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Nederlog

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Crisis: On Roy Moore, On Truth, On Fuckbook, On Documentaries, On Net Neutrality
 
Sections                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from December 13, 2017
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Wednesday
, December 13, 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 and since two years (!!!!) 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.

Section 2. Crisis Files

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

A. Selections from December 13, 2017
1. Democrat Doug Jones Defeats Right-Wing Extremist Roy Moore
2. Yes, the Truth Still Matters
3. Former Facebook Executive Criticizes Social Network For
     'Destroying How Society Works'

4. Silencing of Courageous Documentaries
5. Warning Against Abdication of Duty, Senators Demand FCC
     Abandon Net Neutrality Vote
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. Democrat Doug Jones Defeats Right-Wing Extremist Roy Moore

This article - one from many on the same subject - is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

The most-watched federal election of 2017 came to a stunning finish Tuesday with ruby red Alabama electing Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate—the first Democrat elected from Alabama in a quarter century and a major defeat for President Trump and Steve Bannon’s white nationalist wing of the party. 

Jones, a former U.S. Attorney, defeated Republican Roy Moore, a former Supreme Court of Alabama Justice who was removed from the state’s highest court for putting God above the U.S. Constitution and was repeatedly accused during the race of being a sexual predator, including targeting teenage girls.

Yes indeed. I wrote yesterday:
"

(..) [T]he elections, in Alabama to be sure, are between a neofascistic racist, a hater of homosexuals, a hater of Islamists, a religious fanatic, a "birther", a pro slavery man and - therefore, and I am a psychologist - an utter sicko and someone who opposes this.

These elections are "
a tight and increasingly controversial race"...
"
He was defeated by around 1% difference, but indeed he was defeated. Here is some more:

The race was Moore’s to lose and his defeat is a prism that reveals much about the fissures in American politics, as well as the moral core in Trump’s win-no-matter-what politics. Just as Jones’ intense get-out-the-vote strategy clearly motivated the state’s African-American voters to turn out in record numbers for a special election, Moore’s controversies and Trump’s unwavering abrasiveness clearly prompted Republicans not to vote.

Moore was such a caustic candidate that the Senate was poised to decide whether to swear in Moore, or begin investigating his alleged sexual misdeeds as a stepping stone to his impeachment. Jones’ election means the Republicans now control the Senate by a one-vote margin, 51-49, and that puts the body in play in 2018—an outcome that many Democrats could barely imagine before Jones’ surprise and stunning victory.

Yes indeed. There is a bit more in the article, that is recommended.


2. Yes, the Truth Still Matters

This article is by David M. Shribman - "the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" according to the NYT - on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Of all the questions that the ascendancy of Donald Trump has raised — on the value of political experience in governing, on the fitness of business executives as government executives or the profile of the Republicans as defenders of the rich and the Democrats as the sentinels of the poor — none is as perplexing as perhaps the central question of the age:

Does the truth still matter?

I say. Well... I learned in August of 1978 that truth does not matter at all in the "University" of Amsterdam, for I was then told (together with my ex, a bit more than four months before we both fell ill with ME/CFS), the fascist lie that (in Holland, at least, and in the "University" of Amsterdam) - literally, apart from translation - at the official opening of the academic year 1978-1979, that:

  • "Everybody knows that truth  does NOT exist"

Since I was 28 then, I was considerably more naive than I am at present, and I started a student-party to attack this justification of stalinism, fascism, terrorism, lying and deception, that also logically implied there had been no Holocause.

I soon learned that my student-party (the NASA [2]), did win precisely one seat in the "University"-parliament of the "University" of Amsterdam, besides some in several faculty-parliaments, for we got around 5% of the votes of everyone who studied or worked for the "University" of Amsterdam.

And indeeed I had then already been abused as "a dirty fascist", which also was affirmed by the Stalinist communists from the ASVA, that had the official majority in the "University"-parliament of the "University" of Amsterdam from 1971-1995 (when the whole structure of parliaments, city-councils, and majority-voting in the Dutch universities was removed by the Dutch national parliament), and namely because I had said I knew Marx but liked Peirce better as a philosopher.

So effectively I learned that between 1971 and 1995 95% of the Dutch academics and 95% of the Dutch university students (generalizing from the facts I learned in the UvA) did not believe in truth, but did believe in lies, in deceptions, and in moral degeneracy that helped to keep their well-paid academic jobs or that helped them to make very easy M.A. degrees [3].

Here is more from the paper I am reviewing:

For nearly a half-century in journalism, from hometown cub reporter to national political correspondent to metro daily executive editor, I’ve navigated with the aid of a newspaperman’s North Star: the conviction that there is such a thing as objective truth that can be discovered and delivered through dispassionate hard work and passionate good faith, and that the product of that effort, if thoroughly documented, would be accepted as the truth.

I do not say no, but - approximately - 95% of the Dutch academics and the Dutch students did say no between 1971 and 1995 (for the degeneracy lasted that long, and it always voted the absolute majority in every Dutch university).

The Dutch academics in vast majority said they did not believe in truth because the majority in the Dutch "universities" was in the hand of the students, and the students were in majority Marxists from 1971 till 1984 and postmodernists from 1984 till 1995, and they all liked their excellent pay and excellent status much more than teaching the truth.

The Dutch students in vast majority said they did not believe in truth because the majority wanted the easiest possible B.A. and M.A.s, and indeed they completely succeeded in quite a few faculties, because they were or pretended to be Marxists, sympathizers with Marxists, and later postmodernists or sympathizers with postmodernists, and they were quite right that this made studying a whole lot easier [3].

And because I kept saying I believed in truth and in science, I was first - during the year the NASA held a seat in the "University"-parliament of the UvA - being tortured, being kept out of sleep, being physically attacked, and being threatened with murder in a student-flat by an utterly insane person.

I learned that no Dutchmen (other than my direct family) helped me. I had to suffer that terrorism for more than three years and so did my ex.

The "University" of Amsterdam proudly furthered the terrorism for more than three years, and then proudly attacked me for refusing rent payments for a student-flat in which I could not study, and which I had received and accepted to study.

I won the court trial myself, but only in 1985, five years after the terrorism started, and two years after my - also still ill - ex and I had been forced to separate, also because we did not got then, and are still not getting now, any medical support for the claims that we are physically ill (now for nearly forty years).

Here is more from this article:

Though political figures often tell whoppers, it is incontrovertible that there is such a thing as the truth. The larger question remains: Do people still care?

They should, and need to.
(...)
Not in Holland, and especially not in Amsterdam and at the "University" of Amsterdam:

I started studying again in the second half of 1987 and soon found that truth still did not exist in the "University" of Amsterdam, and that all but one persons who taught philosophy there were frauds and parasites.

I was invited as a public speaker in May of 1988, very briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy there, and honestly said what I thought. In thanks, at least 25 students of philosophy screamed at me that I was "a fascist, a
fascist, a fascist" and then "a terrorist, a terrorist, a terrorist", which was when I refused to speak further.

One and a half month later I was removed from the faculty of philosophy of the "University" of Amsterdam, both by the sadists, the fascists and the terrorists of that faculty, and also by the full Board of sadists, fascists and terrorista that formed its Directors.

Also, at the same time, I was personally gassed and almost died. This was done by the personal friends of mayor Ed van Thijn, whom that mayor had given his "personal permission" - I quote his letter his illegal dealers of soft and hard drugs showed me in 1988 - to deal in illegal soft drugs from the bottom floor of the house in which I lived.

At that time, in the fascist and terrorist City of Amsterdam I was surrounded by four cafetarias within 15 meters of where I had to survice, each with a terrace open till 1.30 in the night, to keep me awake. This again lasted over three years, because NONE of the persons I personally appealed to - the mayor, the aldermen, the City's elected politicians, the City's bureaucrats, the City's police force, the City's building bureaucrats and more - wanted to lift a single finger for someone who had been gassed and threatened as follows by the illegal drugsdealers on the bottom floor: "We will murder you if you do anything that displeases us".

In fact, they all worked actively for the illegal dealers in soft drugs, that also were allowed by the City police of Amsterdam to deal in hard drugs in 1990, and I learned around the year 2000 what for:

The illegal dealers in soft drugs turned over around 10 billion dollars worth of soft drugs in and around Holland, each year, and the double or triple if the hard drugs are also counted, and do so each year, which means that since they started in 1987 they have turned over between 300 billion dollars in soft drugs and 600 billion dollars in all illegal drugs, and the politicians who helped the illegal dealers undoubtedly also helped themselves to a part of the enormous profits made on illegal drugs that are sold as if they are legal, with special and personal permission by very many Dutch mayors since 1987.

Incidentally, the numbers I quote are all based on the Parliamentary Van Traa Report of 1996, but then that also is the only credible investigation into drugs and drugsdealing ever done in Holland, and since Van Traa got killed or murdered in 1997 no Dutch politician has had a word of criticism about the illegal dealings in billions of soft drugs and billions of hard drugs sold from Holland, each year, all with the active help of many Dutch mayors.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

The president’s taunts have prompted long-overdue if uncomfortable and unwelcome reflection in our newsroom and others. But it has also prompted all of us to be more humble, more careful and more dedicated than ever to the basic elements of our craft: to marshal facts, produce stories and pay little mind to criticism, whether from left or right.

To show, by our work, that the truth still matters.

Possibly so, but not in Holland. In Holland rule - since 1977, till now - the sadists, the (neo)fascists, and the terrorists, who intentionally destroyed my life and my health by tolerating 7 1/2 years of physical terrorism against me that totally destroyed my health, my chances, and my money.

Incidentally, the whole story is available in Dutch on my site since 2002.

3. Former Facebook Executive Criticizes Social Network For 'Destroying How Society Works'

This article is by Matthew Rosza on AlterNet and originally on Salon. It starts as follows:

A second former Facebook executive is claiming that the social-media platform presents a threat to its users and society.

Chamath Palihapitiya, who served as the vice president for user growth at the company, described feeling "tremendous guilt" for his legacy at the company during a talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business according to CNBC.

I say. But I completely agree with Palihapitiya. And it also seems - although I am not sure - that he came to this decision around 2011, when I first wrote about Facebook.

In fact, I will quote you a bit from 6 1/2 years ago, that itself was quoted from a fine article by Tim Hodgkinson's from 2008:

1 We will advertise at you

"When you use Facebook, you may set up your personal profile, form relationships, send messages, perform searches and queries, form groups, set up events, add applications, and transmit information through various channels. We collect this information so that we can provide you the service and offer personalised features."

2 You can't delete anything

"When you update information, we usually keep a backup copy of the prior version for a reasonable period of time to enable reversion to the prior version of that information."

3 Anyone can glance at your intimate confessions

"... we cannot and do not guarantee that user content you post on the site will not be viewed by unauthorised persons. We are not responsible for circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures contained on the site. You understand and acknowledge that, even after removal, copies of user content may remain viewable in cached and archived pages or if other users have copied or stored your user content."

4 Our marketing profile of you will be unbeatable

"Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (eg, photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised experience."

5 Opting out doesn't mean opting out

"Facebook reserves the right to send you notices about your account even if you opt out of all voluntary email notifications."

6 The CIA may look at the stuff when they feel like it

"By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States ... We may be required to disclose user information pursuant to lawful requests, such as subpoenas or court orders, or in compliance with applicable laws. We do not reveal information until we have a good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards. Additionally, we may share account or other information when we believe it is necessary to comply with law, to protect our interests or property, to prevent fraud or other illegal activity perpetrated through the Facebook service or using the Facebook name, or to prevent imminent bodily harm. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, agents or government agencies."

I do not know and also do not much care how much of the above Facebook rules still apply, although I suspect the above still applies fully or almost fully simply because spying on anything you do will "provide you with more useful information and a more personalised experience" as they say themselves about drowning you in "personalised advertisements", which is your reward for accepting the above six points (or six points much like them).

Now we return to Palihapitiya:

"The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we've created are destroying how society works," Palihapitiya commented, identifying the problem as online interactions being fueled by shallow instant gratifications such as receiving likes, hearts and thumbs-up icons.

Palihapitiya added, "No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it's not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem." He noted that he has minimized his use of Facebook and his children "aren't allowed to use that s**t."

I completely agree, although I also insist there is much more wrong with Facebook, which is again why I quoted Tim Hodgkinson above.

Drawing a line under what he feels are the potential threats presented by Facebook and social media in general, he drew focus to an incident in India where false reports spread over WhatsApp led to the lynching death of seven people. "That's what we're dealing with," he said. "And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It's just a really, really bad state of affairs."

There are at least 2 billion slaves of Facebook now, and I call them slaves because their full privacy has been mostly willingly ended, for "the privilege" of receiving "personalized advertisments", that is, lies and propaganda you may like to know because it is or seems a bit cheaper than other lies and propaganda.

Also, Palihapitiya is not alone among former Facebook employees. In fact, a Facebook founder said the same recently:

Palihapitiya's comments echo those made by Sean Parker at an Axios event last month. The founding president of Facebook commented, "The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them . . . was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'"

He added, "And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you . . . more likes and comments."

The problem, Parker noted, was that it created "a social-validation feedback loop . . . exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."

In brief: You are being sadistically plucked, stimulated and abused on Facebook, who know everything about you. And it seems more than 2 billion people like that. For the privilege of receiving "personalized advertisements", that might save them a few pennies.

Well, I am deeply sorry but if that is your reason to join the sick and sickening thieves of your privacy, I think you are either mad or stupid or ignorant.


4. Silencing of Courageous Documentaries

This article is by John Pilger on Consortiumnews. This also has a subtitle:

Historically, documentaries have told important truth in powerful ways and often challenging powerful groupthinks, but such brave films are becoming an endangered species, explains John Pilger.

Yes indeed - and if you do not know who John Pilger is, click the last link. Here is Pilger on his first film:

In the U.S., I first understood the power of the documentary during the editing of my first film, The Quiet Mutiny.
(...)
The Quiet Mutiny had revealed that the U.S. Army in Vietnam was tearing itself apart. There was open rebellion: drafted men were refusing orders and shooting their officers in the back or “fragging” them with grenades as they slept. None of this had been news. What it meant was that the war was lost; and the messenger was not appreciated.

The Director-General of the ITA was Sir Robert Fraser. He summoned Denis Foreman, then Director of Programmes at Granada TV, and went into a state of apoplexy. Spraying expletives, Sir Robert described me as a “dangerous subversive.”

What concerned the regulator and the ambassador was the power of a single documentary film: the power of its facts and witnesses: especially young soldiers speaking the truth and treated sympathetically by the film-maker.
(...)
This subversion of official lies is the power of documentary. I have now made 60 films and I believe there is nothing like this power in any other medium.

This is followed by a lot more on other documentaries that Pilger and others have made since 1970, and it is all well worth reading although I skip it in this review.

Towards the end we find this:

Britain remains one of the few countries where documentaries are still shown on mainstream television in the hours when most people are still awake. But documentaries that go against the received wisdom are becoming an endangered species, at the very time we need them perhaps more than ever.

In survey after survey, when people are asked what they would like more of on television, they say documentaries. I don’t believe they mean a type of current affairs program that is a platform for politicians and “experts” who affect a specious balance between great power and its victims.
I totally agree, although I should add that I dislike propaganda and advertisements so much that I have refused to have a TV since 1970, and indeed will never have a TV - THE medium of advertisements, propaganda, lies and deception, until the internet showed itself to be an even bigger and better advertiser, propagandist, liar and deceiver - until I die.

Incidentally, for more on the sickness that is the internet, see here, and I add that I would now delete the internet and these spies as well, if I could, which I alas I can't. (But I only use Firefox, e-mail and ftp, and otherwise hardly anything.)

Here is more by John Pilger on the present situation:

Mark the words of the narrator in Peter Watkins’s The War Game: “On almost the entire subject of nuclear weapons, there is now practically total silence in the press, and on TV. There is hope in any unresolved or unpredictable situation. But is there real hope to be found in this silence?”

In 2017, that silence has returned. It is not news that the safeguards on nuclear weapons have been quietly removed and that the United States is now spending $46 million per hour on nuclear weapons: that’s $46 million every hour, 24 hours a day, every day. Who knows that?

Indeed, I did not. Here is the ending of this article:

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” wrote the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”

Whenever young documentary film-makers ask me how they can “make a difference,” I reply that it is really quite simple. They need to break the silence.

Yes, and this is a strongly recommended article.


5. Warning Against Abdication of Duty, Senators Demand FCC Abandon Net Neutrality Vote

This article is by Julia Conley on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

Thirty-seven Democratic senators, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), sent a letter (pdf) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday, urging the panel to abandon its "reckless plan to radically alter the free and open Internet as we know it."

If pushed through, the letter warns, the move, spearheaded by Trump's FCC chairman Ajit Pai, "would amount to the largest abdication of [the agency's] statutory responsibilities in history."
 
The lawmakers arged that Pai's plan to gut net neutrality regulations represents an abandonment of its "primary responsibility to protect consumers and the public interest with respect to the nation's communications networks."
I agree with the Democratic Senators, but I much fear that Pai, who himself reminds people that his name is pronounced as "Pay" - will get a whole lot richer, and the internet will be handed over to the neofascists of Google, Facebook and similar others, to do with as they please.

Here is what Pai - whose name
is pronounced as "Pay" - wants: Discrimination of everyone who is not wealthy:
Pai has proposed repealing Obama-era net neutrality regulations which prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against web content. Without the rules, ISPs like Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast would be able to offer a "fast lane" for wealthy Internet companies like Google and Facebook, allowing their content to reach users more quickly.
And here is more:

If the FCC, which consists of three Republican commissioners and two Democrats, adopts Pai's proposal on Thursday, the panel will permit ISPs "to freely block, slow down, or manipulate a consumer's access to the internet as long as it discloses those practices—no matter how anti-consumer—somewhere within the mounds of legalese in a new 'net neutrality' policy," wrote the senators.

The new rules would also prevent states from implementing their own regulations, resulting in what the Democrats called a "gaping consumer protection void."

Well, I have welcomed Trump's presidency as a major win for the neofascists, and this will probably, very unfortunately, be another major win for the neofascists.

------------------------------
Notes

[1] I have now been saying since the 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.

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 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] Indeed like the US Nasa, but it meant "Nieuwe Amsterdamse Studenten Associatie".

[3] I learned around 2002, from an interview by telephone that I heard on Dutch radio, that two M.A.'s in philosophy had made their degrees, they told laughingly (it seems in the 1970ies), with taking part in leftist demonstrations, squatting houses, and some lessons in feminism.
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