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BrothersJudd Blog

Blog of the Brothers Judd

Last Build Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:37:47 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2018


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:37:47 -0500

"Lottery, think of the lottery. You have a country, they put names in, you think they're giving us their good people?" Trump asked rhetorically. "So we pick out people, then they turn out to be horrendous and we don't understand why."

This is, of course, not how the diversity visa lottery works. Every year, the United States reserves 50,000 visas for prospective immigrants from nations that have not sent many immigrants to America in the past (in many cases, because those nations were barred from sending immigrants to the U.S. for much of the 20th century, due to explicitly racist immigration laws). Millions of people apply for those slots, and the field is winnowed through a lottery. But these immigrants are self-selected (not appointed by their governments as Trump suggests), and must meet America's stringent education and work experience requirements for all newcomers, and then undergo vetting by the State Department before entering the country (as opposed to being immediately flown to the United States, no questions asked, as Trump implies).

Anyhow, in these remarks, Trump argues that the winners of the diversity lottery "turn out to be horrendous" - meaning, once they arrive in this country and become American residents or citizens, they reveal themselves to be universally horrible.

Where do the Trumpbots go to buy back their souls?


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:33:43 -0500

In a surprisingly balanced national survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they support stricter guns laws -- with nearly half of Republicans agreeing.

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,992 registered voters found that 64% "strongly support" or "somewhat support" "stricter gun control laws in the United States." Just 30% "strongly oppose" or "somewhat oppose."

The poll was far more balanced than many done by biased liberal organizations such as NBC and CNN, which often survey far more Democrats than Republicans. The breakdown of the Morning Consult/Politico poll was 33% Democrat, 33% Republican, 34% independent, although those surveyed were self-identified as such.


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:29:43 -0500

How Manafort's inability to convert a PDF file to Word helped prosecutors: Former Trump campaign manager allegedly emailed doctored docs to his assistant. (TIMOTHY B. LEE - 2/23/2018, aRS tECHNICA)

In 2016, Manafort allegedly wanted to create a fake profit-and-loss statement for his company, Davis Manafort Partners, in order to inflate his income and qualify for a loan.

"Manafort emailed Gates a .pdf version of the real 2016 DMI P&L, which showed a loss of more than $600,000," the indictment claims. "Gates converted that .pdf into a Word document so that it could be edited, which Gates sent back to Manafort. Manafort altered the Word document by adding more than $3.5 million in income."

Then, according to the indictment, Manafort "sent this falsified P&L to Gates and asked that the Word document be converted back to a .pdf, which Gates did and returned to Manafort."

By sending these documents back and forth by email, Manafort and Gates made it easy for prosecutors to pinpoint exactly who changed the documents and when.

...the chance he understands the technology he uses approaches zero.


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:26:06 -0500

The 'scripted' town-hall question: A CNN non-scandal (Erik Wemple, February 23, 2018, Washington Post)

[A] top CNN producer -- Stevenson -- took the initiative to contact Haab, who had gotten on the network's radar via previous interviews, including one with "Fox & Friends." "If Coach [Aaron] Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he could most likely have stopped the threat," said Haab.

Stevenson asked Haab what he'd like to address at the town hall, and what questions he wished to pose to politicians.

In an email offering four questions, Haab had included this: "Have we thought about having a class for teachers who are willing to be armed trained to carry on campus?" According to a CNN source, Stevenson discussed the whole thing with Haab in a phone call. CNN's plan was to have Haab preface that question with the observation he'd already made on "Fox & Friends," such that Haab would face Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) with these words:

Senator Nelson, if Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he could have most likely stopped the threat. Have we thought about having a class for teachers who are willing to be armed trained to carry on campus?

According to the CNN source, Glenn Haab, the boy's father, intervened toward the end of the process, insisting that Colton Haab present some "background" thoughts to precede his question at the town hall. "We are not actors nor do we read from a script," wrote Glenn Haab in an email to Stevenson. "The short background before each question is extremely relevant to each question. "I[f] you want Colton only to read this one short question - we are not the right people for your town hall meeting."

Years ago, the proto-Erik Wemple Blog covered municipal politics in the District of Columbia. A critical part of the assignment was attending community events and debates in which organizers would place a microphone in an aisle and invite attendees to step up and ask a question. Perhaps the most commonly repeated refrain from such events came from the moderator: "Sir, could you please get to your question?"

Indeed: When they're given the floor, people tend to filibuster. And when they're not filibustering, they're repeating the same question asked by the person before them. Or they're asking about something entirely foreign from the topic at hand. This isn't to criticize such folks, who are almost invariably well-meaning, engaged citizens.

Yet CNN is a television outlet. It had two hours to pull off its town hall. That it worked with a high-school student to winnow his thoughts into one simple and powerful question for a Democratic senator sounds like the inverse of a scandal...


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:23:39 -0500

The deal comes as the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has been raising pressure on Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort with dozens of new charges of money laundering and bank fraud that were unsealed on Thursday. Mr. Mueller first indicted both men in October, and both pleaded not guilty.


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:18:37 -0500


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 03:47:27 -0500


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 03:35:17 -0500

A Stroll With Albert Jay Nock (Robert Thornton, 2/23/18, Imaginative Conservative)

A civilized society, wrote Albert Jay Nock, is one which "organizes a full collective expression of mankind's five fundamental social instincts: the instincts of workmanship, of intellect and knowledge, of religion and morals, of beauty and poetry, of social life and manners." When societies have gone on the rocks, "it was invariably the collective overstress on one or more of these fundamental instincts that wrecked them." American society, he wrote from Brussels in 1931, is trying to force the whole current of our being through the narrow channel set by one instinct only: the instinct of acquisition and expansion. A society that gives play to only this instinct "must inevitably be characterized by a low type of intellect, a grotesque type of religion, a fictitious type of morals, an imperfect type of beauty, and an imperfect type of social life and manners. In a word, it is uncivilized."

The trouble with our civilization, Nock declared, is that it makes exceedingly limited demands on the human spirit and the qualities that are distinctly and properly humane. We have been trying to live by mechanics alone, the mechanics of pedagogy, politics, industry, commerce. Instead of experiencing a change of heart, we bend our wits so as to devise changes in mechanics. But, continued Nock, "a nation's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that it possesseth; that it is the spirit and manners of a people, and not the bewildering multiplicity of its social mechanisms that determine the quality of its civilization."

The sort of people he admired were those he found himself among many years ago in New England. Writing in 1930, he observed that New Englanders "like to work, and they are prosperous but they refuse to be dominated by their business" and "resent an over-big rush of trade as keenly as the rest of America grabs for it, and cajoles and lies and grovels for it." Nock felt privileged "to sojourn among such people" and had "enormous admiration for their independence, self-respect and insight into the real values of life."


Fri, 23 Feb 2018 03:32:06 -0500

N.H. House Rejects Campus Guns (Valley News, February 22, 2018)

New Hampshire House lawmakers on Thursday rejected an attempt to allow pistols and revolvers on public college campuses, while the state Senate agreed to consider giving school boards explicit authority to ban firearms.


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:11:43 -0500

14 major milestones along the brief history of 3D printing (Luke Dohrmel, 2/22/18, Digital Trends)

3D printing is one of the most revolutionary technologies of the 21st century. Giving everyone from engineers and doctors to DIY enthusiasts and small business owners the ability to transform virtual ideas into physical objects, it promises to change life as we know it.

If you don't know your laser sintering from your Shapeways or your bioprinting from your RepRaps, read on. These are the milestones we've passed so far on the road to making 3D printing a reality!


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 19:34:47 -0500

The current and most potent irritant, they said, is Kelly's effort, supported by McMaster, to prevent administration officials who have been unable to obtain permanent high-level security clearances from having access to the government's most closely held secrets.

Under pressure to act last week, Kelly strengthened the security clearance process in response to a scandal involving Rob Porter, a former official accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives. Staffers whose interim clearances have been pending since June would have them revoked on Friday.


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:58:00 -0500

"Every time in every nation in which this political disease rises to power," LaPierre told the CPAC conference on Thursday, describing socialism, "its citizens are repressed, their freedoms are destroyed, and their firearms are banned and confiscated, and it's all backed in this country by the social engineering and the billions of people like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer and more."

Soros is a hedge fund trader who has been prominent in backing Democratic policies, but also is known for promoting free markets overseas, particularly in formerly communist countries. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, has taken a lead in recent years in promoting gun control, but also has a pro-business reputation cultivated through his eponymous news service.

Steyer, also a hedge funder, for decades has been involved in Democratic politics, with much of that focus on the environment. Last year he launched a movement to impeach President Donald Trump.

All three are Jewish. [...]

"Saul Alinsky would be proud" of gun control activists, LaPierre said, referring to the Jewish community worker who authored a how-to book on social activism

Did they open the day with the Horst Wessel?


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:26:10 -0500

Mueller Adds Tax, Bank Fraud Charges Against Manafort, Gates (David Voreacos  and Andrew M Harris, February 22, 2018, Bloomberg)Prosecutors say that more than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts controlled by Manafort. Manafort, with Gates's help, laundered more than $30 million in income that he had concealed from the U.S. Treasury Department and Justice Department, they said. Gates collected about $3 million in income that he, too, concealed, they said."Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work," the new indictment said. "From approximately 2006 through the present, Manafort and Gates engaged in a scheme to hide income from United States authorities, while enjoying the use of the money."How money laundering works in real estate (Philip Bump January 4, 2018, Washington Post)"You realize where this is going," Bannon reportedly told Wolff. "This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f--ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner. ... It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner s---." [...]Real estate, it seems, is central to the charge Bannon made, given the involvement of Kushner and Trump Jr. in the industry. In light of that, we contacted Chris Quick, a retired FBI special agent who specialized in financial crimes and now runs a private investigative firm in South Carolina. He walked us through how money laundering works in the real-estate industry and how others may be implicated in that criminal activity."With any money laundering, you're trying to make the illegally gotten money look legitimate," Quick said. "So in the simplest terms, if you have real estate, you're going to buy a piece of property with the illegal funds, hang on to it -- or have rental income from it, so that rental income is legitimate -- and eventually when you sell the real estate, you get your proceeds out of it and by all accounts it appears to be a legitimate transaction." According to U.S. law, any financial transaction of more than $10,000 involving illegal funds counts as money laundering.Is Money-Laundering the Real Trump Kompromat? (DAVID A. GRAHAM  JAN 19, 2018, The Atlantic)Perhaps the most interesting thread is Simpson's suggestion that the Trump Organization could have been used by Russians to launder money--an arrangement that would have both allowed Kremlin-linked figures to scrub cash and would have created possible blackmail material over the now-president, since the Russian government would be aware that a crime had been committed."I've felt all along in the Russia investigation that the most important issues were those that had the potential of exerting a continuing influence over the administration and over U.S. policy," Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told me Friday. "And if the Russians were laundering money through the Trump Organization, the Russians would know it, the president would know it, and that could be very powerful leverage." [...]


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 17:49:09 -0500

Sheriff: Deputy never entered school in shooting  (AP, 2/22/18) A Florida sheriff says the deputy who was on duty at a high school where 17 people were massacred waited outside the building for about four minutes without ever going in.Why Armed Guards at Schools Won't Work (CLIFTON LEAF, 2/22/18, Forbes)[T]he presence of armed guards tends to dramatically increase the likelihood of violence and injury during a robbery, as the Center for Investigative Reporting found when it analyzed detailed FBI crime incident reports from 2007 to 2011--which the group got through a Freedom of Information Act request. In robberies where there were no guards present, there were violent events (such as the firing of a weapon or injury of a customer or employee) in 4% of cases. When an armed guard was on duty, that rate more than tripled, to 12.8%.So what's surprise No. 3? Armed guards aren't nearly the kind of deterrent that many think they are. For evidence, consider the most armed and armored kind of bank repository there is: the armored car. These same FBI statistics paint a fairly frightening picture here too. In 2016, no fewer than 36 of these tank-like vehicles were robbed at gunpoint (see pages 9 and 10).Arming teachers in the classroom will cost kids' lives  (BRANDON FRIEDMAN  FEB 22, 2018, NY daily News)There were armed guards at Columbine, the Pulse nightclub and in Las Vegas at the time of the massacre. At Parkland too. Time and again, armed civilians or security guards are out-maneuvered, out-gunned and too inexperienced. It's difficult for a rational person to reach a state where they can go toe-to-toe with an armed psychopath who has nothing to lose. I was professionally trained and still almost blew it at the moment of truth.If armed security guards often don't stop shootings, teachers have no chance.How Australia All But Ended Gun Violence: People Just Handed Over 51,000 Illegal Firearms in Australia ( CLIFTON LEAF February 20, 2018, Forbes)Within just weeks of that tragedy, elected officials in each of Australia's six states and two mainland territories--pressed forward by police chiefs across the continent and by the then-newly elected prime minister--banned semi-automatic and other military-style weapons across the country. The federal government of Australia prohibited their import, and lawmakers introduced a generous nationwide gun buyback program, funded with a Medicare tax, to encourage Australians to freely give up their assault-style weapons. Amazingly, many of them did. (Simon Chapman, an emeritus professor in public health at the University of Sydney, and an influential proponent of the original firearms legislation, has a very good summary here. You can also read his free ebook here.)A land of roughneck pioneers and outback settlers, Australia had never embraced much government regulation and certainly not about their guns. This was a land of almost cartoonish toughness and self-reliance, home of Crocodile Dundee and Australian rules football. Here even the kangaroos box. But Port Arthur had followed too many prior deadly shooting sprees and Australians were clearly sick to death of them.So what happened after the assault-weapon ban? Well therein lies the other half of the story twist noted above: Nothing.Nothing, that is, in a good way. [...]


Thu, 22 Feb 2018 16:17:04 -0500

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns: They weren't the first victims of a mass shooting the Florida radiologist had seen--but their wounds were radically different. (HEATHER SHER, 2/22/18, The Atlantic)

As I opened the CT scan last week to read the next case, I was baffled. The history simply read "gunshot wound." I have been a radiologist in one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation for 13 years, and have diagnosed thousands of handgun injuries to the brain, lung, liver, spleen, bowel, and other vital organs. I thought that I knew all that I needed to know about gunshot wounds, but the specific pattern of injury on my computer screen was one that I had seen only once before.

In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

A year ago, when a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, hitting 11 people in 90 seconds, I was also on call. It was not until I had diagnosed the third of the six victims who were transported to the trauma center that I realized something out-of-the-ordinary must have happened. The gunshot wounds were the same low velocity handgun injuries as those I diagnose every day; only their rapid succession set them apart. And all six of the victims who arrived at the hospital that day survived.

Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim's body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and they do not bleed to death before being transported to our care at a trauma center, chances are, we can save the victim. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and imparting more than three times the energy of, a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine cartridge with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading.