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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: Left Coast
Member since: Mon Oct 10, 2016, 07:19 PM
Number of posts: 7,957

About Me

A Reformed Republican who has seen evil and shook its hand. (Nixon) He now spends his time trying to change the world for the better.

Journal Archives

Fashion: Cardigans are hip

Ok, I have always liked cardigans. I wear one in my office at home, and I love the feel. Yet when I travel for work, I always wear a sport jacket. Now the NY Times says I'm cool, in an article entitled "The Men's Cardigan Makes a Comeback". https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/23/fashion/mister-rogers-cardigan.html

Hopefully, you can read this. I don't know if it's behind their paywall.

Mike Pompeo: Last in His Class at West Point in Integrity

From the "failing New York Times"

Mike Pompeo: Last in His Class at West Point in Integrity
The secretary of state’s behavior has been cowardly and self-serving.

It seems like every story you read about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo always includes the sentence that he graduated “first in his class” from West Point. That is not a small achievement. But it is even more impressive in Pompeo’s case when you consider that he finished No. 1 even though he must have flunked all his courses on ethics and leadership. I guess he was really good in math.

I say that because Pompeo has just violated one of the cardinal rules of American military ethics and command: You look out for your soldiers, you don’t leave your wounded on the battlefield and you certainly don’t stand mute when you know a junior officer is being railroaded by a more senior commander, if not outright shot in her back.

The classes on ethics and leadership at West Point would have taught all of that. I can only assume Pompeo failed or skipped them all when you observe his cowardly, slimy behavior as the leader of the State Department. I would never, ever, ever want to be in a trench with that man. Attention all U.S. diplomats: Watch your own backs, because Pompeo won’t.

Plenty more at the link.

Business vs Government - Trump edition

Let me begin by saying that I have spent my life in business. I have started numerous companies in Silicon Valley and Seattle. My understanding of how government works is what I got from many years of working with state and county officials on various issues that are important to me.

I know that in the business world, it is critical to your company's success that you get out the message that you are "open for business" as soon as possible. While I don't agree with it, I have heard the notion that "if they spell your name right, it's good news". My opinion is that PR has to be complimentary to your exact business, otherwise, it's counterproductive.

What I saw today in the impeachment hearings was evidence of a president and his embassador who told the world "we are open for business".

Now, if the US is a business, that is acceptable. However, my understanding is, that our government is supposed to be about doing all things possible to support the lives of its citizens, and not about the personal gain of its government officials. But, what what Sondland and Trump did in their phone call was to tell the entire world over an unencrypted phone line that our country could be bought and the price is cheap.

To me, this is wrong and needs to be corrected. DFT needs to find a permanent place in our penitentiary system, along with all his cronies. Those must include Mike Pense, Rudy Ghouliani, Richard Sondland, and any other jackass who wants to worship at the feet of the Cheeto Tweeter.

We Read All 2,677 Pages of Ukraine Testimony So You Don't Have To

This is from LawFareBlog. It looks like a great resource for all of us.

Public impeachment hearings by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence begin this week. Charge d’Affaires to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent are scheduled to testify on Nov. 13. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled to testify on Nov. 15. These witnesses and others have already been deposed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence behind closed doors. Eight deposition transcripts were released publicly last week, totalling 2,677 pages of sworn testimony.

To make these voluminous pages more digestible, Lawfare contributors have summarized each of the released eight deposition transcripts. We have published summaries of all eight. The summaries are available below and include links to the relevant deposition transcripts:
* Amb. Marie Yovanovitch

* Michael McKinley

* Amb. Kurt Volker

* Amb. Gordon Sondland

* George Kent

* Amb. William Taylor

* Fiona Hill

* Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

We (they) will add more summaries as further transcripts are released. They will be available at the first link shown at the top of this.

The coming events

I stopped at the grocery on the way home tonight. There is a Seahawks game (NFL) tonight, and I needed snacks for that. I picked up a few more for the Wednesday events as well. At the cashiers line, I had several people ask why I needed so many chips & other things for one football game. My explanation was that there is two more major events this week and each will require a significant quantity of beer. Then I reminded them of the impeachment hearings on Wednesday & Friday. Several replied with words similar to "its a bad week to stop drinking".

Have any TV networks promised gavel-to-gavel impeachment coverage?

Where can I watch this fabulous popcorn fest?

8chan reemerges as "8kun" but can't keep its new website online

Source: Arstechnica

"Not sure how long we will be able to stay online with clearnet due to activists trying to deplatform us, and hackers preparing to ddos us. The tor hidden service should remain available regardless," Watkins wrote on Twitter Saturday. 8kun was also available on Loki, which Watkins described as an experimental alternative to Tor.

Dumped by Cloudflare, 8chan gets back online—then gets kicked off again
8kun is using Tucows as its registrar, and a Vice report says that 8kun's hosting service is the Russia-based Media Land LLC. Media Land was recently described as a "bulletproof hosting service" by security reporter Brian Krebs. It's not clear if the 8kun administrators found a full replacement for Cloudflare's anti-DDoS services.

"We have been under sustained attacks the past few days and doing everything we can to get things stable again," Watkins wrote on Twitter today, shortly before the site went down again. "The site is still online—albeit limping along—as we reorganize and restructure to deflect attacks coming from many angles."


8chan temporarily got back online in early August, shortly after losing Cloudflare service. 8chan switched its website to a provider called BitMitigate, the same company that began serving the Daily Stormer after Cloudflare cut it off. But that didn't last long, either, as BitMitigate's cloud infrastructure provider decided to shut off BitMitigate's service.

Read more: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/11/8chan-gets-back-online-and-is-promptly-forced-off-again/

It looks like hate speech on the internet is not welcomed by the uber-geeks. Makes my day.

Verdict- Go Big, Democrats: Attempts to Rig Elections Are Not the Only Impeachable Offenses

This is an op-ed piece in the Verdict, written by Neil H. Buchanan

This legal scholar posts some very wise arguments for the "take no prisoners" approach to impeachment. Read the entire article- it's short and worth the time.

The Strategic Case for Minimalism Does Not Ultimately Hold Up
It might be possible that one article of impeachment can be stripped down to the very minimum for Democrats to defend, but that will then leave them open to the claim from Republicans that there is not enough substance to the case against Trump to remove him from office. “This is all you have? That’s nuthin’—and certainly not enough to end a presidency!”

In the end, the Democrats might be talking themselves into a strategy that leaves them without a “simple and clean” case even as they opt not to pursue the strongest possible case against Donald Trump. As so often happens, focusing on the clever public relations-friendly approach might well be a fools’ errand that would have catastrophic consequences.
The Substantive Case for Minimalism Is Irresponsible and Wrong
This, not to pull any punches, is simply bonkers. Before exploring why, I will note that The Times’s editors did make the good point that the Democrats had no choice but to pursue impeachment once it became clear that Trump was trying to rig next year’s election. If impeachment is for nothing else, they point out, it must be used in situations in which the President is committing impeachable offenses that stop him from being held accountable by voters.

Fair enough, but impeachment is not “for nothing else.” Impeachable offenses – treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors – should not simply be tolerated until the next election so long as that election will be fair. What if the President commits treason or accepts bribes but does not rig an election? And what if he shows every indication that he will keep committing those offenses – and also that he will begin to pardon all of his partners in crime?

Trump administration sues CA over state climate pact with Quebec

Source: Aljazeera

Last month, Trump said he is revoking California's power to set vehicle-emissions standards that are tougher than those demanded by federal regulations, portraying the move as a "win for consumers".

Environmentalists argue that Trump's rules will accelerate climate change, and that emissions rules improve fuel economy, in turn lowering consumer costs.

Also last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter to California officials saying the state is not taking adequate steps to fix air quality problems, putting in jeopardy billions of dollars in federal funding for transportation projects.

Hundreds of former EPA employees are calling for a congressional probe into whether the agency's feud with California represents retaliation for the state's failure to support Trump's political agenda.

Read more: https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/trump-administration-sues-ca-state-climate-pact-quebec-191023141029576.html

While his administration says that international treaties are the exclusive right of the feds, he sends his personal attorney to Ukraine to bypass the State Department and many decades of consistent diplomacy.

"Fake News" can be a game, and it teaches us to become more discerning

One my my daily tech reads gave us this interesting article about gamifying memes and the trolling of social media. It states that after only playing such games for 15 minutes, the participants become more resilient to the BS that Russia's troll farms are spewing at us daily.

Half of the battle against disinformation campaigns is educating people about how they work. And that's why the Finnish public broadcasting company Yle—Finland's equivalent of the BBC—has created a game called Troll Factory. The game, which recently won the European Journalism Centre and Google News Initiative's Global Youth and News Media Prize for promoting media literacy, puts the player in the role of a disinformation operative working for an Internet Research Agency-like organization with an anti-immigrant agenda.

The gamification of education on disinformation campaigns has been shown to help build up a resistance to fake news in the past. The University of Cambridge conducted a study in 2018 using a browser game called "Bad News" and found that completing the 15-minute game increased "psychological resistance" to fake news on social media, reducing the perceived credibility of fake news headlines by an average of 21 percent across 15,000 participants.

Troll Factory takes Bad News' approach a step further by using real samples of memes, conspiracy theories, and fake news articles used in such campaigns that infect social media and heighten the polarization of public discourse around the world—and in the US and Western Europe in particular. With the increasing reliance on social media for news, Yle's interactive team sought to create more awareness of how weaponized social media has become and more understanding among social media users of how they could be drawn into unintentionally spreading false information.
The result can be somewhat eye-opening for those who haven't tracked disinformation campaigns. "People have described Troll Factory experience to be 'scary awful' but informative and enlightening," Koponen said, "something that's needed in order to illustrate the reality, motives, intentions and potential effects, of different forms of information operations."
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