from July 26, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 26, 2018:
1. Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill to End Money Bail
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. American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8
3. In Defense of Dissenters
4. The Case for Stripping Former Officials of their Security
5. Who Will Stop Trump From Tweeting Us into War With Iran?
Sanders Introduces Bill to End Money Bail
This article is by
Aida Chavez on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
Yes, I totally agree,
and indeed in The Netherlands, where I live, there simply is no
such system as the American bail system (and indeed, while I would not
call Dutch justice fair, it is a lot fairer - or less unfair, for the
more pessimistic - than the American system).
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Wednesday
introduced legislation to end money bail on the federal level and
create incentives for states to follow suit.
Money Bail Act is the latest example of the push from the left to
tackle criminal justice reform. It would prohibit money bail in federal
criminal cases, provide grants to states that wish to implement
alternate pretrial systems, and withhold grant funding from states that
continue using cash bail systems.
Additionally, the bail reform “requires a
study three years after implementation to ensure the new alternate
systems are also not leading to disparate detentions rates,” according
to a summary
of the bill provided by Sanders’s office.
“It has always been clear
that we have separate criminal justice systems in this country for the
poor and for the rich,” the summary reads. “A wealthy person charged
with a serious crime may get an ankle monitor and told not to leave the
country; a poor person charged with a misdemeanor may sit in a jail
cell. And this disproportionately affects minorities — fifty percent of
all pretrial detainees are Black or Latinx.”
Here is some more:
I agree with this as well. And here is some background:
In a statement
accompanying the release of his bill, Sanders said, “Poverty is not a
crime and hundreds of thousands of Americans, convicted of nothing,
should not be in jail today because they cannot afford cash bail. In
the year 2018, in the United States, we should not continue having a
‘debtor prison’ system. Our destructive and unjust cash bail process is
part of our broken criminal justice system – and must be ended.”
idea of eliminating money bail is controversial, even among Democrats,
so it is unlikely that the legislation will soon be enacted into law.
inability to afford bail leaves defendants across the country
languishing in pretrial detention bars for extended periods of time; in
2014, about 60 percent of people in U.S. jails had not been
convicted of a crime, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice
wholly agree, but I don't think it will happen. And this is a
“Pretrial detention should be based on
whether or not someone truly should not be freed before their trial,”
the summary continued. “It should not depend on how much money they
have, or what kind of mood the judge is in on a given day, or even what
judge the case happens to come before. We also must insure that
jurisdictions do not eliminate cash bail but find pretexts to continue
unfairly locking people up before trial.”
Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths
article is by Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Our society should’ve
collapsed by now. You know that, right?
No society should function
with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of
those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of
afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth
a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for
multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever
spend on himself.
in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take
one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million
years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you
cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even
just our nation.
Well... I agree with
the last two paragraphs, but the first is both nonsense and false for
me. It is nonsense because there have existed for many centuries
systems of exploitation that were worse than the present American one,
and one of the very many reasons that I do not agree with Camp is that I
disagree with the USA (as a philosopher and a psychologist
excellent degrees) almost since I was born - but the USA still
Here is some more:
We’re all choosing
to continue on like this.
Well, it comes down to the
myths we’ve been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social
programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom
tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned.
I’m going to cover eight of
them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I’m
going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled “Hundreds
of Myths of American Society,” (B) these are the most important ones
and (C) we all have other shit to do.
I am sorry, but I hate
being shuffled on the big heap by people with prejudices who
know me, and I - like many other intelligent people - did absolutely never
choose to live like I do in the system where I am
forced to live (because I am ill
since nearly 40 years).
Also, I don't like
exaggeration. First, the USA is not merely propped up by
"myths". In fact, it is propped up by profits,
although I grant
there are quite a few myths that help making profits. Second, the
title asserts that it are the 8 myths that Camp identifies that
USA from collapsing, while next Camp said there are "Hundreds of Myths
American society" (which I agree with) but he will not
bother people with them
because "we all have other shit to do".
I don't think that is a
serious argument. Next, here is a summary list of the myths: I
copied all of them (for it is these 8 that prop up the USA, according
to Camp), but I have also deleted all texts that explain them,
extent. You can get the full text by going to the
Myth No. 8—We have
Myth No. 7—We have
an accountable and legitimate voting system.
Myth No. 6—We have
an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.
Myth No. 5—We have
an independent judiciary.
Myth No. 4—The
police are here to protect you. They’re your friends.
Myth No. 3—Buying
will make you happy.
Myth No. 2—If you
work hard, things will get better.
Myth No. 1—You are
Well... let me put it this way:
things are true,
and I know some things are false, but I also know
that most of the propositions,
facts, ideas, theories or
guesses that I hear or read are neither definitely provable nor
definitely refutable, and must therefore be ranked on a scale of
being (somehow) probably true, that is more probable than 1/2 and less
than 1, or else of being (somehow) probably false, that is less probable than
1/2 but more than 0.
concept of probability
and its scaling are both very important and also ambiguous
(and there are quite a few theories of
Now to the above eight
proposition: I think most are more probably true than false,
think working hard is good for you, and I also think that, even
present USA, you are more free than in most countries and at
Also, I think it is a
mistake to try to settle complicated issues by simple statements
declare their opposites "myths": They may be, or they may indeed be
probably false, but to make this credible you need more
not plain assertions.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Point is, in order to
enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers—most of the
time—don’t need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms
humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us
all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.
It’s time to wake up.
I am not asleep
and I think since at least 54 years (I am 68) that the system I
live is not logical nor moral and that its rulers are
(and indeed I went to decades of enormous
troubles to maintain consequences of these - theoretically very
well-founded - convictions) but I vastly prefer my own system
over the myths of Camp: I think that the basic problem is that
most people are stupid
thinkers (and indeed for these reasons also believe in many myths).
Defense of Dissenters
article is by Teodrose Fikre on
Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I rise today in defense of
an oft-maligned group that has become the target of political zealots
and of too many Americans who are convinced that voting is a silver
bullet to address social inequalities. In today’s political reality
show, we are led to believe that Democrats and Republicans are engaged
in an ideological death struggle. Consequently, the divides between the
two parties and their respective bases get wider with each successive
generation of voters.
However, irrespective of
their supposed differences, Republicans and Democrats alike find it
easy to castigate people who don’t vote.
First, by "dissenters"
Fikre means people who do not vote, and indeed also
specifically American people. And second, I am one of the
dissenters Fikre is defending: I have never voted since 1971
(when I legally was forced to) but then I am Dutch and not American,
and besides in Holland there are not merely two parties (or
three), but at least fifteen (and usually more, but these
rarely gain seats).
Then again, my
reason not to vote (in Holland) is and was that I know a whole lot
of politics, economy, philosophy, logic and science in general than the
vast majority of voters, whereas the voters vote in vast majority
the basis of very simple ideas and values, while
also I did not see anything nor any person I absolutely wanted
to vote for (or against).
But then again, I am
Dutch, and apart from not voting I have been politically active
Here is more from Fikre:
This is a form of
victim-blaming and stems from misplaced frustrations. In 2016 alone,
more than 100 million people skipped
the presidential election. This act of abstention is viewed by
some as apathy and dereliction of civic duty; however, what some see as
evidence of sloth, I see as a show of dissension. Our political system
is a charade mixed with a heavy dose of fiction, so people who choose
to sit out elections may well have decided to opt out of a farce
instead of opting into a racket.
No, this is simply not
logical: "people who
choose to sit out elections may well have decided to opt out of a farce" - which is true, but they just as
well may have had any of many alternative reasons not
to vote, and Fikre simply does not know.
I don't either, but
then I also do not assume that the 100 million American
with my reasons not to vote, and Fikre does.
Here is some more:
Voting has become an opioid
doled out to the public to let us vent our frustrations and to offer us
illusions of change. Major-party politicians—who take loyalty pledges
to their party, which in either case has entered into a blood oath with
the neo-aristocracy—are paraded out on a regular basis to promise a new
day once they are elected. The minute the last vote is counted that
vision morphs back into the old nightmare of wealth transference to the
uber-rich and to financial anxieties for the rest of us.
I agree with most of
that but not with the first statement: Voting is not "an opioid doled out to the public to let us
vent our frustrations and to offer us illusions of change". Voting is a way of selecting
people who - if selected - will become lawmakers, though Fikre is quite
right that (i) being able to select just one of two (or three)
parties does not give much choice, and also that
(ii) once elected many elected soon may turn corrupt (i.e. they
get bought, usually by the rich).
Then again, I would
have voted in the American elections of 2016, because I think Trump is
both insane (and
I am a
psychologist) and a neofascist
my definition before you disagree). And it also is my guess that most,
though not all, of the 100 millions who chose not to vote did so not
because they were dissenters, but because they were lazy
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Our political system is a
reflection of our values, and as long as we place self-enrichment above
communal wellness, we will keep getting leaders who cater to our
grievances and disregard our common struggles.
I would not have formulated
it as Fikre does, but I agree more than not, and this is a recommended
Case for Stripping Former Officials of their Security Clearances
is by John Kiriakou on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on Monday that in a personal
meeting with President Donald Trump, he urged the president to revoke
the security clearances of a half dozen former Obama-era intelligence
officials, including former CIA director John Brennan, former Director
of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former National Security
Advisor Susan Rice. I couldn’t agree more with Paul’s position, not
specifically regarding these three people, but for any former
intelligence official. No former intelligence official should keep a
security clearance, especially if he or she transitions to the media or
to a corporate board.
First, about security
clearances: This is a link, for I was uncertain about its meaning.
And second, I agree with Kiriakou. Here is more:
Why are these people
saying anything at all? And why do they have active Top Secret security
clearances if they have no governmental positions? The first question
is easier to answer than the second. Before answering, though, I want
to say that I don’t think this issue is specific to Donald Trump.
Former officials of every administration criticize those who have
Yes, I agree. And here are
How is it that
former officials who now have no role in government are able to keep
their active security clearances? This has abuse written all over it.
First, these officials run the risk of exposing classified information
in a television interview, either inadvertently or not. Second, and
more cynically, what is to keep them from propagandizing the American
people by simply spouting the CIA line or allowing the CIA to use them
to put out disinformation? What’s to keep them from propagandizing the
American people by selectively leaking information known only to the
intelligence agencies and Congress? Or to release information passed to
them by the FBI?
I agree to all of this. And this
is a recommended article.
No former intelligence
officials should have a security clearance. There’s no purpose for it
other than propaganda and personal enrichment.
Will Stop Trump From Tweeting Us into War With Iran?
This article is by
Medea Benjamin on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump may be taking
us to war on Iran and those who should be trying to stop him—from
Congress to the grassroots—are too obsessed with Russia to even pay
Trump is well aware that a
war with Iran could be a good diversion from his domestic and Russia
travails, and could even help Republicans in the November elections. In
2012, when President Obama was down in the polls, Trump
tweeted: “Looks like he’ll have to start a war or major conflict to
win. Don’t put it past him!” So we certainly shouldn’t put it past
Yes, I agree. Here is
The Korean talks took place
with the support of South Korea, and in the absence of any significant
U.S. opposition lobby. With Iran, both Saudi Arabia and Israel have
been trying to suck the United States into their decades-old feud with
opposed the Iran nuclear deal, and Israel has been
advocating for the U.S. military to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities
(even though Israel has several hundred nuclear weapons of
its own and Iran has none.)
insists that Iran is spreading terrorism throughout the region,
even though the Saudis have spent
billions spreading their intolerant version of Islam, Wahhabism.
And let us not forget the terror of the Saudi bombing of Yemen that has
caused the world’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe.
I mostly agree with
this as well. Here is more:
And I fear this is also
correct. The article ends thus:
In defiance of the deal’s
five co-sponsors—Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia—the Trump
unilaterally restored sanctions, which will go into effect in two
waves during August and November. The devastating sanctions not only
prohibit U.S. companies from doing business in Iran, but will also
punish foreign companies and banks.
Despite efforts by European
governments to shield their companies, the companies themselves—from
oil giant Total to airplane manufacturer Airbus—do not want to take the
risk and are already pulling the plug on trade deals they had
negotiated with Iran. The value of the Iranian rial has
plummeted this year by forty percent.
Before all hell
breaks loose with the Trump wrecking crew taking us into a cataclysmic
conflict with Iran, Congress and the American public better get their
heads out of the Russiagate sand and rush to stop them.
I am afraid this will not
work, but this is a recommended article.