1. I'm not really in the mood to deal with this man today, apparently.

    From The Hill:

    He's A-OK with gerrymandering. He's A-OK with influencing people's votes using collusion (sorry, it's not collusion, it's just gathering dirt about your opponent from foreign sources that illegally obtained the information). But the act of impersonating someone else, which there is almost a 0% rate of, is what he's worried about.

    In December of 2016, there were 4 confirmed cases of voter fraud that were identified in the 2016 election. A woman in Iowa, who tried to vote for Trump twice (because the system is rigged against him, she claimed). A man in Texas who voted twice, and when caught claimed he was an employee of the Trump administration who was testing the system (he wasn't an employee of the Trump administration). A Republican election judge in Illinois finished an absentee ballot that was started by her now-deceased husband. The vote wasn't counted (and I'm a bit sympathetic to that one). The final one was a woman in Florida who was observed filling in mayoral candidate votes on absentee ballots that left them blank. She was arrested.

    I'm tired of this man's paranoia and hubris eviscerating my rights and due process. The power of elections is in the states. Get the hell out. You made an entire new commission to hijack power from the states. So much for that Republican mantra. He's unhinged, and far past the point of where he should have been impeached.
    dreed and superbob like this.
  2. Looks like France is firing more shots across Trump's bow - they're looking to pilfer researchers. Given the animosity towards client science in the current administration (and EPA head), including budget slashing, this might actually have a small effect.


    I don't think they're offering enough to pull top talent away, but especially if they're nabbing newer researchers it may create a gap for us down the road. Just depends on how the program decides to pull people I suppose.
  3. ^ lol and as of today he is out as Comm. Director...already. Looks like the General wanted him gone. Poof.

    You're hired... you're fired. You're hired.. you're fired.

    Probably a line out the door.
    Next! You're hired. Yay!! You make me sick.. you're fired! Noooo.

  4. I've been attempting to avoid ranting about this joker, but this one was too sweet a shot to pass up.


    The article does note that arrests are up. Essentially Trump is arresting more people, but deporting fewer of them (they're not in jail, they're in ICE custody). One factor noted in the article is because the administration (former and current) favored deporting criminals over random people. Trump hasn't changed that policy, but he's arresting a lot more people who are here illegally but committed no crime. It makes their court cases take longer.
  5. I don't know what to believe: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/201...rs-jump-31-percent-under-president-trump.html
  6. Read what the fox article says closely. "Deportation Orders." "Who either deported or left voluntarily." "Last year, when there were x deportations or self-deportations.

    Politico reported deportations. Fox News has written [likely] accurate statements, but they are conflating numbers. Deportation Orders are not deportations. Orders essentially haven't been processed by the courts (IE you can appeal them), so that's in line with Politico's statements - that those numbers are up. It's the number of people actually getting hauled out that are down.
    San Goku likes this.
  7. fake news.
  8. So China took an interesting stance, I must say from their perspective it's probably the fairest position to take. If North Korea attacks first, China will stay neutral. If the U.S attacks first and overtakes the Kim regime it is seen as a move to change the political climate of the Korean Peninsula and China will help North Korea and fight the U.S. I wonder what Canada's (specifically my Prime Minister) stance on that is if the U.S strikes first.
  9. That's bluster on China's part (in my opinion, no factual basis to support it here). China and the US have too much trade to put economic sanctions on each other, and China's not going to do anything that would give Trump an excuse to point nukes at them because they know he's probably willing to use them even if it ensures America's destruction too. Not over North Korea at least.

    I feel like North Korea's the kid behind the fence at the little league game shouting insults at a team, China's being the team that's saying "just ignore him, he's an idiot" and the US is the team getting insulted with Trump being the pitcher who might actually walk over and punch the kid in the face if he gets too riled up. Everyone knows North Korea deserves it (and hopes that someone else punches the kid in the face), they just know that in the end it's not really worth it.

    Because they take away your video games or something, I don't know, I was having fun making a crappy analogy and if you don't like it that's discrimination (/sarcasm, if I wasn't successful in conveying that already).
  10. Warning, this will be long. It's also really important.

    I've mentioned the erosion of the 4th amendment over and over, but here are two egregious examples of this happening in action today:


    Quotes from the Hill:

    The current administration is literally asking for a dragnet of information on its dissenters. They claim it's to investigate riots, of which 200 people are already arrested, but the warrant isn't targeted at anyone in particular. They want all of the information on anyone who visited the site. I have no objection to the police identifying suspects with evidence and then requesting the data on those suspects. That's how warrants are supposed to work. I have a large issue with collecting the data of 1+ million people who have nothing to do with the investigation, whose only involvement is that they visited a website because they don't like the president. The police don't have the right to collect everyone's information at a rally. The police do have the right to collect information when they can present evidence that said person is likely involved in a criminal act. It should stay that way.

    As much as I don't like Trump, even if you're a Trump supporter this should scare you. Not because it's Trump doing it, even if Trump does nothing with the information someone can come along later and do something with the authorization this provides or the information collected. This is how people in other countries who don't have the level of freedoms we do wind up in jail. We're nowhere close to that (yet), but I'd really rather not move in that direction.


    Keep in mind, this isn't only targeted at non-Americans. Anyone leaving the country qualifies, and in legal theory this can apply to international airports as well. Want to fly to Japan? Register your DNA, facial scan, and fingerprints in a federal database first. Don't worry, if that information gets out they'll give you a free year of credit protection. They surely also won't use that database as any sort of data correlation or surveillance.

    Again, even if this has the best intentions and purposes it's bad. It's never about "what is the lawmaker going to do with it," it's "what can others do with it down the road?" It's the Patriot Act all over again. In this case it's also about "what happens if this data gets breached by an enemy?" One day one of those citizens will be president. Do you want China/Russia/North Korea/Spook of the week to be able to wield the president's fingerprints or DNA for access?

    Good times. Of course, that 100 miles only applies to Americans - the DHS of course has no authority in Mexico. This just reinforces my Patriot Act comment above - this has good intentions. It's good to enforce the law and keep illegal immigrants out of the United States. It's good in most cases to identify illegal immigrants and deport them. It's not good if 20 years from now a new terrorist attack happens and the police begin using this to collect information on Americans in order to identify "home grown terrorists" or whatever they want to call them.
  11. More good times. This article is about how the left and right are starting to come down on Google, but there's a few notable quotes I wanted to pull from it that go in a different direction than the article.

    Source: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/08/google-is-losing-allies-across-the-political-spectrum/

    I completely agree with Tucker and Carl's overall stance that Google (or any data-gathering company) needs to be regulated in how it treats the data it holds, but the actual reasons behind this stance are not well stated (and, well, wrong). There is no reason to treat Google as a public utility (at this point), as you have plenty of other options than to use Google. You can even use Google to see these other options.

    What I really want to point out though, is that these guys are agreeing with Net Neutrality.

    Google doesn't have the power to censor the internet. Google can de-list items from its search engine, which is an incredibly powerful tool given Google's userbase, but that doesn't remove it from the internet. ISPs, however, can censor the internet by literally denying you access to those sites. Likewise, Google can't actually "distort the free flow of information to the rest of us." It can distort the flow to you, yes, but only if you use Google. Google can't control what websites you can access, but again ISPs can.

    ISPs can control everything you do online, or even if you're allowed online. Like power or phone lines, they control the movement of information from you to your destination. They should be regulated as such. Even if you wanted to argue that net neutrality rules aren't needed because companies haven't done anything yet (they have), why should we allow them to do so in the future? If they're not already doing an undesirable behavior, why is it a problem to ban the undesirable behavior? It's both undesirable and has no impact on them, because they're supposedly not doing it.
    UNTZ and San Goku like this.
  12. Sigh... I sympathize with most policemen, but there's been a few too many bad apples spoiling the whole bunch. At least this one didn't end up with someone dead.

  13. I was curious about executive orders, given the lack of bills being passed. I knew Obama was supposedly infamous for them, but when I looked at it GW Bush had more and Clinton even more than Bush before that. In the end, no one is close to FDR, who had a whopping 3,500. Here's the link on Wikipedia, but I'll give a quick synopsis so you don't need to go (unless you don't believe me, which is fair - I fully support 'trust but verify').

    For you non-Americans, an executive order is an order issued by the president to the executive branch. It's like enforcing a pseudo-law without actually creating a law. Opens up lawsuits if they cross current law, as they're not actually laws.



    • William Henry Harrison - 0 - three presidents had 1 (the first John Adams, Madison, Monroe), Harrison is the only with 0. That's not actually surprising though, as he had 1 month in office before he died.
    • The first six presidents had a combined 18, 8 from Washington, 4 from Jefferson, 3 from John Quincy Adams.
    • Ulysses Grant - 217 - first president to hit triple digits, and he doubled down.
    • James Garfield - 6 - the last person with less than 100. Also notable because he did this after the previous 3 presidents had many (79, 217, 92). Of course, that's probably because he lasted about 6 months in office.
    • 9 total presidents with less than 10 - the first six, Harrison, Garfield, and Zachary Taylor was the last with 5. Martin van Buren had 10, so he just missed out.
    • FDR - 3,522 - by far the most, almost doubling the previous high. Granted, he had a third term.
    • Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, FDR - the 4 digit club (1,081, 1,803, 1,203, 3,522).
    • Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman - the almost club (968, 907).
    • Abraham Lincoln had 48, which is nothing notable. He's here 'cause Lincoln.
    Less notable, but more recently...

    • Gerald Ford, H.W. Bush - aside from recent presidents, they are the only presidents with less than 300 issued since William McKinley (185) at 169 and 166 respectively (excluding JFK, who had 214 but his term was cut short - he was on pace for 285).
    Final 4:

    • Bill Clinton - 308
    • G. W. Bush - 291
    • Barack Obama - 276
    • Donald Trump - 45 (at 6 months), for a pace of 340 by the end of a 4 year term. Reagan had 381, so it's not like he's throwing out some huge number comparatively, just bucking the trend... which I guess is supposed to be his thing.
    Enjoy. I tried to look up orders by term year to see if Presidents gave more executive orders before leaving office or at the beginning of their term, but that data wasn't readily available.

    Edit: Forgot Harrison had a short tenure. Makes him having 0 a lot less impressive.
    Edit #2: Damnit, forgot Garfield died early too. Of course, he was on pace for approximately 24, so... there's that?
    superbob likes this.
  14. More information on Russian 'fake news' involvement:


    A paragraph from the article:

    Other relevant articles referenced in the previous one:

  15. Two in one day! It's another Ars Technica article, which you'll see me reference a lot - mostly because their articles include (and usually focus) on science/tech related material. They're also quick to cite their sources, which usually include links to scientific journals (like this one did):

    A few mathematicians did an assessment of the impact of different news networks on voters. Ars mentions Fox news in the title, because it was the only network large enough and significantly biased enough (eventually - it was found to be relatively unbiased in 2000) to actually have an impact (MSNBC was determined to be just as biased as Fox by the end of the time periods studied, but not large enough to have an impact).


    It turns out that a lot of it came down to channel number - people tended to stick with the first channel number they ran across with the news (determined by comparing data by locations where the channel numbers differ), which is largely Fox. Link to the actual study itself is at the bottom of the link I inserted above.

    Notable quotes:

  16. Ok, I promised a write-up on SESTA. Here goes. First, I am required to say that I am not a lawyer and you should not treat this as legal advice (and you should know that going into it anyways).

    First - the bill itself. You can read it here, it's pretty short: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1693/text
    Here is the main bill (the Communications Act) SESTA will amend: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:47 section:230 edition:prelim)
    One more part it amends - title 18, section 1591: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1591
    And finally, the last section it amends, title 18, section 1595: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1595

    Keep in mind that this is all going to relate around user generated content and not site published content. An example would be this forum - what I'm writing here is user-generated content. It's not content that the site itself is maintaining, the owner(s) of theanimelounge.com has (and wants) nothing to do with my opinions or any of our opinions.

    A lot of the talk online refers to changes to section 230 of the Communications Act. I don't see much in the proposed changes that would adversely affect section 230, except one glaring problem.

    For those of you who don't want to click links (I don't blame you), section 1595 of title 18 refers to "Civil Remedy," a.k.a. the ability to sue someone. The problem with the above statement is that it voids this part of section 230 of the Communications Act:

    Previous to SESTA, if you made an attempt to screen for anything listed in section 2(A) above it couldn't be held against you if you missed something. Post SESTA, that means if you screen for anything listed in section 2(A) and miss something, you can be held liable. The problem, at least in my not-legal opinion but in some-other legal opinions, is that if companies then stopped screening for that material, they could claim that they didn't know about it as this isn't content their publishing, it's content their users are publishing.

    Automatic filters are god-awful at detecting complex things, which means you can't use them any more if you want to plead ignorance. Therefore you have three choices:
    1. Don't allow users to generate content (every forum/comment section/review ever)
    2. Hire people to vet everything that gets posted to your site before it gets posted (good luck Wikipedia/Reddit)
    3. Screen absolutely nothing.
    99% of people don't want to host child porn or help sex trafficking. I made up that statistic just now, but I'm relatively confident in it and I don't think there will be much disagreement. I'm very sure they would like to prevent such things from appearing on their websites along with all of the other junk most filters will catch. Most small startups don't have the resources to hire someone to sit there and monitor their websites. Most large companies don't want to spend the amount of resources it will take to monitor all of that. How many people would Amazon need to vet every product review that goes up on their site? How many more would Amazon need to hire to vet every website and web application being hosted in AWS?

    Even if the lawsuits are frivolous, you still have to respond to them. Lawyers cost a lot. Good lawyers cost a crap-ton plus a lot. Currently sites can use section 230 to blow away lawsuits before they actually go to court (unless a judge finds there's merit to the suit).

    Which brings me to the root of this whole issue - Backpage.com. "Think of the children" is an incredibly effective political mantra, so when Backpage.com hosted ads for child porn and sex trafficking then essentially said "we do some screening, don't blame us" they had a leg to stand on but nobody liked them. Plenty of sites effectively screen these things out, but they were still legally in the clear. It's the people putting up the ads in the first place that are at fault.

    However, what came out is that Backpage.com was editing the ads before they went up and removing terms that typically flagged them as child porn / sex trafficking (e.g. 'Lolita'). That's no longer automatic screening, they lost their plausible deniability, and they've rightfully lost their protection from the Communications Act.

    SESTA would make it easy to go after Backpage.com. It's also super easy to abuse and go after anyone and their mother if something slips through. The police and injured parties could always and can still go after people who create the ads. Heck, they could simply subpoena Backpage.com for the information on the people who hosted those ads. This law just gives them the ability to go after the webhosts themselves, which is exactly what Section 230 was designed to prevent.

    The final concern is the "slippery slope." Once you start carving out exceptions to a section, you have to be wary of any future exceptions that get carved out. Child porn / sex trafficking is always the low hanging fruit to start to carve these exceptions. Unfortunately that leads to things like our dismembering of the 4th amendment - what started as an interpretation to allow police easier access to what they wanted has now devolved to a point where they don't even need warrants anymore for using fake cell towers to collect anyone's call information and location within a large area.

    To me this is one of those situations that we should be saying "yes, this is an awful thing, but..." Same reason we allow Neo-Nazis to give speeches and host websites, it's because once we start placing limits and carving out exceptions then it's open season for anything anyone finds as objectionable.

    Edit: Brief edit for clarity and to pretend I can count to three.
  17. NY Times did an in-depth article about a small town that was the center of a fake news story, and what the impact on the town was. The author occasionally does the stupid NPR thing where they randomly describe aspects that seem out of place for the story, but otherwise it's an interesting read. According to the article, it's also the first known instance that we have of the Russians attempting to start a demonstration in America (though they hopped on a bandwagon and were largely inconsequential in this case).

  18. I'm amazed how people are still pushing Russia is to blame for the election, if you say it enough it will stick.

    I'm surprised no one is talking about the tax reform blueprint the President outlined the other day.

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