from December 13, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
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 three 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 December 13, 2018:
1. Theresa May Survives Leadership
Challenge, but Brexit Plan Is Still in
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. ‘His Dirty Deeds’
3. Facebook Sells Data to Advertisers
4. Conservatives Own the Ongoing Disaster That Is Brexit
5. The Truth About Privatization
May Survives Leadership Challenge, but Brexit Plan Is Still in Peril
This article is by
Stephen Castle on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
minister, Theresa May, survived the gravest threat yet to her embattled
leadership on Wednesday, winning a party confidence vote and averting a
leadership battle that threatened to plunge the country into prolonged
the victory celebration, if any, is likely to be short-lived.
Mrs. May survived to fight another day, the future of her stalled plan
to leave the European Union looked bleaker than ever.
still lacks the votes in Parliament to pass it. She stands little
chance of winning the concessions from Europe that she needs to break
the surprisingly strong vote against her within her own party
underscores the difficulty she faces in winning approval for any plan
for Britain to leave Europe, or Brexit, as the deadline for withdrawal
Yes indeed: I agree. Here is some more, on May:
is our renewed mission,” she said outside her offices at 10 Downing
Street after the vote on Wednesday. “Delivering the Brexit that people
voted for, bringing the country back together and building a country
that truly works for everyone.”
even that moment was tempered by loss.
May won the vote only after promising that she would step aside soon
after the Brexit agonies were over, according to reports from a meeting
of Conservative Party lawmakers preceding the vote. That pledge removed
the generally unwelcome possibility that she would stand as party
leader in the next general election.
I say, which I do because I did not know the
last fact. Here is some more, on the voting:
the vote on Wednesday, on a confidence motion called by her own
Conservative Party, Mrs. May won the support of 200 Conservative
lawmakers, while 117 voted against her. The protest vote exceeded many
forecasts, and is expected to compound her difficulties in Parliament,
where her enemies were already pressuring her.
was a terrible result for the prime minister,” said Jacob Rees-Mogg, a
leader of the hard-line pro-Brexit faction.
vote does give her some breathing room. Under the Conservative Party’s
rules, she cannot be challenged again by her own lawmakers for another
year, which at least offers some stability for moving the Brexit plan
forward. Had she lost, the Conservatives would have been thrust into a
divisive, drawn-out process that would have stretched well into the
Yes, though it seems as if nearly 60% of the
Conservatives have no confidence in their own political leader.
Here is the last bit I quote from this article, again
on the voting:
recent days, she suffered two embarrassing setbacks. Last week, the
House of Commons voted her government in contempt of Parliament — the
first time any prime minister had been censured in that way — for
failing to release the advice her government’s lawyers had given on
on Monday, she postponed a vote on the Brexit agreement she had
negotiated with the European Union, acknowledging that it stood to be
defeated by “a significant margin.” In fact, lawmakers say, views on
the topic, which has dominated British politics for nearly three years,
are so fragmented that no approach has majority support in Parliament,
and probably not even among Conservatives.
I think that may well be correct and this is a
This article is by
The Editorial Board on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
have been some dark days in America in recent months, days when its
astonished citizens have had reason to wonder whether its institutions
and even its ideals — the Congress, the electoral process, the notion
that honesty matters — had become too brittle to withstand what could
seem like relentless assault.
was not one of those days.
federal judge in Manhattan sentenced Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, to
three years in prison over what the judge called a “veritable
smorgasbord” of crimes, most important, paying hush money to two women
who said they slept with his ex-boss. Those payments enabled Mr. Trump
to conceal the accusations from voters in the closing weeks of the
campaign. United States District Judge William Pauley said this
violation of campaign finance laws created “insidious harm to our
democratic institutions.” In so ruling, he demonstrated that those
institutions have some life in them yet.
I say, and I mostly disagree. My reasons are
mainly that for decades black people have been disappearing in
America´s prisons for twenty to fifty years for possessing some
marijuana, whereas a white lawyer, who committed, in the words of
the judge sentencing him, a ¨“veritable smorgasbord” of crimes¨, gets sentenced for three years.
And I do not think that is fair, though I also
do not know what would have been a fair punishment for Cohen.
Trump has called the payments to the two women “a simple private transaction.” But prosecutors made clear
that the payments were illegal campaign contributions because their
purpose was to help win the election.
Yes, of course. Here is the last bit that I quote from
Yes, that is to say: If
you believe Cohen, you must be very stupid. This is a
pleading for mercy, Mr. Cohen told the judge
a sad tale of a starry-eyed man led astray by “a blind loyalty to this
man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”
and time again,” he said of his ex-employer, “I felt it was my duty to
cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice
and my moral compass.”
a tear come to your eye, let’s be clear that Mr. Cohen’s “path of
darkness” began with a sleazy legal
practice years before meeting Mr. Trump. Prosecutors have made a
persuasive case that the moral compass of Mr. Cohen, who also pleaded
guilty to tax evasion and bank fraud, didn’t locate true north until he
was caught and his home, office and hotel room were raided by the F.B.I.
Sells Data to Advertisers
is by Michael Kosinski on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
recent weeks, Facebook confronted yet another privacy scandal, in light
of leaked court documents suggesting that its staff
discussed the idea of selling user data as long ago as 2012. Facebook's
director of developer platforms and programs, Konstantinos
Papamiltiadis, responded, “To be clear, Facebook has
never sold anyone’s data.” It was the
same denial that Mark Zuckerberg issued before the
Senate in April 2018: “We do not sell data to advertisers. We don’t
sell data to anyone.”
a data scientist, I am shocked that anyone continues to believe this
claim. Each time you click on a Facebook ad, Facebook sells data on you
to that advertiser. This is such a basic property of online targeted
advertising that it would be impossible to avoid, even if Facebook
somehow wanted to.
Yes, of course - and this also illustrates (i) what
awfully degenerated liars the - extremely rich - owners of Facebook are,
and also (ii) how extremely little is really known about Facebook´s
And Kosinski is an assistant professor at Stanford, and he - obviously
- speaks the truth, whereas Zuckerberg is - obviously - lying
to the ¨dumb fucks¨ (source: Zuckerberg) who trust him: How else
did he become one of the richest persons ever, within some ten years?!
Here is some more background on Facebook:
you click on an ad and are sent to an advertiser’s website, the
advertiser knows which ad you saw and thus which bucket you fall in.
has a lot of data on their users and is eager to monetize it. The
advertisers are encouraged to selectively target people according to a
mind-boggling range of personal characteristics. Some, such as age,
gender or location, are not overly intimate. Others, such as your
political views, family size, education, occupation, marital status or
interest in a gay dating app, are highly personal.
would even let advertisers target you based on facts that you may not
be aware of, such as that you are a close friend of a soccer fan or of
someone who got recently engaged. In a recent study we
published, my colleagues and I discovered that advertisers can target
users based on their intimate psychological traits, such as
personality. If you can think of an important personal characteristic,
there’s a good chance it’s targetable on Facebook. Through this
ad-targeting system, Facebook discloses facts about you to advertisers,
in exchange for money, every time you click on an ad. I’d call that
“selling data,” and I bet that you would, too.
Yes, of course. Also, I do not think Facebook
have access to any personal data whatsoever, including ¨age, gender or location¨: I do not see
why a sick liar like Zuckerberg should
have any access - but I do agree that the internet seems to
designed on purpose to steal as many personal data from anyone as is
possible. See here for some backgrounds: Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968.
Here is more on the lies, degeneracies, and
sicknesses of Facebook:
Yes, quite so - and besides
Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and more there also
is the fact that everyone is being surveilled these days by any
of many ¨national security agencies¨, that are literal -
anonymous, heavily protected - spies for their governments, and
this also was set up on purpose and since the late 1960ies:
See here again for
some backgrounds: Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968.
Facebook is extremely clever at dodging this issue. When the company
argues that it is not selling data, but rather selling targeted
advertising, it’s luring you into a semantic trap, encouraging you to
imagine that the only way of selling data is to send advertisers a file
filled with user information. Congress may have fallen for this trap
set up by Mr. Zuckerberg, but that doesn’t mean you have to. The fact
that your data is not disclosed in an Excel spreadsheet but through a
click on a targeted ad is irrelevant. Data still changes hands and goes
to the advertiser.
claiming that it is not selling user data is like a bar’s giving away a
free martini with every $12 bag of peanuts and then claiming that it’s
not selling drinks. Rich user data is Facebook’s most prized
possession, and the company sure isn’t throwing it in for free.
this problem is not limited to Facebook. Other Big Tech companies,
including Google and Amazon, have similar ad platforms. If a platform
can be used to target specific users, then it reveals those users’
data. The advertiser could easily create its own data file based on
this information, or merge the information with any other data it has
on a customer.
The potential for abuse is
Here is the ending of this article:
Facebook cannot be
trusted to fix this problem itself. Would you trust Big Tobacco’s
claims about lung cancer? What about Big Sugar’s claims about obesity?
Then why would you believe what Big Tech has to say about data privacy?
Markets, including the market for consumer data, do not work
efficiently when a company like Facebook is allowed to abuse its market
position to ignore its users’ rights, needs and wishes. Policymakers
have no choice but to step in, restore the balance of power and protect
Yes indeed - except that I do not
care much for Facebook´s - true - ¨abuse
its market position¨ because
I care very much more for my real privacy, and the real privacies of
everyone else, which I fear have been completely and on purpose been
destroyed by internet computing. And see here again for some backgrounds: Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968. This is a strongly
Own the Ongoing Disaster That Is Brexit
is by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed, and also see item 1. Here is more:
I’ve just returned from a
whirlwind visit to the United Kingdom, where the elephant in every room
seems to have grown to such proportions that Brits can hardly breathe
without mentioning it with a groan. I’m talking about Brexit, of
course, the U.K.’s ill-fated divorce from the European Union, which
began over two years ago with a referendum that launched British
politics into chaos.
Since that June
day in 2016, nothing’s been quite the same in Britain, and almost
nothing else has been more pressing on the minds and mouths of Britons
Yes indeed again: This
seems a decent summary. Here is some more:
And yet, nothing has
actually happened. Well, a few things have. The gamble-prone David
Cameron resigned as prime minister in disgrace; a quick leadership
contest in the Tory party led to the rise of former Home Secretary
Theresa May over the infamous “Leave” campaigner Boris Johnson; Article
50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered to begin the “divorce”
negotiations; May called for a snap
election that actually led to Tories losing seats in Parliament;
and through it all, Labour leader Jeremy
Corbyn has held his own against threats to his leadership within
his party, a hostile
media and even a possible
government- funded conspiracy.
But in terms of Brexit, the
U.K. is no closer now than it was in 2016 to even beginning its formal
departure from the EU. May’s government has spent the better part of
two years negotiating with the European Union, only to come up with a
deal that pretty much no one likes, and that Corbyn calls “the worst of
In the week before
Parliament was scheduled to vote on the unpopular deal, a few
game-changing events took place. While May had been billing her deal as
the lesser of two evils (the other option being a “no deal” scenario
that would create bureaucratic turmoil and severe economic
consequences), a third option emerged miraculously from the European
Court of Justice: Forget Brexit altogether. In an unexpected ruling,
the ECJ decided that a country could turn its back on its invocation of
Article 50 and leave things as they stood. In other words, the U.K. can
still stay in the EU if it so chooses. The other momentous occurrence
was that members of parliament successfully demanded to see the full
legal advice on the deal, as Corbyn alludes to in his critique.
Yes indeed. Here is the end of
Personally, I like
writer and filmmaker Paul Mason’s imagined
scenario best: a canceled Brexit and a Labour election victory that
would lead to Jeremy Corbyn becoming U.K. prime minister. You may say
that Mason and I are dreaming, given the constant barrage of vitriol
the progressive leader faces and the inertia pulling the U.K. violently
out of the EU even now, but maybe we’re not the only ones.
I happen to agree
Natasha Hakimi Zapata and this is a recommended article.
5. The Truth About
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Privatization. Privatization. It’s all you hear from Republicans.
But what does it actually mean?
Generations ago, America
built an entire national highway system, along with the largest and
best public colleges and universities in the world. Also public schools
and national parks, majestic bridges, dams that generated electricity
for entire regions, public libraries and public research.
But around 1980, the
moneyed interests began pushing to privatize much of this, giving it
over to for-profit corporations. Privatization, the argument went,
would boost efficiency and reduce taxes.
The reality has been that
privatization too often only boosts corporate bottom lines.
Yes - of course,
I would say. Here is more (and there also are five rules of
thumb when not
to privatize in the present article, that I skip):
Yes - but then I and
(to name two big names) were socialists because
they thought that was the ¨best for the public¨, and I agree
(but do not know whether any democratic socialism will ever be
before humanity has been killed by nuclear arms or natural collapse).
It’s true that private
for-profit corporations can do certain tasks very efficiently. And some
privatization has worked. But the goal of corporations is to maximize
profits for shareholders, not to serve the public interest.
The question should be: What’s
best for the public?
Then again, Reich disagrees: He is for capitalism. Here is the
of his article:
In other words,
for-profit corporations can do some things very well. Including,
especially, maximizing shareholder returns. But when the primary goal
is to serve the public, rather than shareholders, we need to be careful
not to sacrifice the public interest to private profits.
Well... my own opinion
is that under capitalism most public interests have been and will
sacrificed to private profits, and the more so as the many
these days fully known
to the government and by the rich who run Facebook, Google, Apple and
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 (!!).