in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from January 22, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
As I briefly explained yesterday, my
modem ceased working on Friday, January 18. I know, because I thought
and explained so to my provider, who gave me a new modem, that arrived
yesterday and that I got installed in 3 1/2 hours.
It was not easy, but it did work fairly well and the new modem works
well. Also, it was all done in the briefest possible time (what with
the weekend). I suppose this will hold me in the coming ten years (and
I´ll be 79 or dead).
And I started today with a quotation, by Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. I found it because it was Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. Day yesterday, but I like it a lot because (1) he said what
I am thinking the last 50 years or so, and because (2) he is the only
one I recall in decades of reading who joins ignorance and stupidity in a
very correct and sensible manner in a single sentence.
I do not yet know whether I will continue tomorrow with this quotation,
but I do like it a lot for the simple reasons that it
seems both true and quite important.
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 January 22, 2019:
1. Confronting the Culture of Death
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. Rest in Dissent
3. The West Has Islam Dangerously Wrong
4. 26 billionaires now own as much as the world’s 3.8 billion
5. Trump’s Assault on the Rule of Law
the Culture of Death
This article is by Chris Hedges on
Truthdig. It starts explicitly with an editorial message that Hedges is
a Presbyterian minister and that this is a sermon
that he gave on January 20:
The issue before us is
Not only our individual death, which is more imminent for some of us
this morning than others, but our collective death. We have begun
great mass extinction, driven by our 150-year binge on fossil fuel.
The litany of grim statistics is not unfamiliar to many of you. We are
pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at 10 times the rate of
the mass extinction known as the Great
Dying, which occurred 252 million years ago. The glaciers in Alaska
alone are losing an estimated 75 billion tons of ice every year. The
oceans, which absorb over 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are warming and acidifying, melting
the polar ice caps and resulting in rising sea levels and
oxygen-starved ocean dead zones. We await a 50-gigaton
burp, or “pulse,” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost on the
east Siberian arctic shelf which will release about two-thirds of the
total carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere since the beginning of
the Industrial Era. Some 150 to 200 species of plant, insect, bird and
mammal are going extinct every 24 hours, one thousand times the
“natural” or “background” rate. This pace of extinction is greater than
anything the world has experienced since the disappearance of the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Ultimately, feedback mechanisms will
accelerate the devastation and there will be nothing we can do to halt
obliteration. Past mass extinctions on earth were characterized by
abrupt warming of 6 to 7 degrees Celsius. We are barreling toward those
numbers. The mathematical models for this global temperature rise
predict an initial 70 percent die-off of the human species, culminating
with total death.
Yes, to the best
of my knowledge most of the above is quite true, unfortunately.
The corporate forces that
commodified the natural world for profit have also commodified human
beings. We are as expendable to global corporations as the Barrier Reef
or the great sequoias. These corporations and ruling elites, which have
orchestrated the largest transference of wealth upward in human
history, with globe’s richest 1 percent owning half the world’s wealth,
kneel, and force us to kneel, before the dictates of the global
marketplace. They have seized control of our governments, extinguishing
democracy, corrupting law and building alliances with neofascists and
authoritarians as the ruling ideology of neoliberalism is exposed as a
con. They have constructed pervasive and sophisticated systems of
internal security, wholesale surveillance and militarized police, along
with criminalizing poverty, to crush dissent.
Yes, again I
think most of the above is true.
Then there is this, and here I disagree (as a philosopher
and an atheist):
The point of faith is not
give us hope. It is to name and defy the forces of death. Faith is not
centered around the question “How is it with me?” This is part of the
narcissism of the dominant culture. Faith does not reside in infantile
fantasies about inevitable human progress or personal schemes for
unachievable happiness. Faith defies magical thinking. It defies our
cultural and historical amnesia.
No, I don't
think so, and two of my reasons are that I have a rather different
idea of faith
than Hedges (which I do think is - at least - more correct than
Hedges) and that I am an atheist and
a philosopher; that my parents were atheists; and
that along my mother's line her family has been atheistic from the
1850ies onwards (which was very early).
In fact, here is part
of my definition of faith in my Philosophical
But clearly this is not
Hedges' definition, although I do not have a clear idea
about what he understands by a faith, except that he is - indeed as a
Presbyterian minister - much more sympathetic to it than I am
and - in my opinion - also less scientific, indeed in part
because my rejection of all religion has a great
amount to do with my respect for and knowledge of real science.
As a rule, a faith is a
simplified version of a political ideology or a religion, and
plays the same role for the faithful as these: It provides ideas about
what the world is (a metaphysics)
and what it should be (an ethics), and
besides it gives coherence, agreement, and
possibilities of cooperation
for the faithful, whether these are political, such as Marxists or Liberals or Conservatives,
or religious, whether Christian, Mohammedan, Buddhistic or Hindu.
Usually, the truly
faithful are the none-too-intelligent,
who have much to fear and little power of independent individual
thought, and who have therefore a strong inclination towards conformism, followership,
and the belief in authorities
and who are, therefore, in times of crisis also easily moved to fanaticism.
Also, by far the best
guess about leaders
of the faithful is that they do not really believe the faith in which
they lead, and certainly not in the way they propound the faith, but
are in it for the money, the status, the power or other privileges.
(See: Clergy, Priests)
There is a lot more in this article, but I'll quote just one more bit
Corporate culture, like
cultures of death, makes war on love, truth, justice and beauty and
numbs us to the questions about the search for meaning and the struggle
to face our mortality. It spreads the dark viruses of hedonism, sexual
sadism, greed, the cult of the self, the lust for power,
hypermasculinity and the glorification of violence. It seeks to crush
the transcendent. It lacks the capacity for empathy, awe and reverence.
Well... yes - more or
less - if we are talking about "corporate culture". Then again,
I do not think that all corporate culture "seeks to crush the transcendent", if only because much of corporate
culture seems - somehow - inspired by some (possibly quite corrupted)
Christian religion. Also, I would not be amazed if corporate
culture does have some "empathy, awe and reverence", at least for those people it sees as
belonging to and supporting corporate culture.
But - although I do not
agree with everything Hedges is saying - this is a strongly
2. Rest in Dissent
This article is by
dr. David Healy on his blog. It starts as follows:
Fifty years ago today, January 19, Jan Palach
died. He had set fire to himself 3 days earlier in Wenceslas
Square in Prague in protest against the Soviet occupation of
Czechoslovakia. The spot was close to Charles University where Jan Hus
had begun a resistance to religious oppression 5 centuries before that
helped ignite the Reformation. He may have fallen as he began to
die on cobblestones made from Jewish gravestones, following the
obliteration of Prague’s Jewish community in the 1940s. There
doesn’t come a much greater concentration of history in a few square
I did not know that Jan Palach died
fifty years ago on January 19, but I do recall him quite well
(and he was just 1 1/2 years older than I am). Also, as an aside: While
I thought him extremely brave, I do not agree with
suicides in protest, but that is indeed an aside.
But Jan Palach is only an introduction to what dr. Healy - who is a
doctor of medicine himself - has to say about medicine:
In the late 1990s, Pfizer
ran clinical trials for a new antipsychotic Geodon. In one of
these trials, a person on active treatment set fire to
themselves. They died several days later. The death was
coded as death from burns rather than suicide.
This scenario is pretty
standard for most of the drugs used in medicine today. The degree
of mismatch between what patients experience and what the authorities
claim about the reality of treatments is as comprehensive in medicine
now as any mismatch between the claims of the State and lives of its
citizens ever was in Eastern Europe in the 1970s.
Just as Czechs in 1970
never met those who were the Engineers of Human Souls in Eastern
Europe, so patients and even doctors don’t meet the people responsible
for the forces that are making encounters in healthcare worldwide today
increasingly miserable. Doctors meet managers who insist they
keep to guidelines that are based on junk. Patients meet doctors who
are keeping to the guidelines. Neither managers nor doctors nor
patients get to meet those who engineer the guidelines
Yes, I more or less agree
with Healy, although I have considerably stronger values and
opinions about modern medicine and modern doctors, for the simple
reason that both my ex and myself are now over 40 years ill
with "a serious and chronic disease",
that we only are allowed - by Dutch medics - to diagnose as
such since March 2018, and until March 2018 the opinion
of almost any Dutch doctor on the "serious and chronic disease" we both have is that
we were not ill but either hallucinating or lying
(for forty years, in which both of us got to be excellent M.A.s
in psychology without hardly ever following any university lectures).
Also, my own factually based opinion
on Dutch doctors is that 90% are incompetent about rare diseases
and that 90% also lie and lie and lie against patients such as my
ex and myself.
Here is some more:
There is a resistance that is non-violent that can seem to
transcend the politics and struggles of men and can apparently lead to
success as with Gandhi in South Africa, turning the other cheek, or
Havel and Walesa in Prague and Gdansk. This looks like it can work when
we stand together but we rarely stay standing together for long –
without our “leaders” having to bribe us with something.
The morality of this way of doing things sits in the
balance along with what can be for some a more psychologically fitting
way – a turn to violence. Rather than set fire to yourself, bring the
fire down on them. But whether with violence or without,
the enduring problem is how to ensure that after the Revolution things
don’t end up worse than they were before.
How do [we] restore caring to health, and how do we ensure
it remains at the heart of what happens there?
Well... here are
three brief remarks on the above quotation:
First, I think Gandi, Havel and Walesa failed in the end, after
initial opposition and initial success (and at least Havel seems to
have agreed with me, in 2010).
Second, there are serious problems with violence anyway, and
Healy is correct that even if there will be some sort of
revolution of the many poor against the few rich, it is not at all
certain this revolution will bring what its revolutionaries hoped
it would bring.
And third, my own opinion on the last question is: By
changing the medical education that medics get, notably by making it
more difficult to become a medical doctor. Then again, I agree that
will take a long time (if it ever happens within 100 years),
and it also is not by far the only thing that is required. But
my ex and I have met 30 medical doctors of whom at most 10% were
competent, in a rational, scientific and moral way. And this is a
West Has Islam Dangerously Wrong
is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I like Robert Scheer
and I more or less agree with the first paragraph (although I also
think that the Korematsu decision to lock up American citizens of
Japanese descent because of their descent and for no other reason was more
serious than the present - also serious - nonsense Trump indulges
In January of 2017, one
week after he was sworn into office, President Donald Trump signed an
executive order prohibiting foreign nationals from seven
Muslim-majority countries from entering the country. Approximately 18
months later, the United States Supreme Court voted, 5-4, to uphold a
revised version of Trump’s Muslim ban—a decision that Omar Jadwat of
the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project has lambasted as
one of the worst in our nation’s history, on par with the Korematsu
v. United States decision during World War II.
If nothing else, Trump’s
political ascent has served as a potent reminder of Islamophobia’s
pervasiveness throughout 21st century American society. How then do we
dismantle these harmful stereotypes, which threaten Muslim communities
both at home and broad? For Juan Cole, author of the riveting new
history “Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires,” the
answer would appear to be a greater understanding of the religion’s
founder and formation.
But I do not agree with the second paragraph, and my main
reason is that "a greater
understanding of the religion’s founder and formation" is relevant only to a quite small
part of the population, while the existing Islamophobia extends
over much larger groups of persons.
In fact, this is in the article as well:
In the latest installment
“Scheer Intelligence,” Cole explores some of the dangers of letting
hatred and bias go unchallenged. “They just did a poll in Germany where
they found 44 percent of Germans think that Islam should not be
practiced in Germany,” he notes. “Any time you single out a group of
people as different from others, and as posing a unique kind of danger
to society, that leads in very bad directions. And we have seen over
and over again in modern history the directions that it can lead.”
Well... yes and
no: No, you will not make a large portion of the “44
percent of Germans think that Islam should not be practiced in Germany”
change their opinions about the Islam by writing books about (what you
think is) the true meaning of Islam or Muhammed. And yes, "44 percent" is an awful number, and reminds me strongly of
the fact that slightly over 70 years ago a similar proportion of
Germans thought the same about the Jews.
Also, while I disagree with Cole, this is nevertheless a recommended
billionaires now own as much as the world’s 3.8 billion poorest people
is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts
With Wall Street titans,
moguls, and other members of the global financial and political elite set
to gather in Davos, Switzerland this week for the annual World
Economic Forum, a report
published late Sunday found that the planet's richest people saw their
fortunes soar by $2.5 billion per day last year as the world's poorest
Good or Public Wealth?" and conducted by Oxfam, the new analysis found
that 26 billionaires now own as much wealth as the world's poorest 3.8
billion people combined.
According to Oxfam, the
number of billionaires has doubled since the global financial crisis of
2008, even as average families have struggled mightily to recover.
In contrast to the soaring
fortunes of the global financial elite, the wealth of the world's
poorest fell by $500 million each day in 2018—an overall decline of 11
"The economy we have today
is fundamentally inhuman," Paul O'Brien, vice president for policy and
campaigns at Oxfam America, said in an interview
with the Huffington Post.
I say, for I did
not know it was as bad as this, although I like (and
Here is more - and my own remedy for this gross and major
injustice is to legally forbid billionaires, namely by
a law that insists that no one should earn or owe more than 20 times as
much as the poorest do in a given society, on the additional
understanding that these poorest must have an income that is sufficient
for their fair needs (food, warmth, housing, education and health care).
Then again, I admit that such a law is quite contrary to capitalism,
which means that the only way to introduce it as a law is after
capitalism has died. (For more, see my Crisis:
Back to the article:
Singling out U.S.
Donald Trump and the Republican Party's $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for
the rich as the kind of upward redistribution that has worsened
inequality at the expense of the world's poor and working class,
O'Brien said that only transformative political and economic changes
across the globe will be sufficient to close the gap between the rich
and everyone else.
"The recent U.S. tax law is
a master class on how to favor massive corporations and the richest
citizens," O'Brien said in a statement.
"The law rewards U.S. companies that have trillions stashed offshore,
encourages U.S. companies to dodge foreign taxes on their foreign
profits, and fuels a global race to the bottom that benefits big
business and wealthy individuals."
"The only winners in the
race to the bottom on corporate tax are the wealthiest among us. Now is
the time to work towards a new set of tax rules that work for the many,
not the few," (..)
I agree with O'Brien, though
indeed he is less radical than I am, which indeed in the present
situation also seems more realistic. And I totally agree
with him on the American taxes.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
"People generally are
beginning to realize that they have been sold a bad bill of goods,"
O'Brien said. "Today, 262 million kids are going to stay home because
there is no funding for their education, 10,000 people today will die
because they don’t have access to basic healthcare that could easily be
funded through proper fiscal systems."
Oxfam's analysis concludes
that only a "human economy" that guarantees essential services like
healthcare, education, and housing to all—funded by higher
taxes on the ultra-rich—can begin to resolve the inequities that
are producing mass suffering and threatening
the existence of the planet.
According to Oxfam, "if the
richest one percent paid an additional 0.5 percent tax on their wealth,
an estimated $418 billion would be raised a year. This alone would
ensure an education for the 262 million children currently not in
school and provide healthcare that could save the lives of more than
three million people."
"Inequality is not
inevitable," Oxfam's report concludes, "it's a political choice."
I agree with Oxfam - although
I consider it quite unlikely that the rich billionaires will
agree that they should pay 1/2 of 1 percent of their incredible riches
for the millions of starving and uneducated people. And this is a strongly
Assault on the Rule of Law
is by Robert Reich on his blog. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Here is more:
The “rule of law”
distinguishes democracies from dictatorships. It’s based on three
fundamental principles. Trump is violating every one of them.
The first principle
is that no person is above the law, not even a president. Which
means a president cannot stop an investigation into his alleged illegal
that a president cannot prosecute political opponents. Decisions
about whom to prosecute for alleged criminal wrongdoing must be made by
prosecutors who are independent of politics.
Yes, this is also
correct. Here is more:
The third principle
is that a president must be respectful of the independence of the
judiciary. Yet Trump has openly ridiculed judges who
disagree with him in order to fuel public distrust of them.
He recently referred to the
judge who halted Trump’s plan for refusing to consider asylum
applications an “Obama judge,” and railed against the entire ninth
circuit in which that judge serves.
John Roberts, the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court, condemned Trump’s attack. “We do not have
Obama judges or Trump judges,” Roberts said. An “independent judiciary
is something we should all be thankful for.”
with Reich, but I do not agree with Roberts. In fact, Roberts
may be verbally correct that there are no "Obama judges or Trump judges", but then again there certainly
are conservative judges and non-conservative judges, and Trump tries to
nominate as many conservative judges into the Supreme Court as he can.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I agree - and like
Reich (or so it seems) I am quite pessimistic, but hope to be mistaken.
Almost a half-century ago,
I watched as another president violated these three basic principles of
the rule of law, although not as blatantly as Trump. The nation rose up
in outrage against Richard Nixon, who resigned before Congress
The question is whether this
generation of Americans will have the strength and wisdom to do the
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 (!!).