Month: September 2020

bbCode for Web Extensions (bbCodeWebEx) Version 0.3.0 Released

I have updated my Firefox addon, bbCode for Web Extensions (bbCodeWebEx), to revision 0.3.0.

Just to remind you, it adds a context menu to automate bbCode and HTML coding for blogging, discussion boards, and the like.

The new version was driven by the fact that the indescribably awful update to the Blogspot editor broke it.

In addition to that fix, there have been some updates:

I have also added the following:

  • Color picker for fonts in HTML and XHTML.
  • Added a new line token ( ~_~nl~_~) to allow users to make multi-line custom tags.

At some point, I’ll look into porting it to Chrome, which uses a similar technology for its add-ons, because it appears that senior Mozilla management is hell-bent killing off Firefox through stupid management tricks like, abandoning their core expertise for the latest shiny object, destroying their internal knowledge base, and looting the organization through excessive pay and benefits for senior management.

Initial Claims Remain at Horrific Levels

Initial unemploument claims rose by 4,000 to 870,000

So, still above any weekly claims level that was not in 2020.

If you are wondering why the steep drop and then a flattening out, probably because the aid programs stopped:

The number of applications for unemployment benefits has held steady in September at just under 900,000 a week, as employer uncertainty about the economic recovery six months into the coronavirus pandemic continued to restrain hiring gains.

Jobless claims increased slightly to 870,000 last week from 866,000 a week earlier, according to Thursday’s Labor Department report. The totals remain well above pre-pandemic peaks but are down significantly from nearly seven million in March.

The labor market has added jobs in the prior four months after steep declines in employment at the beginning of the pandemic, helping bring down the jobless rate to 8.4% in August from near 15% in April. But the pace of gains has slowed recently, and persistently elevated jobless claims in September point to continued cooling in the jobs market.

This is not a good economy.


Dean Baker makes a very good point: CEOs Maximize CEO Pay, Not Shareholder Returns

They act in their own self interest, not those of the company, which is why the insane pay arrangements for senior executives do not result in increased performance for any task involving thinking, which we have known for years, and was demonstrated by Dan Ariely over a decade ago:

It is a cult among policy types to say that CEOs maximize shareholder returns, as in this NYT piece. This is in spite of the fact that returns to shareholders have not been especially good in the last two decades. And, this is even though returns were boosted by a huge corporate tax cut in 2017 that increased after-tax profits by more than 10 percent, other things equal.

There is considerable evidence that CEOs do not earn their $20 million pay, in the sense of providing $20 million in additional returns to shareholders, compared to the next schmuck down the line. This matters in a big way because CEO pay influences pay structures throughout the economy. If CEOs got paid 20 to 30 times the pay of ordinary workers, like they did in the 1960s or 1970s, or around $2 million to $3 million a year, the next in line execs would likely get around $1.5 million and the third tier corporate execs would get in the high hundreds of thousands. That is a contrast from today when the CFO and other top tier execs might get close to $10 million and the third tier can easily make $2-$3 million.

Preach it, Brother.

Light Posting for a While

If You Miss an Opportunity to Reference The Princess Bride, You’ll Be Gleeped by the Todal

Google Blogger has updated,and they have broken my Firefox addon, bbCode for Web Extensions (bbCodeWebEx).

Between that and work, and a desperate need to avoid dealing with the impending sense of dread over the upcoming election, I’m swamped.

I have an app to fix, my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, some fleas to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped!

Disclaimer: I am not going to war with Guilder this week, but you know, The Princess Bride.

Better off Ted is Reality, Zoom Edition

Algorithms are a Dystopian future

A professor teaching Zoom classes, and he discovered that his head was being removed by the program. 

He called tech support, who trouble shot the problem, and (with said professor’s permission) related the account on Twitter. 

It turned out that he Zoom algorithm was choosing a globe for his head, and removing his actual head when it was doing that background trick thing.

One fact that will surprise anyone who has seen THAT episode of Better off Ted, is that the professor with the problem was Black. (See clip below)

It appears that much like Racist Republicans, Zoom cannot see color.

It cannot see it at all, and so the person is erased, which is one f%$# of a metaphor.

The optimists among us say that computer algorithms will eventually do away with racism.

The pessimists among us say that the computer algorithms will reinforce and extend racism.

The police, of course, are pulling out their wallets, because this gives them a excuse to discriminate, as is evidenced by the false arrest of a black man based on racist facial recognition.

Color me cynical.

They Say over 200,000. I Think That It Is over ¼ Million

Excess Deaths is the Gold Standard Here

So, the official death toll from Covid-19 crosses the 200,000 mark

The reason that I think that this number is low is that I have looked at the CDC’s excess death figures, and the range there is between 201,917 and 262,877, only the death numbers can be 6-8 weeks late, and these figures only go to the week ending September 5, and deaths have been running at about 10,000 a week. 

Given that we are now entering the busy season for viral spreading, more indoor activity and lowering humidity in those spaces, I think that ½ million dead is not outside of the realm of possibility by year’s end.

Yes, By All Means, Trust the FBI

Once agaim, it now appears that the FBI has soft pedaled evidence that a mass shooting event was tied to right wing militant movements. 

 This time, it’s Stephen Paddock, who murdered 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, who had strong ties to right wing militia movements, specifically, he was big into the Boogaloo movement, or at least its immediate antecedent:

Three years after the worst mass shooting in recent American history, the FBI has yet to identify a motive explaining what could have driven Stephen Paddock to open fire on a crowded music festival from a Las Vegas hotel window, killing 58 people and injuring many hundreds more. But the FBI, which has been notoriously slow to recognize right-wing threats in recent years, may have ignored a politically inconvenient explanation: Paddock, in our view, fit the profile of a far-right political extremist bent on sowing violence in society.

Paddock appeared fixated on three pillars of right-wing extremism: anti-government conspiracy theories, threats to Second Amendment rights, and overly burdensome taxes. For instance, one witness told Las Vegas police that Paddock was “kind of fanatical” about his anti-government conspiracies and that he believed someone had to “wake up the American public” and get them to arm themselves in response to looming threats. Family members and associates of Paddock painted a picture of a man who loathed restrictions on gun ownership and believed that the Second Amendment was under siege, according to our review of their statements to investigators after the shooting and other documents compiled by the authorities.


The FBI and Las Vegas police each spent many months searching for a motive in the Las Vegas attack, and both agencies claimed to come up empty in the end. There was “no single or clear motivating factor behind Paddock’s attack,” an FBI panel concluded in a report released in January 2019, and it found “no evidence that Paddock’s attack was motivated by any ideological or political beliefs.” The FBI said that “throughout his life, Paddock went to great lengths to keep his thoughts private, and that extended to his final thinking about this mass murder,” much like many violent lone actors before him.


To be sure, factors like Paddock’s declining mental health or an apparent downturn in his high-stakes gambling could also have played a part in his twisted thinking that night. We may never know for certain what would drive a man to barricade himself inside the Mandalay Bay resort with nearly two-dozen high-powered weapons and commit an act of such horrendous violence. But consider what is known about Paddock’s deep-set political beliefs and grievances on issues like guns and taxes.

Paddock “had an obsession with guns” and would become angry when challenged on the Second Amendment, according to Adam LeFevre, who dated the sister of Paddock’s partner. Paddock “made it very clear he would have no part of gun ownership restrictions,” said LeFevre, who got a glimpse of Paddock’s well-stocked gun room during a tour of his home, in another interview. Indeed, by the time of the attack, Paddock had amassed an arsenal of some 80 firearms, mostly assault-style rifles, in addition to stockpiling ammunition and some survivalist equipment — another glaring attribute of the far right.

“He was animated about the government and the tax system,” LeFevre told us in an email. “He was outspoken about the inadequacies and waste of the government.”

Paddock’s ardent opposition to gun restrictions bled into his embrace of a number of the debunked conspiracy theories that have helped to fuel a rise in right-wing extremism in recent years, according to the statements collected by the Las Vegas police, as well as interviews with journalists.

The month before the shooting, one unnamed associate recounted to Las Vegas police detectives that Paddock tried to bribe him into selling a gun part used to convert a semiautomatic firearm into a fully automatic machine gun, demonstrating a total disregard for federal firearms laws. When the associate refused because he said it would be illegal, Paddock reportedly became enraged and made references to a litany of anti-government conspiracy theories, including supposed plans by the Federal Emergency Management Administration to set up “detention camps” of Americans and plans for widespread confiscation of firearms. Paddock believed that Hurricane Katrina in 2005 “was just a dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and confiscating guns,” the associate said.

“He was kind of fanatical about this stuff,” the associate added, quoting Paddock as saying that “somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves.”

While the FBI has been reluctant to label many attacks by far-right figures as terrorism, outside academics and researchers who track terrorism have filled that void in recent years, compiling data on the growing amount of far-right violence. The managers of two exhaustive databases on terrorism incidents — the START program at the University of Maryland, which works with the Department of Homeland Security, and the Center for Investigative Reporting — decided to include Paddock’s Las Vegas massacre as an act of domestic terrorism, even though the FBI does not classify it that way.


President Donald Trump, with little evidence, has tried repeatedly to blame antifa and “left-wing” protesters for organized violence surrounding the protests. But in most cases of violence, evidence on the ground so far points instead to far-right, anti-government protesters — particularly members of the so-called boogaloo boys, who believe in conspiracies about the government’s confiscation of guns and predict a coming civil war in America.


Both of us have examined from a close vantage point the rise of right-wing extremism — and resistance from the federal government in recognizing it. Daryl Johnson was the author of a 2009 report at DHS on the rising threat, which was retracted under political pressure by Republicans, and he has written two books on the subject. Eric Lichtblau has written about the subject extensively over the years, including an article in The Intercept in June about an intelligence report acknowledging the government’s failings in confronting the threat of domestic extremists.

People may disagree, based on the evidence, about whether Paddock should be considered part of the rogue’s gallery of ideologically inspired, right-wing killers — alongside people like Roof in Charleston and Crusius in El Paso. But the clues to his political motives certainly merit further review from law enforcement officials to help solve the mystery of what drove him to massacre those dozens of concertgoers on that October night three years ago. The families of the victims deserve it, and the government’s efforts to head off the next massacre demand it.

The vast bulk of law enforcement in the United States is aggressively supportive or the right wing, and right wing violence.

This is the case with the vile spawn of J. Edgar Hoover as well.

I’m sure that they will mention right wing violence when there is absolutely no other alternative.

They are far more measured when it’s not a black or a brown perp.

Headline of the Day

Banks’ Airtight Compliance Procedure Involves Laundering Money, Sending Report That Won’t Be Read, Collecting Fees, Laughing All The Way Back To Themselves


To be fair, the story was broken by Buzzfeed, but they don’t have the same attitude as Dealbreaker.

A huge trove of secret government documents reveals for the first time how the giants of Western banking move trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins.

And the US government, despite its vast powers, fails to stop it.

Today, the FinCEN Files — thousands of “suspicious activity reports” and other US government documents — offer an unprecedented view of global financial corruption, the banks enabling it, and the government agencies that watch as it flourishes. BuzzFeed News has shared these reports with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 news organizations in 88 countries.

These documents, compiled by banks, shared with the government, but kept from public view, expose the hollowness of banking safeguards, and the ease with which criminals have exploited them. Profits from deadly drug wars, fortunes embezzled from developing countries, and hard-earned savings stolen in a Ponzi scheme were all allowed to flow into and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from the banks’ own employees.
Laws that were meant to stop financial crime have instead allowed it to flourish. So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees.


But the FinCEN Files investigation shows that even after they were prosecuted or fined for financial misconduct, banks such as JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon continued to move money for suspected criminals.

This information should be routinely made public.

Name and shame the oligarchs and those who help them to launder their money.

House Passes Bill to Regulate the Internet of Sh%$

Given that our f%$#ing light bulbs are being hijacked to DDOS Instagram influencers, legislation to regulate the so-called “Internet of Things” is long overdue:

Though it doesn’t grab the same headline attention as the silly and pointless TikTok ban, the lack of security and privacy standards in the internet of things (IOT) is arguably a much bigger problem. TikTok is, after all, just one app, hoovering up consumer data in a way that’s not particularly different from the 45,000 other international apps, services, governments, and telecoms doing much the same thing. The IOT, in contrast, involves millions of feebly secured products being attached to home and business networks every day. Many also made in China, but featuring microphones and cameras.

Thanks to a laundry list of lazy companies, everything from your Barbie doll to your tea kettle is now hackable. Worse, these devices are now being quickly incorporated into some of the largest botnets ever built, resulting in devastating and historic DDoS attacks. In short: thanks to “internet of things” companies that prioritized profits over consumer privacy and the safety of the internet, we’re now facing a security and privacy dumpster fire that many experts believe will, sooner or later, result in some notably nasty results.

To that end, the House this week finally passed the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which should finally bring some meaningful privacy and security standards to the internet of things (IOT). Cory Gardner, Mark Warner, and other lawmakers note the bill creates some baseline standards for security and privacy that must be consistently updated (what a novel idea), while prohibiting government agencies from using gear that doesn’t pass muster. It also includes some transparency requirements mandating that any vulnerabilities in IOT hardware are disseminated among agencies and the public quickly:

I would suggest some additional requirements, like length of support requirements, and liability for the manufacturers and/or vendors.

About F%$#ing Time, Massachusetts Edition

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that prosecutors must tell prosecutors how often specific police officers lie on the stand

I’m not surprised the prosecutors refuse to tell defense attorneys about cops who lie, but I am surprised that the courts have let it slide so long.

Cops lie. Cops lie enough there’s a term for it: testilying. Honest prosecutors don’t want lying cops on the stand dirtying up their case with their impeachable testimony. Unfortunately, police unions are powerful enough to thwart this small bit of accountability. “Brady lists” are compiled by prosecutors. They contain the names of officers whose track record for telling the truth is so terrible prosecutors don’t want to have to rely on their… shall we say… misstatements in court.

Unfortunately, these lists are often closely-guarded secrets. Judges aren’t made aware of officers’ penchant for lying. Neither are defendants in many cases. But they’re called “Brady” lists because they’re supposed to be disclosed to defendants. The “Brady” refers to Brady v. Maryland, where it was decided prosecutors are obligated to turn over possibly exculpatory information to defendants to ensure their right to a fair trial. This includes anything that might indicate the cop offering testimony might not be telling the truth.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled [PDF] prosecutors have an obligation to inform defendants of officers who have made their “Brady” lists. Two cops who made false statements in a use-of-force report were granted immunity for their testimony in front of a grand jury. The district attorney prosecuting a different criminal case handed this information over to the defendant. The cops challenged this move, claiming their grand jury immunity should have prevented this exculpatory information from being given to the defendant and discussed in open court. (h/t Matthew Segal)

The cops argued there’s no constitutional duty to disclose this information (under the US Constitution or the Commonwealth’s) unless failing to do so would alter the outcome of the trial by creating reasonable doubt where none previously existed. The Supreme Judicial Court says that argument is wrong under both Constitutions.

First, prosecutors have more than a constitutional duty to disclose exculpatory information; they also have a broad duty under Mass. R. Crim. P. 14 (a)(1)(iii) to disclose “[a]ny facts of an exculpatory nature.” This duty is not limited to information so important that its disclosure would create a reasonable doubt that otherwise would not exist; it includes all information that would “tend to” indicate that the defendant might not be guilty or “tend to” show that a lesser conviction or sentence would be appropriate.


Second, even if prosecutors had only their constitutional obligation to disclose, and not the broad duty under our rules, we would not want prosecutors to withhold exculpatory information if they thought they could do so without crossing the line into a violation of the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

This is a SIGNIFICANT expansion to the Brady rule.  The SJC is saying that the information does not have to show innocence, but something that might lead to some reasonable doubt with some jurors, or even that it might result in a more lenient sentence.

This is a big change.


The cops also argued their immunity from prosecution during their grand jury testimony should shield them from any adverse consequences. Wrong again, says the court. The immunity only covers prosecution for the admitted crimes. It is not a shield against reputational damage that may result from this information being made public or handed over to defendants.


The Court wraps this up by laying down the law: this is Brady info and it needs to be disclosed to defendants. The SJC is not f%$#ing around.

[W]e conclude, as did the district attorney, that the prosecutors here have a Brady obligation to disclose the exculpatory information at issue to unrelated criminal defendants in cases where a petitioner is a potential witness or prepared a report in the criminal investigation. That obligation remains even though that information was obtained in grand jury testimony compelled by an immunity order. And the district attorney may fulfill that obligation without prior judicial approval; a judge’s order is needed only for issuance of a protective order limiting the dissemination of grand jury information.

More broadly, we conclude that where a prosecutor determines from information in his or her possession that a police officer lied to conceal the unlawful use of excessive force, whether by him or herself or another officer, or lied about a defendant’s conduct and thereby allowed a false or inflated criminal charge to be prosecuted, the prosecutor’s obligation to disclose exculpatory information requires that the information be disclosed to defense counsel in any criminal case where the officer is a potential witness or prepared a report in the criminal investigation.

That’s the standard in Massachusetts. And bad cops are on notice there’s pretty much nothing they can do to escape the consequences of their own actions. This is as it should be. Now, if the courts could just make sure prosecutors and police departments are actually compiling Brady lists, we’d be set. At least in this Commonwealth.

Having cops revealed to be liars in open court is a good thing, because those cops are going to get torn up on the stands by defense attorneys, and so will be an embarrassment to the force, and not get promoted. 

It’s more long-overdue accountability.


From The Who’s latest album. Not my favorite song of theirs, but definitely The Who, and not just Pete Townshend:

I’m Calling Political Ploy

The reports of an envelope sent to the White House containing ricin are highly suspect.

First, it’s been known for almost 2 decades, since the anthrax mailings, that ricin was one of the substances routinely scanned for in White House mail, and second, this is straight out of the Republican playbook.

After all, we do know that Karl Rove, the morning star for the current crop of Republican political consultants, once planted a bug in his own office for political advantage.

The Hysterectomy Doc Story Gets Worse

It turns out that the butcher who was routinely sterilizing ICE detainees was not a board certified OB/Gyn.

My conclusion at this point is that either Dr. Mahendra Amin was getting all of the sterilization jobs because he was paying kickbacks, or someone at the facility wanted mass sterilizations at the facility, and he was a willing conspirator, or both:

The doctor at the center of a scandal over unwanted hysterectomies at an immigrant detention facility in Georgia is not a board certified OB-GYN, The Daily Beast has learned.

Dr. Mahendra Amin came under scrutiny after immigrant rights groups issued a report accusing him of conducting unnecessary or unwanted gynecological procedures on women detained at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.


ICE declined to comment on the record about Amin’s certification or policies concerning board-certified physicians. The agency has previously said it “vehemently disputes the implication that detainees are used for experimental medical procedures,” and cautioned that “anonymous, unproven allegations” should be treated with skepticism.

Reached by text message, Amin declined to comment on his board certification and deferred all questions to his lawyer, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the issue.

Amin has practiced in Douglas, Georgia for at least two decades, both in his own private practice and as the medical director for the labor and delivery department at Irwin County Hospital. Business records reviewed by The Daily Beast show he also incorporated a new “Amin Surgery Center for Women” in September 2019, and sought state approvals to build the facility two months afterward. Gayle Evans, a consultant for the project, said the surgical center is still under construction and has not started seeing patients.


Since then, lawyers representing 17 detainees have claimed their clients received unnecessary medical gynecological procedures from Amin, according to the office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched an investigation into the allegations, and the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee said his panel would also look into them.


Board certification is a voluntary process meant to enhance a specialist’s expertise beyond state licensure. (Georgia state law requires only one year of education after medical school to obtain a license.) Physicians seeking ABOG certification must pass a written and oral exam and demonstrate experience in treating women’s health care. They are also required to participate in a program to keep them abreast of the latest evidence-based treatments.


Court records show Amin has previously settled lawsuits with at least two patients or their family members outside the detention center. In one case, Amin was accused of discharging a pregnant patient despite “life threatening abnormal lab values.” According to the suit, the woman returned to the hospital 48 hours later with contractions, blurred vision, high blood pressure and vaginal bleeding. She received an emergency cesarean section and died shortly thereafter. In a court filing, Amin denied any negligence and any knowledge of the abnormal lab values.


Amin and eight other doctors at the Irwin County Hospital also agreed to pay $520,000 to the federal government in 2015, after the Department of Justice accused them of fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for services they did not provide. The complaint named Amin as the owner of MGA Health Management, which was contracted to run the hospital, and also identified him as a part owner of the institution.


The complaint further identifies a kickback scheme whereby Amin and other physicians directed patients to ICH instead of other institutions. Because of Amin’s ownership stake in ICH, he allegedly profited off every such referral.


Shahshahani said her organization is still working on discerning the total number of women who received surgery against their will. While she described the attention given to the hysterectomies as “well-deserved,” she cautioned against putting all the blame on an individual doctor.

“At the end of the day, it was the doctor that was performing these procedures but the buck really stops with ICE,” she said. “The U.S. government had the responsibility for the welfare and protection of these women.”

So, we know that he’s corrupt, and we know that ICE is deeply and pervasively racist.

You do the math.

European Leaders Call Bullsh%$ on Trump’s Anti-Iran Jihad

We don’t care, we don’t have to ……… we’re the United States.

The European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal are saying that they will not support the US move to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran

More specifically, they note that, since the US unilaterally pulled out of the deal, the UN response is none of our business.

I get what is going on here, Trump, who wants to overturn one of the few Obama administration foreign policy successes, has found common ground with the regime change folks, but this is not a basis for a winning friends and influencing people:  (Also, Russia and China still have a veto)

European leaders have warned the US that its claim to have the authority to reimpose sweeping UN-mandated sanctions on Iran has no effect in law, setting up a major legal clash that could lead to Washington imposing sanctions on its European allies.

In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany and the UK (E3) said any attempt by the US to impose its own sanctions on countries not complying with the reimposed UN ones was also legally void.

On Saturday, the US moved to reinstate a range of UN sanctions against Iran, saying it had the authority to do so as an original signatory of the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other major powers.

The other signatories claim the US left the JCPOA in 2018 and therefore no longer has a unilateral legal right to either declare Iran in breach of the agreement or to reimpose sanctions in the name of the UN.


The disagreement is not just a legal wrangle since the Trump administration claims the US now has the authority to act against any country breaching the reimposed sanctions.

The US also claims the scheduled lifting of the UN embargo on arms sales to Iran in October is null and void. There is also a risk that the US will claim it has a new mandate to interdict Iranian shipping, a move that could lead to a naval clash in the Gulf.

In a joint statement, the E3 said: “The United States of America ceased to be a participant in the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the agreement on 8 May, 2018. Consequently, the notification received from the United States and transmitted to the member states of the [UN] security council, has no legal effect. It follows that any decision or action which would be taken on the basis of this procedure or its outcome have no legal effect.


Earlier on Saturday the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US had reimposed UN sanctions and expected “all UN member states to fully comply with their obligations to implement these measures”.

Since the fall of the USSR, the United States’ foreign policy can be summed up as, “Rules for thee, but not for me.”

I am stunned that France and Germany have called the Trump administration on this, and I am positively flabbergasted that the US poodle in Europe (the UK) is also making the same statement.

Rule 1 of Cops, Police Brutality and Police Protests: They Lie

Rule 2 is, “See rule 1.”

Case in point?  When the Rochester mayor and chief of police claimed that a woman from Alaska was an, “Outside Agitator,” he a woman from Alaska who was a student at the University of Richester

After the upheaval of the protest on Sept. 5 in downtown Rochester, police announced nine demonstrators were detained and charged.

During a press conference the following day, both Mayor Lovely Warren and former Chief La’Ron Singletary said people from as far away as Massachusetts and Alaska were arrested.

Singletary said there was evidence and intelligence pointing to “outside agitators” in our community. During a listening session with City Council Wednesday, it was revealed that the Alaska resident charged with unlawful assembly after the protest is actually a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Rochester.

Sonia McGaffigan addressed City Council and chastised Warren, Singletary and the media for perpetuating this narrative on outside agitators during the rallies and protests after the death of Daniel Prude became public in early September.

McGaffigan said during her three-minute response to City Council that it was her first-ever protest and she described the scene after police knocked her off her bicycle while she was attempting to ride back to campus.

And if that weren’t enough, we now have details about how aggressively the Rochester police attempted to cover up their crime:

It was early June, days after the death of George Floyd, and cities around the country were erupting in protests against police brutality.

In Rochester, the streets were relatively calm, but behind closed doors, police and city officials were growing anxious. A Black man, Daniel Prude, had died of suffocation in March after police officers had placed his head in a hood and pinned him to the ground. The public had never been told about the death, but that would change if police body camera footage of the encounter got out.

“We certainly do not want people to misinterpret the officers’ actions and conflate this incident with any recent killings of unarmed Black men by law enforcement nationally,” a deputy Rochester police chief wrote in an email to his boss. “That would simply be a false narrative, and could create animosity and potentially violent blowback in this community as a result.”

His advice was clear: Don’t release the body camera footage to the Prude family’s lawyer. The police chief replied minutes later: “I totally agree.”

The June 4 exchange was contained in a mass of city documents released on Monday that show how the police chief, La’Ron Singletary, and other prominent Rochester officials did everything in their power to keep the troubling videos of the incident out of public view, and to prevent damaging fallout from Mr. Prude’s death.


In a police report on the confrontation, marking a box for “victim type,” an officer on the scene listed Mr. Prude — who the police believed had broken a store window that night — simply as an “individual.” But another officer circled the word in red and scribbled a note.

“Make him a suspect,” it read.

If the people who enforce your laws routinely lie to protect themselves from the law, you do not have law enforcement, you have a criminal gang.

The New Blogger Sucks

The authoring, both in rich text and in HTML is indescribably awful.

The tag applications still do not work reliably, and both interfaces are clearly slower.

Either this is an attempt by Google to drive people away from Blogspot to justify their shutting down the service, or their programming team for Blogger needs to be fired.

I have no clue as to who, and how, they evaluate user interfaces at Google, but these folks need to be fired too.


Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court Justice, has died at age 87.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, who in her ninth decade became a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, died at her home in Washington on Friday. She was 87.

The cause was complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court said.

By the time two small tumors were found in one of her lungs in December 2018, during a follow-up scan for broken ribs suffered in a recent fall, Justice Ginsburg had beaten colon cancer in 1999 and early-stage pancreatic cancer 10 years later. She received a coronary stent to clear a blocked artery in 2014.

Needless to say, Mitch McConnell is studiously ignoring what he did when he blocked Obama’s nominee in 2016, because he is an evil man who has no ideology beyond a quest for power.

Also, we have reports that Trump will be nominating a replacement, which is not a surprise. 

Both stacking the court, and violating the norms of governance are core branding for Trump and his administration, so I would expect to see a nomination in the next few weeks, with an actual vote on the candidate in the lame duck session, where the Senators, particularly those who have lost their bid for reelection, will be able to vote with little, if any repercussions.

F%$# Zuck

In yet another case of wrongdoing, which they claim was a bug, Facebook has been caught spying on Instagram users though their phone cameras

Given that each time that this happens, it is an action that further reinforces Facebook model of stalker capitalism, I am not inclined to believe that this was an accident, and I am not inclined to accept their routine (and insincere) apology:

Facebook Inc. is again being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users, this time through the unauthorized use of their mobile phone cameras.

The lawsuit springs from media reports in July that the photo-sharing app appeared to be accessing iPhone cameras even when they weren’t actively being used.

Facebook denied the reports and blamed a bug, which it said it was correcting, for triggering what it described as false notifications that Instagram was accessing iPhone cameras.

In the complaint filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, New Jersey Instagram user Brittany Conditi contends the app’s use of the camera is intentional and done for the purpose of collecting “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”  


The case is Conditi v. Instagram, LLC, 20-cv-06534, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Facebook is a criminal enterprise.

They Have Forgotten Nothing, and They Have Learned Nothing

It appears that the Biden campaign is determined to repeat the litany of f%$#ups that the Clinton campaign used in 2016.

Case in point, the Biden campaign is nearly invisible in crucial states that Hillary Clinton lost, including ignoring the ground game in crucial swing states.

The campaign is studiously avoiding creating campaign offices in swing states.

These mooks (including in 2016 one named Robbie Mook) spent a huge amount of money duing things like running the numbers up in California through a large media buy that served no purpose but to enrich politically connected consultants.

The Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) is less the party leadership than it is a group of bunco artists who find the party convenient for lining their own pockets:

Contrary to the mantra of the “Resistance.” “Russia, Russia, Russia,” the primary reason for Clinton losing in 2016 was most likely that she didn’t campaign properly in many battleground states. This is something Clinton had control over, and she just refused to do it.

Biden apparently feels or thinks or some perverse combination of the two, similarly. Time:

“I can’t even find a sign,” Sabbe says outside a Kroger’s in Sterling Heights, where surrounding cars fly massive Donald Trump flags that say “No More Bullsh-t” and fellow shoppers wear Trump T-shirts for their weekend grocery runs. “I’m looking for one of those storefronts. I’m looking for a campaign office for Biden. And I’m not finding one.”

The reason Sabbe can’t find a dedicated Biden campaign field office is because there aren’t any around here. Not in Macomb County, the swing region where Sabbe lives. It’s not even clear Biden has opened any new dedicated field offices in the state; because of the pandemic, they’ve moved their field organizing effort online. The Biden campaign in Michigan refused to confirm the location of any physical field offices despite repeated requests; they say they have “supply centers” for handing out signs, but would not confirm those locations.

This is truly insane. Absolute and complete malpractice.

Democrats are completely vicious when taking down someone like Sanders, but they don’t even bother to try when it comes to winning national elections against Republicans. To all appearances they actually don’t care if Biden wins, or Trump loses.

Or they are completely incompetent.

Why not both? 


I suspect Democrats lose because not just because they are incompetent but because they don’t actually care. Losing is fine, they’ll still be OK. Pelosi will still be rich as Croesus, Biden will be fine, Harris will fine. Winning is nice enough, but they don’t need to win. They don’t even have a power drive, they’re people with sinecures protecting them savagely, but since they don’t need to win to keep their comfortable lives, only keep control of the party, they are only savage to those who threaten their control of the party (the left), not to the right.

Let me remind you of the Iron Law of Institutions, which states that power WITHIN an organization is pursued at the expense of the power OF that organization.

They care less about winning and losing, even losing to Trump, than they do about maintaining their power, status, and revenue streams.