Sunday, July 15, 2018

Last Call For Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Miami Beach cops stop what looks like an attempted criminal arson terrorism event here in a age of the American neo-Nazi.

A resident at a Miami Beach condo was angry after learning he was about to be evicted so he planned to burn down the building and had one group, in particular, targeted, police say. 
Along with gasoline and some of the materials he planned to use to fan the flames, detectives found artifacts with swastikas and books of Nazi ideology inside his apartment
Miami Beach police said their quick action responding to a tip stopped a condo complex on Collins Avenue from going up in flames Thursday afternoon. 
“We are confident the work of our detectives prevented an imminent crisis at 5601 Collins Ave.,” police said Friday morning after the arrest of Walter Edward Stolper on a charge of attempted arson in the first degree. 
Police say Stolper, 72, was angry over being served eviction papers and had expressed anger and aggression toward other residents at the condominium on several occasions.
On Thursday, police say Stolper told witness Luis Diaz that he was “going to burn down the building with all the f------ Jews,” according to the arrest report
According to the affidavit, Diaz said Stolper told him he was going to fill plastic containers with gasoline, pour the fuel down the building’s main line, and ignite the gas. Stolper told Diaz that he purchased two electrical fans “to fan the flames and cause maximum amount of damage.” 
Diaz also told police Stolper bought padlocks and painted them red and told him he had intended to place the locks on the condo’s fire hoses to prevent the fire department from putting out the fire. 
A resident at the Collins condo, Viannette Justino, told police Stolper had recently been served with eviction papers, but it is not clear why the association wanted him removed.
When Miami Beach officers Raymond Diaz (no relation), Sergio Campos and Fulgencio Medina arrived at the condo at about 5:45 p.m. they saw Stolper in the parking garage moving two plastic containers using a shopping cart. According to the affidavit, police smelled gasoline coming from the shopping cart and Stolper’s car. 
Justino told police that several residents “could smell a strong odor of gasoline in the hallways and elevators.” 
Police found eight plastic containers filled with gasoline in the garbage chute dumpster that had been tossed down the chute. Gasoline had also been poured down the chute from the 15th floor, police said. 
Officers said the gas-filled containers in the dumpster matched the gas-filled containers Stolper had with him in the garage. 
Detectives interviewed Stolper inside his apartment and he gave consent to search the unit, police said. There, police found the two black electrical fans, along with the swastikas and Nazi books. 
“I bought the gas to make a small barbecue,” Stolper told detectives, the arrest report said.

He was just having a cookout for the Jewish community, guys.  As Trump says, these are very fine people.

Trump Cards, Con't

Trumpian "foreign policy" means "everyone's a rival and nobody is to be trusted, and only one nation can win in Donald Trump's book.

Coming off a contentious NATO summit and a trip to the U.K. in which he seemed to undercut the government of America's closest ally, President Trump took aim at another Western institution just days before his high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union -- comprising some of America's oldest allies -- when asked to identify his "biggest foe globally right now." 
"Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive," Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland.

"I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they've really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren't paying their bills," he added. 
On Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC that Mr. Trump had encouraged her to "sue the EU" rather than negotiate over the U.K.'s departure from the bloc. May's conservative government is deeply split over her handling of Brexit, and her hold on power was further weakened by Mr. Trump's comments to a British tabloid that her approach had likely "killed" any chance of a new trade deal with the U.S. once Brexit is complete. (Mr. Trump tried to walk back his criticism in a joint press conference on Friday.) 
At the summit of NATO allies in Brussels last week, Mr. Trump took a hard line toward member nations for failing to meet targeted defense spending goals. He claimed his tough stance had paid off in getting allies to spend more on defense, telling reporters on Thursday that members had "upped their commitments and I am very happy." 
The president kicked off the NATO summit by blasting Germany as "totally controlled" and "captive by Russia" over a natural gas pipeline project, known as the Nord Stream 2. The U.S. fears the deal could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. In Saturday's interview, the president reiterated the criticisms he made in Brussels. 
"Germany made a pipeline deal with Russia. Where they're going to be paying Russia billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that's not good, that's not fair. You're supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you're, you know, guarding against. I think it's ridiculous, so I let that be known also this time," Mr. Trump told Glor. "I'll tell you what, there's a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars. There's a lot of anger. I also think it's a very bad thing for Germany. Because it's like, what, are they waving a white flag?" 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters after the president's comments in Brussels that she had "experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union" and said her country today made "independent policies" and "independent decisions. 
In the CBS News interview, Mr. Trump also continued to criticize the special counsel's Russia investigation, saying it is having an impact on America's standing in the world. "I think we're greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that's going on in the United States," the president said. "I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries. I think it's a disgrace what's going on." 
Mr. Trump heads to Helsinki on Sunday ahead of his meeting with Putin on Monday. He told Glor he has "low expectations" for the summit. "Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out," he said.

Anger, projection, ignorance, mistrust, and blame-shifting.  All classic Trump personal traits, now they are America's traits in the arena of diplomacy and foreign policy.   The fact that this summit is still even happening at this point is proof enough of how much of a disaster this is going to be.

Keep in mind Trump is fully compromised by Putin.  The damage to the country will continue until Trump is removed from office, and will probably continue for decades after.

But we have to be rid of him first, and there's so much that Putin can do to us with the clear advantages he has.  You'll never convince me that he doesn't have the congressional GOP in his pocket either, House GOP members Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes, Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher especially.  He probably has plenty on McConnell in the Senate too, but at this point, McConnell's gotten just about everything he's wanted to accomplish done, so it matters little to him.

It was Barack Obama who wanted to issue a joint statement condemning Russian election meddling with Republicans, but Mitch McConnell refused to cooperate. It was the Obama administration that secured documents relating to the Russia investigation so that they couldn’t be destroyed by Trump and the Republicans. It was Obama who warned for years that America’s election system and infrastructure needed to be upgraded and repaired. (A warning that was ignored by Republican state and local election officials.)
McConnell went even further. When Congress wanted to act, the Senate Majority Leader expressed doubt about the intelligence that Russia was attacking the United States and stopped Congress from taking action against Russia. 
The Republican Party prevented President Obama and the Democrats from doing anything to stop the Russian attack. In hindsight, we now know that this is because Republicans were also benefiting from the Russian activities. 
Trump knows why Obama didn’t do anything to stop his treason. Mitch McConnell is the reason why Russia was able to attack our country. McConnell was also a big part of why Trump was able to win the election. 

It'll take arguably the rest of my lifetime to fix this mess.  If ever.  But let's stop pretending Trump's perfidy wasn't aided and abetted by Republican leaders who knew damn well what Russia was up to and did everything they could to cover for Trump so that he would deliver what they wanted from him, just as much as Putin wanted Trump to deliver what he wanted from him.

They knew.  They deserve the same prison cell Trump does.

Sunday Long Read: Saving The Internet From Itself

The man who created the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has lived long enough to see his creation responsible for the rise of the dark era of the nexus of tech, politics, misinformation and racism that is America today.  Now he's trying to do something to fix it.

For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told me one morning in downtown Washington, D.C., about a half-mile from the White House. Berners-Lee was speaking about the future of the Internet, as he does often and fervently and with great animation at a remarkable cadence. With an Oxonian wisp of hair framing his chiseled face, Berners-Lee appears the consummate academic—communicating rapidly, in a clipped London accent, occasionally skipping over words and eliding sentences as he stammers to convey a thought. His soliloquy was a mixture of excitement with traces of melancholy. Nearly three decades earlier, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. On this morning, he had come to Washington as part of his mission to save it.

At 63, Berners-Lee has thus far had a career more or less divided into two phases. In the first, he attended Oxford; worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); and then, in 1989, came up with the idea that eventually became the Web. Initially, Berners-Lee’s innovation was intended to help scientists share data across a then obscure platform called the Internet, a version of which the U.S. government had been using since the 1960s. But owing to his decision to release the source code for free—to make the Web an open and democratic platform for all—his brainchild quickly took on a life of its own. Berners-Lee’s life changed irrevocably, too. He would be named one of the 20th century’s most important figures by Time, receive the Turing Award (named after the famed code breaker) for achievements in the computer sciences, and be honored at the Olympics. He has been knighted by the Queen. “He is the Martin Luther King of our new digital world,” says Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. (Berners-Lee is a former member of the foundation’s board of trustees.)

Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation. His prophecy came to life, most recently, when revelations emerged that Russian hackers interfered with the 2016 presidential election, or when Facebook admitted it exposed data on more than 80 million users to a political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s campaign. This episode was the latest in an increasingly chilling narrative. In 2012, Facebook conducted secret psychological experiments on nearly 700,000 users. Both Google and Amazon have filed patent applications for devices designed to listen for mood shifts and emotions in the human voice.

For the man who set all this in motion, the mushroom cloud was unfolding before his very eyes. “I was devastated,” Berners-Lee told me that morning in Washington, blocks from the White House. For a brief moment, as he recalled his reaction to the Web’s recent abuses, Berners-Lee quieted; he was virtually sorrowful. “Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state.” Then he went on to recount, at a staccato pace, and in elliptical passages, the pain in watching his creation so distorted.

This agony, however, has had a profound effect on Berners-Lee. He is now embarking on a third act—determined to fight back through both his celebrity status and, notably, his skill as a coder. In particular, Berners-Lee has, for some time, been working on a new platform, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots. On this winter day, he had come to Washington to attend the annual meeting of the World Wide Web Foundation, which he started in 2009 to protect human rights across the digital landscape. For Berners-Lee, this mission is critical to a fast-approaching future. Sometime this November, he estimates, half the world’s population—close to 4 billion people—will be connected online, sharing everything from résumés to political views to DNA information. As billions more come online, they will feed trillions of additional bits of information into the Web, making it more powerful, more valuable, and potentially more dangerous than ever.

We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places,” he told me. The increasing centralization of the Web, he says, has “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”

His invention was weaponized and used against hundreds of millions of people.  It will be used against billions more in the future unless it can be contained.  But there's no real movement to do so.  The 2016 US elections proved beyond a doubt what the power of the web can do.  Nobody is going to give up that power voluntarily unless it is taken from them by people who demand they relinquish it.

Suddenly Not So Feinstein

California Dem Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been in office for 24 years now and is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.  She’s gotten a lot of crap for civil liberties issues from the hard left in her home state, but she’s been able to weather the storm for some time now.  Until tonight, that is, as the California Democratic Party just officially endorsed her primary opponent.

The California Democratic Party on Saturday endorsed U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s challenger, highlighting the moderate lawmaker’s political disconnect with liberal activists in her home state.

The nod provides Kevin de León with a boost of momentum for his long-shot bid to unseat the 26-year-incumbent. After finishing second and 32 points behind Feinstein in the June primary, de León spent months calling more than 300 members of the party’s executive board to earn their support.

His work paid off Saturday when 65 percent of the voting members endorsed him over Feinstein at a gathering in Oakland. Feinstein had asked board members not to endorse either candidate. 
“We want the party to be focused on the competitive congressional races,” said Bill Carrick, Feinstein’s longtime political advisor. “We don’t want them having to figure out whether they are going to do a slate mailer with the guy who got 12 percent.” 
Feinstein’s call for “party unity” was echoed by several others within the party, including a half-dozen Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives that the veteran senator held a fundraiser for this week. Feinstein’s team sent out a campaign email Saturday afternoon touting her endorsements from Democratic heavyweights Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi.

Anita Narayana, a board member from Aliso Viejo, did not endorse either candidate.

She pointed to Feinstein’s overwhelming victory in June and said she’s cautious of the party falling out of step with voters. “I’m really concerned about the integrity of the party,” Narayana, 32, said. “When we have had races where Democratic endorsed candidates don’t win, that’s really bad. I want the endorsement to mean something.”

This is a spectacular self-own right now, considering what’s going on in the Senate Intelligence Committee and given the upcoming Kavanaugh Supreme Court fight.  Feinstein already won the Dem nomination in the primary last month.

But a message had to be sent, and that message is “The most populous state in the nation and the largest state Democratic Party in the nation needs to get its act together, because the petulant toddlers are apparently in charge of both major parties in the Golden State.”

Nice going guys, this is the 100% absolute perfect time to refight a lost primary battle from a month ago.  Good job.
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