who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Attempts to stay anonymous on
the web will only put the
NSA on your trail
2. The Collapse of the Bees... And How To
Kill People Based on Metadata’
4. TPP Is Another Upward
Transfer of Wealth
finishing annotating Multatuli's "Ideen"
This is the Nederlog of May
11. It is a crisis issue.
to stay anonymous on the web will only put the NSA on your trail
The first item is
article by John Naughton - who gets described as: "professor of the public understanding of
technology at the Open University" - on The Guardian:
This starts as
I say. So that
is what a "professor of the public understanding of
technology at the Open University" does:
When searching for an
adjective to describe our comprehensively surveilled networked world –
the one bookmarked by the NSA at one end and by
Google, Facebook, Yahoo and co at the other – "Orwellian" is the word
that people generally reach for.
But "Kafkaesque" seems
more appropriate. The term is conventionally
defined as "having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical
quality", but Frederick Karl, Franz Kafka's most assiduous biographer,
regarded that as missing the point. "What's Kafkaesque," he once told the New York Times, "is when you enter a
surreal world in which all your control patterns, all your plans, the
whole way in which you have configured your own behaviour, begins to
fall to pieces, when you find yourself against a force that does not
lend itself to the way you perceive the world."
He publicly corrects the language people use, and he does so by
reference not to dictionaries, but to some opinions of what he
styles as a "most
As I really would not know what the teaching or writing about "the public understanding of technology" would involve, except that it is
definitely not a serious academic subject, the above must be a
clue to what this professor knows, and does, and teaches.
First, the language: for my money "Orwellian" is better, simply
because that term clearly suggests you are being spied upon
("Big Brother is watching you"), which is not suggested by John
Naughton's presentation of the personal opinion of what Naughton called
"Kafka's most assiduous
But it is true that I do not glorify in being a "professor
of the public understanding of technology at the Open University" (and I still don't know what that is,
or why widespread ignorance these days has professors).
Second. The rest of the story is about the failure of a sociologist who
at Princeton to keep her pregnancy secret from Amazon etc. and who did
go quite far to keep it secret.
This I leave to your interest. Here is the ending of the piece, though.
This comes in two paragraphs, of which this is the first:
But we know from the Snowden disclosures and other sources that Tor users are
automatically regarded with suspicion by the NSA et al on the
grounds that people who do not wish to leave a digital trail are
obviously up to no good. The same goes for people who encrypt their
I am sorry, but while
I know a lot about computers, I do not know that "Tor users are automatically regarded with
suspicion by the NSA et al" and I also do not know the grounds "NSA et al" use to decide whom they follow - and besides, the
Princeton sociologist did not try to keep her pregnancy safe
NSA, but from Facebook, Amazon etc.
I may guess these things, but guessing is not knowing.
Also: Why insist - albeit in an indirect manner - that you should not
encrypt your mail? On the crazy NSA ground "that people who do not wish to leave a
digital trail are obviously up to no good"?!
Isn't it much rather true
that the very great majority of persons whose personal data are
stolen by the NSA and indeed also by Facebook, Google etc. are not
harmful and have done nothing wrong? And isn't it much
rather true that if you do nothing then, to the best of my knowledge,
your personal data are being stolen?!
Here is the final paragraph:
I agree that "the industry response to protests about
tracking is so inadequate"
- but Mr Naughton has just briefed his readers not to ty to
elope anyone tracking you because then - Mr Naughto assures -
you will be more tracked. Next, if the public's average IQs were 50
points higher, probably the whole world would be different. As it is,
the more people opting out from being tracked, the better (though it
seems at Facebook, at least, this will not help much: you will be
This is why the industry
response to protests about tracking is so inadequate. The market will
fix the problem, the companies say, because if people don't like being
tracked then they can opt not to be. But the Vertesi experiment shows
that if you take measures to avoid being tracked, then you increase the
probability that you will be. Which is truly Kafkaesque.
Finally, once more: if we are talking about being spied upon,
better term is "Orwellian" and not "Kafkaesque", while also a single
"experiment" by a single pregnant sociologist is - at best - merely
But OK: I have a good guess about what a "professor
of the public understanding of technology at the Open University" fills his days with: bullshitting, as in the present
2. The Collapse of the Bees... And How To
next item is an
article by Jon Queally on Commom Dreams:
Let me start with the
remark that the deaths of many colonies of bees - which is what is
happening, already for quite a few years - is part of the
is, on the following principles: No more bees implies far less
pollination; far less pollination implies far less food; far less food
implies many more deaths. I think all three implications are very
Now to the article, that
starts as follows:
Two new reports
this week provide key evidence that back a growing call that the
destructive use of large-scale chemical agriculture must be halted in
order to give the global bee population a fighting chance to regain
their strength as the world's most
prolific and effective pollinating species.
The first, a scientific
study (pdf) conducted by researchers at Harvard University, found
further proof that the wide-scale agricultural use of neonicotinoids—a
volatile class of insecticide (neonics for short)—is a leading
contributor to what has become known as Colony Collapse Disorder (or
The second report
(pdf), issued by Greenpeace International, focuses on
solutions to the bee crisis by releasing its report that shows how the
widespread expansion and re-introduction of ecological farming
practices--as opposed to the chemically-intensive agriculture that now
dominates—is the most efficient and surfire way to save the world's bee
population and the food system they support.
First, here is the
Wikipedia-link to neonicotinoid, where
you can also read that the European Union is doing something
their use (started by Shell and Bayer).
Next, while I like
Greenpeace (with some reservations) "the widespread expansion and re-introduction of ecological
farming practices" sounds to me
like a wild pipe dream (and I also do have a Norwegian
that qualifies me as a farmer, which is probably rare among Greenpeace
supporters, and I do not mean a merely Norwegian agronomic diploma).
It just will not work
without a social collapse, is my - rather strongly based - guess, but I
will not argue this here and now, even though it also probably is
correct what a speaker for Greenpeace says, viz.:
“The only solution for
the global bees decline and the current agriculture crisis is a change
towards ecological farming."
3. ‘We Kill People Based on Metadata’
next item is an article by David Cole on The New York Review of Books:
This starts as follows:
Supporters of the
National Security Agency inevitably defend its sweeping collection of
phone and Internet records on the ground that it is only collecting
so-called “metadata”—who you call, when you call, how long you talk.
Since this does not include the actual content of the communications,
the threat to privacy is said to be negligible. That argument is
Of course knowing the
content of a call can be crucial to establishing a particular threat.
But metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a
person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually
much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of
metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls. As NSA General
Counsel Stewart Baker has said,
“metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you
have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.” When I quoted
Baker at a recent
debate at Johns Hopkins University, my opponent, General Michael
Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment
“absolutely correct,” and raised him one, asserting, “We kill people
based on metadata.”
The rest of it is a
decently written essay that well explains why the following is true:
This compromise bill
addresses only one part of the NSA’s surveillance activities, and does
not do nearly enough to address the many other privacy-invasive
practices that we now know the NSA has undertaken. But it’s nonetheless
an important first step, and would introduce several crucial reforms
affecting all Americans.
Another Upward Transfer of Wealth
next item is an article by Roger Bybee on Naked Capitalism, that
originated on Triple Crisis:
starts as follows:
"Those at the top have
never done better,” President Obama ruefully acknowledged in his
January 28 State of the Union speech. “But average wages have barely
budged. Inequality has deepened.”
Yet, moments later, Obama
heartily endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which as drafted
directly reflects the demands of “those at the top” and would, if
passed, severely intensify the very inequality spotlighted by the
indeed - but then that is Obama's strength, as it was the strength of
Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Wim Kok, Gordon Brown and many other persons
leading what were before them (somewhat) leftist (somewhat) social
democratic political parties - which were totally destroyed by the very
same persons, who all made great careers and are rich
men now, all achieved at the simple cost of bamboozling their
is: Obama, Clinton, Blair, Kok, Brown etc., including the Dutch horror
Samsom, all talk leftist and act rightist, at least in
almost all important decisions. And they do so because leftist talk
is liked by their electorate, while rightist acts are liked by
their providers of money, who also make them rich.
it sound simple, but the reason is that it is simple:
corruption is the name of the game.
Now you know what it is
(more or less, for it is all made secret by Obama) here is one little
bit more, that assures you of Obama's (and also Clinton's, Blair's,
Brown's, Kok's etc.) fundamental dishonesty:
The TPP would provide
transnational corporations with easier access to cheap labor in Pacific
Rim nations and new power to trump public-interest protections—on
labor, food safety, drug prices, financial regulation, domestic
procurement laws, and a host of others—established over the last
century by democratic governments. The nations currently negotiating
the TPP—which together comprise nearly 40%of the world economy—include
the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia,
Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Among them,
Malaysia, Brunei, Mexico, Singapore, and Vietnam, are all notorious
violators of labor rights The TPP’s labor provisions are far too weak
to begin uplifting wages, conditions, and rights for workers in these
Obama has billed
the TPP as a “trade agreement” that will create U.S. jobs. The pact,
however, actually has little to do with reducing trade restrictions.
Tariffs are now a minimal factor for most global trade. Lori Wallach,
director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, points out that only
five of the TPP’s twenty-nine chapters are about trade at all. But the
remaining provisions cover such immensely important measures as the
creation of a kind of corporate supremacy over the democratically
established regulations enacted by member nations. If an existing law
threats to diminish profits, corporations in the TPP nations would be
entitled to bring their complaint to an international dispute panel of
anonymous corporate members, who could impose major financial penalties
on the “offending” countries. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Wallach
concludes, “is a Trojan horse for a host of awful measures that have
nothing to do with trade and would never get through Congress in the
light of day.”
There is rather a lot more under the last dotted link, that I used
mainly to make a point about the postmodern and later (social)
democratic political leaders: They lie, lie and lie, very
consciously, very cleverly, quite like Orwell described
it, and all also with much dedication, for the millions they
will make after their leading jobs depend on their successful
5. On finishing annotating Multatuli's "Ideen"
something else, that is not a crisis item: I uploaded today the last
indexes to the 3.1 MB of excerpts
of my notes to Multatuli's "Ideen".
Also, I think this now is mainly done (and it is all in Dutch).
Here is what I did do:
From early in 2001 till the summer of 2007 I put all the ideas
in the seven volumes of Multatuli's "Ideen" on line, each idea in its
own file, all linked, and I made notes or comments, sometimes
quite a few, sometime only one or two, to almost all of the more than
Nobody else ever did that, and probably no one
else ever will: Multatuli died in 1887, and there are very few
philosopher or psychologists who read him these days, and indeed not
many Dutchmen either, even though most Dutchmen would agree that
"Multatuli is the best Dutch writer". (The reason so few really
read him is mostly that he was a true radical who criticized very
much: almost every Dutchman, nearly always a lot less intelligent than
Multatuli was, finds a lot to disagree with. Again, for most Dutchmen
this may be more or less OK if it concerns the former Duch Indies,
currently Indonesia, but it easily becomes painful if he addresses the
failures of the Dutch, that are many.)
But I really like him since age 14, and I am as much of a
radical as he is, and know more about philosophy than he did, and
indeed also was raised by genuine and honest radicals, so I tend to see
his points rather better than most, and also tend to like them more,
though I am by no means an idolator, and I quite often disagreed.
In fact, I had written almost all of the notes by 2007 (since
2001), and then also started excerpting them and making indexes
to the titles of the notes in the excerpts, but I stopped with that,
without finishing it, in the summer of 2007, simply because I lacked
But I finished all excerpting on April 30, 2014, and I finished
all indexing of these excerpts today, and I am quite
satisfied that I did it and also quite satisfied that I made it: It's
done, for the most part, and I am glad.
To be sure, some things still remain to be done:
Especially the first is
difficult because of my eyes, that still are not OK, and quite often
painful, while the third requires a lot of reading. The second will
probably be done soon.
- all ideas must be
run through and given proper backgrounds
- the first 20 ideas
must be given new files, and
- I need to correct
some mistakes and ommissions all over the Ideen.
There is also something else I now can do:
That, at least, was the
intent when I started writing my notes, in 2001: To annotate, excerpt
(both done now) - and then recast and redo some of the notes.
- Rewrite and
re-edit my notes, and put them in a meaningful order
Thirteen years later, and meanwhile aged 64, I am less certain about
the recasting and redoing, if only because it is a lot of work,
to which I probably will get no reactions whatsoever.
Indeed, although no one ever did what I did, no one who makes lots
of money with Multatuli in the universities even registered
what I have done, or linked to my sites, quite possibly because I am "a
mere philosopher and psychologist", and not A Student Of Dutch
Literature (called "neerlandici" in Dutch, in the plural) and indeed
also because none could do or have done as I did.
Anyway...I got it all done, and that is quite satisfactory.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: