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jberryhill's Journal
jberryhill's Journal
January 28, 2020

My Corona...

Ooh, my little sweaty one, sweaty one
Don’t you get your spit in my eye, corona!
Ooh, you got my nose to run, my nose to run
Fever going over the line, corona!
Now I’m gonna sneeze, gonna weeze, gimme lots of wipes,
Always got my shot for the germs of the other types
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Corona!

January 27, 2020

Remember when Sibel Edmonds was big here at DU?

The DU "Whistleblowers" group remains as a vestigial remnant of the popularity of Sibel Edmonds here at DU. She was so important that she actually had her own discussion group:


After that group was quietly deep-sixed, the name was shortened, so that Sibel Edmonds fans could keep up with her, Snowden, Assange, Manning, and other hero-prophets.

I'm surprised that none of the people who used to sell her on DU as the greatest thing since sliced bread have kept up with her more recent writings in which, it appears, the mask has finally fallen off:


Khashoggi is/was Not who the mainstream media has been portraying. Right from day one the media published and marketed a false portrayal of this so-called victim, and did so intentionally. Jamal Khashoggi was not a journalist. He contributed less than a handful of fluff opinion pieces for the Washington Post (Of course a newspaper with a long history of CIA partnership). He was Osama Bin Laden’s partner and confidante throughout the 80s. He’s been on the CIA team since 1982. In the 90s he worked as a liaison Intel officer for Saudi-CIA cooperation. Starting in the mid-2000s he was an active Arab Spring operative for several NGOs, many of them funded by George Soros and the CIA. Pretty much everything fed by the media giving Khashoggi and his background almost a saint-like status has been false. Intentionally.

Who would have guessed that Sibel Edmonds would finally be reduced to selling outright bullshit?

January 26, 2020

Hunger will kill more people than coronavirus this year

If you weren’t on DU for Ebola, you might want to do some looking through Ebola threads in 2014.

If you do, you’ll find out we’re all dead by now.

Hunger directly kills between 2 and 3 million people a year. Hunger related illnesses kill millions more. One of the other biggest killers is diarrhea and other illnesses related to lack of access to clean water.

I will guarantee you that hunger and diarrhea are going to kill many millions - millions - more people this year than coronavirus.

But we don’t fear hunger or lack of access to clean water. These things are effectively prevented by the simple step of “having money”.

And that’s why we flip out over things like this. Ebola and coronavirus can’t be prevented with money.

Yes, a coordinated and intelligent response is required to deal with an emerging viral disease with relatively high communicability and lethality. But even with the estimated 4% mortality rate, your odds of surviving Ebola are a whole lot better than the odds of surviving without food, which doesn’t bother us as much because the millions to whom that is going to happen without our attention or concern are already effectively quarantined.

January 20, 2020

Lev Parnas' Attorney Responds To Trump Troll Twitter Disinfo

I'll start with the tweet from Joseph Bondy, Lev Parnas' attorney, and then drill down:


One of the classic disinfo techniques used by internet trolls is to use a select piece of fake information, when there is a body of perfectly good information, in order to use the one fake to discredit the truth.

A typical deployment of this technique was the Texas Air National Guard Memo. Did W shirk his duties in the TANG? You bet he did. But by spiking the information-sphere with the fake memo, the story could be discredited by reference to "the fake memo".

Ivana Trump's book "Raising Trump" contained this picture, which Ivana Trump has stated is Eric Trump's sixth birthday party at the Plaza Hotel in New York:

The photo was also run in a cropped version in this ABC News piece a while back, with the caption:


"Ivana Trump shares a family photo from Eric Trump's sixth birthday party at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1990."

One thing to note is that even Ivana's memory that it was a "sixth" birthday party might be off. The picture quality is not the best, but it looks like there might be seven candles on that cake.

However, the Trumps divorced in 1991, but Eric's birthday is in January. To be precise, Eric's birthday is January 6, 1984.

Now, Lev Parnas, in a recent New Yorker piece, talked about getting a job at Kings Highway Realty in Brooklyn when he was 16. The characterization of that job is a little odd, since it is highly unlikely that a 16 year old was dealing in real estate, since NY does not issue licenses to 16 year olds to do so, and contracting with minors is generally a difficult affair. Be that as it may, in the SAME New Yorker piece, Parnas states that Trump didn't get to know who he was until 2016.

In any event, Parnas' age matters because he was born in February 1972. So, if that picture was taken in 1990, the person who was initially fingered by a curious Twitter account, sure looks a lot older than 17 (and doesn't have Parnas' cleft chin).

One of the things that is interesting with "I just found out on Twitter" is to track down the original source of a piece of information. The original Twitter account that posed this as Lev Parnas has been suspended, and seemed to come out of nowhere.

But, despite that happening, the picture took on a life of its own. The party was said to be for one of Lev's kids, to obscure the date problem, or was said to be for Ivanka Trump, despite the football theme which would have been an odd choice for the Trumps to make for a girl's birthday party. The interesting thing is that, starting from a "patient zero" red-marker notation, the identical image took on more aspects than Vishnu - in terms of the factual details - in a matter of well under a few hours.

In order for that to happen, people along the way have to make stuff up. Given that tweets can be easily re-tweeted, it makes no sense for different persons to re-package the facts as "25 years ago", or "Ivanka's party" or "Lev's kid's party" absent an intent to simply confuse what is the photo and when it was taken.

Eventually Snopes picked it up, of course:


The claim that the man in this photograph is Lev Parnas is not based on any credible information. This claim is based solely on the notion that the man in the photograph bears a passing resemblance to Parnas. However, Parnas’ name was not attached to this picture until close to three decades after it was taken. And from what we can tell, Parnas is too young to be the man pictured here.


Some social media users have pointed to a report in the New Yorker to bolster the claim that Parnas is indeed the man in this photograph. While the The New Yorker reported that Parnas started selling Trump Organization co-ops for Kings Highway Realty when he was 16, there’s no indication that Parnas had a familiar relationship with the Trump family at that time. In fact, Parnas said that while he bumped into Trump occasionally at events in New York over the years, he didn’t get to know the president until the 2016 presidential campaign

The amazing thing about the will to believe is that people were willing to believe that the clearly older man in that photograph was somehow a 17 year old Lev Parnas (or 18 year old, depending on whether that is Eric's sixth or seventh birthday).

There is an active effort to get people to bite on these kinds of things. When you see something on Twitter that might be interesting, it may be a good idea to indicate whether you have bothered to look into it, and consider that what you are re-posting, re-distributing and giving a wider audience may or may not be true.

Also, just because someone is not sure that it is true, does not make that person a troll. The truth can usually stand up to questioning. In fact, that's a typical method for getting at the truth.

Plus, everyone missed the real surprise in the picture anyway.

That kid on the far left? Had a cameo in Airplane:

January 16, 2020

Michael Avenatti Jailed, Held Without Bond


Avenatti was arrested and indicted in separate federal cases in New York and Los Angeles back in March 2019, and eventually released on bond. According to The Washington Post, however, he allegedly spent the next few months, between April and October, committing mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He allegedly defrauded an ex-law partner he owed $5 million, an ex-client he owed $2.2 million and an ex-wife he owed $2.5 million in child and spousal support.

Avenatti’s alleged schemes included having an ex-wife buy a Mercedes-Benz for him to use so that he could avoid paying debts; draining and refilling his bank accounts with cashier’s checks to allegedly throw off creditors; and withdrawing money from banks in increments less than $10,000 to avoid drawing the attention of the government (a process known as “structuring”).
January 15, 2020

Avenatti's First Ex-Wife Next In Line...

We now know where Avenatti has been hiding some of the stolen loot:


"Carlin Divorced Avenatti in 2007...

On May 8, 2019, Avenatti Sent A Cashier’s Check to Carlin for $717,723.00...

On August 20, 2019, Avenatti Delivered Artwork He Purchased at an Auction to Carlin...

On or about May 30, 2019, Carlin Registers a Mercedes S550 (License No. 7ETG892) in her Name that is being used by Avenatti..."

On November 25, 2019, Carlin attended the examination, but refused to answer most of the questions based on the Fifth Amendment privilege. (Frank ¶ 28.) She also refused to produce any documents based on the privilege.

For chuckles, here's the DU thread about how Avenatti is such a nice guy because his first ex wife (he has two) speaks highly of him:


She has since deleted her account amidst accusations that it was actually run by him.
January 14, 2020

Mass Panic: It's Not Clear That Colorado's Mystery Drones Even Exist

So, just around Christmas, when anyone who was getting a drone for Christmas would have started playing with it, there were a number of claimed reports of mass drone activity over Colorado and Nebraska. No one who has set out to record and document the mass drone activity has been successful at doing so, but that didn't stop widespread concern over observations which, even if true, don't add up to anything illegal going on.

A recurring theme of modern life seems to be the urge to involve law enforcement into investigation of activity which is not even illegal in the first place. To be clear, if you want to argue for rules around flying drones over private property, that's one thing. In fact, there are a number of players in the agricultural, manufacturing and chemical industries who have been strong advocates for rules against the right to photograph things in plain view on private property. They do not want prying eyes into their compliance, or not, with regulations on the handling of toxic materials or animals, etc..

Oddly, while it is generally our side of the political spectrum which stands for things like not having the police pry into your lawful conduct, there are some who can't resist the desire to believe that everyone else has some right to know what some law-abiding person is up to. To be clear, if someone is flying a drone within the law, taking photographs while standing on public property, or otherwise minding their own business, then it is their business.

Absent a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity taking place, law enforcement does not have the right to detain you for questions, even briefly - and even if you are legally operating drones.

That's what I found curious about the "we gotta find out about these drones!" thing. Suppose that they found someone flying these drones in public airspace within FAA regulations for drones, who landed them in her own field and was packing them up. The police would be free to ask him what she was up to, and she would be free to say "Nunya business".

If it was, for example, a mining company doing a survey with some kind of sensing equipment, that would be entirely their own business and they would have no obligation to disclose their trade secret information to anyone without a warrant issued on probable cause that a crime was being committed.

In any event, this article brings home some of what bothers me about the reaction to the drone story.


But the most popular theory is that the timing is just a little too coincidental with a recently proposed FAA rule that would require drones to be identified remotely using a unique identifier and GPS coordinates sent via cellular signal to a central database, which many enthusiasts worry will ruin their hobby. What a great way to drum up support for such a policy, these posters suggest, than a nationally covered drone mystery.

This FAA conspiracy is, like most conspiracy theories, less a genuine assertion of the version of events they think actually occurred and more an expression of a larger frustration with the way the world works. Lisberg—who for the record does not believe the FAA is running a secret campaign to fly drones over rural Colorado to scare people in order to pass a remote ID rule for drones—pointed out that the FAA has been working on its rule change for years in consultation with key players in the drone industry. But he did concede the specifics of the FAA’s remote ID rule are not popular in the drone community. For its part, DJI advocates for a different type of remote ID technology than the one the FAA is proposing. Motherboard reached out to the FAA about this particular theory but did not hear back.

If there is a worthy lesson from this whole affair, it is unlikely to be a product of finding out who is actually flying the drones. Instead, it has to do with our attitudes towards the unknown. In this sense, there is some semblance of agreement between the drone enthusiasts and local officials trying their best to navigate this new, strange world.

“The question is do authorities NEED to know what it is?” Sean Wendland, a drone enthusiast in Sacramento, Calif., asked Motherboard over Facebook Messenger. “Is it causing any harm? Has it created danger? Do Americans NEED to know what it is? I would argue no, not at the cost of freedom.”

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