August 9, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 9:20 PM


Posted by orrinj at 9:10 PM


Ohio man charged with threatening to shoot Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, illegally stockpiling ammunition (CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, AUG 09, 2019, New York Daily News)

An Ohio man was slammed with criminal charges Friday for threatening New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and stockpiling illegal ammunition in his home, according to prosecutors.

Federal agents raided Tim Ireland's Toledo home on Thursday and arrested him after learning he had posted on Facebook that Ocasio-Cortez "should be shot," prosecutors said.

Posted by orrinj at 6:42 PM


Open Borders Made America Great: For most of U.S. history, all immigrants were undocumented. It's a fact Democrats should embrace. (AARON FREEDMAN, August 9, 2019, New Republic)

For the first century of its existence, the United States had completely open borders. Though it is now derided as a far-left fantasy, in the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth century, the idea of someone simply coming into a new country and starting a life there, without any papers whatsoever, was eminently normal.

In fact, it was desirable. While early American politicians hotly debated how and when immigrants could become U.S. citizens, there were no serious attempts to limit migration itself for decades. Even George Mason, a supporter of greater restrictions on naturalization, declared that he was "for opening a wide door for emigrants." 

And wide that door was. In 1850, the first year that information on native birth was collected by the U.S. Census, America had 2.2 million immigrants--roughly 10 percent of the overall population. These undocumented immigrants, taking advantage of an open border, became essential to the fabric of American society, and even the presidency--among them was the English, immigrant mother of Woodrow Wilson.

Open borders for people of color came to an end in 1875, with the passage of the Page Act, effectively prohibiting the entry of Chinese women, followed by 1882's Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned men as well. Passed amid racist fearmongering, the limits on Chinese immigration set the precedent for the restrictive, abusive, and dehumanizing way all nonwhite immigrants have be treated by the U.S. ever since.

But for white men, open borders remained very much real. While the U.S. did pass laws affecting white immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, they were fairly limited: Collecting a small tax from migrants upon arrival, banning "lunatics" and carriers of infectious disease, and stopping anyone "unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge." Even when a literacy test was introduced in 1917, it could be administered in the migrant's native language.

Effectively, U.S. immigration policy into the 1920s said that if you were a white, able-bodied man, the border was open.

And through that border came record numbers of migrants. In 1890, immigrants as a share of the population peaked at 14.8 percent. And this era--from the 1870s to the 1920s--was not just one of rising undocumented immigration, but of a skyrocketing standard of living, as well. Life expectancy shot up, infant mortality declined, cities got electricity and plumbing, and workers began to win 40-hour hour work weeks and weekends off.

Posted by orrinj at 6:30 PM


Why Moscow is ready to fight for independent politicians: In the Russian capital, administrative wrangling by the Moscow authorities has provoked mobilisation from below - capitalising on long-held discontent by city residents. (Alexander Zamyatin, 9 August 2019, OpenDemocracy)

In defiance of expectations, this year's elections to the Moscow City Council have turned into a chain of political scandals and street protests. And in response, large-scale protest actions have been held in the city centre since mid-July. Public meetings with independent candidates running for the council on 27 July and 3 August ended in protesters being detained en masse (1,373 people on 27 July and 1,001 people on 3 August, according to OVD-Info), paralysing police stations and district courts.

The authorities are calling these events "mass riots", accusing the opposition of attempting a "state coup" and trying to scare Muscovites with chaotic arrests, interrogations and searches. For many city residents, this counter-campaign doesn't look particularly convincing: the contradictions of the Russian regime lie at the core of these protests, and exceed the ambitions of individual candidates.

The protesters' principal demand is to allow candidates, who aren't aligned with either the Moscow Mayor's Office or political parties, to participate in the city council elections. At the beginning of July, the city's district election commissions refused to register two dozen independent candidates according to a series of absurd reasons. This provoked disbelief from Muscovites. According to the commissions, some registration documents were missing signatures from handwriting analyses. Other commissions made intentional mistakes when checking the personal information of supporting signatories against Interior Ministry databases. And others simply made new, incorrect documents.

Appeals at higher election commissions has only made supporters more angry. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:25 PM


JPMorgan Chase has an AI copywriter that writes better ads than humans can (Michelle Cheng, August 7, 2019, Quartz)

In another sign that the future of work is already here, JPMorgan Chase has signed a five-year deal with a software startup that uses artificial intelligence to write marketing copy, following a successful pilot with the technology.

In tests, JPMorgan Chase found that Persado's machine-learning tool crafted better ad copy than its own writers could muster, as measured by the higher click rates--more than double in some case--on digital ads for Chase cards and mortgages. In one such matchup, an ad written by a human read, "Access cash from the equity in your home." The more successful version, from Persado, read, "It's true--You can unlock cash from the equity in your home." 

When a machine takes his job it's good economics; when it takes yours it's time for UBI:

Posted by orrinj at 5:19 PM


Jeffrey Epstein Accuser Names Powerful Men in Alleged Sex Ring (Kate Briquelet, Katie Baker, Justin Miller, Pilar Melendez, Tracy Connor, 08.09.19, Daily Beast)

Virginia Giuffre, who says that Epstein and Maxwell trafficked her to powerful people for erotic massages and sex, claimed in depositions in 2016 that Maxwell directed her to have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Britain's Prince Andrew (whom she has accused before), wealthy financier Glenn Dubin, former senator George Mitchell, now-deceased MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, and modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, as well as "another prince," a "foreign president," a well-known prime minsiter" and the owner of a "large hotel chain" in France.

Posted by orrinj at 4:07 PM


Armed Trump supporter detained and released at El Paso immigrant center (Brandy Zadrozny, 9/08/19, NBC News)

An armed Trump supporter was detained and released by police Wednesday outside a community space for immigrants in El Paso, Texas, days after a mass shooting that killed 22 people at a Walmart in the border town.

Witnesses said they called police after Thomas Bartram, 21, made threatening comments to people and brandished a knife while sitting in his truck outside the community center Casa Carmelita. His truck was emblazoned with pro-Trump banners and bumper stickers promoting InfoWars, a far-right conspiracy website and radio show. [...]

Reached by phone, Bartram said he often went to Trump rallies, but said he tried to be respectful of the high tensions in El Paso following the shootings -- though he said he could not rule out the possibility that the massacre had been a "false flag" perpetrated by the government.

Posted by orrinj at 4:01 PM


Walmart removing violent video game displays from stores and reviewing gun sale policies (Kelly Tyko, 9/08/19, USA TODAY)

Following two shootings inside its stores, Walmart is removing violent video game displays and signs from stores, the retailer confirmed Thursday.

It's the damnedest thing, studies show there's no link between games and shooting--except maybe the former being associated with a reduction in the latter--but a 100% link between guns and shootings.

Posted by orrinj at 3:57 PM


Pro-Doxxing Cyberbully Joaquin Castro Once Praised Passage Of A Texas Law Aimed At Preventing... Cyberbulling (Sister Toldjah, 8/09/19, Red State)

Earlier this week, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) sparked outrage and backlash among Republicans after doxxing private citizens in his Congressional district who made the maximum donation to President Trump's reelection campaign. 

We can all agree with the Right that this public information the donors are and should be ashamed of.  If you don't want to be associated with a racist don't fund him

Posted by orrinj at 2:26 PM


Posted by orrinj at 2:16 PM


Trump is drafting an order to regulate Facebook and Twitter for bias (Russell Brandom,  Aug 9, 2019, The Verge)

The White House has drafted an ambitious new proposal to regulate social media platforms, with the aim of combating perceived bias against conservatives, according to a new report from CNN. The proposal, some details of which were previously reported by Politico, would call on the FCC to develop new regulations concerning how social media platforms are allowed to moderate their users.

The FTC, which typically focuses on consumer protection issues, would also be required to maintain a public complaint docket for users who believe their rights have been infringed by online moderation. Those complaints could be used as grounds for an FTC lawsuit against a platform like Facebook, if the platform's behavior was found to injure consumers.

Posted by orrinj at 2:13 PM


As With Trump, Ocasio-Cortez's Bid to Block Twitter Users Is Likely to Lose in Court (GianCarlo Canaparo & Christina Eastman, 8/09/19, Daily Signal)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday laid out her defense to a lawsuit aimed at stopping her from blocking Twitter users from her personal Twitter account. 

The lawsuit arises out a similar one that President Donald Trump lost last month.

In the case against the president, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held that "the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees." 

Because Trump uses his personal account "as a channel for communicating and interacting with the public about his administration," blocking users violates the users' First Amendment right to participate in the "interactive space" created by the president's Twitter account.

Posted by orrinj at 7:22 AM


Why Mass Murderers May Not Be Very Different From You or Me: Most of them are not mentally ill. They are just filled with hate -- and well armed. (Richard A. Friedman, Aug. 8, 2019, NY Times)

One of the largest studies of mass killers, conducted by Dr. Michael Stone and involving 350 people, found that only 20 percent had a psychotic illness; the other 80 percent had no diagnosable mental illness -- just the everyday stress, anger, jealousy and unhappiness the rest of us have.

Likewise, an F.B.I. study of active shooters between 2000 and 2013 found that only 25 percent had ever received a psychiatric diagnosis and just 5 percent had a psychotic illness.

(Some of my psychiatric colleagues like to point out that mass killers commonly have histories of being physically and sexually abused. Sure, but given the prevalence of such abuse in America, it seems obvious that a vast majority of traumatized people do not turn into mass killers.)

Still, the clear implication of these findings is that people in the grip of ordinary emotion are capable of carrying out heinous acts of violence; you don't need to have a mental illness to be a "monster." [...]

The scary truth is that ordinary human hatred and aggression are far more dangerous than any psychiatric illness. Just think of the many people driven to mass murder because they were fired by employers or dumped by girlfriends. In all likelihood, they were not mentally ill but simply full of rage -- and well armed.

...than our hope that Donald and his followers are just crazy.
Posted by orrinj at 7:12 AM


DOJ: Child Porn Suspect Also Shared 'Hunting Guide' Targeting Jews, Muslims (Alberto Luperon, August 8th, 2019, Law & Crime)

Federal records show that Wesley David Gilreath, 29, is only charged with possession of child pornography as of Thursday afternoon, but officials detailed other allegations against him. The FBI was investigating information that the defendant posted a "Montana Hunting Guide," authorities said. They had received a tip that someone was posting "hunting guides" regarding Jewish and Muslim people, as well as a refugee center, facilities for the Bureau of Land Management, and the Montana National Guard, according to the complaint (h/t KDVR).

Posted by orrinj at 7:06 AM

60-40 NATION:

Poll: Even Republicans Want McConnell To Pass Gun Safety In Senate (Dan Desai Martin August 8, 2019, National Memo)

A solid 67 percent of Americans want the Senate to pass the universal background check bill passed by the House of Representatives. That figure includes a majority of Republicans (59 percent), Democrats (79 percent), and independents (53 percent).

All of the most extreme proposals that Republicans believe will sink the Democrats are supported by 60-80% of Americans.

Posted by orrinj at 6:54 AM


Trump and his aides apparently view his post-shootings visit to Dayton and El Paso as 'something of a debacle' (The Week, 8/09/19)

The perception got worse as video emerged of Trump bragging falsely about his crowd sizes while visiting victims in the El Paso hospital. "White House officials blocked reporters and their cameras from entering the two hospitals," fearing "a moment like the one that is now going viral," CNN reports, but Trump's social media team released glowing photos and a campaign-style video of the hospital visits afterward, after Trump "lashed out at his staff for keeping the cameras away from him, complaining that he wasn't receiving enough credit."

And on Thursday, reporters confirmed that some of the recovering victims -- including an infant whose parents died saving him at the El Paso Walmart -- were brought back after being discharged so they could be photographed with Trump, after other patients said they didn't want to meet with the president.

"Multiple staffers agreed behind the scenes that [the trip] wasn't successful from the administration's viewpoint," CNN reports. But "Trump was also unhappy with the visit. He fumed about the coverage on the long flight back to Washington, one person said." Trump "was particularly upset by excerpts from a news conference in Ohio" in which Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), while taking "a mostly respectful tone toward the president," had also said "some people at the hospital had privately said they do not support Mr. Trump," the Times reports. "Trump reacted with fury. As his plane soared toward a restive El Paso, he shouted at aides that no one was defending him."

Had W simply revealed his own DWI, he would have won handily in 2000.  Had Jim Comey not indulged himself, Hillary would be president.  Suppose for a moment that the Obamaconomy remains strong enough to keep Donald competitive in October/November 2020.  An October surprise that involved another one of his followers going on a killing spree could be determinative.

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 AM


Here's the data on white supremacist terrorism the Trump administration has been 'unable or unwilling' to give to Congress (Jana Winter and Hunter Walker, 8/09/19, Yahoo News)

Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement.

The document, which has not been previously reported on, becomes public as the Trump administration's Justice Department has been unable or unwilling to provide data to Congress on white supremacist domestic terrorism.

The data in this document, titled "Domestic Terrorism in 2018," appears to be what Congress has been asking for -- and didn't get.

The document, dated April 15, 2019, shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists. It was prepared by New Jersey's Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, one of the main arteries of information-sharing, and sent throughout the DHS fusion center network as well as federal agencies, including the FBI.

"This map reflects 32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018," the document says.

The map and data was circulated throughout the Department of Justice and around the country in April just as members of the Senate pushed the DOJ to provide them with precise information about the number of white supremacists involved in domestic terrorism. While the document shows this information clearly had been compiled, some of the senators say the Justice Department would not give them the figures.

Posted by orrinj at 6:43 AM


South Korea picks new envoy to US who called Trump 'treacherous' (Al Jazeera, 8/09/19)

[O]nly last year the South's Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited him as criticising Trump.

Lee had been asked about an incident at the White House when the US president declined to have Moon's answer to a reporter's question translated, saying "I'm sure I've heard it before."

"That's Trump's style. I don't think he's only done that to Moon. He's treacherous," Lee told the paper, adding that as a former businessman, the US leader had a tendency to say insincere things.

Posted by orrinj at 6:37 AM


The Kremlin under siege: The Russian political leadership is feeling increasingly cornered by growing public anger. (Roman Dobrokhotov, 8/09/19, Al Jazeera)

Just a few weeks ago, no one would have guessed that the rather banal electoral procedure of choosing deputies for the Moscow city council, which has very few powers, would lead to a near-revolutionary moment.

In mid-July, local authorities disqualified all independent candidates who tried to register for the elections scheduled for September 8. The reasons varied: Some were refused registration because they supposedly made mistakes on the official forms when they were collecting signatures and others because they allegedly submitted fake signatures - this despite the fact that some citizens came in person to the authorities and confirmed that their signatures were genuine.

If the Kremlin had allowed a few opposition candidates into the Moscow council, they would not have posed such a large threat. Instead, it not only blocked them from contesting the election but also escalated the situation. The local authorities refused to grant permission to opposition leaders to hold a protest in the city centre, which further provoked the public.

As a result, on July 27, tens of thousands of Moscow residents took to the streets to demand that independent candidates be allowed to run in the local election.

The Kremlin, perhaps, did not expect such public uproar. Independent candidates have, for years, been barred from running in city elections without it causing any public protests. The situation was the same in other cities, including St Petersburg, where independent candidates have also been disqualified.

After July 27, it became clear that local elections have become a way for Russians to express their growing dissatisfaction with those in power, which was reflected in some of the slogans protesters were chanting that day, including: "Russia will be free!", and "Down with the secret police!".

Vlad deserves as much credit as the UR for this, having stumbled at nearly every step--Ukraine, Syria, and colluding with Donald--has made it easy to impose, maintain and tighten the sanctions regime. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:35 AM



Looking ahead to 2036, the report projects that both parties will experience generational change and will become more diverse. As far as the Republican Party is concerned, the report foresees that in sixteen years, white Millennial and Generation Z voters will have developed a large presence in the GOP, while white noncollege voters will have shrunk to just over half (51 percent) of Republican voters. The report's authors run various scenarios incorporating alternative assumptions about rates of turnout and party support for different groups, but they conclude that none would make a real difference to the emerging makeup of the electorate and the parties' coalitions. This indicates, in their view, "that most of the effect of demographic change on future party coalitions is already baked in and will reshape party coalitions -- in a sense, whether these parties like it or not."

The report's most startling conclusion is that the Republican Party by 2036, almost regardless of the policies it pursues, will be one-fifth minority -- 10 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian American and other races, and 3 percent black -- simply because of the growth of minority groups and the continuing diminution of white noncollege voters. But will this projection become reality? At a time when Trump is whipping up racist and xenophobic bigotry against four congresswomen of color, it seems exceedingly unlikely. But two papers accompanying the report make the case that the Republican Party's racial composition, and larger electoral fortunes, will depend on whether the national party will follow the path of the California or Texas state Republican parties. 

Matt A. Barreto and Angela Gutierrez, in the first of these papers, point out that California has been a majority-minority state since the 2000 census, and in 2014 Hispanics surpassed whites to become the largest racial group in the state. If the rest of the country follows California's political-demographic trajectory, the future will be dire indeed for the Republican Party. 

California voted Republican in presidential elections for much of the 20th century, and produced the Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. But the GOP has now been relegated to third-party status in the state: Republican registration ranks beneath both Democratic registration and "no party preference." The party collapse didn't happen solely because of demographic change. Rather, it took a combination of expanding numbers of Hispanic and Asian-American voters plus what Barreto and Gutierrez refer to as "reactionary politics." 

In 1994, the California Republican Party and its incumbent governor, Pete Wilson, backed Proposition 187, an initiative to deny all public services to immigrants in the state without legal permission and force state employees to report individuals suspected of illegal residence or entry to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation. California Hispanics, who previously had split their votes between the two parties, recoiled from the GOP. Forty-six percent of Hispanic voters supported the Republican candidate for governor in 1986, and 47 percent in 1990. But starting in 1994, Hispanics voted heavily for Democrats and (with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaigns) have continued to do so ever since. Proposition 187 also galvanized greater numbers of Hispanics to become naturalized, to get engaged in politics, and to vote than had been the case before. The GOP's continuing turn toward reactionary politics also alienated Asian American and younger white voters. In a 2016 paper for the Cato Institute, Alex Nowrasteh reviewed the California Republican Party's turn toward nativism in the 1990s and concluded that its decision to represent the anti-immigration wing of the electorate had "destroyed that state's GOP for at least a generation."

Posted by orrinj at 6:27 AM


Deconstructing Clarence Thomas: The justice's reactionary legal philosophy rests on faith in the power of adversity to fuel black progress. (MICHAEL O'DONNELL, SEPTEMBER 2019, The Atlantic)

The first thing to know about Clarence Thomas is that everybody at the Supreme Court loves him. Surprisingly, given his uncompromising public persona and his near-total silence during oral arguments, Thomas cultivates a jovial presence in the building's austere marble hallways. Unlike most of his colleagues, he learns everyone's name, from the janitors to each justice's law clerks. He makes fast friends at work, at ball games, and at car races, and invites people to his chambers, where the conversations last for hours. Thomas's booming laugh fills the corridors. He passes silly notes on the bench. As the legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin wrote in 2007, with his "effusive good nature," Thomas is "universally adored."

This buoyancy marks a man whose career as a judge is a study in brutalism. Thomas is by far the most conservative justice on a very conservative Court. He advances a reactionary legal philosophy that would take America back to the 1930s. That won't happen: Unwilling to compromise and often unable to attract the vote of a single colleague, Thomas frequently writes only for himself.

Justices who write for themselves, like Thomas and Alito, are useless.