1. The FBI Wants to
Exempt Massive Biometric Database
From the Privacy Act
2. Trump: A Fool and a Fraud
3. Bernie Sanders Fights On: The Rolling
4. CHEATING DONALD
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, June 2,
is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4
dotted links: item 1 is about the FBI's desire to
become the most powerful state terrorists there have ever been; item 2 is about Trump (but while I agree with the
title, I agree less with the contents); item 3 is
about a fairly decent and rather long interview with Bernie Sanders on
The Rolling Stone; and item 4 is about Ralph
Nader's Brand Name for Trump: CHEATING DONALD, as compared with my
idem: LUNATIC TRUMP.
1. The FBI Wants to Exempt Massive Biometric Database From
the Privacy Act
The first item is
by Ava Kofman on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
A broad coalition of
45 signatories, including civil liberties, racial justice, human
rights, and privacy organizations, published a
letter Tuesday strongly condemning a proposal by the FBI to exempt
its massive biometric database from certain provisions of the Privacy Act.
Known as the Next Generation Identification system, or NGI, the FBI
database houses the world’s largest collection of fingerprints, DNA
profiles, palm prints, face images, and other biometric identifiers.
The letter, signed by groups such as La Raza, Color of Change, Amnesty
International, National LGBTQ Task Force, as well as the companies Uber
and Lyft, criticized the agency’s May 5 proposal on the grounds that
the “system uses some of the most advanced surveillance technologies
known to humankind, including facial recognition, iris scans, and
Specifically, the FBI’s proposal
would exempt the database from the provisions in the Privacy Act that
require federal agencies to share with individuals the information
they collect about them and that give people the legal right to
determine the accuracy and fairness of how their personal information
is collected and used. The exemption could render millions of
records unavailable to subjects. As of December 2015, the NGI system contained
70,783,318 criminal records and 38,514,954 civil records.
As it happens, I can document that at
least since 2005 (<- this is the
evidence, in Dutch) I have not believed that the FBI, the NSA
(the existence of which I did not know in 2005), and other govermental dataminers (of which there
are very many) were assembling data to find out about terrorism.
always was the pretext to get everything on anyone,
and the reason the secret services want everything on anyone
is that this gives them more power than anybody
This article is yet another argument that
The FBI wants to know everything about
anyone, and also wants to prevent that anyone can find
out what the FBI knows about them, also if all the data the
FBI gathered about one don't have anything to do with any crime or
Here is some more that explains the above
quoted second paragraph (boldings added by me):
As the coalition notes with alarm, the
millions of unique identifiers for U.S.
citizens who have not been convicted of a crime alongside
those who have. Fingerprints taken for an employer’s background
checks, for instance, can be stored and searched in the NGI’s system
along with those taken for criminal investigations.
AND the FBI wants to deny you all
rights to know that the FBI has your fingerprints (etc. etc. etc.).
Here is the final bit I'll quote:
Yes, precisely. And
this is a recommended article.
Several civil liberties advocates, all
of which signed the letter, told The Intercept that allowing
the FBI to evaluate privacy at its “sole discretion,” as the notice
suggests, shields the NGI database from oversight, accountability, and
transparency. Jeramie Scott, a national security attorney who
helped litigate the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s lawsuit
against the FBI for documents pertaining to its NGI system in 2013,
said the exemption “makes it harder for people to understand what the
FBI is using this data for, to access this data to make sure its
correct, and to have some type of civil remedy if, because of the FBI’s
NGI database, they are somehow harmed by the FBI’s use of that data.”
Fool and a Fraud
The second item is by Eugene Robinson on
This got selected on the title, but while I
like the title, the article simply is mistaken. I will show this by
selecting two bits from it. The first is this:
As Trump showed the world, it is
relatively easy to run for president if you are willing to say or do
anything to get attention and you believe in nothing except your own
self-inflated myth. His reality-television-style campaign overwhelmed a
badly fractured Republican Party. But the act is getting harder to pull
off because now his words, often chosen for their shock value, have
No: Trump did not "show[..] the world" that "it is relatively easy to run for
president if you are willing to say or do anything to get attention and
you believe in nothing except your own self-inflated myth".
What he showed is that it is relatively easy to run for president in
the USA if you are very rich (or so Trump says), and if you totally
disregard truth and moral decency, and if the main media do not
attack you for your lies, your falsehoods, your offenses, your
discriminations and your obvious racism.
It is the main media that made Trump great by not questioning his
obvious lies and falsehoods. Trump would have been long out of the
presidential race if the
main media had seriously questioned and attacked his very many lies,
falsehoods, etc. They did not, in part because not doing so made them a
lot of money.
Here is the second bit:
Hm. I don't think "Clinton
basically agrees with Sanders"
about climate change. I agree she - like all sane persons - agrees
there is climate change, but that seems to be "the basic agreement"
between Sanders and Clinton: Apart from that, her program is quite
different, while it is also difficult (if you know anything about the Clintons) to believe much she is saying before she
Trump apparently believes that he can
defeat his likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, by winning the votes of
some disaffected Democrats who support Bernie Sanders. Yet while Trump
has called climate change a “hoax” somehow perpetrated by the dastardly
Chinese, Sanders calls it “the single greatest threat facing our
planet” and proposes urgent and sweeping action to limit atmospheric
and oceanic warming. Clinton basically agrees with Sanders, as
evidenced by her unfortunately phrased promise to “put a lot of coal
companies and coal miners out of business.”
Then again, I agree with Robinson that Trump is both a fool and a
fraud. And there is more on the brand name that is appropriate for a
product like Trump in section 4.
3. Bernie Sanders Fights On:
The Rolling Stone Interview
third item is by Tim
Dickinson on The Rolling Stone:
This has a subtitle:
A defiant candidate on what he's trying
That is indeed what the interview is
about, which I thought fairly decent, and that also is too long to
decently excerpt. I pick some bits for comments. The first is this:
I agree with Sanders that many Americans are
angry (and anxious, and very poor) and that this, together with the
fact that the leaders of both big parties are not "addressing – or even paying attention to – their needs", is a good part of the reason many Americans like
To a certain degree ... So what
is the common denominator among those voters?
We are also addressing the anger of the
American people. [But] in a constructive way. And that is to say: We've
got to bring people together. Do the exact opposite of Trump, who is
trying to divide us up. To look at the real causes for why the middle
class is declining, and develop public policy that
Here's what the common denominator is: To the
media's great shock and to the pundits' great shock, there are millions
of Americans who are very, very angry. And they're angry because
they're working longer hours for lower wages. They're angry because
they're working two and three jobs. They're worried about the future of
their children – getting decent jobs and getting homes. And then they
look at the leadership of the Democratic Party and the leadership of
the Republican Party and they don't see people addressing – or even
paying attention to – their needs. And Trump comes along and starts to
blame Mexicans or Muslims or women for the problems facing society. The
people are seeing that someone at least is speaking to their anger. And
that's unfortunate. That's a very ugly approach. But that's why he's
Then again, another part of the reason many Americans like Trump is
that he is crude, mean, a racist, and a misogynist, while many
Americans also do not
have adequate ideas about their own country or its politics.
These reasons also hold, although I agree that Sanders probably acts
wisely in not paying much attention to the (very disappointing) degrees
of intelligence and information in American voters.
Next, there is this exchange on Sanders role in the Democratic Party
and on the political revolution his presidential candidacy created:
Is this fight to persuade
superdelegates to back you over Clinton a test of your philosophy of a
political revolution? You've got a friendly opposition that you've got
to convince to do something. And it's arguably in their electoral
I agree with Sanders: He did achieve
something quite big in motivating the large enthusiasm for him,
especially given the fact that his candidacy and his person have been
mostly discriminated by the main media.
No. It's an
inside-the-Democratic Party strategic effort, just trying to get the
delegates we need. It's not the political revolution. The political
revolution is waking up millions of people to stand up and fight for
their own rights. The political revolution is to bring out 1.2 million
people at rallies throughout this country. The political revolution is
to bring in more individual campaign contributions at this point in a
campaign than any candidate in American history, averaging $27 apiece.
A political revolution is in every single primary or caucus we win an
overwhelming majority of voters 45 years of age or younger. I wish we
were doing better among seniors.
Whether that will bring about "a political revolution"
remains to be seen, for this depends on his becoming president or,
failing that, in succeeding in creating a strong (really ) leftish political
Here is Sanders on the New Deal he presents, and on his plans if he
does not become president:
Sanders is right that the ideas he puts to
the American voters are neither radical nor revolutionary. If he were a
European, I'd say he is a decent somewhat leftish social democrat,
which in Europe tend to be large parties
Everything that I campaign on – they're
not fringe ideas. They're not radical ideas. They're ideas that the
American people support. What we've got to do now is close the gap that
currently exists between the American people over here [gestures to
one side of the table], who have needs and goals and desires, and
a Congress [gestures to other side], which in almost every
instance is ignoring what the American people want.
Now, is it easy to do? No. How do you do
it? It's a good question. And the truth is, right now I'm a bit busy
running for president to have figured that out, other than to tell you
that it requires a mass-based political effort bringing millions of
people together to stand up and fight back.
that often govern (often in coalitions with other parties, as in
that have ideas and ideals that are not radical nor revolutionary.
And he is also right in opposing the American people and the Congress
(that is liked by either 6 or 8% - forgot which), and in declining to
answer what he will do if he doesn't win the presidency: That indeed is
not very relevant now.
Here is the last bit I'll quote:
Do you have any closing
Quite so! The main problem I see in America
is that the main media have betrayed the people by betraying their
roles as investigators of the truth.
Yeah. And that is the
American people are prepared to support real change. The difficulty
that we have is not just the objective crises that we face – the
disappearing middle class, income and wealth inequality, crumbling
infrastructure, lack of universal health care and paid family and
medical leave – the whole list of those things. That's not the major
problem. The major problem is that we have an establishment that works
24 hours a day, seven days a week, led by a corporate media, which
tries to condition the American people not to believe that we can
accomplish those goals – or to even consider that those goals can be
part of what American society is about.
The main media - which are what vast majority sees or reads - stopped
investigating the truth in the early 2000s, and replaced this by
following and repeating the propaganda of the government and of
It is also especially this radical change in the main media that
undermines democracy, for a real democracy is only possible if the main
media critically investigate the claims of the government and of politicians, and
honestly report the results of their investigations.
There is a lot more in the interview, which is recommended.
4. CHEATING DONALD
item is by Ralph Nader
on his site:
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump brags about “branding” his
political opponents. He repeatedly has called Marco Rubio “Little
Marco,” Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” and Hillary Clinton, “Crooked Hillary.”
Repetition makes these epithets stick – a lesson Trump has drawn from
the advertising world and his own fragile ego.
Astonishingly, his opponents have not
successfully branded him – choosing instead to first ignore and then
argue with Trump, who is a chronic overtalker, shouter and
prevaricator. The mass media, delighted with its ratings, has until
recently rarely chosen to challenge his false assertions, preferring
instead to let him perpetuate his mendacities.
Yes, indeed - and as I pointed out in the
previous item, the mass media have systematically betrayed the people's
interests and the possibilities for maintaining a real democracy, for
real democracy depends on a widespread knowledge of the real facts, and these are not delivered any more by
the main media.
I also agree with Nader that Trump must
have a "fragile ego" and that he is "a chronic
overtalker, shouter and prevaricator".
Ralph Nader concludes this:
Based on these and other solid published
sources, the new moniker or nickname for Trump should be “CHEATING
I respectfully disagree: Cheaters, while
dishonest, are sane. Trump, while dishonest, is also not sane,
and that is the big
problem: He doesn't believe in truth or in facts; he says whatever
comes up in his mind, which must be so because (he thinks) He Is The
Greatest, and that is that. And the main media don't contradict him,
because they make a lot of money that way, and money comes for them
before responsibility and honesty.
And while I am a psychologist, many others
- including quite a few Republicans - seem to see it in similar terms:
You just cannot
deliver the keys to the American atomic arsenal to a man who is as
wacky, as strange, as temperamental, as dishonest, as unpredictable and as
narcissistic as he is.
For this reason, my own preferred brand name for the product
Trump is: "THE LUNATIC TRUMP", for that points out what I think he is,
why I think he is very
dangerous, and why he must be stopped.
It are not the interminable amounts of
utter trash, nonsense, falsehoods and bullshit that Trump produces (there
are quite a few more politicians who do so): it is that he is
fundamentally irresponsible, unpredictable, and dangerous.
Then again, Nader does have reasons for
his favored qualification:
I agree with all of that. Here is the final
bit on Nader's branding:
Cheating Donald rings true with many
bells. He has cheated on his workers, including undocumented
laborers. Through his numerous tactical company bankruptcies, he has
cheated on his creditors and employees who were thrown out of
their jobs. Fortune Magazine’s 1999 list of the 496 most
admired companies ranked his casino company at the bottom – worst or
almost worst in management, use of assets, employee talent, long-term
investment value and social reasonability. And that was before Cheating
Donald’s company later went bankrupt.
He cheated on consumers – most
recently the students at Trump “University” that New York Attorney
General Eric T. Schneiderman called an “illegal educational
He has cheated on taxpayers – using
political influence to get tax abatements for his properties, while
admittedly paying little or no taxes on his tax returns he refuses to
Finally, he has cheated the Truth,
producing a veritable Trump Tower of false statements, twisting facts
into webs of deception while vaingloriously shouting to rallies
that “we’re going to win, win, win, win, win, win, win until you
get sick of us winning” (without ever once answering the question of
Since announcing his bid for the
presidency in June 2015, Trump’s campaign trail has been strewn with
illusory promises, and a staggering number of self-glorifications
suggesting deep personal instabilities. These childish displays of
hubris confirm day after day it is all about him and not the American
people. Not exactly presidential timber.
Yes, but this again (it seems to me, at
least) supports my branding more than Nader's branding:
Somebody with 75% of his checked
statements turning out to be false, not merely disbelieves in
truth  and in facts, but this suggests, also joined with the "staggering number of self-glorifications suggesting deep
personal instabilities", that he is not merely not "exactly presidential timber", but
that he is too much of an irresponsible, temperamental lunatic to be
the most powerful man on earth.
And indeed Nader concludes as follows - while I would say "the Lunatic
Trump" better supports the rest of Nader's (true!) statements than
For he does "lacks control
over himself" and he "has
demonstrated time and again that he lacks the self-control" to be president of the USA. I have seen 11 American
presidents in my life, but I have never seen a presidential candidate
For Cheating Donald is not only
uncontrollable for the political establishment, he also lacks control
over himself and is routinely driven to disparagingly brand anyone who
takes him to task. He has demonstrated time and again that he lacks the
self-control to negotiate the “great deals” that have become the
hallmark of his campaign’s message. Cheating Donald is the latest
manifestation of what could happen to this country when commercialized
elections separate from the discipline of a democratic society. This is
turning our land into a plutocratic-oligarchic domain, where the Rich
rule the Many by entrenching the corporate state so dreaded by our
with such problems of self-control, temperament, facts, and honesty as
 I think the qualification "really" before "leftish" is quite necessary, because "the left" has changed a lot since the 1970ies, and basically for two reasons, one philosophical, and one political.
The philosophical reason is that "the left" adopted (for a large part) postmodern ideas that denied there is any real truth and denied there is any real foundation for morality. I (who am a philosopher, with a lot of relevant knowledge) always opposed postmodernism, but many nominal "leftists" did not, and thereby also gave up the truth-based non-relativistic teachings of the more traditional left.
The political reason is that some rather important nominally
"leftist" politicians, notably Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Wim Kok in
the nineties simply gave up socialism, trade unions, and much that was classically left, and replaced this by their own brand of neoliberalism,
that only shared some of the propaganda and terminology with the old
left, but otherwise was quite neoconservative. I again opposed
all of this.
The reasons for my oppositions to much of "the new left" (the "Third Way") is that I very well know what the old left
was like, because both of my parents were - sincere and intelligent -
revolutionary communists for 45 years. I did not, from age 20 onwards,
agree with their Marxism, but I did agree and indeed do agree with their leftism.
Finally, it also seems to me that real leftists are anti-postmodernists, pro science, and pro truth, while false leftists are postmodernists, anti (real) science, and generally limit their fake "leftishness" to politically correct speechifying, while supporting "Third Way" bullshit.
These distinctions are quite important. And also see the next note.
 Incidentally but quite relevantly:
At least 90% of both staff and students of the University of Amsterdam between 1977 and 1995 disbelieved in truth (they believed: "everybody knows there is no truth") and disbelieved in science (nearly all students believed: "everybody knows science is a capitalist illusion").
In the end, the main reason for this - gross anti-university bullshit - was that the Dutch students effectively were given the Dutch universities in 1971, by an act of parliament, which gave the students the full control over the universities, that from 1971 till 1995 were directed by parliaments that were
elected yearly on the principle of 1 man (professor, lecturer, secretary, student, toilet cleaner) = 1 vote.
This set-up gave total control to the students, for these were always
in the vast majority. And from 1971 till 1995 most students were either
very leftish (often communists, especially from 1977-1983) or very postmodern
(from 1984 onwards). It stopped in 1995 by another act of the national
parliament, that took all powers away from the students (and gave them
This also explains why over 90% of "the scientific staff" pretended for nearly 25 years to be "much interested in the genius of Marx", because they liked their very well-paying and well-pensioned bureaucratic jobs very much more than science or truth. And indeed they nearly all retained their bureaucratic jobs. (For "scientists" in Holland then were all state bureau- crats, with - excellent - state pensions, and stable and guaranteed jobs regardless of competence, for 40 years or so, provided they didn't quarrel.)