from March 24, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Saturday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from March 24, 2018
1. Deconstructed Podcast: We Need to Talk About Inequality
2. Bolton Was Early Beneficiary of Cambridge Analytica’s
How Democracy Can Survive Big Data
4. Meet the American Professor Suing Cambridge Analytica for
5. Facebook Turned Our Economy Into a Spying Operation
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:
Podcast: We Need to Talk About Inequality (With Bernie Sanders)
article is by Mehdi Hasan on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
I should start this review by
saying that this is indeed the first episode (and I do not watch
anything if I can read the text, for that is a lot faster for me than
listening), but I did notice two infelicities that should have been
avoided: First, several
contributors cannot be identified (only two or three letters are
given), and second, it seems as if several quotes are mixed into the text, but they cannot be
identified as quotes (in the text, at least).
On the first episode of his
new podcast “Deconstructed,” The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan sits down with
former presidential candidate and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to
talk poverty, inequality, media bias, and the 2020 presidential
Sanders is fresh off a
Facebook town hall with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and filmmaker Michael
Moore that was viewed live by nearly 2 million people. He and
Mehdi dig into the challenges facing the Democratic Party, how the left
can connect with Trump voters, and whether Trump firing Mueller would
be an impeachable offense (Bernie’s answer? Yes).
Anyway... here is Bernie Sanders:
Bernie Sanders: Today there are thousands of people this
country who can’t afford to go to a doctor. Today there’s a mom waking
up who can’t afford affordable childcare for her little one. There are
senior citizens a mile away from here who are trying to survive on
$12,000 a year, social security. Does anyone give a shit about them?
Does anyone cover them? The answer is no.
Well...I agree with Bernie
Sanders, but would like to add that my minimized pension (in
Holland) is about $12,000 a year, and I did not earn anything
more (in fact considerably less) in each and all of the last 50 years...
And besides, the terrorists who ruled the ¨University¨ of
Amsterdam let me - intentionally and fully on purpose, because I headed
the only party in the ¨University Parliament¨ that was against
me and my ex be terrorized
for three years by a complete, utter and
very dangerous madman, while the City of Amsterdam, a few years later,
let me be gassed, terrorized
and threatened with murder by the illegal
drugsdealers whom the City of Amsterdam chose to
protect over the legal
rights of persons like me. And at the same time the
Amsterdam illegally and extremely sadistically denied
me my legal right
to take an M.A. in philosophy, because they screamed at me that I was
¨a fascist, a fascist, a fascist¨ and ¨a terrorist, a terrorist, a
terrorist¨ all because I had honestly said I was not a Marxist, and I
had opposed the terrorists who led the ¨university¨
politically, who now abused me
politically and destroyed 20 years of studying philosophy.
Anyway... more about this later, now I have
been declared - after my ex
and myself have been styled for the last 39 1/4 years
¨psychosomatizers¨ - as having ¨a serious chronic disease¨, for
am extremely angry after 40 years
of intentional abuse, discrimination,
murder threats, and degeneracies in Holland.
Back to the interview. Here is Mehdi Hasan:
I think that is a correct
summary (i) of what is really happening in the present USA, and
(ii) of the enormous lies and/or ommissions of important facts
Previous presidents declared war on poverty. These days, though,
presidents both Republican and Democrat prefer to declare war on the
poor. And they’re able to do it because the U.S. media gives them a
free pass — it doesn’t cover this stuff.
For example, how many of
you are aware of the fact that 41 million Americans live in poverty? 41
million. That nine million Americans have zero cash income? That a
million and a half families in America — in America, the richest
country in the history of the world — live on less than $2 a day.
But why would you know any of
that? It’s not as if the media is telling you, informing you, reminding
you of these facts. Not in an age of Russiagate or Trump tweets or
Stormy Daniels. Who wants to talk about poverty and inequality when you
could talk about porn star suing the president?
And here is Bernie Sanders on poverty (and I think but do not know this
is in fact a quote):
often have you guys seen on television any discussion of poverty in
America. You ever see it?
not at all. 40 million people struggling. And, what I would say to our
friends in the corporate media, start paying attention to the reality
of how many people in our country are struggling economically every
single day. And talk about that.
Well... yes and no. I
agree with Sanders on the facts, but the
mainstream media simply will
not do as you ask them to do if you cannot also reward them
financially. And ordinary people do not have billions, or
tenthousands to do so. And therefore they are systematically
by the media, in fact for a long time now as well.
Here is another bit on
what the mainstream media do deliver:
statistic I came across recently made my head spin, the Tyndall Report
looked at nightly news broadcasts in 2016, election year, they found a
mere 32 minutes was devoted over 2016 to substantive policy issues,
most of those minutes were on foreign policy and terrorism, zero
minutes on poverty, zero on inequality, zero on infrastructure, zero on
climate change. Isn’t that a disgrace?
It’s unbelievable. And unless we understand that, you can’t understand
why Donald Trump is president of the United States, you can’t
understand why most people in America are giving up on the political
process, we have the lowest voter turnout of any major country on
Earth, so we have got to raise political consciousness in a way that
the corporate media has never gone near.
Again I say: yes and
no. That is, I agree with Sanders on the facts, but his stated remedy ¨we have got to raise political consciousness
in a way that the corporate media has never gone near¨ seems to me - well: very unlikely
succeed without a lot of money.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I say yes again on the facts, but I fail to see how this can
succeed without paying the
mainstream media lots of money. This is a recommended article.
there is anything that we have learned from Trump is that a president
and congressional leadership can be really bold. And you’ve got to give
this to the Republicans. They have the courage to do what nobody in
America wants except their billionaire campaign contributors.
I mean to come forward with
a proposal that there were 32 million people off the health
insurance — my god! Or to come up with a tax proposal with 83
percent of the benefits are to the top one percent at the end the 10
years? That’s incredible. What you need is an equal level of boldness
on the part of Democratic leadership, except that boldness works for
the working class, for the middle class, not just the one percent.
Was Early Beneficiary of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook Data
This article is by Matthew Rosenberg on The New York Times.
It starts as follows:
The political action
committee founded by John R. Bolton, President Trump’s incoming
national security adviser, was one of the earliest customers of
Cambridge Analytica, which it hired specifically to develop
psychological profiles of voters with data harvested from tens of
millions of Facebook profiles, according to former Cambridge employees
and company documents.
political committee, known as The John Bolton Super PAC, first hired
Cambridge in August 2014, months after the political data firm was
founded and while it was still harvesting
the Facebook data.
In the two years
that followed, Mr. Bolton’s super PAC spent nearly $1.2 million
primarily for “survey research,” which is a term that campaigns use for
polling, according to campaign finance records.
which I do because I did not know that Bolton was also helped
by Cambridge Analytica + Facebook: interesting.
To do that work, Cambridge used Facebook data, according to
the documents and two former employees familiar with the work.
“The data and modeling Bolton’s PAC received was derived
from the Facebook data,” said Christopher Wylie, a data expert who was
part of the team that founded Cambridge Analytica. “We definitely told
them about how we were doing it. We talked about it in conference
calls, in meetings.”
That is to say (I think) that Bolton´s supported
committee did know that the data they got were
derived from Facebook. This is also interesting.
And here is more:
Cambridge’s so-called psychographic modeling techniques,
which were built in part with the data harvested from Facebook,
underpinned its work for Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016, setting off a
furious — and still unsettled — debate about whether the firm’s
technology worked. The same techniques were also the focus of its work
for Mr. Bolton’s super PAC.
I am sorry, but the furious
— and still unsettled — debate seems total rot to me:
Facebook is busy since 2004; its owner earned $70 billion; and it is ¨a
debate¨ whether Facebook works?!?!
Either that is obvious bullshit or the
above paragraph is ill written.
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
Yes, this seems all correct -
and it lays a pattern for how Trump may have won the
elections: By 50 million sets of private data on Americans,
that were gathered in secret. This is a recommended article.
Cambridge Analytica, which grew out of the London-based SCL
Group, was founded in 2014 with a $15 million investment from Mr.
Mercer, whose daughter Rebekah sits on the firm’s board of directors.
Stephen K. Bannon was also a co-founder.
At the same
time, Mr. Mercer was financially supporting Mr. Bolton’s PAC, donating
$5 million between April 2014 and September 2016, according to Federal
Election Commission filings. The Mercers also backed Mr. Trump in the
Democracy Can Survive Big Data
This article is by Colin Koopman on The New York Times. This
is by an assistant professor in philosophy, whose Dutch family name
means ¨businessman¨. He writes trash like this, for this
is the opening of his article:
Only a few years
ago, the idea that for-profit companies and foreign agents could use
powerful data technologies to disrupt American democracy would have
seemed laughable to most, a plotline from a Cold War espionage movie.
How many years ago is
¨a few years ago¨? I´d say two, three or maximally four years
ago. So Mr.
Koopman doesn´t seem to have the least idea that ¨for-profit companies and foreign agents¨ -¨The Russians! The Russians! The
Russians!¨ - ¨could use powerful data technologies to
disrupt American democracy¨ before
So until about 2014 Mr. Koopman did not know a thing
about spying and
stealing, I take it.
Well.... here is Mr. Brzezinski
writing in 1967
(!!!!), a mere 51 years ago, in
¨New Republic¨ of December 13, 1967:
leaving the phase of spontaneity and is entering a more self-conscious state;
ceasing to be an industrial society, its is being shaped to an
ever-increasing extent by technology and electronics, and thus becoming the first
This is at least in part the cause for much of
the current tensions and violence, and largely the reason why events
in America today do not fit established categories
I read that quotation more than
¨a few years ago¨, namely in 2012
(and before that in the 1970ies, but then I did not
recognize what Brzezinski did say in 1967:
that the technotronic society fills some people
(in this respect the reactionaries and the revolutionaries
Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite lovers
anarchy will seriously obstruct the new order.
will soon be possible to assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date,
containing even personal information about
personal behaviour of the citizen, in addition
Moreover it will
and plan to meet any uprisings in the future.
will even be able to forecast crises before the rioters
conscious of wanting them.
He said that he was designing a fully neofascist
system of spying on absolutely everyone that would make
it possible (for secret spies from the NSA, presumably):
assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date,
containing even personal information about
personal behaviour of the citizen¨
That was in
1967 and Mr. Brzezinski was fully served by 1992,
when the DARPA opened the internet that was planned
to do as Mr. Brzezinksi said it would do 25 years earlier (which means thay he either
is a most extra-ordinary genius who could see 25 years in the future, or
else that he had been planning what he or his mates
received in 1992 - and no: Mr. Brzezinski undoubtedly was
fairly smart, but he was no extra-ordinary genius).
My own conclusion is that the internet was
developed by DARPA to spy on absolutely everyone who used a computer
connected to the internet, and indeed that is precisely what DARPA produced.
We go back to Mr. Koopman:
And the idea that
the American system would be compromised enough to allow outside
meddling with the most basic of its democratic functions — the election
of its leaders — would have seemed even more absurd.
I take it
Mr. Koopman believed this until ca. 2014 (and note ¨outside
meddling¨: It is ¨The Russians! The Russians! The
Russians!¨ who did it, and of
course not Facebook,
not Cambridge Analytica, not Stephen Bannon, not Mark Zuckerberg, and not
And while I
agree I am interpreting Koopman´s text a little bit, I think I am being
fair, for he writes in the NYT and the NYT is
spinning the story that ¨The
Russians!¨ did it.
Here is more by
“Data drives all
that we do.” That is the motto emblazoned on the website of Cambridge
Analytica, the consulting firm that was employed by the Trump campaign
to influence voters and that is now under scrutiny for its unauthorized
harvesting of data from at least 50 million social media users.
The heart of
Cambridge Analytica’s power is an enormous information warehouse — as
many as 5,000 data points on each of more than 230 million Americans,
according to recent
reporting, a fact the company proudly confirms on its website. Its promise of elections
driven by data ultimately implies a vision of government steered not by
people but by algorithms, and by an expanding data-mining culture
operating without restrictions.
I think this is
about the maximum of sensibility that Mr. Koopman - an
assistant professor of philosophy - is capable of.
It is - I am at
least a bit amazed - mostly sensible, but (1) he should have
said ¨at least at least 50
million American social media users¨ but left out ¨American¨,
while (2) his assertion that this ¨ultimately
implies a vision of government steered not by
people but by algorithms¨ is of an
utter blindness that seems only
possible to academic philosophers and to mainstream journalists:
The ¨algorithms¨ (programs - MM) are all written by people working for
billionaires or the secret services, and it is these -
extremely few - people who have nearly all the power and
also the money to steal the private data of hundreds of millions of
But Mr. Koopman
is not as far as seeing that ¨algorithms¨ may be paid for.
Here is more of
his - quite sick and certainly sickening (to me) - prose:
threats to democracy are now possible is due in part to the fact that
our society lacks an information ethics adequate to its deepening
dependence on data. Where politics is driven by data, we need a set of
ethics to guide that data. But in our rush to deliver on the promises
of Big Data, we have not sought one.
first place: ¨our society¨ may ¨lack an¨ adequate
¨information ethics" (?!?!) but it certainly had some good rules like
Amendment, and also some laws beside it. And the problem is less
the lack of an ¨information
ethics" (?!?!), but the facts that (i)
everybody who is swiping up the private data of everyone simply wipe
their asses with the Fourth Amendment, while (ii) almost no one
seems to care or - if they are Senators or Congressmen - seek to
further weaken the existing laws that protect(ed) the ordinary
Stephen Bannons etc. etc. never seem to do anything whatsoever: What
happens is not their fault, or Facebook´s fault, or
Cambridge Analytica´s fault: It is ¨our¨ fault, for ¨we¨
- you, I and the more than 2 billion ¨dumb fucks¨ (Zuckerberg´s words)
on Facebook - did not seek an ¨information ethics" (?!?!).
to Mr. Koopman, to be sure. Here is his idea again:
What we need is
for an ethics of data to be engineered right into the information
skyscrapers being built today. We need data ethics by design.
there is the law. It is logically possible that Mr Koopmans
does not know about the law and a ¨data ethics¨ (?!?!) seems to be philosophy rather than law
(though I do not know what an ethics for
¨data¨ or ¨information¨ is supposed to be).
second, one important problem is that the existing laws simply are
not maintained, while another important problem is that many of
the existing problems could be partially fixed if only the vast
majority encrypted things.
there is this thorough cleansing of Mr. Zuckerberg:
It is not Mr.
Zuckerberg’s fault that our society has given him a free pass (and a
net worth of $67 billion) for inventing his platform first and asking
only later what its social consequences might be. It is all of our
You see: Mr.
Zuckerberg - who deceived
over 2 billion ¨dumb fucks¨ in Zuckerberg´s own words,
¨to trust him¨, again in Zuckerberg´s own words, after which he
stole their private data (¨as
many as 5,000 data points on each of more than 230 million Americans¨) to do with them as he pleased and
to sell them (in secret) to whom he pleased - is totally
innocent in Mr. Koopman´s enlightened philosophical mind: ¨It is all of our
faults¨, dixit Koopman.
his last bit of trash:
We have in the
course of a single century built an entire society, economy and culture
that runs on information. Yet we have hardly begun to engineer data
ethics appropriate for our extraordinary information carnival. If we do
not do so soon, data will drive democracy, and we may well lose our
chance to do anything about it.
is again the completely anonymous ¨we¨ (who all live at least a
century) who have ¨built
an entire society, economy and culture
that runs on information¨.
But - according to Mr. Koopman, who admitted above he can´t see much
further back than 2014 - ¨we¨ must have been so enormously
stupid (politicians, professors, statisticians, lawywers, and
¨we¨) that ¨we¨
- in Mr Koopman´s opinions - ¨hardly begun to engineer data
second, the danger - according to Mr. Koopman - is that then ¨data will drive democracy¨ (not
people, and certainly not specific
people like the billionairs Mercer and Zuckerberg: These are totally
innocent - either ¨we¨ or the ¨data¨ are guilty).
that Mr. Koopmans may have an utterly brilliant future as a
professor of philosophy in Holland.
the American Professor Suing Cambridge Analytica for His Psychographic
This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
We turn now to the
burgeoning scandal around voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica.
Startling revelations show the company harvested the data of more than
50 million Facebook users, without their permission, in efforts to sway
voters to support President Donald Trump. Cambridge Analytica was
founded by billionaire Robert Mercer. Trump’s former adviser Steve
Bannon of Breitbart News was one of the company’s key strategists.
Cambridge Analytica used the data to turn a voter-profiling company
into a powerful psychological tool, which began launching targeted
political ads aimed at carrying out Robert Mercer’s far-right political
agenda. We speak to David Carroll, an associate professor of media
design at Parsons School of Design, who has filed a claim to force
Cambridge Analytica to turn over all of the data it harvested on him.
Yes indeed - and as I have
said before: I do not think ¨the Russians¨ are responsible ¨in efforts to sway
voters to support President Donald Trump¨ (although they probably did do a few things)
but I do think that Facebook + Cambridge Analytica may well
have done so (and they had ¨the data of more than
50 million Facebook users, without their permission¨).
Here is more:
GOODMAN: We turn now to
the burgeoning scandal around voter-profiling company Cambridge
Analytica. Startling revelations show the company harvested the data of
more than 50 million Facebook users, without their permission, in
efforts to sway voters to support President Donald Trump. Cambridge
Analytica was founded by billionaire Robert Mercer. Trump’s former
adviser Steve Bannon of Breitbart News was one of the company’s key
The Facebook data was first
obtained by a Cambridge University academic named Aleksandr Kogan,
whose company Global Science Research built an app that paid Facebook
users to take a personality test and agree to have their data
collected. The app also collected data on these users’ friends, meaning
it actually collected personal information from tens of millions of
users without their knowledge. Cambridge Analytica then bought this
data in order to turn a voter-profiling company into a powerful
psychological tool, which began launching targeted political ads aimed
at carrying out Robert Mercer’s far-right political agenda.
Yes indeed: This is a
good summary. And here is David Carroll:
GOODMAN: So, explain what
you are demanding.
CARROLL: A full
disclosure. So, where did they get our data? How did they process it?
Who did they share it with? And do we have a right to opt out? So, the
basic rights that I think a lot of people would like to have, and the
basic questions that a lot of people are asking.
I agree with Carroll,
although I do not know what his chances on success are (small, if I
understand the English laws) nor what motivates him.
Here is the last bit I
quote from this article:
GOODMAN: I want to turn to
an interview Mark Zuckerberg did back in 2009 with BBC.
TREVELYAN: So who is
going to own the Facebook content? The person who puts it there or you?
ZUCKERBERG: The person
who’s putting the content on Facebook always owns the information. And
that’s why this is such an important thing and why Facebook is such a
special service that people feel a lot of ownership over, right? This
is their information. They own it. And they—
TREVELYAN: And you won’t
ZUCKERBERG: They often
want to—no, of course not.
GOODMAN: “This is their
information. They own it.” David Carroll?
CARROLL: Well, you can try
to download your data from Facebook, and you can see what they think
your data is. And it is not complete and not even close to the amount
of data that they have on all of us who are on Facebook. So, what
Facebook would really need to do is to let us download what is known as
the shadow profile, which is the profile that Facebook has assembled
about us that we don’t know about.
First, this is Mark
Zuckerberg lying to the ¨dumb fucks¨ (Zuckerberg´s words) ¨who
(Zuckerberg´s words). And
second, Carroll is right, but I do not see how one can move Facebook to
be honest: They are based on enormous dishonesty.
This is a recommended
Turned Our Economy Into a Spying Operation
This article is by Thom Hartmann on AlterNet. It starts as
George H.W. Bush
and Bill Clinton sold us on the idea that we no longer needed a
manufacturing economy in the U.S. because the internet was coming and
it would provide entirely new business models.
Now we’ve seen
what that new economy looks like: spying for sale.
all the information you give them, which they then use to create
profiles to sell advertising to people who want your money or your vote.
service provider, with former Verizon lawyer and now head of the FCC
Ajit Pai having destroyed net neutrality, will soon begin (if they
haven’t already started) tracking every single mouse click, reading
every email, and checking out every one of your online purchases to get
information they can sell for a profit.
Your “smart" TV
is tracking every show you watch, when and for how long and selling
that information to marketers and networks.
And even your
credit card company is now selling your information—what have you
bought that you’d rather not have the world know?
Dwight Eisenhower’s Cross of Iron speech, this is not a real economy at
all, in any true sense. It’s a parody of an economy, with a small
number of winners and all the rest of us as losers/suckers/“product.”
I think this
is mostly correct. I will not correct a few minor mistakes, but
I do add that I recall thinking myself in the early 1990ies that the
society Bush Sr. and Biill Clinton wanted to have was rather
incredible, precisely because it lacked a manufacturing
economy (for that was replaced to the countries with very low wages,
after a few deregulations made
Here is more:
I don´t think Holland is
quite as far (but it may be), but yes: I fully agree
that ¨We cannot trust
corporations in America with our personal information, as long as that
information can make them more and more money¨.
We cannot trust
corporations in America with our personal information, as long as that
information can make them more and more money. Even your doctor or
hospital will now require you sign a form allowing them to sell your
information to third parties.
It’s been decades since we’ve
had a conversation in America about privacy.
Here is more:
The Facebook crisis
may well provide us with a great opportunity to again discuss privacy,
and what should and shouldn’t be considered “private information.”
While the Fourth
Amendment protects us from snooping and spying by the government
without due process, nothing in the Constitution protects us from our
ISPs or Facebook or our banks or supermarkets spying on (“tracking”) us
and selling our private information.
I am one of the minority that did and does consider
privacy, while I think the Fourth
Amendment does not protect Americans especially because
it is intentionally not maintained: E-mail should be as
secret as paper mail, and for the same reasons (apart from the
fact that snooping on e-mails gives very much more personal
information than snooping on paper mails).
Here is more:
At the very
least, government should mandate “transparency in spying.” When
Facebook, your supermarket, or your credit card company sells
information about you, they should be required to tell you exactly what
information they sold, and to whom.
Well... I agree in
principle, but I do not see the means by which Facebook etc. could
be forced to do that. (They exist in principle in law, but that is a
Here is the ending
of this article:
wrote the Fourth Amendment because they were concerned about an
oppressive government that couldn’t be fought or changed because it
knew everything about us. They never envisioned a day when a few
billionaires could do the same, even to the point of using mistruths in
a data-targeted way to change an entire government.
We need a serious
discussion of privacy: what it is, what the appropriate parameters of
it are, and the role of government in protecting our privacy from
predatory corporate actors.
And, at the very
least, we need a “transparency in corporate spying” law right now.
I more or less
agree although I add that I
think that the Fourth Amendment does not protect Americans
especially because it is intentionally
And this is a
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 (!!).