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Sunday, May 27, 2018

President Moon of The ROK has been and is now running this negotiation. North Korea Willing to Talk About ‘Complete Denuclearization’ - The New York Times

"SEOUL, South Korea — The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, said during a surprise summit meeting that he is determined to meet President Trump and discuss a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday.

Mr. Kim met unexpectedly with Mr. Moon on Saturday to discuss salvaging a canceled summit meeting between Mr. Kim and President Trump, a new twist in the whirlwind of diplomacy over the fate of the North’s nuclear arsenal. The leaders of the two Koreas met for two hours on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a “truce village” inside the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.

Mr. Moon gave the first details of Saturday’s meeting in a news conference held Sunday morning in Seoul, the South Korean capital. He said that during the meeting, Mr. Kim expressed a desire to “end a history of war and confrontation” on the peninsula. Mr. Kim also said he was willing to talk about getting rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, a topic the Trump administration has said was a precondition for a meeting.

Mr. Moon said that Mr. Kim told him he wanted to go though with his planned summit meeting with Mr. Trump, and to make it a success. The Trump-Kim meeting, which would be the first between the heads of state of the United States and North Korea, had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, but was abruptly canceled on Thursday by Mr. Trump."

North Korea Willing to Talk About ‘Complete Denuclearization’ - The New York Times

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Must watch: Chris Hayes on 'despicable' new Trump policy. Must watch: Chris Hayes on 'despicable' new Trump policy. The Sisyphean cycle continues as the proverbial rock of American human rights abuses rolls downhill at an even faster pace in the wake of liberal Democrats selling out DACA students.

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Calls NFL Ban On Protests 'Fake Patriotism' | HuffPost

Patriotism is earned and should never be demanded. The requisite reciprocity does not exist in America for people of color. To demand patriotism to one's abuser is tyranny. "There is, however, an alternative opinion that African Americans ought not to love the United States. Holders of this view see African-American patriotism as a pathology akin to the “love” that exploited wives feel toward their battering husbands or that mistreated children feel toward their abusive parents. Often ignored, this tradition attracted a bit of attention during the frenzied controversy over Obama ’s association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I know this tradition well. My father espoused it. His view of the United States was more unforgiving than that voiced by Reverend Wright. Some will think that my father, too, was “crazy.” They are wrong. He was an intelligent, thoughtful, loving man, who, tragically, had good reason to doubt his government’s allegiance to blacks and thus to himself. " - Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School

"Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Calls NFL Ban On Protests ‘Fake Patriotism’
Forbidding players to take a knee during the national anthem is “idiotic,” the coach said."

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Calls NFL Ban On Protests 'Fake Patriotism' | HuffPost

Friday, May 25, 2018

Stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally, called a criminal: how police targeted a black activist | World news | The Guardian

Cedric O’Bannon, a California activist and journalist who was stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento.

"Cedric O’Bannon tried to ignore the sharp pain in his side and continue filming. The independent journalist, who was documenting a white supremacist rally in Sacramento, said he wanted to capture the neo-Nazi violence against counter-protesters with his GoPro camera.

But the pain soon became overwhelming. He lifted up his blood-soaked shirt and realized that one of the men carrying a pole with a blade on the end of it had stabbed him in the stomach, puncturing him nearly two inches deep. He limped his way to an ambulance.

But the police did not treat O’Bannon like a victim. Records obtained by the Guardian reveal that officers instead monitored his Facebook page and sought to bring six charges against him, including conspiracy, rioting, assault and unlawful assembly. His presence at the protest – along with his use of the black power fist and “social media posts expressing his ideals” – were proof that he had violated the rights of neo-Nazis at the 26 June 2016 protests, police wrote in a report."

Stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally, called a criminal: how police targeted a black activist | World news | The Guardian

Opinion | The Elevation of Imprecision - Charles Blow -The New York Times

"There has been no shortage of analysis of Donald Trump’s rhetorical tics, the way he overuses particular phrases, the way he falls back on others. The way he lies. The way he threatens, bullies and whines with language.

All of these observations are at different points hilarious or infuriating, abundantly silly or deadly serious.

But there is a strand of these that I find significant: the way Trump’s use of indeterminate language is a way of weakening the fundamental supports of truth itself. Truth is absolute. Things happened or they didn’t, at a particular time. They can be counted and accounted for.

But not the way Trump constructs language. It is not just his outright lies that degrade our discourse; it is also his use of language that muddles to the point of meaninglessness, language that rejects exactitude, language that elevates imprecision as a device to avoid being discovered in his deceit.

He uses this language to give a false impression that he knows that which he clearly doesn’t, to blame or to bolster, to pretend that he has developed a plan of action rather than admit that he is acting extemporaneously.

It all fits into the illusion of competence Trump has built for himself, a fake it-is-how-you-make-it philosophy of advancement in which being studious is for stooges, a world in which passionate vocalization, even of gibberish, is far more valuable than knowledgeable elucidation of fact.

For instance, Trump often speaks of time in immeasurable increments.

Things are going to happen in a “period of time,” a short period or a long one or whatever.

At a news conference in January with the prime minister of Norway, Trump said that our military was “very much weakened over the last long period of time.” Putting aside whether it is factual to say that our military was “very much weakened,” also a nebulous term, what on earth does “over the last long period of time” mean? It is immeasurable, on purpose.

According to the website Factbase, Trump has used the “period of time” construction over 80 times in public statements this year alone.

As The New York Times’s Upshot pointed out in September, he often says things “will happen ‘soon,’ ‘very soon,’ ‘very, very soon,’ ‘in the coming weeks’ or even “immediately.’” All of this is meaningless.

In June, Bloomberg pointed out that when Trump attempts precise timing, he defaults to a perfunctory “two weeks.” As Bloomberg put it: “From overhauling the tax code to releasing an infrastructure package to making decisions on Nafta and the Paris climate agreement, Trump has a common refrain: A big announcement is coming in just ‘two weeks.’ It rarely does.”

The Upshot found that “among more than 100 specific policy predictions Mr. Trump said would happen soon, we found that at least 75 percent of the time, they did not — or had not, as of this writing.”

This imprecision is simply another way to lie.

Another favored phrase of Trump’s is “we’ll see what happens,” which he has used in reference to China, North Korea, Iran and Mexico. “We’ll see what happens” is a dodge, not strategy or policy, but for Trump it suggests that he has something clever up his sleeve. He doesn’t.

He uses imprecise language as a means of hyperbole, to enlarge an action beyond itself and attach it to other, enigmatic actions.

For instance, Trump has a tendency to tack the phrase “and many other things” onto declarative statements. It is a form of political grade inflation. The same can be said for his liberal use of the phrase “like we’ve never seen before” when touting his achievements.

He uses imprecision as a way of making statements in which he parrots unknown and possibly nonexistent sourcing — ironically, the very thing that this projectionist accuses the “fake news” of doing.

He does this by couching wild accusations and conspiracy theories with the phrase “people are saying.” Which people? Names, please. And, how many do these “people” number? Again, this is uncheckable phrasing. With nearly 330 million people in America and seven billion on the planet, it would be hard to find a thing that some people are not saying, so in a way, you could say pretty much anything and safely bet that some other people are saying the same thing in some form.

Trump sometimes strings these phrases together in whole passages that suggest a certitude that is clearly absent.

In a March 2017 interview with Time magazine, Trump discussed his patently false claim that he had been wiretapped by Obama, saying: “And a lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens.”

This habit stretches all the way back to the campaign. At a 2015 campaign event, when a man said, “We have a problem in this country: It’s called ‘Muslim,’” and continued by saying, “You know our current president is one,” and then asked when “we” could “get rid of” the “training camps growing, where they want to kill us,” Trump didn’t object or correct that man, but instead responded:

“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. And, you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.”

This is a Rorschach test of rhetoric, where meaning splits from emotion. The answer itself is a string of meaningless, immeasurable, unenumerated pledges and accusations held together by spit and hostility. It is instead the emotion that registers. He abhors Muslims as much as the questioner and wants to reassure the questioner of such.

Trump not only uses language to tell blatant lies, he also uses it to pack softer lies, exaggerations and enigmatic inaccuracies around the edges.

If you, like I, have a hard time listening to Trump speak, it may well be that you are trying to do so while applying accepted standards of honest discourse, believing that Trump’s language can withstand even the mildest unpacking.

It can’t. Trump uses language not to divulge but to disguise, distract and deceive. Or at least that’s what people are saying."

Opinion | The Elevation of Imprecision - The New York Times

At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen and Oligarch Discussed Russian Relations - The New York Times

"Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting."

At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen and Oligarch Discussed Russian Relations - The New York Times

Google will always do evil

Google will always do evil

"One day in late April or early May, Google removed the phrase "don't be evil" from its code of conduct. After 18 years as the company's motto, those three words and chunks of their accompanying corporate clauses were unceremoniously deleted from the record, save for a solitary, uncontextualized mention in the document's final sentence.

Google didn't advertise this change. In fact, the code of conduct states it was last updated April 5th. The "don't be evil" exorcism clearly took place well after that date.

Google has chosen to actively distance itself from the uncontroversial, totally accepted tenet of not being evil, and it's doing so in a shady (and therefore completely fitting) way. After nearly two decades of trying to live up to its motto, it looks like Google is ready to face reality.

In order for Google to be Google, it has to do evil."

Google will always do evil

Amazon's Alexa recorded private conversation and sent it to random contact | Technology | The Guardian

An Amazon ‘Alexa’ Echo Dot device

I have caught this inadvertent turning on of Alexa many times when I am on the phone, however, I always say Alexa cancel.  I have never heard it sending a message or attempting to send one to one of my contacts.  It is obviously very possible if you do not hear Alexa interjecting into your conversation.

John H Armwood

"No matter how suspicious it has seemed that Amazon is encouraging us to put listening devices in every room of our homes, the company has always said that its Echo assistants are not listening in on or recording conversations. Over and over again, company spokespeople have promised that they only start recording if someone says the wake word: “Alexa”.

It’s a spiel Danielle, an Alexa user from Portland, Oregon, had believed. She’d installed Echo devices and smart bulbs in every room in her house, accepting Amazon’s claims that they were not invading her privacy. But today she asked the company to investigate after an Alexa device recorded a private conversation between her and her husband and sent it to a random number in their address book without their permission.

Danielle found out her Alexa was recording when she received an alarming call from one of her husband’s colleagues saying: “Unplug your Alexa devices right now, you’re being hacked.”

She told KIRO-TV in Seattle that at first she didn’t believe the co-worker, but then she said: “You sat there talking about hardwood floors.” Danielle realised the colleague must have heard everything.

“I felt invaded,” she told KIRO-TV. “A total privacy invasion. Immediately, I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again because I can’t trust it.’”

An Amazon customer service representative confirmed that Danielle’s audio had been sent to the number and apologised but didn’t provide any information about why the device had been activated. A spokesperson for the company said it had “determined this was an extremely rare occurrence”.

At 6pm ET on Thursday, an Amazon spokesperson provided an updated statement with an explanation for why they believe Alexa forwarded the conversation. They said:

“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa’. Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’.”

Recognising the improbability of this series of mishaps occuring, they added: “As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”

Although Amazon maintains this was a malfunction rather than proof Alexa is always listening, the company has filed patent applications in the past for functionalities that involve always listening, such as an algorithm that would analyse when people say they “love” or “bought” something. The patent included a diagram where two people have a phone conversation and were served afterwards with separate targeted advertisements."

Amazon's Alexa recorded private conversation and sent it to random contact | Technology | The Guardian

A Donald Trump le dicen los Tigres del Norte, somos más americanos.