Democrats turn on Facebook and Zuckerberg

CNN is making it clear that its Democrat allies hate Facebook.
Facebook has also faced mounting scrutiny on both sides of the political aisle — but especially from Democrats — over what is seen by lawmakers as its market dominance as well as the perception, expressed in an interview published this week with Democratic presidential nominee Pete Buttigieg, that Zuckerberg has too much power.  
Facebook's refusal to remove a doctored video of Pelosi last May clearly irked Democrats, including Clinton, who called the video "sexist trash" and suggested the argument for taking it down "wasn't even a close call." 
But what really hit a nerve with Democrats more recently was Facebook's insistence last September that it would not fact-check ads from politicians — a policy many Democrats saw as beneficial to Trump's reelection campaign.  
Facebook, the Democratic National Committee said, was allowing Trump "to mislead the American people on their platform unimpeded." 
Sen. Elizabeth Warren ran a deliberately false ad to highlight what Democrats saw as the ludicrousness of the policy. The false ad claimed Zuckerberg had endorsed Trump's reelection campaign. 
When Biden's campaign demanded Facebook remove a false ad from the Trump campaign accusing Biden of corruption of his role in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration, Facebook refused. 
"Our approach is grounded in Facebook's fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is," Katie Harbath, Facebook's head of global elections policy wrote in response last October. . . . 
But Facebook often appears to be the Democrats' favored target — even as leading Democratic candidates for president continue to sink money into the platform for their campaigns. . . .

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At Townhall: Felons Voting While In Prison In D.C.

Dr. John Lott has a new piece at Townhall on the push in Washington, DC to let felons vote while they are still serving their sentence in prison. The piece starts this way:
Washington, D.C.’s council seems posed to let felons vote while they are still serving their sentences in prison. Surely, that has the benefit of ensuring that these individuals turn out to vote. But one claim made to push the change, that felon disenfranchisement is racist, is absurd. 
Many states have had that rule as long as they have been states, and places such as Vermont in 1793 or later in North and South Dakota can hardly be claimed to have adopted these rules because of concerns about black voters.
Democrats used to argue that once felons had served their time, they had paid their debt to society and should be able to vote. Now, after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) earlier this year argued for felons to vote while they are in prison, even for those who have committed the most horrible crimes, other Democrats have picked up the cause. 
Other than racism, there is a more straightforward explanation for this prohibition. We learn about murderers and rapists in terms of how they care about their fellow citizens in other ways. The Boston Marathon bomber killed three people and wounded 260 others. How will someone willing to take many lives and maimed or disfigured for life many others vote on issues from law enforcement to health care policy? How will they vote on issues that depend on compassion?
Why is it in the interests of women that rapists should have a say in deciding who will win elections? Sexual offenders aren’t going to support women’s safety and health issues or education the way that other citizens will. Criminals probably shouldn’t be deciding what the laws should be or how they should be enforced.
The rest of the piece is available here.


Peter Navarro quoted Character He Invented in His Books

From the Daily Beast:
Economist and Assistant to the President Peter Navarro has admitted to quoting a fictional character he made up and named after an anagram of his last name, The Chronicle Review reports. Tessa Morris-Suzuki, emeritus professor at the Australian National University, was reportedly working on an essay involving Navarro's books when she noticed an oft-quoted man named Ron Vara—a rich military veteran and Harvard-trained economist who studied utilities regulation. None of Morris-Suzuki's Harvard contacts had any record of a Ron Vara, but Ron Vara's name suspiciously shared letters with Navarro's last name. Both Vara and Navarro also reportedly studied utilities regulation in their real and fictional bouts in higher education. 
In a statement, Navarro fessed up to Vara being fictional and called the character a “whimsical device and pen name I’ve used throughout the years for opinions and purely entertainment value, not as a source of fact.” He also likened his use of Vara in his own works to director “Alfred Hitchcock appearing briefly in cameo in his movies,” and said it was an “inside joke that has been hiding in plain sight for years.” One of Navarro's co-authors, Columbia professor Glenn Hubbard, said he did not know Vara was a fictional individual and said he was not okay with Vara being in the book that he and Navarro wrote. . . .



Google Chrome: the new "surveillance software"

Geoffrey Fowler has some pretty scary info on how Google's Chrome spies on you.
Over a recent week of web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends. Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the web. 
This was made possible by the web’s biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software. . . . 
My tests of Chrome versus Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer, but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality. . . . 
Chrome is even sneakier on your phone. If you use Android, Chrome sends Google your location every time you conduct a search. (If you turn off location sharing it still sends your coordinates out, just with less accuracy.) . . .



"WeChat and the Surveillance State," 1984 in China

BBC reporter discusses his experience when he posts pictures of the protests commemorating Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong on WeChat.
I was in Hong Kong to cover the enormous candlelight vigil marking 30 years since the People's Liberation Army was ordered to open fire on its own people to remove the mostly student protesters who'd been gathering in and around Tiananmen Square for months in June 1989.  
This moment in history has been all but erased from public discourse on mainland China but in Hong Kong, with its special status in the Chinese-speaking world, people turn out every year to remember the bloody crackdown.
This time round the crowd was particularly huge, with estimates ranging up to 180,000. . . .
After he posted the pictures on WeChat and started answering questions from Chinese who had never heard of Tiananmen Square, he was blocked from using WeChat.
It seems posting photos of an actual event taking place, without commentary, amounts to "spreading malicious rumours" in China. 
I was given time to try and log in again the next day after my penalty had been served.
When I did I had to push "agree and unblock" under the stated reason of "spread malicious rumours". 
So this rumour-monger clicked on "agree". 
Then came a stage I was not prepared for. "Faceprint is required for security purposes," it said. 
I was instructed to hold my phone up - to "face front camera straight on" - looking directly at the image of a human head. Then told to "Read numbers aloud in Mandarin Chinese". . . .

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Mueller Report Commits fraud, alters quote from Trump lawyer John Dowd to make it look like he was pressuring witness

Apparently, we were just lucky that a judge decided to look at the underlying information himself. It raises questions of how many other times this type of fraud has occurred. From Fox News:
Former Trump lawyer John Dowd on Monday slammed the Mueller report as a "fraud," for allegedly mispresenting a quote he had said in a key voicemail. 
Dowd said there will likely be more discrepancies in the future stemming from the report. 

“Isn’t it ironic that this man [Mueller], who kept indicting and prosecuting people for process crimes, committed a false statement in his own report,” Dowd said. 
U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes called for the release of “all backup and source information” for the Mueller report on Friday after a newly released transcript of a former Trump lawyer's 2017 voicemail message included content that did not appear in a version that was part of the special counsel's Russia investigation findings. 
Nunes, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was reacting to the release of a voicemail message that John Dowd, a former lawyer for President Trump, had left for a lawyer representing former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in which Dowd asks for a “heads up” if Flynn planned to say anything damaging about Trump to Mueller’s team. 
Nunes retweeted a side-by-side comparison of the Dowd transcript text and the Mueller report text, suggesting that the Mueller report did not disclose the full Dowd message. The Mueller report had redacted the part of the voicemail where Dowd said he wanted the heads up “not only for the president but for the country” and that he wasn’t asking for “any confidential information.” 
Alan Dershowitz claimed on "Hannity" Monday night that the quotation was "distorted." . . .

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On the Michigan Talk Network about the media misreporting Trump's trade and tariff policies

Dr. John Lott talks to Steve Gruber about how the media is greatly exaggerating the impact of Trump's trade policies with China. The cost of products will not be going up anywhere near as much as the media claims.

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New York State Treasurer calls out unions, state Senate Democrats, and local politicians for the Amazon debacle

The New York State Treasurer has a devastating letter about the responsibility that the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), state Senate Democrats, and local politicians have for the Amazon debacle.
As just about everyone in this state, if not the country, knows by now, Amazon has terminated its plans to bring its second headquarters to New York State. It is a tremendous loss for New Yorkers and I hope that at a minimum, we understand the lessons learned. 
In my 23 years in the State Capitol, three as Budget Director, Amazon was the single greatest economic development opportunity we have had. Amazon chose New York and Virginia after a year-long national competition with 234 cities and states vying for the 25,000-40,000 jobs. For a sense of scale, the next largest economic development project the state has completed was for approximately 1,000 jobs. People have been asking me for the past week what killed the Amazon deal. There were several factors.  
First, some labor unions attempted to exploit Amazon's New York entry. The RWDSU Union was interested in organizing the Whole Foods grocery store workers, a subsidiary owned by Amazon, and they deployed several 'community based organizations' (which RWDSU funds) to oppose the Amazon transaction as negotiation leverage. It backfired. Initially, Whole Foods grocery stores had nothing to do with this transaction. It is a separate company. While Amazon is not a unionized workforce, Amazon had agreed to union construction and service worker jobs that would have provided 11,000 thousand union positions. 
New York State also has the most pro-worker legal protections of any state in the country. Organizing Amazon, or Whole Foods workers, or any company for that matter, is better pursued by allowing them to locate here and then making an effort to unionize the workers, rather than making unionization a bar to entrance. If New York only allows unionized companies to enter, our economy is unsustainable, and if one union becomes the enemy of other unions, the entire union movement - already in decline - is undermined and damaged. 
Second, some Queens politicians catered to minor, but vocal local political forces in opposition to the Amazon government incentives as 'corporate welfare.' Ironically, much of the visible 'local' opposition, which was happy to appear at press conferences and protest at City Council hearings during work hours, were actual organizers paid by one union: RWDSU. (If you are wondering if that is even legal, probably not). Even more ironic is these same elected officials all signed a letter of support for Amazon at the Long Island City location and in support of the application. They were all for it before Twitter convinced them to be against it. 
"While there is always localized opposition, in this case it was taken to a new level. The State Senate transferred decision-making authority to a local Senator, who, after first supporting the Amazon project, is now vociferously opposed to it, and even recommended appointing him to a State panel charged with approving the project's financing. Amazon assumed that the hostile appointment doomed the project. Of course the Governor would never accept a Senate nomination of an opponent to the project and the Governor told that to Amazon directly.  The relevant question for Amazon then became whether the Senate would appoint an alternative who would approve the project.  
As newspapers have reported, Amazon called the Senate Leader and asked if she would appoint an alternative appointee who would support the project.  The Senate would not commit to an alternative appointee supporting Amazon.  That was the death knell.  No rational company, or person for that matter, would assume the Senate would flip flop from appointing a staunch opponent of the project to appointing a supporter of the project.  It defies logic.  However, if that was their plan, Amazon needed a direct representation to that effect from the Senate.  It never came.  Indeed, to this day, the Senate has never said they would appoint a member who would support the project.    Companies assume rational, logical behavior and cannot spend months and millions of dollars on approvals if ultimately the road is a dead end. 
Furthermore, opposing Amazon was not even good politics, as the politicians have learned since Amazon pulled out. They are like the dog that caught the car. They are now desperately and incredibly trying to explain their actions. They cannot. They are trying to justify their flip-flopping on the issue with false accusations that it was a 'backroom deal.' Let's remember that as a condition of the competition, every bid was sealed to prevent governments from altering their bids to be more competitive. Empire State Development supported the numerous local applications in the state who wanted to bid for HQ2, but on the condition that the local elected officials and community supported it, and Long Island City was no exception. 
In working with New York City, we advanced Long Island City's application with the signed support of the area's local elected officials, including State Senator Mike Gianaris and New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Both Gianaris and Van Bramer flip-flopped on this position after Long Island City was chosen, distorting the facts of the agreement and mischaracterizing the tax subsidies as 'a cash giveaway.' Now that Amazon has pulled out, local politicians are feeling the backlash from the project's previously silent supporters and are dissembling. Local senators' claims that their phone calls were not returned are particularly offensive, given that the local senator was the first person ESD President and CEO Howard Zemsky met with when we made the HQ2 announcement. I also remained in contact with him about the project as the State Budget Director, and he refused to sit on the community engagement board or even meet with Amazon representatives. Efforts were made to address legitimate concerns, all of which were ignored. . . .

The rest of the letter is available here.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about declaring a national emergency for gun regulations

A transcript of Pelosi's comments are here:
just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people.

You want to talk about a national emergency? Let's talk about today, the one year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That's a national emergency. Why don't you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would. But a Democratic president can do that. Democratic president can declare emergencies as well. So, the precedent that the President is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.

And of course, we will respond accordingly when we review our options. First we have to see what the President actually says.

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Please go to the Crime Prevention Research Center website

I rarely update or use this website. Please go to CrimeResearch.org to see my most recent research and interests.


Facial Recognition to protect schools from unwanted people

Here is one way that technology is making people safer, though I am skeptical that it wil help stop mass public shooters.



Vote Fraud in Heavily Democratic Precincts in Detroit in 2016

The Detroit News indicates that President Trump's narrow win in Michigan was much closer than it should have been:

Detailed reports from the office of Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett show optical scanners at 248 of the city’s 662 precincts, or 37 percent, tabulated more ballots than the number of voters tallied by workers in the poll books. Voting irregularities in Detroit have spurred plans for an audit by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, Elections Director Chris Thomas said Monday



Vote fraud in California: With no ID required, hundreds of skid row people forge someone else's name on ballot

So possibly Hillary Clinton didn't win the popular vote by as many votes as people think. Democrats likely shouldn't have done as well this year in California as the vote count indicates. The quote below is from an article that was in the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union. If the Democrat District Attorney in Los Angeles refers to this in the hundreds, it is likely many more.
A forged signature swapped for $1 — or sometimes a cigarette. 
The crude exchange played out hundreds of times on L.A.’s skid row during the 2016 election cycle and again this year, prosecutors said Tuesday as they announced criminal charges against nine people accused in a fraud scheme. 
Using cash and cigarettes as lures, the defendants approached homeless people on skid row and asked them to forge signatures on state ballot measure petitions and voter registration forms, the district attorney’s office said. The defendants — some of whom were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday — face several criminal charges, including circulating a petition with fake names, voter fraud and registering a fictitious person. . . .