in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 6, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
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 April 6, 2019:
1. The Only Way White Supremacy Is
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. Elizabeth Warren Signals Willingness
to Kill the Filibuster
3. The Madness Driving Climate Catastrophe
4. Dangers Posed by Artificial Intelligence 'Very Real'
5. Capitalism or Socialism. Which Will it Be?
Only Way White Supremacy Is Defeated
This article is by
Robert Scheer on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Well... I like
Scheer, which also is the main reason, next to the title, that I
selected this article, but I cannot say I like Melina Abdullah a lot,
mostly because she sounds to me too much like many Dutch academics I
have known fairly well, who were o so very leftist as long as the
Soviet Union existed (which they styled "socialist") and the students
had the power in the Dutch universities (from 1971 till 1995), but who
turned neo-conservatives in 1991 (after the Soviet Union collapsed).
The election of Donald
Trump has emboldened white supremacists across the country. Hate crimes
have been on the rise for several
years now and racism, ingrained in U.S. institutions since the
nation’s founding, has become glaringly apparent even to those who had
believed the election of a black president had made it a thing of the
“Trump’s election has
allowed [white supremacists] to completely go buck wild,” scholar and
Black Lives Matter co-founder Melina
Abdullah tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in the
latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.”
You may disagree, and perhaps I am unfair in as much as I
persons who are difficult to compare fairly, if only because Abdullah
is black and lives in a much more racist society than the Dutch live,
but that is what I thought, which is also the reason you get very
little by Abdullah in this excerpt.
Here is Scheer, to start with:
My own reply to Scheer's
question probably would have been (and I recall 50 years ago very well,
since I was 19 then): Very little. But Abdullah thinks
Robert Scheer: Hi,
this is Robert Scheer with another edition of “Scheer Intelligence,”
where the intelligence comes from my guests. And in this case, it’s
Melina Abdullah, who is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter
movement. She’s here in Los Angeles, became a national movement, but
L.A. deserves some credit. And she is the chair of Pan-African studies
at Cal State L.A. And this is the 50th year anniversary of the origin
of black studies, so that would be a good point to start the
discussion. How much progress have we made?
Abdullah: (..) I still
think black studies is probably the most enduring victory of the Black
Power Movement, right? It’s a part of an institution that never wanted
it. And so it means that the struggle is constant, because the
institution is always trying to shut us down and kick us out. But it
also is kind of a way of taking resources back. An education system
that was intended for, you know, the sons and daughters of the
wealthy—that scandal that’s plagued the country. Like it’s
groundbreaking, it’s something new, right? We always knew it existed.
But it’s taking back kind of education and saying, education is—really
should be, at its best—about the liberation of people.
I am sorry but I believe
little of the above. Also, I dislike Abdullah's thesis that "education is—really should be, at its
best—about the liberation of people": No, real education
is about getting real
scientific knowledge about the world.
Here is some more by Scheer:
RS: (..) You
know, the war on Native Americans, I mean, starting obviously before
the creation of the country. Throwing Indian, Native American babies
into the fire. I mean, killing children. It was like My Lai in Vietnam,
but in this country. And so this task of gaining control of history, to
some it seems that oh, they’re just arguing about names or politically
correct or what have you—we’re really talking about scholarship.
I think both of Scheer's
points are valid. Here is some more by him:
We are part of a scandal that
affects Yale and Stanford and Georgetown and a number of other schools,
where we learned another story about affirmative action, which maybe is
just business as usual, where people use their wealth and privilege to
game the system. And in this case, probably committed crimes, but
again, that’s not particularly new.
me ask you, though. I have a feeling we’re regressing on issues of
racial equality, opportunity, and what have you. And it has a lot to do
with the changes in the employment situation. It has a lot to do with
attacks on public education; it costs a lot more money to go to these
schools now. And I—I don’t know, maybe just because I am out and about
as a reporter a lot, I’m despairing about the deep class and racial
divides in America now, and attacks on things like affirmative action.
Attacks on any effort to equal the playing field, to be more inclusive,
to change the curriculum, to acknowledge reality. The conventional
wisdom now is kind of—we did enough, we did too much, and let’s cut it
Yes, I agree
Scheer. Here is some more by him:
taking like the schools, the services and so forth, if you read, Colin
Powell wrote an autobiography. And he made a very interesting point; he
was still a Republican then. No—a lot more was done for us back in that
post-World War II Bronx than are done for kids now. For all the civil
rights movement, and all the things, and not just—I mean, I shouldn’t
say “not just.” Yes, people of color—but poor people. Whoever happens
to be trapped in the cycle of poverty, for whatever reason. And it’s
true. We had great after-school programs, we had terrific public
schools, we had a college system where you didn’t even have to pay for
textbooks through its early period. And there was certainly no idea of
tuition. When I went to City College, if someone had said you have to
start paying tuition, there would have been riots continuously. So we
actually, while many people walk around with the illusion that we have
somehow done a lot for people of color, people who are poor—it’s
nonsense. We have actually abandoned them.
I think this is also
right. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
think, you know, you have to recognize the main test of any
civilization is how do you treat the other. And that’s where America
has failed, and dramatically so, for the last 40 years of growing
income inequality and racial divide and everything else, you know. And
what I find crazy-making is this arrogance to think, hey, we did a
lot—“we” being people of power and privilege—we did a lot. No, you
didn’t! No, you didn’t, you actually made the schools worse.
And in fact, if you look at
the–and I pick out the last 40 years; we’re not talking ancient history
here. And I think the main thing we teach at these universities now is
selling out. It’s the opposite of the message that informed that San
Francisco— I’m mentioning again, we began by talking about 50 years ago
at San Francisco State there was this great protest to make the schools
more accountable to the needs of ordinary people and oppressed people
in the community. That was basically it.
And I think this is
right. And this is a mildly recommended article.
Warren Signals Willingness to Kill the Filibuster
article is by Julia Conley on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams.
It starts as follows:
Well... OK - but what is
answer is in the article, but lower: The filibuster is
Calling on the nation to
“wake up to the reality of the United States Senate,” Sen. Elizabeth
Warren is set to announce Friday that she supports eliminating the
The 2020 presidential
candidate is expected to endorse the proposal in a speech at
the National Action Network Convention in New York Friday morning.
“When Democrats next have
power, we should be bold and clear: We’re done with two sets of
rules—one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats,” Warren is
expected to say. “And that means when Democrats have the White House
again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama
and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive
problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster.”
the Senate procedure
allows a minority party to delay a vote by drawing out debate and block
legislation from passing by requiring a “supermajority” of 60 senators
to approve it
Yes, and the last link I gave
gives considerably more information. Also, I think I should add
Holland (where I live) has instead of the Senate and the House, the
First Chamber and the Second Chamber, where the First Chamber does
require a 2/3rds majority for some legal proposals, but not
but this is an aside.
Here is some more:
At the NAN Convention,
Warren is expected to note that the filibuster has stopped the Senate
from passing racial justice legislation for decades, including an anti-lynching
bill which was first introduced a century ago but didn’t pass
until December 2018.
“It nearly became the law
back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the
Senate—by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And
again,” Warren plans to say. “More than 200 times. An entire century of
obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation
from doing what was right.”
This is a fine example of how
the filibuster may be abused. Here is some more:
“We can’t sit around for
years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and
everyone else falls further and further behind,” Warren’s speech reads.
“We can’t sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our
planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington,
and while too much of a child’s fate in life still rests on the color
of their skin. Enough with that.”
Yes, I quite agree.
article ends as follows:
Since announcing her
in January she has called for a tax on the wealth of the richest
Americans to combat economic inequality and fund progressive
programs, a universal
childcare plan, and a breakup
of powerful tech giants, among other proposals.
Yes again, and perhaps I
should add that I like Warren as well as Sanders, and that at
think the best Democratic team for the 2020 presidential elections is
Sanders + Warren (as vice-president). And this is a recommended article.
Madness Driving Climate Catastrophe
This article is by H.
Patricia Hynes, who is a retired professor of environmental health. In
fact, it is the review of a book, and it starts as follows:
Yes, I think this is
mostly true, and I like it that Hynes describes the "U.N. climate negotiations begun in Rio de
Janeiro in 1992 and followed by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Copenhagen
in 2009, Paris in 2015 and Poland in 2018" as "impotent" (which also is about the most
sympathetic and true thing I can say about them - and I am
"the environment" (let's say) since 1971.
“Burning Up: A
Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption”
A book by Simon Pirani
The Great Acceleration:
This is the designation given to the last 70 years during which
industrial countries and a handful of newly rich developing countries
extracted and consumed fossil fuels at a reckless rate. While accurate,
the metaphor might suggest progress rather than the ominous
atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic climate trends ensuing.
The 20 hottest years on
record have occurred since 1995, almost in tandem with the impotent
U.N. climate negotiations begun in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and followed
by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009, Paris in 2015 and
Poland in 2018. Yet, even with near global consensus on the necessity
of reducing climate-warming emissions radically by 2030 and
(nonbinding) national pledges to do so, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
rose by 2.7 percent in 2018. Moreover, some analysts predict they will rise
higher in 2019 due to increasing deforestation, especially in
Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have
risen unremittingly to levels not prevailing since hundreds of
thousands (and possibly more than 6 million) years ago.
Here is some more:
Yes, and I would indeed
include besides "technology,
individual consumption and population growth as drivers of climate
change" also politics,
economy, and the rich corporations as "drivers of climate change".
In “Burning Up: A Global
History of Fossil Fuel Consumption,” Pirani sets out to plumb the
political, social and economic causes of the “madness that is producing
global warming.” His is a critically needed departure from much climate
crisis writing (and activism) that focuses solely on technology,
individual consumption and population growth as drivers of climate
Here is the last bit that I quot from this article:
Yes. And this is a
Pirani’s temporal focus
1950s to the present, coinciding with the postwar “great acceleration,”
in which the impact of technology and economies on nature has been
swift and drastic. Among his most cogent examples of political and
economic elite driving climate change is the calculated design of
cities for the car, now replicated throughout the world.
4. Dangers Posed by Artificial Intelligence
This article is by Andrea
Germanos on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
I agree with all
above, but I note that ""what
is most concerning is not happening in broad daylight" but "in military
labs, in security organizations, in private companies providing
services to governments or the police"" will very probably keep anybody else who is
interested in programming and computing from know anything or much
about the evils that are being wrought "in military labs, in security organizations,
[and] in private companies".
A pioneer in the field of
artificial intelligence warned that "dangers of abuse" of AI "are very
The warning from Canadian
computer science professor and leading AI researcher Yoshua Bengio came
in a Q&A
with the journal Nature published Thursday.
The interview was conducted
back in January, before Bengio was named along with two others
the latest recipients of the Turing Award, a prize dubbed the "Nobel
Prize of Computing."
Bengio told Nature
that "we have to raise flags before bad things happen" in terms of
irresponsible use of AI.
Unfortunately, "what is
most concerning is not happening in broad daylight" but "in military
labs, in security organizations, in private companies providing
services to governments or the police," he said.
In particular, Bengio said,
he is concerned with so-called killer drones—lethal autonomous
weapons—and surveillance, which can be abused by authoritarian
AI "can be used by those in
power to keep that power, and to increase it," said Bengio, and be used
"to worsen gender or racial discrimination."
Some sort of government or
international regulatory framework needs to be in place to put a check
on AI, added Bengio: "Self-regulation is not going to work."
And this is a recommended article (though I must say I dislike this
style were 1 paragraph = 1 statement, mostly because I am not an idiot
and dislike being treated as one).
or Socialism. Which Will it Be?
This article is
by Robert Freeman on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
[S]ocialism has lost a lot
of its epithetic punch since the days of the Cold War, when the world
lived under a nuclear Sword of Damocles. Here are a few reasons, on
both sides, why socialism doesn’t sound so scary anymore. You might
want to save it to parry the lunatic ravings of your crazy uncle at the
next family gathering.
I like Common
but I do not think that the present article - which I selected
of its title - is worth much, mostly because it is not objective in any
sense I can see.
case, here are "Ten important things that Capitalism has given
us", according to Freeman - and I have deleted all of the text that was
not bold in the present list:
Well... yes and no, in the
sense that nothing positive is mentioned. Here are ten important things
Socialism has given us, again according to Freeman, and again
of the non-bold texts deleted:
climate change, literally threatening life on earth.
- The Great
Depression of the 1930s, where the capitalist system
blew itself up (..)
- The Great
Recession of 2008, where the capitalist system blew itself up again
- The greatest
economic inequality in the developed world
- The highest
health care costs in the developed world, by far
parasitic military spending
- A decimated
industrial heartland and a cast-off industrial workforce
“diseases of despair”
- The highest rate
of incarceration of its citizenry in the world
- $22 trillion of
I am sorry, but I do not
think China is "socialist" in any sense I acknowledge (which is the
same judgement as I had about the Soviet Union from 1964 onwards); the
Nordic countries are certainly not practising "democratic
but (at best) social democracy; the internet was - in my opinion - designed
to bring fascism to the people and the world
(see yesterday, on surveillance
and there are more things in this list that I hardly would
arguments for socialism.
- China’s economy
which is blowing the doors off of the United States.
countries—Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark—with the highest
self-reported rates of happiness in the world. All
proudly practice democratic socialism.
- Recovery from
the Great Depression via public programs that employed millions
- Recovery from
the Great Recession
- The internet—yes,
it was invented by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, in 1969, and only later commercialized.
- The interstate
standards for safe drugs, foods, and workplaces
- Social Security
so that elderly people can retire
- Medicare, again,
so elderly would not be bankrupted by health care costs.
- The global
campaign to fix the hole in the ozone layer, caused by
And here is the ending of this article:
No, I am sorry:
about public ownership of private resources. It is about collective
action in pursuit of common goals, where private action has destroyed
or damaged the common good. It is demonized by concentrated private
wealth precisely because it is so effective at redressing so many of
the problems that concentrated private wealth has inflicted on society
and the world.
One of my grandfathers was a socialist; my other two grandparents were
anarchists; both of my parents were socialists for 45 years; and all
of them, including their friends and very many others -
and see: Crisis: On Socialism - understood by socialism "public ownership of private resources".
So I think most of the above is uninformed bullshit, and I
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 3 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 (!!).