Friday, Mar 17, 2017

Crisis: Dutch Elections, Trump/Russia, Trump/Obama, US Citizes Have No Rights

Sections                                                                     crisis index

1. Dutch Election Slows Europe's Populists
2. Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect
     Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion

Trump Digs In on Wiretap, No Matter Who Says Differently
4. ACLU Lawyer Esha Bhandari on Your Rights If Border Agents
     Try to Seize Your Cellphone at the Border

This is a Nederlog of Friday
, March 17, 2017.

Summary: This is an ordinary
crisis log with four items and four dotted links: Item 1 is a brief review of a text by Spiegel International about the Dutch elections (that I did not think very reasonable); item 2 is about the Trump/Russia collusion and I agree that
there is no evidence; item 3 is about Trump's claim that Obama tapped Trump's phone in 2016, which Trump still insists on, in spite of there being no evidence; and item 4 is about the position of US citizens vs US border agents: This is like that between sub-humans and super-humans, at least from my (classical liberal) point of view.

Also, I am glad there is not much news to report, because I am again in a period of little sleep and considerable pain.
March 17: As to the updating problem: The Danish site is again on time today; but the Dutch site is still stuck - for me - on last Sunday (March 12), as if I didn't publish anything since then. Where my site on stuck for others I have NO idea AT ALL: It may be December 31, 2015. (They do want immediate payment if you are a week behind. has been destroying my site now for over a year. And I completely distrust them, but also do not know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. Dutch Election Slows Europe's Populists

The first item today is by Claus Hecking on Spiegel International:

This starts as follows:
Mark Rutte is the most successful liberal politician in Europe. Although his party will lose about one-quarter of its seats in the House of Representatives in The Hague, the prime minister of the Netherlands is this biggest winner in Wednesday's election.
I say. To me, it sounds like utter nonsense: You loose a quarter of your votes but - nevertheless - you are declared to be the "biggest winner" in the elections (no, that was the GreenLeft party, that won 10 seats) and, as if that is not sufficient false plumage, at the same time you are declared to be "the most successful liberal politician in Europe"! So you are "the most successful liberal politician in Europe" if you lose a quarter of your votes?! What did the other liberal politicians do? Did they lose three quarters of their votes?

But then I must acknowledge that I am Dutch, and neither German nor American, so I surely cannot understand the country I am living in (it seems).

Here is more on the enormous gains-while-losing-a-quarter-of-his-votes of Rutte:
Rutte's election win had a Turkish father: Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The more rudely the despot from Ankara insulted the Netherlands, the more the Dutch stood behind their prime minister.
Really now? I am not saying thay Erdogan's recent sayings - the Dutch are Nazis because of what they did (not) do in Kosovo - played no role, but as a Dutchman
I cannot look into the heads of several millions of Dutchmen, as does seem to be completely possible to German journalists.

Then there is this:
Rutte needs to forge a completely new coalition because his coalition partners up to this point, the Social Democrats (PVDA), have disappeared into the political abyss as a result of serious discontent over the government's social reforms.
Really now? What is true is that the PvdA fell from 38 to 9 seats (which I like very much: The PvdA is the most Blairite/Blatcherist party of quasi-social democrats I know: Utter frauds); what is false is that this is "a result of serious discontent over the government's social reforms".

In fact, it is mostly due to the extreme dishonesty of the PvdA's political leader (from 2012-2016), Diederik Samsom, who lied, lied, lied, lied, lied, lied, and lied. Also, while I thought only Dutch papers protect political leaders (Samsom will have a fine career, with lots of highly paying easy jobs, just as the failing Communist leader of yore, Ina Brouwer, did, who never won any seats), it seems this tendency now has been extended to Germany.

Finally, there is this on Wilders:
As the party's only official member, Wilders has only himself to blame.
No important Dutch politician has as little direct contact to everyday citizens as the self-proclaimed tribune of the people, who has been under protection 24 hours a day for the past 12 years.
I thought that Wilders was defeated by Rutten, who was helped by Erdogan, from which it would seem (at least: to my quite logical mind) that Wilders does not have "only himself to blame", but of course I am merely Dutch, and I totally lack the enormous gifts of non-Dutch journalists.

The rest is more or less true, although I might have thought that this could have been
interpreted as implying that it is not "only" Wilders who is to blame for Wilders' loss.

In brief, and now speaking seriously: Either I must admit that foreign journalists have
an insight into Dutch politics that Dutchmen totally lack, or else foreign journalists are making up things.

You choose.

2. Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion

The second item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence.
Yes I agree, and I have been saying similar things since last year.

And more specifically: Of course the Russians hack, but so do many tens of secret services. What is missing in blaming the Russians is evidence, and what is more, given the great holds the NSA (and the CIA) have on cables and internet traffic, there should have been some evidence that the Russians did hack the elections - except that it
wasn't there, and it hasn't been found since last year.

Here is some more, this time from a former CIA chief:
The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell.
But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”
Of course, you might reply that Morell (like Clapper) is trained to lie plausibly. That is true, but the problem is this:
What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists.
I think this is pretty convincing. Here is the last bit that I'll quote from this article, from near the end:
A formal, credible investigation into all these questions, where the evidence is publicly disclosed, is still urgently needed. That’s true primarily so that conspiracies no longer linger and these questions are resolved by facts rather than agenda-driven anonymous leaks from the CIA and cable news hosts required to feed a partisan mob.
I agree, although I do not think this - a "formal, credible investigation into all these questions" - is possible now, with secret services that are almost completely beyond public control.

And this is a recommended article.

3. Trump Digs In on Wiretap, No Matter Who Says Differently

The third item is by Peter Baker and Charlie Savage on The New York Times:

This starts as follows, and is about Trump's statement that Obama tapped his phone in 2016:
The former president denied it. So did the former national intelligence director. The F.B.I. director has said privately that it is false. The speaker of the House and the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — all three Republican — see no indications that it happened.

But President Trump insists he is right. No matter how many officials, even in his own party, dismiss his unsubstantiated claim that President Barack Obama secretly tapped his phones last year, the White House made clear on Thursday that it would stand by the assertion.

I am not amazed at all, and here are my reasons for my lack of amazement. Then again, these reasons are probably not agreed to by any of the above - and indeed these reasons also do not come from politicians but from psychologists and psychiatrists (and I am a psychologist).

There is also this:

Much like his longstanding assertion that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States, Mr. Trump dismisses contrary information with undiminished surety.

Indeed, the White House even added a new assertion on Thursday during a fiercely combative and sometimes surreal briefing by the press secretary, Sean Spicer, who berated reporters and read from news accounts that either did not back up the president’s claims or have been refuted by intelligence officials.

I say. This nonsense must end at some point, but we haven't reached that point yet, it seems.

4. ACLU Lawyer Esha Bhandari on Your Rights If Border Agents Try to Seize Your Cellphone at the Border

The fourth and last item today is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:

This starts with the following introduction:

Border agents are increasingly seizing cellphones and demanding passwords of travelers, including U.S. citizens. The number of searches skyrocketed under President Obama, reaching 25,000 last year. But the number is expected to be far higher this year. According to NBC News, more than 5,000 devices were searched in February alone—that’s more than the entire number searched in all of 2015. For more, we speak with Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Her recent article is headlined "Can Border Agents Search Your Electronic Devices? It’s Complicated."

I say. For me, this is firm evidence of neofascism: The border agents assert ti themselves the right to know absolutely everything about anyone they select, on no basis at all, except that they work for the government, and those they select do not, and therefore have none of the rights that the Constitution assigns them: You are a sub-human when you face a US border agent, indeed precisely as I foresaw in 2005 (in Dutch - and see terrorism [1]).

In case you doubt what I just wrote, here is more:

NERMEEN SHAIKH: (..) Welcome, Esha. So, could you explain? Why is it complicated? What exactly can border agents do?

ESHA BHANDARI: Sure. Thank you very much. This is an area where Customs and Border Protection has policies and asserts wide authority to search and seize devices at the border, and where courts have not really had the opportunity to fully test the limits of that authority. The legal question is unsettled. At the moment, CBP does claim the authority to search devices without any individualized suspicion—essentially, for no reason tied to that individual at all—and potentially to seize the device, you know, keep your smartphone for days or weeks on end, and, at that stage, has the ability to forensically search the device—again, without a warrant, without probable cause. And a forensic search is very invasive. It means they can gather not only the metadata on your device, all of the files, but even files you have deleted. So this obviously has huge privacy impacts, not only for travelers and immigrants to the United States, but every citizen who crosses our borders.

So a border agent (boldings added) "does claim the authority to search devices without any individualized suspicion—essentially, for no reason tied to that individual at all—and potentially to seize the device, you know, keep your smartphone for days or weeks on end, and, at that stage, has the ability to forensically search the device—again, without a warrant, without probable cause."

This goes completely counter to the Fourth Amendment (for American citizens), and - I insist - does make the relative positions of border agents and U.S. citizens whose cellphones are commandeered as between supermen with all rights to do whatever they please, and sub-humans without any rights who have to submit to whatever an American cop wishes. [1]

Also, I think this is the future as desired by most cops and most politicians (as was clearly visible to me already in 2004/2005).

Here is some more by Bhandari:

ESHA BHANDARI: Well, it’s very interesting that the last year of the Obama administration saw a fivefold increase in device searches. In 2015, there were around 4,000, 5,000 device searches; in 2016, nearly 24,000 device searches. And we haven’t gotten any clear answers on why. Has there been a shift in policy? What’s the reason that CBP is doing this at an ever greater number?

I think the CBP is simply implementing the rules they expect will hold for everyone: Everyone must have a computer, and every computer must be completely open to
the secret services, and those who protest are terrorists. (And fuck democracy, fuck equal rights, fuck the
Fourth Amendment: That's all liberal baloney.)

Here is the last bit I'll quote from this article:

AMY GOODMAN: What are your rights? If they say, "I want your passport," do you have to give it to—"your password," do you have to give it to them?

ESHA BHANDARI: Your rights depend very much on your immigration status, which I know is not a comforting response. But for citizens, citizens can certainly refuse to give their password. They have a right to re-enter the country. If they do, they face the risk that they will be detained for longer, maybe up to several hours, and that their device is seized, and they may not see it for days or weeks.
To put this in other terms: If you are a white anglo-saxon protestant US citizen with a fine income, you "can certainly refuse to give [your] password". These WASPs merely risk that they are held up for "several hours" and that "their device is seized, and they may not see it for days or weeks" (when it will have been studied in all details).

No one is safe and everyone has a sub-human status when confronted by a CBP-agent, for this is also as the police, the secret services, and most the of the US politicians see the future, without any fear, for themselves.

At least, that is how I translate this news.


[1] In fact, this is how I finished my "terrorism" in August 2004:

In most of Europe, any civilian, however civilized - if not already famous from the media - is the effective inferior of any policeman, however uncivilized and inferior: The former must be unarmed and kowtow for his supposed rights to the latter, whose abuses and malpractices as a rule are covered up all the way to the top, including politicians and civil "servants".

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