March 5, 2016

Crisis: "Consent", Trump & Nazis, Grayson, "Our Kids", Apple vs FBI
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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 For?

3. 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, 2016.

This is a 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

This 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 [1]), 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 government officials:

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 Fourth Amendment.

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:

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.

There is also this (and note "the first time" in the above quotation):
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 so.

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?

The second item is b
y Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:
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 ago).

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, which is
the theme of the next item:
3. Rep. Alan Grayson Says to U.S. Progressives: Don’t Flee to Canada—Stay and Fight

The third item is b
y Alexander Reed Kelley on Truthdig:

This starts as follows (and is not a large item):

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 fight.

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 bookreview:

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, somehow, unseen.

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, egoism 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 all.

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:

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.
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
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 case:
The government is overreaching:
Some of the obstacles the government is facing are of its
     own making:

The court order could destroy digital security for

The digital sky is not falling:
The victims don't all side with the FBI:
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 is overreaching:"):

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 governed.

To which I say: Yes, indeed!

[1] 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 of people:

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 supermen.

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 Declaration:

Article 12.

  • 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.
And this is what the sick and degenerate Europeans made of it:

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

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, under Article 8 everyone may be spied upon "in the interests of
  • 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"
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
arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation
for according 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 his correspondence", which is totally different, and also subject to eight clauses of exceptions.

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