Reason Roundup

All U.S. Travelers Abroad Should Submit to Facial Recognition Scans, Says Homeland Security

Plus: "Right to be forgotten" follies, research on direct cash aid, Elizabeth Warren on sex work, and more...

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The Department of Homeland Security wants mandatory facial scans for all Americans traveling in or out of the country. A proposed rule change states:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is required by statute to develop and implement a biometric entry-exit data system.

To facilitate the implementation of a seamless biometric entry-exit system that uses facial recognition and to help prevent persons attempting to fraudulently use U.S. travel documents and identify criminals and known or suspected terrorists, DHS is proposing to amend the regulations to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.

This terrifying possibility would expand on DHS pilot programs that have "already been rolling out across more than a dozen US airports," with the alleged goal of identifying people who overstay their visas, explains PC Mag.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) explains how it works:

Just before entry or exit, each international traveler's photo is taken, either by CBP-owned cameras or equipment provided by the airlines, airport authority, or cruise line. CBP's biometric matching service, the Traveler Verification Service (TVS), compares the new photo with DHS holdings, which include images from photographs taken by CBP during the entry inspection, photographs from U.S. passports, U.S. visas and other travel documents, as well as photographs from previous DHS encounters.

Right now, U.S. citizens entering or exiting the country with a valid U.S. passport aren't required to let border authorities snap their pic. CBP states:

Travelers who do not wish to participate in this facial comparison process may notify a CBP Officer or an airline, airport or cruise line representative in order to seek an alternative means of verifying their identities and documents. CBP discards all photos of U.S. Citizens within 12 hours of identity verification.

On the accuracy of this system, CBP points out that "with high quality photos, the most accurate algorithm can identify matches with only a 0.2 percent error rate" (emphasis mine), which is not exactly a reassuring metric.

"Travelers, including US citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel," Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. He continued:

Time and again, the government told the public and members of Congress that US citizens would not be required to submit to this intrusive surveillance technology as a condition of traveling. This new notice suggests that the government is reneging on what was already an insufficient promise.

Airport Technology notes that Homeland Security has "plans to install biometric scanners at 20 of the country's largest airports by 2021."


FREE MINDS

As Stewart Baker writes at The Volokh Conspiracy, "Turns out that you can kill two people and wound a third on a yacht in the Atlantic, get convicted, serve 20 years, and then demand that everybody just forget it happened. The doctrine hasn't just jumped the shark. It's doubled back and put a couple of bullets in the poor shark for good measure."


FREE MARKETS

Direct cash transfers to poor families help lift up whole communities. NPR reports:

Over the past decade there has been a surge of interest in a novel approach to helping the world's poor: Instead of giving them goods like food or services like job training, just hand out cash—with no strings attached. Now a major new study suggests that people who get the aid aren't the only ones who benefit.

This was something a lot of people doubted. "There's a fear that you just have more dollars chasing around the same number of goods, and you could have price inflation, and that could hurt people who didn't get the cash infusion," Berkeley economist Edward Miguel told NPR. And so

Miguel and his collaborators teamed up to conduct an experiment with one of the biggest advocates of cash aid. It's a charity called GiveDirectly that, since 2009, has given out more than $140 million to impoverished families in various African countries.

The researchers identified about 65,000 households across an impoverished, rural area of Kenya and then randomly assigned them to various groups: those who got no help from GiveDirectly and a "treatment group" of about 10,500 families who got a one-time cash grant of about $1,000

More from NPR here. Full study here.


ELECTION 2020

A new national poll from The Hill/HarrisX finds a surprising (but still ultimately fairly low) level of support for Michael Bloomberg:


QUICK HITS

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) offered up her standard mushy answer when asked again about decriminalizing sex work:

  • The conversation around consent continues to get stupider:

  • Approval of authoritarian rule is apparently trending up among Republicans:

  • A bill to lessen restrictions on where people on the sex offender registry list can live was just vetoed by Wisconsin's Democratic governor, Tony Evers.
  • The Reset podcast looks at how "the technology of ankle monitors doesn't actually work very well, which means it ends up having hugely negative impacts on the lives of the people it's meant to be helping."
  • Section 230 "basically enabled the internet as we know it," YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tells 60 Minutes.
  • Americans like technology companies much more than a lot of other institutions:

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      1. Nope, I checked and it is actually spelled tote.

    1. Woke bag?

      1. Bloke bag.

        It’s where a bloke’s bits hang, mate.

  1. The Trump administration wants to impose huge tariffs on French goods, including cheeses and wine.

    But not freedom fries.

    1. Nobody buys those things anyway.

    2. Freedom fries will become more expensive due to a poor potato harvest.

      1. Irish fries?

  2. I don’t get Reason’s obsession with facial recognition

    1. *** Yoda voice ***

      You will.

      1. Honestly hard to take Reason’s concerns seriously, when they’re simultaneously shilling for “green” scams and unelected bureaucratic supremacy

        1. Facial recognition is just fine so long as it is done by huge multinational corporations controlled by the Chinese, seems to be Reason’s position on the issue.

          1. John, from a constitutional perspective, is there a problem with the US doing facial recognition at our border? I mean, that is what DHS is proposing as I read it. How is that different than CBP searching electronic devices at the border, which is perfectly constitutional.

            Chuckling at the slam on Reason. Nice one. I don’t suppose that is partly why they are at 2% of goal as I write (4K of 200K). 🙂

            1. It is absolutely Constitutional. And it is also not really any more invasive than the passport system already is. They already have your picture. All the facial recognition software does is ensure that it is actually you that is using your passport and not someone else.

          2. That’s the price you pay for a cheaper product made by slaves. That and the continued theft of intellectual property.

    2. I’d recognize a facial anywhere.

      1. Then the TSA has got a job for you!

    3. Just wait till the “deep state” uses it against a non favored candidate.

      1. I’m sure it’ll be much worse than spying on and trying to entrap one

      2. Just wait till the “deep state” uses it against a non favored candidate.

        The deep state makes a deep fake of a dark horse candidate and leaks it on the deep, dark web?

  3. The Department of Homeland Security wants mandatory facial scans for all Americans traveling in or out of the country. A proposed rule change states:

    “Any DHS employee found guilty of any job-related infraction will be immediately executed as a terrorist”, right? RIGHT?!

  4. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) explains how it works:
    Just before entry or exit, each international traveler’s photo is taken, either by CBP-owned cameras or equipment provided by the airlines, airport authority, or cruise line. CBP’s biometric matching service, the Traveler Verification Service (TVS), compares the new photo with DHS holdings, which include images from photographs taken by CBP during the entry inspection, photographs from U.S. passports, U.S. visas and other travel documents, as well as photographs from previous DHS encounters

    Atlanta International Airport has this. Delta tries to force you to use the machine to read your passport and link a facial recognition photo to your passport, so upon return to the USA, the images are matched.

    Just tell them NO. They get mad that you are not complying with their expensive nonsense. Yes, these costs are added to ticket prices.

    Then when you return to the USA and show your US passport, customs waives you through since you have no image to compare.

    1. Automatic biometric verification saves money. If you want manual verification, you should pay extra.

  5. The Department of Homeland Security wants mandatory facial scans for all Americans traveling in or out of the country.

    Passport photos?

  6. More bad economic news.

    Charles Koch current net worth: $61.6 billion

    This is why the annual webathon is so important. Reason cannot promote the billionaire immigration agenda if its billionaire benefactor is struggling financially. Not without our help, anyway.

  7. US vows 100% tariffs on French Champagne, cheese, handbags over digital tax

    All Trump has to do is announce the new retaliatory US tariffs from the Ardenne Forest and the French will give up.

  8. The doctrine hasn’t just jumped the shark. It’s doubled back and put a couple of bullets in the poor shark for good measure.

    Fonzie had the government delete that scene from the episode.

    1. Right to be forgotten strikes again.

    2. Someone sat on it

    3. “The doctrine hasn’t just jumped the shark. It’s doubled back and put a couple of bullets in the poor shark for good measure.”

      This is actually something that my company has been dealing with over the last few years as GDPR and now CCPA. When you get down to it, there is very, very, very little difference between a company telling an advertiser that you visited their website (for a fee) and an article discussing what you posted to twitter- or an article reporting on your dealings with a prostitute (supported for a fee).

      Yes, yes, there is a standard call to “Expectation of Privacy”, but the jurisprudence in the internet age is shot to shit. The fact that the government can access 3rd party data and there has been a compelling interest to protect that access in Law Enforcement and the judiciary has made an even bigger mess of the issue.

      At the end of the day, attempts to legislate this are fraught with idiocy. Mass data collection from (say) Google, is merely them observing and watching what you do and talking about it to other people- like that chatty bartender at the local pub at a global scale. Just as it is very difficult to legislate a bartender’s right to be a gossip-whore, it is very difficult to hone in on what Google (and others) are doing.

      1. I will be glad when someone actually gives a shit about data privacy/protection.

        Blockchain – not govt – is really an ideal means for people to actually claim their digital identity as their property and thus control it. And it also can naturally limit the extent of that property claim. But the first iterations of blockchain (bitcoin, ethereum, etc) are completely at odds with actual decentralization and individual control since those who possess the current tokens (and in both cases that comprises virtually all the tokens that will ever exist) are solely concerned with the dollar-value of those tokens they possess. So they insist on absolute control of any ‘scale-up’ – which means it will never happen. And scale-up wasn’t designed into those blockchains from the beginning either.

        It is the same trap that the dotcom generation fell into when they went down the VC/ads-based path.

  9. Trump says it might be better to wait until after 2020 election for a China trade deal

    Better terms for a trade agreement too since the Commies here in the MSM and China HOPE Trump wont be reelected.

    1. That’s exactly why the Chinese are holding out on a trade deal, hoping Trump won’t be re-elected. Trump being Trump, of course, is trying to claim that he’s the one holding out. “I meant to do that” as he trips over his own feet, in other words. It’s why he’s suddenly throwing this other tariff flash-bang in the middle of the room, he desperately needs a distraction from how all his promised “great deals” seem to have turned into shit.

      1. Do the Chinese think Biden will get elected? I don’t think things will get any easier for China if Warren or Sanders get elected.

  10. Ask consent for all sexual encounters, yes, even sexting.

    Any of you abusing yourselves to the thought of me better be getting my express written consent beforehand!

    1. Someone on Twitter without irony said that the preferred way to ask consent for sexting is “I am having lustful feelings about you and I was wondering if you were in the right frame of mind to discuss them”. This was a guy saying this.

      Millennials have managed to ruin jerking off. If they can ruin that, they can ruin anything.

      1. Just asking is triggering.

      2. please please please find that link and share it. hilarious.

        1. I was wrong, it was a chick who put it out as a model for how you ask for consent.

          http://twitter.com/suzannahweiss/status/1201642800418156544

          And the exact language is

          I have been having some sexual thoughts about you and would like to share it over text if you would enjoy that

          Doesn’t Susannah Weiss, whoever she is, sound like a barrel of fun in the sack?

          1. I wonder how many dick pics were sent to her after she posted that.

            1. I have never sent a dick pick in my life but my God is it tempting to send one to this woman.

              And I bet she got thousands.

            2. the comment thread is actually pretty good on this one. gives me a modicum of hope for this world. A reminder that the loudest twitteriest outragers are the craziest and most people aren’t like that.

              1. “Only someone who’s never had a serious relationship in their life could come up with something this profoundly absurd.”

          2. my god. you couldn’t make up something this funny if you were writing a comedy with a caricature of an ultra-woke feminist who can never get a guy because of this kind of stuff. amazing.

            1. Did you see her picture? I am thinking she doesn’t get many sexting offers.

          3. Doesn’t Susannah Weiss, whoever she is, sound like a barrel of fun in the sack?

            I refuse to consider that question until I consult Susannah Weiss to ask her permission to consider the question.

          4. Or in text speak IBHSSTAYILTSOTIYET

          5. Must be Janet’s younger sister.

    2. And yet the proposed ‘example’ is itself harassing, because it explicitly states that sexual thoughts are being enjoyed without consent.

      1. Yep. Needs to be a non-threatening safe word: “Endive” which is texted by the man. A reply of “feta” means he can now safely initiate the conversation using the troublesome text in the example.

        1. No. The secret sexting code word is “Baby Yoda”.

          1. Nah, too close to ‘Yoni’. Google it.

    1. Sacre Bleu! Boehm passed out on the news of tariffs on wine and cheese.

  11. Ask consent for all sexual encounters, yes, even sexting.

    “Mind if I wink?”

    1. Your wife… does she enjoy… photography? Snap snap, click click, nudge nudge wink wink, SAY NO MORE!

    2. mind if I … fart?

    1. Stop cherry picking irrelevant stats. The Drumpf economy is a complete disaster.

  12. The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts increased 16 percentage points over the past year…

    Are we defining effectiveness as the president’s goals or what’s in the country’s best interest? Are these poll respondents affirming their desire for this or just acknowledging that this is likely the case? Hitler would have been more effective without having to worry about the Allies.

    1. Left unsaid is the share of Democrats who say democrats could operate more effectively if everyone else would bug off stays steady at 97%.

  13. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/michael-bloomberg-china-pbs-climate-xi-dictator.html

    While visions of Trump being Putin’s agent dance in their head, an actual Chinese asset runs for the Democratic nomination.

    1. You misspelled asshole.

  14. America Braces for Possible French Fry Shortage After Poor Potato Harvest

    They should have called in some Cold War era Commies. Those old timer Commies can raise some numbers on potato yields!

    1. My loins have never been so girded.

  15. http://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/iranian-state-tv-acknowledges-killings-rioters-during-gas-price-hike-protests

    “Prior to this latest report, Iranian leaders denounced the protests as a “conspiracy”, and also announced that more than 700 banks were torched.”

    1. 700 banks were torched?? Good Lord, that’s one hell of a conspiracy.

      1. It’s an oxidation..
        It’s a conflagration..

        Oooooh babe,
        What’s up w’ dat
        What’s up w’dat

  16. A bill to lesson restrictions on where people on the sex offender registry list can live was just vetoed by Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers.

    The lessen here is it’s not good politics to be anything but anti-(government-defined)-sex offender.

  17. Data on your spending habits could be a gold mine for banks

    Its about time Americans just back to mostly using cash…and Bitcoin of course.

    1. Aren’t all bitcoin transactions public record?

      1. Not what you buy.

        The transactions are blocked chained and accessible.

  18. Section 230 “basically enabled the internet as we know it…”

    Ouch.

  19. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-posts-first-month-70-154903996.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw

    For the first time in 70 years, the US is a net petroleum exporter. The US had achieved energy independence. That is the biggest and most important political and economic development since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of course, all of the “experts” are either pretending it didn’t happen or trying to reverse it in the name of appeasing the Global Warming Gods.

    1. Word.

      Absolutely the biggest economic story of the last ten years. Most people will never even hear about it; fewer will understand the significance.

      Fracking has absolutely, fundamentally changed our world. It has shifted the geopolitical balance of power like nothing else in decades, to the immeasurable benefit of the U.S. There’s a reason we’ve gone 10+ years without a recession, and this is it.

      1. I’d argue that the reduction of the corporate tax from 35 to 21% is as important, if not more. The cost of doing business in the US was reduced by 40%. The long term effects will be staggering.

    1. Between that and him biting his wife’s hand, how can anyone say Joe hasn’t lost it? The guy is just not all there.

    2. A debilitating onstage explosive logorrhea attack.

    3. Babbling Biden Rides Again.

  20. Tech companies are the second most positively viewed institution in the US

    Certainly that’s second to Congress, right?

    1. Cops, lawyers, teachers’ unions hardest hit.

  21. A new national poll from The Hill/HarrisX finds a surprising (but still ultimately fairly low) level of support for Michael Bloomberg…

    Unsure is stealing his votes.

    1. If I were a betting man, I’d short his campaign.

      1. He’s much taller when he stands on his wallet.

    2. Bloomberg spent some $30 million on national ad buys in a week – and made it to 6%.

      This also includes a “new guy” bounce, and the fact that he has yet to be challenged on any issue, or even really stake out a claim on any issue. Nor has he attracted a single bit of negative attention from the rest of the crowd. And he jumped to 6%

      If the Dems are smart, they’ll kill him off now. Because he has no shot in the general.

      Mr Trump, your response?

      Do you want to drink your small soda through a paper straw? Or are you a grownup who can decide what size drink to order, and how to drink it for yourself?

      Mr Trump, the question was healthcare…..

      Big. Gulp. Do you really need to hear anything else?

  22. Once again.. Ukraine never thought it was being bribed or influenced to go after the Bidens.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/ukraine-president-zelenksy-says-again-there-was-no-quid-pro-quo/

    But we know from Sullum any denial from a victim is proof they were victimized, much like trauma informed rape investigations.

    1. Sullum’s entire column yesterday was “sure the people who would know said the opposite but that is just more evidence the opposite is true”. These people have lost their minds.

      1. Today is Opposite Day!

      2. “sure the people who would know said the opposite but that is just more evidence the opposite is true”

        That is not what the article said. Come on. They are bad enough without having to resort to hyperbole. The argument he made was that the existing circumstances require you to take Ukraine’s statement with a grain of salt, not that their statement proves quid pro quo.

        1. The argument he made was that the existing circumstances require you to take Ukraine’s statement with a grain of salt, not that their statement proves quid pro quo.

          No, that is not what he said at all. That is half of what he said. The rest of it was

          There is strong circumstantial evidence, of course, that Trump did have in mind a quid pro quo: Ukraine would get the military aid once it publicly committed to investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged interference with a probe of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that employed Biden’s son Hunter as a board member, as well as the bizarre theory that Ukrainians hacked Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign and framed Russia for that crime. Several current and former administration officials have testified that the connection between the aid and the investigations was clear.

          When you read the entire article and not just the cherry picked part, you see that Sullumn is saying “sure everyone with any knowledge of this says it didn’t happen, but we still know it did because people who had no direct knowledge feel that it did”

          So no, it is not hyperbole to say what I said. It is a fair reading of Sullumn’s insultingly dishonest and stupid column.

          Why do you feel the need to defend the indefensible? Sullumn has been a dishonest hack for years.

          1. “Why do you feel the need to defend the indefensible? Sullumn has been a dishonest hack for years.”

            Because, I feel that increasing the level of argumentation at this place would be a net benefit. I hold them just as accountable to bad arguments.

            ““sure everyone with any knowledge of this says it didn’t happen, but we still know it did because people who had no direct knowledge feel that it did””

            I totally agree. But that is not the same as saying Sullum made the argument that “denial is evidence that it actually happened”. The actual argument Sollum is making is that he believes the Democrat Hacks over the Ukrainians, because he doesn’t like the Ukrainian’s motives. That is a bad argument in and of itself. But it isn’t arguing that their denial is evidence of the quid pro quo.

    2. But that’s exactly what he would say if he was being coerced !!!!11!

    3. Wow, 350 comments of discussion on Sullum’s story yesterday wasn’t enough. 🙂

      Pay very careful attention to how Zelensky phrases his supposed denial of quid pro quo, and it becomes clearer what Sullum meant when he said it was an “aspirational” statement:

      “I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.”

      That is not a clear statement saying there was no quid pro quo. It is saying we should not be talking in terms of quid pro quos. Aspirational, as Sullum said.

      ““I did not speak with U.S. President Trump in those terms: You give me this, I give you that,” he said. (Quote based on Google translation from German to English.)”

      Again, he doesn’t say that Trump didn’t talk to him in those terms. He says he didn’t talk to Trump in those terms.

      As grb pointed out yesterday:
      “(4) Ukrainian news media reports Zelensky was prepared to give the Trump campaign exactly the public “investigation” announcement extorted by Trump, Giuliani, Sondland, Perry, Volker, etc…

      Zelensky scheduled a CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria on 13Sept to provide the payoff. But then came an outcry from senators over the frozen aid, and the first word of an investigation by House Democrats. Trump released $400 million. Zelensky immediately canceled the interview….”

      https://reason.com/2019/12/02/trump-once-again-falsely-claims-that-ukraines-president-has-exonerated-him-of-abusing-his-powers-for-personal-gain/#comment-8032727

      Actions speak louder than words.

  23. http://www.zerohedge.com/technology/mr-musk-goes-court-defamation-trial-over-pedo-guy-tweet-will-start-just-hours

    “Recall, back in October, we noted that Musk called himself a “fucking idiot” of his choice of words about Unsworth when he emailed a reporter unverified information about the cave diver.”

  24. Kelly Loeffler chosen by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for US Senator

    Shes the CEO of Bakkt, a Bitcoin-focused subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

    I wonder if reason would do an article on her, since she might actually know something about digital currency and why it should be supported by the US government.

    1. Isn’t she also pro abortion and pretty much a Democrat? That is what I keep hearing. And I don’t think it is very surprising that the CEO of a company thinks the US government should support said company’s industry. Isn’t that what she is paid to say?

      1. I dont know much about her except for the digital currency experience.

        As for “supporting” digital currency, I didnt mean crony capitalism but protecting it as legal tender. After all Congress does have the enumerated powers to To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures; and regulate interstate commerce.

        1. I know she’s a woman. Need I go on?

        2. Keep in mind when John says “That is what I keep hearing” he means that’s what he keeps hearing from Sean Hannity. Also keep in mind the Georgia gubernatorial was basically a Trumpier-than-thou race and now Kemp is being slammed for refusing to lick Trump’s ballsack by appointing a Trump ballsack-licker to Isakson’s spot. Which ignores the fact that Trump is a pit-bull leading a pack of chihuahuas and in 2024 the GOP is well and truly fucked when they realize they’re a bunch of ballsack-lickers and there’s not a ballsack to lick any more.

          1. I don’t watch Hannity Jerry. I don’t understand why you think I do. And I can tell you where I am hearing it, from Republicans I know who pay attention to this stuff.

            As far as ball licking, I really have no expertise in that and would never dream of questioning your authority on the subject. If, however, you have anything to say about what this women actually believes, I would be curious to hear it, because I really don’t know and hadn’t heard of her before. Maybe the people who are pissed off about this are misinformed and she is not a liberal. If they are, I would like to know that.

            1. About all you need to know is Collins is from Bumfuck Gulch and Loeffler is from Atlanta. You know how many white female Republicans there are in Atlanta? Kemp picked Loeffler because she can do the most good for the Georgia GOP and he’s getting slammed for caring more about the Georgia GOP than about Donald Trump – which apparently is the primary job of the Senate these days. But see my remark about the pitbull and the chihuahuas – the Party of Trump is going to be fucked when Trump goes. Kemp is thinking long-term, his critics are thinking next election.

              1. Yes, his job is to appoint someone who will help the national party in the Senate. The Georgia GOP owning the Senate seat doesn’t benefit them it benefits the national party. What you are saying would be right if we were talking about a state office. The state government is the Georgia GOP’s business and they owe no allegiance to Trump. The Senate is the national GOP’s business. They have every right to complain if he appoints someone who is going to undermine them in the Senate.

                He can appoint whomever he wants. And maybe he is right that only this woman can win re-election. But maybe he is wrong too. I don’t blame the national GOP at all for being pissed and thinking he just appointed a liberal who is going to fuck up their agenda.

    2. I know that Trump and his supporters are unhappy with this choice and see it as disloyal to Trump, who wanted Doug Collins to fill the seat.

  25. “A bill to lesson restrictions…”

    Lesson?

    1. “The beatings will continue until morale improves” lessons restrictions.

    2. You will be restricted until you learn your lesson.

    3. That’ll lesson ’em.

  26. Cult like media uses exact same wording and narrative across many outlets to say others are cultists. Forget the thrill up their legs under Obama.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/claiming-trump-is-a-cult-leader-is-the-latest-newsroom-fad

  27. As Stewart Baker writes at The Volokh Conspiracy, “Turns out that you can kill two people and wound a third on a yacht in the Atlantic, get convicted, serve 20 years, and then demand that everybody just forget it happened. The doctrine hasn’t just jumped the shark. It’s doubled back and put a couple of bullets in the poor shark for good measure.”

    It didn’t “jump the shark”, it is working as the law was intended to work. This was already the subject of a 2009 lawsuit against Wikipedia.

    The only thing that raises eyebrows about this is that a lawyer like Baker, with supposedly decades of experience in Internet law and international law seems ignorant of both the purpose of the law and the history of such lawsuits. But that’s Reason for you in 2019.

    1. Baker was very high up in DHS under Bush. He was involved with every Bush Homeland Security policy reason claimed to hate. That they know publish him as an expert is further proof that there is no such thing as peak irony.

      And yes, this was the entire purpose of the law. Are there cases where someone is slandered or the victim of a horrible crime and they want to be forgotten? Sure. But those are a small minority of the cases where people want such a thing. The vast majority of the people who want to avail themselves of this law are going to be convicted criminals.

      I don’t know where Baker went to law school but I bet it was Harvard or an Ivy league. Only someone from an Ivy League law school could be so stupid not to understand that criminals are going to be the majority of people who benefit from a right to be forgotten law. It takes that special sort of stupid that is only acquired at an Ivy League college to believe something that dumb.

      1. Only someone from an Ivy League law school could be so stupid not to understand that criminals are going to be the majority of people who benefit from a right to be forgotten law.

        Not only is this the obvious consequence, it is actually the stated intent of the law. Whether one agrees with it or not, this is the political consensus in Germany, just like the fact that the entire legal system is rather secretive.

        Baker is free to argue that he doesn’t like that consensus, but to imply that it somehow “jumped/short the shark” is just ignorant on his part.

        1. Reason and the Volkh people are big proponents of such laws. I guess they don’t like the fact that Germany is at least honest about it and are acting like this is some misuse of the law rather than its stated purpose.

          1. Don’t confuse Stewart Baker with VC. I sometimes suspect Eugene leaves Baker and Cassell in there as Devil’s advocates because they’re such pure Lawn Order Gubbiment Almighty types. Very few people can accommodate such huge sticks up their asses unless it’s a performance art sort of thing.

            1. Baker is like all of these people an enormous self promoter. His big thing is how cyber war is going to be the new warfare of the future and if we don’t spend billions of dollars and put him in charge we will have a “cyber Pearl Harbor” and the evil Ruskies and Chinese will rule the world.

              1. A 21st century Reason-style libertarian for sure.

  28. There’s a fear that you just have more dollars chasing around the same number of goods, and you could have price inflation, and that could hurt people who didn’t get the cash infusion…

    Yes, but how expensive could meth actually get.

  29. Direct cash transfers to poor families help lift up whole communities.

    Which explains why Washington, DC has no poor people.

    1. “Allow”? Bullshit – they’ve been planning transitioning the 5-year old for 6 years. Didn’t matter what sex that kid was born, it was getting some bits lopped off or sewn on either way.

      1. This is the sickest thing I have ever seen. Oh, but it will get worse. I have no doubt that if there hasn’t already been, there will soon be a case, likely in the UK or Canada, where a court takes a child away from a family and places the child in foster care because the family refuses to consent to gender reassignment treatment. We now live in a world or are about to live in a world where people can poison a child’s mind into thinking they are the wrong sex and the state will then use the gun to ensure the child is mutilated over the objection of the child’s parents.

        If 20 years ago someone had wrote a distopian novel about a society that embraces transgenderism, people would have thought it too horrible for the genre. Yet, today it is actually happening.

        1. Our county has been a proponent and actual enforcer of Eugenics for years but this has no redeeming value other than control over the people and to create people who are dependent on the government and those who transition become dependent for life on the medication. Its the scratchiest wool they are pulling over people eyes and its purely evil in intent.

        2. It’s all just a prelude to sanctifying pedophilia. The bad thing is, the slippery slope has no bottom.

          1. That is exactly what it is. I had people on Twitter a few days ago telling me that having first and second grade kids learn about transgenderism and gay sex was totally not sexualizing children but just giving them information they needed to know.

            The world has gone to a very sick place.

        3. The wife and I just started watching The Orville, and the second episode was about this male alien whose mate, another male alien had a female child- which was supposedly very rare in their all male society. The whole episode is about the two of them disagreeing about gender reassignment surgery, ultimately going up to some court proceedings.

          This episode was what, 4 years old? And even then, the Hollywood narrative was “Evil men trying to change female baby.” And yet, here we are today- just a few years later, and Seth McFarlane would have been driven out of town for daring to write this same episode. The whole point of the episode was that the parents shouldn’t be making this choice for the child, until the child was old enough to make that decision for herself. But here we are today where parents are transitioning a 5 year old kid.

          Truly the crazy days are upon us.

      2. But if they “allowed” their five-year-old to go to Jesus camp and undergo an exorcism, they’d lose custody.

    2. These people are all on LSD. Poor kid – he’s only 3 years old and is precisely following his bat shit crazy “parents”. Perfectly healthy kid is going to be put behind the 8 ball his whole life because his parents are crazier than a fucking $3 bill.

      1. In defense of LSD, I think if these people were on LSD they would simply let the kids dress however they wanted and not make such a big deal about it meaning anything more than that.

    1. Not woke enough!

  30. I get Reason is all “all american tariffs are bad but foreign ones are okay”…

    “The Trump administration wants to impose huge tariffs on French goods, including cheeses and wine.”

    But shouldn’t they at least state what the trump proposal is in response to? Ie frances digital tariffs? Wouldn’t that at least impart a slight image of impartiality?

    1. No Jesse, we must all take it up the ass on behalf of the libertopian world order.

      Now shut up, embrace the “free market” and enjoy your cheap chinese plastic doohickies made by child slaves that capture all your personal data

  31. The Water Wars that Defined the American West Are Heading East

    Notice the huge agriculture declines out West?

    Commifornians are too woke to farm.

    1. the state and feds have been denying farms water in California to save a fish from drowning in air. Note prior to us building dams to keep water flowing year round some rivers would literally dry up and/or sea water would move in.

  32. http://www.zerohedge.com/political/attacking-source-establishment-loyalists-favorite-online-tactic

    ” “LMAO! That outlet!” they scoff in response.
    “That outlet is propaganda/fake news/conspiracy theory trash!” “

    1. You’ll encounter this tactic over and over and over again if you continually engage in online political discourse with people who don’t agree with you.

      But never here in the reason.com comments.

  33. “A bill to lesson restrictions on where people on the sex offender registry list can live was just vetoed by Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers.”

    Shouldn’t reason editors have had lessons on grammar and how to lessen mistakes?

    1. Too busy raising money.

  34. “CBP discards all photos of U.S. Citizens within 12 hours of identity verification.”

    Suuuure they do. I have no doubt (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

    1. Oh yeah, that government line is such a lie.

      You know that some facial database is getting larger every day.

    2. I’m shocked at your cynicism – I have no doubt whatsoever that they turn the photos over to the NSA to ensure their proper disposition.

  35. http://www.zerohedge.com/political/welcome-potemkin-village-washington-power

    “What American constitutional government most urgently needs at present is for our Madisonian institutions – the presidency, the Congress, and the courts – to wrest back control of national security policy from an unelected and increasingly rogue national security establishment.”

  36. Homeland Security has “plans to install biometric scanners at 20 of the country’s largest airports by 2021.”

    Courtesy of Michael Chertoff?

  37. On the accuracy of this system, CBP points out that “with high quality photos, the most accurate algorithm can identify matches with only a 0.2 percent error rate” (emphasis mine), which is not exactly a reassuring metric.

    For a false negative (“traveler doesn’t match photo”), the person is just referred to a person for verification. What’s the problem?

    “Travelers, including US citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel, Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. “

    Notice the propaganda and manipulation in that statement, the erroneous use of the term “invasive biometric scan”. In fact, face recognition is a textbook example of a non-invasive biometric scan.

    Time and again, the government told the public and members of Congress that US citizens would not be required to submit to this intrusive surveillance technology as a condition of traveling. This new notice suggests that the government is reneging on what was already an insufficient promise.

    It’s not a condition of travel, it’s a condition for crossing the border. (Note that international travel means your picture will be taken by most other countries you enter these days anyway.)

    Biometric verification is quick and cheap; people even pay for it (with systems like Clear). It seems less intrusive to me than some CBP agent staring deep into my eyes and asking me questions about my trip abroad.

    But to each their own. I think people should be given the ability to opt out, but they will then have to put up with longer lines and verification by a CBP agent, and possibly have to pay an extra fee.

    1. Keep bowing down to lick those boots…

  38. The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts increased 16 percentage points over the past year, from 27% in March 2018 to 43% this past July.

    Presidents would operate more efficiently if they didn’t have to worry about the courts and congress. Is the question asking if republicans support no courts or Congress? Or if that is just a true statement?

    1. Exactly. It is a fact that President’s could operate more efficiently without courts or congress. Understanding that doesn’t mean you think it is a good idea.

      1. And even if you do, maybe it has something to do with nonstop ridiculous cou, er I mean impeachment investigations, and judge shopping for clearly illegal injunctions.

        But nah, let’s just assume people want more authoritarianism.

        1. All of that and gee maybe the Congress doing everything it can to overturn a lawful election and courts spending the last 70 years dictating policies that the public had rejected has caused the public to lose faith in those institutions? Who could have seen that coming?

  39. Those nasty airline companies! We’ll pay a law making it illegal to be late! That’ll show ’em!

    “Why Airlines Make Flights Longer on Purpose”
    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-airlines-make-flights-longer-on-purpose?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Sevo’s law:
    Whenever a third party sticks its nose in a free exchange between two parties, at least one of those parties loses.

    1. I travel a lot. I am rarely delayed and if I am it is usually incident or weather related.

      Many airlines are more efficient than ever before and many want to be better. In my experience, the more foreign governmental control over their national airlines, the less efficient they are.

      1. In my experience, the more foreign governmental control over their national airlines, businesses of any kind the less efficient they are.

    2. I read the article.

      Very stupid. Even managed to get climate change involved.

      1. So Tom Toles editorial with poor drawing skills had Trump putting the Constitution in a furnace of some sort, which, of course is putting up a steam of CO2, leading to “climate crisis”.
        Anyone care to dissect that dog’s breakfast?

        1. If Reason really wanted to see their webathon take off, they’d threaten to start carrying Tom Toles unless we coughed up the big bucks.

          1. The only problem with that idea is that it is a threat so horrible, I am not sure anyone would believe they would carry it out.

  40. But I generally am of the view that people have dominion over their own bodies

    She absolutely, 100% holds the opposite view.

    1. People have dominion over their own bodies. What they do with those bodies is another matter…

  41. Ask consent for all sexual encounters, yes, even sexting. I just came up with this script that you’re all welcome to borrow! pic.twitter.com/CXL5LggOMX

    — Suzannah Weiss (@suzannahweiss) December 2, 2019

    She must be a lot of fun at parties.

    1. Ve haf Weiss of making you sext.

    2. That is the one I was referencing above. And yeah, I bet she is a tons of fun in the sack. Ruining sex wasn’t enough. They now have ruined jerking off as well.

      1. Jerking off is like pizza………

        1. If you’re jerking off over the phone and taking 30 minutes to come, you might be doing it wrong. And I don’t even want to know about what you think a white sauce pizza is.

        2. Always never enough napkins to clean up spills?

    3. We must all follow the script!

  42. “Direct cash transfers to poor families help lift up whole communities”

    It feels weird to even make this argument, because I am against the government picking winners and losers, but it appears that if we are going to give money out, it should first go to the poor and first generation immigrants rather than to corporations. Corporations use that money to gain an upper hand on their smaller competitors that can’t lobby, then write themselves big bonus checks. The bank bailout bothered me to high heavens. If you’re going to bail out rich assholes who take advantage of systems, I don’t understand denying the same system from people trying to lift themselves up in an honest way.

    1/3 of all our billionaires are immigrants or first generation Americans. If we have to give out money, it appears that these people are the most equipped to use it wisely.

    And it’s this sort or thinking that people like Shikha use to suggest we give welfare to illegal immigrants, and it’s much harder to get pissed off about that idea when you consider the vast amount of money we piss away for the benefit of big banks and farms.

    The first welfare we should be cutting is the crony capitalist type. If there must be welfare, we benefit from lifting the poor, not the companies that use government money to squash competition.

    1. If handing out money made everyone better then by golly lets giver everyone money. i don’t know where it will come from but lets do it

      1. Again… I do not promote the vast majority of our welare state. But based on output, the money is better in the hands of the plebs than the elite.

    2. 1/3 of all our billionaires are immigrants or first generation Americans.

      I’m gonna need to see the math on this. Immigrants are ours? More than 2/3 of billionaires are native-born citizens but the less than 1/3 that aren’t are where we should be investing?

      You’ve written 2 + 2 = Mexico. If you want any credit, I’m gonna need you to show your work.

        1. But nothing that’s a huge fuckup.

          1. And it’s still a bit of a non-sequitur, and belies some of the statism that he admits is inherent or a foregone conclusion.

            First, racism is still at the heart of his assertion. It’s not like we have laws on the books that say ‘Dollars must stay in second-generation and higher Americans’ bank accounts longer’. There’s more people and more poverty outside the US than in. If you randomly distributed $1M drops around the globe and did so for 100 yrs. you’d still have the ratios he’s tilting at and giving foreigners $1M and them moving to the US actually makes the ‘problem’ empirically worse.

            Second, the socialism, classism, and zero sum economics is still at the heart of his assertion. According to his precepts, if an American inherits $1M from his parents and turns it into $3M it’s not a good thing, if we seize $50K from said American and give it to an immigrant who turns it in

            1. if we seize $50K from said American and give it to an immigrant who turns it in

              Damn. Turns it into $1M. I hope/think you know where I was going with it. Maggie Thatcher laid it out pretty well. They’d/he’d rather that immigrants and natives be worse off than natives be better and the wrong kind of investment/capitalization, as identified by the people investing/capitalizing, is bad.

    1. I curse those bastards every time I go to the airport.

      1. I curse them, but also every cowardly politician and citizen for not having the brains or guts to avoid the siren song of “security”…. and myself for not having fought harder when the BS started.

  43. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/12/02/melania-trumps-christmas-decorations-are-lovely-that-coat-looks-ridiculous/

    Orange man bad and his wife’s coat is ridiculous. These are the same people who for 8 years breathlessly informed us that Michelle Obama and her flowered dresses and size 18 ass was the biggest fashion icon in politics since Jackie Kennedy. But a underwear model wearing a tasteful outfit is “ridiculous”. These people are deranged.

    1. But a underwear model wearing a tasteful outfit is “ridiculous”.

      I’d vote for her.

  44. Approval of authoritarian rule is apparently trending up among Republicans

    When our guy is in the White House, more executive power is good. When their guy is in the White House, more executive power is bad.

    As sure as the sun rises in the East.

    1. It is up among Republicans as opposed to Democrats where support is in a constant state of unanimous.

  45. Representative Duncan Hunter to plead guilty to federal crimes and resign from Congress:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/theweek.com/speedreads-amp/881867/1st-2nd-members-congress-endorse-trump-plead-guilty-federal-crimes-resign

    Good, get all the corrupt bums out of congress, regardless of party.

    On the flip side, it looks like the I.G. is going to weasel out and mostly let his Deep State friends off the hook for their illegal domestic espionage activities known as “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”.

    More and more every day it seems as if laws now only apply to no -lefties. I’m sure most of the fake libertarian retards here at Reason are gleeful at this new two-tiered system of justice we have developing in this country, but it’s actually extremely dangerous and bodes ill for the future.

    One thing is for sure: anyone who commits the “crime” of supporting Trump had better be 100% squeaky clean, because this evil, disgusting Deep State is clearly going to come at you with everything they can to try to destroy your life!

    1. IG reports don’t indict people. Grand juries do. Also, IG reports are very narrowly tailored things. They examine very specific questions about whether rules were followed and nearly always conclude that there are “systematic problems” or some version of “mistakes were made”.

      In the end, the IG report while entertaining is a side show. Even if it accused them all of treason, it wouldn’t mean anything since it is just a report and fact finding and has no legal effect.

      What matters is the Durham investigation. The IG report is only relevant because it was the means by which the Durham investigation was turned into a criminal investigation.

      I am not saying the Durham investigation will result in anything either. I don’t know. But, whatever the results, those are the results that matter.

      My guess is the same as it has always been. That the IG report is going to find a ton of damaging facts and make the people involved look like crooks and incompetents but never actually make any conclusions that anything was criminal unless it is something really obvious like the one dumb ass changing the source documents on the FISA warrant application. Those involved are going to claim they were well meaning and just made some mistakes because that is what everyone fingered by an IG report claims. That will be spun by the media a full exoneration. Those who read the report or pay attention will be appalled and say otherwise.

      Meanwhile, the Durham investigation will churn on and we can wait and see the results from that if there are any.

      Watch for a lot of goal post moving after the release. The same people who were last week saying that Storzak and Paige and the rest of merry band of criminals were upstanding patriots doing God’s work will after the report be saying “sure they were really incompetent and did a bunch of stupid things, but there was no criminal intent and they were not out to get Trump” or something to that effect.

      And expect both the report and the media to suddenly be totally unwilling to make any inferences from the evidence no matter how warranted. I fully expect Sullumn who just yesterday was telling us that the complete lack of direct evidence that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine to get them to investigate Biden and the President of Ukraine denying that was what happened doesn’t mean we shouldn’t infer that is what did happen, will now be writing that an overwhelming about of evidence should be ignored because “there is no smoking gun”. Expect “the IG report shows no smoking gun” to be a big journolist talking point.

      Reason and the media’s spin of the IG report will be as it always is appalling, unprincipled, at odds with any rational view of the evidence, and completely dishonest.

      1. You’re right that legally the report doesn’t mean anything, but a fully honest report clearly stating that both the letter and spirit of the law broken and people deserve to be prosecuted for it would have been a huge game-changer in terms of the public debate.

        Now Welchie Boy, Shackturd, and all the other left-wing assholes in the media will seize on this to claim that Obama, Brennan, Clapper, and the entire cabal were justified in doing what they did.

        1. IG reports never get into intent and more subtle questions of the law. They just say what happened and generally only state the obvious.

          And yes, that is what they are going to do. But, the IG report could say everything you want it to and they would say the same thing. They are not above lying to your face and telling you that black is white and up is down.

          And the public is not going to get that charged up by an IG report anyway. Those are too inside baseball. What is going to get the public’s attention is people being indicted. If no one is ever indicted, the public isn’t going to care. If people are indicted, no amount of Welch and the rest saying “Trump is prosecuting his political enemies and noble public service for process crimes” will get them not to believe their lying eyes.

  46. The real world evidence of Trump’s excellent leadership continue to pile up–in all sorts of areas:

    “Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly called on NATO members to increase their military spending, also said he was pleased that countries have increased their contributions and said he was looking forward to a “tremendous” few days.

    Administration officials said Friday that nine members now meet or exceed the goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense and they expect it to rise to 18 countries by 2024.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-trade-war-could-drag-on-stokes-france-spat-11575374711?

    It should be noted that this issue meets at the center of a number of issues. Remember, when Trump was running for office, only four NATO members were meeting NATO spending requirements, Estonia, Greece, Poland, and the UK. Estonia and Poland were spending the required amount of GDP because they’re still legitimately scared that Russia will try to reabsorb them someday, so the NATO treaty really isn’t an empty promise or a vestige of the Cold War to them. Greece was only meeting the requirements because their GDP fell so badly after their financial crisis, that they could have hit 2% of GDP without breaking a sweat. And the UK was only meeting their spending requirements because, well, let’s face it, they’re a reliable and trustworthy ally–and they’ve been so since what we did in World War II. France and Germany, who are supposed to be the backbone of the EU, on the other hand, weren’t meeting their commitments.

    The freeloading by France and Germany in NATO drives President Trump crazy for a number of reasons–as well it should. For one thing, we might ask that when France and Germany aren’t meeting their NATO spending requirements, why are we the only ones shelling out for the Ukraine? If the Ukraine is being assisted under the guise of NATO, then why aren’t France and Germany helping us pick up the tab for Ukraine? In fact, someone should probably have delayed that American financial assistance to Ukraine until we figured out who was getting paid with the American taxpayers’ money and why more of that aid wasn’t coming from France and Germany!

    Meanwhile, Merkel, in Germany. has the German taxpayer money to bail out Greece. Meanwhile, Merkel has the temerity to open up a natural gas pipeline with Russia–even as she criticizes American foreign policy for things like withdrawing from Syria. Meanwhile, Macron , in France, is initiating a special tax on American tech companies that do business in France. I guess they’re willing to raising the spending on their NATO commitments–so long as American companies are paying for it?

    France and Germany have been taking advantage of American good will and largess for far too long. And watch Trump’s critics over this–his libertarian critics even closer. It’s bad enough when other journalists sell the interests of American security short, but in this case, we’re talking about foreign companies profiting from runaway military spending courtesy of the American taxpayer. Our government is obligated to abide by the terms of the treaties our Senate ratifies, and our commitment to Estonia, Poland, and the UK should be as solid as our commitment to the First Amendment–so long they continue to abide by the terms of the treaty.

    France and Germany should continue to benefit from the presence of American troops on their soil–so long as they abide by the terms of the treaty. They haven’t done so for a very long time, and it’s great to see Trump make them face some negative consequences for playing the U.S. taxpayer like a bunch of dopes.

    1. That’s one way of looking at it, but there’s an alternative – NATO benefited the US as much or more than it benefited Western Europe. Do we really want Europe spending a lot on their militaries? You don’t have to know much about history to know bad things tended to happen with a heavily militarized Europe and the US establishing tripwires to assure Europe they didn’t need lots of military – especially including nuclear weapons – was probably in everybody’s best interests. But Trump’s a money man – if Germany doesn’t want to pony up for US troops and US protection, well, fuck ’em, they can go build their own damn military. And we know how well things worked out the last couple of times Germany built up their military – this time they’ll do it with nukes.

      1. You make a fair point. But like all points it has its limits. Do we want Europe going back to what it was in 1912 only with nukes? No, that is in no one’s interest. But, that doesn’t mean that Europe should have no defense and it should be entirely the US’s responsibility to defend it. Western European nations all had solid, modern, and functioning militaries that would have been valuable parts of defending against a Soviet invasion clear through the cold war. After the cold war, they just stopped spending any money on defense and right now the UK and France are the only two countries west of Poland who have a military that is even fit to fight next to ours. That is a problem and one that Trump is right to address.

      2. The suggestion that the governments of France or Germany represent a military threat to each other or the rest of Europe is ludicrous–and it would remain so regardless of whether the U.S. stationed its troops in other countries, like Poland.

        1. It is ludicrous today. If they ever developed really big armies, it might not be. Regardless, acknowledging that possibility doesn’t mean that the right answer is to let them have no defense at all and the US to assume all of the responsibility.

        2. Does anyone in Europe even make that argument?

          Is there anyone in France or Germany who thinks that the reason the U.S. has troops in their countries is to keep them from going to war with each other?

          I don’t think so.

          1. The suggestion that the governments of France or Germany represent a military threat to each other or the rest of Europe is ludicrous.

            Not at the moment, no. Because they’ve been relying on the US military. Would a more heavily militarized France or Germany be a threat? Let’s ask Julius Caesar how long the Gauls and the Goths have been tearing shit up in Europe.

            Is there anyone in France or Germany who thinks that the reason the U.S. has troops in their countries is to keep them from going to war with each other?

            I’ve made the comment before, the European “nuclear umbrella” wasn’t a bluff against the Soviets – “If you attack Western Europe we’ll nuke you” – it was a bluff against Western Europe – “You don’t need nukes because we’ll protect you if the Soviets attack” – and Charles de Gaulle didn’t believe that shit for a minute. France has their Force de frappe not because they’re snotty French insisting on going their own way, they have their Force de frappe because they knew the US wasn’t going to trade Washington DC for Paris if the Soviet tanks rolled.

            Notice the rest of Europe was too stupid to get their own nukes. They’re also too stupid to realize that NATO wasn’t just for resisting the Soviets, it was to keep Europe from re-arming and kicking off WWIII. Those people have been fighting amongst themselves since approximately the invention of the opposable thumb.

            1. Would a more heavily militarized France or Germany be a threat? Let’s ask Julius Caesar how long the Gauls and the Goths have been tearing shit up in Europe.

              Wow, this is a stupid line of thinking.

    2. UK is reliable, but certainly isn’t trustworthy.
      Their intel services are as dirty as they get

      1. What I meant is that when there’s a fight, they always seem to be on our side.

        When there’s a bar fight, it doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong. Your buddies are on your side.

        The Brits supported us even when they probably shouldn’t have done so. That’s what I meant by “trustworthy” there.

  47. The Department of Homeland Security wants mandatory facial scans for all Americans traveling in or out of the country.

    *All* Americans or just the documented ones?

  48. In regards to Trump’s flare up today about how his phase I deal may not come together until after he’s reelected–in fact, Trump says he may prefer to wait until after he’s reelected to make a deal . . .

    I see that as negotiating bravado.

    As we get closer to December 15, and the threat of new tariffs, China is insisting that the U.S. drop tariffs further and, no doubt, threatening to hold back on some of its commitments.

    That’s the way commercial real estate deals work. The closer you get to going hard on your money (a deadline where your money becomes non-refundable), the more leverage people use to see if they can break more concessions loose.

    In the big scheme of things, this is the shape of the game:

    It will take a couple of quarters for the economy to benefit from the elimination of tariffs, if they’re eliminated or scheduled to be eliminated. Stronger economies benefit incumbent presidents in election years. Two quarters gets Trump some economic boost starting a few months before November 2020. If Trump can walk away with anything he can call a win in the China trade war, it’s going to play even better for him in swing states than having an ongoing trade war. They said I couldn’t do it, I did it, and look at all these soybean purchases!

    Conversely, if he goes into the general election with a trade war in place, he has an issue that will play well in the rust belt (regardless of whether they’re hurt the worst by the trade war), but he risks the economy slowing down. It just comes down to economic momentum and where we are in the economic cycle come November of 2020. He may win despite the economy not growing as fast as it would be without the tariffs, but the stronger it is, the more likely his is to be reelected.

    He knows that. Beijing knows that.

    The only people who don’t are easily excited journalists who have no idea what’s going on or why–except that if Trump has said something, they’re against it.

  49. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is required by statute to develop and implement a biometric entry-exit data system.” Resistance is futile.

    1. If only Comrade Stalin knew.

  50. Lesley Stahl: She told us that earlier this year, YouTube started re-programming its algorithms in the U.S. to recommend questionable videos much less and point users who search for that kind of material to authoritative sources, like news clips. With these changes Wojcicki says they have cut down the amount of time Americans watch controversial content by 70%.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/12/02/youtube_ceo_wojcicki_weve_cut_amount_of_time_americans_watch_controversial_content_by_70.html

    Letting these assholes control 90% of the media people consume in this country is just no big deal.

    1. control 90% of the media people consume

      It should also be noted that, because YouTube isn’t a media company (they’re a platform!!), they don’t actually give two shits about the content as much as they care about the behavioral response it generates. Wojcicki doesn’t care what the actual content is as long as it doesn’t do something to generate controversy in the audience. At one point, The Media auspiciously presented the facts (if only as ideal), Wojcicki is pretty overtly saying that controversial facts/facts that generate controversy are intentionally being omitted.

  51. Trump effect still operational Mayor Lori Lightfoot fires Chicago’s police superintendent weeks before his retirement Capn Eddie was the one who refused to attend a police captain event he himself organized because Trump was there. Capn Eddie was found drunk at the wheel shortly after. Chicago values in a nutshell.

  52. Kamala Harris just dropped out of the race because no one likes her or wants her.

    1. For some reason, this broad was the one that Obama was really supporting the most behind the scenes. I’m not completely sure why. It could be as simple as the fact that she’s multiracial like he is. He’s that kind of jerk.

      My guess is that Deval Patrick is his new favorite now, but it’s hard to imagine he can possibly catch fire.

    2. It’s because Democrat voters are racist. Seriously. Especiall6 the black ones supporting old whitey

  53. all your face are belong to us

    1. So a guy reports his car was stolen by armed suspects, then is peeved when the police spot his supposedly stolen car, will not pull over, tries to evade, and instead of identifying himself as the owner, bites the officers.

      And we are supposed to take this as some example of police abuse? Methinks we aren’t getting the full story here

  54. Every time I land at JFK I have to submit to a photo at the passport kiosk.

    Land of the free my @ss.

    This is what you get for running all over the world pell-mell bombing the crap out of anyone you don’t like and overthrowing their governments.

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