1. Sanders Tells Backers
Immediate Aim of Political
Revolution Must Be to Defeat
2. I Support Hillary Clinton. So Should Everyone Who
Voted for Me
3. Spying's New Frontier: Private Firm Collects
'Every American Adult'
4. Intellectuals are Freaks
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, August 6, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item
1 is about Bernie Sanders (who rightly insists that Trump
must be defeated) and item 2 is by Bernie
Sanders, and to the same effect: I agree with both articles; item 3
is about the spying that is done by dataminers (as contrasted with
secret services) and while I think these activities are as
anti-democratic and authori- tarian as anything I know, I do not
know how to prevent them, unfortunately; and item 4
is about a totally silly article by some postmodern quasi- intellectual
that is impossible for me to consider seriously.
Tells Backers Immediate Aim of Political Revolution Must Be to Defeat
first item today is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Bernie Sanders has again urged his
supporters to back Hillary Clinton, writing Friday that "Donald Trump
would be a disaster and an embarrassment for our country if he were
op-ed published at the Los Angeles Times, Sanders
contrasts the two leading candidates on everything from tax policy to
climate change to healthcare, and says that the "immediate task" of his
political revolution is to make sure the real estate mogul doesn't end
up in the White House.
Sanders criticizes Trump's campaign for
being "based on bigotry," and says that his Supreme Court justice
nominees "would preserve the court's right-wing majority." Clinton's
appointees, in contrast, would be "prepared to overturn" Citizen
United and "would protect a woman's right to choose, workers'
rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and
immigrants, and the government's ability to protect the environment."
Clearly - supposing you read more of Nederlog - I agree with Bernie Sanders. I
supported him as long as he
was a presidential candidate, simply because he was by far the
and I also support him in now supporting Hillary Clinton, who is - in
my opinion - not a good candidate, but who is far
better than Donald Trump.
I also agree with Sanders' opinion that
"Donald Trump would be a disaster
and an embarrassment for our country if he were elected president."
Quite so. This is also part of the reason why
I oppose Jill Stein: Most of the votes for Stein will
be from voters
who would have voted for Clinton, which means that voting for
means making it less likely that Hillary will win,
which makes the "disaster and (..) embarrassment" Trump more likely to win.
This is itself a major reason not to vote for Stein, but I
that, besides, I don't think much of her as a presidential candidate,
mostly because she is not a good speaker and did not
questions that she was asked in a meaningful way. (See here for more on
Here is more om Bernie Sanders:
He also touts Clinton's proposal
to eliminate tuition at in-state colleges and universities for 83
percent of U.S. families, and her ability to understand that it "is
absurd to provide huge tax breaks to the very rich."
While "Clinton understands that this
country must move toward universal healthcare," Trump "wants to abolish
the Affordable Care Act, throw 20 million people off the health
insurance they currently have, and cut Medicaid for lower-income
Americans," Sanders writes.
"On virtually every major issue facing
this country and the needs of working families, Clinton's positions are
far superior to Trump's," Sanders writes. "Our campaigns worked
together to produce the most progressive platform in the history of
American politics. Trump's campaign wrote one of the most reactionary
I agree, although I don't like
Clinton. As to the Republican program, see here.
Finally, this is from near the end:
As for the disappointment some of his
supporters may be feeling, he says that "being despondent and inactive
is not going to improve anything," (...)
As I indicated above, I go further: A
vote for Jill Stein is a vote against Hillary Clinton,
and is therefore a vote for
Donald Trump, who would be an absolute disaster as president. If you do
not want the USA to be ruled by a mad neofascist -
that is what I think
Trump is - you should vote for his only opponent, Hillary
And next, here is Bernie Sanders himself:
2. I Support Hillary Clinton. So
Should Everyone Who Voted for Me
The second item is by Bernie Sanders on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. About the first paragraph, I
think that it also may be said that Bernie Sanders received a lot
opposition from the DNC, but I agree with Sanders that this is no
longer very relevant, now that the real choice is between
The conventions are over and the general
election has officially begun. In the primaries, I received 1,846
pledged delegates, 46% of the total. Hillary Clinton received 2,205
pledged delegates, 54%. She received 602 superdelegates. I received 48
superdelegates. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and I will
vigorously support her.
Donald Trump would be a disaster and an
embarrassment for our country if he were elected president. His
campaign is not based on anything of substance — improving the economy,
our education system, healthcare or the environment. It is based on
bigotry. He is attempting to win this election by fomenting hatred
against Mexicans and Muslims. He has crudely insulted women. And as a
leader of the “birther movement,” he tried to undermine the legitimacy
of our first African American president. That is not just my point of
view. That’s the perspective of a number of conservative Republicans.
Here is a part of the reasons Sanders supports Clinton:
On virtually every major issue facing
this country and the needs of working families, Clinton’s positions are
far superior to Trump’s. Our campaigns worked together to produce the
most progressive platform in the history of American politics. Trump’s
campaign wrote one of the most reactionary documents.
Clinton understands that Citizens United
has undermined our democracy. She will nominate justices who are
prepared to overturn that Supreme Court decision, which made it
possible for billionaires to buy elections. Her court appointees also
would protect a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, the rights of
the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants and the
government’s ability to protect the environment.
Trump, on the other hand, has made it
clear that his Supreme Court appointees would preserve the court’s
I suppose I am more skeptical
Clinton once she has been elected, for I believe this will make her
"forget" many of the promises she made in order to get elected, but I agree
with Sanders that one very important reason to vote for
Clinton is that the next president of the USA will probably have to
nominate four Supreme Court judges, who will be very
important in the next twenty-five years.
Here is more on the difference between
Clinton and Trump as seen by Sanders:
This is another important reason to
vote for Clinton: She will probably stick to the proposal that "the children of any family in this country with an annual
income of $125,000 a year or less – 83% of our population – will be
able to go to a public college or university tuition free".
Clinton understands that in a
competitive global economy we need the best-educated workforce in the
world. She and I worked together on a proposal that will revolutionize
higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any
family in this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less
– 83% of our population – will be able to go to a public college or
university tuition free. This proposal also substantially reduces
Trump, on the other hand, has barely
said a word about higher education.
Clinton understands that at a time of
massive income and wealth inequality, it is absurd to provide huge tax
breaks to the very rich.
Trump, on the other hand, wants billionaire
families like his to enjoy hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax
The reason that this is so important is that at present most
of (relatively) poor families will have to accept huge and expensive
loans, that will probably shut up most from saying anything
long as they have
to pay their loans.
And besides, it simply is unfair to punish the poor for their
by imposing enormous study loans on them, and none on the
Here is the end of Sanders' article:
I understand that many of my
supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating
process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve
anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters.
And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat
Yes. For "the most
immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump",
because if he is elected the USA and the world will be
in extreme trouble.
3. Spying's New
Frontier: Private Firm Collects Data on 'Every American Adult'
The third item is by Nadia Prupis on Common
This starts as follows:
The fight for internet privacy has
focused much of its attention on government
surveillance, but mass data collection is done by private companies
as well—and one such firm has "centralized and weaponized" all that
information for its customers, Bloomberg reports on Friday.
In fact, it has already built a profile
on "every American adult," Bloomberg writes.
In fact, I think I first published about
data-mining (<-Dutch) before I became aware of the
dangers of the NSA, the GCHQ
and many other secret services.
In any case, the means used are
similar, although what is searched for will differ a lot - except
that those who do get access to your computer (anyone from up
to 100 secret services and 100 dataminers, say) will tend to find very
much more about all manner of persons than these persons know about
This is one of the reasons that I despise
dataminers and secret services:
The company's CEO Derek Dubner told
Herbert that IDI's profiles even extend to young adults who wouldn't be
found in conventional databases.
"We have data on that 21-year-old who's
living at home with mom and dad," Dubner said.
The profiles reportedly include "all
known addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses; every piece of
property ever bought or sold, plus related mortgages; past and present
vehicles owned; criminal citations, from speeding tickets on up; voter
registration; hunting permits; and names and phone numbers of
I'm sorry, but if your mission in life is
to secretly amass this kind of information on every
American and on everyone else, I think something is
quite wrong with you.
Whether that is just inordinate greed or
some even less salutory perversion, I don't know, but no: persons like
Dubner are not healthy, in my opinion.
Here is what this leads to:
Roger Kay, president of the consulting
firm Endpoint Technologies Associates, explained that it's those
capabilities in particular that make IDI so powerful—and so creepy.
"The cloud never forgets, and imperfect
pictures of you composed from your data profile are carefully filled in
over time," Kay said. "We're like bugs in amber, completely trapped in
the web of our own data."
In fact, I think that "the cloud" also
"forgets", simply because anyone who has data that he or she wants to
put on the internet has to pay. If you don't pay, the
information will simply be removed.
There are some exceptions to this, but
these exceptions mostly exist because someone else, such as Google,
However, Kay seems right when he says that
"We're like bugs in amber, completely trapped in
the web of our own data" and the more so since hardly
anyone knows what is known by many dataminers and
many secret services about many or all of his own very private
details, which are
known to these dataminers and secret services mostly because the data
on the internet are almost wholly unencrypted, and these days
people use computers (about which few know a lot).
I do not know what to do against
this, because many encryptions these days also can be broken easily,
and not because the encryptions are decrypted, but because each
every key you press on your computer may get registered, which also
registers your passwords.
4. Intellectuals are Freaks
The fourth item today is by Michael Lind
(<- Wikipedia) on The Smart Set:
This starts as follows and seems to me an extremely
silly article by a sort of quasi-"intellectual", who may be
typical for his generation of quasi- "intellectuals":
Intellectuals — a category that
includes academics, opinion journalists, and think tank experts — are
freaks. I do not mean that in a disrespectful way. I myself have spent
most of my life in one of the three roles mentioned above. I have even
been accused of being a “public intellectual,” which sounds too much
like “public nuisance” or even “public enemy” for my taste.
My point is that people who specialize
in the life of ideas tend to be extremely atypical of their societies.
They — we — are freaks in a statistical sense. For generations,
populists of various kinds have argued that intellectuals are unworldly
individuals out of touch with the experiences and values of most of
their fellow citizens. While anti-intellectual populists have
often been wrong about the gold standard or the single tax or other
issues, by and large they have been right about intellectuals.
I do not know where to start this utter
baloney, so I start with Lind and with the first sentence.
Lind, according to the Wikipedia article
on him, is twelve years younger than I am, and studied English, History
and Law, none of which happens to be a real science. This doesn't
exclude the possibility that he may be clever, but it makes it likely
he doesn't understand much of real science.
Next, I would say that not
all academics, not all opinion journalists and not all
think tank experts (?!) are intellectuals, but then again what
is an "intellectual"
(<-Wikipedia) also is far from certain.
But I think the following from Wikipedia
(in the last link) is more or less adequate to describe
The distinctive quality of the
intellectual person is that the mental skills, which one demonstrates,
are not simply intelligent, but even more, they focus on thinking about
the abstract, philosophical and esoteric aspects of human inquiry and the value
of their thinking.
The intellectual and the scholarly classes are related; the intellectual
usually is not a teacher involved in the production of scholarship, but has an academic
background, and works in a profession, practices an art, or a science.
And I would also say that intellectuals,
in the above sense, are a bit rare, in that at most 1 in 250 or less is
an intellectual, as I use the term:
It does require an education of
it does require some talent of some kind; and it also
effort and some publications to qualify, and not
everyone who has
graduated did get a sufficient education or does have a sufficient
talent or did publish enough in good enough publications to be a
real intellectual. (And in fact most who are academically qualified
simply are not known as intellectuals, indeed usually for one
above three reasons.)
But this what I would say, which
is not at all what Lind would say. In fact, what he
says is that "intellectuals" (a term he doesn't
define) "are freaks", which is another term he doesn't define.
What is "a freak" (<-
Wikipedia)? As you can see from the last link, that is also a
term with a vague meaning, that changed rather a lot in the last 50
years or so, but that does not seem to have the meaning in
Wikipedia that Lind seems to assign to it.
As I tend to think of the term, I would
say that at most 1 in 10.000 or so is a real freak. And this might
seem to agree with what Lind says (bolding added): "people who specialize in the life of ideas tend to be extremely
atypical of their societies. They — we — are freaks in a statistical
But then somebody who did English, History
and Law may not know much about statistics. Here is
what Lind seems to think "freaks" are:
To begin with, there is the
matter of higher education. Only about 30 percent of American
adults have a four-year undergraduate degree. The number of those with
advanced graduate or professional degrees is around one in ten.
That is, it seems you are an "intellectual"
and a "freak" if you are 1 in 3 (or perhaps 1 in 10). I did do
statistics, and I can tell Mr Lind that neither is a "freak" in
any statistical sense.
And here is the bullshit
Lind accuses his fellow quasi-"intellectuals" of:
The fact that we members of the
intellectual professions are quite atypical of the societies in which
we live tends to distort our judgment, when we forget that we belong to
a tiny and rather bizarre minority. This is not a problem with the hard
sciences. But in the social sciences, intellectuals — be they
professors, pundits, or policy wonks — tend to be both biased and
unaware of their own bias.
That is: If you belong to "the
who are the 1 in 3 who got some academic degree, clearly you are "an
intellectual" in Mr Lind's sense, which automatically qualifies you as
belonging to "a tiny and rather bizarre minority" that tends "to be both biased and
unaware of their own bias" - which is Mr Lind's point of view.
My own is that Mr Lind is a typical member of the
quasi-"intellectuals" that were produced as staple commodity in the
University of Amsterdam in the 1980ies:
With at most half of the pre-university education that people
who were 15 and more years older did get; with at most half of
the duration for studying that people who were
15 and more years older did get; with at least
four to eight time the costs of the study; and with "academic" studies
that were planned for IQs of 115, which was the average IQ of students
in 1984 in Amsterdam, that these days - 32 years later - will
lower again, for the end of the Dutch "academic" education seems to be
Blair's: Everyone with an IQ of 100 or higher should be allowed to do
an "academic" study.
And as I said and wrote in
the 1980ies: The "universities" I saw arise
then are no more universities
as these existed from 1865 till 1965 (in Holland). They "educate" types
like Mr Lind, who produce total baloney like his present article.