from July 20, 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
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from July 20, 2018:
1. Yemen: As
Millions Face Starvation, American-Made Bombs Are Killing
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:
Stories Corporate Media Failed to Cover This Week
3. Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed
4. Is Trump a Traitor?
5. Our Missing $10 Trillion
As Millions Face Starvation, American-Made Bombs Are Killing Civilians
This article is by
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! It starts with the
humanitarian crisis in Yemen is incredibly difficult to cover on the
ground, with many obstacles for journalists hoping to access the
capital Sana’a and other areas affected by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led
coalition bombings. We speak with a reporter who smuggled herself into
northern Yemen to report on the widespread famine and devastation there
in an exclusive three-part series for ”PBS
NewsHour.” Special correspondent Jane Ferguson is a Beirut-based
special correspondent. Her pieces are titled “Yemen’s spiraling hunger
crisis is a man-made disaster,” “American-made bombs in Yemen are
killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and fueling anger at the
U.S.” and “Houthis deny U.S., Saudi claim that they are Iran’s puppets.”
I decided to review this
article (i) because of the number of civilians who are involved
in modern war and (ii) because modern war (as
undertaken by the Americans and their allies) excels in killing
civilians while keeping army´s affairs and soldiers´ affairs mostly
a secret, which (iii) was very much helped by Nixon´s
privatization of the American army.
And I will only comment on my last point here: I am against
privatization of Armies essentially because drafted armies are much
easier to control by (non-¨embedded¨)journalists, and because in
drafted armies the
children of the rich also may be drafted.
Anyway. Here is more:
In other words: At present
8 1/2 million Yemenites ¨have no idea if they will eat that day¨ right now (and there is a horrible
picture of a starving child on the site), while there will be 18
the end of this year who will ¨have no
idea if they will eat that day¨if the
SHAIKH: We spend the rest
of the hour in Yemen, where Houthi rebels say they’re prepared to hand
over the crucial port of Hodeidah to the United Nations, if
U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition halt military operations there. Last
month, tens of thousands of civilians fled the city when coalition
forces launched an all-out offensive there. The U.N. warned the
offensive would severely exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in
Yemen, which is already experiencing the world’s worst cholera
epidemic, with more than a million people afflicted, and with millions
more on the brink of famine. This is U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise
GRANDE: Most of the
eight-and-a-half million people that we describe as being pre-famine,
the reality of their life is that when they wake up in the morning,
they have no idea if they will eat that day. No idea. Eight-and-a-half
million people are in that category. The U.N. estimates that by the end
of the year, if there is not an end to this war, another 10 million
Yemenis will be in that same situation. That’s 18 million innocent
civilians who are the victims of this war.
That is merely three times the number of the Jews murdered in WW II.
And no: they are not murdered in the same way, and there may be
some millions alive of those who are starving right now
next year, but meanwhile 18 million = 3 times the number of Jews killed
in WW II, and many of the 18 million are starving right now.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
I think this is true and
important, and this is a recommended article.
FERGUSON: (..) Of course,
you know, you’ll hear the statistic, “Yemen is the world’s worst
humanitarian disaster,” but that’s really just a phrase. And it was—you
know, one of the reasons I wanted to go into rebel-held Yemen was
because no one really understands what that looks like. What does that
mean to a viewer?
And what it means is a third
of the country, an entire third, over 8 million people, on the brink of
starvation, meaning they’re not getting enough nutrients. They cannot
afford to buy enough food to feed themselves and their families
sufficiently. And, you know, the statistics on the deaths of children
are particularly startling, and that’s because, of course, as anywhere
in the world, children are the most susceptible to falling ill from
malnutrition. They can die of starvation. They can also, and more often
is the case, die of infectious diseases, because their bodies have
become so weak. And so, when I traveled to various hospitals and went
to the children’s wards, which are very—pretty much now just
malnutrition wards, you’ll see absolutely terrifyingly thin children. (..)
Stories Corporate Media Failed to Cover This Week
article is by Sonali Solhatkar on Truthdig. This starts as follows:
antics over the past week have sent the world into a tizzy. With his
preferential treatment of Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own
Justice Department and intelligence agencies fueling calls of
“treason,” we’ve all but forgotten the incredible firestorm Trump
ignited less than a week ago at the NATO
summit in Brussels or the reports of his
collusion with retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy to replace Kennedy
on the Supreme Court with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As has been typical of
the Trump presidency, each week’s news is so jaw-dropping that we
forget the horrors of the week before, while our president tramples
like a bull in a china shop over expectations, diplomatic norms and the
difference between truth and lies. What important stories and contexts
were eclipsed by Trump’s global tantrums over the past week?
Well.. for one thing I am not
¨we¨; for another, my memory is still fairly good and I have not
forgotten either item Solhatkar mentions; and also while I have
forgotten quite a few things I wrote about in the last five years, one
reason is that I wrote 2000 articles in
these five years about the crisis.
On the other hand, I agree with Solhatkar that the mainstream
media fail to cover many things they ought to cover if
aim was to inform the public. Then again, I also think that the mainstream media are mainstream in part
because they are more interested in making money
for themselves than in trying to inform
the public properly.
So here is the first item:
overlooked in coverage of the summit was the story of the U.S.-EU split
over the Iran nuclear deal. U.S. Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo arrived in Brussels just before the summit expecting to
impress upon European allies the importance of abandoning the nuclear
deal President Obama’s administration had carefully brokered and to
push for harsher sanctions instead. It is not clear whether Pompeo’s
meetings actually took place (..)
I more or less agree. Here
After blowing up the
NATO summit, Trump headed to the U.K., where he continued his trail of
devastation, starting with an interview he gave to the tabloid paper The
Sun ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May. During
that interview, Trump boasted of how he mansplained to May the best way
to conduct her nation’s tricky Brexit negotiations, saying, “I actually
told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t agree; she didn’t listen
to me.” In that same interview, Trump explained that if May opts for a
“soft” Brexit process to keep the U.K. tethered to the European Union,
a proposed U.S.-U.K. trade deal will be off. “If they do a deal like
that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing
with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said. What has
not received much attention is how social justice organizations around
the U.K. are opposed to any trade deal between the U.S. and
U.K., not because of ties to the EU but because of the pro-corporate
bent of the deal.
And I agree more or less,
and indeed missed the last point. Here is more:
Also overshadowed by
the Trump-Putin debacle was the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, which one
journalist was hoping to raise in a question at the Helsinki news
conference before being dragged out. Sam Husseini, credentialed by The
Nation magazine to cover the story, held a piece of paper in his hand
that simply read, “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty,” but rather than focus on
what that treaty is and why the U.S. and Russia have not joined it,
media outlets have instead focused on the rough treatment of the
Well... the rough
treatment Husseini got was a scandal (he was physically removed
for holding that piece of paper), but I agree with the rest.
Finally, I quote this bit:
missing from the coverage of intelligence agencies’ findings of Russian
interference in the 2016 election is the historical context of U.S.
interventions in other democracies the world over for many decades
now. The CIA and other American agencies have changed the course of
world history through interventions that have carried bloody legacies
and whose effects are felt today from Iran to Honduras.
In fact, I did pay
attention to that fact (see here, for example: The
Global Growth of U.S. Special Operations Forces) but I agree my source was not
WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World
article is by Stefania Maurizi on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Silenced and cut off
from the outside world, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been
confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last six years
with no access to sunlight, fresh air, or proper medical treatment.
Furthermore, last March President Lenin Moreno’s Ecuadorian government
cut his access to the internet, phone calls and even visitors and
journalists. For a man who has already been confined to the embassy for
so long, these restrictions are particularly harsh.
I say, for this is fairly
interesting, and besides also important
because I agree that
what has been fairly called ¨the war on Assange¨ both seriously
threaten Assange and the free press - and see here for more: The
War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom.
I began working as one of
WikiLeaks’ media partners in 2009, before Assange and WikiLeaks
published such bombshells as the “Collateral Murder” video. Over the
last nine years, I have partnered with WikiLeaks on behalf of my
newspaper, the Italian daily La Repubblica to work on the Podesta
emails and many of its other secret files (..)
Maurizi worked nine years with Wikileaks and Assange:
Over the last nine
years of my work in partnership with WikiLeaks on behalf of first the
Italian newsmagazine L’Espresso and then La Repubblica, I have spent
many hours talking to Assange and his staff, maintaining weekly contact
with them. Looking back, I realize that in all those years, I only met
Assange as a free man once. That was in September 2010 (..)
And here is more on
He is one of the
most demonized men on the planet. “We are in the business of
crucifixion,” he told me several months ago, before Ecuador cut his
social contacts. Indeed he has been crucified for whatever he has done:
he talked to the press? He is a narcissist. He didn’t talk to the
press? He wants to fuel his image as an international mystery man. He
is a complicated human being, but he is neither a hard man nor the
imperious, James Bond-style villain depicted by newspapers. He can be
warm, with a sharp sense of humor, and he is definitely brilliant and
bold enough to publish exceptionally risky documents.
I don´t know Assange at
all (like most people), but I am willing to accept this simply because
I have been reading articles by him or inspired by him for a long time.
And I agree with Maurizi that he has been much and quite
criticized by the mainstream media.
Then again, indeed because I have been systematically reading both the
mainstream media and the non-mainstream media for over 5 years now, I
think the present mainstream media are rather different from the
mainstream media of forty and more years ago, and especially in two
respects: (1) the mainstream media of today (and the last
or so) are much more interested in making money for themselves
owners, their editors, their journalists) than in giving a fair and
somewhat sufficient rendering of all the daily news they should report;
and (2) especially because they have become quite totalitarian,
especially about individuals or media that step out of
line, like Assange and Wikipedia.
Here is more by Maurizi:
Whenever I say that
Assange is the only editor arbitrarily detained in Europe, some object
that he isn’t detained, or that he isn’t an editor at all. But that he
is arbitrarily detained is the opinion of the United Nations’ Working
Group on Arbitrary Detention, whose decisions are considered
authoritative by the European Court of Human Rights.
Evidently, I would say,
Assange is detained: He is locked up in one room without the
right of using the internet or receiving visitors, and the only
existing way he can escape from that is by walking out of the embassy,
getting arrested, and being handed over to the American government who
very well may torture him.
I do not think any mainstream journalist who criticizes
Assange has ever been in such a position.
And here is British judge Arbuthnot:
appeal to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court was dismissed last
February by the British judge Emma Arbuthnot, in a ruling indicating
that for UK Justice it is perfectly fine for an individual to remain
confined to a tiny building for almost six years with no access to
sunlight, fresh air or proper medical treatment. “I do not find that
Mr. Assange’s stay in the Embassy is inappropriate, unjust,
unpredictable, unreasonable, unnecessary or disproportionate”,
concluded Arbuthnot with no British irony.
I find the judgement of
Arbuthnot inappropriate, unjust, quite predictable, very
unreasonable, totally unnecessary and very disproportionate (and am
I do not live in Great Britain, as I did want to in the early 1970ies,
because I had a British girlfriend).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
No one can say how
it will end for Assange and his team: if they end up in jail in the
United States, it will be the first time that an editor and a media
organization are imprisoned in the U.S. for their work, at least not
since John Peter Zenger in Colonial America. As the icon of
whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg, put it: “Under Trump, he may well be
the first journalist in this country to be indicted.” There is a
deafening silence on the impact of such a scenario on the freedom of
the press and on the human rights of Assange and his staff.
I agree, except that I add
that the ¨deafening silence¨ is in the mainstream media.
is a recommended article in which there is considerably more.
Trump a Traitor?
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Trump’s meeting with
Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was a betrayal
of the nation he has a sworn duty to protect.
Under Article III Section 3
of the Constitution, the crime
of treason is defined as “giving aid and comfort” to enemies
United States. Trump has betrayed the American people in 5 ways we
Really now? I
much dislike Trump, but I think Reich´s present article
indeed in good part because Reich follows the lead of ¨American
intelligence¨ that I myself trust as little as I trust Trump.
Here is the first bit
that I quote:
1. He ignores
attacks on our democracy. According to American intelligence,
doubt about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. (..)
But I do not
trust ¨American intelligence¨ at all; I still have not
seen any evidence whatsoever that the Russian government or
Putin have done what ¨American intelligence¨ asserts
they have done.
Here is the second bit:
2. He publicly
undermines U.S. intelligence officials –
taking the side of Putin, a former KGB officer, when Putin claims
interfere in the election. (..)
I distrust American
inteligence, and indeed also Russian intelligence. Here is more:
3. He attacks our
closest allies, weakening America’s
standing in the world and playing into Putin’s hands. During his
Europe, Trump insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, mocked British
Minister Theresa May, and was rebuked by the French President.
Yes. But I have been
saying, as a psychologist, with tens of thousands of other
psycho- logists, that Trump
is not sane (since the beginning of 2016) and should be
removed as president for that
reason alone. I simply think this is
more evidence (but indeed I do not know of any head of state
that has a degree in psychology).
Here is more, and this
is the last bit I quote:
4. His campaign
knowingly sought help from a Russian
5. Then in July 2016 Trump publicly encouraged
meddle in our election
Well... yes and no, but
if I were to subscribe to Reich´s five points I might as well subscribe
to ¨American intelligence¨. And as I said, I trust them as much as I
Missing $10 Trillion
This article is by
Josh Hoxle on Common Dreams and originally on OtherWords. It starts as
In any case, a trillion
dollars is a whole lot of money and - i.a. - more than ten
as much as the head of Amazon currently owns.
A trillion dollars, a
figure with twelve zeros after a one, is by any measure a ton of money.
It’s near impossible to comprehend how much a trillion is.
So, it’s admittedly hard to
comprehend a new report that tallies the combined tax cuts of the Bush,
Obama, and Trump administrations from the year 2000 to the time they’re
fully implemented in 2025 at over $10 trillion. Of that $10 trillion,
on Taxation and Economic Policy found, a whopping $2 trillion will
have gone exclusively to the top 1 percent.
Sounds like big numbers,
for Human Development offers some tidy tips for visualizing a
trillion. They point out that if you took a trillion one-dollar bills
and laid them end-to-end, it would measure longer than the distance
from the earth to the sun.
Here is more, and this is considerably more specific:
The past four decades have
dramatic increase in income and wealth inequality as the rich have
continued to get richer while the rest of the economy has stagnated.
The lopsided tilt of the tax code plays no small part.
As this new report points
out, it’s not just the Trump tax cuts. Bush cut taxes too, especially
for the rich, and Obama extended many of the Bush tax cuts.
And at last the results
have arrived. Put very simply, the top 1 percent of households will pay
$111 billion less this year alone in federal taxes combined than they
would have if the laws had remained unchanged since 2000.
In fact $111 billion is
about what the head
of Amazon currently owns. But indeed in other words: This is also what
the top 1 percent will receive this year (I take it, for I have not
Here is more:
Since the Trump cuts were
passed last December, Congress has debated a budget that includes major
cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. They’ve considered
cuts to programs families depend on to live — like Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and
Children (WIC) program, which provides nutrition assistance to half the
babies born in the United States.
It’s not an exaggeration to
say that choosing to cut taxes on the rich while cutting vital programs
is taking food out of babies’ mouth
I think that Trump and
most rich Republicans are trying to drive many of the poor to
Also, I think this is hard to refute given that half of the
in the USA are born in such poor circumstances that they need nutrition
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Well... I think that those
who are not wealthy hardly have any voice in the present
¨democracy¨, which I do not regard as a democracy anymore, indeed
precisely for that reason.
Meanwhile, our nation’s
transportation infrastructure is in shambles. The American
Society of Civil Engineers gives the country’s infrastructure a D+
and calls for $2 trillion in increased investment over ten years to get
back up to a passing grade. That number sounds familiar doesn’t it?
So, ask yourself, would you
rather have the wealthiest 1 percent be $2 trillion wealthier, or would
you rather have safe and sound roads and bridges?
So the question is senseless (in my opinion) but I agree that
American rich have succeeded in rearrangeing American politics
a way that the 1 percent of the richest get most of the wealth,
the 99% have hardly or not at all increased what they earned,
proportionally, since the late 1970ies.
There are many graphics online that tell the same story, and here is
one I repeat from 8 days ago, from Guess Who
Benefits From Republican Tax Cuts?
Note the above is per
household. And this is a recommended article.
 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 (!!).