in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 23, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 three 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:
. Selections from February 23, 2019:
1. Why Bernie Sanders Should
Promise to Serve Only One Term as
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. Secrets of the '60s Counterculture
3. Rapid Loss of Biodiversity Placing Global Food Supplies at
4. The Case for Sanders/Warren 2020
5. The Man Who Questioned Everything
Bernie Sanders Should Promise to Serve Only One Term as President
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows, and can be taken as
a continuation of a fine article by Mehdi Hasan that I reviewed
Well... I think the
correct answer to the above paragraphs is that Sanders' age is no
problem for some and is a problem for others.
“We began the political
revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that
revolution forward,” Bernie Sanders said
on Tuesday morning, as he announced his candidacy for president of the
United States. Within 24 hours, he had raised a whopping $6
million from more than 200,000 donors. And according to the latest
he is the most popular of the declared candidates.
Sanders has gone from 2016
insurgent to seeming 2020 frontrunner.
Nevertheless, his age is
still an issue. It would be mad to
pretend otherwise. “Since 1828,” reported Axios
on Wednesday, “only 3 Democratic presidents have been in their 60s when
inaugurated — and none came close to Sanders, who would be 79 if
elected in 2020.”
It is a problem for Hasan, and here is his solution:
There is a possible — if
unconventional — solution: Sanders should promise to serve only one
term in the White House. Four years max! 2020 and done!
I say. Well... it may happen,
but I do not think it is a very good idea, basically for two
First, there is no upper age
limit on being president of the USA (though there is an lower age
limit, namely being at least 35 years), and promising to be a president
for one term would limit some of Sanders' powers as president if he is
Second, the basic problem is
Sanders' health. I agree that is a problem, but then again
(for example) Noam Chomsky, who is currently 90, and who seems still in
fine health. What if Chomsky had been elected as president in
instead of Obama? (I think - after the fact - that he would have been a
very much better president than Obama, and also that he very
could have taken two terms.)
Next, Sanders' age also is
problem for me, but not quite in the way of Hasan. I said yesterday
that I think Sanders should elect a good vice-president who can
over in case he does feel too old, or simply does get too old, and that
is my solution. (And also see below.)
But here is some more by
Hasan on his idea:
There are benefits beyond
just Sanders’s age. Making such a pledge would be a dramatic and bold
move that could shake up the Democratic primaries. Whether we like it
or not, horse
race-obsessed reporters and pundits love dramatic and bold moves.
The more unconventional, the better. Sanders would immediately stand
out from a crowded Democratic field, many of whom have adopted
his ideas on everything from health care to higher education. It
would make the Vermont senator look like he is interested only in the
issues — in contrast to the naked ambitions of some of his younger
In fact, one of Sanders’s
biggest selling points has always been that he is an independent and an
outsider. A one-term pledge would only reinforce that iconoclastic
image and boost his anti-establishment appeal with the millions
of Americans who loathe the Washington political class.
His rationale for such a
pledge could be both simple and popular: As president, he would be free
of re-election pressures and distractions, allowing him to
devote a full four years to two or three major issues: Medicare For All,
New Deal, and, maybe, free
college for all, too.
As a matter of fact, I think
these arguments are fairly weak, though I will not argue that here and
Here is the ending of this
To be clear, then: By
making a one-term pledge, Sanders could help shut down the debate over
his age; grab media attention from his rivals; elevate a progressive,
nonwhite woman in the process; make it easier for himself to win a
mandate; and improve his own effectiveness as a leader once he’s seated
behind the Resolute
What’s not to like about
any of that?
Well... to start with
the last question: It is a limitation on his powers, and indeed
Chomsky's example shows - he might be quite capable of doing
As to the other
arguments: It would not help shut down the debate of his age, I
quite sure; it may grab some media attention from his rivals, but that
again might weaken him if he agreed to do only one term; I am not
impressed by a "nonwhite woman" (which to me - who is not an American -
sounds too much like inverted sexism); and I doubt
whether promising he
would take only one term would "improve his effectiveness".
But I agree
that Sanders' age may be a problem, and this is a recommended article,
but I also think I disagree with Hasan's proposal. And for more see below.
of the '60s Counterculture
This article is by
Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows - and one reason to
review this article is that I was born in 1950 and lived quite
consciously through the 60ies, also as a political radical (in fact
mostly because both of my parents were political radicals):
Actually, I think I should
begin by saying that I found this conversation mostly disappointing:
think that Scheer is quite capable of making some very fine
with some of my age who were political radicals, but this
does not belong to that possible series.
movement, synonymous with now-household names such as Allen Ginsberg,
Jack Kerouac and Dennis Hopper, is what Tosh Berman, son of Beat artist
Wallace Berman, calls “a collection of misfits.” In his recent book,
Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World,” Berman details what his
childhood was like surrounded by the rebel artists that shaped a
“I was a kid
running among … these, quote unquote, giants of culture of that time,”
Berman tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in the latest
edition of “Scheer Intelligence.” “The fact is, through my eyes as a
child especially, it was really just a collection of misfits of sorts.
All artists, or poets and writers, who somehow did not fit into, at the
time, the mainstream America at the time.”
engaging conversation, Scheer, who once worked at City
Lights, the independent bookstore that published Berman’s book,
reminisces with the writer about this concept of misfits and how,
despite often contradictory political views, these artists came
together with the determination not to “sell out” at a time when they
felt increasingly marginalized from American society in one way or
And the main reason seems to be Tosh Berman (although I did not read
his book, which may be OK).
Next, I happen to know quite a lot about California in the 1960ies, but
I do not like Ginsberg, Kerouac and Hopper, in fact mostly not
of their work but because of their political standards and opinions,
and also because of their drug habits: Kerouac was a serious drunkard,
Hopper was into hard drugs for a long time. (As to other
political radicals: I think e.g. Gary Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth
Coyote would have been better choices.)
But I do tend to agree with Tosh Berman that "through my eyes as a child especially, it was
really just a collection of misfits of sorts", firstly because quite a few were; secondly because
even if they were not, they would appear as that to a child of 8 or 10,
if only because of their clothes and long hair; and thirdly also
because most of the political radicals and hippies of the second half
of the 1960ies fairly rapidly conformed during the 1970ies.
Anyway. Here is some more:
Beat Generation. And already, we’re off to an argument, because I
personally think the Beats kind of, yeah, they were a little bit in
Greenwich Village, but they basically—San Francisco, North Beach,
that’s the Beats. And there was a hard political edge, not a consistent
one, but a hard edge of rebellion, political rebellion, which I don’t
think we found in la-la land.
land, meaning Los Angeles. OK. [Laughs]
Los Angeles. And let’s just set the scene. You were raised, you were
born in 1954. This was when L.A. was the magnet for America. You know,
people had come out of the military; the economy was booming. I
remember it (..)
Yes, I must say that I agree
with Scheer here, though that may be because I do know quite a lot
about San Francisco in the 1960ies, but considerably less about Los
Also, Scheer is right that
"the economy was booming" (under the Republican Eisenhower, with taxes
of 70, 80 or 90 percent on the highest incomes), which also happened in
Holland, but a little later, from the early 60ies onwards.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
in your book. But I want people to understand this moment. Because it
helps explain a lot of what the Beats—and then the sixties, hippies and
others—were rebelling against. That stifling conformity, and stupidity,
yes. It’s interesting, this is like ’68, ’69, sort of the height of
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; sort of even after the hippies. But
yet in high schools and junior high schools, it was still a very
conforming culture. And basically, you could not really have really
long hair ’til very, like, probably 1970s.
Yes, Scheer is quite
right that "the Beats—and then
the sixties, hippies and others—were rebelling against (..) stifling
conformity, and stupidity" - and
by the way, the Beats were essentially of the 1950ies; the political
radicals and hippies were essentially of the second half of
1960ies; and - to my mind, and to the minds of some others who lived as
political radicals in the 1960ies - this was over by 1969-1971,
although there were then still hippies and a few radicals.
Incidentally, I found Counterculture
of the 1960s and Timeline
of 1960s counterculture (both on Wikipedia) quite
And as to having long hair
(for males): This happened in Holland as well, but it was at least in
Amsterdam (where I lived and live) over by 1965/1966, for from then on
it was allowed.
Finally, as I started with
saying that I think Scheer is quite capable of making fine
with American (former) political radicals of my age, but I did not
the present interview very interesting, though it is recommended.
Loss of Biodiversity Placing Global Food Supplies at Risk of
This article is by
Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Yes, I basically agree.
Here is more:
A groundbreaking report by
the United Nations highlighting the rapid, widespread loss of many of
the world's plant and animal species should be on the front page of
every newspaper in the world, argued climate action and food access
advocates on Friday.
The global grassroots
organization Slow Food was among the groups that called for far greater
attention by world leaders to the "debilitating" loss of biodiversity
and the disastrous effects the decline is having on food system, which
was outlined in a
first-of-its kind report by the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO).
"This should be at the top
of every news bulletin and every government's agenda around the world,"
said Slow Food in a statement. "Time is running out, we must turn
things around within the next 10 years or risk a total and irreversible
Yes again - and besides
(i) though these are recent findings, it seems as if many plant and
animal species are collapsing, which again (ii) leads to more
because of - ever more and ever stonger - feedback effects (that I was
worrying also about in 1972, when I read "The Limits
According to FAO's study of
91 countries around the world, the loss of thousands of plant and
animal species is affecting air and water quality, tree and plant
health, and worsening the spread of disease among livestock—all with
dangerous implications for the human population and humans' food
"Less biodiversity means
that plants and animals are more vulnerable to pests and diseases.
Compounded by our reliance on fewer and fewer species to feed
ourselves, the increasing loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture
puts food security and nutrition at risk," said Jose Graziano da Silva,
Here is more:
Yes, I agree. Here is the last bit that I quote from
According to FAO, at least
24 percent of nearly 4,000 wild food species, including plants, fish,
and mammals, are declining in abundance—but the report is likely giving
a best-case scenario of the crisis, as the status of more than half of
wild food species is unknown.
Changes in land and water
management, pollution, the warming of the globe and the climate crisis
are among the factors that FAO is blaming for the catastrophic loss of
biodiversity on working farms has meant that out of 6,000 plant species
that can be cultivated for food, fewer than 200 are used significantly
as food sources.
I agree with Lucas that "FAO's findings
[are] "terrifying"", and
this is a strongly recommended article.
Of more than 7,700 breeds
of livestock worldwide, more than a quarter are at risk for extinction,
according to FAO, while nearly a third of fish species have been
overfished and about half have reached their sustainable level, meaning
humans must immediately stop driving them toward extinction in order to
save the species.
In the United Kingdom, MP
Caroline Lucas of the Green Party pronounced FAO's findings
"terrifying" and demanded that governments take notice immediately to
save world food sources.
Case for Sanders/Warren 2020
This article is by
David Goodner on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I accept all of this, but I do
not know who is David
Goodner, and also do not think I reviewed his article in 2014.
In 2014, I gave a slight
nod to Senator Elizabeth Warren over Senator Bernie Sanders in a widely
read column on
Common Dreams that went viral and was shared on social media
by more than 100,000 people.
My analysis five years ago
accurately predicted the impact a populist primary campaign from the
left would have on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment. I
was also right about the jump start such a campaign would give to
social movement organizing and the progressive agenda after the
election was over.
But Bernie wasn’t yet a
proven star all the way back in November of 2014, and I incorrectly
called Warren “far more charismatic and popular” when I argued she
should lead the hypothetical populist dream team ticket.
Here is some more:
I think the above is
mostly correct, although I probably do not agree
with his analysis of
the Democrats, for it seems to me there is a battle going on among -
essentially - the rich or well-paid Democrats, who are mostly funded by
Wall Street and recently elected Democratic radicals and
quasi-radicals, but OK.
The Sanders campaign and
its popular slogans of “political revolution” against the “oligarchy”
and the “billionaire class” moved the goalposts of what is politically
possible to the left by several football fields. Sanders inspired
millions of people to stand up and speak out as part of a “grassroots
movement” that has largely pushed on independently of him ever since. It’s
been Bernie’s world ever since, the Democratic party is just living in
In fact, the ascendancy of
Bernie Sanders and the democratic socialist movement is only really
paralleled in this political moment by the ascension of Donald Trump
and alt-right neofascism. Elizabeth Warren has already made her place
in history, but it's not clear yet that she can build a winning
Here is some more:
Yes, I think that is correct.
Here is Goodner's conclusion:
Bernie would have won in
2016 – and he is the strongest and most credible candidate to beat
Donald Trump in 2020. Sanders is independent of the two-party system in
the eyes of most Americans. Only those seen as establishment outsiders
win presidential elections in this country.
Unlike Elizabeth Warren,
Sanders has proven he’s not afraid to go up against the Democratic
Party – and he also appeals to a huge cross-section of Trump voters in
battleground states like post-industrial Michigan that Clinton lost. An
October 2018 Gallup poll showed Bernie has consistently been the
most popular politician in America for the last two years.
I think that may well be a quite
good idea, and it may emerge in the coming year: President Bernie
Sanders with Vice-President Elizabeth Warren (which also may settle
problem mentioned above about Sanders' age). And
this is a strongly recommended article.
The smart money is to
in all of our chips now and Bet Big on Bernie with the great and
formidable talents of Elizabeth Warren as vice president.
Man Who Questioned Everything
This article is
by Lynn Hunt on The New York Review of Books and is basically a review
of two books about Denis Diderot.
I review it because I am a
philosopher (a real enough one to be quite sadistically thrown out of
the philosophy department of the "University" of Amsterdam because I
criticized the extremely incompetent "philosophers" who "taught" me, very
before taking my excellent M.A. in philosophy there, which
I could not take) and because Diderot is one of the
philosophers I really like.
It starts as follows (and this is not a crisis article):
Yes, quite so. Also, I think I
should say immediately that I do not like Rousseau (and never
him); I do like Voltaire; and I like Diderot the best of
for reasons that follow:
The most radical thinker
the eighteenth century, Denis Diderot (1713–1784), is not exactly a
forgotten man, though he has been long overshadowed by his
contemporaries Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. After the French
Revolution of 1789, the French right routinely blamed every ill of
modern life on Voltaire and Rousseau. The expressions “It’s the fault
of Voltaire” and “It’s the fault of Rousseau” became so familiar that
Victor Hugo could satirize them in a ditty sung by the urchin Gavroche
in Les MisÚrables (1862): “Joy is my character; ’tis the fault
of Voltaire; Misery is my trousseau; ’tis the fault of Rousseau.”
Voltaire and Rousseau were among the first to be buried in the French
Pantheon of the nation’s heroes; Diderot has yet to be, despite a
concerted campaign leading up to the three-hundredth anniversary of his
birth in 2013.
much a man of his time and too much ahead of his time. He devoted the
best years of his life to organizing, editing, and writing many of the
74,000 articles of the Encyclopedia (1751–1772), a vast
compendium of knowledge amounting to seventeen volumes of text and
eleven volumes of plates, and laced with acerbic commentary that
alarmed the authorities for attacking religion and subverting
government. Known mainly to scholars today, at the time the project
served as a thrilling treasury of Enlightenment ideas, if you knew
where to find the nuggets hidden under the most unlikely headings. In
the article “Nonetheless, However, Nevertheless, Notwithstanding,” for
example, Diderot argued that even anti-Christian—i.e., atheist—writers
could “nonetheless” be good parents, good friends, and good citizens.
Since many articles were unsigned and the known contributors came from
every corner of French life, no one could be sure what other ideas were
Yes, and my estimate for
Diderot partially depends on the fact that he did compile the
Encyclopedia and also wrote many articles in it, nearly all
anonymously; that the Encyclopedia may have been the most important
series of books expounding and defending the Age of
Enlightenment; and is besides based on the fact that he was
writer with very original ideas.
Here is some more on
When three of his most
uncompromising works came to public attention in 1796, they inspired
wildly divergent reactions, which is hardly surprising given their
subject matter. The Nun is political commentary disguised as a
licentious novel of convent life, including scenes of lesbian sex. Jacques
the Fatalist and His Master is a reflection on fiction and a
philosophical meditation on determinism composed in the form of a
novel. Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville offers cheeky
discussions of sexuality and cultural relativism under the guise of
Yes indeed - and Jacques
the Fatalist and Rameau's Nephew
are both excellent and very amusing works, that I can very
Here is the last bit I quote
from this article (still not far from the beginning):
No wonder then that
Diderot was one of Marx’s favorite authors. The father of communism was
particularly fond of Rameau’s Nephew, a work that only became
known when Goethe published a German translation of it in 1805 (the
first French publication in 1821 was actually a translation of Goethe’s
version). Goethe, Hegel, and Marx were all deeply impressed by this
satirical novel, though in different ways. In it, the nephew of the
immensely influential composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764) carries
on a running dialogue with “me” (Diderot) in which “him” (Rameau’s
nephew, an actual person fictionalized for Diderot’s purposes) mocks
every traditional verity.
It pleases me that Marx liked
Diderot. There is a lot more in this article, which is strongly
recommended for everyone with a real interest in science, philosophy,
literature or the Enlightenment.
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 (!!).