from December 30, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Sunday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than three years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
five crisis files
that are mostly well worth reading:
A. Selections from December 30, 2018:
1. Deciphering the Patterns in Trump’s
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. Mass Extinction 252 Million Years
Ago May Be Warning for Today
3. 10 Good Things About 2018
4. Facebook's Secret Censorship Manual Exposed
5. Remember, you’re being manipulated on social media: 4
the Patterns in Trump’s Falsehoods
This article is by
Linda Qiu on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
President Trump has
a well-documented problem telling the truth.
Yes, this is very probably
correct. It also is probably one of the last articles of The
Times that I will review, for the simple reasons that (i) I did not
succeed in copying this properly, because (ii) the text of the
itself - some 25 Kb - is embedded in almost 350
Kb of codes (mostly
Fact checkers have compiled
lists of all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods since he took office (The
Washington Post counts over 7,500, and The Toronto Star over 3,900),
rounded up his most egregious whoppers in year-end lists and
scrutinized his claims in real time with television chyrons.
Here at The New York Times, we
have also fact-checked countless campaign rallies, news conferences,
interviews and Twitter posts. After nearly two years of assessing the
accuracy of Mr. Trump’s statements, we can draw some conclusions not
just about the scale of the president’s mendacity, but also about how
he uses inaccurate claims to advance his agenda, criticize the news
media and celebrate his achievements.
Besides, The New York Times has been strongly reducing the
articles it shows on line, all without saying anything whatsoever
I saw; I can get few of its pictures (in spite of using a
and in any case I do not even want to read articles that consist
95% of code.
So... it seems to me that The New York Times is preparing for the same
sort of neofascism
that changed The Guardian a few years ago, and I
very strongly dislike it.
Here is the first part of the rest of this article (without links) and
quite possibly the last article of The New York Times that I will
Yes indeed - and every
quotation I give is partial, that is, there is more text in the article
(but it is up to you whether you want to download an
article of some 25
Kb that is embedded in 12 times as much code).
Mr. Trump refuses to correct
most of his inaccurate claims, instead asserting them over and over
again. They become, by sheer force of repetition, “alternative facts”
and staples of his campaign rallies and speeches.
Examples abound. He has
falsely characterized the December 2017 tax cuts as the “largest” or
the “biggest” in American history over 100 times (several others were
larger). He has misleadingly said over 90 times that his promised wall
along the southern border is being built (construction has not begun on
any new section). He has falsely accused Democrats of supporting “open
borders” over 60 times (Democratic lawmakers support border security,
but not his border wall). And he has lobbed over 250 inaccurate attacks
on the investigation into Russian election interference.
Yet Mr. Trump does not rely on
repetition alone. He also embellishes talking points to amplify his
Here is more:
Yes again - and as before.
Here is some more:
In the face of controversy or
criticism, Mr. Trump has defended initial falsehoods with additional
This approach is evident in
his shifting statements about the payment that Michael D. Cohen, his
former lawyer, made to a pornographic film actress to keep her from
speaking about their alleged affair. In April, Mr. Trump falsely denied
knowing about the payment.
After the F.B.I. raided Mr.
Cohen’s office, Mr. Trump acknowledged on Twitter in May that Mr. Cohen
received reimbursement for the payment and asserted that it had nothing
to do with his presidential campaign. Mr. Cohen would later tell
prosecutors that he acted at Mr. Trump’s direction and to influence the
Yes again - and as before.
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article.
The president is known for
being unscripted and loose with language, but he sometimes shows
After Justice Brett M.
Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court and in the days before the
midterm elections, Mr. Trump told rallygoers in Missouri that “the
accuser admitted she never met him, she never saw him, he never touched
her, talked to her, he had nothing to do with her, she made up the
story, it was false accusations.”
The omission of a name and the
use of the words “the accuser” may give the misleading impression that
Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to Congress that Justice Kavanaugh
had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, had recanted her
account. But in fact, Mr. Trump was referring to another little-known
accuser named Judy Munro-Leighton, who recanted her claim of sexual
As I said, I do NOT
to do download, read or review "articles" that consist of 12 times as
much code as text. This is also why I disrecommend you to
(it is almost 350 Kb), for the only reason I can see for all that code
is that The New York Times also wants to find out as much as it can
about its readers. More in the new year.
The usual target of this
particular strain of falsehoods is the news media, which Mr. Trump
suggests purposely underestimates or misinterprets him.
Mr. Trump often lauds strong
job growth under his watch and says that the “fake news” would have
deemed such numbers “impossible” or “ridiculous” during the 2016
campaign. Yet he neglects to mention that the number of jobs added in
the 22 months after his inauguration — 4.2 million — is lower than the
4.8 million jobs added in the 22 months before he took office,
undermining the premise of his retrodiction.
Extinction 252 Million Years Ago May Be Warning for Today
This article is by
Tim Radford on Truthdig and originally on the Climate News Network. It
starts as follows:
I review this article
mostly because I think climate change is very real, and also because
of the main ways to learn about climate change and its effects is to
study the past.
Forensic geologists have
revisited the scene of one of the world’s great massacres to identify
the means of death. The victims of the Permian era die-off found
themselves increasingly in hot water, to
die of overheating or suffocation.
That is, in a rapidly
warming globe, marine animals simply could not gasp fast enough to take
in the increasingly limited dissolved oxygen. So they died in their
It happened at the close of
the Permian Era 252 million years ago: the planet’s worst single mass
extinction event so far, in which up to 90% of marine species perished
and 70% of land animals succumbed.
And if the scientists who
have reconstructed this epic event are right, then the prime cause of
mass death and destruction was a dramatic rise in atmospheric carbon
dioxide which raised tropical ocean temperatures by about 10░C [18 F].
Tropical species could move
away from the equatorial zones to find cooler waters and a breathing
space. Species adapted to cooler waters had nowhere to go.
Here is some more:
Well... yes and no, and
mostly no in my opinion because (i) the above paragraph is
inexact (how much is "20%" etc. in degrees C or F?) and (ii) 80
years is too long for the rapid changes that are going on now, in my
emissions scenario, by 2100, warming in the upper ocean will have
approached 20% of warming in the late Permian, and by the year 2300
will reach between 35% and 50%. This study highlights the potential for
a mass extinction arising from a similar mechanism under anthropogenic
Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Again I say yes and no,
but mostly no: I think the Permian Period was too different to
of a help today. But this is a recommended article.
It is not at all certain
that conditions at the close of the Permian Period provide a parallel
to the planet today. Most of the land surface then was one huge
supercontinent, there were no mammals, grasses or flowering plants, and
the forests – and thus the traffic between atmosphere and life – would
have been very different.
“But even if it represents
an extreme case, the lesson is clear,” writes Lee Kump,
an earth scientist at Penn State University in the U.S., in a
commentary in Science.
“Continued or accelerated
fossil fuel burning presents a risk that must be reversed or mitigated
so that we can avoid a fate anything like the end-Permian.”
Good Things About 2018
Medea Benjamin on Common Dreams. It starts as follows (and is here
because it is the end of the year, and because Common Dreams - one of
the two best alternative media - threatens to be shut down
Yes, you could say I’m
to put lipstick on a pig. 2018 was a year of whiplash, a never-ending
series of assaults on our environment, immigrants, people of color,
Muslims, Jews, the poor, international law. But there is light at the
end of the tunnel, and here are some rousing points of light from 2018,
both domestic and international.
I decided to review
this because it is the end of the year, and because I agree both 2018
and 2017 were pretty horrible years (for the non-rich and the -
left). I will copy all the 10 points and give my own brief comments,
but I suppress most of the associated texts:
election of the progressive new members of Congress,
particularly women of color such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida
Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Deb Haaland, Ayanna Pressley and Sharice Davids.
With these new progressive allies, with
controlling the House, and with an expanded and invigorated Progressive
Caucus, we have a chance to drag centrist Democrats into supporting
policies that might not be popular with their big-dollar donors but are
wildly popular with the public.
I say: possibly so -
but I do not underestimate how easy it is to corrupt persons in
Congress. What I do agree about is that the Democrats now have the
majority in the House, and that will almost certainly make differences
of various kinds.
was a year of awe-inspiring youth activism. (..)
Well... I do not live
in the USA but in Holland, so this is difficult for me to check, but
all in all I probably am considerably more pessimistic than Benjamin -
and perhaps my readers should realize that I lived through the Sixties,
which were quite different from the last decades.
historical turning point was reached this year to start breaking up the
75-year U.S.-Saudi alliance. (..)
Possibly so, but at
best they are breaking up and have not broken up yet (which I
consider rather unlikely as long as Trump is president).
organizing has been on the rise, from teachers to high-tech workers.
Yes, that is true and
it is important, but then again labor has been moved back a very
great lot in the last thirty years or so.
restoration of voting rights through Amendment
4, the ballot measure lifting the state’s permanent
ban on voting by anyone with a felony conviction, received overwhelming
support from nearly 65 percent of voters. It restores voting rights for
some 1.4 million people, potentially changing the Florida—and
national—electoral landscape, since most formerly incarcerated people
vote Democratic and the 2000 president election was determined in
Florida by a mere 537 votes (..)
Possibly so, but I
agree restoring "voting
some 1.4 million people"
was important, for Florida, and possibly for the USA.
the Keystone XL
Well... for the moment
(and I am against the Keystone XL pipeline, but not optimistic).
All has the highest level of public support ever recorded. An
poll found that a whopping 70 percent of Americans,
including 85 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans, back
the single-payer plan. (..)
This is something, but
then again: What about democracy in the USA? Finally, there is
election of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico
9. Ethiopia’s new
prime minister, (..)
experienced a dramatic, people power uprising against corrupt,
autocratic rulers, (..)
All I can say
about these "good things" is that I like Obrador, but do not know much
about Mexico while I hardly know anything about Ethiopia and Armenia.
Secret Censorship Manual Exposed
Jessica Corbett on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
I say - but then I also think
this happens many times, and is mostly due to Facebook (and
being private companies, with private and secret rules,
which I think I
can assure you are not serving their readers' interests, or
reasonable information, but are mostly out to increase their own
profits and the number of their members, and are doing so using
information they nearly all keep completely secret.
After the New York
Times on Thursday published an exposÚ
global censorship rulebook, journalist Rania Khalek
called out the social media giant for taking down a video
in which she explains how, "on top of being occupied, colonized
territory, Palestine is Israel's personal laboratory for testing,
refining, and showcasing methods and weapons of domination and control."
Tweeting out the Times
report—and noting that while, according to the newspaper, "moderators
were told to hunt down and remove rumors wrongly accusing an Israeli
soldier of killing a Palestinian medic," Israeli soldiers did fatally
shoot an unarmed 21-year-old female paramedic earlier this year—she
announced Friday morning that Facebook had "just removed" her video.
Here is more:
After she and other
reporters issued public complaints, Khalek announced a couple hours
later that Facebook had restored the video. "Still this is a good
reminder that at the moment these social media giants have the ability
to disappear content as they please," she said in a tweet. "It's creepy
and alarming and should be loudly opposed."
Yes indeed - but I do
not think much can be done about Facebook as long as it
is a private
company which is keeping nearly all information it collects a secret.
Here is some background
on Khalek's video:
Among those who
Facebook's censorship of Khalek's video on Friday were Ben Norton of The
Real News Network—who called it an "excellent, informative video
report"—and The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, who pointed out
that the platform has
been silencing Palestinian and pro-Palestinian voices for more than
Here is some more:
"In Mark Zuckerberg,
Pichai, Sheryl Sandberg, and Eric Schmidt we trust to censor and
regulate the internet with the most benevolent of motives, devoted as
they've been their entire lives to safeguarding the voiceless and
protecting the marginalized," Greenwald sarcastically added,
referring to Facebook's CEO, Google's CEO, Facebook's COO, and the
executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company.
The short and successful
to restore Khalek's video, however, is just one of countless instances
of Facebook taking down content without providing an explanation to the
user or the public.
I agree with
totally distrust Zuckerberg and Facebool, Pichai and
and Facebook, and Schmidt and Alphabet, and in fact think all of
are thieves of the privacies and private information of billions of
people: They should be in jail instead of piling up their billions by
their almost totally secret activities.
Here is the last bit that I
quote from this article:
The key takeaway from his
report, Fisher said on Twitter, is two-fold: Facebook "is intervening
into political and social matters the world over," acting "like an
unseen branch of government," and "is doing this all on the cheap,
shipping disorganized PowerPoint slides to outsourcing companies it can
barely control. And it is making many, many mistakes along the way."
Yes, I think all of this is
correct and this is a recommended article.
you’re being manipulated on social media: 4 essential reads
Jeff Inglis on Salon. It was originally published in The Conversation
and is a reprint. This is from near its beginning:
Wowie, but not
First of all, no one can survey Facebook as a member (with more
billion members), while I also do not see what sort of difference "not
trusting companies" means.
1. Don’t trust social media
When 2018 began, I — like many in the U.S. — was worried
about the previous year’s revelations about how Facebook
data had been used to influence voters in the 2016 election. I
considered deleting my Facebook account, but as part of my job I need
to be aware of what’s happening on the platform. So I took the advice
of Dartmouth College social media scholars Denise
Anthony and Luke
“Without full information about what happens to their
personal data once it’s gathered, we recommend people
default to not trusting companies until they’re convinced they
Anyway: I do not and have never trusted Facebook, and for that reason
almost completely avoided them the last 11 years.
Also, I think it is high time to speak of the a-social
media, if you
are speaking of the thieves of the privacies of billions of persons.
Here is some more:
I fear this is bullshit,
and my reasons are mainly that I am a psychologist - who knows
extremely little psychology and psychologists really know. Also, while
I think (good) statistics about the social media are important and
informative, Inglis is in fact totally uninformative about "the
tools" he says he uses.
2. Checking my own
To further understand how
manipulative and misleading online activity spread, I used the tools
created by Filippo
Luca Ciampaglia and their colleagues at the Observatory on Social
Media at Indiana University. They want to “help
people become aware of [biases in the brain, society and
technologies] and protect themselves from outside influences designed
to exploit them.”
Then there is this:
3. Bots are powerful
Those bots, I learned from
MIT professor Tauhid
Zaman, can be dangerous even if there aren’t very many of them. He
analyzed Twitter activity, including both people and bots, and measured
users’ political opinions. Then he found a way to simulate what the
humans’ views would have been if the bots weren’t there.
small number of very active bots can actually significantly shift
public opinion,” he found. The key wasn’t how many Twitter bots there
were, but how many posts they made.
Well... yes: bots are
powerful. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:
Wowie, again, though not
I do not think this is an interesting article.
4. Engaging with real people
All the free time I gained by spending less time on social
media went to good use, for socializing in-person and being by myself —
which likely made me feel happier. As Georgetown psychologist Kostadin
Kushlev found, “Digital
socializing doesn’t add to, but in fact subtracts from, the
psychological benefits of nondigital socializing.”
I certainly feel best when socializing face-to-face and,
as Kushlev found in his research subjects, focusing on the people who
are right in front of me is even more enjoyable than hanging out in
person while also messaging others on their phones.
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 (!!).