Thursday, November 26, 2020

We Needed This

Why it has to be BidenThe Economist, 29 Oct 2020. Art Credit: David Parkins

Below is the message we needed to hear from the President of the United States.
Thank You, Pres-Elect Biden.

Pres-Elect Biden Thanksgiving Address
25 Nov 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Alternative Truth Death is Still Death


Mr. Trump’s COVID-19 “Alternative Truths” have not worked out so “well” for more than 250,000 (and counting) Americans who have died of the uncontrolled virus.

Still, while the U.S.A. is now racking up 1,100 COVID deaths each day, many of his believers continue to proclaim the whole COVID thing a “hoax”.

Perhaps one day a few Trump-believer relatives might ask out loud, "Why did you follow that man into your grave?" 

After all, Mr. Trump's "Alternative Truths" death is still... well... just death.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Time to Make Society Work - For Us


Mr. Biden will be sworn as President of the United States in late January 2021. 

That's good.

So, what happens for us after that?

Will the Biden government become just like the other Democratic Corporatists? Will they, too, be dishing out the same old, same old B.S.? Will life improve for millions of Americans? Or will it be just more and more for the .01%, the corporate "C" suite people and their minions and less and less for the millions of us? 

How do we make change for the better happen for us?

It's way past time to create an alternative party to ensure that the interests of the people of the United States are honored; that a new "green" economy is created and implemented; that healthcare for all is implemented; that our national infrastructure is rebuilt - modernized - creating life-sustaining employment for our people; that we end our imperialistic, heinous dependency on war; that our predatory capitalist system be directed to reward those who serve mankind rather than those best at swindling the poor and politically powerless.

We need a powerful political force to ensure the “American Dream” happens for all of us, not just for the wealthy and powerful, tiny, tiny few - the masters of the American two-party duopoly.

America's Two-Party Corporate Duopoly

Second Thought
25 Sept 2020

The two major parties aren't as different as you think they are. Democratic and Republican voters are more divided than ever, but that's not the case for elected officials. In this episode, we'll discuss the similarities between the two major parties, and consider whether trying to build a competitive third party would make a difference.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Mr. Trump’s Traitorous Out


Article and Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

When the election chaos ends and Mr. Trump becomes a private citizen, he will be prosecutable for his alleged crimes, just like every other U.S. citizen. 

Mr. Trump has committed many potentially prosecutable actions

But most certainly, those most likely to be brought upon his leaving the protection of presidency, will be served by The State of New York. That means Mr. Trump could be the, “first former president in American history to find himself on trial — and perhaps even behind bars”.

So, what will he do?

I predict he will run. 

Yes, he will exit the USA for political asylum rewarded by another authoritarian dictator, Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia.

Mr. Trump knows he is guilty of many crimes and unless he can escape, he will serve time in jail.

I believe he is a traitor for seeking and accepting Russian interference in the 2016 election, and working to weaken the NATO Alliance, as well as turning his face away from Russian bounty-paying in Afghanistan for dead U.S. and NATO troops. Like another before him, Mr. Benedict Arnold, he will seek shelter with his benefactor. In his case, that means Russian dictator, Mr. Putin.

Retired Four Star General: ‘In 50 years I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’ | Deadline | MSNBC
Jun 30, 2020

Former National Security Council member General Barry McCaffrey and former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk on why they believe the national security process is broken amid reports the U.S. had intelligence that Russia offered and paid the Taliban bounty to kill U.S. troops. Aired on 6/30/2020.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Who Stole Jesus?


How do a few wealthy people manage to induce a large group of Christian Fundamentalists/Evangelists to do their bidding, e.g. retain their mega-wealth and attain political power, against the Fundamentalist’s self-interests, e.g. voter suppression?

Trying to understand how people are manipulated is a life-long study for me. Why do people need to believe that “others” are to blame for both real and imagined “sins” against them? What are the sources of those clearly unscrupulous, erroneous and often fatal beliefs? And how are they implanted in the brains of the manipulated people?

One age-old, proven method of manipulation is through religion.

God, Jesus and religion have historically served as facile tools for manipulators and this presidential election seems to have provided ample opportunity for practicing the tactic – people will accept manipulation if they believe it’s about a spiritual battle, “Good vs. Evil”.

Here’s how and who metastasized Christian Evangelicals into the Ultraconservative "Republican" Christian Right.

Bill Moyer’s discussion with Anne Nelson, author of Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right.

Here’s an excerpt:

"ANNE NELSON: That’s right. And from the beginning, in terms of their electoral tactics, it has been a matter of weaponizing certain churches and pastors and really exerting tremendous pressure on them to use churches as instruments of a radical right ideology. And then using similar tactics to suppress votes for Democrats, especially in key battleground states.”

Hear the interview (below).

For more about how religion has been used through the centuries...

The Battle for God and Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Karen Armstrong.

“…But modernity has also been spectacularly violent, and so Armstrong goes on to show how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence-and what hope there might be for peace among believers in our time.”

More about Christianity and the USA…

David Ray Griffin’s “The Christian Gospel for Americans: A Systematic Theology”, Edward Curtin, The Transnational, 26 Mar 2020.

"For one thing, the complete opposition of Jesus and his followers to the imperialism of their day has been largely hidden to readers of the gospels.  The main reason for this hiddenness is that the authors of the gospels, seeking to present the message of Jesus so as to serve the needs of the Christian movement 40 or more years after the death of Jesus, sought to make it appear that Jesus’ message was directed against, and evoked opposition from, ‘the Jews,’ rather than the Roman Empire and those who collaborated with it….This failure of later Christians to understand the beginnings of their religion has contributed to what is arguably the most fateful reversal in history: Christianity, in origin probably the most explicitly anti-imperial religious movement ever, has since the fourth century provided the religious foundation for the growth of empires even more extensive than Rome’s….He [Jesus] was crucified by the Roman Empire – not by ‘the Jews’ – because he was perceived as a threat by Roman authorities.  Given the nature of Jesus’ life and his death, American Christians today should be anti-imperialistic, rather than basking in the pleasures of Empire, as did the Roman populace two thousand years ago – ignoring the terror and poverty brought to other provinces by Roman rule.“

More about the big data manipulators…

'Just like propaganda': the three men enabling Trump's voter fraud lies, Sam Levine and Spenser Mestel, The Guardian, 26 Oct 2020.

“Armed with their misleading data, these men have influenced and shaped laws making it harder to vote.”

“The hysteria over voter fraud has reached an alarming pitch – and this dangerous moment in US democracy wouldn’t be possible without the work of these men”

Friday, October 9, 2020

No Gangs Allowed


Art credit: Chandler (Arizona) Police Gang Enforcement Unit

No doubt you are as relieved as I am that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer seems to have been “protected” by the Michigan State Police and the FBI. The "Wolverine Watchmen" militia* murder/kidnapping plot of the Governor and an attack on a Michigan State Police facility was recently  foiled.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer saved countless Michigan lives because she stood up to Tea Party Republicans in the Michigan State Legislature and Mr. Trump during the COVID plague. She has proven to be a strong, intelligent stateswoman. A leader some people can't seem to appreciate. 

It certainly hasn't taken a whole lot of brain power to predict that something like this attempted plot was going to happen at the hands of crazed Trump zealots who have been repeatedly called to violence by Mr. Trump.

Additionally, it is good to note that the FBI for once used their “undercover” agents for the “good”. 

You may recall that the FBI has a terrible track record of doing the opposite, as do several other federal agencies. There are a multitude of instances, from the 60s, 70, 80s, 90s and even up to today, when FBI leadership used their undercover people for unlawful, evil purposes against protesters, e.g. Kent State, civil rights activists, BUS, etc., through COINTELPRO - the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program.

Each day, as Mr. Trump becomes more unhinged, his toy brown shirts, i.e. Proud Boys and other white supremacists’ groups, become more empowered.

Bad times seem to be ahead because win or lose Mr. Trump's “boys” will be out looking for Democrats and people of color to beat and murder. We truly are on the edge of disaster.

By the way, don't allow these white supremacists’ groups credibility by referring to them as, "militia*". They are lawless gangs akin to the street gangs infesting our cities and neighborhoods. Instead of white hoods and sheets, they wear camo outfits, preen about, leeching off the real thing - the sworn, Constitution-honoring military, both officers and enlisted.

* Militia - a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency; or a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army; or all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.

Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, militias commonly support regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or conducting irregular warfare, instead of undertaking offensive campaigns by themselves. Local civilian laws often limit militias to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.

Let's talk about Michigan, lost causes, and a sense of purpose....

Beau of the Fifth Column - 9 Oct 2020 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Air Force Combats Disinformation


This U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command project is using Artificial Intelligence software (represented by Robbie the Robot) and a neural network created by Primer to ferret-out and combat disinformation.

This U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command project is using Artificial Intelligence software (represented by Robbie the Robot) and a neural network created by Primer to ferret-out and combat disinformation.

Everyone knows that the U.S. spends more on military than any other nation in the world — $934 billion this year alone. More than half of FY 2019 discretionary spending went for “national defense”. Of course, we all also know that the nearly $1 trillion is not all the bucks devoted to our overseas, military-like escapades. There’s another astronomically jigumbus, super-secret hoard of greenbacks called the “black budget”. Nobody knows, or will say, at least, how much is in that one — or what we are buying with it.

Unbelievably, in all the years, at least since WWII, the Defense Department has never – as in, not onetime – passed an accounting audit of all that treasure spending. Even the recent attempted audit is ladened with trillions of dollars in mind-boggling “plugs” or get-arounds” rather than a report of where and how many tax dollars were budgeted and expended. The”plugs” are inserted in the “audit report” to acknowledge that the auditors have no verifiable idea where or for what our tax money was dispensed.

One thing is for certain, for years, we have spent like drunken sailors, only to wake up once in a while and wonder why our pockets are empty.

Anyway…. moving to the subject of this post…

Among the baskets of dough we’ve been putting out through the U.S. Department of Defense is one marked: new technology research. That one costs us about $107 billion and funds a bunch of interesting projects, including the one to, “…train a neural net to rank credibility and sort news from misinformation”, under control of the Air Force and the U.S. Special Operations Command. Basically, our military has realized it needs a new software/Artificial Intelligence(AI) tool to counter disinformation created by our “adversaries” and spread about through social media and old-fashioned media, e.g. TV news. 

My, we surely could use Primer's help through this current election…

This quote from the article:

“Sean Gourley, Primer’s founder and CEO, described how the cost of using disinformation is relatively low for authoritarian regimes that aren’t accountable to voters or democratic allies when they lie. Couple that with how quick and easy it is to produce and spread disinformation online and you run into a big problem for which the U.S. and other militaries from democratic countries have little defense. “Information attacks are cheaper to carry out than identity. There’s an asymmetry here. It’s much like an IED explosion. You can put it down very cheaply but the cost of defending against it is very high.” he said. “This is not something that’s going to be solved by humans… You're bringing a knife to a gunfight if you’re going to bring humans to this problem.” 

Here’s the story…

Can AI Detect Disinformation? A New Special Operations Program May Find Out, Patrick Tucker,, 2 Oct 2020.

“Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command fund year-long effort to train a neural net to rank credibility and sort news from misinformation.”

“For all the U.S. military’s technical advantages over adversaries, it still struggles to counter disinformation. A new software tool to be developed for the U.S. Air Force and Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, may help change that.”

“If you don’t compete in the information space, regardless of how good your operations are, your activities are, you will probably eat a shit sandwich of disinformation or false reporting later on,” Raymond “Tony” Thomas, a former SOCOM chief, said in an interview.  “We certainly experienced that at the tactical level. That was the epiphany where we would have good raids, good strikes, etc. and the bad guys would spin it so fast that we would be eating collateral damage claims, etc. So, the information space in that very tactical space is key.”

“It even “stretches to the strategic space,” said Thomas, meaning that disinformation can spread until it affects larger geopolitical realities.”

“Thomas now serves as an advisory board member for Primer, a company that on Thursday announced a Small Business Innovation Research contract to develop software over the next year to help analysts better—and much more quickly—survey the information landscape and hopefully detect false narratives that show up in the public space.”

“Primer’s neural network technology can scan large amounts of text and extract themes and other information based on the frequency and prominence of words and phrases. It’s the sort of thing that can be very useful if you have a lot of text you want to very quickly summarize in an accurate headline, a capability they demonstrate here. To train their headline-writing neural net, they used a corpus “of millions of publicly available document-title pairs: news articles and headlines” according to their paper on the subject.”


Additional posts about truth finding…

TruthTeller App! Now here’s another reason for optimism!, Ron Baker, DownriverUSA, 2 Feb 2013.

Doubting Thomas App, Ron Baker, DownriverUSA, 16 Feb 2019.