from April 11, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 April 11, 2018
Is “Sorry” Enough? Facebook Built Empire on
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:
Information with Little
2. Trump Launches a New Drug War, Targeting the Opioid
Crisis -- But
Who's the Real Enemy?
3. Why It's So Hard to Delete Facebook: Constant
Keep You Hooked
4. As Facebook's Zuckerberg Testifies In
Congress, Lawmakers Will Face a
CEO With Power Over Their
Careers and Agenda
5. Doomsday Machines
“Sorry” Enough? Facebook Built Empire on Harvesting Personal
Information with Little Oversight
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify today on
Capitol Hill amid the burgeoning scandal about how the voter-profiling
company Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of more than 87 million
Facebook users, without their permission, in efforts to sway voters to
support President Donald Trump. In prepared remarks ahead of his
testimony today, he writes, “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our
responsibility, and that was a big mistake. … It was my mistake, and
I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what
happens here.” The company has also unveiled new privacy tools ahead of
Zuckerberg’s testimony today. For more, we speak with David Dayen, a
contributor to The Intercept and columnist for The New Republic. His
recent pieces include “Ban Targeted Advertising” and “The U.S.
Government Is Finally Scrambling to Regulate Facebook.”
Yes - and one of the main
things things that I find extremely odd is that while it is by
now widely agreed upon that Cambridge Analytica did
harvest ¨the data of more
than 87 million Facebook users,
without their permission¨ -
who seem to be mostly Americans - this does not seem to have
any special interest for Robert Mueller, who still seems to be mostly
interested in ¨the Russians¨, although is is quite obvious that they
had no access to the data Cambridge Analytica obtained.
O, and there is one more thing I like to underline: There are more
2 billion ¨users¨ of Facebook, and nearly all of them let their
data be stolen by Zuckerberg, and at the same time all the data
their ¨friends¨ on Facebook, but in fact none of the
anything to say, for here is Zuckerberg - ¨the dumb
fucks trusted me¨ as he said:
¨I started Facebook,
I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
Here is more from the
Zuckerberg is not
people¨: He is abusing people by stealing their private
data, and he is
doing so in order to become the richest man on earth (or one of the
five richest men on earth).
GONZÁLEZ: Well, Facebook CEO Mark
Zuckerberg is set to testify today on Capitol Hill amid the burgeoning
scandal about how the voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica
harvested the data of more than 87 million Facebook users, without
their permission, in efforts to sway voters to support President Donald
Trump. In his prepared testimony for today, Zuckerberg says, quote, “We
didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a
big mistake. … It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I
run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.” This is Zuckerberg
speaking on CNN last
ZUCKERBERG: This was a
major breach of trust. And I’m really sorry that this happened. You
know, we have a basic responsibility to protect people’s data. And if
we can’t do that, then we don’t deserve to have the opportunity to
serve people. So, our responsibility now is to make sure that this
doesn’t happen again.
Facebook got started in the beginning of 2004. Fourteen years later,
Zuckerberg ¨earned¨ no less than 70 billion dollars, which
he made 5 billion dollars a year on average, which again means he
makes 100 millions every week, which again means that he has made,
on average, over 500,000 dollar each and
every hour of his life,
the last 14 years.
Finally, Facebook-as-is would not exist at all without Zbigniew
Brzezinski, who already in the late 1960ies decided that
security would try to find out as much as possible about absolutely
everyone, and that (ii) it could do so by NOT encrypting any of
data that came on the internet, so that (iii) anybody rich enough or
anybody powerful enough (and nobody else: this does take a lot
money) could and would know everything that ordinary people set on
line: their opinions, their values, their preferences, their ideas,
their incomes, their age, their addresses, their faces - in fact all
It is true that Zuckerberg did make none of these decisions (he
born yet in the late 1960ies when these decisioons seem to have been
taken by Brzezinski) but he did abuse them as much as he could, as
the NSA and very many more spying organizations did as well.
Here is more, that starts with a good point by Juan González:
Well... in fact I do not
know whether Congress is really interested in repairing the
dangers everyone is subject to, simply because the very rich
(corporations) and the very powerful (states´ secret spies) - and
nobody else, for it takes a lot of money - ARE allowed
on absolutely everyone, which has also been enabled from the beginning
of the internet by NOT ENCRYPTING ANYTHING,
as Brzezinski wanted from the late 1960ies onwards.
GONZÁLEZ: Well, David, you heard Zuckerberg talk about how
this is a mistake, a terrible mistake. But the reality is, this is the
model. This is the way that Facebook makes money, being able to
monetize the activity of the people on their network. This whole issue
of the failure of congressional leaders to adequately regulate the
development of the internet, the way they did television, the way that
they did other forms of communication technology, the telephone, and,
basically, the privatization of the most important means of
communication that we have in the world today—what was the
responsibility of Congress, that should have been, earlier on, tackling
DAYEN: Right, Congress
absolutely should have stepped in much sooner than now, when we’ve
already seen this problem. Obviously, as you mentioned, Facebook and
Google and other social media sites make money off of exploiting the
data of their users.
Here is the ridiculous and decrepit liar Sheryl Sandberg:
wants to know everything about anyone (that she can use to make yet
more money for herself and Zuckerberg).
GUTHRIE: Could you come
up with a tool that said, “I do not want Facebook to use my personal
profile data to target me for advertising”? Could you have an opt-out
button: “Please don’t use my profile data for advertising”?
SANDBERG: We have
different forms of opt-out. We don’t have an opt-out at the highest
level. That would be a paid product.
Here is Dayen´s response:
I more or less agree with
the first quoted paragraph, although I´d say - as I said above - that
Zuckerberg and Sandberg want to know everything about their
can make a profit on).
DAYEN: Yeah, Sheryl
Sandberg says that you would only have to be able to pay if you’re
opting out completely of advertising. This is seemingly ridiculous.
Facebook has 2 billion members of an audience. If a television station
or radio station had that kind of massive audience, I think they’d
figure out a way to make money with advertising, without harvesting the
data of every single person. We went through many decades in this
country without targeted advertising. I think we can go back to that.
The idea of an opt-out button
is very similar to what—the regime that is being constructed in Europe.
It’s called the GDPR, the General Data
Protection Regulation, and it would require affirmative consent from
people to have their data collected and sold to advertisers or used in
the targeting of advertising. And I think that there are more and more
people in Washington who are seeing that as a viable method to protect
As to the second paragraph: I am a European, and here is more
information on the GDPR.
I am both skeptical and not very much informed about it, and I suppose
I might see what this new legislation is capable of from May 25 onwards
(but I don´t expect much).
There is more in the interview and this is a recommended article.
Launches a New Drug War, Targeting the Opioid Crisis -- But Who's the
article is by Conor Lynch on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It
starts as follows:
characteristically incoherent speech last month, President Donald Trump
displayed all the signs of a wannabe despot while outlining his
plan to combat the opioid crisis, hich included the
controversial call to execute drug dealers. “If we don't get
tough on the drug dealers we are wasting our time, and that
toughness includes the death penalty,” declared the president, who
praised other countries where drug dealers are put to death, such as
China, Singapore and the Philippines. “You take a look at some of these
countries where they don’t play games. They don’t have a drug problem.”
In fact, what I select
from this are Trump´s ¨characteristically
incoherent speech¨ (which
is quite correct, and I add that he also - and at least since
when this first struck me - seems to repeat most points he makes
times), and the fact that his ¨cure¨ for the many dangers of drugs
to shoot the dealers.
Here is some more on the second point:
On the issue of
drugs, Trump has displayed a particular fondness for Philippine
President Rodrigo Duterte, who is notorious for ordering extrajudicial
killings of drug suspects, and who was overheard telling
unemployed citizens to “kill all the drug addicts” last year.
I think Duterte is a plain
madman, but then I think
more or less the same about Donald Trump (and
I am a psychologist).
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
the death penalty for drug dealers, the president couldn’t
resist sprinkling some xenophobic rhetoric into his
crazed speech, blaming Mexico and illegal immigrants for
fueling the opioid epidemic. “Ninety percent of the heroin in
America comes from our southern border, where, eventually, the
Democrats will agree with us and we’ll build the wall to keep the damn
drugs out,” declared Trump, failing to mention that the
vast majority of those who misuse opioids — 11.5 of the 11.8 million
opioid misusers in 2016, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration — were misusing prescription
opioids, not illegal drugs like heroin.
This is, incidentally, characteristic
for Trump´s honesty - and in fact most of the prescription opoids
are being sold through medics many of
whom seem to have been
corrupted by the extremely rich
makers of prescription opioids.
There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended.
It's So Hard to Delete Facebook: Constant Psychological Boosts Keep You
article is by Sundar, Liu, DiRusso and Krieger on AlterNet and
originally on TheConversation.
It starts as follows:
I think that I do not
the writers of this article, and namely not because (i) they seem to
set themselves up as better than most of their readers (who are
Facebook users, at least in the USA) and (ii) because they seem to be
I do not read because of ¨escapism, relaxation and companionship¨: I read because I am curious and like
rational and possibly true information, and also (iii) while
probably in a rational minority, I don´t like to be
into the corners of the stupid or the ignorant.
Here we go again: another
Facebook controversy, yet again violating our sense of privacy by
letting others harvest our personal information. This
flareup is a big one to be sure, leading some people to consider
leaving Facebook altogether, but the company and most of its over 2
billion users will reconcile. The vast majority will return to
Facebook, just like they did the
last time and the many
times before that. As in all abusive relationships, users have a
psychological dependence that keeps them hooked despite knowing that,
at some level, it’s not good for them.
Decades of research has shown
that our relationship with all media, whether movies, television or
radio, is symbiotic: People like them because of the gratifications they get from
consuming them – benefits like escapism, relaxation and
Besides: Do they not know that a symbiosis requires two
different biological organisms?! Or
are they perhaps converted to the crazy notion that ¨movies, television or radio¨ are persons, presumably in
the same sense as corporations and ¨algorithms¨?!
I am just asking. Here is some on what Facebook is supposed to
(according to the authors of this article):
Interactive tools in
Facebook provide simplified ways to engage your curiosity, broadcast
your thoughts, promote your image, maintain relationships and fulfill
the yearning for external validation. Social media take advantage of
common psychological traits and tendencies to keep you clicking – and
revealing more of yourself.
First, I noted the
¨simplified¨: Compared with what? With html? I suppose so, but
I do not
Second, I dislike the name ¨social media¨, and prefer to call
¨a-social media¨ because nearly all ¨relations¨ people
have on these
media are NOT between real
people who really know each other and met
one another ¨in the flesh¨, but is about the contrived,
often lying or
misrepresenting, bits of texts and images people put on line to ¨promote [their] image¨ and ¨fulfill
[their] yearning for external validation¨.
But OK.... to start with, here is the last bit of my ¨ordinary men¨ in my Philosophical
Dictionary (and no: if you haven´t read it before, you probably
have little idea). I put it between two lines:
ordinary men: Here are some human all too human weaknesses that -
especially but not only - ordinary men easily fall prone to
- Ordinary men
- engage mostly in wishful thinking (so as to
keep themselves "happy")
- are ruled by bias
- do not know real
science, logic, mathematics or philosophy
- do not do unto
others as one would not
be done by only within one's group
- are role-players who
play by wishful
thinking, make-believe - "The quality or act of pretending;
assuming something is true when in fact one knows it is not" (wiki
dictionary) - and pretension
normally do not step out of their roles out of self-interest
and because of
- are collaborators:
They mostly do as they
are told by leaders
- are followers, of fashions
and leaders of
all kinds, usually
because it is the fashion and they are conformists
- are levellers: The
only ones who excel are the leaders of the
group and what the media
display as excellent
- believe truth coincides
with their interests and prejudices,
especially as regards things that involve their or their
groups' supposed interests
- personalize or
animate everything: all manner of abstractions - nations, corporations,
groups, the people - are supposed to will and feel
- do not reason in
terms of quantified
like "Some", "most" are carefully avoided often to infer all from some
without mentioning either: ("Women are emotional", "Germans are no
- cannot reason
abstractly on any high level
- make all manners of fallacies esp. of
ambiguity and begging the question
- are not independent
individuals with their own ideas and values intentionally gathererd by
their own life's practice
One result, supplementing
Rummel's statistics, is this:
"I fear we
live in a world in which war and racism are ubiquitous, in which the
powers of government mobilization and legitimization are powerful and
increasing, in which a sense of personal responsibility is increasingly
attenuated by specialization and bureaucratization, and in which
peer-group exerts tremendous pressures on behavior and sets moral
norms. In such a world, I fear, modern governments that wish to commit
mass murder will seldom fail in their efforts for being unable to
men" to become their
"willing executioners." " (Christopher
Browning, "Ordinary men", p. 222-3)
That was part of the quotation from my ordinary men.
Here is what ordinary men are supposed to do according to the writers
of the article. In fact, what I quote is compiled from four sections,
each of which have more text than I quote:
I did not
put the quotes around ¨friend¨ but they are quite proper,
simply because most of your supposed ¨friends¨ on Facebook you never -
really - met.
Here is more on what ordinary men are supposed to do:
I did not say so: The authors of this aricle
insist on it. And they do so without indicating in any
way that all these personal private data
were put on line on purpose in an unencrypted
format that allowed anyone rich or powerful
enough to find out everything they want about absolutely everyone who
is not rich and powerful enough to prevent that his or her
personal private data are freely acquired
by anyone rich or powerful enough.
Molding the image
you want to project
The more you reveal, the
greater your chances of successful self-presentation. Studies have
shown that strategic
self-presentation is a key feature of Facebook use. Users shape
their online identity by revealing which concert they went to and with
whom, which causes they support, which rallies they attend and so on.
In this way, you can curate your online self and manage others’ impressions of you,
something that would be impossible to do in real life with such
regularity and precision. Online, you get to project the ideal version of
yourself all the time. (...)
Then there is this sickness (in my opinion):
That is to say: Ordinary men like (almost) nothing as
much as surveilling others to see whether others behave, say and
look as the surveillants please. That is, according to the authors
of this article ordinary men like almost nothing so much as
(in my sense, and not in the sick and denegerate sense
Snooping through an
The more you click, the more
you can keep an eye on others. This kind of social searching and
surveillance are among
the most important gratifications obtained from Facebook. (...)
Here is the last bit I quote
Enlarging your tribe
O Lord! I am sorry, but I
am getting sick...
yourself and being validated (...)
Facebook's Zuckerberg Testifies In Congress, Lawmakers Will Face a CEO
With Power Over Their Careers and Agenda
This article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It starts
Facebook founder and
CEO Mark Zuckerberg have more power than his congressional inquisitors?
As Zuckerberg heads into
congressional hearings spurred by revelations that a GOP-connected
political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, stole personal data
from 87 million users in 2014 before working for 2016 Republican
presidential candidates, Facebook has done something that will make
members of Congress take notice: It has taken more steps to curb
abusive campaign advertising and to protect user privacy than anything
Congress has done in years.
advertising front, Facebook
announced last Friday that it was not going to post any ad from
anyone who would not identify themselves, say where they're located,
and it would also post links showing all of that political advertisers’
messaging. On the privacy front, Facebook also announced it would
forthcoming European Union rules, which return control over that
online personal data to users from advertisers, including campaigns.
let me start
with answering the first question in the above quotation:
own $70 billions
and you have over 2 billion ¨users¨, of whom you know everything
that might be profitable for you, then clearly you have much
more power than any one member of Congress.
the other two
paragraphs: It may be true that Facebook ¨has taken more steps to curb abusive campaign
advertising and to protect user privacy than anything Congress has done
in years¨, but then
Congress was lamentably inactive.
besides, I think
Zuckerberg etc. are major liars, which means that I think that (i) the
concessions that Facebook has made were mostly forced, while
also (ii) these measures are extremely recent.
I think Facebook
so far has been only promising and not delivering.
identify and verify who is behind political messages on its must-use
platform is doing what Congress has not done for a long time: shine a
light on partisan operatives.
candidates and the political consulting industry have gone in the
opposite direction. The Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch
McConnell, followed by the likes of super-operatives like Karl Rove and
super-funders like the Koch brothers, have mainstreamed what’s called
“dark money” in politics. That’s where the identities of those buying
political ads stay hidden, in contrast to attacks that have only become
more vitriolic. The Democrats are no saints on this front either. They
have adopted their opponents tactics in the equivalent of a partisan
arms race—where everyone copies everyone else and no one disarms.
This article is by Daniel Ellsberg
on Consortiumnews. It starts with the following introduction:
Doomsday Machine, published in December by Bloomsbury, is
Daniel Ellsberg’s account of the 1960s U.S. nuclear weapons program
told from his experience as a consultant to the Pentagon and the White
House. Ellsberg drafted Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s nuclear war
plans. He later became the most famous whistleblower in American
history. Here is an excerpt from his new book, printed by permission of
Bloomsbury, which appeared first in Harper’s Magazine
article starts as
At the conclusion of his 1964 film, Dr.
Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick introduced the concept of a “Doomsday
Machine”—designed by the Soviet Union to deter nuclear attack against
the country by automating the destruction of all human life as a
response to such an attack. The movie’s Russian leader had installed
the system before revealing it to the world, however, and it was now
being triggered by a single nuclear explosion from an American B-52
sent off by a rogue commander without presidential authorization.
name and the concept of the Doomsday machine from my former colleague
Herman Kahn, a Rand physicist with whom he had discussed it. In his
1960 book On Thermonuclear War, Kahn wrote that he would be
able to design such a device.
indeed - and Dr.
is one of the best films I have ever seen, and is very
recommended (but I don´t know where, unfortunately).
believe all of this to
be true, and indeed it is very frightening, precisely because
that ¨small minority of
officials and consultants¨
is in fact deciding about the future of mankind and of human
civilization if things do go wrong.
assassination plots, nuclear war plans and threats are not publicly
discussed by the small minority of officials and consultants who know
anything about them. These officials keep silent to maintain high
clearances, access, and the possibility of being consultants after
they’ve left service. This discretion, coupled with systematic secrecy,
lying, and obfuscation has created extremely deficient scholarly and
journalistic understanding and almost total public and congressional
result, most aspects
of the US nuclear planning system that I knew half a century ago still
exist today, as prone to catastrophe as ever but on a scale that vastly
exceeds what was understood then.
Here is Ellsberg´s thesis:
reality I aim to
expose is that for more than fifty years, all-out thermonuclear war—an
irreversible, unprecedented, and almost unimaginable calamity for
civilization and most life on earth—has been, like the disasters of
Chernobyl, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, and Fukushima Daiichi, and a
catastrophe waiting to happen, on a scale infinitely greater than any
of these. And that is still true today.
that is quite
true (and again very frightening). Here is more:
this is also quite
true. And here is the ending of Ellsberg´s article (a selection from
his book The Doomsday Machine):
is what we now know: the United States and Russia each have an actual
Doomsday Machine. It is not the same system that Herman Kahn envisioned
(or Stanley Kubrick portrayed), with warheads buried deep and
programmed to explode in their own territories, producing deadly global
fallout. But a counterpart nevertheless exists for both countries: a
system of men, machines, electronics, communications, institutions,
plans, training, discipline, practices, and doctrine—which, under
conditions of electronic warning, external conflict, or expectations of
attack, would with unknowable but possibly high probability bring about
the global destruction of civilization. These two systems still risk
doomsday: both are on hair-trigger alert that makes their joint
existence unstable. This is true even though the Cold War that
rationalized their existence ended thirty years ago.
not begin with the election of Donald J. Trump, and it will not end
with his departure. The obstacles to achieving these necessary changes
are posed not so much by the American public—though in recent years it
has shown dismaying manipulability— but by officials and elites in both
parties and by major institutions that consciously support militarism,
American hegemony, and arms production and sales.
history have more deserved to be recognized as immoral. The story of
how this calamitous predicament came about and how and why it has
persisted for over half a century is a chronicle of human madness.
Whether Americans, Russians, and the rest of the world can rise to the
challenge of reversing these policies and eliminating the danger of
near-term extinction caused by their own inventions and proclivities
remains to be seen. I choose to act as if that is still possible
(although Trump may blow up everyone). This is a strongly
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 (!!).