9 Jun 2014

Across America, Police Departments Are Quietly Preparing For War

Tyler Durden's picture At first blush, the title of this post could be perceived as somewhat hyperbolic by those who still have an impression of America's police departments as bastions of safety, designed "to protect and to serve" the population of the "land of the free." However, said impression would be promptly washed away upon reading an article in today's NYT which citing Pentagon data, reveals that under the Obama administration, "police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft."
Which begs the question: just who is America's police force, and by extension the Obama administration, which is behind this quiet militarization of local police forces with weapons that would normally be seen in a warzone, preparing for war against?

A Sane Comedian With Serious Projects + RIP Rik Mayall

“I am in no way Islamophobic, right? But, believe me, if you went into prison, you would struggle not to be coerced into adopting Islam as a protection. The rise of radicalisation within British prisons is an unspoken secret.”
By John Fleming: Mea culpa. Almost two weeks ago in this blog, I posted the first part of a chat I had with comedian John Ryan. Those who read it may remember he scripted Teletubbies and hit a schoolboy with a brick.
In 2005, John wrote a show called Those Young Minds in which he was able to look at things like Why did my behaviour change?
Now read on somewhat belatedly due to my Blog-jam…
“From doing Those Young Minds,” John told me, “I then got asked to write something similar about suicide and depression called Cracking Up.”
“Because?” I asked.

John’s award-winning show Hurt Until It Laughs

“Because my show Hurt Until It Laughs got a Leicester Comedy Festival award, then it was featured on Radio 4, got picked up by BBC Online and came to the attention of the NHS Surrey Primary Care Trust. They wanted something similar done to raise awareness of suicide and depression. I thought: That’s a big old heavy subject for an hour. How many gags can I get out of that?”
“But there’s a long tradition,” I said, “of people doing comedy shows about very serious subjects. Janey Godley did one about child rape. Mike Gunn did one about heroin addiction.”

Artificial Intelligence is Here - Computer Program Passes Turing Test as Socialbots Infiltrate Twitter

By Michael Krieger: Today, I want to highlight two interrelated and significant developments in the world of AI, or Artificial Intelligence. The first has to do with a computer program called “Eugene Goostman,” which has reportedly become the first artificially created human being to fool more than 30% of judges that he is a real person. The test was recently conducted at the Royal Society in London and the UK’s Independent reported yesterday that:
A program that convinced humans that it was a 13-year-old boy has become the first computer ever to pass the Turing Test. The test — which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans — is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime.

Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations.

Eugene Goostman, a computer program made by a team based in Russia, succeeded in a test conducted at the Royal Society in London. It convinced 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, said academics at the University of Reading, which organized the test.

You can put up all the investment charts in the world, but Britain will sink without trace...

 ...because it cannot understand two simple words:
By John Ward:  There’s a piece by Jürgen Maier in today’s Torygraph on the subject of making Britain a more attractive place in which to invest. Given that our political class seems to be tumescently keen to sell everything to everyone while allowing every tax fiddle in the book if you’re Big and Multinational, it struck me as an odd piece: divorced from reality in a robotic way, and suggesting another in the never-ending series from neoliberals about Britain being Open for Business blah blah blah. Boris Johnson, the ghastly Michael Fallon, Lord Green and dozens of other corporatist control freaks still at large have been giving us the same bollocks for years now.
But it is the British blindness at all levels that nobody from either here or abroad seems able to diagnose and then cure. The challenged primary sense involves two 100% correlated factors: personal accountability, and the consequences of not accepting such responsibility.
The Left of course would have us believe that the only examples of this are the banks, tax evaders, neoliberal political and business figures privatising everything, corrupting Party donators, the right-wing media, foreign military adventurism, and greedy employment deregulation turning rapidly into slavery.
Or put another way, the Left doesn’t accept any responsibility for any of that.

Last Time This Happened, The Financial Crisis Broke Out

By Wolf Richter: There comes a time when risk just disappears, when nothing can go wrong, when there are no dark clouds on the horizon. Stocks rise to record after record. The crappiest junk bonds are priced as if they were safe investments. Inflation is excluded from the calculus. Even the mere possibility of default has been banished from considerations. And investors no longer demand to be compensated for any of it. They close their eyes and hold their nose and grab what they can.
These are times of exuberance, of record low volatility and supreme complacency, when retirees invest their life savings in bond funds stuffed with junk to get a little extra yield; when the ratings agencies finally can get busy again doing what they do best: stamping triple-A ratings on sliced and diced junk; when formerly toxic instruments that helped take down the financial system are once again desirable “assets”; times when otherwise rational people turn into blind automatons.
The Fed has a measure for it: the Financial Stress Index, issued by the St. Louis Fed. And according to the index, all this craziness, created by the Fed’s policies, is simply a sign of low “financial stress.” The data series goes back to 1993. The index is intended to be at zero, on average. Higher financial stress would show up as a positive number, lower financial stress as a negative number. And in the latest reporting week, ended May 30, the index fell to -1.281, the lowest in its history.
The previous record low occurred in February 2007 at -1.268. A very unpropitious moment.

Ron Paul on Obama’s foreign policy: ‘Disobey us and we will bomb you’

RT: Former White House hopeful and longtime lawmaker Ron Paul says United State President Barack Obama’s recent major foreign policy speech was a “disappointment” to anyone holding out for change from the current administration.
Responding to the president’s recent address at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, the former congressman for Texas wrote on his website this week that Obama has refused to acknowledge any precedents concerning the impact of American interventionism, and instead plans on continuing a policy that attempts to extend Washington’s reach over the rest of the world, notwithstanding neither hypocrisy nor consequences.
Paul, a staunch anti-interventionist, was reflecting Sunday about the president’s remarks from late last month in which Obama applauded the idea of American exceptionalism and insisted that, “because of American diplomacy and foreign assistance, as well as the sacrifices of our military -- more people live under elected governments today than at any time in human history.”
“[W]hat makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions,” Obama said at the military’s academy’s May 28 graduation ceremony.
Paul, however, said the Obama administration picks and chooses when and where to flout those norms and otherwise involve itself in foreign affairs.

Reeducation Camp For Straight Men, Orwellian Left And Cultural Marxism

Bernard Chapin: "Think of it as reverse conversion therapy or straight man's rehab so that the state can mandate diversity through conformity."

Dissecting Globalistan: Interview with Pepe Escobar

SOTT Talk Radio: Legendary Brazilian journalist, Pepe Escobar, roving correspondent for Asia Times, analyst for RT and frequent contributor to websites and radio shows from the U.S. to East Asia. Since before 9/11, Escobar has specialized in covering Brzezinski’s “arc” from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. Escobar’s extensive travels and reporting bring witty insights to Western audiences starved of real information to what is going on in the world.

Feminist Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Prepares to Fund One Sided DV Survey in India

By : (YouTube Video of an Indian wife beating her husband)
This simple video shows Sanjay Mahajan (name changed), an educated young man in the city of Mumbai, India being beaten by his wife, while his son is seen alternately sleeping and observing the abuse from the couch. When I met him in 2009, he handed me a compact disk containing video of several hours of abuse by his wife. Motivated by scenes like this, I will be travelling to the International Men’s Issues Conference in Detroit to highlight plight of thousands of Indian men like Sanjay Mahajan.

Spain’s Musical Thrones: Desperate Move By A Desperate Regime

By Don Quijones: The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, broke with hundreds of years of constitutional precedence this week by announcing his intention to abdicate from the throne. The two official reasons cited for this historic move are: a) the King’s deteriorating health; and b) the need to reinvigorate the country with reforms spearheaded by a younger head of state – namely Juan Carlos’ 46 year-old son, Felipe de Borbón.
“The long crisis has left deep scars in the social fabric but it also opens up a new path of hope,” the King said in a televised address. “All of this has awoken a desire for renewal, to improve, to correct our errors, and pave the way to a decidedly better future… It’s time that a younger generation took the reins, to tackle with renewed vigour the challenges we face.”
So, in three short words: Hope, Change and Renewal, a message that will no doubt resonate with American readers. Here in Spain, just as in Obama’s America, what the powers-that-be really seek to achieve with their promise of Hope, Change and Renewal is the exact opposite – namely to buttress their own increasingly precarious position.
Anger on the Streets, Panic in the Corridors of Power