March 22, 2018

Crisis+More: On Facebook *4, On Fox News, Trump As Dictator, $32 Million Per Hour, May ´68


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from March 22, 2018
     B. More Selections

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, March 22, 2018.

And as you see above, I have added today another section B.

I do not know how often I will do so, but I did so yesterday mostly because of ME/CFS (which my ex and I have for nearly forty years, which is now called ¨a serious chronic disease¨, which indeed it is, but my ex and I did not get any help whatsoever all these 40 years, except by a very few rare medics, while our characters, our honesty, and our intelligence were systematically and for forty years blackened by 9 out of 10 medical people I met), and I am doing so again today because of Facebook (which I hate and despise ever since I knew about it).

I will probably not continue tomorrow
but it may happen again (if I get enough sleep, which now - after a mere forty years - is a problem I have that is admitted I do have, by Dutch doctors, and not because I am ¨insane¨ or ¨a psychosomatizer¨, but because I have ¨a serious chronic disease¨, which is also the first time in nearly 40 years that I heard this from medical minds).

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:

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 two 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.

Section 2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from March 22, 2018
1. What Mark Zuckerberg Said Years Ago About Facebook Could Haunt Him
     Amid the Cambridge Analytica Scandal 

2. Zuckerberg Breaks Silence on Cambridge Analytica, Apologizes for Data

3. Facebook's Latest Data Breach Reveals Silicon Valley's Fortunes Are
     Built on Pilfering Privacy

4. Facebook Will Never Change Unless We Force It To
5. Fox Commentator Leaves Network, Calling it ‘Propaganda Machine’
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:

1. What Mark Zuckerberg Said Years Ago About Facebook Could Haunt Him Amid the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

This article is by Mehreen Kasana on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

A 2010 New Yorker profile of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may haunt him now amid Cambridge Analytica news. The profile, written by Jose Antonio Vargas, details a leaked exchange between the Facebook creator and a friend who wasn’t identified.

The chat log was first leaked to the technology website Silicon Alley Insider and depicted instant messages from Zuckerberg in which he brags to an unnamed friend about having unfettered access to the data of any Harvard student he wanted. When the friend asks Zuckerberg how he gained such access, the social network creator mocked people’s supposed naivete.

"Yeah, so if you ever need [information] about anyone at Harvard, just ask," Zuckerberg said to his friend. He added, "I have 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, [and] SNS." The friend sounds surprised, and asks, "What? How'd you manage that one?" Zuckerberg replied, "People just submitted it. I don't know why. They trust me. Dumb fucks."

Well... I absolutely love Zuckerberg´s quotation - Zuckerberg: "They trust me. Dumb fucks." - and I will repeat it wherever I have to speak about his horrific means of getting $70 billion dollars out of the currently two billions of ¨dumb fucks¨ he misleads, lies to, propagandizes and generally deceives into giving him commands over the - utterly fucked over, completely abused - private information they own and should keep private.

I do not think anyone else frauded more than 2 billion people, for it is an absolutely obvious fraud - and in case you deny this here is the definition of ¨fraud¨ (minus note numbers):

In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud itself can be a civil wrong (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation), a criminal wrong (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities) or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, such as obtaining a passport or travel document, driver's license or qualifying for a mortgage by way of false statements.

And here is the other bit I quote from this fine article:

Zuckerberg, who never disputed the tasteless conversation, later said he “absolutely” regretted the chat.

I totally accept that, were it only because I believe this is the last honest public statement Zuckerberg made since 2004. (I certainly have no evidence for Zuckerberg´s honesty and besides: people who earn $70 billions by committing a fraud on two billion naive and ignorant internet users cannot be trusted at all.)

And this is a strongly recommended article.

2. Zuckerberg Breaks Silence on Cambridge Analytica, Apologizes for Data Breach

This article is by Jordan Riefe on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

Breaking his silence for the first time since reports last weekend that the political data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained information on 50 million Facebook users, Mark Zuckerberg weighed in with a post on Facebook Wednesday afternoon. In a 937-word explanation he blamed himself, but he also blamed Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who mined the data then lied about destroying it.

I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.

With Facebook facing investigations by attorneys general in both Massachusetts and New York, Zuckerberg assured one and all that the problem has already been fixed.
You may trust someone who deceived over 2 billion naive and ignorant users of internet, but I absolutely never will until Zuckerberg is - completely demonstrably - poorer than I am: He is a 2 billionfold deceiver of naive and ignorant internet users, who ¨trust [Zuckerberg] ¨ because they behaved as utterly stupid and ignorant ¨Dumb fucks", in Zuckerberg´s own words.\

And here is some more on Cambridge Analytica:

Earlier this week, CEO Alexander Nix was caught on hidden camera bragging about the firm’s illicit acts and has been subsequently suspended. Writing for the Mercury News, Rex Crum and Levi Sumagaysay sum up the worst month in Facebook’s 10-year history.

The Trump campaign used Cambridge Analytica early on, and the former employee of the firm, Chris Wylie, has said the firm’s data and analysis helped shape the politically divisive tone of the Trump campaign.

Among the consequences so far: The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating whether Facebook violated a consent decree that was part of a privacy settlement the company reached with the agency in 2011. Violations could result in fines of $40,000 a day per violation.

Then, the privacy issue du jour was that the FTC had accused Facebook of deceiving users by telling them certain information could be private, “then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public,” the FTC said when it announced the settlement —which bars the company from misrepresenting the privacy or security of user information.

The Cambridge Analytica mess comes as the company is still dealing with the fallout from its role in helping spread fake news and propaganda by Russian trolls, an idea Zuckerberg scoffed at two years ago—in fact, he called it “crazy.”

Yes indeed - and I told you above that ¨Facebook¨ [is] ¨deceiving users by telling them certain information could be private, “then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public,” the FTC said when it announced the settlement —which bars the company from misrepresenting the privacy or security of user information¨ and I also told you this is fraud, for money, namely (so far) $70 billion, all for Zuckerberg.

And this is a recommended article.

3. Facebook's Latest Data Breach Reveals Silicon Valley's Fortunes Are Built on Pilfering Privacy

This article is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet. It starts as follows:

One of the worst weeks in Facebook’s history—its stock tumbled, Congress and Parliament demanded top executives testify and explain, and the Federal Trade Commission opened a new investigation—is due to a simple fact: the company shares and sells privacy-breaching profiles of millions of users.

Facebook’s latest troubles rose to the top of the news this weekend when a series of investigative reports in the U.S. and Britain found that private political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, created by Trump’s former political guru Steve Bannon, had stolen 50 million Facebook user profiles. The profiles were intended to be used in the 2016 election for the electoral equivalent of psychological warfare: to push, prod, play on prejudices, you name it, and provoke millions of Americans in swing states to vote for Donald Trump—or not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Precisely - and I am sorry if I repeat some information, but I really dislike and despise the mega-fraudulent Facebook.

Here is more, and I think the following diagnosis of both Facebook and the internet, that was in fact designed by Zbigniew Brzezinski in the late 1960s (!!) to help introduce a totally new kind of society he called then ¨the technotronic society¨, where anonymous spies from the govern- ment knew virtually everything about virtually everyone (except the very richest), but in fact he very probably meant neofascism (though he would never have called it by that honest name):

(..) Facebook’s problems stem from the fact that it's a privacy-busting social media platform.

But this feature, which some people find deeply disturbing, isn’t unique in Silicon Valley. Rather, it is indicative of what’s coming under the rapidly developing Internet of Things. That realization puts Facebook’s latest political turmoil, and the various governmental responses, into an odd category: what’s noisy today isn’t likely to change what’s coming tomorrow, as the loss of privacy is a given for the touted benefits of a wired world.

Yes indeed - and I am very sorry I do believe this, for it means that apart from a major economical collapse followed by a successful revolution, the total population of the earth except the very richest will be a totally open book for the very richest and for the governmental spies.

Here is more:

(..) [A]cademics and others who study social media, including the information gathering practices powering its lucrative advertising business, say that everybody using social media like Facebook should know their private lives are being mined for profit. Needless to say, most social media users are not thinking about that when sharing personal thoughts or taking part in some public political activity.

Yes indeed: I fully agree that the asocial frauds from Facebook should be known as such by ¨everybody using social media like Facebook¨ but evidently the vast majority is too ignorant or too stupid not to exchange their total privacies for the chance of getting advertisements that might save them a few pennies (while destroying their local shops).

Here is more (and Potter is a professor of journalism):

Potter explained that social media users have signed away their rights to privacy by opening accounts in their names on these platforms. “Facebook is just one of many social media platforms aggregating our lives, and most users accept these companies’ terms of use without having read them. Unless we hold these companies accountable, they will continue to dominate other aspects of our lives.”

But Potter makes a larger point—one that casts whatever pending action the FTC may take in a diminished light: whatever fine they may levy will be a business expense and not impede Silicon Valley’s evolving drive to monitor people’s behaviors and tie in their digital devices to create a so-called Internet of Things.

Well... I certainly don´t think Potter´s claim that ¨most users accept these companies’ terms of use without having read them¨ is in any way sensible (though he is, of course, quite correct about ¨most users¨): Even I, who is highly academically qualified and very intelligent find the lawyers´ texts I ¨should read¨ almost completely incomprehensible, which also is the case because these lawyers´ texts have been designed to be almost completely incomprehensible for anyone who is not both a lawyer and thoroughly knowledgeable about the other laws that do apply to the subject at hand. (Almost no one is.)

Then again, I think Potter´s ¨larger point¨ is quite correct in the second paragraph I quoted:

(1) the whole fucking internet has been DESIGNED to find out as much as is possible about everyone who is neither a billionaire nor a government spy, while (2) ¨
whatever fine they may levy will be a business expense and not impede Silicon Valley’s evolving drive to monitor people’s behaviors¨.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:

The specter of a disruptive digital Big Brother disturbs privacy advocates such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, which for years has called on the FTC to pressure Facebook to abide by its 2011 consent decree—which the latest disclosures about Cambridge Analytica’s theft of millions of user files appear to have flaunted.

Frank Pasquale, a law professor and EPIC advisory board member, told Pew’s researcher that expansion of the Internet of Things will result in a world that is more “prison-like” with a “small class of ‘watchers’ and a much larger class of the experimented upon, the watched.” In another article, he predicted the Internet of Things “will be a tool for other people to keep tabs on what the populace is doing.”

While others offer less doomsday-ish scenarios, one impact is certain: privacy will vanish.

Yes, Pasquale is quite right that

¨the Internet of Things will result in a world that is more “prison-like” with a “small class of ‘watchers’ and a much larger class of the experimented upon, the watched.”¨

And this may be done by a few tenthousands in the USA, who will eventually enslave everybody else (who doesn´t own billions), and indeed quite possibly will also be quite capable of totally disappearing anyone whose opinions do not conform to the opinions the very few believe they ought to have.

This is a strongly recommended article.

4. Facebook Will Never Change Unless We Force It To

This article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. This is from near its beginning:
Mark Zuckerberg has learned not to admit this publicly anymore, but back in the day he was pretty open about the fact that he personally believed the world would be a better place if we all got over our privacy bugaboos. Facebook was his way of helping that along: every default in the software was set for maximum exposure, and he figured that everyone would soon get used to this and we’d all be comfortable with everyone knowing everything about ourselves. In pursuit of this vision, Zuckerberg has relentlessly followed the same strategy for years: reduce privacy within Facebook in every way possible until somebody gets mad. Then he apologizes, says he “didn’t realize” how sensitive Facebook’s customers were about this, and eliminates the one specific thing people are complaining about—but nothing else.
I completely agree with this except for one thing: It is certainly not true that - through Facebook?!  through Apple?! through Google?! through Amazon?!
¨we’d all be comfortable with everyone knowing everything about ourselves¨
On the contrary! Firstly, the whole fucking internet has been DESIGNED to find out as much as is possible about everyone who is neither a billionaire nor a government spyand secondly, no one except the very rich and the government spies and terrorists will know anything whatsoever about anyone else, while thirdly, very probably the vast majority also will not known how much of their own private data (and that of friends, friends of friends etc. etc.) have been plundered by the very rich, the government´s spies, or the government´s terrorists.

there is this, that I believe to be correct, but do not know to be so:

So what we have is a controlling CEO with a monomaniacal personal vision that lines up perfectly with his company’s business vision. This is not all that common. Usually CEOs have diffuse power to begin with, and their personal beliefs are often in conflict with what’s good for the business. Facebook isn’t like that. Zuckerberg has absolute control, and his vision matches perfectly with what’s best for shareholders.

In other words, what happened with Cambridge Analytica wasn’t just some glitch. It’s Facebook’s business model.
And finally there is this:
As a country, we’ve made it crystal clear that we don’t care about personal privacy. We mock European privacy directives. We ignore the dozens of companies that do exactly the same thing as Facebook but have lower profiles. We allow credit reporting companies to collect anything they want with no oversight at all when they screw up and wreck someone’s life. On a personal level, we’re routinely willing to turn over every detail of our lives in return for a $1 iTunes coupon.

If we don’t like the idea of Facebook making our personal lives an open book to anyone, we can do something about it. The way to do that is to elect “politicians” who will write “laws” that regulate it. But Republicans don’t like regulations in general, and Democrats are queasy about regulating Silicon Valley since they get lots of money from there.
I mostly agree (and am not an American), but I do think everyone can do more and indeed should do more:

Firstly, everyone can stop doing Facebook, and secondly, everyone should use as few internet companies as possible (and I only use a browser, e-mail and ftp).

(But unfortunately few agree, alas.)

5. Fox Commentator Leaves Network, Calling it ‘Propaganda Machine’

This article is by Emily Wells on Truthdig.

Longtime Fox News commentator Ralph Peters left the network on Tuesday, and in an email to colleagues called the channel a “propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.” He added that he is “ashamed” to be associated with it.

Peters regularly appeared on Fox News and Fox Business Network for nearly a decade. He was formerly a lieutenant colonel in the Army, serving in infantry and military intelligence units in Southeast and Central Asia, Russia, Burma (now Myanmar), and Pakistan.

His farewell email, published by Buzzfeed, reads:

Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to “support and defend the Constitution,” and that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.

In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts—who have never served our country in any capacity—dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller—all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of “deep-state” machinations—I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.

I simply say I like this, even though it is also quite certain that I disagree with Ralph Peters on many things. But the above seems honest, it certainly is correct in my view, and therefore this article, that is recommended, is reviewed here.

B. More Selections:

6. Now we know who Trump really is
7. We Have Spent $32 Million Per Hour on War Since 2001
On March 22, 1968

In fact, this section B has not appeared in Nederlog for a long time - until yesterday. Then I dud reintroduce it, mostly because there was news on ME/CFS, of which my ex and myself are suffering not almost 40 years.

6. Now we know who Trump really is

This article is by Lucian K. Truscott on Salon. It starts as follows:

You need know only two things about the Trump presidency to understand what kind of man he is. We learned fairly early on that the Trump administration is the first in memory to bar release of its daily logs of visitors to the White House. More recently, we learned that Trump demanded from the start that all senior White House staff sign NDA’s, non-disclosure agreements, similar to the contracts signed by the employees of the Trump Organization and his campaign.

These are not actions taken by the president of a democracy. They are the actions of a dictator.

I more or less agree: I think they probably are by an aspiring dictator, or by a neofascist, or by a madman, and I do agree with Truscott that they are certainly not the actions any democrat would have taken.

Here is some more:

The non-disclosure agreements signed by White House staff are said to forbid talking about any “confidential” information, defined as “all non-public information I learn of or gain access to in the course of my official duties,” according to the Washington Post. One report on the White House NDA’s said that violation of the contracts could result in a $10 million fine payable to the federal government. Whether or not these contracts are enforceable — and legal experts say they aren’t – is beside the point. They are evidence that Trump cares only about loyalty to himself, not to the Constitution or the nation.

I hope the legal experts are right, but in any case this does show indeed at least one aspect of what Trump really is doing: He is running the presidency of the USA as if it is his totally private and totally secret business empire.

7. We Have Spent $32 Million Per Hour on War Since 2001

This article is by Stephanie Savell on Common Dreams. This is from close to the beginning:

First, the economic costs: According to estimates by the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the war on terror has cost Americans a staggering $5.6 trillion since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

$5.6 trillion. This figure includes not just the Pentagon’s war fund, but also future obligations such as social services for an ever-growing number of post-9/11 veterans.

It’s hard for most of us to even begin to grasp such an enormous number.

It means Americans spend $32 million per hour, according to a counter by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Put another way: Since 2001, every American taxpayer has spent almost $24,000 on the wars — equal to the average down payment on a house, a new Honda Accord, or a year at a public university.

I say! And no, while I very probably would have answered that the economic costs of ¨the war on terror¨ (that in fact was meant to instititutionalize terror on everyone by the states' terrorists who assemble in the secret services) do run ¨in the trillions¨ (if only because the USA has been warring now in several countries for seventeen years), but I would not have guessed the - quite astounding - number given here.

Here is some more:

As of 2015, when the Costs of War project made its latest tallies, up to 165,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a direct consequence of U.S. war, plus around 8,000 U.S. soldiers and military contractors in Iraq.

Those numbers have only continued to rise. Up to 6,000 civilians were killed by U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2017 –– more civilians than in any previous year, according to the watchdog group AirWars.

In addition to those direct deaths, at least four times as many people in Iraq have died from the side effects of war, such as malnutrition, environmental degradation, and deteriorated infrastructure.

Note that this means that - until 2015 - 660,000 Iraqis lost their lives because of the American intervention into their country.

Here is more:

Meanwhile, the war continues to spread, no longer limited to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, as many Americans think. Indeed, the U.S. military is escalating a shadowy network of anti-terror operations all across the world — in at least 76 nations, or 40 percent of countries on the planet.

I mostly agree with Savell, although I have two remarks: (i) the USA is fighting (namely by using drones) in 7 countries to the best of my knowledge, and (ii) while I agree that the USA is present in no less than 76 countries to see to its own interests there, it is not fighting in most of these countries - to the best of my knowledge.

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Until a broad swath of the American public gets engaged to call for an end to the war on terror, these mushrooming costs — economic, human, social, and political — will just continue to grow.

Yes, I agree though I also think this is a very depressing though very probably quite true judgement. And this article is strongly recommended.

8. On March 22, 1968

This is the last article I review today, and in fact it is a reprint from yesterday, that I do reprint because today it is 50 years ago that the failed revolution in France started:

If you are considerably younger than nearly 68, which is my age, chances are that you do not know much about May 1968, when a revolution nearly did happen in France. That revolution was defeated quite probably because the Communist Party of France (PCF), that was quite strong in 1968, refused to collaborate with the students, the anarchists, the progressives and the leftists in May of 1968.

You find above a link to the English Wikipedia, from which I quote this bit to explain why I think a revolution did nearly happen in May 1968:

The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government itself momentarily ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours. The protests spurred an artistic movement, with songs, imaginative graffiti, posters, and slogans.

“May 68” had an impact on French society that resounded for decades afterward. It is considered to this day as a cultural, social and moral turning point in the history of the country.

I did not know that De Gaulle had fled France in 1968, but I did go to Paris twice in 1968: First in May 1968, with some friends, and then again all by my self in June 1968.

And I wrote about May '68 in May 2008 in Nederlog, indeed quite a few times, albeit in Dutch. In case you read Dutch, here is a link to a collection of the articles I wrote in 2008:

There are 14 articles assembled there (as links) and I can recommend all.

I do not know how much attention will be paid to this fifty years later, but I suppose there will be some articles, and I will try to follow them, and I may review some of them, although I do not really believe I will learn anything about May '68 that I did not know for quite a long time.

But to those younger than me I say: It did look and feel like a real revolution in May '68, and indeed this is the only case of a possible revolution that I - more or less - participated in.

And it may be interesting for those born too late to take part in it.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that 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 2 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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