Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Russians (and Of Course One Very Prolific Israeli-American Teenager)

slate |  A new report from the Anti-Defamation League has found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. spiked in 2017, increasing by an unprecedented 57 percent from the year before. 

The ADL report cited 1,986 incidents of harassment, threats, and vandalism targeting Jews in the country. It was the most dramatic increase since the organization started tracking these incidents in the 1970s and the second-highest number on the record. 

According to the ADL, this increase resulted in part from a near doubling of incidents on schools and college campuses. The results may also have been influenced in part by more widespread reporting. But the report also specifically cited the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it noted a “rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups, and widening divisions in society.” 

The rise in incidents took the form of vandalism and harassment, including 163 bomb threats against Jewish institutions. (Physical assaults against Jews actually fell, according to the report.) Two people were arrested in 2017 for repeated bomb threats. One, an Israeli American teenager, was arrested in March for making more than 150 of those threats to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions. “[R]egardless of the motivation of any specific perpetrator, Jewish communities were repeatedly traumatized by these assaults on their institutions and threats to their safety,” the ADL wrote in the report. “The bomb threats sowed fear and anxiety among Jews across the country.”

Moloch Doesn't Tolerate Truthful (Diverse) Political Views

qz | Earlier this month, when L’Oréal Paris UK hired British beauty blogger Amena Khan to be the face of its new hair care line, Elvive, the cosmetics company—the largest in the world—was celebrated for choosing a model wearing a hijab to front a hair campaign.

“How many brands are doing things like this? Not many,” Khan told Vogue UK at the time, noting that just because you don’t see someone’s hair doesn’t mean that they don’t take care of it. “They’re literally putting a girl in a headscarf…in a hair campaign.” It was an important step towards representation on the brand’s part.

But less than two weeks after that Vogue UK interview, Khan found out that L’Oréal Paris didn’t want her voice after all. She was asked to step down after tweets in which she condemned Israel resurfaced from 2014. Khan made the announcement personally on her Instagram:
L’Oréal Paris UK also released a statement:
We have recently been made aware of a series of tweets posted in 2014 by Amena Khan, who was featured in a U.K. advertising campaign. We appreciate that Amena has since apologised for the content of these tweets and the offense they have caused. L’Oréal Paris is committed to tolerance and respect towards all people. We agree with her decision to step down from the campaign.
This is not the first time that L’Oréal Paris UK has severed its relationship with a model because of personal views expressed on social media. In September 2017, the company dropped British transgender DJ and activist Munroe Bergdorf, who was the face of their YoursTruly True Match campaign. Bergdorf, it seems, had expressed controversial views on race and privilege.

“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more,” she wrote in August on Facebook. “Most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour.” The post was deleted shortly afterwards.

Like with Khan, L’Oréal Paris released a statement explaining their diversity policy upon firing Bergdorf:
We support diversity and tolerance towards all people irrespective of their race, background, gender and religion. […] We believe that the recent comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with those values, and as such we have taken the decision to end the partnership with her.
Beauty brands claim to celebrate diversity—but they often want to pretend that that diversity doesn’t come with diverse political views.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Protocols Do NOT Require Overseers To Protect Or Serve You Peasants...,

rutherford |  In the American police state, police have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.
In fact, police don’t usually need much incentive to shoot and kill members of the public.

Police have shot and killed Americans of all ages—many of them unarmed—for standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

So when police in Florida had to deal with a 19-year-old embarking on a shooting rampage inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., what did they do?
There were four armed police officers, including one cop who was assigned to the school as a resource officer, on campus during that shooting. All four cops stayed outside the school with their weapons drawn (three of them hid behind their police cars).

Not a single one of those cops, armed with deadly weapons and trained for exactly such a dangerous scenario, entered the school to confront the shooter.

Seventeen people, most of them teenagers, died while the cops opted not to intervene.

Let that sink in a moment.

Now before your outrage bubbles over, consider that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed (most recently in 2005) that police have no constitutional duty to protect members of the public from harm.

Yes, you read that correctly.

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, police have no duty, moral or otherwise, to help those in trouble, protect individuals from danger, or risk their own lives to save “we the people.”
In other words, you can be outraged that cops in Florida did nothing to stop the school shooter, but technically, it wasn’t part of their job description.

This begs the question: if the police don’t have a duty to protect the public, what are we paying them for? And who exactly do they serve if not you and me?

Why do we have more than a million cops on the taxpayer-funded payroll in this country whose jobs do not entail protecting our safety, maintaining the peace in our communities, and upholding our liberties?

Facebook and Youtube Seek to Suppress Crisis Actors

NYTimes |  On Wednesday, one week after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Facebook and YouTube vowed to crack down on the trolls.

Thousands of posts and videos had popped up on the sites, falsely claiming that survivors of the shooting were paid actors or part of various conspiracy theories. Facebook called the posts “abhorrent.” YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it needed to do better. Both promised to remove the content.

The companies have since aggressively pulled down many posts and videos and reduced the visibility of others. Yet on Friday, spot searches of the sites revealed that the noxious content was far from eradicated.

On Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, searches for the hashtag #crisisactor, which accused the Parkland survivors of being actors, turned up hundreds of posts perpetuating the falsehood (though some also criticized the conspiracy theory). Many of the posts had been tweaked ever so slightly — for example, videos had been renamed #propaganda rather than #hoax — to evade automated detection. And on YouTube, while many of the conspiracy videos claiming that the students were actors had been taken down, other videos that claimed the shooting had been a hoax remained rife.

Facebook faced renewed criticism on Friday after it was revealed that the company showcased a virtual reality shooting game at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week. Facebook said it was removing the game from its demonstration of its new virtual reality products.

The resilience of misinformation, despite efforts by the tech behemoths to eliminate it, has become a real-time case study of how the companies are constantly a step behind in stamping out the content. At every turn, trolls, conspiracy theorists and others have proved to be more adept at taking advantage of exactly what the sites were created to do — encourage people to post almost anything they want — than the companies are at catching them.

Crisis Actors And The Gateway Pundit Smell Test

WaPo |  The bloodshed had barely ended in Parkland, Fla., last week when the Gateway Pundit added its own unique take on the students who had quickly become media-friendly gun-control advocates.

“EXPOSED,” read its headline. “School Shooting Survivor Turned Activist David Hogg’s Father in FBI, Appears To Have Been Coached On Anti-Trump Lines.” It later doubled down, asserting — without any evidence to support it — that operatives linked to liberal billionaire George Soros had “selected anti-Trump kids to be the face” of the massacre.

The stories helped spread a debunked conspiracy theory about the students being paid “crisis actors.” This was a few days after the site initially claimed that the suspected shooter was “a registered Democrat.” A few hours later, it realized it had zeroed in on the wrong Nikolas Cruz but soft-pedaled its correction, merely amending its story to say he wasn’t a Democrat, as “some sources had reported” — a group that seemed to include news sites that had cited Gateway Pundit’s story.

Gateway Pundit didn’t stop there. Reporter Lucian Wintrich, who wrote the Parkland stories, took to Twitter to denounce the protesting students as “little pricks.”

The take-no-prisoners approach — not to mention the conspiratorial tone and dubious assertions — has been the trademark of Gateway Pundit since its founding by a former corporate executive named Jim Hoft in 2004. Despite this, its influence has grown both among the fringe right and more mainstream conservatives. In 2016, it championed Donald Trump’s candidacy; Wintrich eventually received White House press credentials in the new Trump administration.

Hoft — who declined an in-person interview and only responded briefly to questions via email — rejected the label often applied to his creation: far right. The term, he said, is “used by Democrats and far left media to smear anyone who opposes the leftist narrative.”

Monday, February 26, 2018

Could Banks Restrict Gun Sales In The U.S.?

LibertyBlitzKrieg |  What Sorkin is suggesting is more of the same, although perhaps with worse consequences. If banks take action where policymakers do not or cannot, they are essentially putting themselves above the law. And if banks start playing that role, where does it end?

What if, for example, banks and credit card companies decided to stop processing payments for any retail purchase of cigarettes? After all, cigarettes are demonstrably bad for all consumers, and secondhand smoke can harm innocent people. Should banks step in to help protect society at large?

Or what if banks decided to stop processing payments for abortion clinics because they believed the practice was immoral? Is it fair for financial institutions to make abortion effectively illegal? What if President Trump called on financial firms to cut off access to environmental groups he believed were delaying projects that could bring jobs to local economies? Maybe banks should freeze Colin Kaepernick’s checking account until he stops kneeling during the national anthem?

Many of these examples are extreme, but you get my point. Just because banks can be used to have a dramatic impact on our society doesn’t mean they should be.

– From the American Banker piece: Call for Bank Crackdown on Gun Sales Is Deeply Misguided
Even in today’s world replete with plutocrat public relations masquerading as journalism, it’s rare to encounter an article simultaneously pandering, authoritarian, childish and dumb. Nevertheless, I found one, and it was unsurprisingly published in The New York Times.

The title of the piece more or less says it all, How Banks Could Control Gun Sales if Washington Won’t, but let’s go ahead and examine some of the author’s suggestions in greater detail.

Bank of America Calls Its Gunmaking Clients...,

reuters |  Bank of America Corp on Saturday became the latest financial heavyweight to take aim at gunmakers, saying it would ask clients who make assault rifles how they can help end mass shootings like last week’s massacre at a Florida high school. 

Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets, said its request to makers of the military-style weapons was in line with those taken by other financial industry companies to help prevent deadly gun rampages.  

“An immediate step we’re taking is to engage the limited number of clients we have that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility,” the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said in a statement.

Record Number of Visitors Attend Florida Gun Show

dailymail |  The Florida Gun Show had never seen a crowd as big as the one it saw this weekend, according to organizers.

Almost 7,000 people showed up to The Florida Gun Show in Tampa this weekend, nearly two weeks after a gunman killed 17 teachers and students at a high school in the state.

'Some of the people attending are afraid that future legislation will impact their gun ownership rights,' manager George Fernandez told WTSP. 

Indeed, the gun business becomes more profitable after mass shootings, as gun owners become afraid of public backlash causing restrictions to their Second Amendment rights.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Narrative State of the #NeverTrump Coup Today

theconservativetreehouse |  Unauthorized FISA-702(16)(17) results were passed on to Christopher Steele, likely by Nellie Ohr. Steele would then wash the intelligence product, repackage it into what became known as his “Dossier”, and pass it back to the FBI ‘small group’ as evidence for use in their counterintelligence operation which began in July 2016 [ intentionally without congressional oversight {Go Deep}].

Evidence of this laundry process is found in a significant “search query” result that was actually a mistake. The faulty intelligence mistake was the travel history of Michael Cohen, a long-time Trump lawyer. The FISA search turned up a Michael Cohen traveling to Prague. It was the wrong Michael Cohen. However, that mistaken result was passed on to Chris Steele and it made its way into the dossier. Absent of a FISA search, there’s no other way Christopher Steele could identify a random “Michael Cohen” traveling to Prague.

The Cohen mistake created a trail from Chris Steele to the FISA database.  {Go Deep}

All of the unauthorized FISA-702 search queries, “To From”(16) and/or “About”(17), of the NSA/FBI database were returning results. Those results were “raw intelligence”.

That raw intelligence needed “unmasking”, that’s where the Department of State (DoS) comes in. The U.N. Ambassador is part of the DoS. Samantha Power stated she wasn’t doing the daily “unmasking” identified by the House Intelligence Committee investigation {Go Deep}. Someone, or a group of people, within the State Department, were doing unmasking requests – presumably using Ms. Power’s authority.

The collaborative process by officials within the State Department, as outlined and supported by Senator Chuck Grassley and his investigation, explains why those officials were also communicating with Christopher Steele. {Go Deep}

The assembled but highly compartmentalized reports from the DOJ-NSD, FBI-Counterintelligence, Department of State, Office of National Intelligence (Clapper) and CIA (Brennan), was then constructed to become part of President Obama’s Daily Intelligence Briefing. That’s where National Security Adviser Susan Rice comes in and her frequent unmasking of the assembled intelligence product. {Go Deep}

The Obama PDB was then redistributed internally to more than three dozen administration officials who POTUS Obama allowed to access his PDB.  This includes the heads of DOJ, DOJ-NSD, FBI, FBI-counterintel, CIA, DoS, ODNI, NSA and Pentagon.

The distribution of the PDB was how each disparate member of the administration, the larger intelligence apparatus, knew of the ongoing big picture without having to assemble together for direct discussion therein. That’s Lisa Monaco and “Operation Latitude”:

Narrative State of the #NeverTrump Coup Last Year...,

constitution |  In the days following Trump’s earth-shattering election, I started receiving calls from contacts in the Obama government. High-echelon staffers at State, Justice, the FBI especially, as well as the DNC and Obama White House were telling me of a “whitewash” in full swing. They were sick and tired of carrying water for what they said was “a totally corrupt president and Democratic Party.” The FBI sources I had were particularly angry with James Comey and told me he “was in the DNC bag.” It seemed the whistleblowers had had enough.

They told me it was demanded by the head of their departments, Kerry at State, Lynch at Justice, Clapper the DNI, Brazile at the DNC, Comey at the FBI and the president (Jarrett was the point person) that all documents “unflattering” to the Obama administration or Hillary Clinton State Department and campaign be destroyed. Unflattering was “Obama-speak” for incriminating. There is a law specifically against the destruction of government documents because the taxpayer owns them. This was a government-wide expansion of the destruction of Hillary campaign and Hillary State Department emails and evidence that had started years prior, of course, in a conspiracy to obfuscate the illegal activities of her continuing criminal enterprises.

These are the specifics my sources confirm:
**The data collection was NOT LIMITED to Trump servers or the nonsensical “Russia Investigation,” but rather included data collection from all servers and internal/external email accounts; cell phone and landline conversations in their entirety; all text messages; as well as “hum int,” following Trump campaign team members around as they conducted their duties or personal chores. KGB-like surveillance. A source told me, “We were conducting so much human and “sig-int” surveillance on Trump and associates, al-Qaeda and ISIS were receiving less attention from our operatives and agents than the man running for president.”

**The data collection on Trump, his family, Bannon, Conway, Manafort, Lewandowski, their families and everyone else associated with the Trump campaign WAS NOT INCIDENTAL. It was purposeful and targeted. It was not reverse-targeted and it was not investigating Trump activities with Russians. “During the late days of the campaign, we knew Ms. Conway’s life better than her husband did,” one source opined.

**The data collection and human intelligence (following Trump family and associates around) was not initially collected as part of a domestic-to-foreign warrant looking into the supposed collusion of Trump with the Russians. The surveillance of the entire Trump staff was a domestic, criminal plot to ensure Trump never became president. Source: “Everybody in U.S. Intelligence knew that this was highly illegal. It was framed to us that Trump was trying to hurt America; that he was treasonous. We all innately knew who was being treasonous. And there was never a foreign component to this. It was always domestic.”

**The widespread, illegal surveillance and wiretapping of Trump and his campaign didn’t begin in October, 2016. Nor did it begin in early 2016. IT BEGAN ALMOST IMMEDIATELY when Trump announced in the summer of 2015. This wasn’t just “oppo research.” This was Bill & Hillary going to Obama as the head of the DNC and entering into a conspiracy with Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Rhodes and even Kerry to DESTROY TRUMP. They then involved Brennan, Clapper and lastly Comey, the first two being all too happy to do whatever was necessary to destroy Trump. Source: “Remember, all these activities started before Trump was nominated; right after he declared. So the “Russia” issue hadn’t even been dreamed up by the Democrats yet. In terms of roles played, Clapper and Brennan were the” wet men.”

**There were no warrants obtained for any of this outside of the Russian FISA warrant, after-the-fact and these surveillance activities were designed not to look into any relationship between Trump campaign officials with Russia but to eliminate Trump as an opponent so Hillary could skate to the presidency. This, of course, is highly illegal. I consider it treason. Source: “Jarrett and the administration tried to get warrants after the fact. After the surveillance program had already started many months prior. They were backdating it to protect Obama and his staff of radical operatives.”

**The nefarious ongoing activities also involved the mass, agency and government-wide destruction of computers, laptops, cellphones, documents, emails, files, texts and the shredding and/or “Bleachbiting” of anything that could incriminate the Obama cell. As Dr. Evelyn Farkas so breathlessly warned, it was crucial to get the info out before the incoming Trump staff could save the new president from this felony-ridden invasion of privacy.

**By placing Obama/Clinton loyalists, willing to break any law in order to destroy or delegitimize Trump, in positions just under the directorships of the FBI, NSA, CIA, DIA and other IC agencies, Obama thought, after he left office, he’d be able to manipulate them to hurt the incoming Trump staff, undermining everything he did. This is why Trump had such a hard time initially and there were all these anti-Trump leaks. Source: “Even once Lynch, Clapper and Brennan were gone from our government, Obama and Jarrett had so sneakily placed their people, people who were real Marxist radicals, real Trump-haters, so deep into the underlying Directorships at the CIA, DNI and FBI, that the undermining could continue after Obama left the White House. It was like a ticking time bomb lying in wait for President Trump.”

**The Obama crew coordinated the entire conspiracy from beginning to end. It was only in October last year that they saw the diabolical opportunity to turn their wiretapping and surveillance crimes into a “Russian investigation” of Trump. “Obama saw the opportunity to switch the blame onto a fabricated fantasy of Trump collusion with Russia. It was classic disinformation,” my source told me.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Are Yoga Pants Bad For Women?

NYTimes |  It’s a new year and I’ve got a new gym membership. I went the other morning. It was 8 degrees outside. And every woman in there was wearing skintight, Saran-wrap-thin yoga pants. Many were dressed in the latest fashion — leggings with patterns of translucent mesh cut out of them, like sporty doilies. “Finally,” these women must have thought, “pants that properly ventilate my outer calves without letting a single molecule of air reach anywhere else below my belly button.”

Don’t get me wrong. I have yoga pants — three pairs. But for some reason none of them cover my ankles, and as I said, it was 8 degrees outside. So I wore sweatpants.

I got on the elliptical. A few women gave me funny looks. Maybe they felt sorry for me, or maybe they were concerned that my loose pants were going to get tangled in the machine’s gears. Men didn’t look at me at all.

At this moment of cultural crisis, when the injustices and indignities of female life have suddenly become news, an important question hit me: Whatever happened to sweatpants?

Remember sweatpants? Women used to wear them, not so long ago. You probably still have a pair, in velour or terry cloth, with the name of a college or sports team emblazoned down the leg.

No one looks good in sweatpants. But that’s not the point. They’re basically just towels with waistbands. They exist for two activities: lounging and exercising — two activities that you used to be able to do without looking like a model in a P90X infomercial.

It’s not good manners for women to tell other women how to dress; that’s the job of male fashion photographers. Women who criticize other women for dressing hot are seen as criticizing women themselves — a sad conflation if you think about it, rooted in the idea that who we are is how we look. It’s impossible to have once been a teenage girl and not, at some very deep level, feel that.

But yoga pants make it worse. Seriously, you can’t go into a room of 15 fellow women contorting themselves into ridiculous positions at 7 in the morning without first donning skintight pants? What is it about yoga in particular that seems to require this? Are practitioners really worried that a normal-width pant leg is going to throttle them mid-lotus pose?

We aren’t wearing these workout clothes because they’re cooler or more comfortable. (You think the selling point of Lululemon’s Reveal Tight Precision pants is really the way their moth-eaten design provides a “much-needed dose of airflow”?) We’re wearing them because they’re sexy.

Friday, February 23, 2018

50 Shades Greitens Discovers "It Means Dick When The Handcuffs Click"

NPR |  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted on one count of felony invasion of privacy and taken into custody in St. Louis in connection with reports of an extramarital affair that surfaced last month.

During that affair, Greitens is alleged to have taken a semi-nude photo of the woman and then threatened to blackmail her by publishing it if she revealed their relationship.

As reported by the Two-Way in January, Greitens, a Republican, confirmed that he had an extramarital affair before he was elected in 2016, but he denied the allegations of blackmail.

"As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor," Greitens said in a statement Thursday posted on Facebook. "I did not commit a crime."

As St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippman told All Things Considered:
"Missouri law says that ... taking the picture alone is a misdemeanor. What pushes this to the level of a felony was the fact that he put that photo on a computer, and therefore it makes it sort of a low level felony.
We know about this incident because the ex-husband of the woman who had the affair recorded the conversation and talked about it with the media."
In the wake of the public exposure of the affair last month, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner opened an investigation leading to this indictment by a St. Louis grand jury.
The name of the woman who had an affair with Greitens has not been disclosed and is referred to only as "K.S." in the indictment.

It alleges that Greitens "knowingly photographed K.S. in a state of full or partial nudity without the knowledge or consent of K.S. and in a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the defendant subsequently transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer."

In a statement, Gardener said it was essential for residents of St. Louis and Missouri to have confidence in their leaders.

Lying, Affirmative-Action Stealing Replacement Negroes Could Take A DNA Test...,

BostonGlobe |  Warren’s constituents in Massachusetts probably don’t realize how common it is for white people in the South to grow up with stories of distant and heroic Indian ancestors. (And some black Southerners, too: NFL running back Emmitt Smith realized he wasn’t part Cherokee on an episode of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are.”) Cherokees married outside their tribe more than other Native Americans — a method of survival in the 17th and 18th centuries — so many people do have distant ties to the group. Their exogamy has allowed thousands of families like mine to claim ancestry, livening up their family trees without ever having to reckon with the genocidal tendencies of some of their forebears.

Nagle and many other Cherokees find this casual appropriation of Native identity deeply offensive. But part of why the stories have such staying power for my family, despite a lack of evidence, is because my family is so sincerely proud of having any connection to Native Americans. My granny and my grandfather greatly admired the tribes that live in Oklahoma, and a group of Comanches sang at my grandfather’s funeral, after the military bugler played taps in honor of his service in World War II.

Warren’s speech last week was well received by the Native Americans in attendance, who generously accepted her assertion that her mother was Native American, despite a lack of documentation. 

“Who are we to say what she is?” said Ricardo Ortiz, a member of the Pueblo of San Felipe tribe in New Mexico. “If she knows what’s in her blood, and believes it, who are we to criticize?”

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Black Panther: Rich Fantasy Africans Replace Bad Broke American Negroes...,

bostonreview |  Wakanda is a fictional nation in Africa, a marvel beyond all marvels. Its stupendous wealth and technological advancement reaches beyond anything the folks in MIT’s labs could dream of. The source of all this wonder is vibranium, a substance miraculous in ways that the movie does not bother to explain. But so far as we understand, it is a potent energy source as well as an unmatched raw material. A meteor rich in vibranium, which crashed ages ago into the land that would become Wakanda, made Wakanda so powerful that the terrors of colonialism and imperialism passed it by. Using technology to hide its good fortune, the country plays the part of a poor, third-world African nation. In reality, it thrives, and its isolationist policies protect it from anti-black racism. The Wakandans understand events in the outside world and know that they are spared. This triumphant lore—the vibranium and the Wakandans’ secret history and superiority—are more than imaginative window-dressing. They go to the heart of the mistaken perception that Black Panther is a movie about black liberation.

We learn that N’Jobu was sent to the United States as one of Wakanda’s War Dogs, a division of spies that the reclusive nation dispatches to keep tabs on a world it refuses to engage. This is precisely N’Jobu’s problem. In the United States, he learns of the racism black Americans face, including mass incarceration and police brutality. He soon understands that his people have the power to help all black people, and he plots to develop weapons using vibranium to even the odds for black Americans. This is radical stuff; the Black Panthers (the political party, that is) taken to a level of potentially revolutionary efficacy. T’Chaka, however, insists N’Jobu has betrayed the people of Wakanda. He has no intention of helping any black people anywhere; for him and most Wakandans, it is Wakanda First. N’Jobu threatens an aide to T’Chaka, who then kills N’Jobu. The murder leaves Killmonger orphaned. However, Killmonger has learned of Wakanda  from his father, N’Jobu. Living in poverty in Oakland, he grows to become a deadly soldier to make good on his father’s radical aim to use Wakanda’s power to liberate black people everywhere, by force if necessary.

By now viewers have two radical imaginings in front of them: an immensely rich and flourishing advanced African nation that is sealed off from white colonialism and supremacy; and a few black Wakandans with a vision of global black solidarity who are determined to use Wakanda’s privilege to emancipate all black people.

These imaginings could be made to reconcile, but the movie’s director and writer (with Joe Cole), Ryan Coogler, makes viewers choose. Killmonger makes his way to Wakanda and challenges T’Challa’s claim to the throne through traditional rites of combat. Killmonger decisively defeats T’Challa and moves to ship weapons globally to start the revolution. In the course of Killmonger’s swift rise to power, however, Coogler muddies his motivation. Killmonger is the revolutionary willing to take what he wants by any means necessary, but he lacks any coherent political philosophy. Rather than the enlightened radical, he comes across as the black thug from Oakland hell bent on killing for killing’s sake—indeed, his body is marked with a scar for every kill he has made. The abundant evidence of his efficacy does not establish Killmonger as a hero or villain so much as a receptacle for tropes of inner-city gangsterism.

In the end, all comes down to a contest between T’Challa and Killmonger that can only be read one way: in a world marked by racism, a man of African nobility must fight his own blood relative whose goal is the global liberation of blacks. In a fight that takes a shocking turn, T’Challa lands a fatal blow to Killmonger, lodging a spear in his chest. As the movie uplifts the African noble at the expense of the black American man, every crass principle of modern black respectability politics is upheld.  

In 2018, a world home to both the Movement for Black Lives and a president who identifies white supremacists as fine people, we are given a movie about black empowerment where the only redeemed blacks are African nobles. They safeguard virtue and goodness against the threat not of white Americans or Europeans, but a black American man, the most dangerous person in the world.
Even in a comic-book movie, black American men are relegated to the lowest rung of political regard. So low that the sole white leading character in the movie, the CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), gets to be a hero who helps save Wakanda. A white man who trades in secrets and deception is given a better turn than a black man whose father was murdered by his own family and who is left by family and nation to languish in poverty. That’s racist.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Why Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Pretend to Obsess About Russia

libertyblitzkrieg |  There’s a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they’re terrified that — unlike Obama — he’s a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

I recently came across a fantastic article titled The West’s War on Itself, which I highly recommend everyone read it. It helps put into context much about the current position the American empire finds itself in, and shines a light on the origins of our dysfunctional and increasingly insane national political dialogue. The authors use the term PVE (preventing violent extremism) throughout, which is described in the following manner:
PVE, then, is first and foremost a narrative device: a tool used, largely unconsciously, to inject fresh legitimacy into a war on terror that by 2008 had fallen into disrepute. More specifically, PVE appears to dampen the queasiness felt at pursuing a course of action that quite obviously conflicts with Western liberal values, wrapping hard-edged counterterrorism in gentle language. In that sense, it renovates a long-held tradition.
In other words, it’s just a linguistic way to justify policies of imperial aggression abroad using palatable terminology. The authors go on to note:
Indeed, the roots of PVE and the broader war on terror date back to a centuries-old tendency among most societies—Western and non-Western alike—to forge their identities in an almost perpetual state of conflict, aiming to control resources or counter rivals. Such war footing demands a positive, legitimating narrative—an understanding that we fight to reclaim, defend, pacify, stabilise, illuminate and liberate. Rarely do eradication and predation announce themselves unabashedly. Rather, virtually all forms of conquest and colonisation hinge on the notion of an enemy to defeat and, alongside it, a population begging for deliverance.
This is precisely why the powers that be in the U.S. are always trying to sell the public on a new enemy. The 21st century alone has seen us seamlessly transition from being terrified of al-Qaeda to ISIS, and now Russia, in less than two decades. Such external enemies are needed in order to justify the overseas military action required to hold together an increasingly shaky global empire. Same as it ever was.

The article goes on to explain why Obama was the perfect salesman for U.S. imperial ambitions.
In the Western sphere, the war on terror originally was associated with the conservative right-wing. That linkage crystallised throughout the half-decade following the 11 September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on US soil, as self-identifying liberals came to identify the war on terror with President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq, and with a host of practices deemed antithetical to Western values, including ramped up domestic surveillance, torture euphemistically dubbed “enhanced interrogation,” extrajudicial killings and “extraordinary renditions” (that is, outsourcing the interrogation of terror suspects to cooperative authoritarian regimes).
So intense was the backlash that Americans, in 2008, turned to a presidential candidate explicitly framing himself as the liberal antithesis to Bush’s approach: Barack Obama was expected to wind down the wars and generally rein in the illiberal excesses of the preceding era. The rest of the Western sphere, which had almost universally come to decry the war on terror as undermining global stability, acclaimed a leader poised to redress that legacy.
It is striking, therefore, that by the end of President Obama’s second term, the war on terror was alive and well. The US remained engaged in a series of shadowy wars across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, albeit with Bush’s predilection for regime change swapped out for a deepening reliance on airstrikes and killer drones. Most other Western governments either joined in or, in the case of France, took the lead in military operations of their own. To paper over their interventions’ obvious shortcomings, all chimed in around a growing rhetorical emphasis on redressing “root causes” of extremism. In sum, the fundamental contours of a timeless, borderless military conflict endured, but received an eight-year makeover salving uneasy Western consciences.
Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn’t provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He’s simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.

The FBI has sided with the powerful against the powerless to maintain an unjust social order

counterpunch  |  The indictments are a major political story, but not for the reasons given in mainstream press coverage. Once Mr. Mueller’s indictment is understood to charge the exploitation of existing social tensions (read it and decide for yourself), the FBI, which Mr. Mueller directed from 2001 – 2013, is precisely the wrong entity to be rendering judgment. The FBI has been America’s political police since its founding in 1908. Early on former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover led legally dubious mass arrests of American dissidents. He practically invented the slander of conflating legitimate dissent with foreign agency. This is the institutional backdrop from which Mr. Mueller proceeds.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the FBI’s targets included the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Black Panther Party and any other political organization Mr. Hoover deemed a threat. The secret (hidden) FBI program COINTELPRO was intended to subvert political outcomes outside of allegations of criminal wrongdoing and with no regard for the lives of its targets. Throughout its history the FBI has sided with the powerful against the powerless to maintain an unjust social order.

Robert Mueller became FBI Director only days before the attacks of September 11, 2001. One of his first acts as Director was to arrest 1,000 persons without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. None of those arrested were ever charged in association with the attacks. The frame in which the FBI acted— to maintain political stability threatened by ‘external’ forces, was ultimately chosen by the George W. Bush administration to justify its aggressive war against Iraq.

It is the FBI’s legacy of conflating dissent with being an agent of a foreign power that Mr. Mueller’s indictment most insidiously perpetuates. Russians are ‘sowing discord,’ and they are using Americans to do so, goes the allegation. Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders are listed in the indictment as roadblocks to the unfettered ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. Russians are sowing discord, therefore discord is both suspect in itself and evidence of being a foreign agent.

The posture of simple reporting at work in the indictment— that it isn’t the FBI’s fault that the Russians (allegedly) inserted themselves into the electoral process, runs against the history of the FBI’s political role, the tilt used to craft criminal charges and the facts put forward versus those put to the side. Given the political agendas of the other agencies that the FBI joined through the charges, they are most certainly but a small piece of a larger story.

In the aftermath of the indictments it’s easy to forget that the Pentagon created the internet, that the NSA has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, that the CIA has been heavily involved in funding and ‘using’ social media toward its own ends and that the FBI is only reputable in the present because of Americans’ near-heroic ignorance of history. The claim that the Russian operation was sophisticated because it had corporate form and function is countered by the fact that it was, by the various agencies’ own claims, ineffectual in changing the outcome of the election.

I Have a List
While Robert Mueller was busy charging never-to-be-tried Russians with past crimes, Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, declared that future Russian meddling has already cast a shadow over the integrity of the 2018 election. Why the Pentagon that created the internet, the NSA that has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, the CIA that has been heavily involved in funding and ‘using’ social media toward its own ends and the FBI that just landed such a glorious victory of good over evil would be quivering puddles when it comes to precluding said meddling is a question that needs to be asked.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Congressional Black Caucus helps everyone except black people..., |  Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), sent a letter to President Trump criticizing his immigration proposal as “unreasonable”  and “un-American” because it unnecessarily pits black and brown immigrants against each other.
Months ago, President Trump agreed to sign the DREAM Act into law, legislation that would primarily benefit Latino immigrants who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own, if and only if Congress funded additional border security measures. Now, the President is calling for an end to the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, a program that primarily benefits African and Asian immigrants and is mischaracterized by him as a  “lottery” for low-skilled immigrants who have little to contribute to America. While immigrants are randomly selected for the DV program, they are required to have a high-school degree or equivalent work experience and endure a rigorous screening process. In fact, DV recipients are generally better educated than Americans born in the United States. In 2016, for example, half of DV recipients had a college degree, compared to just 32 percent of the overall United States population.

Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate were copied on the letter. Full text of the letter is attached and online. Excerpts from the letter are below.

Pitting Black and Brown Immigrants Against Each Other
“On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, I write today to express our complete disgust with your unreasonable immigration proposal, particularly your insistence upon the elimination of the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program. Your framework explicitly pits Dreamers, young Americans who know no other country, against the legal immigration system, one which provides an opportunity for immigrants of color to fight for a chance at the American Dream. Sadly, your strategy was predictable in light of your long, troubled history with race in this country. We vehemently oppose your blatantly callous strategy to divide and conquer communities of color and call on Members of Congress to reject your proposal, lest they be complicit in advancing your racially discriminatory policies.”

Mischaracterizing the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
“Moreover, your calls to end the [DV program] lack any reasonable basis. First, you portray the program as a giveaway to immigrants randomly selected by a lottery. While a lottery system is used to administer this extremely overly-subscribed visa program in an unbiased fashion, applicants nonetheless undergo a rigorous vetting process and extensive screening. Second, you claim the program is a threat to national security because it creates a pathway for terrorists and criminals. The very nature of the diversity visa lottery is an ineffective tool for terrorists. In 2015, 9.4 million people applied for 50,000 visas. Even if a terrorist beat the 1 in 188 odds of being selected for the program, that person would still have to complete the normal vetting process for any other green card holder. 

Additionally, diversity visa recipients have a far lower rate of incarceration compared to native-born Americans. For example, in 2015, immigrants from the top 20 diversity visa countries had an incarceration rate just one-fifth of the incarceration rate of native-born Americans. Lastly, you continuously characterize diversity visa recipients as low-skilled workers with little to contribute to American society. While America should continue to welcome the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, your characterization of diversity visa recipients is simply false. Applicants are already required to have a high school education or equivalent work experience. Moreover, diversity visa recipients have been generally better educated than Americans born in the United States. For example, in 2016, half of diversity visa recipients had a college degree, compared to just 32 percent of the overall United States population.”

Creating the DACA Crisis
“To be clear, the crisis we face is one of your own making. Dreamers enjoyed legal status under the Obama-era policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which you unilaterally ended last fall. Now, despite your commitment to sign the Dream Act into law if accompanied by border security measures, you continue to thwart bipartisan efforts to find a solution for Dreamers by attacking the legal immigration system. To suggest that we are any less committed to a permanent solution for Dreamers because we refuse to acquiesce to your racially discriminatory policies is preposterous. We refuse to choose between Dreamers and African immigrants. They both have and deserve our full-throated support.”

I feel like he cares more about me than the last president did...,

cbsnews |  This was the group when we met them in downtown Grand Rapids six months ago. Fourteen passionately partisan strangers.

Now, they greet each other like old friends. Lauren Taylor, a liberal community organizer, and Tom Nemcek, a staunch libertarian and supporter of President Trump, couldn't be farther apart politically. But they took the initiative to bring the group together. Tom, a gun rights advocate, took members of the group shooting. It made such an impression on Laura Ansara, she bought her own gun and joined the NRA.

Matt Wiedenhoeft – a Trump supporter who teaches economics and coaches a hockey team at Grand Valley State University – invited them to a Saturday night game.

And nearly the entire group turned out for what they call a team-building workout organized by Jennifer Allard, a lifelong Republican who says she couldn't bring herself to vote for Donald Trump. Wesley Watson, a community health activist, was there. So was Daniel Skidmore, a conservative and first-time voter. And Maggie Ryan, a lawyer and self-described independent.

Oprah Winfrey: When we first met, there were some of you who had said, you know, you'd never been in conversations, certainly engagement, with members of the opposite side, political side. So has that changed for you now?

Jennifer: Yes. Because now I'm looking at them as people, not as you're Trump or not Trump. This has been an incredible experience and an education for me.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Oh SNAP!!! Mueller Can't Punk A 3-Star Like He Was An IQ-75 Softhead

thefederalist  |  On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday.

What’s Happened in the Michael Flynn Case So Far

To recap: On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

One of Sullivan’s first orders of business was to enter a standing order, on December 12, 2017, directing “the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner – including during plea negotiations – any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.” Sullivan’s standing order further directed the government, if it “has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material,” to “submit such information to the Court for in camera review.”

Sullivan enters identical standing orders as a matter of course in all of his criminal cases, as he explained in a 2016 Cardozo Law Review article: “Following the Stevens case, I have issued a standing Brady Order for each criminal case on my docket, updating it in reaction to developments in the law.” A Brady order directs the government to disclose all exculpatory evidence to defense counsel, as required by Brady v. Maryland. The Stevens case, of course, is the government’s corrupt prosecution of the late senator Ted Stevens—an investigation and prosecution which, as Sullivan put it, “were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence. . . .”

While the December standing order represented Sullivan’s normal practice, as both McCarthy and York noted, Flynn had already pled guilty. In his plea agreement, Flynn agreed to “forego the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided at the time of the entry of Flynn’s guilty plea.” On Wednesday, however, the attorneys in the Flynn case presented the court an agreed-upon protective order governing the use of the material — including sensitive material — the special counsel’s office provides Flynn. This indicates Mueller’s team will not fight Sullivan’s standing order based on the terms of Flynn’s plea agreement.

Why Bombshells Are Likely Ahead

With a protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells.

Year Old Russian Article Outlines The Troll Factory "Indictment"  |  The total budget for promotion in social networks was about $ 5 thousand per month, that is about $ 120 thousand for two years, follows from the internal statistics of the "factory", which is available to RBC magazine. These figures confirm the source of RBC inside the organization. Employees of the "factory" promoted posts from at least 40 communities: about half of the budget went to publications touching on racial issues, slightly less - with political bias.

The interlocutors of the magazine RBC argue: on Twitter, advertising was not bought, as it was not bought in Tumblr or Imgur. "We spent a little bit on the promotion of Twitter-accounts - wrote bots to gain weight, but this is a miserable expense," - clarifies the employee of the "factory". According to him, in the Facebook communities the bots were not used, because "it does not make sense, we needed live people", but RBC magazine could not verify this. The fact that repostili publications real users, not bots, also wrote The New York Times. Placing advertisements on Google platforms, interlocutors from the "factory" also deny, specifying only that "there were tests, but they did not receive continuations."

Approximately 10 million unique users from among US residents have seen at least one ad, created by structures associated with the "factory", cited statistics on Facebook. Savushkin is preferred to measure by coverage: in August 2016, the minimum was 15 million per week, in October 2016, the maximum bar was reached - 70 million hits per week, follows from the internal statistics of the "factory" received by RBC magazine in early 2017, th. Facebook in one of its applications pointed out that about 25% of advertisements from structures associated with the "factory" never appeared to anyone - because of their irrelevance to the audience.

The average CPM (the price for 1,000 impressions) in the US is $ 5-7, so the campaign coverage of 10 million people is not very much, you could do 30-40% more, says Sergei Efimov, director of customer services OMD Resolution . Moreover, the audience usually reacts to posts of a political type much better than the usual advertising of brands, which means that the CPM can be even lower - $ 2-3, the expert adds. Director General of Agency One Touch Anatoly Emelyanov says that the price of a subscriber in Facebook rises from $ 0.5 to 2, but with a good campaign creative "the cost of attraction reaches 1 cent for involvement."

However, a significant part of the advertising budget of the "factory" was not aimed at promoting the groups as such, but on scaling the experience with hot dogs.

Remote meeting

In May 2016, the famous American activist and one of the founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement Mika White received an email from a certain Jan Davis. He introduced himself as a freelance journalist of the BlackMattersUS community, dedicated to the problems of the black population, and asked for a telephone interview. The activist agreed, gave his number, but the conversation that took place eventually seemed strange to him. "The quality of the connection was poor, and the interviewer, in my opinion, was not a native speaker of the English language," an activist told the RBC magazine, which in 2014 Esquire magazine ranked among the "most influential people under 35".

Now you can read the interview with White only on the site BlackMattersUS - community pages in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with a total number of subscribers more than 250 thousand are blocked (only Tumblr is available). Deactivated and the account of "Jan Davis" on Facebook. A correspondent of the RBC magazine sent him a letter to the same address from which he communicated with White, but the "freelance correspondent" did not open it (data from the Readnotify service). The @BlackMattersUS account on Twitter was registered to a phone number starting with +7. According to the source of RBC magazine, close to the "factory", the same people who worked on the night shift engaged in interaction with various American activists, responding to comments in groups.

Unlike most communities that were run by the "factory", BlackMattersUS positioned itself as a non-profit news portal with its own edition. Anyone could also support the fighters against racism by sending a donation through PayPal to a wallet tied to a post on Gmail with xtimwalters online. In the editorial office, in addition to "Jan Davis," there were six more people working on the site. A correspondent of the RBC magazine discovered the accounts of two more "employees" on Twitter: one of them is blocked, the other has not been updated since 2016.

BlackMattersUS, 44.2% of the audience who visits the site from the search engines (data from Similarweb), managed to collect a whole portfolio of interviews with famous fighters for the rights of blacks. In addition to White, the community representatives talked with the legendary member of the Black Panthers movement Erica Huggins, the mother of a black teenager Ramarli Graham, murdered by police in New York, Columbia University professor and cross rapper Tupac Shakur Jamal Joseph, as well as Ramone Africa, a member of the Philadelphia movement of black MOVE , one of the few survivors of the unprecedented local police raid in 1985 (with a helicopter law-enforcement officers dropped a bomb at the headquarters of the organization).

Communication with the characters did not end after the interview. The same White received from the "Jan Davis" several letters asking to support the BlackMattersUS shares - for example, flash mob in support of the colleagues of Ramona Africa, caught up in prison. The essence of the request was to publish photos and videos in social networks with the demand to release them.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Morning Shows Peddled The NothingBurger Like It Was Their Job

disobedientmedia |  If one needed proof that Mueller’s investigation was an utter farce, they were in for a treat this morning when the Deputy Attorney General announced the indictment of thirteen “Russian trolls,” for allegedly interfering in the 2016 Presidential election by posting on social media accounts.

Laying Mueller’s disregard of the First Amendment aside, the indictment is blatantly hypocritical in light of active social media intervention by pro-Clinton David Brock and his multi-million dollar efforts to ‘Correct The Record.’

The indictment alleges that: “Beginning in or around June 2014, the ORGANIZATION obscured its conduct by operating through a number of Russian entities, including Internet Research LLC, MediaSintez LLC, GlavSet LLC, MixInfo LLC, Azimut LLC, and NovInfo LLC.”

The indictment further alleges that: “The ORGANIZATION sought, in part, to conduct what it called information warfare against the United States of America through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.”

According to the indictment, the co-conspirators “engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

The indictment represents the latest mutation of Russian interference allegations that have dragged on for over a year. As this author previously noted, the definition of Russian interference has shifted from unsubstantiated claims of Russian hacking, to Russian collusion, and finally to Russian social media trolling.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Future Genomics: Don't Edit A Rough Copy When You Can Print A Fresh New One

technologyreview  |  It took Boeke and his team eight years before they were able to publish their first fully artificial yeast chromosome. The project has since accelerated. Last March, the next five synthetic yeast chromosomes were described in a suite of papers in Science, and Boeke says that all 16 chromosomes are now at least 80 percent done. These efforts represent the largest amount of genetic material ever synthesized and then joined together.

It helps that the yeast genome has proved remarkably resilient to the team’s visions and revisions. “Probably the biggest headline here is that you can torture the genome in a multitude of different ways, and the yeast just laughs,” says Boeke.

Boeke and his colleagues aren’t simply replacing the natural yeast genome with a synthetic one (“Just making a copy of it would be a stunt,” says Church). Throughout the organism’s DNA they have also placed molecular openings, like the invisible breaks in a magician’s steel rings. These let them reshuffle the yeast chromosomes “like a deck of cards,” as Cai puts it. The system is known as SCRaMbLE, for “synthetic chromosome recombination and modification by LoxP-mediated evolution.”

The result is high-speed, human-driven evolution: millions of new yeast strains with different properties can be tested in the lab for fitness and function in applications like, eventually, medicine and industry. Mitchell predicts that in time, Sc2.0 will displace all the ordinary yeast in scientific labs.

The ultimate legacy of Boeke’s project could be decided by what genome gets synthesized next. The GP-write group originally imagined that making a synthetic human genome would have the appeal of a “grand challenge.” Some bioethicists disagreed and sharply criticized the plan. Boeke emphasizes that the group will “not do a project aimed at making a human with a synthetic genome.” That means no designer people.

Ethical considerations aside, synthesizing a full human genome—which is over 250 times larger than the yeast genome—is impractical with current methods. The effort to advance the technology also lacks funding. Boeke’s yeast work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and by academic institutions, including partners in China, but the larger GP-write initiative has not attracted major support, other than a $250,000 initial donation from the computer design company Autodesk. Compare that with the Human Genome Project, which enjoyed more than $3 billion in US funding.

Watch The Edge Video, It's About The "Church Approach" To Global Warming

edge  |  I would say that there are two things I’m obsessing about recently. One is global warming and the other is augmentation. Global warming is something that strikes me as an interesting social phenomenon and scientific challenge. From the social side, you’ve got denialism, which, to me, is more important. You have denialism on a bunch of fronts. You've got denial of the Holocaust and evolution, but those aren’t things that necessarily in and of themselves impact our lives. It’s very heartrending and callous that anyone would deny the Holocaust, but as long as they don’t add to that a lot of other racism, nobody’s going to get hurt by it.

I imagine that we could probably populate my company enEvolv, which has evolution in the title, mostly with creationists and they would still get the products out. You just follow a recipe. Even though you’re doing evolution, you don’t need to believe it. Maybe it would help if the very top scientists believed in neo-Darwinism or something. Those are curious things that people fight about and have deep feelings about, but they don’t affect day-to-day life.

Global warming is something that could be catastrophic. You could argue that it’s in the same category because you can’t prove that my life today is worse because of global warming, but it’s something where it could be exponential. The odds are against it, but we don’t even know how to calculate the odds. It’s not like we’re playing blackjack or something like that. There’s more carbon in the Arctic tundra than in the entire atmosphere plus all the rain forests put together. And that carbon, unlike the rain forest where you have to burn the rain forest to release it, goes into the atmosphere as soon as you get melting. It’s already many gigatons per year going up. That’s something that could spiral out of control.

Even for the ultra concerned citizens, almost all the suggestions are not about how to prevent an exponential release, but how to slow down the inevitable. It's like the extinction problem: If you don’t have a way of reversing it, then you’re fighting a losing battle. That’s not psychologically a good thing, it’s hard to get enthusiastic funding for it, and you will ultimately fail. Whether it’s solar panels, or not using your SUVs as much, or not buying SUVs, or having smaller houses—all of these things are slowing down the inevitable. It’s hard to get excited about that.

The other thing that is problematic socially is the whole idea that it’s an "inconvenient truth." To some extent Gore’s phrase is brilliant, but it’s also counterproductive because the people for whom it is inconvenient don’t want to believe it’s inconvenient. People don’t want to give up their SUVs and their steak meals. It would be better to talk about a convenient solution, whether or not that’s the real solution or the best solution, just talk about it so you get acceptance first. You need acceptance before you can get to the best solution.

The other part that makes acceptance difficult is blame. People will say, "It’s not my fault," and that gets confused for "it’s not anybody’s fault." You could make an argument that it’s not your fault because you weren’t around during the Industrial Revolution. You didn’t personally do that much; you’re just one seven billionth of the problem at most. You could make an argument that you’re not personally to blame, but then expanding that to no human being has had anything to do with it is where things go off the tracks. The thing that got us into the position of denial was the blame game. 

You want everybody to be inconvenienced because it’s their fault. That’s two strikes against you.
I don't know if you’ve read The Righteous Mind, but Jon Haidt makes the point that even people who consider themselves very rational are not using a rational argument when making decisions. They’re making decisions and then using the rational argument to rationalize. A lot of what he says sounds obvious once you restate it, but I found the way he says it and backs it up with social science research very illuminating, if not compelling.

The elephant, as he refers to it, the thing that’s making your decisions in your life, is deciding that this person is telling you that you’re responsible for something you don’t feel responsible for. It's telling you that you have to sacrifice many things that you don’t want to sacrifice. From your viewpoint, that person is inconvenient, incorrect, and you’re going to ignore them. The more they insult you and your way of life, the less you’re going to listen to them, and then you’re going to make a bunch of rationalizations about that. This is why we have problems. 

Digital Biological Conversion  |   THE human race has come a very long way in a short amount of time, but what is coming around the corner will change everything we thought we knew about mankind. 

Modern medicine and rapidly advancing technology have seen us greatly evolve from the early days of hunter-gatherers, and now the same factors are working toward seeing the introduction of “superhumans” into our society.

At the core of the development is designer bodies using DNA manipulation and human/AI hybrids, both of which were highlighted during the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Imagine being able to choose if your unborn child will be male or female, their height, weight and even athletic prowess.

Now imagine hacking our memories or making our bodies able to thrive in extreme environments in which survival was previously impossible.

These are both quickly becoming a reality, according to founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School, Juan Enriquez.

Allowing humans to become masters of their DNA is something can be achieved using a gene editing technique known as CRISPR — a simple yet powerful tool used to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function.

“These instruments, like CRISPR, are allowing us to, in real-time, edit life on a grand scale,” he said, according to Futurism. “We are rewriting the sentences of life to our purposes.”

Mr Enriquez said these techniques will soon see us living in a world of “unrandom selection”.
“Instead of letting nature select what lives here, I’m going to select what lives here,” he said. “Science used to be about discovery, now it is about creation.”

The academic said more than being able to create athletes from birth, the technology would greatly increase the amount of lives that could be saved on a daily basis.

“You can make the world’s flu vaccine in a week instead of a year. And by the way, this is no longer theoretical,” Mr Enriquez said.

With the likes of Elon Musk and NASA working toward getting humans to colonise Mars, he said gene editing will play a vital role in this.  Fist tap Big Don.

Leaving Labels Aside For A Moment - Netanyahu's Reality Is A Moral Abomination

This video will be watched in schools and Universities for generations to come, when people will ask the question: did we know what was real...