from May 30, 2018
B. One Extra Bit
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 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
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 30, 2018:
1. Sounding Code
Red: Electing the Trump Resistance
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. 9 Ways Authoritarianism Is Taking Hold Under Trump
3. The Art of Screwing Up the Deal: Trump Is Proving to Be
5. Pity the Right-Winger: He Gets No Respect!
Code Red: Electing the Trump Resistance
article is by Thomas Friedman on The New York Times. It starts as
the primary season winding down and the midterms soon upon us, it’s
time to point out that this election is not about what you may think
it’s about. It is not a choice between the particular basket of
policies offered by the candidates for House or Senate in your district
or state — policies like gun control, right to choose, free trade or
fiscal discipline. No, what this election is about is your first chance since 2016 to vote against
far as I am concerned, that’s the only choice on the ballot. It’s a
choice between letting Trump retain control of all the key levers of
political power for two more years, or not.
Yes, I agree. Here is more:
I were writing the choice on a ballot, it would read: “Are you in favor
of electing a majority of Democrats in the House and/or Senate to put a
check on Trump’s power — when his own party demonstrably will not? Or
are you in favor of shaking the dice for another two years of
unfettered control of the House, the Senate and the White House by a
man who wants to ignore Russia’s interference in our election; a man
whose first thought every morning is, ‘What’s good for me, and can I
get away with it?’; a man who shows no compunction about smearing any
person or government institution that stands in his way; and a man who
is backed by a party where the only members who’ll call him out are
those retiring or dying?”
your answer is the former, then it can only happen by voting for the
Democrat in your local House or Senate race.
Well... I suppose I don´t agree about ¨Russia’s interference¨, indeed not because they did nothing (they very
probably did something) but because there is - after nearly two years -
still no evidence that says that Russia´s interferences did
elections from Clinton to Trump (and I think the triple Facebook +
Cambridge Analytica + Steve Bannon are very much better
candidates for shifting the election to Trump than ¨Russia¨ - but then
indeed this triple has little to do with Russia).
But otherwise I mostly agree, although I am no
voting for either the Republicans or the Democrats, but as things are,
it must be either. And the Democrats are less bad than Trump.
Here is more:
what we’ve learned since 2016 is that the worst Democrat on the ballot
for the House or Senate is preferable to the best Republican, because
the best Republicans have consistently refused to take a moral stand
against Trump’s undermining of our law enforcement and intelligence
agencies, the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency,
the Civil Service, the basic norms of our public life and the integrity
of our elections.
Republicans have made the craven choice to stand with Trump as long as
he delivers the policies they like on tax cuts, gun control, fossil
fuels, abortion and immigration, even though many privately detest him.
I do not know about the literal truth ¨that the worst Democrat on the ballot for the
House or Senate is preferable to the best Republican¨ indeed because many elected
Democrats seem to be quite like Republicans, and seem much
interested in extending their personal riches than in doing
politics, but basically I agree.
There is more, and this is the ending:
Again, this is Code Red: American
democracy is truly threatened today — by the man sitting in the Oval
Office and the lawmakers giving him a free pass.
Yes, I agree, and this is a recommended article.
Ways Authoritarianism Is Taking Hold Under Trump
article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet and originally on the
Independent Media Institute. It starts as follows:
As our country
slides into an ugly Americanized form of neofascism, there’s good news:
nonviolent protest, when in the service of progressive, egalitarian
goals, almost always wins out when it reaches a national critical mass.
And we may well be on the verge of that right now. But we must
understand what we’re up against.
Donald Trump and
his neo-authoritarian acolytes are following an ancient playbook.
I agree, and especially
with the term ¨neofascism¨, which is quite correct, especially
if you compare the points in my definition of neofascism
with characteristic words and sayings by Trump: Trump has displayed all
the marks of neofascism plus some (for racism is not part of my
definition, but is one of the marks of Trump).
gives a list of 9 points in which Trump agrees with auhoritarians. I
think they are all well chosen, but the following list consists only
the titles, and deletes the textual explanations Hartmann gives
because they are too long to quote more or less adequately in a
So here is the list
of titles that Hartmann uses for his sections (and each title
comes with text in the original):
Here's how the
president is building authoritarian institutions.
Often — Lie Big.
2. Consolidate Power While Challenging or
Co-Opting Institutions That
3. Attack the Press.
4. Vilify Protesters, Minorities, and
Political “Enemies” to the Point of
5. Scapegoat Minority Groups to Rile Up a Mob
6. Elevate One Religion That You Can Control
(and Reward) While Trashing
7. Co-opt and Make Institutions of Military and
Police Power into Loyal
8. Ignore Competence and Incompetence; Only
Loyalty Matters—and Is
9. Foster a Sense of Helplessness Among the
Here is the last
bit that I quote from this article, which in fact makes me quite
pessimistic about the chances of the left (and my reasons are completely
new in history):
government agencies able to turn a cell phone into a remote spy device,
even people planning simple protests (from the RNC
in 2004 to inaugural
protests in 2017) often find themselves in jail cells or court
before they take any direct actions whatsoever. Trump’s regime ramped
up the charges against the 2017 inaugural protesters to the point where
hundreds were facing over
a decade in federal prison, further terrorizing any potential
As I have been explaining
now for quite a while, my own opinion is that the
internet-such-as-it-is is a creation by DARPA that is and was
meant to give ALL the advantages to the governments + their spies
by making everyone´s mail and all his further privacies part and
of the information the governments´ secret spies now can assemble at
their ease, which they also have been doing since 2001 (at the
And for more on the background of the internet see Europe’s
Data Protection Law Is a Big, Confusing Mess (that is from May 17, 2019). This is a
Art of Screwing Up the Deal: Trump Is Proving to Be the World's Worst
article is by Mark Summer on AlterNet and originally on Daily Kos. It
starts as follows:
A week after declaring
the trade war between the US and China “on hold” Trump has reversed
himself by breaking that armistice. He
has announced a series of actions, including an
as-yet-undetermined set of Chinese-made goods that will be subject to a
25 percent tariff along with new restrictions on Chinese
investment in the United States. This action seems to take positions
back to where they were in April, with Trump threatening one set of
tariffs and China preparing their own tariffs in reply.
The most obvious casualty
of that earlier round of threats was US farmers, who stood to lose an
enormous portion of their export market. Then Trump declared that the
problem had been solved, when a week ago China and the US
supposedly reached a broad agreement that would see China buy more
instead of less. So much more that, according to Trump, China would buy
“practically as much as our Farmers can produce.” However,
everything from last week now seems to be out the window, and Trump is
once again promising a “final list” of items to face tariffs. Farmers
are once again the most likely to immediately suffer from any
Yes indeed - this seems
all quite true. And while it doesn´t prove the article´s title that ¨Trump Is (..) the World's
Worst Dealmaker¨, I
think it does make it quite plausible that Trump is not the
dealmaker that ought to be president of the USA (or Senator
etc.) For more
see item 1.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Yes, I quite agree - and
as I have been saying for over two years now, I am a
agrees with what seem to be at least 70,000 psychologists and
psychiatrists that Trump
is not a more or less normal man, but he is a
megalomaniac aka narcissist, which is (in my opinion) more
reason to get rid of him as soon as possible.
The Post calls
Trump’s stances on economics and diplomacy “fluid.” By which they don’t
mean flexible. More like unpredictable, erratic and nonsensical.
It’s not just the positions themselves that are harming America’s
standing in the world. The way Trump negotiates—by deception,
bullying and sudden changes of direction—is leaving the US
isolated and with few willing partners.
article is by Maurice Brinton, on marxist.org (and several other
sites). Also, it was written in 1968.
It is here for three reasons: (i) I have been in Paris in 1968
indeed both in May and in June, and the article very well
my own experiences then (but I was much younger than
Brinton was, for I
had just turned 18 then); (ii) I have been looking for articles written
in 2018 about 1968, not as serious as I would have done had this been
my only interest, but serious enough (simply because I look at 35 sites
every day); while also (iii) the article that I had originally
selected in this place, that was written in 2018 - 50th
Anniversary of May 1968, Paris: Memories of an Illusory Revolution - I found so bad, so
one-sided, so speculative and simply false that I
discarded it and replaced it by Brinton´s article, which is at least
good and quite clear, and which was written in 1968. (You can
compare the two if you wish.)
Also, since I am reviewing an article by Maurice Brinton, I think I
need to explain that this was the alias of Chris Pallis
(1923-2005) who was both an intelligent anarchist and a rather
prominent neurologist. (I like him, and am busy with annotating his ¨The
Irrational in Politics¨. I hope to publish this fairly soon.)
Finally, I will be quoting here only from Brinton´s introduction
text, which I think is quite interesting and also honest and fair, but
far too much to quote and review in Nederlog.
The introduction starts as follows:
This is an
eyewitness account of two weeks spent in Paris during May 1968. It is
what one person saw, heard or discovered during that short period. The
account has no pretence at comprehensiveness. It has been written and
produced in haste, its purpose being to inform rather than to analyze -
and to inform quickly.
events have a significance that extends far beyond the frontiers of
modern France. They will leave their mark on the history of the second
half of the twentieth century. French bourgeois society has just been
shaken to its foundations. Whatever the outcome of the present
struggle, we must calmly take note of the fact that the political map
of Western capitalist society will never be the same again. A whole
epoch has just come to an end: the epoch during which people could say,
with a semblance of verisimilitude, that "it couldn't happen here".
Another epoch is starting: that in which people
know that revolution is possible under the conditions of modern
this is correct. Here is more:
too, a whole period is ending: the period during which Communist
Parties in Western Europe could claim (admittedly with dwindling
credibility) that they remained revolutionary organizations, but that
revolutionary opportunities had never really presented themselves. This
notion has now irrevocably been swept into the proverbial "dustbin of
history". When the chips were down, the French Communist Party and
those workers under its influence proved to be the final and most
effective "brake" on the development of the revolutionary self-activity
of the working class.
more or less, and like to point out that in 1968 the world was
divided in ¨a capitalist block¨ and ¨a socialist block¨, that only
ceased to be the case in 1991.
Here is the
last bit that I quote from this - long - article:
I think Brinton/Pallis was
quite correct about the need for a ¨full analysis of the French events¨ but history has shown (I think) that this
was never -
properly, factually - done, as indeed is the case with most
revolutionary actions that failed, also if they are quite
A full analysis
of the French events will eventually have to be attempted for, without
an understanding of modern society, it will never be possible
consciously to change it. But this analysis will have to wait for a
while until some of the dust has settled. What can be said now is that,
if honestly carried out, such an analysis will compel many "orthodox"
revolutionaries to discard a mass of outdated slogans and myths and to
reassess contemporary reality, particularly the reality of modern
bureaucratic capitalism, its dynamic, its methods of control and
manipulation, the reasons for both its resilience and its brittleness
and - most important of all - the nature of its crises. Concepts and
organizations that have been found wanting will have to be discarded.
The new phenomena (new in themselves or new to traditional
revolutionary theory) will have to be recognized for what they are and
interpreted in all their implications. The real events of 1968
will then have to be integrated into a new framework of ideas, for
development of revolutionary theory, there can be no development
of revolutionary practice - and in the long run no transformation of
society through the conscious actions of men.
Finally, in the article there is around 130 Kb more information, all
about May 1968 and written in May 1968. If you want to know what Paris
was like in May 1968, this is a good explanation (and better
I´ve read the last 50 years). It is strongly recommended.
the Right-Winger: He Gets No Respect!
article is by Mike Lofgren on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
One of the signature
stereotypes of present-day political controversy is the privileged and
coddled Social Justice Warrior, usually resident on a university
campus, who lives to take offense at the unfairness of life. Unlike
hardworking, uncomplaining, and morally grounded Real Americans, the
Social Justice Warrior is a petulant whiner whose troublemaking has
brought us cringe-worthy notions like trigger warnings, safe spaces,
and cultural appropriation. Not for nothing are they dubbed
“snowflakes:” each one unique (in his or her own mind), and oh, so
With that in mind, a
segment on NPR’s “All Things Considered” left me practically
convulsed with laughter. It featured a series of what might generously
be called conservative opinion leaders bellyaching about how, despite
controlling all three branches of the federal government and the
majority of state governments, the right isn’t sufficiently esteemed by
the broader American culture. Like the late Rodney Dangerfield, they
just don’t get no respect.
Yes, I think this is
correct, and also that Mike Lofgren is
a quite interesting man. Here is
one of the greedy bastards that write for the GOP:
Kurt Schlichter, a blogger
at Townhall.com, continues in this self-pitying vein:
"We want to be treated with respect, and we will not tolerate
anything less which is just unacceptable for this to continue. I'm
tired of Hollywood spitting on us. I am tired of academia spitting on
us. I'm tired of the news media spitting on us."
Dammit, I am a man!
At first sight, it is
passing strange that the shock troops of the conservative movement
should be so wiltingly sensitive. The whole gestalt of conservatism is
closely bound up with its adherents’ self-image as rugged
individualists, proud of their autonomy and contemptuous of the horde
of other-directed, Nanny State-worshipping collectivist slackers that
liberalism has bred.
Yes, I agree - and I
also note, as an aside, that over 50 years ago ¨I Am a Man!¨
thesis under which quite a few black men demonstrated against
discrimination and poverty.
Then there is this by
Lofgren, who started as a Republican, on conservatism:
Yet ever since the French
Revolution, conservatism has been at odds with nearly all the major
trends within Western Civilization that have emerged from the
Enlightenment, trends that, for all their halting reforms and
backsliding, have made it unique compared to other historical
civilizations: science and empiricism, legal equality, human rights and
the emancipation of women, abolition of torture, free intellectual
inquiry, and the general attitude that life’s conditions ought to be
made humane to the extent practicable. Conservatives, by contrast, are
staunch defenders of the West – but only if you throw out the last 250
years of positive developments, including, apparently, vaccines and
No, I don´t quite
agree: I am not a conservative, but it is clear to me that
¨conservatism¨ has quite a few senses (of which Lofgren picks out one)
that are not (quite) compatible, and it is also clear to me that one
can be quite conservative, indeed in a for me possibly
way, without being willing to discard the science and
technology of the
last 250 years.
Then there is this
about modern conservatives:
As the Austrian writer
Robert Musil warned, “a man cannot be angry at his own time without
suffering some damage,” and conservatives, venting about how the
dominant culture disrespects them, display their permanently aggrieved,
adversarial stance towards the system they believe is persecuting them.
It is not enough that they dominate government, have their own 24/7
propaganda network (Fox, of course), the largest corporate chain of TV
stations in the country (Sinclair), and utterly control talk radio;
nothing less than complete social hegemony can still their nagging fear
that someone, somewhere, is laughing at them.
Again I don´t quite
First about modern
aggrieved, adversarial stance¨:
I think this is rather a technique, a ploy, a deception than
although I am quite willing to grant that the more stupid
probably are ¨permanently aggrieved¨.
And second about the facts
that the modern conservatives ¨have
their own 24/7 propaganda network (Fox, of course), the largest
corporate chain of TV stations in the country (Sinclair), and utterly
control talk radio¨: I agree, and
I explain this myself in terms of the totalitarianism
of many modern
Alas, while ¨totalitarianism¨
was well-defined on Wikipedia, it is not
anymore: It seems as if some assistant of Brzezinski has been allowed
to falsify the concept (very intentionally) so that now it
means, according to the lying and falsifying Wikipedia, no
longer what George Orwell or I understand by it, but what
Brzezinski wants it to mean, which is something that is only
possible in the Soviet Union and China, and has nothing
to do with persons, plans, proposals, political parties,
attitudes, or whatever else pertains to persons: You are - in
Brzezinski´s terms - a totalitarian if and only if you are in the
Soviet Union, possibly Putin´s Russia, or China, and not
because of what you, your plans, your political party, your feelings or
your attitudes are, but simply because these are totalitarian states.
And the USA is not,
and therefore no real American can ever be a
totalitarian: because the American state is not totalitarian.
For me, the above is so
insane and so dishonest that I have given up on Wikipedia as an
possibly honest institution: This is all utter bullshit and
and it has little or nothing to do with how
¨totalitarianism¨ has been used the last 65 years or so by
intellectuals and academics.
But neither Wikipedia nor
Brzezinski care. Here is more by Lofgren:
I somewhat agree, but I think my
analysis of Trump is probably different from Lofgren´s:
With that in mind, consider
the 45th president of the United States, whose popularity among
conservatives is such that they
may soon nominate him for the next available vacancy in the Trinity.
Trump is not only a walking negation of every single feature I have
mentioned, his character coincides perfectly with the old-fashioned,
harshly negative sexist stereotype of the bitchy, hysterical woman.
From his preening vanity about his looks to his vicious, catty tongue,
Trump is a compilation of every alleged unbearable shrewish trait that
misogynists have zealously catalogued for millennia.
Petty, boastful, full of spite
and petulance, yet deeply insecure and always craving praise and
attention, this pathological cry-baby is the personification of the
neurotic diva that Bette Davis made into a bankable formula in dozens
of melodramas. Yet here we are, living with someone whose finger rests
on the nuclear button (...)
I am a psychologist (unlike Lofgren, and unlike most people) and I
think - it seems with at least 70,000 other psychologists and
psychiatrists - that Trump
is not sane: He is a megalomaniac aka a
narcissist. (Which also means that, simply because he is
not sane, he
should not be president.)
Besides, megalomania does explain most of Trump´s
including his - quite sick - utterly false pack of lies every day: A sane
man does not insist and insist and insist and insist (and still
insists, over a year later) on the utterly false thesis that
there were more people attending his inauguration than attended Obamas.
And if he does so - more than a year, also - the explanation is that he
is not sane.
The article ends as follows:
Conservatism in its
present form is a funhouse-mirror exaggeration of many of the
pathologies that have built up in the United States under the rubric of
American Exceptionalism. That national myth may yet lead our country to
destruction under Donald John Trump, American Exceptionalism’s most
vociferous proponent, and the man who best embodies the schizophrenic
wish-dreams of contemporary American conservatism.
I quite agree that Trump ¨may yet lead our country [the USA - MM] to
destruction¨ but - as I have
indicated above - I do not quite agree with Lofgren´s conceptions of
conservatives. But this is a recommended article.
B. One Extra Bit
an extra bit in the crisis series. I did so before a few times. And the
following article is quite good, although I fear it is only
physically or mathematically interested. It is by mathematician Peter
yesterday´s Extra Bit was also about an article by Peter Woit,
but I think the present sequence is accidental. (I think so because I
have been following Woit the last five years, simply because I am a
philosopher and a psychologist who is interested in mathematics and
Here is how this article starts:
I had forgotten Feynman
was born 100 years ago. And what Woit says is correct. (I discovered
Feynman between 1977 and 1983, which came about because I was a
mathematically interested philosopher. But indeed neither a
mathematician nor a physicist.)
The past month has seen
quite a few events and articles celebrating the 100th anniversary of
Richard Feynman’s birth (see for example here, here, here
Feynman was one of the great figures of twentieth century physics, with
a big intellectual influence on me and on many generations of particle
theorists. In particular, his development of the path integral
formulation of quantum mechanics and the Feynman diagram method for
calculating and understanding what quantum field theories are telling
us are at the center of how we have learned to think about fundamental
physics and apply it to the real world.
When I first started studying
physics, in the seventies, Feynman was a major figure to physicists,
but not that well-known outside the subject. After the 1985 appearance
of the book of anecdotes “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” and his
1986 role in the report on the Challenger disaster (followed by more
anecdotes in the 1988 “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”)
Feynman became a huge public figure.
Here is some about Woit´s reaction to Feynman´s ¨anecdote books¨:
I avidly read the
Feynman anecdote books when they came out and was suitably entertained,
but I also found them a bit disturbing. Too many of the anecdotes
seemed to revolve around Feynman showing how much smarter he was than
Well... I respect Woit,
but my own reaction was a bit different, and is based on two points.
First, Feynman simply was a lot
smarter than most
mathematicians and physicists, indeed in quite objective terms.
were a few others as well, notably Von Neumann.)
And second, I never studied physics or mathematics in
university (which probably was a mistake, which cannot be undone) but I
did study philosophy, psychology and Norwegian (all in the university),
and was quite active in the university, and what I found there were many
- not: all, but yes: many - professors and even lecturers who pretended
to be little geniuses, quite brilliant people, very much more learned
and with much more insight than any student and anyone who was not
academically qualified, and so on and so forth, indeed probably less
extreme than Feynman did in his ¨anecdote books¨, but then the reason
was that absolutely none of them really
was a genius, or
brilliant, or indeed quite learned. But many did want to be
considered to be, at least by their students.
And being a psychologist, and knowing about the vanity and the egoism
that are inherent in virtually all men, I found and find it quite
easy to forgive Feynman for - often quite amusing - descriptions of his
own undoubted cleverness, simply because he was
and smarter than almost all other intellectuals.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
described a major legacy of Feynman as “a healthy disrespect for
authority” and “a total aversion to BS”, those characteristics led
Feynman to have a very negative view of string theory, up until his
death. He was known to remark that “string theorists don’t make
predictions, they make excuses”, and in a 1987 interview stated:
And 31 years later,
it seems that Feynman is - still - quite correct about
physics-as-string- theory: It may be interesting mathematics, but without
experimental tests, it is metaphysics if presented as physics.
Now I know that
other old men have been very foolish in saying things like this, and,
therefore, I would be very foolish to say this is nonsense. I am going
to be very foolish, because I do feel strongly that this is nonsense! I
can’t help it, even though I know the danger in such a point of view.
So perhaps I could entertain future historians by saying I think all
this superstring stuff is crazy and is in the wrong direction.
What is it you don’t like about it?
I don’t like that they’re not calculating anything. I don’t like that
they don’t check their ideas. I don’t like that for anything that
disagrees with an experiment, they cook up an explanation – a fix-up to
say “Well, it still might be true”.
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 (!!).