The list of up-and-coming media “stars” has me worried.

Forbes recently published its annual list of “30 Under 30 in the Media,” which includes a variety of troubling selections.

For example, the magazine highlighted Jacob Tobia, who has written a memoir, Sissy, and essays that “speak both to the gender nonconforming community” in which he/she “helps demystify the gender/queer divide.”

Huh? That’s what we need in the United States: nonconforming communities!

Clint Smith, a graduate student at Harvard, has written for The New Yorker, Atlantic, and The New Republic. “My goal is to use a range of different mediums and genres to complicate our conceptions of history,” he says, “so that we are more fully able to understand what has led us to this moment of such profound racial and social inequality.”

Huh? Complications about conceptions of history?

As digital editorial director of Teen Vogue, Phillip Picardi “introduced the website’s political and wellness coverage, helping to shift the brand away from just fashion and celebrity and towards themes of gender equality and social justice. He was so successful that he took on the same role at Allure, and this year he launched the LGBTQ focused Them, Condé Nast’s first new brand since 2007.”

Huh? Teen Vogue recently decided to eliminate its print edition.

Alexandra Petri is a humor writer and the youngest-ever columnist at The Washington Post. “We live in a surreal, Dali-esque world where time seems to crawl, everyone’s clocks are melting, and all laws are passed by creepy white bone pelvises standing alone in deserts, and I think we need jokes to get through it,” she says.

Huh? I don’t think that many people believe the world is surreal. Salvador Dali’s painting is called “The Persistence of Memory” rather than “Melting Clocks”–a relatively common mistake. I always thought it was pretty weird, but I guess a 1931 painting resonates with those under 30.

Dali’s 1931 painting “The Persistence of Memory”

Cooper Hefner, the son of Hugh, “recently worked to keep Playboy relevant by bringing back nudity and featuring the first-ever transgender playmate in the magazine’s centerfold.”

Huh? Against the backdrop of a growing number of sexual harassment cases, I am not sure how these actions provide relevance.

Jazmine Hughes is an associate editor at The New York Times Magazine. One of her highlighted credits is editing an interview with California crazy Maxine Walters.

Huh? A good editor would have found a way to toss the interview in the circular file, but I guess those under 30 are unfamiliar with that action.

If you want to feel mad or sad or both, here is the entire list:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2017/11/14/30-under-30-media-2018-meet-the-young-people-driving-and-defining-content/#21a0df6054b3

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to teach a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Pulitzer finalist, and myriad individuals who have brought honor to their craft. I am glad that none of them ever made this insipid list.

by baldilocks

Has anyone considered that the Democrats may be throwing certain members and prominent supporters under the bus on purpose? I mean they had to know what kind of lives men like Al Franken led and they certainly knew about John Conyers since one of his victims was paid off by The Old Dirty Congressmen Fund. Oh yes, and now Bill Clinton is no longer their bright shining prince and won’t be the First Dude anytime soon (ever), they’re suddenly noticing his general lechery and alleged violence against women? Gee whiz. No loyalty.

But what I’m asking is whether a Stalinesque purge is going on right in front of our faces. Are the old – who have outlasted their usefulness — being put away to make way for the new?

Stalin, of course, had an infinitely more radical method of housecleaning.

The purges in the USSR started in the mid-1930’s and continued throughout the late 1930’s. Joseph Stalin had shared power with Zinoviev and Kamenev in the time after the death of Lenin (1924) and he had no intention of ever being put in that position again. By the mid-1930’s Stalin believed that the Bolshevik Party ‘Old Guard’ represented a threat to him and unless he did something about them they would remove him from power. Stalin suspected everyone who had any semblance of power and he wanted them dealt with. (…)

It has been estimated that between 1934 and 1939, one million party members were arrested and executed. During the same period it is thought that 10 million were sent to the gulags with many of them dying – either in transit or as a result of the terrible living conditions they had to endure.

Since we live in a country where show trials, summary imprisonment and summary executions are frowned upon (mostly), if there is a real purge going on, it’s necessary to kill or damage something other than the bodies of the no-longer useful: their reputations, such as they are. And it’s better than Stalin’s method: reputations can be revived should a formerly useful idiot become usable again.

And so, while we laugh at the hypocrisy of the Democrats and lament the stupidity of at least one Republican, let’s remember that the Democrat-controlled mainstream press allowed the accusations about Franken, Conyers and various other Democrat Party suspects supporters into the public conversation. They want this out there; they want them gone from public life, along with the other yet-to-be-named members of the $15 million club.

Hold on tight!

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

There were two trials recently for two men who were each accused of genocidal war crimes. The men were on opposite sides of a conflict. One man was sentenced to life in prison, one man will serve no time at all and is free to live his life however he pleases. One man massacred thousands of men, women and children in the most painful and horrible ways imaginable, the other man killed a bunch of the killers who had killed the aforementioned people, and he did so after having evacuated the women, children, and elderly from the area first. One man enjoyed the backing of the United States and western media, the other man has been labelled “The Butcher”.  Let’s have a closer look at both men and their deeds.

Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life in prison by a U.N. Yugoslav War Tribunal this week for actions he was held responsible for that took place in Sarajevo and Srebrenica.

Naser Oric was cleared of all charges for his war crimes last month, by a Bosnian court (that would be a court belonging to the same side as himself in the conflict). Via The Geller Report:

For years, I warned of the catastrophic consequences of President Bill Clinton’s regional Islamic nation-building, aiding and abetting the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs. Like President Carter backing the Ayatollah Khomeini against the pro-American Shah, the consequences of aiding and abetting Islamic movements are catastrophic. And here is more: on Monday, the Bosnian Muslim war criminal Naser Oric was acquitted of all charges of war crimes — by a Bosnian court.

This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. There is no doubt whatsoever that Oric led a number of massacres of Serbian civilians in the villages around Srebrenica over several years, killing more than 3,000 people. Some were crucified on trees, burned alive, tortured horribly. He even committed crimes against the Muslims in Srebrenica when he and his cronies controlled the town, but all is forgiven now: if you kill Serbian civilians, the international community doesn’t see it as a crime.   MORE

A 2008 photo essay by Peter North revealed a lot about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia that will never be covered by the mainstream media (there are VERY GRAPHIC images at the link):

The Real Srebrenica Genocide: The mass murder of Serbs in Srebrenica and Gorazde from 1992 to 1995 by Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamofascist terrorists

The real Srebrenica Genocide not reported by the corrupt, racist pro-Islamist-Nazi Western corporate-controlled media, was the brutal mass murder – using axes, knives, daggers, sledgehammers, iron bars, flamethrowers and explosives – of 3,870 Serbian elderly men, women and young children in and around the town of Srebrenica and its adjoining towns and villages(Bratunac,Skelani,Milici, et al) as well as the town of Gorazde. MUCH MORE HERE

A 2015 post from Pamela Geller shares an article from investigative reporter and historian Christopher J. Green which tells us more about what Ratko Mladec and Naser Oric are known to have done:

Muslim troops raped, disembowelled, beheaded and roasted alive their victims. Curiously, all of these atrocities were ignored by the Western media who had singled out the Serbs as being the aggressors from the very start of the war.

Proof of the diabolical crimes committed by Bosnian Muslims came from the commander of the UN peace keeping force General Philippe Morillon. He had personally seen the mutilated bodies of Serb civilians and in his testimony to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he stated Oric’s jihadists had carried out:

attacks during Orthodox holidays including Christmas Eve and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.

20 Years On – The Deception of Srebrenica Is Still Advancing Islamic Jihad

By Christopher J. Green – 07/16/2015

Saturday July 11th 2015 marked the twentieth anniversary of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in the town of Srebrenica. The opportunity to indulge in an orgy of Serb-bashing by opportunist, self-serving politicians and the duplicitous media was simply too good to miss. They were all-too-keen to continue propagating one of the biggest deceptions ever perpetrated on the West, a deception that did so much to advance Islamic jihad. For Islam, Srebrenica is the gift that keeps on giving as you’ll now see.

Let’s start with the then President of the United States, the Democrat Bill Clinton. Speaking at a ceremony at Srebrenica to mark the anniversary, a sombre Mr. Clinton apologized for the amount of time it took for the necessary force to be brought against the Serbs.

The former President neglected to mention the two peace deals scuppered by the United States which would’ve prevented so much bloodshed, including the massacre at Srebrenica. In 1992, the peace deal brokered by Portuguese diplomat José Cutileiro known as “The Lisbon Agreement,” had been signed by all three warring factions in Bosnia: The Croats, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims.

However, after meeting with US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman, the leader of the Bosnian Muslims Alija Izetbegovic disavowed his signature and made an avoidable war almost certain.

Mr. Clinton didn’t mention the scuppering of the Vance-Owen plan in January 1993 which occurred under his Presidency. Once again, all sides had agreed to the deal which divided territory on ethnic lines. US ambassador Warren Christopher encouraged the Bosnian Muslims to hold out for an additional four percent of territory. Due to his advice, the deal collapsed

Across the pond, British politician Sir Eric Pickles tweeted his sympathy for the victims of Srebrenica, foolishly comparing the “genocide” to the holocaust. He seems to forget Jews were not committing atrocities against Germans, unlike Muslims in Bosnia against the Serbs. But the accusation of genocide is also incorrect because the Serbs had evacuated women and the elderly from Srebrenica. This proves it was a massacre and not genocide yet facts like this are conveniently ignored by both politicians and the media.

Predictably, the mainstream media all regurgitated the tried-and-tested “Serbs were guilty of committing genocide against Muslims” false narrative just as they had done twenty years previously. When you read the reports, all of them focus on what happened in July 1995. They accuse the Serbs of besieging the town, kidnapping UN peace-keepers and forcing women and children to flee. The aim is still to portray the Muslims as the innocent victims of Serb hatred and brutality.

It’s true the Bosnian Serb army did besiege the town and yes, they did indeed hold UN peace-keepers hostage to prevent NATO from carrying out air strikes on Serb positions. But it was Bosnian Serb commander Colonel-General Ratko Mladic who gave the order to evacuate the women and the elderly from Srebrenica.

So, there was a massacre at Srebrenica in July 1995. The question begging to be asked is: What happened beforethe massacre occurred?

Srebrenica, a predominantly Muslim town, was designated as a “UN Safe Zone” defended by around 600 Dutch UN peacekeepers. Between 1992 and 1995, Bosnian Muslim forces were smuggling weapons into the protectorate, attacking Serb positions as well as using it as a base to launch attacks on surrounding Serb villages. During that time, Bosnian Muslim forces under the command of Naser Oric massacred an estimated two-thousand Serbs including women and children.

Oric’s Bosniak Muslim troops raped, disembowelled, beheaded and roasted alive their victims. Curiously, all of these atrocities were ignored by the Western media who had singled out the Serbs as being the aggressors from the very start of the war.

Proof of the diabolical crimes committed by Bosnian Muslims came from the commander of the UN peace keeping force General Philippe Morillon. He had personally seen the mutilated bodies of Serb civilians and in his testimony to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he stated Oric’s jihadists had carried out:

attacks during Orthodox holidays including Christmas Eve and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.

So much for Srebrenica being a “safe zone.” Clearly the UN peacekeepers were failing in their duty and were complicit in these massacres. It’s also curious that the media neither at the time of the massacres or on the anniversary twenty years later make any mention of what happened in the lead up to the massacre at Srebrenica.

Are the Serbs innocent? Of course not and their massacre of Bosnian Muslims committed out of revenge is equally as deplorable as the massacres committed by Oric’s jihadists. But war is a very dirty business. In a war where all sides – Serbs, Croats and Muslims – committed atrocities, apportioning all the blame on one side is part of the crime. It must be said, the failure of the UN to stop a “safe zone” becoming a base for Muslim terrorists means they must shoulder a share of the blame for the massacres too.

Serbian lust for revenge wasn’t the only motive at work here. The Bosnian Muslims were desperate to get the United States on their side because they knew the US could urge NATO to intervene in what was a civil war. President Clinton was looking for an excuse to justify military intervention. Oric and his commanders knew when the Serbs took Srebrenica there would be reprisals for what he and his vicious band of jihadists had done. They also knew this would give the President his perfect reason to justify military intervention against the Serbs. Just before Srebrenica fell into Serb hands, Oric and his men left the town and abandoned the remaining Muslims to their terrible fate.

So far from being genocide, Srebrenica was a betrayal of Muslims by Muslims to bring NATO into the civil war. Muslims were sacrificed by their own people for this cause. It was a set-up and it worked even better than Oric imagined, fooling Western politicians like Bill Clinton and of course, the mass media who seized the opportunity to demonize the Serbs who were wrongly accused of committing genocide. A crime they are still being accused of to this day.

The deception led to NATO jets bombing Serb forces at Srebrenica, thus becoming the air force for Islamic jihad. Although the war in Bosnia is commonly believed to be a civil war, it wasn’t really. It was and still is part of the global Islamic jihad and it did so much to help Islam establish a foothold in central Europe. And the West aided and abetted it.

Maybe it also set the tone for the denial of the reality of Islam and jihad. Twenty years on from the deception of Srebrenica, it simply does not occur to most people in the West that the atrocities carried out by Muslim forces during the war in Bosnia are exactly the same atrocities Islamic State is carrying out against Christians in Iraq and Syria today. And if anyone dared suggest it, no doubt they’d be told “it’s nothing to do with Islam.”  MORE

Bare Naked Islam has more information about the demonization of the Serbs, the long and largely untold history of ethnic cleansing in The Balkans, and how Bill Clinton helped set the stage for ISIS in that region:

Fortunately, many western citizens no longer take Western mainstream media propaganda for granted as they did in 90’s and they are new alternative media which are breaking the monopoly of the western mainstream media.

Former chief NSA analyst: “Most of the Muslims killed in Srebrenica were soldiers who refused to surrender.”

 Unlike the Bosnian Muslim forces, the Bosnian Serb forces didn’t kill any of Srebrenica women, children and older people but instead bused them out to the main territory controlled by the Bosnian Muslim forces. During the debate in the UN Security council neo-con and US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power whined: ‘What’s next? Holocaust denial?’ In this way, Mrs. Power insulted the victims of Holocaust comparing a hoax civilian massacre in Srebrenica with the Nazi genocide against Jews and Slavs in WW2.The crimes committed by Bosnian Muslim forces were “extraordinary” and made the Serbs’ desire for revenge to be“inevitable.”

The media neglect of the massacres against Orthodox Christians in and around Srebrenica – and such leniency taken against Bosnian Muslim individuals who committed such crimes – not only leaves a sour taste – it is a falsification of history and covers up many untold stories which helps to dehumanize the Serbians. It also negates to share responsibility where it belongs – this applies to all parties who committed massacres. This also includes the United States and CIA which conveniently “overlooked” 8,000 of the most brutal and fanatical Islamists to enter Bosnia on false passports in order to slit the throats of Orthodox Christians.

The Bosnian Serbs might have had the heaviest weapons, but the Bosnian Muslims matched them in infantry skills that were much in demand in the rugged terrain around Srebrenica. As the snow cleared in the spring of 1995, it became obvious to Nasar Oric, the man who led the Bosnian Muslim fighters that the Bosnian Serb army was going to attack Srebrenica to stop him from attacking Serb villages. So he and a large number of his fighters slipped out of town. Srebrenica was left undefended with the strategic thought that, if the Serbs attacked an undefended town, surely that would cause NATO and the UN to agree that NATO air strikes against the Serbs were justified. And so the Bosnian Serb army strolled into Srebrenica without opposition.”

The brutal civil wars throughout the former Yugoslavia led to the ethnic cleansing of Serbians in Krajina. However, not only was nothing done about this, the Croatian forces who did this had been backed by America and other nations during the conflict.

Also, the ghosts of past Muslim SS Units who supported Nazi Germany alongside Croatian fascists, was still etched into the memory because the events of World War Two were never reconciled under communist rule after the war. Therefore, with this, and the Ottoman Muslim past of enslaving young Orthodox Christian boys and then converting them to Islam – then the fear was not based on myths or on distant memories.

By glossing over the massacres of 3,500 Orthodox Christians in and around Srebrenica; the role of the United States in turning a blind eye to 8,000 international Islamists (some members who did September 11 had learnt much in Bosnia); the actions of the Bosnian Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegovic, in abandoning the Muslim enclave; and other important factors. It entails that Srebrenica is being manipulated for all the wrong reasons and that the dehumanization of the Serbians is a convenient way for Western powers to gloss over the reality on the ground. It also suits the Bosnian Muslim leadership which abandoned the enclave despite fighting against fellow Muslims in the west.

It also should be remembered that Bosnian Muslim forces had slaughtered thousands of Christians first in the surrounding region of Srebrenica and that the “safe haven” was abused. Military generals from the international community who were in Bosnia state this clearly, and Morillon testified in court.”

The over simplification of major media outlets shames the mass media in general because the same cover up and lack of basic facts, are still being told by major international media agencies. Indeed, the coverage and headlines in some media outlets is bordering on anti-Serbian racism. Also, to gloss over the events of what happened prior to the Bosnian Serbs entering Srebrenica is not merely shoddy journalism, it is open manipulation and propaganda.  MORE HERE

Two men on opposing sides of a conflict, and while both killed lots of people, the guy who evacuated the elderly and women and children (from the opposing side) to protect them from getting killed goes to jail forever for “war crimes” and the guy who had everyone on the opposing side (including the elderly and women, and children) brutally tortured, mutilated, burned alive, crucified and massacred gets away with it. Nothing to see here folks, move along – and if you think there is something wrong with how “justice was served” in the cases of these men then you must be an islamophobe or something and are very likely guilty of thought crimes.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

A few days ago amid reports that there was cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia the kingdom felt compelled to make the following statement

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Moday denied any ties between the kingdom and Israel.

“There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” Jubeir told Egypt’s CBC television, according to a translation by the Ynet news website.

The Irony of Saudi Arabia, the keeper of the most sacred site in Islam’s, need to continue to openly declare Israel unsuitable for open contact and the Arab world’s embrace of such an attitude is best illustrated by telling the story of two Mosques.

In 705 AD the Al Aqsa Mosque was built in the City of Jerusalem at the site of the Temple Mount which was the location of the Temple of Solomon the holiest site in Judaism. Other than for a 200 year stretch during the 11th & 12th centuries it has continued to function as a Mosque. Even after Israel conquered Jerusalem during the six day war, the Jewish state, rather than demolishing the Mosque and rebuilding the sacred temple not only allowed the Mosque to continue to function as a place of worship for Islam but has left its administration to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf an Islamic religious trust. Furthermore they have severely punished attempts by both Christian and Jewish fanatics to demolish or destroy the Mosque and to this day Muslims continue to worship there.

Four hundred years after the building of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jersualem the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was built in the city of Mosul. It was famous for its leaning minaret. The World Monuments fund, an international non-profit dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture, describes the minaret:

Known by locals as al-Hadba’, or the hunchback, because of its pronounced tilt, the minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was a prominent landmark of the old city of Mosul. Built under the Seljuk ruler Nur al-Din, it was part of a religious complex that included a mosque and a madrassa and was named after its patron. The minaret, built in 1172, was 45 meters tall, decorated with ornamental brickwork along its cylindrical shaft and square base. Five times a day a muezzin would ascend the spiral stairway and sing the call to prayer from the balcony. By the time the famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta visited the city in the fourteenth century, the minaret was already listing noticeably and had been given its nickname, which remained ever since. In the 1940s, as part of a renovation campaign sponsored by the Iraqi Department of Antiquities, the mosque and the madrassa were dismantled and rebuilt according to a new plan. But the minaret remained as one of the few original elements of the medieval complex, a landmark of Mosul, towering over the low cityscape. So iconic was the minaret that since 2003 its figure has adorned the Iraqi 10,000-dinar banknote.

In fact it’s significance was such that its preservation was an international cause:

In 2012, UNESCO and the Governorate of Nineveh agreed to collaborate on a project to study and conserve the al-Hadba’ Minaret. The launch of a project that would have resulted in the stabilization of the minaret was announced in 2014,

It was as Austin Bay’s piece on the defeat of ISIS in Mosul a symbol of Islam in the city

For eight centuries, the building symbolized Mosul, which is why, in June 2014, ISIS senior commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the ISIS caliphate from a Grand Mosque balcony. Speaking freely in the great house of worship demonstrated Al-Baghdadi’s control of Mosul. As an internet propaganda tool, video of his declaration confirmed he was a caliph, the religious-political ruler of an expanding militant Islamist territorial state.

I say “was” because on June 21st one of the final acts of the Islamic state occupation was the deliberate destruction and demolition of this landmark Mosque.

On Wednesday night, with the terrorist group on the cusp of losing control of Mosul and with it its claim to a caliphate straddling the border of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State fighters packed the building with explosives and took it down.

Now mind you, the Mosque wasn’t taken down by indirect fire or reduced while being defended by fighters using it as a fortress or even accidentally blasted away by aired bombing. It was deliberately targeted and destroyed by supposedly devout Muslims Austin Bay again:

In retrospect, the mosque’s obliteration was indisputable evidence of terrorists’ political nihilism. ISIS leaders really worship power and if they cannot seize power and hold it, then they will destroy Muslim shrines and cities as well as murder human beings en masse.

Now granted that the Islamic state is an enemy of the Saudis and few if any arab governments support it but the obvious question is this.

If Israel is, as Arab governments, BDS campaigners and leftists all over the west claim, the great foe and oppressor Islamic people in general and “Palestinians” in particularly, how is it that they treat an Islamic holy site and those who worship there with more care and reverence than devout Muslims?

by baldilocks

… especially if you work for the government, work for a Republican, and are wearing the wrong paint job:

A Department of Homeland Security official resigned Thursday after a report revealed he had made racist (sic) remarks in past radio interviews.

The Rev. Jamie Johnson, director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at DHS, said in a 2008 radio show that the black community had turned “America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.”

DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton told the Daily News that Acting Secretary Elaine Duke accepted his resignation.

“His comments made prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security clearly do not reflect the values of DHS and the administration,” Houlton said in a statement. (…)

In another discussion, Johnson said President George W. Bush made a “critical mistake” after the Sept. 11 terror attacks when he called Islam a religion of peace.

“People who want a moderate version of Islam worldwide, the Islam that doesn’t cut peoples’ heads off and cut their fingers off and torture and brutalize and rape, they want a moderate Islam,” he said.

And, of course, he apologized and refuted his own words. Sad, but not surprising. I would be more surprised if a politician or government official owned observations like this and expounded further on them.

However, that such a public man of God would show so little backbone is much more disheartening. There are many, many other hard truths to be unflinchingly told. Representatives of the Way, the Truth, and the Life are the prime candidates to tell all objective and unapologetic truth. I guess this particular representative isn’t up to it. Good to know.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

More like undead.

by baldilocks

The NSA got the Coconut Treatment.

From Business Insider:

The National Security Agency, the US’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency, has been deeply infiltrated by anonymous hackers, as detailed in a New York Times exposé published Sunday.

The NSA, which compiles massive troves of data on US citizens and organizes cyberoffensives against the US’s enemies, was deeply compromised by a group known as the Shadow Brokers, which has made headlines in the past year in connection to the breach, whose source remains unclear.

The group now posts cryptic, mocking messages pointed toward the NSA as it sells the cyberweapons, created at huge cost to US taxpayers, to any and all buyers, including US adversaries like North Korea and Russia.

“It’s a disaster on multiple levels,” Jake Williams, a cybersecurity expert who formerly worked on the NSA’s hacking group, told The Times. “It’s embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a former USAF linguist. I have many longtime friends and acquaintances from that profession who have worked for what used to be sweetly called No Such Agency – as if people didn’t see NSA analysts arriving to work every day.

Many of these friends are liberals and, of that number, a significant portion rabidly and vocally despise Donald Trump, and that’s fair. But I never see them offer an opinion on this sort of thing, all of which happened during the Obama Administration and under another rabid anti-Trump personality, former DNI James Clapper. They won’t even share these types of links. Surely they read the NYT.

I realize that some of my friends are unable to legally comment on such things, but you would think that more of them would have been anti-Obama during the past eight years. But they seem to love him. Strange.

(Thanks to Richard Fernandez)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

My opposition to the new tax bill is selfish. It’s gonna cost me money!

As a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I live in one of the bluest cities in one of the bluer states in the country. I pay city and state taxes—both of which will no longer be deductible under the proposals.

I understand the argument that the tax bill is intended to hold the line on exorbitant government budgets. But Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are not known for their penny-pinching, and the proposed tax bill is unlikely to change that.

Keep in mind, however, that Pennsylvania voted for Trump, and it’s unlikely that I am the only one who voted for the Republicans in 2016 and will lose money.

It’s a risky scenario given the fact that Pennsylvania hadn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in decades. Moreover, the margin of victory was only 44,000 votes out of six million cast.

Congress should look at allowing a standardized amount that people should be able to deduct for state and local income taxes—say $5,000 across the board.

Sure, the increase of the exemption for a married couple from $12,700 to $24,000 will help but not enough to swing the tax bill is my favor.

There’s more. The cap on the real estate tax exemption at $10,000 will help me but not the many Republicans in the suburbs who pay much higher taxes than I do in the city.

And there’s more. The elimination of the deductions for charitable contributions will hit my wife and me. I doubt it will cause us to give less. But it does mean we will face higher taxes here, too. The elimination of the tax credit for adoptions makes no sense to me, particularly when it probably saved the lives of some potential victims of abortion.

It appears that my deductions for my home office will disappear. I’ve had outside income for more than 20 years and have reduced the tax exposure with my expenses at home. The tax bill means that I will be unable to deduct some of the costs I spend to do research in China, which I have done over the past three years.

I understand that the GOP needs a win, and I’d be willing to help finance a bit of that. At the moment, however, the cost is simply too steep, probably in the neighborhood of several thousand dollars. Since I don’t think I’m alone in my economic and political quandary, Congress and the president need to come up with some changes to make the tax bill more palatable. Otherwise, I am afraid the plan will lose more votes than gain them.

tax

by baldilocks

Nature abhors a vacuum.

–Aristotle

Evil, runnin’ through our brain,
we and evil’s about the same.
Bad blood through our body flows,
where’s the love nobody knows.

Evil –Earth, Wind and Fire

Mark Steyn’s offerings are always worth your while, but this one is outstanding.

In between [the Las Vegas, NV and Sutherland Springs, TX massacres], some guy went Allahu Akbar on a Manhattan bike path and killed eight people. Within five days, the usual psycho misfit loner from the

teeming swamps of loserdom managed to make a proud Uzbek Soldier of Allah look like a know-nothing piker who can’t even rack up a third of the corpse count of some schlub with an unknown grievance against a town of 400 people. Some global caliphate you got there, Sayfullo.

A republic requires virtue, and the decline of virtue is accompanied necessarily by the decline of the concept of evil, and its substitution by exculpatory analysis of the “motives” of evil. A more useful conversation would be on what it takes to remove the most basic societal inhibition – including the instinctive revulsion that would prevent most of us from taking the lives of strangers, including in this case eighteen-month-old babies. That inhibition is weaker in the dar al-Islam, because of Islam’s institutional contempt for “the other” (unbelievers) but also because of the rewards promised in the afterlife. Thus, violence is sanctioned by paradise. That is the precise inversion of our society, and yet the weakening of inhibition seems to be proceeding here, too. A church sealed off by yellow police tape: a shameful and astonishing sight, and yet one senses that it will neither shame nor astonish us for long, that something else will come along to make the records books and distract a couple of news cycles. (…)

Texas officials now believe they have their “motive” – in their words, “a domestic situation going on in this

family”; in my words, “the black void at the heart of the act”.

As I implied here, I think that there is no motive for this kind of thing that normal people would understand. However, as I think more about this, there is no void in the souls of people who do this. Oh, very likely, there once was. But something filled up the empty space of those souls and whispered into their ears: “Do this thing. You’ll feel better and all your troubles will be over.”

That’s what I think.

More in a bit at my place. I will post an update here.

UPDATE: Sort of related. Why Non-Christians Don’t Understand Christian Prayer.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

by baldilocks

So, a couple of very popular pro-Trump Twitter accounts have turned out to be Russia bots.

Jenna Abrams was a popular figure in right-wing social media circles. Boasting nearly 70,000 followers, Abrams was featured in numerous news articles during the 2016 election, spotlighted by outlets as varied as USA Today, the Washington Post, the BBC, and Yahoo! Sports. Her tweet about CNN airing porn during Anthony Bourdain’s show (it didn’t) was reported by numerous outlets.

But Abrams never existed.

When I posted this link to my Facebook account, some of my friends denied following this account and I believe them. I didn’t follow them either. But, guess what?

That is far, far from the point.

According to information released by House Democrats earlier this week, Abrams was one of more than 2,750 fake Twitter accounts created by employees at the Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” funded by the Russian government based in St. Petersburg.

Emphasis mine. The 2,750 bogus accounts are just the ones who’ve been exposed.

The writers of this piece go on about how many how many pro-Trump persons followed and re-Tweeted their offerings. Further down into the article, we get to the Liberal/Leftist accounts who were really bots.

We were warned about this agency last year, by, of all entities, the New York Times. As a matter of fact, I shared the 2015 piece and said this:

[O]ne of the most importantly things that purposeful trolling does is to skew the conversation and, therefore, any reasonable view of any matter under discussion. Individual trolls can do this, if one “feeds” it – that is, engage it in conversation.

Imagine the distorted view that an entire organization of trolls can create–an organization whose business model is built on twisting views and building “reality” out of thin air.

The Enemy is the Father of lies and his wiles are many. And I’ll bet that many of us have been fooled more times than we know of; fooled by elaborate, well-designed architectures of lies–and I definitely do not leave mainstream information dispensaries out of this equation.

It’s not about the fact that we weren’t following these accounts. It’s about the other puppet accounts we are following and don’t know it, yet.

And, not for a second do I believe that the Russians are the lone purveyors of planted opinion.

Even more important for each of us is to be mindful of who you’re reading and listening to especially if you agree with them.

It’s about the access that people who are not your friends have to molding your perceptions.

How much harm has this Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg done? Not too much yet. They are still merely testing out the capabilities of their powerful weapon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

Maybe he was bored. Presiding over the mass starvation of your country’s people isn’t a cakewalk, after all.

Venezuela’s Joe Stalin lookalike dictator has been criticized for becoming a fat bastard while the people in his country wait for hours in line to get bread, resort to picking through trash for anything edible, and die in the streets of hunger – but that won’t make Nicolás Maduro lose his appetite:

American Thinker has more about this:

Thursday, Maduro was in the midst of a long-winded national speech known in Venezuela as a “cadena.”  He paused, pulled a sandwich-like object out of his desk, and took a bite, chomped it down, and then continued his speech.  He was eating what looked like a Venezuelan arepa, a tasty cornmeal-based snack with probably some meat inside, although the Latin press accounts identified it as an empanada, a dish more commonly associated with Argentina and Chile.

It comes at a time when the Venezuelan daily minimum wage, just raised for the sixth time this year, won’t even cover the cost of an empanada, let alone an arepa, given that inflation is running at close to 3,000% and Maduro has just introduced the new 100,000 bolivar note.

Efecto Concuya, via Google Translate, reports:

For the sixth time in 2017, President Nicolás Maduro announced a new increase in the minimum wage that placed the daily salary at Bs. 5,916, but the number of products that can be purchased with that amount is increasingly reduced.

In a sale of breakfast and lunch located in the municipality of Libertador, a pie costs 5,500 bolivars and a filled arepa exceeds Bs. 12,000. There was Rodolfo Gutiérrez, who bought two empanadas and a malt for an amount of Bs. 15,500. That is, someone who only receives a minimum wage, nothing else could pay for a pie.

In a restaurant located in El Cafetal, municipality Baruta, it is impossible to even buy a pie, because it has a price of Bs. 7,500. A large coffee is also inaccessible since it is sold above 8,000 bolivars.

What it shows is the Venezuelan elites’ complete indifference to the suffering of Venezuela’s people.  They mark their superiority over the masses – not by flashing Rolexes anymore, but by eating in front of them.

And don’t think such a message didn’t get out.  Cadenas in Venezuela break into every TV set, every radio show, every program without warning, no matter what’s playing.  You don’t have the option to flip the channel, because the cadena is on every channel.

And cadenas can last for hours.  The logic was that the president’s announcements were so crucial, so important, and so necessary that every other broadcast could just be broken into, like the emergency broadcast system.

You got that? It wasn’t just a video version of the “hot mic”, people had no choice in watching it if they had a television on, and Maduro knew it.

Is this man stupid or just cruel?

Please pray for the people of Venezuela.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.