Sunday, February 23, 2020

Harder I Look At Charles Lieber More Convinced I Become About Kompromat

bloomberg |  On Feb. 6, Charles Lieber was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, making the Harvard nanoscientist just the 30th person in history to achieve the hallowed hat trick at the apex of American science: membership in all three National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

A week earlier, however, he was ushered into a different federal institution in downtown Boston, in handcuffs and an orange jailhouse jumpsuit. He left the federal courthouse after posting $1 million in bail.

Lieber’s arrest on Jan. 28 came in connection with his dealings in China. He hasn’t been charged with any type of economic espionage, intellectual-property theft, or export violations. Instead, he’s accused of lying to U.S. Department of Defense investigators about his work with the People’s Republic—an eye-popping escalation of the Trump administration’s pursuit of scientists and engineers for secretly collaborating with America’s economic rival.

Until now, the government crackdown on undisclosed China ties has ensnared relatively obscure researchers, nearly all of them immigrants from China, in red states such as Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas. But by targeting Lieber, the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department and a veritable ivory tower blue blood, prosecutors struck at the crimson heart of the academic elite, raising fears that globalism, when it comes to doing science with China, is being criminalized. The collateral impact, if it deters Chinese students and researchers from coming to the U.S., threatens the American leadership in science and technology that the Trump administration says it’s trying to protect, academic leaders warn.

According to a government affidavit, signed by a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent named Robert Plumb, Lieber signed at least three agreements with Wuhan Technology University, or WUT, in central China. These included a contract with the state-sponsored Thousand Talents Plan—an effort by Beijing to attract mostly expatriate researchers and their know-how back home—worth a total of about $653,000 a year in pay and living expenses for three years, plus $1.74 million to support a new “Harvard-WUT Nano Key Lab” in Wuhan. The government offered no evidence that Lieber actually received those sums.

In April 2018, when Defense Department investigators asked Lieber about his ties to China, he responded that he was familiar with the Thousands Talents Plan but had never been asked to participate in the program, according to the FBI affidavit. “He also told DoD investigators that he ‘wasn’t sure’ how China categorized him,” the agent wrote.

Lieber also deceived Harvard about his China contracts, the affidavit said. Harvard placed Lieber on administrative leave upon his arrest and issued a statement calling the federal charges “extremely serious.” Lieber’s attorney, Peter Gelhaar, declined to comment.

Whatever extracurricular arrangements Lieber may have had in China, his Harvard lab was a paragon of U.S.-China collaboration. He relied on a pipeline of China’s brightest Ph.D. students and postdocs, often more than a dozen at a time, to produce prize-winning research on the revolutionary potential of so-called nanowires in biomedical implants. Dozens of Lieber’s 100 or so former lab members from China have chosen to stay in the U.S. Many now lead their own nanoscience labs at top universities, including Duke, Georgia Tech, MIT, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

You KNOW There's a Han "Epstein" Up In this "Thousand Talents" Program...,

SCMP |  Lieber’s arrest dovetails with Washington’s aggressive “China Initiative”, which began in 2018. Earlier this month, the Trump administration launched a “whole of society” counter-intelligence strategy to further guard against Beijing “stealing our technology and intellectual property in an effort to erode United States economic and military superiority”, the administration said.

Chinese intellectual property theft costs the United States up to US$600 billion annually, according to US trade representative figures. FBI officials characterise academia as a weak link in their efforts to stem the loss.

“The Chinese government doesn’t play by the same rules of academic fairness and freedom,”
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a speech on February 7. “They’re doing all they can to exploit the openness of our system.”
Academics and legal experts acknowledge the growing threat from China and admit they need more safeguards to avoid becoming a pawn in Beijing’s hands.

But turning universities into fortresses and jealously guarding basic research is counterproductive, threatening to undermine the economic leadership and innovation Washington seeks, they argue.

Academic watchdogs say they have long warned researchers that standards were tightening – foreign talent programmes were, until recently, viewed as prestigious – as Washington’s distrust of Beijing increased. But their warnings were often brushed off, they add.

“The Lieber case has been the biggest help we could possibly get,” said Mary Sue Coleman, the American Association of Universities’ president. “Before the view was, if you’re not a Chinese national, not a naturalised American citizen, it didn’t affect you.”............

FBI agents are investigating an estimated 1,000 China-related cases from its 56 field offices, Wray said, while US attorneys in five cities oversee their prosecutions. Law enforcement authorities have arrested 19 people in such cases since October, compared with 24 the previous year.

Lelling denied any administration bias in choosing which China-related cases to investigate and prosecute. Investigating Lieber’s many Chinese students without specific cause, for example, would be problematic, he said.

“This isn’t racial profiling,” the US attorney said. “You have a rival nation state made up almost 100 per cent of Han Chinese. Unfortunately there’s going to be tremendous overlap. We’re looking for the conduct, then the person.”

Charles Lieber: Betcha Han Elite's Also Bust Down "Two Eggrolls and a Tsingtao"

NationalReview |  U.S. government agencies including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health dole out more than $150 billion in research grants each year. University scientists rely on that money to fund their labs. Because grants can make or break a career, professors spend an inordinate amount of time navigating the funding labyrinth. A 2007 study found that researchers spend 42 percent of their time writing grant proposals and ensuring compliance with the conditions of the grants they receive. Stringent regulations on everything from affirmative action to animal welfare place a needless burden on scientists, reducing their productivity. Since any given proposal has a 20 percent chance of being approved, researchers devote 170 days to proposal-writing for every grant they’re awarded.

In addition to the administrative burden, American funding programs push researchers toward low-risk, low-reward studies. Since papers are evaluated by the number of citations they generate, professors tend to focus on questions that guarantee a meaningful result, rather than taking risks on novel research that might fail. Though the latter is more likely to deliver high gains in the long run, delayed recognition of breakthrough research means that scientists in new fields may have to wait years before they see results, which reduces their ability to attract funding in the interim. A 2016 paper found that “funding decisions which rely on traditional bibliometric indicators . . . may be biased against ‘high risk/high gain’ novel research.” As a result, American scientists tinker at the margins of existing research but rarely attempt breakthroughs. This partially explains the general slowdown of scientific progress over the past few decades.

Enter China. In 2008, the Chinese Communist party (CCP) announced the Thousand Talents Plan (TTP), which was designed to recruit 2,000 high-quality foreign professionals within five to ten years. By 2017, the program had lured 7,000 foreigners — more than triple its target. As part of a broad push to achieve global technological supremacy, China has committed 15 percent of its GDP — equivalent to $2.1 trillion in 2019 — to human-capital development.

 The TTP doesn’t require grant applications or regulatory compliance, either. Faced with a choice between a Byzantine funding apparatus at home and instant cash from China, more than 3,000 university researchers have opted for the latter. In return for that money, the CCP requires its researchers to turn over intellectual property to which they have access, as well as to sign agreements preventing them from disclosing the results of work conducted under Chinese patronage. Some scientists have concluded that those stipulations are worthwhile. And in a perverse sense, it is true that the Chinese system provides a great deal of academic freedom: no applications, no progress reports, no environmental standards. In a few cases, TTP-linked academics have even opened “shadow labs” in China that conduct research identical to what they are doing domestically. The effect is a wholesale transfer of American intellectual capital and property to our largest geostrategic foe.

Dishonesty, Hubris, and Failure in the U.S. Military

theamericanconservative  |   What do you call a civilian law professor who, after successfully filing for federal whistleblower status to keep his job teaching at West Point Military Academy, proceeds to write a bombshell book about the systematic corruption, violence, fraud, and anti-intellectualism he says has been rampant at the historic institution for over a hundred years?

Well, if you are part of the military leadership or an alumnus of the storied military academy, you may call him a traitor.

But if you are anyone searching for reasons why the most powerful military in the world has not won a war in 75 years, you might call him a truth-teller. And a pretty brave one at that.

Tim Bakken’s The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris and Failure in the U.S. Militaryis set for release tomorrow, and it should land like a grenade. Unlike the myriad critiques of the military that wash over the institution from outside the Blob, this one is written by a professor with 20 years on the inside. He knows the instructors, the culture, the admissions process, the scandals, the cover-ups, and how its legendary “warrior-scholars” have performed after graduation and on the battlefield.

Bakken’s prognosis: the military as an institution has become so separate, so insulated, so authoritarian, that it can no longer perform effectively. In fact, it’s worse: the very nature of this beast is that it has been able to grow exponentially in size and mission so that it now conducts destructive expeditionary wars overseas with little or no real cohesive strategy or oversight. Its huge budgets are a source of corporate grift, self-justification, and corruption. The military has become too big, yes, but as Bakkan puts it, it’s failing in every way possible.

In addition to losing wars, “the military’s loyalty to itself and determined separation from society have produced an authoritarian institution that is contributing to the erosion of American democracy,” writes Bakkan, who is still, we emphasize, teaching at the school. “The hubris, arrogance, and self-righteousness of officers have isolated the military from modern thinking and mores. As a result, the military operates in an intellectual fog, relying on philosophy and practices that literally originated at West Point two hundred years ago.”

Why No AntiWar Generals Any More?

Tom Dispatch |  When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars. As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today’s failing wars.

Instead, the principal patriotic dissent against those terror wars has come from retired colonels, lieutenant colonels, and occasionally more junior officers (like me), as well as enlisted service members. Not that there are many of us to speak of either. I consider it disturbing (and so should you) that I personally know just about every one of the retired military figures who has spoken out against America’s forever wars.

The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower, retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis. All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques.

Something must account for veteran dissenters topping out at the level of colonel. Obviously, there are personal reasons why individual officers chose early retirement or didn’t make general or admiral. Still, the system for selecting flag officers should raise at least a few questions when it comes to the lack of antiwar voices among retired commanders. In fact, a selection committee of top generals and admirals is appointed each year to choose the next colonels to earn their first star. And perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that, according to numerous reports, “the members of this board are inclined, if not explicitly motivated, to seek candidates in their own image -- officers whose careers look like theirs.” At a minimal level, such a system is hardly built to foster free thinkers, no less breed potential dissidents.
Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized “surge” in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star.

Mainstream national security analysts reported on this affair at the time as if it were a major scandal, since most of them were convinced that Petraeus and his vaunted counterinsurgency or “COINdinista" protégés and their "new" war-fighting doctrine had the magic touch that would turn around the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Petraeus tried to apply those very tactics twice -- once in each country -- as did acolytes of his later, and you know the results of that.

But here’s the point: it took an eleventh-hour intervention by America’s most acclaimed general of that moment to get new stars handed out to prominent colonels who had, until then, been stonewalled by Cold War-bred flag officers because they were promoting different (but also strangely familiar) tactics in this country’s wars. Imagine, then, how likely it would be for such a leadership system to produce genuine dissenters with stars of any serious sort, no less a crew of future Smedley Butlers.
At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with “professionalization" after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an “all-volunteer force.” The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America’s wars by erasing whatever “skin in the game" most citizens had.
More than just helping to squelch civilian antiwar activism, though, the professionalization of the military, and of the officer corps in particular, ensured that any future Smedley Butlers would be left in the dust (or in retirement at the level of lieutenant colonel or colonel) by a system geared to producing faux warrior-monks. Typical of such figures is current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. He may speak gruffly and look like a man with a head of his own, but typically he’s turned out to be just another yes-man for another war-power-hungry president.

One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they’re opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't “listen enough to military advice” on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day.

Friday, February 21, 2020

DAYYUM!!! Not Even Worth "Two Piece and a Biscuit" No Mo....,

libertyblitzkreig |  “Happy 18th Birthday! Meet your new Daddy,” read one website advertisement. “Do you have strong oral skills? We’ve got a job for you!” cooed another.

A message on another billboard directed at the “daddies” was more blunt: “The alternative to escorts. Desperate women will do anything”…

SeekingArrangement was founded by Las Vegas tech tycoon Brandon Wade. Wade is apparently worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million. His motto is, “Love is a concept invented by poor people”…

SA also markets itself as an antidote to student debt. In the U.S. and elsewhere, college students are enduring financial instability and hardship. Because of rising college fees and rent, and the lack of time available for work during studies, many women are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. “ has helped facilitate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of arrangements that have helped students graduate debt-free,” Wade boasts on the website. Promotional videos show young, beautiful women enrolled in “Sugar Baby University” — in classrooms, holding wads of cash, driving luxury cars, and discussing the pleasure and ease of being a sugar baby.

When signing up for an account, potential sugar babies are told, “Tip: Using a .edu email address earns you a free upgrade!”
TruthDig: Sugar-Coated Pimping

The Power of Billionaire Narrative Control

medium |  The billionaire class has to buy up narrative control because there is nothing about plutocracy that is sane or healthy; people would never knowingly consent to it unless they were manipulated into doing so. Because power is relative, and because money is power in a plutocracy, plutocrats are naturally incentivized to maintain a system where everyone else is kept as poor as possible so that they can have as much relative power as possible. A glance at what the Sanders campaign has been able to accomplish just with small-dollar donations and grassroots support gives you some insight into why these plutocrats want people working long, exhausting hours with as little spare income as possible.

Nobody would ever knowingly consent to being kept poor and busy just so some billionaires can live as modern-day kings, so they need to be propagandized into it via narrative manipulation. If you’ve ever wondered why it seems like the news man is always lying to you, that’s why.

Whenever I write about the power of plutocratic propaganda, I always get people saying I’m just a conspiracy theorist (and that I have an awful addiction to alliteration). They argue that sure, it’s possible to influence public opinion a bit, but people are free agents and they make up their own minds based on any number of potential factors, so it’s silly to focus on media manipulation as the underlying cause of all the world’s ills.

Oh yeah? If people can’t be manipulated by the wealthy into supporting agendas which don’t benefit them, how come a billionaire presidential candidate was able to quadruple or quintuple his polling numbers in three months just by throwing money at them?

And that’s just one agenda of just one billionaire. There are 607 billionaires in the United States. And none of them are interested in giving up their plutocratic throne.

Bloomberg is the Mechanism for Blacks to Vote Their Fears and Not Our Aspirations

BAR |  Bloomberg threw his hat and billions into the race when it became clear that corporate surrogates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg could not be depended on to halt Bernie Sanders, the purported socialist who now leads the Democratic pack. Joe Biden’s aura of electability, which was always a media-invented mirage, evaporated when he collapsed into the basement in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Black voters of South Carolina are his only hope for resurrection. But Blacks don’t back Biden for ideological reasons, or even on the strength of his service as Barack Obama’s number two. Older (and scarier) African Americans were under the impression that Biden was the Democrat best equipped to beat Trump – but it turns out he can’t even beat previously unknown Democrats.

“Joe Biden’s aura of electability, which was always a media-invented mirage, evaporated when he collapsed into the basement in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Some of those Black Biden supporters will now switch to Bloomberg, believing he is the one Democrat rich enough to drown Trump in November. Blacks don’t vote their own ideological preferences in Democratic primaries. Rather, many will support whomever they perceive as the strongest opponent against the White Man’s Party, the Republicans. That invariably means the Democrat favored by corporations and their media. Thus, the duopoly system effectively negates the core political aspirations of Black America, the most left-leaning constituency in the nation. The duopoly is a trap that neutralizes independent, progressive Black politics – a mechanism to force Blacks to vote their fears, rather than their aspirations.

However, as BAR senior columnist Margaret Kimberley points out in this issue, there are threats to Black lives and rights even worse than the flaming orange racist now squatting in the White House. As three-term mayor of New York City, Bloomberg increased the frequency of his predecessor Rudolph Giuliani’s stop-and-frisks by 700 percent . Although real estate magnate Donald Trump infamously called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, it was Mayor Bloomberg who for years delayed payment  of a $41 million settlement to the grievously wronged young Black men. And Bloomberg was the nation’s most aggressive, unrepentant ethnic cleanser, gleefully removing more Black and brown people from the city’s five boroughs than any of his predecessors. 

“The duopoly is a mechanism to force Blacks to vote their fears, rather than their aspirations.”

Glenn Dubin: Epstein Confidente, Patron of Modern Art, Politics, and Little White Girls

unz |  But perhaps the most shocking decision made by MoMA was to name a new gallery in its $400 million dollar expansion after Glenn Dubin, another trustee and a Wall Street figure who has been accused by multiple people under oath of being a child-molester who aided Jeffrey Epstein. MoMA, for all the “wokeness” Jews and feminist whackjobs who specialize in peddling abstract art promote, has refused to break their ties to benefactor Dubin. Democratic Presidential contender Pete Buttigieg has also ignored calls to return donations from Dubin and his wife.

In the plutocratic hedonistic tyranny of America, it is more controversial to be an associate of an accused “Nazi” than it is to be closely linked to an international trafficker of kids.

Glenn Dubin, Accused Child Rapist
Dubin’s relationship to now deceased co-tribal Jeffrey Epstein is disturbingly intimate. Dubin’s current wife, a Swedish social climber named Eva Andersson, got her start as a 17-year-old model in New York City who later became Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend by 1981. Epstein and Andersson were together until he met Ghislaine Maxwell in 1991, and he personally paid for her to attend medical school.

By 1994, Andersson got married to Dubin, but continued to speak to Epstein every day on the phone, allowing her to become ingratiated in his network of Jewish criminals and powerful Gentile servants. Epstein also became closely acquainted with Dubin, and was considered a “godfather” to the family’s children.

Epstein had a special eye for one of the Dubin children, Celina, who he personally mentored since the age of 12. The Palm Beach Post reported after Epstein’s death that at the age of 61 he even tried to marry 19-year-old Celina, who for years referred to him as “Uncle Jeff.” The dynamic between Epstein and Glenn Dubin, the latter who apparently had no issue with his wife’s ex-boyfriend not only hanging around but wanting to prey on his daughter, is peculiar to say the least.

Dubin’s Highbridge Capital and Epstein tossed big money back and fourth to each other in the stock market for years, but the real controversy Dubin finds himself in is in relation to the lawsuit put into motion by former Epstein child sex-slave, Virginia Giuffre. According to her 2016 deposition, Giuffre alleged that Dubin was the first man she was forced to have sex with after being recruited at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort by Maxwell at the age of 15.

Her implication of Dubin was substantiated by testimony from his butler, Rinaldo Rizzo and his chef wife. According to Rizzo’s tearful account of events, he and his wife often saw random underage girls coming in and out of the Dubin residence. In one incident, Eva Andersson brought a 15-year-old Swedish girl into the kitchen claiming that she was a new au pair, and briefly left her alone with Rizzo. The house manager made casual small talk, asking her what she did for the Dubins, only to get the answer that she was Dubin’s “personal assistant.”

Rizzo did not believe it, as the girl was 15. When he pressed her on the topic, she began to shake uncontrollably and cry, admitting that she was being raped but was being threatened by Maxwell and Epstein into silence.

Rizzo and his wife soon quit their job in indignation following this exchange, even though Rizzo was a longtime employee of the Dubins.

Who but the rich and Jew-connected could retain their position as a prominent internist at Mount Sinai Hospital or on the medical facility’s board (which Dubin retains) after being merely accused of such monstrous behavior? Dr. Eva Andersson continues to work at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City since it is financed by her husband, partially with Epstein’s money.
Compare the insolence of continuing to give leadership roles and honorable titles to the sullied names of this Jewish billionaire and his wife at a hospital where hundreds of thousands women and girls pass through with the phony outrage performed by St. Judes Hospital when they returned a $27,000 dollar donation from Ethan Ralph and his fans because the Wall Street Journal called them “racist.” Virtue signaling is an oligarchy’s Fabreze to mask true moral stink – the more flowery it smells, the more extreme the rot.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Let Elites Decide..., (peep the url, WaPo changed the title in response to backlash)

WaPo | Julia Azari is an associate professor and assistant chair in the Department of Political Science at Marquette University. This is the third op-ed in a series about how to improve the presidential nominating process.

Only a fraction of the Democratic primary electorate has voted so far, but the nomination season is off to a rocky start. Independent Bernie Sanders seems to be leading in popular votes, while upstart Pete Buttigieg is ahead in the delegate count. And there’s also the question of whether either one — or any of the other candidates — can bring the party together moving forward.

The current process is clearly flawed, but what would be better? Finding an answer means thinking about the purpose of presidential nominations, and about how the existing system falls short. It will require swimming against the tide of how we’ve thought about nominations for decades — as a contest between everyday voters and elites, or as a smaller version of a general election. A better primary system would empower elites to bargain and make decisions, instructed by voters.

One lesson from the 2020 and 2016 election cycles is that a lot of candidates, many of whom are highly qualified and attract substantial followings, will inevitably enter the race. The system as it works now — with a long informal primary, lots of attention to early contests and sequential primary season that unfolds over several months — is great at testing candidates to see whether they have the skills to run for president. What it’s not great at is choosing among the many candidates who clear that bar, or bringing their different ideological factions together, or reconciling competing priorities. A process in which intermediate representatives — elected delegates who understand the priorities of their constituents — can bargain without being bound to specific candidates might actually produce nominees that better reflect what voters want.

Stacey Abrams: Poster Child for Responsible Kneegrows for Bloomberg

wsws |  In an appearance Monday on ABC’s “The View” program, the prominent black Democrat Stacey Abrams brushed aside the right-wing, racist record of Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, telling the show’s hosts that the billionaire oligarch’s entry into the race was positive since “for once we actually know where the money is coming from.”

The former New York City mayor, who served two terms as a Republican and one as an independent, and who backed George W. Bush in 2004, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars from his $60 billion fortune into his campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, or at least secure enough delegates to block Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at the party’s nominating convention in July.

Asked whether she thought it was an issue that Bloomberg was spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a frontrunner spot in the primary elections, Abrams replied that this was no different than a candidate using his or her pet on the campaign trail to attract voters.

“Every person is allowed to run and should run the race that they think they should run, and Mike Bloomberg has chosen to use his finances. Other people are using their dog, their charisma, their whatever,” she said. “I think it’s an appropriate question to raise. But I don’t think it’s disqualifying for anyone to invest in fixing America.”

She was also asked about the fact that her political action committee, Fair Fight Action, had received $5 million from Bloomberg, the largest donation the group has received since it was founded in 2018. Queried as to whether the donation had any influence on her political views, she replied, “I am grateful to any person who contributes to Fair Fight. We have more than one hundred thousand contributors. His check just had a few more zeros on it.”

Bloomberg met with Abrams in Atlanta in January and gave a closed-door speech to a voting rights summit that she hosted.

The minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017 and defeated 2018 gubernatorial candidate, Abrams is widely seen as a leading pick for vice president by whichever candidate wins the Democratic nomination. She has been courted by former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised her name as a possible running mate in November.

Fauxahontas Came for Lil'Mike "Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth"

NYPost |  Mike Bloomberg’s millions in campaign spending flew right out the window Wednesday night.

The billionaire’s self-bankrolled presidential bid was torn to shreds in the opening minutes of Wednesday’s Democratic debate as his opponents skewered him for his checkered past on sexual harassment and his record on stop-and-frisk.

Each candidate on the Las Vegas stage attacked Bloomberg right out of the gate, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren made the former Big Apple mayor visibly squirm and roll his eyes in frustration.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians,'” she said from the Paris Theater.

“And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”

Bloomberg, 78, started to surge in national and state polls after pouring hundreds of millions of dollars of his personal fortune into a slick campaign with catered campaign events and wall-to-wall TV ads.

Q-Anon and the 2020 Presidential Election

wired |  When the notorious online forum 8chan was forced off the internet in August, after being linked to acts of violence including the Christchurch shooting, it looked like a blow to the Qanon conspiracy movement, which had made 8chan its virtual home. Rather than fade away, though, 8chan's Qanon posters migrated to other platforms, where they’re still trying to use social media to influence elections.

The two most popular new homes for Qanon followers are Endchan and 8chan's successor 8kun. In late 2019, Qanon followers on Endchan used Twitter to influence governors' races in Kentucky and Louisiana, posting tweets and memes in favor of Republican candidates and attacking their opponents. They analyzed social media conversations, including popular hashtags, to decide where and how to weigh in. Both Republicans lost in close elections. Now, Qanon adherents are employing the same tactics on the 2020 presidential race.

"We need memes that are funny and mocking of the democrat candidates, but also that are informative and revealing about their policies that are WRONG for the United States of America and the American people,” wrote a poster in a thread titled "Meme War 2020" on 8kun in November 2019. “We also need memes that are PRO-TRUMP, that explain how his policies are RIGHT for the United States of America and the American people, and that can debunk the smears and attacks that are no doubt going to come at POTUS.. again, and again."

Qanon followers have cultivated connections over social media with key Trump allies. President Trump himself has retweeted Qanon-linked accounts at least 72 times, including 20 times in one day in December 2019. Other influential Trump allies also promoted Qanon-linked accounts. For example, on December 23, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani retweeted @QAnonWomen4Rudy (the bio of which reads "Patriotic Ladies supporting the sexiest man alive").

The Qanon conspiracy theory is based on the belief that Trump and a mysterious individual known as “Q” are battling against a powerful cabal of elite pedophiles in the media and Democratic Party. Q supposedly communicated with their followers through encoded posts known as ”Q drops” on the quasi-anonymous forum 8chan. After 8chan was taken down, Q, or someone using the Q persona, resumed posting on 8kun.

Beginning early last year, Qanon followers more explicitly embraced concepts of “information warfare,” efforts to shape narratives and people’s beliefs to influence events. The Russian interference in the US elections in 2016 has been described as information warfare. In a February 2019 thread titled "Welcome to Information Warfare" on Endchan's Qanon research forum, a poster exhorted fellow users to "[g]et ready for a new phase in the battle anons: the fight to take back the narrative from the [mainstream media].” Now, Qanon users are trying to wield the same tactics to shape the political narrative for 2020.

American Infodemic Governance Challenges: The Q Phenomenon Persists

americanthinker |  We’re living in dramatic times that are difficult to understand. One way to try to interpret them is through the cryptic clues provided by Q, which appear on an anonymous online forum and imply top-secret knowledge of upcoming events.
As I wrote in my article “An Introduction to Q,” “Q’s followers believe that Q is a military intelligence operation, the first of its kind, whose goal is to provide the public with secret information… Q is a new weapon in the game of information warfare, bypassing a hostile media and corrupt government to communicate directly with the public.” It’s interesting to note that shortly after my article was published here, American Thinker suffered a series of unprecedented hacking attempts. Also noteworthy is that Twitter permanently shut down the account of Zero Hedge, a popular finance blog, two weeks after it posted my article.
President Trump continues to bring attention to Q, repeatedly retweeting Q followers, featuring Q fans in his ad campaign, and making a public display of a “Q baby” at a rally. Yet the media never asks Trump the obvious question: What do you think about Q?
Instead, the media keeps ratcheting up its attacks on Q and the ever-growing worldwide movement that Q inspires. On February 9, both the AP and New York Times published blistering anti-Q articles, claiming that Q promotes baseless, debunked far right conspiracies and accusing Q of inciting violence in deranged followers. The day before this latest media ambush, a massive cyber assault temporarily brought down 8kun, the message board on which Q posts. Ron Watkins, 8kun’s administrator, tweeted,
“Attacks have been coming in all day. Very sophisticated and expensive attacks; the person paying for this likely has deep pockets.”
At the same time that 8kun was attacked, X22 Report, which covers Q postings, also was bombarded. On its Twitter feed, the site wrote it was “being attacked from 54 different countries using hundreds of different IP addresses, I have never seen anything like it.”
On February 12, in response to these events, Q posted, “Highly sophisticated ‘State-level’ attacks [v 8kun] followed by FAKE NEWS attacks [v Q] the next day? Coordinated? Ask yourself a simple question - - why? It’s time to wake up.”
In almost 4,000 posts, Q has painted a disturbing, multi-faceted portrait of a global crime syndicate that operates with impunity.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Infodemic Insight: Reading Between the Lines in China

asiamediacentre |  As a former daily newspaper editor in China, I have learnt how to identify useful hidden information from the lengthy official statements. Unfortunately, this is not a skill that everyone gets the opportunity to develop.

I still remember when, at the beginning of 1997, a series of official statements on Deng Xiaoping’s health situation was delivered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC.

As a high school student at that time, I noticed there was something unusual behind the wording of the last statement, ‘As an older man in his nineties, his (Deng Xiaoping’s) health situation is still okay’.

On 19 February 1997, Deng's death was announced.

Ordinary people should not be expected to have text analysis skills to read between the lines of news reports in any given scenario. But in this case, my background and abilities helped my family escape from uncertainty and threats we might have encountered had we not left China early.

In the official language system, what has been emphasised is what has been missing and needs to be solved. Below is another example.

On 3 February 2020, President Xi Jinping held a PRC Politburo Standing Committee meeting. News coverage from the official Xinhua News Agency, shows four key points were emphasised:
 – Stop the spread of the virus
 –  Local governments must strictly follow orders and instructions from the central government.
 –  Focus on the key areas, which include Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province.
 –  Do everything possible to save the infected patients, reduce the infection rate and mortality rate.

There was no sign of optimism in the report.

Ten days after that meeting, Jiang Chaoliang, the Communist Party Secretary of Hubei Province was sacked; as was Ma Guoqiang, the Communist Party Secretary of Wuhan City.

It’s almost impossible to know when this indirect style of official statements was established in China. But if anyone wants to figure out what’s really going on, they should try analyse changes in the official text rather than pouring over social media.

Infodemic Incompetence: Han Elite Propaganda Effort Seriously Backfires

quartz |  A video intended as a tribute to China’s female medical workers backfired as people instead vented their frustration over the way Chinese state-owned media outlets use women as tools for propaganda.

The video, posted by Gansu Daily, a government-owned newspaper in Gansu province, showed over a dozen mask-wearing female nurses, who were weeping as their hair was shaved off. They were about to be sent to Hubei, the Chinese province worst hit by the coronavirus, where they would help treat patients. The video attempted to paint the women as “the most beautiful warriors” who fight the epidemic, praising their bravery as they sacrificed their hair so they could better wear protective gear when treating patients. But instead, the video was met with largely angry comments on China’s Twitter-like social network Weibo.

Many critics said that the way the nurses were treated was humiliating, not complimentary of their bravery. In one scene, a nurse averts her gaze so that she doesn’t have to see her newly cut-off ponytail in her hairdresser’s hands. In another shot, some female nurses had tears rolling down their faces after their haircut.

The video has now been deleted after the online backlash.

“In the video, the people who shaved the women’s heads grabbed their ponytails roughly and just started shaving their hair using electronic clippers. Are you treating them as humans or some animals waiting to be shaved? I am so angry that my mind’s gone blank,” said a user (link in Chinese) on Weibo yesterday (Feb. 17), when the video started trending on the network.

“If you didn’t tell me they were medical workers, I would have thought they were some evil criminals who were going through this serious humiliation… Even their tears are used by the authorities to try to touch the audience, making them the illustration of the spirit of collectivism,” wrote Chen Mashu, an author for “Epoch Story,” an account on messaging app WeChat that publishes analyses and first-person accounts of social affairs.

What I Gathered From This TLDR UFO Article In Popular Mechanics (Right Up Top)

popularmechanics |  In June 2019, the Office of Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s office, confirmed that closed door meetings on UAP have occured. More recently, last December, when asked by Conway Daily Sun reporter Daymond Steer about the Navy UAP encounters, recent presidential candidate and current member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Michael Bennet, was cautious in saying he wouldn’t share anything he’d learned on the Intelligence Committee. However, Bennet said, “Our guys are seeing stuff that’s unidentified. They don’t know what it is, I don’t know what it is … We’re trying to learn more about it. The Air Force is trying to learn more about it.” 

Popular Mechanics has since learned in October 2019, staffers with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Armed Service Committee were briefed on current UAP issues. According to people with knowledge of these briefings, some former BAASS contractors and current AATIP leadership were in attendance. 

Insiders also say this past year, during a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brigadier General Richard Stapp, Director of the DoD Special Access Program Central Office, testified the mysterious objects being encountered by the military were not related to secret U.S. technology. The Pentagon did not respond to requests by Popular Mechanics to confirm Stapp’s testimony before the Intelligence Committee.

In only the second time publicly discussing the event, Popular Mechanics spoke with the Navy fighter pilot who was Cdr. David Fravor’s wingman during the now-famous 2004 Nimitz UFO encounter. Agreeing to talk only under the condition of anonymity, the fighter pilot confirmed they testified in front of congressional leadership about their encounter. “I’ve been requested repeatedly to go to the Pentagon and asked, ‘Is this what you saw?’.” 

During a series of email exchanges, Popular Mechanics provided specific information to Gough, the Pentagon spokesperson, in an effort to see if this might influence the DoD’s current position. Initially, Gough said she would examine the information and see if she could provide a statement in response. However, Gough has not responded to repeated follow-up requests from Popular Mechanics.

Salvatore Cezar Pais and His Weird-Assed Navy Patents

popularmechanics |  The elusive engineer behind several highly unusual patents, filed on behalf of the U.S. Navy, has broken his silence and finally spoken to the media. Salvatore Cezar Pais responded to emails sent by The War Zone, but his answers bring us no closer to how the technology behind the patents, which involve fusion power and other exotic tech, came about.

Dr. Pais, formerly an aerospace engineer with Naval Air Systems Command/ Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division and now at the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, recently achieved notoriety with the publication of patents involving compact fusion reactor energy—truly wild stuff that stretches the limits of science—and a “hybrid aerospace-underwater craft.”

The two technologies combined could theoretically create a “UFO”-like craft similar to the one seen by U.S. Navy pilots in 2004 and 2014-15. Although highly unusual, Naval Air Systems’ Chief Technology Officer James Sheehy assured the U.S. Patent Technology Office (USPTO) that the technology behind them was indeed real, and that some aspects were already undergoing testing.

Pais recently published a paper in EEE Transactions on Plasma Science titled, “The Plasma Compression Fusion Device—Enabling Nuclear Fusion Ignition.” The device is essentially a fusion reactor, the holy grail of energy research. Fusion reactors promise cheap, limitless energy without complications of nuclear power—particularly nuclear meltdowns and the generation of nuclear waste. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Lot Like the Colorado Drone Swarms: Mass Hysteria, Infodemic, Nothing to See Here, Move Along...,

charleshughsmith |  Here's a sampling of complacent assertions being made about the COVID-19 virus as if they were certitudes:
It's no worse than a bad cold.
It's less deadly than a normal flu.
You can't catch it unless you're in sustained close contact with a carrier.
Carriers are only contagious for 14 days. After that, you're home free.
A vaccine is just around the corner.
The Chinese government has it under control.
Only 2,000 people have died, it's no big deal.
The few cases in other countries are being managed, and it will soon disappear.
The pandemic will fade away by April due to rising temperatures.
China's GDP will only take a 1% hit, and global growth will only drop 0.25%.
Interestingly, there is no large-scale, credible data to support any of these claims. But the complacent are not just falling for false claims being passed off as "facts" rather than what they really are--magical thinking--they're making a much larger error known as Survivorship Bias.

U.S. Elites Sold Out America to Han Elites and Continue To Do So

NYTimes |  Maybe the medical authorities in China didn’t report more infections previously because they couldn’t — because, say, they were short of reliable test kits (which they were). It’s possible that the numbers were fudged. But maybe they weren’t, or not as much as some people seem to fear. The change in criteria for what counts as an infection may indicate, not so much nefarious evidence of a cover-up now exposed, but the struggles of a local health care system overwhelmed by a sudden and colossal medical crisis.

Last Thursday, the Hubei authorities also reported a leap in the new daily tally of deaths: 242, compared with 94 for Wednesday. That’s a big jump, but not nearly as big as the increase in the number of newly infected people over the same period. Which could be a cause for some measure of relief: The disease’s lethality would seem to have decreased or be lower than was previously thought. Yet that’s not the takeaway likely to have prevailed.

Some of the reporting has amounted to a set of contradictory pronouncements, confusing at best. Journalists could display more critical distance and a modicum of skepticism toward the data they relay, instead of turning the media coverage into a hall of mirrors.

One major problem is the doing of no one in particular. The story about the coronavirus’s spread is evolving quickly, with medical authorities in China and elsewhere disclosing figures daily (or more often), and the media reporting the information immediately to satisfy the fast-paced, staccato rhythms of publishing cycles. But up-to-the-minute, blow-by-blow accounts of hard data can create mistaken impressions about the underlying facts, even if both the data and the accounts are accurate.

Last Thursday, a surge in the number of infections was reported, because of that change in official criteria. On Monday, China announced a drop in the number of new cases for the third consecutive day. Now what should we make of that?

Constant on-the-nose reporting, however much it seems to serve transparency, has limitations, too.
It’s a short-term, and shortsighted, approach that’s difficult to resist, especially when people are afraid and the authorities are taking draconian actions. It’s only natural to compare and contrast whatever hard facts are available. And yet it’s especially dangerous to do that precisely because people are so anxious, and fear can trick the mind.

A view from a loftier perch — a month’s, or even just a week’s, perspective — would, and will, produce far more reliable information.