from August 21, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) 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 more than two years
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
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from August 21, 2018:
1. Self-Invasions and the Invaded Self
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:
2. Pope on Sex Abuse: We Showed No Care for the Little Ones
3. Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well
4. Humankind Is Rapidly Exiting Its 'Safe Zone,' New Climate
5. 10 Years
After Global Meltdown, Lehman Brothers Planning 'Disgraceful'
and the Invaded Self
This article is by
Rochelle Gurstein on The Baffler. It starts as follows:
What do we lose when we lose our privacy?
This question has become increasingly difficult to answer, living as we
do in a society that offers boundless opportunities for men and women
to expose themselves (in all dimensions of that word) as never before,
to commit what are essentially self-invasions of privacy. Although this
is a new phenomenon, it has become as ubiquitous as it is quotidian,
and for that reason, it is perhaps one of the most telling signs of our
Yes, but I am not
much concerned about men and women exposing themselves (provided they
know more or less the risks they take, which is frequently doubtful),
while I am very much concerned with ¨violating one’s (..) privacy, (..) by the
technology of the internet¨.
Also, about the latter it is valid to say that only a small
computer users have any reasonable idea of how much has been gathered
from them, and fewer about blocking it (which in fact needs very
knowledge of computers and programming).
And, of course, there are now
unprecedented opportunities for violating one’s own privacy, furnished
by the technology of the internet. The results are everywhere, from
selfies and Instagrammed trivia to the almost automatic, everyday
activity of Facebook users registering their personal “likes” and
preferences. (As we recently learned, this online pastime is nowhere
near as private as we had been led to believe; more than fifty million
users’ idly generated “data” was “harvested” by Cambridge Analytica to
make “personality profiles” that were then used to target voters with
advertisements from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.)
Then there is this:
Given our widespread
obliviousness to the current situation, we might be better served by
asking: What did people used to believe they lost when they lost their
privacy? Surprisingly, it turns out that a large number of people began
to speak of privacy in a self-conscious way only toward the end of the
In fact, I don´t
think that question is interesting, for the simple reason that it
is only since around 2000 that the NSA, GCHQ, Facebook (a
later), Google and others can pick everything that is send over the
internet (including your private mails and private porn), while at
least the NSA and the GCHQ also can break in into virtually any
computer (tablet, iphone etc.) with an internet connection.
This also means that since 2000 at least the 4 billions with
computers are - in principle - fully known to the secret services,
including their health, their doctors, their incomes, their values,
their ideas, their private correspondence etc. etc.
And this situation is totally new in history:
Since 2000, the
secret services from anywhere, know almost everything about almost
Here is some more:
recognition of Sir Edward Coke’s famous dictum, “A man’s house is his
castle,” according to Godkin, was “but the outward and visible sign of
the law’s respect for his personality as an individual, for that
kingdom of the mind, that inner world of personal thought and feeling
in which every man passes some time.” Here Godkin was drawing on the
liberal understanding of privacy as articulated by J. S. Mill in On
Well, yes - and the
reference is interesting (and here is my copy of
On Liberty, with my
extensive notes) but Mill lived long before the secret
entry to absolutely everything that can be gathered about anyone on the
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
self-conscious understanding of privacy, the cult of exposure is of
recent vintage, emerging during the last part of the nineteenth
century. Its reigning faith was that people—good, honest people—have
nothing to hide. “Live in the open air!” Mary Putnam Jacobi, a doctor
and suffragist, exhorted her audience in a public lecture before the
New York City Positivist Society in 1871. “A thing that one is not
willing the whole world should know,” proclaimed Jacobi, “is wrong.”
Putnam Jacobi did not have
the faintest idea how much could be found out about her by way
of the internet, and besides, she seems extremely
in the 1870ies, for men have different morals, different values, and
different interests that make for quite different opinions on what they
think others should and should not know about them.
But in the 1870ies, one still had a choice; since 2001
with a computer no longer have any
choice about what the secret services know about them, and it is best
to assume they know everything one has on one´s internet computer.
on Sex Abuse: We Showed No Care for the Little Ones
This article is by
Nicole Winfield on Truthdig and originally on The Associated Press. It
starts as follows:
Pope Francis issued
a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the crime of
priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability, in
response to new revelations in the United States of decades of
misconduct by the Catholic Church.
Yes indeed - but then
again this went on for decades at least (and possibly for
and all that time the Catholic Church did almost nothing but
“With shame and repentance, we
acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should
have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the
magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,” Francis
wrote. “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
Here is more about recent findings of Catholic priests who raped
children, and then were usually covered up by their Catholic superiors:
The Vatican issued
the three-page letter ahead of Francis’ trip this weekend to Ireland, a
once staunchly Roman Catholic country where the church’s credibility
has been devastated by years of revelations that priests raped and
molested children with impunity and their superiors covered up for them.
Yes indeed. Here is more
about the pope´s letter:
In addition, a grand jury
report in Pennsylvania last week reported that at least 1,000 children
were victims of some 300 priests over the past 70 years, and that
generations of bishops failed repeatedly to take measures to protect
their flock or punish the rapists.
[Francis] said, looking to
the future, “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to
prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the
possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”
Francis didn’t, however,
provide any indication of what concrete measures he is prepared to take
to sanction those bishops — in the U.S. and beyond — who covered up for
sexually abusive priests.
I am sorry, but without
¨concrete measures¨ of some kind, these are mere words.
There is only one
I agree that a Catholic
who rapes a child is a serious criminal, but once again:
and effective ¨concrete measures¨
I am afraid this will
Unlike the U.S. bishops’
conference, which has referred only to “sins and omissions” in their
handling of abuse in response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis
labeled the misconduct “crimes.”
Censorship Does Not End Well
article is by Matt Taibbi on Rolling Stone. This is from near its
head of free expression issues in Asia, Lokman Tsui, blasted the tech
giant’s plan to develop a search engine that would help the Chinese
government censor content.
I agree with Tsui, but I
can find a - nominally - very good reason why Google would
cooperate with the totalitarian
Chinese and help with a totalitarian
Google: Their profits will get
even better, possibly by a lot
(for there are over 1 billion Chinese).
First reported by The Intercept, the plan was
called “a stupid, stupid move” by Tsui, who added: “I can’t see a way
to operate Google search in China without violating widely held
international human rights standards.” This came on the heels of news
that the Israeli Knesset passed a second reading of a “Facebook bill,” authorizing courts
to delete content on security grounds.
Here is some more:
Both the Jones situation
and the Facebook-Atlantic Council deletions seem an effort to fulfill a
request made last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Last October, Facebook, Google and
Twitter were asked by Hawaii Senator Mazie Hizono to draw up a “mission
statement” to “prevent the foment of discord.”
Companies like Facebook
might have balked before. They have long taken a position that’s very Star
Trek, very Prime-Directive: We do not interfere. Mark Zuckerberg,
as late as 2016, was saying, “editing content… that’s not us.”
Part of this reluctance was
probably ideological, but the main thing was the sheer logistical
quandary of monitoring published content on the scale of a firm like
Facebook. The company now has 2.23 billion users, and experts estimate that’s
more than a billion new entries to monitor daily.
Incidentally, the main
reason why Facebook can monitor its users is that its users are
members of it. I do not know how this would be if its
users were not members of Facebook, and wrote their own
sites in their own html, as I do, but I suspect
be far more difficult. (And someone who wants to remove
something from my site must ask me,
much rather than
Here is more:
Yes, I think Taibbi sees
this quite well. Here are some of the pretty ridiculous
Now that we’ve opened the
door for ordinary users, politicians, ex-security-state creeps, foreign
governments and companies like Raytheon to influence the removal of
content, the future is obvious: an endless merry-go-round of political
tattling, in which each tribe will push for bans of political enemies.
In about 10 minutes,
someone will start arguing that Alex Jones is not so different from,
say, millennial conservative Ben Shapiro, and demand his removal. That
will be followed by calls from furious conservatives to wipe out the Torch
Network or Anti-Fascist News, with Jacobin
on the way.
We’ve already seen Facebook overcompensate when
faced with complaints of anti-conservative bias. Assuming this
continues, “community standards” will turn into
a ceaseless parody of Cold War spy trades: one of ours for one of yours.
Depending on the
platform, one can be banned for “glorifying violence,” “sowing division,” “hateful conduct” or even “low quality,” with those terms
defined by nameless, unaccountable executives, working with God Knows
Quite so. Here is
The platforms will win
popular support for removals by deleting jackasses like Jones.
Meanwhile, the more dangerous censorship will go on in the margins with
fringe opposition sites — and in the minds of reporters and editors,
who will unconsciously start retreating from wherever their idea of the
Yes indeed. And this is a strongly recommended
article, in which there is considerably more.
Americans are not freaking
out about this because most of us have lost the ability to distinguish
between general principles and political outcomes. So long as the
“right” people are being zapped, no one cares.
But we should care.
Censorship is one of modern man’s great temptations. Giving in to it
hasn’t provided many happy stories.
Is Rapidly Exiting Its 'Safe Zone,' New Climate Report Finds
article is by Jon Queally on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams.
It starts as follows:
Offering a stark warning to
the world, a new report out Monday argues that the reticence of the
world’s scientific community—trapped in otherwise healthy habits of
caution and due diligence—to downplay the potentially irreversible and
cataclysmic impacts of climate change is itself a threat that should no
longer be tolerated if humanity is to be motivated to make the rapid
and far-reaching transition away from fossil fuels and other
In the new
Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk (pdf)—authors
David Splatt and Ian Dunlop, researchers with the National Centre for
Climate Restoration (Breakthrough), an independent think tank based in
Australia, argue that the existential threats posed by the climate
crisis have still not penetrated the collective psyche of humanity and
that world leaders, even those demanding aggressive action, have not
shown the kind of urgency or imagination that the scale of the pending
Yes, I completely
with this (and I also fear this will not happen until
it is really and
definitely and irretrievably too late).
Here are three of the
four principle points of Splatt and Dunlop:
As Splatt and Dunlop summarize at Renew
Economy, their paper analyzes why:
- Human-induced climate
change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome
that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and
drastically curtail its potential, unless dramatic action is taken.
- The bulk of climate
research has tended to underplay these risks, and exhibited a
preference for conservative projections and scholarly reticence.
- IPCC reports tend toward
reticence and caution, erring on the side of “least drama,” and
downplaying the more extreme and more damaging outcomes, and are now
becoming dangerously misleading with the acceleration of climate
I think I agree with
this as well, though I cannot fairly judge ¨IPCC reports¨. Then again, I do know that the most recent
trendlines of ¨The Limits
to Growth¨, which was first published in 1972
and last updated in 2004, were then the same as in 1972 - in spite of
strong warnings since 1972.
Here is some more by
Spratt and Dunlop:
“It is no longer possible
to follow a gradual transition path to restore a safe climate,” write Spratt
and Dunlop in an op-ed published in the Guardian on
Monday. “We have left it too late; emergency action, akin to a war
footing, will eventually be accepted as inevitable. The longer that
takes, the greater the damage inflicted upon humanity.”
Yes, I think I agree
with this as well. Here is more:
I fear ¨a bleak future¨ (simply generalizing from the past to the future) and this
is a recommended article.
The extreme risks which
these tipping points represent justify strong precautionary risk
management. Under-reporting on these issues is irresponsible,
contributing to the failure of imagination that is occurring today in
our understanding of, and response to, climate change.
“Either we act with
unprecedented speed,” Spratt and Dunlop conclude, “or we face a bleak
Years After Global Meltdown, Lehman Brothers Planning 'Disgraceful'
article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
As millions in the
United States, Europe, and throughout the world continue to suffer from
losses of wealth and crippling
austerity sparked by the 2008 global financial crisis, former
staffers at the failed Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers—which was at
of the greed-fueled economic crash—are reportedly planning to hold
lavish gatherings in London, Hong Kong, and New York to celebrate the
10-year anniversary of the firm's collapse.
I say, for I did not
this about Lehman Brothers. Then again, I am writing so much about the
crisis - more than 2000 files since September 2008, all in Nederlog - because I think the crisis is over
the few rich, but persists for the many non-rich.
by the London-based Financial News, the planned
celebration—which will apparently feature plenty of "cocktails and
canapés"—was immediately denounced by Labour Party Shadow Chancellor
John McDonnell as an "absolutely sickening" display of shamelessness
"after a decade of people suffering austerity."
disgraceful in the context of all the people who lost their jobs and
homes to pay for bailing out these bankers who caused the financial
crash, as well as against a backdrop of firefighters, police officers,
and other public servants facing years of brutal Tory pay restraint.
People will be absolutely disgusted about this unacceptable and highly
Here is some more:
Quite so, and this
is a strongly recommended article.
The failure of Lehman
Brothers in 2008—which Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi argued
was caused by the New York firm's widespread criminality—caused a "financial
tsunami" that reached across the globe, spurring massive bank
failures, a global market meltdown, and a foreclosure
crisis that continues to this day.
In the U.S., no
Wall Street executives were prosecuted for their role in the "obscene
criminal scandals" that wrecked the global economy and devastated
A decade following the
financial collapse, the largest Wall Street firms are bigger than ever
record profits thanks to U.S. President Donald Trump's $1.5
trillion tax cuts.
As Common Dreams reported,
massive banks are also set to benefit from a recently passed bipartisan
deregulation bill that analysts argued will significantly heighten the
risk of yet another financial crisis.
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 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
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 (!!).