Sunday, December 17, 2017

McCabe, Ohr, Ohr's wife, and Strzok Fall While Clintons and Obamas Stay Free, Fat, and Sassy??


nationalreview |  Did the FBI and Justice Department use Steele’s information to get the FISA warrant? One certainly hopes not, for two salient reasons. 

First, the dossier, particularly as it relates to Page, is incredibly far-fetched. I am assuming that, at the time it began receiving the dossier reports, the FBI did not know that Steele was working for the Clinton campaign — indeed, we do not yet know whether Steele himself knew who, ultimately, was paying for his work. If the bureau were aware of the Clinton campaign’s role, using the dossier would be indefensible. We should assume for now, though, that if investigators were scrupulous enough to resist seeking a warrant for Page while he was officially connected to the Trump campaign, they would doubly have avoided using one campaign’s information as a basis for spying on its opposition. 

Nevertheless, the explosive information was unverified. There were abundant reasons to doubt its veracity when it came to Page. And the FBI could easily have taken measures less drastic than seeking court-ordered surveillance; it could, for example, have interviewed Page, who had cooperated with the FBI in the past. 

The second reason to hope the dossier was not used is more alarming. If the FBI and Justice Department relied on it, this would very likely mean that they fell victim to an influence operation, based on false information, by Russian intelligence services. Steele’s sources are unidentified Russians, at least some of whom knew Steele to be a spy for hire. It is possible, if not likely, that these Russians fed Steele false information in order to see if Western intelligence services would bite and, if the Kremlin got lucky, to sow discord and chaos into the American political system. 

I hope they did not succeed, but we need to find out. One more disturbing fact: Because Page is a U.S. citizen, the Justice Department and FBI would have had to show the FISA court not only that he was acting as a foreign agent for Russia but that his activities involved or may have involved violations of federal criminal statutes. (See Section 1801(b)(2) of Title 50, U.S. Code.) I don’t know of any basis for attributing criminal activity to Page other than the Steele dossier — but, of course, I don’t know everything the FBI knows. 

Was the August 2016 decision to spy on a Trump associate based on a Clinton campaign screed’s claim of a corrupt Trump-Russia deal? Did FBI and Justice Department officials lose their professional objectivity because Steele’s information fit their anti-Trump bias? Was the Steele dossier, in effect, the “insurance policy” Agent Strzok had in mind? President Trump can provide the answers to these questions: He just needs to order the FBI and Justice Department, led by his appointees, to cooperate with Congress’s investigations.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

The DNC's Third Wave Circular Firing Squad Continues In Kansas...,


WaPo  |  In the federal complaint about sex discrimination and retaliation, Funkhouser accused Ramsey, then Andrea Thomas, according to the Star, of making “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments and innuendos” when he was a human resources manager for LabOne.

Funkhouser alleged that he had suffered consequences at work because he had rebuffed an advance he said she made during a business trip in 2005.

“After I told her I was not interested in having a sexual relationship with her, she stopped talking to me,” he wrote, according to documents filed in court. “In the office, she completely ignored me and avoided having any contact with me.”

The EEOC closed its investigation in 2005, saying that it was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes.” Though Ramsey was not charged directly in the lawsuit, she had been named in the complaint. It was settled by the company after mediation in 2006 and had begun to be discussed in political circles recently, the Star reported.

Without naming Funkhouser, Ramsey said that a man decided to bring a lawsuit against the company after she eliminated his position.

“He named me in the allegations, claiming I fired him because he refused to have sex with me,” she wrote. “That is a lie.”

She said she would have fought to clear her name had the suit been brought against her.

“I would have sued the disgruntled, vindictive employee for defamation,” she wrote. “Now, twelve years later this suit is being used to force me out of my race for Congress. Let me be clear: I never engaged in any of the alleged behavior. And the due process that I love, that drew me to the field of law, is totally denied.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Whatever DNC Corruption Doesn't Kill-Off, Third Wave Feminism Surely Will...,


theatlantic |  Earlier this month, the research firm PerryUndem found that Democratic men were 25 points more likely than Republican women to say sexism remains a “big” or “somewhat” big problem. According to October polling data sorted for me by the Pew Research Center, Democratic men were 31 points more likely than Republican women to say the “country has not gone far enough on women’s rights.” In both surveys, the gender gap within parties was small: Republican women and Republican men answered roughly the same way as did Democratic women and Democratic men. But the gap between parties—between both Democratic men and women and Republican men and women—was large.

Since Trump’s election and the recent wave of sexual-harassment allegations, this partisan divide appears to have grown. In January, when PerryUndum asked whether “most women interpret innocent remarks as being sexist,” Republican women were 11 points more likely than Democratic men to say yes. When PerryUndum asked the question again this month, the gap had more than doubled to 23 points. A year ago, Democratic men were 30 points more likely than Republican women to strongly agree that “the country would be better off if we had more women in political office.” The gap is now 45 points.

Over the decades, a similar divergence has occurred in Congress. Syracuse University’s Danielle Thompson notes that, in the 1980s, “little difference existed between Republican and Democratic women [members of Congress] in their advocacy of women’s rights.” In the 1990s, Republican women members were still noticeably more moderate than their male GOP colleagues. That created a significant degree of ideological affinity between women politicians across the aisle. Now it’s gone. There are many more Democratic than Republican women in Congress. But, Thompson’s research shows, the Republican women are today just as conservative as their male GOP colleagues.

Why does this matter? First, it clarifies why Democrats forced Al Franken to vacate his Senate seat but Republicans didn’t force Roy Moore from his Senate race. Republicans of both genders are simply far more likely than Democrats of both genders to believe that women cry sexism in response to “innocent remarks or acts” and that America has “gone far enough on women’s rights.” It’s not surprising, therefore, that Democratic women senators took the lead in demanding that Franken go while Republican women senators reacted to Moore pretty much like their male colleagues.
Secondly, this partisan divergence hints at the nature of the backlash that the current sexual-harassment reckoning will spark: Anti-feminist women will help to lead it. In part, that’s because anti-feminist women can’t be labelled sexist as easily as anti-feminist men. But it’s also because, given their conservative attitudes, many Republican women likely find the current disruption of gender relations unnerving.

DNC - RIP


jessescrossroadscafe |  "DNC Chairman Perez and allied power brokers keep showing that they’re afraid of the party’s progressive base.   No amount of appealing rhetoric changes that reality."

Norman Solomon, Battle for Democratic Party: After the Unity Reform Commission

“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”

Czesław Miłosz

I guess this sort of nonsense is what happens when you allow a powerful private interest like Hillary, Inc. to take over your organization and shape its mission for their own purposes.

The result is an imperious, top down operation where only a few insiders can follow the money because they control it.  And the grass roots initiatives and state organizations starve from neglect.

Budgetary and fiduciary oversight and transparency within your own organization is fundamental to any good governance.   But not within a credentialed oligarchy, which is what the DNC had apparently become.

It seems to have started out as the ascendance of the self-proclaimed elite, the knowing, and their super-delegates.  But in reality, all they had in addition to their professional pedigrees and places of power was the unique talent of betraying their duties in order to amass enormous amounts of money.  They maintained and expanded their power by distributing the party's funds selectively, ruthlessly, and with a Machiavellian intent for the accumulation of personal wealth and power.

Surprising that a community organizer wouldn't understand that.   Of course it seems like he understood very little about reform, financial or otherwise.   Or wanted to.

Who are these five consultants and what did they do to earn their $700 million?  Were these no-bid contracts?  Who approved them?

Whatever it was, it could not have had much to do with effectively winning elections.  But it had everything to do with the arrogance and self-delusions of a few largely isolated from those who they were sworn to serve and protect.

Bezos Post Accuses Rosenstein of Disloyalty to the Deep State Cause


WaPo |  On display at the House Judiciary Committee hearing this week was the ham-handed, unsightly spectacle of Republican lawmakers trying to discredit the special prosecutor and the FBI in order to provide the president with a fig leaf, presumably one he’ll use at some point to fire Robert S. Mueller. As a Democratic adviser put it, we witnessed a “shameless and irresponsible ploy to cover for the president and cast doubt on Mr. Mueller.” The immediate tool was the text messages sent by one FBI agent, Peter Strzok, to another, Lisa Page, which Republicans used, as the source put it, to distract from “the direct threat that President Trump poses to the Department of Justice and our democratic institutions.”

In this Republicans had an enabler in the person of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. Eli Lake reported:
Both Strzok, an FBI counter-intelligence agent, and Page, an FBI lawyer, were involved in the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and were both briefly on Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s influence of the 2016 election. In the texts from 2015 and 2016, they complained about the Republican presidential nominee’s intelligence and demeanor (including in unprintable terms). In July, those private texts came to the attention of the Justice Department’s inspector general. The FBI reassigned Strzok to human resources, while Page left the special counsel’s probe.
The inspector general’s investigation is ongoing. Perhaps more evidence will emerge that the privately held opinions of two investigators contributed to then-FBI director James Comey’s decision in July 2016 not to charge Clinton with a crime. (That was when the Republicans said the FBI was pro-Clinton. Before Comey called the finality of that inquiry into question just days before the 2016 election and the Democrats said the FBI was anti-Clinton.) Until charges are pressed and evidence is considered, however, Page and Strzok are owed some due process.
But in this case, Rosenstein threw them under the bus, disclosing their private texts to Congress and the media. It’s rare to see such an aggressive act of betrayal by a political appointee on members of his own department, for the sole reason (apparently) to curry favor with the party of the president who appointed him.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

House and Senate Tired Of Partisan DOJ AssClownery...,


judiciary.senate.gov |  Dear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

Yesterday, the Justice Department released a subset of text messages requested by the Committee. The limited release of 375 text messages between Mr. Peter Strzok and Ms. Lisa Page indicate a highly politicized FBI environment during both the Clinton and Russia investigations. For example, one text message from Ms. Page proclaims to Mr. Strzok, “God(,) Trump is a loathsome human.”1

Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency. Mr. Strzok writes the following to Ms. Page:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…2

Presumably, “Andy” refers to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. So whatever was being discussed extended beyond just Page and Stzrok at least to Mr. McCabe, who was involved in supervising both investigations.3

Another text from Ms. Page to Mr. Strzok on April 2, 2016, says the following:

So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.

That text message occurred during Mr. Strzok’s involvement in the Clinton investigation and days before he interviewed Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills on April 5, 2016 and April 9, 2016, respectively. Thus, the mention of “hillary” may refer to Secretary Clinton and therefore could indicate that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page engaged in other communications about an ongoing investigation on a different phone in an effort to prevent it from being traced.

Any improper political influence or motives in the course of any FBI investigation must be brought to light and fully addressed. Former Director Comey’s claims that the FBI “doesn’t give a rip about politics” certainly are not consistent with the evidence of discussions occurring in the Deputy Director’s office around August 15, 2016.

Accordingly, please answer the following no later than December 27, 2017:
1. On what date did you become aware of the text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page and on what date were they each removed from the Special Counsel’s office?
2. Are there any other records relating to the conversation in Andrew McCabe’s office shortly before the text described above on August 15, 2016? If so please produce them to the Committee.
3. Please provide all records relating to Andrew McCabe’s communications with Peter Stzrok or Lisa Page between August 7, 2016 and August 23, 2016.
4. What steps have you taken to determine whether Mr. Strzok, Mr. Page, and Mr. McCabe should face disciplinary action for their conduct?
5. My understanding is that the Inspector General’s current investigation is limited to the handling of the Clinton email matter only. What steps have you taken to determine whether steps taken during the campaign to escalate the Russia investigation might have been a result of the political animus evidenced by these text messages rather than on the merits?
6. Has the Department identified the referenced “that phone” Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page used to discuss Secretary Clinton? What steps has the Department taken to review the records on this other phone that allegedly “can’t be traced.” If none, please explain why not? If steps have been taken, please detail them and provide all records reviewed.
I anticipate that your written reply and any responsive documents will be unclassified. Please send all unclassified material directly to the Committee. In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to the Committee, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security. Although the Committee complies with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information, it is not bound, absent its prior agreement, by any handling restrictions.

Yvette's Fifteen Minutes Was Up The Minute She Left Irami...,


philosophyofmetrics |  The cryptocurrency craze is built upon the blockchain technology. Blockchain was created in mystery, with the assumed inventor disappearing into obscurity. Some have made the case that blockchain was in fact created by AI for the purpose of building a de-centralized AI economy. That could be the case, but regardless, the technology is here to stay, and will infiltrate and transform all aspects of human existence and interaction.

The best way I’ve found to understand blockchain is to compare it to the human brain. The brain has synapses which serve the function of allowing neurons to transfer electrical and chemical signals to other neurons. Like the neurons in the human brain, the blockchain technology has nodes which serve the same purpose of transferring information and data. Once the data exists on the blockchain, it can never be destroyed or altered. There will always be an accurate record of all transactions.

This is being likened to an artificial intelligence hive mind which will eventually connect everything in the world, including SMART appliances, SMART watches, SMART cities, and eventually SMART human beings. But I would like to take it a step further and suggest that blockchain technology, and Ethereum specifically, is more comparable to the whole human body and DNA in particular. The complex interactions and transactions which take place within the body and our DNA are being replicated on the blockchain and Ethereum platforms.

This has explosive repercussions on our understanding and acceptance of the de-centralized world which is now emerging in our midst. One of the big esoteric questions we’ve always asked ourselves regarding our individual material, spiritual, and mental fragmentation, was how do we complete a process of de-fragmentation without surrendering to a material centralization which would dominate the totality of our lives?

We can see with blockchain and Ethereum, that a massive de-centralization, or de-fragmentation, of processing and functionality, will allow each individual component to maintain individuality, while the art of de-fragmenting our human inefficiencies can proceed without corrupting into ideological disasters, such as Communism and other externalizations of human weakness.

The recent explosion in the value of Bitcoin is indicative of the growing interest in the blockchain technology. But in some regards Bitcoin is already obsolete. There are some fundamental differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum. Here is a list of just seven which have been complied by Cryptocompare.com:
  1. In Ethereum the block time is set to 14 to 15 seconds compared to Bitcoins 10 minutes. This allows for faster transaction times. Ethereum does this by using the Ghost protocol.
  2. Ethereum has a slightly different economic model than Bitcoin – Bitcoin block rewards halve every 4 years whilst Ethereum releases the same amount of Ether each year ad infinitum.
  3. Ethereum has a different method for costing transactions depending on their computational complexity, bandwidth use and storage needs. Bitcoin transactions compete equally with each other. This is called Gas in Ethereum and is limited per block whilst in Bitcoin, it is limited by the block size.
  4. Ethereum has its own Turing complete internal code… a Turing-complete code means that given enough computing power and enough time… anything can be calculated. With Bitcoin, there is not this form of flexibility.
  5. Ethereum was crowd funded whilst Bitcoin was released and early miners own most of the coins that will ever be mined. With Ethereum 50% of the coins will be owned by miners in year five.
  6. Ethereum discourages centralised pool mining through its Ghost protocol rewarding stale blocks. There is no advantage to being in a pool in terms of block propagation.
  7. Ethereum uses a memory hard hashing algorithm called Ethash that mitigates against the use of ASICS and encourages decentralised mining by individuals using their GPU’s.
The information in that list represents the core areas in which our world is transforming. This cannot be stopped. Though Bitcoin may explode even higher, and some nations and institutions may attempt to regulate and slow the onset of the blockchain and Ethereum, the genie is now out of the lamp and nothing can put it back. Blockchain is not just for cryptocurrency and economics. It will build the foundation and framework of everything in the world of tomorrow.

Backpropagation: The Beginning of a Revolution or the End of One?


technologyreview |  I’m standing in what is soon to be the center of the world, or is perhaps just a very large room on the seventh floor of a gleaming tower in downtown Toronto. Showing me around is Jordan Jacobs, who cofounded this place: the nascent Vector Institute, which opens its doors this fall and which is aiming to become the global epicenter of artificial intelligence.

We’re in Toronto because Geoffrey Hinton is in Toronto, and Geoffrey Hinton is the father of “deep learning,” the technique behind the current excitement about AI. “In 30 years we’re going to look back and say Geoff is Einstein—of AI, deep learning, the thing that we’re calling AI,” Jacobs says. Of the researchers at the top of the field of deep learning, Hinton has more citations than the next three combined. His students and postdocs have gone on to run the AI labs at Apple, Facebook, and OpenAI; Hinton himself is a lead scientist on the Google Brain AI team. In fact, nearly every achievement in the last decade of AI—in translation, speech recognition, image recognition, and game playing—traces in some way back to Hinton’s work.

The Vector Institute, this monument to the ascent of ­Hinton’s ideas, is a research center where companies from around the U.S. and Canada—like Google, and Uber, and Nvidia—will sponsor efforts to commercialize AI technologies. Money has poured in faster than Jacobs could ask for it; two of his cofounders surveyed companies in the Toronto area, and the demand for AI experts ended up being 10 times what Canada produces every year. Vector is in a sense ground zero for the now-worldwide attempt to mobilize around deep learning: to cash in on the technique, to teach it, to refine and apply it. Data centers are being built, towers are being filled with startups, a whole generation of students is going into the field.

The impression you get standing on the Vector floor, bare and echoey and about to be filled, is that you’re at the beginning of something. But the peculiar thing about deep learning is just how old its key ideas are. Hinton’s breakthrough paper, with colleagues David Rumelhart and Ronald Williams, was published in 1986. The paper elaborated on a technique called backpropagation, or backprop for short. Backprop, in the words of Jon Cohen, a computational psychologist at Princeton, is “what all of deep learning is based on—literally everything.”

When you boil it down, AI today is deep learning, and deep learning is backprop—which is amazing, considering that backprop is more than 30 years old. It’s worth understanding how that happened—how a technique could lie in wait for so long and then cause such an explosion—because once you understand the story of backprop, you’ll start to understand the current moment in AI, and in particular the fact that maybe we’re not actually at the beginning of a revolution. Maybe we’re at the end of one.


M-Valued LETS (REDUX Originally Posted 10/22/08)



Sketch of the Most Likely Scenario for Implementing a Post-Bretton Woods Global Monetary System Utilizing m-Logically-Valued Exchange Units based on Quantum Principles of Self-Organization (circa Spring 1998, Saigon)

This site is devoted to all and everything associated with the notion of m-logically-valued monetary units and their applications to LETS, local exchange trading systems. Definitions of scope are broad and shall include: m-valued logic (e.g., fuzzy logic, Lukasiewicz logic); theory of monetary instruments; related quantum theoretical issues; applications technologies (hardware and software); research and development; the involved strategic planning issues; real politik of insinuating m-logically-valued exchange systems into the prevailing Newtonian institutionalization; quantum accounts of self-organization as they apply to questions of monetary theory; autopoiesis and its graphical representation systems; metaphors in theoretical biology, biometeorology, oceanography, and related sciences of multiscale dynamical systems; applicability of complexity theory to monetary systematics; history of any and all related subjects. Definitions of exclusion are narrow and shall be determined only by the propensity of any given contribution to elicit ennui.

Hypertext markup language is one very small step for mankind in the direction of employing m-valued logics. Free associations once were pristine logical accommodation schemata by virtue of animistic “identity transparency”. We are inspired by this fact and will embody that inspiration as complete disregard for conventions of binary logical thought -- though we will make no active effort in crass display of such unrespect.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Why Not Simply Release The FISA Application?


RT  | FBI Director Christopher Wray has declined to tell the House Judiciary Committee if he was prohibited from sharing documents that would show whether the notorious Steele dossier was used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. 

Wray was appearing before the the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, after President Donald Trump’s recent tweet that the FBI’s reputation is “in tatters.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Wray about the FBI’s possible use of the Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier, named after its author ex-British spy Christopher Steele. It was a document paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign to be used as opposition research against Trump in 2016. It contained allegations that Trump colluded with the Russian government in the 2016 US presidential election and engaged in lewd acts. The veracity of the salacious claims in the dossier were further undermined by the revelation that Steele paid Russian sources for information pointing to collusion.

Jordan also referred to Peter Strzok, an FBI agent and former deputy head of counterintelligence who led the investigation into Clinton’s use of private emails, and reportedly recommended that former FBI director James Comey describe Clinton’s actions as “extremely careless,” rather than “grossly negligent” – a term that implies felony charges under US law. It was revealed this week that Strzok was dismissed this summer from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collaboration between Trump and Russia for sending “anti-Trump text messages.”

Jordan alleged that Strzok used the Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant for spying on members of the Trump team.

“My hunch is it has something to do with the dossier,” Jordan said. “Did Peter Strzok help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?”

Wray refused to answer, saying, “I'm not prepared to discuss anything about a FISA process in this setting.”

Jordan wouldn’t let Wary off the hook. “We're not talking about what happened in the court, we're talking about what the FBI took to the court,” he said. “The application. Was Peter Strzok involved in taking that to the court?”


Rank, Dank, and Stank Swamp Gasses Billowing Out The DOJ...,


conservativetreehouse |   However, the ongoing Dossier story gets far more intriguing as it is now discovered that Bruce G Ohr’s wife, Nellie H. Ohr, actually worked for Fusion GPS and likely helped guide/script the Russian Dossier. (Link)
Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
But wait, it doesn’t stop there… Mrs. Nellie Ohr was not only a Fusion GPS contracted employee, but she was also part of the CIA’s Open Source Works, in Washington DC (link)

Both Mr. and Mrs Ohr worked on a collaborative group project surrounding International Organized Crime. (pdf here) Page #30 Screen Shot Below

But wait, it gets even better.

 

Deplorables Whining About the FBI Perfectly Mirrors Black Folks Complaints About the FBI


thehill |  Politifact asserts that “just because the FBI sometimes operates in secret does not mean that it’s a ‘secret police.’" But the FBI’s secrecy is profoundly skewing American politics. More than a year after the 2016 election, Americans still have no idea the true extent of the FBI's manipulation of the presidential campaign. Did the FBI wrongfully absolve Hillary Clinton on the email server issue? What role did the FBI have in financing or exploiting the Steele dossier? Will we ever learn the full truth?

The so-called fact checkers insists that any comparison of the FBI and KGB is “ridiculous” because the FBI is “subject to the rule of law and is democratically accountable.” But there is little or no accountability when few members of Congress have the courage to openly criticize or vigorously cross-examine FBI officials. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs admitted in 1971 that Congress was afraid of the FBI: “Our very fear of speaking out (against the FBI) ... has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny ... which is ensnaring that Constitution and Bill of Rights which we are each sworn to uphold.” The FBI is currently scorning almost every congressional attempt at oversight. Thus far, members of Congress have responded with nothing except press releases and talk show bluster. 

Politifact repeatedly scoffs at the notion that the FBI is “a secret police agency such as the old KGB.” And since the FBI is not as bad as the KGB, let’s mosey along and pretend no good citizen has a right to complain. A similar standard could exonerate any American president who was not as bad as Stalin. 

In the 1960s, some conservatives adorned their cars with “Support Your Local Sheriff” bumper stickers. How long until we see Priuses with “Support Your Secretive All-Powerful Federal Agents” bumper stickers? But those who forget or deny past oppression help forge new shackles for the American people.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Only Sixty Years Late: Nazi Designed Reactors In Space


newatlas | "The reactor technology we are testing could be applicable to multiple NASA missions, and we ultimately hope that this is the first step for fission reactors to create a new paradigm of truly ambitious and inspiring space exploration," says David Poston, Los Alamos' chief reactor designer. 
"Simplicity is essential to any first-of-a-kind engineering project – not necessarily the simplest design, but finding the simplest path through design, development, fabrication, safety and testing."

Rated at 10 kilowatts, the Kilopower reactor puts out enough power to support two average American homes and can run continuously for ten years without refueling. Instead of plutonium, it uses a solid, cast uranium 235 reactor core 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. This is surrounded by a beryllium oxide reflector with a mechanism at one end for removing and inserting a single rod of boron carbide. This rod starts and stops the reactor while the reflector catches escaping neutrons and bounces them back into the core, improving the efficiency of the self-regulating fission reaction. Until activated, the core is only mildly radioactive.

The heat from the reactor is collected and transferred using passive sodium heat pipes. These feed the heat to a set of high-efficiency Stirling engines. These are closed-loop engines that run on heat differences that cause a piston to move back and forth similar to the piston in an internal combustion engine, though with a compressible gas medium instead of an exploding mixture of petrol and air. This cools the reactor via a radiator umbrella as well as powering a dynamo to generate electricity.

The design is modular, so the self-contained reactor units can be hooked together to provide as much power as needed, whether it's a deep space probe or a Martian outpost. According to Lee Mason, STMD's principal technologist for Power and Energy Storage at NASA Headquarters, the technology is "agnostic" to its environment, allowing it a wide range of applications.

The Kilopower project is currently working toward a full-power test lasting about 28 hours. From there, NASA hopes to move to a test in space, but the Nevada tests are more of a breadboard test in a vacuum to show that the technology is feasible. 

"What we are striving to do is give space missions an option beyond RTGs, which generally provide a couple hundred watts or so, says Mason says. "The big difference between all the great things we've done on Mars, and what we would need to do for a human mission to that planet, is power. This new technology could provide kilowatts and can eventually be evolved to provide hundreds of kilowatts, or even megawatts of power. We call it the Kilopower project because it gives us a near-term option to provide kilowatts for missions that previously were constrained to use less. But first things first, and our test program is the way to get started."

Disclosure Week? .45 Signed To Put Boots Back On The Lunar Ground



spacenews |  A White House schedule of the president’s activities, released late Dec. 10, includes a 3 p.m. Eastern “signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1.” The schedule didn’t provide additional details about the event or the document, but a White House official later confirmed that the directive is linked to human space exploration policy.

“The president, today, will sign Space Policy Directive 1 (SPD-1) that directs the NASA Administrator to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in an statement Dec. 11.

The directive, Gidley said, was prompted by initial work of the National Space Council, which was reconstituted by the president in a June 30 executive order and held its first public meeting Oct. 5. “The president listened to the National Space Council’s recommendations and he will change our nation’s human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology,” he said.

The event will coincide with the 45th anniversary of the last crewed mission to land on the moon. The Apollo 17 lunar lander touched down on the moon on Dec. 11, 1972. Statements from administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, has have made clear their interest in human lunar missions.

“We will return American astronauts to the moon, not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” Pence said at the first meeting of the reconstituted National Space Council Oct. 5 at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center.

Pence, at that meeting, directed NASA to provide a 45-day report on plans to carry out such missions. “The Council is going to need the whole team at NASA to work with the Office of Management and Budget to provide the president with a recommended plan to fill that policy,” Pence told NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot at the meeting.

Lightfoot, speaking at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council Dec. 7, said the agency had delivered a version of the report on those plans to the Council. “We continue to work with the Space Council on that action, and they’re reviewing the preliminary draft of that now,” he said. “Once that report becomes more final, we’ll share more information.”

Disclosure Week? What Is NASA Going To Announce On Thursday?




It has said only that it will brief the press on Thursday and that the discovery has been made by the Kepler space telescope. It also said that Google has been involved in the breakthrough discovery.

But beyond that it said very little. Still, some clues give us a little insight into what the major announcement might be about to actually reveal.

Perhaps the strangest and most mysterious thing about the announcement – at least, beyond what the announcement actually is – is the fact that Google is involved.

"The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google," the otherwise mysterious and not very detailed announcement reads. "Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analysing Kepler data."

Nasa and Google haven't talked about this focus on machine learning much before, so it's not clear how exactly it's being used and to what purpose. But we can have a decent guess: Google is expert at using artificial intelligence to find patterns and learn like a human, and it's probably using the technology to sort through the data being sent by Kepler to pick out things that are of interest.

Disclosure Week? Is Oumuamua Giving Off Radio Signals?


TheAtlantic | The email about “a most peculiar object” in the solar system arrived in Yuri Milner’s inbox last week.

Milner, the Russian billionaire behind Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, had already heard about the peculiar object. ‘Oumuamua barreled into view in October, the first interstellar object seen in our solar system.

Astronomers around the world chased after the mysterious space rock with their telescopes, collecting as much data as they could as it sped away. Their observations revealed a truly unusual object with puzzling properties. Scientists have long predicted an interstellar visitor would someday coast into our corner of the universe, but not something like this.

“The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilization,” Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department and one of Milner’s advisers on Breakthrough Listen, wrote in the email to Milner.

A day later, Milner’s assistant summoned Loeb to Milner’s home in Palo Alto. They met there this past Saturday to talk about ‘Oumuamua, a Hawaiian word for “messenger.” Loeb ran through the space rock’s peculiarities, particularly its elongated shape, like a cigar or needle—an odd shape for a common space rock, but ideal for a ship cruising through interstellar space.

For Milner, the object was becoming too intriguing to ignore. So he’s decided to take a closer look.
Breakthrough Listen announced Monday that the program will start checking ‘Oumuamua this week for signs of radio signals using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The interstellar asteroid is now about twice the distance between the Earth and the sun from our planet, moving at a brisk clip of 38.3 kilometers per second. At this close distance, Green Bank can detect the faintest frequencies. It would take the telescope less than a minute to pick up something as faint as the radio waves from a cellphone. If ‘Oumuamua is sending signals, we’ll hear them.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Moral Dependency: #ThatAss = Truth Every Time


motherjones |  Later in the review, Magnet summarizes The Dream and the Nightmare, which he wrote in the 90s:
In that book, I argued that the counterculture’s remaking of mainstream white American culture in the 1960s — the sexual revolution; the fling with drugs…the belief that in racist America, the criminal was really the victim of society…[etc.] — all these attitudes that devalued traditional mainstream values trickled down from young people and their teachers in the universities, to the media, to the mainstream Protestant churches, to the ed schools, to the high schools, and finally to American culture at large.
And when these attitudes made their way to the ghetto, they destigmatized and validated the already-existing disproportionate illegitimacy, drug use, crime, school dropout, non-work, and welfare dependency there, and caused the rate of all these pathologies to skyrocket startlingly in the 1960s and beyond.
….Aghast at the minority-crime explosion that rocked not just the ghettoes but much of urban America, voters began electing officials, especially in New York, who believed that the real victim of a crime was the victim, not the criminal — who ought to be arrested and jailed — and crime fell accordingly.
In other words, blacks today have no cause to blame their troubles on anyone but themselves. Unless they want to blame it on lefty counterculture. This is pretty putrid stuff, and I don’t feel like taking it on right now. Instead, I’m going to change the subject so suddenly you might get whiplash.

Here we go: it’s hardened beliefs like this that make it so hard for many people to accept the lead-crime hypothesis that I’ve written about frequently and at length. A lot of teen pathologies did start to skyrocket in the 60s, but the primary cause was almost certainly lead poisoning. Certainly lead was the proximate cause of increases in crime, teen pregnancy, and school dropout rates. And these effects were more pronounced among blacks than whites, because blacks lived disproportionately in areas with high levels of lead. The opposite is true too: the decline in these pathologies starting in the 90s was due to the phaseout of lead in gasoline.


In theory, none of this should be too hard to accept. The evidence is strong, and given what we know about the effects of lead on brain development, it makes perfect sense. In practice, though, if lead poisoning was the primary cause of the increase in various pathologies in the 60s and beyond, then the counterculture wasn’t. And if the phaseout of leaded gasoline was responsible for the subsequent decline, then the EPA gets the credit, not tough-on-crime policies. And that can’t be tolerated.

On the left, the problems are similar. Liberals tend to dislike “essentialist” explanations of things like crime rates because that opens the door to noxious arguments that blacks are biologically more crime prone than whites. As it happens, lead poisoning isn’t truly an essentialist explanation, but for many it’s too close for comfort. And anyway, liberals have their own explanations for the crime wave of the 60s: poverty, racism, easy availability of guns, and so forth.

Coonius Octoroonius Could Not Endure Facial Emotion-Reading AI


nydailynews |  Campaigning against Alabama’s lightning-rod Senate candidate Roy Moore, a leading Democrat called on President Trump to resign over sexual harassment claims several women have made against him.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) made the comments at a weekend campaign appearance in Alabama for Democratic candidate Doug Jones, who is locked in a tight race against Moore, the Republican nominee facing his own allegations of sexually abusing minor girls.

“I just watched Sen. Al Franken (inset left) do the honorable thing and resign from his office,” Booker told Vice News. “My question is, why isn’t Donald Trump doing the same thing — who has more serious allegations against him, with more women who have come forward.”

Franken (D-Minn.) announced Thursday he would be resigning from the Senate in the “coming weeks” after eight women accused him of either groping or trying to kiss them.

breitbart |   Booker’s efforts to push inaccurate information about both Moore and Trump—and his decision to use a Jones campaign event to call for Trump’s resignation as president of the United States—only serve to undermine Jones’ efforts to win the election in Alabama. Jones has already had a tough time claiming he is a moderate who can work with Republicans, and he is literally running television ads right now claiming he is not a radical leftist Democrat, despite his record on the issues.

But when his surrogates are pushing for President Trump’s removal from office—and they consider this election a referendum on whether Trump should remain president—it makes it much easier for Moore to publicly support Trump’s agenda and note that Jones is a radical leftist who will oppose the president at every turn. It also helps President Trump’s criticisms of Jones on the issues, for which he has many, and Trump’s call for Alabamians to back Moore for the Senate resonate further in Alabama.

Booker may have just blown whatever slim chance Jones has left, and if Moore does end up pulling through and winning on Tuesday as expected now, Booker may have just handed the moral high ground back to Trump and Moore and the anti-establishment by making this a referendum on Trump’s presidency.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

#ExcitedPeasants Hot Breath Masks Terror Of The Real Abomination


NYTimes  |  It’s a legitimate observation. It’s also a dead end. Turnabout may be fair play, but it’s foul morality. It’s also foolish politics. Mirroring the ugliness of white nationalists and the alt-right just gives them the ammunition that they want and need.

Which is precisely what some fevered activists at Evergreen State College did when they shouted down a white biology professor and the school’s white president, who stood there as one woman screamed: “Whiteness is the most violent system to ever breathe.” (I deleted the profanity between “violent” and “system.”)

It’s what an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware did with a Facebook post saying that Otto Warmbier — the American student who was imprisoned in North Korea, came home comatose and died soon after — “got exactly what he deserved.” The professor wrote that like other “young, white, rich, clueless white males” in the United States, Warmbier thought “he could get away with whatever he wanted.”

Meanwhile a professor at Trinity College in Hartford used his Facebook page to post an incendiary story about the Republican lawmakers who found themselves under gunfire on an Alexandria, Va., baseball field. Its headline included the language “let them die,” a phrase that the professor also folded into a hashtag accompanying a subsequent Facebook post.

Thanks in large part to social media, which incentivizes invective and then magnifies it, our conversations coarsen. Our compasses spin out of whack. We descend to the lowest common denominator, becoming what we supposedly abhor. I’m regularly stunned by the cruelty that’s mistaken for cleverness and the inhumanity that’s confused with conviction.


Next Up: Ekmanized Pre-Cog Face-Reading AI...,

https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/emogifs/map.html


berkeley |  Using novel statistical models to analyze the responses of more than 800 men and women to over 2,000 emotionally evocative video clips, UC Berkeley researchers identified 27 distinct categories of emotion and created a multidimensional, interactive map to show how they’re connected.

Their findings are published this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

“We found that 27 distinct dimensions, not six, were necessary to account for the way hundreds of people reliably reported feeling in response to each video,” said study senior author Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychology professor and expert on the science of emotions.

Moreover, in contrast to the notion that each emotional state is an island, the study found that “there are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration,” Keltner said.

“We don’t get finite clusters of emotions in the map because everything is interconnected,” said study lead author Alan Cowen, a doctoral student in neuroscience at UC Berkeley. “Emotional experiences are so much richer and more nuanced than previously thought.”

“Our hope is that our findings will help other scientists and engineers more precisely capture the emotional states that underlie moods, brain activity and expressive signals, leading to improved psychiatric treatments, an understanding of the brain basis of emotion and technology responsive to our emotional needs,” he added.

Collective Intelligence Will Solve Identity Politics The Way The Internet Solved Racism...,


nautil.us |  A more optimistic view would expect us to learn the cultural habits of being part of a collective intelligence—better able to share, listen, or take turns. It would hope too that we can learn the wisdom to cope with opposites—to understand suspicion as necessary for truth, fear for hope, and surveillance for freedom.

It’s tempting to link possible future evolutions of collective intelligence to what we already know of evolution. John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmary offered one of the best summaries of these processes when they described the eight main transitions in the evolution of complexity in life. These were the shift from chromosomes to multicellular organisms, prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, plants to animals, and simple to sexual reproduction. Every transition involved a new form of cooperation and interdependence (so that things that before the transition could replicate independently, afterward could only replicate as “part of a larger whole”), and new kinds of communication, ways of both storing and transmitting information.

It’s entirely plausible that future evolutions of intelligence will have comparable properties—with new forms of cooperation and interdependence along with new ways of handling communication that bring with them deeper understanding of both the outer as well as inner world. The idea of an evolution of consciousness is both obvious and daunting. It is obvious that consciousness does evolve and can in the future. But social science fears speculation, and much that has been written on this theme is either abstract or empty. We see in films and novels visions of machines with dramatically enhanced capacities to calculate, observe, and respond. They may be benign or malign (they’re more interesting when they are evil), but we can grasp their implications when we see them scanning emotions on faces, shooting down swarms of attacking missiles, or manipulating complex networks to direct people.

#ThatAss Works Objectively! Accept No Substitutes...,



NewYorker |  Still, the force works selectively. “I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” said Franken, referring to Donald Trump and the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. Trump and Moore are immune because the blunt irresistible force works only on the other half of the country.

That half is cleaning its ranks in the face of—and in clear reaction to—genuine moral depravity on the other side. The Trump era is one of deep and open immorality in politics. Moore is merely one example. Consider Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican who won his congressional race earlier this year after not only being captured on tape shoving a newspaper reporter but then also lying to police about it. Consider the tax bill, which is stitched together from shameless greed and boldface lies. Consider the series of racist travel bans. Consider the withdrawal from a series of international agreements aimed at bettering the future of humanity, from migration to climate change to cultural preservation. These are men who proclaim their allegiance to the Christian faith while acting in openly hateful, duplicitous, and plainly murderous ways. In response to this unbearable spectacle, the roughly half of Americans who are actually deeply invested in thinking of themselves as good people are trying to claim a moral high ground. The urge to do so by policing sex is not surprising. As Susan Sontag pointed out more than half a century ago, Christianity has “concentrated on sexual behavior as the root of virtue” and, consequently, “everything pertaining to sex has been a ‘special case’ in our culture.”

 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Pank Wymyn Systematically Destroyed Shame..., Too Bad!


NYTimes |  “I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”

This irony reveals the limits of the #MeToo movement. This week, Time magazine named those who’ve spoken out against sexual harassment — collectively called “The Silence Breakers” — as its Person of the Year. “When multiple harassment claims bring down a charmer like former ‘Today’ show host Matt Lauer, women who thought they had no recourse see a new, wide-open door,” the cover article says. In truth, however, this new door is open for only some people — those whose harassers are either personally or professionally susceptible to shame.

Since October, when the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial sexual predator and shunned by the social worlds he once ruled, an astonishing number of powerful and famous men have been fired and disgraced. It sometimes feels as if we’re in the midst of a cultural revolution where the toll of sexual harassment on women’s lives and ambitions will finally be reckoned with. 

But the revolution is smaller than it first appears. So far, it has been mostly confined to liberal-leaning sectors like entertainment, the media, academia, Silicon Valley and the Democratic Party. It hasn’t rocked the Republicans, corporate America or Wall Street — with some exceptionsbecause these realms are less responsive to feminist pressure.

Harold Ford Jr. Clipped For Being An Overpriced Underperforming Token


CNBC |  Finally, it's important to remember that the actions that constituted serious misconduct several years ago are not the same as they are now. The resignations of Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Trent Franks on Thursday seem to be much more the result of something closer to a new zero-tolerance policy on harassment and lower-level assault.

That doesn't excuse Franken, Franks, Ford or anyone else recently ensnared in this wave of scandals. And there's a lot to be said for holding our elected leaders to a much higher standard on this issue. But it's also fair to say that Wall Street may have only purged itself from the most egregious examples of bad behavior toward women based on standards from the 1990s or even the early 2000s.

That's the assessment financial journalist Susan Antilla, author of the groundbreaking book, "Tales From the Boom-Boom Room: The Landmark Legal Battles that Exposed Wall Street's Shocking Culture of Sexual Harassment." Antilla has recently spoken out about how she believes Wall Street has made strides to battle harassment over the past two decades, but adds that bias still very much exists. 

In a world where sitting senators and congressmen can be forced out in a matter of days over unproven allegations, that means Wall Street is still very vulnerable. This is something everyone from the lawyers fighting for Goldman Sachs in federal court to the H.R. departments at every other big firm need to realize.

Getting back to Ford, it's important to note he isn't going quietly. "I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life," Ford said in a statement released Thursday. In an even more telling comment, a lawyer for Ford said that, "Morgan Stanley has still not told Harold directly of his termination, and unlike every other circumstance I've been in, the company has refused to provide me with a reason. This all demonstrates how this was a matter of convenience during a hyper-sensitive time and not based on real facts."

Those comments stand as very strong proof that rules are already starting to change on Wall Street. If the standards for Ford are extended industry wide, expect a dozen or so managing partners and higher-level executives to be ousted in the coming year. 

Once the dust settles from those firings and resignations, Wall Street will have to join Congress, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Main Street in a major re-evaluation of its workplace rules. Anyone who thinks we're even halfway through this process is fooling themselves. 

SMDH@Creepy Old Harelips Tryna Bust...,


CNN | What did Franks do, you ask? Let's let Franks tell you himself. Here's an excerpt from his statement announcing his resignation:

"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.
 
"I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress."
 
Um, what?
 
So, here's how the Franks statement -- in meticulous detail -- casts how this whole thing came about:
1. He and his wife had problems conceiving and carrying a baby to term. (Franks notes in the statement his wife had three miscarriages.)
2. Eventually they found a woman to be a surrogate. That woman gave birth to twins.
3. He and his wife wanted more children. So did their kids. ("We continued to have a desire to have at least one additional sibling, for which our children had made repeated requests," writes Franks.)
4. He discussed the possibility of surrogacy with two women who worked for him.
 
Simple enough!
 

Friday, December 08, 2017

Still Not A Peep From The MSM On Trump Israel Collusion...,


theintercept |  The Trump transition team — in the form of key Trump advisers Kushner and Flynn — reached out to the Russian government in order to undermine the U.S. government because the Israeli government asked them to.

Where’s the outrage? How is the sheer “scope and audacity” of the Trump-Netanyahu backchannels — to quote one U.S. official who spoke to me on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on this issue — not a bigger story? For a start, as University of Chicago law professors Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner argued in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, the much-mocked Logan Act of 1799 remains “a serious criminal statute that bars citizens from undermining the foreign policy actions of the sitting president.” These two legal scholars point out that “if Mr. Flynn violated the Logan Act, then so did the ‘very senior’ official who directed his actions. If that official is Mr. Kushner, then Mr. Kushner could go to jail.”

Then there is the issue of Middle East policy itself. It wasn’t outsourced to the Israelis by Trump and Co. only during the transition or only over settlements. The outsourcing has continued in office. Tomorrow, Trump is expected to announce that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — another key Israeli demand that every single previous president, Republican and Democrat, has resisted. The decision on Jerusalem is so contentious that it both undermines any chance of reviving the peace process and threatens to cost lives — not just those of Israelis and Palestinians, but of Americans too.

One Casket-Ready, Useless Old Sac of Pus Down, Four Hundred Thirty Four Left To Go....,


thesoundingline |  The logical next question that sprung to mind was:  “how has the average age of members of Congress changed since its inception?”

The cynic might suspect that, in addition to being increasingly disliked and out of touch, Congress may be getting increasingly old. It should come as little surprise that that is exactly the case. The two charts below show the average age of serving members of the House of Representatives and the Senate every year since 1789 (the few members whose birth dates are unknown were excluded).  Both charts show the unmistakable trend toward an older and older Congress. Remarkably, the average age in the House of Representatives has surged from around 52 in 1995 to its all-time high of nearly 60 today and the average age in the Senate is even higher at nearly 65.

It would be baseless to say that seniority, and the experience that it brings, should be viewed negatively across the board as there have been great leaders much older than 65. Yet, when taken within the context of Congress’s dismal approval rating, the overwhelming feeling of Americans that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and the fact that members of Congress are serving for longer and longer, the aging of Congress does not seem emblematic of a healthy institution. To the contrary, it seems symptomatic of an insular and out of step group that is failing to create a relevant vision for America.

In nearly all ways: technological, social, and economical, we are living in a rapidly changing world. It seems that perhaps the only thing that isn’t changing is the people’s representation in Congress.


One Long-Winded, Expendable Gasbag Down, Only Ninety Nine Left To Go...,


thesoundingline |  Perhaps most principle on the list of grievances against Congress is the sentiment that they simply don’t get anything done. Any bill, no matter how routine, is hijacked by an increasingly insular, partisan, and corrupt political class. Bills are so full of divergent add-ons, riders, and pet projects that they become so long that it is often physically impossible for any single person to read them before the vote is held. If one could read them, it would be impossible to reconcile the opposing elements of the bill to permit anything resembling a principled vote. It has often been said that it is the fate of republics to devolve into oligarchies as power is consolidated by a few corrupt families who hold it for too long.

This begs the following question whose answer may explain the increasingly insular, partisan, and unproductive nature of Congress. Are members of Congress trending to serving longer terms?
To answer that question, we have compiled a database of every member of Congress every year since 1789. Using this database it is possible to determine, for every year, the number of years each member of Congress had previously served.

Having accounted for the careers of over 13,000 Congress men and women, over a period of 227 years, we are able to chart the average years served, or ‘tenure’, of the House of Representatives and the Senate every year from 1789 until today.

As you might suspect, and as the charts below testify, there has been an unmistakable trend towards Representatives and Senators serving more and more terms. Until the start of the 20th century, the average years served in the House was typically less than four years, equivalent to about two terms. After that, the average tenure started to rise dramatically, hitting a high of 12 years or six terms in 2008. The Senate follows a similar trend going from four to five years (a single term is six years) for the first 100 plus years of American history to a high of about 15 years (nearly three terms) in 2008.