from December 16, 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 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 16, 2018:
1. Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime
Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive
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. Facebook Exposed Users’ Private
3. How to Hold Corporations Accountable
4. Writers Silenced by Surveillance: Self-Censorship in the
Age of Big Data
5. Here are the top 10 reasons I don't believe in God
Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive
This article is by Brad
Plumer on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
nearly 200 countries reached a deal on Saturday to keep the Paris
climate agreement alive by adopting a detailed set of rules to
implement the pact.
Well... what should I say?
¨will ultimately require¨, ¨calls on¨, ¨calls on¨, ¨builds a process¨ -
and that is 60 years (minus two weeks) after
(for example) Aldous
Huxley´s ¨The Human Situation¨ (that is still
available today) and that did outline the situation of the
environment and its dangers for human survival quite well - but it
wasn´t answered by anything like a decent set of measures for 60
deal, struck after an all-night bargaining session, will ultimately
require every country in the world to follow a uniform set of standards
for measuring their planet-warming emissions and tracking their climate
policies. And it calls on countries to step up their plans to cut
emissions ahead of another round of talks in 2020.
also calls on richer countries to be clearer about the aid they intend
to offer to help poorer nations install more clean energy or build
resilience against natural disasters. And it builds a process in which
countries that are struggling to meet their emissions goals can get
help in getting back on track.
United States agreed to the deal despite President Trump’s vow to
abandon the Paris Agreement.
And for me the Paris
Agreement, like the Kyoto Agreement,
by lying or
fraudulent or corrupt politicians - and mind you:
¨calling on¨ and ¨ultimately requires¨ are no agreements
anything, except to postpone extremely necessary measures into
talk into the further future.
Also, since I have been following ¨the environment¨ since 1972
the publication of ¨The Limits
to Growth¨) I have given up on
politics-for-the-environment, since such politics in
fact seems to come
down to politics-for-further-careers-of-politicians.
Anyway... here is some more from the article:
United States negotiators worked constructively behind the scenes with
China on transparency rules. The two countries had long been at odds because China had
insisted on different reporting rules for developing countries, while
the United States favored consistent emissions-accounting rules and
wanted all countries to be subject to the same outside scrutiny.
Well... if you can
any pleasure from this fact (?), you are welcome to it. Here is the
last bit that I quote from this article:
of the attendees at this year’s United Nations climate talks — known as
COP24, shorthand for their formal name — expressed disappointment at what
they saw as half measures to deal with a mounting climate crisis.
Greenhouse gas emissions are still rising around the world, and
millions of people are facing increased risks from severe droughts,
floods and wildfires.
supporters of the deal reached Saturday said that they hoped the new
rules would help build a virtuous cycle of trust and cooperation among
countries, at a time when global politics seems increasingly fractured.
I only remark upon ¨[m]any of the attendees (..) expressed
disappointment at what they saw as half measures to deal with a
mounting climate crisis¨: I
agree - except that these were not ¨half measures¨ but mostly
only agreements to talk further later on. And this is a recommended
Exposed Users’ Private Photos
This article is by
Naomi LaChance on Truthdig. It starts as follows:
Millions of Facebook users’
private photos may have been exposed due to a bug, the social network announced
Friday. For 12 days in September, as many as 6.8 million
people’s private photos were accessible to third-party apps.
A bug in Facebook’s photo
software authorized as many as 1,500 apps to access photos that users
had not shared on their timelines, such as photos posted to Facebook
Stories and photos that users uploaded to Facebook and then decided not
to post. The social
network said it would contact people affected by the bug.
What joyful chances to
extend their knowledge of private pornography!! And do you really
believe this was ¨a bug¨? You may, but I believe each and
statement from Facebook about Facebook is a mixture of lies and
propaganda, and since I
have been - more or less - following the news
about Facebook for at least seven years now - the first article
is On the sham called "Facebook" and I still like it -
without ever using it and also without visiting it (other than once) I
think I am right, since I have never been able to see any
Facebook about Facebook.
more on the latest ¨bug¨:
Constine reported that Facebook learned about the bug Sept. 25.
The apps had access from Sept. 13 to Sept. 25. Constine wrote:
That it keeps photos you
partially uploaded but never posted in the first place is creepy, but
the fact that these could be exposed to third-party developers is truly
unacceptable. And it seems Facebook is so tired of its failings that it
couldn’t put forward even a seemingly heartfelt apology is telling.
Engineers at Facebook
discovered another security breach on Sept. 25 as well. As many as 50
million accounts, Facebook
announced days later, were completely exposed to attackers.
I am sorry, but I neither
believe this was a ¨bug¨ nor that there was a ¨security breach¨ until I have seen the full code -
which no one outside Facebook is allowed to see. (My own
guess is that these may well be extras thrown in to satisfy
advertisers, but then I have as little evidence for that as for the
asserted ¨fact¨ that these were ¨bugs¨ or ¨security breaches¨).
Here is the final bit
that I quote from this article:
People are losing trust. At
That’s two massive
vulnerabilities in a matter of months—in the same year as the
Cambridge Analytica scandal, which also involved millions of
Facebook users. Taken together, screw-ups are mind-boggling in scope,
affecting tens of millions of people. They aren’t mere email address or
password leaks—though emails were certainly leaked—these are breaches
of highly personal information—location histories, search histories,
photos. In some cases, the information was improperly shared with
political consultants potentially to manipulate voter sentiment.
In April, Facebook said
that the data firm Cambridge Analytica accessed
the personal information of about 87 million Facebook users. In
May, Facebook drew
skepticism from privacy advocates when it announced an
anti-revenge porn program that required users to submit the nude photos
that they did not want disseminated. And in June, Facebook revealed
a software bug in which 14 million users may have posted
information publicly that they had intended only for smaller groups.
Quite so. Well... if
you believe anything Facebook says about Facebook you are one of the
apparently billions of ¨dumb fucks¨ who trusted Zuckerberg (and
fucks¨ are his words, that may be the only honest words
he ever said about Facebook). And this is a recommended article.
3. How to Hold
is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Charles E. Wilson, the CEO
of General Motors in the middle part of the last century, reputedly
once said that “what was good for our country was good for General
Motors, and vice versa.”
The idea was that large
corporations had a duty not just to their shareholders, but also to
their employees, customers, and community. What was good for all of
these stakeholders was inseparable from what was good for large
corporations like GM.
But in the 1980’s, this
shifted. The only goal of large corporations goal became maximizing
profits and returns for shareholders.
Corporate profits are now a
higher share of the economy than they were for most of the past
century, and workers’ share of the total economy is the lowest.
Corporations are now
amassing huge control over our economy and fueling widening economic
Yes indeed - I
completely agree with Reich. But then he is for
because he wrote a book called ¨Saving Capitalism¨, which I admit I
haven´t read. Well... I am not for capitalism,
and I am for socialism, though I am willing to agree
that it is
possible that humanity may get destroyed by nuclear arms or by the
environment before this ever can be tried, and here is one series of
arguments for it:
started - roughly - around the 1830ies, and it did immediately
both the pay of the workers and their certainty of survival or food.
This situation in fact continued for the most part for something like
80 years - in which a few capitalists got extremely
rich, at the costs
of the many laborers they exploited as much as they could, and indeed
this was continued after the first World War until the crisis
(Workers´ wages were extremely small all the time.)
This was fended off to
some extent by Roosevelt´s policies, but got terminated only by the second
World War (that gave everyobe a job) and then by a widely agreed
regulation of the economy in 1946, that seems to have
been mostly the
work of Keynes,
and that did give more money and more freedom to the
workers, and quickly created a middle class, and that did so by
taking considerable powers from the capitalists and also more of their
profits than before.
This in turn was terminated
by the rises of Thatcher and Reagan in 1979/1980, when the
restructuring of capitalism for and by the capitalist started (and see
Powell Jr.) - which now proceeded for forty years, and
that seems to have destroyed much of the middle class in the
USA by now.
In sum, while
capitalism exists now for nearly two centuries, it has been
economically somewhat fair to the majority - that is: to the
capitalists (say: 1%); to their dedicated servants (say: 9%); and
to the rest (90%) - only between 1946
and 1980, and
that was by legal measures, that have since 1980 been mostly
I think that is not
success at all - and I am here not talking about the massive
nature and the environment that go with unlimited profit making by
private individuals and corporations.
And so I am for socialism - see here, if you want more of my
ideas: Crisis: On Socialism - and indeed I want to introduce this
in the same way as capitalism works: By changing the laws.
Theh again, I agree
this may not be possible - but then I also think that the present day
capitalism will probably be the death of most or all as well.
Back to the article:
proposal, the Accountable Capitalism Act, is a good start at remaking
the economic system so it works for all of us.
It recognizes that large
corporations, with revenues of $1 billion or more, are so big and
powerful they should be held to a higher standard of conduct –
chartered by the federal government to serve all their stakeholders,
not just their shareholders.
Under Warren’s proposal,
workers would elect at least 40 percent of big corporations’ boards of
directors. These corporations wouldn’t be able to make political
contributions without the approval of 75 percent of their directors and
shareholders. And their legal right to exist could be revoked if they
engaged in repeated and egregious lawbreaking.
Well... I think I more
or less like it without believing it will ever be realized.
many reasons for my skepticism, but here is one:
Effective action to hold
corporations accountable needs to be federal because the states, left
to their own devices, have to compete with one another for businesses
to locate in their states. This has led to a race to the bottom
for corporate cash. Two-thirds of big corporations in America are
now officially headquartered in Delaware, because Delaware’s corporate
laws are weakest.
That is to say: I think
that it is very unlikely anyone can tame capitalism without it
forbidden (legally) that the rich earn more than 20 times of what the
poor earn. And in case you want to read more about socialism, here
socialism?¨ (for he was a socialist as well).
Silenced by Surveillance: Self-Censorship in the Age of Big Data
is by Nik Williams on openDemocracy. It starts as follows:
We know what
censorship looks like: writers being murdered, attacked or imprisoned;
TV and radio stations being shut down; the only newspapers parrot the
state; journalists lost in the bureaucratic labyrinth to secure a
license or permit; government agencies approving which novels, plays
and poetry collections can be published; books being banned or burned
or the extreme regulation of access to printing materials or presses.
All of these damage free expression, but they leave a fingerprint,
something visible that can be measured, but what about self-censorship?
This leaves no such mark.
When writers self-censor,
there is no record, they just stop writing or avoid certain topics and
these decisions are lost to time. Without being able to record and
document isolated cases the way we can with explicit government
censorship, the only thing we can do is identify potential drivers to
Yes indeed. Here is why
self-censorship is important (and it also was important, but is
In 2013, NSA
whistle blower, Edward Snowden revealed the extent of government
surveillance that enables intelligence agencies to capture the data of
internet users around the world. Some of the powers revealed enable
agencies to access emails in transit, files held on devices, details
that document our relationships and location in real-time and data that
could reveal our political opinions, beliefs and routines. Following
these revelations, the UK government pushed through the Investigatory
Powers Act, an audacious act that modernised, consolidated and
expanded digital surveillance powers. This expansion was opposed by
civil rights organisations, (including Scottish PEN where I work),
technologists, a number of media bodies and major tech companies, but
on 29th November 2016, it received royal assent.
Yes indeed -
and since I know quite a lot about programming and computers, my own
inferences are that (i) absolutely everything that is on any
(of any kind) that is on the internet can be stolen by almost any of
the many secret services there are; (ii) the secret services
every ones e-mails and ¨know¨ everything everyone publishes on the
internet (in the sense of: they probably downloaded it, but it may
been read only by AI); and (iii) the secret services also keep whatever they steal
(regardless of promises - and memory is very cheap these days).
In brief, the
only way one´s thoughts, values, life, plans,
e-mails, interests and
friends may not be known by the secret services (nor by
Google, Apple, Microsoft and others, all of which can do the same as
the secret services) is to have at least two
computers: One for
personal use and one for the internet - where it also is important that
the computer for personal use never gets switched to the
Here is more
from the article:
As big data and
digital surveillance is interwoven into the fabric of modern society
there is growing evidence that the perception of surveillance affects
how different communities engage with the internet. Following the
Snowden revelations, John
Penney at the Oxford Internet Institute analysed traffic to
Wikipedia pages on topics designated by the Department of Homeland
Security as sensitive and identified “a 20 percent decline in page
views on Wikipedia articles related to terrorism, including those that
mentioned ‘al Qaeda,’ ‘car bomb’ or ‘Taliban.'”
I think that not only is ¨digital surveillance (..) interwoven into the
fabric of modern society¨:
I think it has been interwoven from the very start into the
personal computers, namely from the late 1960ies
See here if
you want to know more: Crisis: Propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968
In fact, I would be very little amazed if personal computers
developed as quick as they were precisely because
they made it possible
for the secret services to spy on absolutely everything anyone did or
thought or valued or wrote, although I am willing to agree that
were more reasons.
Here is more
from this article:
But it doesn’t
end with sourcing information. In a study of Facebook, Elizabeth
Stoycheff discovered that when faced with holders of majority
opinions and the knowledge of government surveillance, holders of
minority viewpoints are more likely to “self-censor their dissenting
opinions online”. If holders of minority opinions step away from online
platforms like Facebook, these platforms will only reflect the majority
opinion, homogenising discourse and giving a false idea of consensus.
Read together, these studies document a slow erosion of the eco-system
within which free expression flourishes.
there also is an underlying reason: I am rather certain that at
in 20 persons have something like individual courage, and I base my
conviction on the fact that in Holland in the second World War
other countries occupied by the Nazis) at most 1 in 20 persons were
the resistance against Nazism (during the war, that is: after
95% of all Dutchmen insisted that they were somehow connected to the
I am quite
certain of this (in so far as one can be certain of things), because my
father, my mother, and my father´s father all went into the real
resistance (which was mainly by the communists in Holland), and both my
father and his father were arrested in August of 1941
and convicted to concentration camp imprisonment, that murdered my
the Dutch were on average as courageous as they were, more than
Dutch Jews were arrested and gassed.
And after the
war I found very similar things in the ¨University¨ of
was from 1971 till 1995 effectively led by a combination of some
degenerates from the Dutch ¨social democrats¨ and members of
communist party, which also destroyed most of the science
and most of
the standards taught at that ¨University¨ - but hardly anyone cared,
because the students were much more interested in getting their degrees
than in learning science, and because all of the academics - except 2
that I know of - were corrupted by the money they got.
So no, I am
not amazed that self-censorship has considerably
increased. Here is
more - and note that Nazism has not been introduced in the USA,
In their report, Chilling
Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives US Writers to Self-Censor, PEN
America found that “one in six writers avoided writing or speaking on a
topic they thought would subject them to surveillance”. But is this
bigger than the US? Scottish PEN, alongside researchers at the
University of Strathclyde authored the report, Scottish
Chilling: Impact of Government and Corporate Surveillance on Writers
to explore the impact of surveillance on Scotland-based writers, asking
the question: Is the perception of surveillance a driver to
self-censorship? After surveying 118 writers, including novelists,
poets, essayists, journalists, translators, editors and publishers, and
interviewing a number of participants we uncovered a disturbing trend
of writers avoiding certain topics in their work or research, modifying
their work or refusing to use certain online tools. 22% of responders
have avoided writing or speaking on a particular topic due to the
perception of surveillance and 28% have curtailed or avoided activities
on social media. Further to this, 82% said that if they knew that the
UK government had collected data about their Internet activity they
would feel as though their personal privacy had been violated,
something made more likely by the passage of the investigatory Powers
But the above
seems to show that in spite of the fact that the USA and Great Britain
are not nazistic, from 15% till 28% ¨avoided writing or speaking on a particular
topic due to the perception of surveillance¨.
perhaps so would I - except for the fact that I have no
almost no family, because yes: Knowing that everyone gets spied upon in
everything he or she does or thinks or writes or values by governmental
spies might have stopped me as well because of my children.
Here is the
ending of this fine article:
going nowhere – it is embedded into the fabric of the internet. If we
ignore the impact it has on writers, we threaten the very foundations
of democracy; a vibrant and cacophonous exchange of ideas and beliefs,
alongside what it means to be a writer. In the words of one
participant: “You can’t exist as a writer if you’re self-censoring.”
Yes, and as I explained
above, I think ¨the fabric of the internet¨ has been expressly
DARPA so as to enable the government´s spies to spy on everyone.
And I agree with the conclusion, and expect myself that at most
1 in 20
will write what they think, and soon most
of these will be arrested, if not now than in the close future with the
internet we have, thanks to DARPA and Brzezinski.
are the top 10 reasons I don't believe in God
is by Greta Christina on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
"But just because religion
has done some harm -- that doesn't mean it's mistaken! Sure, people
have done terrible things in God's name. That doesn't mean God doesn't
Yup. If you're arguing that
-- you're absolutely right. And the question of whether religion is
true or not is important. It's not the main point of this book: if you
want more thorough arguments for why God doesn't exist, by me or other
writers, check out the Resource Guide at the end of this book. But
"Does God exist?" is a valid and relevant question. Here are my Top Ten
reasons why the answer is a resounding, "No."
I do not know much
Christina but this article - in fact: part of a book -
is a decent argument for atheism. It is
also quite long and gives 10
reasons. I will quote all 10 reasons, but suppress all of the
associated texts - which are rather extensive - for eight of them.
Here is the first - and
while I am an atheist all my life, I suppose because both of my parents
were atheists, at least to start with, I also suppose that I pay less
attention to atheism and also
because I did not have to free myself from any
1: The consistent
replacement of supernatural explanations of the world with natural ones.
When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a
noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing
supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun
rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get
sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life
came into being. I could go on and on.
All these things were once
explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and
learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on
religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect.
Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that
a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a
natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.
Yes, I agree and
¨natural explanations¨, if indeed they are genuine
are mostly scientific
Here is one more bit:
If I see any solid evidence
to support God, or any supernatural explanation of any phenomenon, I'll
reconsider my disbelief. Until then, I'll assume that the
mind-bogglingly consistent pattern of natural explanations replacing
supernatural ones is almost certain to continue.
Oh -- for the sake of
brevity, I'm generally going to say "God" in this chapter when I mean
"God, or the soul, or metaphysical energy, or any sort of supernatural
being or substance." I don't feel like getting into discussions about,
"Well, I don't believe in an old man in the clouds with a white beard,
but I believe..." It's not just the man in the white beard that I don't
believe in. I don't believe in any sort of religion, any sort of soul
or spirit or metaphysical guiding force, anything that isn't the
physical world and its vast and astonishing manifestations.
Yes, I agree. Here are
the next eight reasons that Christina gives - and if you are
interested, they all come with a considerable amount of text, which I
skip in this review:
2: The inconsistency of
3: The weakness of religious arguments, explanations,
4: The increasing diminishment of God.
5: The fact that religion runs in families.
6: The physical causes of everything we think of as
7: The complete failure of any sort of supernatural
phenomenon to stand
up to rigorous testing.
8: The slipperiness of religious and spiritual beliefs.
9: The failure of religion to improve or clarify over
10: The complete lack of solid evidence for God's
The last bit is from
the text under 10:
Yes, I agree, and this is
a strongly recommended article.
This is probably the best
argument I have against God's existence: There's no evidence for it. No
good evidence, anyway. No evidence that doesn't just amount to opinion
and tradition and confirmation bias and all the other stuff I've been
talking about. No evidence that doesn't fall apart upon close
And in a perfect world,
that should have been the only argument I needed. In a perfect world, I
shouldn't have had to spend a month and a half collating and
summarizing the reasons I don't believe in God, any more than I would
have for Zeus or Quetzalcoatl or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. As
thousands of atheists before me have pointed out: It is not up to us to
prove that God does not exist. It is up to theists to prove that he
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 (!!).