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51  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: POTB: California arrests declining sharply on: April 01, 2017, 03:02:11 PM

You get paid the same if you are out pro-actively policing as if you are doing the minimum, but by doing the minimum you seriously reduce your risks of IAs, lawsuits and being prosecuted. Funny enough, cops respond to to disincentives and will do less because that's the system as it is now.
Hey, perhaps we should decriminalize violence and just treat it as a public health issue. Think of all the prison space we could free up!
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: snap glasses on: April 01, 2017, 01:07:28 PM

If one wore these their entire life one could record their entire life's experience.

At some point it will be required by law...
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Looks like the Russkis bought Podesta (and brother) on: April 01, 2017, 12:46:37 PM

I'm sure our credentialed, very professional journalists at the MSM will be all over this!
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: April 01, 2017, 12:32:28 PM
Agree that going after the Freedom Caucus is quite unwise.  These are the men who back Trump (against Ryan!) during the Pussy Grab Tapes brouhaha.

My understanding is that the other no votes by Reps were those in Dem heavy districts who feared the bill going too far (!)

It is starting to look like Trump's presidency will end up only having bought us time.

55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: April 01, 2017, 12:30:25 PM

"Does that mean that Obama was purposely undermining legal requirements of sovereign state governments as well as the Union?"

Official policy of the dems.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 01, 2017, 12:18:58 PM
"The dismantling of the democracy started as early as 1998 when civilian gun permits were revoked in the name of public safety but with the real purpose of eliminating armed resistance by the people. A second and even more powerful blow was the packing of the Supreme Court with Chavez acolytes. The method was simple, they doubled the number of magistrates and appointed friends to the new posts. Now there was a new balance of power, a seemingly democratic one but dictatorial in practice."

Good thing that could never happen here!

57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: High Life in Tijuana on: April 01, 2017, 12:14:30 PM

I hope the people that buy there have the money for an executive protection detail.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China Bans Veils and ‘Abnormal’ Beards in Western Province of Xinjiang on: April 01, 2017, 12:02:02 PM

China Bans Veils and ‘Abnormal’ Beards in Western Province of Xinjiang

China has banned wearing veils as part of a major crackdown on what it sees as religious extremism in the western province of Xinjiang.

The measure, which comes into effect Saturday, also bans "abnormal" beards and names, as well as other "extremist signs." Forcing others to wear veils is also forbidden.

Xinjiang, China's westernmost region, is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group which claims to face discrimination from the Han Chinese.

Image: Muslim Uighur woman in Xinjiang
A veiled Muslim Uighur woman walks passed a statue of Mao Zedong in China's Xinjiang Province. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
It is unclear what other forms of dress, if any, are outlawed under the legislation which was passed by the Xinjiang People's Congress last week. The policy is seen to discriminate against Muslims.

The definition of veil was vague but it appeared the niqab, which covers the face, and burka, which covers the face and body, would be included under the ban. It was unclear if the hijab, scarves which cover the head, are forbidden.

The law also failed to explain what constituted an "abnormal" beard or name, but suggested that they encouraged "religious fanaticism."

According to regional officials the policy harks back to speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014, in which he said religious extremism of "ethnic separatists" in Xinjiang threatened national security.

Addressing a party workshop on Xinjiang in Beijing Xi said separatists "severely damage the stability of Xinjiang, as well as national security with religious extremism as their ideological basis, violent terror as the main method, and national division as their ultimate goal."

Xinjiang, which borders Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, has long seen tensions between the native Turkic Muslim Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese.

In the last decade the province has been beset by violence which the government blames on Islamist radicals or separatists.

This is not the first time regional officials have tried to ban veils or beards. In 2014 the north-western city of Karamy banned people wearing head scarves, veils and long beards from boarding buses.
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Feds use of facial recognition technology on: April 01, 2017, 11:46:59 AM

Well, at least the FBI is apolitical, with impeccable leadership...  cry
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran sentences American citizens to death for mixed parties with booze on: April 01, 2017, 11:39:59 AM

It appears Iran does not have "Coexist" bumperstickers.
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: April 01, 2017, 11:37:46 AM
Endgame: Nuke Mecca and Medina flat. Kill anyone who still wants to fight after that.

Until we are ready to go there, this will go on.
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 30, 2017, 01:22:46 PM
Imagine if we had such a system for food distribution ?

Might help with the obesity rate.
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Alexander Hamiliton on replacing the Rule of Law with Force. on: March 30, 2017, 01:18:29 PM
The Foundation

"The instruments, by which [government] must act, are either the AUTHORITY of the Laws or FORCE. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; ... and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government, there is an end to LIBERTY." --Alexander Hamilton

Pretty much where we are today.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What tummy tucks can teach us about health care reform on: March 29, 2017, 10:36:45 AM

What tummy tucks can teach us about health care reform
Shawn Tully
May 23, 2013

Despite growing demand for cosmetic surgery, prices are rising more slowly than inflation.

Fortune -- We’re constantly hearing why the market forces that bring us great deals on cars, cellular phones, and houses can never work in health care.

One leading myth is that each patient is so different, and every procedure so tailored, that doctors can’t determine the cost, or tell patients the price, in advance. Hence, providing consumers with prices they can compare is totally impractical. Another holds that medicine is so sophisticated that consumers are incapable of choosing deals that combine low cost with the promise of excellent outcomes. A third is the concept that -- in contrast to every other area of the economy -- new technology inevitably makes everything more expensive.

Those oft-repeated beliefs are wrong. And the best evidence is the ultra-competitive field of cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive treatments.

A new paper from conservative think tank the National Center for Policy Analysis, shows just how the industry’s dynamics follow the patterns that prevail everywhere else. The author, economist Devon Herrick, collected and analyzed data from the annual statistical surveys of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the trends he has identified are extraordinary.

Over the past two decades, U.S. medical prices –– not total spending –– have been rising at around 5% per year, or twice the increase in the CPI. By contrast, prices for cosmetic surgery are inching forward at just 1.3% a year, or a full 1.2 percentage points lower than inflation.

The reason is that patients spend their own money on cosmetic treatments, and in doing so behave just like consumers everywhere else. They shop for the best deals and love doing it. In every other medical field, costs are largely covered by third parties, employers, insurers, or Medicare and Medicaid.

Consumers pay just 11 cents for every dollar in care they consume. The rewards for seeking the most favorable prices are nil.

It’s just the opposite in cosmetic surgery: Whatever you can save on a facelift or Botox treatment is money you get to spend on a vacation or your kid’s tuition. Doctors compete vigorously to win business using steep discounts. Websites such as Groupon (GRPN, -1.14%) and LivingSocial regularly offer “deals-of-the day” for cosmetic procedures. The average cost of Botox, Herrick found, dropped from $500 in 2007 to $365.

The growth in cosmetic procedures outstrips virtually every other area of health care. The volume of surgical procedures, such as facelifts and liposuction, is rising at 8% a year, while minimally invasive treatments like hair and spider vein removal with lasers are increasing 28% annually.

Yet the explosive demand has not been accompanied by big prices. The keen competition forces doctors to prize efficiency. Most of the procedures are conducted in clinics where costs are far lower than in hospital surgery rooms. The supply of practitioners and facilities is highly elastic -- a great argument for why allowing manpower to freely follow the market works in medicine just as everywhere else.

For example, nurses and aestheticians perform many of the minimally invasive treatments, including teeth-whitening and chemical peels. Physicians don’t need to be board certified plastic surgeons to do chin implants. And OB/GYNs are becoming experts in tummy tucks.

Doctors are also touting enhanced and advanced procedures to garner premium prices. A case in point is Lasik eye surgery. The going rate for basic Lasik was $2,100 per eye in 1999. By 2011, the price had dropped 18% to $1,630. So ophthalmologists developed Custom Wavefront, a laser procedure that better customizes the surgery to the exact shape of the patient’s eye.

Custom Wavefront commands a premium price of $2,151 per eye –– about the same rate standard Lasik cost over two decades ago. As Wavefront grows in popularity, it’s likely that competition will hold down its price, just as it did for basic Lasik. In eye care, it’s clear that new technology coupled with stiff competition leads to reasonable, and even declining prices, but still gives doctors an incentive to get at least a temporary premium through innovation.The market will work in medicine. Rules that lavishly subsidize demand and at the same time shackle supply are not the answer. Follow the lessons from facelifts and tummy tucks: The more consumers spend their own money, the more efficient health care will become.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Norks CAN hit US, including EMP on: March 29, 2017, 10:33:36 AM
I'm not advocating against the fall of the NorK power structure, I'm just pointing out that S. Korea and China dread the epic problems associated with that fall.

This has gone on too long. Take the hit, end the regime on humanitarian grounds, reunite the peninsula... done deal. This has gone on long enough.

Even peacefully, reunification of Korea would be an epic economic and humanitarian crisis.

Undoubtedly. It made me think of the differences between the States and Mexico; cultural, economic, legal... and the two are much more closely tied in many ways than North and South Koreas' are, and the fact that the US and Mexico being drastly different. Still, it does make one think that maybe it's time to let the milk spill, and clean it up.

I have been thinking since you posted this, and it occurs to me; "we're both law enforcement, and have been for a while. Would either of us fail to execute an arrest warrant forr a murderer, just because it would throw a family or town into economic chaos?"

Kim Jong-un is no different. If it was me, he'd be gone so fast his head would spin, and (to me), we'd all collectively pick up the pieces afterwards, whatever they may be.

Obviously, it would cost a great many lives, but it is no different than what Europe suffered after WWII.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: March 28, 2017, 01:07:49 PM
This has gone on too long. Take the hit, end the regime on humanitarian grounds, reunite the peninsula... done deal. This has gone on long enough.

Even peacefully, reunification of Korea would be an epic economic and humanitarian crisis.
67  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: OK son drops three home invaders with AR-15 on: March 27, 2017, 11:13:52 PM

68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tick tick tick on: March 27, 2017, 09:37:49 PM

#Invalid YouTube Link#
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Opposing the Carbon Tax on: March 27, 2017, 05:35:31 PM
Taxes are like government programs. Once in place, they only grow.

Tax carbon ($40?) per ton.  Pay back to all, $500 per capita per year at the start.

What don't you like?

1.  I don't trust it would be implemented as proposed.  For sure we will pay in more; I don't believe for a minute we would see most or all of it back.

2. If they instead promised to use the revenues to reduce the burden of other taxes, income taxes for example, I don't believe those rates will go down or stay down either.  New taxes lead to new spending.

3. The purpose is to reduce emissions.  If it succeeds, it is a declining and unreliable source of revenue.  Yet the proposal says it will increase over time.

4. I'm not persuaded that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, or that our federal government can accurately or honestly measure and assess the 'cost'.  Carbon dioxide is a trace element in the atmosphere, lees than one part per thousand, and yet is an essential building block of life.  I would be far more concerned if CO2 levels were declining.

5) The revenue stream creates its own moral hazard.  People will want more and more.  The government will want more and more, from what it wants less of.

6) In compromise, I propose we tax only the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere that did not originate in the atmosphere.
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kurds call for Independence on: March 27, 2017, 04:12:09 PM
I'm all for a Free Kurdistan. Turkey can pound sand.

WSJ: "A central goal for the U.S. should be to empower the Kurdistan Region. We are a stable, longstanding U.S. ally amid a sea of unrest. We’ve proved to be a valuable partner in the war on terrorism and share common values and a commitment to democracy."

By Aziz Ahmad
March 26, 2017 4:11 p.m. ET

Erbil, Iraq

‘I swear by God we are not brothers,” the Sunni Arab sheik shouted from the audience in response to a conservative Shiite lawmaker’s plea for brotherhood. The occasion was a conference last summer at the American University of Kurdistan, in Duhok. It was the two men’s first encounter since the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to Islamic State in June 2014.

Conference organizers had hoped for reconciliation, but there was little sign of it. “We were never brothers,” the sheik said. “We’ve always been afraid of each other.” His candor drew nods from the Sunni men seated in front rows. The speakers and audience members condemned one another as failures and exchanged blame for the army’s flight, for embracing Islamic State, and for perpetrating massacres.

Sectarian distrust—a problem that has plagued Iraq for much of its modern history and has been amplified since Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003—was laid bare that day. A country that should have been brought together under the adversity of Islamic State’s rampage seemed to be further apart than ever, with divisions extending far beyond Mosul.

Almost a year later, a fragile coalition of Kurdish, Arab and American forces is slowly advancing in Islamic State’s primary stronghold in Mosul. But retaking the city will not unify Iraq. The current Shiite-led political discourse in Baghdad is synonymous with the denial of rights to minorities, including Kurds. Conversely, in Mosul a Sunni Arab majority marginalizes minorities, who in turn accuse Sunnis of supporting ISIS.

Sinjar, west of Mosul, is a case in point. When I visited last year I saw no sign of peaceful coexistence. The local security chief, a Yazidi, told me that Sunni Arabs from his village, Kojo, had joined ISIS’s brutal terror against the Yazidis, a religious minority. Men from the al-Metuta tribe helped kill “hundreds,” he said, including 68 members of his own family. “Of course I remember them,” he said. “Those Arab men had a hand in the honor of our women. It’s not possible to live together again.”

In meetings with Iraqi officials and community leaders, I’ve seen how Islamic State’s campaign has aggravated animosity across tribal, ethnic and religious lines. Without a political track to address tensions between Sunnis and Shiites or Kurds and Arabs, the day-after scenario remains perilous.

Addressing the problems begins by restoring trust. For Mosul, Baghdad is already on the wrong foot. The offensive against ISIS includes a coalition of Shiite militias, despite strong protests from Mosul’s predominantly Sunni provincial council. The new formula must tackle minorities’ fears of marginalization by granting local autonomy, including to Christians persecuted by ISIS militants, and by implementing laws already in place to give Sunnis a stake and isolate extremists.

We Kurds can help. We make up a third of the province’s population. For over a year, our Peshmerga fighters were poised for an assault on Mosul, but our persistent calls for a political agreement were ignored. An agreement during the military campaign is still necessary to prevent intercommunal conflict.

Such an agreement should outline a path toward governance and offer more than a Shiite-centric alternative. In parallel, there must be an effort to demobilize Shiite militias formed in the aftermath of the war by engaging the Iraqi Shiite spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for a religious decree. It should also call for the groups’ withdrawal from areas liberated by the Peshmerga.

Baghdad should not impose solutions. It should instead lead talks with Turkey and Iran to defuse regional tensions that intersect in Mosul. Iraq’s problem with Turkey can be solved by ending Baghdad’s payments to the anti-Ankara Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as PKK, in Sinjar and demanding the group’s withdrawal, in line with calls from local officials and the provincial council.

More broadly, once the fight is over, there needs to be a political reckoning by Kurds and Arabs about how the Iraqi state can go forward. It’s too late to salvage the post-2003 project; the country has segregated itself into armed enclaves. The Kurdish people suffered a litany of abuses, including genocide, under successive Sunni regimes. More recently, despite a shared history, the Shiite-led government reneged on promises for partnership and revenue sharing. It suspended Kurdistan’s budget and prevents us still from buying weapons. Given that experience, Kurdish loyalty to an Iraqi identity remains nonexistent.

For us, complete separation is the only alternative. Our pursuit of independence is about charting a better course from Iraq’s conceptual failure. The path forward should begin from a simple truth: Iraq has already fallen apart, and the country will be better off realigned on the parties’ own terms.

A central goal for the U.S. should be to empower the Kurdistan Region. We are a stable, longstanding U.S. ally amid a sea of unrest. We’ve proved to be a valuable partner in the war on terrorism and share common values and a commitment to democracy.

The advance on Mosul represents the turn of a chapter that transcends Iraq’s three-year war. It represents a moment of reckoning and an opportunity to consolidate the Kurdistan Region on terms that will de-escalate conflict and safeguard its peoples.

Mr. Ahmad is an assistant to the chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

Appeared in the Mar. 27, 2017, print edition.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Putin endorses Le Pen on: March 27, 2017, 04:11:12 PM
March 26, 2017 3:46 p.m. ET

Marine Le Pen made a surprise visit to the Kremlin Friday, and Vladimir Putin’s warm reception left little doubt about Moscow’s choice to win the French Presidential election in a month.

The French National Front leader was looking for at least a de facto Kremlin endorsement a month from the first round of voting, and she received it with news footage that showed the Russian strongman smiling next to her.

“We do not want to influence events in any way,” Mr. Putin said, and how would anyone get that idea? Pro-Kremlin news sites merely published reports that the Kremlin had pledged to “help” Ms. Le Pen’s cash-strapped campaign before correcting the stories and deleting the tweets. In 2014 the National Front received a $10 million loan from a Kremlin-linked bank.

Ms. Le Pen returned the public admiration, saying Mr. Putin represents a “new vision” of conservative nationalism and sovereignty along with Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That’s an insult to Messrs. Trump and Modi, who have won fair elections. She also called on Paris and Moscow to join forces to combat “globalization and Islamic fundamentalism.”

Ms. Le Pen made clear that she’d pursue a policy of appeasement toward Russian aggression against the countries that live in Moscow’s shadow. Sovereignty is sacred to her—unless you’re Georgian or Ukrainian. “I was one of the few politicians in France who were defending their own point of view on Ukraine that coincided with that of Russia,” she said at the Russian Parliament.

She went on to denounce Ukraine’s elected government using rhetoric that would make the producers at Russia Today blush: “We are forced to deal with a government that came to power illegally, as a result of the Maidan revolution, and now bombs the population in Donetsk and Luhansk. This is a war crime.” She vowed to fight European sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and proxy invasion of eastern Ukraine.

Ms. Le Pen has long been a Putin apologist, but the difference is that now she has a plausible path to the Élysée Palace. Being open to negotiations with Mr. Putin is one thing, excusing and endorsing Russian imperialism another. If she’s elected, Mr. Putin will have an overt fifth columnist in the heart of NATO.  

(MARC:  Forgive me if I have this wrong, but is France in NATO?)
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / THE CIVIL WAR IS HERE on: March 27, 2017, 04:02:18 PM

The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule.
March 27, 2017  Daniel Greenfield 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

A civil war has begun.

This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.

The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left.

It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning. 

It was for total unilateral executive authority under Obama. And now it’s for states unilaterally deciding what laws they will follow. (As long as that involves defying immigration laws under Trump, not following them under Obama.) It was for the sacrosanct authority of the Senate when it held the majority. Then it decried the Senate as an outmoded institution when the Republicans took it over.

It was for Obama defying the orders of Federal judges, no matter how well grounded in existing law, and it is for Federal judges overriding any order by Trump on any grounds whatsoever. It was for Obama penalizing whistleblowers, but now undermining the government from within has become “patriotic”.

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.

After losing Congress, the left consolidated its authority in the White House. After losing the White House, the left shifted its center of authority to Federal judges and unelected government officials. Each defeat led the radicalized Democrats to relocate from more democratic to less democratic institutions.

This isn’t just hypocrisy. That’s a common political sin. Hypocrites maneuver within the system. The left has no allegiance to the system. It accepts no laws other than those dictated by its ideology.

Democrats have become radicalized by the left. This doesn’t just mean that they pursue all sorts of bad policies. It means that their first and foremost allegiance is to an ideology, not the Constitution, not our country or our system of government. All of those are only to be used as vehicles for their ideology.

 That’s why compromise has become impossible.

Our system of government was designed to allow different groups to negotiate their differences. But those differences were supposed to be based around finding shared interests. The most profound of these shared interests was that of a common country based around certain civilizational values. The left has replaced these Founding ideas with radically different notions and principles. It has rejected the primary importance of the country. As a result it shares little in the way of interests or values.

Instead it has retreated to cultural urban and suburban enclaves where it has centralized tremendous amounts of power while disregarding the interests and values of most of the country. If it considers them at all, it is convinced that they will shortly disappear to be replaced by compliant immigrants and college indoctrinated leftists who will form a permanent demographic majority for its agenda.

But it couldn’t wait that long because it is animated by the conviction that enforcing its ideas is urgent and inevitable. And so it turned what had been a hidden transition into an open break.

In the hidden transition, its authority figures had hijacked the law and every political office they held to pursue their ideological agenda. The left had used its vast cultural power to manufacture a consensus that was slowly transitioning the country from American values to its values and agendas. The right had proven largely impotent in the face of a program which corrupted and subverted from within.

The left was enormously successful in this regard. It was so successful that it lost all sense of proportion and decided to be open about its views and to launch a political power struggle after losing an election.

The Democrats were no longer being slowly injected with leftist ideology. Instead the left openly took over and demanded allegiance to open borders, identity politics and environmental fanaticism. The exodus of voters wiped out the Democrats across much of what the left deemed flyover country.

The left responded to democratic defeats by retreating deeper into undemocratic institutions, whether it was the bureaucracy or the corporate media, while doubling down on its political radicalism. It is now openly defying the outcome of a national election using a coalition of bureaucrats, corporations, unelected officials, celebrities and reporters that are based out of its cultural and political enclaves.

It has responded to a lost election by constructing sanctuary cities and states thereby turning a cultural and ideological secession into a legal secession. But while secessionists want to be left alone authoritarians want everyone to follow their laws. The left is an authoritarian movement that wants total compliance with its dictates with severe punishments for those who disobey.

The left describes its actions as principled. But more accurately they are ideological. Officials at various levels of government have rejected the authority of the President of the United States, of Congress and of the Constitution because those are at odds with their radical ideology. Judges have cloaked this rejection in law. Mayors and governors are not even pretending that their actions are lawful.

The choices of this civil war are painfully clear.

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.

But we cannot have both.

Some civil wars happen when a political conflict can’t be resolved at the political level. The really bad ones happen when an irresolvable political conflict combines with an irresolvable cultural conflict.

That is what we have now.

The left has made it clear that it will not accept the lawful authority of our system of government. It will not accept the outcome of elections. It will not accept these things because they are at odds with its ideology and because they represent the will of large portions of the country whom they despise.

The question is what comes next.

The last time around growing tensions began to explode in violent confrontations between extremists on both sides. These extremists were lauded by moderates who mainstreamed their views. The first Republican president was elected and rejected. The political tensions led to conflict and then civil war.

The left doesn’t believe in secession. It’s an authoritarian political movement that has lost democratic authority. There is now a political power struggle underway between the democratically elected officials and the undemocratic machinery of government aided by a handful of judges and local elected officials.

What this really means is that there are two competing governments; the legal government and a treasonous anti-government of the left. If this political conflict progresses, agencies and individuals at every level of government will be asked to demonstrate their allegiance to these two competing governments. And that can swiftly and explosively transform into an actual civil war.

There is no sign that the left understands or is troubled by the implications of the conflict it has initiated. And there are few signs that Democrats properly understand the dangerous road that the radical left is drawing them toward. The left assumes that the winners of a democratic election will back down rather than stand on their authority. It is unprepared for the possibility that democracy won’t die in darkness.

Civil wars end when one side is forced to accept the authority of the other. The left expects everyone to accept its ideological authority. Conservatives expect the left to accept Constitutional authority. The conflict is still political and cultural. It’s being fought in the media and within the government. But if neither side backs down, then it will go beyond words as both sides give contradictory orders.

The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws and its elections. Now their treason is coming to a head. They are engaged in a struggle for power against the government. That’s not protest. It’s not activism. The old treason of the sixties has come of age. A civil war has begun.

This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dilbert Scott Adams on: March 27, 2017, 03:59:50 PM

The left always pushes both the Hitler and the incompetent themes for any republican president.
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The twit Chelsea tweets on: March 27, 2017, 03:42:14 PM

Isn't she about to get a lifetime achievement award?
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why Europe has more jihadis than US on: March 27, 2017, 03:39:28 PM

Europe has 44 million muslims, the US has 3.3 million muslims.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe and pre-emptive dhimmitude on: March 26, 2017, 07:57:53 PM
Is that fair GM?  Are they not doing what we here have asked of them?

Did we ask them to do some PR damage control for the religion of peace? I don't recall asking for that.
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reality hits The Wall on: March 26, 2017, 07:31:36 PM

Planting landmines instead will suffice. We couldn't possibly building a wall obstructing a view almost no one goes to see.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Brit Muslim women condemn on: March 26, 2017, 07:28:14 PM

Have they planned out the next vigil for the next jihadist attack?
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pravda on the Beach on the Huntington Beach scuffle on: March 26, 2017, 07:26:06 PM

The black bloc douches better get used to people fighting back. This will of course, escalate. Bill Ayers is tanned, rested and ready.
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Make me a German on: March 26, 2017, 04:31:07 PM

Perhaps they should try that on these "Germans".
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: An American in Germany on: March 26, 2017, 03:01:29 PM

Yeah, this article will be very out of date soon.
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Armed lefty demo on: March 26, 2017, 02:55:44 PM

Sooner rather than later.

83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Rock Star U2's Bono "Preaches" Entrepreneurial Capitalism on: March 25, 2017, 10:03:43 PM
If you care about the poor, you want free markets!

Bono: 'Capitalism Takes More People Out of Poverty Than Aid'

U2 frontman Bono, who is also an investor, philanthropist, and Christian told students at Georgetown University that real economic growth, not government aid, is what lifts people and countries out of poverty long-term, emphasizing that "entrepreneurial capitalism" is the key to prosperity.

“Some of Africa is rising, and some of Africa is stuck," said Bono while speaking at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business to about 700 students.  "The question is whether the rising bit will pull the rest of Africa up, or whether the other Africa will weigh the continent down. Which will it be? The stakes here aren’t just about them."

"Imagine for a second this last global recession [in 2007-2009] but without the economic growth of China and India, without the hundreds of millions of newly minted middle class folks who now buy American and European goods – imagine that," said Bono.  "Think about the last 5 years."

Then, holding his forehead with his right hand, Bono, who has an estimated wealth of $600 million, said, "Rock star preaches capitalism—wow. Sometimes I hear myself and I just cannot believe it."

"But commerce is real," he said.  "That’s what you’re about here. It’s real. Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid -- of course, we know that.”

Bono made those remarks on Nov. 12, 2012
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: March 23, 2017, 11:26:15 PM

The media would never lie to us. They are Professional Journalists! With credentials!
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, London terrorist identified on: March 23, 2017, 08:54:44 PM
London terrorist identified.  His name is Lars and he believed to be a Lutheran extremist.

Correction, his name is Khalid and he is believed to be an Islamic extremist.

Wait, I have been told Islam is a religion of peace, are you sure there is no Lutheran connection?
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 22, 2017, 10:11:09 PM
The rinos love to act as the Washington Generals as the dems play as the Globetrotters.

Yes they do.... I'm curious what the demographic particulars are of their individual districts look like.

I almost don't even have to look it up... but since I'm bored and the wife isn't home...  grin grin grin

I don't think it's the demographics as much as it's the DC uniparty power structure.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 22, 2017, 10:01:41 PM
The rinos love to act as the Washington Generals as the dems play as the Globetrotters.

The problem is with the Republicans

major majority and still probably can't get bill passed .  OF course *every single crat* is against.

I would like for it to pass for the sake of the party .  i don't love the bill but we need to get this first step passed.

As far as my point of view as a physician I have no care one way or another though .  It is all back and forth BS with me plodding on.

There sure are a lot of "Republicans" (cough)... from Blue (or almost Blue) states in the list of 29 who don't support the rest of the GOP.

Here are the House Republicans who are either against the bill or leaning against it. NBC News will update this list:

Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Mark Meadows (R-NC)

Justin Amash (R-MI)

Dave Brat (R-VA)

Raul Labrador (R-ID)

Mo Brooks (R-AL)

Rob Wittman (R-VA)

Thomas Massie (R-KY)

Tom Garrett (R-VA)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

Leonard Lance (R-NJ)

Mark Amodei (R-NV)

Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)

Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

John Katko (R-NY)

Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

Walter Jones (R-NC)

Ted Budd (R-NC)

Mark Sanford (R-SC)

Rick Crawford (R-AR)

Ted Yoho (R-FL)

Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)

Warren Davidson (R-OH)

Paul Gosar (R-AZ)

Rod Blum (R-Iowa)

Andy Harris (R-MD)

Dan Donovan (R-NY)

Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)

David Young (R-IA)

Bold being solidly BLUE, Underlined being generally Blue except for the last presidential election, and italicized being true battleground states, showing at least 14 very problamatic people on that list that are either bold or underlined.

88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: A President's Credibility on: March 22, 2017, 09:21:28 PM

March 21, 2017 7:28 p.m. ET

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.

Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

Appeared in the Mar. 22, 2017, print edition.

The WSJ morphed so slowly into the Huffington Post, I almost didn't notice.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: March 22, 2017, 02:54:54 AM
I heard the Brits are doing the same thing , , ,

From years ago, I can tell you any electronic device is 3/4 of an IED.
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Demographics on: March 21, 2017, 05:30:03 PM
There is a difference between bringing in lawful immigrants to be Americans and open borders where illegal invaders create colonies in your country.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WaPo: No lap tops on certain airlines on: March 21, 2017, 05:26:54 PM

Waiting for the 9th circus to rule this unconstitutional as well.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cinco de Mayo cancelled in Philadlephis on: March 21, 2017, 01:41:34 PM

So much winning...
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sham Wow Guy Here - But Wait... There's More! on: March 21, 2017, 01:40:45 PM
He also won the peeing for distance women's championship.

Transgender Wins International Women’s Weightlifting Title

"Laurel Hubbard, a 39 year-old transgender who was born male, won her first international women’s weightlifting title in Australia breaking four national records in the process.

Hubbard beat the competition by 19 kilograms.

The New Zealand Herald reported:

Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has dominated her first major competition, taking out the Australian International in Melbourne on a night she made history as the first transgender athlete to represent New Zealand.

Hubbard, 39, won the women’s over 90kg division at the Melbourne event, setting four unofficial national records in the process. Hubbard lifted a combined total of 268kg – 19kg better than silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa.

Australia’s Kaitlyn Fassina claimed the bronze medal with 223kg.

Hubbard looked visibly emotional as she lined up behind dais awaiting the official medal presentation. But she kept the tears at bay, smiling and waving as she stood atop the podium.

Earlier this month the Herald revealed Hubbard had been selected to make her international debut at the competition after usurping Rio Olympian Tracey Lambrechs at the top of the division."
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 21, 2017, 10:09:04 AM
Doug's Federal Healthcare Reform Proposal, March 2017:
"Powers, such as anything to do with the people's individual and family healthcare, that are not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

How are the various political entities supposed to wet their beaks with this? I see no opportunity for graft or rentseeking. This is madness!
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I Denounce the Shameful Slanders Against Sebastian Gorka, Friend of Israel on: March 21, 2017, 10:06:08 AM

I Denounce the Shameful Slanders Against Sebastian Gorka, Friend of Israel

"My father walked Jewish classmates to school to protect them from the anti-Semites during the war," Dr. Sebastian Gorka (pictured above with the author) told me in Washington yesterday. He is still astonished by the allegations in left-wing media (and particularly Jewish media) that his father--a hero of the anti-fascist and anti-Communist resistance in Hungary--was a tied up with pro-Nazi elements in Hungary, and that he himself is linked to an Hungarian fascist organization.

Like the campaign of slander against his White House colleague Steve Bannon, these are lies from the whole cloth. As Liel Leibovitz (a liberal journalist at Tablet Magazine) wrote March 16: "I’d like to reach out to my friends and colleagues across town and ask, with clear eyes and a full heart: Have you lost your minds?"

Why the Big Lie About Steve Bannon?
There was an anti-Communist organization called Vitézi Rend, destroyed by the Communist government in the 1950s. Gorka’s father, Paul, was a dedicated member of the anti-Communist underground, and had risked his life to organize the Hungarian resistance and deliver vital information about the Soviets to western intelligence agencies, including the MI6. He was eventually arrested, badly tortured, and spent two years in solitary confinement and some more in forced labor in the coal mines before eventually escaping to England. The elder Gorka received a medal from the old Vitézi Rend and wears it on formal occasions to honor his father. After Communism fell in 1989 a number of new organizations called themselves Vitézi Rend, and some of them harbor anti-Semites. By this obtuse chain of indirect association, Sebastian Gorka--according to the liberal media--must also be an anti-Semite.

All the booze in Georgetown couldn't have gotten Sen. Joseph McCarthy drunk enough to spin a dumb story like this one. As a writer, teacher and Fox News contributor, Dr. Gorka has been in the public eye for years. He is a fierce enemy of radical Islamic terrorism and a dedicated friend of Israel and the Jewish people. He has made this clear in countless public statements, for example, this one in the New English Review March 3. Dr. Gorka said:

There is no greater partner of the United States in the Middle East. We are very close and we help the Jordanians, Egypt, UAE  redressing and improving the very  negative relationship that was established between the White House under the Obama administration and Egyptian President Sisi’s government. Israel, as a beacon of democracy and stability in the Middle East, is our closest friend in the region and the President has been explicit in that again and again So it would be difficult  to overestimate just how important Israel is not only to America’s interest in the region but also to the broader stability of the Middle East.
Everyone in the Israel advocacy community in Washington knows Dr. Gorka's strong commitment to the Jewish State.

As Congressman Trent Franks, the chairman of the Israel Allies Caucus in the House of Representatives, stated in a February 27 statement, "I have followed the recent press and social media attacks against Dr. Sebastian Gorka and am compelled to respond with disgust at the attempt to libel this American patriot. Most disturbing of all is the attempt to portray Dr. Gorka in any way as anti-Semitic. Having called upon his expertise on Counterterrorism repeatedly in Congress and used his analysis to inform our work, I can attest that Dr. Gorka is the staunchest friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

The liberals at The Forward and other fake-news media should hang their heads in shame. Anti-Semitism is a serious business. We remember our dead at the hands of Jew-haters, from Pharaoh up to Hitler and Hamas. A false accusation of anti-Semitism dishonors their memory; it is what religious Jews call a hillul haShem, a desecration of the name of God.

Last year I denounced the "big lie" about Steve Bannon, who is one of the most philo-Semitic Gentiles I have ever met. I am disgusted that the same slander has been directed against Dr. Gorka. Israel is fortunate to have friends like Dr. Gorka advising the president. I personally am fortunate to know Dr. Gorka. The slanders directed at him are shameful and inexcusable.
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: March 19, 2017, 01:46:33 PM
Am I to understand that the conservatives on this forum are willing to excuse Russian interference into the U.S. presidential election? If I am reading this correctly, consider me stunned.

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

Glenn Greenwald
March 16 2017, 8:41 a.m.
FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Technology (nano, 3D, robots, etc) on: March 19, 2017, 06:40:51 AM
"This will make for an interesting evolution in hijacking trucks and cyberterror."

 shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked

Anything attached to the internet can be hacked (and will be hacked), and criminals and terrorists are almost always on the cutting edge of technology. I bet we will soon see automated trucks leave a port full of goods, and then arrive with an empty cargo container, or their GPS transponder will shut down and most of the truck won't be recovered at all.

Imagine a cyberterrorist using one of these trucks in a crowded area on a holiday. Responding officers can't shoot the driver to stop the vehicle.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Driverless Trucks are coming on: March 18, 2017, 03:03:18 PM
This will make for an interesting evolution in hijacking trucks and cyberterror.

Self-Driving-Truck Startups Race to Take On Uber
They see the trucking industry—short of drivers and squeezed by rules limiting hours—as ripe for change
By Tim Higgins
March 2, 2017 10:00 a.m. ET

As a legal dispute ensnares Uber Technologies Inc.’s robot-trucking division, several startups are showing off their own efforts toward self-driving delivery vehicles that would reinvent the freight business.

While much of the autonomous-vehicle attention has centered on the race to embed the technology in everyday cars—involving auto makers such as General Motors Co. and BMW AG and tech giants such as Uber and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo—another school of thought is that trucking—whether it’s long-haul or across town—is ripe for change.

The industry is struggling to find drivers, regulations governing working hours are squeezing profits, and some artificial-intelligence experts believe computer brains can more easily master highways than complicated city streets.

“It’s an industry that has clear need, where there is a substantial driver shortage, particularly of drivers that are experienced who are safe and talented,” said Alex Rodrigues, a 21-year-old robotics expert, last week. He was sitting in the back of a royal blue Peterbilt truck, retrofitted by his company, San Francisco-based Embark, with two laser sensors and cameras to test self-driving software on public roads in Nevada and on a closed course in California.

Embark and fellow startups Starsky Robotics and Drive AI all emerged in the past week with details about their plans. Their engineers, bearing top artificial-intelligence pedigrees, are seeking a way to replace drivers in commercial fleets.

The idea seemed novel a year ago when Anthony Levandowski quit as a founder of Google’s self-driving-car project—now known as Waymo at Alphabet—to found Otto, a company focused on self-driving semi-trucks. Major manufacturers such as Daimler AG and Volvo AB had been working on the technology, but Mr. Levandowski brought a Silicon Valley swagger. One of his early stunts was transporting a trailer of Budweiser in Colorado.

    ‘It’s an industry that has clear need.’
    —Embark’s Alex Rodrigues

Uber quickly acquired Otto in a deal valued at as much as $680 million. Last week, Waymo filed a lawsuit accusing Uber of using trade secrets allegedly taken by Mr. Levandowski and other former Waymo employees to design a laser sensor used for navigation. Uber said it would review the matter carefully.

“This is a crazy, competitive space and there’s a lot of money on the line,” Starsky co-founder Stefan Seltz-Axmacher said. “One of our investors said it as, ‘We have the opportunity to build intergenerational wealth.’”

San Francisco-based Starsky, which has raised $3.75 million, aims to work with freight companies by year-end to test trucks without human occupants on highways in states such as Michigan, Nevada or Florida. In the coming months, the company plans to conduct self-driving tests with humans on board, similar to the way Waymo has conducted more than 2.5 million miles of testing on public streets. But Starsky wants to start hauling real loads so it can collect revenue.’s founders believe around-town delivery vehicles—limited to specific areas—and other commercial fleets could be an easier way to introduce the technology. The Mountain View, Calif., company first got attention about a year ago when it received a permit to test in California. It expects to announce pilot projects later this year.

“The question we want to figure out is which routes are the most valuable to start automating,” said co-founder Carol Reiley.
Uber’s Otto unit showed off its self-driving technology last October with a 120-mile beer run in Colorado; a human took over for the on and off ramps. has a crowded office in a garage near Waymo where it has equipped four cars with sensors and cameras to test its software. The team, which emerged from Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, aims to reduce the amount of computing power required to run its software in a car to that inside a smartphone.

Embark isn’t disclosing how much it has raised, but backers include venture firm Maven Ventures, one of the early investors in San Francisco-based Cruise Automation—acquired by GM last year in a deal valued at up to $1 billion.

Embark’s Mr. Rodrigues arrived in Silicon Valley about a year ago, having helped build the first autonomous vehicle to drive on Canadian roads while a student at the University of Waterloo. It was while stuck on a California highway after his car broke down that he was struck by the idea of applying the technology to trucking.

“There was a truck every six seconds,” he said. “Most of these trucks had ‘drivers wanted’ signs.”

Write to Tim Higgins at

99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Whole POINT of the Internet of Things Is So Big Brother Can Spy On You on: March 18, 2017, 03:01:58 PM

The Whole POINT of the Internet of Things Is So Big Brother Can Spy On You
Posted on March 15, 2017 by WashingtonsBlog
No One Wants the Internet of Things …

No one wants the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Washington Post noted in 2014:

No one really wants a “smart” washing machine ….


If you’re wondering who would want to buy an Internet-enabled washing machine, you’re not alone. Even Whirlpool’s not so sure.

“We’re a little bit of a hammer looking for a nail right now,” Chris Quatrochi, Whirlpool’s global director of user experience and connectivity, said last week at a conference  hosted by tech blog Gigaom. The buyers of web-connected washers, more than a year after launch, are still “not at all widespread,” he said. “Trying to understand exactly the value proposition that you provide to the consumer,” he said, “has been a little bit of a challenge.”

It’s a big concession from one of the most notable champions of the buzzy “Internet of Things” ….

As Digital Trends blogger John Sciacca put it: “Have we gotten so pathetically lame that you need to be notified by an email that your laundry is done?”

Wired jokes:

Now it seems every kind of thing from dishwashers to doorknobs require an Internet connection, since after all, we all know our dishwashers have long harbored a pent up desire for scintillating conversation with our doorknobs.

… Except Big Brother

The government is already spying on us through spying on us through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters (see this), television, doll, and in many other ways.

The CIA wants to spy on you through your dishwasher and other “smart” appliances. Slate reported in 2012:

Watch out: the CIA may soon be spying on you—through your beloved, intelligent household appliances, according to Wired.

In early March, at a meeting for the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, CIA Director David Petraeus reportedly noted that “smart appliances” connected to the Internet could someday be used by the CIA to track individuals. If your grocery-list-generating refrigerator knows when you’re home, the CIA could, too, by using geo-location data from your wired appliances, according to SmartPlanet.

“The current ‘Internet of PCs’ will move, of course, toward an ‘Internet of Things’—of devices of all types—50 to 100 billion of which will be connected to the Internet by 2020,” Petraeus said in his speech. He continued:

Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters—all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, low cost, and high-power computing—the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.

Last year, U.S. Intelligence Boss James Clapper said that the government will spy on Americans through IoT:

In the future, intelligence services might use the [IoT] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.

Yves Smith commented at the time:

Oh, come on. The whole point of the IoT is spying. The officialdom is just trying to persuade you that it really is a big consumer benefit to be able to tell your oven to start heating up before you get home.

Wired comments:

Why do you think there are so many buckets of cash pouring into the IoT hope-to-be-a-market? The Big Corporations don’t expect to make a big profit on the devices themselves, oh no. News flash: the Big Money in IoT is in Big Data. As in, Big Data about everything those sensors are learning about you and your nasty habits that you hide from your neighbors.

The value of Big Data, after all, aren’t the data themselves. “Fred’s car told Fred’s thermostat to turn on Fred’s hot tub” doesn’t interest anybody but Fred and perhaps his hot date (if he’s lucky). The value in Big Data, you see, are in the patterns. What shows you watch. What apps you use. Which ads influence your buying behavior. The more IoT you have, the more Big Data they collect, and the more Big Data they collect, the more they know about how you behave. And once they know how you behave, they know how to control how you behave.

The Guardian notes:

As a category, the internet of things is useful to eavesdroppers both official and unofficial for a variety of reasons, the main one being the leakiness of the data.


There are a wide variety of devices that can be used to listen in, and some compound devices (like cars) that have enough hardware to form a very effective surveillance suite all by themselves.


There’s no getting around the fundamental creepiness of the little pinhole cameras in new smart TVs (and Xbox Kinects, and laptops, and cellphones), but the less-remarked-on aspect – the audio – may actually be more pertinent to anyone with a warrant trying to listen in. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society observed that Samsung’s voice recognition software in its smart TVs had to routinely send various commands “home” to a server where they were processed for relevant information; their microphones are also always on, in case you’re trying to talk to them. Televisions are also much easier to turn on than they used to be: a feature creeping into higher-end TVs called “wake on LAN” allows users to power on televisions over the internet (this is already standard on many desktop PCs).


A cyberattack on toymaker VTech exposed the personal data of 6.4m children last year; it was a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of kids on the web. But technology waits for no man. Mattel’s Hello Barbie doll works the same way the Nest and Samsung voice operators do, by passing kids’ interactions into the cloud and returning verbal responses through a speaker in the doll. HereO manufactures a watch for kids with a GPS chip in it; Fisher-Price makes a WiFi-enabled stuffed animal. Security researchers at Rapid7 looked at both and found that they were easy to compromise on company databases, and in the case of the watch, use to locate the wearer.

In a separate article, the Guardian pointed out:

Just a few weeks ago, a security researcher found that Google’s Nest thermostats were leaking users’ zipcodes over the internet. There’s even an entire search engine for the internet of things called Shodan that allows users to easily search for unsecured webcams that are broadcasting from inside people’s houses without their knowledge.

While people voluntarily use all these devices, the chances are close to zero that they fully understand that a lot of their data is being sent back to various companies to be stored on servers that can either be accessed by governments or hackers.


Author and persistent Silicon Valley critic Evgeny Morozov summed up the entire problem with the internet of things and “smart” technology in a tweet last week:

In case you are wondering what “smart” – as in “smart city” or “smart home” – means:


(And see Amazon Echo and the internet of things that spy on you.)

In the wake of the CIA leaks showing that the agency can remotely turn on our tvs and spy on us using a “fake off” mode so that it looks like the power is off, Tech Dirt wrote in an article called CIA Leaks Unsurprisingly Show The Internet Of Broken Things Is A Spy’s Best Friend:

The security and privacy standards surrounding the internet of (broken) things sit somewhere between high comedy and dogshit.

As security expert Bruce Schneier points out, the entire concept of the IoT is wildly insecure and vulnerable to hacking.  Indeed, Iot is so insecure that it allowed a massive internet outage.

The highest-level NSA whistleblower in history (William Binney) – the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, and managed thousands of NSA employees – reviewed an earlier version of this post, and told Washington’s Blog:

Yep, that summarizes it fairly well. It does not deal with industry or how they will use the data; but, that will probably be an extension of what they do now. This whole idea of monitoring electronic devices is objectionable.

If forced to buy that stuff, I will do my best to disconnect these monitoring devices also look for equipment on the market that is not connected in any way.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Brazille and Hillary = partners in crime on: March 18, 2017, 10:51:26 AM
Just as much a lying conniving deceitful crook as her boss lady Hillary,

"I am sorry" (NOT for cheating in the debate) for being so stupid as to leave an evidence trial in the form of emails that proves she cheated:

 They have no shame.  And as they always do they simply get away with it by being moved around the political network within the criminal Democratic organization / machine.

The Russians made her do it.
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