Closing Thought–21Feb17

To Bot Or Not To Bot?  That is the question.

If you spend too much time on the ‘net then I am positive that you have run into a bot or something similar…..my Spam folder is usually full of bot replies to my posts….I am sure that everyone that has a blog will have them lurking about….I have even heard that there are bots that reply and almost sound human….but if I think it is a Bot I will reply in some way that will expose it…..

Yes, Bots are a pain in the ass…..I have seen all the “fake news” stuff and all the angst about the MSM….some of it I agree with and others I find just a reach at best….but I read something that I found disturbing….especially when it applies to journalism…..

When Republican Steve King beat back Democratic challenger Kim Weaver in the race for Iowa’s 4th congressional district seat in November, The Washington Post snapped into action, covering both the win and the wider electoral trend. “Republicans retained control of the House and lost only a handful of seats from their commanding majority,” the article read, “a stunning reversal of fortune after many GOP leaders feared double-digit losses.” The dispatch came with the clarity and verve for which Post reporters are known, with one key difference: It was generated by Heliograf, a bot that made its debut on the Post’s website last year and marked the most sophisticated use of artificial intelligence in journalism to date.

When Jeff Bezos bought the Post back in 2013, AI-powered journalism was in its infancy. A handful of companies with automated content-generating systems, like Narrative Science and Automated Insights, were capable of producing the bare-bones, data-heavy news items familiar to sports fans and stock analysts. But strategists at the Post saw the potential for an AI system that could generate explanatory, insightful articles. What’s more, they wanted a system that could foster “a seamless interaction” between human and machine, says Jeremy Gilbert, who joined the Post as director of strategic initiatives in 2014. “What we were interested in doing is looking at whether we can evolve stories over time,” he says.

Source: What News-Writing Bots Mean for the Future of Journalism | WIRED

What will all those op-ed writers do?

Since I am by NO stretch of the imagination a techno geek….I would hope that some of my readers that are more knowledgeable than I chime in here with some techno stuff…..

Any thoughts you would like to share?

Go now…the day is young…see you guys tomorrow….chuq

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Flynn Gone, McMaster Cometh

In Like Flynn is no longer with us in the capacity of NSC head……and the search went on….Patraeus said NO…..Odierno said NO…..someone even said the idiot of the Right John Bolton was being considered….but hew was passed over….(a fine decision by the president)….and finally a name came up that was agreeable to most…..

President Trump has picked his new national security adviser: Army Lt. Gen. HR McMaster. He is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump said in announcing his decision Monday in Florida, per Politico. McMaster replaces Michael Flynn, who was asked to resign over his conversations with the Russian ambassador about sanctions before taking office. The Los Angeles Times calls McMaster “one of the military’s most prominent intellectuals.” Some related coverage:

  • A blogger at Foreign Policy who knows McMaster calls him “smart, energetic, and tough,” and he maintains that McMaster has written one of the best books on the Vietnam War: Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.
  • McMaster talks about life in the military in this 2014 interview with the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Ga. Among the quotes: “Some people think, hey, you’re in the military and everything is super-hierarchical and you’re in an environment that is intolerable of criticism and people don’t want frank assessments. I think the opposite is the case. In the Army, because the stakes are so high—right?—you can’t just be a yes-man and say, ‘Great idea, boss!’ if you don’t believe it—right?—because lives are at stake.” Read it in full here.
  • The New York Times says McMaster’s thinking on counterterrorism served as the basis for Gen. David Petraeus’ strategy that shifted momentum toward the US against insurgents in Iraq.
  • Last year, McMaster warned that the Army needed to stop shrinking, notes Heavy.com in its five-things-to-know feature on the general.
  • McMaster participated in the Battle of 73 Eastern during Desert Storm in which US troops were outnumbered but still prevailed because Iraqi soldiers were using outdated equipment. He wrote about the battle and its lessons at the Strategy Bridge.

This man is an intellect to be dealt with….yes he is a hawk but a hawk with a brain and sound rational thought.  His cheerleaders are many……

  • Politico describes McMaster, author of a 1997 book on America’s mishandling of the Vietnam war, as “one of the military’s leading warrior-scholars” and predicts that he will help Trump build bridges with GOP defense hawks like John McCain, who praised McMaster on Monday as “a man of genuine intellect, character, and ability.”
  • Retired Lt. Gen. David Barno tells the Washington Post that he knows McMaster well and he believes the general will excel at coordinating policy. “I don’t see HR as director of an orchestra; I see him as someone who is getting all the instruments to play together,” Barno says.
  • Cosmopolitan rounds up eight things to know about McMaster, including the fact that he “is known for standing up for his beliefs” and was chosen as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2014.
  • National Review reports that Charles Krauthammer, one of Trump’s fiercest conservative critics, described the choice as encouraging, noting that McMaster’s willingness to go against prevailing opinion of the time when planning the Iraq troop surge shows “this is a guy who will say what he thinks and promote what he wants.”
  • At Business Insider, Paul Szoldra praises McMaster as a “fantastic choice,” not least for the great deal of respect he commands from the troops
  • The AP notes that McMaster has a “reputation for being willing to speak truth to power”—and he “appears to hold a much dimmer view than Trump of Moscow’s military and political objectives in Europe.”

The MSM seems to think it is a wise choice……

Below is his opinion on the US approach to war……this is from a speech he gave in 2015……

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who spends his days trying to figure out the future of conflict and has gained wide respect for speaking his mind, told an audience at the University of South Florida on Wednesday that the United States needs to do a better job of learning lessons and adapting because of its “narcissistic approach to war.”

And, echoing outgoing President Dwight David Eisenhower’s farewell to the nation in 1961, McMaster urged renewed caution about the military-industrial complex and its influence on how America wages war.

Source: General dissects U.S. approach to war in speech at USF | TBO.com

My personal observation—-I was very impressed in his book on the Vietnam War, Dereliction Of Duty, he was very critical of the leadership during the war and hew was spot on in his analysis…..he is outspoken and has a great intellect….that will make for a good NSC chair if he does not compromise for a cushy posting…..

Trump’s Trade Reforms

The election of 2016 trade and jobs were a focal point of many voters….and the rhetoric was aimed at those concerns so much so that a win was registered in trump’s column.

He promised to re-negotiate some trade agreements and eliminate others and this would help create jobs that most Americans desperately need and want….

All great campaign words but how will they play out in reality?

Trump’s proposals for high tariffs might sound good. But combined with policies that weaken unions, they’re not good for wages.

President Donald Trump claims he will use international trade policy to bolster the middle class and reduce income inequality.

“The great American middle class is disappearing,” he wrote for USA Today during his campaign. “One of the factors driving this economic devastation is America’s disastrous trade policies.”

That rhetoric resonated with many of the disaffected and downwardly mobile workers who had voted for Democrats in past elections. It seemed to echo labor’s longstanding criticisms of so-called free-trade deals.

Source: Trump’s Trade Reforms Will Not Increase US Wages

Yes, it is early in his reign and there is still time of sanity….the biggest question is…..will the middle class survive?  Or will those jobs actually materialize?

There Are Spies And Then There Are Spies

From time to time I write for a couple of other sites….mostly on current affairs or international relations…..I appreciate their confidence in me to allow me to write for them.

This is an op-ed that I wrote for Ace News Room……

In the last week there has been a wealth of reports about our spy agencies….CIA, NSA, DNI, etc……

It appears that our new wielder of power has a hard on for our intel community….during the transition word came out that he would revamp the agencies…..

Source: There Are Spies And Then There Are Spies

Libertarians and War: A Bibliographical Essay

This past election showed that the American voter was looking for something new and different…..during that election the Libertarians got a great amount of support from the voter.

I have been reading about more and more people are starting to look to the Libertarian Party for the future….now I cannot say if this will continue or they will be successful…..but the interest is growing.

I also like parts of the Libertarian platform……their concern for war and their stands of individual rights…..they kinda turn me off with some of their economic policies….

This is an essay on the relationship between war and Libertarian thought…..maybe this will help my readers that are looking for an alternative…..

The relationship between war and libertarianism has interested me since 9/11. In the aftermath of those terrorist attacks, I witnessed in grim fascination many libertarians make excuses for government in the realm of national security. The proper libertarian position on war has become a matter of controversy, although I believe it shouldn’t be. “War is the health of the state,” as Randolph Bourne said, as well as being “mass murder,” in the words of Murray Rothbard.

The following essay presents some of the most relevant materials and readings on this controversy. It is unapologetically tilted toward the antiwar position, although it includes some references to pro-interventionist writings. It is idiosyncratic and not comprehensive, and its omissions are not always deliberate. I am always interested in reading suggestions. As for the citations, I include publishing information for books but generally leave it out for articles written for or available on the web, so as to avoid extraneous clutter. Please follow the links to learn more.

Source: Libertarians and War: A Bibliographical Essay – The Libertarian Institute

I would like to help readers look beyond the two party system for it has been screwing the American people for decades……time for a change.