostly through 50 years of successive lessenings of what schools and universities taught, which is at present less than 50% of what it used to be until 1965.

Thus (to end this review) now the 18-year olds need to do only 4 or 5 written examinations, and need no more than 6 or 7 subjects, whereas between 1865 and 1965 the same people had to do 10 or 12 written examinations, and had at least 16 subjects...

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they 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 will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).
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