A. Selections from
October 23, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Monday, October 23,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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 nearly two years (!!!!) I have
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
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from October 23, 2017
Our Ever-Deadlier Police State
2. America’s Forever Wars
for a Fair Trade System After NAFTA Talks
4. Humanity Is Being Split into Two Groups: The
Privileged and the Billions
5. Noam Chomsky: Trump Has Pushed the
Doomsday Clock Dangerously
Close to Midnight
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:
Ever-Deadlier Police State
This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts
None of the reforms,
increased training, diversity programs, community outreach and gimmicks
such as body cameras have blunted America’s deadly police assault,
especially against poor people of color. Police forces in the United
States—which, according to The Washington Post, have fatally
shot 782 people this year—are unaccountable, militarized
monstrosities that spread fear and terror in poor communities. By
comparison, police in England and Wales killed
62 people in the 27 years between the start of 1990 and the end of
Police officers have
become rogue predators in impoverished communities. Under U.S. forfeiture
laws, police indiscriminately seize money, real estate, automobiles
and other assets. In many cities, traffic, parking and other fines are
little more than legalized extortion that funds local government and
turns jails into debtor prisons.
Yes, I think that is
about the comparison between the police violence in the USA and in
England and Wales:
means that in 27 years there were slightly over 1 person(s) killed
per year in English + Wales by the police, while in the USA
there were at least
782 persons killed in the USA by the police, in 2017.
And while the USA has
about 6 times as many inhabitants, it means that it has 782/6 = appr 130
times as many persons killed by the local police.
Here is more by Chris
Because of a failed court
system, millions of young men and women are railroaded into prison,
many for nonviolent offenses. SWAT teams with military weapons burst
into homes often under warrants for nonviolent offenses, sometimes
shooting those inside. Trigger-happy cops pump multiple rounds into the
backs of unarmed men and women and are rarely charged with murder. And
for poor Americans, basic constitutional rights, including due process,
were effectively abolished decades ago.
are locked up for years because they had some marijuana. The rest is
mostly as said, to the best of my knowledge.
Then there is this on
the real motivation of what is called ¨criminal policy¨:
Jonathan Simon’s “Governing
Through Crime” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” point out that
what is defined and targeted as criminal activity by the police and the
courts is largely determined by racial inequality and class, and most
importantly by the potential of targeted groups to cause social and
political unrest. Criminal policy, as sociologist Alex S. Vitale writes
in his new book, “The
End of Policing,” “is structured around the use of punishment to
manage the ‘dangerous classes,’ masquerading as a system of justice.”
is, the supposed ¨criminal policies¨ are not there to fight
crime: they are there to help repress the repressed, which are the
blacks and the poor whites.
I think that is
correct as well, and if you don´t think so, there is this
comparison between the few rich bankers and the many poor:
The criminal justice
system, at the same time, refuses to hold Wall Street banks,
corporations and oligarchs accountable for crimes that have caused
incalculable damage to the global economy and the ecosystem. None of
the bankers who committed massive acts of fraud and were responsible
for the financial collapse in 2008 have gone to prison even though
their crimes resulted in widespread unemployment, millions of evictions
and foreclosures, homelessness, bankruptcies and the looting of the
U.S. Treasury to bail out financial speculators at taxpayer expense. We
live in a two-tiered legal system, one in which poor people are
harassed, arrested and jailed for absurd infractions, such as selling
loose cigarettes —which led to Eric
Garner being choked to death by a New York City policeman in
2014—while crimes of appalling magnitude that wiped out 40 percent of
the world’s wealth are dealt with through tepid administrative
controls, symbolic fines and civil enforcement.
Quite so, I think.
And there is this on the real motivation of the so-called ¨War
The fundamental role of
the police has never changed. Paul Butler in his book “Chokehold: Policing
Black Men” and James Forman Jr. in his book “Locking Up Our Own: Crime
and Punishment in Black America” echo Vitale’s point that the war on
drugs “has never been about public health or public safety. It’s been
about providing a cover for aggressive and invasive policing that
targets almost exclusively people of color.”
That is, it was not a
war on drugs: it was a war on the blacks. I think that
is also correct.
I only quote two more
bits. The first is this:
The accelerated assault
on the poor and the growing omnipotence of the police signal our
transformation into an authoritarian state in which the rich and the
powerful are not subject to the rule of law.
Yes, I agree. And for more
on this see item 4. And this is either the ending or immediately after
here to see Chris Hedges interview writer Alex Vitale.
I copy this so that my
readers know. And this is a recommended article.
is by The Editorial Board of The New York Times. It starts as follows:
The United States has been at war continuously since the
attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve
troops in at least 172 countries and territories. While the number of
men and women deployed overseas has shrunk considerably over the past
60 years, the military’s reach has not. American forces are actively
engaged not only in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen
that have dominated the news, but also in Niger and Somalia, both
recently the scene of deadly attacks, as well as Jordan, Thailand and
An additional 37,813 troops serve on presumably secret
assignment in places listed simply as “unknown.” The Pentagon provided
no further explanation.
There are traditional deployments in Japan (39,980 troops)
and South Korea (23,591) to defend against North Korea and China, if
needed, along with 36,034 troops in Germany, 8,286 in Britain and 1,364
in Turkey — all NATO allies. There are 6,524 troops in Bahrain and
3,055 in Qatar, where the United States has naval bases.
Incidentally, as to the meaning of ¨imperialist¨:
There are some 206 sovereign
states of which 193 are a member of the United Nations. This means
that there are American troops in roughly 170/200 = 85% of all
states (and there are no Russian or Chinese troops in any of these
states, by the way), or indeed in 172/193 = 89% of all states.
Next, as I insist that counterterrorism = terrorism with
the prefix ¨counter¨ (and I insist both are bad, though indeed
one kind of terrorism may be less bad than another kind of terrorism, also
depending on your personal values):
Many of these forces are engaged in counterterrorism
operations — against the Taliban in Afghanistan, for instance; against
the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; against an affiliate of Al Qaeda
in Yemen. So far, Americans seem to accept that these missions and the
deployments they require will continue indefinitely.
Yes indeed, except that I want to qualify ¨Americans¨
by ¨Most¨, for that seems to be quite true - not all, but most. And
that is also the root of the problem:
If what was done to supposed terrorists in supposed
friendly countries (like Afghanistan) was done to Americans in the USA,
the USA might disappear, whereas if it is done by American supposed
counterterrorists against (in this case) Afghanis most Americans just
don´t care and indeed also most of them don´t know.
some partial explanations for this fact:
If the public is quiet, that is partly because so few
families bear so much of this military burden, and partly because
America is not involved in anything comparable to the Vietnam War, when
huge American casualties produced sustained public protest. It is also
because Congress has spent little time considering such issues in a
comprehensive way or debating why all these deployments are needed.
fact, it seems to me that Congress has systematically failed to
reign in the governments it is supposed to control, at least since
9/11//2001, which is currently more than 16 years.
also both the draft and realistic truthful reporting on the wars the
American troops are fighting outside the USA have been abolished (since
During earlier wars, including Vietnam, the draft put most
families at risk of having a loved one go to war, but now America has
all-volunteer armed forces. Less than 1 percent of the population now
serves in the military, compared with more than 12 percent in World War
II. Most people simply do not have a family member in harm’s way.
also true. There is more in the article, which is recommended - and I
also agree with the implication that the USA will continue to fight
or guard at least 85% of the states there are, as long as Congress
has been tied up in non-voting groups by the rich who profit from the
for a Fair Trade System After NAFTA Talks Falter
article is by Kevin Zeese on Truthdig and originally on Popular
Resistance. It starts as follows:
The NAFTA-2 negotiations
seem to be faltering after the fourth round of talks recently held in
the United States. The Trump administration is pushing Mexico and
Canada aggressively to include provisions from the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP) in order to renegotiate NAFTA in a way that benefits U.S.
corporations. Mexico and the U.S. are under particularly high pressure
to complete the talks successfully as each country has major elections
News reports of the
highly secretive talks describe the negotiations as hitting roadblocks.
While this is good news, if it is accurate, this is the time for people
in Mexico, Canada and the United States to call for each government to
not only withdraw from the talks but also to abandon the corporate
model of trade that puts profits before protection of people and the
planet. Our view is—if it doesn’t work, don’t fix it, get rid of it and
adopt a new and more positive trade model.
In fact, I have
tried to follow the NAFTA - one of the many contributions by Bill
Clinton to the riches of the rich - and the TTP and the TTIP earlier,
but I grant that was both boring reading and difficult because these
talks, that trade away most of the human and democratic rights of
hundreds of millions of persons, are almost a complete secret.
still are and the neofascist
danger - for this is what it is basically all about: creating the
neofascist corporate states the rich desire - is as active as it was
before, indeed for a considerable part because these major dangers to
almost everyone are wrapped up in secret
talks about secret ¨trade plans¨.
This is - it seems -
about the present situation in the renegotiated NAFTA:
Further, they report
“observers briefed by trade negotiators said the mood during the latest
session of talks had turned grim and pessimistic, and that most
everyone expected Canada and Mexico to roundly reject U.S. efforts to
weaken NAFTA’s regional structure with U.S. protectionist measures
consistent with Trump’s ‘America first’ agenda.”
There is also this,
that I think is too optimistic:
NAFTA was the start of a
long line of disastrous trade deals that put the interests of large
corporations ahead of the necessities of people and planet. Now that
people see the results of this model of trade such as a race to the
bottom in wages and worker’s rights, environmental destruction and an
erosion of democracy, there is widespread opposition to “free trade.”
This was evident in the large movement of movements that stopped the
TPP and stalled the TTIP.
is right but I fear he is too optimistic, indeed in part
because the secret talks about trading away the human rights of
hundreds of millions are kept secret, indeed ever since the
this is a recommended article.
Is Being Split into Two Groups: The Privileged and the Billions
article is by Vijay Prashad on AlterNet. This is from near the
beginning (and I shortened the long title):
make of the deaths in Somalia and in Afghanistan, shocking numbers
dead, shocking that they have made so little dent in the consciousness
of the West. It is hard for the West to acknowledge the bare humanity
of the dead Somalis and the dead Afghans. Their names have not been
noted, their lives difficult to understand. It is as if there is wall
that separates our human species being, those who live in zones of
great war and tragedy are separated from those who live with the
illusion of peace, in countries that produce the conditions for war but
deny that they have a hand in it.
indeed, and this is the other side (the victims´ side) of the same
situation as was discussed in item 2 above. Here is
make of the refugee crisis, the flood that will continue to grow and
bedevil the West? These refugees are again anonymous bodies, huddled
together, desperation as their motif. There is something timeless about
Salah Jaheen’s poem on a Palestinian refugee, ‘Caging his suffering
within his ribs/Withered and starving/Sitting around doing nothing.’
the point Vijay Prashad is making is that ¨humanity¨ is more and more split
into two groups:
the one hand, the mostly white and for a good part relatively rich
populations of Western Europe, the USA and Canada, and on the the other
hand the mostly quite poor populations from elsewhere, many of whom lack
the distinction of being white or protestants.
is how the distinction works out at present:
On Monday, the UN’s Food
and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) celebrated its founding in 1945
with World Food Day. Last month, the FAO released a sobering report
that has received far too little attention. In its report, The
State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017, the FAO
showed that global hunger has risen for the first time in a decade,
with its figures showing that 815 million people around the planet
suffer from hunger. That’s more than 1 in 10 people. The figure has
risen by 38 million from last year. The UN’s World Food Program called
this report’s findings an ‘indictment of humanity’.
Buried in the report is an
astounding number: that 489 million of those who are chronically food
insecure and malnourished live in countries affected by conflict. That
means the vast bulk of those who are starving live in conflict zones.
that these 815 million people are starving ¨in spite
of¨ "the charity
super-concert Live Aid the following year and the Live 8
concerts in 2005" that was organized by such geniuses of humanity
Geldof, who claimed that they were busy to Make Poverty
was appointed an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth
II, and is a recipient of the Man
of Peace title which recognises individuals who have made "an
outstanding contribution to international social justice and peace",
among numerous other awards and nominations.¨
do good to some, as you see. And this is a recommended article.
Chomsky: Trump Has Pushed the Doomsday Clock Dangerously Close to
This article is by Emily Bell on AlterNet. This is from
near the beginning:
the threat of nuclear annihilation, Chomsky explained the history
of the Doomsday Clock, which is a “very revealing, brief analysis of
the state of the potential for human survival.”
Of the clock,
he said, “Two years ago it was pushed forward to three minutes to
midnight. A week into Trump’s term, it was moved to two and a half
minutes to midnight—that’s the closest it’s been since 1953... Now it’s
more dangerous than it has been throughout the whole nuclear age, and
that’s now combined with the threat of global warming. So what are we
doing about it? Well, what we’re doing about it is ignoring it.”
Yes indeed. And as I have said several times: Mostly
because I am a psychologist who thinks Trump is insane, which also
includes that he is quite unpredictable and extremely hard or
impossible to control, I think it is 50/50 if humanity gets to 2021 without
Trump starting some nuclear war.
I am sorry, and while I do not know what will
happen, I think that is - alas - a reasonable prediction: I do not
know at all, and anything is possible as long as this utter madman
is the most powerful person on earth.
Chomsky about his belief in giving power to everyday people, even those
“who are controlled by Fox News.” Chomsky elaborated on the distinction
between elite power and the people in American history, beginning with
the influence of slave-owning elites during the American Revolution,
and how that’s manifesting in the Trump era:
quoted just the beginning, but the main point is again the enormous differences
there are between the few with money and power, and the many they have
taken the money and power from, that is in fact also the main subject
of item 1, item 2 and item 4.
And this is a recommended article.
 I have now been saying
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 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
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 (!!).