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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 11,557

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

The Circle of Empathy -- Language and Thoughts To Help Us Explain Our Politics

Jaron Lanier is an old and new tech systems explainer with a hippie heart and scientific mind.

Lanier's talk is long (so maybe better for listening to while doing other things), but worth thinking about.

I keep wondering how Andrew Yang fits into this world, and how he would lead this world to live with the non-exploitative kinds of tech that Lanier consistently keeps explaining.

To me, Lanier shows the more human side of our binary (and two-party) conflicts, and how we can translate human empathy from our politics to our capitalism. He shows how tech can never render us obsolete, because we create, but they steal the new, our data. This is not sustainable economics (In other videos he explains what can sustain tech an AI run systems).

Just like a Congressional house divided cannot stand.

Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry 9/24/2019

This Is The Day. The War. The Hill.

From A.G. Sulzberger: The Growing Threat to Journalism Around the World

From New York Times publisher, himself.

...Two years ago, we got a call from a United States government official warning us of the imminent arrest of a New York Times reporter based in Egypt named Declan Walsh ... the call was actually fairly standard.

... this particular call took a surprising and distressing turn. We learned the official was passing along this warning without the knowledge or permission of the Trump administration.

Rather than trying to stop the Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believed, the Trump administration intended to sit on the information and let the arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for even alerting us ...

Unable to count on our own government to prevent the arrest or help free Declan if he were imprisoned, we turned to his native country, Ireland, for help. Within an hour, Irish diplomats traveled to his house and safely escorted him to the airport before Egyptian forces could detain him...

...Eighteen months later, another of our reporters, David Kirkpatrick, arrived in Egypt and was detained and deported in apparent retaliation for exposing information that was embarrassing to the Egyptian government.

When we protested the move, a senior official at the United States Embassy in Cairo openly voiced the cynical worldview behind the Trump administration’s tolerance for such crackdowns. “What did you expect would happen to him?” he said. “His reporting made the government look bad.”...

... when the president decries “fake news,” he’s not interested in actual mistakes. He’s trying to delegitimize real news, dismissing factual and fair reporting as politically motivated fabrications.

So when The Times reveals his family’s fraudulent financial practices, when The Wall Street Journal reveals hush money paid to a porn star, when The Washington Post reveals his personal foundation’s self-dealing, he can sidestep accountability by simply dismissing the reports as “fake news.”

Even though all those stories — and countless more that he’s labeled fake — have been confirmed as accurate, there is evidence that his attacks are achieving their intended effect: One recent poll found that 82 percent of Republicans now trust President Trump more than they trust the media. " ...


What we're up against right now is so dizzying.

Why Trump's Henchmen Might Be Laughing Over Ukraine Intel -- Zuckerberg And His Ukraine Accounts

While the Russian "Internet Research Agency" has received most of the attention for filling the internet with bullshit and bile, the problem is routinely disclosed to be far larger than that ... And while Facebook spends a lot of time insisting they're taking radical steps to police the problem in the wake of genocide in Myanmar, it remains fairly clear they still don't have a handle on the problem.

... another disinformation operation uncovered this week involves a Ukrainian-run "I Love America" Facebook group with more than a million members. In concert with other similar pages like "God bless Donald and Melania Trump and God bless America," the effort lures boomers in with cute kittens and patriotic memes before getting to the real meat and potatoes of the effort:

Many of the posts are just repurposed versions previously pushed by the IRA in a bid to try and stoke existing racial and political tensions in the United States:

... while the usual suspects will likely try to downplay this as "just a few harmless memes," [calling it laughable] the outfit's engagement surpasses many of the biggest, actual news organizations on Facebook, meaning there's still an awful lot of folks having their patriotism and military respect exploited and their heads filled with fluff and nonsense so some Ukrainian nitwits can make a buck:

this effort is far larger than the IRA-linked Facebook groups highlighted in the Mueller report, none of which had more than 390,000 members. The report doesn't think this effort is covert or sophisticated enough to be a government-backed effort (in large part because the Ukrainian backers aren't trying to hide who they are), and is likely just some "entrepreneurs" using pro-Trump propaganda and kittens to make money. Facebook, for its part, doesn't think this rises to the level of "coordinated inauthentic behavior" because the Ukranians aren't hiding their identity (read: it's profitable to Facebook)...

While it may not be part of a foreign-government backed campaign, the end result is the same. Facebook users are being exploited and having their heads filled with rocks for profit. And (at least until this story gets some traction), Facebook's cool with it.


Zuckerberg: First Amendment rights for Ukraine!

Now We Know the Double Standard of Communications Security Exists.

More bad news details have come out on why Obama massive expelled Russians in 2012.
The election wasn't the only big thing.

... the closures of various Russian compounds in the US, along with the expulsion of a bunch of Russian diplomats -- which many assumed had to do with alleged election interference -- may have actually been a lot more about the Russians breaching a key FBI encrypted communications system.

American officials discovered that the Russians had dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams ... devised other ways to monitor U.S. intelligence communications, including hacking into computers not connected to the internet. Senior FBI and CIA officials briefed congressional leaders ...

These compromises ... gave Russian spies in American cities including Washington, New York and San Francisco key insights into the location of undercover FBI surveillance teams, and likely the actual substance of FBI communications ... provided the Russians opportunities to potentially shake off FBI surveillance and communicate with sensitive human sources, check on remote recording devices and even gather intelligence on their FBI pursuers ...

... it specifically targeted the FBI's encrypted communications phone system:
That effort compromised the encrypted radio systems used by the FBI’s mobile surveillance teams, which track the movements of Russian spies on American soil ...
Around the same time, Russian spies also compromised the FBI teams’ backup communications systems — cellphones outfitted with “push-to-talk” walkie-talkie capabilities ...

The Russian operation went beyond tracking the communications devices used by FBI surveillance teams, ... Working out of secret “listening posts” housed in Russian diplomatic and other government-controlled facilities, the Russians were able to intercept, record and eventually crack the codes to FBI radio communications.

While this is all interesting in the "understanding what the latest spy v. spy fight is about," it's ... in the context of the FBI still fighting ... to weaken encryption for everyone else.

The FBI, under both James Comey and Christopher Wray, have spent years trashing the idea that encrypted communications was important and repeatedly asking the tech industry to insert deliberate vulnerabilities in order to allow US officials to have easier access to encrypted communications.

The pushback on this, over and over, is that any such system for "lawful access" will inevitably lead to much greater risk of others being able to hack in as well.

...you'd think that the FBI would be especially sensitive to this risk, now that we know the Russians appear to have cracked at least two of the FBI's encrypted communications systems. Indeed, back in 2015, we highlighted how the FBI used to recommend that citizens use encryption to protect their mobile phones, but they ... quietly removed that recommendation right around the time Comey started playing up the "going dark" nonsense.

Of course, it's possible that the folks dealing with the Russians cracking FBI encrypted comms are separate from the people freaking out about consumer use of encryption, but the leadership (i.e., Comey and Wray) certainly had to understand both sides of this. ... Or does it mean that they thought "hey, if we had our comms exposed, so should everyone else?" Or do they just not care?


According to TechDirt, the FBI has been swiss cheese, and so are we. Every back door, portal, or vulnerability that needs "patching" -- not to mention the NSA's warehouse chipping of comm devices -- means Americans' privacy is irrelevant to the FBI's mission of protecting and defending the US Constitution.

Data siphons by individual, state and corporate hackers is our situation. Remember the caution: "If it's free, You're The Product."

The double standard isn't set just by our government but by our corporations.

The Big Boys get security (of their data and global intel).

The rest of us, as "we the product," get no privacy and no security.

When MF45 called Cuomo "Fredo," at the UN Climate Summit, he asserted the lay of the land of fossil fuel mafia capitalism.

"It's not personal, just business," is what a nation of men, not of laws, looks like -- mammon's corporate campus.

Greta -- The Solution Right In Front Of Us

Elizabeth Warren In Iowa Calls For Impeachment

Acronym of the day: VSL

Value of Statistical Life. The value of the cost/benefit of human risk regulation. Human life as dollars in corporatist/government/economic sectors.

A TIME article from 2005:

In theory, a year of human life is priceless. In reality, it's worth $50,000.

That's the international standard most private and government-run health insurance plans worldwide use to determine whether to cover a new medical procedure. More simply, insurance companies calculate that to make a treatment worth its cost, it must guarantee one year of "quality life" for $50,000 or less. New research, however, would argue that that figure is far too low.

Stanford economists have demonstrated that the average value of a year of quality human life is actually closer to about $129,000.

To get to that number, Stefanos Zenios ... at Stanford Graduate School of Business used kidney dialysis as a benchmark. Every year dialysis saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans who would otherwise die of renal failure while waiting for an organ transplant. It is ... the one procedure that Medicare has covered unconditionally since 1972 despite rapid and sometimes expensive innovations in its administration.

To tally the cost-effectiveness of such innovations Zenios and his colleagues ran a computer analysis of more than half a million patients who underwent dialysis, adding up costs and comparing that data to treatment outcomes.

Considering both inflation and new technologies in dialysis, they arrived at $129,000 as a more appropriate threshold for deciding coverage. "That means that if Medicare paid an additional $129,000 to treat a group of patients ... Based on patient surveys, one "quality of life" year is defined as about two years of life on dialysis....

I'm clueless how humans got here; yet VSL is also used in other countries, in every level of government and economic sectors.

Anyone who knows about this knows way more than I. I've been clueless. VSL ran us long before I fussed and fretted over market values usurping Western Enlightenment/moral values, or their buying up bleeding edge culture/innovators.

Now, the idea "It's not personal, just business" isn't just mafia talk; it changes the frame of our dissolutions of the social contract, the citizen-government relationship.

How many of the rich and powerful see us humans as VSL product is hard to say. But I do see majority public opinion polls since Bush II do not result in legislation the public wants (Princeton/Northwestern study 2014); also,

government service gutting,
taxpayer shakedowns,
climate crisis denial,
planet B investment,
life extension tech,
military grade weaponry,
opioids sold to
overmedicated and
over distracted
junk food eating poor people;
believer wars

On its face, VSL is unconstitutional; no dollar value of life was ever expressed or implied by the U.S. Constitution. No legal organization has yet challenged this capitalist/corporate measure of "life, liberty and property," which is one of the reasons why Americans have now become Big Data product.

Warren, Harris, Sanders are onto what Harvard, OECD, and the rich and powerful think about sentimental, thinking, loving humans.

If VSL world doesn't move humans to subvert the monetizing of humans as capital, I don't know what will. VSL deciders don't know or care that they and we humans will either go downward in unconscious ego, or go upward together.

I'm going for kleenex, pondering the direction.




Greta Thunberg: "Those Answers Don't Exist Anymore. Because You Did Not Act In Time."

Excerpts from her 2019 Speech to UK's Parliament

...Many people say that we don't have any solutions to the climate crisis.

And they are right. Because how could we? How do you "solve" the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced? How do you "solve" a war? How do you "solve" going to the moon for the first time? How do you "solve" inventing new inventions?

The climate crisis is both the easiest and the hardest issue we have ever faced. The easiest because we know what we must do. We must stop the emissions of greenhouse gases. The hardest because our current economics are still totally dependent on fossil fuels, and thereby destroying ecosystems in order to create everlasting economic growth.

"So how do we solve that?" you ask the schoolchildren striking for the climate.

And we say, "No one knows for sure. But we have to stop burning fossil fuels and restore nature and many other things that we many not have quite figured out yet."

Then you say, "That's not an answer!"

So we say, "We have to start treating the crisis like a crisis, and act even if we don't have all the solutions."

"That's still not an answer," you say.

Then we start talking about circular economy and rewilding nature and the need for a just transition. Then you don't understand what we are talking about.

We say that all those solutions needed are not known to anyone and therefore we must unite behind the science and find them together along the way.

But you do not listen to that. Because those answers are not for solving a crisis that most of you don't even fully understand. Or don't want to understand.

You don't listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before. Like now. And those answers don't exist anymore. Because you did not act in time.

Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.

Sometimes we just simply have to find a way. The moment we decide to fulfill something, we can do anything. And I'm sure that the moment we start behaving as if we were in an emergency, we can avoid climate and ecological catastrophe. Humans are very adaptable; we can fix this. But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We must start today. We have no more excuses.

We children are not sacrificing our education and our childhood for you to tell us what you consider is politically possible in the society that you have created. We have not taken to the streets for you to take selfies with us and tell us that you really admire what we do.

We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.

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