Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Transparency, Privacy and Surveillance in a new era

Surviving Surveillance: My co-editor of the Chasing Shadows anthology - Stephen W. Potts - has written a "5 books" contribution to the Tor web site, taking you on a tour of (almost) half a dozen great science fictional portrayals of surveillance. 

 Of course our new anthology, Chasing Shadows, takes it a step farther, with two dozen stories and essays portraying how citizens might answer elite eyes... with light of their own. See an excellent review from Locus Online. (We'll be signing copies in San Diego on January 27, at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.) A rich compilation of thoughtful contributions by Robert Silverberg, Vernor Vinge, Bruce Sterling, Ramez Naam, Cat Rambo, Brenda Cooper, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and more!

== Eyes... and ears ... everywhere ==

Yipe. A morning show was doing a story where a young girl ordered a dollhouse and four pounds of cookies by talking to "Alexa", the Amazon home-AI-thing. One of the hosts said something like "I love how this little girl says, 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse' "... at which point viewers starting ringing in to complain that the host's own comment caused their Alexas to try to order dollhouses....  Danger, Will Robinson!

One of you pointed out a scifi-ish implication: That is thriller material. How about an action/suspense novel in which ISIS performs some outrageous act on video that is sure to be replayed on TV sets around the world." Embedded in the sound is an Arabic (or maybe Russian?) phrase which means "Alexa, shut down the power grid," or "Alexa, bomb Alberta." And assuming a TV is playing in the right location.”

Big banks are terrified of a Kenyan decade old experiment called M-Pesa in which people can save money and spend it via text messages on their mobile phones.  Now a study has shown it’s more than about just convenience and agility.  Users of M-Pesa have a substantially greater chance of rising out of poverty.

The dichotomy of “security versus freedom” becomes stark, whenever the public feels nervous over threats like terrorism. Earnest defenders of civil liberties, like this one from the Columbia Journalism Review - How not to report on the encryption debate - pose our choice in stark terms, portraying our Professional Protector Caste as eager to demolish our last protections against the all-seeing state. Especially the protection of encryption. For the most part, this is (so far) absolute bull.

Edward Snowden as Socrates: this article in the Los Angeles Review of Books by Ruth Starkman, cited the Bard conference where I spoke and Snowden Skyped in.. 

“Thus far, Mr. Snowden, now residing with temporary asylum in an undisclosed location in Russia, has spoken via satellite to students at Harvard University, Stanford University, Princeton University, University of Iowa, Bard College, and universities abroad such as Simon Fraser and Glasgow. Next appearances in 2015–2016 will be at Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Irvine.  

At the Bard College conference “Why Privacy Matters,” hosted by the Hannah Arendt Center in 2015, students cheered wildly when Snowden’s image appeared on the screen. Snowden demurred, “I wasn’t expecting that.” 
Or was he?  

“Snowden, meanwhile, speaks with an affectingly earnest modesty and seems to understand his potential to influence college youth." I won't hold that against him. Still, keep it in mind.

== trying… again and again… ==

An online discussion among a dozen information age professionals finally got me throwing up my hands and trying yet again to explain the obvious:

Real privacy has never depended on hiding, rather upon our ability to deter voyeurs and meddlers. But in order to deter interference or excess nosiness by others, we must catch them at it! 

That means making transparency nearly universal (say, stoping at the curtilage barrier of the home). Empowering average folks to see is more important to those seeking to protect privacy, than to those violating it. Privacy violators are going to get such powers, anyway.

What stuns me is how blatantly obvious this is, from real life.  In The Transparent Society I give the Restaurant Example.  One restaurant offers "privacy" with paper screens between each booth.  The other is open plan - all clients visible to each other.  Where would you have a personal-private conversation?

At the one where anyone could stand on the other side of the screen, listening?  Where some eavesdropper might punch a small hole for a camera? Or at the diner where people sit in the open, where brief glances around can assure you no one is leaning in and listening?  Next time you dine at a restaurant, notice that you make such checks, several times, unconsciously enforcing your privacy. Because YOU can see.

You will see earlier in the thread where I talk about how this depends on a certain type of culture and how our children are making that culture as we speak.  Transparency will not protect privacy in a culture that does not value it! 

But in a culture that believes in diversity, eccentricity, personal autonomy and MYOB*, then transparency is harsh on the voyeurs.  Transparency can protect privacy and I know this for one reason...

...because it already has.  It is the only thing that ever has.

But this is pointless.  I have learned across 20 years that the most obvious things are utterly opaque when people get a firmly righteous idea in their heads. Like the notion that we can benefit by outlawing information flows. And thus, our finest, most-well-intentioned paladins for freedom and privacy all reflexively assume the solution is: "everybody hide!"

See Glenn Greenwald's No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State. 

== Another way ==

Advertising has paid the freight for the Internet for far too long and the debilitating effects of this over-reliance have metastasized, becoming cancerous to an informed society.  Professional news sources have languished while click-bait social media troll sites prosper by spreading lies or exaggerations. Even at best, secondary re-packagers of news steal income from the mainline journalists who actually go to sources and seek the stories.

The key to solving this is offering professional news media another way to make a buck from their product - investigative reporting.  Millions of folks like you and me would gladly pay a nickel or a dime for a good New York Times story that we read, start to finish. That would add up! And make great economic sense, cutting out the middle-men and letting us pay value for value. It is called Micropayments... and it has been tried dozens of times, failing because the same mistakes are repeated, over and over again.

It happens that the mistakes are obvious, once you focus on them. Micropayments can be made to work, at last, allowing us a simple way to get (and support) value while brushing aside the era when advertising controlled everything we see and hear.

Finally... Cory Doctorow offers praise of Mr. Robot as a Hollywood portrayal of hackers and hacking that has a solid basis in the real world of hackers and hacking.


=======

*  MYOB = Mind Your Own Business.

93 comments:

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin said: "Where would you have a personal-private conversation?"

The Restaurant without the paper screens. The screens as security against being overheard are useless, and without them, you can at least look about and see if anyone is evidently listening in.

LarryHart said...

Was it the novel "Earth" I'm remembering where there were "privacy wasps" which swarmed hidden cameras, having the dual effect of revealing and neutralizing the devices?

David Brin said...

Zepp.... yep.

LH: Yeah, but the neutralizing part is iffy.

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

The way I'm remembering the book--and it's been a few years now--the privacy wasps neutralized hidden cameras by the low-tech expedient of swarming and encasing them.

Jeff B. said...

LarryHart,

2nd Uplift Trilogy?

LarryHart said...

@Jeff B:

Yes, now that you mention it, the scene was in Uriel's foundry.

I think.

David Brin said...

Though there is also a scene with birdlike things swarming desert cams in "Aficionado"... right in the first few paras.

see: http://www.davidbrin.com/fiction/aficionado.html

donzelion said...

re "the Alexa bomb" - I am quite curious how digital ears would treat a request like, "Will somebody rid me of this troublesome priest?"

I know of no better theatrical treatment than "Hated in the Nation" episode on Black Mirror, which I highly recommend to anyone. One of the darkest morality plays...yet prescient in an age where "Lock up the nasty woman" became a rallying cry that mobilized millions of minds.

donzelion said...

"And thus, our finest, most-well-intentioned paladins for freedom and privacy all reflexively assume the solution is: "everybody hide!""

I suspect that many are operating from such a stance, but some of the paladins for freedom are a bit more pragmatic. "Hide - for now - as our culture learns how to compel those who would peak into your personal space to come forward." If you take action to protect your privacy, those who take action to breach it set up patterns.

If you regularly shred your documents to protect against identity theft or other abuse, and in your community, someone invests in software to reassemble shredded documents into readable forms - that software leaves a footprint if it is used. But if you merely toss your documents into the trash (as I did for far too long), it's easy for thieves to take advantage.

Small steps that force people to take extra efforts will deter government, not because it lacks the means to breach any conceivable security we can set up, but because such means are expensive, and resources are scarce. Small steps may deter much lesser threats, however - or create a track record that enables stopping the smaller threat more easily (we have stronger remedies for addressing a hostile government - voting, courts - than we do for hostile private actors).

Rocky said...

When government does it, it's Big Brother. When Siri, Alexa and Google do it, is it Big Sister?

Maybe the solution isn't "everybody hide!" but inviting mass surveillance into your home in the age of Trump and widespread abuse by government agencies seems rather foolish.

David Brin said...

donzel I have nothing against transitional prophylaxis. I practice and urge e-security. But the paladins are supposed to be looking ahead. Some still want to ban face registries!

donzelion said...

As for micropayments...I still think the biggest problem probably isn't the 'user/producer' element - security, scalability, reliability, etc. - all factors easily cured with technology.

Worrying about 'security' in this context is about as short-minded as worrying that the newspaper street corner boys calling out 'Extra! Extra!' might skim a few bucks and thus sink the newspaper. Many newspaper companies have gone bankrupt, but none as a result of errant paper boys so far as I'm aware.

Journalism itself is a creature born of micropayments - every "dime rag" paid it's weekly salary based on small fractional payments by buyers. It's certainly possible more/better micropayments will change the field even more, but not necessarily the case for the better.

The fundamental problem is not that 'stories cost too much' - but that one media outlet can steal/use the facts developed by another to sell it's product at a cheaper rate. If it costs a media outlet >@$1000/week to put a journalist in the field, a rival can steal that journalist's work product for @ $100/story at the cost of a delay in dissemination. But who cares about that delay? Audiences? Elite members of audiences MAY care (e.g., if news leaks on Monday of a bank fiasco, people with money want to know right away to respond accordingly) - less elite audiences won't care (they never had any money at risk anyway, so why bother?). Advertisers discovered that people who cared about knowing early were the sort who acted on 'news information' quickly - ideal targets of ads. They also discovered that the 'tardy followers' were content with nearly free rehashed news. Hence, 'elite' full print news (producers) v. 'tabloid' (parasites/gossip rags).

I do not see how micropayments will save the 'elite' full-print 'real news' IF the bulk of the value is in the 'tabloid' crowd. Efforts might be better placed to the 'health' lifestyle side of the equation - cultural change: less "Fox rots your brain and leaves you friendless and poor" (which in some ways mirrors Metallica's tirades against music piracy - counterproductive/ineffective) - and more "Here's something you can do with that news that you couldn't do before...other than clicking on an ad).

Robert said...

Concerning Superman, Dr. Brin, the only reason I know anything about it is review sites that double as clickbait, but with intelligent content. They talk about the various elements in it including old-universe Lois Lane putting on power armor to take down a Superman villain who tried to kidnap her son.

This may be part of the reason why it intrigues me. They apparently depict Lois as someone with brains, courage, and ability. Given my foray into superhero comics was during the 90s... well, I got out before the stories went completely off the wall, though they were starting to as I finally stopped buying them (insufficient funds) and then found the far more inventive and fascinating world of webcomics.

In fact, one webcomic along the same venue is Strong Female Protagonist about a young lady who is essentially Superman in a world where children her age started developing powers... and she won the superhero lottery. But she realized at one point that going around fighting crime and the like was just wasting her life, so she quits and goes to college to try and do something more constructive with her life.

You'd probably enjoy the current story, Dr. Brin, seeing there is a philosophy professor talking to her right now and debated both sides of the Axiom of the Tyrant for two pennies.

It seems to me that the most effective comics are those that are being crafted with editorial freedom. The ability to tell the story you want rather than being forced to have characters do things you disagree with helps bring about far more fascinating stories... and characters who end up more rounded, if the author is talented enough.

Rob H.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: re temporary prophylaxis, your term, 'the paladins of freedom' is impressively apt. The paladins of freedom have been blowing their trumpets about data surveillance for decades, knowing the effort to be futile, that they will be crushed by their adversaries, and hoping that in drawing a line and defending it, they may create space for the bulk of the populace to withdraw and reconsider it's actions.

So too with 'futile' efforts like banning facial recognition systems. It is not that they need to win, or expect to, but that they hope to make a valiant stand somewhere, and in the aftermath, pray that culture will change to make such efforts no longer necessary.

[And as I type that, I am aghast at my pronoun selection - 'they' - whatever happened to 'me'? Eh...no longer.]

Jason said...

David, I don't like micro payments, but for reasons you don't mention. I don't like the unlimited nature of them.

I would much, much rather pay Amazon the $120 a year or whatever prime costs, and have the ability to borrow books from the lending library. As you know, Amazon proportions an amount of money to authors based on the number of times Thur book is read.

I'd like a payment system like that. Pay $20/month, and read whatever you want from all newspapers. Your funds are proportionally paid to the newspapers (and blogs, whatever) based on how many seconds you spent reading their webpages.

This misses a large portion of what you talk about, true, esp. the "attaboy" doubling ability, which could drive good reporting. But highly read and shared articles would richly reward anyway...

-Jason

Duncan Cairncross said...

Changing the subject entirely

Is there a technique which can remove the fetus still alive from a woman's body??

If there was such a technique then it would not actually fall foul of any of the abortion restrictions as it wan not "killing" anything

I would argue that somebody should be able to apply that at any time - there is no "right" to use somebody else as a life support system

A parent does not have to support a child - they can put them up for adoption or otherwise step away from that responsibility

Anonymous said...

Bye, Bye Fake news. Read how Trump defeated Obama and Clinton, "KEK: The Rise of Donald Trump" (released 1-7-2017)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ7QSIE

Paul451 said...

Awww, he's learned a new phrase.

Who's a clever boy? You're a clever boy! Yes you are, yes you are.

TCB said...

Trump regime is beginning to gag scientists; though he isn't supposed to be able to do that, there seem to be no legal consequences for doing so.

Paul SB said...

Duncan,

What you are talking about is basically premature delivery and incubation machines. The record for that is about 22 weeks, but it has a really steep mortality curve. One huge factor most people don't know about here is the neurochemistry. You are taking a living being at a very early, sensitive stage of development and removing it from its natural habitat right when its brain is forming. This really messes up their normal oxytocin development, which can have psychological/social consequences down the road. Even doing a C-section has unintended consequences here, though probably not as bad as cell phone addiction is having. Doctors are scheduling C-sections so regularly these days instead of allowing birth to happen naturally it is likely having some very nasty side effects on human society, but hospitals are businesses and the vast majority of people don't know the neuroscience to know what they are doing.

It is very much like the Hospitalism epidemic of the turn of the century (19th - 20th), which I don't have time to explain right now (have to get back to work). Hopefully I'll remember when I get home...

Tom Crowl said...

Bad News:

Scientists Put On Lockdown Under Trump
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0WBZ9WvTyc

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Doctors are scheduling C-sections so regularly these days instead of allowing birth to happen naturally it is likely having some very nasty side effects on human society, but hospitals are businesses and the vast majority of people don't know the neuroscience to know what they are doing.


By insisting on coming out three weeks ahead of schedule, my daughter saved my wife the ordeal of a C-section, for which I am forever grateful.

Anonymous said...

When the argument is simplistic and so contrived to paint a particular view of transparency in a good light, small wonder that two decades have been spent grinding an axe down to what now must be a rather dull club. Perhaps this would be more obvious once the Whig that has fallen across your vision is removed? But excuse me, I must see what important fart apps and metrics on Mars (in Imperial units, giggle!) are be bandied about on the latest consumer craze.

greg byshenk said...

Nothing wrong with viewing protection as a temporary measure. But it seems to me that anyone recognizing it as a temporary measure should also be arguing for real solutions. And the problem I see with many of the 'paladins of freedom' is that they do not do this, but only, as David points out, continue to shout "hide!"

LarryHart said...


I don't want any spam!

That's ok, dear.
I'll have your spam.
I luv it.
I'm having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, and spam.

Baked beans are out!

Can I have spam instead?

greg byshenk said...

On the micropayments front, I haven't looked into the details recently, but I think that part of the problem is that, for it to work, it needs to be both very easy to do and very secure -- and those are two things that tend to be difficult to accomplish together.

The 'very secure' is an issue because, while I want it to be easy to send .05 quatloos to some website for a good article, I also want it to be very hard (or impossible) for some site to empty my digital 'wallet'. And also that it be very hard for some random site to pull .05 quatloos from my wallet without my knowledge and express permission. The latter is important because, if such wallets become common, then it becomes rewarding for someone to figure out how to steal .05 quatloos from millions of different people.

LarryHart said...

Yesterday, I was in a fighting mood. Today seems more depressing. Could barely get out of bed without obsessing on:

Potential inability to qualify for individual insurance post-Obamacare
Potential loss of Medicare by the time I reach retirement age if I live that long
Potential loss of internet communities except for corporate cash-cow sites after net-neutrality
Voter suppression based on alternative facts, installing Republican rule for 1000 years

...and that was before the cats got me up to feed them.

I hope it's the cumulative effect of Seattle-like sunless weather, or perhaps the coming on of the cold my daughter already has. Dang, I'm reduced to hoping there's a chemical reason rather than a real reason why the future seems to suck.

Meanwhile:

The topic is too sensitive standing here pissing razor blades

LarryHart said...

Ok, now that the spam posts are gone, my Monty Python reference makes no sense.

Carry on.

LarryHart said...

Most here proabaly already know this, but...

From Twitter:

Hey everyone! Please start following #altnatparkser Environment is too important to be silent!


JOIN
THE
MOCKINGJAY

matthew said...

Well. Trump is moving faster than almost anyone thought possible. Still believe we will have an election in 2018 or 2020? If the elections are held and the expected backlash removes the Republicans from their current majorities, do you still believe that Trump will leave office without a fight?

I do not.

Gag orders, wall orders, deportion orders, anti-medicine orders, privatization of public land orders. Trump learned from Obama's failure to seize initiative in his first 100 days. He is pushing his agenda, which we were told repeatedly was all "campaign rhetoric" and would not be actually put in action. Here is the action.

One of the things to look for - watch as the Republicans change Medicare to block grants to the states. If funded at current levels, Red States would get reduced Medicare dollars compared to Blue States since so many Red states refused the ACA Medicare monies. Watch as the block grants are set up, instead of at current funding levels, but by average income in the state. This will have a net result of further draining tax dollars from blue areas to subsidize the red areas. Basically, watch as Trump's government pays for destroying Medicare by raising taxes on California.

The way to combat this has been brought up here before - NO TAXATION WITHOUT EQUAL REPRESENTATION! Time for the Blue States to start sounding like the Tea Party.

LarryHart said...

Ok, I was going to post that righteous indignation is the only known antidote to depression, but then humor is another one.

My wife and I just had this weird conversation that I felt like passing along.

It started with the fact that our cats like to tear the houseplants to shreds and how I didn't think cats were vegetarians. From there, I wondered about the word "vegetarian" sounding like it would be a pro-vegetable position rather than one of destroying and consuming plants. My wife suggested that vegetarians are ok with eating plants because "they grow back". So I countered that they should be ok with eating the arms off of starfish (or half of a worm) because they grow back as well.

So then we decided that someone should find a way to combine the genes of a starfish and a meat animal so that you could keep eating parts of your pig or chicken or cow without killing it, and the thing would keep growing more meat. Such a beast would even come with its own built-in advertising slogan (which won't be quite as funny if you're not familiar with the joke it comes from) :


"A pig like this, you don't eat all at once."


LarryHart said...

@matthew,

I asked you this, but then the thread changed and you might have missed it.

Are you in the US?

If so, are you making plans to escape?

I'm not snarking at you. I'd hate to end up as one of those Austrians in "Woman in Gold" who realized too late that they could have fled Europe before the borders were closed. And with your certainty that a fascist dictatorship is taking over here, I wonder what that motivates you to do.

sociotard said...

Trump senior staff using private email server for government business

Tom Crowl said...

On a micropayment wallet and security:

By a user creating a separate wallet holding limited funds for online micropayment purposes (e.g. a $20 limit on an account balance) isolated from a user's other accounts and funds... security is enhanced to considerable extent by this factor alone...

The issue of theft of small amounts from multiple accounts via a fraudulent solicitation may be a more realistic threat... but I'd argue that a system via a wallet is far more secure than any system which tried to do the same thing by operating via multiple banks and users' fully funded accounts (which a one-click capability would require).

Twominds said...

@matthew 12:50 PM

Well. Trump is moving faster than almost anyone thought possible. Still believe we will have an election in 2018 or 2020?

Yes.

If you look at authoritarian regimes, many have democratic trappings. Russia, Turkey, Egypt, they have elections, but the opposition has no realistic chance. I´d be surprised if the trump admin will abolish elections, the danger is that they will be rigged in such a way that the outcome is almost assured from the start.

If the elections are held and the expected backlash removes the Republicans from their current majorities, do you still believe that Trump will leave office without a fight?

I do not.


There you have a point. Democrats better prepare themselves for an even fouler season than last one, with spurious challenges coming in fast and thick before and after voting day.

Thing I fear is that this admin will do its utmost to undermine trust in society and its official institutions. Look at Russia how such a society looks like, and how to create one: Russia: Life After Trust. Putin seems to try to get Western Europe to think like that too, a disquieting developent.

David Brin said...

Notice that anonymous does not even get the irony, that by hiding his ID he only demolishes his credibility as that of a coward. Further reinforced by the fact that he only yammers snarks. He makes no effort to actually disprove my general assertions:

- that our freedom was built upon citizens' ability to see, not to hide.

- that technology renders all "hiding" prescriptions utterly useless.

- - that elites cannot harm us when pinned by light and accountability.

David Brin said...

Matthew calm down. This putsch is way premature. They needed to spend decades reaming the civil service, the Intel community, law enforcement and the Officer Corps to accomplish that. DT will try to accelerate this by forcing retirements and bullying. It will fail. He is mistaken to believe that will be easy.

donzelion said...

Greg Byshenk: "And the problem I see with many of the 'paladins of freedom' is that they do not [call for solutions], but only, as David points out, continue to shout "hide!"

Perhaps you were unaware of some of the activities by those 'paladins of freedom' - particularly their efforts to use the Freedom of Information Act to publish a wide array of information about what government is doing. That sounds like both a 'call for solutions' and action in support of solutions. They also lobby to expand FOIA, and litigate to protect whistleblowers (esp. their right to air corruption publicly).

Every time a gag order gets announced, they step up with a new array of constitutional challenges to it - the litigation history runs into encyclopedia-length manuals. Look through their litigation history; the ACLU (for example) has done more than most groups ever will to bring sunlight to federal, state, and local government actions. While calling for private persons "to hide" - they're doing precisely what our host calls for in standing up and turning the eyes towards those with power. Do you know anyone else doing so?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Guys
With Trump pushing for a massive investigation into Voter Fraud is this a crack that a decent voter registration and identity system can be pushed into?

IMHO there is no need at all for voter ID - but a combined accurate registration system and automatic ID would seem to be a whole lot better than your current mess

Could you push this investigation into that type of solution?

Some of the Judo that Dr Brin advocates

sociotard said...

Kind of a fun news bit about Government employees defying the presidents mandated blackout.
http://www.salon.com/2017/01/25/the-twitter-rebellion-badlands-national-park-is-the-latest-national-park-to-defy-president-trump/

donzelion said...

Matthew: Republicans control state legislatures in 32 states, 17 with veto-proof supermajorities. Of course there'll be elections in 2018/2020. They need to legitimize ousting a handful more Dems to get their supermajority in the Senate.

Of all the orders, the "privatization of public land orders" is most interesting. In Zinke, we have a Navy SEAL Team 6 candidate up for confirmation with an intriguing mix of self-aggrandizement paired with very specific favors (e.g., his bio lists him as 'acting commander in charge of 3,500 troops - his former commanding officer noted publicly that the 'acting command' role lasted about a week and a half while he was visiting the US). Strong ties to oil/mining industries, but not a billionaire and not independently well-known.

I do not know of any 'privatization' per se, only a change in the guard. Sally Jewell, former Secretary of Interior, got her start helping build oil pipelines in Alaska and Oklahoma - then shifted to REI later in life. With those sorts of ties, you can imagine very distinct priorities (she focused on expanding park areas on federal lands, he'll probably focus on even more preferential mining/drilling/pipeline rights).

"The way to combat this has been brought up here before - NO TAXATION WITHOUT EQUAL REPRESENTATION! Time for the Blue States to start sounding like the Tea Party."

A remedy very much worth keeping in mind. Oklahoma politicians routinely deride the fed, but call for federal funds every time they have a hot day. Yet Oklahoma's millionaires may be unusually dependent on federal support for pipeline initiatives through federal lands - rights of way and other grants - this is certainly one state where hostility to Democrats is financially lucrative.

A.F. Rey said...

With Trump pushing for a massive investigation into Voter Fraud is this a crack that a decent voter registration and identity system can be pushed into?

Depends on who he appoints to the committee. If they are honorable men who will fairly and thoroughly investigate voter fraud and anything else that affects the vote, then it certainly could be included.

If, on the other hand, it is filled with yes-men who will do whatever Massa Donald says, then expect some Alternative Fact-finding and possibly fewer citizens with the right to vote. :(

TCB said...

Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Planning to Run for Office: article in the Atlantic.

GOOOOOOOOD. I've never seen the problem with technocrats (the British call them boffins) running things. People who, ya know, understand "facts" and "evidence" and "logic."

Jumper said...

Since the topic is privacy again, I'll bite. I used to think about encryption a lot, especially after reading the book Crypto, by Steven Levy. Not being a number theorist I couldn't just blindly accept the uncrackability of prime products, but it's still a great book. One can try to design all sorts of systems and see how they'd fail. One question that seems important is one I wouldn't have thought is so crucial: whom do you trust?
When Facebook came out. I joined. It asked me if they could have all my email contacts list so they could find my friends for me. I said "hell to the no!" because to me that would be a breach of etiquette, giving out my friends' email addresses to a corporation. Along those lines, I used to cringe (and still do) when getting these forwarded emails from people with their whole email list right there in the text, and often as not, headers full of yet other people's email contacts lists. Bad form.

I use a lot of BCCs when sending emails to multiple recipients. It's sort of quaint, I suppose, now.

I think at an early point, Zuckerberg expressed smug surprise at what people were willing to give up. I think he said they'd give Facebook their social security numbers if he asked. But anyway, since I never gave Facebook my email list, I never had the experience of what happened next on my PC. Did Microsoft display any warning? Did it say "Are you sure?"

Will anyone tell me if that happened to them?

Similarly, I never signed up for Gmail, nor any of the Microsoft new things that go through their servers. I don't have anything to hide, really, but why should I give up everything? They comb it all for various research. My own provider and the big tiers are all I want to have my stuff. My provider is in a business relationship with me. These others are not.

Jumper said...

One reason is, I dislike much of what seems apparently acceptable behavior, to them, of advertisers and corporations. They lie. I look at my junk mail, and usually the lies start before you even open it. There's a check inside with your name on it! Um, no there isn't. They GUARANTEE they can save me money on my auto insurance. Well, if 1.75x my current rate is "savings," sure.

Why would I want any kind of dealings with corporations that lie to me from the very start? And they all do.

You shine the spotlight on these liars and expose them, what happens? Are they chastened and held accountable? No. No. A thousand times no. People laugh. They laugh. That's all that happens.

Jumper said...

Invisibility, though, is a fool's quest. The city provides anonymity, and has for hundreds if not thousands of years. It's a comfort to imagine we are invisible, and a perversion when it becomes so. (People who pick their nose in traffic depend on it. Boy are they kidding themselves!) Automobiles have as much to do with it as anything, and surely may be the worst cause of this dark illusion. So forget about invisibility.It's not sustainable.

Anonymity, though, provides a fresh start. When all that stops one from change for the better is the old bindings of others' preconceptions, a little anonymity can be very useful. And America has always had a soft spot for those who reinvent themselves successfully.

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

But anyway, since I never gave Facebook my email list, I never had the experience of what happened next on my PC. Did Microsoft display any warning? Did it say "Are you sure?"

Will anyone tell me if that happened to them?


Am I supposed to know what did happen next on your PC?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re Social Security Numbers

These are not cannot be some sort of secret squirrel identifier -
I almost wish that somebody would publish a data base of SSN numbers and names so that people would have to accept that it is a national ID number and is not useful for any security purpose

Once it is accepted that you already have a national ID system then using it for voting should be dead easy

People like me who have a SSN but are not eligible voters would be trivially easy to identify

sociotard said...

Scientists are planning their own march on Washington.

sociotard said...


Once it is accepted that you already have a national ID system then using it for voting should be dead easy


Not as easy as you'd think. Here's a fun anecdote!
http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2408-how-i-navigated-through-life-without-ever-having-photo-i.d..html

Twominds said...

Another useful link for Rob H. maybe.

314Action, an organisation that supports scientists who want to run for office.

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

Social Security Numbers

These are not cannot be some sort of secret squirrel identifier


But they are. That's a big problem.



Paul Revile said...

"I have learned across 20 years that the most obvious things are utterly opaque when people get a firmly righteous idea in their heads. Like the notion that we can benefit by outlawing information flows."

Yes. Let's talk about righteousness and about information flows.

Obama is the first president ever to have been at war every single day of his presidency. He increased nuclear weapons spending (a trillion dollars) having promised to broker disarmament. He promised to address the burgeoning surveillance state, quote "...that is, no more illegal wiretapping of American Citizens" and then increased it. Remember, Snowdens leaks were against Obamas NSA not that of Bush (bad enough we thought at the time.)

He promised to address environment while presiding over the fracking and shale 'revolution'along with madam Frack as secretary of state.

He signed into law the national defence authorisation act 2012 which many legal experts have agreed could be used by future administrations to indefinitely detain US citizens inside the US without charge or trial. (What might an orange skinned alien do with such power?)

His administration appears to have been largely appointed by Citibank a month before the 2008 election:

https://newrepublic.com/article/137798/important-wikileaks-revelation-isnt-hillary-clinton

Let's hear that again, according to information available through the Podesta email leaks and according to David Brin, Americans have to rely on the Russian government to learn who has the power to appoint members of the American government, before it is even elected. Not a pretty picture.

How much of this information is commonly understood or even known? Information flow?

According to whistle blower Russ Tice, Obamas own personal details were surveilled by the NSA in the summer of 2004 when he was candidate for senator, suggestive of potential blackmail. Perhaps this is the real purpose of the surveillance you are largely sanguine about and perhaps it is one of the many reasons otherwise good men do evil.

In 2015 alone Obama dropped 26,000 bombs in the Middle East, in addition to authorising drone strikes every Tuesday upon 'enemies of state' totalling ten times more drone strikes than the Bush administration. Needless to say many if not most of those killed had nothing to do with terrorism. We might remind ourselves of Caeser declaring himself 'defender of the Celts' by, at his own estimate, killing a few million of them or 'destroying the village to save the village.'

The larger message is not 'partisan,' but you can make it that if you wish. The real message is that middle class enablers have made it possible for astonishing evil to flourish by controlling the possible discussion. Under their stewardship the situation goes from bad to worse under every political flavour, though as you (and they)famously say "it's all good."

What else could we call the deafening silence about America's enabling of ISIS and AL-Qaeda/Al Nusra in Syria? Or the decimation of Libya, a nation that has gone from one of the most prosperous, liberal and educated countries in Africa to hell on Earth? It's all good.

Since you've been somewhat righteous in defence of Democrats through your beloved metrics then what about the things you can't or won't measure Dr Brin? What about the things you can't bring yourself to even discuss?

I know I know, I'm a vile right wing blow hard Republican, despite not even being a citizen of the US or remotely interested in American politics except to the degree that it has blighted my life from an ocean or two away. If you want to pretend to be an analyst of what's actually happening, perhaps you should widen the discussion.

Trump on the other hand is as much a symptom of your Panglossian approach as he is of American culture generally today. Perhaps the world should build a wall around all of you.

LarryHart said...

And I thought my life sucked.

donzelion said...

Humph. Comments like Paul Reveille's make me frustrated, because there are half-truths sold as truths. Correcting them all takes time. This is why liars and populists prevail against reality.

But let's try...

"Obama is the first president ever to have been at war every single day of his presidency."
If the War on Terror = 'war' - then every President from FDR to GHWB spent 'every day at war' (the Cold War was as much a war as the Iraq/Afghanistan wars). However, the body count under Obama was reduced from thousands to dozens. For most Americans, that constitutes somewhat lesser hostilities than 'war.' There is a difference between war, insurgency, and terrorism.

"He increased nuclear weapons spending (a trillion dollars) having promised to broker disarmament."
Twas a 30-year budget of approx $1 trillion extra for certain upgrades intended to maintain stocks and security in a field where costs increase regularly, but support systems creak along into antiquity quickly. That's approx $33 billion/year (actually, starting budgets are @ $20 billion, with numbers increasing over time based on projected actual costs). That's maintenance systems, background checks, everything from janitors to scientists and all in between. Rather different from "increased nuclear weapons spending." Setting a $1 trillion increase over 30 years is another term for 'decrease' or 'cap.' It infuriated folks looking to profit from this (e.g., every last Republican security company in Wyoming wanted bigger expansions to cover their admin costs providing certified janitors...)

"He promised to address the burgeoning surveillance state, quote "...that is, no more illegal wiretapping of American Citizens" and then increased it."
He did not increase it. What Bush had created became public under Obama, but Obama's team did restrain what had existed without laying off thousands of government workers (indeed, Snowden's employer, a government contractor, was a part of that transition for a gradual ratchet down).

"He promised to address environment while presiding over the fracking and shale 'revolution'along with madam Frack as secretary of state."
In terms of fracking and shale, his EPA, OSHA, and other regulators limited and reduced a large number of oversights typical of Bush era EPA. It's untrue to claim they were the same. That said, he did not abolish or outlaw fracking. If Congress passes a law that authorizes him to do so, then...

Whether you're an American or not, your 'facts' and information flows are deliberately constructed talking points intended to dissuade leftists from engagement and support (and then flipped to arouse ire from Republicans). This is the problem of half-truths: they obscure more than they show, but are much harder to remove than true truths.

TCB said...

Now trump drastically cuts funding to the United Nations.

It's not general knowledge (and it ought to be) that the UN was founded as an explicitly antifascist organization.

That's why fascists (which nowadays includes most US conservatives, in my view) hate the UN.

Paul SB said...

Donzelion,

I'm glad you have the time to deal with vile calumnies like this. I'm too tired, and this stuff is way outside of what I normally deal with.

I did promise this morning to explain my earlier Hospitalism reference to Duncan, and make the connection between that and his idea of removing the unborn from their natural life support system a la "Brave New World."

Larry was quite pleased that his wife gave birth to their daughter the natural way, as well he should be. When a woman gives birth the natural way, she normally gets a massive burst of oxytocin, which basically makes her fall in love with her child and create that all-important maternal bond. What is happening in the newborn's brain is not well understood (unless I have missed that), but it is well understood that when a mother does not get that oxytocin burst (as in c-sections or postpartum depression) then the baby usually grows up with mental issues caused by the lack of maternal care. Guys don't get this same oxytocin burst at birth - sorry, but that is exactly why so many males are willing to abandon their babies but so few females are. The consequences to a baby of neglectful parenting can be quite severe. Hospitalism is a clear indicator, as were those very disturbing motherless monkey experiments done by Harry Harlow back in the 1960s.

In the 19th Century, doctors knew what bacteria were, but they had no effective medicines to combat them until Jonas Salk discovered penicillin. It was common practice in hospitals, especially in the US, to isolate patients in bare, mostly empty rooms and not allow visitors to prevent the spread of bacteria. But the nurses began to notice that many of their very young patients - small children who were locked into tiny rooms with nothing but their bed and blankets and no human contact except nurses in masks coming to feed them and administer medicine - frequently would stop eating, lose massive amounts of weight, basically withering and dying. They had no idea what was causing it (should have been a real no duh! but scientism has always ruled American medicine) and invented the term "hospitalism" to put down as the cause of death. As far as they could tell their quarantine procedures worked just fine for most adults, but something about hospitals seemed to be fatal to small children. Once penicillin became widespread and hospitals became less insistent on total isolation, hospitalism started to disappear from the death certificates.

Anybody with common sense could see what was happening. Children need affection and attention. It is now understood that this is a biological need, mediated by the same neurotransmitter (oxytocin) that mothers get a huge burst of during vaginal delivery. Even in Harlow's time when he did his really disturbing motherless monkey experiments it was not really known what was going on inside the brains of babies, but these days we have some knowledge. Getting at the brains of the unborn is much harder to do, though. However, it seems pretty likely that separating babies from their natural life support system is likely to mess up their normal neurotransmitter balance, which could lead to a lot of very dysfunctional people like all those Romanian orphans who never learned to speak and just lay in their beds rocking back and forth in a fetal position (kind of how I've been feeling since the election of Donald Grope). With all the c sections happening these days, I have to wonder if we aren't on the verge of a huge crisis in mental health - well, bigger than the one we have been normalizing since the Cold War.

Fun stuff, right? Makes me think of that music video Dr. Brin linked to last time - the 1930's style B&W one about a world of cell phone addicts - but that's a different pathology.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Trump drastically cuts funding to the UN

Is that the funding that the US actually pays? - or the amount it is due because of earlier US governments "doing a Trump"

locumranch said...


Against transparency, secrecy and encryption are useless and futile. Yet, even so, transparency (like any writ, subpoena or request for information) is exquisitely vulnerable to overzealous cooperation, implying that our current age of transparency is (at best) a passing fancy and (at worst) a dead and beaten horse.

And, thus, we defy transparency with an old legal gambit that Donzelion knows well: (1) We heap a haystack of misdirection upon every needle of truth; (2) we set expert testimony adrift in an ocean of experts; and (3) we bury each & every potentially injurious memorandum under tonnes & tonnes of other memorandums for dumdums. We do this automatically.

Transparency (which edifies if it reveals the exceptional) only bores when it exposes the mundane.

So, if I am accused of secret villainies, then a million others will stand accused of the same crimes, making mine (not invisible but) unremarkable. Your respective flaws cancel out my respective flaws. Fake News. From pedophilia to euthanasia, we will make every sin & perversion commonplace. Click bait. Images of my nasty bits will disappear under an avalanche of other more engaging nastiness. Every slightly shocking faux pas can & will be superceded by ever more sensational revelations until all such revelations bore. If a dozen articles appear to prove climate change, then a hundred thousand articles can appear as if out of thin air to deny it.

Beep Bop I am a bot, created by transparency for the express purpose of destroying all things transparent, reveling in a tedium of secrets.


Best
______

I look forward to the Million Scientist March, assuming HATS, so our best & brightest can become as trite, banal & repetitive as every other pussy lover on parade.

matthew said...

Aha! I've finally figured out locum. He's a reverse cheerleader.
He comes here, makes reactionary stupid claims. This bonds the group together in utter disbelief at his illogic.

Hey dudes, he's a Motivational Speaker. He's a secret agent.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi PaulSB

I was actually assuming that the fetus would simply die - but that it was still alive when removed from the mother

Which would put the onus on keeping it alive on society in general rather than on the mother

matthew said...

Oh Doc. This is too close.

The fight for truth in science is being fought foremost by Park Rangers right now.
That ain't far off your Postman.

Jumper said...

LarryHart,
"Am I supposed to know what did happen next on your PC?"

I was hoping you remembered what happened on yours.

Jumper said...

locum speaks of his support for his Roman friend:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx_G2a2hL6U

Tony Fisk said...

The purported rangers behind AltUSNatParkService just announced they are passing the baton to non-employees to prevent repercussions to themselves and fellow employees of those yuge tracts of worthless territory (pay no attention to the miner behind the curtain)

Just watched a bit of that Trump interview ("The World is a mess"). As Neil Gaiman once said "All monsters are afraid. That's why they're monsters.", and that is a *very* scared man you have as President.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

As Neil Gaiman once said "All monsters are afraid. That's why they're monsters.",


The equal-opposite of that is summed up in a line from a Frank Miller comic book (before 9/11 drove him insane). "A man without hope is a man without fear."

Look at the #AltNatParkSer and other rebel groups forming as we speak. The way authority usually keeps such people in line is by the implicit threat that rocking the boat is precarious. That requires "not rocking the boat" to lead to at least an acceptable standard of living which can be implicitly threatened. This administration is making it clear that "not rocking the boat" has no upside. It's not that they can't make our lives worse--they most certainly can. But they'll do that no matter what.

I see this bit from Hari Seldon in the first chapter of "Foundation" coming true before our eyes:


"The fall of Trantor," said Seldon, "cannot be stopped by any conceivable effort. It can be hastened easily, however. The tale of my interrupted trial will spread through the Galaxy. Frustration of my plans to lighten the disaster will convince people that the future holds no promise to them. Already they recall the lives of their grandfathers with envy. They will see that political revolutions and trade stagnations will increase. The feeling will pervade the Galaxy that only what a man can grasp for himself at that moment will be of any account. Ambitious men will not wait and unscrupulous men will not hang back. By their very actions, they will hasten the decay of the worlds. ..."







and that is a *very* scared man you have as President.

LarryHart said...

...I meant to follow up with another comment on that "very scared man" bit, but I think anything I could say is self-evident.

Deuxglass said...

Before, mainstream news was the privileged intermediary between the President and the People. The President would give a conference and the media would interpret what he said. Through their access to the President’s team they would act as a conduit to test new policies and changes to old ones and by that, the mainstream news got it first. It was a system that made everybody happy and was very profitable for the media. In effect, mainstream news had an economic rent and has just lost it.

That model has completely broken down and the mainstream news people are very angry. The one thing they had over the smaller competitors was privileged access and better information and that is now gone. The main news organizations lost their “rent” in Trump. Trump twitters giving the same information to everybody to interpret as they like. He doesn’t need mainstream media for anything and they are taking it very badly. I have seen companies lose their rents before and most react in the same way; disbelief followed by panic. The panic engenders weird, displaced behavior. Instead of moving towards reality they flee it. It’s sad to see.

sociotard said...

And yet, Trump relies on the Press Secretary going to the mainstream people to reassure everyone that his more extreme tweets don't mean anything. For example, the above bit where "send in the feds" if Chicago can't control violent crime doesn't mean send in the military.

Berial said...

Trump's group points out their political opponents sloppy IT leads to leaks, then THIS happens.

Twitter Link

Note:Even if this ISN'T a password just the thought that it was made me laugh out loud.

Deuxglass said...

Trump's press secretary does what Trump tells her to say. You have to look at her as a his opportunity to give what is essentially a tweet longer than 140 characters.

Jumper said...

Trump is running all his government business off a private server, of course.

David Brin said...

DId I speak of them "reaming the Civil Service?

NEWS: Arati Prabhakar, Director of DARPA has just stepped down, after a meeting with Trump Administration officials. Already the DARPA website has removed all references to her. This after the State Department's senior management team all resigned.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/316283-state-departments-senior-management-team-resigns-report

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arati_Prabhakar

LarryHart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/nyregion/outraged-mayors-vow-to-defy-trumps-immigration-order.html


In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared: “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. There is no stranger among us. Whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”


I haven't been a fan of Rahm Emanuel...until now.

Sounds like President Snow plans to send in the Peacekeepers soon. Join The Mockingjay!

LarryHart said...

Berial:

Note:Even if this ISN'T a password just the thought that it was made me laugh out loud.


They could be code for secret instructions from Putin.

Deuxglass said...

The senior team of the State department leaving was expected. Arati Prabhakar's resignation is much more worrisome.

matthew said...

I believe Patrick Kennedy's departure from State was expected but not the others.

I cannot verify that Arati Prabhakar has left DARPA. Google doesn't seem to have it yet.

Deuxglass said...

It looks to be true. Dr. Steven H. Walker is now the acting head.

Berial said...

@matthew
Go to the DARPA site here

Dr. Arathi Prabhakar is no longer listed as the director. Dr. Steven H. Walker is listed as 'acting director'.

Anonymous said...

Environmental agencies, having ben muzzled, are fighting back:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-government-scientists-rogue-defiance-trump-033937748.html

Slim Moldie said...

The last movement of Locum's scherzo sounds like a riff on the broken windows theory. "If a dozen articles appear to prove climate change, then a hundred thousand articles can appear as if out of thin air to deny it..." yeah and 833,333,333 bots deny the deniers. Almost as frightening as the phone books that continue being placed on my stoop. I think computer science is capable and will succeed in developing filtration and toxic waste management solutions.

I've been reading some articles on how to cope with narcissistic personalities. Extremely enlightening and worthy of study. Maybe Pelosi should take the whole Capital donkey herd on a field trip to some form of disarming the narcissist seminar. The strategies for mitigating narcissism (other than isolation) aren't as simple as protest and confrontation.

One of the articles on the wall quoted a Mexican, "when they go high, we go under."
Got me thinking. What if Mexico threatened to build a wall first? A bigger and better wall than Trump's proposed wall. On the North-facing side it would be a vertical gabion retaining wall filled with trash and phonebooks--millions of phonebooks excavated from American landfills and carted out by rail. Facing South would be a gentle sloped earthen berm seeded with crops, alfalfa and strawberries and maybe solar panels.

LarryHart said...

Slim Moldie:

I've been reading some articles on how to cope with narcissistic personalities. Extremely enlightening and worthy of study. Maybe Pelosi should take the whole Capital donkey herd on a field trip to some form of disarming the narcissist seminar. The strategies for mitigating narcissism (other than isolation) aren't as simple as protest and confrontation.


Shouldn't the strategy be to get other Republicans concerned enough to abandon him?

Maybe she should take them to a marathon showing of the "Hunger Games" films.

Katniss Everdeen:

I'm in District 8 where the Capital just bombed a hospital full of unarmed men, women, and children. And there will be no survivors.

If you think...for one second...that the Capital will ever treat us fairly, you are lying to yousrelves. Because we know who they are, and what they do. THIS is what they do! And we must fight back.

I have a message for President Snow. You can torture us, and bomb us, and burn our districts to the ground. But do you see that? Fire is catching. And if we burn...you burn with us!

locumranch said...



Speaking of burning, Chicago will be an excellent test case for 'sending in the feds' because (1) of the historical gang-busting precedence of Eliot Ness & the Untouchables, (2) it is a traditional US Democratic Party stronghold & Obama's home turf, (3) it is a violent, blue, urban, sanctuary city with strong anti-federalist tendencies and (4) it only the 8th most murderous city in the USA after St Louis, Baltimore, Detroit & New Orleans.

Can you say Urban Pacification?

Don't forget that it's Trump, the US Republicans & the Rural Reds who now wear the Union Blue & march to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, so I suggest that you read up on Sherman's March to the Sea because frankly, my dears, we no longer give a damn what you want, feel or do.


Best
_______
You know, the Blue states could stop this 'send in the feds' juggernaut right now just by being accommodating, contrite, humble & apologetic, but that goes against their nature. Instead, they'd rather mouth-off, whinge, riot & protest.

TCB said...

Loco in the coco said:

"You know, the Blue states could stop this 'send in the feds' juggernaut right now just by being accommodating, contrite, humble & apologetic, but that goes against their nature. Instead, they'd rather mouth-off, whinge, riot & protest."

I say: Jesus fucking Christ, you are the worst of humanity. When did you ever apologize or accommodate? Truly, conservative/fascists are like Milton's Satan who says "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."

LarryHart said...

@locumranch,

Words fail me.

@Ilithi Dragon,

Sorry, but this is why we can't normalize President Snow. Not even a little bit.





LarryHart said...

TCB:

Jesus fucking Christ, you are the worst of humanity. When did you ever apologize or accommodate?


You noticed that too, huh? :)

Truly, conservative/fascists are like Milton's Satan who says "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."


Worse than that. They'd rather serve in Hell.

TCB said...

The modern Republican Party should be represented by the lamprey. The elephant is far too noble and intelligent.

Jumper said...

Thanks, TCB!

I clicked on the highlighted words here "Elephants produce a broad range of sounds from very low frequency rumbles to higher frequency snorts, barks, roars, cries and other idiosyncratic calls." Audio windows open and lots of elephant talk can be heard.

David Brin said...

Mr. Revile, I haven’t time for detailed answers . But seriously? Your cult admits now that the Bushite wars creates utter messes in the Middle East. Heck, your party never even mentioned any GOP leader between Reagan and Ryan, at the recent RNC convention! You writhe in shame over every aspect, policy and outcome form the last two periods of GOP rule…

… yet you insist THIS time you can be trusted with power? See the stark and OPPOSITE record of outcomes in governance. I dare you!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

Yes, Obama has had to keep us involved in those messes. But at a level so much lower that it is day vs night. Or troops rotate in, in small numbers for short tours that leave them trained, not ruined. And today – because we have achieved energy independence – there is no US Aircraft carrier battle group in the middle east. We can walk away any time. And asshole ingrates give him no credit.

Fracking? Hypocrite! Obama applied rules but only half could get past this congress and GOP run states.

As for the rest, I am done. You rave paranoid conspiracy theories with zero redolence, evidence or even the remotest scintilla of logic behind them.

Oh, BTW… nuclear weapons saved us all. We were scheduled for a bloody third world war – conventional – that would have made WWII look tame. Idiot.

Oh but locum is back. Made a complex and puzzling statement that was vaguely… interesting.

But: “You know, the Blue states could stop this 'send in the feds' juggernaut right now just by being accommodating, contrite, humble & apologetic, but that goes against their nature. Instead, they'd rather mouth-off, whinge, riot & protest.”

Bugger off! DT and the GOP could have said: Majorities of the American people and nearly all the folks who know stuff have voted against our congresses and presidential candidates every election except 2004. Hence, we will reach out and try for some consensus. We will bring in grownups. Instead, they do exactly the opposite, pissing in our faces. Do not tell us about mouthing off, pack of delusional lying bullies.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

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Ruby Singh said...

Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, activities, or other changing information for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting people.