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Nederlog

 Oct 28, 2016

Crisis: Elections, CIA & NSA Uncontrolled, Privacy Rules, Violence, Ralph Nader
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
Too Big to Fail, Hillary-Style
2. When CIA and NSA Workers Blow the Whistle, Congress
     Plays Deaf

3.
FCC Passes Sweeping Internet Privacy Rules in 'Big Win
     for Civil Rights'
4. As Election Day Nears, 1 in 6 Americans Say They're
     Buying Guns and Half of Voters Expect Violence
5. Ralph Nader predicts fastest impeachment in history for
     Trump

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of October 28, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is on a good article by Nomi Prins; item 2 is about the intelligence agencies in the USA; item 3 is about a piece of Good News: At long last, privacy rules have been adapted in the USA; item 4 is about the chance that there will be (a lot of) violence at or after election day: I do not know; and item 5 is about an interview with Ralph Nader on the elections and on Trump.

Also, there is a previous Nederlog of today:
On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions - so yes, at long last this is ready. It probably is not for everybody but you are adviced to check out (at least) my definitions of fascism and neofascism. (There also are 21 other definitions.)


-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice or more to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer. (It was OK on October 22, but not before.)

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now works again (!), but I do not know how long it will keep working. The Dutch site still is a mess.

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.


I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.

---


1. Too Big to Fail, Hillary-Style

The first item today is by Nomi Prins (<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams and originally on
This starts as follows:
As this endless election limps toward its last days, while spiraling into a bizarre duel over vote-rigging accusations, a deep sigh is undoubtedly in order. The entire process has been an emotionally draining, frustration-inducing, rage-inflaming spectacle of repellent form over shallow substance. For many, the third debate evoked fatigue. More worrying, there was again no discussion of how to prevent another financial crisis, an ominous possibility in the next presidency, whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton enters the Oval Office -- given that nothing fundamental has been altered when it comes to Wall Street’s practices and predation.
Yes indeed: I mostly agree. Also, Nomi Prins (<-Wikipedia) is an expert on banking and she is right on Wall Street. Then again - possibly because I may be more pessimistic than Nomi Prins - I halfly disagree about "ominous": While I think another financial crisis would be bad for the finances of very many, I also
think another financial crisis is about the only possibility to regain democracy - and see "On Fascism and Neofascism" that I published earlier today.

Here is Nomi Prins's summary of the elective choices:
At the heart of American political consciousness right now lies a soul-crushing reality for millions of distraught Americans: the choices for president couldn’t be feebler or more disappointing. On the one hand, we have a petulant, vocabulary-challenged man-boar of a billionaire, who hasn’t paid his taxes, has regularly left those supporting him holding the bag, and seems like a ludicrous composite of every bad trait in every bad date any woman has ever had. On the other hand, we’re offered a walking photo-op for and well-paid speechmaker to Wall-Street CEOs, a one-woman money-raising machine from the 1% of the 1%, who, despite a folksiness that couldn’t look more rehearsed, has methodically outplayed her opponent.
Yes, though I like to add - as a psychologist - that Donald Trump is (also) not sane. But I agree that either choice for president (there is no other realistic choice, although there are two more candidates) is either bad (Hillary Clinton) or disastrous (Donald Trump). My choice is for Hillary, but that is especially so
not because I expect anything good from her, but because her opponent is not sane.

This is Nomi Prins's prediction of the outcome of the elections:
With less than two weeks to go before E-day -- despite the Trumptilian upheaval of the last year -- the high probability of a Clinton win means the establishment remains intact. When we awaken on November 9th, it will undoubtedly be dawn in Hillary Clinton’s America and that potentially means four years of an economic dystopia that will (as would Donald Trump’s version of the same) leave many Americans rightfully anxious about their economic futures.
I agree. Here is Nomi Prins's assessment of both (prominent) candidates' positions on banking:
None of the three presidential debates suggested that either candidate would have the ability (or desire) to confront Wall Street from the Oval Office. In the second and third debates, in case you missed them, Hillary didn’t even mention the Glass-Steagall Act, too big to fail, or Wall Street. While in the first debate, the subject of Wall Street only came up after she disparaged the tax policies of “Trumped-up, trickle down economics” (or, as I like to call it, the Trumpledown economics of giving tax and financial benefits to the rich and to corporations).
Again I agree. Also all of this was selected from the beginning of the article, that contains considerably more and is recommended.

I only quote one more bit from near the end, that gives her expectations:

So let’s recap Hillary’s America, past, present, and future. It’s a land lacking in meaningful structural reform of the financial system, a place where the big banks have been, and will continue to be, coddled by the government. No CEO will be jailed, no matter how large the fines his bank is saddled with or how widespread the crimes it committed.  Instead, he’s likely to be invited to the inaugural ball in January. Because its practices have not been adequately controlled or curtailed, the inherent risk that Wall Street poses for Main Street will only grow as bankers continue to use our money to make their bets. (The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act was supposed to help on this score, but has yet to make the big banks any smaller.)

And here’s an obvious corollary to all this: the next bank-instigated economic catastrophe will not be dealt with until it has once again crushed the financial stability of millions of Americans.

Yes, indeed. But as I said above, I may be slightly less pessimistic about "the next bank-instigated economic catastrophe", but indeed my reasons are political and not economical: The only way I can see that may collapse the exploitative rich men's capitalism under which we now all live is that they will themselves blow up the system.

This will be very bad for very many, but it may collapse the extremely bad system of economic exploitation of the many by the few.

2. When CIA and NSA Workers Blow the Whistle, Congress Plays Deaf

The second item is by Patrick G. Eddington on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Do the committees that oversee the vast U.S. spying apparatus take intelligence community whistleblowers seriously? Do they earnestly investigate reports of waste, fraud, abuse, professional negligence, or crimes against the Constitution reported by employees or contractors working for agencies like the CIA or NSA? For the last 20 years, the answer has been a resounding “no.”

I entirely agree (and indeed for the CIA or the NSA it is more than "20 years").
There is this on the NSA's activities around the year 2000:

Around this time, a small, dedicated group of NSA employees was trying to solve another national security problem: how to make it possible for the government to eavesdrop successfully in the age of the internet.

Led by NSA crypto-mathematician Bill Binney, the team developed an ingenious technical program called ThinThread, which allowed the NSA to process incoming surveillance information but segregate and discard the communications of innocent Americans. The program was innovative, cheap, and badly needed. But just months before the 9/11 attacks, then-NSA Director Michael Hayden rejected ThinThread in favor of an untested, expensive alternative called Trailblazer, offered by a Washington, D.C.-based defense contractor. It became a pricey boondoggle that never produced a single piece of intelligence.

Yes, and my own analysis is that Hayden knew all this, and may have expected nothing of Trailblazer, but his desire was completely different from Binney's:

Hayden had seen how the secret services and the goverment can control everybody by totally destroying all privacy of everyone; by finding out everything that could be found out about anybody by computers or cellphones; by storing that in personal dossiers; and by waiting for the "legal" [2] changes (that all are or will be approved by the majorities of corrupted politicians) that will enable the secret services to control anyone (or make him or her disappear forever).

That is what I think, and I think the evidence for my point of view is quite strong, though indeed it is also handicapped by the many secrecies that protect the NSA.

Note that this change in the NSA's policies happened around 2001. Here is more on what William Binney (<- Wkipedia), and a bit later Thomas Drake (<-Wikipedia) tried to do:

Enraged that a program they believed could have prevented the 9/11 attacks had been jettisoned, Binney and his colleagues privately approached the House Intelligence Committee. When that failed to produce results, they issued a formal complaint to the Defense Department’s inspector general.

The subsequent investigation validated the allegations of the NSA ThinThread team. But in spite of this vindication, all who had filed the complaint were subsequently investigated by the FBI on bogus charges of leaking classified information. The episode is now the subject of an Office of Special Counsel whistleblower reprisal investigation, involving former NSA senior manager and ThinThread proponent Tom Drake. I have read the Defense Department inspector general report, which is still almost completely classified, and filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking its declassification. The Pentagon has stonewalled my request for more than a year and a half.

Congress has made no effort to investigate any of this.

Yes, quite so. Here is Patrick Eddington's ending:

We now live in a country where the committees charged with reining in excessive domestic spying instead too often act as apologists and attack dogs for the agencies they are charged with regulating. As a result, it’s pretty clear that those intelligence agencies — and not the elected representatives of the American people — are really running the show in Washington.

Probably yes - and my "probably" is motivated not by distrust of Eddington or The Intercept, but solely by the fact that it is my guess that it is not just the intelligence agencies that run the show, but the Deep State. (This is the longest entry I wrote about it in 2016, but there are several Nederlogs on it in 2016.)

There is more under the last link, and this is a recommended article.

3. FCC Passes Sweeping Internet Privacy Rules in 'Big Win for Civil Rights'

The third item is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday passed sweeping new privacy rules designed to keep broadband providers from giving customers' private data to third parties.

The rules, approved by a vote of 3-2, require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to get customers' explicit consent before using or sharing behavioral data like browsing history, location, and other sensitive information with marketing firms or other companies, the Washington Postreports.

"It's the consumers' information," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said. "How it is used should be the consumers' choice. Not the choice of some corporate algorithm."

I say - which I do because I did not know about this and did also not expect it. But this is Good News, in spite of some qualifications, and that is quite rare in this crisis series.

Here is information about what was decided:

According to the Post's Brian Fung:

Also covered by that requirement are health data, financial information, Social Security numbers and the content of emails and other digital messages. The measure allows the FCC to impose the opt-in rule on other types of information in the future, but certain types of data, such as a customer's IP address and device identifier, are not subject to the opt-in requirement. The rules also force service providers to tell consumers clearly what data they collect and why, as well as to take steps to notify customers of data breaches.

However, the new rules do not require providers to get clear permission before using the data themselves.

Still, watchdog groups praised the announcement, with the digital rights organization Fight for the Future calling it "a big win for consumers [and] civil rights."
Yes indeed. Here is some more:
Chris Calabrese, vice president of policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said, "This rule represents a significant step forward in protecting internet users, who have no choice but to expose massive amounts of information to broadband providers. It reflects the reality that where we go online is private and the people we pay to carry it should treat it as private."

Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the vote was "a historic win for privacy and free expression and for the vitality of the internet. Just as telephone companies are not allowed to listen in to our calls or sell information about who we talk to, our internet providers shouldn't be allowed to monitor our internet usage for profit."
In fact I would add that "internet providors should not be allowed to monitor our internet usage", period. And indeed they should be governed as telephone companies are, and as paper letters are, that is by the Fourth Amendment. (People may be tracked and traced - but only if a judge approves it, for a specific purpose, as the Fourth Amendment specifies. To steal everyone's privacy, as the NSA has been doing for 15 years now, seems to me - at least - an explicit and conscious preparation for neofascism or dictatorship.)

Here is the last bit, that also states some difficulties with the new rules:

Dallas Harris, policy fellow at the media democracy group Public Knowledge, said the decision "marks a significant step forward in protecting consumer privacy. For the first time, [ISPs] will be required to get consumer consent prior to using the sensitive information they collect. While much remains to be done to protect consumers online writ large, the commission's rules establish a baseline level of protection for all."

"Thanks to the rules passed by the commission today, consumers now have more control over how their information is used online than ever before. Yet, consumer protection rules are only as strong as their ability to be enforced, so it is imperative that the commission follow these strong rules with strict enforcement," Harris said.

Yes. And in fact I expect a lot of propaganda against these rules (by the rich, by the government, by the corporations: these all want to know everything about you and anybody else to be able to manipulate you in secret) and I also expect it will be difficult to strictly enforce them, simply because enforcing the rules will diminish the profits of the internet providers.

But this is Good News and the article is recommended.

4. As Election Day Nears, 1 in 6 Americans Say They're Buying Guns and Half of Voters Expect Violence

The fourth item is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:
How long will it be before someone gets shot by a Donald Trump supporter in what the shooter may likely consider an act of patriotic civil disobedience? Or before someone uses a gun against right-wing vigilantes?

There is no shortage of evidence pointing toward some violent outburst surrounding the presidential election results. Reporters interviewing Trump supporters at rallies, national polls showing likely voters are expecting Election Day violence, consumer- trend tracking firms saying demand is rising for gun purchases, and rhetoric from the longstanding cadre of right-wing loudmouths, all suggest some type of ugly response.

I say. Then again, it is 10 more days to the election and no one has been shot yet. But I do not know what to expect immediately after the elections: No violence, some violence or a lot of violence.

Here is some more:

“Sixteen percent of Americans plan on buying a gun as a result of the upcoming election,” said a press release Thursday from Elementum, “the real-time supply chain platform company, who polled 2,000 Americans from October 20-24 and found that among those living in the South, 19 percent will buy guns and among Gen Xers, the number is nearly 23 percent, especially among women, 24 percent.”

Wrapping oneself in the flag and taking up arms is a staple of the far-right militia-embracing fringe. But the urge has found a new home in the Trump campaign, led by a presidential candidate who says the vote will be stolen unless he wins, a manager who publishes bomb-throwing Breitbart News, and backers who get their “news” from even more extreme sources like conspiracist Alex Jones of InfoWars.
But there are already more guns than people in the USA, so the facts from the first of the above two paragraphs are not likely to be very relevant.

This is the last bit that I quote from the article:
There is mounting evidence that the Trump-led faction of the Republican Party is preparing to take their rage into the streets. Half of likely voters expect Election Day will be violent, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday found.“Hillary Clinton has built a formidable lead over Donald Trump approaching 10 percentage points,” the national newspaper reported. “But she faces a deeply divided nation that is alarmed about the prospect of Election Day violence and what may be ahead. A 51 percent majority of likely voters express at least some concern about the possibility of violence on Election Day; one in five are ‘very concerned.’”
As I said: I do not know what to expect immediately after the elections: No violence, some violence or a lot of violence. I like no violence, and I tend to
expect no violence or some violence, but I do not know (and no one does).

5. Ralph Nader predicts fastest impeachment in history for Trump

The fifth and last item today is by Elise Viebeck on The Washington Post:

This starts as follows:

As Al Gore hits the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, there’s another figure from 2000 seeking a voice in this election.

Remember Ralph Nader?

The 82-year-old consumer advocate says he’s working “harder than ever” to bring a liberal third-party sensibility to the political debate. Lately, it seems a big part of that effort is attacking the idea he was spoiler for Gore in 2000, mostly in letters to the editor. (Some things never change.)

Well, thank you: I know who Ralph Nader is since the 1960ies. Here is some from a brief interview The Washington Post had with him:

What’s your prediction for the future of the country if Trump wins the White House?

The fastest impeachment and conviction in congressional history, because he’s totally lacking in self-control. He’s up at night going after a beauty queen on Twitter. What’s he going to do if a dictatorial regime provokes him? He cannot control his impulses. In his public persona, he is a seriously unstable person who is vigorously ignorant. He’s proud of it. He’s ignorant of the facts, ignorant of what it takes to be in that office. . . . [He] lives in an unreality of fabrications, wild exaggerations, false statements and prevarications. They’re the four horsemen of Donald Trump.

To put it in my terms: Trump is simply not sane, and the above quotation gives evidence for this.

And this is Ralph Nader on how things changed in the American elections:

How have American elections changed since you entered politics?

We have commercialized, corporatized elections, and the press have gone along with it. Citizen groups, who have actually built justice in America for 200 years — they are the people who have changed things, changed laws, changed conditions on the ground — they’re never asked to participate as observers or commentators. As a result, the civil society is blocked from injecting new issues into the debate, issues that are ignored like the crisis in pensions, corporate crime, empire, the bloated military budget. These issues are never discussed by the two parties . . . Instead, we have a circus carnival for an electoral process, with all the reporters diddling each other all the time and a chief circus barker on top of it all.

I agree. There is more in the article, that is recommended.

--------------------------
Notes
[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] I tend to indicate my doubts about claims by putting the claims ("leftists", "Marxists", "legal" and more) between quotes. As to "legal":
I do not like rules that enable the secret services to control - in secret, by deceptions - anyone they want to control, which is one reason to doubt them, and another reason to doubt their legality is that I have been reading now for something like 15 years that many Senators and Congressmen are simply corrupted by the rich, and since I believe these are required to know at least as much as I know about the secret services's stealing everybody's privacy, I think many have been corrupted. (I know no specific evidence, but the plain anti-democracy of the NSA and other secret services, and also of dataminers, is so obvious that I do believe politicians have been bought.)
 

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