Friday, September 15, 2017

Links (2 of 2)

I lost 1-2 of the links I planned to show. Drat. But I also found others.

Final love letter to a spacecraft. The Cassini exploratory probe finished its life and mission, which was to send us data about Saturn and its moons. The craft was remotely instructed to crash into Saturn to be sure that it wouldn't contaminate the moons where native life might be possible.

Americans and their white president. A tour-de-force essay by Ta-nehisi Coates. He writes that whites of all kinds, not just working class, gave support to a candidate who reflected bigotry. The essay shows one way to view race relations, but I don't agree with it's the whole story. It's still significant that a black president was elected twice, and with more support than Trump got. Coates does present some chilling facts, however, such as a white felon running in the presidential primary against Obama, and getting a surprising number of votes. The Obama presidency has been difficult for many blacks because they've had to endure heightened disrespect.

More about North Korea. North Koreans have been completely immersed in the propaganda that their only purpose is to serve. That complicates both war and diplomacy. A high-ranking ex-officer suggests a naval blockade to change the dynamic. The comment section is a must-read.

Did voter fraud change this Senate election? That's a good question raised here. There are known weaknesses in New Hampshire election law. The numbers of people using out-of-state IDs were high enough in this very close election. This is plausible, but not enough evidence to say it happened.

US spending. Where the federal spending goes. I'm always looking for this info, so here's a link to a handy graph.

Driverless car crash. This summary and analysis points to the technology not being able to handle complex situations. The driver, however, was lulled into depending on the system. That would happen so easily.

Susan Rice, target of conservative smears. A lot of ugly accusations swirled around her as conservatives tried to win the news cycle when lots of Russia news was coming out. Now she's been cleared, but that information is mostly buried. Blowhard conservatives won't even remember that they defamed her. Amnesia is rampant there.

Migration issues confront Canada. Perhaps for the first time, Canada is dealing with mass migration that is poorly controlled. Will it be too much for this generous, empathetic nation?

Image: bloomberg.com

Monday, September 11, 2017

For and against the Southern Poverty Law Center

What I remember of the Southern Poverty Law Center is that they had a large and scrupulously maintained database of US hate organizations and individuals, so they were always a good resource for reporters, and even for police and the FBI. Their database also made them invaluable to civil actions against hate groups, several of which were sued into bankruptcy.

I hadn't thought much about the SPLC until a conservative commenter with an anything-goes attitude toward argumentation claimed that the SPLC is itself a hate group. The basis for her dubious claim is that the shooter at the Family Research Council in DC used information from SPLC to target an anti-gay group.

I saw several other claims that SPLC is horrible, and decided to look into it. It appeared that most of the claims against SPLC were due its labeling of anti-gay groups as hate groups. The anti-gay groups and their conservative supporters bristled under the label, believing they were unfairly classed in with the KKK and neo-Nazis. Does this smack of claiming their kind of hate is 'a good kind of hate?'

I read what SPLC had to say about one of these anti-gay groups. The SPLC says that it doesn't label groups as hate groups simply for having labeling homosexuality as wrong or sinful. It had the criteria that the group spread lies, false reports or false research, advocate violence, etc. I noted that SPLC doesn't list the Catholic Church as a hate group, so a group can have religious objections to gays without getting the hated 'hate' label. Fair enough. I decided to contribute for the first time in my life. I felt good about it--that I was making up for lost time and supporting a good organization.

That was starting maybe a year ago, and I contributed 4-5 months ago. Now I'm seeing many more attacks on SPLC. Some of the latest:
  • SPLC doesn't spend much on legal actions, but has a pile of money in offshore accounts.
  • The latest BIG slam is that it mislabels groups and then corporate America cuts off the groups' lifeblood of donations. The Ruth Institute has been cut off in that way, and it has raised a huge amount of attention. (Great PR opportunity!!!!!) I've read 1, 2, 3 articles about the Ruth Institute, the first several weeks ago (no link now) so I was already with familiar with SPLC's rationale for listing it as a hate group. The leader of the Ruth Institute has a long history with anti-gay groups such as the National Organization for Marriage.
My theory is that SPLC is getting notice because of the Charlottesville incidents. Its database provides a lot of information about the white nationalists groups involved, and that makes it look like a strong, helpful, civil-minded organization. Now, if you're a conservative with a chip on your shoulder, you don't like SPLC getting any credit, so you want to attack their credibility. So trot out the old complaints and any current complaints you can find. Call them a far-left group or whatever. The weak-minded will repeat it. For me, I've looked into their explanation for the criteria for listing a hate group, and it's solid. If you support a conservative group labeled as such, maybe you should ask them to cut out the lies and hate, and clear the air on what they actually support. That's my recommendation. Belly-aching that someone is calling you names that you don't deserve doesn't cut it.

A mild message from the progenitor of the Ruth Institute
Image: usnews.com

Extras. SPLC has good reporting on many of the rallies where greater or lesser amounts of violence has broken out. That's helpful too. However, if they are indeed sitting on a pile of money, I may not contribute again. I'll give to other organizations, and give verbal support and clicks to SPLC.

SPLC reports: The rift between the militias and alt-right groups. Many militias want to be open to blacks, particularly military veterans. They share some views with alt-right groups, but not white supremacy. That's why militias will often provide neutral security and stand between alt-right groups and counterprotesters. They support free speech rights, but think a lot of the slogans are rubbish and therefore won't be into the shouting wars and other skirmishes. This is what I've gleaned from reading. Possibly it's wrong.

The killer of two on a Portland train claimed he was protecting free speech. I hope this is wrong and fails as a defense strategy. The killer was outnumbered by three men defending Muslims. Will he claim he feared for his life?

More reporting from in and around Portland. Campus allegations and counter-allegations, protests and counter-protests.

Links (1 of 2)

My tabs overfloweth.

Decoding anonymous sources. A good guide from Lawfare. How to interpret what reporters write, indicating how many sources they have and where they are. A good news organization follows these unwritten rules. Bad organizations pretend they follow the rules, but actually make up sources, use known unreliable sources, misleadingly edit and quote, and don't fire reporters and editors who don't follow good standards.

Now, one of those sources. Seymour Hersh is implicated in the Seth Rich-to-Wikileaks story. He claims it's just a rumor. I should dedicate a post to the Seth Rich story, but I'm too lazy. Briefly, Rich was a low-level staffer at the DNC or Hillary campaign and was killed in his DC neighborhood. Cue the conspiracy theories. Fox News got ahead of itself and coerced a contributor to say stuff he didn't actually believe, prompting him to sue. Seymour Hersh is involved because he is supposedly the source of some of that info. There's a tape of Hersh talking about the case. Strangely the tape begins and ends abruptly. I have suspicions that Hersh contradicts or says it's mostly his speculation. I haven't trusted edited tapes since Shirley Sherrod as smeared. Nonetheless, Hersh isn't saying what he knows. He ought to clear it up since the concern about a conspiracy is important here.

Sheriffs as the supreme law. Here is another right-wing idea to counter big, bad government. The concept is that the sheriff, being locally elected and accountable, is the supreme authority in a county, and doesn't have to enforce national laws. Remember Bull Connor and this doesn't seem so good. Joe Arpaio is supposedly an advocate for this idea. Luckily, he lost his last bid for reelection.

Another worrisome tactic to watch. Using Freedom-of-Information requests to undermine and sue small local school districts. Tactic supported by Steve Bannon. The goal is mirky, but maybe it's hidden in the settlements.

Russian election interference (another example). Something to watch. Fake accounts on Facebook bought ad time from Facebook. The purchase was automated, so even Facebook didn't know it was happening. Parking this timeline of Russia interference denial here. Hoping I can find it again.

Image: bostonglobe.com

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Antifa and the MSM

I don't remember what month I first heard of Antifa, which is a loosely organized anti-fascist organization. I do remember how I heard of it. It was mentioned by some right-wing commenters. They implied Antifa were leftists, so I looked up what Antifa was. I thought it was probably some imaginary conspiracy group, like the elitist pedophile ring Hillary runs.

It turns out that Antifa isn't a figment of a nutjob's imagination. It's real, and my usual news sources (Google News with occasionally visits to American Conservative, National Review, Fox News, and Breitbart) had failed me.

I'm not sure why the MSM had barely reported on Antifa until August. It's not that Antifa didn't make appearances. They were involved in the Berkeley riots, and I was certainly aware of those. They were also involved in property destruction on Inauguration Day, and various other demonstrations.

However, the MSM wasn't mentioning that Antifa was a group, and wasn't emphasizing how protesters were violent and coordinated in dress and action. Was the MSM giving cover to Antifa? We probably won't find out unless reporters and/or editors talk about either their lack of knowledge or their suppression of information.

I've been able to confirm the lack of coverage by the MSM through a Google search. From December 2016 to March 2017, the top mentions of Antifa USA are by (in order): Al-Jazeera,  The Guardian, the BBC, The Nation, and Hot Press. In contrast, the top mentions of Antifa USA today are by: USA Today, Facebook, Wikipedia, CNN, The Daily Wire, and The Atlantic. It's definitely a failure by the MSM that the media sources of right-wingers are faster on the information than the MSM is.

It's not that Antifa was totally unknown in the MSM. Here's an article from the New York Times dated 2/2/17 that reports on Antifa. Yet Antifa wasn't referenced in this WaPo article. I recall arguments about whether the violent protesters were students or not, whether they were outsiders who took an opportunity to vandalize. News organizations didn't seem to know... or perhaps a few reporters did, but the information didn't percolate up to the top editor and anchors.

Right wing media perhaps wanted to pretend the violence was by typical leftists, not a violent fringe. Left wing media perhaps wanted to pretend that it wasn't an organized group of violent anti-fascist protesters. Nor were there organized, violent groups who tried to close down Trump rallies. Those anti-Trumpers were individuals who were concerned about Trump's rhetoric, not an organized violent fringe.

Now Antifa is too well known. The MSM still isn't investigating its ties with BLM organizations. They don't delve too far into their communist views, or how they fight violently even when confronting non-violent opponents, or how they're happy to destroy corporate property. Conservative media is pretending Soros, Antifa, and BLM are all one and all violent. Who can you trust? No one.

By the way, this may be the closest thing to the Antifa motto:
You fight them by writing letters and making phone calls so you don’t have to fight them with fists. You fight them with fists so you don’t have to fight them with knives. You fight them with knives so you don’t have to fight them with guns. You fight them with guns so you don’t have to fight them with tanks.
They do seem to emphasize the fighting. Let's enjoy some violence for a noble cause... or close enough.

Image: redspark.nu

Extras. According to this video, a lot of Antifa are sociology majors who want to be heroes but don't know much about fighting. That fits with what I've seen. Antifa disrupt a peaceful rally in Berkeley.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Interesting links again

How to lose your job at Google. Write a memo about how Google is mishandling diversity issues and has an intolerant leftist bias. While the author did make some blanket statements that I consider erroneous and patronizing, he emphasized evaluating people as individuals, and was against group discrimination. He seems to have lost his job because views he expressed outraged too many within the company. Simply put, his views didn't line up with a dogma of many, and he lost his job because of it.

Signs of war in Korea. The military choices in Korea aren't great. If the US decides on a military offensive against N. Korea, typically there would be a build-up of military resources and a withdrawal of civilians. Of course, that signals a military step to N. Korea, and they might strike because of it. It seems to me that an unannounced, substantial attack would be more effective. However, a deadly response from N. Korea has to be expected. I don't see any military response with minimal casualties. A write-up of the possibilities and their disadvantages.

Rational approach to Russia. I'm suspicious of most American opinions about Russia. Political blogs are awash with Russian shills and bots commenting. Partisan politics has overshadowed clear thinking. So I wondered what the Germany policies toward Russia are. Here's a summary.

New strategy in Afghanistan. Actually, somewhat the same strategy, but with some more troops and maybe stronger tactics. Afghanistan will not be fit to defend itself anytime in the foreseeable future, so it makes sense to try to minimize the terrorists Afghanistan would harbor. Trump talked of winning and peace, but reality is that the military mission is successful with much less than that--such as the avoidance of Afghanistan becoming a major terrorist training and safe zone.

An archive of Trump's lies. This might be handy. However, I wonder whether the Washington Post would be archiving the lies of Hillary Clinton as carefully.

Image: washingtonpost.com

Late additions. List of Arpaio outrages in honor of his pardon by President Trump. This is only a partial list. I visit my parents in Phoenix, and remember Arpaio having a peaceful speaker arrested at an evening meeting because he didn't like her viewpoint. Arbitrary arrests didn't even make the outrage list.

Description of Hurricane Harvey. The aspects that caused it to flood so much of east Texas.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Links, video, and interesting info about Charlottesville

Maybe I was somewhat obsessed about trying to uncover the truth about Charlottesville. Instead reading accounts, I wanted to watch video, preferably unedited, meaning unmanipulated. I wanted to see what I could for myself.

I've watched maybe 10 hours of video, and also read a few additional accounts. Here are some of the things I've learned.

Image: ktvn.com

Not quite so bad a person. A student from University of Nevada participated in the torch march, and some pictures of him went viral. Yes, he looks like an enthusiastic Nazi youth. What he says is more complicated than that. He believes in value of all cultures, so he's against segregation, elimination, and the idea of white supremacy. Yes, he marched with some people who felt that way, but he wasn't chanting any slogans he didn't agree with, so he was silent for 'blood and soil.' Somehow, though, he doesn't regret marching with a bunch of people who do believe those things. There was an unsuccessful petition to throw him out of the university, but they refused to on the basis of his right to free speech.

Links to many accounts from the LA Times. Another article with many links, focusing on the alt-right view. Helpful map here.

Alt-right manifesto. This story hasn't gotten much play. Richard Spencer wrote the bullet-point list of concerns with the help of a half-dozen prominent colleagues. Race is the highest concern. Second is the 'Jewish question' which alt-righters often abbreviate to 'JQ.'

A neo-Confederate group musters before the rally. Then they march to the park, fighting with counter-protesters once along the way. Over 40 minutes of video. Hunter Wallace, who is taking the video, writes that "wave after wave attempt[ed] to charge the park." His video belies this, showing one attack. At 40:00, he and some other protesters easily walk past 'peaceniks' on the perimeter to enter another portion of the park, showing that at least one major part of the perimeter was peaceful. A written account by another protest leader, from California.

In contrast, video of skirmishes. This might have been the entrance corner where a lot of skirmishes occurred and hand-thrown missiles were regularly flying. Strangely, there were no barricades dividing protesters from counter-protesters in this section of the park.

Armed neutral parties. The work of dividing protesters and counter-protesters who loathed each other and wanted to fight fell to some militia groups, such as the Oath Keepers, 3 Percenters, and a workers' militia called the Redneck Revolt. Militias get involved as a buffer and to protect free speech, but disagree with many of the political positions and especially disdain the chanting and goading.

How did the permit happened. Of course Charlottesville didn't want the rally to take place. An earlier rally of 50 KKK and 1000 counter-protesters showed the potential dangers. However, a judge ruled otherwise. We may continue hearing about Charlottesville for several years as limits on rallies and the use of emergency declarations are litigated.

Image: vidmax.com

Extras. Guide to the symbols and the cast of characters. A 22-minute documentary on one of the organizers. Skip the middle if you're pressed for time. One alt-right leader decided to opt out because the rally was too racist. Finally, a nurse who is also a neo-Confederate and Jewish talks about the rally. She thinks Nazis are weird, but really hates the counter-protesters for being Marxists, and is not at all sorry about the death. How many were Marxists? Probably a bunch, but it would be helpful to know approximately. However, if you're throwing your lot with Nazis because you don't like Marxists, is that a good choice?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What the Charlottesville Nazis were saying

The Daily Stormer is no longer available by regular browser. However, pages on the internet get cached sometimes, and the Stormer was popular enough to get cached quite often over the weekend.

Go to cachedview.com, or following my links.

Let's see my selection of the lovely conversation at the Daily Stormer. (Note: I didn't grab the timestamps on everything.)

[Friday 8/11/17]
I’m getting reports of large groups arriving and having trouble with their AirBnB reservations.

Azzmador’s Texas crew is staying in a hotel in one of the surrounding towns.

REMEMBER: At the event, keep your weapons in your car if you brought one. Do not bring it to the event. We do not want a shootout.

Right Wing Motorcycle Squadratti are in #Charlottesville and out of control!! on #HandsomeThursday

If you click to enlarge that picture, you’ll notice that both the cameraman on the left and the guy in the light blue shirt appear to be kikes. VICE is a full-kike operation.

4:00 PM:

SWITCH TO PRIVATE CHANNELS ONLY FROM HERE ON OUT

5:19 PM:

The argument from the kike Mayor and his Negroid Black Panther sidekick is that they said there would only be 400 people and there are going to be a whole helluva lot more than that.

Word on the ground from Daily Stormer staff is that the permit to hold the rally in Lee Park has been officially issued! Looks like we won out!

This is last night! [Torchlit march on UVa] The time and place didn’t get posted here because it was a secret arrangement, I apologize to those that missed it.

20 PEOPLE STOOD AGAINST HUNDREDS OF FASCISTS!

THIS IS HAPPENING NOW!

NO ONE IS STANDING IN OUR WAY!

CHARLOTTESVILLE BELONGS TO US!

AMERICA BELONGS TO US!

People are being bussed in to the park now.

Antifa are on Twitter panicking, some saying they won’t even bother to attend given that their numbers will be so few.

The thing that is going to be in the most danger here is your car, so try to park in a lot that’s being observed, or just take a taxi or an Uber to the event (if you’re not riding on the bus).

[Saturday 8/12/17]
10:40 AM:

The chanting war begins.

“You’re fags, go home you have no testosterone” VS “No racists, no KKK, no fascists USA.”

11:00 AM:

Azzmador has unveiled his banner.

“Gas the kikes, race war now!”

12:11 PM

ANTIFA GETTING THEIR ASSES KICKED EVERYWHERE.

12:31 PM:

FUCK YOU FAGGOTS!

You heard that right. They're chanting "Fuck you faggots." 

GET TO MCINTIRE PARK NOW AND FIND AZZMADOR, CANTWELL OR SACCO VANDAL! STAY IN THE GROUP! DO NOT SEPARATE ONCE YOU ARE BEHIND ONE OF THESE THREE MEN! 

3:46 PM:

Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.

He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate… on both sides!

So he implied the antifa are haters.

There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

He said he loves us all.

Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.

No condemnation at all.

When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.

Really, really good.

God bless him.

Same dickhead Virginia state cops who attacked our rally just crashed a fucking helicopter.

Police chief quadroon such a bitch. I have defended cops. Then they betray us and attack us in what amounted to an ambush.

There it is. Reporting straight from the the good people on the right who care so much about the statue of General Lee.