in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 8, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 8, 2019:
1. Could a Green New Deal Make Us
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. The conservatives' fraudulent claim
that fascism is a left-wing
3. France’s yellow vest revolt against Macron
4. The Myth of Meritocracy
5. Trump Says, 'And, Frankly We Should Get Rid of Judges'
a Green New Deal Make Us Happier People?
This article is by
Kate Aronoff on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Well... I have two remarks
on the above quotatiom:
For as long as climate change has been a
part of America’s national consciousness, it’s been talked about in
dire terms, evoking images of some hellish, Mad Max-style dystopia. The
title and much of the content of David Wallace-Wells’s recent book is a
variation on the same theme, stirring up hundreds of pages of images
worth of an “Uninhabitable
Earth” to make the case that
the conversation has not been dire enough.
In describing the nature of the problem,
drastic terms are of course necessary. Annihilation looms, and the
chaos it threatens to bring about — stronger storms, more fearsome
floods, unbearable heat — is truly the stuff of nightmares. But the
apocalyptic framing of the problem has also shaped how we talk about
solutions to it.
First, I do not think that "happiness" is the right
concept to discuss
climate change (and most other human problems). And I do not mean that
- at least in some sense - personal happiness is not or should not be
important. I do mean that happiness is quite subjective, and rather
difficult to get really well, especially if one does not consider one
or a few persons, but millions of persons.
And second, I am definitely not interested in considering "how
talk", about happiness, horror or almost anything else, for the two
simple reasons (there are more) that "we" is extra-
vague, and besides, at present "we" tend to be somehow defined
a-social media, indeed precisely because the a-social media are in fact
being predominantly used by advertisers to push their wares on people.
So in fact I think both the question the title asks and
of this article are mostly based on prejudices.
Accordingly, I am a bit
careful selecting bits from the present article.
Here is the first bit:
This is more or less
correct. Then there is this bit:
the start of the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes famously predicted that work weeks could dwindle to just 15
hours as people opted for more leisure time, their material needs being
met and then some as living standards rose. The labor militants that
helped push for and win the original New Deal also campaigned for
shorter work weeks and higher wages, to allow more people to do less
work overall while getting more of their basic needs met by a freshly
minted welfare state. Combined with rising automation, many expected
that shorter work weeks were all but inevitable as Keynes predicted.
Yet years later work hours in the United States have ballooned and
remain stubbornly high, thanks in no small part, as Schor documents, to
the right wing’s persistent attacks on unions. Productivity has
skyrocketed as wages have stagnated — a split that widened starkly as neoliberalism and the giddy consumerism
it brought with it took hold.
example, the average
German worker toils 23 percent fewer hours than their American
counterpart, and the average German emits 46 percent less carbon.” None
of that happened by accident, of course: In Germany, shorter work weeks
have been a perennial demand of the country’s labor movement, which has
a formal role in the governance of its biggest companies. Shorter weeks
can go hand in hand with a job guarantee, too — if each person
works less, there are more useful jobs to go around.
I take it this is mostly correct as well -
and "23 percent" is a great difference, at least in
Then there is this:
Well... I have lived
nearly three years in Norway in the 1970ies, and should have stayed
there, and otherwise I have mostly lived in Holland, where I have been
order, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands claimed
the top five slots in this year’s UN
World Happiness Report. This
doesn’t mean Finns or their Scandinavian neighbors are a jolly bunch;
they’re generally pretty restrained, even dour compared to us oddly smiley Americans. Researchers measure happiness based on six
specific categories: GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power; life
expectancy; social support from networks of friends and families;
having the “freedom to choose what you do with your life;” generosity;
perceptions of corruption; and both positive and negative affect, or,
how often people reported experiencing positive or negative emotions.
Aside from GDP per capita and life expectancy, the data for all of
these categories is drawn from self-reported answers to the Gallup World Poll.
Awful "education", called "a fascist" and "a terrorist" for 12 years by
who ruled the "universities" in
Holland from 1971 till 1995; having been kept out of sleep for seven
years; having been quite credibly threatened with murder (by a madman
and by illegal drugsdealers protected by Amsterdam's mayors and
Amsterdam's police) for six years; having had "a serious chronic
disease" for over forty years while this was denied for 39 years,
I am willing to accept that these horrors were mostly caused (and
certainly could continue year after year and decade after decade) by my
being ill with ME/CFS (like my ex, who is also ill for over 40 years)
which is a rare disease, but I am certainly not willing
to accept the
testimonies of "the Dutch" on their "happiness", for the simple
that I know one thing for certain about the vast majority of the
since more than 50 years: Almost all lie; almost all are hypocrites;
almost all try to appear socially as better than they are.
And while I am quite certain about Dutchmen (having lived around 65
years amongst Dutchmen) and a bit less certain about inhabitants of
other nations, I simply am not going to accept this UN World
Happines Report that is based on "self-reported answers".
Anyway... here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I like and admire Russell,
who incidentally thought that Keynes
was the most intelligent man that
he had ever met, and while I think the above quotation probably was a
little optimistic, I also think most people who live in the West could
do very well with less (such as cars).
“In a world where no one is compelled to
work more than four hours a day every person possessed of scientific
curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to
paint without starving, however excellent his pictures may be,”
Bertrand Russell wrote in 1932, arguing for shorter work weeks
amidst a deepening Depression. “Modern methods of production have given
us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen instead
to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have
continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines. In
this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being
foolish for ever.”
Also, this is not a recommended article, simply because I do not
agree with either its presumptions or its supposed facts.
conservatives' fraudulent claim that fascism is a left-wing phenomenon
article is by David Neiwert on AlterNet and originally on Daily Kos. I
abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
In fact, I did not know
who are David
Neiwert and Jonah
Goldberg until today. Also, I am not much interested
because I think Goldberg is an idiot because he believes (or perhaps:
"believes") that fascism is a left-wing phenomenon, which in
fact can only be based on arguments like the above one (which
is on an Archie
level, or below) that it "is" so (without any doubt, and proved as
well) by the fact that the Nazis called their party "national
Jonah Goldberg just keeps
inspiring people—whether he intends to or not.
Take Brazil’s far-right
president, Jair Bolsonaro, for example. Earlier
this week, after visiting a Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem,
Bolsonaro was asked whether he agreed with comments made by his foreign
minister claiming that the Nazis of Germany were “leftists.”
He did: “There is no doubt,
right?” he said to reporters. He added that the appearance of the word
“socialist” in the Nazis’ official party name proved it.
Anybody who is convinced by that argument doesn't know Europe's
history, and indeed I am not arguing with them.
Then again, the present article is written by Neiwert about Goldberg,
and seems to be part from an ongoing argument since 10 years or more.
In fact, I also will not enter into that argument, but only
consider two more points. The first is this:
Quite possibly so, but I
do not read "a
resurgent white-nationalist movement", and I certainly do not believe that they are
right, or interesting, or informed, or intelligent.
Worst of all, [Goldberg]
far from alone. From Charlottesville to Portland to Christchurch, we’re
awash in the effects of a resurgent white-nationalist movement that
considers the “liberal smear” that fascism was a right-wing movement
further evidence of a “cultural Marxist” campaign
against white Western civilization.
What I do believe, and am afraid of, is that there are now
2 or 4 billion "publishers" (mostly on Facebook) who have for the
greatest part no decent education, no brains, and no honesty, but again
I will not write more about them in this article.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article, and that is
Yes indeed, and if you
want to read a sensible definition of fascism see the
last link and
also check this: On
Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions. And again, this
is not a recommended article.
Fascism is fundamentally
right-wing in large part because it is fundamentally anti-left. As George
Orwell wrote, “the idea underlying Fascism is irreconcilably
different from that which underlies Socialism. Socialism aims,
ultimately, at a world-state of free and equal human beings. It takes
the equality of human rights for granted. Nazism assumes just the
opposite. The driving force behind the Nazi movement is the belief in
human inequality, the superiority of Germans to all other races, the
right of Germany to rule the world.”
yellow vest revolt against Macron
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on AlterNet and originally on Democracy
Now! I abbreviated the title. It starts with the following
I think the above is
mostly correct. Here is some more:
Yellow vest protesters
the streets of Paris on Saturday for the 20th straight week of
anti-government demonstrations, in spite of the French authorities’
crackdown on the movement. Last month, the French government deployed
military forces and banned protesters from marching on the
Champs-Élysées and in other areas, after clashes with the police,
nearly 200 arrests and damage to businesses by some protesters. Police
used tear gas and water cannons on crowds in Paris. More than 33,000
demonstrators nationwide joined the demonstrations Saturday, down from
nearly 300,000 in November, according to government estimates. The
weekly protests began last year when France announced plans to hike gas
taxes, with demonstrators across France taking to the streets to
protest President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The demonstrators
gained their name by wearing the yellow safety vests that French
drivers are required to keep in their cars in case of emergency. Since
then, in protests that have now lasted five months, the “yellow vests”
have called out Macron’s pro-business economic policies, demanding fair
wages for working- and middle-class citizens, and heavier taxation on
the wealthy. We go to Paris to speak with Alexis Poulin, the co-founder
of the news website Le Monde Moderne.
GOODMAN: (..) The weekly
protests began last year when France announced plans to hike gas taxes,
with demonstrators across France taking to the streets to protest
French President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The demonstrators gained
their name by wearing the yellow safety vests that French drivers are
required to keep in their cars in case of emergency. Since then, in
protests that have now lasted five months, the yellow vests have called
out Macron’s pro-business economic policies, demanding fair wages for
working- and middle-class people, and heavier taxation on the wealthy.
Well, we’re going to Paris
right now, where we’re joined by journalist Alexis Poulin. He is
co-founder of the news website Le Monde Moderne.
Yes. And here is the first
bit of Poulin:
POULIN: (..) And within
the five months that have passed, the small protest on roundabouts
become a urgent crisis and a sort of a—another one of these pick of
revolution, like we had Nuit Debout, you had Occupy Wall Street, for
example. And now the people are marching for Macron to stop his
pro-business, neoliberal policies in France, and they demand tax
justice, social justice and some clear, fair, yeah, state services for
all, which is very different from the beginning. What’s amazing is that
it is still on, five months down, and going on into the sixth month,
and despite the violence of the police and the government trying to
stop the movement.
I think the above is mostly
true, and indeed I agree it is fairly amazing that these
been going on for five months.
Here is some more:
POULIN: (..) Their claims
are for more democracy, more tax justice and a future for their kids. A
lot of these people in the streets are in retirement age, and they are
still saying, you know, “I think my grandson or grandchildren won’t
have a better future than what I lived.” And this defense of the French
welfare state has to be taken into account. And what’s different from
the past, from May ’68 or the other manifestation we had, is that the
unions are far behind the popular movement of the yellow vests. They
are not clearly supporting it, and they’re trying to distance
themselves from the yellow vest protests.
I am sorry, but I was
Paris in 1968, and I know the history of "May 1968" fairly
well, and I
am quite certain that in 1968 the unions (also) did not support
the students. Poulin is simply mistaken about that fact.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
POULIN: Well, that’s the
big question mark. Is it—because May is coming, the spring is coming,
so people could come back to the roundabouts and having more meetups
and start again the movement with more power. Right now, clearly, there
are less and less people in the streets because of the violence,
because of the weather, because of the time—it’s been six months. But
it could be that because of the conclusion of the “big debate,” there
could be a national disappointment about what the measure will be,
announced by Emmanuel Macron, and then will start again a bigger
protest. Whatever happens is that people might stop or take out their
yellow vest; the anger in the French society is still there, and it
will be going on for a few years, without political solution.
I think that may well
be a fair estimate, and this is a recommended article.
4. The Myth of Meritocracy
This article is by Robert
Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Yes, I agree with the
above, and also like to remark that "the meritocratic notion that people are rewarded according
to their efforts and abilities" has never been true anywhere, in my
although I also agree that in some societies there was considerably
more interest in promoting really intelligent poor people (provided
they were conformists,
for the most part) than in others.
Most Americans still cling
to the meritocratic notion that people are rewarded according to their
efforts and abilities. But meritocracy is becoming a cruel joke.
The Justice Department
recently announced indictments of dozens of wealthy parents for using
bribery and fraud to get their children into prestigious colleges.
But the real scandal isn’t
how far a few wealthy parents will go to get their kids admitted
(apparently $1.2 million in illegal payoffs), but how commonplace it
has become for them to go almost as far without breaking any laws –
shelling out big bucks for essay tutors, testing tutors, admissions
counselors, and “enrichment” courses (not to mention sky-high tuition
at private schools feeding into the Ivy League).
Inequality is lurking
behind all this, and not just because the wealthy can afford it.
But what I deny is that meritocracy was important anywhere, for the simple reason that the majority of those
were promoted to leading roles mostly had parents (etc.) who were
powerful or wealthy themselves (and thus came from the 1-10% rather
than from the 90%).
Here is some more:
Yes, I think this is also
true. Here is some more:
Most CEOs of big
corporations, Wall Street mavens, and high-priced lawyers got where
they are because they knew the right people. A prestigious college
packed with the children of wealthy and well-connected parents is now
the launching pad into the stratosphere of big money.
Elite colleges are doing
their parts to accelerate the trend.
At a time when the courts
have all but ended affirmative action for black children seeking
college admission, high-end universities provide preferential admission
to the children of wealthy alumni –“legacies,” as they’re delicately
I fear the above is also
quite true. Here is some more:
Jared Kushner’s father
reportedly pledged $2.5 million to Harvard just as young Jared was
applying. The young man gained admission, despite rather mediocre
About four in 10 students
from the richest one-tenth of one percent of American families now
attend an Ivy League or other elite university, according to a recent
study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records.
At some upscale campuses
including Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn, and Brown – more students
now come from the top 1 percent than from the entire bottom 60 percent
I think the above is also mostly
true. Here is the ending of this article:
The monstrous concentration
of wealth in America has not only created an education system in which
the rich can effectively buy college admission for their children. It
has distorted much else.
It has created a justice
system in which the rich can buy their way out of prison.
It has spawned a political system in which the rich can buy their way
into Congress (..) and even into the presidency.
Yes, I take it that is
also correct. Perhaps Reich should have added one more statement,
namely "And what is for sale, especially if scarce, generally goes to
the richest". Anyway. This is a recommended article.
Meritocracy remains a
held ideal in America. But The nation is drifting ever-farther away
from it. In the age of Trump, it seems, everything is for sale.
Says, 'And, Frankly We Should Get Rid of Judges'
article is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
Well... I have said since
the beginning of 2016 that I am a psychologist who thinks that Trump is
insane. I still think so, and now the USA has a president who says "we should get rid of judges" - which presumably means: Let the
police do the arresting, the convicting and quite possibly also the
President Donald Trump
called for the end of the U.S. system that processes those seeking
political asylum and refugee status on Friday and then added that it
would also be good to "get rid of judges."
"Congress has to act,"
Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to the asylum
claim process and the broader immigration system. "They have to get rid
of catch-and-release, chain migration, visa lottery, they have to get
rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn't work."
"And frankly," the
president then added, "we should get rid of judges. You can't have a
court case every time sets their foot on our ground."
And I say again that a man who says things like this (and means it)
very probably is insane.
Here is the other bit that I quote from this article:
I agree with
this is a strongly recommended article.
While it was possible to
interpret that president's comments as specifically referring to judges
who hear immigration and asylum claims cases, that unstated specificity
offered no comfort to critics who immediately lashed out at Trump for
once again thumbing his nose at human rights and the rule of law.
Political activist Max
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 (!!).