from June 16, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than 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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from June 16, 2018:
1. Will the U.S. Ever Give Up Its Nukes?
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. and China Expand Trade War as Beijing Matches Trump’s
3. Blistering U.N. Report: Trump Administration’s Policies
Worsen Poverty & Inequality
4. To the Press, after 18 Months of Trump
5. Winning the News Cycle: Trump’s Made-for-TV Singapore
the U.S. Ever Give Up Its Nukes?
This article is by
Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
This week, Donald
Trump became the first U.S. president to meet with a North Korean head
of state, raising the prospect that the repressive dictatorship might
finally take steps toward dismantling its nuclear program. But there’s
something missing from this whole conversation about “disarmament” and
“denuclearization”: the fact that the United States itself is sitting
on the world’s most powerful stockpile of nuclear weapons. Call it the
nuclear elephant in the room: U.S. politicians are petrified by North
Korea’s nukes, obsessed over Iran’s hypothetical nukes — but what about
the very real and present danger posed to all of humanity by America’s
6,800 nuclear warheads? And what about the fact that those nukes —
which could destroy the world several times over — could be launched in
a matter of minutes, without congressional authorization or Pentagon
approval? Beatrice Fihn, the director of the International Campaign to
Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and William J. Perry, secretary of defense
under President Clinton, join Mehdi Hasan to discuss the nuclear threat
closer to home.
These are all good
questions, although my answer to the question in this article´s title
is: ¨No, of course not¨.
Here is some more (and if my formatting is bad, this is because it
hardly exists on The Intercept):
President Donald J.
Trump: I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step
towards a bright new future for his people.
DJT: Really, he’s
got a great personality. He’s a funny guy. He’s a very smart guy. He’s
a great negotiator. Loves his people, he loves his country. He wants a
lot of good things, and that’s why he’s doing this.
Greta Van Susteren:
But he’s starved them, he’s been brutal to them. He still loves his
DJT: Look, he’s
doing what he’s seen done, I mean, if you look at it.
MH: Look, to be
fair, if we look past the two megalomaniacs with freakish hairstyles at
the center of all this, there’s actually been lots of (welcome) talk of
“denuclearization” on the Korean peninsula; of Kim Jong Un getting rid
of his nuclear arsenal — that’s around 60 nuclear warheads, by the way.
But there’s some missing from this whole conversation about disarmament
and denuclearization: the fact that the United States itself is sitting
on the world’s most powerful stockpile of nuclear weapons. When will we
be rid of them?
Yes, but my own
to Hasan´s question is as above: The USA is extremely unlikely
to give up its atomic arsenal, and the more so as there are now not
anymore two opposing blocks.
Here is some more,
still from the beginning of this fairly long interview:
MH: This week, I’ll
speak to a former U.S. defense secretary and a Nobel Peace laureate
about their campaigns to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
But what I really want to
ask on today’s show is: What about America’s nukes? And, perhaps even
more importantly, what about the man who now has to the power to launch
You might say it’s absurd
to compare the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile with, say, North Korea’s.
The United States, after all, is a liberal democracy, whereas the DPRK
is a brutal, totalitarian, one-party state.
The problem, of course,
with that argument is that the only country in human history to have
ever used nuclear weapons to incinerate its enemies en masse happens to
be a liberal democracy, and that liberal democracy happens to be the
United States of America.
No, I am sorry: I do
not think that the USA at present is a ¨liberal democracy¨, and besides, I don´t think governmental
characteristics (like: being a democracy, being a dictatorship etc.) is
very important for the risk of a nuclear war, and namely because a
nuclear war will result from the interplay between several governments.
Here is some more on the
enormous honesty and the great principles that moved Obama:
President Barack Obama:
So today, I state clearly and with conviction: America’s commitment to
seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
[audience cheers and applauds.]
MH: That was Obama
just four months after becoming president in 2009; the same Obama who
then put the U.S. on course to spend around $1 trillion upgrading its
nuclear arsenal over the next three decades, including new funding for
a new class of ballistic missile submarine, a new stealth bomber and a
new nuclear-armed cruise missile. Thanks, Barack!
And since January 2017, the
debate over that expanded and modernized arsenal has taken a new and
ominous turn. Because these are not now just the world’s worst weapons,
but they’re now in the hands of perhaps the world’s most reckless and
unstable leader. And no, I’m not talking about Kim.
I could not resist the above
bit (and no: I think Obama was a fraud, just as Bill
Clinton was a
yes: they both succeeded personally
multi-millionaires through their presidencies).
Anyway... there is a whole
lot more in this long interview, which is recommended.
and China Expand Trade War as Beijing Matches Trump’s Tariffs
This article is by
Ana Swanson on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
administration on Friday escalated a trade war between the world’s two
largest economies, moving ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese
goods and provoking an immediate tit-for-tat response from Beijing.
president is battling on a global front, taking aim at allies and
adversaries alike. The United States has levied global tariffs on metal imports that include
those from Europe, Canada and Mexico, while threatening to tear up the
North American Free Trade Agreement.
countries are fighting back, drawing up retaliatory measures that go
after products in Mr. Trump’s political base. China’s response was
swift on Friday, focusing on $50 billion worth of American goods
including beef, poultry, tobacco and cars.
trade actions could ripple through the global economy, fracturing
supply chains and costing jobs at American companies that will be
forced to absorb higher prices. Although the United States economy is
especially strong, the tariffs are expected to drive up prices for
American consumers as well as for businesses that depend on China for
Yes indeed. Incidentally, and though the question is
not really asked in this article, my own reply to the question why
is this trade war between the USA and China and indeed between the USA
and Europe necessary is that it is not, and seems to be
based on Trump´s madness.
(I am sorry if you disagree, but I am a psychologist.)
Here is more on the present situation:
could get worse if the United States and China ratchet up their
actions. Mr. Trump has already promised more tariffs in response to
China’s retaliation. China, in turn, is likely to back away from an
agreement to buy $70 billion worth of American agricultural and energy
products — a deal that was conditional on the United States lifting its
threat of tariffs.
proportionate and targeted tariffs on U.S. imports are meant to send a
strong signal that it will not capitulate to U.S. demands,” said Eswar
Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University. “It
will be challenging for both sides to find a way to de-escalate these
Yes, I agree. Here is some more:
And there is a lot more in
the article, which is recommended.
total, the tariffs will fall on 1,102 categories of Chinese goods,
including nuclear reactors, aircraft engine parts, bulldozers, ball
bearings, motorcycles and industrial and agricultural machinery. The
list generally focuses on industrial sectors that relate to the
country’s Made in China 2025 plan for dominating high-tech industries,
like aerospace, automobiles, information technology and robotics, the
U.N. Report: Trump Administration’s Policies Designed to Worsen Poverty
This article is by
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the folllowing
A group of top
Democrats are demanding the Trump administration present a plan to
Congress to address growing poverty in the United States, following an
excoriating report by the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme
poverty, Philip Alston. Alston slammed the Trump administration’s
policies for worsening the state of poverty in the United States. The
report details how 40 million Americans live in poverty, and 18.5
million Americans live in extreme poverty. It also details how the
United States has the highest rate of income inequality among Western
countries and one of the lowest rates of intergenerational social
mobility. We speak with Philip Alston, the U.N. special rapporteur on
extreme poverty. He will be presenting his report next week in Geneva.
Incidentally, since I am
Dutch: There are fewer Dutchmen in all (17 million) than the
18.5 million Americans who ¨live
in extreme poverty¨ (which
are again a lot less than the ¨40 million Americans [who] live in poverty¨.
But OK - if you are not Dutch, it will probably not mean a lot to you.
Here is some more:
(...) United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip
Alston slammed the Trump administration’s policies for worsening the
state of poverty in the United States. The report states, “[T]he
policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to
remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in
employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be
earned rather than a right of citizenship.”
The report details how 40
million Americans live in poverty and 18.5 million Americans live in
extreme poverty. It also details how the United States has the highest
rate of income inequality among Western countries and one of the lowest
rates of intergenerational social mobility.
Yes, I agree
with Alston that (bolding added) the policies of Trump´s government are
¨delibe- rately designed
to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not
in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be
earned rather than a right of citizenship.¨
And in fact I am going
further than that, and assume that Trump´s government is
that there are currently over 7 billion human beings alive on earth, of
whom at least half (3 1/2 billion: more
humans than were alive until
1970) is poor or very poor, and their answer to that very major
seems to be: We just need to kill the poor, although we shall do so
driving them to suicide.
At least, I draw that
conclusion seeing what Trump and his government are doing in the USA.
Then again, you don´t need to believe me. Here is more Philip
ALSTON: Well, I was
looking at two different aspects, in a way. One is what you’ve
described now—in other words, the economic statistics, the extent to
which vast numbers of people are left living without enough to get by
on, the 40 million living in poverty, the figure of 5.3 million, which
has been estimated of people who live in, quote, “Third World
conditions” in this country. And you’ve got a trend which is designed
to—in terms of policies being adopted and put forward by the current
GOODMAN: You call them
ALSTON: Yes. Basically,
they are singling out all of the major benefit programs and seeking to
attach very harsh work requirements to it. We’re all in favor of people
having to work, but in the vast majority of cases, people are already
working, and they can’t survive. But that’s not going to stop cutbacks
in food stamps, cutbacks in housing subsidies and various other
This is part of my
reason to say that these ¨cutbacks
in food stamps, cutbacks in housing subsidies and various other programs¨ are intentionally unfair and
to drive those to whom they are denied to suicide, which indeed in
many cases may be the only ¨solution¨ they have. (Incidentally, check
out Psychiatrist Warns Trump May Be on 'Boundary
and Reality’ from two days ago: This also warns
against Trump´s sadism.)
Here is more by Alston:
But the other thing that my
report looks at, which is equally important, is the threat to
democracy, of course, that if you consistently make life less
manageable for those who are living in poverty, if you start to cut
back on those who are able to vote, if you start making it more
difficult—the latest Supreme Court decision, in relation to Ohio,
making it feasible for the state to eliminate lots of voters—all of
these affect, overwhelmingly, those who are not wealthy. And that
presents—that means that the assault, in economic terms, represents a
major threat to the democracy. So, my report focuses then on the
implications of this for what we call civil and political rights in the
Yes indeed. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this fine article, and it concerns the fact
that the ¨healthy life expectancy¨ which is ¨the number of years that a newborn can expect
to live in health¨ is
(boldings added) ¨now lower
in the United States than it is in China¨:
ALSTON: (..) The World
Health Organization brought out new statistics just a week or so ago,
which showed—and this is a complex figure. It showed that the healthy
life expectancy—in other words, the number of years that a newborn can
expect to live in health—is now lower in the United States than it is
in China. This is a pretty shocking development, because life
expectancy is the classic overall indicator of the well-being of a
society. It brings together a lot of different factors—why people live
long, why they die early and so on. And so, what you’ve got in the
United States, despite massive spending on healthcare, etc., is the
worst level of healthcare in the Western world, the highest levels of
child poverty and so on. And they all manifest themselves in the
reducing life expectancy.
Quite so and this is a
strong argument. This is a strongly recommended
4. To the Press, after 18
Months of Trump
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
1. Stop treating
Trump’s tweets as news.
2. Don’t believe a single
word that comes out of his mouth.
3. Don’t fall for the reality-TV spectacles he creates. (For example,
his meeting with Kim Jong-un.) They’re not news, either.
4. Don’t let his churlish thin-skinned vindictive narcissistic rants
divert attention from what he’s really doing.
5. Focus on what he’s really doing, and put the day’s stories into
this larger context. He’s (1) undermining democratic institutions,
(2) using his office for personal gain, (3) sowing division and hate,
(4) cozying up to dictators while antagonizing our democratic allies
around the world, (5) violating the rule of law, and (6) enriching
America’s wealthy while harming the middle class and the poor. He may
also be (7) colluding with Putin.
I say. Well... I agree
with point 5 (although I probably disbelieve Trump is colluding with
Putin, but I will not discuss this here and now).
But I don´t
with the other four points, or at least with points 1-3 inclusive. My
reasons are mainly that (i) I am following ¨the news¨ quite closely
since over 5 years now, and (ii) this simply shows this is not
realistically doable, and besides (iii) some of the news
that Trump creates, such as ¨his meeting with Kim Jong-un¨ simply is news, also according to persons who
strongly oppose Trump.
Something similar holds
for the other three points of Reich, which are these:
That is, I agree with
point 6 and also with point 8, but I disagree with point 7, for
say you can deal ¨quotes
arguments from Trump’s enablers and followers¨ namely by calling them what they usually are: Lies.
6. Keep track of what his
Cabinet is doing – Sessions’s attacks on civil rights, civil liberties,
voting rights, and immigrants; DeVos’s efforts to undermine public
education, Pruitt’s and Zinke’s efforts to gut the environment; all
their conflicts of interest, and the industry lobbyists they’ve put in
8. Don’t let him rattle you.
Maintain your dignity, confidence, and courage.
7. Don’t try to “balance” your coverage of the truth with quotes and
arguments from Trump’s enablers and followers. This is not a contest
between right and left, Republicans and Democrats. This is between
democracy and demagogic authoritarianism.
Or let me put my argument as follows: One can satisfy all
of Reich´s points by refusing to deal with the NYT, the
Washington Post, and with most of the present-day mainstream media, and
by insisting that one is dealing only with the real
news that is again read mostly by the relatively few who have an IQ
above 125, and not in the mainstream media, but on Truthdig,
Dreams, and a few other sites, but that means shutting up on
I think that would be a mistake.
the News Cycle: Trump’s Made-for-TV Singapore Summit
is by William Rivers Pitt on Truthout. It starts as follows:
Probably the most
vapid phenomenon in modern American politics is something known as
“winning the news cycle.” The thinking goes that if your version of
events dominates the media coverage during a given news cycle, you
“win” that day. Stack up enough days, continues the theory, and you win
the week, the month, the year, the next election, and so forth.
It’s an utterly
substance-free tactic — if your “version of events” is a ball of brazen
lies, as it all too often is, you still “win the day” if the media is
carrying your water — that has never been more vividly on display than
it was this week in Singapore. Donald Trump was not seeking peace when
he met Kim Jong Un on Tuesday. He wanted the handshake picture so he
could set his mighty spin machine to “11” and turn it loose. He wanted
to “win the news cycle,” and credit where credit is due, he did exactly
I tend to like William
Rivers Pitt (and say to him or the editors of Truthout that their
is misbehaving since the last three days at least), but I think
the present article he is making a mistake rather like
Robert Reich did.
Then again, Pitt is
right about ¨the news cycle¨ and he may be right about Trump´s
motives, but then Trump´s motives for shaking hands with Kim are not
the only thing that was involved in the meeting between the two
leaders in Singapore.
Here is some more on
The joint statement signed
by Kim and Trump after the summit, however, fell far short of the
fanfare afforded it within the news cycle. While Trump made concessions
that some anti-war activists have hailed as a positive de-escalation of
tensions and possibly the beginning of a peace process — including
announcing an end to the joint military drills in South Korea — he did
not extract any concessions worth noting in return. While the joint
statement called for “complete denuclearization,” it fell far short on
some vital details: A timeline for disarmament, a process for
verification, and what other nations, if any, will be involved. “We’ll
talk about talking about talking about stuff” was the agreement he came
away with. Pretty flimsy in the main.
Well... I more or less
agree that the results of the meeting in Singapore were ¨pretty flimsy in the main¨, but then again that is often the case after
a first breakthrough, and besides, quite a few persons counted with the
real possibility of a nuclear war.
That did not
now, which is no guarantee it will not happen in the future, but which
does seem something to me. There is more in the article, but it seems
to me more due to Pitt´s distaste or disappointments (which I more or
less share) rather than to the real facts.
 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 (!!).