from December 4, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Monday, December 4,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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 two years (!!!!) I have
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
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from December 4, 2017
A Women’s Revolt That Targets Far More Than
2. Lost Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing
3. The True Path to Prosperity
4. Fate of the Earth Considered Again
5. AI Has Already Taken Over. It’s Called the Corporation.
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:
Women’s Revolt That Targets Far More Than Sexual Abuse
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
trumpeting the lurid and salacious details of the sexual assault
charges brought against powerful men, has missed the real story—the
widespread popular revolt led by women, many of whom have stood up,
despite vicious attacks and the dictates of legally binding
nondisclosure agreements, to denounce the entitlement of the corporate
and political elites. This women’s revolt is not solely about sexual
abuse. It is about fighting a corporate power structure that
institutionalizes and enables misogyny, racism and bigotry. It is about
rejecting the belief that wealth and power give the elites the right to
engage in economic, political, social and sexual sadism. It challenges
the twisted ethic that those who are crushed and humiliated by the
rich, the famous and the powerful have no rights and no voice. Let’s
hope this is the beginning, not the end.
Yes indeed: I basically
agree, and indeed especially with the thesis that "wealth and power give the elites the right to
engage in economic, political, social and sexual sadism".
Quite so - and because I am a philosopher and a
psychologist here is my own definition of sadism (in part),
that was written in 2007:
Sadism: pleasure derived
from the misfortunes of others or from causing others pain or misery.
So for me the rich
and powerful men who sexually assault or rape women are in the first
place sadists, as defined above, who indulge in sadism
because they think they can and want to, and who use this to get sexual
When sadism is defined without
necessary involvement of sexual pleasure, but in effect as the
human-all-too-human joys derived from malice,
it may be seen that sadism, thus defined, accounts for many human acts,
especially against those whom the perpetrators dislike, consider as
enemies, or believe to be inferior. Indeed, there is much more sadism in human beings
than most are willing to admit: Very many people derive much
pleasure from being in positions of power and by hurting, denigrating,
demeaning or displeasing others. It probably does not arouse most of
them sexually, but they wouldn't do it if it did not please them.
For clearly most of the harm that human beings have done to human
beings - millions upon millions killed, tortured, raped, exploited,
starved, persecuted - was done on purpose, and willingly, and for the
noblest sounding moral pretexts.
'human-all-too-human' desire to hurt, harm, demean, denigrate, abuse or
exploit others is one of the normally unacknowledged forces of history, as is stupidity.
And I should say one more thing about the above quotation: I hope
I am mistaken, but I fear the present commotion about sexual
exploitation, sexual assault and rape probably will be switched off by
the mainstream media within a month or two. (Yes, I am a pessimist, but
then I am so on the basis of fifty years of experiences, in
which I have been terrorized for seven years while the mayor and
the police of Amsterdam refused to do anything for me,
included refusing to answer my letters - which also is still the case.)
Here is the next quotation:
The pathology of men
who force women to watch them masturbate in the shower or who close
their office doors so they can drop their pants or grope terrified and
humiliated job applicants, interns or co-workers is emblematic of the
narcissism and unbridled self-adulation that come with excessive power.
These assaults are expressions of the widespread objectification of
women mainlined by a pornified culture. Eroticism is not mutual in
pornography or prostitution. The men get off by humiliating, degrading,
insulting and physically violating women. The current revelations are
not, in the end, even about sex.
Indeed: they are about power and about sadism that gets
unlocked because of power. And I agree this is a pathology.
Here is the last bit that I quote, that shows (again) that Hedges seems
to agree with me:
The powerful men
engaging in sexual predation live in a rarified universe where they own
everyone around themselves. They demand unquestioned obedience. They
must be the center of attention. Their opinions alone count. Their
feelings alone are important. They cannot discern right from wrong and
lies from truth. They are modern slave masters. Those who work for them
are forced to sing, dance and provide physical pleasure or get the
whip. And they have the power, granted to them by corporate and
political institutions, to persecute and discredit any who defy them.
This pathology captures not only the bleak inner core of Trump but also
many of his political rivals, including Bill Clinton.
Yes, I mostly agree,
although I also think that most of these sexual sadists can "discern right from wrong and lies from truth". But their moral judgements are set
aside by their sexual and sadistic needs and by the enormous power
There is considerably more in this article and it is strongly
Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing
article is by David Leonhardt on The New York Times. It starts as
Much of human progress depends on innovation. It depends on
people coming up with a breakthrough idea to improve life. Think about
penicillin or cancer treatments, electricity or the silicon chip.
For this reason,
societies have a big interest in making sure that as many people as
possible have the opportunity to become scientists, inventors and
entrepreneurs. It’s not only a matter of fairness. Denying
opportunities to talented people can end up hurting everyone.
indeed. I have always agreed with this, but I should add that the
"University" of Amsterdam, where I did study in the 70ies and 80ies
quite disagreed: Very many students then said to me and to each other
that everbody was equivalent to Einstein and Von Neumann,
simple reason that
is not native: it is a choice".
the last time I was called "a fascist" was in 1989, when I
with a doctoral student in psychology with an estimated IQ of 115
(the average IQ in the "University" in the 1980ies )
who strongly insisted that she and everybody else
in intelligence to Einstein (whom I did mention), and who
called me "a fascist" when I completely refused to believe her: She
insisted that she rather danced than that she did physics or
mathematics, but "since everybody is equivalent" she could have been an
Einstein just as well. (!!)
is this in the article:
surprisingly, children who excelled in math were far more likely to
become inventors. But being a math standout wasn’t enough. Only the top
students who also came from high-income families had a decent chance to
become an inventor.
This fact may
be the starkest: Low-income students who are among the very best math
students — those who score in the top 5 percent of all third graders —
are no more likely to become inventors than below-average math students
from affluent families:
children who excel at math rarely become patent holders.
They are less likely to hold patents than high-income students who do
substantially worse in school.
- but I know this is very probably so since the early 1980ies,
when I bought and read a quite good book by Joan
Tough in 1977: "The
Development of Meaning". In fact, here is a partial summary
Table 6 on p. 192 of her book, that details the development of IQs
children from an advantaged group (with educated
well-paid parents) and
of children in an disadvantaged group.
I give a
small part of that table, and the tests are three standard IQ tests,
while the numbers in brackets are the numbers of children that were
IQ of groups of children at three ages
at age 3 at
age 5 1/2 at age
126.3 (32) 122.1
124.1 (32) 116.3
That is: If your parents are educated and well paid, your IQ will go
down 5 points on average between age 3 and age 7 1/2; if your parents
are not educated and not well paid, your IQ wil fall by
12 points between
age 3 and age 7 1/2.
African-Americans, Latinos, Southerners, and low- and middle-income
children are far less likely to grow up to become patent holders and
inventors. Our society appears to be missing out on most
from these groups. And these groups together make up most of the
- as was already known to Joan Tough in 1977.
And incidentally: The great majority
of children does not have
well educated and well paid parents.
children of disadvantaged parents loose nearly 15 points in four years,
which means that they loose a lot: Nearly all people with IQs
of 100 or higher have an IQ below 145.
Path to Prosperity
This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as
It’s often thought that
about fairness and not economic growth, while Republicans care about
at the cost of some fairness.
Rubbish. Growth and
opposites. In reality, Democrats are the party of economic growth and
fairness. Republicans are the party
The only way to grow the
economy is by
investing in the education, healthcare, and infrastructure that average
Americans need in order to be more productive. Growth doesn’t “trickle
It rises up.
I agree with the last
paragraph but not with the first two: I think the Democrats are less
bad than the Republicans, but they also work for the rich, in the first
place, who have bought many of them, including Hillary Clinton.
Here is more:
Republicans say their tax
overhaul will promote
growth by increasing the profits of American corporations and
is trickle-down nonsense.
Every major study
own Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation) finds
benefits would go mainly to big corporations and the wealthy.
Share prices may rise for a
already at record highs in anticipation of the tax cut. But higher
prices don’t trickle down, either. The richest
1 percent owns almost 38 percent
of the stock market. Eighty
percent of Americans together own just 8
percent of all shares
Quite so. And here is
last bit that I quote from this article:
Corporations expand and
invest only when customers are eager to buy what they produce. And most
of these customers are middle-income and below, who spend just about
all they earn. The rich spend only a small fraction.
are now at record levels but corporations aren’t investing them.
them instead to pump up share prices and executive pay.
the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, economic growth stalled and then
in recession. After the 2004 corporate tax holiday for bringing foreign
home, corporations didn’t invest or expand. The Reagan tax cut of 1981
cause wages to rise; they flattened.
What’s the real formula for
growth? Better access to education, healthcare, and transportation, all
of which make workers more productive.
Yes indeed. (But while
I do think that the Democrats are less bad than the Republicans, they
are also bought by the rich.)
of the Earth Considered Again
This article is by George Zillac on AlterNet. This is from
near the beginning. It got triggered by the remark that some rich
Americans are - once again, I add - buying fancy nuclear shelters
will allow them to survive even a major nuclear war:
The need for this recall
was especially brought to mind by a report about fancy nuclear shelters
being bought by some of the well off; one that would even let six live
in it up to a year with no outside help.
In fact, I first heard
about these ideas more than fifty years ago. And indeed I very
heard it also before 1964 (mostly - I guess - because my
much opposed to nuclear arms), which also was the year
that one of the
best movies I ever saw was first published: Dr. Strangelove,
which I strongly recommend you try to see.
Here is Zillac's
description of what kind of world the few rich survivors (if any) will
find after a major nuclear war:
I agree. Here is one of
Let’s start with
granting the dubious premise that a few underground shelters in the
H-Bomb blast zone might actually work and their occupants emerge
unscathed. What would they encounter when they come out? Well, the
first thing they would notice is there are no people. The second thing,
there are no standing structures. At night, no lights. An incredible
silence grips the scene. No birds, no car horns, no sirens, no train
whistles, etc. because these things all take life to make happen; and
where there is no life we might as well be on Mars.
You might think people would
move right in when the war is over. But where are those people going to
come from? Where they come from has been wiped out too. Besides, even
if there are a few here and there they are not going to live long in
your area. All the resources needed for life, like food and
uncontaminated water, would be wiped out. Even if, by some miracle, a
few of those things were found, the hypothetical “they” still wouldn’t
be arriving because of radioactivity lasting for months, even years,
contaminating not only where cities used to be, but also all the
farmland for hundreds of miles downwind, and in an all-out war everyone
will be downwind of somewhere attacked, so no crops even if there were
a few farmers left. Survivors couldn’t hunt animals in the woods
because fallout would have killed them all, same with farm animals.
How can we prevent
these things from happening? It is literally insane to have
a system where an unchecked President can order up the end of the
world! What were the authors of those laws thinking? We should get rid
of that system now, before it is irretrievably
Yes, I agree - and also the
situation has changed rather a lot since the collapse of the
There is considerably more that I skip, in which Stanislav Petrov
is mentioned, who probably did save the world in 1983 by
disobeying his orders, because he thought, quite correctly, that a
reported nuclear attack by the USA on the USSR was false. (He was not
rewarded and in fact was reprimanded: See the last link, which is quite
Back to the article, that ends as follows:
1) There must be no
first strike permitted by law, regardless of what some leaders fear at
2) No use of nuclear
weapons at all, except by Congressional authorization.
3) By international
treaty, only military targets could ever be targeted, and only those
that pose a genuine nuclear threat to other nuclear military
4) Existing Open Skies
and other preventative measures should continue to be enforced and
strengthened for the survival of humankind. This is not a trivial
issue. Our future depends on it. Whether we even have a
future depends on it.
I basically agree, but
I may be even more pessimistic
than Zillac is, mostly because I have
been demonstrating against nuclear arms since before 1964, and all
has happened in fact (on the level of governments) was a continuous
increase in ever more powerful
Has Already Taken Over. It’s Called the Corporation.
is by Jeremy Lent on Common Dreams. It has a
about the threats of AI are looking in the wrong place. Humanity is
already facing an existential threat from an artificial intelligence we
created hundreds of years ago. It’s called the Corporation.
In fact, this is a quite
good article about corporations,
but it should have avoided mentioning
AI. I will say something about AI because it is mentioned in the title
and in the beginnining of this article, but only because it is raised
briefly by Lent:
I am a philosopher and a
psychologist, and my argument against AI is the
same as it was 30 years ago (when I did have a
personal computer, in 1987, running DOS and without any internet
connection, that wasn't there yet):
As long as there is no
computer that more or less fully
can do what very simple animals like insects do - including
their bodies, their sexuality, their interactions, their feeding, their
digestion, their neural networks etc. etc.: when I said "fully"
I did mean fully - I will not believe that machines are
really intelligent, even though I quite agree they calculate very much
faster than I can and they have much better memories than I have.
And besides, human
intelligence is to this day hardly
explained, as is the human brain: There is far more we don't
either than we do know. So I will leave AI wholly out, and
real concern of this quite good article are the corporations.
Here is the first bit I
quote about corporations:
I don't believe that
corporations were created by "good intentions": They were created to
limit or to deny most personal responsibility for actions that
were intended to enrich persons.
When corporations were first
formed back in the seventeenth century, their inventors—just like
modern software engineers—acted with what they believed were good
intentions. The first corporate charters were simply designed to limit
an investor’s liability to the amount of their investment, thus
encouraging them to finance risky expeditions to India and Southeast
Asia. However, an unintended consequence soon emerged, known as moral
hazard: with the potential upside greater than the downside, reckless
behavior ensued (...)
First, here is Milton
Friedman (in 1962, and the bolding was added):
could so thoroughly undermine the very foundation of our free society
as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility
other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible.
This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine. If businessmen do have a
social responsibility other than making maximum profits for
stockholders, how are they to know what it is? Can self-selected
private individuals decide what the social interest is?"
That is, according to the
Friedman (i) corporations have no other
end "than to make as much money
for their stockholders as possible"
and (ii) neither corporations nor any businessman that is making
profits by them has any social responsibility whatsoever:
just there to make as much money as possible.
Second, here is the best
essayist I know, who wrote the best
short essay about corporations that I know, and who did so around 1820
(!!). This is William
Hazlitt, and his essay "On
Corporate Bodies" starts as follows:
I strongly recommend you
Corporate Bodies" and move back to the article:
bodies have no soul.
Corporate bodies are more
profligate than individuals, because they have more power to do
mischief, and are less amenable to disgrace or punishment. They feel
neither shame, remorse, gratitude, nor goodwill. The principle of
private or natural conscience is extinguished in each individual (we
have no moral sense in the breasts of others), and nothing is
considered but how the united efforts of the whole (released from idle
scruples) may be best directed to the obtaining of political advantages
and privileges to be shared as common spoil. Each member reaps the
benefit, and lays the blame, if there is any, upon the rest. The esprit
de corps becomes the ruling passion of every corporate body,
compared with which the motives of delicacy or decorum towards others
are looked upon as being both impertinent and improper.
full advantage of their new-found dominance, influencing state
legislatures to issue charters in perpetuity giving them the right to
do anything not explicitly prohibited by law. The tipping point in
their path to domination came in 1886 when the Supreme Court designated
corporations as “persons” entitled to the protections of the Fourteenth
Amendment, which had been passed to give equal rights to former slaves
enfranchised after the Civil War. Since then, corporate dominance has
only been further enhanced by law, culminating in the notorious Citizen
United case of 2010, which lifted restrictions on political
spending by corporations in elections.
Yes (although I don't know
whether "1886" is correct). Here is more:
Sociopaths with global
Corporations (..) have no
intrinsic interest in human welfare. They
are legal constructions: abstract entities designed with the ultimate
goal of maximizing financial returns for their investors above all
else. If corporations were in fact real persons, they would be
sociopaths, completely lacking the ability for empathy that is a
crucial element of normal human behavior. Unlike humans, however,
corporations are theoretically immortal, cannot be put in prison, and
the larger multinationals are not constrained by the laws of any
corporations are persons. I agree that if they are persons they
are completely without morals, as indeed Milton Friedman insisted
Here is more, that also
plays a role in my definition of neofascism:
Corporations have been
able to use their transnational powers to dictate their own terms to
virtually any country in the world. As a result of decades of
globalization, corporations can exploit the free movement of capital to
build factories in nations with the weakest labor unions, or locate
polluting plants in countries with lax environmental laws, basing their
decisions solely on maximizing returns for their shareholders.
Precisely - and at present
major corporations have both more money and more power
states, and they achieved much of that since 1980 by deregulation. (The last link is also
Here is more on the
authoritarianism and the lying that corporations indulge in as a
Corporations wield their
vast powers to control the minds of consumers, enthralling them into a
state of perpetual consumption. In the early twentieth century, Paul
Bernays, a mastermind of corporate empowerment, boldly stated his game
plan as “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized
habits and opinions of the masses.” He declared ominously that “those
who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible
government that is the true ruling power of this country.”
That is, according to Bernays (and
indeed Freud) the masses are a kind of subhumans, who cannot
think rationally and should be manipulated, propagandized
lied to in
their own interests, because men like Bernays - and
many rich men - believe that they can think rationally, but the great
mass of mankind can not.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article, that describes the present situation
In fact, the current U.S.
cabinet represents the most complete takeover yet of the U.S.
government by corporations, with nearly 70% of top administration jobs
filled by corporate executives. In
the words of Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, “In the
Trump administration, auto industry lobbyists are setting
transportation policy, Boeing has a top perch at the Department of
Defense, Wall Street is in control of financial policy and regulatory
agencies, and corporate defense lawyers staff the key positions in the
I think Robert Weismann
is quite right, and this is a strongly recommended article (but
forget about AI: it is not relevant here).
And incidentally, if
you read Dutch here is a fine article I wrote in 2008: "Over
 I have now been
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 1 1/2 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).
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 (!!).
 An important reason why I think the
rich and powerful men who assault women (or indeed men, if they are
queer) are first and foremost sadists is that they are rich enough to
buy any prostitute they please.
 This was officially so: The
"University" of Amsterdam said so itself, in 1984. I have talked with
many students, many lecturers and many professors in 1980ies, but I
think it is fair that at most 1 in 20 of each of these groups
cared one bit about the average IQ, indeed also not when I pointed out
that between 1865 and 1965 the average IQ in Dutch universities was
around 125. In fact, the ignorant reply I mostly got was like
that of professor Renate Bartsch when told it was 115: "Well, that is
quite high, isn't it?"
Finally, because education got systematically worse in Holland
ever since 1965, it is very probable that the present average IQ in
Dutch universities is around 105: The big barrier that keeps many from
studying nowadays is not intellectual but financial: I paid 125
guilders (around 50 euros) in 1977 for the right to become a
student; in 2008, a degree in medicine required euros 20,000.
And student grants have also been mostly terminated in Holland: You
either must have rich parents to study, or else to loan money against
considerable interest. (Incidentally, the rich also can afford what no
one else can, if their children are quite intelligent: Get them into
Cambridge, Harvard or Stanford.)