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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Instapundit points out the con on: November 19, 2017, 01:08:01 PM
THAT’S NOT AN ACCIDENT: Andrea Peyser: #MeToo has lumped trivial stuff in with legitimate sexual assault.

Conflating these serves two agendas: It dilutes genuine assaults by powerful Democrats, while supporting the feminist agenda that all men are abusers
2  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Body cam cognitive dissonance on: November 19, 2017, 12:27:26 PM

Now that the jury and the public get to see what cops have to deal with...
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / USAF values on: November 16, 2017, 11:22:20 AM

An Airman is a person of integrity, courage and conviction. They must be willing to control their impulses and exercise courage, honesty and accountability in order to do what is right even when no one is looking.

4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The drunken guy likely making a big mistake on: November 16, 2017, 11:05:10 AM
Notice the victim's left handed block near end of video.  Looks like he has martial arts training.  Like the movies.  Some jerk pushes the hero beyond the limit of patience and finally the hero HAS to fight back in self defense of himself or some one else being bullied by a bigot.   The only difference is we don't get to see the end of the movie where the hero kicks some butt and lays out the jerk:

Pro tip: If a guy is dressed like Jet Li, you might want to leave him alone.

5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We Need to Talk About Uncle Joe on: November 16, 2017, 09:40:50 AM

We Need to Talk About Uncle Joe

Joe Biden, serial young girl-toucher.

*Let him run.*
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: There in the US on: November 15, 2017, 08:26:25 PM
Where is Brock to call them JV team?

we may need to go after these thugs like we are going after ISIS

We really need to.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We are the sequel film on: November 15, 2017, 01:26:56 PM

Already in production.

8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Second American Civil War on: November 15, 2017, 01:14:36 PM
I get the emotion, but what happens geopolitcally if we split up?

Most likely better than if the split isn't peaceable. Then things will really hit the fan.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another Lawless Judge: Federal Government Cannot Withhold Federal Grants from Ci on: November 15, 2017, 01:08:39 PM

November 15, 2017
Another Lawless Judge: Federal Government Cannot Withhold Federal Grants from Cities Just Because They Defy Federal Law on "Sanctuary Cities"
You don't have a country when half of the country believes it can live in open defiance of the law.

In a 128-page injunction, Senior United States District Judge Michael Baylson said Department of Justice (DOJ) law enforcement grants can't be withheld from Philadelphia because it refuses full cooperation with federal authorities on immigration, the news outlet reported. ...
In his ruling, Baylson said Philadelphia proved that withholding the grant money would cause irreparable damage, as part of it is used by first responders who provide life-saving naloxone to victims of opioid overdose, according to Inquirer reporter Jeremy Roebuck.

Still, the amount of money in question was just $1.4 million out of a $4.4 billion city budget, according to the Inquirer.

When at least half, probably two thirds, of the current government is part of #TheResistance against the actual legally-empowered government, it's time to confess we no longer have a shared civic culture and we are no longer one people under the law or in sentiment and take a mature attitude towards a peaceable division.

10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hillary personally signed visa for Islamist and future rapist on: November 14, 2017, 09:24:12 PM

At this point, what difference does it make?
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Cultural Borg on: November 14, 2017, 09:22:11 PM

The Cultural Borg
by Dystopic | Nov 15, 2017 | Culture War, Decline

We are the Cultural Borg.
You will be assimilated.
Existence, as you know it, is over.
Lower your borders and surrender your guns.
We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.
Your culture will adapt to service us.
Resistance is racist.

Democrats were celebrating in the months up to the election in 2016. The emerging demographic hegemony of Democrats had finally come. They could taste victory. The time of Socialism could begin, at last. Sure, they were more enthusiastic about Bernie than another stuffy old Clinton. Hillary was to the right of where the True Believers really wanted the United States to be, and she had snagged the nomination from the Bernie Bros with her iron grip on the DNC. But she would serve her time, and drive American further Left, and no Rightist would ever win that office again.

The election of Trump shattered those dreams, and destroyed the minds of many of the Hard Leftists since then. They’ve been raging, screaming, and lighting trash cans on fire, throwing a temper tantrum. After a year of this juvenile behavior, we’re seeing signs that they are reengaging. Some of the brighter ones have realized that nothing has really changed. Trump stood in the way of the final demographic transformation necessary to bring about a Socialist United States, but he was stymied by his own party and facing constant press opposition on a scale unheard of in our history. I don’t think even Nixon had it this bad.

And there was a day most of us would have accounted Trump a moderate Leftist. That’s how far things have gone off the rails.
I don’t know that America has another hail Mary pass like 2016 left in her. If Trump fails to stop the deliberate demographic transformation of America, it will result in full-on Socialism soon enough. A sufficiently bold amnesty plan combined with some resettlement could turn Texas blue, and that’d be the end. Democrats often complain of Republican gerrymandering, but this is projection. The Democrats don’t even have to redraw districts, they just bus in new Democrats, settle them in the district, and turn it blue that way. Gerrymandering with immigration and amnesty programs, in essence.

All this bleating about racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and why America is guilty of… whatever… it’s all just a ploy to bring about more Socialism and to wipe out existing cultures. They often accuse the Right of imperialism, colonialism, etc… but they are the ones shifting people around to political ends. If you can’t make Americans vote Marxist, import Marxists from someplace else. But they’ve also done the former to great degree, too. Education and media have long been bastions of Leftism. The current crop of 20-somethings is exceedingly Marxist.
Either way, the Cultural Borg will come for you. You will have to exchange your values for theirs if you are to survive. Bake the cake, cater the pizza, obey the government, give up your shit.
Up until now, Americans moved around to escape the Cultural Borg. If your neighborhood was going bad, if crime, drugs, and section 8 made their appearance, you sold at a loss, packed your shit, and moved someplace else. My father lamented that the neighborhood he grew up in is just a ghetto shithole now. A lot of Americans share this experience. I’ve seen it happen to an old working class neighborhood I once lived in, too. Now, it’s just another cesspit. But I moved to escape it. Talk to most regular Americans, and they have plenty of stories like this.
SJWs would probably say I’m racist for doing that, likening it to white flight or some such. But what do you do when the house a block down the street becomes a crack house? What do you do when squatters come in, and the shootings start? The Cultural Borg marches on. I’m sure they’ll eventually come for the neighborhood I’m in now.
They do this to whole cities, sometimes. Even whole states, in their own way. Once they turn a state blue, they’ll impose the usual formula of high taxes, high regulation, and absurd restrictions on things like cigarettes and fountain sodas. To escape the consequences of their own policies, drones flee to red states, and begin the process of turning them blue. Salt the influx with some illegal immigrants, some refugees, and a sprinkling of amnesty, and a new blue state is created. Repeat the process until no combination of red states could exist to pull off a Trump.

Oh, 2016 saw a reversal in some areas, most notably Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. It was a truly amazing thing to witness. But look at the effort required to pull it off, the sheer balls on Trump to do what he did. I’ve never personally liked Trump. But I respect the hell out of him for doing something I didn’t legitimately think was possible anymore. It’s like for a moment, the Cultural Borg Collective was disrupted and there was a balls-to-the-wall effort to fight its pervasive influence.
I heard it said once, I forget where exactly (and I’m too lazy to look it up right now) that when you live in a culture, you forget you’re embedded in it. Like just a fish thinks of water as the normal state of being, like how we don’t have to be conscious of breathing air. What a lot of Americans have been feeling – and what I suspect was behind Trump’s surprising wins – is that the culture has changed so much it’s like dropping a freshwater fish into a tank of saltwater.
It’s not the same, anymore. SJWs celebrate this, of course. They like to extol the great browning of America. But by this don’t mean race, per se. To them, the virtue of a particular people isn’t in their culture, or their gifts, or any of that. It’s in their voting patterns. If Mexicans suddenly started voting Republican, Democrats would be demanding Trump’s wall tomorrow. So by celebrating the ‘browning’ of America, they are really celebrating the triumph of Socialism. Any Mexican, or member of any minority really, who doesn’t want Socialism is, of course, a race traitor or an Uncle Tom, or some such.

It is the culture the new Borg are after. They want to erase any and all cultural elements that are incompatible with Socialism. They want an all-powerful, omnipresent government to run everything. We’re fast approaching a point where fleeing the influence of the Cultural Borg won’t work anymore. Only in the rural areas is their rule still openly scorned. In the suburbs, people have to at least pretend to be Socialist-lite. And in the cities, if you are to the right of Stalin, forget it. Even then, they’ll come out to some pizza shop in the sticks to ask about gay wedding catering services in an effort to paint them as unBorgified, and in need of assimilation.
The Borg either assimilate you, and convert you into Borg yourselves, or they get rid of you. Think about that before consider caving in to more gun restrictions. You’re probably going to need them sooner or later.

More and more, the old guard establishment wings of both parties are starting to look like merely a bunch of Trotskyites. Maybe not quite as bad as their Hard-Left brethren but still sympathetic to Marxism, in the end. A lot of people were happy about Donna Brazile’s revelations of Hillary’s cheating, and control of the DNC. But to me, this looks like bad news. Yes, we get to watch the Clintons squirm, which is always fun. But it means the Trotskyite wing of the party is collapsing. The Hard Left, the Antifas, the BLMs, the “Democratic Socialists”, and the outright open Communists are gaining control.

In the ordinary course of American politics, this would alienate them from the moderates, but these days the moderates are often guilted via weaponized empathy into buying into the Hard Left SJW agenda. If you don’t hate white people, and constantly bitch about white men, you’re probably racist against [insert any other race here]. If you don’t agree with the Hard Left’s demands for demographic transformation, you’re a bigot of some stripe or another. This holds even if, paradoxically, you are one of the sacred victim groups yourself. A Clarence Thomas is as likely to get hit with it as a Rand Paul. Stop manspreading you Uncle Tom self-loathing racist Islamophobe.

It’s the deliberate dismantling of Western civilization in the attempt to remake it into a global Orwellian Socialist technocracy. It used to be that if your country fell under the Marxist bootheel, you could escape here, as my father-in-law did, and as many others have. It used to be that as it crept into America, you could leave the blue state for a red state. You could stay a step ahead of the Cultural Borg. Now, there’s really nowhere left to go. The Cultural Borg, meanwhile, continue marching on. And they are showing signs of adapting to Trump’s weaponry. I don’t know how long his rhetorical combativeness will continue to work on them.
The Cultural Borg think resistance is futile. Or, perhaps, resistance is racist. It’s up to us to disabuse them of this notion.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Communism kills about 6% on: November 14, 2017, 01:14:14 PM

Happens all the time.  grin

So, what percentage of communists have to be killed to ensure it doesn't happen here?

13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: November 14, 2017, 12:49:57 PM
Yes, yes, it is Susan Rice, but , , , ,

THIS I agree with:

"The Chinese leadership played President Trump like a fiddle, catering to his insatiable ego and substituting pomp and circumstance for substance.

"China always prefers to couch state visits in ceremony rather than compromise on policy. This approach seemed to suit President Trump just fine, as he welcomed a rote recitation of China’s longstanding rejection of a nuclear North Korea and failed to extract new concessions or promises. He also settled for the announcement of $250 billion in trade and investment agreements, many of which are nonbinding and, in the words of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, “pretty small.” Missing were firm deals to improve market access or reduce technology-sharing requirements for American companies seeking to do business in China."

I don't think 'firm deals' that solve a massive problems were expected in the first meeting.  It looks to me like China recognizes Trump as a serious leader of the free world, unlike the apologist predecessor.

Thus far, I see no indication of the blatant disrespect and contempt shown to Obama repeated with Trump.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races, Roy Moore, Jeff Sessions; seat on: November 13, 2017, 05:54:58 PM
I'm not very interested in reading the accusation and I was not impressed hearing his denial.  I don't live or vote in Alabama, but it seems to be the only issue.

The legal age was 16.  One accuser in her 50s says she was 14.  If they were 16, 17, 18 or 19, they are still teenagers 'dating' a 30 year old.  For whatever people think about that it is legal but could disgust enough voters to turn the election. 

If he were Muslim, ISIS or a refugee we are trying to settle in our country, he could date, marry and have kids with all of them at once and their younger sisters too and the Left would say who are we to judge them?

Another accuser is coming out this week with who knows what to say.

I am mostly disgusted by the timing of the 'journalism' since I don't know anything about the validity.  The reporter and an accuser are partisans and so is the media.  They have all this detail, but only after the primary is done and the ballots are printed.

I know one thing I wouldn't do as a voter is switch to the Democrat because of this!

I see a solution that solves more than one problem.  One Republican could win a write-in campaign in Alabama for the Jeff Sessions' seat after all of this and the divisive primary:  Jeff Sessions.

Weaponized journalism.

Liars with NO credibility.
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Get rid of McYertle! on: November 13, 2017, 01:13:53 PM

November 13, 2017
Mitch McConnell is an Asshole.
Witness a spiteful asshole being a spiteful asshole.

I am just stunned at the turn of events in this country.

Not that our "betters" are idiots and completely focused on their own neo-aristocratic position in society.

No, my astonishment is just how the Establishment right, ostensibly in power, has joined the bile-spitting left in hurling their masks of respectability and fealty to the principles of their constituents into the gutters with abandon.

Here we now live under the most precarious of times, where sitting Senators of the President's own party plot not only for the removal of the President, but also the spiteful removal of candidate in another state who have been convicted of nothing, and who will never be convicted of the 38 year old he-said/she-said charges that just happened to float up from the sewer-mouth that is the MSM at the most damaging point in an election.

Dear RNC:

You want my money? Promise me you will support insurgent campaigns against sitting dinosaurs like McConnell.
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: November 13, 2017, 11:21:40 AM
I don't know if the claims against Moore are true but if he just waited till the girls were 18 yo he could have been lionized with others who were predators like Hefner,  Clinton, and JFK:

If Moore was an avid supporter of abortion, none of this would be an issue.

17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thoughts and Prayers for Anti-Gun Freaks Grieving Over Death of The Narrative on: November 10, 2017, 09:48:11 AM

Thoughts and Prayers for Anti-Gun Freaks Grieving Over Death of The Narrative
Kurt Schlichter |Posted: Nov 09, 2017 12:01 AM 

The synchronized leftist response to this latest attack on normal Christians was pre-planned, and it didn’t matter that this time it was another militant atheist weirdo instead of an ISIS-loving foreigner. The memes and the lies were all prepped and ready, and the villain was already chosen. No surprise – once again, it was you, the normal American who keeps and bears arms to protect yourself, your family, your community and your Constitution.

But this time it didn’t go the way they wanted. Sure, they were giddy at first – the liberals got to trash people of faith for praying, they got to tell NRA members that there was blood on their hands, and they got to demand some sort of unspecified action. But then their lying narrative took a bunch of rounds and bled out just like that useless little creep.

That’s what they are really mourning – the loss of what they saw as an opportunity to spread their poisonous lies in support of their effort to disarm Americans and change us once and for all from citizens into subjects.

Some still found something to cheer about. One Twitter low-life pointed out, “Sutherland Springs is in rural Texas, these were all likely 45 voters. This is karma in action. Good riddance.” Yes, that’s the kind of person who wants you disarmed, the kind that thinks it’s A-OK to murder little kids because their parents might like a different candidate.

Show of hands. Who is up to give up your ability to protect yourself because the same people who celebrate us being murdered demand it? Anyone? Hello? Bueller?

Once the news hit, the ghouls rubbed their hands and started with their coordinated demands that we “do something.” But did you notice how no one said exactly what we were supposed to do? That’s their new thing – no specifics, just some sort of ambiguous, amorphous demand that we wave a magic wand and dispel evil from our midst. They’ve been burned before, hard. They always start babbling about background checks and it always turns out that the scumbag got his guns legally or passed the check when he shouldn’t have. This pudgy meat sack was barred from buying a weapon, but he passed the background check because the government – you know, the same entity the gun-grabbers want to be the only people with guns – again screwed up and failed to put his domestic violence conviction into the database. BTW, want to know how many attempted illegal gun buyers Obama’s DoJ prosecuted out of 48,000? 44.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty confident. I’m sure eventually the government will figure out how to tell if a nut or a felon is a nut or a felon. In the meantime, I don’t need the ability to protect myself or my family. Here, take my guns. Government, you got this.

Then, of course, the killing spree got stopped by the very thing that liberals insist doesn’t exist except for all the times it has existed – a good guy with a gun. A Texan exhibiting something liberals are unfamiliar with – manhood – took his rifle and went one-on-one with that walking chamber pot and put a round in him. The tubby terrorist, confronted with an armed American citizen instead of little kids, dropped his rifle and ran, gut shot. Let’s hope he suffered good and hard before he checked himself out like the coward he was.

It gets better, though it’s hard to imagine anything better than him with a bullet in his ample belly. The hero who plugged him was not only one of the normal Americans our fern-fertilizing betters in the coastal cities are so fond of looking down upon, but he was an NRA shooting instructor. You know, the focus of evil in the world – except he actually confronted evil and defeated it.

Bullseye, right between the eyes of the lying liberal narrative.

And as their narrative twitched, they still had to display their ignorance for the world. Professional anti-gun liar Shannon Watts really knows her audience – drooling idiots. She claimed, “That means he’s prohibited purchaser, but there’s absolutely no regulation of long guns (AR15s) in Texas. No background check required.” Um, no. And leave it to Alyssa Milano to parrot her pal’s lies: “There are no background checks on long guns (AR15s) in Texas. Thanks for the info @shannonrwatts.” Alyssa, time for some real talk. You need a better firearms advisor, just like you need a better tax advisor.

Oh, and the social media rando platoon piped up with their useful input. One suggested, “No one should have semiautomatics and large ammo rounds.” Time for some commonsense large ammo round control, I guess. That’s the kind of smart take by a trained pro worth listening to, says Chet, who is my unicorn.

These events are an opportunity for clarity. They bring out exactly what is in the hearts of our elite would-be masters. And what is in there is hate and contempt for normal Americans. From Hollywood, we got Michael McKean weighing in with, “They were in church. They had the prayers shot right out of them. Maybe try something else.” You know, I was thinking about no longer watching Better Call Saul because it turned Saul into a boring whiner, but now Mikey’s made my decision easy!

And then Wil Wheaton, who you might know if you watched some Star Trek show where he was a Spock or a Jedi knight or something three decades ago, tweeted, “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they'd still be alive, you worthless sack of [liberalism].” You know, I was thinking about no longer watching whatever he’s in, but Wil’s total lack of a career made my decision easy!

And what’s a tragedy without anti-Christian hack Stephen King weighing in? “Enough with the prayin'. Time to start legislatin'.” Well, I reckon someone’s drinkin’ again.

So, let’s review. We’re supposed to demand laws that make it illegal for human suppositories like this to have guns, even though it was already illegal for him to have guns. We’re supposed to rely on government background checks to protect us even though the government keeps failing at that. We’re also supposed to disarm at the behest of people who know literally nothing about guns or existing gun laws. And we’re supposed to not believe that we have the ability to defend ourselves, even though normal Americans do so every day – here, an instructor from the NRA literally ended this bloodbath. But we should ignore that for reasons and because.

But wait, there’s more. We’re supposed to disarm in the face of people who celebrate when we are murdered. The Hollywood types, taking a break from molesting each other, didn’t exactly celebrate our deaths, but they couldn’t help spewing their hatred for our faith. I bet if we were disarmed, and a government controlled by liberals had a total monopoly on force, they’d be totally cool and respect our religious rights. I checked with Chet and he thinks so – it’s not like right now they want to bankrupt people for not baking cakes.

Here’s the sad fact – the people who want us disarmed don’t care if we get murdered. Not at all. Chicago has a slow motion Sutherland Springs every two weeks and the smarmy Democrats who run that hellhole don’t care. If they did, they would unleash the cops, who know exactly who the crooks are. Remember how liberals howled about “stop and frisk?” That took illegal guns off the streets, but progressive politics always take precedence. Our lives don’t matter except as a tool to be exploited when they want to take normals’ rights.

Our elite doesn’t want gun control. It wants us control.

It’s no coincidence that the “common sense” measures they used to demand would never stop any of these killers. Killers are killers – they don’t care about the law. Only we do. And the gun fascists don’t care if we are at the killers’ mercy – that’s a risk they’re happy to take.

They lie when they tell you, “No one want to ban your guns.” They think you are too stupid to believe your ears when they advocate just that. Let’s be absolutely clear – if they had their way, that NRA instructor hero would not have had a gun, because he is a law-abiding citizen. But the killer would, because he was a criminal and criminals don’t obey laws. If you think we can ban guns and get them out of the hands of criminals, you’re a moron or a liar. If they don’t smuggle them in – gee, isn’t there a drug crisis? - they’ll just make them.

Of course, that assumes that liberals win the civil war they would spark and somehow manage to confiscate all 300 million of our guns. I’m not betting on Kaden or Ashleigh taking time off from coffee-slinging or their Feminist Mime masters studies to suit up in Kevlar and kick in doors in Red America.

Liberals so desperately want us disarmed because they hate that we hold a veto over their Venezuelan dreams. But they also want us disarmed because they hate us, and they yearn to break us and humiliate us and make us give in. When you own a weapon and can defend yourself and your rights, you are a citizen. When you do not, you are a subject. Your dignity gnaws at them.

They want to convince you to submit, but that only happens if you allow it. Their tool is the narrative, but a proud American with courage and a rifle just shot their narrative dead. And that’s the real reason the gun grabbers are grieving.
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's almost like they have an agenda of some kind... on: November 10, 2017, 06:50:29 AM

Observe How The Media Describes Stephen Willeford’s Firearm Vs. Devin Kelley
Posted at 10:55 pm on November 8, 2017 by Carl Arbogast

It must pain some members of the press to have to report on Stephen Willeford. Willeford, a certified NRA instructor, prevented Devin Kelley from killing more people in a Sutherland Hills, Texas church. Willeford, who lived next door, heard the gunshots and responded. Sutherland fired at Kelley who, like a coward, dropped his gun and ran.

If there’s anything the media hates, it’s a story about a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun. Worse for them is knowing the guy is an NRA instructor. But it goes further than that. Looking through the stories about Willeford, a pattern emerges in their reporting.

Here are some examples. CNN:

When Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday, Stephen Willeford, who lives near the church, grabbed his own gun and ran out of the house barefoot to confront the gunman.
USA Today:

Willeford said he had very little time to think Sunday when his daughter told him about the shooting. He loaded his magazine and ran across the street to the church, not even taking the time to put on shoes. When Willeford saw the gunman, he exchanged gunfire.
Huffington Post:

Willeford said he grabbed his rifle from a safe and ran barefoot to the church when his daughter told him about the shooting. Once there, he confronted 26-year-old gunman Devin Patrick Kelley and the two traded gunfire.

Willeford says his daughter alerted him to what sounded like shots being fired at the nearby First Baptist Church. That is when, he said, he got his rifle out of his safe.
Inside Edition:

Willeford said he was at home in Sutherland Springs when his daughter heard gunfire at the church. He grabbed his rifle, loaded it and ran barefoot to the church.
Notice what Willeford is using? A rifle. A gun.

What they don’t tell you is Willeford used an AR-15. That’s right. One of those “military-style assault weapons” they’re always crowing about.

Do you see how it is? Nearly every story about Kelley talked about the type of gun he used and naturally, the stories were punctuated by describing the gun as “military style” and an “assault weapon.” But Willeford just used a gun. Or a rifle.

Here’s a Google search of “Devin Kelley military style” and just look at the host of stories that come up describing his rifle that way.

Should we expect anything different from the press?
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: November 10, 2017, 06:37:39 AM
The current counter argument is that Trump is lucky-- the whole world economy is going up, indeed other countries' markets are outperforming the US.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Spin Doctor is in the House on: November 08, 2017, 09:33:28 PM

The Spin Doctor is in the House
by Dystopic | Nov 8, 2017 | Culture War |

It’s been a crazy last few days, hasn’t it? Before we get into the meat of today’s entry, I want to express both my sorrow for those who died in the Texas shooting, and my deep respect for the men who fought back against the shooter and ran him down. You may kill people in Texas, if you are evil enough and determined enough, but know that Texas will kill you back. The two men who fought back did so quickly and decisively, before more lives could be lost. As for those who died in the shooting, I can only say that a just and true God awaits them. He knows His own. Others have said more, and said it better than I can, so I will leave it at that, for now.

Something else has been on my mind for a while as well. Rand Paul was recently attacked by a neighbor while out mowing his lawn. The neighbor broke 5 of his ribs, such was the fury of the assault. But that isn’t what bothers me per se. While I generally like Rand Paul (and that’s significant praise from me – I loathe most politicians), this hardly ascends to the level of the Scalise shooting, right? Well… kind of, in a different way. Check out this article:

Rand Paul is not a perfect neighbor, says community developer

First off, HOAs are generally as loathsome as any other political entity (which is what they are, don’t let them claim otherwise). But this is a fascinating bit of spin. Rand is not a “perfect” neighbor. Note the choice of words. My friends, none of us are perfect neighbors. I’m sure I do things that irritate some of my neighbors, and they have done things that irritate me from time-to-time, though I am generally blessed with neighbors who are very good people. Mostly, we all get along anyway. Hell, some of them are even good friends (and yes, it is still possible to irritate your good friends sometimes, too).

Point is nobody is perfect. Lack of perfection by no means excuses the actions of Rand’s neighbor. It counts for nothing at all. Zero. Zilch. So why mention it?

Dear readers, the spin doctor is in the house. It’s time to make the attack on Rand look, if not excusable, then at least less bad. This is media and its allies in politics
conducting damage control. They can imply that, oh maybe the neighbor shouldn’t have attacked Rand BUT and then insert a long stream of excuses that diminishes the impact of the crime. Let us fisk a few of these, shall we?

The history between U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and his neighbor, who is accused of attacking him, is filled with years of angst and petty arguments over misplaced lawn trimmings and branches, the neighborhood’s developer said.

Ah yes. Misplaced lawn trimmings and branches excuse violence. What? Note that it doesn’t even mention who was misplacing the trimmings. The piece insinuates that it’s Rand’s fault, because of the not perfect headline, but it stops short of claiming that. This is common media rhetorical technique, such that if it came out that the trimmings were the neighbor’s, and not Rand’s, the journalist can escape by saying he didn’t really claim that.

The two men have been neighbors for more than 17 years, said Boucher’s lawyer, Matt Baker, in a statement Monday.

While there’s no official word on what caused the fight, Skaggs suggested it might have stemmed from Paul allegedly blowing lawn trimmings into his neighbor’s yard.

Again with the weasel wording. Skaggs suggested that it might have allegedly stemmed from this. Yet the inattentive reader is given the picture that Rand was being an asshole. Pure rhetoric. No facts.

There have been disagreements in the past, Skaggs said, over lawn clippings or who should cut down a tree branch when it stretched over a property line. The two men live on different streets but their lots join and their homes are 269 feet apart, according to Google Maps.

Skaggs described Boucher as a “near-perfect” neighbor, but he said the libertarian politician is a different story.

By near perfect, I wonder if Skaggs means ‘shares my political orientation?’ But that is rhetorical supposition, and at least I’ll admit it is.

Paul “was probably the hardest person to encourage to follow the (homeowner’s association regulations) of anyone out here because he has a strong belief in property rights,” said Skaggs, who is the former chairman of the Warren County Republican Party.

Ah. A libertarian-leaning Republican has a strong belief in property rights. Why, what a crime that is! It almost drives a man to break 5 of his ribs! Look carefully at the last bit, however, where the journalist drops “former chairman of the Warren County Republican Party.” This is another rhetorical technique. The author can insinuate that Skaggs’ criticism of Rand is justified because they share a political party, thus deflecting the notion that the criticism is rooted in politics, not substance. But we are not informed if Skaggs is still a Republican, or if he is a liberal Republican, or anything of the sort.

Skaggs noted the 13 pages of regulations are extensive. But even from the start of Paul’s residence in Rivergreen, Skaggs said Paul has been difficult to work with.
“The major problem was getting the house plans approved,” Skaggs said. “He wanted to actually own the property rights and build any kind of house he wanted. He didn’t end up doing that, but it was a struggle.”

So Rand wanted something the HOA was not prepared to approve, but ultimately decided to follow the HOA guidelines. Why, that’s just terrible isn’t it? Why is this even news?

But Rob Porter, a 20-year friend of the senator, said he had never even heard of Boucher before.

“When I saw Rand after the incident, he even acknowledged that he hadn’t talked to Boucher in years,” Porter said. “If there was some kind of ongoing rift, i wasn’t aware of it and Rand didn’t act like he was aware of it.”

At least the author acknowledges this. If there was an ongoing feud, as Skaggs and the author imply, why would no one else be aware of it? But even if there was a feud, how does that justify even slightly attacking Rand that way?

Voter records from March 2017 show Boucher registered as a Democrat, but his lawyer said Monday that politics had nothing to do with the dispute between neighbors.

Boucher’s lawyer, Baker, said he would not comment on what the argument was over until he conducted more interviews with other neighbors.

Somehow, I very much doubt this is true. It sounds like standard lawyer boilerplate.

“We would really like to see this all over and you back in your house and him back in his house and try to be friends with each other, even though you’ll never like each other,” Skaggs said he told Boucher.

This Skaggs guy, if the author is accurately quoting him, is an idiot. How can you “be friends with each other even though you’ll never like each other”? It makes no sense. That is word salad, devoid of any meaning. What I think Skaggs is trying to communicate here is that the neighbors should pretend to be friends, even though they hate each other’s guts. So Skaggs criticizes Rand for being imperfect, but tells the attacker that he’d really like to see everyone just be friends.

And people wonder why I hate HOAs. Too bad they are almost inescapable, short of moving to the country, these days.

21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul (and dad Ron Paul) on: November 08, 2017, 09:30:57 PM
"He is almost certainly for gun control."

Maybe he should be for self control.

The left has no interest in self control, only controlling others.

22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul (and dad Ron Paul) on: November 07, 2017, 10:38:32 PM

Looks like the left has found a way to shift the balance of power in congress without winning elections.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Saudi Arabia & the Arabian Peninsula on: November 07, 2017, 10:37:17 PM

*With the accidental  wink ? helicopter crash it may be worth noting that some or all on board had dealings with the Podesta Group.


Ron Brown unavailable for comment.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / There is no gun control... on: November 07, 2017, 12:30:54 PM
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: The Saudi Cauldron on: November 06, 2017, 01:22:17 PM
Being the peaceful and rational people we know them to be, I'm sure this will all turn out fine, and not a civil war that spawns WWIII or anything...

The Saudi Cauldron
Weekend events show the Middle East conflicts to come.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Riyadh, Oct. 30.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Riyadh, Oct. 30. Photo: Dalati Nohra Associated Press
By The Editorial Board
Nov. 5, 2017 6:05 p.m. ET

Authoritarian governments tend to be most vulnerable when they are trying to change, so the weekend events in Saudi Arabia are worth watching for more than the usual royal family Kremlinology. They reflect the drive for Saudi reform and the contest between the Saudis and Iran for regional influence.

Saudi authorities made a wave of arrests Saturday, including members of the royal family and cabinet members. The targets include Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a billionaire investor in Apple and Twitter and once a major investor in the Journal’s parent company, News Corp .

The arrests are being advertised as part of an anti-corruption campaign endorsed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is trying to consolidate power as the heir apparent to his father, King Salman. The Crown Prince has been making enemies among royals no longer in favor and the arrests are a sign that he is brooking little dissent as he tries to reform the Kingdom’s economy and even some of its social mores. While the U.S. has a stake in the Kingdom’s successful evolution, the arrests are a sign that the transition will be rocky.

All the more so given that Iran will try to exploit any instability. That’s the message sent by the resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri Saturday on a trip to Saudi Arabia. He said he feared an assassination plot and he blamed Iran for causing “devastation and chaos.” Iran and its Hezbollah militia in Lebanon blamed the Saudis and U.S., and the resignation ends the alliance between the Sunni Muslim Mr. Hariri and the Shiite Hezbollah. Israel welcomed the resignation, and one reading is that this will open the way for Israel or Saudi Arabia to attack Hezbollah to reduce its growing influence in Syria and the Levant.

Meanwhile, the Saudis shot down a missile aimed at Riyadh that was fired from Yemen by Houthi rebels allied with Iran. The missile launch shows the Houthis are far from defeated in their war with a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Behind all this is the effort by Iran, backed by Russia, to exploit the opening created by the fall of Islamic State to dominate the region. Israel and Saudi Arabia can’t let that happen, and with the U.S. seemingly on the sidelines, expect more conflict to come.

Appeared in the November 6, 2017, print edition.

26  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Church Safety on: November 06, 2017, 12:54:28 PM

Church Safety
Posted on November 6, 2017 by Greg Ellifritz in Articles

This is a guest post written by long-time police trainer Ron Borsch.  Ron has been a friend for many years and has done more research on active killer events than likely anyone else in the world.


Ron is now semi-retired and looking to write a little more.  He will be contributing a few articles for this site in the future.  He still teaches some private police defensive tactics and active killer response classes.  He is also available for consultations.  His full bio and contact info are at the bottom of the article.


And now, I give you Ron Borsch….



Church Safety
by Ron Borsch

One would imagine that among different locations, places of worship would be a safe haven and we would not have to be concerned about safety from violence there. Unfortunately, churches are not the sanctuary they once were. Here we are not talking about mere arson, assault, burglary, mugging, rape, or robbery. Even worse, churches can and have been the site of murder, multiple murders, and “Rapid Mass Murder”©*, (RMM or attempts). About a year ago, churches were the third most commonly targeted location by active killers, after Schools, (K-12), and Colleges/Universities.


For sure, and thank God, RMM is far from a common occurrence anywhere. But it sure sucks when the fickle finger of fate picks your location and you for a RMM incident. The active killer* is attracted to where his health, welfare and safety are insured. An active killer magnet is where they can find unarmed defenseless innocents. Locations where a law, rule or sign forbids honest, law-abiding or otherwise legally permitted citizens to possess firearms become virtual target locations for these active killers who are anticipating being an “unstoppable” force there. The sometimes astonishing rapidity with which they can murder initiated our “Stopwatch of Death”©* database.


Active killer’s ages are something we need to research further. What is known is that our human brains are not fully matured until about age 25 and some authorities place maturity as late as age 30. It is also known that “juveniles” are more affected and motivated by the powerful “Copycat Effect”, most common in schools today. Aided by the media, affected youth are attracted by the “Instant Celebrity Status”© that catapults them from being nobody to suddenly becoming “famous”, (alive or deceased, in their sick minds). A serious contributing affect found in many active killers has been obsessiveness with playing killing video games. An information resource on this is the book “Stop Teaching Kids To Kill” by Dave Grossman.


Uncharacteristically, church active killers may or may not have any attachment to the church they strike. Their real or imagined grievances may only be known to them. Quite commonly, active killers are seriously affected by “Numerous Unstable & Troubling Symptoms”©. They also may have differing unreasonable and illogical motives for choosing the site of their murdering such as a church, restaurant, school, theater, workplace, etc. With some exceptions and generally, pre & post teen active killers normally target their present or former schools, young adult active killers as a rule target their present or former Colleges-Universities and active killer ages typical to the workplace target their present or former workplaces.


One thing to keep in mind is that generally, only about half of RMM is ever stopped by anyone, meaning in those cases that the murdering stops only when the killer says it stops. Seconds are golden considering that we have at least two RMM examples documenting that more than one attempted murder per second is possible, so time is a huge handicap. Most of us have complete confidence in the quality and responsiveness of our local law enforcement agency, but unfortunately, police are most handicapped by TIME.


Why? There is a regrettable but natural delay in notifying law enforcement. Of little known delayed notification times, expert Ed Sanow says that this time delay ranges between five and seven minutes. Try to understand that for those whose safety is seriously endangered, notifying law enforcement may be the last thing on their mind. People not yet aware they are in danger may experience denial that evil may be on their very door step. For example, thinking something real “can’t be happening” or concluding that gunfire must be fireworks instead of calling police right away.


When law enforcement is finally notified, there is additional call-taking time, dispatching time, officer response time, officer entry time, locating the killer time, Etc. While the size of your community is known, just how distant the closest officer will be is always an unknown. Here are a couple of examples. In a 2008 Finland RMM event, (10 were killed in 10 minutes), there was a known 6 minute delay in notifying law enforcement, then a 14 minute police response time. In the 2011 Tucson AZ 15 second incident, (6 killed, 13 wounded), the time delay in notifying police is unknown, but response time afterwards was 4 minutes.


A recommended reading resource on the subject is “Guns in Churches Addressing Church Security Needs” – a report from the Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co.


We suggest that church leaders read the full MMI article and their pro and con three options. MMI does note: “Allowing or encouraging people to carry weapons into church with no written policy or specialized training creates a huge liability issue and should be avoided. Regardless of which option is chosen, church leaders should consider posting their policy regarding weapons in and around the church building,”


Insurance companies are sensitive to risks and pay-outs. Kudos to them for even broaching the subject. Some of their advice is based in part of avoiding liability for a firearm mishap in the church. On the other hand, “Rapid Mass Murder”© by an active killer, while a very low frequency event, is also a very brutal mass tragedy event. Knowing that churches have been targeted by these murderers, a place of worship bears responsibility for reasonable protection efforts on behalf of their flock. These days, a sanctuary needs to be enforced!


In the MMI summary, they advise: “No one can completely stop bad things from happening, it is unfortunately part of our human condition and the society we live in. However, a well-designed plan can reduce not only the severity, but also the level of liability a church may encounter if, or when, something tragic does occur. At the end of the day, we must be able to say as good stewards, “We trusted God and did our very best to care for the people and property entrusted to our care.”



While unarmed citizens have successfully stopped the killing, many have died trying. Still, bare-handed against a firearm, (even a knife or club), is very, very dangerous. In some ways, an armed volunteer church safety and security team may not be the best solution, but it is an enviable problem solver for the church that cannot afford the expense involved with hiring professionals. Anyone can have a “champagne taste” but many of us have to deal with the reality of a “beer budget.”


In planning ahead, we can learn something from the analogy, “One is none and two is one.” The point is that support personnel assistance, (and duplicating equipment), is important. Thinking about minimizing the minimum? Stuff happens! Understand that assigned folks can get sick at church, (like the flu), or a team member not show up at all, (injured in an on-route traffic accident, etc.). It is safer to have more than a skeleton crew for unforeseen eventualities.



Properly done, volunteers or professionals would still require a team. For example, a small church may get by with a team of two plainclothes, front and rear corner outside isle positions, (alternating left-right to the opposite side each week). An improvement would be an additional member in place as or near a greeter at the door, and another enhancement would be a member in a car in the parking lot, able to watch the mannerisms and “tells” of folks coming in cars and or walking towards the church. Consider that a mega-church would of course require a far larger staff. By the way, the Colorado Springs Church CO mega-church in 2007 had a successful stop-the-killing response from one, (of several), volunteer armed church guards. Jeanne Assam stopped a rifleman bearing multiple firearms and carrying hundreds of rounds who had already murdered that day.



A member of the congregation will be far more familiar with fellow parishioners, the building and the differences between what is normal and what is not. In Ohio, a CCW permit holder is allowed to carry in a church, providing that the church has given him or her permission in writing. Applicants with former military or law enforcement experience generally should be given first preference. Of course, only a CCW permit would be a bare minimum for those content with mediocrity or less. For example, many CCW course instructors are not permitted to use targets resembling a human.


This is horrible “Target Habituation”© to prepare volunteers for the possibility of justifiable homicide against an evil rogue-human bent on murder. Training targets must be armed and closely resemble a real human being, which means a face. In Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano’s book Stop Teaching Kids To Kill, on targets, they speak of “World War II bulls-eye targets in training did not properly prepare soldiers for combat since they were not humans or even simulated humans…shooting bulls-eyes do not teach what it takes to look at another human being in the eyes, lift up a weapon, and knowingly try to take their life.”


Normal folks may agree that having anyone in a uniform would routinely deter trouble makers, but active killers are of course NOT normal people. While the typical active killer may be a coward with suicidal tendencies, there have been some very determined active killers. For example, the original plan of the Columbine killers was to first assassinate the School Resource Officer where and when he usually had his lunch (he was not there then). What we can learn from this is that with a very determined active killer, a uniformed guard could be the very first victim of RMM. Therefore, a “Plainclothes Surprise” is recommended.


“We suggest, you decide”


About the author: Ron Borsch is a staff instructor for the Kent Martial Arts Club and a Viet Nam veteran, (1965-66 U.S. Army 101st Airborne Paratrooper). Ron’s 30 year law enforcement career included 20 years as Rangemaster, Pistol Team Captain and 17 years as a SWAT operator and trainer. Concluding his law enforcement career and retaining a police commission, he semi-retired as an agency consultant. Along with support from the 7 SEALE Chiefs of Police from 1998 to 2015, Ron initiated, managed and was the lead trainer for the post-graduate facility SEALE Regional Police Training Academy in Bedford Ohio. The academy served over one hundred law enforcement agencies from 9 states. He is nationally recognized for his research documenting the 7 out of 10 successes of “Single Officer’s Lifesaving Others”© in police responses to “Rapid Mass Murder”© by active killers. Ron has presented various subjects in several different states to fellow officers, national and international instructor audiences and Chiefs of Police.

Contact is by E-mail only for now:
Explanation of terms:

Rapid Mass Murder© (or RMM): “Within 20 minutes, 4 or more murdered at the same time and public place”. In the “Stopwatch of Death” database, attempts of RMM are also counted. Not counted are the criminal actions of police, military, terrorists or street gangs.
Stopwatch of Death©: The SWD is factoring RMM and attempts, (wounded), together divided, (when known), by the killing time. For example, the SWD factor for Columbine High School, (1999 Littleton CO), was 02.9 murder attempts per minute. Two RMM events were over in 15 seconds, having SWD factors of 88.0 and 76.0 murder attempts per minute, (1996 Tasmania Australia, and 2011 Tucson Arizona respectively).
Active Killer: “One who commits Rapid Mass Murder”. This includes murder by any means. The active killer term is not interchangeable with the two totally neutral words, “active shooter”
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Neighbors Say Rand Paul’s Attacker Was An Avowed Socialist on: November 06, 2017, 11:07:02 AM

Neighbors Say Rand Paul’s Attacker Was An Avowed Socialist
Photo of Chris White
Energy Reporter
9:30 PM 11/05/2017
The man responsible for attacking Sen. Rand Paul Friday afternoon was an avowed liberal who frequently fought with his neighbors about politics, according to a report Sunday from The Washington Post.

Local citizens say Rene Boucher, the 59-year-old man who assaulted Paul, was a socialist who frequently fought with neighbors about health care policies and other liberal issues. Boucher and Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, are on the opposite end of the political spectrum, they told reporters.

Jeff Jones, a registered nurse who worked with Boucher at the Bowling Green Medical Center, described Paul’s attacker’s politics as “liberal.”

“He was active on social media and said some negative things about the Republican agenda,” Jones said of Boucher, a Bowling Green, Ky., citizen who lives in the same gated community as Paul. “I think it was unfortunate that they lived so close together.”

Boucher is a divorced socialist who is “pretty much the opposite of Rand Paul in every way,” Jim Bullington, a former member of the city commission who knows both men well, told reporters Sunday.

A Facebook account Boucher maintained before the attack contains numerous anti-Republican postings.

Boucher wrote “May Robert Mueller fry Trump’s gonads” in a May post referencing the former FBI director’s investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian government.

Paul is an ophthalmologist who has practiced in Bowling Green since moving there with his wife in the early 1990s. Boucher, meanwhile, is an anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Therm-a-Vest, a vest designed to help with back pain.

Paul had staff privileges at the hospital where Boucher worked, so Paul and Boucher “must have worked together at some point,” David Ciochetty, a doctor with Interventional Pain Specialists in Bowling Green, told reporters.

Paul’s injuries were far worse than initially reported. He has lung contusions, or bruises, caused by the broken ribs, Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief of staff, said in a statement Sunday. The type of fractures the senator sustained can cause other significant medical problems, including internal bleeding and pneumonia.

“This type of injury is caused by high velocity severe force. It is not clear exactly how soon he will return to work, as the pain is considerable as is the difficulty in getting around, including flying,” Stafford said.

Follow Chris White on Facebook and Twitter.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Doctors in the UFC on: November 05, 2017, 01:03:20 PM

Another violent Bernie supporter. Rand Paul also survived the baseball practice shooting committed by another Bern-out.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 05, 2017, 11:04:24 AM
" Sorry, but there is collateral damage in war.  "


I guess you can say I was a civilian whose house got bomber because it was too close to the enemy arms depot that needed to be "taken out".

Shouldda stayed in Florida.

I would strongly recommend moving to a better environment than a coastal blue state for a variety of reasons.
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 05, 2017, 08:20:29 AM
I agree it is certainly better to get it half right and pass this vs doing nothing.

However that will be the end of further tax reform and the other half will never get done.

This may the only chance for any foreseeable future of getting it right and the best the cans can do is get it "half right"

The possible loss of the SALT deduction will certainly hurt me in a blue state like Jersey but the overall implications of moving political pressure onto the State and Locals pols for their punitive high taxes is very appealing.

Sorry, but there is collateral damage in war.

31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Modern Media, Superiority Complexes, and the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect on: November 04, 2017, 04:18:50 PM

Modern Media, Superiority Complexes, and the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
by Dystopic | Nov 3, 2017 |

Social media is full of long-winded, acrimonious debates about politics, sociology, cats, etc… It’s enough to make a man seriously consider giving it up completely. My colleague at Liberty’s Torch discussed cutting that particular line earlier, and though I have not done what he did, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think about it.  Mostly, the arguments are just for show. People don’t expect to win hearts and minds in them, not really. Rather, it’s often just a virtue signal, or the refilling of narcissistic supply.

A few posts in, and the insults about stupidity, bigotry, Dunning-Kruger, and otherwise will make themselves known. And in them we see the true purpose of many such debates: feeling superior. If you infer that your opponent is a Nazi, you feel morally superior to him. If you call him stupid, you can feel intellectually superior. The bigger the audience, the better, so more people can affirm your superiority over your enemy. The actual issue at hand is rarely as important as these feelings. Find me a Facebook debate, and I can almost guarantee you at least one participant who is engaging in this behavior.

And since no one is really arguing in a dialectical manner (though you will see the word “facts” repeated as mantra for things that aren’t), nothing gets resolved. No new knowledge is gained, no insight or deeper understanding. It is purposeless mental masturbation. It certainly doesn’t make one an intellectual, or more intelligent.

What I’ve come to realize is that this behavior on social media is a microcosm for our society at large. The same behavior applies at the highest levels of media and politics. Most of these people have no idea what they are talking about, even most of the so-called experts (contrary to Tom Nichols’ assessment of political expertise). Find me an expert pilot, and we can go through his records, how many hours he’s logged, on what aircraft, and with what results. It is demonstrable. There is no similar metric for media talking heads, especially where results are concerned. And for politics, and measure of this is bound to be skewed by the political views of its members, such that our reliance upon it is already suspect.
This leads to an environment of low accountability. Oh, sure, if a man like Dan Rather gets snookered by some fake memos very publicly, the house of cards can fall down on him. But the mistake has to be high profile enough and, paradoxically, covered by the media enough, for it to get out in the first place.
Michael Crichton explained the problem as the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Observe:
Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.
But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

A combination of superficial understanding and political narratives results in articles and news programs that make no sense. The percentage of the problem attributable to either feature varies widely from case-to-case. Sometimes it is blatantly political, and it cannot be explained by ignorance. Other times, it is probably best explained with stupidity. Most cases are probably a little of both. The media and its supporters, meanwhile, are quite blind to this. I came across this gem this afternoon, and it made me laugh out loud for the sheer stupidity of it:


The amusing thing is how easy this is to disprove. A quick glance at the SAT scores of incoming college students, broken down by major, is sufficient to reveal the error (see page 13 here). Of the STEM majors, all outscored journalists (see: engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, computer/information sciences). Some did so by staggering margins (see: mathematics). That the author of that tweet couldn’t be bothered to check his work, when claiming high intellect, is actually pretty damned hilarious. It’s enough to make me wonder if the guy is secretly trolling.
Anyway, point is, try Michael Crichton’s test for yourself. It’s something I’ve spoken of before – I just lacked the convenient name for it. Talk to other people who have done the same for different subjects, people you trust. You’ll soon see just how wrong the media is. Trump frequently calls CNN fake news, but in reality pretty much every outlet I’ve seen is full of shit to greater or lesser degree. Sometime I’d like to see a counter for how many times individual journalists have been caught in lies, or made serious mistakes driven by stupidity and ignorance.
These are the same people who, like the randoms on Facebook, want to demonstrate how enlightened they are, how wise, all-knowing, and progressive. They have a bigger podium, of course, and more spectators. But the motivations are similar enough. It’s all about appearances and narcissistic supply. It all boils down to a statement even a toddler could understand, and likely hears frequently on the playground. “I’m better than you! Neener-neener!” But they aren’t willing to do the work. They all expected Hillary Clinton to win, right up until she didn’t. Never forget how badly they called that election. If you get amnesia about their smaller mistakes, at least hold on to that one. They pretend to expert status. Meanwhile Trump, the supposedly stupid bigot, baits them like a matador. It’s comical how he plays them.

They want so desperately to shout down this man. I once thought it was because of his immigration policies – and I have no doubt that was a major factor, at least at first. But I’ve come to realize that there’s a deeper reason. He makes them look like idiots. He hurts their egos. Because, deep down, they know they aren’t the superior intellects they pretend to be. They know they are fake news. And he not only sees through them, he’s exposed them as frauds in front of the world. This they cannot forgive, or forget.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: Bitcoin: on: November 04, 2017, 11:21:01 AM
True digital currencies were more common in science fiction than in reality until quite recently. The big stumbling block for electronic money that doesn't have a physical form is the issue of ownership. How can you truly possess something of intrinsic value that can be effectively copied ad nauseam? In 2008, a paper published under a pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto, introduced the world to the digital currency bitcoin, a groundbreaking development in its own right. But more important, however, was the underlying algorithm that made the cryptocurrency work.
The technology that anchors bitcoin, known as the blockchain, was the truly revolutionary development. Commonly referred to as distributed ledger technology, blockchain is already considered to be a disruptive technology and will affect a number of different industries beyond the financial sector, including but not limited to shipping and logistics, aerospace and defense, retail, health care, and manufacturing.

Distributed ledger technology is a truly revolutionary development.

In the case of digital currencies such as bitcoin, which pioneered the technology, transactions are recorded in a shared public ledger — the ubiquitous blockchain. The currency (or contract or other exchange of information) is not controlled by a central entity like a bank but is instead managed by an online community. Members with powerful computers are encouraged to maintain the transactional register by "verifying the blockchain" — in other words, by solving complex mathematical equations and adding another "block" of transactions to the existing chain. With bitcoin, the process is known as "mining" because the verifier is rewarded with new bitcoins.

Ultimately, the key attribute of the technology is its ability to ensure and enshrine an often undervalued commodity: trust. The only way the protocol itself can be hacked and a false transaction entered is if a group of actors control more than 50 percent of the nodes verifying the blockchain in order to collude with one another.
To be quite clear, first-mover offerings such as bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple that are popular today might easily die a quick death tomorrow. For now, the technology remains in its infancy and new applications are still being developed. There are a number of technological challenges to be surmounted as well as regulatory hurdles to overcome before potential sectors of the economy adopt this technology — or not, as the case may be.

Digital currencies are just another fiat currency, and can be killed off quite easily by nation-states. I'm not adverse to using them, but I wouldn't store much in that format that I couldn't afford to lose.

33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 04, 2017, 07:42:54 AM

In that the corporate tax is passed on to customers in the form of higher prices it is, in essence a flat tax on everyone thus cutting it is perhaps the only way to give a tax cut to everyone.

Think on this.

You can't tax a business, you can only tax the customers of that business.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: family in shock as always on: November 02, 2017, 09:41:37 PM
And as always the wife and rest of the family had NO CLUE.  Just came totally out of no where with not even one iota of a hint of any plans.   And as usual lived in NJ or (Michigan):

he was just a Muslim menche who needed a better job then Uber who needs to pay the drivers more I guess.

Ah! It's Uber's fault! I knew it!
It should be pointed out that they named him "Sword of Allah", not "Home Depot rental truck of Allah", so they have some plausible deniability in this case.

35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: family in shock as always on: November 02, 2017, 08:18:41 PM
And as always the wife and rest of the family had NO CLUE.  Just came totally out of no where with not even one iota of a hint of any plans.   And as usual lived in NJ or (Michigan):

he was just a Muslim menche who needed a better job then Uber who needs to pay the drivers more I guess.

Ah! It's Uber's fault! I knew it!
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: When foreign fighters return on: November 02, 2017, 07:18:53 PM
The threat posed by foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately. Indeed, my news feed has been full of media reports about the danger to country X, country Y or the world in general. Some good studies have been produced on the topic, such as the one recently released by Richard Barrett of the Soufan Group.
But the concern about foreign fighters is not new. Indeed, in April 2014 I wrote a piece assessing the danger, and it has aged pretty well. Like then, I believe that returning foreign fighters pose a real threat, but it is being mitigated by several factors — the most significant of which is the fact that the world has become aware of them. But other elements can also help lessen the threat.

Building Blocks of Security

As we've noted previously, several building blocks contribute to solid personal security. These same principles are also applicable on a wider scale to national security. The first block is mindset, which has three aspects: recognizing that there is a threat, accepting responsibility for one's security and using the available tools to protect oneself. It is not difficult to see how these tenents can be readily translated into a national security context and used to respond to the threat of returning jihadists.
Clearly, the fact that we are discussing this topic demonstrates widespread recognition of the risk, and there is little indication that governments are in denial or ignorant of it. Being aware of the threat from returning jihadists is vastly different from what I experienced after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. First, there was little discussion about the threat from fighters returning from Afghanistan. Some people even foolishly predicted the end of terrorism after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, because the Soviets had been one of the major sponsors of political violence around the globe. But sadly, terrorism was not just a tool of Marxist revolutionaries, and it was picked up and wielded by believers of other ideologies.
When I traveled with an FBI colleague to Yemen to investigate the attacks on U.S. Marines in Aden in December 1992 and a rocket assault on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa in January 1993, we suspected that Libyans were behind them. They had a history of striking U.S. military and diplomatic targets in the region, and they had made previous attacks in Yemen. However, our investigation determined that jihadists, who had been trained by the CIA's Office of Technical Service in Afghanistan and had returned to Yemen, had done the bombings.
Shortly after I got back from Yemen, I was sent to New York to help investigate the World Trade Center bombing of February 1993. Excellent forensic work quickly determined that the truck had been rented by a group of jihadists who had traveled to Afghanistan. The FBI had previously investigated the group, but unfortunately it was determined that they did not pose a threat despite the fact that one member had assassinated ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane at a midtown Manhattan hotel in November 1990. The World Trade Center bombing — along with the connected 1993 New York landmark bomb plot — combined with the Yemen attacks to help raise awareness that jihadists could be a transnational threat to the United States and its interests abroad. However, while awareness was rising, it would still be a couple of years before we knew these jihadists were part of an organized network called al Qaeda.
Perhaps the best illustration of the ignorance of the threat in the 1990s was the case of Sgt. Ali Mohamed. He is a former Egyptian special forces officer who moved to the United States in 1984 and received his citizenship after marrying an American. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as an instructor in Arabic culture at the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, N.C. While on active duty with the Army, and with the knowledge of his supervisors, Mohamed traveled to Afghanistan, where he reportedly fought the Soviets and trained al Qaeda jihadists. He pleaded guilty in October 2000 to helping plan the August 1998 attacks against the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Clearly, no military in the world would condone, or even ignore, this type of jihadist tourism today. Unlike the '90s, no government is ignorant of the threat these extremists pose.
Situational Awareness
Another building block that is closely related to recognizing the threat is situational awareness. In a personal security context this means using one's senses to scan the environment for dangers. In a national security context, it means using intelligence and law enforcement agencies to monitor for threats — in this case, returning jihadists. But beyond the government, the wider society needs to pay attention and be proactive in notifying the authorities when a threat is perceived.
Muslim communities have become an important component of society's situational awareness monitoring, in part because it is predominantly Muslim children who are being radicalized and used as cannon fodder by jihadists. In recent years many families have approached the authorities to report children who have left home without permission intending to fight or travel to a jihadist theater such as Syria and Iraq. Some of these children have been caught at the airport before departure or in a transit country. In some cases, investigators have been able to identify the jihadist recruiters. Some of these extremists have been arrested or killed in airstrikes.
In a threat environment in which jihadist groups are recruiting members in cyberspace and encouraging grassroots fighters to adopt the leaderless resistance form of terrorism, grassroots defenders must supplement the efforts of the security forces.
Environmental Baselines
To practice effective situational awareness — even collectively — one needs to have a good baseline understanding of the environment in which one is living or working. This is the next building block for personal and collective security.
In a personal context, an environmental baseline means understanding things such as the types of crimes being committed, the modus operandi of the criminals, and the most likely times and locations for crimes. The potential for natural disaster, terrorism and war should also be considered. Once this baseline has been established, one can then evaluate vulnerabilities based on the types of crimes and the tactics of the criminals.
In the context of national security when considering returning jihadists, a baseline means attempting to identify those who left and are returning, but also understanding the terrorist tradecraft that they might have learned overseas and how this will impact the way they approach the various steps in the terrorist attack cycle. Have individuals acquired advanced bombmaking or surveillance capabilities? Or were they front-line fighters, experienced with firearms and more likely to attempt an armed assault than a bombing?

The specific skills a fighter has learned overseas may well influence how they conduct jihad.

Indeed, looking at recent cases involving fighters returning from Iraq and Syria, they have tended to conduct attacks against soft targets instead of making more complex attacks against harder, more significant targets. Some examples include a Jewish museum and the soft side of the airport in Brussels; a concert in Manchester in the United Kingdom; and a cafe, concert venue and sports stadium in Paris. Understanding the capabilities of returning jihadists and their potential targets via a vulnerability assessment can help prevent such attacks.

Reacting to Attacks

The final piece in the building blocks of personal security series was an installment on reacting to danger, and this is also a critical element of collective security. In one sense this can refer to the quick realization that an attack is happening — attack recognition — and then suitably responding to armed assaults, knife attacks and vehicular assaults. Indeed, police departments all over the world are forming special units to quickly respond to, and end, such attacks. In the United Kingdom, an increasing number of police officers are now carrying firearms. 
But beyond simply responding to an attack in progress, security forces are also studying past assaults and taking steps to prevent similar ones in the future. For example, after the rash of recent car and truck attacks, authorities in several countries and cities have placed vehicle barriers in high-profile locations that could be targets, More will likely follow suit in the wake of the Nov. 1 vehicular assault in New York.
The threat posed by returning jihadists will persist at a low level for the foreseeable future. It will also be augmented by grassroots jihadists who were unable or unwilling to travel abroad, and by those who will be released from prison after completing sentences for jihadist-related crimes. However, it does not take a great degree of skill to conduct a deadly, simple attack, and because of this, it is important to lessen the overall threat posed by grassroots jihadists.

Perhaps foreign fighters should just suffer accidents while in transit. And perhaps we should consider stopping all muslim travel and immigration.

37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance on: November 01, 2017, 09:44:28 PM

"The tree of liberty diversity must be refreshed from time to time constantly with the blood of patriots and tyrants innocents."

38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate: Google is reading your Docs too! on: November 01, 2017, 09:40:47 PM
Besides reading your emails, knowing all your searches and tracking your location and listening in your home, Google is reading your Docs too.

Google admits its new smart speaker was eavesdropping on users

A (waived?) right of Privacy

Know anyone who really reads the terms of service for anything?
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jihad on the Bike Path on: November 01, 2017, 07:38:23 AM

Jihad on the Bike Path
by Mark Steyn
Steyn on America
October 31, 2017

The bike path to diversity hell

Fourteen years ago, I wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal on "The Bike-Path Left":

There was a revealing moment on MSNBC the other night. Chris Matthews asked [Howard] Dean whether Osama bin Laden should be tried in an American court or at The Hague. "I don't think it makes a lot of difference," said the governor airily. Mr. Matthews pressed once more. "It doesn't make a lot of difference to me," he said again... So how about Saddam? The Hague "suits me fine," he said, the very model of ennui. Saddam? Osama? Whatever, dude.

So what does get the Dean juices going? A few days later, the governor was on CNN and Judy Woodruff asked him about his admission that he'd left the Episcopal Church and become a Congregationalist because "I had a big fight with a local Episcopal church over the bike path." I hasten to add that, in contrast to current Anglican controversies over gay marriage in British Columbia and gay bishops in New Hampshire, this does not appear to have been a gay bike path: its orientation was not an issue; it would seem to be a rare example of a non-gay controversy in the Anglican Communion. But nevertheless it provoked Howard into "a big fight." "I was fighting to have public access to the waterfront, and we were fighting very hard in the citizens group," he told Judy Woodruff. Fighting, fighting, fighting.

And that's our pugnacious little Democrat. On Osama bin Laden, he's Mister Insouciant. But he gets mad about bike paths. Destroy the World Trade Center and he's languid and laconic and blasé. Obstruct plans to convert the ravaged site into a memorial bike path and he'll hunt you down wherever you are.

The Hudson River Greenway is not, formally, a 9/11 "memorial bike path". But it does run within 300 feet or so of the World Trade Center as it begins its progress up the West Side Highway toward the Bronx. So close enough. Yet on the central point I was wrong. The "bike-path left" will surrender the bike path as they surrender everything else.

As I write, eight are dead - all men, five Argentines, one Belgian, all in the path of an Uzbek Muslim who decided to take a Home Depot pick-up truck down the bike path for 20 blocks mowing down bicycle after bicycle after bicycle before exiting the vehicle and yelling - go on, take a wild guess - "Allahu Akbar!" Well, I never! You could knock me over with a feather duster - which the Mohammedans will no doubt find a way of weaponizing any day now.

So two hours after the attack, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and other New York bigwigs assembled for the usual press conference to give the usual passive shrug - this is the way we live now, nothing to be done about it, etc, etc. Every so often in New York, as in London as in Stockholm as in Berlin as in Nice as in Brussels as in Paris as in Manchester as in Orlando, your loved one will leave the home and never return because he went to a pop concert or a gay club or a restaurant or an airport, or just strolled the sidewalk or bicycled the bike path. "Allahu Akbar"? That's Arabic for "Nothing can be done". So Andrew Cuomo ended with some generic boilerplate about how they'll never change us:

We go forward together. And we go forward stronger than ever. We're not going to let them win...We'll go about our business. Be New Yorkers. Live your life. Don't let them change us.

But they are changing us. I've written before about what I've called the Bollardization of the Western World: the open, public areas of free cities are being fenced in by bollards, as, for example, German downtowns were after the Berlin Christmas attack, and London Bridge and Westminster Bridge were after two recent outbreaks of vehicular jihad. This is a huge windfall for bollard manufacturers - Big Bollard - and doubtless it's a huge boost for the economy, if your town's nimble enough to approve the new bollard plant on the edge of town, or if your broker is savvy enough to divest your tech stocks and go big on the bollard sector. As I write, Geraldo is on Fox demanding to know why this bike path wasn't blocked off with concrete barriers.

Why? Why does every public place have to get uglified up just because Geraldo doesn't want to address the insanity of western immigration policies that day by day advance the interests of an ideology explicitly hostile to our civilization? Instead Geraldo wants to tighten up vehicle rental. Why? Why should you have to lose an extra 15 minutes at an already sclerotic check-in counter because Hertz and Avis and UHaul have to run your name through the No-Rent list? Why should open, free societies become closed, monitored, ugly, cramped and cowering?

And Bollardization doesn't even solve the problem, does it? Last week I was tootling through Williston, Vermont, which has just reconfigured its highway system to run green-painted bike paths down the center of the streets. And the thought occurred to me that, once you've bollarded off every sidewalk, what's to stop jihadists mowing down cyclists? After all, if the eco-crowd are installing them in the middle of the roadway, they're kind of hard to bollard off. And then a second thought occurred: As inviting a target as bike paths are in enviro-poseur communities, they're even more inviting in genuine bicycling cultures such as the Netherlands or Scandinavia.

And now eight people are dead and dozens more injured - at the hands of a guy who came here in 2010 because he won a Green Card in the so-called "diversity lottery". Why was that stupid program not suspended on September 12th 2001?

Because even 3,000 dead cannot be allowed to question the virtues of "diversity". The other day, the Australian government lost its working majority because, thanks to the usual boneheaded jurists, an Aussie-born citizen who chances also to share, say, New Zealand citizenship is deemed to be ineligible to sit in Parliament. [UPDATE: See my note to our Oz commenter below.] Er, okay, whatever. But at the same time we're assured that an Uzbek or a Somali or a Yemeni becomes a fully functioning citizen of a free, pluralist society simply by setting foot on western soil. That's not so. And the price of maintaining the delusion is blood on the pavement.

And so, on a buckled, broken bicycle on the Hudson River Greenway, the wheel comes full circle. America and every other major western nation thought the appropriate response to 9/11 was to show how nice we are by dramatically increasing the rate of mass Muslim immigration. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov was among the many beneficiaries of the west's suicide by virtue-signaling. "Sayfullo" is a Central Asian rendering of "Saifallah" - or "Sword of Allah". Hmm, what a fascinating name! Do you think whichever brain-dead bureaucrat who gave Sword of Allah's online Green Card application the once-over (assuming anyone did) so much as gave the name a second glance? And so, because we did not take an act of war seriously in 2001, we are relentlessly harassed and diminished by unending micro-jihad - in Copenhagen, in Toulouse, in San Bernadino, in Calgary, Barcelona, Parsons Green ...and now on a bike path 300 feet from where we came in sixteen years ago. Three months ago, on the anniversary of 9/11, I wrote:

In any war, you have to be able to prioritize: You can't win everything, so where would you rather win? Raqqa or Rotterdam? Kandahar or Cannes? Yet, whenever some guy goes Allahu Akbar on the streets of a western city, the telly pundits generally fall into one of two groups: The left say it's no big deal, and the right say this is why we need more boots on the ground in Syria or Afghanistan. Yesterday President Trump said he was committed to ensuring that terrorists "never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country".

By that he means "safe havens" in Afghanistan. But the reason the west's enemies are able to pile up a continuous corpse count in Paris, Nice, Berlin, Brussels, London, Manchester, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Orlando, San Bernadino, Ottawa, Sydney, Barcelona, [Your Town Here] is because they have "safe havens" in France, Germany, Britain, Scandinavia, North America, etc. Which "safe havens" are likely to prove more consequential for the developed world in the years ahead..? In Afghanistan, we're fighting for something not worth winning, and we're losing. In Europe, Islam is fighting for something very much worth winning, and they're advancing. And, according to all the official strategists in Washington and elsewhere, these two things are nothing to do with each other.

So now eight grieving families and dozens more who'll be living with horrific injuries for the rest of their lives are told by Cuomo and De Blasio and the rest of the gutless political class behind their security details that there's nothing to do except to get used to it.

I don't want to get used to it - and I reiterate my minimum demand of western politicians that I last made after the London Bridge attacks: How many more corpses need to pile up on our streets before you guys decide to stop importing more of it?

If your congressman or senator says that's not on his agenda, what he means is he's willing to sacrifice you and your loved ones in the suicide lottery of diversity.

~Mark will be talking about the latest developments in the Lower Manhattan terrorism attack with Tucker Carlson tomorrow, Wednesday, on Fox News, live at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. If you're a Mark Steyn Club member, feel free to weigh in in our comments section. We appreciate the Club is not to everyone's taste, but, if you're minded to give it a go, either for a full year or a three-month experimental period, we'd love to have you. You'll find more details here - and, if you've a loved one who'd like something a little different for a birthday or anniversary, don't forget our new gift membership.
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Just confirms what we already knew on: October 30, 2017, 10:45:04 AM

Shocking!  rolleyes
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Antifa's plans for this week on: October 30, 2017, 10:41:01 AM

Presented without comment.
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yunfakh Min Allah - Wind Of God on: October 29, 2017, 05:54:26 PM

Yunfakh Min Allah - Wind Of God

Ahmad checked his watch as he listened to the American baseball game on his earpiece. It was about an hour past sunset, with growing darkness as he watched from his vantage point, and listened to the announcer describing Game 6 of the World Series. Ahmad didn't understand the details of the game, just enough to plan the mission, but he knew he had at least another hour before it would end, more than enough for his purposes. From where he was situated, he could see down into Chavez Ravine, a couple of the nearby freeways, and the panorama of lights glistening in the growing nighttime scene of downtown Los Angeles.

In various places throughout the city, his teams waited. They were all his men, though few of them knew that, and he was the only one that knew all of them. His subordinates were all cutouts, few knowing anyone but him and their 2-4 teammates.

Ahmad had arrived some time prior to the operation, but was the necessary link to get it off the ground - so to speak. He chuckled at the memory. He had been delivered to America by the Americans themselves. He was actually Pakistani, and his real name wasn't even Ahmad, but that had been the Afghani name he'd adopted as an officer in the Afghan Army, shortly before he'd been selected to lead this operation in the heart of the Great Satan. The stupid Americans, he'd thought, had flown him to the United States for training. Once his contact was in place, he'd gone out one weekend on leave, and never come back. Even in this he blended with a hundred others, most economic opportunists, but more than a few, like himself, hand-picked to infiltrate and run operations like this one. The Americans hadn't been eager to broadcast that fact, which made his further movements all the easier to undertake.

His phone buzzed; the message let him know the game was back on live TV.
On his other phone he texted the codeword inshallah, which set in motion all that followed. Within a minute or two, motorcycle pairs entered all the surrounding freeways in both directions, dumping several pounds of metal caltrops on the freeways. In short order, tires were deflated or blown out, accidents ensued, and the legendary Los Angeles rush hour traffic snarl began an inexorable descent into a biblical amount of gridlock.

Simultaneously, four small drones lifted off east of downtown. They approached from different directions, but all were to converge on Piper Technical Center, a drab block arising several stories above and apart from the downtown skyline, upon the roof of which sat a dozen LAPD helicopters, at their otherwise-safe HQ high above the surrounding streets. When the drones arrived over their targets, they began their bombing drops. Two had homemade napalm: half aviation gasoline, half liquid dish soap, blended with aluminum flakes, contained in a pint glass bottle, and with a simple wick on the outside.

Ahmad recalled their maker pleased with himself for devising a way to re-purpose a simple automobile cigarette lighter to ignite the wicks, which were threaded under rubber bands holding the bottles, placed over foil-protected legs on the drones. The operator flipped a switch, and the igniters clicked on. When the wicks ignited, the bands would burn through and the bottles would drop; when they impacted, they'd create little fireballs that would stick to whatever they splashed, creating an instant inferno. Targeting was fairly simple on a windless night, requiring only hitting within a few feet of straight down for the helicopters, from a near motionless drone.

The other two had pint-sized soda cans, containing a mixture of iron oxide (essentially simple rust powder) and elemental aluminum powder. When the igniter set off a magnesium ribbon fuse, just like the napalm the payload would freefall. Once the magnesium ignited the thermite, oxygen bound in the rust would provide the air for the combustion that would take place. Its normal use was to weld railroad rails, and in the military to destroy things like howitzers, tanks, and radios. Once ignited, it burned hot enough to do either, at a temperature of around 4,000 degrees F., and the liquid molten metal produced would burn through anything as fragile as a fuselage in seconds.

Which they did, working exactly as they had when tested in the desert some weeks earlier, and helped along by fuel tanks with aviation gasoline on the parked aircraft.
The two napalm drops splashed all over the two target helos, setting them aflame immediately, as did one of the thermite drops. The other missed, but the ensuing plume of molten metal consuming itself on the concrete threw a shower of flaming embers that would prove hard to corral, even as the other targets combusted spectacularly.

They had bought all the drones and all the payload materials for less than $10,000, over the internet, using cash cards, over a span of some months, and sent to places in several states all vacated months before they operation began. And nothing they bought, and nothing they did, was illegal per se until the payloads ignited and began dropping.

As soon as the first four drones had dropped, a second wave was launched in seconds, and approximately a minute later two more helicopters were gloriously aflame. By the time the third wave struck a minute after that, nine helicopters and some ancillary equipment were fully-involved flaming junk heaps, and though there were several units airborne throughout the city, the LAPD's Astro Division would be hard-pressed to do much for the next few months, as several millions of dollars worth of high-priced ashes consumed themselves in plain view of the stranded commuters on the 101 freeway through downtown.

As he watched the second wave begin its attack on the police department's airbase, Ahmad texted the main attack to commence. Another dozen drones lifted off from all points of the compass, headed for the sellout crowd in Dodger Stadium watching the game. Each man had a section of the stadium assigned, including both outfield pavilions. All of them carried the napalm bottles. The drone bodies had been painted black so as to be far less visible to those on the ground, and with the blaze of nighttime lights illuminating the game, no one would see anything until their flaming payloads began to fall. They fell randomly, hither and yon all around the seats, bursting immediately into flaming gasoline balls, the stuff of nightmares, and sending more than 65,000 people fleeing in all directions in a stampeding panic to escape. One, by design, was dropped in front of each of the team dugouts, sending players scrambling onto the field or down the tunnels to escape the conflagrations. All of it was captured on live TV and broadcast around the world in seconds.

Originally, the plan had been to use a football game as the target, but dwindling audiences for those, and the draw of a World Series broadcast had led Ahmad and the planners to select the baseball game instead.

As soon as the first wave of drones dropped its payload, they were program recalled to a central spot, and landed in an industrial park, next to a garbage truck driven by one of two teams also organized for the purpose. Their only job was to collect the surviving drones, load them into the truck, and depart. All useable data and serial numbers had been meticulously removed long before the missions, and given their cost, the drones themselves weren't critical. But Ahmad had learned, just as some of his former colleagues, not to underestimate the thoroughness of American investigations and intelligence gathering after the fact. The less they were left to work with, the better.

His pilots each rode in on motorcycles and scooters, the better to thread their way through traffic and exfiltrate afterwards. Each had pulled up to one of several vans, or vice versa, some hours beforehand, been handed his drones and controllers, and the empty vans departed. Once they had launched their second waves and dropped, they plunked controllers into backpacks or saddlebags, and drove off, helmeted, invisible, and nondescript.

The second wave of drops went as well as the first, with several set to land amongst the main exits, surveyed beforehand, and now awash in a sea of people. Now, with no small number of flaming people, furiously trying to roll, or batter the flames out, and in a few cases, running faster, which only intensified the flames for the few seconds before they succumbed amidst hundreds of their fellows in screaming agony, and a horrible gasoline and flesh-stenched barbeque from hell. This last was mainly for effect, but the bulk of the second wave was still directed inside the stadium at alternate points not already hit, because that's where the TV cameras would be focused. And were, as millions of people across the country watched in speechless horror the spectacle before them.

Ahmad waited until a minute or so after the second wave had completed, then texted the signal for all his teams to depart, which they did. The cell monitoring the television broadcast and internet news sent him the best news of all: the response was off the charts, both on TV, and internationally. He whispered a brief thanks to Allah, then kicked his motorcycle into life, and rode off sedately into the night.

He had given the infidel Americans a Halloween to remember with dread for decades.

On Wednesday at 3AM they did the same thing over the refineries near the harbor, mainly with thermite bombs. 30 giant fuel and oil tanks, widely dispersed, had set 24 more adjoining ones on fire, in an inferno that would take two weeks to extinguish, and send the price of gasoline locally to the moon.

On Friday night, they hit crowds at Disneyland with napalm during the nighttime fireworks.

The exodus out of state began with a vengeance.

Early Sunday morning, they hit 25 separate power distribution complexes, and blacked out most of the state of California, and parts of Arizona and Nevada for a week and a half.

On Monday morning, martial law was declared in all three states.

"There." thought Ahmad.
"See how you like fighting a war in your country for a change."
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Authorities put brakes on information flow in Las Vegas shooting on: October 28, 2017, 06:28:58 AM

Authorities put brakes on information flow in Las Vegas shooting

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo discusses the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Erik Verduzco/Las Veg ...Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo discusses the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-JournalClark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, left, gets emotional during a news conference at the Metropolitan Police Department in Las Vegas on Oct. 13, 2017, with FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse.  ...Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, left, gets emotional during a news conference at the Metropolitan Police Department in Las Vegas on Oct. 13, 2017, with FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse. Heidi Fang Las Vegas Review-Journal @HeidiFangClark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo discusses the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting during an exclusive interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.K.M. Cannon / L ...Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo discusses the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting during an exclusive interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.K.M. Cannon / Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhotoAaron C. Rouse, special agent in charge for the FBI in Nevada, during a press conference on the mass shooting, at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Las Vegas, Wednesday  ...Aaron C. Rouse, special agent in charge for the FBI in Nevada, during a press conference on the mass shooting, at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in Las Vegas, Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal
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Fifty-eight people killed. More than 500 injured. And yet, nearly a month after the Las Vegas Strip experienced the worst mass shooting in modern American history, local and federal authorities are refusing to fill in the blanks.
It wasn’t always like this. In the days after Oct. 1, when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest festival crowd from his Mandalay Bay corner suite, Las Vegas police were hosting multiple news conferences a day. Then, once a day. Then, once every few days.
They compiled and released snippets of officers’ body camera footage. They spent several minutes answering specific questions. They released a comprehensive timeline, which ended up being wrong. They took it back, and tried to clarify the errors, but instead caused more confusion.
By Oct. 13 — the last time the Metropolitan Police Department or the FBI addressed the media or public — something had changed. The sheriff, who had been straightforward and stern, was now emotional and at times combative. Both he and the FBI failed to provide much new information, and at the end of the meeting, they refused to take questions.
Since that day, the only person who has shed more light on the investigation is Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos, who was shot in the leg while approaching the gunman’s room. His platform to share that information? “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which aired last week. He hasn’t made himself available to the media since.
“It doesn’t matter,” FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday, when asked why there had been no significant updates in two weeks. “It’s an ongoing investigation, and unless there’s something to report, there will not be a briefing.”
Calls to the national FBI office were forwarded back to Breault at the Las Vegas office.

At least twice this week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has asked to speak with Sheriff Joe Lombardo about the shooting investigation. Both times, reporters were told by Carla Alston, the Police Department’s director of communications, that the sheriff “will not be conducting interviews.”
“As he has stated previously, the case is still ongoing” she said in an email Thursday. “Another media briefing will be held when we have new and accurate information.”
When asked when that briefing would be, Alston guessed it could occur in the next two weeks. The Review-Journal also specifically asked about the more than 50,000 hours of overtime that Metro officers have logged since Oct. 1 on work directly related to the shooting investigation.
“Investigators have made progress on investigative leads and in mapping out Stephen Paddock’s life for the last few years — and they’re still not done,” Alston said. “We still have officers dedicated to this case 24/7.”
She agreed that members of the public have a right to know more, “but they have a right to accurate information and not the speculation … that has filled so many news stories the past month.”
Nearly a month after the mass shooting, the gunman’s motive remains a mystery. More straightforward questions also remain unanswered, including whether the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay — where the gunman was staying — has surveillance cameras, and what exactly investigators collected in the gunman’s hotel room and homes.
Authorities also have not said how long the gunman had a “do not disturb” sign on his hotel door, and whether hotel staff saw something suspicious in his room but failed to report it.
Though authorities have described the investigation as a team effort, they have not explained what role Las Vegas police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are playing in the case.
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bracken: Is The NFL Ready For A Stadium Attack On A Las Vegas Scale? on: October 27, 2017, 06:47:23 AM
Bracken: Is The NFL Ready For A Stadium Attack On A Las Vegas Scale?
Posted on October 26, 2017

Is the NFL ready for a stadium attack on a Las Vegas scale?
By Matthew Bracken

My first novel, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, published in 2003, begins with a sniper shooting into a packed football stadium. Ninety bullets are fired from long range into an upper deck, precipitating a stadium-wide panic stampede that results in over a thousand deaths. In the book, a combat veteran holding a semi-automatic rifle is quickly located by a SWAT counter-sniper in a helicopter, after a citizen’s tip is phoned to the police. However, the veteran is just a patsy, and the true perpetrators of the massacre are a pair of mid-level federal law enforcement agents who are seeking to increase their departmental budgets and overall bureaucratic power. The liberal mainstream media accept the false narrative without close examination. Right-leaning military veteran “gun nuts” are universally tarred as potential mass murderers. Within a week, semi-automatic so-called “assault rifles” are banned. The first chapter can be read here.

My goal with the plot of Enemies Foreign and Domestic was to encourage news consumers not to blindly accept convenient official explanations after traumatic national events. Since the release of this novel, we have, in fact, seen federal agents and bureaucrats at a much higher level than my two fictional villains conspire to commit mass murder with the intention of spinning a false news narrative. We know this intentional mass murder plot as “Operation Fast and Furious”, whereby thousands of semi-automatic rifles from Southwestern gun dealers were deliberately sold to criminals with the expectation that they would be transported to violent cartels in Mexico. This resulted in mass carnage which would then be blamed on the Second Amendment and lax American gun laws. Honest gun dealers were coerced by the ATF into making otherwise illegal straw purchases to criminals in bulk quantities. No attempt was made to track the guns once they left ATF observation at the point of sale. The Mexican government was never informed of the murderous gun-running plan. Operation Fast and Furious was not a legitimate law enforcement operation gone wrong. It was a covert murder plan from start to finish, conceived and carried out for political purposes.

Before the evil scheme was exposed after the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Secretary of State Clinton were regularly touting as fact the lie that 90% of the guns found at Mexican murder scenes had originated in the USA. Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress after stonewalling their attempts to investigate Operation Fast and Furious, when the half-hearted investigation was leading directly to his office. None of the principals behind this murderous plan have ever been held accountable. I revisit Fast and Furious in case any readers of this article learn the premise of my first novel and declare that federal law enforcement officials would never be involved in a mass murder scheme concocted for political ends.

That Rubicon was already crossed with Operation Fast and Furious.

Since then, we have witnessed other scandals which involved selling the American public a false narrative. One example is the lie that the deadly attacks on our nearly undefended diplomatic missions in Benghazi were the result of an angry local response to an obscure video about the life of Mohammed. My point in recounting this history is to encourage Americans to always search beyond the “official narrative,” which, as we have seen, can sometimes be manufactured from whole cloth for public consumption. If the false narrative coincides with the liberal mainstream media’s underlying biases and preconceptions, you can be certain that very little honest journalism will be done to expose the lies and reveal the truth to the public.

This brings me to Las Vegas, with its ever-changing timelines and other dark mysteries, such as the motive of Stephen Paddock, the presumed shooter. Columnist Mark Steyn proposes a theory of the case that, in the absence of any declared motive or connections to international terrorism, “the medium is the message.” In Las Vegas, then, the message would be that the ready availability of semi-automatic firearms constitutes a menace to American society, and the Second Amendment must be curtailed to prevent future massacres. Limiting the right of Americans to keep and bear arms has been a long-standing goal of the Left. So-called progressives well understand that their dream of imposing a “socialist utopia” cannot be achieved while Americans possess sufficiently effective weapons to mount a furious armed resistance. If Paddock had left a note declaring this end to be his true motive, he would have discredited his own purpose.

Of course, Paddock might have simply been a deranged psychopath, bent, for his own twisted reasons, upon topping the record books as America’s most successful mass shooter. We’ll never know because he’s conveniently dead and, apparently, he left no departing message. The lack of a declared motive, the ever-shifting timeline, and the fact that it took more than an hour after the shooting had ceased for the police to enter Paddock’s suite means that mystery may cloud the Las Vegas Massacre for years or decades to come.

One outcome is certain: millions of Americans are unlikely to accept any “official narrative” released after the investigation has concluded, and with good reason. The FBI and other federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have squandered their reputations for honesty and integrity in recent years, and we can no longer assume that politics and corruption have not trumped even-handed truth telling.

This brings me to the NFL. In 2017, we are in a season of national discord, with American politics more radically polarized than since the 1960s, or perhaps even the years before the Civil War. The Las Vegas Massacre has shown us that billion-dollar corporations like MGM, as well as the Las Vegas police, were woefully unprepared to deal with a sniper standing in the window of a hotel overlooking an open-air concert.

Should we assume that the NFL is any better prepared to deal with a stadium sniper similar to the one described in the first chapter of my first novel?

Bear in mind that my fictional sniper was not perched high up in a stadium light tower, or hidden in the stands, but was located in a separate building three-quarters of a mile away. His rifle was aimed just over the near side of the stadium, dropping plunging fire into the opposite upper deck. Perimeter security measures taken to prevent firearms from being smuggled into a stadium will do nothing to hinder a distant sniper using this area-fire tactic. In my novel, a SWAT counter-sniper in a helicopter is able to kill the patsy left holding the rifle, but only after the shooting had ceased. But do NFL stadiums have police helicopters with counter-snipers standing by, ready to protect the fans who are packed in like sardines? And not only at the Super Bowl, but at each of the dozen or so weekly NFL games played in uncovered stadiums, or the hundreds of college games?

Greatly increasing the likelihood of a long-range sniper attack on a stadium is the fact that the distant sniper will have a good chance of getting clean away. In my first novel, three rifle magazines, ninety rounds, are enough to precipitate a panic stampede that kills over a thousand fans. If the distant shooter escapes, he can easily leave false clues at the scene, blaming his ideological enemies for the massacre. The Left can blame the Right, or black can blame white, or vice versa. Current events demonstrate that many, if not most, purported “hate crimes,” such as painted swastikas and nooses left at colleges, have been false-flag operations done to discredit the political enemies of the left-wing hoaxers.

Imagine the national outrage after a stadium massacre if overtly racist anti-black hate literature is found among the expended brass shells in the sniper’s lair, calling the mostly-white victims “race-traitors” for attending the NFL game in the wake of ongoing anthem-kneeling protests. The resulting social explosion would make the aftermath of the Las Vegas Massacre seem like a church picnic by comparison. This prospect must certainly be tempting to malefactors bent upon driving the United States toward civil war and anarchy. And, of course, an Islamic terrorist would need no reason beyond spreading terror among the infidels.

At an absolute minimum, large open air concerts and stadium events need a police helicopter with counter-snipers ready to launch on a moment’s notice. Acoustic gunshot detection systems must be installed around these venues to immediately locate a distant sniper’s location. Vectored to the area by the acoustic system, the helicopter’s onboard FLIR can rapidly find the sniper, and the airborne police counter-snipers can finish the job. Stopping a sniper after just a few minutes is a far better outcome than allowing him ten or more minutes of uninterrupted carnage, as in Las Vegas. Bear in mind that Paddock ceased shooting for his own reasons. The police did not stop him.

All the necessary elements (SWAT, counter-snipers, and police choppers) are typically already located in close proximity to these outdoor events. These elements need to be staged together, ready to fly, and able to detect gunshot locations as well as the FLIR signatures of open or broken-out windows in line-of-sight buildings, muzzle flashes, and humans hiding in unoccupied structures. The fatal fiasco of Desert One in 1980 largely resulted from a lack of coordination and practice between the disparate elements of the ad-hoc Iranian hostage rescue mission. In the aftermath, the U.S. military created the Joint Special Operations Command. Similarly, American law enforcement needs to rethink and revamp its approach to providing security for large outdoor events before a predictable tragedy occurs.

In addition, fans attending stadium and other large outdoor public events must be repetitively instructed to avoid blindly attempting to flee in the event of an emergency. Airline pre-flight safety instructions can be used as a model. In Las Vegas, most of the non-fatal injuries resulted from trampling, not from bullets.

A final note: in this article I chose a method of attack (indirect plunging fire from long range) that is simple, but would not be easy to pull off without considerable thought, planning, and practice. There are other tactics that I chose not to describe that would be equally as devastating, but would be much easier for an average maniac to employ. Law enforcement needs to think out of the box, and anticipate novel forms of attack.

They failed in Las Vegas.

Let’s hope they will not fail in the event of a stadium attack.


Matthew Bracken was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1957, and attended the University of Virginia, where he received a BA in Russian Studies and was commissioned as a naval officer in 1979. Later that year, he graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and in 1983 he led a Naval Special Warfare detachment to Beirut, Lebanon. Links to his five novels, short stories, and essays may be found at and at Matt’s Amazon page.
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS/Bots on: October 25, 2017, 05:51:26 PM
Still not on people's radar screens are the nano and insect sized drones , , ,  shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked

Well, those are only bleeding edge technology available to some nation-states at this time. The above technology is 200 bucks on Amazon right now.
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This is not going to go well for us on: October 25, 2017, 04:25:36 PM

This does not bode well for national security, or personal security for that matter.
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Byron York: Now That the Clinton/DNC Connection to the FusionGPS Info Op is Esta on: October 25, 2017, 12:14:01 PM

Byron York: Now That the Clinton/DNC Connection to the FusionGPS Info Op is Established, The FBI Is the Next Cog in the Machine That Needs to be Confirmed
Update: Paul Ryan Adds His Weight to Subpeona

The information op is coming from inside the house.

Read it all.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: JW: State Dept sitting on tens of thousands of Hillary emails on: October 25, 2017, 07:31:40 AM

49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Shock: Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Became the PeePeeParty Dossi on: October 24, 2017, 06:48:05 PM

October 24, 2017
Shock: Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid For Research That Became the PeePeeParty Dossier
Fusion's fighting a congressional subpoena to avoid disclosing who paid for this, and now Fusion releases this?

This is about the second client -- who is now revealed to be Clinton and the DNC, which they've long denied, but which we've long suspected.

Meanwhile, Fusion is in court trying to defeat a congressional subpeona to find out who both of the clients paying them for this were.

The second client we now know.

But the first remains hidden -- and if Fusion prevails in court, it will remain hidden.

The DNC's lawyer released Fusion from its confidentially agreement to reveal this -- but this doesn't answer who the original client was. Which is precisely what Fusion is fighting in court to continue to conceal.

What is it about the first client that's so important that Fusion and the DNC are willing to throw the DNC and Hillary Clinton under the bus to protect?

Maybe that's the entire point -- to get the judge to say "Well you know one of the clients, so I'm ruling that Fusion can continue defying the subpoena to reveal the first client."

Story appears in the DNC's house organ, the Washington Post.

Someone really doesn't want Fusion to be compelled to open up its books and client list.

he Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.

After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to the people.

Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the firm in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS's research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

Note that we only have anonymous leaks claiming that last bit -- that an unknown Republican originally paid for it.

But someone wishing to obscure the actual client would, of course, put out that kind of disinformation, anonymously.

Interesting that the National Laughingstock claims this as some kind of verified fact, when the whole point of the congressional subpeona is to find out if this anonymously sourced claim is actually true, or just a cover story.

Modified limited hang-out is what we called it during the Nixon and Clinton days.

Get Ready For Another Reality-Warping Mindshock:

Maggie Haberman ✔@maggieNYT
Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year
4:07 PM - Oct 24, 2017

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier
Fusion GPS was hired by a Democratic lawyer acting on behalf of campaign, committee.
 697 697 Replies   724 724 Retweets   790 790 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy

BTW, she's a NYT reporter, coming there from Politico. And even she seems a bit astonished at the lying from Clinton and the DNC.

Again, I'm sorry to have to suggest this blasphemy against the solidity of your psychic reality, but Hillary Clinton might not always be entirely truthful with you.

Namaste. Cat/Cow. Child's pose. Fluffy pillows, fuzzy slippers and dozing kittens.

More: It begins to look like a Clinton-funded hatchet job formed the entire basis of the later DOJ/FBI probe accusing Trump of precisely what Clinton paid someone to accuse Trump of.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Big Data and Big Brother in China on: October 24, 2017, 05:14:39 PM data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
The Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020. The aim? To judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents

Kevin Hong

Saturday 21 October 2017
On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called "Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System". In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?

Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It's not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school - or even just your chances of getting a date.

A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it's already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The Chinese government is pitching the system as a desirable way to measure and enhance "trust" nationwide and to build a culture of "sincerity". As the policy states, "It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility."

Others are less sanguine about its wider purpose. "It is very ambitious in both depth and scope, including scrutinising individual behaviour and what books people are reading. It's Amazon's consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist," is how Johan Lagerkvist, a Chinese internet specialist at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, described the social credit system. Rogier Creemers, a post-doctoral scholar specialising in Chinese law and governance at the Van Vollenhoven Institute at Leiden University, who published a comprehensive translation of the plan, compared it to "Yelp reviews with the nanny state watching over your shoulder".

For now, technically, participating in China's Citizen Scores is voluntary. But by 2020 it will be mandatory. The behaviour of every single citizen and legal person (which includes every company or other entity)in China will be rated and ranked, whether they like it or not.

Kevin Hong
Prior to its national roll-out in 2020, the Chinese government is taking a watch-and-learn approach. In this marriage between communist oversight and capitalist can-do, the government has given a licence to eight private companies to come up with systems and algorithms for social credit scores. Predictably, data giants currently run two of the best-known projects.

The first is with China Rapid Finance, a partner of the social-network behemoth Tencent and developer of the messaging app WeChat with more than 850 million active users. The other, Sesame Credit, is run by the Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG), an affiliate company of Alibaba. Ant Financial sells insurance products and provides loans to small- to medium-sized businesses. However, the real star of Ant is AliPay, its payments arm that people use not only to buy things online, but also for restaurants, taxis, school fees, cinema tickets and even to transfer money to each other.

Sesame Credit has also teamed up with other data-generating platforms, such as Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing company that was Uber's main competitor in China before it acquired the American company's Chinese operations in 2016, and Baihe, the country's largest online matchmaking service. It's not hard to see how that all adds up to gargantuan amounts of big data that Sesame Credit can tap into to assess how people behave and rate them accordingly.

So just how are people rated? Individuals on Sesame Credit are measured by a score ranging between 350 and 950 points. Alibaba does not divulge the "complex algorithm" it uses to calculate the number but they do reveal the five factors taken into account. The first is credit history. For example, does the citizen pay their electricity or phone bill on time? Next is fulfilment capacity, which it defines in its guidelines as "a user's ability to fulfil his/her contract obligations". The third factor is personal characteristics, verifying personal information such as someone's mobile phone number and address. But the fourth category, behaviour and preference, is where it gets interesting.

Under this system, something as innocuous as a person's shopping habits become a measure of character. Alibaba admits it judges people by the types of products they buy. "Someone who plays video games for ten hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person," says Li Yingyun, Sesame's Technology Director. "Someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility." So the system not only investigates behaviour - it shapes it. It "nudges" citizens away from purchases and behaviours the government does not like.

Friends matter, too. The fifth category is interpersonal relationships. What does their choice of online friends and their interactions say about the person being assessed? Sharing what Sesame Credit refers to as "positive energy" online, nice messages about the government or how well the country's economy is doing, will make your score go up.

Alibaba is adamant that, currently, anything negative posted on social media does not affect scores (we don't know if this is true or not because the algorithm is secret). But you can see how this might play out when the government's own citizen score system officially launches in 2020. Even though there is no suggestion yet that any of the eight private companies involved in the ongoing pilot scheme will be ultimately responsible for running the government's own system, it's hard to believe that the government will not want to extract the maximum amount of data for its SCS, from the pilots. If that happens, and continues as the new normal under the government's own SCS it will result in private platforms acting essentially as spy agencies for the government. They may have no choice.

Posting dissenting political opinions or links mentioning Tiananmen Square has never been wise in China, but now it could directly hurt a citizen's rating. But here's the real kicker: a person's own score will also be affected by what their online friends say and do, beyond their own contact with them. If someone they are connected to online posts a negative comment, their own score will also be dragged down.

So why have millions of people already signed up to what amounts to a trial run for a publicly endorsed government surveillance system? There may be darker, unstated reasons - fear of reprisals, for instance, for those who don't put their hand up - but there is also a lure, in the form of rewards and "special privileges" for those citizens who prove themselves to be "trustworthy" on Sesame Credit.

If their score reaches 600, they can take out a Just Spend loan of up to 5,000 yuan (around £565) to use to shop online, as long as it's on an Alibaba site. Reach 650 points, they may rent a car without leaving a deposit. They are also entitled to faster check-in at hotels and use of the VIP check-in at Beijing Capital International Airport. Those with more than 666 points can get a cash loan of up to 50,000 yuan (£5,700), obviously from Ant Financial Services. Get above 700 and they can apply for Singapore travel without supporting documents such as an employee letter. And at 750, they get fast-tracked application to a coveted pan-European Schengen visa. "I think the best way to understand the system is as a sort of bastard love child of a loyalty scheme," says Creemers.

Higher scores have already become a status symbol, with almost 100,000 people bragging about their scores on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) within months of launch. A citizen's score can even affect their odds of getting a date, or a marriage partner, because the higher their Sesame rating, the more prominent their dating profile is on Baihe.

Sesame Credit already offers tips to help individuals improve their ranking, including warning about the downsides of friending someone who has a low score. This might lead to the rise of score advisers, who will share tips on how to gain points, or reputation consultants willing to offer expert advice on how to strategically improve a ranking or get off the trust-breaking blacklist.

Indeed, Sesame Credit is basically a big data gamified version of the Communist Party's surveillance methods; the disquieting dang'an. The regime kept a dossier on every individual that tracked political and personal transgressions. A citizen's dang'an followed them for life, from schools to jobs. People started reporting on friends and even family members, raising suspicion and lowering social trust in China. The same thing will happen with digital dossiers. People will have an incentive to say to their friends and family, "Don't post that. I don't want you to hurt your score but I also don't want you to hurt mine."

We're also bound to see the birth of reputation black markets selling under-the-counter ways to boost trustworthiness. In the same way that Facebook Likes and Twitter followers can be bought, individuals will pay to manipulate their score. What about keeping the system secure? Hackers (some even state-backed) could change or steal the digitally stored information.

"People with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants and the removal of the right to travel"
Rachel Botsman, author of ‘Who Can You Trust?’
The new system reflects a cunning paradigm shift. As we've noted, instead of trying to enforce stability or conformity with a big stick and a good dose of top-down fear, the government is attempting to make obedience feel like gaming. It is a method of social control dressed up in some points-reward system. It's gamified obedience.

In a trendy neighbourhood in downtown Beijing, the BBC news services hit the streets in October 2015 to ask people about their Sesame Credit ratings. Most spoke about the upsides. But then, who would publicly criticise the system? Ding, your score might go down. Alarmingly, few people understood that a bad score could hurt them in the future. Even more concerning was how many people had no idea that they were being rated.

Currently, Sesame Credit does not directly penalise people for being "untrustworthy" - it's more effective to lock people in with treats for good behaviour. But Hu Tao, Sesame Credit's chief manager, warns people that the system is designed so that "untrustworthy people can't rent a car, can't borrow money or even can't find a job". She has even disclosed that Sesame Credit has approached China's Education Bureau about sharing a list of its students who cheated on national examinations, in order to make them pay into the future for their dishonesty.

Penalties are set to change dramatically when the government system becomes mandatory in 2020. Indeed, on September 25, 2016, the State Council General Office updated its policy entitled "Warning and Punishment Mechanisms for Persons Subject to Enforcement for Trust-Breaking". The overriding principle is simple: "If trust is broken in one place, restrictions are imposed everywhere," the policy document states.

For instance, people with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants, nightclubs or golf courses; and the removal of the right to travel freely abroad with, I quote, "restrictive control on consumption within holiday areas or travel businesses". Scores will influence a person's rental applications, their ability to get insurance or a loan and even social-security benefits. Citizens with low scores will not be hired by certain employers and will be forbidden from obtaining some jobs, including in the civil service, journalism and legal fields, where of course you must be deemed trustworthy. Low-rating citizens will also be restricted when it comes to enrolling themselves or their children in high-paying private schools. I am not fabricating this list of punishments. It's the reality Chinese citizens will face. As the government document states, the social credit system will "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step".

According to Luciano Floridi, a professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford and the director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, there have been three critical "de-centering shifts" that have altered our view in self-understanding: Copernicus's model of the Earth orbiting the Sun; Darwin's theory of natural selection; and Freud's claim that our daily actions are controlled by the unconscious mind.

Floridi believes we are now entering the fourth shift, as what we do online and offline merge into an onlife. He asserts that, as our society increasingly becomes an infosphere, a mixture of physical and virtual experiences, we are acquiring an onlife personality - different from who we innately are in the "real world" alone. We see this writ large on Facebook, where people present an edited or idealised portrait of their lives. Think about your Uber experiences. Are you just a little bit nicer to the driver because you know you will be rated? But Uber ratings are nothing compared to Peeple, an app launched in March 2016, which is like a Yelp for humans. It allows you to assign ratings and reviews to everyone you know - your spouse, neighbour, boss and even your ex. A profile displays a "Peeple Number", a score based on all the feedback and recommendations you receive. Worryingly, once your name is in the Peeple system, it's there for good. You can't opt out.

Peeple has forbidden certain bad behaviours including mentioning private health conditions, making profanities or being sexist (however you objectively assess that). But there are few rules on how people are graded or standards about transparency.

China's trust system might be voluntary as yet, but it's already having consequences. In February 2017, the country's Supreme People's Court announced that 6.15 million of its citizens had been banned from taking flights over the past four years for social misdeeds. The ban is being pointed to as a step toward blacklisting in the SCS. "We have signed a memorandum… [with over] 44 government departments in order to limit 'discredited' people on multiple levels," says Meng Xiang, head of the executive department of the Supreme Court. Another 1.65 million blacklisted people cannot take trains.

Where these systems really descend into nightmarish territory is that the trust algorithms used are unfairly reductive. They don't take into account context. For instance, one person might miss paying a bill or a fine because they were in hospital; another may simply be a freeloader. And therein lies the challenge facing all of us in the digital world, and not just the Chinese. If life-determining algorithms are here to stay, we need to figure out how they can embrace the nuances, inconsistencies and contradictions inherent in human beings and how they can reflect real life.

You could see China's so-called trust plan as Orwell's 1984 meets Pavlov's dogs. Act like a good citizen, be rewarded and be made to think you're having fun. It's worth remembering, however, that personal scoring systems have been present in the west for decades.

More than 70 years ago, two men called Bill Fair and Earl Isaac invented credit scores. Today, companies use FICO scores to determine many financial decisions, including the interest rate on our mortgage or whether we should be given a loan.

For the majority of Chinese people, they have never had credit scores and so they can't get credit. "Many people don't own houses, cars or credit cards in China, so that kind of information isn't available to measure," explains Wen Quan, an influential blogger who writes about technology and finance. "The central bank has the financial data from 800 million people, but only 320 million have a traditional credit history." According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the annual economic loss caused by lack of credit information is more than 600 billion yuan (£68bn).

China's lack of a national credit system is why the government is adamant that Citizen Scores are long overdue and badly needed to fix what they refer to as a "trust deficit". In a poorly regulated market, the sale of counterfeit and substandard products is a massive problem. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 63 per cent of all fake goods, from watches to handbags to baby food, originate from China. "The level of micro corruption is enormous," Creemers says. "So if this particular scheme results in more effective oversight and accountability, it will likely be warmly welcomed."

The government also argues that the system is a way to bring in those people left out of traditional credit systems, such as students and low-income households. Professor Wang Shuqin from the Office of Philosophy and Social Science at Capital Normal University in China recently won the bid to help the government develop the system that she refers to as "China's Social Faithful System". Without such a mechanism, doing business in China is risky, she stresses, as about half of the signed contracts are not kept. "Given the speed of the digital economy it's crucial that people can quickly verify each other's credit worthiness," she says. "The behaviour of the majority is determined by their world of thoughts. A person who believes in socialist core values is behaving more decently." She regards the "moral standards" the system assesses, as well as financial data, as a bonus.

Indeed, the State Council's aim is to raise the "honest mentality and credit levels of the entire society" in order to improve "the overall competitiveness of the country". Is it possible that the SCS is in fact a more desirably transparent approach to surveillance in a country that has a long history of watching its citizens? "As a Chinese person, knowing that everything I do online is being tracked, would I rather be aware of the details of what is being monitored and use this information to teach myself how to abide by the rules?" says Rasul Majid, a Chinese blogger based in Shanghai who writes about behavioural design and gaming psychology. "Or would I rather live in ignorance and hope/wish/dream that personal privacy still exists and that our ruling bodies respect us enough not to take advantage?" Put simply, Majid thinks the system gives him a tiny bit more control over his data.

Kevin Hong
When I tell westerners about the Social Credit System in China, their responses are fervent and visceral. Yet we already rate restaurants, movies, books and even doctors. Facebook, meanwhile, is now capable of identifying you in pictures without seeing your face; it only needs your clothes, hair and body type to tag you in an image with 83 per cent accuracy.

In 2015, the OECD published a study revealing that in the US there are at least 24.9 connected devices per 100 inhabitants. All kinds of companies scrutinise the "big data" emitted from these devices to understand our lives and desires, and to predict our actions in ways that we couldn't even predict ourselves.

Governments around the world are already in the business of monitoring and rating. In the US, the National Security Agency (NSA) is not the only official digital eye following the movements of its citizens. In 2015, the US Transportation Security Administration proposed the idea of expanding the PreCheck background checks to include social-media records, location data and purchase history. The idea was scrapped after heavy criticism, but that doesn't mean it's dead. We already live in a world of predictive algorithms that determine if we are a threat, a risk, a good citizen and even if we are trustworthy. We're getting closer to the Chinese system - the expansion of credit scoring into life scoring - even if we don't know we are.

So are we heading for a future where we will all be branded online and data-mined? It's certainly trending that way. Barring some kind of mass citizen revolt to wrench back privacy, we are entering an age where an individual's actions will be judged by standards they can't control and where that judgement can't be erased. The consequences are not only troubling; they're permanent. Forget the right to delete or to be forgotten, to be young and foolish.

While it might be too late to stop this new era, we do have choices and rights we can exert now. For one thing, we need to be able rate the raters. In his book The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly describes a future where the watchers and the watched will transparently track each other. "Our central choice now is whether this surveillance is a secret, one-way panopticon - or a mutual, transparent kind of 'coveillance' that involves watching the watchers," he writes.

Our trust should start with individuals within government (or whoever is controlling the system). We need trustworthy mechanisms to make sure ratings and data are used responsibly and with our permission. To trust the system, we need to reduce the unknowns. That means taking steps to reduce the opacity of the algorithms. The argument against mandatory disclosures is that if you know what happens under the hood, the system could become rigged or hacked. But if humans are being reduced to a rating that could significantly impact their lives, there must be transparency in how the scoring works.

In China, certain citizens, such as government officials, will likely be deemed above the system. What will be the public reaction when their unfavourable actions don't affect their score? We could see a Panama Papers 3.0 for reputation fraud.

It is still too early to know how a culture of constant monitoring plus rating will turn out. What will happen when these systems, charting the social, moral and financial history of an entire population, come into full force? How much further will privacy and freedom of speech (long under siege in China) be eroded? Who will decide which way the system goes? These are questions we all need to consider, and soon. Today China, tomorrow a place near you. The real questions about the future of trust are not technological or economic; they are ethical.

If we are not vigilant, distributed trust could become networked shame. Life will become an endless popularity contest, with us all vying for the highest rating that only a few can attain.

This is an extract from Who Can You Trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart (Penguin Portfolio) by Rachel Botsman, published on October 4. Since this piece was written, The People's Bank of China delayed the licences to the eight companies conducting social credit pilots. The government's plans to launch the Social Credit System in 2020 remain unchanged

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