from October 14, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
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 October 14, 2018:
1. The Shaky Case That Russia Manipulated Social Media to Tip
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. "UnTrump the World": Hundreds of Thousands March in Berlin
the Far Right
3. The Market Weighs in on Trump’s Economic Policies
4. Facebook's and Google’s Breaches Show It’s Time for an
Internet Bill of
5. See what the two main American political parties have become
Shaky Case That Russia Manipulated Social Media to Tip the 2016 Election
This article is by
Gareth Porter on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
In their long
recapitulation of the case that Russia subverted the 2016 election,
Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times painted
a picture of highly effective Russian government exploitation of
social media for that purpose. Shane and Mazzetti asserted that
“anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by
Russia could have made the difference” in the election.
I think Porter is quite
correct in his last paragraph, but I have to add that that I did not
read Shane and Mazzetti´s article, in part because it is by the New
York Times, in
part because it is 10,000 words long, in part because I know how
to program and never believed that Russia moved the election to Trump,
and in part also because I am sick of lying.
“What we now know with
certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will
be examined for decades to come,” they write elsewhere in the
But an investigation of the
data they cite to show that the Russian campaigns on Facebook and
Twitter were highly effective reveals a gross betrayal of journalistic
responsibility. Shane and Mazzetti have constructed a case that is
fundamentally false and misleading with statistics that exaggerate the
real effectiveness of social media efforts by orders of magnitude.
Here is some more from the beginning of this article:
Research Agency (IRA), is a privately-owned company run by entrepreneur
Vevgeny V. Prigozhin, who has ties with President Vladimir Putin. Its
employees poured out large numbers of social media postings apparently
aimed at stoking racial and cultural tensions in the United States and
trying to influence U.S. voters in regard to the presidential election,
as Shane and Mazzetti suggest. They even adopted false
U.S. personas online to get people to attend rallies and conduct
other political activities. (An alternative explanation
is that IRA is a purely commercial, and not political, operation.)
Again I think Porter is quite correct in his
paragraph, and indeed he gives quite a few arguments to show this,
which I shall reserve to your own interests and skip.
Whether those efforts even
came close to swaying U.S. voters in the 2016 presidential election, as
Shane and Mazzetti claimed, is another matter.
Shane and Mazzetti might argue
that they are merely citing figures published by the social media
giants Facebook and Twitter, but they systematically failed to report
the detailed explanations behind the gross figures used in each case,
which falsified their significance.
Here is the ending of this article:
The idea promoted by
Shane and Mazzetti that the Russian government seriously threatened to
determine the winner of the election does not hold up when the larger
social media context is examined more closely. Contrary to what the
Times’ reporters and the corporate media in general would have us
believe, the Russian private sector effort accounted for a minuscule
proportion of the election-related output of social media. The threat
to the U.S. political system in general and its electoral system in
particular is not Russian influence; it’s in part a mainstream news
media that has lost perspective on the truth.
I quite agree with
conclusion, and this is a recommended article.
the World": Hundreds of Thousands March in Berlin Against the Far Right
This article is by
the Common Dreams staff. It starts as follows:
Hundreds of thousands of
people marched Saturday afternoon demonstrating against racism and
calling for solidarity against the rise of the far-right across
Germany and Europe.
On a hot and sunny fall day
a 3-mile stretch of Berlin city's center, from Alexanderplatz through
the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column, was closed to accommodate
the huge parade, which was united under the hashtag #unteilbar
I review this article
because I am European, and also did not know the above, which is not
very strange, because in spite of living in ¨A United Europe¨ in
virtually all the news in all the ordinary papers and weeklies is still
quite national (and most Europeans know at most some English next
their own language).
There also was a "Call
to Action" issued by the organizers of the demonstration. In part,
it reads as follows:
an Open and Free Society: Solidarity, not Exclusion!
dramatic political shift is taking place: racism and discrimination are
becoming socially acceptable. What yesterday was considered unthinkable
and unutterable, has today become a reality. Humanity and human rights,
religious freedom, and the rule of law are being openly attacked. This
is an attack on all of us.
I mostly agree to the
above, and draw the same conclusion as I did about the USA, although it
seems to be even worse there: The main reasons for these changes are
that very many Europeans are stupid and ignorant.
Here is some more:
Well... surveillance of
all in everything they do (which is manna for the anonymous ¨security
forces¨ aka spies) is merely the counterpart of the setbacks in
and incomes for ordinary people, and indeed both - and especially
surveillance - are strong parts of a strong tendency towards neofascism
(but nobody on the internet that I have read has any definition of that
term, while only a small minority knows that there are many different
¨definitions¨ of fascism).
While the State
tightens its ‘so-called’ security laws and extends surveillance in a
show of strength, the social system is increasingly characterised by
weakness: millions suffer the impact of an underinvestment in basic
care, healthcare, childcare, and education. Since ‘Agenda 2010’, the
redistribution of wealth from below to above has advanced at an
Here is the last bit that I quote from this "Call
I more or less agree,
apart from the last statement, for I am convinced there are far
people outside Europe who like to move to Europe than the Europeans can
decently manage, but then again I should also say that I have now
about 60 years of leftish demonstrations in Europe, of which nearly all
did not make much or any - real,
political - difference.
For a Europe of
human rights and social justice!
For a solidarity-based society rather than exclusion and racism!
For the right to protection and asylum – against the isolation of
For a free and diverse society!
Solidarity knows no borders!
Market Weighs in on Trump’s Economic Policies
This article is by
Robert Freeman on Common Dreams. This is from near its beginning:
Just as Trump was gifted
$400+ million dollars from his father and claimed to be a Self Made
Man, so, too, he inherited an economy and stock market from Obama that
had been rising for the prior eight years, since March 2009. In
true Trumpian fashion, he claimed to have created the greatest economy
of all time.
In truth, the whole of
Trump’s economic policy has been a massive injection of debt into an
already healthy economy. His tax cuts for corporations and deficit
spending for military expansion have added more than $2 trillion to the
national debt in just two years. It’s like injecting adrenaline
into an already healthy runner in the middle of a marathon.
Let’s be clear. Any
moron with a handful of credit cards charged off to the next generation
can gin up the illusion of prosperity. That’s all the Trump
economy is: borrowing trillions of dollars from the future,
spending it today, and pretending to be a genius. But the market has
figured it out. Here’s what it knows.
I more or less agree
with the above, but I doubt that ¨the market has figured it out¨, for the simple reason that what
¨the market¨ does
figure out is nearly always short term (if only because very few
foresee the long term).
Here is some more:
The interest cost on a
10-year Treasury note is up almost 36% from a year ago, from 2.2% to
3.0% today. Rates on 30-year mortgages are up 19% over the same
period. Remember, the interest rate is the cost of borrowed
money. So, when interest rates rise, everything that requires
borrowed money—think cars, homes, credit cards, student loans,
inventories—becomes more expensive.
As you would expect, when
things get more expensive, people buy less of them. It’s hitting the
residential construction industry especially hard. Existing home sales
are down by more than 400,000 units since this time last year.
Building permits are off 6% year-over-year. Mortgage applications
are off 15% from a year ago. Housing starts are off 5%.
It’s the beginning of a debacle.
Again I more or less
agree with the above, while I strongly doubt that the above is
evidence for ¨the
beginning of a debacle¨.
Here is some more:
The trade deficit with
China, an especially important measure of Trump’s economic
prowess—jumped 10% in July. Since Trump took office, the overall
trade deficit—that is, money draining out of the U.S. economy—is up a
startling 17%. Notice, Trump doesn’t talk about the trade deficit
any more. Guess why.
These are the canaries in
the coal mine of an economy that has been driven beyond its sustainable
capacity by too much government borrowing and is now cresting.
Think of the marathon runner as the adrenaline starts to wear
off. The crash will be agonizing. This is what the stock
market is now signaling.
Hm. The trade deficit
is not ¨money
draining out of the U.S. economy¨ but it is, as Wikipedia says it is (here) ¨the difference between the monetary value of
a nation's exports and imports over a certain period¨. (And that is not ¨money
draining out of the U.S. economy¨.)
Here is the ending of
Like so much else that is
Trump—his business savvy, his negotiating skills, his Self Made Man
charade—his economic “miracle” is a fraud. We’re just now getting
a glimpse into the beginning of the end. It will be a long way
I agree Trump is a
fraud. And again, I am skeptical about ¨the market¨ (apart from a real
crisis, as in 2008).
and Google’s Breaches Show It’s Time for an Internet Bill of Rights
This article is by Ro
Khanna on Common Dreams. It starts as follows (and makes an elementary
point - for those who know how to program) that I have seen rarely
made, the last 22 years or so:
Our Founding Fathers
drafted the Bill
of Rights to safeguard our freedoms in the physical world. Today,
as Americans are living
more of their lives online, the digital age demands that we have
new rights to protect our freedoms in the cyber world.
To secure these rights, we
will have to overcome gridlock and a knowledge gap in Congress.
Following the Equifax
breach nearly a year ago and the Facebook hearings on Cambridge
Analytica six months back, Congress still hasn’t acted. Besides a
few hearings that exposed our Senators’ lack
of knowledge of the Internet, Congress adjourned two weeks early to
extend the midterm campaigns,
instead of staying to work on passing an Internet-reform bill.
The lack of urgency in
Congress has persisted even in the wake of recent revelations that a Facebook
security breach exposed 50 million users’ personal information to
attackers and Google let third-party app developers access information
on users who did not give them permission. The truth is that most
elected officials and their legislative staff on Capitol Hill simply lack
the necessary expertise to write rules for the Internet.
Well... what I do agree
with is that ¨most
elected officials and their legislative staff on Capitol Hill simply lack
the necessary expertise to write rules for the Internet¨, and indeed this still seems
the case everywhere.
In fact, this is mostly
due (it seems to me) to two points: First, most of the holders of
real power in politics are persons who are between 50 and 70, and
are generally to old to have learned programming. And second, decent
programming is far from easy and takes considerable time (and probably
some mathematical talent).
Then there is this:
In total, with the help of
consumer groups and World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, we came up
with ten principles that can help define rights in the digital age. I
imagine thoughtful Republicans such as U.S. Representatives Mike
Coffman and Will Hurd, along with Matt Lira from the White House’s
Office of American Innovation, could collaborate on legislation based
on these principles. They are as follows:
Well... I looked them
through (and can program, and know a lot about computers) and in fact
only three out of ten seem decent to me:
First, you should be able
to know and access what personal data of yours companies collect.
Instead of reading a long and convoluted legal document, it should be
clear and in plain language what information of yours is being
Second, you should be able
to opt-in and consent when that personal data is being collected and
shared. It should be clear exactly what you are consenting to, but such
prompts shouldn’t be relentless to the point of fatigue.
Seventh, you should be able to access the Internet without the
collection of data that is unnecessary for providing the requested
service. An Internet service provider reasonably needs to know your
name and address. But it’s hard to imagine why a provider would need to
collect your Internet browsing habits other than to sell your data.
The other seven rules
may have some decency, but they also are far too sympathetic to
and profit-oriented data gatherers like Facebook and Google.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
My hope is that these ten
rights will begin the much-needed and long-overdue conversation in
Congress to guide a legislative
solution that restores our privacy and protection online.
The American people can no
longer wait while their data is being collected, shared and stolen on
the web. The Internet can be a tool for more freedom and prosperity,
but only if proper rules and guidelines exist. Our constituents tasked
us to make those rules. It is now up to Congress to answer that call
and bring our laws into the 21st Century.
I don´t share
for various reasons, one of which is that most members of Congress
still - do not know much about programming or computers (and besides
are probably often paid by corporations that are dedicated to making
the internet less free and more corporate).
what the two main American political parties have become
This article is by
David Lindsay on The Off-Guardian. It starts with a quote of Noam
Chomsky, who wrote:
¨In the US, there is
basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called
Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out
variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to those
The article starts
As is most of the population.¨ - Noam Chomsky
See what the two
main American political parties have become. On any one or more of
torture, Guantánamo Bay, mass surveillance, workers’ rights, consumer
protection, environmental responsibility, treaties with Native
Americans, healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions (that is,
people like me), the President’s supposed immunity from indictment, and
the President’s supposed power to pardon himself, Brett Kavanaugh could
easily have been blocked by enough Republicans and all Democrats, plus
Bernie Sanders. But instead, the useless Democratic Party made it about
a #MeToo and #IBelieveHer story that it was impossible to prove.
This is none too clear,
while the first statement does not appear to be a proper statement, and
the second is extremely vague.
In fact, most of the rest of this article is a sum-up of paragraphs
that all start with ¨So much for¨. Here is a relatively clear bit:
So much for
Eisenhower’s ending of the Korean War, his even-handed approach to
Israel and the Palestinians, his nonintervention in Indochina, his
denunciation of the military-industrial complex, and his
still-inspiring advocacy of nuclear power as “atoms for peace” 10 years
after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings: civil nuclear power as the
ultimate beating of swords in ploughshares.
But the rest either assumes
too much that is not stated or else is quite ill written. O well....
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 (!!).