in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from February 3, 2019
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 February 3, 2019:
1. Shoshana Zuboff on the Age of
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. How the Trump-radical Republican tax
cut broke the economy
3. A Wealth Tax Could Raise Trillions — and Save Our Democracy
4. Trump Is the Only Real Anchor Baby in America
5. The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles
Zuboff on the Age of Surveillance Capitalism
This article is
by Sam Biddle on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as
Shoshana Zuboff’s “The
Age of Surveillance Capitalism” is already drawing comparisons to
seminal socioeconomic investigations like Rachel Carson’s “Silent
Spring” and Karl Marx’s “Capital.” Zuboff’s book deserves these
comparisons and more: Like the former, it’s an alarming exposÚ about
how business interests have poisoned our world, and like the latter, it
provides a framework to understand and combat that poison. But “The Age
of Surveillance Capitalism,” named for the now-popular term Zuboff
herself coined five years ago, is also a masterwork of horror. It’s
hard to recall a book that left me as haunted as Zuboff’s, with its
descriptions of the gothic algorithmic daemons that follow us at nearly
every instant of every hour of every day to suck us dry of metadata.
Even those who’ve made an effort to track the technology that tracks us
over the last decade or so will be chilled to their core by Zuboff,
unable to look at their surroundings the same way.
I say. In fact, I wrote
Zuboff and her book before, namely here
and I start this review by two
quotations from my earlier review. Here is the first:
First, I agree
with Zuboff that surveillance capitalism
is something quite new, and that indeed it may be defined as
capitalism + surveillance of everyone by both the spies of
many countries and by the very rich, including Google,
Facebook, Apple and Microsoft (all also with very little apt,
accurate and sensible
Also, in case you want more, I strongly recommend you to read
on cf+ss: corporate fascism and the surveillance state which has a similar thesis, that I
develop in considerable detail in the last article, that in fact was
first published in 2012.
There also is some difference in our positions, but it is good
(certainly for non-readers of her book like myself) that there is
a bit on Wikipedia on surveillance
capitalism, that is attributed to Zuboff.
And second, while I agree that “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product” is
(a ¨product¨ in what sense?!), I think her “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the abandoned carcass”
also is not good.
In any case, I prefer “if
you’re not paying for it, you’re its slave”, which also is not
always correct, but does describe the basics quite well - and you
slave in the sense that then you will almost certainly be deprived from
all the privacies you thought
And here is the second:
Quite so - and
they are acting illegally, at least in my sense of the
word, for there is no excuse for setting up e-mails so that all spies
and all rich corporations have no trouble reading them:
That is a fundamental betrayal of all privacy (that meanwhile
has become part of the law, as in the factually neofascistic
¨European Convention on Human Rights¨) - but it was already foreseen
and desired in 1968 (!!) by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was made
of American National Security by President Carter in 1976. For more,
see here: Crisis: propaganda
and Control: Brezezinski 1968.
I recommend especially
the last link, for I think this shows that (1) personal computers
- for a good part - invented by American security or American defense,
with the explicit purpose, already in 1968 (!!) (2) to know everything
that anyone thought or wrote - and they
Here is more from this
unavoidable takeaway of
“The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” is, essentially, that everything
is even worse than you thought. Even if you’ve followed the news items
and historical trends that gird Zuboff’s analysis, her telling takes
what look like privacy overreaches and data blunders, and recasts them
as the intentional movements of a global system designed to violate you
as a revenue stream. “The result is that both the world and our lives
are pervasively rendered as information,” Zuboff writes.
I strongly tend
to agree, but I also insist that I was there before, indeed without
wanting to start a priority disagreement - but look at this, which is
from November/December 2012: Crisis:
Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS.
fact, this was a half year before I learned about Edward
Snowden (whose facts very strongly supported my ideas). Here is
from this article:
Tech’s privacy scandals,
seem to appear with increasing frequency both in private industry and
in government, aren’t isolated incidents, but rather brief glimpses at
an economic and social logic that’s overtaken the planet while we were
enjoying Gmail and Instagram. The cliched refrain that if you’re “not
paying for a product, you are the product”? Too weak, says Zuboff.
You’re not technically the product, she explains over the course of
several hundred tense pages, because you’re something even more
degrading: an input for the real product, predictions about your future
sold to the highest bidder so that this future can be altered.
“Digital connection is now a means to others’ commercial ends,” writes
Zuboff. “At its core, surveillance capitalism is parasitic and
self-referential. It revives Karl Marx’s old image of capitalism as a
vampire that feeds on labor, but with an unexpected turn. Instead of
labor, surveillance capitalism feeds on every aspect of every human’s
Yes, I quite
agree. Here is some more - and I inserted the "SZ"s because these
quotations are taken from an interview that Biddle had with Zuboff:
SZ: Let’s say you’re
browsing, or you’re on Facebook putting stuff in a post. They’re not
taking your words and going into some marketplace and selling your
words. Those words, or if they’ve got you walking across the park or
whatever, that’s the raw material. They’re just secretly scraping your
private experience as raw material, and they’re stockpiling that raw
material, constantly flowing through the pipes. They sell prediction
products into a new marketplace. What are those guys really buying?
They’re buying predictions of what you’re gonna do.
Yes, that is
basically correct. Here is more by Zuboff:
SZ: Now we have markets
business customers that are selling and buying predictions of human
futures. I believe in the values of human freedom and human autonomy as
the necessary elements of a democratic society. As the competition of
these prediction products heats up, it’s clear that surveillance
capitalists have discovered that the most predictive sources of data
are when they come in and intervene in our lives, in our real-time
actions, to shape our action in a certain direction that aligns with
the kind of outcomes they want to guarantee to their customers. That’s
where they’re making their money. These are bald-faced interventions in
the exercise of human autonomy, what I call the “right to the future
tense.” The very idea that I can decide what I want my future to be and
design the actions that get me from here to there, that’s the very
material essence of the idea of free will.
Yes, I agree, but wish
to stress these involve the three assumptions that (1)
desirable; (2) there is real human freedom, and (3) there ought to be
real human autonomy (rather than invisibly manipulated billions of -
one example from many - Facebook users).
I agree to all three
assumptions. Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:
In fact, Zuboff is
referring to investigations led by Frank Church.
This is from the
Wikipedia article about him (minus note numbers):
SZ: I write about the
committee back in the ’70s that reviewed
behavioral modification from the point of view of federal funding,
and found behavioral mod a reprehensible threat to the values of human
autonomy and democracy. And here we are, these years later, like,
La-di-da, please pass the salt. This thing is growing all
around us, this new means of behavioral modification, under the
auspices of private capital, without constitutional protections, done
in secret, specifically designed to keep us ignorant of its operations.
Frank Church died in 1984.
I feel quite certain that he would have said that the personal
and the internet have introduced
Daniel Ellsberg quoted Church as speaking
of the NSA as follows: "I know the capacity that is there to
make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency
and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law
and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss.
That is the abyss from which there is no return." More specifically on
August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's "Meet the Press"
without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency:
In the need to develop a
capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States
government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to
monitor the messages that go through the air. These messages are
between ships at sea, they could be between units, military units in
the field. We have a very extensive capability of intercepting messages
wherever they may be in the airwaves. Now, that is necessary and
important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or
potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at
any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American
would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor
everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There
would be no place to hide.
If this government ever
became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the
technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the
government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be
no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine
together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it
was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the
capability of this technology.
Now why is this
investigation important? I'll tell you why: because I don't want to see
this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is
there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this
agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the
law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that
abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
the capacity that is
there to make tyranny total in America
and have succeeded
in a truly horrible fashion. This is a strongly
recommended article, in which there is a lot more than I quoted.
the Trump-radical Republican tax cut broke the economy
This article is by David
Cay Johnston on AlterNet and originally at DC Report. I
abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump’s tax cut for
the rich and the corporations they control is turning out to be a bust
for the American economy.
It will, however, burden
taxpayers with at least $1.5 trillion more federal debt because,
instead of boosting tax revenues through increased economic activity as
promised, it has caused a sharp drop in revenue.
I say, but I do
it, in part because it is Johnston who said so, for he seems a reasonable man
(I reviewed more articles by him) and he certainly is a specialist on
Here is some more:
Again I believe the above
is quite correct. Here is more:
A host of economic
show that the 2017
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act failed to achieve its key promise, a major
increase in investments by business that would create more jobs. This
is exactly the result that many, including those of us at DCReport,
We call the 2017 tax law
the Trump-Radical Republican tax law because not
one Democrat voted for the bill in the House or Senate. It was also
passed without a single public hearing. It is a terrible law that
benefits the richest among us at the expense of the many—and needs to
Republican tax law not only cut the corporate tax rate from 35% of
profits to 21%. It also allowed corporations to immediately deduct 100%
of capital expenditures instead of writing them off on their tax
returns over periods from three years to decades.
Thanks to the Trump-Radical
Republican tax cut, millions of families in California, Connecticut,
Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and other
high-tax states will owe thousands to tens of thousands of dollars more
in federal income tax for 2018 even if their income was unchanged from
That is because individuals
can deduct no more than $10,000 in state and local taxes, known as
SALT, on the tax returns due this Spring, and most homeowners will no
longer be able to deduct their mortgage interest.
The number of taxpayers who
will be eligible to itemize deductions is expected to fall from about
one in three to just one in 20.
So in fact
American middle class (what remains of it) will be paying (in taxes)
most of the blllions that Trump gave to the very rich.
Here is some more on the last quote:
Quite so, and this is a strongly
In addition, many American
expatriates are being hit hard by Trump and Congress because their
tax-deferred retirement savings plans in some countries are now treated
as immediately taxable by the United States. That’s because the law did
not distinguish between profits siphoned out of the United States by
companies like Apple and the normal course of business for many
expatriates complying with the laws where they now live.
Congress taxes Americans,
and American-based corporations, on their worldwide income. Other major
countries tax people only on income earned within their boundaries.
Wealth Tax Could Raise Trillions — and Save Our Democracy
is by Chuck Collins on Common Dreams and originally on The Hill. It
starts as follows:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.) has jolted the body politic with a bold proposal to tax the
concentrated wealth of the richest
75,000 households in the United States. It’s about time someone
took up this mantle.
Warren’s proposal would
levy an annual 2 percent tax on wealth over $50 million, with the rate
rising to 3 percent on wealth over $1 billion. Jeff Bezos, the
wealthiest man in the country, would pay $4.1
billion under the new tax.
The United States has a
proud tradition of breaking up concentrated wealth. The first federal
progressive income and estate taxes date from the first Gilded Age,
over a century ago. That’s when President Theodore Roosevelt observed,
“Of all forms of tyranny, the least attractive and the most vulgar is
the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of a plutocracy.”
I agree with
Collins on Warren, and I like Theodore Roosevelt's quotation, although
it also seems to me that Collins is more optimistic than I am
supposed fact that "The
United States has a
proud tradition of breaking up concentrated wealth": It seems to me this is - at best - true for
something like 40 years in the 20th century, namely from (roughly) 1930
Also, concentrated wealth has been consistently improving its
and its power since 1980 till 2020, at the costs of the wealth and the
power of the non-rich, I would say.
Here is some more from the article:
The wealth tax that Warren
proposes would raise substantial revenue — by one estimate almost $3
trillion in the next decade. This would be a substantial boost for
spending on green infrastructure, affordable higher education, and
other investments that could expand opportunity.
But more fundamentally, the
tax would be an investment in protecting democracy from the “tyranny of
a plutocracy” that worried Roosevelt. Today’s massive concentrations of
wealth also are concentrations of political and economic power, which
are disruptive to democracy, social cohesion and economic stability for
agree with the above. Here is something about the obscene very rich:
In fact, three men —
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — are wealthier than the entire
bottom half of the country combined. And while politically active
wealth dynasties such as the Walton, Koch and Mars families have seen
their wealth skyrocket by over
6,000 percent in recent decades, median American wealth is on the
decline — and 1
in 5 of us now has zero or even negative wealth.
I agree, except that I
dislike terms like "negative wealth" (and I would have
like 1 in 5 of all adult Americans has no wealth at all or has
without any wealth).
Here is the ending of this article:
I completely agree
this is a strongly recommended article.
Most local jurisdictions
tax wealth in the form of property, such as real estate and cars, based
on their value. Middle-class families pay these taxes all over the
country. What’s missing is an annual wealth tax focused on the billions
held by those at the top.
Like a century ago, today’s
extreme wealth inequality requires a direct tax on wealth. A
once-in-a-lifetime estate tax, or a more steeply progressive income tax
alone, will not put a sufficient brake on dynastic wealth. Warren’s
proposal would galvanize a populist movement that has been pointing out
for decades the corrosive impact of concentrated wealth on our body
Is the Only Real Anchor Baby in America
is by Michael Winship on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
Donald Trump is the
real anchor baby in America – childish yet so outsized and unwieldy
that he doesn’t hold the ship of state upright and in position like a
good anchor should but causes it to sink like a stone.
Watching him over the last
week or so, listening to the anti-immigration rant he delivered in the
Rose Garden when he caved and ended his crippling government shutdown,
reading his relentless, hallucinatory blitzkrieg of a Twitter feed…
each is continuing evidence of what we already, sadly, know too well:
that this is a blustering fool so out of touch with reality, so
ignorant of facts and lashing out when that ignorance is challenged,
that his continued presence as president feels intolerable.
Like the kowtowing minions
with whom he surrounds himself, he does not know what he does not know.
I think this is
more or less correct, but I have two remarks on this:
First, I think the problem with Trump is more serious than "a blustering fool": I am a psychologist and I think that Trump is insane - as do
quite a few psychologists and psychiatrists.
And second, I think I should explain what's wrong with not knowing
one does not know (also because Rumsfeld made a similar fallacy):
fact, there are many things I do not know that I do not
and that is the same for each and everyone.
Then again, since I am an intelligent and educated person, I know
more than 50 years of very many things that I do not know, or do not
know well enough, and about which I do want to find out more. And
is also true, at least of everybody who is intelligent and educated.
But I agree Trump is not one of the intelligent and educated
Here is some more on Trump's vast but unknown ignorance:
Just beyond the
innermost circle, though, there are some in government who say things
he does not want to hear. When Director of National Intelligence Dan
Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray—all
Trump appointees—spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday,
they sent up a volley of flares warning that the administration’s
foreign policy, such as it is, ignores danger signals that run contrary
to the president’s egotistical belief that he can do no wrong.
I suppose this is all true. And
here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Coats and his colleagues were
presenting the Worldwide Threat Assessment, an annual report that
indicates dangers to the United States and the rest of the planet;
everything from other nations to terrorist groups, pandemic disease and
yes, Mr. President, global warming.
And there’s more.
Despite Trump’s insistence that Iran is not complying with the arms
agreement from which he withdrew the United States last May, the
intelligence report says that despite other hostile activities, Iran
continues to live up to the deal’s terms and is not building nuclear
weapons. And although the president sent a video victory tweet in
December declaring, “We have won against ISIS; we’ve beaten them, and
we’ve beaten them badly,” thousands of fighters remain in Syria and
Iraq and ISIS terror networks are alive and well.
Yes, and this is a recommended
CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles
is by Edward Curtin on The Off-Guardian. It starts as follows:
The Nazis had a name for
their propaganda and mind-control
operations: weltanschauungskrieg – “world view warfare.” As good
students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American
teachers, including Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who had
honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War
I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New
York City, an industry whose raison d’ȇtre from the start was to serve
the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.
In 1941, U.S. Intelligence
as “psychological warfare,” a phrase that fails to grasp the full
dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda,
then and now.
Of course, the American
propaganda apparatus was just then getting
started on an enterprise that has become the epitome of successful
world view warfare programs, a colossal beast whose tentacles have
spread to every corner of the globe and whose fabrications have nestled
deep within the psyches of many hundreds of millions of Americans and
people around the world.
Yes indeed. In case you
want to know more about Edward Bernays:
You'll find his book "Propaganda" on my site under the last link. I put
it there in April
2012, briefly before my eyes collapsed, and that is the main reason I
did not do much on the Notes I want(ed) to make on this - quite
horrible, quite falsifying - book. I still hope to do so later, but
then it is 2019 now, and I am almost 69, and while my eyes are much
better than they were, they are still not healed.
Here is more:
Yes, I mostly agree - and a few
of the "illegal and criminal
actions" that "are carried out throughout the world
in the most blatant manner imaginable, as if to say fuck you openly
while insidiously infecting the general population through the mass
electronic screen culture" are
the fact that nobody's mail is protected in any way (except
very few who encrypt their mails).
Since the major
the late sixties and seventies – MKUltra, engineered coups all around
the world, assassinations of foreign leaders, spying on Americans, etc.
– no major program of propaganda has been exposed in the mainstream
media. Revealing books about certain CIA programs have been written –
e.g. Douglas Valentine’s important The Phoenix Program being one – and
dissenting writers, journalists, researchers, and whistleblowers
(Robert Parry, Gary Webb, Julian Assange, James W. Douglass, David Ray
Griffin, Edward Snowden, et al.) have connected the U.S. intelligence
services to dirty deeds and specific actions, such as the American
engineered coup d’Útat in Ukraine in 2013-14, electronic spying, and
the attacks of September 11, 2001. But the propaganda has for the most
part continued unabated at a powerful and esoteric cultural level,
while illegal and criminal actions are carried out throughout the world
in the most blatant manner imaginable, as if to say fuck you openly
while insidiously infecting the general population through the mass
electronic screen culture that has relegated intellectual and literary
culture to a tiny minority.
This is a crime, but that crime is the norm of all
of the meanwhile tenthousands of corporations and all
security forces that seek information on anyone.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Yes, I think I agree with the
above. There is a whole lot more in the article, that is strongly
Organizations like the
obviously fallible and have made many mistakes and failed to anticipate
world events. But they are also very powerful, having great financial
backing, and do the bidding of their masters in banking, Wall St.,
finance, etc. They are the action arm of these financial elites, and
are, as Douglass Valentine has written, organized criminals. They have
their own military, are joined to all the armed forces, and are deeply
involved in the drug trade. They control the politicians. They operate
their own propaganda network in conjunction with the private
mercenaries they hire for their operations. The corporate mass media
take their orders, orders that need not be direct, but sometimes are,
because these media are structured to do the bidding of the same elites
that formed the CIA and own the media. And while their ostensible
raison d’ȇtre is to provide intelligence to the nation’s civilian
leaders, this is essentially a cover story for their real work that is
propaganda, killing, and conducting coups d’Útats at home and abroad.
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 (!!).