May 27, 2016

Crisis: FBI's Terrorism, U.S. Writers, Clinton, Reich, "Bern: The Movie"
Sections                                                                     crisis index

Secret Text in Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless
     Access to Email Records

2. 600 U.S. Writers Sign Open Letter Denouncing Donald

3. Clinton’s Imperious Brush-off of Email Rules
4. Advice for Divided Democrats
'Bern: The Movie' Celebrates the Life of Bernie Sanders
     and His Revolutionary Presidential Campaign

This is a Nederlog of Friday, May 27, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about how the FBI and the NSA are making the USA into a fascistic state: I am sorry, I have no other name for it (and I quote Church again), for that is what will be the outcome if it is not radically terminated; item 2 is about a good letter signed by many American writers who oppose Trump; item 3 is about Clinton's (ab)use of emails during her time in Obama's government: it involved an "inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules"; item 4 is about an article by Robert Reich who advices Democrats to vote for Sanders if they can, and to vote for Clinton if she is the alternative to Trump (and I think he is quite right); and item 5 is about a movie about Bernie Sanders, that looks as if it is quite good, and that will appear on the internet today (May 27, 2016).

1. Secret Text in Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless Access to Email Records

The first item is by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.

If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs — most commonly, information about the name, address, and call data associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.

Since a 2008 Justice Department legal opinion, the FBI has not been allowed to use NSLs to demand “electronic communication transactional records,” such as email subject lines and other metadata, or URLs visited.

The spy bill passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, with the provision in it. The lone no vote came from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wrote in a statement that one of the bill’s provisions “would allow any FBI field office to demand email records without a court order, a major expansion of federal surveillance powers.”

I say. So they want to read everybody's emails and do so without a court order (which is totally against the Fourth Amendment): That is the way towards fascism, especially if Trump is elected president.

“At this point, it should go without saying that the information the FBI wants to include in the statue is extremely revealing — URLs, for example, may reveal the content of a website that users have visited, their location, and so on,” Andrew Crocker, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in an email to The Intercept.

“And it’s particularly sneaky because this bill is debated behind closed doors,” Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Open Technology Institute, said in an interview.

In February, FBI Director James Comey testified during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats that the FBI’s inability to get email records with NSLs was a “typo” — and that fixing it was one of the FBI’s top legislative priorities.

Since I am writing about this since 2004 (in Dutch) I will quote Senator Frank Church (<-Wikipedia) again, who warned in 1975 what James Comey is now trying to realize in the USA:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

But this is what the FBI, the NSA and many senators do wish: A government with greater tyrannical powers than ever existed, for it will know everything about its inhabitants (who certainly are no more "citizens"), who will hardly know anything about those who govern them and watch them and who read absolutely everything they write, and all without them having any idea (until they are arrested as nuisances to the government, although by that time such arrests probably also will be secret, as will be their trials: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton).

2. 600 U.S. Writers Sign Open Letter Denouncing Donald Trump

The second item is
by Emma Niles on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

Some of the greatest American writers are standing up to oppose presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. An open letter to the American people published on Tuesday declares:

"Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;

Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;

Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;

Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;

Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;

Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;

Because neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;

Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;

For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States."

I quoted it because I agree with it.

3. Clinton’s Imperious Brush-off of Email Rules

The third item is
by Ray McGovern (<- Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:

State Department functionaries faced a hopeless task as they tried to spin their own Inspector General’s matter-of-fact critique of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s imperial attitude toward basic security measures everyone else is required by law to follow.

It turns out that she deliberately chose to use a hacker-friendly, unprotected email server, and not so much for convenience – unless you define “convenience” as the ability to operate in total secrecy with no possibility of being held accountable for your policies or behavior. In one email to an aide, Clinton explained, “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

There are quite a few reports on this development, but this probably is the most informed. Here is some more:

When some staffers had the temerity to voice concerns over the vulnerability of a non-governmental email system, they were warned by their seniors “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.” The IG report establishes that Clinton’s claim that her use of an insecure email system for official business had been “allowed” is, well, disingenuous

In fact (and "the Post" is the Washington Post):
In the print edition, the Post lead editorial’s headline reads: “Ms. Clinton’s willful misjudgments: She repeatedly ignored warnings not to use private email during her tenure as secretary of state.” The online headline reads: "Clinton’s inexcusable, willful dis- regard for the rules." The editorial ends with the recommend- ation: “We urge the FBI to finish its own investigation soon, so all information about this troubling episode will be before the voters.”
There probably will be considerably more on this, and this is a recommended article.

4. Advice for Divided Democrats

The fourt
h item is by Robert Reich on his site:

This starts as follows:

With the Democratic primaries grinding to a bitter end, I have suggestions for both Clinton and Sanders supporters that neither will like.

First, my advice to Clinton supporters: Don’t try to drum Bernie Sanders out of the race before Hillary Clinton officially gets the nomination (if she in fact does get it).  

Some of you say Bernie should bow out because he has no chance of getting the nomination, and his continuing candidacy is harming Hillary Clinton’s chances.

It’s true that Bernie’s chances are slim, but it’s inaccurate to say he has no chance. If you consider only pledged delegates, who have been selected in caucuses and primaries, he’s not all that far behind Hillary Clinton. And the upcoming primary in California – the nation’s most populous state – could possibly alter Sanders’s and Clinton’s relative tallies.

I agree (and have been looking for months now - The Guardian! The Guardian! The once decent stinkingly Blairite Guardian! - at "supporters" of Bernie Sanders "advicing him" to give up: the utterly hypocritical liars and cheaters!).

There is also this on what Sanders does do (and see item 5):

(..) Sanders has been telling a basic truth about the American political economic system – that growing inequality of income and wealth has led inexorably to the increasing political power of those at the top, including big corporations and Wall Street banks. And that political power has stacked the deck in their favor, leading to still wider inequality.

Nothing important can be accomplished – reversing climate change, creating true equal opportunity, overcoming racism, rebuilding the middle class, having a sane and sensible foreign policy – until we reclaim our democracy from the moneyed interests. The longer Bernie Sanders is on stage to deliver this message, the better.

Again I agree, and also like to point out - again see item 5 - that (i) Bernie Sanders is quite unique in American politics, and (ii) his "message to the American people" has been the same ever since 1971. And in case you don't think so: That is a strength and not a weakness. The reason is that the
above "basic truth" remained the same: The American people are being shafted by the few rich.

My final quote is this:

Which brings me to those of you who say there’s no real difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

That’s just plain wrong. Trump has revealed himself to be a narcissistic, xenophobic, hatemonger who, if elected, would legitimize bigotry, appoint Supreme Court justices with terrible values, and have direct access to the button that could set off a nuclear war.

Quite so. And besides, for those who hate Clinton but are Democrats, liberals or progressives: Somebody was quoted (in a Bill Maher program) to the effect that
he hates Clinton, and he disagrees with all her parameters - "but her parameters are normal", and that's why he will vote for Clinton if she wins the presidential candidacy.

She is bad but she is sane, unlike the "narcissistic, xenophobic, hatemonger" Trump.

5. 'Bern: The Movie' Celebrates the Life of Bernie Sanders and His Revolutionary Presidential Campaign

The fifth item is by Alexandra Rosenmann on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:
Bernie Sanders may have been dubbed an outsider candidate in the 2016 presidential election, but the Democratic candidate's progressive agenda has been shaping American politics for nearly four decades. In his presidential campaign, the 74-year-old senator from Vermont has reached millions of Americans with the same populist message of wealth inequality, which the filmmakers behind the new documentary Bern: The Movie hope will prevail, with or without Sanders winning the party's nomination.
I mostly agree, although I don't like "populist" before "message", though this may be due to my (European) understanding of "populist".

And here is something about Bernie Sanders' quite unique consistency:

Like many Bernie Sanders supporters, Matthew has great respect for Sanders' consistency.

"If you just listen to the audio from the sneak peek, without looking at the footage, you would be hard-pressed to be able to tell when he said it. Was it yesterday or 30 years ago? That is extremely rare in a political candidate. And on top of that, the struggles he faces while growing up mirror so many people today here in the United States. He has a fascinating history that I think many people can relate to," Matthew said.

Yes, indeed. This is a recommended article, also because the article contains several videos. And the movie will be released today, on the internet, for free.

I didn't see it yet, but will.

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