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Nederlog

June 15, 2019

Crisis: Facebook & Privacy, Secret Surveillance, Mainstream Media, On Psychiatry & Bandy Lee


“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.






Sections

Introduction

1. Summary
2.
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from June 15, 2019
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, June 15, 2019.

I realize that I did not commemorate the fact that I am writing Crisis files for six years now, since I started to do so after June 10, 2013, which taught me about Snowden.

I am registering it now, and may write about it the coming days, but I am also somewhat worse at present than I was for a long time.

There will be more about computers and Ubuntu in Nederlog soon, but I am happy to announce that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, that I installed in 2017, works again as it did before on May 24, and after 24 hours of misery.

And on May 23 I also got a working computer with 18.04 LTS (which is worse than 16.04 LTS because its Firefox also is a menuless horror that I refuse to use, but happily SeaMonkey is not, for it still has it menus and can be installed on 18.04), so I am at present - and after two weeks of struggling - in the possession of two more or less, though not yet quite decently working computers.

So today there is a more or less common Nederlog, where "common" is the style I developed in 2013.

1. Summary

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.

On the moment and since more than three years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are four crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from June 15, 2019:
1. Facebook Blames Users for Destroying Their Own Right to Privacy
2. In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move
3. The Mainstream Media Is Marching Us Into War With Iran
4. Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee: Trump’s mental health an
     ’emergency’ 
The items 1 - 4 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:

1. Facebook Blames Users for Destroying Their Own Right to Privacy

This article is by Sam Biddle on The Intercept. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat before members of both houses of Congress and told them his company respected the privacy of the roughly two billion people who use it. “Privacy” remained largely undefined throughout Zuckerberg’s televised flagellations, but he mentioned the concept more than two dozen times, including when he told the Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce committees, “We have a broader responsibility to protect people’s privacy even beyond” a consent decree from federal privacy regulators, and when he told the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls.” A year later, Zuckerberg claimed in interviews and essays to have discovered the religion of personal privacy and vowed to rebuild the company in its image.

But only months after Zuckerberg first outlined his “privacy-focused vision for social networking” in a 3,000-word post on the social network he founded, his lawyers were explaining to a California judge that privacy on Facebook is nonexistent.

Well... in my opinion, if you believe anything whatsoever Zuckerberg says about Facebook, which made him one of the richest persons on earth in a few years by frauding over 2 billion people to use his stinking spyware (see e.g. the next article and Nederlog), you must be an utter fool.

Here is a lawyer of Facebook that defends Facebook's neofascist fraudulence as follows:

Representing Facebook before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria was Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, who claimed that the plaintiffs’ charges of privacy invasion were invalid because Facebook users have no expectation of privacy on Facebook. The simple act of using Facebook, Snyder claimed, negated any user’s expectation of privacy:

There is no privacy interest, because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy.

An outside party can’t violate what you yourself destroyed, Snyder seemed to suggest.
    (..)
So not only is it Facebook’s legal position that you’re not entitled to any expectation of privacy, but it’s your fault that the expectation went poof the moment you started using the site (or at least once you connected with 100 Facebook “friends”).

Yes, I agree with Biddle's interpretation, and I also want to draw your attention to the fact that the legal arguments underlying Facebook's neofascism are (i) very long and quite complicated; (ii) are in fact read by extremely few members of Facebook, because (iii) they are far too complicated and legalese by most to read them with any degree of comprehension, while also (iv) all of the code of Facebook is hidden code, that no one except a few at Facebook people will ever see.

Also, none of these four points are specific to Facebook. In fact, I believe all four points are true of the vast majority of programs with hidden software (which again is the vast majority of programs).

Here is more by Snyder:

At one point Chhabria asked, seemingly unable to believe Snyder’s argument himself, “If Facebook promises not to disseminate anything that you send to your hundred friends, and Facebook breaks that promise and disseminates your photographs to a thousand corporations, that would not be a serious privacy invasion?

Snyder didn’t blink: “Facebook does not consider that to be actionable, as a matter of law under California law.”

Well... he is consistent but he is lying, and what he effectively says is this:

If you talk about anything to anyone on any internet computer, it means you are publishing these things to your friends; "therefore" none of your talk or acts to friends can ever be private; and "therefore" what you say may be published by Facebook to its two billion users, and sold to advertisers to lie to you to exploit you as well as possible (and thus Zuckerberg made over 100 billion dollars).

In fact, here is Snyder again, and this is the last bit I quote from this article:

Once you go to friends, the gig is over because you’ve just gone — taken a hundred people and pronounced your personal likes and dislikes. In fact, the very act of liking something and showing your friends that you like something is a non-private act. It’s the whole premise of Facebook and social media, is to render not private your likes, your dislikes, your expressions. When I tag someone in a photo, it’s to tell people, not keep private, that I’m sitting on a park bench with John Smith. So it’s the opposite of private when you do that.

He says himself what I just spelled out:

"
In fact, the very act of liking something and showing your friends that you like something is a non-private act" - which means that anything you say to anyone else makes what you said completely non-private (and "therefore" recoverable by Facebook, that "therefore: may sell everything whatsoever that your share with anyone).

Also:

"It’s the whole premise of Facebook and social media, is to render not private your likes, your dislikes, your expressions." Note that this also applies to any secret whatsoever you share with any of your friends on an internet computer: By telling it to someone else, it ceases to be private, and therefore can be copied by Facebook and sold to advertisers to lie you so they can exploit you better.

For me, this is neofascism pure and simple, and should be completely forbidden, as should Facebook be. And this is a strongly recommended article.

2. In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move

This article is by Michael Kwet on The New York Times. It starts as follows - and this can be taken as one example of what I said in the previous article:

Imagine you are shopping in your favorite grocery store. As you approach the dairy aisle, you are sent a push notification in your phone: “10 percent off your favorite yogurt! Click here to redeem your coupon.” You considered buying yogurt on your last trip to the store, but you decided against it. How did your phone know?

Your smartphone was tracking you. The grocery store got your location data and paid a shadowy group of marketers to use that information to target you with ads. Recent reports have noted how companies use data gathered from cell towers, ambient Wi-Fi, and GPS. But the location data industry has a much more precise, and unobtrusive, tool: Bluetooth beacons.

These beacons are small, inobtrusive electronic devices that are hidden throughout the grocery store; an app on your phone that communicates with them informed the company not only that you had entered the building, but that you had lingered for two minutes in front of the low-fat Chobanis.

Yes, for these are the present facts, and I regard them as utterly neofascistic. Also, I refuse and have refused to use any of these neofascist smart phones that deal with you as if you are their slave by sending absolutely everything you do or say on them to some advertisers.

Here is some more (and this article is quite long and quite interesting, which means I have to repress a lot in a review in Nederlog):

Most people aren’t aware they are being watched with beacons, but the “beacosystem” tracks millions of people every day. Beacons are placed at airports, malls, subways, buses, taxis, sporting arenas, gyms, hotels, hospitals, music festivals, cinemas and museums, and even on billboards.

In order to track you or trigger an action like a coupon or message to your phone, companies need you to install an app on your phone that will recognize the beacon in the store. Retailers (like Target and Walmart) that use Bluetooth beacons typically build tracking into their own apps. But retailers want to make sure most of their customers can be tracked — not just the ones that download their own particular app.

So a hidden industry of third-party location-marketing firms has proliferated in response. These companies take their beacon tracking code and bundle it into a toolkit developers can use.

The makers of many popular apps, such as those for news or weather updates, insert these toolkits into their apps.

Precisely:

While most of the millions who use smartphones have little or no ideas that these neofascistic tools are used to track everything they do and sell that to advertisers (and also possibly give it to the NSA), they are tracked in absolutely everything they do with their smartphones, including sending you advertisements very briefly before you took a decision to buy something.

And order to assure that, many of the tools you use include code (that you will never see, and only be "told" about in reams and reams of legalistic prose few can understand and fewer read at all) that will track whatever you do, wherever you are, in order to sell what they track to advertisers so they can lie to you.

Here is some more about this:

Location data companies often collect additional data provided by apps. A location company called Pulsate, for example, encourages app developers to pass them customer email addresses and names.

Companies like Reveal Mobile collect data from software development kits inside hundreds of frequently used apps. In the United States, another company, inMarket, covers 38 percent of millennial moms and about one-quarter of all smartphones, and tracks 50 million people each month. Other players have similar reach.

Location data companies have other disturbing tricks up their sleeve. For example, inMarket developed “mindset targeting” techniques that predict when individuals are most receptive to ads.

For me, all these companies engage in neofascism I do not want anything to do with. (And no, I have no smartphone and will never owe one, and I also only use email and a browser on the computer I do use - and I am rather sure I as well am being followed since I got ADSL in 2009.)

Here is the last bit I reproduce from this article:
[I]n 2017, Google introduced Project Beacon and began sending beacons to businesses for use with Google Ads services. Google uses the beacons to send the businesses’ visitors notifications that ask them to leave photos and reviews, among other features. And last year, investigators at Quartz found that Google Android can track you using Bluetooth beacons even when you turn Bluetooth off in your phone.

For years, Apple and Google have allowed companies to bury surveillance features inside the apps offered in their app stores. And both companies conduct their own beacon surveillance through iOS and Android.
So these are the neofascists from Google and Apple, who do the same, and also use Bluetooth (that I have always refused to use and switch totally off on any new computer I use: no wifi for me).

As I said: For me all of the above is plain and obvious neofascism, I do not want anything to do with. Also, this is a strongly recommended article in which there is a whole lot more than I quoted.


3. The Mainstream Media Is Marching Us Into War With Iran

This article is by Jake Johnson and Jon Queally on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

If there were any lingering hopes that the corporate media learned from its role in perpetuating the lies that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and would never again help start a Middle East war on the basis of false or flimsy evidence, the headlines that blared across the front pages of major U.S. news websites Thursday night indicated that such hopes were badly misplaced.

The U.S. military late Thursday released blurry, black-and-white video footage that it claimed—without any underlying analysis or further details—showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, one of the oil tankers damaged in attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

Yes, indeed - and I must say this very strongly reminds me of how the Americans got involved in Vietnam: With a highly similar quasi-attack (planned and engineered by the USA) on one of the warships of the USA.

For more information, see the Vietnam War and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

Here is more from the article:

Independent critics were quick to call for extreme skepticism in the face of U.S. government claims, given the quality of the “evidence” and the warmongering track records of those presenting it.

Yes, I think that is correct - and in fact there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran did this.

Here is some more on the present qualities of the vast majority of the media:

But the media displayed no such caution.

Just taking a random sample of screenshots after the news broke Thursday night, major outlets largely did the Pentagon’s dirty work by posting uncritical headlines that took the claims at face value.

In the article the above is followed by pictures + texts from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian and five more - and perhaps I should remind you that in 2013 and 2014 the three papers I mentioned did publish Snowden's materials, but meanwhile have moved (once more) to the right, which means that they simply copy the materials the American government gives them, and publish that as if it were true, generally with little or no research of their own.

Here is a brief summary:

Though no single headline could be construed as explicit pro-Pentagon propaganda on its own, the uncritical nature of the coverage and ensuing echo chamber effect—or what is sometimes referred to as “propaganda reinforcement”—is one of the ways that the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies are empowered to turn a flimsy claim into a pervasive and widely-accepted fact.

Yes, I agree and refer you again to the Vietnam War and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (which again mirrored how many earlier wars started). And this is a strongly recommended article, in which there is a lot more than I quoted.

4. Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee: Trump’s mental health an ’emergency’

This article is by Chauncey DeVega on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This is from near its beginning:

Dr. Bandy Lee, who is a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and editor of the bestselling book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” convened a panel comprised of leading mental health experts to evaluate Donald Trump based upon his behavior as detailed in the Mueller report.

Their definitive conclusion: Trump is mentally unfit, a threat to the United States and the world, and as such should have his powers severely restricted while he is put under a doctor’s care. At the invitation of several Democratic members of Congress, Lee and other mental health professionals will present their findings about Donald Trump’s mental health in a public meeting in Washington next month.

Well... let me point out three things that are relevant to me - and I am a psychologist who got his M.A. degree with only A's):

First of all, I agree with the above: I think Trump is insane, and I also think Trump is a neofascist. I will not defend my thesis that he is a neofascist here and now, but this is because I lack time, space and health, and - especially - because in 10 years of reading tenthousands of articles I have not met a single person who could define either fascism or neofascism in any decent way. (I know a lot about fascism i.a. because bith my father and my grandfather were arrested in August 1941 for resisting the Nazis and were committed to concentration camp punishments by collaborating Dutch judges, which my grandfather did not survive while my father survived over 3 years and 9 months of them.)

Second, the main reason I agree with the above quoted bit is that my diagnosis is based on a diagnosis from the DSM-5 (and before) of a specific kind of insanity, namely narcissism, of which I am convinced Trump satisfies all 9 criterions (where 5 is sufficient as a diagnosis, according to the DSM-5). Also, as I said, I am a psychologist.

Third, the above is about the extent I do agree with psychiatry. My main reasons to disagree with nearly all the psychiatry I ever read is that it is not a proper science at all - if you doubt this, you ought to check out my
DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis", and I should add that I am not only a psychologist but also a philosopher who in fact became a psychologist after I was denied - completely illegally - the right to take an M.A. in philosophy very briefly before getting that, because I had criticized (in a public speech) those who taught me philosophy, who indeed were nearly all both total incompetents and utter liars.

Also, while I agree with Lee about Donald Trump, I disagree with Lee about psychiatry not only for the above reasons but also because both my ex and myself now are ill for more than 40 years with ME/CFS, which is a "chronic and serious disease" since ... 2018 (in Holland). And this means that both my ex and I have been declared insane by 90% - 27 out of 30 - of the Dutch "medics" we asked for help, indeed not because we were insane in any sense, but because they simply all said what the psychiatrists insisted upon, who did not have any rational reason whatsoever to declare more than 10 million people insane simply because they said they felt ill, while the medics could find no proof they were ill. (Apparently the underlying motive was that medicine is complete: What present medics do not know does not exist, and if people maintain they are ill without present medicine being able to find it they must be insane.)

Since I have had 40 years of these experiences, which cost me tenthousands euros and at least 7 years of very serious troubles I simply would never have had if my ex and I would have been described as ill, I dislike psychiatry intensely, indeed quite apart from my arguments that it is not a proper science at all.

Anyway... I am by now getting quite irritated by Bandy Lee. Here are some of my reasons:

Communities, be they nations or other types of social collectives, can function like an individual. So the same principles that apply to an individual apply to collectives or nation-states.

This is Lee from the article. In fact, she reasons here precisely as Archie Bunker did: Since you can name Polacks, Italians, Greeks etc. "it follows" these exist as individuals, and "therefore" can be treated as individuals: Thus, Polacks are meatheads etc. etc.

Here is more:

As mental health professionals we understand this phenomenon. We see this every day. We know what happens to patients when they lose their ability to have insight, when they can no longer see the abnormal as malignant and bad. The patients are delusional because they believe bad things are good for them. When this happens a patient succumbs to the disorder and starts being destructive.

No, as "mental health professionals" you know in fact extremely little, whereas the book on which virtually all of your knowledge is based, the DSM-5, is a frighteningly unscientific collection of bullshit, in which the only empirical facts are in fact the percentages of agreements between (America) psychiatrists on the diagnoses they reach.

Besides, as I have argued, my ex and myself plus around 17 million (!!) of others who have ME/CFS were said to be insane ("neurasthenic", "psychosomatic", which are in fact both diagnosis incompatible with medicine) by virtually all medics for the last 40 years (which costs us a lot of money and a great lot of trouble for 40 years).

Here is more:

The health paradigm has no room for politics. This has nothing to do with politics. Our concerns are purely about public health and safety, and whether or not American society will choose a destructive route versus a life-affirming, constructive route. Disease by definition is destructive.

Well, in that case you are bullshitting: "public health and safety" clearly depend a great lot on "politics", as does the question "whether or not American society will choose a destructive route versus a life-affirming, constructive route".

Then again, I should warn you that many psychiatrist (who are not - real - scientists, because present-day psychiatry is not a real science at all, even if it is the best currently available) are just as plainly inconsistent as Lee is.

Here is the last bit I quote from this article (and the bold bit is by DeVega):

Do you think that Donald Trump should be impeached? What advice would you give Nancy Pelosi if she reached out to you?

I do not involve myself in direct discussions about impeachment or the political process because that is outside of my realm of expertise. My expertise is medical. In that capacity I can state that unless Donald Trump is contained or removed, he is posing a danger to public health and safety.

More obvious inconsistent bullshit: First of all, you are clearly meddling with politics (and in fact I agree with you on that), and second of all your "expertise" is definitely not "medical" (even though you may have a B.A. in medicine), for the simple reason that you are a psychiatrist, and psychiatry is not medicine.

Anyway... I think this is my last review of Bandy Lee's opinions, simply because she is bullshitting too much about psychiatry.


Note

[1] I have now been saying since the 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.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 3 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only 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 (!!).
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