Friday, February 23, 2018

50 Shades Greitens Discovers "It Means Dick When The Handcuffs Click"

NPR |  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted on one count of felony invasion of privacy and taken into custody in St. Louis in connection with reports of an extramarital affair that surfaced last month.

During that affair, Greitens is alleged to have taken a semi-nude photo of the woman and then threatened to blackmail her by publishing it if she revealed their relationship.

As reported by the Two-Way in January, Greitens, a Republican, confirmed that he had an extramarital affair before he was elected in 2016, but he denied the allegations of blackmail.

"As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor," Greitens said in a statement Thursday posted on Facebook. "I did not commit a crime."

As St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippman told All Things Considered:
"Missouri law says that ... taking the picture alone is a misdemeanor. What pushes this to the level of a felony was the fact that he put that photo on a computer, and therefore it makes it sort of a low level felony.
We know about this incident because the ex-husband of the woman who had the affair recorded the conversation and talked about it with the media."
In the wake of the public exposure of the affair last month, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner opened an investigation leading to this indictment by a St. Louis grand jury.
The name of the woman who had an affair with Greitens has not been disclosed and is referred to only as "K.S." in the indictment.

It alleges that Greitens "knowingly photographed K.S. in a state of full or partial nudity without the knowledge or consent of K.S. and in a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the defendant subsequently transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer."

In a statement, Gardener said it was essential for residents of St. Louis and Missouri to have confidence in their leaders.

Lying, Affirmative-Action Stealing Replacement Negroes Could Take A DNA Test...,

BostonGlobe |  Warren’s constituents in Massachusetts probably don’t realize how common it is for white people in the South to grow up with stories of distant and heroic Indian ancestors. (And some black Southerners, too: NFL running back Emmitt Smith realized he wasn’t part Cherokee on an episode of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are.”) Cherokees married outside their tribe more than other Native Americans — a method of survival in the 17th and 18th centuries — so many people do have distant ties to the group. Their exogamy has allowed thousands of families like mine to claim ancestry, livening up their family trees without ever having to reckon with the genocidal tendencies of some of their forebears.

Nagle and many other Cherokees find this casual appropriation of Native identity deeply offensive. But part of why the stories have such staying power for my family, despite a lack of evidence, is because my family is so sincerely proud of having any connection to Native Americans. My granny and my grandfather greatly admired the tribes that live in Oklahoma, and a group of Comanches sang at my grandfather’s funeral, after the military bugler played taps in honor of his service in World War II.

Warren’s speech last week was well received by the Native Americans in attendance, who generously accepted her assertion that her mother was Native American, despite a lack of documentation. 

“Who are we to say what she is?” said Ricardo Ortiz, a member of the Pueblo of San Felipe tribe in New Mexico. “If she knows what’s in her blood, and believes it, who are we to criticize?”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Black Panther: Rich Fantasy Africans Replace Bad Broke American Negroes...,

bostonreview |  Wakanda is a fictional nation in Africa, a marvel beyond all marvels. Its stupendous wealth and technological advancement reaches beyond anything the folks in MIT’s labs could dream of. The source of all this wonder is vibranium, a substance miraculous in ways that the movie does not bother to explain. But so far as we understand, it is a potent energy source as well as an unmatched raw material. A meteor rich in vibranium, which crashed ages ago into the land that would become Wakanda, made Wakanda so powerful that the terrors of colonialism and imperialism passed it by. Using technology to hide its good fortune, the country plays the part of a poor, third-world African nation. In reality, it thrives, and its isolationist policies protect it from anti-black racism. The Wakandans understand events in the outside world and know that they are spared. This triumphant lore—the vibranium and the Wakandans’ secret history and superiority—are more than imaginative window-dressing. They go to the heart of the mistaken perception that Black Panther is a movie about black liberation.

We learn that N’Jobu was sent to the United States as one of Wakanda’s War Dogs, a division of spies that the reclusive nation dispatches to keep tabs on a world it refuses to engage. This is precisely N’Jobu’s problem. In the United States, he learns of the racism black Americans face, including mass incarceration and police brutality. He soon understands that his people have the power to help all black people, and he plots to develop weapons using vibranium to even the odds for black Americans. This is radical stuff; the Black Panthers (the political party, that is) taken to a level of potentially revolutionary efficacy. T’Chaka, however, insists N’Jobu has betrayed the people of Wakanda. He has no intention of helping any black people anywhere; for him and most Wakandans, it is Wakanda First. N’Jobu threatens an aide to T’Chaka, who then kills N’Jobu. The murder leaves Killmonger orphaned. However, Killmonger has learned of Wakanda  from his father, N’Jobu. Living in poverty in Oakland, he grows to become a deadly soldier to make good on his father’s radical aim to use Wakanda’s power to liberate black people everywhere, by force if necessary.

By now viewers have two radical imaginings in front of them: an immensely rich and flourishing advanced African nation that is sealed off from white colonialism and supremacy; and a few black Wakandans with a vision of global black solidarity who are determined to use Wakanda’s privilege to emancipate all black people.

These imaginings could be made to reconcile, but the movie’s director and writer (with Joe Cole), Ryan Coogler, makes viewers choose. Killmonger makes his way to Wakanda and challenges T’Challa’s claim to the throne through traditional rites of combat. Killmonger decisively defeats T’Challa and moves to ship weapons globally to start the revolution. In the course of Killmonger’s swift rise to power, however, Coogler muddies his motivation. Killmonger is the revolutionary willing to take what he wants by any means necessary, but he lacks any coherent political philosophy. Rather than the enlightened radical, he comes across as the black thug from Oakland hell bent on killing for killing’s sake—indeed, his body is marked with a scar for every kill he has made. The abundant evidence of his efficacy does not establish Killmonger as a hero or villain so much as a receptacle for tropes of inner-city gangsterism.

In the end, all comes down to a contest between T’Challa and Killmonger that can only be read one way: in a world marked by racism, a man of African nobility must fight his own blood relative whose goal is the global liberation of blacks. In a fight that takes a shocking turn, T’Challa lands a fatal blow to Killmonger, lodging a spear in his chest. As the movie uplifts the African noble at the expense of the black American man, every crass principle of modern black respectability politics is upheld.  

In 2018, a world home to both the Movement for Black Lives and a president who identifies white supremacists as fine people, we are given a movie about black empowerment where the only redeemed blacks are African nobles. They safeguard virtue and goodness against the threat not of white Americans or Europeans, but a black American man, the most dangerous person in the world.
Even in a comic-book movie, black American men are relegated to the lowest rung of political regard. So low that the sole white leading character in the movie, the CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), gets to be a hero who helps save Wakanda. A white man who trades in secrets and deception is given a better turn than a black man whose father was murdered by his own family and who is left by family and nation to languish in poverty. That’s racist.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Why Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Pretend to Obsess About Russia

libertyblitzkrieg |  There’s a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they’re terrified that — unlike Obama — he’s a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

I recently came across a fantastic article titled The West’s War on Itself, which I highly recommend everyone read it. It helps put into context much about the current position the American empire finds itself in, and shines a light on the origins of our dysfunctional and increasingly insane national political dialogue. The authors use the term PVE (preventing violent extremism) throughout, which is described in the following manner:
PVE, then, is first and foremost a narrative device: a tool used, largely unconsciously, to inject fresh legitimacy into a war on terror that by 2008 had fallen into disrepute. More specifically, PVE appears to dampen the queasiness felt at pursuing a course of action that quite obviously conflicts with Western liberal values, wrapping hard-edged counterterrorism in gentle language. In that sense, it renovates a long-held tradition.
In other words, it’s just a linguistic way to justify policies of imperial aggression abroad using palatable terminology. The authors go on to note:
Indeed, the roots of PVE and the broader war on terror date back to a centuries-old tendency among most societies—Western and non-Western alike—to forge their identities in an almost perpetual state of conflict, aiming to control resources or counter rivals. Such war footing demands a positive, legitimating narrative—an understanding that we fight to reclaim, defend, pacify, stabilise, illuminate and liberate. Rarely do eradication and predation announce themselves unabashedly. Rather, virtually all forms of conquest and colonisation hinge on the notion of an enemy to defeat and, alongside it, a population begging for deliverance.
This is precisely why the powers that be in the U.S. are always trying to sell the public on a new enemy. The 21st century alone has seen us seamlessly transition from being terrified of al-Qaeda to ISIS, and now Russia, in less than two decades. Such external enemies are needed in order to justify the overseas military action required to hold together an increasingly shaky global empire. Same as it ever was.

The article goes on to explain why Obama was the perfect salesman for U.S. imperial ambitions.
In the Western sphere, the war on terror originally was associated with the conservative right-wing. That linkage crystallised throughout the half-decade following the 11 September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on US soil, as self-identifying liberals came to identify the war on terror with President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq, and with a host of practices deemed antithetical to Western values, including ramped up domestic surveillance, torture euphemistically dubbed “enhanced interrogation,” extrajudicial killings and “extraordinary renditions” (that is, outsourcing the interrogation of terror suspects to cooperative authoritarian regimes).
So intense was the backlash that Americans, in 2008, turned to a presidential candidate explicitly framing himself as the liberal antithesis to Bush’s approach: Barack Obama was expected to wind down the wars and generally rein in the illiberal excesses of the preceding era. The rest of the Western sphere, which had almost universally come to decry the war on terror as undermining global stability, acclaimed a leader poised to redress that legacy.
It is striking, therefore, that by the end of President Obama’s second term, the war on terror was alive and well. The US remained engaged in a series of shadowy wars across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, albeit with Bush’s predilection for regime change swapped out for a deepening reliance on airstrikes and killer drones. Most other Western governments either joined in or, in the case of France, took the lead in military operations of their own. To paper over their interventions’ obvious shortcomings, all chimed in around a growing rhetorical emphasis on redressing “root causes” of extremism. In sum, the fundamental contours of a timeless, borderless military conflict endured, but received an eight-year makeover salving uneasy Western consciences.
Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn’t provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He’s simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.

The FBI has sided with the powerful against the powerless to maintain an unjust social order

counterpunch  |  The indictments are a major political story, but not for the reasons given in mainstream press coverage. Once Mr. Mueller’s indictment is understood to charge the exploitation of existing social tensions (read it and decide for yourself), the FBI, which Mr. Mueller directed from 2001 – 2013, is precisely the wrong entity to be rendering judgment. The FBI has been America’s political police since its founding in 1908. Early on former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover led legally dubious mass arrests of American dissidents. He practically invented the slander of conflating legitimate dissent with foreign agency. This is the institutional backdrop from which Mr. Mueller proceeds.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the FBI’s targets included the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Black Panther Party and any other political organization Mr. Hoover deemed a threat. The secret (hidden) FBI program COINTELPRO was intended to subvert political outcomes outside of allegations of criminal wrongdoing and with no regard for the lives of its targets. Throughout its history the FBI has sided with the powerful against the powerless to maintain an unjust social order.

Robert Mueller became FBI Director only days before the attacks of September 11, 2001. One of his first acts as Director was to arrest 1,000 persons without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. None of those arrested were ever charged in association with the attacks. The frame in which the FBI acted— to maintain political stability threatened by ‘external’ forces, was ultimately chosen by the George W. Bush administration to justify its aggressive war against Iraq.

It is the FBI’s legacy of conflating dissent with being an agent of a foreign power that Mr. Mueller’s indictment most insidiously perpetuates. Russians are ‘sowing discord,’ and they are using Americans to do so, goes the allegation. Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders are listed in the indictment as roadblocks to the unfettered ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. Russians are sowing discord, therefore discord is both suspect in itself and evidence of being a foreign agent.

The posture of simple reporting at work in the indictment— that it isn’t the FBI’s fault that the Russians (allegedly) inserted themselves into the electoral process, runs against the history of the FBI’s political role, the tilt used to craft criminal charges and the facts put forward versus those put to the side. Given the political agendas of the other agencies that the FBI joined through the charges, they are most certainly but a small piece of a larger story.

In the aftermath of the indictments it’s easy to forget that the Pentagon created the internet, that the NSA has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, that the CIA has been heavily involved in funding and ‘using’ social media toward its own ends and that the FBI is only reputable in the present because of Americans’ near-heroic ignorance of history. The claim that the Russian operation was sophisticated because it had corporate form and function is countered by the fact that it was, by the various agencies’ own claims, ineffectual in changing the outcome of the election.

I Have a List
While Robert Mueller was busy charging never-to-be-tried Russians with past crimes, Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, declared that future Russian meddling has already cast a shadow over the integrity of the 2018 election. Why the Pentagon that created the internet, the NSA that has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, the CIA that has been heavily involved in funding and ‘using’ social media toward its own ends and the FBI that just landed such a glorious victory of good over evil would be quivering puddles when it comes to precluding said meddling is a question that needs to be asked.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Congressional Black Caucus helps everyone except black people..., |  Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), sent a letter to President Trump criticizing his immigration proposal as “unreasonable”  and “un-American” because it unnecessarily pits black and brown immigrants against each other.
Months ago, President Trump agreed to sign the DREAM Act into law, legislation that would primarily benefit Latino immigrants who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own, if and only if Congress funded additional border security measures. Now, the President is calling for an end to the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, a program that primarily benefits African and Asian immigrants and is mischaracterized by him as a  “lottery” for low-skilled immigrants who have little to contribute to America. While immigrants are randomly selected for the DV program, they are required to have a high-school degree or equivalent work experience and endure a rigorous screening process. In fact, DV recipients are generally better educated than Americans born in the United States. In 2016, for example, half of DV recipients had a college degree, compared to just 32 percent of the overall United States population.

Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate were copied on the letter. Full text of the letter is attached and online. Excerpts from the letter are below.

Pitting Black and Brown Immigrants Against Each Other
“On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, I write today to express our complete disgust with your unreasonable immigration proposal, particularly your insistence upon the elimination of the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program. Your framework explicitly pits Dreamers, young Americans who know no other country, against the legal immigration system, one which provides an opportunity for immigrants of color to fight for a chance at the American Dream. Sadly, your strategy was predictable in light of your long, troubled history with race in this country. We vehemently oppose your blatantly callous strategy to divide and conquer communities of color and call on Members of Congress to reject your proposal, lest they be complicit in advancing your racially discriminatory policies.”

Mischaracterizing the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
“Moreover, your calls to end the [DV program] lack any reasonable basis. First, you portray the program as a giveaway to immigrants randomly selected by a lottery. While a lottery system is used to administer this extremely overly-subscribed visa program in an unbiased fashion, applicants nonetheless undergo a rigorous vetting process and extensive screening. Second, you claim the program is a threat to national security because it creates a pathway for terrorists and criminals. The very nature of the diversity visa lottery is an ineffective tool for terrorists. In 2015, 9.4 million people applied for 50,000 visas. Even if a terrorist beat the 1 in 188 odds of being selected for the program, that person would still have to complete the normal vetting process for any other green card holder. 

Additionally, diversity visa recipients have a far lower rate of incarceration compared to native-born Americans. For example, in 2015, immigrants from the top 20 diversity visa countries had an incarceration rate just one-fifth of the incarceration rate of native-born Americans. Lastly, you continuously characterize diversity visa recipients as low-skilled workers with little to contribute to American society. While America should continue to welcome the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, your characterization of diversity visa recipients is simply false. Applicants are already required to have a high school education or equivalent work experience. Moreover, diversity visa recipients have been generally better educated than Americans born in the United States. For example, in 2016, half of diversity visa recipients had a college degree, compared to just 32 percent of the overall United States population.”

Creating the DACA Crisis
“To be clear, the crisis we face is one of your own making. Dreamers enjoyed legal status under the Obama-era policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which you unilaterally ended last fall. Now, despite your commitment to sign the Dream Act into law if accompanied by border security measures, you continue to thwart bipartisan efforts to find a solution for Dreamers by attacking the legal immigration system. To suggest that we are any less committed to a permanent solution for Dreamers because we refuse to acquiesce to your racially discriminatory policies is preposterous. We refuse to choose between Dreamers and African immigrants. They both have and deserve our full-throated support.”

I feel like he cares more about me than the last president did...,

cbsnews |  This was the group when we met them in downtown Grand Rapids six months ago. Fourteen passionately partisan strangers.

Now, they greet each other like old friends. Lauren Taylor, a liberal community organizer, and Tom Nemcek, a staunch libertarian and supporter of President Trump, couldn't be farther apart politically. But they took the initiative to bring the group together. Tom, a gun rights advocate, took members of the group shooting. It made such an impression on Laura Ansara, she bought her own gun and joined the NRA.

Matt Wiedenhoeft – a Trump supporter who teaches economics and coaches a hockey team at Grand Valley State University – invited them to a Saturday night game.

And nearly the entire group turned out for what they call a team-building workout organized by Jennifer Allard, a lifelong Republican who says she couldn't bring herself to vote for Donald Trump. Wesley Watson, a community health activist, was there. So was Daniel Skidmore, a conservative and first-time voter. And Maggie Ryan, a lawyer and self-described independent.

Oprah Winfrey: When we first met, there were some of you who had said, you know, you'd never been in conversations, certainly engagement, with members of the opposite side, political side. So has that changed for you now?

Jennifer: Yes. Because now I'm looking at them as people, not as you're Trump or not Trump. This has been an incredible experience and an education for me.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Oh SNAP!!! Mueller Can't Punk A 3-Star Like He Was An IQ-75 Softhead

thefederalist  |  On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday.

What’s Happened in the Michael Flynn Case So Far

To recap: On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

One of Sullivan’s first orders of business was to enter a standing order, on December 12, 2017, directing “the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner – including during plea negotiations – any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.” Sullivan’s standing order further directed the government, if it “has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material,” to “submit such information to the Court for in camera review.”

Sullivan enters identical standing orders as a matter of course in all of his criminal cases, as he explained in a 2016 Cardozo Law Review article: “Following the Stevens case, I have issued a standing Brady Order for each criminal case on my docket, updating it in reaction to developments in the law.” A Brady order directs the government to disclose all exculpatory evidence to defense counsel, as required by Brady v. Maryland. The Stevens case, of course, is the government’s corrupt prosecution of the late senator Ted Stevens—an investigation and prosecution which, as Sullivan put it, “were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence. . . .”

While the December standing order represented Sullivan’s normal practice, as both McCarthy and York noted, Flynn had already pled guilty. In his plea agreement, Flynn agreed to “forego the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided at the time of the entry of Flynn’s guilty plea.” On Wednesday, however, the attorneys in the Flynn case presented the court an agreed-upon protective order governing the use of the material — including sensitive material — the special counsel’s office provides Flynn. This indicates Mueller’s team will not fight Sullivan’s standing order based on the terms of Flynn’s plea agreement.

Why Bombshells Are Likely Ahead

With a protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells.

Year Old Russian Article Outlines The Troll Factory "Indictment"  |  The total budget for promotion in social networks was about $ 5 thousand per month, that is about $ 120 thousand for two years, follows from the internal statistics of the "factory", which is available to RBC magazine. These figures confirm the source of RBC inside the organization. Employees of the "factory" promoted posts from at least 40 communities: about half of the budget went to publications touching on racial issues, slightly less - with political bias.

The interlocutors of the magazine RBC argue: on Twitter, advertising was not bought, as it was not bought in Tumblr or Imgur. "We spent a little bit on the promotion of Twitter-accounts - wrote bots to gain weight, but this is a miserable expense," - clarifies the employee of the "factory". According to him, in the Facebook communities the bots were not used, because "it does not make sense, we needed live people", but RBC magazine could not verify this. The fact that repostili publications real users, not bots, also wrote The New York Times. Placing advertisements on Google platforms, interlocutors from the "factory" also deny, specifying only that "there were tests, but they did not receive continuations."

Approximately 10 million unique users from among US residents have seen at least one ad, created by structures associated with the "factory", cited statistics on Facebook. Savushkin is preferred to measure by coverage: in August 2016, the minimum was 15 million per week, in October 2016, the maximum bar was reached - 70 million hits per week, follows from the internal statistics of the "factory" received by RBC magazine in early 2017, th. Facebook in one of its applications pointed out that about 25% of advertisements from structures associated with the "factory" never appeared to anyone - because of their irrelevance to the audience.

The average CPM (the price for 1,000 impressions) in the US is $ 5-7, so the campaign coverage of 10 million people is not very much, you could do 30-40% more, says Sergei Efimov, director of customer services OMD Resolution . Moreover, the audience usually reacts to posts of a political type much better than the usual advertising of brands, which means that the CPM can be even lower - $ 2-3, the expert adds. Director General of Agency One Touch Anatoly Emelyanov says that the price of a subscriber in Facebook rises from $ 0.5 to 2, but with a good campaign creative "the cost of attraction reaches 1 cent for involvement."

However, a significant part of the advertising budget of the "factory" was not aimed at promoting the groups as such, but on scaling the experience with hot dogs.

Remote meeting

In May 2016, the famous American activist and one of the founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement Mika White received an email from a certain Jan Davis. He introduced himself as a freelance journalist of the BlackMattersUS community, dedicated to the problems of the black population, and asked for a telephone interview. The activist agreed, gave his number, but the conversation that took place eventually seemed strange to him. "The quality of the connection was poor, and the interviewer, in my opinion, was not a native speaker of the English language," an activist told the RBC magazine, which in 2014 Esquire magazine ranked among the "most influential people under 35".

Now you can read the interview with White only on the site BlackMattersUS - community pages in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with a total number of subscribers more than 250 thousand are blocked (only Tumblr is available). Deactivated and the account of "Jan Davis" on Facebook. A correspondent of the RBC magazine sent him a letter to the same address from which he communicated with White, but the "freelance correspondent" did not open it (data from the Readnotify service). The @BlackMattersUS account on Twitter was registered to a phone number starting with +7. According to the source of RBC magazine, close to the "factory", the same people who worked on the night shift engaged in interaction with various American activists, responding to comments in groups.

Unlike most communities that were run by the "factory", BlackMattersUS positioned itself as a non-profit news portal with its own edition. Anyone could also support the fighters against racism by sending a donation through PayPal to a wallet tied to a post on Gmail with xtimwalters online. In the editorial office, in addition to "Jan Davis," there were six more people working on the site. A correspondent of the RBC magazine discovered the accounts of two more "employees" on Twitter: one of them is blocked, the other has not been updated since 2016.

BlackMattersUS, 44.2% of the audience who visits the site from the search engines (data from Similarweb), managed to collect a whole portfolio of interviews with famous fighters for the rights of blacks. In addition to White, the community representatives talked with the legendary member of the Black Panthers movement Erica Huggins, the mother of a black teenager Ramarli Graham, murdered by police in New York, Columbia University professor and cross rapper Tupac Shakur Jamal Joseph, as well as Ramone Africa, a member of the Philadelphia movement of black MOVE , one of the few survivors of the unprecedented local police raid in 1985 (with a helicopter law-enforcement officers dropped a bomb at the headquarters of the organization).

Communication with the characters did not end after the interview. The same White received from the "Jan Davis" several letters asking to support the BlackMattersUS shares - for example, flash mob in support of the colleagues of Ramona Africa, caught up in prison. The essence of the request was to publish photos and videos in social networks with the demand to release them.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Morning Shows Peddled The NothingBurger Like It Was Their Job

disobedientmedia |  If one needed proof that Mueller’s investigation was an utter farce, they were in for a treat this morning when the Deputy Attorney General announced the indictment of thirteen “Russian trolls,” for allegedly interfering in the 2016 Presidential election by posting on social media accounts.

Laying Mueller’s disregard of the First Amendment aside, the indictment is blatantly hypocritical in light of active social media intervention by pro-Clinton David Brock and his multi-million dollar efforts to ‘Correct The Record.’

The indictment alleges that: “Beginning in or around June 2014, the ORGANIZATION obscured its conduct by operating through a number of Russian entities, including Internet Research LLC, MediaSintez LLC, GlavSet LLC, MixInfo LLC, Azimut LLC, and NovInfo LLC.”

The indictment further alleges that: “The ORGANIZATION sought, in part, to conduct what it called information warfare against the United States of America through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.”

According to the indictment, the co-conspirators “engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

The indictment represents the latest mutation of Russian interference allegations that have dragged on for over a year. As this author previously noted, the definition of Russian interference has shifted from unsubstantiated claims of Russian hacking, to Russian collusion, and finally to Russian social media trolling.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Future Genomics: Don't Edit A Rough Copy When You Can Print A Fresh New One

technologyreview  |  It took Boeke and his team eight years before they were able to publish their first fully artificial yeast chromosome. The project has since accelerated. Last March, the next five synthetic yeast chromosomes were described in a suite of papers in Science, and Boeke says that all 16 chromosomes are now at least 80 percent done. These efforts represent the largest amount of genetic material ever synthesized and then joined together.

It helps that the yeast genome has proved remarkably resilient to the team’s visions and revisions. “Probably the biggest headline here is that you can torture the genome in a multitude of different ways, and the yeast just laughs,” says Boeke.

Boeke and his colleagues aren’t simply replacing the natural yeast genome with a synthetic one (“Just making a copy of it would be a stunt,” says Church). Throughout the organism’s DNA they have also placed molecular openings, like the invisible breaks in a magician’s steel rings. These let them reshuffle the yeast chromosomes “like a deck of cards,” as Cai puts it. The system is known as SCRaMbLE, for “synthetic chromosome recombination and modification by LoxP-mediated evolution.”

The result is high-speed, human-driven evolution: millions of new yeast strains with different properties can be tested in the lab for fitness and function in applications like, eventually, medicine and industry. Mitchell predicts that in time, Sc2.0 will displace all the ordinary yeast in scientific labs.

The ultimate legacy of Boeke’s project could be decided by what genome gets synthesized next. The GP-write group originally imagined that making a synthetic human genome would have the appeal of a “grand challenge.” Some bioethicists disagreed and sharply criticized the plan. Boeke emphasizes that the group will “not do a project aimed at making a human with a synthetic genome.” That means no designer people.

Ethical considerations aside, synthesizing a full human genome—which is over 250 times larger than the yeast genome—is impractical with current methods. The effort to advance the technology also lacks funding. Boeke’s yeast work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and by academic institutions, including partners in China, but the larger GP-write initiative has not attracted major support, other than a $250,000 initial donation from the computer design company Autodesk. Compare that with the Human Genome Project, which enjoyed more than $3 billion in US funding.

Watch The Edge Video, It's About The "Church Approach" To Global Warming

edge  |  I would say that there are two things I’m obsessing about recently. One is global warming and the other is augmentation. Global warming is something that strikes me as an interesting social phenomenon and scientific challenge. From the social side, you’ve got denialism, which, to me, is more important. You have denialism on a bunch of fronts. You've got denial of the Holocaust and evolution, but those aren’t things that necessarily in and of themselves impact our lives. It’s very heartrending and callous that anyone would deny the Holocaust, but as long as they don’t add to that a lot of other racism, nobody’s going to get hurt by it.

I imagine that we could probably populate my company enEvolv, which has evolution in the title, mostly with creationists and they would still get the products out. You just follow a recipe. Even though you’re doing evolution, you don’t need to believe it. Maybe it would help if the very top scientists believed in neo-Darwinism or something. Those are curious things that people fight about and have deep feelings about, but they don’t affect day-to-day life.

Global warming is something that could be catastrophic. You could argue that it’s in the same category because you can’t prove that my life today is worse because of global warming, but it’s something where it could be exponential. The odds are against it, but we don’t even know how to calculate the odds. It’s not like we’re playing blackjack or something like that. There’s more carbon in the Arctic tundra than in the entire atmosphere plus all the rain forests put together. And that carbon, unlike the rain forest where you have to burn the rain forest to release it, goes into the atmosphere as soon as you get melting. It’s already many gigatons per year going up. That’s something that could spiral out of control.

Even for the ultra concerned citizens, almost all the suggestions are not about how to prevent an exponential release, but how to slow down the inevitable. It's like the extinction problem: If you don’t have a way of reversing it, then you’re fighting a losing battle. That’s not psychologically a good thing, it’s hard to get enthusiastic funding for it, and you will ultimately fail. Whether it’s solar panels, or not using your SUVs as much, or not buying SUVs, or having smaller houses—all of these things are slowing down the inevitable. It’s hard to get excited about that.

The other thing that is problematic socially is the whole idea that it’s an "inconvenient truth." To some extent Gore’s phrase is brilliant, but it’s also counterproductive because the people for whom it is inconvenient don’t want to believe it’s inconvenient. People don’t want to give up their SUVs and their steak meals. It would be better to talk about a convenient solution, whether or not that’s the real solution or the best solution, just talk about it so you get acceptance first. You need acceptance before you can get to the best solution.

The other part that makes acceptance difficult is blame. People will say, "It’s not my fault," and that gets confused for "it’s not anybody’s fault." You could make an argument that it’s not your fault because you weren’t around during the Industrial Revolution. You didn’t personally do that much; you’re just one seven billionth of the problem at most. You could make an argument that you’re not personally to blame, but then expanding that to no human being has had anything to do with it is where things go off the tracks. The thing that got us into the position of denial was the blame game. 

You want everybody to be inconvenienced because it’s their fault. That’s two strikes against you.
I don't know if you’ve read The Righteous Mind, but Jon Haidt makes the point that even people who consider themselves very rational are not using a rational argument when making decisions. They’re making decisions and then using the rational argument to rationalize. A lot of what he says sounds obvious once you restate it, but I found the way he says it and backs it up with social science research very illuminating, if not compelling.

The elephant, as he refers to it, the thing that’s making your decisions in your life, is deciding that this person is telling you that you’re responsible for something you don’t feel responsible for. It's telling you that you have to sacrifice many things that you don’t want to sacrifice. From your viewpoint, that person is inconvenient, incorrect, and you’re going to ignore them. The more they insult you and your way of life, the less you’re going to listen to them, and then you’re going to make a bunch of rationalizations about that. This is why we have problems. 

Digital Biological Conversion  |   THE human race has come a very long way in a short amount of time, but what is coming around the corner will change everything we thought we knew about mankind. 

Modern medicine and rapidly advancing technology have seen us greatly evolve from the early days of hunter-gatherers, and now the same factors are working toward seeing the introduction of “superhumans” into our society.

At the core of the development is designer bodies using DNA manipulation and human/AI hybrids, both of which were highlighted during the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Imagine being able to choose if your unborn child will be male or female, their height, weight and even athletic prowess.

Now imagine hacking our memories or making our bodies able to thrive in extreme environments in which survival was previously impossible.

These are both quickly becoming a reality, according to founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School, Juan Enriquez.

Allowing humans to become masters of their DNA is something can be achieved using a gene editing technique known as CRISPR — a simple yet powerful tool used to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function.

“These instruments, like CRISPR, are allowing us to, in real-time, edit life on a grand scale,” he said, according to Futurism. “We are rewriting the sentences of life to our purposes.”

Mr Enriquez said these techniques will soon see us living in a world of “unrandom selection”.
“Instead of letting nature select what lives here, I’m going to select what lives here,” he said. “Science used to be about discovery, now it is about creation.”

The academic said more than being able to create athletes from birth, the technology would greatly increase the amount of lives that could be saved on a daily basis.

“You can make the world’s flu vaccine in a week instead of a year. And by the way, this is no longer theoretical,” Mr Enriquez said.

With the likes of Elon Musk and NASA working toward getting humans to colonise Mars, he said gene editing will play a vital role in this.  Fist tap Big Don.