Saturday, September 30, 2017

Crisis: On Surveillance, Lies of 9/11, Moore, Google´s Threats to Freedom, Reich

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
    A. Selections from September 30, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Saturday, September 30, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) 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.

On the moment I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from September 30, 2017

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:

1. Trump Administration Lobbying Hard for Sweeping Surveillance Law

This article is by Alex Emmons on The Intercept. It starts as follows:

The Trump administration is pushing hard for the reauthorization of a key 2008 surveillance law — section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA — three months before it sunsets in December.

To persuade senators to reauthorize the law in full, the Trump administration is holding classified, members-only briefings for the entire House and Senate next Wednesday, with heavy hitters in attendance: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, NSA Director Mike Rogers, and FBI Director Christopher Wray will give the briefings, according to an internal announcement of the meetings provided to The Intercept and confirmed by multiple sources on Capitol Hill.

Section 702 serves as the legal basis for two of the NSA’s largest mass surveillance programs, both revealed by Edward Snowden. One program, PRISM, allows the government to collect messaging data sent to and from foreign targets, from major internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. The other, UPSTREAM, scans internet backbone sites in the U.S. and copies communications to and from foreign targets.

As I have been saying now for nearly a year, I think that Trump has the ideology of a neofascist (as I define the term, which is a lot better than any definition of ¨fascism¨ or ¨neofascism¨ that I have read in the media, ever) and I also think - as a psychologist - that Trump is insane (which is nothing but a straight application of the term ¨malignant narcissist¨ to Trump: he suits all 8 empirical criterions for 100%).

It does not seem to have made much or any difference, but that is what I think (who knows a whole lot of philosophy, psychology, and politics).

And incidentally, whatever I say, and whatever most other intelligent folks who write on the internet say (for there still are quite a few), it does not seem to make any difference for any majority, because the audience that the internet pulls and serves is completely different from what the audience was 20 or more years ago:

Now there are literally billions of stupid and ignorant folks with an average IQ of maximally 100, who all can tweet what they feel, and anonymously congregate to hunt anyone who is more intellgent than the average. [2]

Therefore I am not at all amazed that Trump wants the main forces that are directing everyone towards neofascism - that these days and since 40 years is advertised and sold as ¨neoliberalism¨ - everywhere, which are the NSA, the FBI and the CIA in the first place, and Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft in the second place (for all steal privacy data of billions of people daily and as a matter of course), keep having access to computers that can break in almost everywhere, and that steal everything they can get, as a matter of ¨legal¨ course as well.

That is the current norm, and with the current enormous support by the stupid and the ignorant, together with the enormous support by the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, that also each can spend billions on how to steal more privacy data from all living persons with an internet connecton, I do not see what can be effectively done against them (and I am very sorry).

This is about PRISM and UPSTREAM (two neofascist programs that steal all the data they can get from everyone they can access):

Both programs ostensibly only “target” foreigners, but likely collect massive amounts of Americans’ communications as well. And despite persistent questioning from members of Congress, the Obama and Trump administrations have repeatedly refused to provide an estimate of how many domestic communications the programs collect. Civil liberties advocates have long warned liberal defenders of the program under President Obama that one day the surveillance apparatus may fall into the hands of a president with little regard for rule of law or constitutional protections.

The surveillance apparatus has fallen ¨into the hands of a president with little regard for rule of law or constitutional protections¨. And it will probably get much worse before it gets any better, if indeed it ever gets better, which is more and more unlikely, since almost everyone who opposes the government can be found and be - in total secret - be Denied, Disrupted, Degraded and Deceived by any of the very many secret services:


All I add now is that I am glad that I am 67 rather than 17: I hate fascism, neofascism, and their secret services. And this is a recommended article.

2. The Biggest LIES of 9/11

This article is by Gregg Bacon on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
Before I explain why the ‘official’ 9/11 story is one, huge LIE, need to give you some background as to why I can make that statement.

For nearly 23 years of my life, worked as a firefighter/EMT, first for a volunteer outfit, then got hired by a medium-size US city fire department as a career firefighter. I fought fire in a variety of structures, from one bedroom homes to apartment complexes, to huge, warehouse like stores, to various industrial concerns and even in high-rises.
I can safely say that the ‘official’ 9/11 story is BS. It is a well-crafted piece of propaganda that was deftly inserted into shocked and horrified American minds on 9/11, but it is still a LIE.

For one thing, when a building collapses, it does so in a random, haphazard way, with sections of the building succumbing to the fire damage and water weight giving way, taking the roof down with it. A collapsing building does not explode at the top, sending a plume of heated gases, smoke and debris nearly 4,000 feet into the air, like what happened on 9/11 to WTC 1, 2 & 7.

I picked this article because it is very recent, but I can add that since I got fast internet in 2009, I have seen quite a number of videos that made the same point (I especially remember fine videos by American architects), and I think that point is completely valid:

The official 9/11 story is a LIE.

And it also seems fairly obvious to me - who is not an American - who are the liars and who the liars protect: The liars are members of government, and they are protecting some secret army department that bombed the buildings that went down on 9/11 (before 9/11) ¨because they were hit by a plane¨ (and also one that wasn´t hit by a plane, but nevertheless collapsed spectacularly, and that also seems to have been bombed by internal bombs).

Here is a first argument why the official 9/11 story is a lie (and realize that the original article comes with pictures):

A simple building collapse does NOT generate enough energy to hurl a multi-ton steel beam–from the South Tower–nearly 400 feet away and have enough energy left over to impale the beam into the Deutsche Bank building, as seen in the picture below:

In case you are interested to see that picture, go to the original. And here is another basic lie:

Further exposure that the official 9/11 story is a LIE is that when a building collapses, the victims will be mangled and maybe crushed, but a collapse doesn’t generate enough energy to explode a human body into hundreds of tiny pieces, as documented below:

The number of people believed to have been killed in the World Trade Center attack hovers around 2,780, three years after the attack. No trace has been identified for about half the victims, despite the use of advanced DNA techniques to identify individuals. Six weeks after the attack only 425 people had been identified. A year after the attack, only half of the victims had been identified. (...)

Precisely - and the total disappearance of about 1400 victims (!!!!) can be quite cogently explained if you assume that the buildings were in fact blown up by internal bombs, that generated extremely high temperatures, while they cannot at all be explained by an airplane hitting the buildings.

For more, see more documentation on 9/11, and one good source may be the following, that is given at the end of the article, and is a German site (in English): The
best 9/11 truth sites on the Net, at least according to Gregg Bacon.

In fact, the best information that I found on 9/11 (in 2009, mostly) was by the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. That is the Wikipedia link, and this their site.

And this is a recommended article.

3. Full Interview: Michael Moore on His Broadway Show, Trump, Puerto Rico, NFL & Media Support for War

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
We speak with Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind "Michael Moore in TrumpLand," "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Bowling for Columbine" and "Sicko." Now, Moore has added theater production to his list of accomplishments with his debut play, The Terms of My Surrender. He launched the production with the question, "Can a Broadway show take down a sitting president?" and lays out a roadmap of what he believes needs to happen next.
This is in fact the first part of a quite long interview, of which I will quote only a few bits. First, here is the Wikipedia lemma on Michael Moore and second, here is his motivation for appearing in the theater:

MICHAEL MOORE: (..) I really believe in the power of a few people can make huge change happen. And I talk about this in my show, that history is full of examples of people who really changed the world, not accepting the lie that they were told all their lives, that they were just a nobody from nowhere. And so, I believe—I believe in that.

(..) And I wanted to—I wanted to do this in the city that gave us Donald J. Trump. I mean, basically, I’ve come to the belly of the beast here. And we do the show 12 blocks from Trump Tower every day.

Well... I also believe one should speak the truth (normally), and I agree with Moore that - as I put it - it are always people from minorities that start major changes (for better or worse indeed, and please mind that the people who govern - also - are always in a very small minority).

But I do not think that Moore´s Broadway show will take down Trump. I am also sorry for that, because Trump is a major menace for everyone who is alive, but - having thought a lot about the enormous powers of the rich, of the American government, and of the secret services, and also knowing that the mainstream media mostly lie and propagandize these days and since 9/11 - I think it is extremely unlikely that a Broadway show will clear this away.

In fact, Moore agrees with me to some extent:
MICHAEL MOORE:   And it’s not just getting rid of Trump. I mean, we have—we have to take a look at how we got Trump. He didn’t just fall out of the sky. He’s the end result of decades of both dumbing down the country but also the widening gap between those with wealth and those who work to provide the wealth for those who are rich.
Yes, indeed - but can one stop the president being president, and limit the enormous powers of the rich, of the American government, and of the secret services by a Broadway show?

I do not think so, because George Carlin is - by far, also (I think) - the best example of those who tried to do so, starting in the late Eighties and early Nineties, but he basically gave up in the Twothousands, and essentially for my type of reasons: The majority of the people simply is too stupid or too ignorant to understand most of his message, while the secret services know everything about almost anyone.

Besides, there is another danger: The nearly complete corruption of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party:
MICHAEL MOORE:   My fear is that the so-called liberal establishment, the Democrats—29 Democrats in the Senate voted to let Bush invade Iraq. The New York Times got behind the war in Iraq. Judith Miller, they put stories on the front page that weren’t true. The New Yorker magazine ran an editorial the week—I think it was the week before the war, saying that this—we should do this. These are the—our liberal establishment has to be called into question here, and not—we have to not follow them if they do that again. And in the show, I actually play a couple of clips of the night Trump bombed Syria, that Syrian airfield. Right away on MSNBC and on CNN, people were waxing poetic about "Trump is now the president."
Again: quite so. But I do not think a Broadway show will clear away Trump or the secret services or the major corruptions that ended American democracy.

Then again, you may think differently, and this is a recommended article (and there is considerably more on Democracy Now!).

4. Editorial: Google's Threat to Democracy Hits AlterNet Hard

This article is by Don Hazen, the editor of AlterNet. It starts as follows:

The story we are sharing with you is very disconcerting for independent media and America’s future, and frankly unprecedented in AlterNet’s history.

The New Media Monopoly Is Hurting Progressive and Independent News

The story is about monopoly on steroids. It is about the extreme and unconstrained power of Google and Facebook, and how they are affecting what you read, hear and see. It is about how these two companies are undermining progressive news sources, including AlterNet.

In June, Google announced major changes in its algorithm designed to combat fake news. Ben Gomes, the company’s vice president for engineering, stated in April that Google’s update of its search engine would block access to “offensive" sites, while working to surface more “authoritative content.”

I do not use Google since 5 years, and it seems Google has damned me to extinction, as far as it is concerned, and I must say I agree: They are obvious neofascists, and I am an antifascist, so I expect to be discriminated by them, and it seems I am.

Also, I do not see why a private individual like Gomes can decide what I or other intelligent people consider “offensive" (and for me Google and Facebook are two of the most offensive sites there are), but he got the power, and ¨therefore¨ he can decide to impose his vision, and his limitations of what everyone can access, on billions of users.

Then there is this by Hazen, which seems quite naive to me:

This seemed like a good idea. Fighting fake news, which Trump often uses to advance his interests and rally his supporters, is an important goal that AlterNet shares.

But little did we know that Google had decided, perhaps with bad advice or wrong-headed thinking, that media like AlterNet—dedicated to fighting white supremacy, misogyny, racism, Donald Trump, and fake news—would be clobbered by Google in its clumsy attempt to address hate speech and fake news.

To give a private firm the right to impose its visions about what people should and should not read or access is NOT ¨a good idea¨ at all. And of course the non- mainstream media will get discriminated by Google etc. for they may speak unpleasant truths, also about Google.

In any case, here are some of the numbers AlterNet scored:

The Numbers Are Striking

We have had consistent search traffic averaging 2.7 million unique visitors a month, over the past two and a half years. (Search traffic makes up 30-40 percent of AlterNet's overall traffic.) But since the June Google announcement, AlterNet’s search traffic has plummeted by 40 percent—a loss of an average of 1.2 million people every month who are no longer reading AlterNet stories.

AlterNet is not alone. Dozens of progressive and radical websites have reported marked declines in their traffic. But AlterNet ranks at the top in terms of audience loss because we have a deep archive from 20 years of producing thousands of news articles. And we get substantial traffic overall—typically among the top five indy sites.

So the reality we face is that two companies, Google and Facebook—which are not media companies, do not have editors or fact-checkers, and do no investigative reporting—are deciding what people should read, based on a failure to understand how media and journalism function.

I suppose all of this is correct. Here are Don Hazen´s conclusions:

There are two stories here. The larger one, which everyone should be concerned with, is what information are you not seeing, hearing, or watching, simply because of secret algorithms that Google (and Facebook) never explain or make public. 

The second, our more personal story, is that the Google algorithm change hurts us financially.

Quite so, or so I shall suppose. But I do not see any way that Google or Facebook can be changed by AlterNet.

In fact, I also think Don Hazen agrees, and part of his effort is to get more financial support for AlterNet, which I agree with.

But if the USA keeps developing as it does under Trump, it is quite possible that by 2020 there will be no non-mainstream media anymore, which will mean that almost everyone will only get the lies, the deceptions, the propaganda and the omissions of the mainstream media (that are controlled by five persons or corporations now, in the USA, or so it seems).

5. Six Reasons Why American Corporations Shouldn’t Get a Tax Cut

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows (and this is the only quote that I´ll give of this brief article:

Trump and Republicans are trying to sell you the idea that American corporations need a tax cut in order to be competitive. That’s rubbish. Here are 6 reasons why:

First, American corporations don’t need it in order to be competitive internationally.
Second, American corporations are making more money than ever.
Third, the long-term competitiveness of American corporations depends far more on a well-educated and skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and basic research than on tax rates.
Fourth, American corporations are now paying less in taxes than they have in 65 years.
Fifth, if their taxes were cut, corporations won’t use the extra money to make new investments in plant, equipment, research and development, or jobs. They’re already using their vast stockpiles of cash to buy back shares and thereby boost stock prices, and for extravagant bonuses and salaries to CEOs and other top executives.
Sixth, the reason they’re not investing more is because consumers don’t have the purchasing power to buy more, and that’s because most people’s incomes have gone nowhere for decades.
I agree with all of this, but I should add that I see no grounds whatsoever to change this (much as I would like to):

The rich have gotten organized in 1971, thanks to Lewis F. Powell Jr., and they have enormously enriched themselves and enormously extended their power, for nearly FIFTY successive years now, and they now also know - implicitly, at least - what everyone thinks, and wrote, and values, and how much they earn, and what they spend it on, and so on and so forth: hardly anyone is a secret for the - neofascist, terrorist - secret services (from anywhere, also) and the similar searches of Google, Facebook etc.

In sum, I see neofascism expand and expand (exponentially also), and democracy, truth, justice, and honesty diminish and diminish (also exponentially), until the next major economical crash. And while I am certain there will be a
major economical crash, I do not know what will happen then, for the secret services know almost everything about almost anybody, and can more or less do as they please.

This is an extremely frightening world, and once again I am glad I am 67 and have had some experiences of freedom and liberty between 1965 and 1980, for I think these experiences are totally impossible at present and in the neofascist futures that the secret services and the governors and he rich have surrected and are exploiting for their own benefits only.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).

[2] In fact, I think this is one of the biggest and most frightful changes that happened with the internet:

Billions of anonymous stupid ignorants with an IQ of maximally 100 who can tweet, and troll, and lie, and deceive, and persecute whomever they please, without any regard for the truth, or for science, or for rationality: They are all wishful thinkers, whose standards for truth and values are their own wishes, for they learned hardly anything else, and who nearly all are also conformist totalitarians, for that is what utterly average people are made into these days, simply by reading the mainstream media´s propaganda, and by social pressures to conform.
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