from May 15, 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
These are five crisis files
that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 15, 2018
1. Ahead of Vote on Gina Haspel, Senate Pulls Access to
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. 55 Die in Gaza Protests as Israel Fetes U.S. Embassy Move
3. The Pentagon Can't Account for $21 Trillion (That's Not a
4. One of the World's Most Prestigious Medical Journals Just
Legalizing All Drugs
5. Central Banks: The Great Experiment Has Failed
of Vote on Gina Haspel, Senate Pulls Access to Damning Classified Memo
article is by Ryan Grim on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
As the Senate prepares for a Wednesday vote
on whether to confirm Gina Haspel as director of the CIA, the Senate
Intelligence Committee has restricted access to a classified memo that
Democratic staff put together, detailing Haspel’s
role in advocating for torture and later destroying related
say. This means - I think - that (i) the evidence on Bloody Gina´s
torturing in Thailand is suppressed, and now also (ii) the
Bloody Gina´s destroying the evidence is also suppressed.
On Monday morning, Elizabeth Falcone, a
senior aide for Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top-ranking
Democrat on the intelligence committee, announced the decision to
restrict access in an email to Democratic legislative directors. The
memo had previously been available for senators and staff with security
clearances to review in a Secure Compartmented Information Facility
housed within Congress. Staff will no longer be able to review the
document, and senators will only be able to do so upon request. It has
been removed from the SCIF.
And I am sorry if you dislike the term ¨Bloody Gina¨, but it is not
mine and I do not like people who are far more likely to have
people than not, precisely because she has been destroying the
that she did, which in turn is the reason for my being forced to write
¨far more likely¨.
Here is more from the article:
The classified memo was compiled by
the minority staff on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Relying on classified records, it goes into detail on Haspel’s role in
torture, the destruction of evidence, and her tenure more broadly,
according to people briefed on its contents.
And this is the probable
reason why not even Senators can read the evidence:
I say. It seems that some really
want a sadist
torturer as head of the CIA. And this is a
People briefed on the
contents of the memo say that it is not possible to read it and come
away without serious doubts about whether Haspel ought to be confirmed.
Yasmine Taeb, senior policy
counsel for the Center for Victims of Torture, said that it’s crucial
for senators to read the classified memo before announcing their votes.
according to Senate sources, few senators have viewed the memo, and
with the vote scheduled for Wednesday, crucial lawmakers have begun
announcing their positions.
Die in Gaza Protests as Israel Fetes U.S. Embassy Move
article is by Fadres Akram and Josef Federman on Truthdig and
originally on The Associated Press. It starts as follows:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip—In a
jarring contrast, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55
Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 during mass protests Monday
along the Gaza border, while just a few miles away Israel and the U.S.
held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in
It was by far the deadliest
day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between
Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and further dimmed the already bleak
prospects for President Donald Trump’s hoped-for peace plan.
I say, for this means over
1200 Palestinians were wounded or killed in one
day by Israeli
military. And yesterday I pointed out - see ¨On Gaza¨ - that in modern war in the
last 50 or 60 years it are mostly civilians
who are being killed by
the military of the opposing party
(which incidentally also happened in WW II).
Here is more from the
In a videotaped address,
Trump said the embassy move, a key campaign promise, recognizes the
“plain reality” that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Yet he added the
United States “remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace
But Monday’s steadily
climbing death toll and wall-to-wall condemnation of the embassy move
in the Arab world raised new doubts about Trump’s ambitions to broker
what he called the “deal of the century.” More than a year after taking
office, Trump’s Mideast team has yet to produce a long-promised peace
Yes, though I doubt
Trump wants peace. It seems he is preparing for war against Iran.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
Yes, I agree with the U.N. human rights chief. And this is a
By nightfall, at least 55
Palestinians, including a young girl and four other minors, were
killed, the Gaza Health Ministry said. It said 1,204 Palestinians were
wounded by gunfire, including 116 who were in serious or critical
Egypt, an important Israeli
ally, condemned the killings of Palestinian protesters, while the U.N.
human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, decried the “shocking
killing of dozens.”
Pentagon Can't Account for $21 Trillion (That's Not a Typo)
article is by Lee Camp on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
I say. I´ll quote
some evidence in a moment, but l want to start with saying something
about Lee Camp, who is a comedian, and not a mathematician nor
a physicist, and who continues the above with
Twenty-one trillion dollars.
The Pentagon’s own numbers
show that it can’t account for $21 trillion. Yes, I mean trillion with
There are certain
things the human mind is not meant to do. Our complex brains cannot
view the world in infrared, cannot spell words backward during orgasm
and cannot really grasp numbers over a few thousand.
considerably more in that vein, and it is nonsense for two
reasons: First, it is simply false for
physicists and mathematicians. And second, it is false for the logical
reason that if the above were true, this would have been the end of the
But it is not, and it is easy to say what a trillion is: A thousand
billion, which in turn is a thousand million, which is a thousand
thousands. I grant that humans find it a lot easier to
tens, hundreds or thousands of things than billions or trillions,
indeed in part because lower numbers are much more familiar,
is about it.
Anyway... back to the article, which does come with evidence:
A couple of years
ago, Mark Skidmore, an economics professor, heard Catherine Austin
Fitts, former assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and
Urban Development, say that the Department of Defense Office of
Inspector General had found $6.5
trillion worth of unaccounted-for spending in 2015. Skidmore, being
an economics professor, thought something like, “She means $6.5
billion. Not trillion. Because trillion would mean the Pentagon
couldn’t account for more money than the gross domestic product of the
whole United Kingdom. But still, $6.5 billion of unaccounted-for money
is a crazy amount.”
So he went and looked at
the inspector general’s report, and he found something interesting: It
was trillion! It was fucking $6.5 trillion in 2015 of
unaccounted-for spending! And I’m sorry for the cursing, but the word
“trillion” is legally obligated to be prefaced with “fucking.” It is
indeed way more than the U.K.’s GDP.
Skidmore did a little more
digging. As Forbes reported
in December 2017, “[He] and Catherine Austin Fitts … conducted a
search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to
1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources
indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for
the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban
Development for the years 1998-2015.”
I take it that is true
and I think I should add that part of the reason is that - to the best
of my knowledge, for I did write about it in a Nederlog of some years
ago - that the Department of Defense has not been properly audited
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
But the 21 trillion number
comes from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General—the
OIG. Although, as Forbes pointed out, “after Mark Skidmore began
inquiring about OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, the OIG’s
webpage, which documented, albeit in a highly incomplete manner, these
unsupported “accounting adjustments,” was mysteriously taken down.”
Luckily, people had already
grabbed copies of the report, which—for now—you
can view here.
I say. In fact, I did
download the last link and skimmed it (but it is a fairly long report
in a pdf of 4.2 MB). In any case, I think Camp is correct in
implying that the Pentagon has been very badly audited for 20 years.
And this is a recommended article (even though Camp is not correct
about numbers and ẅhat he calls ¨the human mind¨).
of the World's Most Prestigious Medical Journals Just Called for
Legalizing All Drugs
article is by Phillip Smith on AlterNet and originally on the
Independent Media Institute. It starts as follows:
Embracing a harm reduction
and public health perspective, one of
the world's most prestigious medical journals has released a signed
editorial calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of
currently illegal drugs.
In an editorial last
Thursday entitled Drugs Should Be
Legalized, Regulated, and Taxed, Fiona Godlee, editor in chief
of the British Medical Journal, notes that under drug prohibition, the
global trade "fuels organized crime and human misery," and asks, "Why
should it not instead fund public services?"
Citing an opinion piece
in the same issue of the BMJ from British members of the Law
Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP, formerly known as Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition) Jason Reed and Paul Whitehouse, Godlee notes that
in the United Kingdom (as in the United States) "vast sums are spent
prosecuting individuals and trying vainly to interrupt the flow of
drugs into cities" while that money would be much better "spent on
quality control, education, treatment for drug users, and child
protection." Under legalization, "revenues could be diverted from
criminal gangs into government coffers," she writes.
I say, which I do
because I agree. Then again, I immediately add that while the British
Medical Journal reaches this conclusion now, in 2018, I reached
the same conclusion in 1969,
and indeed did so
then in part on the basis of the Wootton Report
that dates back to 1968 (fifty years ago this year).
That report, which was
quite rational, was limited to cannabis and was rejected by the British
government. And I extended the recommendations of the Wootton
Report to hard drugs (also in 1969) for a simple reason I´ll state
First one quote from
Report, that recommended decriminalizing cannabis, about which the
Report stated (in 1968/69):
"The long term consumption
of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects (…)
Cannabis is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and
barbiturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol. (…) An increasing
number of people, mainly young, in all classes of society are
experimenting with this drug, and substantial numbers use it regularly
for social pleasure. There is no evidence that this activity is causing
violent crime, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of
dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment (…) there are
indications that (cannabis) may become a functional equivalent of
I agree, and note that
the Report said, quite correctly that ¨Cannabis is ... less
than alcohol¨, which is - moreover - quite true on the basis of 50 years more
experience in Holland: Far
more people are killed or wounded
because of alcohol than because of cannabis.
My reasons to extend
recommendations of the Wootton Report to hard drugs (in 1969) were -
and still are - that somebody who is hooked on hard drugs is ill
and should be treated, which is far
more easier to do when hard
drugs are not criminalized.
Here are part of Godlee´s reasons (from the article):
Godlee notes that the
global drug prohibition consensus is fraying around the edges, and
points to the example of Portugal, which decriminalized the possession
of all drugs in 2001. There, drug use remains in line with levels in
other European countries, but the harms associated with drug use under
prohibition have decreased dramatically, particularly in terms of fatal
drug overdoses and the spread of injection drug-related infectious
Godlee also points to the
Netherlands, the United States, and soon, Canada, where "regulated
markets for the sale of cannabis generate substantial tax revenues."
Except that the Netherlands
are a bad example, for while you can deal in soft drugs
in Holland if
you get personal permission from the
mayor (of the city
where you wish to deal), soft drugs are still quite illegal
in Holland, even though they could have been easily legalized in
Holland for more than 30 years. I do not know how much
the mayors make on these deals, but being Dutch myself I find it
impossible to believe this is done honestly.
Anyway... here is the last
bit I quote from this article:
Unfortunately for the BMJ
and the other public health advocates, as in the United States, the
political class in the United Kingdom isn't yet on board with
evidence-based best practices on drug policy. But this editorial
loosens another brick in the wall—on both sides of the Atlantic.
Perhaps. But since ¨the political class in the United Kingdom¨ has been systematically and
voluntarily been blind for over 50 years now for the ¨evidence-based best practices on drug policy¨
I am less optimistic than Philip Smith. But this is a strongly
Banks: The Great Experiment Has Failed
article is by Nomi
Prins on DailyReckoning. It starts as follows:
My latest book, Collusion:
How Central Bankers Rigged the World, is about the leading
central banks and their incestuous relationships.
The book dives into how
central banks rigged the cost of money and the state of the markets,
and ultimately created more inequality and instability as a result.
They did all of this in order to subsidize private banks at the expense
of people everywhere.
The book reveals the people
in charge of these strategies, their elite gatherings and public and
private communications. It uncovers how their policies rerouted
economies, geopolitics, trade wars and elections.
I am a fan of Nomi
Prins and this article is a fine set of reasons to buy Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged
the World - which you should do from your local bookshop and not
Here is more:
Central banks have several
functions from an official standpoint. The first is to regulate the
smooth and orderly operation of private banks or public banks within a
particular country or region (the ECB is responsible for many countries
The other function they are
tasked with is setting interest rates (the cost of borrowing money) so
that there’s adequate economic balance between full employment and a
select inflation rate.
The idea is that if the
cost of money is cheap enough, private banks will lend to the general
population and businesses. The ultimate goal is that the money can be
used to expand enterprise, hire people and develop a stronger economy.
Yes. And here is more:
Since the financial crisis,
the Fed has been unleashed. The U.S. central bank has quite literally
fabricated nearly $4.5 trillion in funds to buy bonds (assets) from the
major private banks. It should be noted that those private banking
institutions are members of the Fed system.
The Fed then provides that
money to the banks and the institution can then hold the funds in
reserve, or choose to sell their Treasury or mortgage bonds back to the
The reality is, central
banks have provided money as cheaply as possible to banks in order to
keep the private banking system operating.
Precisely - and I have been
writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (at a time
Dutch government still insisted there was no crisis, and ¨we should
just cycle a bit harder¨). And one important reason to keep
about the crisis is that the crisis has continued for the majority
the people (who earn less than $100,000 a year, which is the vast
Here is more on the coming
crisis, which will result from the non-handling of the crisis of 2008:
Because money was so cheap
and interest rates so low, no other investment opportunities could
offer the same high returns, so speculators piled into the stock
markets, further elevating their levels.
We have built up corporate
debt and the markets to such great highs that the potential for a fall
would be at an unprecedented level. To further complicate the matter,
we have seen record buybacks occurring in the markets, but such
landmark moves are not connected to organic growth and are detached
from the foundation of any economy.
To visualize this, imagine
pulling the rug out from under a table full of dishes. The higher you
stack the dishes, the greater the crash when they fall.
Today’s global debt to GDP
ratio stands at a record of 224%, according to the IMF’s latest
calculations, amidst record debt of $164 trillion. Much of that debt
was created because the central banks offered up money at such cheap
levels to borrow.
Precisely. Here is the last
bit I quote from this excellent article:
Perhaps most alarming, we
have seen virtually no real steps to reform the financial system.
Despite some cosmetic
regulations to curtail certain risky behaviors, since the repeal of the
Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, there is still no division between
depositors’ funds and those used by banks for speculation.
The big banks continue to
make massive trading bets, and corporations are still focused on buying
back stock for short-term shareholder gains rather than reinvestment in
Since the financial crisis,
not a single bank CEO has been seriously punished, despite the frauds
and felonies committed by the biggest U.S. banks. If a person steals a
car, he gets charged with a felony and likely goes to prison. If a big
bank, like Wells Fargo recently, scams millions of dollars of phony
fees from its customers, its CEO gets a raise.
Again precisely. And
this is a strongly recommended article.
have now been
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 (!!).