in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from July 4, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Thursday,
I realize that I did not commemorate the fact that I am writing
Crisis files for six years now,
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. (This still
continues: I have ME/CFS
since 40+ years.)
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
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
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.
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
four crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from July 4, 2019:
1. It’s the Cruelty, Stupid
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:
your data is really worth to Facebook
3. Democrats, This Isn’t Politics as Usual
4. It's Time to
Redefine Left, Right, and Especially "Center" in US
the Cruelty, Stupid
This article is by
Charles M. Blow on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
Yes indeed. Here is some
There are tanks in the
nation’s capital and concentration camps on its border. The slide of
this nation into a nearly unrecognizable state continues unabated.
Donald Trump is recreating America in his own image: an abominable one.
He brags about trading valentines
with the ruthless North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, saying at a
political rally in September:
“I was really being tough. And
so was he. And we’d go back and forth. And then we fell in love, O.K.?
No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters.
We fell in love. But you know what? Now they’ll say: ‘Donald Trump said
they fell in love. How horrible. How horrible is that? So
According to Human Rights Watch,
North Korea under Kim not only “restricts all civil and political
liberties, including freedom of expression, assembly, association and
religion,” it systematically extracts “forced, unpaid labor from its
citizens,” and “women in North Korea suffer a range of sexual and
gender-based abuses” that include “rape and other sexual violence and
torture in detention facilities, sexual exploitation, or forced
marriage of North Korean women in China, and sexual and gender-based
violence and discrimination.”
And this says nothing of the hundreds of
people Kim is thought to have had executed since coming to power in
And this is the man that the
president of the United States brags about being in love with.
Again I say: Yes indeed.
Here is the ending of this article:
month Trump joked with Russia’s Vladimir Putin about getting “rid of
to the Committee to
Protect Journalists, 28 journalists have been killed in Russia
since Putin took office in 2000.
week in Osaka, Japan, Trump said of the Saudi
crown prince: “It’s an honor to be with the crown prince of Saudi
Arabia, a friend of mine, a man who has really done things in the last
five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia.”
be clear: That friend is believed to have ordered the murder of
Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And, murder may in fact be
too antiseptic a word. Turkish officials claim that after Khashoggi was
killed, his body was hacked up with a bone saw, then disposed of.
only has Trump never delivered a full-throated condemnation of the
Saudi leader, he plans to reward the kingdom with more arms sales unless Congress is able to stop him.
No, I disagree: It
is not the cruelty. It is
Trump's neofascism - which I was already aware of in 2016 (see the
last link, and check out this link: neofascism).
In fact, while I also believe - with many psychologists and
psychiatrists - that Trump
is insane, I am considerably more convinced that he is a
neofascist, and the reason is that I know a lot about both
fascism and psychiatry, but I am quite sure that my knowledge
about fascism is considerably better based than anything I know
about either psychology or psychiatry.
thinking that this is only about partisanship or polarization. It’s the
cruelty, stupid. It has always been about cruelty: racial cruelty,
gender cruelty, religious cruelty. It has always been about bending the
rest of America, the rest of reality, really, into subordination to the
white supremacist patriarchy.
the emerging culture of the world has to be put under boot for the
established culture to maintain power, so be it. This is the white
supremacist mantra; this is the Trump message.
Also, in case you disagree: I am sorry. First show that you
know a lot about psychiatry (I am a psychologist) and a
lot about fascism (which I have been reading about for more than 50
years). Anyway, this is a recommended article, though I think its
diagnosis is quite mistaken, indeed not because Trump isn't
cruel but because my conclusions are much better founded.
your data is really worth to Facebook
This article is by Robert J. Shapiro on
AlterNet and originally on Washington Monthly. It starts as follows:
Americans who use the
internet—85.5 percent of us—have made a tacit bargain with Facebook,
Google, MasterCard, Verizon, and most other sites and products we use
regularly. We get access to these companies’ services, and they get to
scoop up, analyze, and sell our personal information. Few people
question this setup, perhaps because most of us assume that our data
isn’t worth much.
But that assumption is
In fact, I think this
is a quite interesting article, but I do not quite
agree with this beginning because I do not think most people
make so much as "a tacit
bargain with Facebook,
What I think may be
summed up in two points:
(i) only a very
smal minority of all users of computers are decent programmers, and
(ii) in fact, the vast majority of all users of computers knows as
much about them as they know about their TVs, their cars, their washing
machines etc.: they know how to turn which knobs to get desired
results, but about the reasons these things work as they do, they have
hardly any decent idea.
These two facts also
entail there are hardly any "bargains": There is the great
majority of computer users who know virtually nothing about computers
other than switching a few knobs, and there are Facebook, Google,
Microsoft, Apple etc. who trade on and abuse that ignorance in their
own financial interests.
Back to the article:
Earlier this year, my
colleague Siddhartha Aneja and I published a deep-dive study into the
value of the personal information that every major website sells access
to. It’s a complicated problem. Much of the value comes from
advertising revenue, disclosed in annual reports and SEC filings by
public companies. But we also had to determine how much of that ad
revenue is derived specifically from the micro-targeting that user data
makes possible, as well as how much the companies spent to gather,
analyze, and market user profiles. In the end, we calculated that
internet companies earned an average of $202 per American internet user
in 2018 from personal data. We believe that’s a conservative estimate.
In fact, the article explains
fairly well how it arrived at "an average of $202 per American internet user in 2018" but I skip the explanations but accept
Here is some more:
The value reflects the
extraordinarily varied and detailed data that companies collect. Google
collects not only the personal information you reveal when you use its
search engine, but also the data that comes from whatever you do when
you visit or use any of its dozens of properties—YouTube, Gmail, Google
Maps, the Chrome browser, Google Pay—or apps accessed by logging in
through Google. Similarly, Facebook gathers all the data crumbs you
leave whenever you visit the site itself or use its Messenger service,
plus whatever you do on subsidiaries like Instagram and on apps
accessed by logging in through Facebook.
Beyond the major platforms, hundreds of other companies take part in
the burgeoning personal data business. Our study also explored the
revenues from digital advertising earned by smaller internet services,
ranging from Snapchat and Spotify to internet media holding companies
such as IAC, which owns Match.com, the Daily Beast, and Investopedia.
Yes indeed - and as personal
information, I do not use anything of anyone mentioned in the
last quotation, except for watching videos on Youtube (which is
personal information is worth so much because the profiles created from
it are remarkably probing and detailed. Algorithms track and save data
on what we search for, what we write in emails and messages, what we
buy, and everything else we do online, whether on our phones or
laptops. Not only do the algorithms then build up a basic profile based
on gender, age, ethnicity, and so on; they also determine our
individual interests, likes and dislikes, family background, political
leanings, sexual orientation, and much more. Everything we reveal
online is fair game.
indeed - and my own opinion is that no one
has a right to that personal information, however they get
I also realize that this makes me in fact an opponent of the
internet, which is also quite correct, even though that position is
very rare, which I am because the set-up just sketched, which amounts
Both the governments secret services and quite a few of the
very rich know everything or almost everything about you, which they
use to make money and/or to influence, propagandize and lie to you to
make you behave as they like, while you either do not know anything
about what is factually happening with you, your rights, your freedoms
Anyway. There is considerably more in this fine article, which ends as
A straightforward solution is
thus to require the companies to share the profits from those
operations with users on a fifty-fifty basis. Of course, asking
internet companies to write a check to every individual user would be
impossibly inefficient. Instead, each company could write a single
check to the government, and the government could distribute the
proceeds to every household based on the number of its internet users.
So, in 2022, a family of four internet users would receive $868 in
payment for their personal data. The era of free riding for online
companies would be over. Corporations have gotten rich by exploiting
our data. It’s time for them to share the wealth.
This Isn’t Politics as Usual
Well... it is an idea
that has the advantage of making Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and
all other sick spies on everyone a bit less rich by their
spying, and in that sense I am for it.
But I am not much for
it, for the same spying continues, and I think that secret services
who know tenthousands or hundredthousands times more about each and
everyone than the Gestapo or the KGB knew about some, is the best
way towards neofascism I ever
And this is a strongly
This article is by Robert
Reich on his site. It starts as follows:
Of course, this is the position
of respectively the Republicans and the Democrats in the present USA.
Imagine an opposition
political party in a land being taken over by an oligarchy, headed by a
The tyrant and the
oligarchy behind him have convinced many voters that the reason they
feel powerless and economically insecure isn’t because the oligarchy
has taken most of the economic gains and overwhelmed the government
with their money. It’s because the country has been taken over by
undocumented immigrants, Latinos, African-Americans, and a “deep state”
of coastal liberals, intelligence agencies, and mainstream media.
This is rubbish, of course,
but the tyrant is masterful at telling big lies, and he is backed by
the oligarchy’s big money.
Imagine further that the
opposition party will soon face another election in which it could
possibly depose the tyrant and overcome the oligarchy. But at the rate
they are consolidating power – over the courts, politics, and the media
– this could be the opposition’s last chance.
What would it do?
There is more that I skip. Here is the ending:
I agree basically with
Reich, except that I probably am more pessimistic than he is,
for I consider it a virtual certainty that the Democratic Party is not
up to the task Reich has sketched in this article. This does not necessarily mean that Trump will win
the next presidential elections but even so it is not an optimistic
future. And this is a recommended article.
It would do best with a
candidate able to create a multiracial coalition to fight the tyrant
and his oligarchy – a coalition combining poor, working class and
middle class whites, blacks, and Latinos.
It needs a candidate who
can explain how the tyrant uses racism and xenophobia to divide and
conquer, turning the majority against each other. A candidate who helps
people understand that a necessary part of fighting tyranny is fighting
racism, and a requisite for fighting inequality is reversing climate
change. A candidate who can unite the country around an agenda of
robust democracy and shared prosperity.
This may sound fanciful,
but the challenge is real, and America’s Democratic Party must meet it
over the next seventeen months.
What may be fanciful is
that today’s Democratic Party has the power to select its candidate in
the ways I’ve suggested.
Yet the stakes in the 2020
election are larger than any election in living memory. The Democrats’
selection of a candidate therefore is no ordinary thing. In a very real
sense, the fates of America and the world depend on it. The question is
whether the Democratic Party is up to the task.
Time to Redefine Left, Right, and Especially "Center" in US Politics
This article is by John
Atcheson on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I agree mostly
with the first paragraph, but not with the second, and my
reason is David Brooks whom I am not reading anymore because he is a
sick and degenerate liar. I do not know whom or what he is lying for,
but I do know, as a psychologist also, that his personal
utterly false attack on Edward Snowden in June 2013 was a major, sick
and degenerate utter falsification, which also caused me to decide not
to waste any more time on this professional liar.
One of the most
persistent—and destructive—myths in politics is that America is a
center right country politically. It is reinforced by both
parties, the press, and pundits and it has become generally accepted by
much of the public. This myth explains why folks warn against
going too far to the left; about the dangers of embracing—gasp—"socialism,"
and why most attempts to divine the "electability" of the multitude of
candidates in the Democratic race are misguided at best.
For example, from the
center right, New York Times columnist and NPR
commentator David Brooks said:
According to a recent
35 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, 35 percent call
themselves moderate and 26 percent call themselves liberal. The
candidates at the debates this week fall mostly within the 26 percent.
The party seems to think it can win without any of the 35
percent of us in the moderate camp, the ones who actually
delivered the 2018 midterm win.
Anyway - back to the article:
I believe the last
quotation is correct, but I do not know it. Then again, I do agree
with Atcheson that the understandings of most Americans of the
political terms "left", "right", "center", "liberal", "socialism" and
more is quite bad.
But the fact is, the center
of gravity among the inside the beltway crowd simply doesn’t match
where the people are. The beltway cognoscenti's center is, in fact,
well to the right of the people's center. What they think of as
extreme left wing is, in fact, the
center of public opinion.
It's not just the centrists
and the center-right who are mischaracterizing the center of American
politics, it includes nominally liberal folks as well as
corporate-funded liberal organizations like The Third Way and the
Center for American Progress. And the debate about whether the
Democratic Party is drifting too far to the left was evident in both
Here is some more by Atcheson:
I again believe
that the quotation is probably correct in outline, and Atcheson is right
that the campaign of the rich right started with Reagan, and could
continue for nearly 40 years, in considerable part because the two
Democratic presidents - Clinton and Obama - mostly collaborated.
Let's get back to that
Madison Avenue campaign. A cabal of rich conservatives—including
Richard Scaife, the Koch brothers, Alice and Jim Walton, John Olin,
Lynde and Harry Bradley, and our own Betsy DeVos—in conjunction with
corporations, began funding what was essentially a conservative
coup designed to make America more corporate-friendly and more
conservative. A key part of that involved a skilled messaging campaign
designed to discredit the term "liberal" and imbue the term
"conservative" with a meaning that had no relationship to the
individual policies they were pursuing. Ronald Reagan was an
ideal spokesman, and by the end of his first term, conservatives had
effectively branded the term "liberal" as a negative, characterizing
them as relatively mindless champions of big government,
over-regulation, taxing and profligate spenders on hair-brained ideas.
Anyway, here is the ending of this article:
problem with this, is that it makes people believe the "electability"
myth surrounding candidates like Clinton and Biden, and the presumed
unelectability of people like Warren or Sanders. What needs to be
pointed out is that this was the very myth that gave us Trump. And—if
we don't set the record straight—it could again.
Yes, I basically agree
with this, though I think it unlikely the Democratic Party is
up to it - and see item 3 above. And this is a
Now is a
time that demands leadership. Playing back the results of the latest
poll isn't leadership. Tapping into the progressive majority that lies
well to the left of either party is. It's time we redrew the
political map around the coordinates defined by the people's values,
not the labels purchased by the uber-rich and elites.
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 3 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 (!!).