Wednesday, June 21, 2017
I'll admit I was kinda surprised at the verdict in the Castile case. I wondered what the jury was presented with that the general public did not know about. Here it is: You see the three times that Castile was asked to not reach in his pocket before officer Yanez even unholstered his weapon? That's called reasonable doubt. As soon as the first request to not reach was made, Castile should have stopped moving. In fact, Once he announced that he had a gun he should have asked the officer how he wanted to proceed.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
This investigation of Trump has reached epic proportions of foolishness. I have been critical of so called "special prosecutors" and the like since I cast a questioning eye on what happened to Bill Clinton. For those not old enough (or informed enough), Ken Star was appointed as a special prosecutor or independent investigator due to the alleged illegalities involving Whitewater. In that case there was a Savings and Loans investigation in which the Clintons were seen as witnesses. Whatever you may think of the Clintons, there was at least the cover of an actual criminal proceeding of actual criminal acts by somebody. The problem was that Bill Clinton was impeached not because of an actual finding related to Whitewater but because Bill lied when asked about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. This is the problematic part. Why was there even a question about Bill and Monica? What bearing did it have on Whitewater? None. The Whitewater investigation was allowed to grow in scope way beyond it's intent and became a means of hurting a president that Republicans didn't like. Today we have a far more blatant and brazen act of political assassination. Democrats and Never Trump Republicans have made it clear they want Trump out of office. In sane times such blatant partisanship would sink any so called "independent investigation" because such partisans cannot be trusted to act objectively. If we recall, this entire "investigation" started out as investigation into Russia interference but has now morphed into "obstruction of justice". How you can claim obstruction of justice when there is no criminal investigation (or civil investigation) ongoing in which someone has been properly served is beyond me. Of course the claim is that by firing Comey, Trump "obstructed justice" because Comey was investigating Russia. Lets take the argument on it's face. If a District Attorney decides to not prosecute a criminal case against a suspect, is that obstruction of justice? If a State's Attorney tells his underlings to not press a case against an individual and to drop charges, is that obstruction of justice or is that the person using their legal powers of discretion? If it is use of legal powers of discretion, then Trump has not "obstructed justice". Trump, as chief executive has the power to ultimately decide who in the justice dept. does what. Congress of course is free to to whatever it wants under it's own constitutionally provided powers. But this is not even the worst of it. Those of us who have done jury duty knows that when we are subject to questioning to get onto a jury we are asked many questions. The purpose of these questions is generally to weed out those who may be prejudiced for or against the parties involved. So for example, if the case involves a police officer and you are married to a police officer it is likely you will be removed from the jury pool. It's not that you're a bad person, it's just that the court has to eliminate even the appearance of prejudice. We know that Comey used his "memo" (which, as of this writing has not been delivered to congress) in order to get an investigation of Trump started. This is a clear partisan motive. This very statement is reason enough to have this farce stopped immediately. This is clearly not about alleged criminal activity, it is about politics. Worse though the people involved in the investigation have ties to Hillary Clinton and the DNC. If this was a potential jury, these people would be removed. Again, this doesn't mean they are bad people. This doesn't mean they are incompetent. This means it looks bad and when it comes to investigations the investigators shouldn't have any kind of appearance to "have it in" for the target. But speaking of obstruction of justice, why hasn't such charges been leveled at Clinton? We know that she purposely had data removed from phones and servers. THAT is obstruction. This is on top of the removal of classified information from govt. servers. Comey himself said that she was negligent. Negligence is covered under the relevant statute. If Trump can be merely investigated for exercising his lawful power to fire the head of the FBI for any reason he chooses. Hillary should be in jail right now and Lynch should be cooling her heels in there with her. But again this is something we would expect in a sane world and sane government. But we don't have that.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Saw this at UNZ:
To many students, the announcement amounts to cultural sterilization, an effort to turn the most interesting, diverse, and accepting dorm into another haven for aspiring doctors and engineers.I dunno, but isn't the purpose of going to MIT to be a doctor (medical or other) and/or engineer? It's almost as if a growing portion of the current student body (and faculty) think the purpose of these schools is to be one big self-esteem booster by allowing and and everything left of right to be done.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
So yesterday I saw a report on Arstechnica that stated:
The scope of the attacks was so broad, Bloomberg reports, that in October of 2016, then-President Barack Obama directly called Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin on the "cyber-hotline." The cyber-hotline "red phone" was set up in 2013 by Obama and Putin as part of an effort to reduce the risk of a "cyber incident" escalating; Obama used it to present evidence of the attacks and warn Putin that the intrusions could trigger a larger conflict between the US and Russia.Now this, if true is a big deal. Therefore we MUST go to the original Bloomberg article.
In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter.Further:
That idea would obsess the Obama White House throughout the summer and fall of 2016, outweighing worries over the DNC hack and private Democratic campaign emails given to Wikileaks and other outlets, according to one of the people familiar with those conversations. After the Obama administration transmitted its documents and Russia asked for more information, the hackers’ work continued. According to the leaked NSA document, hackers working for Russian military intelligence were trying to take over the computers of 122 local election officials just days before the Nov. 8 election. [my underlines]So according to this reporting, as soon as July of 2016 and as late as "days before" Nov 8, the Obama administration apparently KNEW of "Russian hacking". What did Obama tell the public during this time? Here's Obama on August of 2016:
Obama ridiculed Donald Trump's recent suggestion that the election system could be rigged, called on the candidate to act like a president since he's soon to be briefed on confidential information and implied that he didn't believe the billionaire businessman could be trusted with America's nuclear codes... Of course the election won't be rigged. What does that mean?" Obama said, struggling to disguise his contempt. "If Mr. Trump is suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that is propagated across the country, including in places like Texas where typically it is not Democrats who are in charge of voting booths, that's ridiculous. That doesn't make any sense."Did Obama or anyone else know, in AUGUST about this alleged Russian activity? Lets' assume he did not. Lets move forward. Here's a report from the NY Times dated Oct 18 2016:
At a news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Obama said, “I have never seen in my lifetime, or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place.”.. ...it fell to Mr. Obama to rebut Mr. Trump’s assertions. The president did so with obvious relish. There is no evidence, he said, that a presidential election has ever been rigged. He said there was little indication that it could be, given that elections are run by state and local authorities, with people from both parties supervising polling sites and ballot counting.Mind you Obama was referencing charges that internal election rigging could occur, BUT Obama said directly that "there is no evidence of a presidential election ever being rigged and that there was "little indication that it could be" Well this is either a flat out lie or Obama did not know at this time of the alleged Russian hacking. Here's a later report from after the election:
“Nevertheless, we stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” it added... The administration, in its statement, confirmed reports from the Department of Homeland Security and intelligence officials that they did not see “any increased level of malicious cyberactivity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on Election Day.” The administration said it remained “confident in the overall integrity of electoral infrastructure, a confidence that was borne out.” It added: “As a result, we believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”We know this is after Obama phoned The Kremlin, because Bloomberg says so. So Obama is purposely not telling the public what he allegedly knows. Why? The reason given back then was that to discuss the scope of what they "knew" would have influenced the election. Now I suppose the argument is that publishing this information helps to depose Trump who was elected under what they told the public was a fair election. Now personally I'm not buying into the entire Russian hackers argument. We already know that intelligence agencies can and do create code and mount operations that look like some other agency. I also believe that Putin is using this US "own goal" of public discrediting of their own election to bolster his own image. The elected officials in Washington and elsewhere, both Republican and Democrat are doing far more damage to the US "democracy" [sic] with their so called "resistance" than anything Putin could have dreamed up while high on LSD.
Monday, June 12, 2017
If you have followed this blog from its inception (a very long time ago), you will note that I used to be left of center. I'm probably still a bit left of center but consistently test as a moderate. These days, to be moderate is to be considered a Nazi. I don't exaggerate. In some cases I had changes of positions. Why? Because I decided to be honest and challenge the things I believed. That is, I looked at the data and realized that the things I believed were simply not supported by the facts. I could not in good conscience continue to advocate for things I knew to not be the case just because said evidence was "bad" for black people. Furthermore, I could not simply be silent on the matter(s). Understand, there are a lot of people who know full well that their ideologies are based on bullshit and rather than be honest, they simply stop speaking on the subject and hope nobody notices. This is particularly the case when people are PAID to believe in and speak on the thing they know to be bullshit. I think the the professors at Evergreen are at such a crossroads. A second (only 2 eh?) professor has spoken out and I want to look at that:
My most rewarding teaching experiences have been when my mostly left leaning students have prompted me to examine my own views on controversial issues.This is a serious problem IMO. In my opinion it is teachers that should be prompting their students to examine their own views on controversial issues. If teachers, particularly at a supposed institution of higher education, are being challenged by their students, rather than by their peers, then I think there is a problem here. While new students will bring in ideas and experiences because they live in a different generation and time, the bedrock principles shouldn't be challenging.
I would like to think that students have also benefited from being exposed to the occasional “redneck” perspective in the classroom and on field trips.You would think but clearly for a significant population of students and faculty/staff have not benefitted from such exposure. I would hazard to guess that because these contacts are relatively brief rather than something they have to live with. I would hazard to guess that for a lot of these students, dealing with the rednecks are considered "oh here we go with THOSE people today" kind of attitude.
Many of the farms we visited were my clients, who always looked forward to the annual visits by Evergreen’s “strangely dressed students with piercings and tattoos” that seemed to be much more inquisitive and insightful than their land-grant university counterparts.I have worked on farms and dealt with "country folk". They are generally quite welcoming of people and generally friendly. They respect people who are competent, even if they are "strange" and are generally not two faced.
I believed that I had found the antidote to the ever increasing disease of polarization and identity politics that has been dividing our rural and urban populations. Now Evergreen has taken from me the medicine needed to cure the illness.You thought. I wonder, has this person not noticed the changes that were going on before then? Is he implying that the students just woke up one day feeling like everything is racist? And if the students could wake up in such a way how did Evergreen take the medicine away? I think Everygreen itself is a part of the problem.
the college is now contributing to the vilification, paranoia and irrational rhetoric that fuels hatred and violence. The antidote has now become toxic.I agree that the college is contributing to vilification and paranoia but I believe that the college has been systematically and structurally creating students and faculty who vilify and create paranoia. This stuff doesn't happen overnight.
It is about a collection of professors that are so blinded by their advocacy, that they cannot fathom different viewpoints.No, this collection of professors who passed "go", collected their $200 and are now persons who indoctrinate. Their letter shows that they are not interested in discussion or scholarship, they wish to pronounce what is and isn't acceptable and punish those who refuse to stay in line.
I recently met with a student who was angry that she was told to shut up at a student rally, based solely on the amount of pigment in her skin. She did not comply, and was called a racist. I asked her if this bothered her. She said: “No, because I am not racist.”It should bother her. In fact, that is why she was angry. Faculty and Staff and admin of Evergreen should find it unacceptable that they are graduating students who think that the appropriate response to trying to stifle dissent is to call someone racist. Seriously.
To the faculty, too afraid to speak out: I urge you to walk toward the fire. After all, if this brave student is a bigot, then I guess I am too. They are just words. You will not lose your job, but you might lose your dignity.Evergreen should be bothered that they have created a climate in which faculty and staff, who should be the adults in the room, are afraid to speak freely. And again, this did not happen overnight. I guarantee that this is a culmination of slowly eroding right of free speech. And yes, unless the faculty are tenured they very much risk losing their jobs. Staff members have even less protections than teaching faculty.
This morning was the first time that I was actually nervous coming to campus. Not because of threats of white supremacists, but because I was worried that someone on campus would think that I might be one of them.You know, maybe, just maybe so called "white supremacists" are not the real and immediate problem.
Thursday, June 01, 2017
So there has been a report in the journal Nature on the genetic makeup of some mummified remains in a part of Egypt. Not a few commentators have been using this report to assert that Egyptians were white, some to the extent of “nordic”. However; those of us familiar with Egypt wouldn’t be surprised by the findings in Nature. Let’s discuss. First we have this in the abstract which is important:
in the first millennium BCE Egypt endured foreign domination leading to growing numbers of foreigners living within its borders possibly contributing genetically to the local population. Here we present 90 mitochondrial genomes as well as genome-wide data sets from three individuals obtained from Egyptian mummies.This is well known, even among the pro-black “hotep” crowd. No one has ever claimed that Egypt was 100% black with absolutely no one else living there. Indeed Egypt was the place to be during it’s time so we expect to find all kinds of people there.
The samples recovered from Middle Egypt span around 1,300 years of ancient Egyptian history from the New Kingdom to the Roman Period.It is important to note here that Egypts ages are broken up into Old Kingdom, Middle kingdom, New Kingdom and then Roman period. The remains discussed in the piece are from the last period of Egypts history. To put this into context, imagine that in the year 6000 someone dug up remains of the US and found the population of 1990s Harlem, NYC and asserted from those findings that NY and indeed the entire United States were typically African. Right. Secondly, the geographic location puts these individuals in Middle Egypt and closer to the delta region rather than upper Egypt. This is important since one would expect that Egyptians in upper Egypt would/could be more like the persons in Nubia and Ethiopia rather than those closest to the sea and Arabia (which was a part of ancient Egypt at points in it’s history). Hence I find the following statement suspect:
Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times.Rather it should say “ancient Egyptians in the middle region during the new kingdom...” because that is what they studied. First a quick primer on Egypt. Egypts Old Kingdom is the age of the Pyramids (2613-2180) BCE. Secondly Upper Egypt
The archaeological site Abusir el-Meleq was inhabited from at least 3250BCE until about 700CE and was of great religious significance because of its active cult to Osiris, the god of the dead, which made it an attractive burial site for centuries2.This means that the area was inhabited by persons prior to the unification of the two lands under Menes. This also means that the mummies under study were no earlier than 1550 BCE. A nearly 2000 years after the unified Egypt came into existence. Again, I would ask whether we would see the current population of America and state with any sanity that because we see all these different races of people here now, that it must have been that way in 1776. Indeed the authors themselves state as much:
However, we note that all our genetic data were obtained from a single site in Middle Egypt and may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt. It is possible that populations in the south of Egypt were more closely related to those of Nubia and had a higher sub-Saharan genetic component, in which case the argument for an influx of sub-Saharan ancestries after the Roman Period might only be partially valid and have to be nuanced. Throughout Pharaonic history there was intense interaction between Egypt and Nubia, ranging from trade to conquest and colonialism, and there is compelling evidence for ethnic complexity within households with Egyptian men marrying Nubian women and vice versa51,52,53. Clearly, more genetic studies on ancient human remains from southern Egypt and Sudan are needed before apodictic statements can be made. [my underlines]Many reviewers apparently missed this point. Also:
Our genetic time transect suggests genetic continuity between the Pre-Ptolemaic, Ptolemaic and Roman populations of Abusir el-Meleq, indicating that foreign rule impacted the town’s population only to a very limited degree at the genetic level. It is possible that the genetic impact of Greek and Roman immigration was more pronounced in the north-western Delta and the Fayum, where most Greek and Roman settlement concentrated43,55Which is what I have been saying from the beginning. I believe what we have here is twofold: 1) The writers themselves used language that implied that Egyptians were not “Africans”. Indeed by the accompanying charts their claim appears to be that they are using the term “sub-Saharan African” to mean “West and South African” genotypes. Which none of us should be expecting. 2) Writers, particularly those with rightward affinities and perhaps white identitarian types, didn’t read the actual Nature article or did not understand what they were reading and thought the study was representative of the entirety of ancient Egypt. I’m also going to suppose that not a few black outlets will not report on this article because they think it says what it doesn’t. That or there will be an attempt to dismiss the article as a whitewash. Such head burying will help nobody.