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Thursday, 23 February 2017

what we have now...

Folded Sky Productions Ltd. (source images: BBC.com; Amazon.com; and trumpforpresidentbobblehead.com)

" [...] the first chapter in Donald Trump’s story, as he tells it today, expresses nothing like Bush’s gentle nostalgia or Obama’s curiosity. Instead, it is saturated with a sense of danger and a need for toughness: The world cannot be trusted.
     Fred Trump made a fortune building, owning, and managing apartment complexes in Queens and Brooklyn. On weekends, he would occasionally take one or two of his children along to inspect buildings. 'He would drag me around with him while he collected small rents in tough sections of Brooklyn,' Donald recalls in Crippled America. 'It’s not fun being a landlord. You have to be tough.' On one such trip, Donald asked Fred why he always stood to the side of the tenant’s door after ringing the bell. 'Because sometimes they shoot right through the door,' his father replied. While Fred’s response may have been an exaggeration, it reflected his worldview. [...]"
— Dan P. McAdams, The Atlantic

Friday, 23 December 2016

neo-jim-crow justice

From: Kovels

"A state statute that goes into effect on Jan. 1 will no longer treat fights in schools or buses as a minor offense, regardless of a young person’s age or grade. Instead, School Resource Officers (SROs) and local law enforcement will now intervene by arresting and charging them with assault in the third degree — a Class E felony. That type of assault can result in four years of prison time, fines, or probation. Attempts or threats to cause harm will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to a year of prison time. If law enforcement or school officials consider the assaulted person a 'special victim,' a student can be charged with a Class D felony that comes with a maximum prison term of seven years."
— Carimah Townes, Think Progress

"The white ringleader of a horrific sexual assault of a mentally disabled black teen will avoid jail time and escape classification as a sex offender after pleading guilty to a lesser charge, the Daily Kos reports. John R.K. Howard plead guilty Friday to one felony count of injury to a child after leading two football teammates to help him carry out a a violent sexual attack on a black teammate with mental disabilities."
— Elizabeth Prezza, [Raw Story via]  Alternet
Read more... 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Trump Transition Team in Process of "Rebranding" America

This is the kind of fake news everyone should be aware of: Here's one I just concocted to show you how easy it is to be misled.

"In an exclusive interview, a source close the Transition Team of President-elect Donald Trump has revealed that the soon-to-be president and his advisors are in the early stages of a nation-wide “rebranding” program that will start with a makeover of the US flag.

Our anonymous source says that the new design is a reflection of President-elect Trump’s close ties to both the Russian Federation (The flag of Russia is a tri-color flag made up of three equal horizontal bars: white at the top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom.) and the White Supremacist movement. Mr. Trump sees himself not only as  deal maker, but a unifier: “Who else could bring together ex-KGB guys like Putin and the people who run the KKK? We made a deal — all I had to do was say, 'Stop it,' and the Klan people said, 'Sure, we'll  stop with the anti-communist stuff..." In return, Trump has assured them that all of his hotels and restaurants will never serve the vodka/coffee liqueur cocktail known as a “Black Russian” ever again."

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

E.T. phones home...

Photos: toptenz.net and dailymail.co.uk

“However well-intentioned, this talk assumes that [president-elect, Donald] Trump is prepared to find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the campaign. In short, it is treating him as a 'normal' politician. There has until now been little evidence that he can be one.
     More dangerously, Clinton’s and Obama’s very civil passages, which ended in applause lines, seemed to close off alternative responses to his minority victory. (It was hard not to be reminded of Neville Chamberlain’s statement, that 'We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will.') Both Clinton’s and Obama’s phrases about the peaceful transfer of power concealed the omission of a call to action. The protesters who took to the streets of New York, Los Angeles, and other American cities on Wednesday night did so not because of Clinton’s speech but in spite of it. One of the falsehoods in the Clinton speech was the implied equivalency between civil resistance and insurgency. This is an autocrat’s favorite con, the explanation for the violent suppression of peaceful protests the world over.”
— Masha Gessen, The New York Review of Books
Read more…

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

repeating. repeating, repeating...

Graphic by Michael Hale

I posted this reworking of Martin Niemöller's poem on Facebook in December of last year; I think it's worth repeating:

Monday, 7 September 2015

digital strip search

Source image from: joeydevilla.com
“In his backpack, Wouter Slotboom, 34, carries around a small black device, slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes, with an antenna on it. I meet Wouter by chance at a random cafe in the center of Amsterdam. It is a sunny day and almost all the tables are occupied. Some people talk, others are working on their laptops or playing with their smartphones.
     Wouter removes his laptop from his backpack, puts the black device on the table, and hides it under a menu. A waitress passes by and we ask for two coffees and the password for the WiFi network. Meanwhile, Wouter switches on his laptop and device, launches some programs, and soon the screen starts to fill with green text lines. It gradually becomes clear that Wouter’s device is connecting to the laptops, smartphones, and tablets of cafe visitors. […]
     Slotboom can also broadcast a fictitious network name, making users believe they are actually connecting to the network of the place they’re visiting. For example, if a place has a WiFi network consisting of random letters and numbers (Fritzbox xyz123), Slotboom is able to provide the network name (Starbucks). People, he says, are much more willing to connect to these.
     We see more and more visitors log on to our fictitious network. The siren song of the little black device appears to be irresistible. Already 20 smartphones and laptops are ours. If he wanted to, Slotboom could now completely ruin the lives of the people connected: He can retrieve their passwords, steal their identity, and plunder their bank accounts. Later today, he will show me how. I have given him permission to hack me in order to demonstrate what he is capable of, though it could be done to anyone with a smartphone in search of a network, or a laptop connecting to a WiFi network.
     Everything, with very few exceptions, can be cracked.”
— Maurits Martijn (Translated from Dutch by Jona Meijers), Medium/matter
Read more…
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