February 24, 2018

Crisis: On Opioids, On Russia-gate, On Trump's Murders, On American "Education"*2


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from February 24, 2018.


This is a Nederlog of Saturday, February 24, 2018.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:

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.

On the moment and since more than two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

Section 2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from February 24, 2018

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
1. Oxycontin Maker Quietly Worked to Weaken Legal Doctrine That Could
     Lead to Jail Time for Executives

2. Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is
     Damaging Nation

3. What Essential Social Program Will the Trump Mob Try to Kill Next?
4. The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?
5. Higher Education Is Drowning in BS
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:

1. Oxycontin Maker Quietly Worked to Weaken Legal Doctrine That Could Lead to Jail Time for Executives

This article is by Lee Fang on The Intercept. It starts as follows (and - in a sense - continues an article I reviewed yesterday):

Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, revolutionized the opioid industry through aggressive marketing tactics that encouraged the widespread use of prescription painkillers.

That part, by now, is well known, as an out-of-control opioid epidemic ravages a generation of young people with such potency that it has dragged down the overall life expectancy of the American people. What has not been previously revealed is that as the death toll mounted, officials at the company attempted to work behind-the-scenes to make it less likely that they could ever be successfully prosecuted for the carnage opioids were unleashing.

Executives in multiple industries have long been kept up at night by knowledge of the looming power of the Responsible Corporate Office, or RCO doctrine, also known as the Park doctrine, a legal liability standard used largely to prosecute executives at companies responsible for affecting public health and safety. Under the Park doctrine, federal prosecutors could target senior executives and board members of opioid pharmaceutical companies for their role in the sprawling epidemic if violations of criminal law were proved true, regardless of whether they could prove knowledge or motivation.

Purdue helped to quietly finance an effort to unravel that doctrine, according to people with knowledge of the company’s activity.

I think that is all true, but I also think the real story is considerably worse. The real story starts from the fact that Purdue has been investing a lot of money into Oxycontin since 1996 - and I quote myself from yesterday, that starts with a quotation:

Purdue bankrolled widely circulated research that testified to OxyContin’s safety and urged physicians to prescribe the drug for all sorts of conditions.

And all of these testimonies were major lies: OxyContin is and was extremely addictive, and this has caused
hundreds of thousands of deaths, for people who were treated for pain found out after their treatment that they were also seriously addicted.

Second, Purdue mostly tried to convince medical doctors to subscribe this extremely addictive substance, and it has succeeded in doing that for more than twenty years.

Third, all of the medics it convinced (for a value of many billions of dollars) knew that heroine is very addictive, but prescribed this very close analogue nevertheless.

Fourth, I think the vast majority of the American medics who prescribed Oxycontin knew they were - very probably: it is a matter of quite basic and rather simple biochemistry - prescribing strongly addictive drugs, but were convinced by Purdue's propaganda they could get away with it (and they were correct, the last 22 years).

Back to this article:

Executives at Purdue were once charged using the corporate office doctrine in 2007, in a case that found that the company had “misbranded” its drugs as less likely to be abused than other narcotics. The company agreed to pay a settlement of $634.5 million. A growing number of state and local prosecutors, however, believe that the company simply shifted tactics after the settlement, and could again face liability for continuing to downplay the dangers of its opioid products using sophisticated marketing campaigns that targeted the medical community and patient advocacy groups.

As to the settlement of $634.5 million: It is likely Purdue turned over about as much as it did in 2012 ($8 billion) and with a similar profit: $3.1 billion. Minus $634.5 million "settlement" leaves them still with a profit of $3 billion. In a single year.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Since 1996, when Purdue released Oxycontin, the firm has fueled rising opioid sales through a marketing campaign focused on increasing prescribing of opioids.

Investigative reports have detailed in recent years how Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies financed physician training programs, prescribing guidelines, patient advocacy groups, and other nonprofits designed to encourage the widespread use of opioids painkillers.

The resulting market has generously enriched pharmaceutical companies. In 2012, drug companies generated $8 billion in revenue from opioids. That year, Purdue Pharma reportedly earned over $3.1 billion from Oxycontin-related sales alone.

The incredibly high rates of opioid drug use in America is one testament to the industry’s outreach efforts. Americans consume about 81 percent of the global supply of oxycodone products, the active ingredient in OxyContin, and nearly 100 percent of hydrocodone, the active ingredient used in brands such as Vicodin.

If the yearly profits of Purdue are on average $3 billion a year, their total profits from selling a close and very addictive analogue of heroin was $66 billion.

And from those profits you can easily finance "physician training programs" that essentially told physicians they could safely prescribe OxyContin, because some more famous physicians had been (also) bought by them and had said it was not dangerous - which was an absolute lie each and every physican could and should (and probably did) see through.

The American doctors prescribed it because they assumed that American doctors could safely prescibe it and would not have to appear in court.

At least that is what I think is the truth. There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended (but that does not make my point that most doctors knew quite well they were
prescribing the equivalents of heroin to their patients).

2. Russiagate Has Become a Conspiracy Trap Obscuring How Trump Is Damaging Nation

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen talks about how President Trump has benefited from what she calls the “conspiracy trap” around Russia’s role in the 2016 election. She wrote last year, “Russiagate is helping him—both by distracting from real, documentable, and documented issues, and by promoting a xenophobic conspiracy theory in the cause of removing a xenophobic conspiracy theorist from office.”

Yes indeed - and I have reviewed several of Masha Gessen's articles in Nederlog. Here is more:

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about a piece you wrote last year in The New York Review of Books called “Russia: The Conspiracy Trap,” in which you wrote, “Russiagate is helping [Trump] … by distracting from real, documentable, and documented issues, and by promoting a xenophobic conspiracy theory in the cause of removing a xenophobic conspiracy theorist from office.”

MASHA GESSEN: I couldn’t have said it better myself. But yeah, I mean, look, he is doing unspeakable damage to our political culture, to American institutions, to politics as we have known it, which hasn’t been perfect, but it’s certainly—you know, it’s being badly damaged. And I think I’m really worried that it’s been damaged in ways that will make it extremely difficult to recover. And we don’t have endless bandwidth. We don’t have endless column inches available, even on the internet, right? And every time that we talk about Russiagate, we are not talking about immigration. Every time we talk about Russiagate, we’re not talking about the decimation of the State Department. Every time we talk about Russiagate, we’re not talking about deregulation.

Yes indeed and I quite agree, except on the minor point that I think Gessen should have said instead of "Russiagate is helping [Trump]" (bolding added) "Russiagate is mostly false and is helping [Trump] … by distracting from real, documentable, and documented issues, and by promoting a xenophobic conspiracy theory in the cause of removing a xenophobic conspiracy theorist from office.”

I think that is correct. Here is more:
MASHA GESSEN: (..) This president is putting every person in the world at risk of dying in a nuclear holocaust. This president is putting every person in the world at risk of living on a planet where irreversible damage has been done to the climate. And so, to say that the world has no business in—has no stake in the outcome of the American election is actually irresponsible and wrong and also xenophobic, right? I mean, it’s very Trumpian to sort of say, “You know, we’ll do whatever we want here, because we’ve got our sovereignty.” Think about that. Right? And then make a reasoned argument for keeping Russians out of the American public sphere, because they are so disruptive, misleading, bad-faith, etc. But it has to be a good, reasoned argument and not just this knee-jerk xenophobia.
Yes, I quite agree, indeed also because I am not American but Dutch, which means in effect that I am automatically dealt the sub-human status of someone whose everything may be stolen wholly unproblematically from my computer. (If you think "sub-human" is too strong, please realize this concerns all the privacies, all the values, all the ideas, and all the private mails I once had and now have lost.)

Here is the last bit I quote from this fine interview:
MASHA GESSEN: (..) First of all, I mean, there is the issue of sanctions being required by law and the Trump administration missing its deadline for imposing those sanctions. And that’s a problem, right? I mean, that’s a problem regardless of the substance of these sanctions and how useful they might be and whether we think they’re justified, right? I think that that’s the problem not so much of Trump—we should be focused less on the problem of Trump not imposing sanctions on Russia, and more on the problem of having a president who can just dismiss a law passed by Congress, just ignore it. I mean, that, in the long run, is much more damaging to our political system than whether it’s Russia or not, right?
Yes, I agree again: A president who can choose whether to apply or to dismiss agreed-upon laws, and who does so, is not a legal president, for presidents are supposed to maintain the accepted laws, but is more like a dictator or an autocrat. And this is a recommended article.

3. What Essential Social Program Will the Trump Mob Try to Kill Next?

This article is by Jim Hightower on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

Breaking news: Trump & Company are a murderous mob!

From the start of his White House tenure, the Trumpsters have plotted, stalked and serially killed vibrant members of the English Language.

The word "Fact" was the first to go. Robust and universally respected, Fact was assassinated last year when one of Trump's hired killers poisoned it with an unknown substance nicknamed: "Alternative Fact."

Their latest victim was a much-honored word that has produced a whole family of world literature: "Satire." This powerful noun embodied the use of sarcasm and ridicule to expose the vanity and vice of public figures, but Trump himself killed satire by starving it of any meaning. How can anyone satirize a presidency that is, in reality, nothing but a fully-staged satire of vanity and vice? Satire involves exaggerating the flaws, mannerisms, oddities, etc. of various characters to convey how corrupt and contemptible they are -- but it's impossible to exaggerate the awfulness of an administration that gleefully flaunts its awfulness every day.

Well... this appears to me a bit of an exaggeration: You can't kill words, for one thing, and it also is not so much that Trump and the GOP do propose new words (like "alternative facts" for "intentional lies", and "fake news" that abbreviates the same, but with a negative slant) as that much of the American mainstream media has been bought by the few rich, and offer "news" that suits the interests of the rich (and simply do not treat most of the real news).

Then again, it may be that the initial statement - "Trump & Company are a murderous mob!" - in fact does not so much apply to their linguistic tastes and habits, as to the following:

Take Trump's proposed budget... please! Delivered just in time for Valentine's Day, it's a nasty piece of work. For example, it would intentionally increase poverty and hunger across our country. It would slash programs providing essential food, housing, and even heating assistance for about 50 million Americans -- mostly children, old folks, poverty-wage worker, and disabled people.

Then there are the vital Medicare and Medicaid programs that most working class Americans count on. Candidate Trump promised us that "there will be no cuts" in funding for these programs. But now he has sent his Valentine budget to us, featuring -- guess what? -- hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Not only has his cynicism killed satire, but his cynical health care cuts could kill you.

I quite agree that Trump's "cynical health care cuts could kill" many Americans, but by now it would have been nice to get some estimates about how many American citizens are going ti be killed (probably: be driven to suicide) by Trump's budget plans and his enoromous cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars to Medicare and Medicaid.

How many of the "about 50 million Americans" are going to die in the next three years? With top and bottom estimates?!

I have no idea, but I am not optimistic.

4. The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?

This article is by Rebecca Gordon on Common Dreams. This is from near the beginning:
I’ll only have a few chances to convince a new crop of students that they really do want to examine their deepest values -- the things they care most about -- and even talk about them in front of their peers.

In fact, most of them do care deeply and about important things, too, like how they should treat their friends, their parents, and their sexual and/or romantic partners. They care about their friends who drink and drug too much and appreciate the friends who get them home safe when they do the same. They care about economic inequality, especially when they’re trying to find a place they can afford to rent in this city of soaring prices, San Francisco, or when contemplating the massive debt most of them will be carrying for years, if not a lifetime, after they graduate.

Well... I suppose I am expected to feel glad about the fact that some young Americans  (bolding added) "even talk about [the things they care most about] in front of their peers" - and also see the next article) but in fact I do not.

Here is my main reason:

They care about so much, but there’s a lot they just don’t know.

Don’t Know Much About History...

The first hint I got about the gaps in my students’ background knowledge came early on in my teaching career. In a homework assignment a student wrote that Aristotle had quoted Shakespeare. Another thought that when that Greek philosopher mentioned a theater, he was talking about going to the movies.

I wasn’t surprised that those students knew little about ancient Athens; there’s no reason to expect them to arrive at college versed in Greek philosophy. But something far more basic was missing: a sense of the sweep of what Americans call “western” history -- a chronological grid on which to pin the key movements and events that shape today’s world.
Yes indeed - and I did get history in the lower school (between 6 and 12) and also (forced, not chosen) in high school, and I am quite certain I knew the above were simply ignorant falsities by the time I was 12, at the latest.

Then again, since then history has become "facultative" in Holland: one is free to choose it or not (as are 8 of the other subjects I did get on the classical high school I went to, before 1966).

Here is more on the utter and complete ignorance of most Americans about anything that happened beyond their lives, and most things that happen outside of the USA:

I’m certainly not the first person to discover that, for new generations, foundational events in her own life -- the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the women’s liberation movement, even the first Gulf War -- are, to the young, history almost as ancient as the Civil War. Why should they know about such things? They weren’t even born yet.

But here’s a surprising development -- surprising because this last decade and a half seems to have flown past so quickly. I’m now encountering students who have no memory of an event that has shaped their lives, this country, and much of the world for the last 16 years: the 9/11 attacks.

I am sorry, but while I believe it (largely because of the equally shocking total demise of all decent education I lived through in Holland, in the last 50 years) I also think that people who do not know anything of the world or history before 2005 or so should not be in college or university: They have a level of ignorance at 18 I had behind me (like nearly all Dutchmen of my age) when I was 12.

Here is the last bit that I quote on the vast ignorance that seems to characterize most American "students":

These days, my students live in a country that has been at war almost since they were born, and yet, as is true with most of their fellow citizens, the fighting could be happening on Mars for all the impact it has on them. Most of them no longer know people directly affected. Their friends and family, of course, aren't among the tens of millions of Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, or Yemenis made refugees by those American wars and their consequences.

Most of them haven’t yet realized that, if their government hadn’t spent $5.6 trillion and counting on those very wars, there might have been federal money available to relieve them of the school debt they will carry for decades.

And again I believe this because I have seen education collapse spectacularly in Holland in the last 50 years, while very few as much as wrote about it, and especially not about university "education". This is a recommended article, as is the next:

5. Higher Education Is Drowning in BS

This article is by Christian Smith on The Chronicle of Higher Education. It starts as follows:
I have had nearly enough bullshit. The manure has piled up so deep in the hallways, classrooms, and administration buildings of American higher education that I am not sure how much longer I can wade through it and retain my sanity and integrity.

Even worse, the accumulated effects of all the academic BS are contributing to this country’s disastrous political condition and, ultimately, putting at risk the very viability and character of decent civilization.

Yes indeed: I quite agree. But I should add three points before going on (and this a very good article):

The first point is that Smith (?) is almost certainly considerably younger than my 67 years, but that I in fact had thoughts like he had for the first time in 1966 or 1967, which is more than fifty years ago.

My reason is that in 1965 the - quite good - preparatory education for university (corresponding to high school), which included three foreign languages (or five, for those who took the grammar school) and fourteen subjects that were mostly examined in writing, and that had been instituted in 1865 (and produced at least one excellent mathematician - Brouwer - and several Nobel Prizes for Dutch physicists) was to be completely terminated and to be replaced by a system (that started to come into place in 1966) where one was examined in writing in four or five subjects, where one had to do only one foreign language, and were much of what had been taught and learmed in the previous hundred years to people preparing for a university education simply disappeared or were made a matter of personal choice (history, geography, other foreign languages and much more).

In fact, almost all of the above had happened by 1973, and since then few Dutchmen learned three or five foreign languages, while in fact by 2008, when all university studies had been both halved and made very expensive to the students, and one had to make a B.A. in engineering etc. within three years, it was found most students of engineering lacked mathematical understandings I had acquired by age 15 (in the old system), and had to be pre-schooled a half year (taken from their B.A.s) to get to the point I had reached at 15.

And the third fact (about Holland) is that there has been some journalistic writing about this but in fact not much, in part because the high school was a minority affair (the old Dutch high schools required an IQ of around 125 to succeed; the new one between 105 and 115), and in part because very little is written about the real goings on inside the Dutch universities in the daily papers, which has been the case for over 50 years as well, although this also grew worse and worse.

Finally, my own opinion - after I tried to reform the Dutch universities, and was in thanks denied the right to do my (excellent) M.A. in philosophy - the Dutch "universities" ceased to be real universities by 1980, and since then are Blatcherist quasi-universities, where everyone who is willing to pay an enormous study loan and has an IQ of 100 or more can get some degree.

Then again, very few Dutch academics (all of whom have an enormous financial interest in their own positions) will agree with me (and most will insist I am an elitarian even for mentioning IQs).

Here is the second bit that I quote from this excellent article:

What do I mean by BS?

BS is the university’s loss of capacity to grapple with life’s Big Questions, because of our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.

BS is the farce of what are actually "fragmentversities" claiming to be universities, of hyperspecialization and academic disciplines unable to talk with each other about obvious shared concerns.

BS is the expectation that a good education can be provided by institutions modeled organizationally on factories, state bureaucracies, and shopping malls — that is, by enormous universities processing hordes of students as if they were livestock, numbers waiting in line, and shopping consumers.

BS is universities hijacked by the relentless pursuit of money and prestige, including chasing rankings that they know are deeply flawed, at the expense of genuine educational excellence (to be distinguished from the vacuous "excellence" peddled by recruitment and "advancement" offices in every run-of-the-mill university).

BS is the ideologically infused jargon deployed by various fields to stake out in-group self-importance and insulate them from accountability to those not fluent in such solipsistic language games.

BS is a tenure system that provides guaranteed lifetime employment to faculty who are lousy teachers and inactive scholars, not because they espouse unpopular viewpoints that need the protection of "academic freedom," but only because years ago they somehow were granted tenure.

In case you think this is all that starts with "BS is", you are quite mistaken: There is as much more, but I leave that to your interests.

Meanwhile, what is said above all was true of the Dutch universities from 1980 onwards - but at most 5% of the students cared, and at most 1% of the academic staff cared: Everybody else pretended nothing had really changed.

Most students did not protest at all because their courses had been made much more simple, which made it a lot easier to get their M.A.s; most academics did not protest because they had a very good income and high status being academics. (And almost all Dutch academics I have known were pure geniuses in lying, I admit, and indeed in absolutely nothing else: I got - for one example - in three full studies only one series of lessons by one person that was any good.)

Here is more from the article:
I could continue to list much more BS that has piled up in higher education, but I have shoveled through enough already to make the point. Lest readers think this is only sour grapes, let me clarify a few facts. I absolutely love scholarly research. I am a fortunate winner in the research university system. I know it takes money to achieve excellence. I have worked to help raise and sustain my universities’ program rankings and institutional status. I have taught classes of more than 300 students. And I really love college sports, especially football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer.
Well... I don't see what "football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer" have to do with any (real) university, but I grant that in my time and before 2000 they were not part of the Dutch "university" system.

Apart from that I mostly agree: I was an extremely good student (straight As always); I could do three studies (while ill) while the norm is one study, which about half fail; I was very strongly disposed towards real science, but I learned almost nobody cared - and one big difference between Smith and myself is that I have not made a single cent through studying, which indeed also makes me virtually unique in Holland.

And what I found in Holland, between 1977 and 1995, was an extremely sick quasi-university, where the average IQ in 1984 was 115 (it is lower now) and where most students pretended to be Marxists (and later postmodernists) and most academics pretended to be much interested in Marx, all because between 1971 and 1995 the students had the effective power in the Dutch universities, and most students were very "leftist" (in verbal pretenses, mostly) or members of the Dutch Communist Party (at least in Amsterdam and Nijmegen), and most academics agreed to their pretenses because they wanted to keep their high paying high status jobs (also with exceedingly few demands). [2]

Back to 2018 and the USA:
Ultimately, we must grasp the more dreadful reality that all of this BS in the academy is mortally corrosive of our larger culture and politics.

Ideas and their accompanying practices have consequences. What is formed in colleges and universities over decades shows up for better or worse in the character and quality of our public servants, political campaigns, public-policy debates, citizen participation, social capital, media programming, lower school education, consumer preferences, business ethics, entertainments, and much more. And the long-term corrosive effects on politics and culture can also be repaired only over the long term, if ever. There are no quick fixes here. So I do not speak in hyperbole by saying that our accumulated academic BS puts at risk decent civilization itself.

I completely agree, and for me Holland is in a very similar situation as the USA (and yes, I know: Most Dutchmen, especially academically employed rich Dutchmen, will deny this - but they did not do anything in the last 50 years to stop it, and lied and lied and lied to become academics, for that requires a lot of lying in Holland).

And I quote the following statement because it mentions quite a few things I have been fascinated by as well (not necessarily in a positive way), and I provide the links in it:
The world is always being overrun by political, economic, religious, and social unreason, violence, stupidity, deception, and domination through sheer power.
Here is more on the current state of American "education":
Under the accumulated weight of the mounds of BS, the island has been swamped, the reserve polluted, by many of the destructive outside forces that the academy exists to hold in check and correct. Much of American higher education now embodies the problems it was intended to transcend and transform: unreason, duplicity, refusals of accountability, incapacities to grasp complexity and see the big picture, and resorts to semi-masked forms of coercion.

The most disturbing consequences of this long-term corruption are now playing out in our national political culture and institutions.

Dramatic political polarization, fake news, legislative paralysis, torrents of blatant lies told with impunity, violent radicals in our city streets, scandalous ignorance of large swaths of Americans about the basic facts of our most pressing national problems, some top officials boasting about their sexual harassments and assaults without consequence, international diplomacy conducted through schoolyard taunting and self-contradictory tweets, and the growing frustration and increasingly desperate rage of large sectors of ordinary Americans: These are exactly what develop when even the "educated" citizens of a country are for too many decades not educated well, and when the institutional centers of enlightened learning and debate become havens of ideology, intimidation, and mission drift. With academe in this condition, what hope can we have for the exercise of important social virtues in politics, law, diplomacy, the media, and the marketplace?

Precisely - and in my experience the Dutch system of education has been destroyed in 1965 and has been rotting more and more and more ever since.

Here is the final bit that I quote from this excellent article:

Many thoughtful people in higher education today are well aware of different piles of BS around them. Fewer seem to recognize the magnitude of the mounds of it that have accumulated and how badly they defile us. Most people involved also feel helpless to fight it, don’t want to risk careers that benefit from the status quo, or are professional boosters of the existing system and so are obliged to yammer on about how great everything is.

I too feel helpless.
I have given up (a long time ago, also) on both Holland and the Dutch "education"-system. My two reasons are these:

First I know that almost every Dutch academic (of 40 or older) knows a considerable part of what I know, but pretend they do not simply because they got the best paid and the best pensioned job they would ever get, and they are nearly all prepared to lie, mislead and deceive to keep their jobs.

And second, I also know that I am more intelligent than 99% of them, while I have tried everything I could do to save the scientific education that was the rule between 1865 and 1965,
and I know that very few Dutch academics are really interested in anything but the money the make, and the high status they have. [3] It very probably is the same in the USA.

I am completely helpless to do anything about it. And this is a strongly recommended article.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they 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 will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).

[2] I am sorry, but I knew the "University" of Amsterdam extremely well between 1977 and 1993, and tolerably well between 1994 and 2004. (And I did three full studies there.)

Also, in Holland the situation from 1971 till 1995 was radically different from that of any university outside Holland. But - I am quite sorry - to understand that you need to read Dutch. It is well explained, in Dutch, in ME in Amsterdam (that has been on line since 2002, and is known to both the City and the "University" of Amsterdam, but none of its leaders ever answered anything since 1988 or  since 1995.)

[3] And incidentally: Most Dutch academics are second-raters at best, for if they would have been first-raters, they would have gotten work outside Holland.

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