from July 31, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
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 31, 2018:
Promises “Unwavering” Commitment to Police, Military Clients
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:
Using AI Technology
2. The Best Chance in More Than a Decade to
End the War in Afghanistan
3. Noam Chomsky: Survival of Organized Human
Life is at Risk
4. A New Form of Torture in the Age of Xenophobic Cultural
Wages Are Going Nowhere
Promises “Unwavering” Commitment to Police, Military Clients Using AI
This article is by
Lee Fang on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
While some Silicon Valley
with the ethics of offering cutting-edge artificial
intelligence technology to military and law
enforcement agencies with histories of abuse, Amazon, apparently,
has no reservations.
When asked about the
culture “gap” between Amazon employees — who have
protested the sale of facial recognition technology to law
enforcement — and the company’s “executive level” interests, Teresa
Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector of Amazon
Web Services, was frank. “We are committed to our customer, and we are
unwaveringly committed to the U.S. government and the governments we
work with around the world,” Carlson declared at the Aspen Security
Forum on July 20 in Colorado.
Carlson’s remarks, largely
unreported outside of a mention
in a technology trade journal, mark the lengthiest public discussion in
recent months of Amazon’s role as a technology provider for military
and law enforcement, which has been a source of substantial controversy
for the company.
I say. Well... I hate
Amazon and never use it and indeed never will: I buy my
books at some local bookshop or not at all. So all I have to add to the
above is that Ms. Carlson probably earns arouns 350 times as much as
her average employees, although I grant I do not know this, but
then again, this is the current difference between the 2-5% of
the very rich earners and the 95% of all others.
Here is some more:
“Employees need a voice,”
said Carlson, regarding the recent criticism. “I can’t speak
for any other company, but we want to work with our
government,” she added. “We feel compelled. … We believe
government should have the same capability — our war fighters out there
in the field, our civil servants — should have those same
capabilities.” Carlson acknowledged that “you’re
always gonna have bad actors,” but went on to laud the
positive applications of the software.
When asked by New York
Times reporter Cecilia Kang if Amazon has “drawn any red lines, any
standards, guidelines, on what you will and you will not do in terms of
defense work,” Carlson demurred.
I copied it but this is
+ pure lies by
Carlson. (What she should have said is something like "We feel compelled. We feel compelled to get the highest possible
profit, and otherwise nothing matters.")
And here is the last
bit that I quote from this article:
Amazon, known for its web
server service and e-commerce business, is quickly moving into the
defense and homeland security space, offering an array of machine
learning capabilities to the Pentagon and police agencies around the
country. The company currently
manages a major cloud computing solution for U.S. intelligence
agencies, and is bidding on a $10
billion contract to provide similar cloud solutions to the Defense
Leaked emails obtained
by The Intercept revealed that Amazon provided “some work loads” on the
controversial Project Maven initiative launched
by the Defense Department last year. The contract is the
Pentagon’s first major effort to integrate Silicon Valley-developed
machine learning technology into the military’s capabilities. The
initiative applies AI technology to help analysts identify images
captured by drones on the battlefield by automatically cataloguing people, buildings, and
As I just said: Amazon
also sells books. I think that if you buy from Amazon you
support the Pentagon, the police agencies and the Defense Department.
And this is a recommended article.
Best Chance in More Than a Decade to End the War in Afghanistan
This article is by Murtaza
Hussain on The Intercept. I abbeviated the title (I will not
print the equivalent of tweets as titles - I am sorry). I starts as
I say, and one reason to
do so is that I did not know most of this. Incidentally, a personal
note: I spent most of June reading through columns by Kenneth Rexroth,
who was a quite interesting and very intelligent
American who lived from 1905-1982. The columns cover some 14 years and
end in 1975, but I thought quite a few (not: all) interesting. In it
there are several columns about Afghanistan and Kabul of the early
1970ies. Well... by Rexroth's words, which I tend to trust, Afghanistan
was a haven close to heaven slightly over 40 years ago.
For a brief few days this
June, the long-suffering people of Afghanistan had a glimpse
of what their country might look like at peace. Out of
respect for the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Fitr, the Taliban and
the Afghan government announced a historic three-day
truce, building on previous temporary ceasefire agreements made by
the warring parties. The agreement led to scenes reminiscent of the
famous World War I “Christmas Truce,”
with Taliban and government fighters — who had just days earlier been
trying to kill each other — embracing, taking selfies, and exchanging
After several decades of
nearly unremitting warfare — triggered by the Soviet Union’s invasion
of the country in the 1979 and punctuated by civil wars and NATO
intervention — many Afghans have clearly had enough. In recent
months, a grassroots
peace movement emerged, consisting of ordinary
people who have held protest marches across the country to
demand an end to the violence. While recent ceasefires have
not been extended indefinitely, there are indications
that the political leadership on both sides, as well as the U.S.
military, is taking seriously the idea of negotiating an end to the
And here is one bit more from this article:
So is Afghanistan
heading towards a new era of peace, free from the nightmare of armed
conflict? And is the United States on the precipice of ending its
grueling 17-year military occupation of the country? Despite
significant challenges, including elites on all sides who have vested
interest in the conflict continuing, recent developments may offer
the best opportunity for putting an end to the
decadeslong violence that has ravaged Afghan society.
Well... it is more than
nothing, so it is something, but not much, in my opinion.
Chomsky: Survival of Organized Human Life is at Risk
This article is by Amy Goodman
on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
At least eight
people have died in California as climate change-fueled wildfires rage
statewide. In total, firefighters are battling seventeen wildfires
blazing across California, engulfing more than 200,000 acres and
forcing mass evacuations, including in Yosemite National Park. The
fires comes amid a surge of deadly extreme weather worldwide, including
in India, where more than 500 people have died as a result of flooding
and heavy rains in recent weeks. Scientists have linked increased
flooding and rainfall to climate change. For more we speak with
world-renowned political dissident, author, and linguist Noam Chomsky.
He is a laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the
University of Arizona and Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, where he taught for more than 50 years.
I like Democracy Now!'s
introductions to their interviews, but I must admit that Chomsky talks
about far more general things and possible events:
CHOMSKY: We can’t
overemphasize the fact that we’re in a unique moment of human history.
In fact, we have been, ever since 1945. In 1945, human history changed
dramatically. In August 1945, humans demonstrated that their vaunted
intelligence had created a means to destroy life on Earth. Didn’t quite
have it yet at that point, but it was obvious that it was going to
extend and expand, as it in fact did.
A couple of years later,
1947, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists established its
famous Doomsday Clock. How far are we from midnight, terminal disaster?
It was set at seven minutes to midnight. It once reached two minutes to
midnight, 1953, when the U.S. and then the Soviet Union detonated
thermonuclear weapons, which do have the capacity to essentially
destroy life. Then it has oscillated variously. It’s now back at two
minutes to midnight—with an addition.
It was not known in 1945
that we were not only entering the nuclear age, but entering a new
geological epoch, what geologists call the Anthropocene, an epoch in
which human activity is having severe and deleterious effects on the
environment in which human and other life can survive. We also entered
into what’s now called the sixth extinction, a rapid extinction of
species, which is comparable to the fifth extinction 65 million years
ago when an asteroid, huge asteroid, hit the Earth, we know.
The World Geological
Society finally settled on the end of World War II as the onset of the
Anthropocene—sharp escalation and destruction of the environment, not
only global warming, carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, but also
such things as plastics in the ocean, which are predicted to be greater
than the weight of fish in the ocean not far in the future.
So we’re destroying the
environment for organized human life. We’re threatening a terminal
disaster with regular nuclear confrontations. Anybody who has looked at
the record, which is shocking, would have to conclude that it’s a
miracle that we’ve survived this long.
I agree fully
with all of this. And here is Chomsky on Trump:
And it all makes perfect sense on the assumption that he is driven by
one overwhelming concern: himself. All of this makes sense for a
megalomaniac who wants to make sure that he has power, he has wealth,
has to appeal to a number of constituencies to make sure he’s supported.
One constituency is the
overwhelmingly hawkish establishment—you know, expand NATO, build up the military system, modernize
nuclear weapons and so on. OK, he’s got them in his pocket. The crucial
constituency is—and his actual one—are the corporate sector and the
super-rich. And he’s just lavishing gifts on them. While he’s prancing
in front of the media, and the media are helping him out by focusing on
him, his minions in Congress are carrying out sheer robbery. I mean,
it’s unbelievable, if you take a look at it point by point. I’ve
mentioned a couple of examples before.
Yes, I agree again and
indeed Trump is a
megalomaniac (English since 1895), for this means more or
less the same as the psychiatrese baloney "narcissistic
personality disorder", but Wikipedia strongly prefers psychiatrese
over proper English, and even completely kicked out the term
Anyway - Trump is
insane in my psychologically educated eyes, and this is a strongly
New Form of Torture in the Age of Xenophobic Cultural Warriors
is by Eugene Robinson on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
As of Monday, 711 children
who were effectively kidnapped and held hostage by the Trump
administration remain in government custody, supposedly “ineligible” to
be reunited with their families. What happens to them now? The
government won’t say, apparently doesn’t know and evidently doesn’t
U.S. District Judge Dana
Sabraw, who had ordered that those children and nearly 2,000 others be
returned to their loved ones by last week, summed up the
administration’s cruel incompetence at a court hearing Friday: “What
was lost in the process was the family. The parents didn’t know where
the children were, and the children didn’t know where the parents were.
And the government didn’t know either.”
That was, of course, the
whole point of this sordid and unforgivable exercise. The xenophobic
cultural warriors in the administration—President Trump, policy adviser
Stephen Miller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions—sent a message to
refugees fleeing rampant violence in Central America: If you show up at
the border seeking asylum, as is your right, you might have your
children taken away and never see them again.
My goodness!! Eugene
Robinson is the third person I know of - and I am reading every
day 35 sites to remain informed with the news - who uses the entirely justified legal term ¨kidnapping¨:
law, kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person
against his or her will. Thus, it is a composite crime. It can also be
defined as false imprisonment by means of abduction, both of which are
separate crimes that when committed simultaneously upon the same person
merge as the single crime of kidnapping.
So that is what Trump
and his government did - and they are still kidnapping 711 children, but yes:
Robinson is quite correct.
Here is some more:
The administration knew
that child separations would be the inevitable result of a “zero
tolerance” policy in which all undocumented border-crossers—most of
them accused of nothing more than a misdemeanor offense—were jailed and
put on trial. But officials did not care enough to implement a system
for keeping track of parents and their children, some still in diapers.
If you have children,
imagine how you would feel seeing them taken away like that. Hug your
kids. Imagine not knowing where they are or whether you’ll ever get to
hug them again.
Now imagine the terror and
despair those 711 “ineligible” children must feel. It is monstrous to
gratuitously inflict such pain. It is, in a word, torture.
Yes, I completely agree
(and I remember my mother´s very great sadness after a younger
brother drowned, in 1959): This was - and is - torture
by the Trump government:
Torture (from Latin tortus: to twist, to torment)
is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological suffering
on someone by another as a punishment or in order to fulfill some
desire of the torturer or force some action from the victim.
And that was the
definition of ¨torture¨, that fully applies. Here is more by
Human nature binds parents
with their children. It shocks and depresses me to have to write this,
but I wonder whether Trump and his minions see these Central
Americans—brown-skinned, with indigenous features—as fully human.
In 431 cases involving
children between 5 and 17, officials reported, the parents have either
been deported or have left the country voluntarily. Where are they now?
How could the government let this happen? If these parents were going
to be denied permission to stay in the United States, what was the big
hurry to kick them out? Why couldn’t the administration wait until
their children could be brought back from wherever they were being kept?
Well... I simply don´t
know about Sessions (he also may be a sadist), but
meanwhile I have been convinced that - at least - Trump is a racist,
so yes: I assume he looks on brown people as if they are not ¨fully
Here is the last bit
from this fine article that I quote:
they are sadists
(my brother drowned a few days after he got to be 6) and they are also
acting grossly illegal. And this is a strongly
The government is also
still holding 46 children under 5 whom officials cannot or will not
give back to their parents. Think of the trauma being inflicted on
2-year-olds—to make a political point.
All of this is happening because Trump has no respect for law or due
process and no sense of empathy.
5. Why Wages Are Going
This article is by
Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
The official rate of
America has plunged to a remarkably low 3.8%.
The Federal Reserve
forecasts that the unemployment rate will reach 3.5% by the end of the
But the official rate hides
troubling realities: legions of college grads overqualified for their
growing number of contract workers with no job security, and an army of
part-time workers desperate for full-time jobs. Almost 80%
of Americans say they live from paycheck to paycheck, many not knowing
their next one will be.
Blanketing all of this are
wages and vanishing job benefits. The typical American worker now earns
not much more than what the typical worker earned in 40 years ago,
inflation. Although the US economy continues to grow, most of the gains
been going to a relatively few top executives of large companies,
and inventors and owners of digital devices.
Yes indeed. Here is
What’s going on? Simply
put, the vast
majority of American workers have lost just about all their bargaining
The erosion of that bargaining power is one of the biggest economic
the past four decades, yet it’s less about supply and demand than about
institutions and politics.
Two fundamental forces have
the structure of the US
directly altering the balance of power between business and labor. The
the increasing difficulty for workers of joining together in trade
second is the growing ease by which corporations can join together in
oligopolies or to form monopolies.
Yes indeed. And here is
Precisely - and the same
things are happening in Holland and in Europe, though indeed less
extremely so than in the USA.
Over the same period time,
enforcement has gone into remission. The US government has essentially
green light to companies seeking to gain monopoly power over digital
and networks (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook); wanting to merge into
oligopolies (pharmaceuticals, health insurers, airlines, seed
processors, military contractors, Wall Street banks, internet service
providers); or intent on creating local monopolies (food distributors,
disposal companies, hospitals).
This means workers are
on such goods and services than they would were these markets more
It’s exactly as if their paychecks were cut.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
In recent years,
most of those profits have gone into higher
executive pay and higher share prices rather than into new investment
pay. Add to this the fact that the richest 10% of Americans own about
all shares of stock (the top 1% owns about 40%), and you get a broader
of how and why inequality has widened so dramatically.
Yes. And this is a strongly
B. One Extra Bit
This is one extra bit
that I sometimes insert in the crisis series. And indeed this bit does not
belong to the crisis
series. It is about ME/CFS - which
is a "serious chronic disease" that my ex and I suffer from since
40 years now, and that we only now,
since March 2018 "are allowed" (by the Dutch medics) to call a "serious chronic disease" (in Holland, to
Anyway, we suffer from it for 40 years now and did not get any help whatsoever for ill persons,
mostly thanks to 9 out of 10 (and probably more, but I have good
evidence for 9 out of 10) of Dutch medics. I concluded from this
that 9 out of 10 of the current Dutch medics have a probable IQ of
around 115 (the average IQ in the "University" of Amsterdam in 1984,
now very probably still lower; I know they have less than
half of the medical education that their medical predecessors got,
between 1865 and 1965; and I certainly will not admit that
more than 1 in 10 of the current Dutch medics are competent, and very
probably considerably less.
Back to the article:
In fact, this is about the
classification of diseases and disorders (I dislike the term
"mental disease") called the ICD that the World Health
Organization uses. This is in fact both quite important for
patients (it matters a very great lot, as my ex and I found, extremely
painfully as well, for something like eight years, whether you are
classified as "mentally disordered" aka "psychosomatic" or as ill, and
my ex and I - both of whom got very good degrees in psychology while
we were ill, without ever attending any lectures, because we
could not - were classified by 9 out of 10 of the diplomaed "medical
doctors" we saw as insane, although they usually prettified
that to "psychosomatic" (which is utter baloney, medically
speaking). And that meant that all the bureaucrats classified us as
"insane" and refused any and all help. For forty years.
Anyway... here is something Suzy Chapman and Mary Dimmock compiled, and
for those who are trying to follow the ICD it is important and
We continue to see some
confusion amongst ME and CFS patients, advocates and commentators
around classification systems — what they are used for, whether they
are mandatory for WHO member states, which terms are included in which
systems and which countries use which versions.
In May, Suzy Chapman (DxRevisionWatch.com)
and Mary Dimmock prepared a document to assist stakeholders in
navigating the complexities of the disease classification and
The purpose of this document is to summarize the key classification and
terminology systems that are used internationally to capture
information about disorders and diseases for the purposes of global
mortality and morbidity tracking. These systems are also used for
medical records, including EMRs (electronic medical records), in
primary and secondary care.
I've read it through
and it is helpful, although I personally gave up following the
ICD for the simple reason that I am meanwhile 68 and do not
expect to be helped by the current medics,
and especially not by Dutch ones.
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 (!!).