Sep 22, 2016

Crisis: 50 Million Children, Stolen Elections, Trolls, Climate & Science
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Fifty Million Children Have Been Uprooted Worldwide:
     What Will the West Do About It?

2. With His New Film, Greg Palast Races to Save the 2016
     Election Before It’s Stolen (Video)
3. The Toxic, Bullying Troll Culture Has Made Much of the
     Internet Dangerous

4. 'Inconsistent With Reality': Top Scientists Take Aim at
     Trump's Climate Denialism

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, September 22, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about 50 million children that are currently uprooted, that also sent me back to consider how many people have been undernourished or starving the last 45 years: Hundreds of millions or several billions (all thanks to the Good Minds and the Good Hearts of those who didn't starve); item 2 is about stealing the American elections (I am not convinced in this case, but admit I don't know enough); item 3 is about trolls (and my answer is: Leave them be, for they are nearly all stupid anonymous sadists you can't do anything against as long as they are anonymous); and item 4 is about "top scientists" who explain science once again to the religious and the political people who refuse to listen (I think they are much too late, and I meanwhile ceased believing in the vast majority of scientists: Nearly all are too interested in their own high status and their own high incomes to risk these. And I know for I have tried.).

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click twice to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. And it was yesterday still or again the case. Indeed, this also holds for the opening pages: These too are not renewed at "xs4all", or at least: Not for me.) [1]

1. Fifty Million Children Have Been Uprooted Worldwide: What Will the West Do About It?

The first item
today is by Vijay Prashad on Truthdig:
I am not starting this with how this article started, but with three explanations why I think most of these 50 million children (as many people as have been killed in WW II (!)) will have utterly wasted and destroyed lives, and I do so because I have been reading stories like the present story since the 1970ies now.

First, there is this, quoted from "Hunger" on the Wikipedia (and Simone Weil starved herself to death during WW II):
The philosopher Simone Weil wrote that feeding the hungry when you have resources to do so is the most obvious of all human obligations.
Next, there are these two quotes from Aldous Huxley (quoted in my 1980 journal):
"I find myself often a bit overwhelmed by the curious rigidity & opacity of most human beings. There's something dismally fixed, stony, sclerotic about most of these - a lack of sensibility & awareness & flexibility, which is most depressing"
      (Bedford, 351-2)
"For insensitive stupidity is the main root of all vices" (id. 357)
And here is a final quotation from "Hunger" on the Wikipedia (that is well worth reading). I deleted the note numbers and added bolding:

In October 2012, the FAO published a report saying that their earlier 2009 estimate that one Billion people were suffering from chronic hunger was over stated, due to flawed methodology resulting from the pressure they were under to quickly estimate the effects of the financial crisis on hunger. They also said the number of people currently suffering from chronic hunger is close to 842 million.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture in 2015, 50 million Americans experienced food insecurity in 2009, including 17 million children. This represents nearly one in four American children.

Year 1990/1992 1991/2001 2004/2006 2007/2009 2010/2012
Number (million) of undernourished people (global) 1,000 919 898 867 868
Percentage of undernourished people (global) 19% 15% 14% 13% 12%
I also note that (1) the numbers in the first line of the above statistiscs is in millions of people:
From 1000 MILLION people who were undernourished in 1990 (about 20% of all living persons) there were ONLY (!!) 868 MILLION people undernourished in 2010 (ONLY about 12% of all living persons). (I grant that my capitals and boldings are "ironical".)

And it was the same or worse in the 1980ies.

Incidentally, I do not know how many of the 50 million children that are "uprooted" also are in (chronic) hunger. But the above does give an - I admit: very sombre - background to the humanity of those living now. (Most only care for themselves, their families, and - perhaps - a few friends.)

Now we get at last to the start of the present article:
Reading the new UNICEF report – Uprooted: the growing crisis for refugee and migrant children (September 2016) – on child refugees is a sobering experience. The main statistic that informs the report should be on the lips of everyone on the planet: there are fifty million children who have been uprooted worldwide. Fifty million. 
No. Or Yes. In any case: If the 50 million uprooted children (again: about as many as there were people killed in WW II) "should be on the lips of everyone on the planet" then so should the many hundreds of millions of people or the several billions of people who starved since the 1980ies.

But they are not, normally, indeed apart from festivals like Live Aid, that seem more designed to give faded pop stars additional fame for having some humane emotions and thus sell more records.

Here is some more on the 50 million uprooted children (and there are 60 million Great Britons, in all):
Children make up a third of humanity. Yet, half of the refugees on the planet are children. When we hear politicians talk of ‘refugees’ with venom, keep in mind that one in two of those whom they pillory are children who have been thrust out of their lives of relative stability to lives of total uncertainty. Life on the run and in refugee camps will leave these children without the elements of human development – decent nutrition, shelter, education and leisure. They live lives at the edge, bare lives, lives of great distress and trauma. The world that is being produce is a world with large numbers of displaced people who have been denied social goods.
Here is what happens to some of these children once they succeeded in reaching Europe:
UNICEF’s report shows that an increasing number of uprooted children cross borders on their own. In 2015, over a hundred thousand unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in seventy-eight countries. This is triple the number of unaccompanied minors who were in the same position in 2014. European governments report that there are at least ten thousand children lost in Europe. They were logged at the border, but then they disappeared from any monitoring. It has been found that half the unaccompanied children that arrive at European border posts vanish from the refugee centers. Europol reports that there is ‘tremendous amount of crossover’ between those who smuggle people into Europe and the gangs of traffickers for forced sexual and labor exploitation. Brian Donald of Europol said that ‘modern, enterprising, organized criminal gangs go where the opportunity is high and the risk is low.’ Child sexual and labor trafficking is one such area.
The article ends as follows:
Zones of conflict and zones of poverty are not habitable by anyone. Survival is made hard here. Serious attention to these issues should be at the top of the table for the world’s leaders who gather at the UN this week. But they will not tackle these with the kind of attention required. The powerful states will give lip-service to the problem, but turn away from them. They have an outsized role in the production of crisis and take an undersized role in the relief for the detritus of crisis. This is the scandal of the present period.
Well, yes... if "the present period" is extended back to 1970 or so. Given that, the following is true for 46 years now:
The powerful states will give lip-service to the problem, but turn away from them. They have an outsized role in the production of crisis and take an undersized role in the relief for the detritus of crisis.
2. With His New Film, Greg Palast Races to Save the 2016 Election Before It’s Stolen (Video)

The second item is by Kasia Anderson:

This starts as follows:

For many Americans, the contested 2000 election still looks, in the rear-view mirror, like a confusing mess of hanging chads, “spoiled” ballots and shady backroom deals that somehow conspired to catapult a candidate who lost the popular vote clear into the White House.

For investigative journalist Greg Palast, 2000 was only the beginning, not exactly serving as a safeguard to ensure that similar trouble (and more) won’t happen again. Far from it. Instead, it’s been seen by some enterprising agitators, Palast claims, as a starting point to build upon in developing newer, craftier methods to swindle the voting public this time around.

First, here is the link to Greg Palast on Wikipedia, for the simple reason that I didn't know who he is. And indeed, according to Wikipedia, Palast paid a lot of attention to the 2000 election.

Here is some more:

So, what does it look like now? Palast has taken the trouble to carefully describe the menace as he sees it with the help of visual storytelling methods in a new documentary, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits.”

I haven't read this. Here is one bit from an interview Anderson had with Palast:

KA: What are we looking at here in terms of the 2016 election? How many voters could be thwarted at the polls? What are the losses?

GP: Under Crosscheck, what we figured—this is the question—Virginia knocked off 12 percent of the people on their list. So if you just spread it to the other states, we’re looking at close to 1 million voters will have their registrations limited.

KA: And they are presumably—or it’s verified—that they’re all Democrats?

GP: No, they are not all. They play the racial probabilities game. So if you have, like I say—like Hispanics are two-thirds Democrats—well, this year they’ll be three-quarters; ah, three-quarters Democratic vote among Asian-Americans, and 92 percent or so among African-Americans. You knock off the minorities, you know that you’re knocking off Democrats. They’re the most vulnerable people. Now, that’s—now, of course in the film we also go through—like I say, there’s 10 ways that they steal your ballot.
All I can say at this point is that there seems to be considerable truth to what Palast is claiming, but I do not have good ideas how important this is. (It may be, but then it probably is too late again.)

3. The Toxic, Bullying Troll Culture Has Made Much of the Internet Dangerous

The third item is by Kali Holloway on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
“Don’t feed the trolls,” the saying goes, as if it were really that easy. As a prescriptive for navigating the harassment, hatred and bile that now fester on and darken the Internet and social media, it’s both woefully inadequate and unrealistic advice. Like its closely related partner, “Don’t read the comments,” the suggestion that we all just ignore the toxic venom spewed online by actors who often travel in packs and attack in hordes, underestimates the unignorable provocation, emotional trauma and bonafide fear they purposely create and instill. The bunk idea that we can all just look away—or more annoyingly, log off, shut down or shut up—is the quaint, ineffective (and in our current troll-glutted climate, offensive) relic of a bygone era. It’s a holdover from a time when the internet was a kinder, gentler digital space and the trolls who roamed it less malicious monsters than playful pranksters.
I am sorry, but I mostly disagree. First of all, I have internet for 20 years minus 1 1/2 months now, which is longer than most. Second, in my experience there was never any moment when "the internet was a kinder, gentler digital space and the trolls who roamed it less malicious monsters than playful pranksters".

On the contra: As soon as I had internet, I had a viewer for watching discussions (in 1996: I think these have disappeared now), and what I saw were enormous amounts of totally anonymous assholes scolding each other as "fascists", "whores", "degenerates" etc. etc. and I perfectly recall my reaction once I had browsed some of that: I completely removed the viewer, for I didn't want any of it.

And since then I - a brilliant but ill M.A. of 66 at present - have never commented on anyone, and never engaged with trolls except on two forums for people with my disease, where I - whose father and grandfather were put in German concentration camps; both of whose parents belonged to the very few who were in the real resistance - had stuff I wrote about WW II removed and censored by one degenerate subhuman after precisely one other degenerate subhuman had claimed "Dutchmen may not like this" and also found that anyone who was evidenly less stupid than the average was persecuted by hordes of idiots until they resigned.

So yes, having seen trolls in action, I do believe in sadofascistic subhumans [2], and I remove myself as soon as I come close to them. My reason is also completely obvious: As long as I do not know the real names and real addresses of these subhumans, I cannot do anything effective about them.

Here is some more on how "internet forums" (and "social media") "developed" the last 20 years:

In many ways, internet forums in the U.S. offer an unvarnished look at America’s essential character; a transparent account of what this place is really about when you strip away accountability and offer anonymity in its place. On Reddit and 4chan, particularly the latter’s anything-goes /b/ board, extreme racism and vicious misogyny flourished, with cruelty and abuse becoming key traits of the hivemind personality. Administrators at 4chan and Reddit responded to the explosion of hate speech and vitriol by doing absolutely nothing, then followed that up by turning their inaction into a policy of sorts, framing it as vague, overly simplistic advocacy for free speech.
I never visited 4chan and Reddit only twice. But again: The main reason these pathological levels of sadism, cruelty and degeneracy are popular and possible these days is that everyone's real identity and real address is anonymized (not for the NSA, but who cares, since they are secret?), so the sadists, the cruel and the degenerates can say what they please and don't need to fear anything.

And it now is as wide as the whole internet:
That culture has long left the confines of places like Reddit and 4chan and infected the entire internet. Read any YouTube comment thread—regardless of the video subject—and you’ll encounter some random bit of misogyny or a racist slur. Anonymous eggs and alt-righties send tweets about the Jewish menace and fake stats about rampaging black criminals, which Donald Trump then retweets. Scroll down news articles written by or about women and people of color and you’re guaranteed commentary from readers with nothing to add but racism and sexist name-calling or worse, threats of violence.
This is true in so far as I know, but indeed I very rarely read any comments, for the simple reason that almost no one commenting has my degree of education or my intelligence. And why should I care to read anything by random anonymous contributors?!

There is considerably more in the article, and I wish Kali Holloway all the energy and all the time she needs to fight with trolls, sadists, degenerates, assholes, and the 99% that are much more stupid and ignorant than I am, but I simply keep abstaining from reading comments and from answering anything where trolls are active (which these days is virtually anywhere).

For there is one other thing I also know: Abstaining from fighting anonymous sadists (of which - I admit - there are far more than I thought, having had good and intelligent parents, that most seem to lack) I did write a site of 500 MB, and no troll I know of had the talents and the knowledge to do something similar.

'Inconsistent With Reality': Top Scientists Take Aim at Trump's Climate Denialism

The fourth and last item is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Spurred by the continued failure of too many political leaders and "great concern" over Donald Trump's specific threat to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris climate agreement if elected president, 375 top American scientists published an open letter on Tuesday castigating climate denialism and urging bold action to address a threat that is "real, serious, and immediate."

All established members of the National Academy of Scientists, the signers of the letter argue there is no equivocation within the scientific community and that the United States has a special responsibility to show immediate leadership to forge solutions to the crisis.

I am sorry, but these scientists are much too late, and being top scientists they anyway belong to a very small elite that the hordes of dumboes, religionist fanatics and sadistic trolling assholes will ignore. I know, for I have tried to oppose the disappearance of truth in the Dutch universities, which were opened officially in 1978 (!!) by either a fascist or a sadistic liar who claimed that "Everybody knows that truth does not exist" and that has been the predominant mode of thinking - "Everybody knows that truth does not exist" - in the Dutch universities ever since.

To be sure, they don't claim this anymore, but most seem to think so, or to think some variant, such as that their level of statistical comprehension of scientific "truths" is so sophisticated that only the best of the gifted may understand it (which again is nonsense, but less so than the claims that "there is no truth", or the claims that "everyone knows science is rubbish").

Here is one more bit:

According to the letter, "During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control. Such claims are inconsistent with reality."

Like the planetary climate system itself, the scientists argue, the nation's political system also has "tipping points" and they warn that the consequences of Republicans pulling out of climate agreements "would be severe and long-lasting."

Writing in the Guardian, Dr. John Abraham, a thermal scientist who was not part of the letter, says his colleagues that did sign should be applauded for "venturing deeper into politics than scientists are generally willing to tread."

What they should have said is that people who oppose science for religious or political reasons are either obvious frauds or obvious idiots. But they didn't: they explained their science once more.

I do agree with Dr. Abraham, but I amplify what he said as follows, based on a mere 46 years of experiences with - mostly Dutch, is true - academics:

Almost all academics like their own status and their own incomes far too much to say anything political or religious that might risk their own academic status or their own academic incomes.

[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these haven been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] Having a father who survived more than 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camps and a grandfather who was murdered there, and having learned in Holland that - legally also - everyone is of the same value as everyone else, I have believed there are subhumans (Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Stalin Beria, Mao etc.) for quite a long time now, for I think people who initiate the killings of millions of other people are inferior. (And I am very sorry if this offends you. Then again, you may prosecute me, for I really think that the SS'ers who tortured my father were inferior to him. And I know this thought of mine is very bad, and may upset quite a few Dutchmen.)

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