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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Obama DOJ holdover blocking Awan investigation on: September 27, 2017, 12:34:05 PM

You'd almost think they were hiding something.
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Taliban attempts hit on Mattis , , , and misses. on: September 27, 2017, 12:31:54 PM

Doom on them.
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: social justice wars , SJW warriors, gender warriors , victimhood on: September 27, 2017, 10:05:44 AM
Abortion is the only holy sacrament of the left.

The Left versus science.  The close we look at the science, the more we discover that what abortion is killing  a) alive, has a heartbeat, can feel pain, b) is human with no doubt, and c) has its own DNA separate and distinct from the mother and father.  And SJWs couldn't give a rat's ass.  It's a holy sacrament, as you say.  I can't imagine history will judge these heartless thugs kindly.

They won't protect girls.  They won't protect blacks.  What happens when science tells parents the sexual orientation of the unborn life and they kill on that basis.  Who takes to the streets then?

Oh then it will matter! To some on the left. Remember, the left has a caste system. Some animals are more equal than others. So-called "homophobia" is an intolerable thought crime, and the power of the state must be used to enforce your duty to bake a cake, unless you are muslim.

204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: social justice wars , SJW warriors, gender warriors , victimhood on: September 27, 2017, 09:28:05 AM
What a sad irony that the war on cops and the pretend movement that black lives matter results in fewer cops protecting people where they need protection the most.  The violent crime rate ticks up and women and blacks are hurt most.  Social justice, good grief.

As people swarm the parks to purge anything with ties to slavery,
http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-park-board-to-vote-tonight-on-lake-calhoun-name-change/421157163/
do they ever stop to wonder what we are doing now that will be considered repulsive and a crime against humanity someday by a more enlightened people.  What about abortion?  We sanction abortion around the world.  Trumpet it as a civil right.  How is that going?  In the US we abort black unborns at 5 times the rate of whites.  In China they have aborted 34 MILLION girls than boys.  
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11393782/China-and-gender-abortion-Government-policy-isnt-the-answer.html
How is that for social justice?  Show me one so-called SJW up in arms about that.

Abortion is the only holy sacrament of the left.
205  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Video proves cops lied; man freed with $1.3M on: September 26, 2017, 06:39:05 PM

Wow. It would be interesting to read the use of force reports. I foresee 42 USC 1983 actions in the future.
206  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Invisible Hand of the Market bitch slaps the NFL on: September 26, 2017, 06:14:42 PM

My hope is that the NFL goes back to the old days, where it was a seasonal job. The Players had to have real jobs when the season was over.
207  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Pro Tip: Don't get snarky with the Sheriff when you have an illegal grow on: September 26, 2017, 03:50:17 PM
https://www.alamosanews.com/article/bonanza-pot-bust-nets-estimated-5-million-in-plants

Bonanza pot bust nets estimated $5 million in plants

 © 2017-Alamosa News
By: Teresa L. Benns - Updated: 1 week ago

BONANZA — The Saguache County Sheriff’s office and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials executed a search warrant Thursday afternoon in rural Bonanza arresting six individuals illegally growing marijuana and confiscating between 1200-1500 plants.

Estimated worth of the confiscated plants was $5 million, Saguache Sheriff Dan Warwick said. The product filled 10-12 pick-up trucks and was then loaded into a Saguache County Road and Bridge dump truck for disposal at an undisclosed location.

The execution of the search warrant followed a two-month investigation after the Saguache Sheriff’s office received a tip from local Bonanza residents about unusual traffic on the roadways. Warwick says it is his intention to send a message to those growing illegally in the county.

Warwick said one individual told him at a meeting held earlier this year to discuss marijuana regulations that if the sheriff’s office wanted to know what they were growing, to get a search warrant. “So that’s exactly what we did,” Warwick said, warning residents to follow the laws regarding marijuana growth and cultivation or face the consequences.

208  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hard Data, Hollow Protests on: September 26, 2017, 09:04:14 AM
https://www.city-journal.org/html/hard-data-hollow-protests-15458.html
Hard Data, Hollow Protests
FBI crime figures paint a very different picture of crime and policing than this weekend’s demonstrations suggest.
Heather Mac Donald
September 25, 2017 Public safety

The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 today, and the data flies in the face of the rhetoric that professional athletes rehearsed in revived Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.  Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide-victim total to 7,881. Those 7,881 “black bodies,” in the parlance of Ta-Nehisi Coates, are 1,305 more than the number of white victims (which in this case includes most Hispanics) for the same period, though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The increase in black homicide deaths last year comes on top of a previous 900-victim increase between 2014 and 2015.

Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous, according to the Washington Post. The Post categorized only 16 black male victims of police shootings as “unarmed.” That classification masks assaults against officers and violent resistance to arrest. Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer. Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population. That 18.5 ratio undoubtedly worsened in 2016, in light of the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers—committed vastly and disproportionately by black males. Among all homicide suspects whose race was known, white killers of blacks numbered only 243.

Violent crime has now risen by a significant amount for two consecutive years. The total number of violent crimes rose 4.1 percent in 2016, and estimated homicides rose 8.6 percent. In 2015, violent crime rose by nearly 4 percent and estimated homicides by nearly 11 percent. The last time violence rose two years in a row was 2005–06.  The reason for the current increase is what I have called the Ferguson Effect. Cops are backing off of proactive policing in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened. Having been told incessantly by politicians, the media, and Black Lives Matter activists that they are bigoted for getting out of their cars and questioning someone loitering on a known drug corner at 2 AM, many officers are instead just driving by. Such stops are discretionary; cops don’t have to make them. And when political elites demonize the police for just such proactive policing, we shouldn’t be surprised when cops get the message and do less of it. Seventy-two percent of the nation’s officers say that they and their colleagues are now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons, according to a Pew Research poll released in January 2016. The reason is the persistent anti-cop climate.

Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police—including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes. The toll will be felt, as always, in the inner city, by the thousands of law-abiding people there who desperately want more police protection.

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth, Toasted Weiner, defended by Maddow MSNBC, Toobin CNN on: September 25, 2017, 10:43:39 PM
Some must see tv, click on the video links.  Anthony Weiner sentenced today.  Flashback to the media defending him and trashing Breitbart for 'exposing' him.  Maddow does an entire segment on how he might have been hacked, and how Breitbart is always wrong, never apologizes...

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/toasted-weiner.php

NY Post headline:  Anthony Weiner Gets Hard Time

Weiner was being cultivated for the national level once he was the mayor of NYC. They had plans for him.
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: emails again - now Jar - rod on: September 25, 2017, 07:26:03 PM

Now it matters! Not like before, for some reason.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance of the Left, Socialism is Coercion, No Exceptions on: September 25, 2017, 03:11:23 PM
"The lucky ones just got sent to Siberia.  Some were spared torture others were beaten into confessing "their crimes" to the Party ot the State, real, imagined, made up , or infinitely trivial."

Whether Stalin, Chavez or the American Left, coercion is a necessary component of socialism, required to move people away from a natural state of freedom.  The policy designers of the Left admit it, from Jonathon Gruber's mandatory healthcare to Cass Sustein's more general concepts of justifying coercive paternalism.   If they are in power, you will do as they say. 

Leave people with freedom and (dreaded) inequality will result.

http://www.disappearingman.com/communism/men-wouldnt-stop-clapping/

The Men Who Wouldn’t Stop Clapping
By Doug Peterson - October 22, 2016
 
The audience exploded into applause. Every person in the room jumped up and began to wildly clap, as if racing each other to see who could get to their feet the fastest. The applause was all to honor the dictator Joseph Stalin at a 1937 conference of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.

But the big question soon became: Who would have the nerve to be the first person to stop clapping in honor of Comrade Stalin? No one had the courage, so the clapping went on…and on…and on.

You might be wondering why in the world anyone would be afraid to stop clapping for any leader. To understand this, you need to know Joseph Stalin.

Stalin was a ruthless dictator who ruled the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952. Although no one knows the precise number of political prisoners he executed, estimates usually reach well over a million.

Historian Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev estimated that Stalin had about 1 million political prisoners executed during the Great Terror of 1937-38 alone. That doesn’t even count the 6 or 7 million who died in the famine that Stalin created through his policies, or the millions who had to do long, hard sentences in the Gulag labor camps.

So when people were afraid to stop clapping for Stalin, they had good reason.
Here is how the Nobel Prize-winning writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn described the surreal scene in his great book, The Gulag Archipelago:

“The applause went on—six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly…Nine minutes! Ten!…Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers.”

At last, after eleven minutes of non-stop clapping, the director of a paper factory finally decided enough was enough. He stopped clapping and sat down—a miracle!
“To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down,” Solzhenitsyn says.

That same night, the director of the paper factory was arrested and sent to prison for ten years. Authorities came up with some official reason for his sentence, but during his interrogation, he was told: “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding!”

Solzhenitsysn himself was a victim of Stalin’s because he was sent to the Gulag labor camps for eight years for criticizing Stalin in a letter to a friend. The goal of the labor camp was to brainwash prisoners and change them into good, obedient Communists. But an amazing thing happened to Solzhenitsyn: He came out of the camp a Christian. While he was in a prison hospital bed, one of the doctors sat at his bedside and told him the story of how and why he became a follower of Jesus.

That night, the doctor was clubbed to death, but Solzhenitsyn never forgot him. Solzhenitsyn went on to devote his life to Christ and to speaking the truth about what had been happening in the Soviet Union. His Gulag Archipelago, Parts 1 and 2, were perhaps the most influential books of the 20th Century. After all, those books, in telling the story of Stalin’s Great Terror, helped to topple the Communist empire.

Solzhenitsyn shocked people by saying that he was actually thankful for his time in prison because it taught him about the nature of good and evil. “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts,” he wrote.

Ironically, he emerged from prison stronger—a resurrection of sorts.

One of Solzhenitsyn’s many books was called The Oak and the Calf—a title that refers to an old, Russian fable about a calf that kept butting its head against a big oak tree again and again and again until the huge tree finally toppled. Solzhenitsyn was that calf, and so were many heroic people, who kept butting their heads against the giant oak that was once the Soviet empire. They didn’t give up, and that tree eventually fell.

It takes courage to be the person who doesn’t give up. It takes courage to be the person who is willing to stop applauding evil, when everyone else in the room just keeps on going. There is often a price to pay for this kind of courage, but there’s also a reward beyond measure.

By Doug Peterson


212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Conservative, Inc., Is Being Replaced By Us Militant Normals on: September 25, 2017, 01:03:10 PM
https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/09/25/conservative-inc-is-being-replaced-by-us-militant-normals-n2385943

Conservative, Inc., Is Being Replaced By Us Militant Normals
Kurt Schlichter |Posted: Sep 25, 2017 12:01 AM 

Conservative, Inc., Is Being Replaced By Us Militant Normals
 

I guess now we’re not supposed to be fighting culture wars anymore – man, it’s so hard to keep up with these ever-changing new rules! I’m old enough to remember way back to 2016, before Trump got nominated, and I could have sworn Conservative Inc., was gung-ho for the whole culture war thing. But then Trump actually fought it, taking on the big, soft target that is the spoiled, semi-literate athletes who like to rub their contempt for the flag we love in our faces in the guise of woke wokedness. Now we suddenly discover that fighting back is horribly uncouth and déclassé and “Oh, well I never!”

 Gosh, I would have thought from all those cruise panels about how our crumbling culture is slouching toward Babylon and the need to resist the liberal onslaught that maybe we ought to actually resist the liberal onslaught, but see, that was my mistake. I took it seriously when Conservative, Inc., promised to fight the leftist blitzkrieg against normal Americans. It was all a scam, a lie, a pose for us rubes. The Tru Cons didn’t actually mean it.

There’s a lot of that not meaning it going on in the GOP right now. Exhibit A is John McCain, who ran ads touting how he was leading the way in opposing Obamacare only to give it aid and comfort when someone in the White House would actual sign its repeal. He’s the guy the establishment designated to lose to Barack Obama in 2008, and he was sure up to the task. But in retrospect, thank goodness, because McCain’s inevitable presidential betrayal of conservatives by breaking his word then and treating GOP voters like he treated his first wife would have done exponentially more damage to conservatism than Trump being prevented from keeping his word today ever could.

 It’s so good to know that, despite his wonderful, close, awesome friend humiliating him while lying to Arizona’s voters, Lindsey Graham is still the blue falcon’s buddy. No hard feelings!

There used to be a thing called “conservatism,” and I knew it pretty well since I was part of it for about a third of a century. But conservatism changed, becoming less about principles (though the wusscons never shut up about them) and more about money-grubbing navel gazing and intellectual onanism. Actual Republican voters, actual normal Americans? Well, they became kind of beside the point in the tumbler-klinking world of the John Boehnercons, and to the corporate-friendly compassioncons who put the interests of everyone else (including the act of lovers) ahead of the GOP voters who voted the establishment in.

Conservativism forgot about the real world conservatives we expected to line up behind us. While we were talking about free trade, we were ignoring that GOP voter who fought in Fallujah, came home, got a job building air conditioners, raised a family, and then one day watched the video of the oh-so-sorry CEO – who looked remarkably like Mitt Romney, because all these guys look remarkably like Mitt Romney – sadly informing his beloved employees that their jobs were getting shipped to Oaxaca. And our response to the 58-year old Republican voter who asked us how he was going to keep paying for his mortgage and his kid in college? Pretty much, “Well, that’s how free enterprise works. Read some Milton Freidman and go learn coding.”

That’s not a response, not for a political party that requires people to actually vote for it. That’s an abdication, but what did Conservative, Inc., care? Priorities! “There’s this new tapas place in Georgetown everyone is talking about – the other night, my buddy from the Liberty Freedom Eagle Institute for Liberty, Freedom and Eagles saw Lawrence O’Donnell there getting hammered!”

How about the guy who wanted to be a roofer in Fontana but he couldn’t because the contractors were only hiring illegals? What was our answer to him? “Oh well, the big corporate donors need their serfs, and if some pack of tatted-up MS-13 dreamers gang-rapes your daughter that’s just a price we’re willing to pay!”

 They try to crush our religion and Conservative, Inc., cowers because Apple’s CEO might say mean things. “Just bake the cake,” they say – it’s not worth the fight! They demand our tax money to kill babies and Conservative, Inc., passes the spending bills – “Gosh, we can’t risk the WaPo saying we’re mean!” They diss our National Anthem, we react, and Conservative, Inc., wags its soft, spindly fingers – “So, so very unpresidential! My word!”

Conservatism has become a racket, and everything happening now is a result of its members hoping to wait out Trump and the demand for change he represents. Maybe if they do nothing, but say all the right things, we normals will get tired and go back to our jobs and keep providing those votes and renting those cruise cabins. But that’s not happening. We aren’t going away; business as usual is over. We aren’t just giving up, tossing away our country, and submitting to the ruling caste. We were nice with the Tea Party. Trump’s not as nice. What’s coming after is going to be much, much less nice.

What’s coming after is militant normalacy, the not-so-polite demand that the lackwits and failures who style themselves as our betters stop dumping on us normal Americans who work hard and play by the rules (Gosh that sounds familiar, like it used to be a winning electoral recipe, if only I could remember where I heard it before).

 Who are the normals? The Americans who built this country, and defended it. When you eat, it’s because a normal grew the food and another normal trucked it to you. When you aren’t murdered in the street or don’t speak German, it’s because a normal with a gun made those things not happen. We normals don’t want to rule over others. We don’t obsess about how you live your life, but also we don’t want to be compelled to signal our approval or pick up the tab. We are every color and creed – though when someone who is incidentally a member of some other group aligns with normals, he/she/xe loses that identity. The left drums normals who are black out of its definition of “black,” just as normal women get drummed out of womanhood and normal gays get drummed out gayhood. In a way, the left is making E pluribus unum a reality again – to choose to be normal is to choose to reject silly identity group identification and unite. Instead of saying “normal Americans,” you can just say “Americans.”

 Note that while leftists rail against the term “normals” (When I use it on Twitter, the reactions are always delightful!), they will never, ever demand to be counted as one. That’s because they hate normal Americans, wanting us enslaved or dead. How do I know? They tell me on Twitter, again and again and again.

Militant normality is growing as normals awaken to the indisputable truth of our enemy’s implacable hatred for us and everything we hold dear – like America. The sight of moron sportsball players disrespecting normals warms libs’ frigid little hearts – and make no mistake, that diss is aimed straight at us, not at some musical number. All these cultural aggressions are aimed at us, from demanding you obey their pronoun proclamations to requiring your daughter share a toilet with a dude in a skirt. This is how they seek to break us.

That’s why the shameful abdication of Conservative, Inc., in the cultural fight is both important and irrelevant. It demonstrates that the first loyalty of many folks in the conservaracket is to the ruling caste to which they belong, and it also demonstrates that these wimps’ absence from the battle means nothing.

We’ll fight this fight ourselves, thanks. Sometimes we’ll fight it by rediscovering the joy of a late evening without hack TV comics lecturing us about health care (Hey, Jimmy Kimmel had a sick son, and that unusual and unique experience means he has unusual and unique insights!). Sometimes we’ll hit the remote and spend our Sunday not watching future vegetables hating on our country when they aren’t smashing into each other. Sometimes we’ll mock these idiots mercilessly. We may even launch a Conservative Insurgency. And if they keep pushing, getting violent and trying to strip us of our sacred rights, we might get even more frisky, and then it’ll get ugly.

But we’re not giving up, and we’re not going to sit back and just take it. Militant normalcy is the result of normal people roused to anger and refusing to be pushed around anymore. We prefer a free society based on personal liberty and mutual respect. But if you leftists veto that option, that leaves us either a society where you rule and oppress us, or one where we hold the power. So let me break this down, both for the left and for their fussy Fredocon enablers: You don’t get to win.
213  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / NFL?KMA! on: September 24, 2017, 09:11:15 PM
https://westernrifleshooters.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dkf1iksuqaa3mc9-1.jpg

214  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: President Trump vs. kneeling players and NFL on: September 24, 2017, 12:04:36 PM

Trump is 100% right here.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Obama really spied on Trump on: September 23, 2017, 01:21:38 PM
http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267923/why-obama-really-spied-trump-daniel-greenfield

WHY OBAMA REALLY SPIED ON TRUMP
Obama had to spy on Trump to protect himself.
September 20, 2017  Daniel Greenfield  359

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Last week, CNN revealed (and excused) one phase of the Obama spying operation on Trump. After lying about it on MSNBC, Susan Rice admitted unmasking the identities of Trump officials to Congress.

Rice was unmasking the names of Trump officials a month before leaving office. The targets may have included her own successor, General Flynn, who was forced out of office using leaked surveillance.

While Rice’s targets weren’t named, the CNN story listed a meeting with Flynn, Bannon and Kushner.

Bannon was Trump’s former campaign chief executive and a senior adviser. Kushner is a senior adviser. Those are exactly the people you spy on to get an insight into what your political opponents plan to do.

Now the latest CNN spin piece informs us that secret FISA orders were used to spy on the conversations of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.  The surveillance was discontinued for lack of evidence and then renewed under a new warrant. This is part of a pattern of FISA abuses by Obama Inc. which never allowed minor matters like lack of evidence to dissuade them from new FISA requests.

Desperate Obama cronies had figured out that they could bypass many of the limitations on the conventional investigations of their political opponents by ‘laundering’ them through national security.

If any of Trump’s people were talking to non-Americans, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be used to spy on them. And then the redacted names of the Americans could be unmasked by Susan Rice, Samantha Power and other Obama allies. It was a technically legal Watergate.

If both CNN stories hold up, then Obama Inc. had spied on two Trump campaign leaders.

Furthermore the Obama espionage operation closely tracked Trump’s political progress. The first FISA request targeting Trump happened the month after he received the GOP nomination.  The second one came through in October: the traditional month of political surprises meant to upend an election.

The spying ramped up after Trump’s win when the results could no longer be used to engineer a Hillary victory, but would instead have to be used to cripple and bring down President Trump. Headed out the door, Rice was still unmasking the names of Trump’s people while Obama was making it easier to pass around raw eavesdropped data to other agencies.

Obama had switched from spying on a political opponent to win an election, to spying on his successor to undo the results of the election. Abuse of power by a sitting government had become subversion of the government by an outgoing administration. Domestic spying on opponents had become a coup.

The Democrat scandals of the past few administrations have hinged on gross violations of political norms, elementary ethics and the rule of law that, out of context, were not technically illegal.

But it’s the pattern that makes the crime. It’s the context that shows the motive.

Obama Inc. compartmentalized its espionage operation in individual acts of surveillance and unmasking, and general policies implemented to aid both, that may have been individually legal, in the purely technical sense, in order to commit the major crime of eavesdropping on the political opposition.

When the individual acts of surveillance are described as legal, that’s irrelevant. It’s the collective pattern of surveillance of the political opposition that exposes the criminal motive for them.

If Obama spied on two of Trump’s campaign leaders, that’s not a coincidence. It’s a pattern.

A criminal motive can be spotted by a consistent pattern of actions disguised by different pretexts. A dirty cop may lose two pieces of evidence from the same defendant while giving two different excuses. A shady accountant may explain two otherwise identical losses in two different ways. Both excuses are technically plausible. But it’s the pattern that makes the crime.

Manafort was spied on under the Russia pretext. Bannon may have been spied on over the UAE. That’s two different countries, two different people and two different pretexts.

But one single target. President Trump.

It’s the pattern that exposes the motive.

When we learn the whole truth (if we ever do), we will likely discover that Obama Inc. assembled a motley collection of different technically legal pretexts to spy on Trump’s team.

Each individual pretext might be technically defensible. But together they add up to the crime of the century.

Obama’s gamble was that the illegal surveillance would justify itself. If you spy on a bunch of people long enough, especially people in politics and business, some sort of illegality, actual or technical, is bound to turn up. That’s the same gamble anyone engaged in illegal surveillance makes.

Businessmen illegally tape conversations with former partners hoping that they’ll say something damning enough to justify the risk. That was what Obama and his allies were doing with Trump.

It’s a crime. And you can’t justify committing a crime by discovering a crime.

If everyone were being spied on all the time, many crimes could be exposed every second. But that’s not how our system works. That’s why we have a Fourth Amendment.

Nor was Obama Inc. trying to expose crimes for their own sake, but to bring down the opposition.

That’s why it doesn’t matter what results the Obama surveillance turned up. The surveillance was a crime. Anything turned up by it is the fruit of a poisonous tree. It’s inherently illegitimate.

The first and foremost agenda must be to assemble a list of Trump officials who were spied on and the pretexts under which they were spied upon. The pattern will show the crime. And that’s what Obama and his allies are terrified of. It’s why Flynn was forced out using illegal surveillance and leaks. It’s why McMaster is protecting Susan Rice and the Obama holdovers while purging Trump loyalists at the NSC.

The left’s gamble was that the Mueller investigation or some other illegitimate spawn of the Obama eavesdropping would produce an indictment and then the procedural questions wouldn’t matter.

It’s the dirty cop using illegal eavesdropping to generate leads for a “clean” case against his target while betting that no one will look too closely or care how the case was generated. If one of the Mueller targets is intimidated into making a deal, the question of how the case was generated won’t matter.

Mueller will have a cooperative witness. And the Democrats can begin their coup in earnest. It will eventually turn out that there is no “there” there. But by then, it’ll be time for President Booker.

There’s just one problem.

If the gamble fails, if no criminal case that amounts to anything more than the usual investigational gimmick charges like perjury (the Federal equivalent of ‘resisting arrest’ for a beat cop) develops, then Obama and his allies are on the hook for the domestic surveillance of their political opponents.

With nothing to show for it and no way to distract from it.

That’s the race against the clock that is happening right now. Either the investigation gets results. Or its perpetrators are left hanging in the wind. If McMaster is fired, which on purely statistical grounds he probably will be, and a Trump loyalist who wasn’t targeted by the surveillance operation becomes the next National Security Adviser and brings in Trump loyalists, as Flynn tried to do, then it’s over.

And the Dems finally get their Watergate. Except the star won’t be Trump, it will be Obama. Rice, Power, Lynch and the rest of the gang will be the new Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell.

Once Obama and his allies launched their domestic surveillance operation, they crossed the Rubicon. And there was no way back. They had to destroy President Trump or risk going to jail.

The more crimes they committed by spying on the opposition, the more urgently they needed to bring down Trump. The consequences of each crime that they had committed spurred them on to commit worse crimes to save themselves from going to jail. It’s the same old story when it comes to criminals.

Each act of illegal surveillance became more blatant. And when illegal surveillance couldn’t stop Trump’s victory, they had to double down on the illegal surveillance for a coup.

The more Obama spied on Trump, the more he had to keep doing it. This time it was bound to pay off.

Obama and his allies had violated the norms so often for their policy goals that they couldn’t afford to be replaced by anyone but one of their own. The more Obama relied on the imperial presidency of executive orders, the less he could afford to be replaced by anyone who would undo them.  The more his staffers lied and broke the law on everything from the government shutdown to the Iran nuke sellout, the more desperately they needed to pull out all the stops to keep Trump out of office. And the more they did it, the more they couldn’t afford not to do it. Abuse of power locks you into the loop familiar to all dictators. You can’t stop riding the tiger. Once you start, you can’t afford to stop.

If you want to understand why Samantha Power was unmasking names, that’s why. The hysterical obsession with destroying Trump comes from the top down. It’s not just ideology. It’s wealthy and powerful men and women who ran the country and are terrified that their crimes will be exposed.

It’s why the media increasingly sounds like the propaganda organs of a Communist country. Why there are street riots and why the internet is being censored by Google and Facebook’s “fact checking” allies.

It’s not just ideology. It’s raw fear.

The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor.

A turning point in history is here.

If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Long Night Ahead on: September 23, 2017, 12:15:30 PM
http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2017/09/the-long-night-ahead.html

FRIDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2017
The Long Night Ahead
Facebook just declared war against "disruptive" information.  In addition to hundreds of new human censors, they are training AI censors capable of identifying and deleting 'unacceptable' information found in the discussions of all two billion members in real time. This development highlights what the real danger posed by a socially networked world actually is.

The REAL danger facing a world interconnected by social networking isn't disruption.  As we have seen on numerous occasions, the danger posed by disruptive information and events is fleeting. Disruption, although potentially painful in the short term, doesn't last, nor is it truly damaging over the long term. In fact, the true danger posed by an internetworked world is just the opposite of disruption.  

This danger is an all encompassing online orthodoxy.  A sameness of thought and approach enforced by hundreds of millions of socially internetworked adherents.  A global orthodoxy that ruthless narrows public thought down to a single, barren, ideological framework. A ruling network that prevents dissent and locks us into stagnation and inevitable failure as it runs afoul of reality and human nature.  

This ruling network already exists.  It already has millions of online members and it is growing and deepening with each passing day -- extending its tendrils into the media, the civil service, tech companies, and academia.  There's little doubt that over time it will eventually exert decisive influence over the entire government as well.  

However, in order to exert authoritarian control over our decision making, it needs control over the flow of information in our society. Merely controlling the online debate is insufficient.  For real power, the ruling network needs to control the information flows on our information infrastructure -- Facebook, Google, and Amazon -- and that's exactly the power it is now getting.  

However, as large and powerful as this network already is, I still believe this future is reversible. We still have a short time before a long night descends across the world.

Sincerely,

John Robb

Writing on a cool New England afternoon.  Feeling a bit like Hayek today.

PS:  As if on cue, authoritarianism that diminishes the role of the individual is in the wind:

a majority of US students now oppose free speech on campus.
a free fall in support for democracy as a preferred form of governance among young people.
a majority of young people now oppose capitalism.
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dershowitz: Why Is the Media Playing Down Valerie Plame's Nazi-Level Antisemitis on: September 22, 2017, 06:23:53 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371690.php

Dershowitz: Why Is the Media Playing Down Valerie Plame's Nazi-Level Antisemitism?

The Entitled Caste protects other members of the Entitled Caste. That's the whole point of an Entitled Caste.

Related: Check out this thread from Omri Ceren noting that Plame is just talking the way Obama and Kerry talked about American Jews having a divided loyalty and controlling the country for Israel's interests.
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dershowitz: Why Is the Media Playing Down Valerie Plame's Nazi-Level Antisemitis on: September 22, 2017, 06:23:06 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371690.php

Dershowitz: Why Is the Media Playing Down Valerie Plame's Nazi-Level Antisemitism?

The Entitled Caste protects other members of the Entitled Caste. That's the whole point of an Entitled Caste.

Related: Check out this thread from Omri Ceren noting that Plame is just talking the way Obama and Kerry talked about American Jews having a divided loyalty and controlling the country for Israel's interests.
219  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Pedophile decapitated on: September 22, 2017, 01:57:10 PM

This seems to be a bogus story. Unfortunately.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Atlantic: Reborn into Terrorism on: September 21, 2017, 09:24:01 PM
Islam was invented by a violent criminal. It is no surprise that it's doctrine appeals to violent criminals and inspires violent crimes.


https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/01/isis-criminals-converts/426822/


Reborn Into Terrorism

Why are so many ISIS recruits ex-cons and converts?
An ISIS flag in a Lebanese refugee camp Ali Hashisho / Reuters

    Simon Cottee Jan 25, 2016 Global


In 2014, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the organizer of the November 2015 Paris attacks, appeared in a video, driving a pickup truck with a mound of corpses in tow. Speaking to the camera before driving off, he said: “Before we towed jet skis, motorcycles, quad bikes, big trailers filled with gifts for vacation in Morocco. Now, thank God, following God’s path, we’re towing apostates.” This was a derogatory reference to his victims, who, in his mind, were renegades from the Muslim faith and thus legitimate targets for slaughter. But it was also a telling allusion to his own irreligious past, before he found God and joined ISIS and started murdering people.

Indeed, Abaaoud was once a wayward soul with a rap sheet. His sister Yasmina told The New York Times that Abaaoud didn’t show any particular interest in religion prior to his departure for Syria, and “did not even go to the mosque.” But he had gone to prison several times, and it was apparently there, like so many Western jihadists, that he grew radical.

Brahim Abdeslam, who blew himself up in the Paris attacks, seems to have been intimately acquainted with criminality as well: The bar he owned in Molenbeek, Brussels was shut down by police a week before the attacks over concerns about the illegal sale of drugs there. And Brahim’s brother Salah, a suspected Paris assailant who remains at large, was not your typical finger-waving ideological fanatic: He reportedly visited gay bars and was more likely to be seen rolling a joint than a prayer mat.
Related Story

The Pre-Terrorists Among Us

According to a recent Washington Post article, Abaaoud and his crew of assassins represent a “new type of jihadist”—“part terrorist, part gangster,” who uses “skills honed in lawbreaking” for the ends of “violent radicalism.”

“European jails have been breeding grounds of Islamist radicals for years, particularly in Belgium and France,” the Post’s Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet write. “But recently, criminality and extremism have become even more interwoven, with recruits’ illegal behavior continuing even after they are shown ‘the light’ of radical Islam.”

This is an acute observation, although it’s scarcely surprising that Westernized recruits to ISIS are just as deviant and lawless as their patrons in Syria and Iraq—the true originators of punk jihad, where anything goes and nothing, not even the weaponization of children, is off-limits. After all, the spiritual founder of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was a violent thug both before and after his embrace of Salafi jihadism.

Like Abaaoud and Zarqawi, Siddhartha Dhar (a.k.a. Abu Rumaysah), the latest British-accented ISIS recruit to gain notoriety for his suspected role in the group’s videos, also broke dramatically with his past: He was a Hindu before gravitating toward radical Islam, although, unlike Abaaoud and Zarqawi, Dhar didn’t have a history of violence, robbery, or drug-dealing, and hadn’t done any jail time. Instead, he rented out bouncy castles to the kafirs he came to loathe.

These biographical traits have cropped up in numerous studies. In his survey of 31 incidents of jihadist terrorism in Europe between September 2001 and October 2006, Edwin Bakker found that at least 58 of the 242 perpetrators of these attacks—or 24 percent, a “strikingly high number,” he says—had a criminal record prior to their arrest for terrorism-related offenses. According to a study by Robin Simcox, of 58 individuals linked to 32 ISIS-related plots in the West between July 2014 and August 2015, 22 percent had a past criminal record or were in contact with law enforcement.

Simcox also found that 29 percent of these individuals were converts to Islam. Converts, he reported, accounted for 67 percent of American Muslims involved in committing or planning an ISIS-related attack—“a significantly disproportionate percentage, considering that they comprise only 20% of Muslims throughout the entire United States.” Converts are similarly overrepresented among convicted British jihadists. According to Scott Kleinman and Scott Flower, converts constitute an estimated 2 to 3 percent of Britain’s 2.8 million Muslims, yet “converts have been involved in 31% of jihadist terrorism convictions in the UK from 2001 to 2010.”

What is it about ISIS, and militant Islamist groups in general, that makes them attractive both to criminals and to converts or born-again Muslims?

In The True Believer, published in 1951, the philosopher Eric Hoffer suggested that mass movements hold a special appeal to “sinners,” providing “a refuge from a guilty conscience.” “Mass movements,” he wrote, “are custom-made to fit the needs of the criminal—not only for the catharsis of his soul but also for the exercise of his inclinations and talents.”
High-risk, high-intensity Islamist activism seems tailor-made for the needs of criminals and ex-cons.

This also applies to jihadist groups like ISIS, which promise would-be recruits not just action and violence, but also redemption.

In his 2005 study of al-Muhajiroun, a banned Islamist movement based in Britain with reputed connections to ISIS, Quintan Wiktorowicz detailed the multiple material and social costs attached to what he calls “high-risk Islamic activism.” He mentioned one al-Muhajiroun document in which members are sternly warned to refrain from behaviors ranging from “listening to music and radio” and “window shopping and spending hours in the market,” to “hanging out with friends” and “joking around and being sarcastic.” The organization’s activism, Wiktorowicz observed, is “fast-paced, demanding, and relentless.” It also bristles “against the mainstream,” generating a “kind of excitement often found in counterculture movements rebelling against the status quo.” Many members, he noted, “seem to enjoy their role as ‘outsiders.’”

But more crucially, Wiktorowicz argued, al-Muhajiroun promotes the idea of spiritual salvation—socializing its members to believe that their sacrifices in the here-and-now will be rewarded in the hereafter.

High-risk, high-intensity Islamist activism, in other words, seems tailor-made for the needs of criminals and ex-cons, providing them with a supportive community of fellow outsiders, a schedule of work, a positive identity, and the promise of cleansing away past sins.

Can the same be said for converts to Islam or born-again Muslims?

A common line of argument among scholars is that converts to Islam are insufficiently knowledgeable about their new faith and thus acutely vulnerable to extremist interpretations of Islam, which they lack the intellectual or theological resources to counter. While this explanation seems intuitively plausible, it assumes that converts to Islam know less about their newfound religion than Muslims who were born and raised into it. Yet the evidence for this claim is shaky, and at odds with studies showing just how engaged and well-versed many converts are in debates over matters of faith. The idea that converts, lacking in religious knowledge, are peculiarly susceptible to demagogic manipulation also carries the implication that those with a deep knowledge of Islam are unlikely to join jihadist groups. This, too, is a contentious point—and it’s unclear whether it could even be empirically established, given how contested Islamic knowledge is. More contentious still, this logic essentializes Islam as inherently pacifist, suggesting that some true or proper understanding of the faith would serve as a repellent against deviant jihadist interpretations. But what Islam is or isn’t is an open (and indeed volatile) question; there is not one “true” Islam, but a plurality of Islams, each competing for epistemological hegemony.
Converts to Islam are perennial outsiders. They are “doubly marginalized.”

A more promising explanation lies in the social situation of converts in the West, and their status as apostates or defectors from the non-Islamic faith or secular world into which they were born and acculturated. In an illuminating article on “court Jews and Christian renegades,” the sociologist Lewis A. Coser wrote, “The renegade is, as it were, forever on trial.” Indeed: “He must continually prove himself worthy of his new status and standing.”

Converts to Islam are perennial outsiders, fully belonging neither to the Muslim communities into which they convert nor to the communities they leave behind. They are “doubly marginalized,” as Kate Zebiri puts it in her study British Muslim Converts. This, more than any cognitive failings on their part, may explain the nature of their vulnerability to jihadist groups, which offer potential recruits not only belonging, but also seemingly irrefutable proof of commitment to the faith: self-sacrifice and ultimately death. It may also make them more lethal as jihadist talent, since their eagerness to prove their new commitment may push them to ever greater extremes.

Yet this hypothesis depends on the assumption that the converts in jihadist groups were in any meaningful sense converts to Islam prior to becoming jihadists, rather than the other way round: that they converted to jihadism before, or at the same time as, they became Muslims, so that their conversion to Islam was, as the political scientist Olivier Roy recently argued, “opportunistic” and thus a consequence of, and not an antecedent to, their conversion to jihadism.

One way of clarifying the sequencing in these situations would be to look closely at the convert’s social milieu and the circumstances in which he or she converted to Islam. According to Roy, the “second-generation Muslims and native converts” who dominate the European jihadist scene were “radicalized within a small group of ‘buddies’ who met in a particular place (neighborhood, prison, sport club)” and who “recreate a ‘family,’ a brotherhood,” often with biological ties. They are, he says, in the first instance attracted not to “moderate Islam,” but to the radicalism of violent Salafism, and correspondingly, “almost never have a history of devotion and religious practice.”
Radicalized European youth, disaffected from their own societies, are not seeking Islam, but “a cause.”

In short, Roy argues, echoing the findings of Marc Sageman and Scott Atran, radicalized European youth, disaffected from their own societies, are not seeking Islam, but “a cause, a label, a grand narrative to which they can add the bloody signature of their personal revolt.”

Hoffer reminds us how deeply personal that revolt can be. “A mass movement,” the philosopher wrote, “particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self.” For today’s repentant criminals and restless converts, whose “innermost craving is for a new life—a rebirth,” the all-immersive and all-redeeming jihadist project seemingly offers the perfect solution.


221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Remember When James Clapper Categorically Denied Any Wiretap Against Trump Camp on: September 20, 2017, 08:30:10 PM
https://www.mediaite.com/columnists/remember-when-james-clapper-categorically-denied-any-wiretap-against-trump-campaign/

Remember When James Clapper Categorically Denied Any Wiretap Against Trump Campaign?
by Larry O'Connor | 12:08 pm, September 19th, 2017
 
Why in the world would the mainstream media continue to take James Clapper seriously?

In March the former Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama appeared on Meet the Press to respond to President Donald Trump‘s now-infamous tweets regarding a “wiretap” related to his campaign during the Obama Administration. Host Chuck Todd asked Clapper point-blank whether any wiretap had occurred:

But I will say that, for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against– the president elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign. I can’t speak for other Title Three authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity.


Fmr. DNI Clapper: "There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, president-elect, candidate or campaign."
8:24 AM - Mar 5, 2017

ALSO ON MEDIAITE
Fox & Friends Guest: 'Jim Clapper is an Idiot,' Has a 'Vacant Look'
Clapper’s answer appeared unequivocal, but there was still a little wiggle room.  So Todd, to his credit, drilled down and asked a very specific question about a very specific scenario:

TODD: Yeah, I was just going to say, if the F.B.I., for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?

CLAPPER:  Yes.

TODD:  You would be told this?

CLAPPER:  I would know that.

TODD:  If there was a FISA court order–

CLAPPER:  Yes.

TODD:  –on something like this.

CLAPPER:  Something like this, absolutely.

TODD:  And at this point, you can’t confirm or deny whether that exists?

CLAPPER:  I can deny it.

Now we learn that there was, in fact, a FISA court order and it came from the FBI and Clapper, in his own words, claimed he would have known about that. And he denied it, unequivocally.  Maybe he forgot all about the FISA order wiretapping Paul Manafort while he was in direct contact with Trump in his campaign and after the election.

Clapper also “forgot” that the NSA had a data collection program of every single American citizen when he testified before the Senate Intelligence committee and denied its existence.

James Clapper, former DNI chief and now, favorite guest of media outlets looking to attack President Trump, either has a terrible, terrible memory, or he was kept in the dark about a FISA order that occurred on his watch, or he’s just a liar.  Can’t think of any other options here, can you?

I ask again, why in the world would the mainstream media continue to take James Clapper seriously?  Or, for that matter, book him as a guest?

222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Alt-Right and Antifa Are Waging a New Kind of Internet Warfare on: September 20, 2017, 07:52:29 PM
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7xxmad/the-alt-right-and-antifa-are-waging-a-new-kind-of-internet-warfare

The Alt-Right and Antifa Are Waging a New Kind of Internet Warfare
ByJACOB SIEGELillustrated byLIA KANTROWITZ
Aug 30 2017, 8:25am

Intelligence and surveillance powers that once belonged only to militaries and state spooks are now available to anyone with a high-speed internet connection.

Live long enough and you may hear future historians recall the war between 4chan and an art collective called LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner.

They'll tell the story of how anonymous, interconnected imageboard users gathered clues from public video footage, like passing aircraft and the position of stars, to geolocate the roving, anti-Trump art project He Will Not Divide Us, put on by actor Shia LaBeouf and his collaborators. Records will show that the people on the group's trail—pro-Trump activists, impish saboteurs, and budding neo-Nazis—didn't need high-end spy gear. Instead, they found their mark by collecting and processing public information through decentralized and supposedly leaderless networks. It might one day look, in retrospect, like a form of social automation: continuously updating intelligence assessments converted into real-world effect by volunteer foot "soldiers" acting without orders.


Or maybe the saga will be remembered as a trial run of sorts, when tactics later used in domestic guerilla warfare first appeared as sinister pranks. Whatever happens next, the genie is out of the bottle, and intelligence and surveillance capabilities that once belonged only to militaries and state spooks are now available to anyone with a high-speed internet connection.

Military theorist and futurist John Robb, who wrote the influential 2008 book Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization, developed the concept of "open-source insurgency" to describe emerging forms of conflict. You can see a version of it at work in the current season of political upheaval and clashes in American cities. Of course, it's violence in the streets that captures most of the attention, especially after a car plowed into a crowd amid the neo-Nazi spectacle in Charlottesville, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring many more. But in the background, much of the fighting is being done online. Memes, trolls, bans, doxes, sock puppets, and targeted disruption campaigns like the one used against LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner are being deployed in a cycle of attacks and counterattacks that, much like traditional military intelligence and information operations, set conditions for the next round of physical confrontation.

The foundation of open-source insurgency is what Robb calls "superempowerment": "an increase in the ability of individuals and small groups to accomplish tasks/work through the combination of rapid improvements in technological tools and access to global networks." That increase, Robb argues, "has enabled small groups to radically increase their productivity in conflict."


It's a concept that helps make sense of the seemingly outsized cultural clout of the alt-right, a movement built on beliefs that fail to attract more than fringe support in national surveys.

"History doesn't repeat, it rhymes," Robb said in an interview, echoing an adage attributed to Mark Twain.


What distinguishes the current political conflict from past episodes of fascists, communists, and anarchists clashing in the streets of Western cities, according to Robb, "is the whole social networking thing."

"They exercise power in this new environment through online disruption," he added. "You keep everything chaotic, you don't know what's up and down, who to trust and who not to trust, and what news is right or wrong. In that environment, they can exercise some level of control."

There are other names like "hybrid warfare" and "fourth-generation warfare" to describe the evolving nature of political and military conflict. The idea is that war has moved beyond the battlefield into an all-encompassing struggle in economics, politics, and culture, along with old-school physical confrontation. In this new kind of warfare, where the allegiance of civilian populations is crucial, control over narrative and messaging is often more important than killing the enemy or holding a particular piece of ground.

The fact that much of this applies to what's going on in America now doesn't mean a civil war has already begun. But it suggests that after a long period of relative quiet in the West, when war and peace appeared to be distant, unbridgeable states, they have begun bleeding back into each other.


A signature tactic in the new conflict, honed on sites like 4chan and 8chan, is forensic analysis of digital imagery and geospatial data—fields specialized enough to have their own acronyms, IMINT and GEOINT, in military jargon. Sometimes this work is carried out by distributed networks without any clear leaders or permanent organization. But there are more formalized approaches as well. The Atlantic Council–affiliated Bellingcat mixes investigative journalism with open-source forensic analysis to do things like geolocate ISIS training camps. Groups on 4Chan and Anonymous have also repeatedly waded into foreign wars, notably in Ukraine and Syria, where they have typically taken different sides, with 4chan showing a strong pro-Assad and pro-Russia bias.

The tactics involved aren't exactly neutral—they favor actors skilled at processing and manipulating high volumes of information—but they are promiscuous. What works against an anti-Trump art installation can be used by ISIS, antifa, or the alt-right, or turned against any of these groups. Similar systems can even be implemented to coordinate volunteers in highly effective disaster relief efforts.

Probably the most famous recent example of this method in action involves Eric Clanton, the former college professor charged with assaulting three people with a metal bike-lock during a Berkeley free speech rally in April. Clanton appears to have been first identified as the alleged assailant on 4Chan, despite his face being completely covered in the only footage of the attacks. 4Chan users identified him by isolating unique non-facial visual characteristics and then going frame by frame through imagery from the event, hunting for matches.


This method has spread as political violence picked up. A Twitter account associated with 4Chan's alt-right-infested/pol/board is now promoting the process in detail, in an apparent attempt to attract new volunteers to scale the tactic up:


In Charlottesville, antifa protesters used many of the same techniques to identify and publicize information about alt-right attendees. The process also led to misidentifications and accusations against innocent people, something right-wing internet activists have repeatedly done in the past. The rush to judgement and lack of restraint follows a different pattern set in 2013, when a crowdsourced investigation conducted in part on Reddit falsely accused innocent people of involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing—a mistake also made on the front page by the semi-pros of the New York Post.

After the violence had abated in Virginia this month, a twitter account called @yesyoureracist posted information about people ostensibly identified at the "Unite the Right" rally, eventually gathering 408,000 followers and setting up a Patreon to support its efforts. In turn, 8Chan has reportedly begun targeting Logan Smith, who runs the account, allegedly threatening his family.

Peter W. Singer is a strategist and military theorist with the Brookings Institution and New America Foundation who writes about the future of warfare. He has examined this kind of conflict for years, and offered some perspective on outing people at protests, doxes, and other methods of 21st-century combat. "Octavian did it to Mark Antony," Singer said, referencing a contest for power in Rome's Second Triumvirate that included the public release of a stolen will.


In the current landscape, Singer sees plenty of continuity with classic intelligence techniques, along with some clever innovations.

"There's sock puppeting, someone trying to appear as if they're someone else," Singer told me. "And then a riff on that is trying to appear as if you're a supporter but with the goal of trying to undermine that group, doing something embarrassing or provocative and steering them toward a bad end. That was a classic Cold War move. You see this now with groups registering as if they're all part of the violent left."

There has been a recent surge of fake antifa social media accounts and forgeries of supposed antifa documents, promoted by major right-wing figures like Rush Limbaugh. Many of these accounts operate between parody and partisan sabotage operations. They take actual positions held by antifa's anarchist wing, like the embrace of political violence and opposition to liberal ideals of free expression, and exaggerate these already divisive qualities to make the group appear even more radical and threatening. Some fake antifa accounts seem designed to sow suspicion among prospective supporters. But many have the cartoonish quality of early anti-communist propaganda—too implausible to sway anyone on the fence, but great for riling up the home team against the bad guys.


In response, antifa-affiliated outlets have doxxed people behind the fake sites, releasing names and other personal details.

We seem to be entering a new phase of bottom-up cyberwar. Robb originally described open-source insurgency as "a large collection of small... superempowered groups [working] together to take on much larger foes (usually hierarchies)." What's going on these days looks even messier than that. Instead of smaller sub-state groups forming strategic alliances to fight the government or private power brokers, affinity groups organized around ideology and ethnic identity are battling one another.


Old intelligence practices and spy vs. spy tools are evolving and being adapted. There are dossiers and black lists, agents and double agents, "good trolls" spying on Trump supporters and fake antifa accounts, disinformation and counter-intelligence campaigns carried out on message boards and chat rooms like Discord and sometimes in full view on social media. Practices have clearly evolved in these new digital network, but old problems remain. Infiltration is perhaps the most obvious: In a world of spies, how do you know who to trust?

More than anything else, it was the election of Donald Trump that turned information-warfare into a familiar concept among average Americans. Reports of Russian "troll farms" and "meme armies" drove interest in the subject, though it's not yet clear what consequences all that new attention will bring.

In Singer's estimation, the most important question now is how these widely available tools will actually be used.

"What are the goals here? Is it to mobilize? Is it to intimidate? Is it to inspire violence?" he asked. "Breaking that down is really important, and that's the challenge private companies are now dealing with, because they're being asked both by governments and by their customers—the public—to do more to police the spaces to make what are at the end of the day political decisions."

Looming in the background behind all of this is the disruption of centralized state power. Even as the US government remains an 800-pound hegemon, it has faltered at enforcing order in digital spaces and arbitrating disputes that arise over its use. That doesn't mean, however, that the internet is ungoverned. Into the vacuum rise new, undemocratic power verticals, centered on the tech titans in Silicon Valley.


The recent case of network and security company Cloudflare booting a prominent neo-Nazi site in the wake of Charlottesville illustrated the point. (And, as Cloudflare's CEO himself acknowledged, it showed the dangers in leaving these decisions up to the prerogatives of private businesses.)

This new civil conflict in America is still in its early stages, and far from an existential crisis. But what we are witnessing is an incipient, low-level version of the sort of violent multipolar insurgency that has torn apart other countries.

"What's frustrating," Singer said, "is seeing the sort of people and tactics you were used to seeing in war being used in the United States."

"These groups," he added, "the tactics that they use, the types of battles that they fight are not an anomaly, they're the new normal. Not just in the United States but across the world."

You've probably heard Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz's famous adage, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Clearly he was on to something. But Andrew Breitbart, svengali of the new right-wing media that spawned former White House adviser Steve Bannon, also had a point in his own oft-repeated line, "Politics is downstream from culture." The lines between culture, news, politics, war, and entertainment have blurred, and are now streaming in every direction through the internet's cracked screen.

223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel is first state to back Kurdistan on: September 20, 2017, 07:48:49 PM

Good.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Will Facebook become the World's Most Powerful Government Contractor? on: September 20, 2017, 07:44:24 PM
http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2017/09/will-facebook-become-the-worlds-most-powerful-government-contractor.html

MONDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2017
Will Facebook become the World's Most Powerful Government Contractor?
Facebook, with a COMPLETE social graph, becomes more than an advertising platform. It becomes an arm of government. 

Facebook's Network
FACEBOOK'S GLOBAL SOCIAL NETWORK VISUALIZED
Here's how.  Facebook recently passed:

2 billion monthly users.
That’s~70% of the 2.8 billion Internet users living outside of China/Russia (they use a different social networking system).
With slowing rates of growth for Facebook and the Internet (due to saturation), Facebook is likely to hit 3.5 billion monthly users by 2025.
The Complete Social Graph
At 3.5 billion users in 2025, Facebook’s social network will be more than half of the 6.5 billion people living outside of China/Russia. That’s a network that is large enough and deep enough to:

create a global census that can “see” nearly everyone on the planet , even if they don’t have a Facebook account.
enable real-time tracking on nearly everyone on the planet using smartphone GPS data and ancillary information (mentions of location/who you are with/pictures).
create the largest micro-targeting database on earth, from pictures to posted links to likes. Details on the interests and desires of billions of people.
What Does Facebook do with a Complete Social Graph?

The simple and straightforward answer is to build a very profitable advertising platform. However, the success of that advertising platform will be based on the ability of Facebook to avoid intrusive government regulation. To accomplish that, Facebook will develop services it can provide governments to better secure, control, and manage their citizens in a volatile global environment. In exchange for these services, Facebook will avoid regulations that will limit its ability to make money. Here’s more detail on the services it could provide:

Surveillance. The ability to ID anyone using facial recognition AIs (trained on the trillions of photos uploaded to the platform) and then track their movements globally. Border security and access control (buildings and government services). Tracking movement domestically (from CCTVs to Fastlane pics).
Censorship. The ability to limit domestic political conversations to those approved by the government. As the primary source of news in nearly country (outside of China), Facebook has the ability to limit sources to approved channels, prevent the discussion of banned topics, and steer conversations in subtle ways.
Counter-terrorism. Facebook will peer into private conversations and do the network analysis to ID potential extremists. It will also actively sabotage or intervene in terrorist/extremist recruiting networks to damage their effectiveness in securing recruits. Facebook now has the ability to offer NSA scale services, with better data, to nations around the world.
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reminder: This is what happens when you aren't in the protected elite class on: September 20, 2017, 04:02:15 PM
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/kristian-saucier-investigation-hillary-clinton-223646

Sub sailor's photo case draws comparisons to Clinton emails
By JOSH GERSTEIN 05/27/2016 08:07 AM EDT Updated 05/27/2016 11:19 AM EDT
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A Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.


Last July, Saucier was indicted on one felony count of unlawful retention of national defense information and another felony count of obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty Friday to the classified information charge, which is part of the Espionage Act, a prosecution spokesman confirmed. No charge of espionage was filed and no public suggestion has been made that he ever planned to disclose the photos to anyone outside the Navy.

The sailor now faces a maximum possible sentence of up to ten years in prison, but faced up to 30 years if found guilty on both charges. Federal guidelines discussed in court Friday appear to call for a sentence of about five to six-and-a-half years, although the defense has signaled it will seek a lighter sentence.

Saucier’s friends, conservative commentators and others say the stiff charges leveled against Saucier were out of whack with more lenient treatment given to senior officials who face allegations of mishandling classified information, like Clinton.

“I just don’t think it’s fair,” said Gene Pitcher, a retired Navy sailor who served with Saucier aboard the Alexandria. “In reality, what she did is so much worse than what Kris did. ... I think it’s just a blatant double standard.”

Clinton has not been charged with any crime, but the FBI has been investigating how information that intelligence agencies consider classified wound up on the private server that hosted her only email account during the four years she served as secretary of state. Some news reports have said charges are unlikely.

“Felony charges appear to be reserved for people of the lowest ranks. Everyone else who does it either doesn’t get charged or gets charged with a misdemeanor,” said Edward MacMahon, a Virginia defense attorney not involved in the Saucier case.

To some, the comparison to Clinton’s case may appear strained. Clinton has said none of the information on her server was marked classified at the time. In many cases, it was marked as unclassified when sent to her by people in the State Department more familiar with the issues involved.

By contrast, sailors are trained early on that the engine compartment of a nuclear sub is a restricted area and that much information relating to the sub’s nuclear reactors is classified.

Still, it’s far from obvious that the information Saucier took photos of is more sensitive than information found in Clinton’s account. Court filings say the photos were clear enough that they reveal classified details about the submarine that could be of use to foreign governments, such as the vessel’s maximum speed.

However, the Navy says the photos are classified “confidential,” which is the lowest tier of protection for classified information and is designated for information that could cause some damage to national security but not “serious” or “exceptionally grave” damage.

Intelligence agencies claim that Clinton’s account contained 65 messages with information considered “Secret” and 22 classified at the “Top Secret” level. Some messages contained data under an even more restrictive “special access program” designation.

Clinton and her campaign have disputed those findings, calling them a result of “overclassification” and urging that the messages be released in full.

However, Clinton’s critics and some former intelligence officials said she should have recognized the sensitivity of the information. They’ve also noted that about 32,000 messages on Clinton’s server were erased after her lawyers deemed them personal.

“The DOJ is willing to prosecute a former sailor to the full extent of the law for violating the law on classified material, in a situation where there was no purposeful unsecured transmission of classified material,” conservative blogger Ed Morrissey wrote last year. “Will they pursue Hillary Clinton and her team, at the other end of the power spectrum from the rank-and-file, for deliberate unsecured transmission of improperly marked classified nat-sec intelligence? Will they pursue the same kind of obstruction of justice charges for Hillary’s wiping of her server as they are for Saucier’s destruction of his laptop?”

Jury selection in Saucier’s case took place earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and opening arguments were scheduled to take place Tuesday, just after the Memorial Day holiday. The change of plea hearing Friday morning was not publicly noticed on the court's docket.

Judge Stefan Underhill set sentencing in the case for August 19. Both sides agreed that sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 63 to 78 months, but the judge will also calculate the guidelines range and can give a sentence outside the range. Plea documents indicate that the defense plans to ask for a more lenient sentence on the basis that Saucier's conduct was "aberrant."

A defense attorney for Saucier did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

The investigation into Saucier kicked off in a rather unusual way in 2012 when a supervisor at a dump in Hampton, Connecticut, found a cellphone “on top of a pile of trash approximately three to four feet into the middle of a dumpster at the transfer station,” a court filing read. The supervisor showed the images to a retired Navy friend who turned over the device to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.


Pitcher acknowledges that his friend violated Navy rules if he took the photos as prosecutors allege, but he says such infractions by submariners were not uncommon and were almost always dealt with through what the military calls “nonjudicial punishment” or Captain’s Mast. Those involved were demoted and docked some pay, but didn’t face a felony record or the prospect of years behind bars, the retired sailor said.

“Two guys in our boat were caught taking photos in the engine room on the nuclear side of things. Basically, all that happened to them was they … lost a rank,” Pitcher said. “I’ve seen quite a few cases like this and never seen any handled like Kris’.”

secondary_sub_compy_1_ho_1160.jpg
Redacted and declassified cell-phone photos of nuclear sub’s engine room/Justice Department Court Filing
One factor that may have led investigators and prosecutors to handle Saucier’s case more aggressively is the way he responded when confronted about the photos. Court filings say he initially denied he took the pictures. Prosecutors say he later smashed his laptop, camera and memory card and threw them in the woods.

On top of that, Saucier had a handgun not registered to him in his home, prosecutors allege. After the FBI and NCIS showed up to question him, he allegedly cleaned it with bleach and stashed it under the dishwasher.

“They love the obstruction charges,” MacMahon said. “What they look for is something that’s aggravating.”

The defense attorney noted that CIA Director David Petraeus was accused of lying to the FBI when first confronted about keeping top secret notebooks at home and sharing them with his lover. Many lawyers believe that fact may have tipped the case against Petraeus from something that might have cost him his job to one that resulted in criminal prosecution.

Still, Petraeus was never charged with obstruction of justice. Before any charges were filed, his attorney reached a deal with prosecutors in which the retired general pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.

A former military investigator who handled classified information cases said the military tends to treat such violations more seriously than civilian government agencies do and there are some valid reasons for that.

“It is exceedingly common for people in the military to be held accountable for classified information violations, much more so than in the civilian government or contractor world,” said Bill Leonard, former director of the government’s Information Security Oversight Office. “My sense is that’s just a reflection of the military’s emphasis on good order and discipline. ... It really does make a difference to the guy or gal next to you if [sensitive] information is compromised. That’s a very real consequence.”

secondary_sub_compy_2_ho_1160.jpg
Redacted and declassified cell-phone photos of nuclear sub’s engine room/Justice Department Court Filing
Since Saucier is still in the Navy, it’s unclear why he was charged in federal civilian court rather than sent to a court-martial. One possibility is that investigators may have considered charging others in civilian life with conspiring with the Navy sailor, but that has not happened.

Former Navy sailors said Saucier’s case also overlaps with a period during which the Navy was trying to strike a balance involving the boredom of submarine life during deployments as long as six months and the increasing popularity of smartphones, video-game players and similar devices.

While photography was always banned in engine rooms and taking a camera there would have been highly suspicious, ubiquitous phones with cameras have added new complexity to the situation, the sailors said.

With his friend set to plead guilty, Pitcher said he’s still convinced that Saucier is being treated more harshly than others in government of low or high rank.


“A lot of people were doing what Kris was doing,” Pitcher said. “Clearly, to an educated observer, this is not fair treatment in comparison to other highly visible cases.”
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / THIS MUST be investigated! on: September 20, 2017, 03:50:26 PM
http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/341225-comeys-private-memos-on-trump-conversations-contained-classified

Comey’s private memos on Trump conversations contained classified material
BY JOHN SOLOMON - 07/09/17 08:12 PM EDT
45,296
   

More than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.

This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton over in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election.

Comey testified last month before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a friend. He asked that friend, a law professor at Columbia University, to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director.


“So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document?” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asked Comey on June 8. “You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?”
“Correct,” Comey answered. “I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.”

Comey insisted in his testimony he believed his personal memos were unclassified, though he hinted one or two documents he created might have been contained classified information.

“I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership,” he testified about the one memo he later leaked about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

He added, “My view was that the content of those unclassified memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.”

But when the seven memos Comey wrote regarding his nine conversations with Trump about Russia earlier this year were shown to Congress in recent days, the FBI claimed all were, in fact, deemed to be government documents.

While the Comey memos have been previously reported, this is the first time there has been a number connected to the amount of memos the ex-FBI chief wrote.

Four of the memos had markings making clear they contained information classified at the secret or confidential level, according to officials directly familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for the FBI on Sunday declined to comment.

FBI policy forbids any agent from releasing classified information or any information from ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission, and it mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property.

“Unauthorized disclosure, misuse, or negligent handling of information contained in the files, electronic or paper, of the FBI or which I may acquire as an employee of the FBI could impair national security, place human life in jeopardy, result in the denial of due process, prevent the FBI from effectively discharging its responsibilities, or violate federal law,” states the agreement all FBI agents sign.


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It adds that “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America” and that an agent “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.”

Comey indicated in his testimony that the memos were in his possession when he left the bureau, leaving him in a position to leak one of them through his friend to the media. But he testified that he has since turned them over to Robert Mueller, a former FBI chief who is now spearheading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the presidential race.

It is not clear whether Comey as director signed the same agreement as his agents, but the contract is considered the official policy of the bureau. It was also unclear when the documents were shown to Congress whether the information deemed secret or confidential was classified at the time Comey wrote the memos or determined so afterward, the sources said.

Congressional investigators had already begun examining whether Comey’s creation, storage and sharing of the memos violated FBI rules, but the revelation that four of the seven memos included some sort of classified information opens a new door of inquiry into whether classified information was mishandled, improperly stored or improperly shared.

That was the same issue for which the FBI investigated Clinton, a former secretary of State in the Obama administration, in 2015 and 2016 under Comey. Clinton used a private email server during her tenure that at times contained classified material.

Comey ultimately concluded in July 2016 that Clinton’s email practices were reckless, but that he could not recommend prosecution because FBI agents had failed to find enough evidence that she intended to violate felony statutes prohibiting the transmission of classified information through insecure practices. Clinton at the time was the Democratic nominee for president.

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," he said in a decision panned by Republicans and embraced by Democrats.

Now, congressional investigators are likely to turn their attention to the same issues to determine if Comey mishandled any classified information in his personal memos.

In order to make an assessment, congressional investigators will have to tackle key questions, such as where and how the memos were created, including whether they were written on an insecure computer or notepad; where and how the memos were stored, such as inside Comey's home, in a briefcase or on an insecure laptop; whether any memos were shown to private individuals without a security clearance and whether those memos contained any classified information; and when was it determined by the government that the memos contained classified information — before Comey took them and shared one or after.

One avenue for answering those questions is for a panel like Senate Intelligence, House Intelligence or Senate Judiciary to refer the matter to the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, the inspector general, or to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and its inspector general, aides said.
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / How to hide from the internet’s surveillance machine on: September 20, 2017, 02:39:17 PM
http://www.futurity.org/surveillance-privacy-internet-book-1096512/

How to hide from the internet’s surveillance machine
Posted by Eileen Reynolds-NYU January 27th, 2016

    
You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license.

It’s a common assumption that being online means you’ll have to part ways with your personal data and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Not true, according to two communication professors. In their new book, Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest (MIT Press, 2015), they argue both that your privacy is being eroded through acts way, way more heinous than you might think, and that contrary to popular belief, there is something you can do about it.

Part philosophical treatise and part rousing how-to, Obfuscation reads at times as an urgent call to arms.

“Machines don’t forget.”
“We mean to start a revolution with this book,” its authors declare. “Although its lexicon of methods can be, and has been, taken up by tyrants, authoritarians, and secret police, our revolution is especially suited for use by the small players, the humble, the stuck, those not in a position to decline or opt out or exert control.”

One of the tricky things about online tracking is that it’s so complex and invisible that we aren’t necessarily cognizant of it happening,” says Finn Brunton, coauthor and professor at New York University. “Part of the goal of Obfuscation is to draw attention to precisely that problem.”



Consider the trick by which, in loading a single (practically invisible) pixel onto a website you’re visiting, an ad server can, without your knowledge, collect all kinds of information about the browser and device that you’re using—information that could then be used down the line to, say, jack up the price on a plane ticket the next time you’re making travel arrangements, serve up a selection of higher-end goods the next time you search on an online retailer’s site, or, on the flip side, make it tougher for you to get a loan, if something about your data gets flagged as a credit risk.

This is a clear example of what Brunton and coauthor Helen Nissenbaum, also a professor at NYU, describe as “information asymmetry,” where, as they write, the companies collecting data “know much about us, and we know little about them or what they can do.”

The surveillance background

It’s not just that we haven’t agreed to having our personal information collected, it’s that the invisible processes of dossier building are so complex, and their consequences so difficult to predict, that it would be virtually impossible to understand exactly what we’re being asked to consent to.

Whereas NSA snooping makes headlines, other forms of quiet surveillance go unnoticed (and unregulated), to the benefit of shadowy entities making bank in the data economy—or even police using software to calculate citizens’ threat “scores.”

“Machines don’t forget,” Brunton says. Suppose you have an agreement with one company, “the best company run by the best people,” he says, “but then they go bankrupt, or get subpoenaed, or acquired. Your data ends up on the schedule of assets,” and then you don’t know where it might end up.”

[Do your friends give your data to third parties?]

To be clear, the authors—whose manifesto irked critics who argue that these kinds of transactions are what finance the “free” internet—aren’t against online advertising per se.

“Before ad networks started the surveillance background,” Nissenbaum explains, “there was traditional advertising, where Nike could buy an ad space on, say, the New York Times [website], or contextual advertising, where Nike would buy space on Sports Illustrated. There were plenty of ways of advertising that didn’t involve tracking people.”

Nowadays, though, Brunton says, “Many online sites that produce content you use and enjoy don’t get that much money out of the advertising, and yet there’s a whole galaxy of third-party groups on the back end swapping data back and forth for profit, in a way that’s not necessarily more effective for the merchant, the content provider, or you.

“Then add on top of it all that the data can be misused, and you have a network that is less secure and built around surveillance. I think that starts to shift the balance in favor of taking aggressive action.”

That’s where obfuscation—defined in the book as “the production of noise modeled on an existing signal in order to make a collection of data more ambiguous, confusing, harder to exploit, more difficult to act on, and therefore less valuable”—comes in.

TrackMeNot, for example, one of several elegant obfuscation tools designed by Nissenbaum and NYU computer science colleagues, serves up bogus queries to thwart search engines’ efforts to build a profile on you, so that when you search, say, “leather boots,” it also sends along “ghost” terms like “Tom Cruise,” “Spanish American War,” and “painters tape” (which don’t affect your search results). Another tool, ADNAUSEUM, registers a click on all the ads in your ad blocker, rendering futile any attempt to build a profile of your preferences based on ads you click.

History lessons

Even as they look to future battles, Brunton and Nissenbaum draw inspiration from the past, offering a compendium of examples of obfuscation tactics used throughout history.

World War II planes released chaff—strips of black paper coated with foil—to overwhelm enemy radar with false targets. Poker players sometimes employ false tells; baseball coaches hide signs amid a string of meaningless hand gestures.

People worried that their private conversations may be being recorded can play a “babble tape” in the background—an update to the classic mobster strategy of meeting in noisy bathrooms to safeguard against FBI audio surveillance.

[Why your phone is the perfect surveillance tool]

Shoppers can swap loyalty cards with strangers to prevent brick-and-mortar stores from building a record of their purchases. The orb-weaving spider, vulnerable to attacks by wasps, builds spider decoys to position around its web.

Brunton and Nissenbaum are often asked in interviews about what simple steps even technophobes can take to protect their privacy. The answer: It depends on what scares you most.

“Are you worried about Google?” Brunton asks. “About your insurance company? Where are the places that you want to push back?” A theme that emerges in the book is that obfuscation tactics, while often similar in principle, vary a lot in practice; each unique threat requires a unique defense.

“The ideal world for me is one where you don’t need to obfuscate.”
“Camouflage is often very specific,” Nissenbaum explains. “This animal is worried about these particular predators with this particular eyesight. It’s a general thing but in the instance, it is quite specialized.”

That makes for a big challenge, since there are so many threats—and the notion of “opting out” of all types of surveillance has become so impractical as to be nearly nonsensical. (In the book, Brunton and Nissenbaum quip that it would mean leading “the life of an undocumented migrant laborer of the 1920s, with no internet, no phones, no insurance, no assets, riding the rails, being paid off the books for illegal manual work.”)

Brunton, for example, refuses to use E-ZPass (which, in addition to enabling your cashless commute, announces your location to readers that could be waiting anywhere—not just in tollbooths), but can’t resist the convenience of Google Maps. And Nissenbaum declined to share her location with acquaintances using the iPhone’s “Find My Friends” app, but lamented that there’s no box to check to keep Apple from knowing her whereabouts.

Brunton and Nissenbaum stress that obfuscation isn’t a solution to the problem of constant surveillance, but rather a stopgap to draw attention to the issue and the need for better regulation.

“The ideal world for me,” Nissenbaum says, is “one where you don’t need to obfuscate.”

She draws an analogy between our time and the moment when, soon after telephones became mainstream, the US passed laws forbidding phone companies from listening in on their customers’ conversations.

“You could imagine a different route, where they could eavesdrop and say, ‘Oh, I can hear you discussing with your mom that you would like to go to Mexico in the summer, why don’t we send you a few coupons for Mexican travel?'” Until we pass similar laws to address our current predicament, we’ll be stuck with “the information universe eavesdropping on everything we do.”

Brunton draws an even bolder comparison—between the dawn of the information age and the (much) earlier transition from agrarian to industrial life. Indeed, history is a testament to how societies can and do find equilibrium with relation to transformative new technologies.

The bad news, in the case of the Industrial Revolution, though, is that “in the middle of that shift, horrific things happened to huge populations of people,” Brunton says. Today, he argues, we have the opportunity to prevent the digital equivalent of such horrors. “Can find ways to prevent the worst outcomes for vulnerable populations?”
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MSM-DNC hysteria over Trump speech on: September 20, 2017, 02:28:59 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371650.php

September 19, 2017
ABCNews' Chief Foreign Correspondent Terry Moran: Trump's UN Speech "Bordering on Threat" of a "War Crime"
Ohhh.

Trump told the United Nations that if America is "forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." In response, Moran freaked out: "The words 'totally destroying' a nation of 25 million people, that borders on the threat of committing a war crime."
Terry Moran was joined in freaking out by his Twitter Bubble Buddies at the SJW National Laughingstock and SJW Atlantic Magazine, who had all sorts of GAINZZZ as far as nervous disorders.

Strangely enough, the media -- get this -- praised Obama's steely toughness and girthy penis when he said the US could use its nuclear arsenal to "destroy" North Korea in 2016.

President Barack Obama delivered a stern warning to North Korea on Tuesday, reminding its "erratic" and "irresponsible" leader that America’s nuclear arsenal could "destroy" his country.
...


Mr Obama gave warning of the possible consequences. "We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals," he told CBS News. "But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, [South] Korea."

I guess it's hard to mount a sustained criticism of a man who's got his dick three and a half deep in your mouth.

Thanks to Jane D'Oh. For the link. Not for all the penis stuff.

BTW, I don't know who came up with "girthy penis" but I think it was a commenter and it's hilarious.
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MSM-DNC hysteria over Trump speech on: September 20, 2017, 12:24:24 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371650.php

September 19, 2017
ABCNews' Chief Foreign Correspondent Terry Moran: Trump's UN Speech "Bordering on Threat" of a "War Crime"
Ohhh.

Trump told the United Nations that if America is "forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." In response, Moran freaked out: "The words 'totally destroying' a nation of 25 million people, that borders on the threat of committing a war crime."
Terry Moran was joined in freaking out by his Twitter Bubble Buddies at the SJW National Laughingstock and SJW Atlantic Magazine, who had all sorts of GAINZZZ as far as nervous disorders.

Strangely enough, the media -- get this -- praised Obama's steely toughness and girthy penis when he said the US could use its nuclear arsenal to "destroy" North Korea in 2016.

President Barack Obama delivered a stern warning to North Korea on Tuesday, reminding its "erratic" and "irresponsible" leader that America’s nuclear arsenal could "destroy" his country.
...


Mr Obama gave warning of the possible consequences. "We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals," he told CBS News. "But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, [South] Korea."

I guess it's hard to mount a sustained criticism of a man who's got his dick three and a half deep in your mouth.

Thanks to Jane D'Oh. For the link. Not for all the penis stuff.

BTW, I don't know who came up with "girthy penis" but I think it was a commenter and it's hilarious.
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump's baseless wiretap claims on: September 20, 2017, 11:48:32 AM


http://ace.mu.nu/archives/CNN%20-%20Trump%20wiretapping.jpg


This IS CNN.

231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Scandinavian Envy, Fantasy on: September 18, 2017, 02:06:26 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/03/why-denmark-isnt-the-utopian-fantasy-bernie-sanders-describes/?utm_term=.934c441c28cd

Why Denmark isn’t the utopian fantasy Bernie Sanders describes
By Ana Swanson November 3, 2015
 
Miss Denmark Mette Riis Sorensen visits a shopping mall in Tokyo on Oct. 23. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)
There's one country that keeps popping up in the debate among the Democratic candidates for president. It's not China, or Russia, or Iran. It's a little country of 5.6 million people that — beyond a vague image of tall, blond, egalitarian people who like pickled fish and minimalist design — few Americans probably know much about.

Denmark, and to a lesser extent the other Nordic countries, are surfacing in the Democratic debates as examples of relatively equal societies that provide generous benefits for their citizens, including affordable education, health care for all, and subsidized child care. This is mostly due to Bernie Sanders, who likes to use Denmark to explain his vision of democratic socialism. "I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people," Sanders said in the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13. ("But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America," Hillary Clinton responded.)

 Play Video 1:32
Clinton: 'It’s our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism'
 
0:00

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton responds to opponent Bernie Sanders's suggestion that the United States can learn from countries like Denmark. (CNN)
Sanders joins a long tradition of liberal politicians around the world who laud Denmark, Sweden and Norway (and sometimes Finland and Iceland, which aren't technically part of Scandinavia) for their equality and prosperity. These northern European countries enjoy a reputation for being peaceful, egalitarian, progressive, liberal and educated, and having excellent furniture and crime novels, too. For whatever reason, Scandinavia countries just seem to do it better — an idea that supporters and critics label "Nordic exceptionalism."

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 Michael Booth, photo courtesy of author. Michael Booth, photo courtesy of author.
But how much truth is there in the popular idea of Nordic exceptionalism? Michael Booth, a British journalist, examines this question in detail in a recent book, "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia." Booth, a U.K. native who has lived in Scandinavia for over a decade, plays the part of a cultural interpreter, examining, poking and prodding the reality of life in Nordic countries from every angle. Booth finds plenty to question in the rest of the world's assumptions about the Nordic miracle, but also lots that we can learn from them.


You say that many people around the world believe in Nordic exceptionalism without knowing very much at all about Nordic life. They can more easily picture the lives of some remote Amazonian tribe than the typical Swede or Dane. Why is it that the Nordic model has attracted so many fans, but relatively few visitors?

Denmark is a pretty good place to live but it is by no stretch of the imagination the utopia many in politics and the media in the U.S. claim it to be.

We all like to have a "happy place" — somewhere over the rainbow where we imagine life to be perfect - don’t we? For many, that place used to be the Mediterranean: we all dreamed of a stone house among the vines. After the economic crash, I think a lot of people started to look towards Scandinavia for what they believed to be a less rampantly capitalistic form of society.

The difference is, few actually actively seek to move to Scandinavia, for obvious reasons: the weather is appalling, the taxes are the highest in the world, the cost of living is similarly ridiculous, the languages are impenetrable, the food is (still) awful for the most part and, increasingly, these countries are making it very clear they would prefer foreigners to stay away.


What are some of the biggest misconceptions that you find in how the rest of the world understands the Nordic countries?

Again, I think we've all been guilty of projecting some kind of utopian fantasy on them. The Nordic countries are, for example, depicted as paragons of political correctness, yet you still see racial stereotypes in the media here — the kind of thing which would be unthinkable in the U.S. Meanwhile, though it is true that these are the most gender-equal societies in the world, they also record the highest rates of violence towards women — only part of which can be explained by high levels of reporting of crime.

Denmark, meanwhile, promotes itself as a "green pioneer" and finger wags at the world about CO2 emissions, and yet it regularly beats the U.S. and virtually every other country on earth in terms of its per capita ecological footprint. For all their wind turbines, the Danes still burn a lot of coal and drive a lot of cars, their country is home to the world’s largest shipping company (Mærsk), and the region’s largest air hub.


Sweden is supposedly "neutral" (it’s not, and has not been for decades), yet since the days when it sold iron ore to Hitler, its economy has always benefited from its arms industry, which is one of the world’s largest.

The Norwegians have fallen prey to precisely the same kind of problems as other oil-rich states: their economy depends far too much on one industry (oil), they’ve taken their foot off the gas in terms of their work ethic, and now all young Norwegians want to do is be "something in the media" or open a cupcake place.

[The surprisingly fiery debate over whether Denmark is heaven on earth]

Politicians in the U.S. like Bernie Sanders praise Denmark for its relative income equality, its free universities, parental leave, subsidized childcare, and national health system. That all sounds pretty good, right?

It is fantastic in theory, except that, in Denmark, the quality of the free education and health care is substandard: They are way down on the PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment] educational rankings, have the lowest life expectancy in the region, and the highest rates of death from cancer. And there is broad consensus that the economic model of a public sector and welfare state on this scale is unsustainable. The Danes’ dirty secret is that its public sector has been propped up by — now dwindling — oil revenues. In Norway’s case, of course, it’s no secret.


You describe the Danes as having a strong sense of work-life balance – specifically, being much more focused on life than work. What are the positives and negatives of that attitude?

Positives: Danes spend more time with their families. Negatives: Danes spend more times with their families. Plus, they have run up huge private debt levels, and no one answers the phone on a Friday afternoon.

Danes are also experiencing a rising debt level, and a lower proportion of people working. Are these worrying signs for its economy or the country’s model?

Yes, many economists have specifically warned of the Danes’ private debt levels. Perhaps more seriously, productivity has been somewhat stagnant and there is a dire skills shortage.

 Participants of the World Congress of Santa Clauses 2015 take part in the annual swim at Bellevue beach, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Scanpix Denmark/Erik Refner The World Congress of Santa Clauses 2015 take their annual swim north of Copenhagen, Denmark. REUTERS/Scanpix Denmark/Erik Refner
One thing that’s often glossed over among outsiders is the extraordinarily high tax level, which is high for the middle class as well as the wealthy. Do Danes think that they get their money’s worth in social services? Do you?

Denmark has the highest direct and indirect taxes in the world, and you don’t need to be a high earner to make it into the top tax bracket of 56% (to which you must add 25% value-added tax, the highest energy taxes in the world, car import duty of 180%, and so on). How the money is spent is kept deliberately opaque by the authorities. Danes do tend to feel that they get value for money, but we should not overlook the fact that the majority of Danes either work for, or receive benefits from, the welfare state.

Greater numbers of immigrants have been leading to rising xenophobia in some Nordic countries, as well as higher income inequality. Do you think these trends say anything about the strength of the Nordic model?

All of Europe is dealing with this issue, but of course smaller populations feel more threatened, and cynical right wing politicians (if you’ll forgive the tautology) take advantage of that fear. Also, there is no "Nordic model" when it comes to immigration and integration: there is the Swedish model (open door) and the Danish model (close the door and put up a "Go Away" sign), which the Norwegians and Finns are copying.

Denmark has won almost every happiness survey since 1973, but you describe them in the book as a “frosty, solemn bunch” who take a lot of anti-depressants. Do they really deserve to be consistently ranked as the world’s happiest country?

No, it’s a nonsense and, in fact, they have dropped from the top spot in recent surveys, mostly because they are not as rich as they once were. The sad take-away from that is, money does, in fact, make you happy. I don’t think they ever were the "happiest" people in the world, but you could argue they have been the most "satisfied." They are good at appreciating the small things in life and making the most of what they have — a legacy, I think, of experiencing the rough hand of geopolitics in the 18th and 19th centuries.

You emphasize, in the end, that there is a lot that we can learn from the Nordic countries. What is one of the best lessons?

At least aim for economic and gender equality. Everyone benefits, so it’s worth a shot, no?






Why Denmark isn’t the utopian fantasy Bernie Sanders describes
By Ana Swanson November 3, 2015
 
Miss Denmark Mette Riis Sorensen visits a shopping mall in Tokyo on Oct. 23. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)
There's one country that keeps popping up in the debate among the Democratic candidates for president. It's not China, or Russia, or Iran. It's a little country of 5.6 million people that — beyond a vague image of tall, blond, egalitarian people who like pickled fish and minimalist design — few Americans probably know much about.

Denmark, and to a lesser extent the other Nordic countries, are surfacing in the Democratic debates as examples of relatively equal societies that provide generous benefits for their citizens, including affordable education, health care for all, and subsidized child care. This is mostly due to Bernie Sanders, who likes to use Denmark to explain his vision of democratic socialism. "I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people," Sanders said in the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13. ("But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America," Hillary Clinton responded.)

 Play Video 1:32
Clinton: 'It’s our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism'
 
0:00

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton responds to opponent Bernie Sanders's suggestion that the United States can learn from countries like Denmark. (CNN)
Sanders joins a long tradition of liberal politicians around the world who laud Denmark, Sweden and Norway (and sometimes Finland and Iceland, which aren't technically part of Scandinavia) for their equality and prosperity. These northern European countries enjoy a reputation for being peaceful, egalitarian, progressive, liberal and educated, and having excellent furniture and crime novels, too. For whatever reason, Scandinavia countries just seem to do it better — an idea that supporters and critics label "Nordic exceptionalism."

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 Michael Booth, photo courtesy of author. Michael Booth, photo courtesy of author.
But how much truth is there in the popular idea of Nordic exceptionalism? Michael Booth, a British journalist, examines this question in detail in a recent book, "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia." Booth, a U.K. native who has lived in Scandinavia for over a decade, plays the part of a cultural interpreter, examining, poking and prodding the reality of life in Nordic countries from every angle. Booth finds plenty to question in the rest of the world's assumptions about the Nordic miracle, but also lots that we can learn from them.


You say that many people around the world believe in Nordic exceptionalism without knowing very much at all about Nordic life. They can more easily picture the lives of some remote Amazonian tribe than the typical Swede or Dane. Why is it that the Nordic model has attracted so many fans, but relatively few visitors?

Denmark is a pretty good place to live but it is by no stretch of the imagination the utopia many in politics and the media in the U.S. claim it to be.

We all like to have a "happy place" — somewhere over the rainbow where we imagine life to be perfect - don’t we? For many, that place used to be the Mediterranean: we all dreamed of a stone house among the vines. After the economic crash, I think a lot of people started to look towards Scandinavia for what they believed to be a less rampantly capitalistic form of society.

The difference is, few actually actively seek to move to Scandinavia, for obvious reasons: the weather is appalling, the taxes are the highest in the world, the cost of living is similarly ridiculous, the languages are impenetrable, the food is (still) awful for the most part and, increasingly, these countries are making it very clear they would prefer foreigners to stay away.


What are some of the biggest misconceptions that you find in how the rest of the world understands the Nordic countries?

Again, I think we've all been guilty of projecting some kind of utopian fantasy on them. The Nordic countries are, for example, depicted as paragons of political correctness, yet you still see racial stereotypes in the media here — the kind of thing which would be unthinkable in the U.S. Meanwhile, though it is true that these are the most gender-equal societies in the world, they also record the highest rates of violence towards women — only part of which can be explained by high levels of reporting of crime.

Denmark, meanwhile, promotes itself as a "green pioneer" and finger wags at the world about CO2 emissions, and yet it regularly beats the U.S. and virtually every other country on earth in terms of its per capita ecological footprint. For all their wind turbines, the Danes still burn a lot of coal and drive a lot of cars, their country is home to the world’s largest shipping company (Mærsk), and the region’s largest air hub.


Sweden is supposedly "neutral" (it’s not, and has not been for decades), yet since the days when it sold iron ore to Hitler, its economy has always benefited from its arms industry, which is one of the world’s largest.

The Norwegians have fallen prey to precisely the same kind of problems as other oil-rich states: their economy depends far too much on one industry (oil), they’ve taken their foot off the gas in terms of their work ethic, and now all young Norwegians want to do is be "something in the media" or open a cupcake place.

[The surprisingly fiery debate over whether Denmark is heaven on earth]

Politicians in the U.S. like Bernie Sanders praise Denmark for its relative income equality, its free universities, parental leave, subsidized childcare, and national health system. That all sounds pretty good, right?

It is fantastic in theory, except that, in Denmark, the quality of the free education and health care is substandard: They are way down on the PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment] educational rankings, have the lowest life expectancy in the region, and the highest rates of death from cancer. And there is broad consensus that the economic model of a public sector and welfare state on this scale is unsustainable. The Danes’ dirty secret is that its public sector has been propped up by — now dwindling — oil revenues. In Norway’s case, of course, it’s no secret.


You describe the Danes as having a strong sense of work-life balance – specifically, being much more focused on life than work. What are the positives and negatives of that attitude?

Positives: Danes spend more time with their families. Negatives: Danes spend more times with their families. Plus, they have run up huge private debt levels, and no one answers the phone on a Friday afternoon.

Danes are also experiencing a rising debt level, and a lower proportion of people working. Are these worrying signs for its economy or the country’s model?

Yes, many economists have specifically warned of the Danes’ private debt levels. Perhaps more seriously, productivity has been somewhat stagnant and there is a dire skills shortage.

 Participants of the World Congress of Santa Clauses 2015 take part in the annual swim at Bellevue beach, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Scanpix Denmark/Erik Refner The World Congress of Santa Clauses 2015 take their annual swim north of Copenhagen, Denmark. REUTERS/Scanpix Denmark/Erik Refner
One thing that’s often glossed over among outsiders is the extraordinarily high tax level, which is high for the middle class as well as the wealthy. Do Danes think that they get their money’s worth in social services? Do you?

Denmark has the highest direct and indirect taxes in the world, and you don’t need to be a high earner to make it into the top tax bracket of 56% (to which you must add 25% value-added tax, the highest energy taxes in the world, car import duty of 180%, and so on). How the money is spent is kept deliberately opaque by the authorities. Danes do tend to feel that they get value for money, but we should not overlook the fact that the majority of Danes either work for, or receive benefits from, the welfare state.

Greater numbers of immigrants have been leading to rising xenophobia in some Nordic countries, as well as higher income inequality. Do you think these trends say anything about the strength of the Nordic model?

All of Europe is dealing with this issue, but of course smaller populations feel more threatened, and cynical right wing politicians (if you’ll forgive the tautology) take advantage of that fear. Also, there is no "Nordic model" when it comes to immigration and integration: there is the Swedish model (open door) and the Danish model (close the door and put up a "Go Away" sign), which the Norwegians and Finns are copying.

Denmark has won almost every happiness survey since 1973, but you describe them in the book as a “frosty, solemn bunch” who take a lot of anti-depressants. Do they really deserve to be consistently ranked as the world’s happiest country?

No, it’s a nonsense and, in fact, they have dropped from the top spot in recent surveys, mostly because they are not as rich as they once were. The sad take-away from that is, money does, in fact, make you happy. I don’t think they ever were the "happiest" people in the world, but you could argue they have been the most "satisfied." They are good at appreciating the small things in life and making the most of what they have — a legacy, I think, of experiencing the rough hand of geopolitics in the 18th and 19th centuries.

You emphasize, in the end, that there is a lot that we can learn from the Nordic countries. What is one of the best lessons?

At least aim for economic and gender equality. Everyone benefits, so it’s worth a shot, no?
Denmark Isn't MagicWhy Denmark isn’t the utopian fantasy Bernie Sanders describes
By Ana Swanson November 3, 2015
 
Miss Denmark Mette Riis Sorensen visits a shopping mall in Tokyo on Oct. 23. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)
There's one country that keeps popping up in the debate among the Democratic candidates for president. It's not China, or Russia, or Iran. It's a little country of 5.6 million people that — beyond a vague image of tall, blond, egalitarian people who like pickled fish and minimalist design — few Americans probably know much about.

Denmark, and to a lesser extent the other Nordic countries, are surfacing in the Democratic debates as examples of relatively equal societies that provide generous benefits for their citizens, including affordable education, health care for all, and subsidized child care. This is mostly due to Bernie Sanders, who likes to use Denmark to explain his vision of democratic socialism. "I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people," Sanders said in the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13. ("But we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America," Hillary Clinton responded.)

 Play Video 1:32
Clinton: 'It’s our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism'
 
0:00

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton responds to opponent Bernie Sanders's suggestion that the United States can learn from countries like Denmark. (CNN)
Sanders joins a long tradition of liberal politicians around the world who laud Denmark, Sweden and Norway (and sometimes Finland and Iceland, which aren't technically part of Scandinavia) for their equality and prosperity. These northern European countries enjoy a reputation for being peaceful, egalitarian, progressive, liberal and educated, and having excellent furniture and crime novels, too. For whatever reason, Scandinavia countries just seem to do it better — an idea that supporters and critics label "Nordic exceptionalism."

Economy & Business Alerts
Breaking news about economic and business issues.
Sign up
 Michael Booth, photo courtesy of author. Michael Booth, photo courtesy of author.
But how much truth is there in the popular idea of Nordic exceptionalism? Michael Booth, a British journalist, examines this question in detail in a recent book, "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia." Booth, a U.K. native who has lived in Scandinavia for over a decade, plays the part of a cultural interpreter, examining, poking and prodding the reality of life in Nordic countries from every angle. Booth finds plenty to question in the rest of the world's assumptions about the Nordic miracle, but also lots that we can learn from them.


You say that many people around the world believe in Nordic exceptionalism without knowing very much at all about Nordic life. They can more easily picture the lives of some remote Amazonian tribe than the typical Swede or Dane. Why is it that the Nordic model has attracted so many fans, but relatively few visitors?

Denmark is a pretty good place to live but it is by no stretch of the imagination the utopia many in politics and the media in the U.S. claim it to be.

We all like to have a "happy place" — somewhere over the rainbow where we imagine life to be perfect - don’t we? For many, that place used to be the Mediterranean: we all dreamed of a stone house among the vines. After the economic crash, I think a lot of people started to look towards Scandinavia for what they believed to be a less rampantly capitalistic form of society.

The difference is, few actually actively seek to move to Scandinavia, for obvious reasons: the weather is appalling, the taxes are the highest in the world, the cost of living is similarly ridiculous, the languages are impenetrable, the food is (still) awful for the most part and, increasingly, these countries are making it very clear they would prefer foreigners to stay away.


What are some of the biggest misconceptions that you find in how the rest of the world understands the Nordic countries?

Again, I think we've all been guilty of projecting some kind of utopian fantasy on them. The Nordic countries are, for example, depicted as paragons of political correctness, yet you still see racial stereotypes in the media here — the kind of thing which would be unthinkable in the U.S. Meanwhile, though it is true that these are the most gender-equal societies in the world, they also record the highest rates of violence towards women — only part of which can be explained by high levels of reporting of crime.

Denmark, meanwhile, promotes itself as a "green pioneer" and finger wags at the world about CO2 emissions, and yet it regularly beats the U.S. and virtually every other country on earth in terms of its per capita ecological footprint. For all their wind turbines, the Danes still burn a lot of coal and drive a lot of cars, their country is home to the world’s largest shipping company (Mærsk), and the region’s largest air hub.


Sweden is supposedly "neutral" (it’s not, and has not been for decades), yet since the days when it sold iron ore to Hitler, its economy has always benefited from its arms industry, which is one of the world’s largest.

The Norwegians have fallen prey to precisely the same kind of problems as other oil-rich states: their economy depends far too much on one industry (oil), they’ve taken their foot off the gas in terms of their work ethic, and now all young Norwegians want to do is be "something in the media" or open a cupcake place.

[The surprisingly fiery debate over whether Denmark is heaven on earth]

Politicians in the U.S. like Bernie Sanders praise Denmark for its relative income equality, its free universities, parental leave, subsidized childcare, and national health system. That all sounds pretty good, right?

It is fantastic in theory, except that, in Denmark, the quality of the free education and health care is substandard: They are way down on the PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment] educational rankings, have the lowest life expectancy in the region, and the highest rates of death from cancer. And there is broad consensus that the economic model of a public sector and welfare state on this scale is unsustainable. The Danes’ dirty secret is that its public sector has been propped up by — now dwindling — oil revenues. In Norway’s case, of course, it’s no secret.


You describe the Danes as having a strong sense of work-life balance – specifically, being much more focused on life than work. What are the positives and negatives of that attitude?

Positives: Danes spend more time with their families. Negatives: Danes spend more times with their families. Plus, they have run up huge private debt levels, and no one answers the phone on a Friday afternoon.

Danes are also experiencing a rising debt level, and a lower proportion of people working. Are these worrying signs for its economy or the country’s model?

Yes, many economists have specifically warned of the Danes’ private debt levels. Perhaps more seriously, productivity has been somewhat stagnant and there is a dire skills shortage.

 Participants of the World Congress of Santa Clauses 2015 take part in the annual swim at Bellevue beach, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Scanpix Denmark/Erik Refner The World Congress of Santa Clauses 2015 take their annual swim north of Copenhagen, Denmark. REUTERS/Scanpix Denmark/Erik Refner
One thing that’s often glossed over among outsiders is the extraordinarily high tax level, which is high for the middle class as well as the wealthy. Do Danes think that they get their money’s worth in social services? Do you?

Denmark has the highest direct and indirect taxes in the world, and you don’t need to be a high earner to make it into the top tax bracket of 56% (to which you must add 25% value-added tax, the highest energy taxes in the world, car import duty of 180%, and so on). How the money is spent is kept deliberately opaque by the authorities. Danes do tend to feel that they get value for money, but we should not overlook the fact that the majority of Danes either work for, or receive benefits from, the welfare state.

Greater numbers of immigrants have been leading to rising xenophobia in some Nordic countries, as well as higher income inequality. Do you think these trends say anything about the strength of the Nordic model?

All of Europe is dealing with this issue, but of course smaller populations feel more threatened, and cynical right wing politicians (if you’ll forgive the tautology) take advantage of that fear. Also, there is no "Nordic model" when it comes to immigration and integration: there is the Swedish model (open door) and the Danish model (close the door and put up a "Go Away" sign), which the Norwegians and Finns are copying.

Denmark has won almost every happiness survey since 1973, but you describe them in the book as a “frosty, solemn bunch” who take a lot of anti-depressants. Do they really deserve to be consistently ranked as the world’s happiest country?

No, it’s a nonsense and, in fact, they have dropped from the top spot in recent surveys, mostly because they are not as rich as they once were. The sad take-away from that is, money does, in fact, make you happy. I don’t think they ever were the "happiest" people in the world, but you could argue they have been the most "satisfied." They are good at appreciating the small things in life and making the most of what they have — a legacy, I think, of experiencing the rough hand of geopolitics in the 18th and 19th centuries.

You emphasize, in the end, that there is a lot that we can learn from the Nordic countries. What is one of the best lessons?

At least aim for economic and gender equality. Everyone benefits, so it’s worth a shot, no?
New research suggests that the American dream isn’t alive in Scandinavia

Despite liberal arguments that Denmark is so much better than the U.S. at social mobility, its poor kids are no more likely to go to college.
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/08/the-american-dream-isnt-alive-in-denmark/494141/

Danish-Americans have a measured living standard about 55 percent higher than the Danes in Denmark. Swedish-Americans have a living standard 53 percent higher than the Swedes, and Finnish-Americans have a living standard 59 percent higher than those back in Finland.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-16/denmark-s-nice-yes-but-danes-live-better-in-u-s

this Danish Dream is a “Scandinavian Fantasy,” according to a new paper by Rasmus Landersø at the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit in Copenhagen and James J. Heckman at the University of Chicago. Low-income Danish kids are not much more likely to earn a middle-class wage than their American counterparts. What’s more, the children of non-college graduates in Denmark are about as unlikely to attend college as their American counterparts.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w22465
http://www.nber.org/papers/w22465.pdf
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Robots for a 15 dollar minimum wage! on: September 18, 2017, 01:41:41 PM

https://techxplore.com/news/2017-09-burger-robots.html
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: September 16, 2017, 12:32:44 PM
"The heart and the fist" is a great book. Well worth reading.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California’s poverty rate remains nation’s highest on: September 14, 2017, 10:14:25 PM
They will never learn. Every leftist thinks they will be the ones with the clipboards, telling others what to do.


I don't mean to beat up on California; it's a great place.  My beef is with leftism and all their lies and their failures.

Experiments in Democracy  It turns out that the state fighting hardest against income inequality has the highest poverty rate.  The state that pays people the most to be poor has the most poor people.  Incentive economics working!  The regulations in housing that protect the haves, hurt the have nots.  Laws like minimum wage that knock people out of their first job, also knock them out of their second, third and fourth jobs too.  Who knew?  (us)

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article172973181.html
California’s poverty rate remains nation’s highest

The state that bans drilling has no drilling revenues, and so on.  The state the promised pensions without revenues to pay them has budget challenges. 

The state that had no qualms, even linguistically, about making housing unaffordable with 'affordable housing laws' has the most homeless.

http://www.scpr.org/news/2017/09/12/75575/california-s-housing-costs-are-driving-its-no-1-po/
California's housing costs are driving its No. 1 poverty ranking

It's not like socialism is failing everywhere it's tried.  We still have the USSR and Chavez-Venezuela's shining examples...  okay, scrap that.

When will they ever learn? 
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - the rabbit plan on: September 14, 2017, 10:13:03 PM
When they came for the rabbits...


We tried cash for clunkers and they tried the rabbit plan.

Has anybody ever tried ... entrepreneurial capitalism?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41265474

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has devised a "rabbit plan" to counter the economic war he says is being waged against his government by "imperialist forces".

Making Kim Jung Un sound sane, mainstream.
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: ball game over folks on: September 14, 2017, 10:12:09 PM
People who don't like Trump are really not going to like President Duturte.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/14/donald-trump-the-wall-will-come-later-after-daca-amnesty-deal/

With Rush saying on his show they Ryan is going around in private there ain't going to be any wall he certainly is part of the problem

Yes.  Ryan has been consistently soft on illegal immigration.  At least he favors a wall, unlike the sovereignty denial party.  http://thehill.com/homenews/house/344765-paul-ryan-it-is-time-for-the-wall  
He was strongest on healthcare, the most prepared to stand up to Obama when it was being rammed down us.  I think he is strong on tax reform too, another area where nothing is happening.

Trump should wonder what his title would be today if he had run as the DACA amnesty President.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/trump-embraces-amnesty/539790/

Top 3 domestic issues all need action:

1.  "The wall will come later..."
Trump has his credibility resting on that.  I'm sure they will do something, eventually, if we all live long enough.

2.  Healthcare has an urgency with the current system in a downward (upward?) spiral.

3.  Tax reform:  This HAS to be done before year end, effective Jan 1, or the Republicans can run for reelection on their continuation of the Pelosi-Obama economic plan.  Even then it could be too late.

Most of the arguments and won't-get-it-done quotes are about process, not policy.  But when you don't pass anything, it becomes about policy.  The current law of the land is, no wall, O'care still in place and year 10 or 11 of Pelosi-Reid-Obama tax and spend programs.

Screw the Republican voters, conservatives, Trump voters and THEY WILL STAY HOME.

237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / They came for Jefferson on: September 13, 2017, 08:36:33 PM
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/371555.php

A couple of weeks ago progs were claiming it was insane to ask if antifa and Black Lives Matter would next come for the statues of Jefferson and Washington. This was obviously insane and deranged to ask, because Trump had asked it.

Well, guess what -- they came for the Thomas Jefferson statue at UVA. You know, the one that antifa claimed they were "protecting" from hypothetical harm from Nazi contamination.

Mostly lost in the general hysteria surrounding President Trump’s post-Charlottesville press conference a month ago was an excellent question he posed. Regarding the growing demand nationwide to tear down monuments to the Confederate States of America, he asked: "I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"
His remarks were characterized by historians as "absurd" and "unacceptable" and "ignorant" and dismissed as a "red herring." At The Daily Beast, John Avlon called Trump's comparison "immoral" and "dangerous." At Slate, Jamelle Bouie claimed Trump's question was "dumb," arguing that statues of Washington and Jefferson were safe because "the reason we memorialize them is not because of their slaveholding."


Well. Earlier this week around 100 "students, faculty and community members" gathered at of the University of Virginia and "[covered] a statue of Thomas Jefferson in a black shroud…adorning it with signs that dubbed the former president a 'racist' and a 'rapist.'" The protesters derided the statue as "an emblem of white supremacy," and demanded that it be "re-contextualized," lambasting the people who "fetishize the legacy of Jefferson," calling on the community to 'recognize Jefferson as a rapist, racist, and slave owner."

As George Orwell often said, always put your faith in mobs and angry racist propagandists.
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: REpubs => fools again on: September 13, 2017, 03:27:57 PM
I'm glad our republican congress is working on important things like this. It's not like there are more important things they promised.


"Who defines what a "hate" group is?  Don't liberals hate conservatives and vice a versa?"

I hate the leftist ideas and what they have done and are doing to this country.

The point in hate crime is the word, crime, there needs to be a crime involved.  Hate itself without a crime I think falls under free speech, impliedly including free thought.  Bad thoughts or animosity should be legal, ending at the point of where a person is inciting violence or committing a crime.

But if they commit a crime and if we enforce it and have a serious punishment for it, who cares about the hatred?
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / What Yahoo’s NSA Surveillance Means for Email Privacy on: September 13, 2017, 10:07:52 AM
https://protonmail.com/blog/yahoo-us-intelligence/

What Yahoo’s NSA Surveillance Means for Email Privacy
Posted on October 6, 2016 by Andy Yen

Updated October 7, 2016 with additional clarification and analysis of Yahoo’s denial
Dear ProtonMail Community,
Two weeks ago, we published a security advisory regarding the mass hacking of Yahoo. Unfortunately, due to recent events, we are issuing a second advisory regarding all US email providers.
What happened?
This week, it was revealed that as a result of a secret US government directive, Yahoo was forced to implement special surveillance software to scan all Yahoo Mail accounts at the request of the NSA and FBI. Sometime in early 2015, Yahoo secretly modified their spam and malware filters to scan all incoming email messages for the phrases in the court order and then siphoned those messages off to US intelligence. This is significant for several reasons:
 
This is the first known incident where a US intelligence directive has indiscriminately targeted all accounts as opposed to just the accounts of suspects. Effectively, all 500 million+ Yahoo Mail users were presumed to be guilty.
Instead of searching stored messages, this directive forced Yahoo to scan incoming messages in real-time.
Because ALL incoming email messages were targeted, this program spied on every person who emailed a Yahoo Mail account, violating the privacy of users around the world who may not even have been using a US email service.
 
What does this mean for US tech companies?
This is a terrible precedent and ushers in a new era of global mass surveillance. It means that US tech companies that serve billions of users around the world can now be forced to act as extensions of the US surveillance apparatus. The problem extends well beyond Yahoo. As was reported earlier, Yahoo did not fight the secret directive because Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the Yahoo legal team did not believe that they could successfully resist the directive.
We believe that Yahoo’s assessment is correct. If it was possible to fight the directive, Yahoo certainly would have done so since they previously fought against secret FISA court orders in 2008. It does not make sense that US surveillance agencies would serve Yahoo Mail with such an order but ignore Gmail, the world’s largest email provider, or Outlook. There is no doubt that the secret surveillance software is also present in Gmail and Outlook, or at least there is nothing preventing Gmail and Outlook from being forced to comply with a similar directive in the future.  From a legal perspective, there is nothing that makes Yahoo particularly vulnerable, or Google particularly invulnerable.
Google and Microsoft have come out to deny they participated in US government mandated mass surveillance, but under a National Security Letter (NSL) gag order, Google and Microsoft would have no choice but to deny the allegations or risk breaking US law (our analysis of Yahoo’s denial is at the bottom of this post). Again ,there is no conceivable reason US intelligence would target Yahoo but ignore Gmail, so we must consider this to be the most probable scenario, particularly since gag orders have become the norm rather than the exception.
In effect, the US government has now officially co-opted US tech companies to perform mass surveillance on all users, regardless of whether they are under US jurisdiction or not. Given the huge amount of data that Google has, this is a truly scary proposition.
How does this impact ProtonMail?
ProtonMail’s secure email service is based in Switzerland and all our servers are located in Switzerland, so all user data is maintained under the protection of Swiss privacy laws. ProtonMail cannot be compelled to perform mass surveillance on our users, nor be compelled to act on behalf of US intelligence. ProtonMail also utilizes end-to-end encryption which means we do not have the capability to read user emails in the first place, so we couldn’t hand over user email data even if we wanted to.
However, since email is an open system, any unencrypted email that goes out of ProtonMail, to Yahoo Mail for example, could potentially have been swept up by these mass surveillance programs and sent to US government agencies. This is why if you want to avoid having your communications scanned and saved by US government agencies, it is important to invite friends, family, and colleagues to use non-US email accounts such as ProtonMail or other email services offered by European companies.
What can the rest of the world do about this?
Unfortunately, the tech sector today is entirely dominated by US companies. Just like Google has a monopoly on search, the US government has a near monopoly on mass surveillance. Even without US government pressure, most US tech companies also have perverse economic incentives to slowly chip away at digital privacy.
This week, we have again seen how easily the massive amounts of private data retained by US tech companies can be abused by US intelligence for their own purposes. Without alternatives to the US tech giants, the rest of the world has no choice but to consent to this. This is an unprecedented challenge, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity, particularly for Europe.
Now is the time for Europe to invest in its own tech sector, unbeholden to outside interests. This is the only way the European community can continue to safeguard the European ideals of privacy, liberty, and freedom online. It is time for European governments and citizens to act before it is too late.
The only chance for privacy to prevail against these attacks is for the global community to support a new generation of web services which protect privacy by default. These services, such as ProtonMail’s encrypted email service, must operate with a business model where users can donate or pay for services, instead of giving up data and privacy. The security community also has an obligation to make these new service just as easy to use as the ones they replace.
Services such as secure email, search, and cloud storage are now vital to our lives. Their importance means that for the good of all citizens, we need to develop private alternatives that are aligned with users, and free from corporate greed and government overreach. Crowdfunded services like ProtonMail are rising to the challenge, but we need more support from the global community to successfully take on better funded US tech giants. Privacy matters, and your support is essential to ensure the Internet of the future is one that protects our rights.

Best Regards,
The ProtonMail Team
You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.
You can support our mission by upgrading to a paid plan or donating so that we can grow beyond email.

Analysis of Yahoo Denial:

Yahoo, like every other US tech company, has issued a denial, basically denying Reuter’s account of the mass surveillance. Here is Yahoo’s denial, word for word:
“The article is misleading. We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure. The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”
It is curious that Yahoo’s response to this incident is only 29 words, but upon closer examination, it is a very carefully crafted 29 words. First, Yahoo calls the reports misleading. This is a curious choice of words because it does not claim that the report is false. Finally, Yahoo states that, “The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.” While this could be a true statement, it does NOT deny that the scanning could have been present on Yahoo’s systems in the past.
The same day as the Yahoo denial, the New York Times obtained independent verification of the Reuter’s story from two US government officials. This allowed the New York Times to confirm the following facts:
Yahoo is in fact under a gag order and from a legal standpoint, they cannot confirm the mass surveillance (in other words, they must deny the story or avoid making any statements that would be seen as a confirmation).
The Yahoo mass data collection did in fact take place, but the collection is no longer occurring at present time. Thus, we now understand the disingenuous wording of the last sentence in Yahoo’s statement.
Yahoo’s denial (or non-denial, as the case may be), followed immediately by confirmation by the NYT demonstrates the new reality that denials by US tech companies cannot really be taken at face value anymore. It is not that US tech companies are intentionally trying to mislead their customers, but many times, they have no choice due to the gag orders that now inevitably accompany any government requests. If statements from US tech companies turn out to be suspect (as in the Yahoo example), the likelihood of the public ever knowing the truth becomes highly unlikely, and this brings us to a dangerous place.

About the Author

Andy Yen
Andy is the Co-Founder of ProtonMail. He is a long time advocate of privacy rights and has spoken at TED, SXSW, and the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference about online privacy issues. Previously, Andy was a research scientist at CERN and has a PhD in Particle Physics from Harvard University. You can watch his TED talk online to learn more about ProtonMail's mission.
 
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Antifa Militants Ready To Break Bones, Invade Homes on: September 12, 2017, 09:57:48 PM
https://hotair.com/archives/2017/09/09/antifa-militants-ready-break-bones-invade-homes/

Antifa Militants Ready To Break Bones, Invade Homes
JOHN SEXTON
Posted at 8:31 pm on September 9, 2017

Reveal published a story Tuesday titled “Antifa has a rapid response team that targets alt-right organizers.” The kind of targeting the article describes is not just keeping an eye out for people on the streets, this is more organized and specific behavior that results in a published hit list of right-wing targets. In this case, “hit list” is not a metaphor. This is the list of people Antifa members plan to hit and injure if they encounter them. Reveal reporter Will Carless spoke to one of the “most militant” members of the Bay Area Antifa, a guy called Dominic who sees himself as a “Nazi hunter.” Dominic is ready to take his street battle into his target’s homes if necessary:


One antifa activist, who would give only the name “Dominic,” talked proudly in a series of interviews with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting about forming this broader alliance of “Nazi hunters” to seek out, reveal and fight these enemies wherever they might show up. Their goal became even more specific after Charlottesville: to prevent more casualties like that of activist Heather Heyer.

“We’ll go to their house, I’ll put it that way. We’ll go to their house,” said Dominic, an imposing, muscular man in his 30s. “I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I want those people to stop it. If I have to put Richard Spencer or Nathan Damigo into the hospital critically, and it would have saved Heather Heyer’s life or the next potential Heather Heyer, I would do it without question.”
Dominic’s targets don’t have to be actual Nazis, white supremacists or extremists. As the story points out, sometimes anyone on the right will do:

At about 3 p.m., Dominic and his crew got word that a handful of people had been spotted by one of their lookouts holding a banner reading, “Love Free Speech, Unafraid of Fake News, Ask Me My Point of View.”…

The handful of conservative protesters at Fisherman’s Wharf soon was surrounded by the black-clad group, who screamed at them, telling them to get out of town.

“They were way more aggressive and intimidating than the protesters, to be honest,” said Mike Gaughan, a pedicab driver who witnessed the confrontation.
In preparing for right-wing rallies scheduled to take place in San Francisco and Berkeley last month, Dominic and the other militants put together an 8-page handout on who might show up and added a one-page “Know Your Nazi” hit list with pictures of nine individuals including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson. Gibson has denounced Nazis and white supremacists several times recently but he is on the list because some actual white supremacists have shown up at his previous events.

You’ve probably seen the video of what happened when Gibson and two members of his group showed up in Berkeley (and if you haven’t read Matt Labash’s story on it, it’s here). If you wondered how so many of the Antifa members recognized him instantly, it’s because his photo was on the hit list:



Gibson escaped the mob by slipping behind a line of police down the street. One of the people he was with, Keith Campbell, wasn’t so lucky. Campbell was hit in the head, collapsed on the ground and was then kicked by Antifa members. Asked about this response, Dominic tells Reveal, “What does he deserve? He deserves potentially stitches or broken bones.” He adds, “He wasn’t gonna get killed that day, we were strategic.”

We could see more of this as soon as tomorrow. Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer group is scheduled to hold a rally in Portland and Rose City Antifa is expected to counter-protest.
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: September 12, 2017, 09:15:27 PM
just enforces my theory that this repulsive woman , if she had lived in different times would have been as murderous and violent as anyone in history to get and maintain her power.

This IS SICK:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/12/hillary-clinton-i-wanted-to-make-voodoo-dolls-of-reporters-lawmakers-and-stick-them-with-pins/

https://reason.com/blog/2017/09/12/hillary-clinton-cersei-what-happened

Of Course Hillary Clinton Identifies with Cersei Lannister. They Are the Same Person.
"What Happened" invites readers to make an unflattering comparison with the mad queen of Westeros.
Robby Soave|Sep. 12, 2017 1:50 pm
Queen Hillary
Dennis Van Tine/ZUMA Press/Newscom

What's the difference between Game of Thrones character Cersei Lannister and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton? One is an entitled narcissist who quietly supported her lecherous husband (whom she clearly loathed) when it was politically convenient, then insisted it was her turn to rule (even though it wasn't), chose boot-lickers, ass-kissers, and elitist bankers as her advisors while alienating more competent and better-liked people who might have helped her, exacted petty vengeance on imagined enemies, escaped justice and the judgment of the people by destroying her main rival—the charismatic, income-inequality obsessed populist—with an explosive cheat, and was left confused why so many people in her country would rather be ruled by a complete political unknown who tells it like it is.

The other fucks her twin brother.

It comes as little surprise Clinton identifies with the mad queen. In What Happened, her new book about losing the presidential election to Donald Trump, Clinton writes:

Crowds at Trump rallies called for my imprisonment more times than I can count. They shouted, 'Guilty! Guilty!' like the religious zealots in Game of Thrones chanting 'Shame! Shame!' while Cersei Lannister walked back to the Red Keep."

Assuming this reference is genuine—and not something ham-fistedly inserted into the book by a culturally-woke ghostwriter—it's actually a bit revealing. It's true that Cersei is a tragic, occasionally sympathetic figure. But she's also one of the villains of the story: a manifestly incompetent ruler whose greatest talent is hurting every person who crosses her. She doesn't represent any ideology or philosophy beyond naked self-promotion. More than any other claimant for the Iron Throne of Westeros, she wants to rule because she believes it is her turn.

That Clinton would actively invite readers to make this comparison is, um, probably a partial answer to the question asked by the book's title. What happened? Nobody wants to vote for a Cersei.

242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: how to turn a 20 trillion debt into 40 trillion -> on: September 12, 2017, 07:36:36 PM

MOAR. FREE. SH*T!

I'm sure it will work out well.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fix the Federal Spending Baseline First on: September 12, 2017, 07:09:02 PM
Nothing will be done. Until it's far too late.


https://economics21.org/html/fix-federal-spending-baseline-first-2559.html

Fix the Federal Spending Baseline First
Charles Blahous
SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 BUDGET
Of late there has been controversy among budget wonks as to whether lawmakers should use a “current law” or “current policy” baseline to score the effects of tax reform in the budget process.  Though this is a prototypically arcane procedural fight, it bears enormous implications for federal finances.  The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has sounded an alarm against the possible use of a current tax policy baseline, calling it a “gimmick” that would add enormously to federal debt.  The competing argument is typified by a recent column from Manhattan’s own Brian Riedl, who finds that a current tax policy baseline is necessary for consistent treatment of taxes and spending.

I usually strive in my columns to provide a high ratio of factual information relative to interpretation and opinion.  However, it is difficult to enter this dispute without resort to significant interpretation and value judgments, so I want to be especially transparent here about my own subjective views.  In sum, I agree with CRFB that the use of current policy baselines is dangerously likely to lead to worse fiscal outcomes, for reasons I will detail later in this piece.  On the other hand, Riedl is correct to observe that using a current policy baseline for taxes would be a step toward more consistent, balanced treatment of taxes and spending.

First, the factual background.  As Riedl covers well in his piece, Congress’s scorekeeping rules (by which the Congressional Budget Office abides) exhibit significant inconsistencies.  Many areas of legislation, most especially tax law, are scored against a literal current law baseline, even if that current law would produce a sudden policy change.  So for example, if a particular existing tax provision is set to expire by a date certain, CBO assumes it will in fact do so, even if this would result in a sudden increase in tax assessments that most observers do not believe lawmakers will allow.  Accordingly, pending bills to extend current tax policies are typically scored as adding to the federal deficit. This reflects the (in my opinion, reasonable) view that CBO should score current law as it is, and not make speculative judgments as to the actions legislators will take to change the law.

This approach is not taken, however, with many areas of federal spending.  CBO assumes that discretionary appropriations will continue indefinitely even if under law they would expire at the end of the fiscal year.  And in perhaps the single most significant departure from current-law baselining, CBO is instructed to assume that Social Security and Medicare will make full benefit and insurance payments far beyond the amounts the programs are permitted by law to spend from their limited trust fund resources.  In other words, with respect to Social Security and Medicare, CBO is directed to assume that lawmakers will pass future legislation to effectuate large spending increases in those programs, far beyond what is authorized in current law.  Thus, there is no procedural barrier to increasing spending as long as it doesn’t exceed the spending increase assumed in the baseline, in which case lawmakers are not charged with adding to the deficit.

I first wrote about this phenomenon when explaining the finances of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): that it would improve federal finances only relative to Congress’s scoring baseline (with its assumption of future Medicare spending increases) while it was unambiguously a fiscal worsening relative to previous law.  At that time, my purpose was purely explanatory; I was agnostic as to whether the scorekeeping rules should change.  Since then I have come to believe that they should.  As Riedl explains, the rules are inconsistent and bias federal budget policy toward higher spending and higher taxes.  They create a host of other problems as well, about which I have written before but will not repeat here.   It was encouraging to see House Budget Committee then-Chairman Tom Price introduce legislation to address this problem before assuming the position of HHS Secretary.

Over the years various justifications have been offered for the scorekeeping baseline’s quirky treatment of Social Security and Medicare spending.  One suggestion is that this treatment is necessary to provide lawmakers with appropriate positive incentives.  Changing to literal current-law scoring for Social Security and Medicare would always show those programs being prevented from falling into the red, due to the curtailment of their spending authorities upon depletion of their trust funds. It is feared that incorporating this fail-safe assumption into the baseline would eliminate the credit lawmakers receive for legislating to align those programs’ benefit and tax schedules (because the baseline would already show them to remain in balance regardless).  I was once receptive to this belief, but the empirical evidence has shown it to be incorrect.

The currently-used spending baseline actually doesn’t create an effective incentive for lawmakers to address Social Security and Medicare financing gaps.  Instead of a stick (e.g., penalizing them for financing Social Security and Medicare shortfalls with debt) it offers a carrot (rewarding them for balancing program finances).   The relative incentive of the carrot is no stronger than the stick would be and in any case, does not justify treating entitlement spending differently from taxes.  The same rationale could be employed to argue that lawmakers should get a spendable scorekeeping credit simply for allowing current tax policies to expire, rather than being penalized for extending them.
Lawmakers respond much more to the negative incentive of being penalized for exacerbating deficits, than to the positive incentive of producing budget savings.  For example, Congress’s budget procedures erect barriers to adding to the federal deficit; they do not provide significant rewards for net improvements to the fiscal outlook.  The fiscal results are predictable, and were manifested most damagingly in the ACA.  Lawmakers didn’t seek credit for improving the fiscal outlook via the ACA’s Medicare cost-containment provisions – instead they concurrently spent those illusory savings on a massive new health entitlement.  This could not have happened if the budget rules had recognized lawmakers’ pre-existing statutory obligation to maintain balance in the Medicare HI trust fund, which would have accurately shown the ACA adding to federal deficits.

In fact, lawmakers are actually under great pressure to demonstrate that they are not balancing the budget on the backs of Social Security and Medicare.  Thus, they do not reap political benefits from the current scorekeeping practice of crediting them with large budgetary savings simply for upholding pre-existing Social Security and Medicare law.  Consequently, the advantaged treatment given to these programs in the budget rules is not an inducement for good fiscal behavior but rather an invitation to fiscal irresponsibility – an invitation that lawmakers have accepted in the past and almost certainly will again.

As CRFB correctly notes, the best fiscal behavior will occur if the budget baseline makes it harder, not easier, for lawmakers to add to the federal deficit. But to be both effective and fair, this principle needs to be applied with equal force on the spending side. It is fruitless to apply the principle only selectively – for example, by blocking the use of a current-policy baseline for taxes, while its equivalent on the spending side continues to permit the passage of large spending expansions such as the ACA.

With all this said, let’s examine the three scorekeeping alternatives on the table:
1)      Continue current-law scorekeeping for taxes, but make the rules consistent by applying it also to entitlement spending.
2)      Continue current-policy scorekeeping for entitlement spending, but make the rules consistent by applying it also to tax policy.
3)      Continue to use current-law scorekeeping for taxes and current-policy scorekeeping for entitlement spending.

#3, where we are now, is clearly bad.  It is inconsistent, incorrect and biases policy in the direction of higher spending and higher taxes, which is the essence of our budget problem. #1 is by contrast methodologically consistent and would produce the best fiscal outcomes.

Which of #2 or #3 is better/worse is a value judgment and a tough call.  #2 opens the door wider to higher deficits, while #3 opens the door wider to higher taxes.  Assuming spending policies are the same either way, this basically comes down to whether you are more concerned about higher taxes or higher debt.  This is largely a function of whether you believe today’s or tomorrow’s taxpayers should be stuck with increased tax burdens.  I have an opinion on that question but it’s just that -- an opinion, with which others could reasonably disagree.  A true deficit hawk would favor choice #1 – consistently applying current-law scorekeeping to both the mandatory spending and tax sides, while strengthening safeguards against additional deficit spending.

Hence, choosing between options #2 and #3 for the tax baseline bypasses the central scorekeeping question, while not offering either side an unassailably correct position.  Because of this, and given both legislative history and current projections, budget watchdogs should prioritize getting the spending baseline right first and foremost. 
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Article: Racism: the ineradicable sin? - by our friend Fay Voshell on: September 12, 2017, 03:14:29 PM

For the left, this is how they justify their aggression against the Neo-Kulaks.
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: September 11, 2017, 09:22:56 PM
Unless, and until China's feet are held to the fire, this is just pissing in the wind.



Just over a week after North Korea's test of a nuclear device, the United States has secured a fresh set of U.N. sanctions against the country. The speed with which the United Nations Security Council adopted these measures is unprecedented — sanctions on North Korea ordinarily take weeks of back and forth with China, North Korea's main defender, as well as consultations with Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley even thanked China, in particular Chinese President Xi Jinping. The new U.N. sanctions will bite deeper into the North Korean economy than those past, but fall short of the sweeping measures included in a version leaked Sept. 7.

That draft included a full ban on a range of oil products sold to North Korea, a freeze on the assets and travel of top North Korean leaders — including Kim Jong Un — as well blacklisting military-controlled airline Air Koryo. These broad measures — particularly the oil embargo — were unpalatable for both China and Russia, neither of which wants to see North Korea collapse. Negotiations toward the end of the week led to a second draft of the resolution, circulated Sept. 10.

The sanctions as adopted will cap refined petroleum shipments into North Korea at 2 million barrels per year (compared with 2.19 million in 2016) and crude oil to current levels (estimated at 10,000 barrels per day). They will also fully ban condensates and natural gas liquids. The biggest blow to the North Korean economy, however, is a ban on the purchase of the country's textile exports. In 2016, textiles accounted for around $752 million of North Korean exports, out of an estimated total of $3 billion. Aug. 5 U.N. measures following intercontinental ballistic missile tests went after coal, which accounts for about a third of North Korea's total exports.

The new sanctions are evidently a compromise solution, though, because Russia and China are keen to leave North Korean lifelines in place. A full oil embargo wasn't enacted, although initially proposed. Sanctions also did not blacklist Kim himself or North Korea's singular airline. And, unlike the earlier draft, the current resolution leaves in place an exception allowing Russia to transship coal through the North Korean port of Rajin via rail. The new resolution also fails to include hoped-for sweeping allowances when it comes to forceful inspections of North Korean vessels. Instead, countries must have permission from the state that flagged the vessel and can only inspect it on reasonable grounds. The measures also omitted a full ban on foreign labor. Rather, countries employing foreign workers would need to seek approval by a U.N. Security Council committee, with an exception given for existing contracts. North Korea's 50,000-100,000 overseas workers earn $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion each year, primarily in foreign currency that can be used to make overseas purchases.

The text of the resolution includes calls for further work to reduce tensions with the goal of a settlement and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — language that is in line with Chinese and Russian statements. The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that the United States would pay a price if the sanctions passed, and another test in the coming days would be characteristic of Pyongyang. These measures will do little to actually prevent North Korea from pursuing its nuclear deterrent — the country has numerous ways of sustaining itself amid economic hardship, as it proved during a massive famine that ran from 1994-1998. These new sanctions will be just as difficult to enforce as those in the past, and North Korea's timeline to gain a credible nuclear deterrent keeps getting shorter.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Imagine a world without islam on: September 11, 2017, 12:47:03 PM



I bet you can, if you try.
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Not enough white gangs so designation dropped by Portland on: September 11, 2017, 12:31:18 PM

Beyond stupid, but not unexpected.
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Surprise retirements on: September 10, 2017, 02:30:12 PM

More RINOs need to go.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / HACKERS GAIN DIRECT ACCESS TO US POWER GRID CONTROLS on: September 09, 2017, 01:01:27 PM
https://www.wired.com/story/hackers-gain-switch-flipping-access-to-us-power-systems/

HACKERS GAIN DIRECT ACCESS TO US POWER GRID CONTROLS

IN AN ERA of hacker attacks on critical infrastructure, even a run-of-the-mill malware infection on an electric utility’s network is enough to raise alarm bells. But the latest collection of power grid penetrations went far deeper: Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.
Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey—none of which Symantec will name—their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.
“There’s a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage ... being able to flip the switch on power generation,” says Eric Chien, a Symantec security analyst. “We’re now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the US, and there’s nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world.”

Never before have hackers been shown to have that level of control of American power company systems, Chien notes. The only comparable situations, he says, have been the repeated hacker attacks on the Ukrainian grid that twice caused power outages in the country in late 2015 and 2016, the first known hacker-induced blackouts.

The Usual Suspects
Security firms like FireEye and Dragos have pinned those Ukrainian attacks on a hacker group known as Sandworm, believed to be based in Russia. But Symantec stopped short of blaming the more recent attacks on any country or even trying to explain the hackers' motives. Chien says the company has found no connections between Sandworm and the intrusions it has tracked. Nor has it directly connected the Dragonfly 2.0 campaign to the string of hacker intrusions at US power companies—including a Kansas nuclear facility—known as Palmetto Fusion, which unnamed officials revealed in July and later tied to Russia.
Chien does note, however, that the timing and public descriptions of the Palmetto Fusion hacking campaigns match up with its Dragonfly findings. “It’s highly unlikely this is just coincidental,” Chien says. But he adds that while the Palmetto Fusion intrusions included a breach of a nuclear power plant, the most serious DragonFly intrusions Symantec tracked penetrated only non-nuclear energy companies, which have less strict separations of their internet-connected IT networks and operational controls.

As Symantec's report on the new intrusions details, the company has tracked the Dragonfly 2.0 attacks back to at least December of 2015, but found that they ramped up significantly in the first half of 2017, particularly in the US, Turkey, and Switzerland. Its analysis of those breaches found that they began with spearphishing emails that tricked victims into opening a malicious attachment—the earliest they found was a fake invitation to a New Year's Eve party—or so-called watering hole attacks that compromise a website commonly visited by targets to hack victims' computers.
Those attacks were designed to harvest credentials from victims and gain remote access to their machines. And in the most successful of those cases, including several instances in the US and one in Turkey, the attackers penetrated deep enough to screenshot the actual control panels for their targets' grid operations—what Symantec believes was a final step in positioning themselves to sabotage those systems at will. "That’s exactly what you’d do if you were to attempt sabotage," he says. "You’d take these sorts of screenshots to understand what you had to do next, like literally which switch to flip."
And if those hackers did gain the ability to cause a blackout in the US, why did they stop short? Chien reasons that they may have been seeking the option to cause an electric disruption but waiting for an opportunity that would be most strategically useful—say, if an armed conflict broke out, or potentially to issue a well-timed threat that would deter the US from using its own hacking capabilities against another foreign nation's critical infrastructure. "If these attacks are from a nation state," Chien says, "one would expect sabotage only in relation to a political event."

The Ukrainian Precedent
Not every group of hackers has shown that kind of restraint. Hackers now believed to be the Russian group Sandworm used exactly the sort of access to electricity control interfaces that Symantec describes Dragonfly having to shut off the power to a quarter million Ukrainians in December 2015. In one case they took over the remote help desk tool of a Ukrainian energy utility to hijack engineers' mouse controls and manually clicked through dozens of circuit breakers, turning off the power to tens of thousands of people as the engineers watched helplessly.

Operations like that one and a more automated blackout attack a year later have made Russia the first suspect in any grid-hacking incident. But Symantec notes that the hackers mostly used freely available tools and existing vulnerabilities in software rather than previously unknown weaknesses, making any attribution more difficult. They found some Russian-language strings of code in the malware used in the intrusions, but also some hints of French. They note that either language could be a "false flag" meant to throw off investigators.
In naming the hacking campaign Dragonfly, however, Symantec does tie it to an earlier, widely analyzed set of intrusions also aimed at the US and European energy sectors, which stretched from as early as 2010 to 2014. The hackers behind that series of attacks, called Dragonfly by Symantec but also known by the names Energetic Bear, Iron Liberty, and Koala, shared many of the same characteristics as the more recent Dragonfly 2.0 attacks, Symantec says, including infection methods, two pieces of malware used in the intrusions, and energy sector victims. And both the security firm Crowdstrike and the US government have linked those earlier Dragonfly attacks with the Kremlin—a report published by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI last December included the group on its list of known Russian-government hacking operations.

Symantec says it has assisted the power companies that experienced the deepest penetrations, helping them eject the hackers from their networks. The firm also sent warnings to more than a hundred companies about the Dragonfly 2.0 hackers, as well as to the Department of Homeland Security and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which is responsible for the stability of the US power grid. NERC didn't immediate answer WIRED's request for comment on Symantec's findings, but DHS spokesperson Scott McConnell wrote in a statement that "DHS is aware of the report and is reviewing it," and "at this time there is no indication of a threat to public safety."
But Symantec's Chien nonetheless warns any company that thinks it may be a target of the hackers to not only remove any malware it has identified as the group's calling card but also to refresh their staff's credentials. Given the hackers' focus on stealing those passwords, even flushing all malware out of a targeted network might not prevent hackers from gaining a new foothold if they still have employees' working logins.
The Dragonfly hackers remain active even today, Chien warns, and electric utilities should be on high alert. Given that the group has, in some form, been probing and penetrating energy utility targets for the past seven years, don't expect them to stop now.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glick: When Great Institutions Lie on: September 09, 2017, 12:50:54 PM


David Burge‏
@iowahawkblog

1. Identify a respected institution.
2. kill it.
3. gut it.
4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.
#lefties
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