1. No, Turning On Your Phone Is Not Consenting to Being
Tracked by Police
2. Is Donald Trump the Charismatic Leader the KKK &
Neo-Nazis Have Been Waiting
Rep. Alan Grayson Says to U.S.
Progressives: Don’t Flee
to Canada—Stay and Fight
4. Our Kids
5. The Best Lines From the Tech World's Defense of Apple
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, March 5,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about the American police's unwarranted use of stingrays, and the presumed "consent" using the internet implies to being spied upon (which is utter bullshit); item 2 is about some supporters of Trump: KKK members and Neo-Nazis; item 3 is about Alan Grayson's call on progressives not to flee to Canada if Trump wins the presidency; item 4 is about how most kids that are born in the USA today are far less well off than most kids in the 1950ies (I agree); and item 5
is about the considerable support Apple found in fighting the FBI's
desire that Apple writes software that allows - in effect - the FBI to
access every iPhone.
1. No, Turning On Your Phone Is Not Consenting to Being
Tracked by Police
first item is by Alex Emmons on The Intercept:
Before considering this article, I like to say that these days, and
especially since June 10, 2013,
it seems as if - especially but certainly not only in the USA - turning
on your phone does mean a sort of "forced consent" that you
are being tracked by many, and switching your
computer to internet does mean a "forced consent" that you
are being spied on by many dataminers and many secret
services, all in secret, all without informing you in any way.
And the reasons I speak of "forced consent" are that (1) everybody who
is not extremely dumb knows that these things happen, and that he or
she knows very little about the actual spying that is
being done on him or her, because this is nearly all kept
completely secret from "the public", while (2) the spying is being
done in what must be considered illegal ways (counter
to the Fourth Amendment in every possible point, and counter to the
original Declaration of Human Rights ), but (3) none
of the governments I know forbid these illegalities,
simply because either they believe "terrorism" supports spying
on everyone in everything he or she does and/or because they
believe governments have or ought to have the "right" to steal
everything from anyone (that is on a computer or cellphone) so as to be able to
control them in every aspect of their being: there is no more
freedom in any sense if the secret services can secretly know
everything about you and are free to "Deny / Disrupt / Degrade / Deceive" you in each and every
way, and all in the deepest secret.
For me, the above are all facts, and those who track or trace me or spy
on me are criminals, whoever they are, whether data-miners or secret
They are (or may be) all ripping open my mail and copying
virtually anything I do, and read and store it - if they
do, which I do not know, which itself is an illegal shame, for
I should know if someone tries to know everything that
is on my computer or cellphone, especially if I have done
nothing illegal, which is the case with me and with 99% of the population.
Finally, my position is not radical at all: All I am
saying is that I object against the secret spying of governments and
data-miners on anyone and everyone; that I am firmly against it; and
that I do not want to be spied upon, like everyone else, while
there are no good specific legal grounds for this.
Now to the present article, that starts as follows:
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on
Wednesday upheld a historic decision by a state trial court that
the warrantless use of cell-site simulators, or Stingrays, violates the
The trial court had suppressed evidence
obtained by the warrantless use of a Stingray — the first time any
court in the nation had done so.
Last April, a Baltimore police detective
testified that the department has used Stingrays 4,300
times since 2007, usually without notifying judges or defendants.
The ruling has the potential to set a
strong precedent about warrantless location tracking. “Police should
now be on notice,” said Nate Wessler, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s
Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “Accurately explain your
surveillance activities to a judge and get a warrant, or risk your
evidence being thrown out.”
Here is what stingrays do:
There is also this (and note "the first time"
in the above quotation):
Stingrays mimic cellphone towers,
tricking nearby phones into connecting and revealing users’ locations.
Stingrays sweep up data on every phone nearby — collecting
information on dozens or potentially hundreds of people.
After the trail court threw out
the Stingray evidence, the Maryland attorney general alarmed
civil liberties groups by arguing
that anyone who keeps their phone turned “on” is consenting to being
tracked by police. The full ruling, which has not yet been issued, will
presumably reject that argument.
The Maryland attorney general was factually
quite correct, in the sense that anyone who chooses to use the
internet (to surf, to mail, to find information, or to phone with
others) risks that all he wrote, said, or did will
be copied by some secret service or police authority and may
be used against him or her, or anybody else, if and when "the
government" (as in: "Donald Trump's government" - and see item 3) sees any reason to do
But he was bullshitting
when he said that switching on the internet implies any kind of consent
- which anyway is impossible, in any rational fashion, for nearly all governmental
and other spying happens in the deepest secrecy.
2. Is Donald Trump the Charismatic Leader the KKK &
Neo-Nazis Have Been Waiting For?
is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on
This starts as follows:
After initially refusing to
condemn an endorsement from former KKK
leader David Duke, Donald Trump has faced a series of questions about
why his campaign has been so embraced by Neo-Nazis and Klansmen. We
speak to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and
Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino.
It seems indeed a fact that (i) many groups
of American Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, and Nazis (of which there are quite a few)
are strongly pro-Trump, although it also is a fact that (ii) these
groups are all small (and the KKK, which does support Trump, is
a much smaller and less powerful organization tham 40 or more years
Here is Bernard Levin talking:
And what I think needed to be
done was something by all the candidates, not to retreat from their
positions—we’re a nonpartisan center—but to say, "There is a line that
we draw, and that line is against white supremacists, white
nationalists and neo-Nazis," because I have not seen, in the decade
that I’ve been researching this, a successful mainstream candidate
having the endorsement of a virtual who’s who of Klansmen, white
nationalists and others. We’re talking about not just people like David
Duke, but folks from the Loyal White Knights, Infostormer, Daily
Stormer, Stormfront. It is a tidal wave of support.
I am not aware that any presidential
candidate did what Levin thinks is needed, though indeed I also guess
that the Democrats need not fear any support from the Klan or from the
various Neo-Nazi groups.
And it is true that Donald Trump does get support from the KKK and
Neo-Nazis, though indeed none of these rightist extremist groups is
strong or large.
There is a whole lot more in the interview, that I will leave to your
interests, but here is Levin on one of the Neo-Nazi leaders:
He is a reprehensible person, who
believes Hitler is a great person and that the Holocaust didn’t happen
and that white Christians are God’s chosen people and that the
concentration camps had swimming pools and luxuries. This is the kind
of person we’re talking about. He does not—he believes that there is a
white genocide going on. He also believes that illegal immigration of
Mexicans is taking our country into a tailspin and that Muslims are
encroaching on America and destroying it.
This means he must be living in a stupid and
ignorant fantasy world. And no,
I do not fear these groups - if Trump does not get elected president,
the theme of the next item:
3. Rep. Alan Grayson Says to U.S. Progressives: Don’t Flee
to Canada—Stay and Fight
third item is by
Alexander Reed Kelley on Truthdig:
This starts as follows (and is not a large
While Republicans debated the size of
Donald Trump’s endowments Thursday evening, Florida Rep. Alan Grayson,
D-Fla.—a superdelegate who recently endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for
the Democratic nomination—urged anxious progressives to stand their
ground during this election season and in the event that Republicans
take the White House this fall.
“If you’re watching the GOP debate
tonight, you’re probably hearing and seeing some pretty scary stuff,”
Grayson began in an email to supporters that sought financial support
for his Senate bid. “You may hear them talk about plans to dismantle
Obamacare, to cut Social Security and Medicare, to stop women from
making their healthcare decisions, and to bomb any country they think
might have a Muslim person in it. You may also see Donald Trump’s hair
and Ted Cruz’s creepy, serial killer smile.”
I agree that if I were an American, or was
living in America, I would be quite scared if Trump gets elected
president, in part because he is an authoritarian rightist; in part
because of some of the things he said; and in part because he
is in fact a mostly ignorant and rather unintelligent man, who - if he becomes
president - is handed the keys to blow up the world.
Alan Grayson next said this:
I don’t doubt your patriotism. After
all, you’re supporting me, and as far as I know, I have more American
flag ties than any other Member of Congress, Democrat or Republican.
But I can also understand why watching the debate would make you want
to move to Canada. It’s only human for us to have a fight-or-flight
response when we see something this dangerous.
Tonight, I’m asking you to choose to
Actually, I don't know what difference
this will make, and I suppose it will not be large, if only because
there are over 330 million Americans, about half of which - at least -
do not like Trump, and do not want to see him as their president.
Then again, if Trump becomes president, things will be radically
different in the USA, and I make no predictions, except that I still
think it unlikely that he will
be elected as president. (But I may be wrong.)
4. Our Kids
The fourth item is by Patrick Walsh on Truthdig and is in fact a
The book is by Robert Putnam
(<- Wikipedia) and the review starts as follows:
Robert Putnam’s “Our Kids: The American
Dream in Crisis” is about many things, all of them connected and all of
them ominous. It is about the loss of social mobility for millions of
Americans. It is about the dangerous concentration of wealth and a
massive increase in poverty that have infected every aspect of American
life; and it is about both threatening to become the norm. It is,
despite the happy talk of the Internet bringing us all together, about
the obliteration of meaningful connections in both institutional and
everyday personal relationships, and about the creation of a two-class
society, one class mired in hopelessness, despair and violence, while
the other grows increasingly oblivious of that hopelessness, despair
and violence. It is about the perpetuation of privilege for those who
have power, and the social paralysis or jail time for those who do not.
It is about the logical and inevitable consequences of an America in
which unfettered capitalism has been allowed to become the god before
which no other gods are placed. It is about the layered and dynamic
void created by deindustrialization and automation. It is about the
systemic retreat from the social contract. It is about a segregation of
classes not seen since the 19th century Gilded Age. It is about an
American horror story so insidious and yet so prevalent it has become,
I think that is mostly correct: I agree
the USA is in crisis, and the crisis has been mostly of their own
making, and proceeded economically by deregulations
(that freed the rich to behave very much worse than
they could when regulated by laws) and ideologically by a
mixture of bullshit,
and greed, wrapped up as "freedom".
Putnam is 9 years older than I am, and is concerned about families,
parenting, schools and community, and went back to Port Clinton, where
he grew up, and tries to compare his kind of past in the early 1950ies
with the present climate in which children are growing up:
What he finds is deeply troubling. It
is also the logical outcome of neoliberal policies that have dominated
American politics for decades.
“Comparing Port Clinton kids in the
1950’s with Port Clinton kids today,” Putnam writes, “the opportunity
gap has widened dramatically, partly because affluent kids now enjoy
more advantages than affluent kids then, but mostly because poor kids
now are in much worse shape than their counterparts then.” He finds the
pattern in Port Clinton replicated all over America: Atlanta; Orange
County, California; Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania; Bend, Oregon.
Wherever he looks, Putnam confronts the same dire divisions and their
consequent social pathologies.
Yes, that seems correct. Here is a summary:
“Our Kids” is built on interviews and
data that center on the institutions and practices Putnam posits as
foundational and life giving: families, parenting, schooling and
community. Both interviews and data reveal that, for all but the
well-to-do, these things are coming apart at the seams if they exist at
That also seems correct to me.
5. The Best Lines From the Tech
World's Defense of Apple
The fifth and last item today is by Max J. Rosenthal on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:
I say, for I did not know this, and this is
relatively good news, and I mean especially the fact that quite a few
tech giants agree with Apple (for I think
Last week, after Apple challenged a court order demanding that it help
the FBI unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino
shooters, major technology companies closed ranks and pledged their
support to Apple. Now they and other groups have made their support
official with an avalanche of court filings backing up Apple's case
against the FBI.
The filings are known as amicus curiae,
or "friend of the court," briefs, and provide supporting arguments and
information that judges can consider. Apple's allies—which include
fellow tech giants Amazon, Facebook, and Google; tech industry lobbying
groups; groups of lawyers and tech experts; privacy and civil liberties
organizations; human rights groups; and even AT&T, which has a long history of close cooperation with national
security officials—filed 15 amicus briefs to support the
iPhone maker's case.
the law is fairly straight, given the Fourth Amendment, which does
apply, even if this is denied by lawyers speaking for the government).
Here is a list of the points previous judges made (mostly):
The government has no
I have selected the points, and left out the
texts: If you want these, click the last dotted link. But I do want to
quote one of the points (under "The government
The government is
Some of the
obstacles the government is facing are of its
The court order
could destroy digital security for
The digital sky is
The victims don't all side with the
To which I say: Yes, indeed!
The American Civil Liberties Union's brief raised the
stakes even higher, writing:
The government seeks to compel an
innocent third party into becoming an agent of the state, to conscript
a private entity into a criminal investigation, and to require it to
develop information for the government that is neither in its
possession nor control. This is a tactic foreign to free
democracies...The government's theory threatens a radical
transformation of the relationship between the government and the
 You find the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights
under the link.
Also, I completely reject the European
Convention of Human Rights: If you compare the two you find that
while the Universal Declaration is clear, universal and
legal, the Convention tacitly introduces two kinds
The supermen that belong to the government, and who may
spy on anyone not belonging to their government for virtually any
reason, according to the European Convention, and the - I am sorry,
but this is how it feels - the subhumans who form the rest, who
must consent to being spied upon in secret by these
I think that it is a historical fact that state's terrorists
- the secret services, in particular - have been very much more
dangerous to very many more people than non-state terrorists.
Therefore I completely reject the European Declaration, which
in fact amounts to the declaration of two kinds of people:
Superhumans who work for the government, and the rest, who have to
tolerate the former kind, and all the secret spying they can do on
anyone, for very many bullshit reasons as well.
Compare the two, if you disagree!
Here is article 12 from the Universal
And this is what the sick and degenerate Europeans made of it:
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon
his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of
the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 8 – Right to respect for private
and family life
That is, under Article 8 everyone
may be spied upon "in the interests of
1. Everyone has the right to respect for
his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a
public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in
accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the
interests of national security, public safety or the economic
well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for
the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights
and freedoms of others.
That is insane, I am very sorry to
say: According to Article 12 of the Universal
Declaration "No one" shall be spied upon, while on the European
Convention anyone can be spied upon quite arbitrarily, for any
of eight specific reasons, while they do NOT even have the
right NOT to have
- national security,
- public safety
- the economic well-being of the country
- for the prevention of disorder
- for the prevention of crime
- for the protection of health
- for the protection of morals
- for the protection of the rights and
freedoms of others"
arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or
correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation
to Article 8 all you get from the supermen in the governments
and the secret services is "the
right to respect for his private and family life, his home and
which is totally different, and also subject to eight
clauses of exceptions.