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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,281

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

The House just voted to make it easier for states to defund Planned Parenthood, and clinics like it

Planned Parenthood will survive — but a lot of women will lose access to birth control.


http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/2/16/14598032/congress-states-defund-planned-parenthood-title-x

Before former President Obama left office, he made a last-ditch effort to protect Planned Parenthood’s state funding from conservative governors and state legislatures that might seek to take it away.

But Republicans in Congress are working to block that effort using an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act, which lets Congress fast-track a resolution to disapprove of new federal agency rules within 60 days of their passage.

On Thursday, the House voted 230-188 to overturn a rule Obama signed in December that would prohibit discriminating against family planning providers for reasons other than the quality of care they offer.

The resolution of disapproval now moves to the Senate, where it will probably pass because it only requires a simple 51-vote majority, and President Trump will probably sign it, since he supports defunding Planned Parenthood.

To be clear, this vote isn’t about the big federal “defund Planned Parenthood” bill that Republicans have promised to pass at the same time as they repeal the Affordable Care Act. That bill, which has yet to be introduced, would block Planned Parenthood from accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid reimbursements.
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Evelyn Farkas was the Pentagons top Russia expert. Now she wants Trump independently investigated.


“The fundamental question is: Are you susceptible to blackmail from a foreign entity or individual?”

http://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/2/16/14630856/evelyn-farkas-trump-russia-flynn


From 2012 to 2015, Evelyn Farkas served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Since leaving office, she’s been raising the alarm that there was more to the strange relationship between Trumpland and Russia than the public knew. Maybe even much more. This week, she was proven right.

We spoke Wednesday, and the relief was evident in her voice. Far from being concerned over the new revelations, she’s comforted that the ties are finally being made public and broad pressure is finally being applied for more investigations. “I didn’t think it would happen this fast,” she says.

The investigation we need, Farkas continues, is the equivalent of running “a security clearance on the president.” The core question is, “Are you susceptible to blackmail from a foreign entity or individual?”


Farkas, who served as the executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, thinks Congress needs to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s ties to the Trump administration and role in the election. In this interview, which is edited for length and clarity, she explains why.

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DT's combative, freewheeling, "fake news" press conference, explained - VOX.com


.. interesting how often "fake news" is proclaimed by the most dedicated fraud, synthetic phony ever to get into the WH. Richard "the Plastic man" Nixon pales in comparison.


http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/16/14640364/trump-press-conference-fake-news



The fourth week of Donald Trump’s presidency has been tumultuous, with his top national security official being forced out due to scandal, reports that members of his campaign staff and associates had contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials last year, and various factions of his White House apparently knifing each other in the press. Meanwhile, an initial flurry of new policy actions has slowed to a crawl, his major immigration order remains blocked in the courts, and a significant legislative achievement remains far away.

So on Thursday, Trump tried to change the narrative by giving an impromptu press conference — and what a press conference it was.

Trump made the case that his administration was “running like a fine-tuned machine,” and that he’s made “incredible progress” on fixing the nation’s problems so far. He made a case to “the American people” that he was keeping the promises he made on the campaign trail. He also made a plethora of false claims on matters from the size of his Electoral College win to just what his executive actions actually did.

But the larger strategic goal of the presser became clear with one theme Trump repeatedly returned to — the alleged “dishonesty” of the media, an institution that, it is now clear, Trump has decided to fully elevate as his most important foe.
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Report February 8, 2017 Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age - PEW Research

.. this is a kindof long, but thought provoking read...



Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment

http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/02/08/code-dependent-pros-and-cons-of-the-algorithm-age/

Algorithms are instructions for solving a problem or completing a task. Recipes are algorithms, as are math equations. Computer code is algorithmic. The internet runs on algorithms and all online searching is accomplished through them. Email knows where to go thanks to algorithms. Smartphone apps are nothing but algorithms. Computer and video games are algorithmic storytelling. Online dating and book-recommendation and travel websites would not function without algorithms. GPS mapping systems get people from point A to point B via algorithms. Artificial intelligence (AI) is naught but algorithms. The material people see on social media is brought to them by algorithms. In fact, everything people see and do on the web is a product of algorithms. Every time someone sorts a column in a spreadsheet, algorithms are at play, and most financial transactions today are accomplished by algorithms. Algorithms help gadgets respond to voice commands, recognize faces, sort photos and build and drive cars. Hacking, cyberattacks and cryptographic code-breaking exploit algorithms. Self-learning and self-programming algorithms are now emerging, so it is possible that in the future algorithms will write many if not most algorithms.

Algorithms are often elegant and incredibly useful tools used to accomplish tasks. They are mostly invisible aids, augmenting human lives in increasingly incredible ways. However, sometimes the application of algorithms created with good intentions leads to unintended consequences. Recent news items tie to these concerns:

>> The British pound dropped 6.1% in value in seconds on Oct. 7, 2016, partly because of currency trades triggered by algorithms.

>> Microsoft engineers created a Twitter bot named “Tay” this past spring in an attempt to chat with Millennials by responding to their prompts, but within hours it was spouting racist, sexist, Holocaust-denying tweets based on algorithms that had it “learning” how to respond to others based on what was tweeted at it.

>> Facebook tried to create a feature to highlight Trending Topics from around the site in people’s feeds. First, it had a team of humans edit the feature, but controversy erupted when some accused the platform of being biased against conservatives. So, Facebook then turned the job over to algorithms only to find that they could not discern real news from fake news.

>> The White House released two reports in October 2016 detailing the advance of algorithms and artificial intelligence and plans to address issues tied to it, and it issued a December report outlining some of the potential effects of AI-driven automation on the U.S. job market and economy.



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Is Mitch McConnell stonewalling an independent investigation into Trump/Russia to save his own skin?

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/2/15/1634152/-Is-Mitch-McConnell-stonewalling-an-independent-investigation-into-Trump-Russia-to-save-his-own-skin


Let's just keep this in mind as Mitch McConnell continues to stonewall an independent inquiry—which would be far more public than current investigations—into Donald Trump's Russia ties: McConnell was briefed about Russia's interference in the election last fall and he lobbied to keep that information from voters.

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.

McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment. After the election, Trump chose McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, as his nominee for transportation secretary.


McConnell has finally been backed into a corner on needing to extend the current probes in the House and Senate into examining ties between the Trump camp and Russian officials. But he and Paul Ryan still exercise an enormous amount of control over which parts of those investigations go public, so long as they aren't conducted by an independent body.

Look, if this thing really goes south, McConnell will have played a role in covering up the information prior to the election. Depending on what was shared in those briefings, it could prove as "explosive" for McConnell now as Harry Reid said it was last October. Remember the letter (i.e. distress signal) Reid sent to FBI director James Comey last October?

We should not and cannot trust this man." A CIA vet on Trump's feud with US spies. - Vox.com

this is taken from Sean Illing's (VOX.com) interview with "Glenn Carle, a 23-year veteran of the CIA and a former deputy officer on the National Intelligence Council."

“We’re facing the gravest threat to our institutions and our government since 1861."

http://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/2/15/14623636/donald-trump-michael-flynn-russia-putin-cia-white-house


Glenn Carle: Well, I think the talk of a "shadow war" diverts from the real issue because it focuses attention on some coherent, organized bureaucratic or institutional campaign to oppose the president. But none of that's the case. The issue is that Trump and his entourage, for a long period of time, have been associating with, meeting with, involved with, or working somehow with Russian intelligence.

Now, I've been aware of this for about a year. I've been jumping up and down, and I'm not the only one. And if I can figure it out as a professional intelligence officer who's no longer in service, then obviously active intelligence officers can figure it out too.


Sean Illing: So how would you characterize this rift?

Glenn Carle: What's happened is that the organs of government sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States have been trying to do their jobs. Intelligence professionals take their responsibilities seriously. Whatever they do, they do it because they believe it is necessary, because they believe duty demands it. They’re not playing political games.

Sean Illing: Have we entered uncharted territory?

Glenn Carle: The narrow answer is yes, but it's much more than that. The real issue is what I've been saying in public for many months: We are facing the gravest threat to our institutions and our government since 1861, since the country broke in half. This is a graver crisis than Watergate, which was about corruption, not the usurpation of our laws and our checks and balances. It's graver than World War II, when Hitler never actually threatened our institutions or occupation of Washington.

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The Daily 202: Its bigger than Flynn. New Russia revelations widen Trumps credibility gap.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/02/15/daily-202-it-s-bigger-than-flynn-new-russia-revelations-widen-trump-s-credibility-gap/58a3c5b9e9b69b1406c75cb4/?utm_term=.b8d90765024e


THE BIG IDEA: The credibility gap — maybe chasm is a better word at this point — keeps widening for Donald Trump and his White House.

Two days after Trump’s victory, Russia’s deputy foreign minister told a reporter in Moscow that “there were contacts” between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” he said. That prompted a vigorous denial from Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who insisted there had been “no contact with Russian officials.”

>> On Jan. 11, an NBC reporter asked Trump whether members of his staff were in contact with Russian officials during the campaign. “No,” he replied.

>> On Jan. 15, Mike Pence was asked basically the same question on two Sunday shows. “Of course not,” he replied on Fox and CBS.

>> Yesterday afternoon, Sean Spicer stood by Trump’s earlier denials during the daily briefing when questioned by ABC.


Fresh reporting continues to cast doubt on these and many other claims:

-- From the lead story in today's New York Times: “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee.… The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the government outside of the intelligence services, they said….

“The call logs and intercepted communications are part of a larger trove of information that the F.B.I. is sifting through as it investigates the links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government, as well as the hacking of the D.N.C. … As part of its inquiry, the F.B.I. has obtained banking and travel records and conducted interviews….


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Artificial intuition will supersede artificial intelligence, experts say


Human cognition and instinct are about to become significantly more widespread in machines, say scientists and consultants. It promises to rapidly surpass simple AI.


http://www.networkworld.com/article/3168320/analytics/artificial-intuition-will-supersede-artificial-intelligence-experts-say.html


Artificial intelligence (AI) is so last year, according to some experts.

Scientists at MIT this week claimed a breakthrough in how human intuition can be added to algorithms. And in a separate, unrelated report, Deloitte Consulting is chastising the business community for not comprehending fully that new, cognitive computing technology should be exploited.

“Artificial intelligence is only the beginning,” researchers write in a Deloitte University Press article about Deloitte's February study.

“Advanced cognitive analytics” is just one of the “fast-evolving” technologies businesses need to get a handle on, they say. A kind of artificial intuition and cognition through algorithms is one part of that machine intelligence (MI). Notably, it’s not AI. MI is more cognitive and mimics humans, the firm explains, while AI is simply a subset of MI.

“To focus on AI is to miss the forest for the trees,” writes Blaise Zerega in a VentureBeat article about the Deloitte report.

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New Jersey congressman invokes 1924 tax law giving Congress power to examine Trump's tax returns

https://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/02/11/1632589/-New-Jersey-congressman-invokes-1924-tax-law-giving-Congress-power-to-examine-Trump-s-tax-returns


Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and he wants to use a 1924 tax law that allows Congress to examine tax returns for the purpose of determining whether conflicts of interest exist, even if those tax returns belong to the president. From NorthJersey.com:

After privately examining returns -- Pascrell is seeking 10 years' worth -- the committee could decide to share them with the full House, which would in effect make them public. The 1924 law gives congressional committees that set tax policy the power to examine tax returns. It was used in 1974 when Congress looked at President Richard Nixon's returns, and in 2014 when the Ways and Means Committee released confidential tax information as part of its investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's handling of applications for nonprofit status

If Sen. Mitch McConnell can invoke the rarely used “Rule 19”, Rep. Pascrell and Congress are well within their rights to evoke this 1924 tax code and do what the law requires to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. Pascrell said he’s not going to take “no” for answer:

Pascrell said foreign governments are paying rents, licensing fees, and issuing permits for Trump Organization projects, all of which could be used to influence the president.The letter asked Brady to reply by Wednesday.

“If I get a ‘no’ answer on this, I’ll be very honest with you: If these guys think I’m walking away from this, they’re absolutely nuts," Pascrell said. "The calls we’re getting, the calls other congressmen are getting, it’s unbelievable, we never expected this.”


Below is the full letter from Rep. Pacrell to Rep. Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

February 1, 2017

The Honorable Kevin Brady Chairman House Committee on Ways and Means 1102 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Brady:

The Founding Fathers were determined to prevent corruption among public officeholders under our Constitution. The emoluments clause prohibits federal officeholders from accepting foreign gifts or emoluments without congressional consent. Their intention was to forbid relationships that might lead to corruption. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe and lawyer Joshua Matz have written that the meaning of “emoluments” as the framers intended included profits received in a business relationship.

President Trump has chosen to keep an ownership stake in his businesses, the scope of which we have no knowledge of as he has refused to disclose his tax returns. We believe that it is imperative for the public to know and understand his 564 financial positions in domestic and foreign companies, and his self-reported net worth of more than $10 billion. We know that state-owned enterprises in China and the United Arab Emirates are involved in his businesses, and that his business ties stretch to India, Turkey, the Philippines, and beyond. Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan may also have ties to his businesses. These foreign entities are paying rents, licensing agreement payments, and issuing permits for developments -- effectively giving them a tool to influence our new President.

None of these potential conflicts can be verified until and unless we have disclosure from President Trump. Every major Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon, with the exception of President Gerald Ford who released a summary of tax data, has released his or her tax returns for public review – until now.

If the President does not either release his returns or consent to examination of such returns by this Committee, I urge you, as Chairman of the Committee and pursuant to Section 6103(f)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, to submit a written request to the Secretary of the Treasury for copies of the President’s federal tax returns by February 15, 2017. These returns and all accompanying return information should then be made available for examination by all Committee Members in a closed executive session. I further request that the Committee then vote in this closed session to submit the President’s federal tax returns to the House of Representatives—thereby, if successful, making them available to the public. This Committee followed a similar procedure to release confidential taxpayer information in the past during its exhaustive investigation of the treatment of certain tax-exempt organizations.

The Presidential campaign is over and the fear that a political opponent will try to use tax returns for electoral benefit is passed. President Trump is now governing while also owning a business with international investments. The Constitution faces unprecedented threats due to this arrangement. I believe the powerful Ways and Means Committee has the responsibility to use that power to ensure proper oversight of the executive branch by requesting a review of President Trump’s tax returns and moving towards a formal release of these documents to the public.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Bill Pascrell, Jr. Member of Congress



Reeling Trump Devastated As Info Showing He Was Compromised By Putin Gains Steam

http://www.politicususa.com/2017/02/10/intel-suggesting-trump-compromised-russia-gaining-credibility.html


It's been reported Friday evening that the intel compiled by the former British spy has gained credibility among law enforcement.


The dossier that wouldn’t go away. Some got distracted by the urine aspects, but the real issue is whether or not Donald Trump has been compromised by Russia. It’s been reported Friday evening that the intel compiled by the former British spy has gained credibility among law enforcement.

In January, reports said the intel community was investigating claims that Russia had compromised Trump, and had damaging personal and financial information on then President-elect. Those reports haven’t gone away, and unlike accusations that they were false, they are gaining credibility among the law enforcement according to CBS and CNN.

CNN reported Friday evening, “For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN.”

The salacious aspects of the dossier haven’t been corroborated, but other aspects of the dossier have been corroborated. “The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.”

In response, the Trump White House accused CNN of being.......... “fake news.”
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