from March 18, 2018.
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
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.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
Selections from March 18, 2018
1. How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of
2. 6 Reasons We Should All Hope Trump Doesn't Add John Bolton
New Book Unmasks Hidden History of How U.S.
Legal Personhood and Civil
4. Facebook Spies on Its Own Employees via Its ‘Rat-Catching
5. The Mad King
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:
Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions
article is by Matthew Rosenberg, Nicholas Confessore and Carole
Cadwalladr on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
As the upstart
voter-profiling company Cambridge
Analytica prepared to wade into the 2014 American midterm elections, it
had a problem.
The firm had
secured a $15 million investment
Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, and wooed his political
adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, with the promise of tools that could
identify the personalities of American voters and influence their
behavior. But it did not have the data to make its new products work.
So the firm
harvested private information from
the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their
permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and
documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social
network’s history. The breach allowed the company to exploit the
private social media activity of a huge swath of the American
electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on
President Trump’s campaign in 2016.
I say, which I
do because I think this is important, for 50 million stolen
Facebook profiles, themselves mostly stolen from the ¨dumb
fucks¨ who trust(ed) Facebook´s owner Mark Zuckerberg (in Zuckerberg´s
own words), are a whole lot of (illegally acquired)
private data, and also because, while this is important, I have
not (yet?) read that Mercer, Bannon and Facebook also
are working for Putin, for that is what I have read in the mainstream
media since the end of 2016.
Then again, this
also seems to be only the beginning of a considerably larger
story. Here is some more by a whistleblower on Cambridge Analytica:
Wylie, who helped found Cambridge
and worked there until late 2014, said of its leaders: “Rules don’t
matter for them. For them, this is a war, and it’s all fair.”
“They want to fight a
culture war in America,” he added. “Cambridge Analytica was supposed to
be the arsenal of weapons to fight that culture war.”
Details of Cambridge’s acquisition
and use of Facebook data
have surfaced in several accounts since the business began working on
the 2016 campaign, setting off a
furious debate about the merits of the firm’s so-called
psychographic modeling techniques.
But the full
scale of the data leak involving
Americans has not been previously disclosed — and Facebook, until now,
has not acknowledged it. Interviews with a half-dozen former employees
and contractors, and a review of the firm’s emails and documents, have
revealed that Cambridge not only relied on the private Facebook data
but still possesses most or all of the trove.
this as stated, that is, as the beginnings of a considerably larger story but I do
stress the fact that the stolen data were stolen from Facebook, that stole these data, in so far
as they are private, from the ¨dumb fucks¨ (Zuckerberg´s words) who
¨trusted¨ him (Zuckerberg´s words), while also, at this point
in time, Facebook ¨has not
acknowledged¨ the theft of their
is one of Facebook´s professional liars:
How a professional
liar can mouth an utter and total lie like this one:
¨[Facebook] will take whatever
steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and
for all¨ completely
escapes me, because anything that can be copied by a
computer can be copied a billion times and hidden anywhere, but
presumably he believes that the average user of Facebook
realize that (in which he may also be right).
During a week
of inquiries from The Times, Facebook downplayed the scope of the leak
and questioned whether any of the data still remained out of its
control. But on Friday, the company posted
a statement expressing alarm and promising to take action.
“This was a
scam — and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general
counsel at the social network, said in a statement to The Times earlier
on Friday. He added that the company was suspending Cambridge
Analytica, Mr. Wylie and the researcher, Aleksandr Kogan, a
Russian-American academic, from Facebook. “We will take whatever steps
are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for
all — and take action against all offending parties,” Mr. Grewal said.
In any case, this is a strongly recommended article in which
there is considerably more than I reviewed, while the article is
strongly recommended especially because this is the first credible
information about how Trump did succeed in winning the elections:
Thanks to the theft of 50 million private profiles from as many
Americans (originally committed by Facebook).
Book Unmasks Hidden History of How U.S. Corporations Gained Legal
Personhood and Civil Rights
article is by Steven Rosenfeld om AlterNet. It starts as follows:
power has never been stronger. It’s not just the Trump administration’s
crusade to gut government regulation; the federal courts have
increasingly been granting corporations liberty rights once held only
by individuals. In his new book, We
The Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights,
UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler traces the history of
how corporate America has successfully waged a civil rights movement on
its own behalf since the country’s earliest decades. AlterNet’s Steven
Rosenfeld spoke to Winkler.
Yes indeed. Here is the
first bit that I quote from this article.
Rosenfeld: Tell us why you are so interested in informing people about
how corporations got their legal rights.
Winkler: In recent years, the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations
have freedom of speech, in Citizens United, and religious liberty, in
the Hobby Lobby case. I sought to find out: How did corporations win
our most fundamental rights? In school, we learn about civil rights,
and women’s rights, even state’s rights, but never corporate rights. I
was shocked to discover when I looked into it that, like women and
minorities, corporations have fought since America’s earliest days to
win equal rights under the Constitution. And they use those rights to
fight off business regulations designed to protect the public.
so. In fact, while I am not a lawyer, I was not shocked
to find that ¨corporations
have fought since America’s
earliest days to win equal rights under the Constitution¨ and in fact think so at least since 1983,
when I first read William Hazlitt´s
Bodies¨, which in fact dates back to 1822 (at the latest), and
which I strongly recommend you read.
indeed Winkler is quite right. Here is some more:
hear many stories about how corporations became synonymous with people
under the law. Can you shed some light on how that happened? I have a
sense it wasn’t a single Supreme Court case. What actually happened?
Right. For all the controversy of [2012 GOP presidential nominee] Mitt
Romney saying "Corporations are people," corporate personhood is
actually a very longstanding principle of basic business law. And what
it means is the corporation has its own independent identity in the
eyes of the law—totally separate and apart from the stockholders, the
employees and the creditors. That’s why if you slip and fall at
Starbucks, you have to sue the company; you can’t sue the individual
shareholders. Shareholders have limited liability because they are
separate legal persons, in the eyes of the law from the corporation.
That idea is a very longstanding one. If you go back to Blackstone and
his [legal] commentaries, [written in] 1757, he described corporations
as artificial persons designed to carry on the rights of people, when
the people themselves may not be able to do so.
indeed. In fact, I would say that (i) corporations were invented
precisely to make those who participate in them
limited liability for the losses, which in fact (in terms of my
and indeed those of Hazlitt and many others), and that (ii) this makes
the ¨shareholders¨ participants
construction designed to facilitate piracy by the rich and powerful
it should be noted that for Blackstone corporations were ¨artificial persons¨, but since 2010
(at the latest), corporations now are like real persons
- except that although they now have the rights of persons they
lack most of the real duties of real living persons, for
kill or imprison legal abstractions (even if these abstractions´
spokesmen pretend they are real persons).
here is another way in which corporations now have far more
rights than real living persons:
corporations have more rights [than individuals]? In some ways, yes,
because to the extent that you need money to defend your rights—to hire
the best lawyers, to argue your cases, to take you cases to the Supreme
Court in the first place—to the extent the system depends on money to
do that, corporations are uniquely situated with their massive
resources to take advantage of the courts.
who want to avoid a careful lawyer´s prose: Corporations have FAR more rights than real living persons,
because corporations may have billions to
see to it that their views dominate
everyone else´s views - and all
of this has been justified (or ¨justified¨) by recent decisions of the Supreme Court.
here is Winkler´s opinion on giving corporations the same ¨liberty
rights¨ as real living persons:
same time, the [Supreme] Court has erred in recent years by extending
these fundamental liberty rights, like religious freedom and political
speech to business corporations. Those are rights that depend on
personal conscience and on personal autonomy. Corporations are
artificial creatures that are mandated by law to pursue certain kinds
of interests, generally thought to be maximizing the shareholders'
value. They don’t have the autonomy that some of those basic liberty
rights depend on.
agree with Winkler, but I think I should add that (i) this is his own
opinion, while (ii) it would seem to me that both the majority
Supreme Court and the corporations themselves (qua abstract legal
entities that now have been given more rights and also fewer
responsibilities than living persons have in the USA) will very
probably disagree with Winkler and insist that corporations are
real persons and have religious freedom and the right to free
speech (which the Supreme Court again extended enormously by
insisting that ¨free speech¨ in fact means ¨money¨: the more money
you have, the more rights to free speech you have and should have,
according to the majority of the Supreme Court).
is considerably more in the article than I reviewed, and it is
Spies on Its Own Employees via Its ‘Rat-Catching Team’
article is by Ethan Baron on AlterNet and originally on San Jose
Mercury News. It starts as follows:
tech giants are famously secretive — after all their proprietary
products and services are worth billions — but a new report alleges
that Facebook goes to Orwellian lengths to keep its workers from
talking out of turn, even about their working conditions.
Yes indeed - and for more
on Facebook see the last link. Here is some
Yes but (i) many of ¨those same tools¨ either should not exist at all, or should not
exist in the form in which they are being used, while also (ii)
what spokespersons for Facebook call ¨business records¨ in fact seem to
consist for a large part from the private information that
Facebook itself stole from the ¨dumb fucks that trusted¨ Mark
Zuckerberg, in Zuckerberg´s own words.
Facebook uses online and
real-world surveillance and legal threats to prevent and identify leaks
that could jeopardize company secrets or involve criminal activity, The
"However, those same tools
are also used to catch employees and contractors who talk publicly,
even if it's about their working conditions, misconduct or cultural
challenges within the company," according to The Guardian.
A Facebook spokeswoman
told the news outlet that companies "routinely use business records in
workplace investigations, and we are no exception."
For Facebook, part of the
problem is the amount of company information that is shared with
employees, and that trust is a double-edged sword, according to the
In Europe, the contract
workers hired to spot and block content Facebook prohibits are
subjected to extremely intrusive oversight, the report suggested.
"One European Facebook
content moderator signed a contract, seen by the Guardian, which
granted the company the right to monitor and record his social media
activities, including his personal Facebook account, as well as emails,
phone calls and internet use," according to the report.
"He also agreed to random
personal searches of his belongings including bags, briefcases and car
while on company premises. Refusal to allow such searches would be
treated as gross misconduct."
First, while I am a European,
I do not know whether the above is correct as stated (in part
some of it seems illegal in my eyes - but then again I am not a
And second, it seems from
this last bit that there are three kinds of persons for Mark
I think Zuckerberg is one
of the most dangerous persons alive; I think he intentionally frauded billions
of his users; and I think Facebook is one of the most horrible
corporations I know of.
(1) the more than 2 billion ¨dumb fucks who trust¨ Zuckerberg in
Zuckerberg´s own words, and who are members of Facebook;
(2) the human slaves that work for Facebook; and
(3) those who have not yet been made (1) or (2).
5. The Mad King
article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Trump is moving into a new
and more dangerous phase.
Before, he was constrained
by a few “adults” – Rex
Tillerson, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly – whom he appointed
because he thought they had some expertise he lacked.
Now he’s either fired or is
in the process of removing the
adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and
who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help
Narcissists are dangerous
because they think only about
themselves. Megalomaniacs are dangerous because they think only about
and invincibility. A narcissistic megalomaniac who’s unconstrained –
also president of the United States – is about as dangerous as they
Well... I agree
that Trump is a madman,
and in fact did so explicitly since
December 2016, and implicitly since
March of that year, but you have to realize that my main
reason to do so is that
I am a psychologist, while Reich is not.
And because I am a
psychologist, I must correct Reich on the ¨narcissistic megalomaniac¨ that he calls Trump. Then again, I am
willing to agree that the story of psychiatry since Freud is quite
Very briefly, the facts
Until 1980, there were
at least several hundreds and quite possibly several thousands of
psycho- therapies - I shall say - that were given by psychiatrists and
clinical psychologists to people without any (or almost any)
justification that could have been said to be rational and scientific (in
the sense of physics, chemistry or biology, which are real
In 1980, the American
Psychiatric Association (APA), a private organization, published the
DSM-III that was almost wholly put together by the psychiatric fraud Robert
Spitzer, who pretended it now was ¨a science¨. It was ¨a
science¨ according to him because he had reduced the definitions of the
supposed mental diseases to observational terms (all without
saying what a ¨mental disease¨ or ¨disorder¨ is), while this became ¨a science¨ (according to Spitzer)
because of one characteristic he called kappa, which was a
measure for the proportion of agreements among anonymous psychiatrists
who were members of the APA on the diagnoses they did make.
If you think a
results from the proportion of agreements of anonymous people from
a private organization on a classification of symptoms of invisible
goings on in people´s minds, you must be a psychiatrist.
I am not but I am
a psychologist and a philosopher of science, and I think the whole
process was a fraud from the beginning. Moreover, while in the
DSM-II (the predecessor of the DSM-III) there were between 40 and
50 ¨mental diseases¨ (or disorders, or whatever )
in the DSM-IV
and the DSM 5 (which is the latest) there are now over 450 ¨mental
diseases¨ (all of which allow the psychiatrist to prescribe all
manner of ¨medicines¨ to their patients - nearly all of which are the
latest patentable variant of Prozac,
because that is the most profitable).
Next, the psychiatric frauds
- see here
for fine arguments - also tried to redesign terminology, and it
so happens that ¨narcissism¨ was the - they pretend -
(since the late 60-ties, it appears, all on the basis of one or two
(!!) purported ¨scientific publications¨ by psychiatrists) for what
until then and for nearly a hundred years was called... megalomania.
That term - a rather good
proper English term - that was part of the Wikipedia until a few years
ago now totally disappeared from the (ever sicker and sicker)
Wikipedia, as if psychiatrists also decide what English terms
used in English and American: If you do not want to use the
cant term, or do not know it, Wikipedia will not give you the
proper English term. Instead they deleted it completely.
Reich´s term ¨narcissistic
megalomaniac¨ is not
correct - that is, it is rejected by most psychiatrists as a confusion
of the new term and the old term, and also you cannot even find
¨megalomania¨ in the Wikipedia.
And while I agree
Reich on Trump´s insanity,
that I prefer to call megalomania because it is
English and descriptively more or less correct, Reich´s terms are
confused in psychiatric terms, while the psychiatrists (from
the APA I
assume) even succeeded in having the whole term deleted from Wikipedia.
Here is some of Trump´s
The man who once said he
could shoot someone dead on Fifth
Avenue and still be elected president now openly boasts of lying to the
Minister, deciding on his own to negotiate mano a mano with
Korea’s Kim Jong Un, unilaterally slapping tariffs on imported steel
aluminum, and demanding the death penalty for
For weeks, Trump has been
policy pronouncements out of his derriere and then leaving it up to the
House to improvise explanations and implementation plans.
I agree with Reich.
Here is some more on Trump:
Trump has always had faith
in his instincts. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have
good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” he said
on the campaign trail. "I’m a very instinctual
person, but my instinct turns out to be right,“ he
told Time Magazine last
But instincts aren’t facts,
or analysis. And it’s one thing for a business tycoon or even a
to rely on instincts, quite another for the leader of the free world to
on his gut.
Worse yet, the new Trump
believes no one can lay a glove
on him. He’s survived this far into his presidency despite lapses that
have done in most other presidents.
Well... let me limit my
comments to the business tycoon compared with the president: A business
tycoon has responsibilities about his business and to his shareholders,
but has no special rights as a person. The president of the USA
responsibilities to everyone who is alive, and has very many special
rights, as commander of the army etc. etc.
And Reich is quite
right that Trump runs the USA as if he owns it and as a
tycoon, and not as a president, although he formally is.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
How will this end?
One outcome is Trump
becomes irrelevant to the practical
business of governing America. He gets all the attention he craves
makers in Washington and around the world mainly roll their eyes and
But another possible outcome could be far worse.
Trump could become so
enraged at anyone who
seriously takes him on that he lashes out, with terrible consequences.
The mind boggles. Who knows what a mad king will do when no adults
remain to supervise him?
If these are the only two
possibilities (which I do not know), I am quite sorry to say
myself, like tenthousands of psychologists and psychiatrists, have to
bet on the second possibility.
And this is a recommended