in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 26, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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:
. Selections from February 26, 2019:
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. Brazil Is Now Effectively Run by a
3. 'A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute'
4. The Emperor’s New Wall
5. A Not So Distant Past, When the Rule of Law Applied to
This article is by
Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
There is one desperate
left to thwart the impending
ecocide and extinction of the human species. We must, in wave after
wave, carry out nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to shut down the
capitals of the major industrial countries, crippling commerce and
transportation, until the ruling elites are forced to publicly state
the truth about climate catastrophe, implement radical measures to halt
carbon emissions by 2025 and empower an independent citizens committee
to oversee the termination of our 150-year binge on fossil fuels. If we
do not do this, we will face mass death.
I say, for this is quite
radical and in fact I also disagree with it. I explain my
First, while Hedges may
be correct that "[t]here
is one desperate chance left to thwart the impending
ecocide and extinction of the human species", I am - probably
considerably - less certain of this thesis than he is.
And second, while I think
democratic and liberal socialism is probably the best alternative to
capitalism, I do not think you can bring it about merely by "nonviolent acts of civil disobedience".
Indeed, if there is
to be a revolution, I think one also needs an economic crisis
to make a fair
chance of succeeding.
There are more reasons, and
the two I gave are also speculative, as are Hedges' theses. And
in fact, Hedges' theses correspond rather closely to ideas of
Extinction Rebellion, that is a British group I have never
The British-based group Extinction Rebellion has
called for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience on April 15 in
capitals around the world to reverse our “one-way track to extinction.”
I do not know if this effort will succeed. But I do know it is the only
mechanism left to force action by the ruling elites, who, although
global warming has been well documented for at least three decades,
have refused to carry out the measures needed to protect the planet and
the human race. These elites, for this reason alone, are illegitimate.
They must be replaced.
“It is our sacred duty to
rebel in order to protect our homes, our future, and the future of all
life on Earth,” Extinction Rebellion writes.
This is not hyperbolic. We have, as every major climate report states,
very little time left. Indeed, it may already be too late.
Well... I do not
think that Hedges is correct that his and Extinction Rebellion's theses
are (bolding added) "the only
mechanism left to force action by the ruling elites".
Here is more by Hedges (after
considerable amounts of quotations from Extinction Rebellion):
If we do not shake off
lethargy, our anomie, and resist, our misery, despondency and feelings
of helplessness will mount. We will become paralyzed. Resistance,
especially given the bleakness before us, is about more than winning.
It is about a life of meaning. It is about empowerment. It is a public
declaration that we will no longer live according to the dominant lie.
It is a message to the elites: YOU DO NOT OWN US. It is about defending
our dignity, agency and self-respect. The more we free ourselves from
the bondage of fear to throw up barriers along the forced march toward
ecocide the more we will be enveloped by a strange kind of euphoria,
one I often felt as a war correspondent documenting horrific suffering
and atrocities to shame the killers. We obliterate despair in our acts
of defiance, even if our victories are Pyrrhic. We reach out to those
around us. Courage is contagious.
No, I think this is
considerably too positive.
To explain my position (which I think is about as radical as
Hedges´ position, but is not the same) I think the best I can
do is to explain something about my family´s history and my own history:
Both of my parents were communists for 45 years, which they became in
the 1930s and early 1940s because of the arisal of Nazism and the
occupation of Holland by the Nazis, and so was my grandfather from 1937
till 1943 when he was killed. He was killed because both my father and
him were arrested in August of 1941, after which both were convicted as
¨political terrorists¨ to concentration
My father survived more than 3 years and 9 months in four concentration
camps, and he survived because he was a communist. My parents also stayed
communists after WW II, and I started out as a communist as
well, but gave up on communism and Marxism when I
was 20, in 1970. My reasons were that I could not believe in Marx´s principal
theses, and also could not believe that the Soviet Union and
other so-called ¨socialist states" were socialist in any sense I
could agree to.
Also, I had not survived nearly 4 years of Nazist concentration
camps as a communist, like my father.
Then again, I kept agreeing to my parents moral values,
and it were these moral values together with my strong interests in real
science that made me an opponent of the politics of the
¨University¨ of Amsterdam, that was from 1971 till 1995 mostly directed
by students who pretended to be communists until 1984 (but were
not real communists if my parents were real communists,
as they undoubtedly were) and then pretended to be (or maybe were) postmodernists
till 1995 (when the law was radically changed and the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam was turned very
Meanwhile, I had been scolded at least a hundred of times as ¨a
fascist¨ and ¨a filthy fascist¨ from 1977 till 1988 (!!!), and as a
¨terrorist¨ in 1988 because I criticized the hopelessly stupid and
dishonest persons who were supposed to teach me philosophy, and I had
also learned that around 95% of the students and staff from the
¨University¨ of Amsterdam
preferred ¨marxist¨ communism or postmodernism over
real science and rationality (not because they were real
communists, at least, but because this position made getting an
M.A. much easier) - and I learned this because I had created a
student-party: These were the outcomes of elections in the whole ¨University¨ of Amsterdam.
Also, I was removed very briefly before taking an excellent
M.A. in philosophy from the faculty of philosophy (as a student), which
destroyed my chances of an M.A. in philosophy, which
again is the reason for my taking an (excellent) M.A. in psychology (in
which I already had a B.A.).
The brief version of this is that I learned that at least 95% of the most intelligent Dutchmen
were strongly against me, fundamentally because I was for
science and for rationality, at a time when being against
science and against rationality in the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam was very
helpful in getting (mostly intellectually utterly worthless) M.A.s
And this implies that I do not trust most ¨leftists¨ (and no
rightists) also not if they preach revolution.
Anyway... back to the article, which ends as follows:
Well... in case the
demonstrators ¨are swiftly swept
away by the police¨ this action
will have failed. Also, ¨[t]his
is what parents do¨ is just an emotional
appeal. In any case, judging this and other cases in the light of
what my grandfather, my father and myself did, I think that in either
case there were less than 5% of the Dutch who ever mostly agreed with
either of us.
The mass actions on April
might fizzle out. The crowds might not gather. The public might be
apathetic. But if only a handful of us attempt to block a bridge or a
road, even if we are swiftly swept away by the police, so swiftly there
is not enough disruption to notice, it will be worth it. I am a father.
I love my children. It is not about me. It is about them. This is what
Is Now Effectively Run by a Military Junta
This article is by
Mauro Lopez on Truthdig and originally on Brasil Wire. It starts as
It was a
little more than 45 days of the most bizarre power experiment in
Brazilian history, but it’s over. The Jair Bolsonaro government, as the victorious power
arrangement that won at the ballot box in 2018, no longer exists. A new
phase two is beginning, of a regime that is ending the period of the people’s Constitution of 1988. A
military junta is taking power in a government in which it already
dominated. There are four generals encapsulated in the Presidential
Palace: Augusto Heleno, Hamilton Mourão, Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz
and Eduardo Villas Bôas. In the next few days, the Junta may
incorporate General Floriano Peixoto Neto, who is slated to substitute
General Secretariat Minister Gustavo Bebianno, Bolsonaro’s campaign coordinator who was recently ousted on money laundering charges.
not exactly a coup d’état. The coup took place in 2015-16. They were
already there. Now they occupy all of the key positions in the
government. They have taken the power that was left vacant by the cartoon caricatures of
Bolsonaro and his sons.
I say, which I
do because I did not know any of the above. Also, while
I take this as probably correct, I have no better reasons than that
this appeared on Truthdig.
Here is some more:
The most prominent member
the Military Junta will probably be Villas Bôas. He was the great
strategist, the negotiator, the man who took the initiative to betray
democracy, ordering the Supreme Court to block Lula’s freedom and
impeding the ex-President’s candidacy and with this, guaranteeing the
rise of a new regime.
same remarks apply as I made
above. Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
The Military Junta takes
with broad support from civilian elites. The military is seen as,
maybe, the last chance to implement a project for the Nation that aims
to alienate all of the natural resources and concentrate wealth at a
scale that has never been seen before, under a discourse of
“competence”, of ultra-neoliberalism and under the guidance of the
Again the same
remarks apply as I made above (and I know little about Brazil and do
not speak Portugese) but I think I should add that what is sketched in
this article is also known from other countries. And this is a
World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute'
This article is by
Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
across the globe mobilize
to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific
findings about looming "environmental
breakdown" pile up, a startling new study
published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that
global warming could cause stratocumulus
clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering
up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.
about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar
radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary
warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a
feedback loop that could spell disaster.
In fact, I selected
this article mostly because it mentions ¨a feedback loop that could spell disaster¨, which I have been worrying about
(feedback loops in general) ever since I read ¨The Limits
to Growth¨ in 1972.
Here is some more:
For this study, researchers
at the California Institute of Technology used a supercomputer
simulation to explore what could lead these low-lying, lumpy clouds to
vanish completely. As science journalist Natalie Wolchover laid out in
a lengthy piece for Quanta Magazine titled "A
World Without Clouds":
The simulation revealed a
tipping point: a level of warming at which stratocumulus clouds break
up altogether. The disappearance occurs when the concentration of CO2
in the simulated atmosphere reaches 1,200 parts per million [ppm]—a
level that fossil fuel burning could push us past in about a century,
under "business-as-usual" emissions scenarios. In the simulation, when
the tipping point is breached, Earth's temperature soars 8 degrees
Celsius, in addition to the 4 degrees of warming or more caused by the
Yes - if the
simulation is more or less correct, while then this is supposed to
happen around 2100. Here is some more:
Since the beginning of
Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's
atmosphere has surged from about 280 ppm to more
than 410 ppm today. Although concentrations will
continue to rise as long as the international community maintains
unsustainable activities that generate greenhouse gas emissions, some
observers pointed out that atmospheric carbon hitting 1,200 ppm is
far from a foregone conclusion.
I think I could be among "some
observers [who] pointed out that atmospheric carbon hitting 1,200
ppm is far from a foregone conclusion" and my reason is - see above - that it
seems rather probable that before the clouds disappear, it is
probable that capitalism will have destroyed itself, or alternatively,
that there is a kind of socialism that is much more careful
with nature than capitalism.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
However, as Washington
Post climate reporter Chris Mooney concluded in a series
of tweets, "the point is not that this scary
scenario is going to happen. Given the current trajectory of climate
policy and renewables, it seems unlikely. Rather,
the key point—and it's a big deal—is that there are many things we
don't understand about the climate system and there could be key
triggers out there, which set off processes that you can't easily stop."
I agree with Mooney and
this is a recommended article.
Emperor’s New Wall
This article is by
Ottavia Ampuero Villagran on Common Dreams and originally on
OpenDemocracy.net. It starts as follows:
Of course "CD" (here) is
"Common Dreams", and their initial "editorial note" is quite correct
and Villagran was mistaken that Trump would not issue his
(CD editor's note: This
article was originally published Feb. 14—one day before President
Donald Trump issued his emergency declaration to fund his border wall.)
“barriers”, “steel slats” – many are the terms being bandied around by
lawmakers in the United States as they seek compromise on the further
fortification of the US-Mexican border. Although a second government
shutdown tomorrow looks unlikely, President Donald Trump's remarks to
his supporters that “we’re
building the wall anyway” indicate that he will continue to search
for ways to forcefully fulfil one the central promises of his 2016
Here is more about walls:
The physical presence of
can certainly feel impressive, reminiscent of a past time of fortresses
and militias. Yet in today’s day and age, they attempt to project a
power they no longer possess. Walls simply do not stop the movement of
people – this needs to made clear from the outset. As long as migrants perceive
the situation on the other side to be better than what they could ever
hope to attain on theirs, they will find ways to cross. They will go around
the wall by sea; under it through tunnels; over it
with ladders; through it with blowtorches; and across
it at official checkpoints through subterfuge and inventive smuggling.
I think this is
all correct. Here is more:
Yes indeed. Here is the ending
of this article:
Walls are symbolic
reiterations of frontiers and thus markers of difference – a physical
declaration of the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Thus it is no
surprise that the increasing fortification of the southern border over
the past 50 years has paralleled the worsening of
attitudes towards Mexicans and Latinos, culminating
in the generalised fear of the “Latino Threat”. This often spills over
into outright hostility, weakening social cohesion and fuelling
anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy initiatives, including projects to
refuse public education to the children of undocumented immigrants and
halt affirmative action programmes.
I think this is probably
correct as well, and this is a recommended article.
While Trump insists that
wall is the only effective method of securing the southern border, it
is highly unlikely that this is true. If it does eventually get built,
its effect on the flows of people and contraband will be radically
limited by the technology and ingenuity of those on the other side.
This means that, at the end of the day, the power of whatever Trump
manages will only ever be largely symbolic. Perhaps that is why it is
so attractive to him anyway: a symbol that visually and psychologically
gratifies his wish to project rectitude, autonomy and might.
Not So Distant Past, When the Rule of Law Applied to Corporate CEOs
This article is
by Jerri-Lynn Scofield on Naked Capitalism. I abbreviated the title. It
starts as follows:
I say, which I do because
I did not know most of the above. Incidentally, the Wikipedia
lemma on Jeffrey
Skilling is quite interesting.
On Friday, the Grey Lady
reported: Jeffrey Skilling, Former Enron Chief,
Released After 12 Years in Prison:
Jeffrey K. Skilling, the
former chief executive of Enron whose lies contributed to the sudden collapse of the energy
company in one of the country’s most high-profile cases of
corporate fraud, was released from federal custody on Thursday after
serving more than 12 years in prison, the federal authorities said.
Younger readers may be
amazed to hear about a time not so very long ago and in a place much
nearer than a galaxy far, far away, where the US Department of Justice
(DoJ) – now openly derided by practicing lawyers as the Department
of Jokes – prosecuted and jailed corporate officers who allowed
criminal activity to occur on their watch.
Not only Skilling, but
Enron’s founder and chairman, Kenneth Lay, and its CFO, Andrew Fastow,
were sentenced to prison terms — although Lay died before he was able
to serve his time.
And it wasn’t only Enron
executives, who presided over what was until that time the largest
corporate bankruptcy, that were prosecuted and did time. Adelphia officers were convicted and
sent to jail, Likewise, for their WorldCom counterparts.
Here is more:
Then in 2009, things
Eric Holder became attorney
general, and instituted a seminal shift in DoJ enforcement policy – the
so-called “Holder Doctrine.” As I summarized in this September 2016
Enforcement Losing War on White Collar Crime, which described the
policy undertaken during the Holder’s tenure:
During that time, the DoJ
instead followed the “Holder doctrine” and eschewed criminal charges
against companies and executives, instead opting for negotiated
settlements (often imposing de minimis, slap-on-the wrist penalties
that were significantly undersized compared to the magnitude of damage
done, especially by TBTF banks and other financial predators, to name
just a few).
And as I have been saying for a long time: I know about Eric Holder and
the “Holder Doctrine” and
I think that Holder was (and is) a criminal.
Here is some more on how the criminal “Holder Doctrine” was applied:
Yes, I quite agree
(and this also reflects strongly back on Obama). Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
The bottom line: in
contrast to how prosecutors proceeded during the tech collapse that
occurred during the administration of George W. Bush – when corporate
officers were prosecuted, and sentenced to jail terms – no major Wall
Street executive faced any sort of legal reckoning for the activities
that led to the 2008 financial crisis. I mean zilch. Zero. De nada.
I believe that the lack of any
legal comeuppance for the behavior that caused that financial collapse
is one reason that Trump is president.
Well... a partial
answer to the last question is: The least that is needed is an
attorney general who upholds the law, instead of writing nonsense which
discards the law, but I agree that - very probably - more is
needed. And this is a recommended article.
Progressives are putting
forward exciting proposals to address long-neglected but pressing
policy problems: Medicare for All, the Green New Deal.
Our legal system is
similarly broken – and the problem isn’t limited solely to who holds a
The main question: What
needs to change for judges again to serve as neutral arbiters – and
shift the balance away from the business-friendly bias we’ve seen
during the last several decades?
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 (!!).