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. . . .



Do you wonder about the media's claims that there is no reason for Trump to send troops to the border if the Caravan won't be here for a while?

For all the badgering that the media has done over why it must be politics that Trump has put the troops on the border before the Caravan actually arrived (see above video), the New York Post provides the obvious explanation:
As three separate migrant caravans slowly made their way north through Mexico on Saturdaynewly arrived US troops worked to lay a barbed-wire fence along the Texas side of the Rio Grande. 
The soldiers worked with US Customs and Border Patrol officers to lay about 1,000 feet of fencing along the river, the Defense Department said. The makeshift barrier was installed underneath the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, which crosses into Mexico. The overpass is in the small town of Hidalgo, about 250 miles south of San Antonio. . . .
They are setting up fencing at the border.

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More Violence against Republicans

From the Free Beacon:
The Minnesota Democratic Party has suspended a spokesman for calling for violence against Republicans even as two GOP candidates have been assaulted in suspected politically motivated attacks. 
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has suspended communications staffer William Davis for one week without pay after making a Facebook post joking that Democrats would "bring [Republicans] to the guillotine" on Nov. 7, the day after the midterm elections. Minnesota Republican Party chairman Jennifer Carnahan said the suspension was not enough, calling for his immediate firing in the aftermath of separate attacks against Republican candidates. She said she has been subjected to numerous death threats during her tenure as the state party leader and that death threats are no laughing matter. 
"The overt hatred and violence that has become prevalent from many Democrats towards Republicans in recent times is unlawful, unacceptable, and downright scary," she said in an email. "Yes, we have free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but these words and actions by the left have gone too far. … He should have been terminated immediately." . . . 
The suspension came days after Minnesota state representative Sarah Anderson was punched in the arm after spotting a man destroying Republican yard signs. She said the attack left her scared, and her attacker only desisted when she fled to her car and threw it in reverse. 
"It was just insane. He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don't you go kill yourself?'" Anderson told the Washington Free Beacon. "To have someone physically coming after you and attacking you is just disheartening." . . . . 
. . . First-time state representative candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after getting sucker punched while speaking with constituents at a restaurant in Benton County. Mekeland told the Free Beacon he has suffered memory loss—forgetting Rep. Anderson's name at one point in the interview—and doctors tell him he will have a four-to-six week recovery time ahead of him. . . . .
From Fox News:
The liberal group American Bridge 21st Century announced Wednesday night that it had fired one of its operatives a day after he was arrested and accused of battery against the female campaign manager for Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt. . . .Davison told Fox News that Stark “burst into the room where [Laxalt] and I were talking with a camera” and got "very physical" with her. . . .
"This man was physically almost body-checking me," she said. "I was getting nervous for my safety, so we left, and went into an open room.” However, she said Stark tried to follow her, Laxalt and other staffers into the second room. 
"He grabbed my right arm, my leg was lodged between the door and the wall. He twisted my arm, and contorted it behind my back,” she explained. “I was scared. Every time I tried pulling away, he would grab tighter, and pull me closer into him.” . . . 
Here is something from the Washington Times:
The University of Mississippi has condemned a tweet by a faculty member that called on activists to abandon civility and harass Republican senators in public. 
“Don’t just interrupt a Senator’s meal, y’all,” James Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology, tweeted from his @Insurgent_Prof account on Oct. 6, the day Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court. 
“Put your whole damn fingers in their salads,” he wrote. “Take their apps and distribute them to the other diners. Bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out. They don’t deserve your civility.” . . . 
“A recent social media post by a UM faculty member did not reflect the values articulated by the university, such as respect for the dignity of each individual and civility and fairness,” [Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter] wrote. “While I passionately support free speech, I condemn statements that encourage acts of aggression. I urge all members of the Ole Miss community to demonstrate civility and respect for others and to honor the ideal of diversity of thought that is a foundational element of the academy.” . . .

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Why do Democrats many times pretend to be more conservative during campaigns than they actually are?

You don't see Republicans pretending to be liberal during their campaigns, but you see Democrats pretending to be conservative.

1) “People just can’t know that.” MO Sen. McCaskill Hides Agenda Including “semi-automatic rifle ban” from Moderate Voters, Staffers Reveal in Undercover Video it “could hurt her ability to get elected.”

2) "Rep. Beto O’Rourke often touts his mother in speeches and interviews as a lifelong Republican, who now supports his effort to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Not really. . . . But according to CNN, Mrs. O’Rourke cast a ballot on the Democratic side of 15 of the last 17 primaries in which she voted, including Democratic primaries that included presidential contests as far back as 2000. . . . According to CNN, her donations to Democrats included $250 to Mr. Obama’s campaign, $1,200 to Ronald Coleman, a Democratic congressman from Texas, from 1983 to 1990."

3) Regarding the votes on confirming Justice Kavanaugh, take the two votes: the first vote on the rule and then the second vote on the actual confirmation. On the cloture voteSenator Joe Manchin waited until after it was clear that there were 50 votes for Kavanaugh. As to the vote for confirmation, Manchin waited until right after Senator Collins announced at 3 PM that said she was voting “yes” before he declared his vote so again it was clear that his vote didn’t matter then.

4) Pretending to support the NRA, but only when they know that their vote won't matter. Then Senator Mary Pryor in 2009:
Mark Pryor knows all about that. The Democratic senator from pro-gun Arkansas was nowhere to be seen on the Senate floor during Wednesday's showdown over a proposal, championed by the National Rifle Association, that would have gutted state gun-control laws across the nation. 
After a morning of angry speeches, a vote was called at high noon. Toward the end of the vote, Pryor entered the chamber through the back door, took a few steps inside, flashed a thumbs-down to the clerk, and retreated as fast and furtively as somebody dodging gunfire 
Several minutes later, the Democrats had racked up more than enough votes to block the proposal. "Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote?" the presiding officer inquired. 
Pryor burst back in, this time through a side door. "Mr. President!" he called out. "Mr. President!" He stopped in the well to consult with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a gun-control advocate who was keeping the whip sheet. Schumer gave Pryor a nod, and the Arkansan -- reassured that his vote was not needed to defeat the proposal -- changed his vote to an "aye." . . .