A. Selections from
November 21, 2017
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, November 21,
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.
moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have
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
2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from November 21, 2017
Robert Reich, a Multiplatform Gadfly, Comes
2. German Government Talks Collapse; Merkel Seeks
3. Instagram's Political Propaganda Spread to
Multi-Millions of Facebook
Users in 2016
4. Get a Load of What H.R. McMaster Has to Say
About Trump Behind Closed Doors
5. The Lost Journalistic Standards of Russia-gate
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:
Reich, a Multiplatform Gadfly, Comes to Netflix
This article is by David Gelles on The New York Times. This is from
near the beginning:
Mr. Reich, the
pugnacious economist and ardent critic of income inequality, has spent
his career railing against Wall Street and what he sees as its
corrosive influence on American society. Bobby Van’s is a watering hole
for investment bankers and stock traders.
Nonetheless, the maître d’ lit up as soon as Mr. Reich
walked in the door. “I love your posts on Facebook,” said the host, a
barrel-chested man wearing a power suit and pink tie. “I watch you on
MSNBC all the time. Keep up the good work, Dr. Reich.”
David Gelles? He has no entry in Wikipedia, where he is also hard
to find in articles dealing with others. I can tell you what he
does, in his very own style:
who is between 10 and 50 years younger than Reich: it´s difficult to
say because Gelles is fat - writes for the falsifiers of the news and
for the bankers that are presently gathered at the
NYT, while he looks himself like a rich egoistic greedy banker, though
he is clearly without the talent to make much money by banking himself.
So he lives - it seems - by selling his talents for propagandizing.
more on a former secretary in Clinton´s first cabinet, professor dr.
according to the functional non-entity who is one of the NYT´s
propagandists for the rich bankers:
Two decades removed from his position in the Clinton
cabinet, Mr. Reich, 71, is a multi-platform attack dog of the far left,
a verbose gadfly who can be counted on to deliver withering critiques
of Republicans, Democrats, lobbyists, lawyers and even former
His newfound social media acumen seems only
to have made him more quarrelsome. He has more than a half million
followers on Twitter, where he posts a daily fusillade of indignant
tweets aimed at President Trump.
taking more than $300 billion from older and sicker people who
need health insurance, and giving that $300 billion to big corporations
and wealthy people as a tax cut. That's the GOP plan.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich)
Reich - who although a doctor and a professor barely gets a
¨Mr.¨ from - I must suppose - professor doctor doctor professor doctor
Gelles is, according to Gelles, ¨a verbose far left quarrelsome gadfly"
who seems to spend his time mainly on writing ¨a daily fussilade of
indignant tweets¨ and who is clearly, in Gelles´ all-seeing
journalistic eyes, little better than a far left quarrelsome fool,
although Gelles grants him some renown, that is presumably based on
Reich´s daily fussilade of quarrelsome tweets:
He is even more prolific
on Facebook, where he has more than two million followers. His
Facebook show, “The Reich Report,” has accumulated about 35 million
views. A regular guest on cable news shows, his celebrity is remarkable
for a former cabinet official — a labor secretary at that — and his
fulminations have won him fans, like the Bobby Van’s host, who admire
his sharp-witted sense of exasperation.
“Saving Capitalism,” which debuts on Netflix on
Tuesday, is based on his
2015 book of the same name. It is his second film, and he has
written 16 books, including “Supercapitalism” and “Beyond Outrage.”
But where the French economist Thomas Piketty brings an
academic distance to his writing on inequality and Senator Bernie
Sanders channels a righteous indignation in the political realm, Mr.
Reich comes across as exactly what he is — a frumpy, sometimes pedantic
professor from the University of California at Berkeley, eager to
lecture anyone who will listen about our broken financial world.
71 Reich is ¨a frumpy (..) pedantic professor (..) eager to lecture
anyone who will listen¨, that is, according to professor doctor doctor
professor Gelles (with the sick-looking unhealthily fat bankers´ face).
the last quote from professor doctor doctor professor Gelles, the NYT´s
for the rich bankers:
“The central thesis of the book and the movie is that the
game really is rigged,” he said over a small garden salad, which he
ordered as an entree.
That thesis, presented with
a look of grave concern, makes for an easy sound bite, but it can be
hard to prove.
I take it
Gelles wishes to suggest that inequality in the USA also
is ¨fake news¨ that cannot possibly have any proof that has any
validity in Gelles´ undoubtedly extra-ordinarily brilliant
mind, that is, in Gelles´ opinion.
this is an example of the present style of reporting of the NYT. I
think it is pretty sickening.
incidentally: I do disagree with Reich on ¨Saving Capitalism¨
but I save that for another time.
Government Talks Collapse; Merkel Seeks to Reassure
This article is by David Rising on Truthdig and
originally on AP. It starts as follows:
Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged early Monday to maintain stability
after the Free Democratic Party pulled out of talks on forming a new
government with her conservative bloc and the left-leaning Greens,
raising the possibility of new elections.
Merkel told reporters
that the parties had been close to reaching a consensus on how to
proceed with formal coalition talks but that the Free Democrats decided
abruptly to pull out just before midnight Sunday — a move she said she
respected, but found “regrettable.”
She said she would
consult with Germany’s president later in the day to brief him on the
negotiations and discuss what comes next.
Without bringing the Free
Democrats back to the table, Merkel will be forced to try to continue
her current governing coalition with the Social Democrats, although
that center-left party has said it will not do so, or she could try to
form a minority government, which was seen as unlikely. Otherwise
Germany will have to hold new elections.
I say. But I agree
this is a good and fair report. There is some more in it, but
this is enough for now.
Political Propaganda Spread to Multi-Millions of Facebook Users in 2016
This article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It
starts as follows:
Facebook makes its
billions by stealing private information from its users, that also
allows it to provide selected advertisements for them. It is - in my
opinion - a morally utterly sick and very degenerate
corpo- ration none of whose
executives can ever be taken to speak the truth about anything, and especially
not about Facebook (that makes its billions by stealing private information
from its users).
Maybe you saw it, too. On
Thursday, I read a post from
Facebook executives touting their determination to reel in the
propaganda monster their platform had enabled in 2016’s election.
“We are committed to
protecting legitimate political discussion within our community,”
Facebook said, citing its “action plan against foreign interference,”
which includes “hiring 10,000 people including ad reviewers, engineers
and security experts and combining their skills with advances in AI
[artificial intelligence] and machine learning to identify and remove
content violations and fake accounts.”
Here is more, for Rosenfeld believes that he has found one more branch
of Facebook that (also) spreads political propaganda:
But what’s most
important, amid the recent news surrounding Facebook’s role as one of
2016’s top political propaganda platforms, is what is missing from
Facebook’s statements. It's also missing from the few media accounts
about possible federal regulation of Facebook. What's missing is the
role of another communication platform owned by Facebook: Instagram.
I do not say no, but
just as I dislike both the idea and the practices of Facebook so much
that I wish to completely avoid them, which I mostly succeeded
in the past six years, the same holds for its subsidiaries, of
Instagram is one.
And because I never used it (nor ever will) I give a
- and I
add that it does look quite sick, at least in my eyes
(and see e.g. Monetization).
Here is more by Rosenfeld:
Quite possibly so, and indeed
especially because Instagram uses ¨Facebook’s
universe of sophisticated ad targeting infrastructure¨.
“I argue here that
Instagram is more pervasive than Twitter for political meme-spreading
as well as viral outrage video-based behavioral re-targeting,” he said.
“Part of the reason for this is because it uses the same range of
Facebook’s universe of sophisticated ad targeting
infrastructure—including Lookalike and Custom Audiences. The Instagram
platform can even link even video views to direct response and campaign
Albright goes further,
explaining that Silicon Valley top coders built the communications
network that not only spreads viral content, but leaves it lingering
online, and mines user interactions and compiles psychological profiles
to further this provocative dynamic.
Then again, I admit I do not use Facebook, do not use
Instagram, do not
use Twitter, and also never have, because I despise all
three. And this
makes it a little difficult for me to comment, simply because I
never used these sick programs, and I
never wish to use these sick
Here is the last bit that I´ll quote from this article:
I do guess that is true, and
once again I take it this is a good example of the very sick ¨Facebook
ad infrastructure¨ about which I like to say the following:
continues to describe how social media is just transforming political
campaigns and elections, and how the websites behind social media
platforms are prying into the cracks and crevices of people’s lives and
compiling digital dossiers to provoke behaviors and outcomes.
“These campaigns were
done with the intent to direct people to third-party websites, install
mobile apps, engage with outrageous ‘viral’ content, and collect
emails, address, and payment information during ‘shopping cart’
checkouts,” Albright said. “Even at its most basic, the Facebook ad
infrastructure can be used to unknowingly recruit friends, family
members, and co-workers for sponsored messages and political
If you are an adult, you are - in my own opinion, at least - completely
free to commit suicide,
e.g. through joining Facebook, but I do like to say that your
Facebook activities also put in
danger your ¨friends,
members, and co-workers for sponsored messages and political
data-driven micro-targeting¨ - which I think is extremely
But it is true this is ¨just my opinion¨.
a Load of What H.R. McMaster Has to Say About Trump Behind Closed Doors
This article is by Laura
Clawson on AlterNet and originally on DailyKos. This starts as follows:
Donald Trump’s top
advisers seem to be in a competition for who can most lavishly insult
his intelligence. Sure, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump
a f*cking moron, but check out national security adviser H.R.
In fact, I take it my
readers know about Tillerson and Trump, and the present article only
serves to list McMaster´s opinions on Trump:
McMaster bluntly trashed
his boss, said the sources, four of whom told BuzzFeed News they heard
about the exchange directly from Catz. The top national security
official dismissed the president variously as an “idiot” and a “dope”
with the intelligence of a “kindergartner,” the sources said.
Who am I to
say no? In any case, that was McMaster on His Leader´s Gifts Of
Lost Journalistic Standards of Russia-gate
This article is by Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It
starts as follows:
A danger in both
journalism and intelligence is to allow an unproven or seriously
disputed fact to become part of the accepted narrative where it gets
widely repeated and thus misleads policymakers and citizens alike, such
as happened during the run-up to war with Iraq and is now recurring
amid the frenzy over Russia-gate.
Yes indeed. And to put
this otherwise, and possibly a bit more clearly:
It is a great danger in journalism, in intelligence and
in science to
treat non-facts as if they were facts, for statements
of fact are
taken as indisputably real and true, whereas statements
of non-fact do not have any indisputable real and true
status, as yet, at least.
In fact, something similar occurs in law, where it used to be
(at least) a principle that everyone is innocent (he or she did
not commit the crime) until he or she is judged
guilty, by a qualified judge, in a real court.
It is the same with purported statements of fact, from a rational point
Until there is some good independent evidence for any
purported statement of fact, the statement is not
a statement of fact, but is - at best - a statement that might be
a fact if there were more evidence than there presently seems
Next, there is a fairly involved discussion of the NYT´s take on
Mueller´s decisions that I mostly skip and reduce to this:
What the Times
seems to have done is to accept a bald assertion by Mueller’s
prosecutors as sufficient basis for jumping to the conclusion that this
disputed claim is undeniably true.
Yes indeed, which
corresponds precisely with confusing a prosecutor´s
statements (all of which demand proof) with the judge´s verdict
I think that is correct, and I also think, in part because Parry and
some others have been argueing this for more than a year now,
that is is rather difficult to keep up the pretension that the NYT does
The article ends as follows:
I completely agree,
but I should add that, simply because Parry is also quite right about
the NYT´s failings about the Iraq War, it does not seem to be
very likely that the NYT will follow Parry´s quite sane advice.
However, basing decisions
on dubious information carries its own dangers for the nation and the
world. Not only do the targets end up with legitimate grievances about
being railroaded – and not only does this prejudicial treatment
undermine faith in the fairness of democratic institutions – but
falsehoods can become the basis for wider policies that can unleash
wars and devastation.
We saw the horrific
outcome of the Iraq War, but the risks of hostilities with
nuclear-armed Russia are far graver; indeed, billions of people could
die and human civilization end. With stakes so high, The New York
Times and Mueller’s prosecutors owe the public better than treating
questionable accusations as flat fact.
And this is a recommended article.
 I 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 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).
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 (!!).