from April 23, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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.
moment and since more than two 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
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from April 23, 2018
1. Chaco Canyon, Chaco Earth
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. Will Congress Write Trump a Blank Check for War?
3. The Shameful Silence of the CEOs
4. 1968: When the Communist Party Stopped
a French Revolution
5. The Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution
Canyon, Chaco Earth
article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig.
It starts with an exposition about the Chaco
Culture that ruled a part of what is now New Mexico from
around 900 till 1150 AD. I´ll skip all of that, mostly because
today is the first day I ever heard of the Chacos and also
because their civilization disappeared over 800 years ago.
The bits I select and review all come from the last part of
Hedges´ article. Here is the first bit:
Yes, I think that is mostly
correct. And here is a quotation from Ronald Wright:
integration, altruism, and generosity go hand-in-hand,” Stuart adds.
“Poverty, social conflict, judgmental cynicism, and savagery do, too.”
Collapse, as Joseph A. Tainter
points out, is “a recurrent feature of human societies.” Complex
societies create centralized bureaucratic structures that exploit
resources until exhaustion and then prove unable to adapt to scarcity.
They create more sophisticated mechanisms to extract depleted
resources, evidenced in our own time by the decision of the Trump
administration to open up the lands around the Chaco Culture National
Historical Park to
fracking. In the end, the technologies and organization that make
the rise of complex societies possible become the mechanisms that
The fate of the Anasazi
replicates the fate of all complex societies. The collapse came within
one or two decades after the peak. As Jared Diamond writes in “Collapse:
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” the trajectories of
complex societies “are unlike the usual course of individual human
lives, which decline in a prolonged senescence. The reason is simple:
maximum population, wealth, resource consumption, and waste production
mean maximum environmental impact, approaching the limit where impact
inability to foresee—or watch for—long-range consequences may be
inherent to our kind, shaped by millions of years when we lived hand to
mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix
of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the
social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale
societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they
continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and
general population begin to suffer.”
Well... it cannot
be the ¨human inability to foresee¨ that hindered a
few specialists and a few idealists to foresee fifty and more years ago
the ecological dangers that were inherent in the system of economical
production: They did foresee it. The problem is that they
failed to convince many. (And this is a general human problem:
The few foresee; the many do not.)
And in fact I agree with Wright that it was mostly ¨a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness¨ that moved (and moves) most people, and he
is also quite right that the economical elites have ¨a vested interest in the status quo¨.
Here is more by Chris Hedges:
We in 2018 are beset
with signs of impending collapse. The droughts, wildfires, flooding,
soaring temperatures, crop failures, poisoning of the soil, air and
water, and social breakdown from global warming are leaving huge
segments of the world’s poor without adequate food, water and security.
Desperate migrants are fleeing the global south. Crisis
cults carry out nihilistic acts of terrorism, often in the name of
religious beliefs. Our predatory elites, who have retreated to their
own versions of Anasazi Great Houses, with access to private security,
private education, private medicine, private transportation, private
sources of water and food and luxury items that are unavailable to the
wider population, have walled out reality. Their hubris and myopia, as
well as blind obedience to an ideology—global capitalism—that benefits
them but accelerates social and environmental destruction, mean they
have only bought a little more time before they succumb like the rest
I think that is mostly correct.
Here is the ending of Hedges´ article:
The human species
faces its greatest existential crisis. Yet, our elites replicate the
imbecility, arrogance and greed of past elites. They hoard wealth. They
shut us out from circles of power. They use brutal forms of repression
to maintain control. They exhaust and poison the ecosystem. The longer
the corporate elites rule, the longer we fail to revolt, the less
chance we have to endure as a species. Settled or civilized life is
less than 10,000 years old. Our peculiar human social construction is
but a nanosecond to the universe. It may prove to be a brief and fatal
experiment. Perhaps, as Franz Kafka wrote, “There is hope; though not
And this seems to me to be
correct as well. This is a recommended article.
Congress Write Trump a Blank Check for War?
article is by Marjorie Cohn on Truthout. It starts as follows:
On Monday, April 23, the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to review a bill that would
virtually give President Donald J. Trump a blank check to wage war
anywhere in the world any time he pleases.
The Constitution places the
power to declare war exclusively in the hands of the Congress. However,
for the past 75 years, Congress has allowed that power to drift toward
the executive branch.
The new bill, should it
pass, would effectively make the transfer of the war power from
Congress to the president complete. It is hard to imagine a worse time
in American history for this to happen.
Here is more:
In spite of its exclusive
constitutional power, Congress has not declared war since 1942. After
that time, starting with President Truman, a series of US presidents
committed American troops to hostilities around the world without
waiting for Congress to act. Following the debacle in Vietnam, Congress
enacted the War Powers Resolution in an effort to reclaim its
constitutional authority to decide when and where the nation would go
The War Powers Resolution
allows the president to introduce US Armed Forces into hostilities or
imminent hostilities only after Congress has declared war, or in “a
national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its
territories or possessions, or its armed forces,” or when there is
“specific statutory authorization,” such as an Authorization for the
Use of Military Force.
Yes indeed. Here is
Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001 and 2002,
which were directed at al-Qaeda and Iraq, respectively. Although these
authorizations were limited, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald
Trump have all used them to justify attacking or invading whatever
country they wished.
Nevertheless, the 2001 AUMF has been used to justify at least 37
military operations in 14 countries, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Many of them were unrelated to the 9/11 attacks.
Precisely - and
reread this part: ¨the
2001 AUMF has been used to justify at least 37 military operations in
14 countries (...) Many of them
were unrelated to the 9/11 attacks¨.
There was in 2001
precisely one member of Congress who saw what was coming:
Rep. Barbara Lee
(D-California), the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001
AUMF, was prescient. In July 2017, Lee said, “I knew then it would
provide a blank check to wage war anywhere, anytime, for any length by
any president.” Lee told Democracy Now! in 2016
that she knew the 2001 AUMF “was setting the stage and the foundation
for perpetual war. And that is exactly what it has done.”
And this is about the
utterly sick and totally degenerate proposal that started
with Democrat Tim Kaine:
On April 16, 2018, a
bipartisan group of senators introduced a new AUMF to
replace the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chair Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Democratic committee member Tim
Kaine (Virginia) sponsored the proposed legislation. Co-sponsors
include Senators Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Christopher Coons
(D-Delaware), Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida).
The 2018 AUMF would
authorize the president to use military force, with no limitations, in
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. It would also allow
the president to take military action against al-Qaeda, ISIS and the
Taliban, as well as their “associated forces” in any geographical
And besides, the
compulsively lying madman Trump may - if Kaine gets his wishes - attack
anybody anywhere based on some lie that those he
desires to attack belong to the ¨associated forces¨...
Alarmingly, the new bill
contains a presumption that the president can decide when and where to
make war. It would require affirmative action by two-thirds of both
houses of Congress to prevent military action.
I say! Well....
proposed AUMF has been written (in part) by the neofascist
Here is more:
The proposed AUMF would
violate the United Nations Charter. The charter requires that countries
settle their disputes peacefully, and forbids the use of military force
except when conducted in self-defense or with the blessing of the
Security Council. The new AUMF would allow the president to attack or
invade another country with no requirement that the attack or invasion
be conducted in self-defense or with the council’s permission. It would
thus violate the charter.
Quite so. I reviewed
also yesterday and I merely repeat here what I wrote then:
I find this
fraudulent, extra-ordinarily dishonest lying, especially by the
Democratic degenerate fraud Kaine, so very
sickening that I
think I totally give up on both the
Democrats and the Republicans (except perhaps for one or two).
And I will if Kaine´s
sick proposal becomes law. This is a strongly
3. The Shameful Silence
of the CEOs
This article is by Robert Reich on his site.
It starts as follows:
would be more willing to stand up to Trump if their major financial
backers – big business and Wall Street – had more backbone.
Ever since 1971, when the
then future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell urged corporations to
mobilize politically, corporate money has flooded Washington – most of
it into Republican coffers.
Today, big corporations and
Wall Street essentially own the Republican Party. In the 2016 campaign
cycle, they contributed $34 to candidates from both parties for every
$1 donated by labor unions and all public interest organizations
In fact, I think there may
be a bit of a contradiction between the first paragraph and the third
paragraph: If ¨big
corporations and Wall Street essentially own the Republican Party¨ it seems somewhat incoherent - at
least in my eyes - to start with the suggestion that the
Party might ¨be
willing to stand up to Trump¨.
Then again, I am not
certain. Here is more:
Which means the CEOs of
America’s largest firms have the power to constrain the most dangerous,
divisive, and anti-democratic president ever to occupy the Oval Office.
So why don’t they? What
explains their silence?
I answer with one word:
Money. And Reich seems to
Yes indeed. Here is the
last part I quote from this article:
Dimon’s reluctance to
criticize Trump is particularly curious given Dimon’s public laments
about widening inequality, the explosion of student debt, America’s
growing racial divide, the failure of inner-city schools, and the
expenditure of “trillions of dollars on wars.”
One obvious explanation is
found in the money rolling in from the GOP’s new tax law and Trump’s
frenzy of deregulation. Profits have soared at JP Morgan and at other
big banks and corporations. Compensation for Dimon and other CEOs has
Never underestimate the power
of a fat compensation package to buy up scruples.
I’m old enough to
recall a time when CEOs were thought of as “corporate statesman” with
duties to the nation. As one prominent executive told Time Magazine
in the 1950s, Americans “regard business management as a stewardship,”
acting “for the benefit of all the people.”
But with this I disagree:
Today’s CEOs finance a larger part of our political system, yet
they won’t take a stand to save it.
The first paragraph quoted above is mostly propaganda
rather than fact,
and if Reich had wanted to mention real facts rather than the
propaganda associated with it, he should have said that a
difference between the taxes the Republican Eisenhower
the rich were very much higher (justifiedly so, in my
opinion) than the
taxes the rich pay now.
As to the second quoted paragraph: First see item 1.
And second, the rich CEOs who - indeed - do ¨finance a larger part of our political
system¨ simply do not believe that the system they are
effectively heading is collapsing.
When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution
article is by Mitchell Abidor on The New York Review of Books.
One part of the reasons it is here is that I was 18 in 1968, and
visited France in May ´68
with some Dutch friends to observe the -
failed - revolution, and that I did so again in June 1968, all
by myelf, and with the same end.
It is fifty years ago this year. In 2008, forty years
1968, there were quite a large number of articles about 1968, and I
reviewed some of them (in Dutch) in May of 2008. In case you read
Dutch, here is a link to a file
that contains links to most of the reviews I wrote 10 years ago (and
to some I wrote 12 years ago).
I do not know whether there will be extensive commemorations of
May ´68 this year, but - seeing these commemorations happen at most
once in ten years now - this year will probably be the last
year that one can hear some of the leaders of ´68, such as
who became 73 this year (and who does not seem much
interested in ´68).
And I will try to follow at least some of the -
possible - commemorations this year of May ´68, simply because it
interests me; because I was there (from Holland), indeed twice; and
because it was the only real - though failed - revolution I
have been part of.
The present article is the first I saw written that was written in 2018
about the events of 1968, which is my main reason to review it. I don´t
think I agree with it - see below - but I should make three remarks on
the events of May ´68:
(1) I was there (as a radical communist, also). I don´t think
Mitchell Abdor was there (I think not), and this really makes a
difference, in part because of the considerable violence, and in part
also because of the differences in the reactions, moods, and
spontanities of those who were involved: For many it was the only
revolution they ever were part of, and the changes in many
people, for a short while, during May ´68, were rather
(2) There have been enormous discussions about May ´68 that
started immediately after it. I have read some of these
discussions, but no one can read all of them, and besides many - and
probably most - were written from some explicit ideological
position (and I never agreed with any of these
(3) I think that in quite a few cases it is difficult or impossible
to say now who was right then: There were many different
points of view then; there were very many activists associated
with the different views; and no one has written a full,
adequate and mostly agreed upon history of the events of ´68.
Anyway, to Abidor´s article, that begins as follows:
Yes, I think all
of this is correct - and I also think the opinions of ¨rank-and-file student and leftist
participants in the May events¨ were probably correct.
For fifty years, the events
of May–June 1968 in France have had a collective hero: the striking
students and workers who occupied their factories and universities and
high schools. They’ve also had a collective villain, one within the
same camp: the French Communist Party (PCF) and its allied labor union
organization, the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), which
together did all they could to put a brake on a potential revolution,
blocking the students and workers from uniting or even fraternizing.
This reading of the events is
often found in histories, most recently Ludivine Bantigny’s 1968.
De Grands soirs en petits matins. I heard it fairly
consistently from rank-and-file student and leftist participants in the
May events whom I interviewed for my oral history of May ’68, May
But Abidor does not - quite - think so (or so it seems):
There is an element
of truth in this characterization of the Communists, though only an
element: the party line modified with events, and the general strike
and factory occupations would not have been possible without Communist
participation. In late April, before the beginning of les
évènements, the PCF had issued warnings against the
anarchist-leaning March 22 Movement, formed at the University of
Nanterre and led by, among others, Daniel Cohn-Bendit; the party
secretariat instructed its cadres to ensure the students not be allowed
to approach factory workers should they march to the factories. On May
3, the party newspaper L’Humanité carried an article about
the students at Nanterre headlined “The Fake Revolutionaries Unmasked.”
But by May 7, just days after the beginning of the uprising on May 3,
the party leadership spoke of “the legitimacy of the student movement.”
All of the facts mentioned
in this excerpt are correct, but I do not think that the PCF
(for the most part, and in the leadership) wanted a revolution
in 1968, even though from around May 10 the communists - which were a
considerable force in France then - somehow verbally
student movement¨, at least
until June of ´68, though without
sharing the revolutionary spirit that moved many students and quite a
few of the workers, and also without sharing the
demands of the students.
Here is some more on the events of May ´68:
Huge marches that
included both students and workers were held, starting May 13, when the
workers joined the students on strike. But the unity was deceptive.
Alain Krivine, the founder and leader of the Trotskyist Jeunesse
Communiste Révolutionnaire, said about these marches that “there were
common worker-student demos but we didn’t have the same slogans: they
had theirs, we had ours. There was never any real connection with them.”
Yes, I think that was
mostly correct. Finally, there is this on the
In the 1970s and
1980s, the PCF began its slide into political irrelevance, and by 2002,
its score in the presidential elections had sunk to 3.39 percent. By
then, the Communist Party, left high and dry with its pro-Moscow
loyalties after the Soviet Union dissolved, had ceased to be a
significant force in French politics.
I think this is correct as
well, and in fact I am a little amazed that the
in 2018, while e.g. the Dutch
Communist Party was completely disbanded between
1991. Then again, a considerable part of the probable explanation is
that the French communists were a lot stronger and better
organized (also in trade unions) tham the Dutch ones.
This is a recommended article in case you are interested in May ´68.
Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution
article is by Emily Atkin on Mother Jones and originally on The New
Republic. It starts as follows:
I agree, and in fact wrote
about it yesterday: Ending
Plastic Pollution in the Oceans, Land & Our Bodies (and
also before). Then again, there is not much factual agreement between
both articles, since according to the present article around 20
pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, whereas according to
the article I reviewed yesterday, each year some 270 million
plastic are added to nature.
A young sperm whale, the
largest toothed predator on Earth and an endangered species, washed up
on the beach in southeastern Spain in February. Wanting to know what
killed it, scientists brought the cetacean’s 13,000-pound body to a lab
for a necropsy. They sliced into its blubber, and were shocked at what
they discovered: 64 pounds of plastic throughout the stomach and
intestines. This trash had caused the severe infection that took
the whale’s life.
Scientists across the globe
are increasingly finding wildlife that has been killed after ingesting
or becoming entangled in plastic. Ninety percent of sea birds, for
example, have been found to have plastic in their bellies.
And the problem is only getting worse: The estimated 19 billion pounds of
plastic that ends up in the ocean every year is expected to double by
There is no necessary contradiction between these two statemens
(yesterday´s article was about all plastics produced each year; today´s
article is about the plastics that end up in the oceans each year)
but as I said, there also does not seem to be much factual
And there is this in the article:
straws—or plastic bags, or take-out containers—is not enough to solve
the scourge of ocean plastics. In fact, no single country can make a
significant enough impact to solve it before some of the impacts become
irreversible. Like human-caused climate change, ocean plastic pollution
is a huge and growing problem that demands a similarly ambitious
solution. That’s why it should be approached in the same way: with an
international agreement that imposes binding pollution reduction
targets for every country, relative to their contribution to the
problem. In other words, the plastics crisis needs its own Paris
climate accord—and soon.
Well... the Paris
climate accord is - in my opinion - complete political bullshit
(just like the Kyoto
Protocols - if you remember them). And I do not
think an accord like the Paris accord
will help much to solve the problem of plastic pollution.
I agree something has to be done, quite urgently as well, but
no: I totally disbelieve in the Paris climate accord.
have now been
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 (!!).