Monday, August 24, 2015

Hillary shows good judgment in avoiding government email

Following the example of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton also avoided leak-riddled government email.
News readers report at least weekly, sometimes daily, on how government emails are routinely hacked.
But when Hillary Clinton chooses to avoid the risks, the media forgets news it has just reported.
On Monday, Canadian police said the death of at least two people identified when a cheating Web site was hacked probably resulted from their exposure.
The whole affair is a canard. Any email Clinton sent, or received, was seen by the recipient-receiver.
The idea that her private server was wiped after she left office is standard procedure. Forensic experts could probably put such messages back together faster than a thousand Iranians piecing together shredded documents.
Former Democrat Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary, defended Clinton, who he has often quarreled with. “I would have said, 'You know what? I don't want an official classified email system. I want to have my own private server. Because of WikiLeaks, because of hacking, because of leaks.”
Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, said, "Secretary Clinton's use of personal e-mail was consistent with the practice of other Secretaries of State and was permissible under State Department policy in place during her tenure.”
A media intent on making sure it has something to talk about is pushing the email story, even trying to promote Vice President Joe Biden as an opponent.
Why not mention that Jeb Bush and Scott Walker used private emails for government business.
The government's obsolete email system wouldn't work with mobile devices when Clinton was secretary of state. It is hilarious that rightwing nuts suddenly think the government is effective.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Media displays bias on Trump

Polls are the Holy Grail of political journalism, especially TV news. It was hilarious watching the mainstream media try to avoid talking about how Donald Trump’s poll numbers were rising.
For my overture let me be clear, like Otter in Animal House when he defended the Deltas and said the issue was not whether they broke a few rules, if the question is whether I abhor Trump, the answer is yes. Always have.
Loved the New Yorker belly-flop cover.
Lest anyone think there really was a battle going on between Trump and Fox, the New York Times said: “If this sounds like a war between Mr. Trump and Fox News, it is an unconventional one. It is not mutually assured destruction; it is mutually beneficial combat.”
After Trump threatened to cut off Fox, meaning no more interviews, the network began kissing his ass.
Quickly he was welcome on a network whose star he had insulted. Fired and hired within a week.
Key and Peele would have been hard put to come up with a better skit, though they came close with the one about how warriors had to avoid doing certain things when they decapitate enemies.
It is only possible to guess why such a blowhard is increasingly popular in polls. Could it be because the same media trashing him now helped make him a star?
Could it be because people do not trust a media that let former President George W. Bush steal an election, destroy an economy and became cheerleaders for a war launched on false pretenses. Under this theory any criticism of Trump makes the major less silent.
One statement from him that may have really hit home was when he said he didn’t have time for political correctness.
While the nation needs to move on and accept gay marriage, abortion and even legal marijuana, it is going too far to accept them to do so with just a shrug.
Trump gave his reason: "I won the life has been a debate but I have never been in a debate." He said he enjoyed the give-and-take.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Denver jury rejects death penalty for Aurora theater killer

A Denver-area jury rejected the death penalty for the Aurora theater killer Friday, refusing to accept an obsolete argument of sanity offered by a prosecutor accused by critics of seeking a death penalty to advance his political career.

The ACLU said the trial wasted millions of dollars and caused unnecessary additional suffering. Some would say this money could have been used to provide mental health care and avoid future massacres.

"What a great deal of trauma to bring the victims through over the period of time since Holmes offered to plead guilty," said Denise Maes, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It is deeply unfortunate that our taxpayer dollars had to pay for one of the most expensive trials in the state's history only to achieve the same outcome offered by the defense before the trial even began."

The quick guilty verdict by jurors after less than two days of deliberations, and quick review of the death penalty had made it seem likely the jury would order the killer executed.

The rejection of the death penalty led some commentators to suggest the death penalty was no longer feasible in Colorado, a state
which has gone from red to blue with the influx of immigrants, especially from California. Gun violence across the country may have made some believe more deaths would not solve problems, particularly with the appalling lack of mental health care.

Inept attempts at executions caused because manufacturers showed that the government couldn't even kill efficiently.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has declined to allow any executions during his two terms, said:

“Our thoughts remain with the victims and families who have suffered unspeakable tragedy. No verdict can bring back what they have lost but we hope they begin to find peace and healing in the coming weeks.”

James Holmes and his lawyers had agreed to plead guilty and accept a life sentence for the 12 killings that occurred during a screening of the latest Batman movie. The prosecutor insisted on pursuing what became a more than three-month trial with a gory retelling, including videos, of the slaughter.

Fifty people were wounded during the attack by the former University of Colorado graduate student whose danger to the public had been reported by his psychiatrist.

Little time was spent during the trial dealing with why the killings had not been prevented, and there have been more shootings by mentally ill people who managed to get access to weapons.

In recent months there have been two more theater attacks, and in the latest case, in Tennessee, the attacker had in fact been committed at least four times.

Carl Jung, one of the founders of psychiatry, had said that for every psychotic person we know of there are ten more.

The defense and prosecution spent hours debating whether sanity should be determined simply by whether a killer knew right from wrong, no matter how mentally ill.

This so-called “McNaughton rule” on the issue of “diminished responsibility” originated in the United Kingdom in 1843.

Much media coverage focused on this issue, giving little attention to numerous court decisions in other cases that some people were so mentally ill that could not resist the urge to kill even if “a policeman was at their elbow.”

The “Oxford Companion to the Mind” writes that even in 1843 this definition of sanity was obsolete.

“From the medical standpoint,”this all-or-nothing approach to psychological function was already obsolete.

“It had … been shown that inability to distinguish between right and wrong was only one symptom of insanity, and that many mentally disturbed persons knew the difference between right and wrong.”

Some in the community of psychologists and psychiatrists have argued that the lust for vengeance medical opinions can be bought.

The discovery that psychologists had cooperated in the torture of terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks have further tarnished the reputation of some, though many had publicity condemned such unethical conduct against patients by doctors.

Oxford Companion of the Mind

Botched Executions

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Government & industry use technology to slow progress

One of the more reviled aspects of the most recent wave of technological innovation is email. What would the Romans have done.
Hating email works to the advantage of corporations and government officials who want to keep their jobs and perks.
Anyone who has tried to reply to an email and been told they could not, that they must go somewhere else, knows how this works. Usually the consumer/citizen is told to go to a site where if there is anyway to comment it is in a controlled manner that Stalin or Hitler would have admired.
This method lets marketers, or governments, tell you that they want to tell you something but do not want you to be able to reply without going to a great deal of effort. Perhaps even go to the U.S. Post Office, and then keep receipts. Even USPS has caught on to this creepy marketing trick, though only barely, by allowing its customers to get receipt for the delivery of certified mail by email. Of course it requires going line and using a system whose effectiveness was demonstrated by Obamacare.
One of the arenas where the most damage is done is with medicine. Why shouldn’t patients get notices of appointments and results of tests by email?
It would cut the cost of medical. One excuse is the need for privacy. But the same who make that argument use fax machines that often sit in offices where anyone can see them.
The media should know better than anyone how effective email is. But they not only do not understand it, they report on it as if they had never read one.
Coverage of Hillary Clinton is a prime example, whether you like her or not. Media coverage consistently ignores the fact that whatever email account she used there were recipients of any that were sent.
It is becoming widely known that destroying emails is often futile. They can be reconstructed, and if even one person got it then there is a trace. If it went out on the Web, you will never be able to forget it.
European governments are even dumber than America. They think data that has gone out on the Internet can somehow be pulled back and removed from history, sort of like a Stalin-era photo of party leaders. In one apocryphal story, too good to check, the feet of a person meant for the dustbin of history are visible. Sort of like the USS Pueblo crew flipping off North Korea.
Americans should demand the right to communicate by email. U.S. courts have already ruled that emails are legal documents.
Courts are the second area where emails could dramatically reduce costs, and make the system fairer for all concerned, except the lawyers, judges, cops, bail bondsmen, and prison guards who benefit from it as it now operates.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Will executing Holmes curb gun massacres?

Vengeance is the only plausible reason for executing James Holmes for the 12 murders in the Aurora theater.
Ironic that such arguments often come from those who oppose abortion, and trust in their Christian Bible. They support gun ownership, and disregard the admonition that the lord says vengeance is his/hers.
There has not been even the slightest sign that the failure of our mental health care system, and inadequate gun control laws, will be improved to prevent copycat killings.
In many cases, such as Columbine High School, the issues were blurred because the young gunmen killed themselves.
Time after time gunmen are able to get their weapons because checks are inadequate or law enforcement does not have enough staff to do the job.
Also, time after time, the killers have acted in ways that indicated they were ready to kill. Frequently they go on the Web.
Whether James Holmes is actually executed, after the jury returns the expected death penalty, is far from certain.
The cheerleading media sought to portray the issue as a simple one: did he know the different between right and wrong.
The “McNaughton” rule is from 1840s England, and is based on non-scientific principles. In a country that will not accept that global warming is a threat it is no surprise that it is not understood that people can kill even with a cop at their elbow.
Just as with guns, it is almost as if people have a constitutional right to be crazy.
And what is right or wrong can be a philosophical or legal term, but not science. Was it right to drop nuclear bombs on Japan. Decide for yourself. Many who took part in that decision did not agree but did not even try to stop it.