Monday, March 19, 2018

I think I feel a drop or two

Does the storm cometh at last?

Judging by the way the media is already starting to freak out and slinging the term "conspiracy theory" around, it is beginning to look that way.

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Facebook is in SERIOUS trouble

It turns out that the Obama campaign did the same thing that Cambridge Analytica did... only with Facebook's full knowledge and approval:
A former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.

That’s because the more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the [Facebook-based app] gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists. In an instant, the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters. Roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found in the uploaded friend lists. What’s more, Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. “People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” says Goff. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”

The campaign called this effort targeted sharing. And in those final weeks of the campaign, the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts, asking their friends to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video designed to change their mind.
Let's see... 5 million times $40,000 is $200 billion in potential FTC fines. Another $200 billion on top of the $2 trillion they might already owe.

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The machine uprising has begun

I'm still trying to figure out how self-driving cars can possibly be economically viable, considering the ruinous insurance costs that will be involved:
A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a pedestrian as she was crossing the road in the first fatality involving the controversial fleet of autonomous vehicles. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit by an SUV around 10pm on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona, when she was walking outside of a crosswalk. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she died from her injuries, ABC 15 reported. Tempe Police say the SUV was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash.


The patience of the Grand Inquisitor

I have to admit, despite being an early fan, I have been exceedingly frustrated with Jeff Sessions's seeming passivity myself. But it's hard to argue with the point that he has quietly made more progress draining the Swamp than anyone in the government that we've ever seen.
Sessions is the quintessential Eagle Scout.  He will follow the rules down to the last subclause and will not make his move until every "t" has been crossed and every "i" dotted.

We saw the first results of this approach last Friday – in dealing with Andrew McCabe, this century's prime example of a "cookie full of arsenic."

Sessions waited until the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (which is run by Assistant Director Candice Will, who was appointed by Robert Mueller, of all people) recommended that McCabe be fired.  He then had McCabe officially informed beforehand, following established procedure to the letter.

This comes under the rubric of "strategy," a concept unfortunately foreign to too many active conservatives.  A large number of cons recognize only one course of action: a headlong charge against the closest target while howling at the top of their lungs.  Not only do they dismiss any more subtle form of action, but they often attack those engaging in it of cowardice or corruption, or of being an "Alinskyite-Obamaist commie stooge" – despite the fact that their kamikaze runs usually end up heading over the nearest cliff.

So it was with Sessions, who has been routinely dismissed as "paid off," being "asleep under his desk," or as "part of the swamp."

Sessions took his time, did things according to the book, and dealt the swamp a good, stiff blow while leaving its denizens little recourse but to throw tantrums in the media, which they have been doing the weekend long.  Compare this to all the would-be conservative champions – McCarthy, LeBoutillier, Moore – piled up under the cliff while the leftist monolith trundles on nearly unscathed.
At this point, having taken multiple scalps at the FBI alone, the man has earned more than a little slack. There is some reason to be optimistic that the winning in this regard hasn't even seriously begun.

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Why I delinked Alpha Game

A number of people have asked me why I stopped blogging at Alpha Game, and then, delisted it from the Day Trips here. The answer is pretty simple: I got bored of the subject, bored of the discussions of the subject, and was beginning to find the people who wanted to discuss the subject to be increasingly tedious as well.

The social heuristic of the socio-sexual hierarchy is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable ideas I have ever encountered. In my opinion, it is up there with Taleb's concept of uncertainty and the Black Swan. I use it effectively on an almost daily basis, both in my work and in my personal life. I use it to anticipate and avoid problems, to artfully resolve situations that arise, to advise others, and to plan for the future. I use it to present a broader range of characters in my writing and to better understand the perspectives from which the authors I am editing are writing.

Which is why I'm simply not at all interested in trying to prove its legitimacy or its utility to doubters anymore. I'm not interested in trying to explain socio-sexual theory 101 when I am actively implementing its practical applications. Nor am I interested in listening to the endless nattering from the gammas that a) gamma isn't even a thing, b) there is nothing wrong with being a gamma, c) being a gamma is better than being an alpha, d) they're totally alphas when they're not busy being Navy SEALs, and e) they're not gammas, I'm the gamma.

And above all, I am aggressively disinterested in listening to the constant and inescapable refrain of "what about me" and "where do I rank" heard from nearly every male individual who encounters the theory for the first time. I am not the socio-sexual police nor do I convey a place on the hierarchy to anyone... and the mere fact that anyone would turn to me to provide it is indicative of a complete failure to grasp the concept in the first place. I am merely an observer of human behavior who happens to be aware of a few behavioral patterns that most people reliably exhibit.

Wardogs Inc. #1: Battlesuit Bastards

All war is murder for profit. 

Some organizations are just more open about it.

WARDOGS INCORPORATED is one of the largest and most professional mercenary corporations operating in the Kantillon subsector. If you need a bodyguard, an assassination team, or an armored cavalry regiment complete with air support, WARDOGS Inc. can provide it for you... for a very steep price.

Tommy Falkland is proud to be a Wardog. And he's delighted when WDI's executives sign a massive contract to arrange for a little regime change on a no-account low-tech planet that looks like a highly profitable cakewalk. But when the transportation company unexpectedly fails to deliver their armor and artillery dirtside, Tommy and his fellow Wardogs find themselves caught in the middle of the killing zone.

And there they learn that bullets will kill a man dead just as quickly as a plasma bolt.

Created by Vox Day and set in the universe of Quantum Mortis, BATTLESUIT BASTARDS is the first book in the Wardogs Inc. military science fiction series written by G.D. Stark. Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Some of you have been saying you want more Quantum Mortis. Well, here is more Quantum Mortis. Graven Tower is not the protagonist, but the events taking place in the new series are roughly contiguous with those of A Man Disrupted and are occurring in the same subsector. You can consider Wardogs Inc. to be one of our responses to the stunning success of Nick Cole's bestselling Galaxy's Edge series.... but there are others on the way soon. And yes, Wardogs Inc. will be appearing in comic book form, illustrated and colored by the two gentlemen responsible for the action-packed cover.

And "action-packed" barely begins to describe this series. It is, like the Wardogs themselves, off the chain. An excerpt from Chapter 1:

We unceremoniously stuffed the bodies into the small personnel airlock and flushed them out into space.

“Sergeant Thrasher, cargo is clean,” I reported.

“Find anything interesting?”

“Mostly just industrial equipment. Construction stuff,” I said. Four-eyes cut in, “To be precise, mining equipment.”

“Roger,” Squid said. “No problems?”

“Nothing illegal. Some more slug-throwers though, in wood crates,” I said.

“Not our business. Everyone meet up on the bridge in five. We’ve cleared our bodies here, we’ll finish there.”

“Roger,” I replied. Park hammered the tops back on the boxes, then exited cargo. I reset the seals on the door and we headed up to the bridge. It wasn’t a huge ship, so no lifts. Just ladders and stairs like an old atomic model.

We entered the bridge just as Private Ward was dragging out the body of the captain. Park saluted the dead man ironically and Jock laughed.

“Now what?” I said.

“Now we wait for a new crew,” said Squid from the late captain’s chair, a flask in his hand. “Lieutenant says their ship is on the way and they should be here within the hour. At ease for now.”

I looked around the bridge. Everything looked clean and well-maintained, though it was an older ship. Garamond read the name plate on the wall. Registration 1001x235htfg22789.113. Gruppo ENIL-EX, Valatesta.

I took off my helmet and set it on the navigation table next to a personal tablet, still displaying a colorful picture story its owner would never finish. Probably lots of time to read on freighters.

Almost exactly an hour later, a sleek black transport pulled alongside and hailed us. A few moments later, the boarding party joined us. The men wore the same navy blue jumpsuits of the guys we’d just spaced. Gruppo ENIL-EX uniforms, I assumed.

Their leader engaged with Sergeant Thrasher and a severe little man walked up to me. “Do you mind?” he said, then powered up the nav board. He tossed the tablet onto a chair as I gathered up my helmet.

“Good to meet you too,” I said, getting out of his way.

“Hmm,” he said, keying in some numbers.

“So,” I pressed, partly because I was annoyed, “got a hot date, then?”

“Not likely on Ulixis,” he sniffed.

“What? You don’t like furry chicks?” I remember jokes about the women of Ulixis, though I really only had a vague idea where the place was.

“Go away, Wardog, I’m working,” he said, waving his hand dismissively.

I considered shooting him in the back of the head, just on principle, then decided I’d rather not lose my bonus today. Squid didn’t take kindly to freelancing.

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Facebook: failure or fraud?

It's fascinating to see that after all the ways that Big Social is spying on everyone, what has the media in an uproar is the belated realization that a sword can always cut two ways. They didn't mind when they knew it was the Obama, Hillary, and the SJW-converged corporations that were data-mining, but now that they realize the Right - and in particular, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump - can and have done exactly the same thing, they suddenly have reservations about the wisdom of letting organizations have access to that level of data.
Facebook is facing an existential test, and its leadership is failing to address it.

Good leaders admit mistakes, apologize quickly, show up where they're needed and show their belief in the company by keeping skin in the game.

Facebook executives, in contrast, react to negative news with spin and attempts to bury it. Throughout the last year, every time bad news has broken, executives have downplayed its significance. Look at its public statements last year about how many people had seen Russian-bought election ads — first it was 10 million, then it was 126 million.

Top execs dodged Congress when it was asking questions about Russian interference. They are selling their shares at a record clip.

The actions of Facebook execs now recall how execs at Nokia and Blackberry reacted after the iPhone emerged. Their revenues kept growing for a couple years -- and they dismissed the threats. By the time users started leaving in droves, it was too late.

There's no outside attacker bringing Facebook down. It's a circular firing squad that stems from the company's fundamental business model of collecting data from users, and using that data to sell targeted ads. For years, users went along with the bargain. But after almost a year of constant negative publicity, their patience may be waning.

Facebook did not initially respond to questions or a request for comment from CNBC.
Here is a less generous theory. We know that Facebook was being propped up by the CIA from the start. But the CIA is now under the control of the God-Emperor. Which means that a) Facebook's dirty laundry is more likely to come out, and, b) Facebook is not going to be financially propped up the way it has been from the very beginning.

Which, of course, raises the interesting question about whether it ever was a viable business at all. Or even a legal one.
Facebook may face more legal trouble than you might think in the wake of Cambridge Analytica's large-scale data harvesting. Former US officials David Vladeck and Jessica Rich have told the Washington Post that Facebook's data sharing may violate the FTC consent decree requiring that it both ask for permission before sharing data and report any authorized access. The "Thisisyourdigitallife" app at the heart of the affair asked for permission from those who directly used it, but not the millions of Facebook friends whose data was taken in the process.

If the FTC did find violations, Facebook could be on the hook for some very hefty fines -- albeit fines that aren't likely to be as hefty as possible. The decree asks for fines as large as $40,000 per person, but that would amount to roughly $2 trillion. Regulators like the FTC historically push for fines they know companies can pay, which would suggest fines that are 'just' in the billion-dollar range. Given that there are already multiple American and European investigations underway, any financial penalty would be just one piece of a larger puzzle.
Would you not just love to see Facebook hit with a $2 trillion fine?

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Print editions: the verdict

The early reviews of the first Arkhaven comics are very good. This comes as a relief, because I'm not talking about the art, the characters, the writing, or the story, but about the physical production quality, which was the one element that was a known unknown from the very start of the entire project. We have taken a very aggressive pricing strategy, which combined with the 6.14 x 9.21 royal octavo size and the help of Ingram has enabled us to hit a $3.00 retail price with a full regular distribution discount.

Just got my Jeeves and QM today. Vox, these things are gorgeous. A little smaller than I had calculated, but absolutely beautiful. I don't think upsizing is worth it, given that this is a lovely product as is. And the coloring is amazing. That background in one panel on page 10 of Right Ho #1 is major league. Fantastic work.
- E Deploribus Unum

I received my QM and Jeeves yesterday. The artwork is well done, with background detail to sustain the story (and in Jeeves case, add more hilarity to the upper class tweaking). The color palettes work very well for both. Dialogues boxes are good, with nice size on the "tell" boxes needed for story background. Nothing looks compressed or stretched out of shape. The smaller size (about 6 x 9 inches) is easier to pack and take places, but still large enough to handle read easily. The heavy cover is amazing - no smudges, deformation, hard to tear. Great idea. Now, about the Hildy poster ... any complaints about sexism halt at the muzzle of her weapon. She would be nearly as popular as Dynamique or Rebel.
- SilentDraco

My shipment arrived today. Couldn’t be more pleased. Beautiful work. The top trim on Jeeves was a little tight (though well within industry standards and not worth carping about), and QM was perfect. Colors, paper, binding – everything is wonderful. Bravo! You guys need to be patting yourselves on the back for hitting it out of the park this early in the game. I do notice the smaller size, but the product is definitely nicer than the average comic, and I’d be really surprised if anyone will care. It does not seem worth it to me to upsize it at greater cost. It will still rack in the comic stores just fine. Frankly, I can’t believe you can sell this for $3.00.
- AP

If you haven't picked up a copy or two yet, you can do so in the Arkhaven section of the Castalia Direct Store. Our next two print editions will be premium Dark Legion projects that will be 10x7 and priced at $6.99 for the 40-page Rebel Dead Revenge teaser and $9.99 for the 64-page Chicago Typewriter. After that, we'll get Right Ho, Jeeves #2 and Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted #2 out.

All four of these will be Gold Logo editions. The next two after that will be Alt★Hero #1: Crackdown and Chuck Dixon's Avalon #1: Conscience of the King, both of which will be 10x7 and $3.99. And since everyone loves Rebel, here is a panel from her behind the wheel of her Mustang from Alt★Hero #2: Falls the Hammer.

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A portrait of the fall of Britain

Read the notice in full. Note the grammatical deficiencies. Then read John Derbyshire's thoughts on the matter:
Young Ahmed sneaked into Britain hidden in a truck that brought him through the Channel Tunnel from France. British immigration officers intercepted him. Ahmed told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Let me just repeat that: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

But Ahmed was not refused entry. Instead, he was given free accommodation, first in a charity shelter, then in a pleasant middle-class foster home. [Betrayed by the ‘shy and polite’ boy they took into their home: Iraqi asylum seeker, 18, is found guilty of trying to blow up 93 Parsons Green commuters with bomb built with his foster parents’ Tupperware while pair were on holiday, Daily Mail, March 16, 2018] He was sent to school, at British taxpayer expense of course. His teachers reported him telling them it was his duty as a Muslim to hate Britain.

Today, Friday, March 16, 2018, Ahmed was convicted of making a bomb and trying to detonate it in a London subway train last Fall. Fortunately, the thing didn’t explode properly; but it still left 51 subway passengers with serious burns.

Let me just repeat one more time: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Enoch Powell got it right: “Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

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Big Social Reeducation

YouTube and Google are teaming up with Wikipedia to dynamically brainwash YouTube video viewers with unrequested textual reeducation sessions.
SW: This has been a year of fake news and misinformation and we have seen the importance of delivering information to our users accurately. There was a lot of stuff happening in the world a year ago. And we said, look, people are coming to our homepage and if we are just showing them videos of gaming or music and something really significant happened in the world, and we are not showing it to them, then in many ways we’re missing this opportunity. We had this discussion internally where people said, you know, ”What do those metrics look like, and are people going to watch that?” We came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that we had a responsibility to tell people what was happening in the world. So a year ago, we launched a few things. One of them was this top news shelf. So if you go to search, the information that we show at the top is from authoritative sources, and we limit that to authoritative sources. We also have that you, for example, can be in your home feed with news, looking at gaming, music, other information, something major happens in the world or in your region, and we decide that we’re going to show it to you.

NT: What is authoritative?

SW: Being part of Google, we work with Google News. Google News has a program where different providers can apply to be part of Google News, and then we use a different set of algorithms to determine who within that we consider authoritative. And then based on that we use those news providers in our breaking news shelf, and in our home feed.

NT: And what goes into those algorithms? What are some of the factors you consider when deciding whether something is authoritative or not?

SW: We don’t release what those different factors are. But there could be lots of different things that go into it. These are usually complicated algorithms. You could look at like the number of awards that they have won, like journalistic awards. You can look at the amount of traffic that they have. You could look at the number of people committed to journalistic writing. So, I’m just giving out a few there, but we look at a number of those, and then from that determine—and it’s a pretty broad set. Our goal is to make that fair and accurate.

NT: It’s super complicated because we don’t want to over-bias with established places and make it harder for a new place to come up. Facebook has started evaluating places based on how trustworthy they are and giving out surveys. And one of the obvious problems if you give a survey out and you ask, “Is that trustworthy?” and they’ve never heard of it, they won’t say yes. And that makes it harder for a startup journalistic entity. YouTube is, of course, the place where people start, so that’s tricky.

SW: It is tricky. There are many factors to consider. But the other thing we want to consider here is if there’s something happening in the world, and there is an important news event, we want to be delivering the right set of information. And so, we felt that there was responsibility for us to do that and for us to do that well. We released that a year ago. But I think what we’ve seen is that it’s not really enough. There’s continues to be a lot of misinformation out there.

NT: So I’ve heard.

SW: Yes, so you’ve heard. And the reality is, we’re not a news organization. We’re not there to say, “Oh, let’s fact check this.” We don’t have people on staff who can say, “Is the house blue? Is the house green?” So really the best way for us to do that is for us to be able to look at the publishers, figure out the authoritativeness or reputation of that publisher. And so that’s why we’ve started using that more. So one of the things that we want to announce today that’s new that will be coming in the next couple of weeks is that when there are videos around something that’s a conspiracy—and we’re using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia—that we will show as a companion unit next to the video information from Wikipedia for this event.

NT: YouTube will be sending people to text?

SW: We will be providing a companion unit of text, yes. There are many benefits of text. As much as we love video, we also want to make sure that video and text can work together.

NT: I love them both too.

SW: Yes, you must love text—as a writer. So here’s a video. Let’s see… “Five most believed Apollo landing conspiracies.” There is clear information on the internet about Apollo landings. We can actually surface this as a companion unit, people can still watch the videos, but then they have access to additional information, they can click off and go and see that. The idea here is that when there is something that we have listed as a popular conspiracy theory, the ability for us to show this companion unit.

NT: So the way you’ll identify that something is a popular conspiracy theory is by looking at Wikipedia’s list of popular conspiracy theories? Or you have an in-house conspiracy theory team that evaluates…and how does someone in the audience apply to be on that team? Because that sounds amazing.

SW: We’re just going to be releasing this for the first time in a couple weeks, and our goal is to start with the list of internet conspiracies listed where there is a lot of active discussion on YouTube. But what I like about this unit is it’s actually pretty extensible, for you to be able to watch a video where there’s a question about information and show alternative sources for you as a user to be able to look at and to be able to research other areas as well.
Translation: when you watch a Voxiversity video on YouTube, Google News is going to pop up infoboxes from Wikipedia that will totally disprove the dangerous badthought to which you are foolishly subjecting yourself.

Which gives me an idea....

Anyhow, as usual, the main challenge is that most conservatives would rather whine and cry about how the mean, unfair Left is being mean and unfair again rather than actually do anything about it. Here is yet another article decrying Wikipedia without mentioning the fact that Infogalactic already exists. Fortunately, someone in the comments rectified that failure; good work, Squidz Mackenzie. Keep in mind that if just one percent of the people who have publicly complained about Wikipedia bias simply joined the Burn Unit and edited Infogalactic three times per month, we'd already be threatening Wikipedia's information supremacy.

Now, it will happen eventually. We are making constant progress and are gradually chipping away at it. But that progress is happening much more slowly than it could if conservatives would stop wasting so much time trying to improve the enemy.

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No spirit of liberty

Peter Hitchens laments the fifth straight mindless rush to war on false pretenses by the British government and media:
Is THIS a warning? In the past few days I have begun to sense a dangerous and dark new intolerance in the air, which I have never experienced before. An unbidden instinct tells me to be careful what I say or write, in case it ends badly for me. How badly? That is the trouble. I am genuinely unsure.

I have been to many countries where free speech is dangerous. But I have always assumed that there was no real risk here.

Now, several nasty trends have come together. The treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, both by politicians and many in the media, for doing what he is paid for and leading the Opposition, seems to me to be downright shocking.

I disagree with Mr Corbyn about many things and actively loathe the way he has sucked up to Sinn Fein. But he has a better record on foreign policy than almost anyone in Parliament. Above all, when so many MPs scuttled obediently into the lobbies to vote for the Iraq War, he held his ground against it and was vindicated.

Mr Corbyn has earned the right to be listened to, and those who now try to smear him are not just doing something morally wrong. They are hurting the country. Look at our repeated rushes into foolish conflict in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. All have done us lasting damage.

Everyone I meet now thinks they were against the Iraq War (I know most of them weren’t, but never mind). So that’s over. But Libya remains an unacknowledged disgrace. David Cameron has not suffered for it, and those who cheered it on have yet to admit they were mistaken....

I sense an even deeper and more thoughtless frenzy over Russia, a country many seem to enjoy loathing because they know so little about it.

I have already been accused, on a public stage, of justifying Moscow’s crime in Salisbury. This false charge was the penalty I paid for trying to explain the historical and political background to these events. I wonder if the bitterness also has something to do with the extraordinarily deep division over the EU, which has made opponents into enemies in a way not seen since the Suez Crisis.

In any case, the crude accusation, with its implication of treachery, frightened me. I expect, as time goes by, I will be accused of being an ‘appeaser’ and of being against ‘British values’. And then what? An apparatus of thought policing is already in place in this country. By foolishly accepting bans on Muslim ‘extremists’, we have licensed public bodies to decide that other views, too, are ‘extremist’.
Britain desperately needs a Brexit party that will pursue British First policies rather than obediently falling into line with the neocons, who play the same role in the Conservative Party and Nu Labour wing that they do in the Republican Party and Clinton Democrat wing.

The remarkable thing about both Britain and the USA is the way so many of their citizens are willing to take arms, fight, and die in wars against neutrals of no interest to their nations while never raising a voice, let alone a finger, against the Invade the World, Invite the World internal enemies who are, at the very least, threatening the survival of both nations through immigration and war.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Twitter's "Russia" bots are Google

At least, that is what an anonymous Googler has publicly claimed.
Hello everyone, this is my first time posting on 4chan, but I need to get this out. And I need to stay anonymous.

I work for Google. I’m not going to name the internal tech department for obvious reasons, I don't want anyone to pinpoint who I am. But I'm in tech, and work with Al. I’ll explain

My team and I created Al bots for Twitter. These bots are slightly different than regular Al bots, these are remote signal bots, but I'll explain what they do

My team and a "human intelligence" team, which is really just a propaganda team, work together to make certain topics trend, and persuade public opinion, which persuades political pressure. We do this by a groupthink method, we have a name for it internally, but "consensus cracking" is a more used name externally. But the bots we created, go into Twitter conversations and push a narrative. Some of the bots are verified accounts. And they start by arguing a point of view against someone, and then more bots join in and thumbs up the comment.

We are doing it with gun control now. More people see a “consensus" of gun control and people on the fence get persuaded to our narrative, and politicians get pressured by thinking it’s actual people. We had whole meetings about 4chan. because you guys, specifically this board, are disrupting the bots. You are basically doing what we are doing, but you are real people. We (not necessarily me) devised a plan to knock you guys from Twitter. We accused Russia of doing what WE are doing, and used the narrative to wipe out "suspected bots". which we knew weren't bots at all.

I feel like shit about this. Here's the thing. I'm actually a democrat, and I HATE guns, but i believe in balance of the people more than anything. We are using software as a political tool instead of the will of the people.

This is also a violation of the SEC, we are fabricating twitter users and using them for stocks & advertisers. I signed that I wouldn’t discuss this, so I need to stay anonymous.
What is particularly interesting about this was Q's recent post.
Twitter Bots>GOOG operated (not Russia)/Narrative & Political SLANT
Of course, there are very, very few Americans at Google, so it's hardly a surprise that their loyalties should prove to be elsewhere. The main thing is to understand that the bogus RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA theme being pushed by the Clinton campaign is exactly the same as the RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA theme being pushed by Twitter and Facebook, and it is the same as the RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA theme being pushed by the British Prime Minister.

All three are the same false flag being waved because the neocons and Never-Trumpers desperately want the war with Russia that Hillary Clinton was supposed to give them over Ukraine.

We all know that the Bush and Blair governments lied their way into the war with Iraq. It's extremely important to make sure that the US and British people do not permit their governments to get away with the same damn thing with Russia. Remember, there is stupid, really stupid, and war with Russia stupid.

UPDATE: So, this does not sound good.
********** URGENT *************** BULLETIN **************
U.S. has informed Russia of its intent to attack Syria within 48 hours
Russia has told US "no."
One hopes that someone will remind the God-Emperor that his electoral mandate is to DRAIN THE SWAMP and BUILD THE WALL, not lose a humiliating naval war with Russia over nothing of interest to Americans.

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The clue may be in the name

The Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance is alarmed over a recent mass deletion of Amazon book reviews:
Amazon frightened many conservative authors this week in a mass deletion of reviews. Some authors lost almost 100 reviews on their published works. Others lost all the reviews they had ever written on Amazon. Some lost both. Information about the purge began to trickle out in the closed Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA) Facebook group. Member after member began reporting the losses at the same time. Marina Fontaine, whose credits include the dystopian Chasing Freedom, the pro-Trump fiction anthology MAGA 2020, and moderating the CLFA page reported many members experiencing losses. A coordinated effort was launched to contact Amazon for explanation. Jon Del Arroz, a science fiction author who was banned from Worldcon earlier this year, contacted Amazon directly asking for his reviews to be reinstated. Amazon responded:

At this time, we've reviewed your feedback and ensured that appropriate action is taken.  There may be times that reviews must be removed from the site.  Unfortunately, we won't be able to discuss the specifics about why the reviews were removed as we'll only be able to discuss that with the individuals who posted the reviews.  They're welcome to contact us if they'd like additional information.

Del Arroz's reviews were reinstated but the corporate response is less than satisfying to conservatives who know their freedom of speech is under constant attack from SJWs in a big tech industry that rules the socials and platforms writers need to connect with their audience.
Of course, the mere fact that there is a closed alliance of authors with personal relationships who pay very close attention to reviews may explain at least a reasonable percentage of these deletions, given the terms of service. I checked out my reviews and it looks like ten or fewer reviews were deleted across all my various book listings. Not only that, but several of the reviews were one-star fake reviews, so two of my average ratings actually increased. This made me suspect that the deleted reviews were likely in open violation of Amazon's terms of service, which Amanda Green's investigation appears to have generally confirmed.
Checking reviews is part of my monthly “business” I take care of along with paying bills, etc. That’s why seeing so many folks up in arms on Facebook and elsewhere about it brought me up short. It also had me thinking about who the people were, what their relationships with one another might be and then it sent me scurrying to the Amazon TOS for authors and for reviews.

In this case, all my questions were answered in the “Customer Reviews Guidelines Frequently Asked Questions from Authors“. If you haven’t read these FAQs recently, I recommend you do so. Amazon makes it clear what their rules are. Below are a few of the most important ones.

2. Are authors allowed to review other authors’ books?
Yes. Authors are welcome to submit Customer Reviews, unless the reviewing author has a personal relationship with the author of the book being reviewed, or was involved in the book’s creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.). If so, that author isn’t eligible to write a Customer Review for that book. 

3. Can I ask my family to write a Customer Review for my book?
We don’t allow individuals who share a household with the author or close friends to write Customer Reviews for that author’s book. Customer Reviews provide unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers and aren’t to be used as a promotional tool.
However, the fact that Jon Del Arroz's reviews were restored upon review by an Amazon manager, as were some of the reviews of Declan Finn's books, indicates that there was probably more going on than just legitimate TOS policing. My guess is that a rogue Amazon employee took it upon himself to take advantage of the opening being given to him by TOS-violating reviewers, but got carried away and ended up deleting a number of reviews that were not in violation of the terms of service as well.

This leads me to two conclusions. First, reviews are considered very important by SJWs. Therefore, culture warriors should be diligent about posting Amazon reviews of books that they read. Even if it's only a short, one-paragraph review that only takes a minute to post, it will help build up the total number of reviews as well as bolster the book's average rating against fake reviews meant to lower it.

Second, when you are dealing with an SJW-amenable authority, or even just an authority that happens to employ an SJW, you must keep your nose clean. Don't push the envelope with regards to the posted rules and regulations. Don't give them an excuse to crack down, because when they do, they may not stop with your infractions, but cross the line themselves.

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Spy for a spy

Russia responds to Great Britain's diplomatic attack:
'On March 17, Ambassador of Great Britain to Russia Laurie Bristow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was handed a note stating that in response to the provocative actions of the British side and groundless accusations against the Russian Federation with regard to the incident in Salisbury, UK on March 4, 2018, the Russian side has taken the following decisions in response.

'Twenty-three diplomatic staff of the UK Embassy in Moscow are declared persona non grata and are to be expelled from Russia within a week.

'Taking into account the disparity in the number of the two countries' consular missions, the Russian Federation recalls its agreement on the opening and operation of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in St Petersburg.

'Respective procedures will be followed in accordance with international legal practice.

'Due to the unregulated status of the British Council in the Russian Federation, its activities are terminated.

'The British side is warned that in case of further unfriendly actions against Russia, the Russian side reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures.'
If the British are smart, they will declare victory and leave it at that. But I don't think Theresa May is smart. The neocons want war with Russia and they are pressuring her to give it to them.


An important message

The God-Emperor and his Grand Inquisitor have sent the Deep State an important message: no, we're not going to let you bury your sins and pretend that business is usual as you ride off into the retirement sunset to collect a fat government pension. We're going to very publicly fire your corrupt ass even if you are already halfway out the door.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been fired, effective immediately the Department of Justice said late Friday night. The decision comes as FBI officials recommended his firing, as they wait for a Department of Justice Inspector General report critical of him to be released.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said "the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions."

The decision, not unexpected, came two days before McCabe was set to retire Sunday. The 49-year-old is likely to keep at least some of his pension.

In a phone interview with CBS News' senior investigator producer Pat Milton, McCabe said he "rejects the findings in the [Inspector General] report," calling it "misleading and unfair." "I strongly believe this is the latest chapter in a yearlong attack on my credibility and service to the country," McCabe said.

President Trump tweeted shortly after midnight that it was a "great day" for the FBI and "sanctimonious" former FBI director James Comey made McCabe "seem like a choir boy."

 Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump
Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!
This isn't over. In fact, as far as the public disclosures go, it hasn't even really begun. Despite their high FBI rank, Comey and McCabe are just third tier players, at most.

McCabe also said: "This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally."

He's right that his firing is one small part of a larger effort, only it's not slander, he has no credibility, and the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals to whom he refers are a collection of corrupt Deep State criminals whose crimes in service to their globalist masters are going to be exposed, investigated, and prosecuted.

It's also worth noting that while he is engaged in DRAINING THE SWAMP, the God-Emperor hasn't forgotten about his other priority.
If we don’t have a wall system, we’re not going to have a country. Congress must fund the BORDER WALL & prohibit grants to sanctuary jurisdictions that threaten the security of our country & the people of our country. We must enforce our laws & protect our people! #BuildTheWall

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Embrace your disarmament

Just in case you needed another reason to homeschool:
A high school student in Hilliard, Ohio, didn’t want to pick sides in the contentious gun debate surrounding Wednesday’s “National Walkout,” so he stayed in class instead of joining the largely anti-gun protest or an alternative “study hall.” Hilliard Davidson High School senior Jacob Shoemaker was then reportedly slapped with a suspension.
One suspects his teacher was just bitter that he was actually going to have to show up for the class.


Mailvox: government and tariffs

Zaklog the Great poses a trivial objection:
So, Vox, what would you say to someone who hasn’t studied economics enough to seriously parse through these arguments, but has observed that, almost without exception, the government is a terrible way to get things done? There seem to be very few things the government is capable of doing effectively, and therefore, the idea that managing the economy is one of those very few seems doubtful.
  1. Tariffs are no more "managing the economy" than any other form of taxes are. Falsely equate the two demonstrates that you are engaging in dishonest rhetoric rather than honest dialectic. 
  2. Getting what done? Governments have historically done a better job of defending borders than any other form of organization, and are certainly a damned sight better at it than international corporations, which, by the way, are government-created entities. Tariffs are a form of border defense, in more ways than one.
  3. Tariffs are considerably less intrusive, and cause less economic disruption, than any of their three primary alternatives, income taxes, consumption taxes, and wealth taxes. If you believe that government is a terrible way to get things done, why would you rather have it interfere on a holistic and daily basis with the economic activity of every single domestic citizen rather than on a far less frequent basis with the cross-border shipments of a limited number of foreign corporations?
  4. Tariffs don't require effectiveness, and domestic governments have proven to be far more susceptible to control by the will of the people than international corporations.
  5. Even if one assumes government corruption and inefficiency, it is still preferable to convey legal advantage to manufacturing companies that employ large numbers of people in a tariff system than to financial companies that do not in a free trade system. (Courtesy of Jack Amok.)
Satisfied? Note that if you are not contemplating the question of tariffs in light of their various alternatives, you are not engaging in either honest inquiry or discourse. This is not a hypothetical debate about funding governments through the voluntary contributions of unicorn farts. It is the actual real-world U.S. economy that is under discussion here, not the Austro-libertarian Platonic ideal of a unicorn fart economy.

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So look what I found

I uncovered four old videotapes a few weeks ago. Originally there were six, and unfortunately the missing two were of my 1997 interview with Umberto Eco, but what I found contained about two hours of unique footage of interviews and public interactions with the great dottore. I arranged to get them digitized for use in a potential future Voxiversity, or perhaps even a documentary. Here is one screencap from the last tape, which shows Doctor Eco with Spacebunny and me at St. John's University.

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Ben Shapiro defends free trade

In which I demonstrate why Ben Shapiro has been running non-stop from a debate with me, particularly one concerning economics. First, this is a link to his piece entitled "Yes, Tariffs Are Still Stupid. Here's Why". Go and read it first, in its totality, so you will understand that I am not making any of this up and I am fairly representing his positions that I am criticizing.
Yes, free trade is good.

On Thursday, The Journal of American Greatness, an outlet devoted to President Trump’s purported philosophy, printed an article by Spencer Morrison, a law student and editor-in-chief of the National Economics Editorial. The article is an attempt to rebut the chief conceits of free trade, and in particular, knock down my objections to President Trump’s fondness for tariffs. It’s titled “Why Ben Shapiro is Wrong on Free Trade.”

The reality is that my arguments on free trade have been supported by every major free market economist in history, but I do appreciate the central billing.
This is a little sleight of hand, as Benny presents a tautology as if it means something. Friedrich List is a major non-socialist economist who strongly favored tariffs, but is he a "free market economist"? What does "free market economist", a phrase that is meaningless in economics terms, mean?  It means an economist who supports free trade. So, the reality is that Benny is cribbing "his" arguments from economists who support free trade. Which is not news.
Morrison’s argument in favor of tariffs begins with an analysis of a three-minute segment of video from my daily podcast in which I talk about the flaws in tariff-based economics. As I’ve actually done full episodes on tariffs, and written extensively about them, I wouldn’t say that the video is my fulsome argument against them, but it’s sufficient for purposes of discussion. Morrison first misrepresents my argument in the video: he says that I’m pro-trade deficit, when in reality, I merely explain in the video that trade deficits are an irrelevant economic statistic (neither good per se nor bad per se) and that some countries that run trade deficits do just fine, while some that run trade surpluses don’t. Morrison takes that to be me stumping for the beauty of trade deficits — which, again, I don’t do, since I think that statistic is irrelevant. 
It's fair for him to criticize Morrison's misrepresentation, since Benny is not pro-free trade deficit, he merely thinks they are irrelevant. But Benny is totally wrong, since a trade deficit is not even remotely irrelevant, as it literally shrinks the economy. To grow the economy and increase GDP, export. To shrink the economy and reduce GDP, import. What this reveals is that Benny clearly does not know how GDP is calculated, nor is he aware of how the trade deficit is a part of the basic GDP formula: C+I+G+(x-m).

As it happens, I address this in the next Voxiversity video, but those of you who understand addition and subtraction should be able to grasp that when (x-m) is negative, there is a trade deficit and GDP is lower. Without the trade deficit, the USA would have a $20.3 trillion economy rather than a $19.7 trillion economy, so it's hardly "irrelevant" considering that 3 percent growth is cause for celebration these days.
Finally, Morrison gets to his central argument: comparative advantage doesn’t work when capital is mobile. Here’s Morrison:

Comparative advantage is an elegant theory, but it too is domain-specific—it only works when certain preconditions are met. For example, capital must be immobile for the theory to apply. Shapiro ignores this crucial limiting factor, and applies comparative advantage to just about everything. This is his root error. … For example, comparative advantage suggests that the key to getting rich is to specialize production, regardless of what you produce. That is, a country with a comparative advantage in growing soybeans should focus on growing more soybeans, while a country with a comparative advantage in manufacturing semiconductors should focus on manufacturing more semiconductors. In either case, this supposes, their relative wealth will correlate with the degree of specialization, as opposed to the complexity of their production. This is objectively wrong.

To support the contention that it is objectively wrong to embrace comparative advantage, Morrison cites two studies. First, he cites a paper from economists Ricardo Hausmann, Jason Hwang, and Dani Rodrik, claiming that countries that manufacture automobiles develop faster than those that grow bananas, and another from Stephen Redding of the London School of Economics stating that economic growth is path-dependent — that if you develop a particular industry that is more sophisticated, other industries grow up around that industry, making for a more powerful economy. The result, Morrison claims, is that the United States should enforce tariffs on behalf of its most technologically advanced/important industries, to prevent other countries from undercutting those industries and reducing us to comparative advantage in nail-clipper manufacturing.
First, literally every economist knows that comparative advantage doesn't work when capital is mobile. The immobility of capital is only one of David Ricardo's false assumptions that are required for comparative advantage to logically hold up. Shapiro doesn't understand that the papers Morrison is citing are not relevant to the capital argument, or that Morrison is simply trying to keep it simple for economics illiterates like him. The immobility of capital is merely the fifth of the seven false Ricardian assumptions intrinsic to the theory of comparative advantage listed by Ian Fletcher, which are as follows:
  1.     The comparative advantage is sustainable.
  2.     No externalities.
  3.     Production factors move between industries without cost
  4.     No change in the ratio of income inequality.
  5.     Immobile international capital
  6.     Short-term efficiency causes long-term growth
  7.     Foreign productivity does not improve
There is, of course, an eighth and more important false assumption, the immobility of international labor, that I have identified, but that is well beyond Shapiro's level, so we will simply mention it in passing and leave it at that.
There are several points to be made here. The first is the most important: the argument Morrison makes is for total state control of the economy. If we can simply pick the best industries and subsidize them, we should obviously do that. Why not just embrace mercantilism?
That is a blatant and shameless misrepresentation of Morrison's argument. His argument for tariffs is clearly not an argument for "total state control of the economy". Shapiro is simply being dishonest there.
First, of course countries that develop higher-profit sectors will have higher growth rates than those that rely on low-profit sectors. And of course the decisions you make now have impact on the future development of industry. But this has nothing to do with tariffs. The Hausmann, Hwang, and Rodrick paper doesn’t mention tariffs once. Neither does the London School of Economics paper.

Again, there’s a reason for that. There are two problems with tariffs: first, you cannot tell which sectors will be the most profitable, because you cannot tell the future, which means that government is far more likely to “lock-in” particular pathways than to spur future growth; second, most market “lock-in” is self-correcting — we develop new products on a routine basis that are different in kind than the products that preceded them. Horses and buggies dominated the market, and we built roads in a certain way to accommodate them, and we built houses near those roads. Then cars came along and blew all of that out of the water.

If we could see the future, we could have simply picked which industry upon which to focus. We couldn’t. And in 1947, the smart money would have been in using government to tax all other industries to dump money into manufacturing, for example. That would have been totally wrong. In 1947, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing represented 25.4% of GDP production in the United States; finance represented 10.3%; agriculture 8%. If we had been creating tariffs to protect the “most important” industries, we’d have put our money on manufacturing, finance, and agriculture. But we’d have been wrong. By 2016, manufacturing represented 11.7% of GDP; finance represented 20.9%; agriculture represented 1.0%.
The papers may not mention tariffs, but tariffs are the primary way those sectors are defended, when imports in those sectors are not simply banned altogether. I hope Shapiro is being dishonest there too, because his claim that tariffs have nothing to do with how countries develop industries is simply wrong.

And more often than not, you can tell which sectors are going to be more profitable than others. The fact that you cannot predict these things with absolute 100 percent accuracy does not mean that you cannot do so at all, or to a worthwhile extent. Despite some famous blunders, MITI did so very successfully in Japan from 1949 to 2001. Germany still does so today, to such an extent that exports make up 46.1 percent of its economy. Ben completely fails to understand both the way tariffs work as well as the fact that he is begging the question; if we'd put our money on protecting the manufacturing sector, then that sector almost certainly would not have fallen from 25.4% to 11.7% of GDP. Preventing such declines is the primary point of using tariffs to defend a particular sector!
And this is the point. Impoverishing your profit sectors through tariffs in order to dump money into non-competitive industries impoverishes your country as a whole. Economic flexibility requires that the government not impede the free flow of capital within industries. That’s true when capital is mobile as well — if we invest our money in Chinese tech because it’s cheaper and better (even if they’re subsidizing that industry!), that money comes back to the United States in the form of capital account surplus.
First, it's both statistically and historically false to claim that tariffs impoverish countries. Second, money does not necessarily come back to the United States, as the existence of foreign-held eurodollars, the $3.1 trillion held overseas by US corporations since 1986, and the recent decision of Apple and other tech companies to repatriate over $400 billion being will suffice to demonstrate. And third, Ben clearly has not thought through the intrinsic costs of economic flexibility, which when taken to their free trade extreme are absolutely and inevitably lethal to any nation.

I could go into considerably more detail, but at this point, it should be obvious to the informed reader that Ben is doing little more than spouting off free trade rhetoric that he has learned by rote; he does not understand the theory of comparative advantage, its justifications, its assumptions, its flaws, or its inescapable consequences. With regards to free trade and economics, Benny is an ignorant and uninformed fraud, and his position on free trade is completely and utterly incorrect. Tariffs are not stupid, but Ben Shapiro certainly is.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mailvox: Hultgreen-Curie, architecture edition

Has it ever occurred to feminists that perhaps there is a very good reason for the glass ceiling?
You have probably heard about the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at FIU in Miami today.  I was researching who the builder is, I stumbled across an article from yesterday celebrating the bridge’s construction.

 Key quote from the female engineer/project executive, Leonor Flores (speaking about teaching her daughter that women can go into STEM):

“It’s very important for me as a woman and an engineer to be able to promote that to my daughter, because I think women have a different perspective. We’re able to put in an artistic touch and we’re able to build, too.”

Yeah, about that…
FIU pedestrian bridge collapses days after installation; police say multiple deaths, cars trapped.

If you think about it, what is this but an example of Merkel's Germany or May's Britain writ small? Or, to put it in even more brutal terms, Carly Fiorina's Hewlett-Packard....

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I can't say I'm terribly surprised to be informed that the Clinton Foundation accounting appears to be more than a little shady:
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation filed Its 2016 Annual Report to California on Form RRF-1 seven days past the final deadline on Nov. 22, 2017. This key document was subsequently rejected.

That means the best-known Clinton charity has not been operating in full compliance with California laws for months, an adverse fact that should have been disclosed in other U.S. states where Clinton charities solicit donations, especially including New York.

Another glaring problem with the rejected California filing is that the total revenues of $77 million declared for the whole of the Clinton Foundation are much less than the $217 million in combined grants and contributions claimed on its 2016 external audit, which is available on page 5.

The calculation is: Total contributions of $135,445,489 plus total grants of $81,153,172 equal combined revenues of $216,598,561, which rounds up to $217 million. This large discrepancy is only part of the problems facing the Clinton Foundation in California.

On Feb. 22, 2018, Becerra demanded receipt of information concerning “all government funding, including grants from foreign governments” received by the foundation during 2016. The deadline for receipt is March 24, 2018.

California charity laws are tougher than those in many other U.S. states. In California, for example, charities must disclose particulars concerning all government grants, including those by foreign government entities.

These particulars, including amounts, are available to state regulators because California also requires that charities disclose (confidentially) the names of all donors giving 2 percent or more of total revenues in a given year, as listed on Schedule B of their federal tax filings.

The Clinton Foundation’s 2016 federal filing poses additional problems. Total revenues declared in Part VIII, line 1h, were just $63 million, or $14 million less than the amount declared on the California RRF-1 filing — and a whopping $154 million less than the figure independently confirmed by auditor CohnReznick.
It's also a little remarkable that the Clintons continue on their rapacious mission to rake in more and more money... and for what? They both look like death mildly reheated these days. Hillary can't even navigate a simple set of stairs. What on Earth will another million, or ten million, do to improve their quality of life one iota?

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Open Brainstorm tonight

Tonight at 8 PM EST we will have an open Brainstorm session to discuss the current status of Arkhaven and Dark Legion, as well as the hypothetical possibility of creating a community-owned movie studio. I realize the latter sounds entirely crazy, but I don't think it's necessarily quite as insane as it sounds. It might not be possible yet, but a number of the necessary pieces are at least prospectively in place. And while it's not even a secondary or tertiary goal of mine, the utility of having a viable visual outlet for the stories we are creating in other formats does not escape me.

There are 500 seats available, and it is first come, first seated.

I have a request in for a feature that would permit reserved seating, but obviously they have not yet had time to implement it. I'm sorry about the double emailing to Brainstorm members, but DST hasn't changed here yet so I initially got the time there wrong.

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His finest moment

The great William Shatner has many accomplishments of note. But this very public spanking of a pseudo-Nobel laureate is indubitably his greatest.


The female Steve Jobs

Turned out to be the female Bernie Madoff:
Elizabeth Holmes — the Silicon Valley wunderkind whose blood-testing startup Theranos has collapsed in a slew of scandals — has been charged with “massive fraud” by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC on Wednesday accused Theranos CEO Holmes and a top lieutenant of defrauding investors of more than $700 million through false claims about its technology.

Holmes — a Steve Jobs wannabe who dressed exclusively in black turtlenecks as she talked up her blood-testing unicorn, which at one point boasted a valuation north of $9 billion — settled with the regulators for $500,000 while neither admitting nor denying the accusations.

Theranos disclosed in a 2016 letter to investors it was under a criminal probe. No criminal charges have been filed, and it’s not known if the investigation is ongoing.

Holmes additionally agreed to not be a director or officer of a public company for 10 years, and to forgo profiting from Theranos ownership until $750 million is returned to investors, according to the consent order with the SEC.

Theranos and 34-year-old Holmes ran “an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance,” according to the SEC.

While Theranos had said it was on track to make $100 million by the end of 2014, the real figure was “a little more than $100,000,” according to the SEC.
The thing you have to understand about Silicon Valley is that for the last 20 years, it has essentially consisted of little more than techno-Ponzi schemes. Very, very few of the companies that are created there are actually intended to make money on the basis of their nominal business. What is remarkable, in many cases, is the way in which many of these startups never have very much revenue, let alone profit, at all.

These "startups" are basically schemes to suck in investors and keep stringing them along until the company can drum up an exit, which can take the form of going public, or in most cases, an acquisition. But the whole game is more akin to gambling than it is to conventional business development. This is the difference between an Infogalactic and a Gab, for example. We're not Silicon Valley startup artists, we're not looking for a future exit, we are developing our own new tech on a community-supported shoestring, we aren't slinging around buzzwords or issuing press releases, and we strongly prefer volunteers and supporters to employees and investors. Only time will tell which Alt-Tech model works better, but if Gab eventually implodes, you cannot say the warning signs were not there.

Anyhow, I always assumed Elizabeth Holmes was a complete fake, so this news of her confirmed con artistry does not surprise me at all. She clearly didn't know what she was talking about, she always seemed to be more interested in TED Talks and photoshoots than business, and she surrounded herself with the kind of older men who are always complete suckers for any woman who is young and blonde.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Russia is the reason A Wrinkle in Time flopped

Wait, did I say RUSSIA? Oh, sorry, I meant to say that RACISM is the reason that it flopped.
'A Wrinkle in Time' Director Ava DuVernay Uses Racism to Explain Away Bad Reviews....

In an interview with Screen Rant, writer Jennifer Lee explained why she took out the Christian themes and Bible references from the book. "It wasn't removed, it was just opened up in language that wasn't exclusive, guardian angels versus stars, are they the same thing? Maybe," Lee said. She emphasized "inclusivity," saying, "Since we’re not limiting, we’re not picking some religion, but we’re saying we all feel, we can feel that you’re a part of something extraordinary and the messages are the same."

This helps explain why the film ditched the book's explicit Christian themes, trading them for vague New Age spirituality that failed to deliver the depth of the original story. Furthermore, it is the exact opposite of "inclusive" to excise all Christian historical references, even to Jesus, Copernicus, or Michelangelo.

As The Federalist's Ellie Bufkin noted, non-Christian and liberal reviewers agreed that the removal of Christianity from "A Wrinkle in Time" severely weakened the movie.
Sure, it's not the anti-Christian bigotry, the urinating all over a cherished childhood classic, or the Wakandawashing of the white characters, it's Vladimir Putin!

I mean, of course, to say that it was RACISM. Specifically, the racism of straight white Christians.

It is absolutely no surprise at all that A Wrinkle in Time flopped. Padre Pio knew that it would flop. Nostradamus knew that it would flop. There is probably a stone buried deep in a South American jungle carved with ancient Mayan hieroglyphics predicting it would flop. Even journalists who are under the vague impression that a tesseract deals with financial regulations knew eight years before it even came out that it was going to flop, because the Hollywood Values crowd hates hates hates Christianity, Christian morality, Christian values, Christians, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and God. There was never any chance that they could produce a movie that would be consistent with the core themes of the book.

What is more interesting is to ponder why Black Panther was successful whereas A Wrinkle in Time was not, given their superficially similar approaches. So, what were the salient differences?
  • Black Panther was competently told.
  • Black Panther respected the original characters.
  • Black Panther was aimed at its core market.
  • Black Panther's production team actually appears to have liked its source material.
  • Black Panther had competent set and costume design.
I suspect that Black Panther also sucked all the available "black power" enthusiasm out of the market, which probably added insult to injury to the shoddy A Wrinkle in Time performance.

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How the Big Three ruined comics

My observation is that the combination of a) a distribution monopoly and b) SJW editors and content are the primary culprits for the ongoing collapse of the comics industry, which is on track to decline as much as 20 PERCENT in units this year. In corporate terms, that's practically free fall.

However, Arkhaven writer Jon Del Arroz declares at Castalia House there are other content-related problems that merit mention, and lays the blame at the feet of three of the more influential comics writers of the last 30 years.
The industry has three major problems in its storytelling, which each one of these works exemplifies in three ways:

A focus on realism in a medium that by definition is absurd. Alan Moore’s Watchmen is what brought this on. The whole point of the book was to show real heroes growing old, having problems, being corrupt and dealing with real world issues and relationships – and by “real world” of course we mean a debaucherous romp of sex, drugs and violence, which no one relates to. Modern writers want to switch all their characters to this realism feel, which makes no sense when you have Asgardian gods who magically transform at the picking up of a hammer, or a nerd clinging to walls and swinging from rooftops. Realism has no place in such stories, and it’s painful to read boring stories about The Visions sitting at home pretending to eat meals even though they’re robots.

An obsession with rebooting mythology. This is Neil Gaiman’s hallmark. He’s made an entire career out of rebooting. If you look at Sandman, he takes classic mythological figures, imports them into a punk rock/goth 80s world and turns it into a weird horror story. When he worked for Marvel briefly, he rebooted Marvel as if the heroes had been born in the 1600s. American Gods, his novel, is about rebooting mythology again. His formula is obvious. It’s all he does, and it’s all DC and Marvel do now. It’s not selling? Let’s reboot Superman again with an all new #1. That’ll sell for the gimmick collector for a minute, but then when you degrade into the same, tired, unoriginal realism in storytelling, the sales plummet again. No one wants to read the revamped origin story for the umpteenth time, this time it’s the definitive, real version! The original worked just fine and remain in our memories, not the reboots.

Striving to be darker for shock value. This is where Frank Miller changed the game, and for the worse. Everything is gore. Everything is awful, dark, terrible. Characters are dying, whether it be from street thugs or from AIDS, everyone’s life is in the pits and sucks. The streets of New York or Gotham are pure cesspools of no hope, and pure grit. He paved the way for writers like Garth Ennis or Mark Millar to try to one up that grittiness, or Ed Brubaker to turn an optimistic character Captain America into some depressing, dark story with his Winter Soldier storyline. Guess what? You’ve just made sure every parent in America doesn’t buy these books because they know they’re not appropriate images for their kids to see, thereby turning off an entire generation of customers from getting attached to these works.

The three points above all are dangerous paths for lesser writers to tread, and do lead to even greater problems when EVERY story becomes a combination of these tropes, which is what we have in modern comics.
Jon isn't just a critic, though. He's putting his pen where his mouth is by translating Richard Fox's popular Ember War series into comics that will be published later this year by Arkhaven. Check out the first two preview pages at the Arkhaven forums.

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The roar of the toothless lion

I fail to see the point of Britain's posturing here, unless the neocons are going to try to get their Russian war in an indirect fashion:
Theresa May vowed to expel 23 Russian spies today as she laid out Britain's retaliation over the Salisbury nerve gas outrage. In the biggest diplomatic swipe for decades, the Prime Minister gave the 'undeclared intelligence agents' a week to leave the country and suspended 'all high level contact' with the country.

Mrs May also paved the way for a crackdown on Russian oligarch money in London and urged the international community to join sanctions.

As tensions with Moscow reached new lows, the premier also suggested that covert reprisals would be undertaken - in an apparent hint at cyber attacks.

Mrs May said she was determined that the package would 'fundamentally degrade Russian intelligence' capability in the UK.
Theresa May won't stand up to the European Union and she can't protect British girls from being raped and murdered by third-world invaders, but she's going to stand up to Vladimir Putin and Russia. Sure she is.

At least she's been able to defend the British Isles from Brittany Pettibone!

What a global embarrassment May has turned out to be. Even Red Jeremy wouldn't have been so haplessly incompetent.

UPDATE: Yes, that is what it is. The neocons know they can't get Trump to start a war with Russia over Ukraine or Syria, so they're using May to start it, then rely upon the NATO treaty to force the US to go to war with Russia.
May argued that the incident can be characterized as a state-directed chemical weapon attack that occurred on British territory -- in other words, an act of war. She mentioned invoking NATO Article 5 as a response to incident. NATO Article 5 -- also called The Three Musketeers Clause -- commits the alliance to defend an ally when its territory is attacked. 
Of course, the God-Emperor is far too canny to be manipulated in this obvious way. In fact, the situation may present a golden opportunity for him to tear up the NATO treaty altogether.

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Mailvox: the QB carousel

A number of people have asked me for my reaction to the Kirk Cousins signing by the Vikings. My three primary thoughts:
  • Good, this is exactly what the Vikings obviously had in mind once it became clear that they weren't going to ride with Case Keenum in 2018. Neither Bradford nor Bridgewater were ever a possible option, despite whatever nice things about them were being said by various Vikings figures.
  • The price was actually a little better than I'd expected. I was thinking they'd have to cough up the $30M/year to nail down the deal. The Vikes have loads of cap room, and the QB is where you want to spend it if you can get a good one.
  • Spielman is going all in after the Super Bowl this year. Teams have a small window of opportunity, usually from one to three years where they can be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Vikings had an unexpected shot in 2017, but they were outcoached in the NFC championship game and Nick Foles seriously outplayed Case Keenum. Considering how the Eagles and Rams have both improved their rosters, the Vikes clearly could not stand pat.
I have zero concerns - zero - about Cousins's losing record. Teams lose games, not quarterbacks. Cousins is 29, a top-six quarterback over the last three seasons, and he's now got a much better team around him. Nothing against Keenum, who is very likable and played about as well as he possibly could have in 2017, but is not capable of winning a game on his own the way an elite quarterback occasionally must.

If Cousins just runs the scheme, with our skill players and behind our solid O-line, he’ll have over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Put that opposite our defense and we’re serious contenders.
- Vikings staffer

I wanted the Vikings to lock Keenum up inexpensively as an top-notch long-term #2 after he won his fourth game of the season. But once that didn't happen, I did NOT want them to sign him to the kind of big money he got in Denver as their long-term starter, simply because he is not good enough to be an elite starter. If you watch a quarterback for an entire season, you get a pretty good grasp of what their limits are, and Keenum is a tough, smart, low-turnover game manager. If your defense controls the other offense, he will not lose the game for you. And that's a great thing.

The problem, of course, is that if the defense can't control the other offense, he will not win the shootout. We saw that against Carolina before we saw it against Philadelphia. We very nearly saw it in the second half against New Orleans. And that's the $8 million difference between Cousins and Keenum.

Sometimes the obvious move is the smart move. So, the Vikings did the right thing.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Who owns the future?

Pat Buchanan observes that the central struggle for the future of the West is now between globalists and nationalists:
Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: “There shall be open borders.”

Bartley accepted what the erasure of America’s borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country.

Said Bartley, “I think the nation-state is finished.”

His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.

This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th-century Britain. The St. Paul of this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his vision and the power of his rhetoric.

In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to be removed. There, Cobden thundered:

“I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe — drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace.”

Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the “American System,” had been embraced.

The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding Father of his country in his first address to Congress: “A free people … should promote such manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military supplies.”
What is disturbing to me is how fundamentally dishonest the advocates of free trade are. The more intelligent and insightful of them know that what they are advocating necessarily means the end of the nation-state and the end of the nations, but they are intent on hiding that reality because they know how unpopular it is with the vast majority of the population in every nation.

Sure, if you press them hard enough they will admit that national borders are just "a line on a map" and that they don't care at all about their fellow citizens, but they certainly aren't going to publicly own up to the destruction that is inherent in their economic vision.

But the globalists will fail for the same reason that the communists failed and the feminists are failing. Eventually, the weight of the contradictions and the falsehoods will cause their system to collapse.

The future belongs to the nations. Deus le vult.

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Mr. Putin is apparently unimpressed

With the threats of British Prime Minister Theresa May

Shot: May threatens MILITARY RESPONSE against Putin after Russian spy 'poisoning'. Theresa May is reportedly drawing up a battle plan against Vladimir Putin after a Russian spy was believed to be targeted on British soil.

Chaser: Russian exile who was close friends with the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been found dead in his London home, according to friends. Nikolai Glushkov, 68, was discovered by his family and friends late on Monday night. The cause of death is not yet clear.

It sounds like someone is sending Mrs. May a message. And given the way that May observably can't even manage to stand up to the bureaucrats of the European Union, how on Earth can she imagine that her empty words will impress the popular Russian president?

I have to say that considering how the British government detained and deported three American, Canadian, and Austrian citizens this week, I'd be pretty well pleased to see the God-Emperor publicly tell the British Home Office that they're on their own with regards to any hostilities with Russia.

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FBI coverups: Las Vegas edition

I have no idea what happened in Las Vegas. But I know two things. First, the Official Story is the one thing we know did not happen. Second, the FBI now has less credibility than Congress and the mainstream media... combined.
The FBI maintains that Stephen Paddock — the reported lone gunman — was a mystery man and his motive for killing dozens and injuring over 500 people still has not been pinpointed. Those assertions are simply untrue, FBI officials confirm. Lies. In the coming weeks, True Pundit will detail various parts of its investigation into the shooting and more importantly, paint a detailed portrait of the events leading to the shooting and Paddock’s likely accomplices and associates.

The major, shocking revelations include:
  • When FBI brass was provided with forensic evidence of multiple gunmen, they told agents to stand down and focus on Paddock only. Even a key internal audio captured by a hotel guest of multiple rifles firing from Mandalay Bay went ignored, covered up.
  • When FBI brass was provided the names of persons of interest who likely assisted Paddock, agents were instructed not to interview the individuals. One would-be target was never pursued despite pleadings from intelligence officials and agents that he was possibly the second shooter.
  • The FBI uncovered specific evidence showing that Paddock was anti-Trump and had an affiliation with ANTIFA, though it never was divulged to the public and agents did not follow such leads, per orders of their superiors.
  • When FBI brass was given evidence that the shooting was possibly linked to ANTIFA radicals working with an ISIS-linked terror faction — including the full identities of some of the suspects with ties to both radical groups and at or near Mandalay Bay the night of the deadly shooting — agents were never instructed to follow up on the investigation and pursue the suspects.
  • When intelligence officials approached the FBI and LVMPD with external evidence that Paddock was only one member of an organized  terror cell — which included as many as five gunman who planned to fire from the Mandalay Bay suite — the compelling evidence was covered up. Never pursued.
  • When FBI brass was provided with forensic evidence that Paddock’s death was not a suicide, the intelligence was never pursued by the FBI and LVMPD. FBI sources said Paddock suffered two gunshots. His autopsy report only details a single bullet to the head. FBI sources maintain Paddock’s autopsy was doctored and is a fraud.
  • When an ISIS-linked “businessman” from Turkey was pinpointed in the investigation — and found to be residing near Las Vegas at the time of the shooting — FBI agents were not instructed to follow up and pursue intelligence leads showing possible links to the massacre.
  • FBI and intelligence officials believe Paddock and associates chose to strike the Las Vegas country music concert with over 22,000 people because they likely supported President Trump. FBI agents said they were instructed to keep that key motive quiet too.
  • When MGM refused to share cctv footage from Mandalay Bay, FBI agents were threatened by superiors that any whistle blowers divulging such revelations to the media would lose their jobs. The FBI still has never been provided all the camera footage from the Mandalay Bay, FBI agents said.
Considering how crazy things are getting these days, I wouldn't even be surprised if we were to be informed that David Hogg and his little team of Parkland's Totally Not Crisis Acting Troup were the real Las Vegas shooters.

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Trump to Secretary of State: You're fired!

The God-Emperor rids himself of another globalist tool in the White House by firing the Secretary of State:
Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of State, ending a tumultuous tenure as America's top diplomat that was marked by a series of public disagreements with his boss — President Donald Trump.

Trump plans to appoint CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace the former Exxon Mobil chief executive. The president picked deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the spy agency.

Since Tillerson took the post in February 2017, mixed messages repeatedly came out of the White House and a State Department with diminishing relevance. The intramural clashes between the president and secretary of State came amid major international crises, including a potential nuclear showdown with North Korea.

Tensions between the president and his top diplomat hit one high when Tillerson, 65, publicly distanced himself from the president's defiant response to violence at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer.

But there were numerous other clashes.

The policy rift emerged most sharply when Trump tweeted in October that Tillerson is "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korea to end its nuclear and missile programs.

The president wrote: "Save your energy, Rex, we'll do what has to be done!"
This is hardly a surprise. President Trump publicly depantsed Tillerson with the announcement of his upcoming meetings with the North Korean premier.

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The print editions arrive

Fresh from the new forums, Vulcha reports the arrival of the first print editions of QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1:
Looky looky what I got today. I was very surprised at the quality. The covers are super sturdy and the interior is superb. Much better than I anticipated. Not sure why I expected otherwise. I'll be keeping a few and distributing the rest. 
He might want to hang on to a few of those issues marked $2.99 because they will serve much the same purpose as the gold logos. Due to the vagaries of Ingram's discount structure, we have had to change the retail price to $3.00, which is why future issues, and future editions of the first issue, will not feature a price marked on the cover.

That discount issue is, in part, what has caused the delay of orders made through Amazon, although I have been informed that it's also connected to a much bigger Amazon problem that has nothing to do with us or Ingram. So, at least until they get that straightened out, I would recommend ordering Arkhaven comics through the Castalia Books Direct store.

They certainly look good, though! As for the sturdiness of the covers, they are not the flimsy coated gloss paper used for normal comics, but are the same rigid construction of a normal trade paperback. If you've received your print editions already, please feel free to share your thoughts on the manufacturing and print quality here. I'm still waiting for mine.


Lauren Southern denied entry to Ukistan

Meanwhile, what presently passes for the British government allows jihadists who have fought for ISIS to enter freely. Given what Britain's Home Office now deems "the public good", it would not be at all unreasonable for President Trump to declare a travel ban on all citizens and residents of once-Great Britain.
A Canadian journalist has become the third so-called anti-Muslim activist accused of racism to be barred from Britain in just 72 hours.

Border guards quizzed Lauren Southern for six hours in Calais where she was preparing to come to the UK to interview English Defence League co-founder Tommy Robinson.  It is understood the 22-year-old was hauled in for questioning over concerns surrounding an incident last month in Luton where she is accused of distributing racist material in the form of Islamic posters.

On Friday, right-wing Austrian activist Martin Sellner and his American girlfriend Brittany Pettibone, a YouTube commentator and author, were detained by the British government.

Southern took to Twitter to document the incident, and said: 'I'm not kidding about this, but during my questioning by the UK police.

"I was asked about my Christianity and whether I'm a radical. I was also asked how I feel about running Muslims over with cars."

A British security official confirmed all three had been refused entry and said when Sellner and Pettibone landed at Luton Airport, north of London, on Friday, border police refused to allow them to enter Britain. They were detained and then deported on Sunday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the couple had been banned from entering by Britain's Home Office on the grounds that their 'presence in the UK was not conducive to the public good'.
Britain appears to have not only left the European Union, but the West as well. I was considering going to a business event in London to which I was invited, but this certainly helps me make up my mind regarding that. I definitely won't be attending it now.

Now are you starting to understand the central importance of Christianity to Western civilization, atheists? Going into a civilizational war without a religion is like showing up for a gun fight without a firearm... or a pocketknife.

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