This starts as follows:
I say. In fact, I agree with Binney and
others (see below), but I did not know Binney had read the government's
report, and diagnosed it as "the typical
bamboozle type report the IC [intelligence community] gives Congress or
anybody else that they want to confuse".
Incidentally, in case you didn't know:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
and the FBI released a summary of their inquiry into the
alleged hacking of Democratic Party servers during the 2016 elections
by groups working at the behest of the Russian government.
Veteran intelligence analyst and NSA
whistleblower William Binney, who has criticized as inadequate the
CIA’s public case arguing Russian responsibility for the hacking, does
not find the new report convincing.
“This is the typical bamboozle type
report the IC [intelligence community] gives Congress or anybody else
that they want to confuse,” Binney told Truthdig in an email.
William Binney (<- Wikipedia) worked for more than 30 years for the NSA, and was one it is main
men, so he should know about "typical bamboozle".
Here is some more by Binney:
Yes indeed. Here are
three additional bits:
Binney went on to share an evaluation of
the new report, which he sent to his peers in the group Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS):
Gee, I expected to see the IP’s or
other signatures of APT’s 28/29 and where they were located and
how/when the data got transferred to them from DNC/HRC/etc. They
seem to have been following APT 28/29 since at least
2015, so, where are they? Further, once we see the data being
transferred to them, when and how did they transfer that data to
Wikileaks? This would be evidence of trying to influence our
election by getting the truth of our corrupt system out. And, as
Edward Snowden said, once they have the IP’s and/or other
signatures of 28/29 and DNC/HRC/etc., NSA would use Xkeyscore to
help trace data passing across the network and show where it went. In
addition, since Wikileaks is (and has been) a cast iron target for
NSA/GCHQ/etc for a number of years there should be no excuse for
them missing data going to any one associated with Wikileaks.
“Too many words means they don’t have
clear evidence of how the data got to Wikileaks,” Binney added in a
In mid-December, VIPS published a memorandum
describing the CIA’s claims of Russian hacking as “baseless.”
First, former British ambassador Craig Murray has said that he
personally took some of the data that got to Wikileaks, and that he is
certain it did not come from the Russians.
And second, here is the reference to my review of Binney and
others' memorandum of mid-December: William Binney, Ray McGovern and Other Intel
Experts Call Russian Hacking
Finally, note that Binney, McGovern and Snowden all made the obvious
point that to prove the kind of things that the government and the
want people to believe, you need the IPs, and these are missing, even
though the NSA (etc.) tracks everything anybody does on the internet.
This is a recommended article.
2. Scientists Scramble to Protect Decades of Climate
Research Before Trump Takes Office
The second item
is by Amy Goodman on AlterNet and originally on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
In just over three weeks, Donald Trump
will be sworn in as the next president. According to the Sierra Club,
Trump will be the only world leader who still denies the science behind
climate change. Following his election, Donald Trump has nominated a
number of climate change deniers for top posts, including Exxon CEO Rex
Tillerson for secretary of state, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott
Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, former Texas
Governor Rick Perry to head the Energy Department and Congressmember
Ryan Zinke to become interior secretary. Now scientists at federal
agencies are expressing growing concern that the new administration may
attempt to destroy or bury decades of scientific studies on climate
In fact, that worry is quite realistic,
because - as I have pointed out in Nederlog quite a few times - the
very widely accepted belief that what is on the internet will never
disappear is completely false: What's on the internet generally
will stay there as long as it is paid for, and it will
disappear as soon as it is not anymore being paid for.
And this holds for most things, and in
particular for all the data that Obama's government drew up and
published on its government sites: Exit Obama means exit payments,
which means exit of all the data - unless these are being saved:
Senior Trump adviser Bob Walker has
already proposed stripping funding of NASA’s climate research,
describing it as "politically correct environmental monitoring." In a
scramble to protect existing government climate data, campaigns have
been launched to copy and preserve decades of government-sponsored
So climate scientists and others (such as
the Internet Archive) are doing their best to save - at least - the
Here is their mad opponent :
DONALD TRUMP: All of this with the
global warming and the—that—a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean,
it’s a money-making industry, OK?
BILL O’REILLY: They said that you called
climate change a hoax. Is that true?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I might have. ... I
believe that climate change is not man-made. ... We’re going to cancel
the Paris climate agreement. ... Our president is worried about global
warming. What a ridiculous situation!
Incidentally, by the same insane "logic"
of Trump, Trump is a hoax (or a fraud or a profit-driven scam)
because "I mean, [Trump's corporations are] a
money-making industry, OK?"
But that's enough from that source. Here
is Amy Goodman outlining what is being done to save the data of climate
science that are on governmental sites that very soon will disappear:
AMY GOODMAN: In a scramble to protect
existing government climate data, campaigns have launched to copy and
preserve decades of government-sponsored climate research. A guerrilla
archiving event was just held at the University of Toronto in an
attempt to save the climate studies on servers outside the United
States. Organizers in the U.S. are planning additional events in the
coming weeks to archive vulnerable government websites and databases
that contain climate research. This comes as the End of Term Web
Archive, a project administered by the Internet Archive, gets underway.
The project captures and saves U.S. government websites at risk of
changing or disappearing altogether at the end of presidential
administrations. In the wake of Trump’s election, the Internet Archive
has announced it will be moving a copy of its archive to Canada.
There is more, for which I refer you to
the last of the above dotted links. I hope they succeed, for these data
may be quite essential for having a factual basis to contradict
This is a recommended article.
Resistance Grows, Trump's Deportation Plans Unravel
The third item is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
President-elect Donald Trump built his
campaign on a pledge to build a wall and deport two
to three million undocumented immigrants, but the likelihood that
his promises will be kept are looking increasingly slim, as reality
takes hold and lawmakers and community leaders begin to build their
The failure to execute Trump's
oft-repeated deportation plans could "be one of the first reality
checks on his administration," Politico reported
Speaking with experts and former
immigration officials, reporter Ted Hesson outlined what it would take
to implement the plan:
Trump would need tens of billions of
dollars in new spending approved by Congress. He'd also need years to
hire and train new legions of enforcement agents, and to deploy
hundreds of judges to relieve the nation's severely backlogged
immigration courts. And to find even two million undocumented
immigrants to deport, he'd have to change how he defines criminal acts
worthy of removal—or start rounding up people without convictions.
Added together, the obstacles could be insurmountable.
According to Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE), the average cost for each deportation is $12,213,
excluding personnel salaries. So, to deport two million people, would
add up to more than $24.4 billion over four years.
I say, which I do because I did not know
this, and I think it is a good idea to try to put a decent price on
Trump's plans. And there are not only financial difficulties, but also
aside, Hesson notes that "there don't appear to be anywhere near
three million immigrants, legal or undocumented, who are deportable
based on past criminal convictions." This would mean that the
administration would have to "target many immigrants living in the U.S.
legally"—who can legally be deported in the case of felonies and
certain misdemeanors—as well as "undocumented immigrants who are
low-level offenders," amounting to a policy that is "aggressive" and
I don't think that "a
policy that is "aggressive" and inhumane"
will be difficult for Trump and his cabinet, but the legal difficulties
may be appreciable. And these again are not the only ones (next to the
But polling has shown that even Trump's
ardent supporters don't necessarily support his deportation plans.
In an October
survey conducted by Pew, 80 percent of all voters and full 60
percent of Trump voters said "undocumented immigrants should be able to
stay in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements, compared with 37
percent who said they should not." Only 32 percent of Trump supporters
said there should be a "national law enforcement effort to deport" all
This means that about 20 million Americans
(it seems, calculated from the voters for Trump in the elections)
support Trump's plans for the immigrants, which happes to be about 1 in
16 of all Americans (all of which except for the American indians
immigrated or were immigrated since the 1600s).
And I agree that this makes it less likely
Trump's government will start to deport two to three millions
undocumented immigrants (though I should add
that I know of no limits on Trump's lack of reason).
This is a recommended article.
Way to Fight Fake News Is Real News
The fourth item today is by Monika Bauerlein
(<-Wikipedia) on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows (and is by the current
CEO of Mother Jones):
On a Tuesday in
November, a few hours after the president-elect of the United States
tweeted a string of insults at journalists and suggested that
Americans exercising their free-speech rights should be stripped of their citizenship, the New York
Times published a terrifying story.
Researchers, it said, were finding the
"warning signs flashing red" when it comes to the vitality of
democracies across the world. From Europe to New Zealand to the
United States, the number of people who say it is important to live in
a democracy has plummeted, while the number of Americans who think it
would be okay for the military to seize power has skyrocketed.
This is not the kind of conversation
most of us expected to have in our lifetimes. Global nuclear war and
catastrophic climate change—those might be serious concerns. But the
citizens of the world's democracies deliberately tossing out their
freedoms, after decades of cheering freedom seekers from Tiananmen to
Tahrir? That, honestly, was not on the radar.
In fact, it was on my radar, and
since a very long time, just like truth, but I"ll
skip that and concentrate on the text.
First of all, I must say that I am not impressed by
"[r]esearchers" who were "finding the "warning
signs"" about "the vitality of democracies": Anybody
can claim to be a "researcher", while "the
vitality of democracies" sounds more like bullshit than
"democracy" has not been defined, let alone its "vitality" (and
"democracy", in case you missed it, is an abstract term).
Second, I must also say that I find a
description like "the citizens of the world's democracies" very
vague, indeed in part because I know that these days almost every
government, no matter how dictatorial, claims to be "a
democracy" (which is not defined in this article).
And third, I should add that in the sense
of the original meaning of "democracy" which is "government by
the people" there is no democracy, for "the people" govern nowhere:
Those who govern
are always a few members of a social elite, even if they have
been elected honorably and honestly by real majorities.
I think all of these are avoidable
vagueries, and most are due to completely not defining
"democracy". We shall come to that, after the next quote:
And yet here we are. It turns out that
the numbers underlying the Times article may not have been as scary as they originally
seemed—but they remain scary enough. For a growing number of people,
democracy is failing to make the case that it can produce better
governance and a better life. Here in the United States, trust that the
federal government can be trusted to do the right thing all or most of
the time has gone from more than 50 percent in 2001 to below 20 percent in 2015. Part of that decline is
rooted in Republicans' decision to tie Washington up in gridlock—but it goes deeper
than that. One of the factors, and the one that hits closest to home
for us journalists, is the performance of the press.
Again the tern "democracy"
(<-Wikipedia) is used without any definition, so I will here
give the one that is on Wikipedia:
Democracy (Greek: δημοκρατία,
literally "rule of the commoners"), in modern usage, is a system of
government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect
representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as
Democracy is sometimes referred to as "rule of the majority". Democracy
was originally conceived in Classical Greece, where political
representatives were chosen by a jury from amongst the male citizens:
rich and poor.
According to political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four
key elements: (a) A political system for choosing and replacing the
government through free and fair elections; (b) The active
participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life;
(c) Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and (d) A rule of
law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
I will accept the definition, even
though the first paragraph is pretty vague, and the second paragraph
lists the views of just one person. But I accept all of it, mostly to
have some definition, and because I think (myself) that Diamond had it
more or less correctly.
Next, "democracies" do not make
any case: Persons
And since I am a person, I'd say that in
the USA there is hardly a democracy as defined: The
elections may have been free (if they were not manipulated), but they
were not fair, for the few rich had very much more to
say (among other things, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United
(<-Wikipedia) decision) than the many poor; the vast majority of the
American citizens do not participate "in politics and civic
life"; the "human rights" of all citizens are protected in some
sense, but not equally (blacks, hispanics, muslims); and the
"rule of law" is not applied equally to all citizens,
but depends a lot on one's race and riches.
You may disagree with the previous paragraph in some ways, but I think
it is mostly correct about the USA.
Then there is the claim that "democracy is failing to make the case that it can produce
better governance and a better life". I have
said already that "democracy" (an abstract term) does not make
any case. And I completely fail to understand why
"better governance" and "a better life" should be criterions to
measure a democracy by. (What about justice, for
example? What about honest governors? What about human rights? What
about equality? Etc. etc.)
Finally, there is the case that the trust
in the "federal government" has fallen from 50%
in 2001 to below 20% in 2015:
These were 14 years of war,
in which the American government assigned to itself all manner
of rights it did not
have before (declaring war, torturing prisoners, surveilling everyone
anywhere, not prosecuting the fraudulent Wall Street banks' managers,
to name just four big changes): I'd say that these changes were all anti-democratic
pro-oligarchic, and therefore the - quite radical - decline in
trust of the "federal
government" seems to me to have been quite justified.
Then there is this:
I don't think "basic quality assurance" is
the right term for what media companies were supposed to do - reporting
the facts rather than anybody's fantasies or lies as if these were facts
- but apart from that, I agree that "audiences" made that
Until not terribly long ago, there were
a few basic rules for success in the news business. One was that
publishing verifiably false information would drive audiences away. If
you made stuff up, people would cancel your paper or stop watching your
network. Media companies practiced basic quality assurance not because
they were deeply ethical, but because their bottom line depended on it.
But for platforms like Facebook, the key is
not the credibility of the news we see, since they don't produce it.
Their success depends on getting us to engage, share, and stick around
Then again, I think Facebook is not the right entity to
criticize here. I dislike Facebook a lot; I am not a member and never
will be; I think they are basically frauds who steal your privacy; but
it is not Facebook that presents the news originally:
Those who produce the news originally are the news media,
whether printed, on the internet, or both.
And it is the news media that massively failed, since
2000 or before, and what they failed in was that they ceased to
make the distinction between facts on the one
hand, and fantasies,
lies, deceptions, and
the other hand, and instead they started to report fantasies, lies, deceptions, and frauds of politicians and
governors as if these were facts.
Here is more on that, but again it is not as I would have
In their heyday, legacy media left out a
lot, mischaracterized a lot, allowed themselves to be taken for a ride (all the way to war). But every day, newspapers and
television networks also told us a few things about our politics that
had gone through basic vetting—and it was understood that they had. "If
it's on the news, it must be true" felt naïve, even foolish at the
time, but now we know it represented a social contract far more fragile
than we realized. We had an agreement, among a wide swath of society,
that news media constituted an acceptable mechanism for sorting fact
This year, that agreement finally
No, this was not a matter of "a social contract"
(<- Wikipedia) at all: Virtually none of the readers
of "the news" have any say in what the makers of "the news" do
and don't do, nor have they any say in what the makers of "the
news" want: Ordinary people can only decide on what they
themselves read and don't read.
Next, there also never was any
"agreement" "that news media constituted an
acceptable mechanism for sorting fact from fiction":
First of all, ordinary people have no voice in what the "news
media" do and don't do, so they did not agree to anything, and second the
news media decided (in majority, not all) that it was more
profitable for them not to sort fact from fiction anymore.
What collapsed (if anything) was the
supposition of ordinary people (without any voice in the news, other
deciding what to read and not to read) that "the news media" would
honestly try to distinguish fact from fiction, and since the news media
did not anymore honestly try to
distinguish fact from fiction, the ordinary people were correct
in dropping their supposition (which never was "an agreement"
for they never were consulted or asked).
Here is the last bit that I'll quote from
this article (that I think was more disappointing than I expected: Too
I like Mother Jones, so I am glad
they seem to be prospering now. (But the present article was none too
good, I am sorry to say.)
Here at MoJo, we've found that
a growing number of people from across the political spectrum respond
to our painstakingly fact-checked reporting. Our web traffic has
increased more than 50 percent this year, with people paying especially
close attention to our deep investigations. And a growing number of those
visitors choose to support the journalism, too. Just in November, some
8,000 people subscribed to our magazine—that's eight times the number
who would have done so in a typical month.
5. The missing
end-of-year routine on Nederlog
I ended 2015 - see here - as
follows, which I partially reproduce here with the dates adjusted:
cannot do anything
that I did since 2004 to mark the end of the year. The reason is that I
am now - in spite of having two sites, one since 20 years and the other
since 13 years, that together contain over 1 Gb of data and many
thousands of files - completely without any statistics
for my two sites.
Actually, this has been so for the xs4all site since I
started it 20 years ago. At that time - 1996 - having a site
was still fairly rare, and xs4all was quite
good, as it was a firm of somewhat alternative hackers. By 2000 the
firm was bought by KPN - "Dutch" Telecom - who ever since then has
parasited on the alternative reputation xs4all had - but all of this
was only public
Lies to convert the stupid and the ignorant.
By now all they have if you want statistics for your own site is a link
to a very small site of one of their users, who explains how you might
get statistics for a single webpage by trying to write a Unix
shell script, which he explains badly...
I am not saying any more about xs4all because this is
the Dutch norm:
In Holland "absolutely everybody is equivalent"
(according to the vast majority of Dutchmen, although plenty would
insist that real Dutchmen have four grand- parents with real
Dutch names) and "everybody knows truth doesn't exist" (because thus
nobody ever can be refuted), and it seems it is the same or worse at
their competitors, so essentially I have given up on Holland.
(And no, I am not exaggerating: All in this paragraph is strictly
correct. Incidentally: xs4all has - of course - everything
looking for in much greater detail than I wish to know it. I
take it they sell it to Americans and keep it from me.)
In Denmark, where my other site is located since 2004,
it used to be a great lot better: Polite help, clear
replies, decent statistics. But I can't get any
statistics since November 25, 2015, and I haven't been abled to get any
decent statistics ever since (and no statistics whatsoever
I am too disgusted to write more about this. More next