in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 2, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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:
A. Selections from April 2, 2019:
1. Only the Struggle Matters
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. How to Think About Breaking Up Big
3. U.K. in Crisis
4. Trump’s Remorse (on April 1)
5. The Green New Deal Could Eradicate Poverty
the Struggle Matters
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. This is from near its beginning:
What gives life meaning?
are we to live? Why struggle against forces that we can never overcome?
Let me start with saying that
in this review I have left out most references to Eugene
Delacroix, with whom Hedges starts. This is done to save space; not
because I dislike Delacroix.
Next, as to the above three
At least the first two
questions are philosophical
questions. Since I am also (in terms of
academic diplomas and because I spent most of the years 1970-2010
thinking about philosophy, and besides about logic and mathematics) a
philosopher, I do have some quite informed opinions on them,
I think the questions "What gives life meaning? [and] How are we to
live?" are extremely difficult
to answer in a rational
fashion, and indeed few persons even try: Most derive their
from a religion
they do not know very
well (and there are many religions and quite a few
ideologies, all of which tend to be mutually contradictory in several
In fact, this is at present
almost unavoidable. What might have been a lot better than it
namely the degree of rationality and reasonability with
happens, also is much less than it possibly might have
been, although I
think this is also mostly unavoidable, for the simple reasons that all
sane human beings need some philosophy, ideology or religion to hold on
to, but few sane human beings are intelligent enough (and
wealthy enough to have the time and opportunity) to make their choices
rational and reasonable, rather than irrational and unreasonable.
And I think these are mostly facts (and
I do not discuss philosophy with others, unless they know a
lot of it). As to the third question, "Why struggle against forces that
we can never overcome?":
Again I think there are qute
a few different answers, some rational or reasonable, and most not.
Then again, there is one answer which, although vague, probably is
considerably more correct than its denial, namely that we will (try
struggle against stronger forces than ourselves (and our associates) if
and/or our values
are strong enough.
Finally about the above
quotation: I have given my answers, quite briefly, but I am
these answers may not satisfy many. All I can say in reply is
that I have studied both philosophy and psychology, and was
always the best or
one of the best students.
Anyway... back to Hedges:
Our worth is determined,
painter attempts to show us, not by what we do in life, but by what we
do with what life gives us. It is the ferocity and steadfastness of the
struggle that exalt us, especially when we comprehend that victory is
ultimately impossible. This wisdom would be echoed by Albert
a century after Delacroix when he wrote that life required us to “être à la hauteur de son désespoir”—rise
up to the level of our despair.
No, I am sorry: I do not
think so, probably in part from my temperament; in part from my having
studied both philosophy and psychology; in part from being ill for more
than forty years with a serious chronic
disease that was denied to
exist until March 2018 (which taught me rather a lot about despair);
and also because I think Camus' answer is too literary or too
Here is more, this time about
Three Saturdays ago
experienced its 18th consecutive weekend protest by the gilets
jaunes, or “yellow vests,” against President Emmanuel Macron’s
austerity measures, tax cuts for the wealthy and privatization of
public services. Members of the masked and violent Black
Bloc had infiltrated the yellow-vest protest on the Champs-Élysées.
A few dozen Black Bloc people smashed windows of luxury shops and
torched Le Fouquet, one of the city’s best-known restaurants. Police,
who inexplicably waited to intervene, eventually used rubber bullets,
tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. The images of
the clashes and property destruction were repeatedly broadcast
throughout the following week. The police chief would be fired. Macron,
who during the mayhem was skiing in the Pyrenees, would ban protests on
the Champs-Élysées and order 6,000 counter-terrorism soldiers deployed
outside government buildings.
I take it this is all
correct. Here is some more on the Black Bloc:
Revolution is not about
catharsis. It is not about joining a masked mob to “get off” on
property destruction. That is protest as adolescent narcissism. It
celebrates a self-destructive hyper-masculinity that also fuels many in
the police and military. It alienates those within the power structures
who, if revolution is to succeed, must be pried away from defending the
ruling elites. It produces nothing but fleeting protest porn, which
Black Bloc activists watch with self-admiration. And the state loves it.
I quite agree, but I
have one difficulty with this:
As I have explained before,
both of my parents were communists for 45 years or more, as was a
grandfather, and I was a communist until I was 20, and then ceased to
be (before becoming an adult, which happened at 21 in the early
1970ies), and I have attended many demonstrations between 1965
What I found was this: I was the
only one I know (of
the males) who absolutely never threw a stone or
anything else to the police (who broke up quite a few of the
demonstrations I participated in), for the simple reason that I looked
upon the police also as victims of "the system".
I do not know how
widespread my own attitude was, or indeed is, but that is how it was in
Here is some more:
The threat of terrorism,
whether from radical jihadists or cliques of Black Bloc activists, is
used by France and other states that seek to crush basic civil
liberties and dissent in the name of national security. Macron, who is
deaf to the plight of the working class and serves as a French
instrument for the global social inequality orchestrated by corporate
elites, is pushing significant sectors of the population off the
streets and into the arms of the neofascist Marine Le Pen,
with whom our corporate masters can make an accommodation, just as they
have with Donald Trump. What they fear is a popular uprising. What they
fear is losing power. If it takes alliances with repugnant neofascists
and demagogues to retain control they will make them.
Yes, I mostly agree
also observe that "the threat
terrorism" has been used quite consciously like this by the holders of
governmental power ever since 9/11. And - once again - I point to
Goering who also saw this and said so, in 1945:
The only difference
since 9/11 the governmental keepers of power no longer say that
ordinary people are being attacked: they say that ordinary
people are being terrorized.
Finally, there is this from
the ending of this article:
No, I am sorry: For me
this is much too romantic. Of course you struggle because you
like to win. You may feel otherwise, but the chances are that you did
not have a
communist father who survived more than 3 years and 9 months of 4
German concentration camps, nor a communist grandfather who was
murdered in such a camp. Anyway, this is a recommended article.
It is the struggle that
matters. Not the outcome. I was where I should have been that Saturday
in front of the Paris Opera House. Yes, our cries were not heard. Yes,
it may be futile. But the fight is what makes us human. It gives us
dignity. It affirms life in the face of death.
to Think About Breaking Up Big Tech
article is by David Dayen on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed: I agree.
is some more:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan
to break up tech giants Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple has
given concentrated corporate power its most
prominent political platform since the 1912 presidential election —
and we’re still nearly a year away from the first round of primary
voting. This tracks with the rising awareness of the corrosiveness of
monopoly power generally and those tech giants specifically.
Whether such policy
boldness means anything in a brand-obsessed
political landscape will be determined when ballots are cast. But
it is undeniably driving a policy discussion that the next Democratic
presidential nominee, no matter who it is, will likely take up. In that
context, the debate over Warren’s plan is critical, as it prefigures
the trajectory of each and every challenge to corporate dominance.
Yes, I agree again.
gives a fairly long list of opponents of Warren's proposal and their
reasons, which I completely skip because it is too long and too
First, many critiques
come from those with a direct stake in the outcome — in this case, Big
Tech-funded individuals or organizations, which are so ubiquitous as to
create an echo chamber. Second, the critiques will highlight the
“radical” nature of the changes, setting them at odds with American
history, even though Warren’s central proposal — to structurally
separate business lines in an effort to eliminate anti-competitive
conduct and foster competition — has a century-old pedigree. And third,
we’ll be assured that the cure is worse than the disease, that Warren’s
ideas would destroy everything from online shopping to the smartphone,
a perspective that relies on deliberate misinterpretation.
Then again, the following is from the ending of this list of opponents:
I fear the above is quite
correct. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
These linkages are
endless and show an incestuous network of academics, think-tankers,
advocacy organizations, and trade groups, all of which happen to agree
on every issue important to Big Tech. The money supports extending the
prominence and megaphone of these organizations, and with nearly
unlimited pocketbooks, it creates the impression of a tsunami of
support for the industry.
I think the above is correct,
and I also think it is a sensible plan. There is a whole lot
this article, that is strongly recommended.
The core of Warren’s plan,
which for now is just a proposal
on Medium rather than legislation, involves what is known as
“structural separation.” Companies with over $25 billion in annual
global revenue that operate platforms — connectors between people,
people and advertisers, or people and merchants — would not be allowed
to both own the platform and also participate as a seller on that
platform. The classic example would be Amazon’s marketplace, where
Amazon also operates its own line of Amazon Basics, competing with its
third-party sellers. Google’s ad exchange also competes on Google with
ad tech companies, and would need to be spun off. The same would go for
Google’s local search, which routinely
deprioritizes recommendation sites like Yelp.
The idea is that these
entities get preferential treatment from the platform they own, giving
Basics, Google ad tech, and Google Search an unfair advantage and
extending the platform’s dominance. Only the biggest companies would
have to structurally separate (..)
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with
the following introduction:
With a deadline for the
Kingdom to leave the European Union fast approaching, the British
Parliament will vote today on a series of options for Brexit after
rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for the third time on
Friday. The U.K.'s exit date for leaving the EU is April 12. Among the
options on the table are remaining in the EU customs union, a soft
Brexit and a second referendum—all ideas May has rejected in the past.
We speak with professor Priya Gopal, a university lecturer in the
Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. She calls Britain's
decision to leave the EU a “deeply neoliberal … free market,
I agree with
all of the
above and only add that I have lived for a while in England in the
early 1970ies (before the UK became a member of what is now the
and that I presently think that the enormous mess about Brexit is
mostly the result of party politics, and that especially by the Tories.
This also means that at
present I favor a second referendum, if only to take the
parties out of
the discussion that they have dominated so long and to such little
effect, and to give those who really should decide - the Brits
right to decide, especially as their representatives have made
mess of it in the last two years.
Here is more:
GOODMAN: We begin today’s
show with the ongoing political chaos in the United Kingdom, where
Parliament is preparing to vote today on a series of options for
exiting the European Union, after rejecting Prime Minister Theresa
May’s Brexit plan for the third time Friday. Friday was supposed to be
the day the U.K. left the European Union. Now the exit date is set for
April 12th. With the deadline fast approaching and still no deal,
Parliament is scrambling to come up with a deal backed by a majority.
Among the options on the table are remaining in the EU customs union, a
soft Brexit and a second referendum—all ideas Prime Minister May has
rejected in the past.
Well... I think May is
clearly incompetent and should go as well. Here is some more:
GOODMAN: If the British
Parliament fails to agree to a Brexit deal by April 12th, the U.K. will
crash out of the European Union with no deal—a scenario that would have
severe economic and political repercussions.
Yes indeed. Here is more:
GOPAL: OK. So, on Friday,
pretty much all the options on the table—I think there were eight
options—were voted down. So, revoking Article 50 and not leaving the
European Union was voted down. Crashing out of the European Union was
also voted down. Theresa May’s deal, which she brought back from
Brussels, was voted down for the third time; it’s coming back for a
fourth time this evening. So that pretty much anything that gives any
sort of clarity as to what Britain’s future relationship with the EU
might be has been voted down.
Yes indeed. And once again:
This means they should take a second referendum, in my opinion.
GOPAL: We do know that the
Labour Party Conference has agreed that if no version of Brexit passes,
then there will be—there is a commitment to a second referendum. But I
think currently Jeremy Corbyn is preparing for a general election, and
his focus is on getting his version of a Brexit deal through. It’s one
that he believes will command agreement within the EU.
I don't think I agree
Corbyn on this (but I grant I know a whole less than he does about
Brexit and British politics).
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
GOODMAN: Are you calling
for a second referendum?
GOPAL: Let me phrase this
carefully. I think that any deal that Parliament comes up with today,
whether that is a soft Brexit, whether that is no Brexit, whether that
is a hard Brexit or whether in fact it is no deal, I think that the
decision should be returned to the British people.
Yes, I agree with
several reason, the most important of which is that this ought to
the way in a democracy where the political parties and the parliament
are unable to solve the problems (they created to start with).
considerably more in this strongly
4. Trump’s Remorse (on
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
There is more in this article,
but it also very clearly is a spoof. It is recommended, but -
unfortunately - Trump does not have the character or the sanity
anything like the above.
Today at a Rose Garden
ceremony belatedly celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the
inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon, President Trump said he
regretted that thousands of children were still being held in custody
at the U.S.-Mexican border, many without adequate medical care. “It is
a tragedy, and I am totally responsible,” he said. He went on to say “I
created a crisis at the border solely to fuel my base of supporters,
for no reason other than my own political survival.”
After an awkward moment of
silence, Mr. Trump said “I have lied again and again to the American
people – about voting irregularities in the 2016 election, about the
motives of my Democratic critics in Congress, and, yes, about my
knowledge of and agreement to Putin’s role in helping me become
president.” Wiping his eyes, Mr. Trump then commenced a string of
apologies. “I apologize for criticizing the FBI and Justice Department
when they were only trying to do their jobs,” he said. “I apologize for
calling the press ‘enemies of the people,’” and “I apologize for
criticizing judges who I disagreed with but were working honorably
within our Constitutional system of checks and balances.”
Green New Deal Could Eradicate Poverty
This article is
by Alex Kirby on Truthdig and originally on Climate News Network. It
starts as follows:
I say, which I do in part
because, while I am a supporter of the Green New Deal (happily
in unabbreviated form), I think the above is very positive.
If you haven’t yet heard of
the Green New Deal, chances are that you soon will. To its growing band
of supporters, it looks like an idea whose time has come.
Just suppose we could see
a way to transform the global economy, society and even the
environment so that they met real needs, and promised to go on doing so
far into the future. Well, we can. And it’s growing simpler all the
time, futurologists say.
The bad news? Inertia and
resistance. Too few of us think we really need a transformation. Too
many are actively trying to prevent one. No change there then − except
that the balance may be starting to shift, thanks largely to science
and money − and ordinary people who are refusing to go on as we are.
Supporters of the Green
New Deal say we don’t have to look very far ahead for results
− no further than about mid-century.
By then, some of them
New Yorker magazine, much of the world should be able to
achieve the goal of zero
carbon emissions, a goal for which they say the world already has
about 90-95% of the technology it needs.
Here is some more:
Well, while I more or less
agree (again), I also think this is a very positive review.
Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
The Deal’s supporters are
the first to claim we’re most of the way towards a
carbon-free future in 30 years, and possibly well before that. But
this Deal, itself a reminder of US President Franklin
D Roosevelt’s 1933 New Deal, explores more ambitious territory
still, with the prospect of also ensuring a living wage job for
everyone who wants one and reducing racial, regional and gender-based
inequalities in income and wealth.
Yes, I agree with
above and this is a recommended article.
The British economist Ann
Pettifor, a fellow of the New Economics Foundation, describes the Green
New Deal as “incredibly
ambitious . . . a huge advance for green campaigners and, hopefully,
for our threatened species.” Pettifor was co-author of the
original Green New Deal Report, published in the UK in 2008, which in
many ways prefigured the present US initiative.
Her fellow co-author was
Andrew Simms, now co-ordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance (RTA),
an enthusiastic backer of Ocasio-Cortez’ vision.
The RTA says: “Like the UK
proposal, [the Deal] seeks to tackle the climate and economic crisis
simultaneously and looks at job creation, decarbonising electricity,
renovating buildings for energy efficiency and much more.
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 3 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 (!!).