Thursday, August 3, 2017

Crisis: FBI Director, Trump's Themes, Hacking Voters, US Police, Trump vs The Law

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 3, 2017 


This is a Nederlog of Thursday, August 3, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 3, 2017

The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Wray Confirmed as FBI Director as Questions Swirl over His Past Record & Close Ties to Big Business

This article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Christopher Wray as the next director of the FBI, but in an unprecedented move, five senators voted against his nomination. Before yesterday, only one senator had ever voted against an FBI nominee. In addition, three senators abstained from the vote. Senator Ron Wyden, who voted against Wray’s confirmation, said he did so because of Wray’s position on government surveillance. "In his public and private statements, Chris Wray failed to oppose government backdoors into Americans’ personal devices, or to acknowledge the facts about encryption. That it isn’t about liberty versus security, it’s about more security versus less security." The American Civil Liberties Union also criticized Wray for his involvement in the U.S. torture program under George W. Bush. We speak with independent journalist Marcy Wheeler and economist James Henry.

He does not appear to be a good choice, that is. There is considerably more in the interview that follows.

2. Desperate Trump Returns to His Favorite Themes: Torture, Blood and Violence

This is by Heather Digby Parsons on AlterNet and originally on Salon. This is from the article:

Trump is taking this to another level with his speech to Youngstown and another one last Friday before a crowd of police officers in Brentwood, New York. In both speeches, to one extent or another, he exhorted the police to use extrajudicial violence, complimenting them for “liberating” American towns from “the enemy.”

In Youngstown he said:

We’re doing it rough. Our guys are rougher than their guys. I asked one of our great generals, “How tough are our people? How tough are they?” He said, “Sir, you don’t want to know about it.”

He never mentions the rule of law, the judicial process or the legal system at all. In New York, where he described the Long Island suburbs as “blood-stained killing fields,” he went even further:

When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said, “Please, don’t be too nice.” Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting the head. You know? The way you put the hand over [the head], like “Don’t hit their head” and they’ve just killed somebody, “Don’t hit their head.”

I said, “You can take the hand away,” OK?”

The cops at the rally cheered wildly.

There is considerably more in the article.

3. Watch the Video: DEF CON Hackers Got Into Many Voting Machines and E-Poll Books

This article is by Lulu Friesdat on AlterNet. This is from the end of the article - and "DEF CON" is a hackers' weeked:

DEF CON hackers said they took complete control of an e-poll book, a type of election equipment in use in dozens of states where voters arrive at precincts, sign in and receive their ballots. That is exactly the type of equipment that was likely breached in at least one state in 2016.

They also found major security flaws in the Sequoia AVC Edge, in use in 13 states and the AccuVote TSX, in use in 19 states. A different version of the AccuVote was used recently in Georgia's $50 million congressional election.

Hackers then went to work on the iVotronic, currently in use in 18 states. With one button they were able to bypass the first security screen and gain access to the admin screen. They found the password through Google. The password turns out to be svcsvc. Now in control of the admin screen and the password, it is likely they could go further in the near future.

Although data on some machines was accessed by taking the machine apart, it is important to remember that many individuals and salespeople working with vendors likely have access to these machines in similar conditions. Machines also are stored overnight in people's homes. Hackers found unencrypted code in plain text that they said would be a piece of cake to modify.

In brief: As has been pointed out several times in Nederlog - and see Greg Palast (<- Wikipedia) - the American voting machines are easily crackable. (Soon voting will not be necessary anymore: it will all be done - in secret - for you.)

4. Making Police Truly ‘Protect and Serve’

This is by Dennis J. Bernstein on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who laments that many Americans have experienced police as “an overly aggressive, militarized enemy of the people,” believes “the police in America [should] belong to the people — not the other way around.”

In a recent interview Stamper asserted that “Policing is the public’s business, and the public has the full right and responsibility to work collaboratively with local law enforcement.”

Stamper is calling for fundamental changes “in the federal government’s role in local policing as well as citizen participation in all aspects of police operations: policy-making, program development, crime fighting and service delivery, entry-level and ongoing education and training, oversight of police conduct, and–especially relevant to today’s challenges–joint community-police crisis management.” Says Stamper, “nothing will ever change until the system itself is radically restructured.”

Norm Stamper was a cop for 34 years, the first 28 in San Diego, the last six as Seattle’s police chief from 1994-2000.
There is considerably more in the article, and I think Stamper is right, bit I don't think his plans have any chance of succeeding while Trump is president. This is a recommended article.

5.  Donald Trump vs. The Rule of Law

This is by Marjorie Cohn on Truthout. It starts as follows:

One of the most sacred duties of the president of the United States is to enforce the laws. The Take Care Clause, in Article II, 3 of the Constitution, says the president "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." 

Yet, six months after taking office, Donald Trump has demonstrated contempt for the rule of law. He has not only refused to enforce certain laws; he has become a serial lawbreaker himself and counseled others to violate the law.

Trump is undermining Obamacare, which is currently the law of the land. He is advocating police brutality. Plus, he has illegally bombed Syria, killed large numbers of civilians in Iraq and Syria, instituted an unconstitutional Muslim Ban, violated the Emoluments Clause and obstructed justice.

Each of these actions either violate or indicate an intention to violate the law.

Yes indeed, as Marjorie Cohn proceeds to explain in the rest of the article, that is recommended.


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