Showing posts from July 9, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[Welcome to the monkey house. A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

America's broken healthcare system – in one simple chart, The Guardian

Trump In Poland: ‘Everyone’ In The U.S. Is Now ‘Getting Very Rich’ Because Of Me, Proud Democrats

Plan for U.S. tax increase on rich not being considered: Mnuchin, Reuters

Why Trump's foreign policy is dangerous, Al Jazeera [It's not that he's unorthodox; it's that he's incoherent]

Ethics official who sparred with Trump is leaving government, CNN Money [Good video interview]

Australian journalist demolishes Trump at G20: 'biggest threat to the west', The Guardian [Also an excellent video]

I Could Kill You with a Consumer Drone

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["When most people look at drones that are readily available online, they have no idea what they can do." I somehow buried this one in the heap; it's a freaky tale, though! See also: The Israeli Military is Buying Copter Drones With Machine Guns. *RON*]
Brett Velicovich, Defense One, 27 June 2017

As a former intelligence soldier who now sells drones for a living, I can tell you that this problem is bigger than almost anyone realizes.

Right now, I’m holding a drone that can fly thousands of feet in air in less than 30 seconds, getting it to an altitude where no one could see it. My drone could be up in the air, ready to strike a target before you even had time to blink.

A range extender I’ve added to the antenna allows me to control it up to seven miles away. Or I can click a button to activate a tracking device, ordering my drone to follow a vehicle or person, filming every movement in 4K high-definition video. If it ever loses its …

It Takes a Theory to Beat a Theory: The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis

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["We need a new narrative for how markets work. We now have enough pieces of the puzzle to start putting it all together." Humans are not even close to being fully rational; we routinely make suboptimal decisions, and because of this markets (far from self-optimizing) routinely fail. But we are adaptive, and responsive to our environments, and this behaviour can be understood by applying the principles of evolutionary theory to markets. *RON*]

Andrew Lo, Evonomics, not dated, July 2017

After 2008, the wisdom of financial advisers and academics alike seemed naive and inadequate. So many millions of people had faithfully invested in the efficient, rational market: what happened to it? And nowhere did the financial crisis wound one’s professional pride more deeply than within academia. Th e crisis hardened a split among professional economists. On one side of the divide were the free market economists, who believe that we are all economical…

These 17 Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World

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[Count 'em - seventeen! *RON*]
Paul Szoldra, Business Insider, 11 May 2017

The U.S. intelligence community is vast, composed of 17 distinct organizations each operating under its own shroud of secrecy.

Oversight of these agencies generally falls to the Department of Defense or Congress, leaving the average citizen with precious little knowledge of how they operate.

Funded by largely classified budgets, it's difficult to assess how much the U.S. annually spends on these clandestine operations, but one 2012 estimate pegs the cost at about $75 billion.

The following slides highlight the expansive reach of the U.S. intelligence community.

The Central Intelligence Agency spies on foreign governments and organizes covert ops.
The CIA is the most well-known U.S. spying agency, formed by the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The agency has its roots with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that operated during World War II.


Ryan says he won't do public town halls citing concerns over possible protests

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[Democracy alert! A political 'representative' who won't talk to the people because they disagree with him. So, a representative of who, exactly? *RON*]
Julia Manchester, The Hill, 7 July 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Friday he will not hold public town halls due to concerns over potential protestors coming in from outside districts.

“Aside from the obvious security concerns, what we have found is there are people who are trying to come in from out of the district to disrupt town hall meetings and not have a civil discussion, so what I have been doing is looking for new and creative ways to interact with my constituents in a civil way,” Ryan said, speaking at a Boy Scouts event in Wisconsin.

“That’s why I have done a number of telephone town hall meetings, which I find very effective as people don’t have to travel. I do office hours. I just did them this morning in Janesville. In addition, I am doing a lot of business on…

Mosul: Iraq PM to celebrate victory over IS in the city

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[Definitely a major victory against ISIS. However, this also simply means that the focus now moves to Raqqa: A photographer’s journey into the dying center of the Islamic State. *RON*]

BBC World News, 9 July 2017
Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi has arrived in Mosul to congratulate Iraqi forces for their victory over IS in the city.

Mr Abadi was in the city to announce its "liberation" and declare "victory", his office said in a statement.

Iraqi forces, backed by US-led air strikes, have been battling to retake Mosul since 17 October last year.

Islamic State militants seized it in June 2014 before taking much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland and proclaiming a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria.

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen have also been involved in the battle.

The Iraqi prime minister arrived to "congratulate the armed forces and the Iraqi people" on the final defeat of IS …