in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
from January 28, 2019
This is a
Nederlog of Monday,
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 January 28, 2019:
1. There’s a Better Battlefield for the
War Against Trump’s Lies: the Courts
The items 1 - 5 are today's
selections from the 35 sites that I look at
every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the
link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:
2. How Facebook Cashed In on Tricking
3. The 5 biggest right-wing outrages this week
4. The Green New Deal is Not Enough: We Need an Alternative
5. War Against Iran Becoming Ever More Likely
a Better Battlefield for the War Against Trump’s Lies: the Courts
This article is by
Trevor Aaronson on The Intercept. It starts as follows:
I think this is somewhat
misleading, although I think it is quite true that Trump is a great
President Donald Trump and
his administration lie to and mislead the public as a matter of course.
It’s a concerning but indisputable fact. So how do we combat propaganda
and lies in our post-truth world?
The popular pre-Trump
solution among news media outlets of fact-checking in real time —
explaining to the public in dry, dispassionate language what’s true and
what’s not — has proven ineffective and farcical at a time like this.
In the bustling business of publicly fact-checking Trump, the
Washington Post has counted more than 8,000
“false or misleading claims” from the 45th president. But that
isn’t stopping his lies.
Then again, if you speak of ¨our post-truth world¨ it seems to me (and I am both a
philosopher and a psychologist) you are bullshitting or
exaggerating: The world is there, as a matter of fact (indeed
from a few philosophers), and the lies and propaganda are not
there but in the symbolic misrepresentations of it, most of which
Also, it seems to me somewhat of an exaggeration to insist that
¨explaining to the public in dry,
dispassionate language what’s true and what’s not — has proven
ineffective¨, for clearly at
least the more intelligent and more reasonable part of the public is
still open to mostly dispassionate language that explains when and
where Trump and others are lying.
The real basic problem that is not mentioned in the
is that there are now more than four billion persons who can
more or less what they want on Facebook, Twitter etc., which is totally
different from 20 or more years ago, while the great majority of
new publishers may well be stupid or ignorant (which
rarely stops them
from publishing or sending on whatever ¨news¨ hit their fancies).
Anyway. Back to the article that introduces the courts as follows:
I think this may be a
idea. One problem is that the Information Quality Act has hardly or
at all been used by American courts. Then again, Trump and his
government may be taken to court:
The Information Quality
Act, sometimes referred to as the Data Quality Act, is an obscure law
enacted in 2001 as a rider in a spending bill. The initial idea behind
the legislation was to guarantee that agencies of the U.S. government
are held to reasonably high information-quality standards as more and
more of their reports and data were made available on the internet.
The legislation directed
the Office of Management and Budget to establish standards for
information distributed by U.S. government agencies. The guidelines
require information published by U.S. agencies to be objective and
honest, with any analysis based on clear and transparent methodology.
Indeed, there’s nothing
radical about the guidelines. Basically, they require government
agencies to meet the same standards your local community college
requires of its students. But the law also provides for a remedy: If a
federal judge can be persuaded that an agency’s published information
does not meet the standards, the judge can order the report to be
removed and retracted.
Trump, however, has
a new hope of relevancy — and use — for the law. We’ve never had a
presidential administration whose lies are as frequent and blatant as
this one’s. While previous administrations have certainly told lies,
very big and consequential ones, the Trump administration is
without equal in its prolific output of propaganda that can be debunked
with readily available information. Enter the Information Quality Act.
Yes. Here is the
ending of this article:
administration is consistently making dubious claims, bigly, that could
be challenged under the Information Quality Act. Officials have said 3,700
people with terrorist ties were apprehended at the border; that a
border wall will stop terrorists; and that more
than 600 criminals were part of the migrant caravan in November.
Democracy Forward Foundation has already challenged as “misleading and
unreliable” statements made by Treasury
Department officials, including Secretary Steven Mnunchin, in
support of the Republicans’ 2017 tax cut.
I think this is again
somewhat misleading, for (1) ¨the courts¨ can only investigate a
relatively small part of the many lies uttered by Trump and his
government, and (2) it is doubtful that going to court will be
reported in the mainstream media, while (3) naming, registering
explaining the many falsities of Trump and his government is a simple, sensible and
rational way of listing Trump´s falsities.
No more Truth-O-Meters,
please. They’re toothless in our Trumpian age. Let’s file some lawsuits
and give judges an opportunity to play their constitutional role in our
increasingly dysfunctional republic.
So I do agree that the courts also may be involved, but I
registering and explaining the many falsities of Trump and his government is a basic
factual need for rational and reasonable persons.
2. How Facebook Cashed In on Tricking Kids
This article is by Nathan Halverson on Truthdig and originally on
Reveal. It starts as follows:
I say. Well... I think
Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook are enormous criminal projects,
naive people are tricked into giving up all or most of their privacies
(that most do not know well either) and are then tricked into criminal
schemes like the one
described in this article.
Facebook orchestrated a
multiyear effort that duped children and their parents out of money, in
some cases hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and then often
refused to give the money back, according to court documents unsealed
tonight in response to a Reveal legal action.
The records are part of a
class-action lawsuit focused on how Facebook targeted children in an
effort to expand revenue for online games, such as Angry Birds,
PetVille and Ninja Saga.
Here is the schema Facebook uses to steal from parents by way of
abusing their children:
Yes indeed - and I think this
is the natural Facebook
reaction, for I believe that the only norm
Zuckerberg and Facebook seek to satisfy is the only norm Milton
Friedman saw for corporations: Corporations (like Facebook) have only a
single norm: To maximize their profits
- and if this means tricking
small children into using their parents´ credit cards that is quite
satisfactory, as long as it increases Facebook´s profits.
Facebook encouraged game
developers to let children spend money without their parents’
permission–something the social media giant called “friendly
fraud”–in an effort to maximize revenues, according to a document
detailing the company’s game strategy.
Sometimes the children did
not even know they were spending money, according to another internal
Facebook report. Facebook employees knew this. Their own reports
showed underage users did not realize their parents’ credit cards were
connected to their Facebook accounts and they were spending real money
in the games, according to the unsealed documents.
For years, the company
ignored warnings from its own employees that it was bamboozling
Here is more:
The revenue Facebook earned
off children had such large chargeback rates–a process in which the
credit card company is forced to step in and claw back money on behalf
of parents–that it far exceeded what the Federal Trade Commission has
said is a red flag for deceptive business practices.
Despite the many warning
signs, which continued for years, Facebook made a clear decision. It
pursued a goal of increasing its revenues at the expense of children
and their parents.
As I said above.
Here is more on Facebook´s - years long - fraud:
All of which is quite
credible about the mostly naive users of computers these days: Parents
did not know their children could use their credit cards with any
verification; children did not know or understand that they were
spending real money; and Facebook profited from both, and did so quite
An internal Facebook survey
of users found that many parents did not even realize Facebook was
storing their credit card information, according to an unsealed
document. And parents also did not know their children could use their
credit card without re-entering a password or some other form of
Perhaps even worse, the
children didn’t even realize they were spending real money within the
game, because as Stewart would later write, “It doesn’t necessarily
look like ‘real’ money to a minor.”
As said, Facebook
said its fraudulent policies was ¨Friendly Fraud¨,
and it engaged in it, quite willingly, quite intentionally, to maximize
its own profits. This is a recommended article.
Facebook made a decision.
Company policy was to tell game developers to let children spend money
without their parents’ permission, according to an
internal memo circulated within the company.
The memo stated, “Friendly
Fraud – what it is, why it’s challenging, and why you shouldn’t try to
block it.” “Friendly fraud” is the term Facebook used when children
spent money on games without their parents’ permission.
Facebook made clear that
game developers should let children spend money even without their
The company was focused on
revenue, not blocking friendly fraud. Its stated philosophy on
chargebacks was “maximizing revenue,” according to the memo.
5 biggest right-wing outrages this week
is by Matthew Chapman on AlterNet. I abbreviated the title. This is
from near its beginning:
- Ben Stein says
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is promoting “the same kinds of things” as
Hitler, could lead America to genocide.
Socialist lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) continues to
confound the GOP with her confrontational style and her
unapologetically leftist policies on taxation, health care, and the
environment. But right-wing actor and media personality Ben Stein sees
something much more sinister in her politics, as he said on Fox
Business on Wednesday.
“We have a society in which
there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler,
Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising,” said Stein. “And it led to mass
murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide. These promises are
old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.”
Well... somebody who
argues like this either is completely insane or else is a very ugly and
immoral great liar. Since I think there are significantly fewer
persons than lying persons, I take it the second alternative
Here is one more example of ¨right-wing outrages¨:
- Utah Republicans
seek to legally define women as individuals capable of “receiving
Time and again, Republican
attempts to rile up their base with a culture war against transgender
rights have backfired, with “bathroom bills” in North
Carolina and Texas
ending in defeat and humiliation for the GOP. But Utah Republicans want
to give it a try now — and their bill is so ridiculous it has to be
seen to be believed.
153, authored by state Rep. Merrill
Nelson, would require all birth certificates identify people only
as male or female, and prohibit anyone from changing their gender. But
perhaps the most insane part is how the bill defines “female”, as noted
by Rewire News legal analyst Imani Gandy:
I say. I agree this
is totally ridiculous or insane. There are three
examples, but these two are enough for this review. And this is a
Green New Deal is Not Enough: We Need an Alternative Globalization
is by Michael Galant on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
The Green New Deal is the
most ambitious climate plan in Congress.
Developed through years of
grassroots activism and propelled to fame by the rising star of Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez, the proposal has attracted the support of more
than 40 members of
Congress, Senators from Sanders to Booker, and even
64% of registered Republican voters.
While the details remain
unclear, the general outline – a comprehensive, state-led transition to
100% renewable energy, founded on green jobs and economic justice –
popular and necessary. Without a dramatic overhaul of the American
economy, averting climate change will be impossible.
But domestic policies won’t
From the birth of
neoliberalism in the 70’s through the rapid economic globalization of
the 90’s, the ruling parties of the Global North have spent decades
constructing a global economic system rigged in the interests
Placing short-term profits
for the rich and powerful over the long-term wellbeing of people and
planet, this system is specifically designed to undermine national
programs like the Green New Deal.
Under this system, capital
and corporations (but not people) are allowed to cross borders at will.
Well... I agree
(mostly) with all of this, but I also see at least two difficulties.
The first difficulty is that most political activities by ordinary
people are limited to the state they live in, and the second
is that most of the changes that allowed the few rich to transplant the
industries they control to India or China, where the wages are much
smaller than in the USA and Europe are legal changes, that took tens of
years to arrive, and need many lawyers to attack (apart from a
Here is one difficulty:
Under this system,
corporations can even sue national governments for regulating them.
Through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism built
into many “free trade” agreements, countries enacting legitimate
environmental regulations risk being forced to pay billions in
restitution by an opaque, corporate-dominated international court.
Quite so. And
this is from the ending of this article:
Well... yes, but these
desires rather than rational and practicable plans. I agree with
desires, but considerably more is needed to practice them.
Restrict the movement of
corporations and capital. End ISDS. Renegotiate “free trade”
agreements. Stop tax havens. Dismantle and rebuild alternatives to the
WTO, IMF, and World Bank. Reform and strengthen the UN. Empower
national governments to regulate corporate interests. Build
self-sufficient local economies.
Against Iran Becoming Ever More Likely
is by Jim Lobe and Ben Armbruster on Common Dreams and originally on
The Lobe Log. It starts as follows:
Yes, this at least seems
probable. Here is more:
Donald Trump’s domestic
troubles, combined with the current makeup of his foreign policy team,
provide a confluence of circumstances, perhaps a perfect storm, to pull
the United States into a war with Iran.
Indeed, the walls are
closing in around Trump. The president’s poll numbers—once seemingly
impervious to an already unprecedentedly tumultuous administration—are
sinking, even among
his most ardent supporters, as he increasingly boxes himself into
the corner of a government shutdown for which the public says
he’s largely responsible. At the same time, impeachment looms on
This also seems probable.
Here is more:
As Jim Lobe pointed
out in September, Trump has previously signaled that a president
could benefit politically by starting a war with Iran, as he predicted
President Obama would do no less than half a dozen times between late
2011 and 2013 in order to win reelection or “show how tough he is.” At
least back then, Trump correlated political redemption with war against
Iran. And with what’s left of his domestic agenda on hold indefinitely
due to the Democratic takeover of the House, Trump’s attention—as
erratic as it is—is very likely to shift to foreign policy where he not
only enjoys greater freedom of action but can also deflect attention
from his disastrous presidency.
This seems all quite true.
Here is more:
removes from the leadership team a major obstacle to Bolton’s belief
that the United States should take strong military action against Iran.
Bolton was an unapologetic
supporter of the war in Iraq and promoted
false claims to make the case for the 2003 invasion. Bolton has
since dedicated much of his career—even working closely and
surreptitiously as UN ambassador with
then-Vice President Dick Cheney and the Israelis—to prepare the
grounds for war with Iran or promote regime change. And he isn’t shy
about misleading the public to attain those goals. Earlier this month,
for example, he claimed, without offering any evidence, that there is “little
doubt” that Iran is committed to building a nuclear weapon, even
though U.S. intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) have made no such conclusions.
Yes. There is a whole
more in this article, that ends as follows:
But it’s not just Bolton.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
is a long-time Iran hawk who, prior to joining the administration,
campaigned heavily in the House against the JCPOA in favor of hundreds
of air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Pompeo has taken
point on the Trump administration’s public campaign to demonize Iran
and lay the groundwork for war.
This is more or less
correct, and this is a recommended article.
The potential of some
conflict with Iran escalating into a larger regional war is very real,
possibly more real than ever. Although some
been sounding the
alarm, the attention given to this dire situation is nowhere near the
level it deserves. Given the national media’s ever-shifting focus on
whatever shiny chaotic moment emerges from Trump and his
administration, it’s possible that the United States could find itself
in a new Middle East war without anyone really noticing it happen.
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 (!!).