from December 9, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 December 9, 2018:
1. Shell Oil Executive Boasts That His
Company Influenced the Paris
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:
Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump
Defrauded Voters. But What
Does It Mean?
3. The High Cost of Shattering Democratic Norms
4. Noam Chomsky: Here's why Americans know so much about
so little about world affairs
5. Climate Change Is Likely to Come Sooner and Be Worse Than
Worst-Case Forecasts Suggest
Oil Executive Boasts That His Company Influenced the Paris Agreement
This article is by Kate Aronoff
on The Intercept. It starts as follows - and the ¨him¨ in the third
paragraph is the ¨top Royal Dutch
Shell oil helped write the
Paris climate agreement, according to a top Royal Dutch Shell executive.
They’re also the world’s ninth-largest
producer of greenhouse gas emissions.
To hear him tell it, their involvement has been wildly successful. “We
have had a process running for four years for the need of carbon unit
trading to be part of the Paris agreement. We can take some credit for
the fact that Article 6 [of the Paris agreement] is even there at all,”
Hone said at an IETA side event within the Katowice, Poland, conference
center. “We put together a straw proposal. Many of the elements of
that straw proposal appear in the Paris agreement. We put together
another straw proposal for the rulebook, and we saw some of that appear
in the text.”
Well... I told my
readers yesterday, in my review of The World Still Isn’t Meeting
Its Climate Goals,
that I did not and do not believe in either the Paris Agreement or the
Kyoto Agreement, basically because I have been
the evironment and/or the climate from 1972 onwards (when I read ¨The Limits
Growth¨), and my own conciusion about these
agreements about the prevention of global warming is that they have
been failing since 1972, and that those agreements that have been reached on
are much too low, while also the verbal
agreements will not be kept by
Also, I have been
thinking so for many years (and long before the Kyoto
Agreement of 1992), but I had not expected to get the support
of the Royal Dutch Shell the day after my review of The World Still Isn’t Meeting
Its Climate Goals.
Here is more on Shell
(by Bragg) and by Shell (by Hone):
This has three paragraphs.
Here are my comments on each of them:
Jesse Bragg, communications
director for Corporate Accountability, told me, “In some ways, I’m
pretty thankful that Shell was so honest about what many campaigners
have been saying for a long time: that the very corporations that
created this crisis are at the table and writing the supposed solutions
for getting us out of it.”
Under the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change, only state actors can
officially negotiate over the text of climate agreements, including the
Paris agreement. Unions, civil society groups, and corporations can be
observers to that process.
Hone added that he’s been
“chatting with some of the delegations” and that the “the [European
Union’s] position is not that different from how Shell sees this.”
First paragraph. I agree with Bragg - ¨the very corporations that created this
crisis are at the table and writing the supposed solutions for getting
us out of it¨ - and while I
also agree this has been hidden a long time, Shell opens up
(I think) Shell believes they have basically won
about oil: Shell will be extracting oil for a long time to
Second paragraph. I would say that this is quite clear - which also
means that it should be quite clear that (i) Shell is a corporation
that ought to have been excluded from official negotiations,
it is writing at least some of the texts that the state
agreeing upon, and (iii) these texts are much to the advantage
Third paragraph. And that is the result: According to this ¨top
Royal Dutch Shell executive¨, the
states that agreed on the Paris agreements and Shell are so close that “the [European Union’s] position is not
different from how Shell sees this”.
And here is part of what Shell achieved:
Article 6, the
provision that Shell is taking credit for, outlines carbon markets as
one of the chief ways that oil companies and other major polluters can
rein in their emissions, allowing them to purchase credits for
emissions reductions elsewhere instead of just reducing them
directly. Such systems have been racked with controversy and do
basically nothing to reduce the local impacts of extraction.
Precisely: Shell can
continue to extract whatever it wants, with the small proviso that it
must purchase credits for these extractions elsewhere, namely in
there is little extraction.
So... that is the Paris Agreement, or at least some parts of it
detail. You may believe in it, but I think that if you do (i) you do not
know much about the environment and the climate and/or (ii) you
have been tricked. And this is a strongly recommended article/.
2. Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump
Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean?
This article is by Peter Baker
and Nicholas Fandos on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team
draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal
scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more
contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged.
the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New
York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to
do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as
Russian agents made more efforts to influence him. At the same time, in
this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories
of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law.
prosecutors made clear in their memo that they viewed efforts by Mr.
Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to squelch the
stories as nothing less than a perversion of a democratic election —
and by extension they effectively accused the president of defrauding
voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.
Yes, this seems more or less correct (though I am one
of those who does not believe in Russia-gate, which in fact
also has not been proved in the last two years).
Here is more:
Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” the
did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two
women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital
affairs with Individual-1,” they continued. “In the process, Cohen
deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed
would have had a substantial effect on the election.”
exposure on campaign finance laws poses a challenge to Mr. Trump’s
legal team, which before now has focused mainly on rebutting
allegations of collusion and obstruction while trying to call into
question Mr. Mueller’s credibility.
Yes. Here is the last bit that I quote from this
I take it this is mostly true as
well and this is a recommended article.
if Mr. Trump cannot be charged while in office, the House could still
investigate or even seek to impeach him. The framers of the
Constitution specifically envisioned impeachment as a remedy for
removing a president who obtained office through corrupt means, and
legal scholars have long concluded that the threshold of “high crimes
and misdemeanors” does not necessarily require a statutory crime.
the campaign finance case as laid out by prosecutors is true, Mr.
Nadler said, Mr. Trump would be likely to meet the criteria for an
impeachable offense, and he said he would instruct his committee to
investigate when he takes over in January.
But he added that did not
necessarily mean that the committee should vote to impeach Mr. Trump.
“Is it serious enough to justify impeachment?” he asked. “That is
High Cost of Shattering Democratic Norms
is by The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
as I explained yesterday, in Republicans Are Clinging to
Wisconsin. Expect to See More GOP Power
Grabs, I think this is deeply illegal, because if
it would give the power to the
Republicans forever: Either they win, and
continue, or else they loose
and make it legally impossible for the Democrats to govern.
The package of bills now sitting on Mr. Walker’s desk would
require the new governor to get the Legislature’s permission to ban
guns in the Capitol, adjust benefits programs or withdraw the state
from a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. The Legislature
will also now appoint the majority of the members to the state’s
powerful economic development board.
Wisconsin Assembly speaker, Robin Vos, a Republican, said the quiet
part out loud this week when he told reporters that it was a blatant
power grab for his lame duck chamber to pass legislation that weakens
the incoming Democratic governor, Tony Evers.
did have an election,” Mr. Vos said on Tuesday.
“Whether everyone here likes it or not, I respect the fact that Tony
Evers is the governor and he’s going to be starting on Jan. 7. But he’s
not the governor today, and that’s why we’re going to make sure the
powers of each branch are as equal as they can be.”
they acted, Mr. Vos warned, “we are
going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies
that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in.”
Evers, that “very liberal governor,” won the election with 29,227 more votes
than the incumbent, Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, so more
Wisconsinites seem to believe in his policies than in those of the
departing governor. Mr. Evers, the state schools superintendent, ran on
an agenda that included increased school spending, a
middle-class tax cut and a more humane stance on undocumented
The above quotation was about Wiscon, but similar
things are happening in Michigan:
Meanwhile, another power play is
unfolding in Michigan, where a lame duck Republican Legislature is also
scheming to strip the incoming Democrats of various powers of their
offices. Under the measures, oversight of campaign finance rules would
shift from the secretary of state’s office to a special commission.
Another bill would allow the Legislature to intervene in lawsuits that
involve the state, rather than leaving that authority to the incoming
attorney general, a Democrat, Dana
chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association, Gina Raimondo of
Rhode Island, called the mischief in the
Midwest “a dangerous assault on our democracy.”
I agree with Raimondo. Here is the opinion of The
It seems to me you can´t
have it both ways: Either
these are ¨political
shenanigans¨ (and legal
ones) that are ¨norm
shattering¨, which means
that they are or should be illegal,
specifically because they overturn democracy, or else ¨the
courts¨ have to decided whether they are illegal.
these political shenanigans norm shattering? Absolutely. They’re
obnoxious and cynical, too. And it is regrettable that one political
party in particular is so insecure about the merits of its ideas — and
the concept of representative democracy — that it feels the need to
push a political system under strain even further toward extremism.
Are the moves illegal? That’s
for the courts to decide.
I think the first alternative is correct, and indeed I also
¨the courts¨ are not necessarily correct.
Here is some background:
Is all this
unprecedented? Sadly, not. Lame duck and 11th-hour power plays of all
sorts by both parties are common in American politics at all levels,
though they usually are not as bald as what we’re seeing in Madison and
Lansing. But American history is replete with examples of patronage,
ballot box stuffing, corruption, legislative chicanery and
disenfranchisement on a societal scale, and somehow the Republic has
Well... it seems at least
a bit odd to say that ¨somehow the Republic has survived¨ in spite of its
being ¨replete with examples of
patronage, ballot box stuffing, corruption, legislative chicanery and
disenfranchisement on a societal scale¨.
And the last bit of this article seems far
too optimistic to me:
easy to lose faith in American democracy when the two major political
parties have gerrymandered themselves into impregnable bunkers and
bathe in rivers of campaign cash. Most depressing of all is the
nationwide effort to erect barriers to voting, orchestrated by the
party of Lincoln.
But keep the faith. This is
what democracy looks like. Messy. Unfair. Imperfect.
should one ¨keep
the faith¨ (?!) when ¨the two major political parties have
gerrymandered themselves into impregnable bunkers and bathe in rivers
of campaign cash¨?! That seems to
be a reaction that amounts to insisting that one believes democracy
exists, while most of the evidence says it is not. And this is a
Chomsky: Here's why Americans know so much about sports but so little
about world affairs
is by Noam Chomsky on AlterNet and originally on Noam Chomsky´s
Official Site. In fact, the answers Chomsky gives seem to be from
several years, but the basic question is clear and sensible:
The question is a good
one, and I am afraid I disagree with Chomsky.
QUESTION: You've written
about the way that professional ideologists and the mandarins obfuscate
reality. And you have spoken -- in some places you call it a "Cartesian
common sense" -- of the commonsense capacities of people. Indeed, you
place a significant emphasis on this common sense when you reveal the
ideological aspects of arguments, especially in contemporary social
science. What do you mean by common sense? What does it mean in a
society like ours? For example, you've written that within a highly
competitive, fragmented society, it's very difficult for people to
become aware of what their interests are. If you are not able to
participate in the political system in meaningful ways, if you are
reduced to the role of a passive spectator, then what kind of knowledge
do you have? How can common sense emerge in this context?
The following is a
short excerpt from a classic, The Chomsky Reader, which offers a unique
insight on a question worth asking -- how is it that we as a people can
be so knowledgable about the intricacies of various sports teams, yet
be colossally ignorant about our various undertakings abroad?
Part of the reasons why I disagree has to do with my background: I am
the first M.A. in my family, and that was in my case not due to
the fact that my parents were stupid, for they were not, but to the
fact that they were poor. Consequently, I also was raised by a
poor family, and lived in a poor neighborhood.
And in any case, I do not much
believe in any strong
political or social common sense, simply because I never saw it
other than in small groups and at quite limited times,
while I strongly (and since more than 50 years) believe that the
majority of men are not intelligent
(and the two strongly interdepend).
Here is Chomsky´s opinion (in a short form):
[..] I think that this
concentration on such topics as sports makes a certain degree of sense.
The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do
anyway, without a degree of organization that's far beyond anything
that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live
in a fantasy world, and that's in fact what they do. I'm sure they are
using their common sense and intellectual skills, but in an area which
has no meaning and probably thrives because it has no meaning, as a
displacement from the serious problems which one cannot influence and
affect because the power happens to lie elsewhere.
Well... if Chomsky
agrees that the majority of people ¨might as well live in a fantasy world, and that's in fact
what they do¨ he seems to
be on the way of agreeing with me.
Then again, the whole
ideas of intelligence and (scientific)
knowledge are not mentioned in
this article, and I am myself quite clear that politics,
and values, if
they are to be more clear than unclear, do require a
degree of intelligence and a facility for forming abstractions that
are not normal in people with an IQ of 115 maximal (and yes, I
know and agree that IQs are far from perfect and not a
measure of intelligence, but they are the best we have, now).
And I say so in part
because I have been living the first 20 years of my life in a poor
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
QUESTION: You have said
that most intellectuals end up obfuscating reality. Do they understand
the reality they are obfuscating? Do they understand the social
processes they mystify?
CHOMSKY: Most people are not
liars. They can't tolerate too much cognitive dissonance. I don't want
to deny that there are outright liars, just brazen propagandists. You
can find them in journalism and in the academic professions as well.
But I don't think that's the norm. The norm is obedience, adoption of
uncritical attitudes, taking the easy path of self-deception. I think
there's also a selective process in the academic professions and
journalism. That is, people who are independent minded and cannot be
trusted to be obedient don't make it, by and large. They're often
filtered out along the way.
I largely agree
the above quotation - but once again, I am not much impressed
intelligence and knowledge of ordinary men, while here Chomsky says
that the norm - which the fast majorities anywhere and everywhere
satisfy - ¨is obedience,
adoption of uncritical attitudes, taking the easy path of self-deception¨, which I think is correct,
adds that something similar is so ¨in the academic professions and journalism. That is, people
who are independent minded and cannot be trusted to be obedient don't
make it, by and large¨, and
I agree again, because I have the same experience, and
¨filtered out¨ by the Dutch academic community because I was critical
of Dutch academics.
Anyway... while I
disagree with Chomsky, this is a recommended article.
Change Is Likely to Come Sooner and Be Worse Than Latest Worst-Case
is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
The news on climate
change has been pretty grim lately, but the fact is, it’s possible—even
likely—to be far worse than the already sobering news in the latest
Now, this is going to get a
bit wonky, but hang in there—the future viability of the life support
system you rely on may be at stake.
First, let’s review the
headlines from the recent reports, and then examine why warming is
likely to be much worse, and come much sooner than even these grim
The recent IPCC report told us that
even a temperature increase of 1.5°C could be devastating and that we
have very little time to act to avoid it. The Fourth National
Assessment told us the U.S. is already experiencing the adverse effects
of climate change and that flooding, droughts, fires, and disease would
only get worse before it gets better, even if we act immediately.
Yes - I basically
agree, indeed for reasons that were sketched out in item
1: I am
following the environment and the climate since 1972, and I see
reason to trust the governments, all or nearly all political parties,
or any of the corporations that make billions by extracting oil.
Here is more:
Finally, the Global Carbon
Project reported that carbon emissions are
expected to reach 37.1 billion tons in 2018—an all time high. So
as the world gathers to talk about how to implement the Paris agreement
at COP 24, we are falling further behind in meeting even its woefully
inadequate commitments that will hold warming to 3.5°C, and possibly
Yes indeed, and see item 1. Here is more:
When it comes to climate
change, the past is not prologue. In fact, in the future, the climate
is likely to be more sensitive to a given amount of emissions, not
less, because carbon sinks have been compromised. This makes a big
difference. For example, the new assumptions in the IPCC report suggest
we have about ten years of current emissions remaining before we warm
by 1.5°C; under the old ones, we only had three years. But since the
sinks are eroding, the expanded carbon budget used in the IPCC’s report
Possibly so. Here is
the last bit that I quote from this article:
So, 1) a higher proportion
of the carbon we release is likely to stay in the atmosphere, and 2)
massive natural stores of methane and carbon are beginning to be
released into the atmosphere in addition to the human
emissions. This means our carbon budgets are likely smaller than
we thought, not larger, and the time left before we exceed 1.5°C much
shorter than we forecast.
The bottom line is that we
have no time to act, if we want to have a reasonable chance of avoiding
devastating and catastrophic climate change. That’s why a Green New
Deal is absolutely necessary. Nothing short of a World War II-style
mobilization will enable us to escape a devastating global meltdown.
I do not know
the first of the above quoted paragraphs is correct, but I agree
the second part. And this is a recommended article.
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 2 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 (!!).