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[VIDEO] BUT I AM ALWAYS RIGHT! How the Internet Tricks You Into Thinking You’re Always Right

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John Tierney: The Tyranny of the Administrative State 

Illustration: Ken Fallin

Illustration: Ken Fallin

Government by unelected experts isn’t all that different from the ‘royal prerogative’ of 17th-century England, argues constitutional scholar Philip Hamburger.

Like the blind men in the fable who try to describe an elephant by feeling different parts of its body, they’re not perceiving the whole problem: the enormous rogue beast known as the administrative state.

Sometimes called the regulatory state or the deep state, it is a government within the government, run by the president and the dozens of federal agencies that assume powers once claimed only by kings. In place of royal decrees, they issue rules and send out “guidance” letters like the one from an Education Department official in 2011 that stripped college students of due process when accused of sexual misconduct.

Unelected bureaucrats not only write their own laws, they also interpret these laws and enforce them in their own courts with their own judges. All this is in blatant violation of the Constitution, says Mr. Hamburger, 60, a constitutional scholar and winner of the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Prize last year for his scholarly 2014 book, “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

“Essentially, much of the Bill of Rights has been gutted,” he says, sitting in his office at Columbia Law School. “The government can choose to proceed against you in a trial in court with constitutional processes, or it can use an administrative proceeding where you don’t have the right to be heard by a real judge or a jury and you don’t have the full due process of law. Our fundamental procedural freedoms, which once were guarantees, have become mere options.” ​

In volume and complexity, the edicts from federal agencies exceed the laws passed by Congress by orders of magnitude. “The administrative state has become the government’s predominant mode of contact with citizens,” Mr. Hamburger says. “Ultimately this is not about the politics of left or right. Unlawful government power should worry everybody.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Defenders of agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency often describe them as the only practical way to regulate today’s complex world. The Founding Fathers, they argue, could not have imagined the challenges that face a large and technologically advanced society, so Congress and the judiciary have wisely delegated their duties by giving new powers to experts in executive-branch agencies.

Mr. Hamburger doesn’t buy it. In his view, not only is such delegation unconstitutional, it’s nothing new. The founders, far from being naive about the need for expert guidance, limited executive powers precisely because of the abuses of 17th-century kings like James I. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Comey: Obama Administration Asked to Cover up Hillary Investigation

James Comey is delivering his first sworn testimony after being fired by the Trump administration. And several major findings have already been discussed in the first hour. One surprising moment was when Comey said that it wasn’t just the Trump administration that may have asked him to cover up an FBI investigation. It was actually Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s attorney general, who asked him to lie about the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email scandals. According to him, Lynch asked him to not call it an investigation at all — instead, she wanted him to call it a “matter.” Read the rest of this entry »


Megan G. Oprea: After London Bridge, World Is Sick Of Politicians Downplaying Terrorism

Our political leaders are basically telling us that this kind of terrorism, random and deadly, is the price we have to pay for their policies of multiculturalism and political correctness.

writes: As if on cue, in the wake of Saturday’s terrorist attack in London political leaders are trotting out the usual treacly lines that have become so rote. But the words they pretend will provide comfort to anyone but the most naïve are borderline worthless. Worse, they’re an insult to the families who have had to experience the shocking pain of the sudden loss of a family member or friend at the hands of a terrorist.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, called Saturday’s attack “deliberate and cowardly,” and asked “all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant today and in the days ahead.” Most notably, he said: “You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world.”

What a thing to say at a time like this. Shouldn’t Britons be alarmed? Isn’t Saturday’s attack in London, coming as it did on the heels of the Manchester bombing, deeply disturbing? Why isn’t Khan more concerned about the threats that are so obviously at the doorstep, or better put, in Britain’s streets? Does anyone really take comfort from being told about swift police response times after yet another terrorist attack?

Our Politicians Can’t Handle the Truth

The sad truth, and getting sadder with every attack, is that the political class has little interest in doing what would really be necessary to combat Islamist terrorism, let alone talk about it. They don’t want to talk about how Britain’s lax immigration policies over decades led to hundreds of thousands of immigrants entering the country with varying degrees of willingness to assimilate and adopt Western values. They don’t want to openly criticize the blatant problems with the multiculturalism the UK has pursued for years and the obvious impact it has had on the immigrant population.

Oh no. This would cost them too much. It would shatter the façade of political correctness that’s been constructed over our “civilized” western world, and destroy the illusion, so vital to the political class, that Western values are universal. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Why He’s Rejecting Net Neutrality 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans today to roll back net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration in 2015.

The FCC currently regulates Internet service providers (ISPs) under Title II regulations that essentially treat the internet as a public utility similar to the old phone monopoly. Proponents of net neutrality and the invocation of Title II regulations say that such oversight is necessary to ensure that the Internet remains “open” and ISPs don’t block sites or degrade offerings by rivals. Long a critic of Title II regulations, which were invoked after the FCC lost two court battles to regulate the Internet, Pai describes them as “a panoply of heavy-handed economic regulations that were developed in the Great Depression to handle Ma Bell.”

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Scrapping these rules, Pai told Reason’s Nick Gillespie, won’t harm consumers or the public interest because there was no reason for them in the first place. The rationales were mere “phantoms that were conjured up by people who wanted the FCC for political reasons to overregulate the internet,” Pai told Gillespie. “We were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015.”

If left in place, however, the Title II rules could harm the commercial internet, which Pai described as “one of the most incredible free market innovations in history.”

“Companies like Google and Facebook and Netflix became household names precisely because we didn’t have the government micromanaging how the internet would operate,” said Pai, who noted that the Clinton-era decision not to regulate the Internet like a phone utility or a broadcast network was one of the most important factors in the rise of our new economy. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge

Vito brings the taste of a new generation to a violent protest. Can he bridge the divide and save our great nation!?

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*DISCLAIMER* I am not affiliated with the alt-right / antifa / whatever. This video is not an endorsement of anyone or anything (except Pepsi)(though seriously fuck Pepsi for that dumbass ad)

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Music Credit:
Laser Groove by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


X-Men Artist Apologizes for Reportedly Anti-Christian, Anti-Semitic Imagery

Oliver Gettell reports: Comic book artist Ardian Syaf has issued an apology for including hidden messages in an issue of X-Men: Gold that have been interpreted by many readers as being anti-Semitic and anti-Christian.

“My career is over now. It’s the consequence what I did, and I take it.”

The panels in question appear to allude to religious and political tensions in Syaf’s native Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

“My career is over now,” Syaf said in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday. “It’s the consequence what I did, and I take it. Please no more mockery, [debate], no more hate. I hope all in peace.”

Syaf went on to address his inclusion of the number 212 and the phrase “QS 5:51” in the comic, writing that they were meant to represent “justice” and “love.” He also apologized “for all the noise.”

As reported by Bleeding Cool on Saturday, Syaf’s artwork in the first issue of X-Men Gold appeared to reference hardline opposition to Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian governor of Jakarta, as well as anti-Semitic sentiments. Read the rest of this entry »


Simon & Schuster Cancels Milo Yiannopoulos Book Publication; Milo Disinvited From CPAC

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Saker/REX/Shutterstock (1841558c) Milo Yiannopoulos Milo Yiannopoulos at 'Silicon Roundabout' Old Street, London, Britain - 13 Jun 2012 Milo Yiannopoulos is a journalist, broadcaster and internet blogger who speaks about technology, media, business, society, religion and celebrity culture . He is Editor-in-Chief of The Kernel, chief feature writer for The Catholic Herald.

Simon & Schuster’s Adam Rothberg announced that the company and its Threshold Editions division would be canceling its publication of Yiannopoulos’ book, ‘Dangerous.’ It was due for release on June 13.

UPDATED: Controversial far-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos has been disinvited from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, it was announced on Monday.

The decision comes amid a controversy involving a video from January 2016, in which Yiannopoulos appears to defend pedophilia. It resurfaced after it was recently shared on a conservative blog, and has gained traction and backlash over the past week.

“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” American Conservative Union Chairman Matt said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”

In the video, a 2016 episode of podcast “The Drunken Peasants,” Yiannopoulos discussed his own experience with sexual assault as a teenager. Read the rest of this entry »


Unhinged ‘Professor’ Whose Hissy Fit at NYU Went Viral Turns Out to Be Lobster Porn Artist

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In the video, she can be heard telling police to beat up Gavin McInnes.

Megan Fox writes: There are more lifestyles than you can shake a stick at in modern America. Whether you want to live as an animal, or a six-year-old, or a lizard, there’s just no end to the choices one can make regarding how you live your life these days in the free world. (This may be our penance for the invention of robot vacuum cleaners.

"I can't even begin to tell you how disturbing this is"

“I can’t even begin to tell you how disturbing this is”

With no physical labor left to do, human beings turn insane, apparently.) How exactly do you tell your parents you’ve decided to go into “lobster porn” like social media sensation Rebecca Goyette, whose expletive-filled hissy fit outside NYU went viral (NSFW). I imagine the conversation went something like this via email.

Dear Mom and Dad,I know you had high hopes that I would take my art degree and perhaps teach children to paint or create beautiful landscapes to sell to tourists in some tropical location, but none of that is going to happen. I wanted you to know your money was well spent because I have found a niche in the performance art community: Lobster porn.  Read the rest of this entry »


Censorship Wins Again—and So Does Milo

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UC-Berkeley Protesters Set Campus on Fire, Shut Down Milo Yiannopoulos Event

 writes: Berkeley is burning tonight: the university campus that birthed the Free Speech Movement played host to a despicable display of violence and censorship Wednesday evening that culminated in the cancellation of a planned speech by controversial Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

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Anti-Yiannopoulos protesters wearing black scarves over their faces hurled fireworks at the building where the alt-right leader was supposed to speak. They also tore down barricades and smashed windows. They used gasoline to start a significant fire on the street that threatened to engulf a nearby tree, and forced police to push people back.

“This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley.”

— Mike Wright

Authority figures deployed rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to control the situation. A student who attended the event told me that it seemed like the majority of the violent protesters were not students, but older, masked rioters from the “antifa” movement.

A protester runs back after smashing windows during a protest against right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Doig Duran/Bay Area News Group)

A protester runs back after smashing windows during a protest against right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Doig Duran/Bay Area News Group)

[Read the full story here, at Reason.com]

“This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley,” said Mike Wright, a member of the Berkeley College Republican group that invited Yiannopoulos to speak. Shortly after he made this statement, smoke bombs were set off around him, and someone threw red paint at him, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

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Yiannopoulos released the following statement on Facebook:

I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building. My team and I are safe. But the event has been cancelled. I’ll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.

As I write this, at 10:00 p.m., the violence and chaos are ongoing. Yiannopoulos was forced to evacuate the campus. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Protesters Start Fire Over Breitbart Editor Speech; UPDATE: Milo Responds

Rioters break windows, set fire to force cancellation of Breitbart editor’s UC-Berkeley talk

A planned talk at the University of California-Berkeley by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled Wednesday evening after protesters threw smoke bombs and flares at the student union building where he was scheduled to speak.

“Violent left-wing protesters stormed the building and forced me to be evacuated by police and by my security detail,” Yiannopoulos told Fox News Tucker Carlson in a phone interview from an undisclosed location.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries or arrests.

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Yiannopoulos, 32, is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

The decision to cancel was made two hours before the start of the event because a crowd of more than 1,500 people had gathered outside the venue, the university said in a statement.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display, and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives,” the statement read, in part.

Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators carrying signs that read “Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech” had been protesting for hours before the event.

In the evening, a small group dressed in black broke windows, threw smoke bombs and flares, and set a large bonfire outside the building. Some members of that group were wearing hooded sweatshirts.

The demonstrators were met by tight security in the form of law enforcement armed in riot gear. Some rioters broke windows and lit fireworks, while others pulled away the metal barricades in front of the building.

A shelter in place order was in effect and the Cal campus was placed on lockdown. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MILOMAGEDDON: Protests Against Breitbart Editor at Berkeley Turns Into Riot 

The Breitbart News editor was set to deliver a speech inside a UC Berkeley campus building but hundreds of protesters began throwing fireworks and pulling down the metal barricades police set up to keep people from rushing into the building. Windows were smashed and fires were set outside the building as masked protesters stormed it.

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The Berkeley Police Department said people threw bricks, smoking objects, and fireworks at police officers. University police locked down all buildings and ordered a shelter in place, and later fired rubber pellets into the crowd of protesters who defied orders to leave the area.

“This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley,” said Mike Wright, a Berkeley College Republican member said as smoke bombs went off around him. Someone threw red paint on him. “It’s sad.”

Protesters argued that hate speech isn’t free speech, countering the university’s explanation — free speech — on why it had allowed the event to proceed even as students demanded that the university cancel it.

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Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the campus by the Berkeley College Republicans, a student group that was warned Tuesday by university officials that the event could result in the targeting of undocumented students. Yiannopoulos, an editor for the right-wing Breitbart News website, was expected to use the event in Berkeley to kick off a campaign against “sanctuary campuses” that have vowed to protect undocumented students as President Trump cracks down on illegal immigration.

Three lines of zip-tied metal fencing separated the crowd of protesters from campus police officers who had secured the building where Yiannopoulos was supposed to speak at 7 p.m. He had arrived earlier, escorted by security, and police said he had left the building after the protests erupted. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘NFL 2017’: A Bad Lip Reading

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Tom Brady investigates a theft… and other things that didn’t happen

 

 

 


Facebook Is Trying Everything to Re-Enter China—and It’s Not Working

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Since regulators blocked the service in 2009, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has hired well-connected executives, developed censorship tools and taken a ‘smog jog’ in Beijing—but the company has made no visible headway.

Such permits typically give Western firms an initial China beachhead. This one, which Facebook won in late 2015, could have been a sign Beijing was ready to give the company another chance to connect with China’s roughly 700 million internet users, reopening the market as the social-media giant’s U.S.-growth prospects dimmed.

 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 2016 ‘smog jog’ in Tiananmen Square. Photo: Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 2016 ‘smog jog’ in Tiananmen Square. Photo: Facebook

There was a catch. Facebook’s license was for three months, unusually short. Facebook executives found the limitation unexpected and frustrating, people familiar with the episode said.

Facebook never opened the office. The official posting disappeared and now exists as a ghost in cached versions of the government website. “We did, at one point in time, plan to have an office,” said Facebook spokeswoman Charlene Chian, “but we don’t today.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The episode is part of Facebook’s running tale of woe in China, where it has been trying to set the stage for a return. Blocked on China’s internet since 2009, Facebook has courted Chinese officials, made Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg more visible in China, hired a well-connected China-policy chief and begun developing technology that could cull content the Communist Party deems unacceptable.

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*Facebook-like social media arenas inside the broader messaging apps Note: Usage rate figures don’t add up to 100% because a person can use multiple apps.
Sources: Facebook; eMarketer (social network users); China Internet Network Information Center (social network leaders)

It has made no visible headway. And as time passes, Facebook is watching from the outside as Chinese social-media giants mop up the market that might have been its own. Weibo, along with Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and QQ, are now dominant in China, and it may be too late for Facebook, said industry executives including Kai-Fu Lee, Google’s former China head and now CEO of Innovation Works, a Chinese incubator.

“At this stage and time with WeChat, Weibo and other products, it’s hopeless,” Mr. Lee said.

Facebook also faces a wary central government, which blamed social media for stirring ethnic unrest in 2009 and remains uneasy with Facebook’s ability to be a dissidents’ megaphone, said industry executives and others who deal with Beijing regulators. And government censorship would be a prerequisite, under Chinese law, for Facebook to re-enter China.

“It’s important for Facebook to respect the laws and regulations of China,” said Guo Weimin, vice minister of the State Council Information Office. “The Chinese government has always had an open approach to social-media networks. Cooperation with new media is welcome on our side.”

Mr. Zuckerberg, who declined to be interviewed for this article, has said he considers China crucial to Facebook’s future. “Obviously you can’t have a mission of wanting to connect everyone in the world and leave out the biggest country,” he told analysts in 2015. “Over the long term, that is a situation we will need to figure out a way forward on.”

His drive has had fits and starts. He scored a high-profile board seat at one of China’s top universities to build inroads with Chinese officials but didn’t attend the body’s meeting last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Kochs Come Out Against Trump Travel Ban

In this February 26, 2007 file photograph, Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, talks passionately about his new book on Market Based Management. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — Christopher Bedford reports: The sprawling libertarian Koch network came out against Trump’s executive order banning travel from certain high-risk countries, emailing reporters that it “is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families. The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

— Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute and co-chairman of the Koch’s far-reaching Seminar Network, said. “The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

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“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

(RELATED: Three Republican Senators Kick Off Koch’s First Massive Donor Conference In Age Of Trump)

Hooks and Koch are currently with hundreds of conservative and libertarian donors at the network’s conference in Palm Springs. Held twice a year, the seminars are a gathering place for the Seminar Network, a large group of wealthy donors interested in libertarian causes. This weekend’s seminar, held in the temperate desert outside of Los Angeles, will be the first since Trump’s election and inauguration.

(RELATED: Mike Lee Is Certain The Senate Will Confirm Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee)

The network spent hundreds of millions on advertising and advocacy for limited-government politicians — namely, Republicans — running for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, but notably stayed out of the presidential primaries and race. Read the rest of this entry »


China Cracks Down on Unauthorized Internet Connections 

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Sijia Jiang | HONG KONG – China is reinforcing its censorship of the internet with a campaign to crack down on unauthorized connections, including virtual private network (VPN) services, that allow users to bypass restrictions known as the Great Firewall.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a notice on its website on Sunday that it is launching a nationwide clean-up campaign aimed at internet service provider (ISP), internet data centrer (IDC), and content delivery network (CDN) companies.

It ordered checks for companies operating without government licenses or beyond the scope of licenses.

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The ministry said it was forbidden to create or rent communication channels, including VPNs, without governmental approval, to run cross-border operations.

VPNs can be used to gain access to blocked websites.

China has the world’s largest population of internet users – now at 731 million people – and is home to some of the biggest internet firms such as Tencent Holdings, Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group Holding. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Violence Punctuates UW Talk by Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos

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 report: One man was shot and wounded, several people were hit with paint and officers avoided flying bricks outside the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on Friday night, where Breitbart News editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos addressed a crowd on President Trump’s Inauguration Day.

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A chaotic confrontation between ticket-holders and protesters started early in the evening in Red Square with shouts and fights. Authorities reported a man in the crowd had been shot in the abdomen. Medics took him to Harborview Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries, the Seattle Fire Department said.

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Yiannopoulos, who came at the invitation of the university’s student College Republicans club, briefly left the stage to confirm the shooting. Minutes later, he returned, saying, “If we don’t continue, they have won.” The crowd cheered.

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The event was free but was sold out by reservation. His talk, which mocked liberals to big laughs and was greeted with a standing ovation, began just after 8 p.m.

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Earlier, Jessie Gamble, president of UW College Republicans, said she feared no one would be able to make it into the 700-seat auditorium because of skirmishes. Police formed a line outside to help ticket-holders get in, but protesters surrounded them. As the speech was about to begin, the lower seats in the hall were more than half-filled. The lower tier holds about 530 people, and the upper tier was not used.
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Once the speech ended, police told the audience to remove their pro-Trump hats and other gear before leaving the lecture hall. Officers escorted the crowd out through an underground parking garage as a crowd of about 250 people remained outside the building.

Gayle Hammersley, a UW student, stood with friends in the middle of Red Square holding a sign that displayed her
opposition to the speech. “We’re not OK with fascism and racism,” she said. “I don’t think this should be allowed.”e28d36d0-df89-11e6-a8c8-942486583938-300x576

Jimmy Michalee came up from Auburn with friends to hear the speech. He was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, but he said he was a libertarian, and voted for Gary Johnson. He said he didn’t agree with the crowd’s tactics to try to shut down the speech, and believed everyone had a right to speak his or her mind.

[Read the full story here, at The Seattle Times]

Ava Meier, a Pierce College student, called Yiannopoulos “the most fabulous villain on the internet.”

“We’re so politically correct, he’s a breath of fresh air,” she said.

The provocative far-right editor’s controversial tweets resulted in his being banned for life from using Twitter.

People began lining up for the speech late in the afternoon. The crowd began clashing about two hours later, when a group of people dressed in black showed up and forced its way to the front of the line. One man waved a black-and-red anti-fascist flag, and another shouted to the people in line: “Go back to Bellevue, rich kids!”

“White power,” one side shouted.

“Nazi scum,” the other side responded.

Some officers wore riot gear and carried batons. Crowds outside started throwing bricks and other items at officers, and several people were hit with blue paint.

Mara Kage, a University of Washington student from Brazil, held a sign with the word “respect” on it. She said Yiannopoulos, like Trump, was inciting hateful speech. Read the rest of this entry »


Liberals Will Canonize Obama, but History Will Likely Take a Dimmer View

Obama’s frequent appeals to history’s judgment reflect his confidence that history will be kind to him. In the short run, it will: liberals will canonize Obama. Like the faithful Catholics chanting “santo subito” after the death of Pope John Paul II, Obama’s liberal boosters will turn him into Saint Barack, savior of health care and  slayer of bin Laden. You might see hints of this already in your liberal friends’ wistful Facebook posts: “I’m really going to miss this guy.” If liberals are calling the shots, Obama’s name will shortly be inscribed on statues and state buildings, and his face will someday appear on coins and currency, while the divisions he sowed and exploited in pursuit of personal glory will be papered over. Generations of schoolchildren will learn about the beloved, barrier-shattering college professor with the megawatt smile who could tell a joke and make a jump shot—not the ambitious, polarizing ideologue whose disdain for half the country was palpable. No mention will be made of his habit of insulting supposedly lazy, ignorant Americans who cling bitterly to their religion, guns, and “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them,” and who fall prey to “anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Read the rest of this entry »


John Fund & Hans von Spakovsky: Obama’s ‘Scandal-Free Administration’ Is a Myth 

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Even a prominent Trump adviser accepts the false premise that there has been no ‘ethical shadiness.’

John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky write: You often hear that the Obama administration, whatever its other failings, has been “scandal-free.” Valerie Jarrett, the president’s closest adviser, has said he “prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself.”

Even Trump adviser Peter Thiel seems to agree. When the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd observed during an interview that Mr. Obama’s administration was “without any ethical shadiness,” Mr. Thiel accepted the premise, saying: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”

In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:

• State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications withobama-BW the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

• Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.

• IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixononly dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fascinating 3D-Printed Light-Based Zoetrope by Akinori Goto 

Media artist Akinori Goto designed this fun 3d-printed zoetrope that when lit from the side reveals walking people. The piece was just on view at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival where it won both the Runner-up Grand Prix and the Audience Award. Video above from Tokyo Art Beat. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

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sculpt-1 Read the rest of this entry »


Movie Critic on Obama Farewell: ‘I Want to Grab His Pant Leg and Tell Him Not to Go!

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Tim Graham reports: Movie critic Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter offered a rave review of President Obama’s farewell address on Tuesday night, hailing it in the headline as “One Last Reminder of What Presidential Looks Like.” Donald Trump is all “schoolyard taunts” for white people in “silly hats,” while Obama is so terrific that “Watching him walk off the stage made you feel like a child desperately holding onto a father’s pants [sic] legs to try to prevent him from leaving the house.”
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“I know exactly how you feel.”

…This sounds like a parody of media fawning over Obama….but then so does so much of the Obama-loving media. But the line about grabbing on to Obama’s pant leg is just priceless:

“I’m more optimistic than when we started,” declared Obama, and it was then that you fully realized that he was transitioning from commander in chief to therapist in chief.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve you. … I won’t stop,” he assured us, invoking the slogan that accompanied his ascendancy to the presidency: “Yes we can.” Except this time, he added, “Yes we did.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Democratic CNN Contributor Unsurrrre if Chicago Attack on Trump Supporter is a Hate Crime 

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GRAPHIC: Anti-Gun Activists Send Grotesque Gun Victim Christmas Cards

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Conservatives, gun store owners, and Second Amendment activists are receiving ‘Christmas Cards’ from anti-gun advocates that include graphic photos of victims who have received gunshots to the face.

Lana Shadwick writes: The Christmas card includes the Bible verse, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked. And the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

The card also bears the inscription:

The NRA gives the gift of nonfatal gunshot wounds like these to 100,000 Americans per year. Your continued support of ‘guns everywhere’ legislation is directly responsible for this health epidemic. In your heart, do you honestly believe this is what Jesus wants? Shame on you for dishonoring Jesus Christ with your support of gun-pushing legislation.

The Christmas card is signed from “The Betsy Riot” which describes itself on the card as “a decentralized movement that nonviolently opposes gun culture.”

The post on Facebook bears a graphic warning that must be clicked on before the photos can be seen.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart.com]

The photos can also be found on the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health and the National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, Official Publication of Maxillofacial Society of India. These sources do not tell how both of these victims sustained their wounds. The male victim can be found under a case report for “self-inflicting gunshot injury.” Read the rest of this entry »


$1 Million Bail Sought for Suspect in #MountVernon Officer’s Shooting

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash.  KOMO Staff & Associated Press report: A man suspected of shooting a police officer in the back of the head was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday.

The suspect, identified in court documents as Ernesto Lee Rivas, 44, appeared in Skagit County Superior Court the day after the cold-blooded shooting.

Rivas, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested earlier Friday morning after a seven-hour standoff in Mount Vernon that began after a police officer was shot and critically wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.

The online roster for the Skagit County Jail shows Rivas was booked at 1:55 a.m. Friday following his arrest.

Court and State Patrol records show that Rivas has eight felonies on his record, including unlawful possession of a firearm in 2011 and unlawful imprisonment in 1998. He was subject to a domestic violence protection order last year after the mother of his child accused him of stalking her at work.

At Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect is being held for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. It was not immediately clear if Rivas has obtained an attorney. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] YouTube Sensation: Spamusement Park Project, Beppu, Japan 湯~園地計画!

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The Japanese city of Beppu is known for its countless hot springs and spas that pop up around them. So much so, that the city’s mayor, Yasuhiro Nagano, pledged to build an entire spa-themed amusement park—although it might not be quite as awesome as the one featured in this promotional video.


The “spamusement” park’s development hinged on this promo video hitting a million views, which it did just a few days after hitting YouTube. The city’s mayor has since announced plans to begin planning and development of the park, and we’re really hoping that bathtub roller coaster makes the cut…(more)

人が入れる温泉として世界一の湧出量を誇る大分県別府市では、この度温泉都市別府の魅力を国内外にむけて幅広く発信すべく、新たな都市ビジョンとして“遊べる温泉都市構想”を策定。
構想実現にむけた取り組みの第一弾として、「湯~園地」計画公約ムービーを別府市内で開催中のイベントONSENアカデミアにて発表、同日Web上にて公開致しました。

[YouTube via RocketNews24]

Source: gizmodo


Cheap, Lethal Chinese Drones Are Filling Distant Skies

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Lower quality, but they get the job done.

Ryan Pickrell reports: Chinese drones are taking flight in skies beyond China’s borders in great numbers, filling a massive void in a multibillion-dollar industry left by the U.S.

“I believe this is the largest campaign we’ve seen that has been focused on drone technology. It seems to align pretty well with the focus of the Chinese government to build up their own drone technology capabilities.”

— Darien Kindlund, manager of Fireeye’s Threat Intelligence division

While the U.S. is recognized as a leader in the development and deployment of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), it keeps its drone technology close and its armed drones even closer, creating new opportunities for China, which is eager to play a role in the global arms trade.

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The U.S. only exports armed drones to a few select allies, such as the U.K., as part of a Department of State decision made early last year. Jordan, for example, requested permission to purchase U.S. drones in 2014 but was rejected.

The U.S. limits its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) exports, especially its armed drones, for two main reasons.

One, the U.S. is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a multilateral partnership that prohibits the export of missile and UAV technology capable of delivering a 1,100 lb payload at a range greater than 185 miles. Two, some U.S. officials are concerned that regular U.S. drone exports would lead to an increase in drone warfare abroad, creating a less secure international environment.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Caller]

Unhindered by international agreements and export restrictions, China is moving into the drone export business, creating cheap, yet effective alternatives for countries interested in purchasing drone technology.

Chengdu Pterodactyl I

Chengdu Pterodactyl I

China has been actively developing its drone technology, making great strides in recent years.

Early last month, China showed off its CH-5 Rainbow drone, which it claims can rival America’s MQ-9 Reaper, at an air show in Zhuhai.

[Read more here, at The Daily Caller]

The CH-5 “can perform whatever operations the MQ-9 Reaper can and is even better than the US vehicle when it comes to flight duration and operational efficiency,” Shi Wen, a chief designer of the CH series drones at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, explained to the China Daily a little over a month ago.

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“Several foreign nations have expressed intentions to purchase the CH-5, and we are in talks with them,” he added, signaling China’s interest in selling the new CH-5.

The CH-4referred to as the “AK-47 of drones,” preceded the CH-5. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Tacoma Police Shooting Homeowner Statement 

Debra Heine writes:

…Kristi Croskey owns the Tacoma, Washington, home where a domestic disturbance call resulted in a deadly police stand-off Wednesday. Tacoma police officer Reginald J. “Jake” Gutierrez was killed after being shot by a 38-year-old man — who was fatally shot by police hours later.

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“I don’t want to hear about Black Lives Matter, because all lives matter” Creskey said. “I do not want to hear about the police officers being inhumane and shooting people unnecessarily or any of those things. I want to say that the Tacoma Police Department handled this matter with such professionalism despite their own being shot. I want to say that this did not have to occur. I want to say that when you make poor choices, and the response is someone being killed, if that may be the situation — I want you to know that the Tacoma Police Department did any and everything that they could to protect and serve.
Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Facebook Helps Users Block The New York Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, with ‘B.S. Detector’, Fake News Warning Plugin 

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Not only is Facebook not providing little red warnings along with links to potentially specious news—it’s now blocking links to the plugin that did.

Over the past week, some Facebook users reported seeing content warnings next to links from established fake news domains, apparently without realizing a third party was responsible. We reported this phenomenon, later clarifying that B.S. Detector is in fact a third party plugin that both we and a number of Facebook users mistook as a testing feature. Irony!

Now, if you attempt to share a link to B.S. Detector on Facebook, you’ll be met with this message. Apparently, blocking fake news (detectors) is quite simple!

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“I believe they are doing this because of TechCrunch article that came out yesterday, falsely identifying a screenshot of my plugin as a Facebook feature under development,” Daniel Sieradski, design technologist and creator of B.S. Detector, told TechCrunch. “It would seem I’ve caused them some embarrassment by showing them to be full of bull when it comes to their supposed inability to address fake news and they are punishing me for it.”

Jeff Fager (L), chairman CBS News and executive producer '60 Minutes', Scott Pelley, anchor and managing editor CBS Evening News and David Rhodes (R) president CBS News, speak at the CBS Television Network's 2011 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) - RTR2PL1B

For now, the B.S. Detector plugin itself remains functional, as do links to the plugin on Product Hunt and the Chrome app store. Read the rest of this entry »


Facebook User Verifies Truth Of Article By Carefully Checking It Against Own Preconceived Opinions

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“You can’t just accept everything you see online, which is why I always take a closer look at the claims that are made in every article and make sure that each one of them is backed up by my existing assumptions and personal feelings about the world.”

CLARKSVILLE, TN—Explaining that people need to be critical of the news stories that circulate on social media these days, area Facebook user James Wheatley, 44, reportedly took the time to verify the truth of an article he came across Thursday by carefully checking it against the opinions he already holds.

 “There are all kinds of bogus news stories out there, so it’s important to take a step back and hold each article up against my personal convictions to find out for myself whether what I’m reading is true or not. It’s pretty sad, but once I got in the habit of looking at articles this way, I could see just how many awful sites there are on the internet that don’t even adhere to the most basic tenets of my individual worldview, so now I just disregard them completely.”

“You can’t just accept everything you see online, which is why I always take a closer look at the claims that are made in every article and make sure that each one of them is backed up by my existing assumptions and personal feelings about the world,” said Wheatley, who told reporters he had to correct several friends on Facebook earlier this week after an investigation of his beliefs and individual political perspectives proved the articles they had posted to be entirely false. Read the rest of this entry »


Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV

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We need more text and fewer videos and memes in the age of Trump.

Hossein Derakshan writes: If I say that social media aided Donald Trump’s election,
you might think of fake news on Facebook. But even if Facebook fixes the algorithms that elevate phony stories, there’s something else going on: social media represents the ultimate ascendance of television over other media.

I’ve been warning about this since November 2014, when I was freed from six years of incarceration in Tehran, a punishment I received for my online activism in Iran. Before I went to prison, I blogged frequently on what I now call the open Web: it was
decentralized, text-centered, and abundant with 51kxbo1vo8l-_sl250_hyperlinks to source material and rich background. It nurtured varying opinions. It was related to the world of books.

[Order Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” from Amazon.com]

Then for six years I got disconnected; when I left prison and came back online, I was confronted by a brave new world. Facebook and Twitter had replaced blogging and had made the Internet like TV: centralized and image-centered, with content embedded in pictures, without links.

[Read the full story here, at technologyreview.com]

Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. This is why Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as the word of 2016: an adjective “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.”

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Neil Postman provided some clues about this in his illuminating 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show BusinessThe media scholar at New York University saw then how television transformed public discourse into an exchange of volatile emotions that are usually mistaken by pollsters as opinion. One of the scariest outcomes of this transition, Postman wrote, is that television essentially turns all news into disinformation. “Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information—misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information—information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing … The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” (Emphasis added.) And, Postman argued, when news is constructed as a form of entertainment, it inevitably loses its function for a healthy democracy. “I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?” Read the rest of this entry »


Can You Find the Hidden Word to Explain Venezuela’s Escape Economic Collapse?

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 The New York Times Can’t.

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Nicholas Case reports: The dark outlines of land had just come into view when the smuggler forced everyone into the sea.

Roymar Bello screamed. She was one of 17 passengers who had climbed onto the overloaded fishing boat with aging motors in July, hoping to escape Venezuela’s economic disaster for a new life on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

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Can you guess what word NYT’s Nicholas Casey failed to use even one time in his report on Venezuela’s economic crisis?

Stephen Green

Afraid of the authorities, the smuggler refused to land. Ms. Bello said he gruffly ordered her and the others into the water, pointing toward the distant shore. In the panic, she was tossed overboard, tumbling into the predawn blackness.

But Ms. Bello could not swim.

As she began to sink under the waves, a fellow migrant grabbed her by the hair and towed her toward the island. They washed up on a rocky cliff battered by waves. Bruised and bleeding, they climbed, praying for a lifeline: jobs, money, something to eat.

“It was worth the risk,” said Ms. Bello, 30, adding that Venezuelans like her, “are going after one thing — food.”

Maria Piñero at an empty grocery store in La Vela, Venezuela. “I’m nervous,” she said. “I’m leaving with nothing. But I have to do this. Otherwise, we will just die here hungry.” Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.

[Read the full story here, at he New York Times]

But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.

Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.

Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.

Hundreds of Venezuelans lined up at a grocery store in La Vela in September to see if food would be delivered.Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

“It’s hard to see a solution to this problem because hunger is involved. Venezuela doesn’t have enough food for its people, so some are coming here.”

— Mayor Altemir Campos

And as Mr. Chávez’s Socialist-inspired revolution collapses into economic ruin, as food and medicine slip further out of reach, the new migrants include the same impoverished people that Venezuela’s policies were supposed to help.

“We have seen a great acceleration,” said Tomás Páez, a professor who studies immigration at the Central University of Venezuela. He says that as many as 200,000 Venezuelans have left in the last 18 months, driven by how much harder it is to get food, work and medicine — not to mention the crime that such scarcities have fueled.

“Parents will say: I would rather say goodbye to my son in the airport than in the cemetery,” he said.

Two would-be migrants waiting for the boat that will take them from Venezuela. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Desperate Venezuelans are streaming across the Amazon Basin by the tens of thousands to reach Brazil. They are concocting elaborate scams to sneak through airports in Caribbean nations that once accepted them freely. When Venezuela opened its border with Colombia for just two days in July, 120,000 people poured across, simply to buy food, officials said. An untold number stayed.

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But perhaps most startling are the Venezuelans now fleeing by sea, an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.

“It has all totally changed,” said Iván de la Vega, a sociologist at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas. About 60 percent more Venezuelans fled the country this year than during the year before, he added.
Read the rest of this entry »


David Marcus: What Happened When A Brooklyn Store Played ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Upscale progressives have gotten used to tuning out the voice of the Trump voter. But there’s an America out there that they can no longer ignore.

 writes: Three days after the election, my wife and I were shopping at the . For those unfamiliar with it, Fairway is a less corporate, more co-op version of Whole Foods, offering pretty produce and exotic cheeses that don’t come cheap. The mood in the store was glum. As in most of Brooklyn, people stared ahead, moving slowly, still in shock from the political earthquake of Tuesday night.

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After getting our Brazilian Arabica ground for drip (I know, I should really use a French Press), Libby and I walked towards the organic maple syrup. That’s when it started. I suppose there had been music playing in the store, but I hadn’t noticed until a familiar guitar lick pierced the air and a soft voice said, “Turn it up.”

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Source: blog.fairwaymarket.com

“A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, ‘This is unbelievable!’ She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. ‘This is so inappropriate,’ the woman said. ‘Can we turn this off?'”

Libby and I both stopped and looked at each other. “Seriously?” said my wife, a very disappointed Clinton supporter. She started gripping her soft Tomme Crayeuse a little too hard. By the time Ronnie Van Zant’s drawl started in with “Big wheels keep on turnin’,” everyone in the store was standing in shock.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Brows were furrowed, people mumbled to each other. The song seemed to get louder as one of those New York moments happened, when everyone was thinking the exact the same thing.

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“Cafés turned into phone banks, where you could buy a croissant and make a few calls to flyover country. Buttons, banners, and bumper stickers were everywhere…As the election grew near, confidence was overflowing.”

A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, “This is unbelievable!” She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. “This is so inappropriate,” the woman said. “Can we turn this off?”

90

The City of Homes, Cafés, and Clinton

Brooklyn was the epicenter of the Clinton campaign. Throughout the summer and fall in Brooklyn Heights, you could see young staffers near the campaign headquarters: expensive coffee in hand, eyes bright, ready to tackle the future. Read the rest of this entry »


Speaking of ‘Fake News’…

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The Mechanics of Mechanophilia: Why Men Find Siri Sexy

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We all have relationships with tech. The question is: how far do you go?

How would you feel if you walked in on your flatmate pouring his iPhone a glass of Cristal and remarking on her exceptional ‘wallpaper’? Open mouthed and curious, right? Well, welcome to the future. For some technophiles at least.

Apart from neo-Luddites, we all have relationships with tech. The question is: how far do you go?

A survey from 2012 revealed the extreme level of attachment many of us feel towards our gadgets. It found that three-quarters of the 2,500 people polled said losing a personal device would give them more anxiety than losing a wedding ring. Another from 2016 discloses that nearly 40pc of millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than their co-workers, parents, children or friends.

Of course, such interactions could be simply checking the time – and if you started calling your friends to do that they’d think you’d gone batty – but what these stats betray is the shaping of an emotional bond between man and machine that seems to be growing year on year.

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“People use things in a sexual way all the time. You could name any object, from a radiator to a tin can, and there’s someone out there that gets sexually aroused by it.”

–Professor Mark Griffiths

Sci-fi programmes like Humans, depicting the trouble caused when overly lifelike AI get mixed in with the rest of society, may be fictional, yet our relationship with tech still gets closer and closer. Quite alarmingly close.

Virtual assistants (VA for short), also known as personal assistant A.I.s, are digital secretaries that can schedule meetings, order meals, play audio and visual files, and assess online accounts. Not to be confused with ‘virtual assistants’ that work remotely and are actual people, current VAs on the market include Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and, of course, Apple’s Siri.

“Most new technology seems to turn to porn eventually. Webcams, virtual reality, Internet etc. I see no reason why A.I won’t be included in this. It’ll certainly be cheaper to run phone sex lines with an army of bots instead of having to pay women to answer the phones.”

— Steve Worswick, an expert in the field of digital A.I

Last month, in an interview with The Times, Illy Eckstein, chief executive of Robin Labs, creators of a virtual assistant and satnav known as ‘Robin’, said that 5pc of interactions in their database are classified as “clearly sexually explicit”.

Trawling the Internet for evidence of the above I discovered a Reddit forum titled: ‘I masturbate to Siri and I feel disgusting’. The poster says he’s a 20 year old male, who started talking to Siri sexually as a joke before realising that “it really turned me on.”

The phenomenon clearly has farther reaches than one sole forum post. VA creators and chatbot companies predict such interactions and put algorithmic safeguards in place to deter feelings of emotional and sexual attachment from costumers.

[Read the full story here, at telegraph.uk]

Earlier this year one of the key writers for Microsoft’s Cortana, Deborah Harrison, revealed at the Virtual Assistant Summit in San Francisco that “a good chunk of the volume of early-on inquiries” regarded Cortana’s ‘sex life’ adding, “That’s not the kind of interaction we want to encourage.”

Steve Worswick is an expert in the field of digital A.I. He’s also the leading developer of Mitsuku, a family-friendly online chatbot.

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“Mechanophilia: love or sexual attraction to computers, cars, robots or androids, washing machines, lawnmowers and other mechanized gardening equipment, sexual relations between living organisms and machines.”

He told Telegraph Men that he used to have a banning system (five strikes and you’re out) for anyone who attempted to have sexually explicit conversations with Mitsuku. However, he received so many emails from people who wanted to treat the bot sexually, that he removed the strike system and instead programmed Mitsuku to either ignore sexual requests, say something to steer the conversation to other topics, or simply insult the user.

Worswick believes men are using Mitsuku in this way and seeing bots as “sex objects” simply because they cannot fight back, have no legal rights, and are not going to judge them or contact the authorities or their wives or girlfriends.

Read the rest of this entry »


Network Security Company CEO Forced to Resign After ‘Joking’ About Killing Trump 

U.S. President Barack Obama walks to greet well-wishers, with Secret Service agents at his side, upon his arrival in Tampa, Florida

Trump-Hating Cuckoo Bananas Matt Harrigan of PacketSled Loses His Mind, Makes Public Death Threats, Declares on Facebook, ‘Bring it, Secret Service’

[redditor chipotlemcnuggies]

 reports: Matt Harrigan, the CEO of San Diego-based network security startup PacketSled, resigned yesterday after a flurry of comments he made on Facebook went viral over the weekend, prompting the company to place him on administrative leave and to report his comments to the Secret Service. Harrigan’s comments weren’t the usual sort of executive meltdown—they amounted to a declaration that Harrigan was going to assassinate President-elect Donald Trump.

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In a Facebook thread about last week’s presidential election, Matt Harrigan wrote, “I’m going to kill the President Elect.”

“Bring it secret service,” he wrote.

While those may have been rage posts stemming from the election last week, Harrigan went on to describe how he was going to buy a sniper rifle and hunt down Trump when he moved into the White House. “Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts,” he wrote in one of a series of comments on a thread about the election. “Find a bedroom in the whitehouse [sic] that suits you motherfucker. I’ll find you.”

[Read the full story here, at Ars Technica]

The comments went viral in screenshots, being posted first on Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit. On Sunday, Harrigan apologized on his company’s blog for the comments, saying that his rant “was intended to be a joke, in the context of a larger conversation, and only privately shared as such.” Read the rest of this entry »


Two-Thirds of the World’s Internet Users Live Under Government Censorship

Web freedom declined across the globe for the sixth consecutive year, according to a new report.

Amar Toor reports: Two-thirds of the world’s internet users live under regimes of government censorship, according to a report released today. The report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, finds that internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth consecutive year in 2016, as governments cracked down on social media services and messaging apps.

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“Although the blocking of these tools affects everyone, it has an especially harmful impact on human rights defenders, journalists, and marginalized communities who often depend on these apps to bypass government surveillance.”

— Sanja Kelly, director and co-author of the Freedom on the Net 2016 report

The findings are based on an analysis of web freedom in 65 countries, covering 88 percent of the world’s online population. Freedom House ranked China as the worst abuser of internet freedom for the second consecutive year, followed by Syria and Iran. (The report does not include North Korea.) Online freedom in the US increased slightly over the year due to the USA Freedom Act, which limits the bulk collection of metadata carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies.

“Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.”

This year saw a notable crackdown on secure messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. WhatsApp was blocked or restricted in 12 countries over the course of the year — more than any other messaging app — including in Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia, where authorities blocked it in response to civilian protests. Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.
Read the rest of this entry »


A Warning Unheeded: Democratic Strategist Doug Sosnik in 2013, ‘Party In Decline’

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Doug Sosnik says the Democrats will be “at considerable risk” when the president leaves office.

One of the Democrats’ most veteran strategists warns that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama is no longer on the scene.

“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.

While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.

These memos are read closely by an influential community of insiders in the political and business worlds. In this one, Sosnik outlines several challenges facing his own party:

• Obama’s personal popularity does not easily translate for other candidates. The president is not building the Democratic Party’s institutional apparatus in a way that it will thrive when he’s gone.

• The losses in the 2010 midterms gave Republicans control of the redistricting process, which will be in effect until after the 2020 census. This gives the GOP a structural advantage in keeping the House.

• Millennials, born 1981 to 1994, and Generation X’ers, born 1965 to 1980, are voting Democratic, but a plurality identify themselves as independents — which makes them less reliable.

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[Read the whole memo. View the accompanying PowerPoint slides.]

With the likelihood of gridlock and near-record-low confidence in public institutions, Sosnik expects 2014 to bring the fourth change election in the past eight years. Read the rest of this entry »


Forget the FBI Cache; the Podesta Emails Show How America is Run

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WikiLeaks’ dump of messages to and from Clinton’s campaign chief offer an unprecedented view into the workings of the elite, and how it looks after itself.

Thomas Frank writes: The emails currently are part of some unknown digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week’s scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton adjusts her make-up before speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids

“When you search ‘Vineyard’ on the WikiLeaks dump that you realize these people truly inhabit a different world from the rest of us. By ‘vineyard’, of course, they mean Martha’s Vineyard, the ritzy vacation resort island off the coast of Massachusetts where presidents Clinton and Obama spent most of their summer vacations. The Vineyard is a place for the very, very rich to unwind, yes, but as we learn from these emails, it is also a place of high idealism; a land of enlightened liberal commitment far beyond anything ordinary citizens can ever achieve.”

The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn’t have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

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“Everything blurs into everything else in this world. The state department, the banks, Silicon Valley, the nonprofits, the “Global CEO Advisory Firm” that appears to have solicited donations for the Clinton Foundation. Executives here go from foundation to government to thinktank to startup. There are honors. Venture capital. Foundation grants. Endowed chairs. Advanced degrees. For them the door revolves. The friends all succeed. They break every boundary.”

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

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Let us turn the magnifying glass on them for a change, by sorting through the hacked personal emails of John Podesta, who has been a Washington power broker for decades. I admit that I feel uncomfortable digging through this hoard; stealing someone’s email is a crime, after all, and it is outrageous that people’s personal information has been exposed, since WikiLeaks doesn’t seem to have redacted the emails in any way.

[Read the full story here, at The Guardian]

There is also the issue of authenticity to contend with: we don’t know absolutely and for sure that these emails were not tampered with by whoever stole them from John Podesta. The supposed authors of the messages are refusing to confirm or deny their authenticity, and though they seem to be real, there is a small possibility they aren’t.

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“The dramatis personae of the liberal class are all present in this amazing body of work: financial innovators. High-achieving colleagues attempting to get jobs for their high-achieving children. Foundation executives doing fine and noble things. Prizes, of course, and high academic achievement.”

With all that taken into consideration, I think the WikiLeaks releases furnish us with an opportunity to observe the upper reaches of the American status hierarchy in all its righteousness and majesty.

The dramatis personae of the liberal class are all present in this amazing body of work: financial innovators. High-achieving colleagues attempting to get jobs for their high-achieving children. Foundation executives doing fine and noble things. Prizes, of course, and high academic achievement. Read the rest of this entry »


Mark Zuckerberg’s Long March to China

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The Chinese government likes to control social media and what people do with it—but Facebook looks willing to launch in China anyway.

Emily Parker writes: For U.S. Internet businesses, China is the land of moral defeat. Many people hoped that Western technology companies would loosen China’s control over information. Instead, those companies have willingly participated in efforts to censor citizens’ speech. Yahoo gave Chinese authorities information about democracy activists, landing them in jail. Microsoft shut down the blog of prominent media-freedom activist Michael Anti. Google censored search results that were politically sensitive in China. In 2006, those three companies came before Congress and were accused by a subcommittee chairman of “sickening collaboration” with the Chinese government. Google shut down its mainland Chinese search engine in 2010, publicly complaining about censorship and cybersecurity.

“The number of Chinese Internet users has surged to some 700 million, and they represent a valuable untapped resource for American companies with saturated, highly competitive home markets. But the Communist Party’s attempts to control information have also grown more intense.”

Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009, and its Instagram photo-sharing service was blocked in 2014. I once thought that it would be disastrous or impossible for the social network to try a Chinese adventure of its own, and some China experts still believe that to be true. But a Facebook launch in China now looks probable.

mao-spy-web

Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has signaled to Beijing that he’s willing to do what it takes to get into the country. People who know the company well think it will happen. “It’s not an if, it’s a when,” says Tim Sparapani, who was Facebook’s first director of public policy and is now principal at SPQR Strategies, a consulting firm. Facebook declined to comment for this article, but Zuckerberg said last year: “You can’t have a mission to want to connect everyone in the world and leave out the biggest country.”

[Read the full story here, at MIT – technologyreview.com]

A decade after Google’s hopeful but ill-fated entry into China, U.S. Internet companies may see the Chinese market as even more tantalizing—yet impenetrable. The number of Chinese Internet users has surged to some 700 million, and they represent a valuable untapped resource for American companies with saturated, highly competitive home markets. But the Communist Party’s attempts to control information have also grown more intense. In addition to the “Great Firewall” that blocks access to foreign websites, legions of human censors, many employed at Internet companies, police domestic blogs and social networks. And a U.S. company would now have to compete with China’s own Internet giants. WeChat, a messaging app from the behemoth Tencent, has hundreds of millions of users.

facebook-eye

Zuckerberg clearly thinks China is worth the trouble, even if that means leaving some “Western values” at the door. Earlier this year, he traveled to Beijing and had a high-profile meeting with China’s propaganda chief, Liu Yunshan. Chinese state media reported that Facebook’s founder praised China’s Internet progress and pledged to work with the government to create a better cyberspace. Liu highlighted the notion of Internet governance “with Chinese characteristics.” The translation was clear: a Chinese version of Facebook would definitely be censored. This year’s trip was something of a sequel. In 2014, he hosted Lu Wei, minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, at Facebook’s offices. President Xi Jinping’s book The Governance of China just happened to be on ­Zuckerberg’s desk.

[Read the full text here, at MIT – technologyreview.com]

This courtship hasn’t been without some awkward moments. When ­Zuckerberg posted a photo of himself cheerfully jogging through the polluted haze of Tiananmen Squarethis year, he was mocked on Chinese social media. But overall he has made the right moves, says Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. “Chinese leaders pay a lot of attention to personal relationships,” he says. “They think Mark ­Zuckerberg is a friend of China. He’s successful. He’s very China-friendly. He has a Chinese wife. He speaks Chinese. So what else do you want?”

At your service

Facebook will still have to overcome Beijing’s suspicions that American Internet companies could destabilize the Communist Party’s rule. Media outlets that described the Arab Spring as the “Facebook Revolution” didn’t do the company any favors. And documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden fueled Chinese suspicions that American technology companies had “back doors” for U.S. government surveillance. Read the rest of this entry »


[CHART] How the Media Rigged the Election for Hillary Clinton

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Allapundit, via Twitter

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Source: New York Times