Dark Side of VR
2. "Absolutely Frightening": Greenpeace Responds to
Trump's Call for a New Nuclear
3. Is There a Historic Economic Shift
4. US Government Quietly Starts Asking Travelers for
Social Media Accounts
is a Nederlog of Saturday, December 24, 2016.
is a crisis
log with 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item 1 is
about the dark side of virtual reality (which will rapidly grow a lot
worse, I fear); item 2 is about Greenpeace USA
about Trump's call for a new nuclear arms race; item 3
is about an interesting interview with a rich man; and item
4 is about the fact
that to enter the USA you are now asked to hand over all your social
media accounts to "customs officers": the USA is very rapidly growing
into the NUSA (= the New/Neofascist United States of America).
part, for the moment --
In case you visit my
Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days and was so on most days in
But on 2.xii and 3.xii it was correct. Since then it mostly wasn't
(until and including 23.xii).
case, I am now (again) updating
the opening of my site with the last day it was updated.
(And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times
last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. 
In case you visit my
Danish site: This was so-so till 18.xi
and was correct since then (most or all days).
I am very
sorry, and none of it is due to me. I
am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that
also went well for 20 or for 12 years.
keep this introduction until I get three successive days
in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen
for many months now.
Dark Side of VR
The first item
today is by Joshua Kopstein on The Intercept:
This is from
near the beginning (and in case you didn't know or - like me - dislike
acronyms : "VR"="Virtual Reality"):
“Avatars are going to form the
foundation of your identity in VR,” said Oculus platform product
manager Lauren Vegter after the demo. “This is the very first time that
technology has made this level of presence possible.”
But as the tech industry continues to
build VR’s social future, the very systems that enable
immersive experiences are already establishing new forms of
shockingly intimate surveillance. Once they are in place, researchers
warn, the psychological aspects of digital embodiment — combined with
the troves of data that consumer VR products can freely mine from our
bodies, like head movements and facial expressions — will give
corporations and governments unprecedented insight and power over our
emotions and physical behavior.
First, about avatars (<-Wikipedia):
These are - among other things, but this seems to be THE
prominent reason for their existence - the means by which several
billions of ungifted unlearned people can hide their real identity from
internet, and instead project their own fantasies, lies and deceptions,
and also can scold, offend and threaten anyone they like without
running any risk.
For while the internet giants seem to be
manned by people who wipe their asses with decency, ethics, and laws,
and use it to further their own interests by virtually any means, the ordinary
billions are on average not more honest or more decent - and they can
say what they please to anyone and never be found out by writing
through an anonymous avatar.
And I think I am now against
their use, and against anonymity on the internet, for I find it very
hard to swallow that just anyone can scold,
offend and threaten anyone while remaining completely anonymous
to anyone they thus threaten, while both the internet
giants and the secret services probably know about most avatars who is
the real person behind it. 
Next, as to Virtual Reality (to expand the
acronym): I agree, although I also suppose that the vast majority has
little or no idea about the threats involved in them, indeed just as
they have no idea, and generally also do not seem to care, about which
information Facebook gathers about them.
Here is some more about it:
Virtual reality as a medium is still in
its infancy, but the kinds of behaviors it captures have long been a
holy grail for marketers and data-monetizing companies like Facebook.
Using cookies, beacons, and other ubiquitous tracking code, online
advertisers already record the habits of web surfers using a wide range
of metrics, from what sites they visit to how long they spend
scrolling, highlighting, or hovering over certain parts of a page. Data
behemoths like Google also scan emails and private chats for any
information that might help “personalize” a user’s web experience —
most importantly, by targeting the user with ads.
And I think almost everything that Facebook,
Google etc. gather in secret is or ought to be completely illegal -
which also is the reason I refuse to use them.
Then there is this on the present
capacities of computers:
The value of collecting physiological
and behavioral data is all too obvious for Silicon Valley firms like
Facebook, whose data scientists in 2012 conducted an infamous study
evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,”
in which they secretly modified users’ news feeds to include positive
or negative content and thus affected the emotional state of their
posts. As one chief data scientist at an unnamed Silicon Valley
Harvard business professor Shoshanna Zuboff: “The goal of everything we
do is to change people’s actual behavior at scale. … We can capture
their behaviors, identify good and bad behaviors, and develop ways to
reward the good and punish the bad.”
I do not know who this "chief data
scientist" is, but when he (or she) told that "The goal
of everything we do is to change people’s actual behavior at scale. …
We can capture their behaviors, identify good and bad behaviors, and
develop ways to reward the good and punish the bad."
I can tell him (or her) that he (or she) seems a sick sadist to me, and that my behavior will never be
manipulated by a sick sadist like he (or she) must be if he (or she) is
capable of doing what he (or she) says.
Indeed, I much rather suicide than give my
all to sadists like him (or her): What a degerate piece of doubtful humanity must he (or she) be!
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from
Fred Jennings, an attorney with the
digital rights-focused law firm Tor Ekeland, PC, says that if the
plaintiffs in the Illinois biometric privacy case prevail, it could
establish a foothold for future efforts to limit the intimate data
collected by VR and AR platforms. But unlike traditional biometric
data, like fingerprints and DNA, the murky legal definition of data
that records a wide range of voluntary and involuntary physical
movements makes it difficult to legislate what can and can’t be done
with that data once it’s collected.
“The problem is it falls into this gray
area in between medical data, which is pretty well litigated and
protected, and communications data,” says Jennings.
Transparency would also need to be a
crucial part of any regulation, he says, because in many cases it’s not
clear to what extent behavioral analytics platforms have already been
integrated into consumer VR products and apps.
I am sorry, but I do not know anything
about Fred Jennings. Also, it seems to me that he is indulging in
attorneys' bullshit when he says that there is a "
murky legal definition of data that records a wide range of voluntary
and involuntary physical movements":
I think it
is or ought to be clear that these data are private (for they
convey private information) and ought to remain private
(and I reject any claim that emails differ from ordinary mails "because
they are electronic": that is a sick lie, though indeed not of Fred
Jennings, to the best of my knowledge).
Anyway - this is a recommended article,
and it is my prediction that until this whole industry is legally forced
to decency and responsibility, it will try to get anything and
everything they can get from anyone, and sell it to others, and will
generally succeed, since the governments normally help and protect them.
Frightening": Greenpeace Responds to Trump's Call for a New Nuclear
The second item is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the
President-elect Donald Trump raised the
prospect of a new global arms race on Thursday, after he suggested on
Twitter he would increase the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Trump’s
tweet read, "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its
nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses
regarding nukes." Trump’s tweet came on the same day Russian President
Vladimir Putin said his country needed to "strengthen the military
potential of strategic nuclear forces." This morning, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski said Trump told her today, "Let it be an
arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."
We speak to Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA.
I say. Quite incidentally, Mika
Brzezinski, who herself earns $2 million a year for presenting this
MSNBC program, is the daughter of Zbigniev
(<- Wikipedia) who served as a counselor to Lyndon Johnson and as
Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, and - I find quite
interesting, though you may not - already in 1968 had quite
definite and it seems now remarkably good ideas about what personal
computers would be made like: The perfect tools for the
secret services capable of spying on everyone. 
My reference is to something I wrote in 2012: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski (and I spelled B's name then as did the texts I then
case you want some more, here is father Brzezinski in 1968:
'it will soon be possible to assert almost
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-
containing even personal information
personal behaviour of the citizen, in
customary data.' Moreover it will be
and plan to meet any uprisings in the
will even be able to forecast crises before the
conscious of wanting them.
But this was
an aside, triggered by Brzezinski's name.  Here
is the beginning of the interview:
AMY GOODMAN: (..) Joining us now is Annie
Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA.
A new nuclear arms race, Annie? Can you talk about the significance of
ANNIE LEONARD: You know, Amy, it is absolutely
frightening. Every day, Trump says something that makes us worried, but
this may be the most terrifying yet. A nuclear arms race is the last
thing that the world needs. I think about climate change. I think about
economic inequality. I think about all of these major threats that
we’re facing as a country and as a world. Why would we add on top of
that a totally manufactured, unnecessary threat? We already have so
many nuclear weapons. We have over 7,000 nuclear weapons in the United
States. We’re the biggest military spender in the world. A new nuclear
arms race is the last thing the world needs. It’s the last thing our
Leonard is quite right from my own perspective, but quite wrong from
Trump's perspective, who very probably sees enormous amounts of
profits involved in the production of even more atomic
is Amy Goodman on Obama, who basically was a cheat who said one thing
and very often did the opposite. Arms racing is no exception:
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back to something
we played in the headlines, which is the issue of the continuum from
President Obama to President Trump. Despite Obama’s call for an end to
nuclear weapons, his administration has been quietly upgrading the
nuclear arsenal as part of a massive effort that will cost up to one, I
believe, trillion dollars over three decades. And this is something
that Kellyanne Conway raised on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday, the
former campaign manager who has just been named as part of the
communications team [sic] of President Trump.
Amy Goodman is quite right: As usual Obama
said he is "for an end to nuclear weapons" and then "quietly" (i.e.
without press conferences) upgraded the nuclear arsenal for more than a
trillion dollars in the next thirty years - which
according to Trump (but one must always ask oneself with Trump: what
does he really know) is not enough.
As to Kellyanne Conway: She is defending
the evil her president-to-be hopes to do by referring back to the evil
the present president did (from my perspective) and Annie Leonard
correctly pointed this out:
ANNIE LEONARD: Well, just because one president
made a mistake certainly doesn’t give license to another president to
make this mistake. Greenpeace and many of our allies, we fought against
President Obama’s military spending, and we will fight against
President Trump’s military spending.
This is a recommended article. 
There a Historic Economic Shift Underway?
The third item is by Lynn Stuart Parramore on
AlterNet and originally on the Institute for New Economic Thinking:
This starts as
Milwaukee-born Jim Chanos, founder and
managing partner of New York-based Kynikos Associates, teaches
University of Wisconsin and Yale business students about corporate
fraud. During his life and career, he has witnessed seismic shifts in
economic thinking and the relationship between labor and capital.
Chanos shares his thoughts on the world emerging from the election of
Donald Trump and the tumultuous political events of 2016.
I don't know - apart from Wikipedia - who
Jim Chanos (<-Wikipedia) is, but he seems to be a rich man who
earned his money by speculating (and winning) while I don't mind at all
reading decent interviews with rich men, and this seems to be one.
Here is Chanos on a difference between
Bush Jr. and Obama:
Jim Chanos: Bush was the MBA president
who was going to be pro-business, cut taxes and deregulate. Meanwhile,
he had two recessions on his watch, less employment than when he
started, and two bear markets in the stock market — probably the worst
president for business since Herbert Hoover. The business guy!
On these issues, I’d rather have Bush any day of the week than Obama.
Both Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer of Obama’s Justice Department said in
TV interviews and testimony that they factored in non-judicial aspects
as to whether to mount prosecutions. I think that this had political
costs to the Democrats. The crony capitalism still bothers people
— the idea that Wall Street got off scot-free and they are still
I think he is right on that, and indeed I
am bothered by crony capitalism and indeed am a lot bothered by dishonest frauds
like Eric Holder.
And this is Chanos on Bill Clinton:
JC: In my overall view, stuff happens to
change people. If we go back to Bill Clinton, his “Putting People
First” manifesto in ’92 was quite left-of-center, but he didn’t govern
that way. If you look at things like NAFTA, welfare reform and cutting
capital gains taxes — well, in many ways, Ronald Reagan would
have been proud of him.
Yes indeed: Chanos is right on that as
well. Then there is this on the changes that happened in the late 1970s
JC: Part of my view is that in the
1930s, we rejected the individuality of the ’20s and before. After the
crash and the Depression, we finally put the corporate class and
bankers to the sidelines. Whether it was Keynesianism or the New Deal
in the West, or state fascism or the advent of Stalinism, you saw more
government control over the economy. This was good for workers and
The period from the late 1970s to 1980 changed all that. You had
Thatcher and the U.K. and Reagan in the U.S. Mao died in 1976, the
Solidarity movement in Poland began in 1978, and the Soviet Union
peaked in power in 1979. You saw that the pendulum had gone too far and
now we’re going to cut taxes on capital, we’re going to be more
globalistic, and trade was going to improve. Since then, capital has
risen and assets have done better than labor. Taxes have been light on
financial assets and heavy on labor. Everything was reversed on its
I think Chanos is honest, but I disagree with an assumption he seems to make:
It is not as if there are two blocks, "the workers" and "the
capitalists", both of which are roughly equal, and where "the workers"
are helped by the leftish governments anf "the capitalists" by the rightish
There is nothing like "equality" between
the two groups, where "the workers" earn between 1/50th and 1/350th of
what "the capitalists" earn, while "the capitalists" own most of the
means of production, most of the wealth, and most of the stocks.
In fact, the reality is about the exploiters ("the capitalists") and the exploited ("the workers"), and this simply is a plain fact if you consider the enormous
differences in power and wealth between the few rich and the many
non-rich, indeed quite regardless of whether these live under a leftish
or a rightish government.
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from
[Xi Jinping] is a member the Chinese
Communist Party, but the Party exists now as a political apparatus, not
an ideology. China would not have the type of capitalism it has today
if this were not the case. So these are not Marxist-Leninists, but
rather just a fantastic single party in control. We have to understand
it in that light.
I think Chanos is more right than wrong
about this, but it is my guess that he
underestimates the powers of ideological thinking: I think he is mostly
right about the fact that China is really a state-capitalist country
ruled by a single
party, but I also think the Marxist-Leninist ideology still is
important, were it only in propaganda.
And this is an interesting article that is
US Government Quietly
Starts Asking Travelers for Social Media Accounts
This starts as
and shows the US is very rapidly growing more and more totalitarian,
which in the context of the USA especially means: Giving more and more
powers to the secret services, that allows them, in secret also, to
know everything they can find out about anyone, which will i.a. allow
them to get - somehow - rid of anyone criticizing the government (if they want):
The fourth and last item today is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
The U.S. government has quietly started
to ask foreign travelers to hand
over their social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a
program that aims to spot potential terrorist threats but which civil
liberties advocates have long opposed as a threat to privacy.
The program has been active since
Tuesday, asking travelers arriving to the U.S. on visa waivers to
voluntarily enter information associated with their online presence,
including "Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, as well
as a space for users to input their account names on those sites," Politico
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
the idea in June, when it was met with opposition and
criticism from rights groups, consumer advocates, and other entities,
including the Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google,
I have been saying for a long time now
that media like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and
Youtube are sick a-social spies who illegally (by the Fourth
Amendment) spy on everything their users do. And I am totally against
them, do not use them at all, and never have been nor ever will be a
member of these a-social institutions.
Here is more on the a-social media (for to
call these spies who make their money by illegal spying "social media"
seems just a cowardly lie to me):
Social media accounts are "gateways into
an enormous amount of [users'] online expression and associations,
which can reflect highly sensitive information about that person's
opinions, beliefs, identity, and community," the letter stated.
But it appears the Obama administration
ignored their warnings about the threat to privacy and free expression
and finalized the program anyway.
Come on!! Stop treating Obama as if he is
a noble man! Obama embraced the possibility of knowing even
more about anyone, and therefore he "finalized
the program" (or thus it seems to me).
Then there is this:
"There are very few rules about how that
information is being collected, maintained [and] disseminated to other
agencies, and there are no guidelines about limiting the government’s
use of that information," Michael W. Macleod-Ball, chief of staff for
the ACLU's Washington office, told Politico's Tony Romm.
"While the government certainly has a right to collect some information
... it would be nice if they would focus on the privacy concerns some
advocacy groups have long expressed."
Actually, I believe the Fourth
Amendment (<-Wikipedia) is a valid and good guideline to
how email should have been treated. 
The Fourth Amendment has been constantly
raped for the last 15 years, it seems initially on the basis of
some statement by some sadistic lawyer that it did not apply
to electronic stuff, which was just a sick lie, but the Fourth Amendment still
applies in my mind, and it still is the almost only legal
rule about the internet that I know that makes sense,
simply because nearly all other rules I've read seem to amount to "because of
terrorism, everyone looses this, and that, and those, and more rights,
to the secret services" (and now the secret services can shut up
anyone, if not legally than by stealth, and can prosecute anyone, and
keep this totally unknown by gag orders in the USA, and no one can prosecute them
because they do everything in secret, and are allowed to do mostly as they please, in the deepest secret as well, while they are protected
by the government whose interests they serve).
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from
Nathan White, senior legislative manager
of Access Now, said the program constituted a threat to human rights.
"The choice to hand over this information
is technically voluntary," he told Ramm. "But the process to enter the
U.S. is confusing, and it's likely that most visitors will fill out the
card completely rather than risk additional questions from
intimidating, uniformed officers—the same officers who will decide
which of your jokes are funny and which ones make you a security risk."
Yes, indeed - and it is quite frightening
that police-officers are capable of deciding whether your jokes are
funny or constitute "a security risk" (and are able to arrest you if
they decide your jokes are "a security risk").
And this is a
this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for
months now. I
do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of
KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from
2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control
myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because
"you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which
is the perfect excuse never to do anything
 I really dislike acronyms, and for
three reasons: (1) they do take some time to expand and recognize, and
that takes generally more
time than if they would have been written out (except if they
abbreviate long phrases), and also (2) many acronyms sound a lot less
dangerous and a lot less full of impli- cations than their full names
would sound like, and especially (3) these days many acronyms have been
chosen explicitly to mislead and deceive people, as e.g. with the
PATRIOT law that Bush Jr. introduced.
Together, these three points are more than enough for me to desire that
I don't get served acronyms in journalism (except rarely), and indeed also to
suspect that if I do get them served, the probable reason is an
attempt to deceive me.
am against their use now (I wasn't before) mostly because I have been
forced to adjust my estimate of the average intelligence in view of
Trump's winning the presidency (indeed also if he did not really
win it), and because the main use of anonymity is "to
guarantee" billions of users that they need not be responsible and need
not be accountable in any way, and can say and threaten anyone as they
like, simply because they are anonymous.
And indeed another reason why I am against anonymity is that
while ordinary users cannot see behind them, the secret services and
the dataminers can see behind them, which is to say that anonymity only helps you if you are not dangerous to the government.
And I think that is what computers and iphones are now: The perfect tools for the secret services capable
of spying on everyone.
I am totally against that, but guess I am in a small minority
because the vast majority has no
ideas about what risks they run when some secret servicemen knows more
about their private persons than they themselves know, while if they do
they normally will not care because "we know we haven't done anything,
so we don't risk anything".
Indeed, this may hold for the vast majority, but it alas fails to hold
for the intelligent minority to which I belong. (Then again, most of
that minority may soon "have disappeared" - in "Night and Fog" (<-Wikipedia) - if
they refuse to compromise.)
 Incidentally, the elder Brzezinski
is still alive and 88, and is still active in various councils and as a
professor. Also, I should add that his 1968 statement that
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
customary data.' Moreover it will be possible
and plan to meet any uprisings in the future.
will even be able to forecast crises before the rioters
conscious of wanting them.
taken in conjunction
with Snowden's revelations (that started in June 2013) has made it considerably
more probable to me that the whole personal computer technology may have been
invented and provided because it enabled what the elder Brzezinski "foresaw" in
1968 what he and the secret services might do with them (from 2000
I do not know and must guess, but I find the 1968 statement to be
completely accurate over 30 years later, and that is itself a feat
which rarely occurs with that precision without special reasons.
By which I mean - I repeat it again - that I recommend that you read
the original article (which I only say if I think the article is good).
 And here is the Fourth Amendment once
The right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and
It seems to me that at present and since 2001 "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" has been completely and very
intentionally broken, and this has happened not
because of "terrorism"
but because governments (of nearly every kind, as well, all of
which have their own state-terrorists
manning the secret services, these days at least) want since
several thousands of years (at least) to know everything
about anyone, and now, at long last, they do.
seizures, shall not be violated, and no
Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and
the persons or things to be seized.
And I think that is a very fundamental change, that gives the
very few who govern from now on vastly more powers than any
governor and any government ever held. I think that is very
dangerous for almost everyone who does not belong to the government,
and especially to those who dare to oppose it in any way.