from August 15, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Wednesday,
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 15, 2018:
1. “Hothouse Earth” Co-Author: The Problem Is Neoliberal
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. Google Is Tracking Your Movements, Like It or Not
3. Russia-gate One Year After VIPS Showed a Leak, Not a Hack
4. The Truth About Social Security: Setting the Record
5. The goal of propaganda is a population that polices itself…
Earth” Co-Author: The Problem Is Neoliberal Economics
This article is by
Kate Aronoff on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
By shifting to a “wartime footing” to drive
a rapid shift toward renewable energy and electrification, humanity can
still avoid the apocalyptic future laid out in the much-discussed
“hothouse earth” paper, a lead author of the paper told The Intercept.
One of the biggest barriers to averting catastrophe, he said, has more
to do with economics than science.
When journal papers about climate change
make headlines, the news usually isn’t good. Last week was no
exception, when the so-called hothouse earth paper, in which a team of interdisciplinary Earth
systems scientists warned that the problem of climate change may be
even worse than we thought, made its news cycle orbit. (The actual
title of the paper, a commentary published in the Proceedings of the
Natural Academy of Sciences, is “Trajectories of the Earth System in
Coverage of the paper tended to focus on one
of its more alarming claims, albeit one that isn’t new to climate
researchers: that a series of interlocking dynamics on Earth — from
melting sea ice to deforestation — can feed upon one another to
accelerate warming and climate impacts once we pass a certain threshold
of warming, even after humans have stopped pouring greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere. The best chance we have for staying below that
catastrophic threshold is to cap warming at around 2 degrees Celsius,
the target enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
That’s all correct and plenty daunting. Yet
embedded within the paper is a finding that’s just as stunning:
that none of this is inevitable, and one of the main barriers between
us and a stable planet — one that isn’t actively hostile to human
civilization over the long term — is our economic system.
Well... yes and no, I´d say. Here are my
First, I agree that ¨One of the
biggest barriers to averting catastrophe, he said, has more to do with
economics than science.¨ I think that is true, but then again the
question is: What do climate scientists know about the economy?
We shall turn to that second question below.
Second, I also agree that ¨a series of interlocking
dynamics on Earth — from melting sea ice to deforestation — can feed
upon one another to accelerate warming and climate impacts once we pass
a certain threshold of warming¨ - but then again, this
possibility was already quite clear to me in 1972.
Third, I think the following is pretty
sensational from ecologists and climate scientists: ¨none of this
is inevitable, and one of the main barriers between us and a stable
planet — one that isn’t actively hostile to human civilization over the
long term — is our economic system¨.
My point is not that this isn´t true
(it well may be) but how and why ecologists and climate scientists
think ¨the economy¨ can be changed,
and indeed not just in principle (for that is extremely easy)
but in fact.
I think myself that is most unlikely
without a major economical crisis, simply because the rich have most of
the powers, and mostly don´t care about climate change or ecology: They
are hust interested in profits.
Here is some more:
am sorry, but while I believe Steffen is an honest man, I also
think he knows a great lot more about ecology and climate
science than he knows about ¨the economy¨. Besides, I have been
following ecology - to settle on a term - since 1972, and I have seen
very many ideas about how to change parts of ¨the economy¨ to lessen
the dangers from ecology, but I do not know of any idea
that was successful - and climate changes has been going on for over 50
Asked what could be done to prevent a
hothouse earth scenario, co-author Will Steffen told The Intercept
that the “obvious thing we
have to do is to get greenhouse gas emissions down as fast as we can.
That means that has to be the primary
target of policy and economics.
You have got to get away from the so-called neoliberal economics.”
Instead, he suggests something “more like wartime footing” to roll out
renewable energy and dramatically reimagine sectors like transportation
and agriculture “at very fast rates.”
“wartime footing” Steffen describes is a novel concept in 2018, but
hasn’t been throughout American history when the nation has faced other
And here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
what he thought the balance should be between those sorts of
market-tweaking measures and regulations, Steffen cautioned that he
wasn’t an expert in the field. “Naively from the outside as a
non-expert,” he said, “I would say regulation every time: throw people
in jail, fine them, do whatever you need to do. But make sure you get
the biophysical outcome. From what I’ve seen, market mechanisms don’t
always deliver that.”
the last 50 years are a guide to the future, then this will not happen without a major economical
crisis: ¨Neoliberal economics¨ is and was profit oriented, and
will only become ecology oriented when it is forced,
and such force is extremely unlikely without a major crisis.
Is Tracking Your Movements, Like It or Not
This article is by Ryan Nakashima on Truthdig. It starts as
Google wants to know
where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you
explicitly tell it not to.
An Associated Press
investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and
iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting
that says it will prevent Google from doing so.
researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.
Let me start with
saying that I refuse to use Google, and Microsoft and Apple,
because I know these companies lie and deceive on
major scales, and besides Microsoft and Apple run their own private and secret
operating systems that I do not trust one bit.
As to the above
information: It clearly is deception, but
then I expect deceptions from Google (and Facebook, and
Microsoft, and Apple and more).
Here is how Google deceives its
I think this is quite true. And
apart from that: What this article does not answer at all is the
question whether Google - anyway - saves where you have been, also
if your Location History has been turned off, not on your device,
but on their own devices. (And I think they do, but I have no proof
other than that memory is very cheap now.)
Google says that will
prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support
page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at
any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer
That isn’t true. Even with
Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store
time-stamped location data without asking.
Here is the outcome according to the present article:
So you can stop - it
seems, and with considerable trouble - Google´s saving the information
where you have been on your own device. I have not read
anything about Google´s saving
To stop Google from saving
these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another
setting, one that does not specifically reference location information.
Called “Web and App Activity” and enabled by default, that setting
stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your
When paused, it will prevent
activity on any device from being saved to your account.
the information anyway to its own devices, indeed in fact to the
megafile it keeps with all the data it got from you (with or without
your permission to save it on your own device).
And in fact the only way I know to prevent this is to
run Ubuntu (and a few other systems) that are open instead of closed
(as are Microsoft, Apple and Google) and not to use
Google at all. This is what I do, and this is a recommended article.
One Year After VIPS Showed a Leak, Not a Hack
This article is by Patrick Lawrence on Consortiumnews. It
starts as follows:
has passed since highly credentialed intelligence professionals
produced the first hard evidence that allegations of mail theft and
other crimes attributed to Russia rested on purposeful falsification
and subterfuge. The initial reaction to these revelations—a firestorm
of frantic denial—augured ill, and the time since has fulfilled one’s
worst expectations. One year later we live within an institutionalized
proscription of proven reality. Our discourse consists of a series of
fence posts and taboos. By any detached measure, this lands us in deep,
serious trouble. The sprawl of what we call “Russia-gate” now brings
our republic and its institutions to a moment of great peril—the
gravest since the McCarthy years and possibly since the Civil War. No,
I do not consider this hyperbole.
Then again, I do not agree with all:
First, it should have been said that the ¨highly credentialed
intelligence professionals¨ (which indeed they are) were members of the VIPS, and
had left their intelligence profession mostly around 2001.
Second, I have followed this, but I concluded something
different: Most mainstream media simply did not report on the
information the VIPS did make public around a year ago.
And third, I also disagree with ¨One year later we live
within an institutionalized proscription of proven reality. Our
discourse consists of a series of fence posts and taboos¨: It does not
hold for me (and some others), and besides, while I agree that
the outcome was mostly totalitarian,
this was not an effect of what happened a year ago, but goes back
to 2001 or 1980 (and grew and grew since then).
Here is more from the article:
has happened since Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
published its report on intrusions into the Democratic Party’s mail
servers on Consortium News on July 24 last year. Parts of the
intelligence apparatus—by no means all or even most of it—have issued
official “assessments” of Russian culpability. Media have produced
countless multi-part “investigations,” “special reports,” and
what-have-yous that amount to an orgy of faulty syllogisms. Robert
Mueller’s special investigation has issued two sets of indictments
that, on scrutiny, prove as wanting in evidence as the notoriously
flimsy intelligence “assessment” of January 6, 2017.
think this is mostly correct, and I agree with Lawrence that
there is no real evidence for anything like ¨Russia-gate¨ and
that ¨Russia-gate¨ was mostly engineered with propaganda and
that are totalitarian (but not
in the sick Wikipedia´s present sense).
are not evidence and do not need to contain evidence. That is supposed
to come out at trial, which is very unlikely to ever happen.
Nevertheless, the corporate media has treated the indictments as
sets of sanctions against Russia, individual Russians, and Russian
entities have been imposed on the basis of this great conjuring of
assumption and presumption. The latest came last week, when the Trump
administration announced measures in response to the alleged attempt to
murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal, a former double agent and his
daughter, in England last March. No evidence proving responsibility in
the Skripal case has yet been produced. This amounts to our new
standard. It prompted a reader with whom I am in regular contact to
ask, “How far will we allow our government to escalate against others
without proof of anything?”
This is a
very good question.
Here is more from the article:
have been many attempts to discredit VIPS50 as the group’s document is
called. There has been much amateurish journalism, false reporting,
misrepresentation, distortion, misquotation, and omission. We have been
treated to much shoddy science, attempts at character assassination, a
great deal of base name-calling, and much else. Russia is routinely
advanced as the greatest threat to democracy Americans now face. Is
there any denying that we live amid an induced hysteria now comparable
to the “Red under every bed” period of the 1950s?
or less agree, but I also think that I disagree
with Lawrence´s assessment that ¨we live amid an induced
hysteria now comparable to the “Red under every bed” period of the 1950s¨:
I was born in 1950, and while I do not recall much about
politics of the 1950s, I do think it was - so far, I grant - worse in
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
discourse has descended to a dangerous level of irrationality. The most
ordinary standards of evidentiary procedure are forgone. Many of our
key institutions—the foreign policy apparatus, the media, key
intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, the political leadership—are
now extravagantly committed to a narrative none appears able to
control. The risk of self-inflicted damage these institutions assume,
should the truth of the Russia-gate events emerge—as one day it surely
will—is nearly incalculable. This is what inspires my McCarthy and
Civil War references. Russia-gate, in a phrase, has become too big to
think I mostly disagree with this: I think totalitarianism
has grown in the USA, and ¨the Russia-gate events¨ are part of it, but
I also think that totalitarianism has been growing for many
decades in the USA, and that ¨the truth of the Russia-gate
well may never appear.
Truth About Social Security: Setting the Record Straight
This article is by Nancy Altman on Common Dreams. It starts
Yes, I totally
agree with this. But the forms of social security differ quite a lot,
from country to country, and the USA is backward compared to most
Roosevelt signed our Social Security system into law eighty-three years
ago today, on August 14, 1935. It has stood the test of time.
Social Security protects us
against the economic consequences of risks to which all of us are
vulnerable. Rich or poor, any of us can suffer a devastating, disabling
accident or illness. Rich or poor, any of us can die prematurely,
leaving young children behind. Rich or poor, all of us hope to grow
old. When we do, if we are to have a dignified and independent
retirement, we need a guaranteed steady income which we cannot and will
Social Security addresses
universal economic risks that have always been with us and always will
be. That explains why more than 170 countries today have some form of
social security. It also explains Social Security’s deep and
longstanding popularity in our country.
Here is more:
Despite Social Security’s
more than eighty-year history, some elites either do not understand
Social Security or willfully refuse to understand it. They talk about
providing benefits to those who need them, as if the program were
government largesse, which it is not. Rather, Social Security is
insurance that is earned through work and paid for with premiums
regularly deducted from workers’ pay.
In addition, elites often
speak as if the trust funds were some kind of gimmick, somehow less
real than private pension trust funds. Perhaps most absurd are those
who claim that what the creators of Social Security intended is not the
program we now have.
Yes indeed, again. And
Altman is right about the fact that part of the rich and their media
have attempted to spread quite a number of lies about social security.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
Quite so, again: social
security is paid by the workers, and serves to insure them against
setbacks that may hit all, like illness, and to assure a decent pension
to workers once they are around 65. And this is a recommended
Roosevelt’s and the other
founders’ words and actions make clear that they envisioned Social
Security to be a permanent part of the economy, once the Great
Depression was history. They knew that the nation would return to full
employment. When we did, the goal was to have in place Social Security
and other programs that improved the economic security of all Americans
and prevented, as much as possible, the human cost imposed by the ups
and downs of all modern economies. In particular, Social Security was
not designed to alleviate the suffering of people caught in the
immediate distress of the Great Depression, nor to get people to quit
their jobs. Rather, it was set up as wage insurance that people earned.
goal of propaganda is a population that polices itself…
article is by MarkGB on the Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
reached its zenith when each member of the target population thinks the
same; when they are afraid to think differently. At this point
‘leadership’ may commit whatever atrocities it sees fit…in the
certainty that the population will either not ‘see’ it, or will view
the expression of criticism as a more heinous crime than the act being
observed. This is achieved through cementing a ‘false equivalence’ in
the mind of the group.
No, I do not think
so, and indeed I also do not agree with the title. What MarkGB
seems to confuse are (and these are my definitions,
since many years also):
The propagandist seeks to bend
the ‘group mind’. Thoughts and actions consistent with the ‘narrative’
are deemed to be socially acceptable & politically correct…ones
that challenge it are regarded as socially UN-acceptable &
politically IN-correct. Overtime this is reinforced through a dynamic
that exists within every human grouping, and many species of mammal –
fear of disapproval. Ergo, the propagandist is employing a form of
or partial presentation of something that is meant to produce a state
of belief that is not proportional to the evidence.
And a successful
Most points of view people
get exposed to are kinds of propaganda, whether political, religious or
economical. And indeed, the last kind of propaganda, also known as advertising,
is the most expensive and well-paid kind of writing or filming there
is, and the sort of information
most people are most exposed to.
relations are also kinds of propaganda, intended to
mislead a public into buying
products or believing institutions, political parties or
Of course, the commercial spreaders or lies that are public relations companies deny this,
but then their craft is the art of lying,
using the techniques of conmanship.
Totalitarian: Ideology or religion that is
pretended to have final answers to many important human questions and
problems and that is pretended to be thereby justified to persecute
persons who do not agree with the ideology or the religion.
Please note the ¨successful¨.
And I think this confusion - which in fact derives in part from a
total lack of any definition of key terms - is a fundamental
This is the usual
form that every human ideology assumes
- religious, political and otherwise, with science as the
almost only partial exception.
Here is more - and the first paragraph sketches what a successful
totalitarianism would be like:
But MarkGB confuses propaganda
and (successful!) totalitarianism, and also quotes falsely (or
so it seems): The - excellent - quotation from Orwell is not
from ¨1984¨ but is in fact from ¨Notes on Nationalism¨, that was
published in 1945 (probably before Orwell started on ¨1984¨).
When the fear of
disapproval becomes so strong that one’s sense of belonging, or even
physical survival, depend on adherence to the narrative…when failure to
comply with it attracts immediate rebuke from other members of the
group…then the population can be said to be policing itself. That is
how ‘cults’ function, and more frequently than you might imagine…it’s
how intelligence agencies and other governmental figures attempt to
work through the media.
This is what Orwell warned of
in the dystopia of ‘1984’. The Party had achieved what we might call a
‘maintenance state’ for the narrative – society was policing itself.
(...) Disloyalty was considered a ‘thought crime’:
Actions are held
to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does
them. There is almost no kind of outrage – torture, imprisonment
without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not
change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The
nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his
own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them”
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 (!!).