Saturday, March 17, 2018

Satisfy The Self

We exist to satisfy the needs of others to see like them, 
submission to the will of civilization,
not the freedom of independence.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Just Read FBI Deputy Director McCabe's Statement Regarding His Firing By Trump... Just Read It.

Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI.
Holy shit.
I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.
For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The president's tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about it.
No more.
The investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI's involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau and to make it clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.
The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the same type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.
But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.
Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey's accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG's focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday's comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.
This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration's ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel's work.
I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I have always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was prevailed to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.
I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.
Posted without further comment.

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The Pentagon Wants You to Go Shopping While the Experts Go to War

Americans are in the dark about the near-global warfare being waged in their name.

By William J. Astore

March 15, 2018

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Overseas, the United States is engaged in real wars in which bombs are dropped, missiles are launched, and people (generally not Americans) are killed, wounded, uprooted, and displaced. Yet, here at home, there's nothing real about those wars. Here, it's phony war all the way. In the last 17 years of "forever war," this nation hasn't for one second been mobilized. Taxes are being cut instead of raised. Wartime rationing is a faint memory from the World War II era. No one is being required to sacrifice a thing.
Now, ask yourself a simple question: What sort of war requires no sacrifice? What sort of war requires that almost no one in the country waging it takes the slightest notice of it?
America's conflicts in distant lands rumble on, even as individual attacks flash like lightning in our news feeds. "Shock and awe" campaigns in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, initially celebrated as decisive and game changing, ultimately led nowhere. Various "surges" produced much sound and fury, but missions were left decidedly unaccomplished. More recent strikes by the Trump administration against a Syrian air base or the first use of the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal, the MOAB super-bomb, in Afghanistan flared brightly, only to fizzle even more quickly. These versions of the German blitzkrieg-style attacks of World War II have been lightning assaults that promised much but in the end delivered little. As these flashes of violence send America's enemies of the moment (and nearby civilians) to early graves, the homeland (that's us) slumbers. Sounds of war, if heard at all, come from TV or video screens or Hollywood films in local multiplexes.

We are, in fact, kept isolated from Washington's wars, even as America's warriors traverse a remarkable expanse of the globe, from the Philippines through the Greater Middle East deep into Africa. As conflicts flare and sputter, ramp up and down and up again, Americans have been placed in a form of behavioral lockdown. Little more is expected of us than to be taxpaying spectators or, when it comes to the US military, starry-eyed cheerleaders. Most of the time, those conflicts are not just out of sight, but meant to be out of mind as well. Rare exceptions are moments when our government asks us to mourn US service members like Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, killed in an abortive raid President Trump ordered in Yemen in early 2017 in which children also died (though that was something just about no one here even noticed). While the military has been deploying and striking on a global scale, we've been told from the very first moments of Washington's self-proclaimed war on terror to go shopping or to Disney World and let the experts handle it.
We have, in short, been sidelined in what, to draw on the lexicon of World War II, might be thought of as a sitzkrieg, the German term for phony war.
A bizarre version of blitzkrieg overseas and an even stranger version of sitzkrieg at home could be said to define this peculiar American moment. These two versions exist in a curiously yin-yang relationship to each other. For how can a nation's military be engaged in warfare at a near-global level—blitzing people across vast swaths of the globe—when its citizens are sitting on their collective duffs, demobilized and mentally disarmed? Such a schizoid state of mind can exist only when it's in the interest of those in power. Appeals to "patriotism" (especially to revering "our" troops) and an overwhelming atmosphere of secrecy to preserve American "safety" and "security" have been remarkably effective in controlling and stifling interest in the country's wars and their costs, long before such an interest might morph into dissent or opposition. If you want an image of just how effective this has been, recall the moment in July 2016 when small numbers of earnest war protesters quite literally had the lights turned off on them at the Democratic National Convention.
To use an expression I heard more than a few times in my years in the military, when it comes to its wars, the government treats the people like mushrooms, keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit.

Prussian war theorist Carl von Clausewitz famously spoke of the "fog of war," the confusion created by and inherent uncertainty built into that complex human endeavor. As thick as that fog often is, in these years the fog of phony war has proven even thicker and more disorienting.
By its very nature, a real war of necessity, of survival, like the Civil War or World War II brings with it clarity of purpose and a demand for results. Poorly performing leaders are relieved of command when not killed outright in combat. Consider the number of mediocre Union generals Abraham Lincoln cycled through before he found Ulysses S. Grant. Consider the number of senior officers relieved during World War II by Gen. George C. Marshall, who knew that, in a global struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, subpar performances couldn't be tolerated. In wars of necessity or survival, moreover, the people are invariably involved. In part, they may have little choice, but they also know (or at least believe they know) "why we fight"—and generally approve of it.
Admittedly, even in wars of necessity there are always those who will find ways to duck service. In the Civil War, for example, the rich could pay others to fight in their place. But typically in such wars, everyone serves in some capacity. Necessity demands it.
The definition of 21st-century phony war, on the other hand, is its lack of clarity, its lack of purpose, its lack of any true imperative for national survival (despite a never-ending hysteria over the "terrorist threat"). The fog it produces is especially disorienting. Americans today have little idea "why we fight" other than a vague sense of fighting them over there (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Niger, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, etc.) so they won't kill us here, to cite George W. Bush's rationale for launching the war on terror. Meanwhile, with such a lack of national involvement and accountability, there's no pressure for the Pentagon or the rest of the national security state to up its game; there's no one even to point out that wherever the US military has gone into battle in these years, yet more terror groups have subsequently sprouted like so many malignant weeds. Bureaucracy and mediocrity go unchallenged; massive boosts in military spending reward incompetency and the creation of a series of quagmire-like "generational" wars.

Even phony wars need enemies. In fact, they may need them more (and more of them) than real wars do. No surprise then that the Trump administration's recently announced National Defense Strategy (NDS) offers a laundry list of such enemies. China and Russia top it as "revisionist powers" looking to reverse America's putative victory over Communism in the Cold War. "Rogue" powers like North Korea and Iran are singled out as especially dangerous because of their nuclear ambitions. (The United States, of course, doesn't have a "rogue" bone in its body, even if it is now devoting at least $1.2 trillion to building a new generation of more usable nuclear weapons.) Nor does the NDS neglect Washington's need to hammer away at global terrorists until the end of time or to extend "full-spectrum dominance" not just to the traditional realms of combat (land, sea, and air) but also to space and cyberspace.
Amid such a plethora of enemies, only one thing is missing in America's new defense strategy, the very thing that's been missing all these years, that makes 21st-century American war so phony: any sense of national mobilization and shared sacrifice (or its opposite, anti-war resistance). If the United States truly faces all these existential threats to our democracy and our way of life, what are we doing frittering away more than $45 billion annually in a quagmire war in Afghanistan? What are we doing spending staggering sums on exotic weaponry like the F-35 jet fighter (total projected program cost: $1.45 trillion) when we have far more pressing national needs to deal with?
Like so much else in Washington in these years, the NDS doesn't represent a strategy for real war, only a call for more of the same raised to a higher power. That mainly means more money for the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and related "defense" agencies, facilitating more blitz attacks on various enemies overseas. The formula—serial blitzkrieg abroad, serial sitzkrieg in the homeland—adds up to victory, but only for the military-industrial complex.

Of course, one solution to phony war would be to engage in real war, but for that the famed American way of life would actually have to be endangered. (By Afghans? Syrians? Iraqis? Yemenis? Really?) Congress would then have to declare war; the public would have to be mobilized, a draft undoubtedly reinstated, and taxes raised. And those would be just for starters. A clear strategy would have to be defined and losing generals demoted or dismissed.
Who could imagine such an approach when it comes to America's forever wars? Another solution to phony war would be for the American people to actually start paying attention. The Pentagon would then have to be starved of funds. (With less money, admirals and generals might actually have to think.) All those attacks overseas that blitzed innocents and spread chaos would have to end. Here at home, the cheerleaders would have to put down the pom-poms, stop mindlessly praising the troops for their service, and pick up a few protest signs.
In point of fact, America's all-too-real wars overseas aren't likely to end until the phony war here at home is dispatched to oblivion.
A final thought: Americans tell pollsters that, after all these years of failed wars abroad, they continue to trust the military more than any other societal institution. Consistent with phony war, however, much of that trust is based on ignorance, on not really knowing what that military is doing overseas. So, is there a chance that, one of these days, Americans might actually begin to pay some attention to "their" wars? And if so, would those polls begin to change and how might that military, which has experienced its share of blood, sweat, and tears, respond to such a loss of societal prestige? Beware the anger of the legions.

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Fotamecus: The Chaos Magick Film You May Never Get to See

In 2001, Matt Lee, director and epic beard-owner, announced the Fotamecus Film Majik Project, a plan to make a "film about time and modern magick, a story about shifting perceptions of time." The film would follow six chaos magicians as they cast a spell through the use of a sigil to "construct a tool with which our subjective perception of time can be altered."

Sigil of Fotamecus
The film's title, Fotamecus, comes from the name of a servitor created in 1996 by a magician calling himself Fenwick Rysen. In chaos magic, a servitor is an artificially created being with limited autonomy that executes a pre-programmed task. In the case of Fotamecus, the the task was to literally condense or expand time, dependent on the needs of the operator. Say, for instance, I was running late to an appointment. In theory, I could call upon the entity to contract the amount of time it would take to get there, and the trip would shorten. The problem, according to Fenwick, is that to contract time in one place meant that time had to be expanded in another. To this end, the servitor was then programmed to self-replicate clones of itself as needed, creating a matrix of servitor nodes. That way, if I needed to make my trip shorter, then a node would be created which another person could access if they wished to make another time period last longer (insert minute man joke here). This would keep me from having to "pay" for my time. With me so far?
Jump ahead five years to Matt Lee and friends, plotting out a film that would manifest the entity onto a projector screen, reaching a larger audience and teaching them how to contact it, effectively taking control of their own perception of time. Matt began soliciting crowd-sourced funding in return for what he called The God Maker Program, a CD/DVD/VHS package including background information on the film, images, audio files, and writings pertaining to DIY servitor creation.
Interest surged. Julian Vayne mentioned the film in his book, Now That's What I Call Chaos Magick. Discussions and comments popped up all over the internet expressing excitement for the project. Filming began. A release date was projected for 2003, but was pushed back later to 2006. Then, to the frowns of the internet occult community, it was canceled altogether.
Due to the economic downturn, the film's production company, Indifference Productions, had closed its doors, leaving Matt with hours of 16 mm film that would never be seen. The only publicly available footage resulting from from the work would be a trailer and a forty-one minute documentary entitled Chronomancy.
The first portion of Chronomancy features the magicians making a batch of cookies with the Fotamecus sigil imprinted on them while discussing their own experiences with the servitor as well as some explanations of the sigilization process. The second portion documents a ritual in the woods being performed to invoke Fotamecus into the film while a narrator explains what is happening. Throughout the footage, we hear the entity's name being repeated as a mantra. As we watch, we are forced into the role of participant, with the mantra being burned into our memory on a level matched only by "Call Me Maybe." By witnessing the ritual, we are perhaps invoking Fotamecus ourselves.
Although Matt Lee and numerous internet commentators seem a bit disappointed with the outcome of the Fotamecus Film Majik Project, I have to say that the original intent may have found fruition even without an actual release. This writer, at least, has now been exposed to the entity, and plans on future experimentation with his own subjective perception of time.
*sniff* Dammit. I think I left my sigilized cookies in the oven too long.
Frater Isla

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White Evangelical Women, Core Supporters of Trump, Begin Tiptoeing Away

Carol Rains, left, an evangelical Christian in Texas, doesn't regret her vote for President Trump but would like to see another Republican run against him in 2020. Her friend Linda Leonhart agrees: "I will definitely take a look to see who has the courage to take on a job like this and do what needs to be done." Credit Allison V. Smith for The New York Times
GRAPEVINE, Tex. — Carol Rains, a white evangelical Christian, has no regrets over her vote for President Trump. She likes most of his policies and would still support him over any Democrat. But she is open to another Republican.
"I would like for someone to challenge him," Ms. Rains said, as she sipped wine recently with two other evangelical Christian women at a suburban restaurant north of Dallas. "But it needs to be somebody that's strong enough to go against the Democrats." Her preferred alternative: Nikki R. Haley, the United Nations ambassador and former South Carolina governor.
One of her friends, Linda Leonhart, agreed. "I will definitely take a look to see who has the courage to take on a job like this and do what needs to be done," she said.
While the men in the pulpits of evangelical churches remain among Mr. Trump's most stalwart supporters, some of the women in the pews may be having second thoughts. As the White House fights to silence a pornographic actress claiming an affair with Mr. Trump, and a jailed Belarusian escort claims evidence against the American president, Mr. Trump's hold on white evangelical women may be slipping.
According to data from the Pew Research Center, support among white evangelical women in recent surveys has dropped about 13 percentage points, to 60 percent, compared with about a year ago. That is even greater than the eight-point drop among all women.

"That change is statistically significant," said Gregory A. Smith, Pew's associate director of research, who also noted a nine-point drop among evangelical men. "Both groups have become less approving over time."
If that drop in support translates into a lack of enthusiasm among core Trump supporters in the midterm elections in November, as it did for many of President Barack Obama's voters in 2010, the Republican Party could be more vulnerable in its efforts to maintain control of Congress. In 2020, it would also possibly open a lane for a primary challenger to the president.
The women in suburban Dallas all conceded they have cringed sometimes at Mr. Trump, citing his pettiness, impulsiveness, profanity and name calling. Still, they defended him because he delivered on issues they cared most about, such as the appointment of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
"Certainly we are all embarrassed, but for the most part he represents what we stand for," said Ms. Leonhart, who is active in the women's ministry at her church.
A clear majority of white evangelical women, even in the face of the #MeToo movement and renewed claims of marital infidelity against the president, continue, along with white evangelical men, to form Mr. Trump's most cohesive block of support.
Mr. Trump's ability to connect so strongly with evangelical voters was among the most notable surprises of the 2016 campaign. Since his election, he has courted evangelical leaders aggressively and, more important, has delivered on promises to appoint conservatives like Justice Gorsuch to federal courts. Men who see themselves as leaders of religious conservatives, such as Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr. and Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, have remained doggedly supportive.
And the majority of evangelical women remain in his corner.
But it has not been easy.
"I don't know any evangelical woman who is going to defend the character of the president," said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, host of "The Reconnect," an evangelical-centered radio show.
"Many things the president says and does are things that many evangelicals use as examples with our kids of what we should not do," added Ms. LaBerge, who did not support Mr. Trump in 2016. "This is not who we are as evangelicals. This is not how we treat people."
Some evangelical women simply keep their views private. Gathered at a well-appointed home in Falls Church, Va., last week, eight Christian women agreed to talk about their feelings about the president, on one condition: that they not be identified.
They feared reprisal in the workplace, at their children's schools, even at their church. They meet in secret and have a private Facebook group, which its organizer said has about 160 members, to talk about their support for Mr. Trump.

They said that Christian voters who backed Trump had been derided as unthinking, unsophisticated hypocrites, but for many of them that only affirmed their resolve. One of the women said that her parents had come to the United States illegally from El Salvador and that she was born a short time later. Her father is now a citizen. She supports Mr. Trump and his hard-line plans on immigration.
"I would say that this year has only made me more of a certain supporter," said another of the women, Joanna, who agreed to be identified only by her first name. "I've been really excited to see him come through with his promises, one by one, against incredible odds."
Still, there is a tension among evangelical women. They said they largely cast their votes against Hillary Clinton more than for Mr. Trump.
"At least in my experience, it was more of an anti-Hillary vote than a pro-Trump vote," Ms. LaBerge said.
Karen Swallow Prior, a professor at Liberty University who opposed Mr. Trump and voted for a third-party candidate, said, "Now that Trump is in office and we are evaluating his performance then, I am glad to see that people are less in lock step and thinking critically about him as a leader, and it doesn't surprise me that his overall support would decline from 80 percent."
"I was one of those culture war evangelicals in the '80s and '90s," Ms. Swallow Prior said. "I was appalled by the candidacy and presidency of Bill Clinton. It was hammered into my mind that character mattered, and that did change when Trump came along. In some ways, I felt betrayed by my evangelical peers who taught me and cemented in me the idea that character matters. I didn't abandon that belief. I feel like some evangelicals did."
Her outspoken criticism is all the more notable given that the president of Liberty University, Mr. Falwell, remains one of the president's most vocal defenders.
Evangelical voters, often portrayed as a monolith, are becoming increasingly difficult to define. The support for Mr. Trump reflects a growing pragmatism among evangelical voters who are willing to accept a less than ideal model of Christian faith in exchange for policies that they endorse.
"I think they've become experienced and very practical," said Frances FitzGerald, the author of the recent book "The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America." "By large majorities they used to believe that to be elected, you had to be of good character. No longer. It's 'We want a president to do what we want him to do, and he's going to do it if we turn out and vote.'"
Mr. Trump also appeals to white evangelicals in other ways with his strong language, disruptive view of presidential norms and his policies on taxes. "Religious right rhetoric has always been very martial — isolationist and martial at the same time," Ms. FitzGerald said.
In surveys conducted by LifeWay Research in Nashville, evangelical voters in 2016 cited the economy (30 percent) and national security (26 percent) as their top two issues. Abortion was cited by just 4 percent, said Scott McConnell, the company's executive director.
Evangelical voters began to emerge as a political force with their support for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and became a more coherent movement with the 1988 presidential campaign of the religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and the rise of Christian Coalition. But there are now few obvious leaders of religious conservatism, and voters have become more conventional in their assessment of candidates.
And even among religious conservatives, the Pew poll suggests tolerance for Mr. Trump has its limits.
"It may simply be that there's not a single breaking point as much as a tipping point, the 'Oh Lord, I can't stand another one of these,'" said William Martin, a scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and author of "With God on Our Side," which charted the political rise of the religious right.

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Qualcomm’s Ex-Chairman to Leave Amid Plans to Buy Company

Paul Jacobs, whose father co-founded Qualcomm, a chip-making giant, has told fellow board members that he wants to take the company private. Credit Misha Friedman/Bloomberg
SAN FRANCISCO — Qualcomm was co-founded in 1985 by Irwin Jacobs, who took the company public and made it a mobile chips behemoth. He later passed the baton to his son Paul.
Now Paul Jacobs is trying to make sure that Qualcomm stays a family business — but he will have to do it from outside the company.
On Friday, Qualcomm said Mr. Jacobs, a company director, would not be renominated for election at its annual shareholder meeting next Friday. The company's board said it had reached that decision because Mr. Jacobs wanted to explore making his own bid for Qualcomm. He confirmed late Friday that he wanted to take the company private.
The split, which means no member of the Jacobs family will be involved at the top echelons of Qualcomm for the first time in 33 years, was not friendly. In a statement, Mr. Jacobs said of the directors that it was "unfortunate and disappointing they are attempting to remove me from the board at this time."
The boardroom high jinks followed months of turmoil at Qualcomm, which recently sidestepped a hostile $117 billion acquisition bid from rival semiconductor maker Broadcom and has been dealing with a litany of regulatory and legal troubles around the world. The developments have raised questions about Qualcomm's prospects and brought fresh scrutiny from Wall Street.

Mr. Jacobs was chairman of Qualcomm from 2009 until March 9, when he was replaced. The change was widely seen as a move to placate shareholders who had been voicing their displeasure by voting for a slate of six candidates proposed by Broadcom for the 11-seat board as part of its bid to acquire the company.
On Tuesday, Mr. Jacobs sent the board a letter saying that he wanted to explore taking the chip maker private and that he intended to talk to potential funding sources, according to people briefed on the situation, who declined to be named because the discussions were confidential. That led to the board's decision on Friday during its regularly scheduled meeting.
"Qualcomm is focused on executing its business plan and maximizing value for shareholders as an independent company," the company said in a statement. "There can be no assurance that Dr. Jacobs can or will make a proposal, but, if he does, the board will of course evaluate it consistent with its fiduciary duties to shareholders."

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Mr. Jacobs, in turn, said there were "clear merits to exploring a path to take the company private in order to maximize the company's long-term performance, deliver superior value to all stockholders and bolster a critical contributor to American technology."
His potential bid was earlier reported by The Financial Times.
In aiming to take Qualcomm private, Mr. Jacobs would be following a playbook used by Michael Dell. Mr. Dell, who founded Dell Computer in his university dorm room and built it into a personal computing colossus, took his company private in a $24.9 billion deal in 2013 after it had been battered by competition from Apple and the rise of mobile devices. Mr. Dell has since been working to turn Dell around, away from the prying eyes of Wall Street.
Yet any takeover attempt of Qualcomm by Mr. Jacobs faces extraordinarily tough obstacles. As an owner of fewer than 1 percent of Qualcomm shares, Mr. Jacobs would have to find investors to buy equity in a transaction, as well as bankers willing to fund debt. Since Qualcomm's directors had rejected Broadcom's $117 billion offer as inadequate, the total price tag would likely have to be higher.
If Mr. Jacobs reached out to foreign investors to raise funding, that would also most likely be problematic. President Trump blocked Singapore-based Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm this week partly because the White House does not want to cede American primacy in fifth-generation wireless technology, known as 5G, which Qualcomm has been developing.
Mr. Jacobs is friends with Masayoshi Son, head of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which would seem a likely candidate to help any buyout. But SoftBank has a heavy debt load already, and any move related to foreign investors could raise the same concerns that thwarted Broadcom.
Not renominating Mr. Jacobs to Qualcomm's board opens a new chapter for the company, which the Jacobs family had made an institution in its hometown, San Diego.
Mr. Jacobs served as Qualcomm's chief executive from 2005 to 2014, a time when revenue and profits surged as its technology became a foundation for third-generation cellular networks. As a result, Qualcomm began charging patent royalties for nearly all mobile phones that used 3G technology.
The company was also able to garner a strong position in the next generation of cellphone networks — known as 4G — because it scooped rivals in delivering chips that could work with 4G networks.
But rivals such as Taiwan's Mediatek have cut into that lead recently. Qualcomm has also lately been hurt as Apple, a longtime customer, sued it over the royalty payments and stopped paying the company.
Apart from expanding Qualcomm, Mr. Jacobs is associated with some of the company's most famous failures, including a plan for broadcast cellular technology called MediaFlo and a technology for mobile-device displays called Mirasol. Qualcomm announced in 2013 that Mr. Jacobs would give up the chief executive position to Steve Mollenkopf after Mr. Mollenkopf was mentioned as a possible candidate to be chief executive of Microsoft.

Follow Don Clark on Twitter: @donal888.
Andrew Ross Sorkin contributed reporting from New York.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tin Foil Hat With Sam Tripoli #74: Occult Roots of the Modern World with Jason Louv

'You're looking handsome, Larry': How the reality TV president found the perfect idiot to be his chief economic adviser

'You're looking handsome, Larry': How the reality TV president found the perfect idiot to be his chief economic adviser
March 15, 2018

"I'm looking at Larry Kudlow very strongly," President Trump said the other day, and as a result of all that strong, powerful, muscular looking, Trump finally selected Kudlow to be the new chief of his National Economic Council. It was a decision perfectly in line with Trump's general philosophy of personnel, which is that he turns on Fox News, decides who sounds good, and then hires that person. In fact, when Trump called to offer the job, he told Kudlow he was looking at his picture on television. "You're looking handsome, Larry," he said.
We've gotten so used to cable television being the primary means through which Trump gets information, decides what's important, and determines who should advise him that it's become almost cliche, a source of easy jokes. But it's yet more evidence that the most powerful person in the world views everything through the lens of a forum where our worst impulses are cultivated and the shallowest people are given the most exposure and influence.
And in Larry Kudlow, Trump has really outdone himself. The man he's replacing, Gary Cohn, wasn't a trained economist, but at least Cohn didn't have such a comprehensive record of public idiocy. Do you think I exaggerate? Let's take a little tour around Kudlow's economic musings.
A fervent supply-sider, Kudlow never wavers from the conviction that not only is there no ill that cannot be fixed by a healthy tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, as long as you stick to that plan then nothing can go wrong. "There is no recession coming," he declared in December 2007. "The Bush boom is alive and well." We remember what happened right after, but by the next July, with the world plunging into what would come to be known as the Great Recession, Kudlow was convinced that people didn't understand just how great the economy was doing. "We are in a mental recession, not an actual recession," he insisted.
Everyone can be wrong now and then, but few people are wrong as often as Kudlow. "There is no question," he wrote in 1993, "that President Clinton's across-the-board tax increases ... will throw a wet blanket over the recovery and depress the economy's long-run potential to grow." When a genuine boom ensued, Kudlow knew exactly what had occurred. "I've always believed the 1990s were Ronald Reagan's third term," he wrote later.
But Kudlow is also a humanitarian. After an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, killing approximately 20,000 people, Kudlow took note of the fact that financial markets in the U.S. didn't seem affected. "The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that," he said. Responding to critics complaining that the allegedly populist Trump was larding his administration with millionaires and billionaires, Kudlow wrote, "Why shouldn't the president surround himself with successful people? Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption." That's quite an insight, one contradicted only by the entire history of the human species.
Kudlow is not a trained economist, but he does go on television and pretend to have expertise on economic matters. And why wouldn't that be exactly the type of person Donald Trump would look for in a chief economic adviser? After all, Trump was only able to run for president because of a stint on reality television, where he pretended to be a decisive and wise business leader. The act was what mattered, and it worked.
All those eggheads and experts said Trump would never win, but he did, proving (at least to himself) that the power of TV overwhelms all. As president, he hasn't lost his faith in that power, or his conviction that TV people are the best people. Recently we learned that in an Oval Office meeting with Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin discussing upcoming legislation on VA reform, "Trump surprised Shulkin by dialing in Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth on speaker phone to get his opinion of the legislation." Hegseth, who may be best known for throwing an axe that accidentally hit a member of the West Point marching band (though to be fair, he is a veteran), is rumored to be Trump's choice to replace Shulkin if and when the secretary finally gets the boot.
That's not to mention that Trump regularly seeks out the advice of Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro. Spending all day watching them on TV is apparently not enough; Trump needs to receive their wise counsel after the day's programming is done.
It's obvious that Trump doesn't feel comfortable around the kind of bookworms and brainiacs who are normally called upon to offer up analysis to the president. He's a TV guy, and he likes to have other TV guys around him — people who know that each segment is a new opportunity to make the sale, and what matters isn't whether you have any idea what you're talking about but that you look into that camera and say it with complete conviction.
Larry Kudlow certainly knows how to do that, and he'll make a perfect addition to the team. "I'm really at a point," Trump said not long before offering Kudlow the job, "where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want." You bet he is.

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The Simplest Explanation

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pioneering physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

4, 2018, 12:17am EDT
Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images
Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world's best known scientist, has died, a spokesperson for his family has confirmed. He was 76.
"It is with great sadness we announce the death of Professor Stephen Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA at the age of 76," the statement reads. "Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. His family have kindly requested that they be given the time and privacy to mourn his passing, but they would like to thank everyone who has been by Professor Hawking's side — and supported him — throughout his life."
Hawking's best-known work included his collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularities, the prediction that black holes emit blackbody radiation, and the best-selling book A Brief History of Time. The book aimed to introduce key cosmological concepts to a non-specialist audience, and sold over 10 million copies in 20 years.
Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, or ALS, at the age of 21. The debilitating illness gradually paralyzed him, confining him to a wheelchair, and in 1985 a tracheotomy robbed him of his voice. But Hawking continued to be a hugely prominent and popular public figure through the use of his computer-aided speech system, which required painstaking operation by a single cheek muscle.
"My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way," Hawking once wrote, saying that his situation presented him with the time to clearly think through the problems of physics. And Hawking not only far outlived doctors' expectations, but climbed to the top of his field, becoming a major celebrity in the process. He appeared on The Simpsons and an Oscar-winning movie, The Theory of Everything, was made about a period of his life.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," Hawking's children Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement. "He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."

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Monday, March 12, 2018

'Sex Trafficking' Bill Will Take Away Online Spaces Sex Workers Need to Survive

The SESTA and FOSTA bills claim to protect people from sex trafficking, but they harm sex workers and porn performers in real ways.

Mar 12 2018, 10:11am

This week, the Senate is expected to vote on FOSTA-SESTA, a bill package that could put sex workers' lives on the line. By making social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter liable for their users' speech, the bill could force tech companies to push all talk of sex work off their platforms.
Although it is framed as sex trafficking prevention—with celebrities like Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers issuing PSAs about the dangers of online trafficking in support of the bill—experts including the ACLU and Center for Democracy and Technology say it would do little to help actual victims of trafficking and instead devastate consensual sex work communities online, where sex workers share valuable, sometimes life-saving information and resources.
"What we have is each other," adult performer Lorelei Lee told me in an email. "So the ability to share information quickly and widely in our community is the main way that we stay safe."
A spokesperson for sponsoring senator Rob Portman's office told me that they're hopeful the bill will go to a vote this week.
"Make no mistake, if these bills pass, sex workers will die."
FOSTA, which was passed by the House of Representatives on February 27, is a combination of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). Advocates for SESTA-FOSTA claim it will help curb sex trafficking online, by holding platforms to new criminal and civil liabilities for what people say and do on their sites—like talking about sex work. The Department of Justice supports the bill, but calls the portions of it that shifts liability of speech from users to platforms a "serious constitutional concern."

"Under SESTA/FOSTA there is no true differentiation between consensual sex work and trafficking—because many lawmakers do not see sex work as real work and dehumanize us strictly because of the CONSENSUAL business we take part in," adult performer Janice Griffith told me in an email. "There is no such thing as nonconsensual sex work—that is slavery, trafficking, whatever you want to call it—it isn't work, sex work contains consent and autonomy. Just as forced labor of any other kind is not employment, sex slavery is not sex work."
As critics worry that lawmakers are conflating consensual sex work and trafficking, sex workers themselves are working to protect one another where law enforcement and society fail them. On public forums and "whisper networks" like shared lists, they can swap information about dangerous clients or agents. They make "blacklists" of companions that crossed boundaries. Since their profession is still widely stigmatized, sex workers also use these spaces to share recommendations for friendly doctors, financial services, and even services like reliable home maintenance people that won't stalk them.
"Sex workers use multiple avenues to communicate, perhaps most importantly, about bad or dangerous clients," Mike Stabile, communications director at the Free Speech Coalition told me in an email. "Sometimes, these happen in the same sites where they also advertise, sometimes they are separate forums or social networks... If it passes, these websites would simply shutter, or ban all communication related to sex work, since the risk of missing a sign would mean prosecution."
Stabile noted that this isn't a hypothetical situation: It's happened in the past. Escort service networks Rentboy and myRedBook were both shuttered by federal authorities in 2015 for promoting prostitution. The closure of these companies ultimately meant these workers had to go out on the street to find work, or took away their ability to screen clients or get references from other workers through the internet altogether. A 2017 study of violence against women before and after Craigslist provided an "erotic services" section found a 17 percent decrease in female homicides during the time the service was open, as well as a decrease in rape cases—because workers could talk to each other openly and screen for bad dates online, instead of on the street.

"If you are a sex worker who's been the victim of violence, it is scary enough to speak up about it already," Lee said. "We've all heard a million times how we should expect to be targets of violence by virtue of having gotten ourselves involved in sex work."
FOSTA-SESTA, she said, will make it even harder for sex workers to speak up.
"The last thing we need is to create an even more hostile climate for those acts," she said. "Make no mistake, if these bills pass, sex workers will die. I need you to know that is not hyperbole."

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

United Nations panel says U.S. owes reparations for slavery, mass incarceration

 Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, chairwoman of a United Nations working group for people of African descent, reads findings about institutionalized racism after an official visit to the U.S. September 27, 2016 | 2:53 PM EDT