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Member since: Fri Nov 6, 2015, 07:20 AM
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What’s Your Threat Score? By Sarah Burris


Police have found a new way to legally incorporate surveillance and profiling into everyday life. Just when you thought we were making progress raising awareness surrounding police brutality, we have something new to contend with. The Police Threat Score isn't calculated by a racist police officer or a barrel-rolling cop who thinks he's on a TV drama; it's a computer algorithm that steals your data and calculates your likelihood of risk and threat for the fuzz.

Beware is the new stats-bank that helps officers analyze "billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and...social-media postings" to ultimately come up with a score that indicates a person's potential for violence, according to a Washington Post story...The company tries to paint itself as a savior to first responders, claiming they want to help them "understand the nature of the environment they may encounter during the window of a 911 event." Think of it like someone pulling your credit score when you apply for a job. Except, in this instance you never applied for the job and they're pulling your credit score anyway because they knew you might apply. It's that level of creepiness.

Remember the 2002 Tom Cruise movie Minority Report? It's set in 2054, a futuristic world where the "pre-crime" unit arrests people based on a group of psychics who can see crimes before they happen. Only, it's 2016 and we're not using psychics, we're using computers that mine data...this is the same kind of technology the NSA has been using since 9/11 to monitor online activities of suspected terrorists—they're just bringing it down to the local level.

According to FatalEncounters.org, a site that tracks deaths by cop, there were only 14 days in 2015 in which a law enforcement officer did not kill someone. So, leaving judgment up to the individual hasn't been all that effective in policing. But is letting a machine do it any better? Using these factors to calculate a color-coded threat level doesn't seem entirely practical...While you might now be rethinking playing that Mafia game on Facebook, it isn't just your personal name that can raise a flag. Fresno Councilman Clinton Olivier, a libertarian-leaning Republican, asked for his name to be run through the system. He came up as a "green" which indicates he's safe. When they ran his address, however, it popped up as "yellow" meaning the officer should beware and be prepared for a potentially dangerous situation. How could this be? Well, the councilman didn't always live in this house; someone else lived there before him and that person was likely responsible for raising the threat score...Think what a disastrous situation that could be. A mother of a toddler could move into a new home with her family, not knowing that the house was once the location of an abusive patriarch. The American Medical Association has calculated that as many as 1 in 3 women will be impacted by domestic violence in their lifetimes, so it isn't an unreasonable hypothetical. One day the child eats one of those detergent pods and suddenly the toddler isn't breathing. Hysterial, the mother calls 911, screaming. She can't articulate what has happened, only that her baby is hurt. Dispatch sends an ambulance, but the address is flagged as "red" for its prior decade of domestic violence calls. First responders don't know someone new has moved in. The woman is giving CPR while her husband waits at the door for the ambulance. What happens when the police arrive?

Bernie Sanders Could Do the Impossible:Why Hillary Clinton’s 'Electability' Argument's Falling Apart


Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has excited progressives and socialists alike in a way that’s unparalleled in modern American history. So far, however, Hillary Clinton has been able to draw substantial support from people who are sympathetic to Sanders’s views and his record, but believe that Clinton is the most electable candidate in the general election against what is sure to be an ultraconservative goblin. However, as polls over the past couple of months have shown, Sanders is showing signs that he’s every bit as a electable as Clinton — and when matched up against certain Republican candidates, he’s polling even better than she is.

In Sanders’s neighboring state of New Hampshire, he has exploded to a 14 point lead over Clinton in the latest Monmouth University poll. New Hampshire is a complicated state politically, a libertarian-leaning bastion in liberal New England, but Sanders fits the role of a rough, charismatic party outsider that New Hampshirites have a history of supporting, so it’s not such a surprise that Sanders is wooing them this time around. (Sanders, by the way, leads every Republican he was matched up against in New Hampshire by double digits.)

What’s a bit more surprising is the ground Sanders is gaining in Iowa. The latest Quinnipac poll found that Sanders now leads Clinton by 5 percent in the earliest primary state, whose caucus is on February 1. If Sanders is able to beat Clinton there, it’ll give him a decisive victory in the two earliest states in the country (which also happen to be swing states). And don’t underestimate the importance of Iowa: Barack Obama’s victory there in January 2008 solidified him as a serious threat to Clinton.

When put in a hypothetical matchup against the top three Republican candidates in Iowa — Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio — Sanders polls much better than Clinton. He leads Donald Trump by 13 points (to Clinton’s 8), ties Marco Rubio where Clinton loses by 5 points, and in the biggest surprise of all, he leads Ted Cruz by 5 points where Clinton is losing by 4 points. That’s a nine point Democratic swing, and six crucial electoral votes, if the numbers in this polling continue to hold up.

Nationwide, this same trend holds... An optimistic Sanders supporter might even be inclined to think that Sanders is, ironically, the most electable Democratic candidate.


I'm going out on a limb

I think the primary has been won by Bernie already. And simultaneously and independently lost by Hillary. Bernie could have won all by himself; Hillary could have engineered her defeat singlehandedly (and did). The combination of the two is going to rock the nation. It won't matter who wins the GOP nomination...they could run St. Ronnie and still go down in flames against a Bernie Sanders who commands such a following as Bernie does, a following which will only grow.

I wish I could say I admire the die-hard Clintonistas for their staying power....if they'd been nicer people, I would. But the abuse that they have dished out to the majority of the population of this site doesn't get them any points with me. They deserve everything that's coming to them.

Sanders: Clinton 'in serious trouble'


...The Vermont senator said Clinton is lashing out -- attacking him on guns, taxes and more -- because polls show their race having tightened in Iowa while Sanders has maintained a narrow lead in New Hampshire.

"Secretary Clinton and her campaign is in serious trouble," Sanders told reporters Monday after a campaign stop in Pleasantville, Iowa.

"And I think a candidate who was originally thought to be the anointed candidate, the inevitable candidate, is now locked in a very difficult race here in Iowa and in New Hampshire," Sanders said. "So obviously in that scenario what people do is start attacking. Suddenly Bernie Sanders is not a nice guy. That is not surprising when you have a Clinton campaign that is now in trouble and now understands that they can lose."

Sanders offered a similar take later at the Iowa Brown and Black Forum. When Sanders was asked if he has noticed that Clinton is attacking him harder and more often, he offered a mischievous "yes."

"It could be that the inevitable candidate for the Democratic nomination may not be so inevitable today," he said...

more and video at link

FBI's Clinton probe expands to public corruption track


The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News.

This new investigative track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton’s personal server.

"The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed," one source said.

Clinton, speaking to the Des Moines Register, on Monday pushed back on the details of a second investigative track. According to reporter Jennifer Jacobs, Clinton said Monday she has heard nothing from the FBI.

yet. The reporter is not your typical Fox spinner, but an actual credentialed journalist. video at link with author

Charging a Smartphone While Driving Isn't as Free as You Think


It’s not just using a handheld phone while driving that’s a menace to society. It turns out that charging it in the car has consequences too.

That’s because a phone drawing electricity from a USB port cuts 0.03 miles from each gallon of gasoline in a tank. Across the fleet of vehicles in the U.S., that would mean about 970,000 tons of extra planet-warming carbon dioxide a year, according to calculations by Jon Bereisa, a retired General Motors Co. engineering executive who studies vehicle power usage. With a race under way to see how many charging ports automakers can cram into a car, the increased pollution is only going to get worse.

“Do I think we’re at peak USB? No,” said Mary Gustanski, vice president of engineering and program management at Delphi Automotive Plc, which makes wiring and USB ports for vehicles. “We’ll get more and more creative to not only allow you to connect with USB but also to connect wireless. Consumers want their car to be just like their home.”

It’s not just an environmental issue, either. The proliferation of consumer devices, the growth of dashboard touch screens and other technology, and the shrinking size of engines to meet fuel-economy mandates mean the 12-volt automobile electrical system is just about tapped out. Some automakers are already turning to supplemental 48-volt systems in future models.


State of emergency declared over polluted drinking water in Michigan city (Jan. 5)


Michigan governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of emergency in Flint over problems with lead in the city’s drinking water as federal officials confirm they are investigating the matter.

Snyder announced the action on Tuesday. It makes available state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery operations.

Federal prosecutors also said on Tuesday they are working with the US Environmental Protection Agency on an investigation into problems with lead in Flint’s water supply...

1 Reason Hillary Clinton Might Underperform In The Early States 1/5/16 what a diff. a few days make!

That's what they call it these days, with No Child Left Behind and other foolishness..."underperform"


I wrote an article on Monday suggesting that because he’s polling so well nationally, Donald Trump could do worse in Iowa and New Hampshire than current polls of those states show. The same may be true, to a lesser extent, of Hillary Clinton. If national polls are a negative indicator, Clinton also has reason to worry; like Trump, she is in a better polling position nationally than in the two states with the first primary contests.

Clinton averaged a 25-percentage-point lead over Bernie Sanders in national polls over the past month. She’s up by 16 percentage points in Iowa over the past month and trails Sanders by 4 percentage points in New Hampshire. Knowing nothing but the national and state polling, my analysis suggests that Clinton would be expected to win Iowa by 11 percentage points and lose New Hampshire by 11 points.

It wouldn’t be that surprising if Sanders outperformed his current polling in Iowa or New Hampshire. The predictive margin of error for Iowa and New Hampshire polls at this point is high enough for Sanders to win. These states have a lot of white liberal voters who are more likely to support Sanders than minority voters are. Also, he continues to sport high favorable ratings in both Iowa and New Hampshire, which means that to win, he doesn’t need to convince people to like him, just to vote for him.

But there’s a reason I focused on the Republicans in Monday’s analysis. There is a key difference between Clinton’s position and Trump’s position: establishment support. My colleague Nate Silver and I continuously talk about how endorsements are predictive of primary results.1 Trump, of course, has no support from party officials, which historically has precluded candidates from winning the nomination. This lack of endorsements could exacerbate Trump’s relative polling weakness in the early states and hurt his chances of winning...Clinton, on the other hand, has oodles of support from party officials, while Sanders has basically none. So while we have some reason to think Clinton will underperform her polling in Iowa and New Hampshire, we also have reason to think she’ll beat it...

If this isn't backing and filling spin, I'll eat my keyboard...and the rest of it is worse)

A new survey shows sizable number of Democrats ready to defect from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump

Trump Could Win It All

So if Donald Trump proved the political universe wrong and won the Republican presidential nomination, he would be creamed by Hillary Clinton, correct?

A new survey of likely voters might at least raise momentary dyspepsia for Democrats since it suggests why it wouldn't be a cakewalk.

The survey by Washington-based Mercury Analytics is a combination online questionnaire and "dial-test" of Trump's first big campaign ad among 916 self-proclaimed "likely voters" (this video shows the ad and the dial test results). It took place primarily Wednesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Nearly 20 percent of likely Democratic voters say they'd cross sides and vote for Trump, while a small number, or 14 percent, of Republicans claim they'd vote for Clinton. When those groups were further broken down, a far higher percentage of the crossover Democrats contend they are "100 percent sure" of switching than the Republicans...

And, as usual, absolutely not even a mention of Bernie Sanders...

Here’s your U.S. foreign policy quiz for the day:

Question 1– How many governments has the United States overthrown or tried to overthrow since the Second World War?

Answer: 57 (See William Blum: http://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list )

Question 2– How many of those governments had nuclear weapons?

Answer— 0

Does that mean North Korea needs nuclear weapons to deter US aggression?

Yes and no. Yes, nuclear weapons are a credible deterrent but, no, that’s not why North Korea set off a hydrogen bomb last Tuesday. The reason North Korea detonated the bomb was to force the Obama administration to sit up and take notice. That’s what this is all about. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, wants the US to realize that they’re going to pay a heavy price for avoiding direct negotiations. In other words, Kim is trying to pressure Obama back to the bargaining table.

Unfortunately, Washington isn’t listening. They see the North as a threat to regional security and have decided that additional sanctions and isolation are the best remedies. The Obama administration thinks they have the whole matter under control and don’t need to be flexible or compromise which is why they are opting for sticks over carrots. In fact, Obama has refused to conduct any bilateral talks with the North unless the North agrees beforehand to abandon its nuclear weapons programs altogether and allow weapons inspectors to examine all their nuclear facilities. This is a non-starter for the DPRK. They see their nuclear weapons program as their “ace in the hole”, their only chance to end persistent US hostility.

Now if we separate the “hydrogen bomb” incident from the longer historic narrative dating back to the Korean War, it’s possible to twist the facts in a way that makes the North look like the “bad guy”, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, the reason the world is facing these problems today is because of US adventurism in the past. Just as ISIS emerged from he embers of the Iraq War, so too, nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula is a direct result of failed US foreign policy in the ’50s.

US involvement in the Korean War precluded a final settlement, which means the war never really ended. An armistice agreement that was signed on July 27, 1953, ended the hostilities, but a “final peaceful settlement” was never achieved, so the nation remains divided today. The reason that matters is because the US still has 15 military bases in South Korea, 28,000 combat troops, and enough artillery and missiles to blow the entire country to smithereens. The US presence in South Korea effectively prevents the reunification of the country and a final conclusion to the war unless it is entirely on Washington’s terms. Bottom line: Even though the cannons have stopped firing, the war drags on, thanks in large part to the ongoing US occupation.

So how can the North normalize relations with the US if Washington won’t talk to them and, at the same time, insists that the North abandon the weapons program that is their only source of leverage? Maybe they should do an about-face, meet Washington’s demands, and hope that by extending the olive branch relations will gradually improve. But how can that possibly work, after all, Washington wants regime change so it can install a US puppet that will help create another capitalist dystopia for its corporate friends. Isn’t that the way US interventions usually turn out? That’s not compromise, it’s suicide.

Does North Korea Need Nukes to Deter US Aggression? By Mike Whitney
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