Closing Thought–03Apr17

Americans are starting to think more an more about their privacy……most of which we have relinquished due to the hunt for would-be terrorists….law enforcement is determined to keep the country and its citizens safe….but at what price?

I know if you watch any TV you have seen where the “good guys” looking for a “bad guy” will run a picture through a facial recognition program trying to put a name to the face.

So you think that some of that is pretty far fetched?

Think again!

Now this is a happy thought (sarcasm)…….

Approximately half of adult Americans’ photographs are stored in facial recognition databases that can be accessed by the FBI, without their knowledge or consent, in the hunt for suspected criminals. About 80% of photos in the FBI’s network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver’s licenses and passports. The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are more likely to misidentify black people than white people.

These are just some of the damning facts presented at last week’s House oversight committee hearing, where politicians and privacy campaigners criticized the FBI and called for stricter regulation of facial recognition technology at a time when it is creeping into law enforcement and business

Source: Out Of Control: Half Of All Americans Are Already In FBI’s Facial Recognition Database

Big Brother Is Watching!

That does it for today…I am off to teach my class….but never fear I shall return tomorrow with lots more stuff…..chuq

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Why Not Start Another F*cking War?

Apparently our cracker jack morons running the military have an answer for everything….start a f*cking war.

I see the neocons have had their day and will not go down silently.  We have had people like McCain that thought it was cute to sing…”bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and his cronies are always thumping their chest like a gaseous primate.

These mental midgets were quiet for a couple of years….they mumbled a bit but few paid them any attention….but now we have the triumphant in power and the calls for a war with Iran have grown a bit louder……

Central Command leader Gen. Joseph Votel today called for the US to use “military means” against Iran as an effort to disrupt their “activities,” saying it was vital that the US “expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing.”

Votel did not specify exactly to what extent he intended the military means to be used directly against Iran, or in what context. He did however complain of Iran committing “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.

Does this make any rational sense?

Our overworked military is pushed to the limits by the morons that want war at every turn…..and then we let idiots like Gen. Votel out of their cages and their mouths fly open……

“I believe that Iran is operating in what I call a grey zone,” Commander of the US Central Command, Army General Joseph Votel, told the House Armed Services Committee in testimony on Wednesday. “And it’s an area between normal competition between states — and it’s just short of open conflict.”

Source: Top US general suggests military action against Iran | GulfNews.com

PLease!  Will some please reign in these idiots.

This country does not need another war and our troops do not need yet another opportunity to lose their lives.

Maybe Congress should show some cajones and reassert their control over when we go to war…….

For over a decade and a half, the U.S. Congress has been missing in action on matters of war and peace. This isn’t a statement of conjecture or one devoid of fact. All one needs to do is take a look at recent history. The legislative branch hasn’t passed an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) since 2002, when Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was in the crosshairs.

In continuing to fight the War on Terror, the U.S. government is still operating under another 2001 AUMF to fight an alphabet soup of terrorist groups around the world, including an organization, the Islamic State, that didn’t even exist when the resolution was passed. This is categorized by Congress as an unfortunate public-relations scenario rather than an alarming constitutional oversight. Indeed, if George Washington suddenly came back to life and was thrust into the year 2017, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine the first president of the republic turning pale when he discovered how out of whack the executive-legislative imbalance has become.

Source: Will Congress Finally Reassert Its War Powers? | The American Conservative

Any disagreement?

But Congress may be sidelined even with this attempt to roll back our wars….why?

While most of the talk about the Pentagon’s proposals for various wars to President Trump has focused on requests for more troops in more countries, a much less publicized effort has also been getting rubber stamped, one giving commanders in those wars increasing autonomy on operations.

Buried in the details of almost every proposal from Iraq and Syria to smaller operations like US troops in Yemen and Somalia, there is always a mention of commanders wanting to be able to conduct strikes at will, both airstrikes and ground raids.

This has been a change that the Pentagon has been quite eager to seek, after years of complaining about President Obama “micromanaging” the various US wars, but it appears they may be trying to get a much broader collection of grants of autonomy than they’ve ever been granted before.

This does not bode well……giving individuals the power to start a war without oversight….what is Trump smoking?

Only With My Wife

It is no hiding the fact that I think there is too idle bullshit in the news…..why do I need to know the Janet Jackson will have a baby or how many times Kanye is a dick or even whatever Beyonce is doing…I DO NOT CARE!

Toward the end of last week a story surfaced about our second in command, Mike Pence and his wife…..

The marriage of Mike and Karen Pence came under the media spotlight this week thanks mostly to one line in a Washington Post profile of Karen: “In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.” That has triggered scorn and ridicule from the vice president’s critics, while his defenders accuse those same critics of hypocrisy. Here’s a look:

  • The Post story by Ashley Parker describes how Karen, 60, is her husband’s constant companion and his “gut check and shield.” Among its tidbits: “During their time in the Indiana governor’s mansion, the Pences installed twin treadmills upstairs in their residence.” Read it in full here.
  • The 2002 article from the Hill doesn’t appear to be online, but this tweet has the opening paragraphs, including a Pence quote: “If there’s alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me.” He said it’s about “building a zone around your marriage” and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.
  • The idea of a man not dining alone with another woman is often known as the “Billy Graham rule” among evangelicals, explains the Indianapolis Star.
  • One common line of criticism: “As someone who grew up Evangelical, wouldn’t say it’s standard exactly. But indicative of notion that women are primarily sexual temptresses,” tweeted writer Elizabeth Spiers.
  • Another: “If Pence won’t eat dinner alone with any woman but his wife, that means he won’t hire women in key spots,” wrote Clara Jeffery of Mother Jones.
  • Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist. See the video and skip to 4:20.
  • But Rod Dreher at the American Conservative sees hypocrisy in the negative reaction. “Were the Pences Orthodox Jews or practicing Muslims, nobody would have batted an eye. But they’re Evangelical Christians, so that means it’s open season on tearing them apart.”
  • At the Atlantic, Emma Green writes that the arrangement might seem crazy and even misogynistic to non-religious people, but not so to evangelicals, and “the dust-up shows how radically notions of gender divide American culture.”
  • Matt Lewis at the Daily Beast says this is the Pences’ business and nobody else’s. The backlash reveals “not just an irreverence for the devoutly religious (or traditional)—but also an intolerance for individual autonomy.”

Let me say here…I do NOT give a shit about his marriage or their religious beliefs…..

None of this is newsworthy!

This an indication of how frivolous news reporting has become ….if there is nothing to report then stop throw crap out there just go home and take a nap.

This is a waste of ink!

Trump-Russia Connention….

There is lots of news these days about Pres. Trump and Russia….some times it is a bit overwhelming…..so I sat down and tried to give an overview for those readers that would like to learn more……why?  Because after this I will avoid this subject until there is some real news to report.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a suggestion that has been met with initial skepticism, according to people familiar with the matter. – Washington Post

At least three senior White House officials, including the top lawyer for the National Security Council, were involved in the handling of intelligence files that were shared with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and showed that Trump campaign officials were swept up in U.S. surveillance of foreign nationals, according to U.S. officials. – Washington Post

The House intelligence committee will soon receive top-secret documents that investigators expect to reveal whether private communications of the president-elect and his transition team were improperly gathered. – Washington Free Beacon

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday that he will not jump to conclusions in the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling, but said “so far there is a great, great deal of smoke.” – Roll Call

Interview: Author and journalist Masha Gessen has emerged as a perceptive, prolific—and not at all predictable—analyst of the two presidents as American politics has been consumed by the investigations surrounding the Russian hacking of the U.S. election and whether Trump and his team might have colluded with it. – Politico

Mikheil Saakashvili writes: Of course, legitimate questions need to be answered about whether anyone in his camp colluded with Moscow, but based on my personal experience, I believe the conspiracy theories that are swirling around Trump are just that: theories. What is unquestionable fact is that his predecessor’s weakness and misreading of Putin has led to dire consequences in this part of the world. When will you Americans investigate that? – Politico

David Ignatius writes: President Trump has been trying since early March to deflect the FBI and congressional investigations of Russian covert action by arguing that he had been a victim of improper U.S. surveillance. His argument got little traction until last week, when Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) made the case for him. – Washington Post

Suzanne Spaulding writes: The committee already had a full-time job on its hands with regular intelligence oversight, which must continue. The Senate should provide more resources to appropriately staff this investigation — because it is the best hope for a prompt, impartial examination of a controversy hanging over the country. – Washington Post

Enough is enough!

North Korea: Why Not Try Realism?

Lil Kim and North Korea have been showing up more and more in the news.  He has mouthed off, launched a couple missiles and thumped his chest….much the same that his daddy and granddaddy had done and the US has met their challenge in much the same manner for three decades of so.

The Trump administration is headed down the same path…a path that has not worked in those many years…maybe time to try something new (I have said this before but no one was listening)….

Every recent U.S. administration (Clinton, Bush, and Obama) has confronted the problem of North Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear weapons program. While claiming their predecessors failed, successive administrations have shared the same objective: completely roll back the DPRK’s development of a deliverable nuclear weapons capability and prevent proliferation of a nuclear weapon or device to a third party – both without inducing a conflagration on or outside the Peninsula.

After working the problem, all three administrations came to the same conclusion: North Korea’s strategic weapons program is a complex and difficult issue with no simple solution. The Trump Administration appears to be headed in the same direction. Some combination of the same options has always been in play: negotiations, sanctions, the threat of force, and pressure on China to use its influence with the North. None of these tactics have worked.

Source: Realism and North Korea | The Cipher Brief

We have a new president and with him we got a whole new diplomatic challenge……the problem is his appointees have shown to be inept and dullards….most all have ties with the M-IC and that means that they will follow the same path as his predecessors…..more money thrown at the M-IC with no real solution to be found.

Anyone that thinks these are the people to make America great again are ever drunk or high…..