from June 8, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Friday,
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 June 8, 2018:
1. The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.
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. U.S. Military Plans as if Guantanamo Won't Close for
3. Ecuador Continues Playing Hardball With Assange
4. Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack
Consensus reality has outlived its
Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.
article is by Eric Lipton on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is
scaling back the way the federal government determines health and
safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the
market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency
Under a law passed by Congress during the final
year of the Obama administration, the E.P.A. was required for the first
time to evaluate hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals and determine
if they should face new restrictions, or even be removed from the
market. The chemicals include many in everyday use, such as dry-cleaning solvents, paint strippers and substances used in
health and beauty products like shampoos and cosmetics.
as it moves forward reviewing the first batch of 10 chemicals, the E.P.A. has in most cases decided
to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the
substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water, according to more than 1,500 pages of documents released last
week by the agency.
the agency will focus on possible harm caused by direct contact with a
chemical in the workplace or elsewhere. The approach means that the
improper disposal of chemicals — leading to the contamination of
drinking water, for instance — will often not be a factor in deciding
whether to restrict or ban them.
I say, for I did not know this, and it seems quite
crazy to me. For consider what this means:
(1) The EPA will no longer test how dangerous chemicals
may cause problems for ordinary people
(2) The EPA will test only how these may be dangerous to people who
come into direct contact
with them, which means
(3) the public - ordinary people - will have to face these dangers
themselves, without warnings,
and without any knowledge.
At least, that is what is seems to mean to me. That is,
in a fanciful example: If you are living close to a factory that is
producing arsenic, those who are producing it directly (still) will be
tested for its dangers, but none of the people living around the
factory, even though it may be polluting the air with tiny amounts of
arsenic (that may kill you eventually).
Here is more on this craziness:
And there you are... in
brief, the profits of big firms are much more important than your
health or your risks of getting poisoned by big firms. This is a
recommended article, in which there is considerably more.
approach is a big victory for the chemical industry, which has
repeatedly pressed the E.P.A. to narrow the scope of its risk
evaluations. Nancy B. Beck, the Trump administration’s appointee to help oversee the E.P.A.’s toxic chemical unit,
previously worked as an executive at the American Chemistry Council,
one of the industry’s main lobbying groups.
Military Plans as if Guantanamo Won't Close for Decades
article is by Ben Fox on Truthdig and originally on The Associated
Press. It starts as follows:
A new dining hall
for guards at the Guantanamo Bay detention center has a shimmering view
of the Caribbean and a lifespan of 20 years. Barracks scheduled to
start getting built next year are meant to last five decades. And the
Pentagon has asked Congress to approve money for a new super-max prison
unit to be designed with the understanding that prisoners will grow old
and frail in custody — some perhaps still without being convicted of a
President Donald Trump’s order in January to keep the Guantanamo jail
open, and allow the Pentagon to bring new prisoners there, is prompting
military officials to consider a future for the controversial facility
that the Obama administration sought to close.
Yes, indeed - and I regard
Guantanamo Bay as a concentration
camp of the USA, and I am very much
against concentration camps in part because
my grandfather was murdered
in one, and my father survived over 3 years and 9 months in four
others, both because they resisted the Nazis between 1940 and 1945:
know how very dangerous they are.
Here is some more on the USA's own concentration camp (on Cuban
territory, not on U.S. territory):
So it seems as if madman
Trump's neofascistic government
has decided that the USA may need fifty
years more of illegal wars everywhere, with people characterized as
simply because they oppose the USA, and being tortured if
caught at Guantanamo (and many other places, for the USA has
places where it can torture people or have them tortured).
The detention center opened
in January 2002 under President George W. Bush as a makeshift place to
hold and interrogate people suspected of involvement with al-Qaida and
the Taliban. Global outrage erupted over the treatment of prisoners and
the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that anyone held there was entitled
to challenge their detention in American courts, eliminating one of the
main rationales for using Guantanamo in the first place.
Bush eventually said the
jail should close and released more than 500 prisoners. Obama said the
facility was damaging U.S. relations around the world and was a waste
of money, costing more than $400 million a year to operate, and ordered
it closed shortly upon taking office. But Congress blocked closure and
passed legislation that barred any of the men held there from being
transferred to U.S. soil, even for criminal trials. His administration
transferred 242 prisoners out of Guantanamo.
Trump has so far allowed
only one prisoner to leave: a Saudi who was transferred to his homeland
to serve out the rest of his sentence as part of a plea deal.
It is a sick shame, but that is what much of the present world is. This is a
Continues Playing Hardball With Assange
This article is by
James Cogan on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Monday Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa was elected
to a one-year term as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
On Tuesday she declared that her government would continue blocking
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from all communications and deny him
any personal visitors. On Wednesday it became 10 weeks since Ecuador’s
government deprived Assange of his rights, which it is obliged to honor
after granting him political asylum in its London embassy in 2012.
Well... in my opinion the Ecuadorians are now (indeed after a
government was elected) keeping Assange as if he is in prison
in their embassy, simply because they are blocking "Julian Assange from all
communications and deny him any personal visitors".
After the vote,
Espinosa again hinted that Ecuador is working to force Assange out of
the embassy into the clutches of waiting police and the prospect of
extradition to the United States on charges of espionage. She stated
she was in discussion with both British authorities and Assange’s
lawyers. “I think all parties are interested in finding an outlet, a
solution, to this complex situation,” she declared.
Here is some more:
President Lenín Moreno last year slandered Assange as a “hacker” and
described the granting of political asylum to him by the previous
president as an “inherited problem.”
- and Pompeo was for torturing people, while the
present new director of the CIA - Gina Haspel - is a torturer.
demanding Assange’s head. Then CIA director Mike Pompeo, now U.S.
secretary of state, asserted last year that WikiLeaks was a “non-state
hostile intelligence agency,” due to its publication of documents
exposing the operations of U.S. intelligence.
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
appears Assange is being used as a bargaining chip in sordid
negotiations between the U.S. and Ecuador. On June 4, U.S. Vice
President Mike Pence met Moreno. Amid the stepped-up persecution of
Assange, Pence issued a statement lauding their discussion on
“opportunities to reinvigorate the bilateral relationship” between the
two countries. In words dripping with what sounded like imperialist
deceit, Pence said the two countries would work together “to protect
and promote freedom” and “build prosperity, security and democracy.”
indeed. And this is a strongly recommended article.
apparently does not include freedom of speech or freedom of the press,
at least as far as WikiLeaks is concerned. “Democracy” apparently does
not include the right to expose war crimes and other misdeeds of the
U.S. and other Western governments. The “freedom” espoused by Pence
means submitting to the world’s wealthiest interests.
Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack
This article is by Ray McGovern on Consortiumnews. It starts
are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that
Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those
charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because
special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to
investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as
no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.
agree with Ray McGovern, indeed quite simply because I have never
any credible evidence that Russia
was responsible for Hillary Clinton's
failure to win the presidency of the USA, rather than Clinton herself
(which I think is the case).
Besides, I have been agreeing with McGovern and others since 2016 - o,
and incidentally: I do not say Russia did nothing whatsoever;
that whatever they did was not (by far) sufficient to make Russia
responsible for Hillary's many failures.
Also, and as an aside: Russia is not a socialist state anymore,
no less than 27 years now - in fact it is as capitalist as is the USA.
Anyway, here is some more:
January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the “conclusions” of
U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to
WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA “Intelligence
Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent
U.S. Elections” of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian
President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct
evidence of Russian involvement. That did not prevent the
“handpicked” authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from
expressing “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed
material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee … to
WikiLeaks.” Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are
handpicked to say.
Here is the ending of McGovern's article:
Never mind. The
FBI/CIA/NSA “assessment” became bible truth for partisans like Rep.
Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee,
who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering
to help Trump. It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton
was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by
herself. No, it had to have been the Russians.
view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I
believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to
add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:
I think the VIPS's
article - that I earlier reviewed here
- is correct, and this is a
Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence
profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free
analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer,
which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political
agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary,
hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.
“We speak and
write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what
we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely
coincidental.” The fact we find it is necessary to include that
reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.
reality has outlived its evolutionary usefulness
article is by Catte on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows - and I
decided to review this article, rather than another one, because
academically speaking I am a philosopher and a psychologist:
The nature of
reality used to be a philosophical, metaphysical contemplation. But now
it’s political. There’s a struggle going to to take ownership of what
defines it. And our most instinctive ideas about what it is need to
Reality beyond our
immediate awareness is constructed from information received via
personal anecdote to some extent, and beyond that, by information
streaming services such as news outlets, blogs, independent
A process of
reality-modification is ongoing, continuously updated, on a personal
and a collective level. On the collective level reality is constructed
through assimilation. Daily announcements are made – usually via
mainstream or social media – that certain events have occurred or that
a trend is being observed somewhere. These events/trends will be
analysed, debated, compared to other similar or contrasting
events/trends, and gradually synthesised into the ever-evolving thing
we call “the real world.”
Yes, this is more or
less correct. (For a somewhat more precise but still abstract analysis
see the bits in my Philosophical Dictionary on natural
and also postmodernism.)
That is, each of us
lives in his or her own world composed of his or her own sensations
from the external world or his or her own body, together with inferences and guesses based on
these sensations and ideas
from others about these sensations.
Also, conversely, if we
get some sort of theory,
or guess from
somebody else about something (which we do about most things
that are important for considerable numbers of people, if we belong to
these people), we may criticize or embrace the theory, inference or
guess, but we also tend to find evidence from
people who claimed to have been there when the things were (supposedly)
Here is why this is -
in principle, and with quite a few unstated qualifications - a
There’s a good reason for
this. In evolutionary terms, accepting collective narrative testimony
as being broadly true is a rational thing to do.
It’s equally rational, on this basic human level, to think that the
larger the number of individuals telling you something, the greater the
likelihood this something will be true. In a world view dominated by
direct observation and – at most – second hand testimony, such multiple
certitude is very very likely to be broadly grounded in fact.
So our innate tendency to believe “majority” statements that are
authenticated by collective observation is actually very sound and
grounded in our evolution as a societal creature.
Where it begins to fail us
is when increasing civilisation removes the proximity between the
reporters of events/trends and the events/trends themselves.
And at this point our instinct to trust the majority view becomes more
of a hindrance than a help. Because when our thirty relatives come and
tell us where the best berries are they are no longer offering you
thirty individual firsthand testimonies. They are offering you the
same, unverified, testimony thirty different times.
Or to put this in my
terms: The whole process of testing the theories, inferences and
guesses we hear from others starts to fail (as tests) when
two conditions are being met:
(1) the theories, inferences and guesses we hear are no longer
produced by reports about
sensations, but by reports about
theories, inferences and guesses, and especially if
(2) there also is the theory that "everybody knows that truth does not exist", that is - in
other words - no sensations by anyone
(also not by scientists) are ever to believed (e.g.
because these all are private and personal).
Togetether these two notions - and I have been hearing that "everybody knows that truth does not
exist" ever since August of 1978, when that was asserted by
madman professor Brands during the official opening of
the "University" of Amsterdam's academic year 1978/1979, and yes: this
remained the ideology
of the "University"
of Amsterdam till 1995 (or
later) - means
that there is no standard of truth whatsoever;
standcards of truth are personal; and that the only thing that
is there are texts and theories, and no facts
And indeed this is what
also has been happening in the a-social media like Facebook: Someone
starts a - sensational - theory, and this soon becomes a widely
believed "fact" not because there is any evidence
for it, but simply because many people believe it (or say
they believe it, which may be the case in totalitarian
Here is more on the
process by Catte:
A strange truth about
humanity is, once enough people have read something or heard something,
and passed it on, our hardwired instinct to trust what our trusted
people tell us begins to reinforce that information irresistibly, even
in the face of refutation or evidence to the contrary, even in the face
of clear proof it isn’t, and never was true.
Our consensus reality is
stuffed with such anomalies. Relic “truths” that aren’t true. Relic
“events” that never happened as recounted or never happened at all.
Because collective, consensus “knowledge” trumps individual
observation. It needed to for eons while we evolved. And now we can’t
turn it off, even though it no longer makes any sense.
I agree with the second
paragraph, but not with the first, and here are my reasons.
First, "our hardwired instinct to trust what our
trusted people tell us" is
not so much a "strange truth", but is simply based on how we
learned to talk: Everybody learns to talk from his or her
parents and family by learning names for sensations
(and not for theories, inferences or guesses) and it is in fact
this basic trust that we know what we are talking about that persists
when we are adults.
Second, because very
few people want to become known as liars or deceivers, it
or less natural (though indeed often irrational) that persons who have
publicly claimed something to be so, will tend to persist in public
these statements, especially if there is a group of
people who support
And third, the problem
is especially with the majority that does not
know any science,
that does not know any philosophy,
that does not know
any logic, and that does hardly know any mathematics beyond counting,
while each and everyone from that majority has been lately promoted
to be publishers by Facebook and other a-social media:
In fact, the major
forces that are responsible for their opinions are stupidity, ignorance, conformism,
thinking. (Each of these five has been defined in my Philosophical
Dictionary, and I strongly advise you to read all five if
Here is the last bit
from Catte's article that I review:
I more or less agree that
- at least on the a-social media and in the mainstream media - is no
longer what is really there that is discussed by the
majorities, but that the "Real
is now nothing more or less than what someone says it is."
It’s less that we are being
intentionally deceived and more that the system itself has lost its
grasp on what is real, and doesn’t much care. Real is now nothing more
or less than what someone says it is. The right someone in the right
place at the right time. Maybe in pursuit of an agenda. Maybe just
because it’s easier or cheaper. Maybe because they really think it’s
true. It doesn’t matter. No one ends up knowing the difference.
The point is our ancient
concept of consensus reality isn’t working any more, and probably
hasn’t been for longer than we are comfortable contemplating.
But the reason is mainly that the present majorities are no
longer qualified to think rationally
(because they are limited by their
untrained stupidity, ignorance, conformism,
thinking) but nevertheless all are capable of publishing
their usually stupid and uninformed opinions, and that they therefore
come to accept in majority what - properly considered - are lies,
And the problem - in my view - is not that "our ancient concept of consensus reality
isn’t working any more",
but that what is reality is often no longer based on direct
of someone, but only on the theories or guesses someone
- usually not properly qualified
- that people make and believe
because (once more) they are moved by their untrained stupidity, ignorance, conformism,
So I do not agree with Catte, but I do recommend her article,
it at least faces some very important issues.
 I have
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 (!!).