And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Linkee-poo drinks because I'm lonesome, and I'm lonesome because I drink

The PBS special on the Brain, with David Eagleman. Some of you have heard me go on about how your vision (and perception of reality) isn't some movie playing on the back of your eyes. Instead it's a construct of your brain, a 3D holographic projection filled with emotional meaning with several extra dimensions that exist only in your head. Oh, and most of it is preprocessed information your brain pulls from memory routines, instead of reprocessing what your eyes (and other perceptions) are seeing. Just in case you ever thought I was full of shit. Well, at least about this.

Why is diversity an important value to have in any organization? Because it helps prevent you hanging your ass out for the rest of the world to see. I'm sure they'll retouch the video of Homeland before reruns to remove all the anti-Homeland graffiti. If they were smart, they would leave it in. (Grokked from Janiece)

Representative Trey Gowdy is becoming the man who doth protest too much after another GOP member of the Benghazi Committee admits that it's a political witch hunt. The money line, "Gowdy and other Republicans say the committee has been and remains focused on those killed in Benghazi and on providing a definitive account of the attacks. There have been at least seven previous investigations." Each prior one found no fault (other than poor security, which the GOP can't really harp on because they're the ones that reduced spending for embassy security). So, either it's a political witch hunt, or it's just that the GOP lead Congress is really inept (this is the eighth committee that's trying to get the "real story").

Remember Denny Hastert? He's settling his "hush money, don't tell the FBI" case with a plea deal. Ah, those good old Law and Order and Family Values conservatives.

"The US government has been wildly understating the collateral casualties from its drone program… Using leaked documents on Operation Haymaker, one report takes an unprecedented look at drone strikes in Afghanistan between January 2012 and February 2013, during which more than 200 people were killed… only 35 were approved targets, the rest being either collateral damage or mistakes resulting from faulty intelligence." This is what whistleblowing laws were designed to help. Of course, it would be better to not need whistleblowers to help us to do the Right Thing™ in the world. How does this get by any sniff test? "Military officials might accept some level of collateral damage, assuming anyone near the target is likely to be involved in terrorism, but those additional targets… aren't subject to conventional oversight. When collateral targets cannot be identified, they're routinely marked as 'Enemies Killed In Action,' forestalling any fallout from the strike." That's how. By making the tautology "our drones only kill enemies of the US, therefore everyone killed by drones are enemies of the US." While some collateral in war is inevitable (one of the many reasons war is to be avoided at all costs), a less than 18% targeting capability calls into question the ability of our frontline commanders (the ones who give the order to loose weapons) to function competently. Now, how many of those 200 were "targets of opportunity" or "engaged in detrimental actions" (that is in the process of attacking or performing acts designating them to hostile groups) we don't know. But given the "success rate" (our fuckups in Afghanistan and Pakistan) of previous drone missions, it calls the whole program into question. Besides the morality of it all, the justification of "worldwide war", or any of that bullshit, this is an operational failure (either in targeting, or in promoting the war to the public). I thought we were ending this kind of shit when we took the CIA out of the loop. Obviously this mental virus has infected the rest of the military. This is also the result of the thinking of drones and "smart weapons" as "magic" and the sine qua non of policy. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Ima gonna just leave this here. Fox News analyst arrested for making false claims on his "employment" with the CIA (among other frauds). Of course Fox has cut him lose and is hanging him out to dry. Nothing to see here.

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