Inside Fog Data Science, the Secretive Company Selling Mass Surveillance to Local Police
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/08/inside-fog-data-science-secretive-company-selling-mass-surveillance-local-police, posted Sep '22 by peter in law mobile privacy transparency usa
In materials provided to law enforcement, Fog states that it has access to a “near real-time” database of billions of geolocation signals derived from smartphones. It sells subscriptions to a service, which the company usually billed as “Fog Reveal,” that lets law enforcement look up location data in its database through a website. The smartphone signals in Fog’s database include latitude, longitude, timestamp, and a device ID. The company can access historical data reaching back to at least June 2017.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky on how to deal with the "bandit" in the Kremlin
https://www.economist.com/by-invitation/2022/03/19/mikhail-khodorkovsky-on-how-to-deal-with-the-bandit-in-the-kremlin, posted Apr '22 by peter in eu fascism opinion politics russia usa war
Part of the problem is that the current leaders of Western countries have never dealt with thugs. Their experience and education relate to interactions between statesmen. The principle of these peopleâs behaviour is that both sides concede to each other in the interests of their electorate or subjects. War is evil to them, and the use of force is a last resort.
This is not the case with Vladimir Putin. He was raised in the KGB, an organisation that relied on force and disregard for the law.
Putin Proves There Are Worse Things Than American Power
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/putin-kremlin-imperialism-ukraine-american-power/624180/, posted Mar '22 by peter in china fascism opinion politics russia usa war
Blaming America first became all too easy. After September 11, U.S. power was as overwhelming as it was uncontested. That it was squandered on two endless wars made it convenient to focus on America's sins, while underplaying Russia's and China's growing ambitions.
This is what the death of democracy looks like
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/9/30/this-what-the-death-of-democracy-looks-like, posted Sep '21 by peter in opinion politics transparency usa
America is in a dark place. There are no simple ways forward or easy solutions that could bring people together.
Vehicles Are Still Firmly in Control of City Streets
https://www.governing.com/community/vehicles-still-firmly-in-control-of-city-streets, posted Aug '21 by peter in environment politics toread urbanism usa
In Boston they just did a poll where they asked "even though it means less space on the streets for cars, do you want to keep the parklets we've put in during COVID?" Eighty-one percent said keep the parklets. They asked about keeping the bike lanes and 79 percent said keep the bike lanes. This is a randomized poll, they're not stopping cyclists on the street. That's where public opinion is, but that's not necessarily what the leaders are hearing whenever the question comes up about keeping or eliminating an individual parklet or bike lane.
Why Russians do not smile
https://www.chicagomaroon.com/2002/04/12/why-russians-do-not-smile/, posted 2021 by peter in culture people russia usa
Western people perceive the smile as a sign of a positive approach while Russians necessarily identify the smile with laughter. Western people perceive a smiling person as "happy" and "well-off" person. For Russians happiness and prosperity are not associated with the smile, at least not to the extent they are in the United States. A happy person is not obligated to smile. On the other hand, the smiling man is not necessarily happy or more prosperous than anyone else. Sometimes these states coincide, sometimes not.
Accounting Fraud And Waste Is Standard Procedure at the Pentagon - The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/11/accounting-fraud-and-waste-routine-pentagon/355233/, posted 2021 by peter in politics transparency usa war
Despite a handful of new laws designed to force the Pentagon to submit to at least a partial audit in the next few years, Reuters's investigation indicates that they'll miss those deadlines. Why? In recent years, the department wasted billions of dollars installing faulty software intended to make them audit-ready.
In the meantime, a disparate patchwork of offices in the Defense Department attempt to do the best they can to "balance" the budget against what the U.S. Treasury says they should have spent. This is a monthly process, and it often involves a healthy imagination. Here's an example from the Navy's bookkeeping at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service:
Every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from ... The data flooded in just two days before deadline. As the clock ticked down ... staff were able to resolve a lot of the false entries through hurried calls and emails to Navy personnel, but many mystery numbers remained. For those, Woodford and her colleagues were told by superiors to take “unsubstantiated change actions” - in other words, enter false numbers, commonly called “plugs,” to make the Navy’s totals match the Treasury’s.
Health Care Spending in US, Other High-Income Countries
https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/journal-article/2018/mar/health-care-spending-united-states-and-other-high-income, posted 2020 by peter in finance health politics toread usa
Health care spending in the United States greatly exceeds that in other wealthy countries, but the U.S. does not achieve better health outcomes. Policymakers commonly attribute this spending disparity to overuse of medical services and underinvestment in social services in the U.S. However, there has been relatively little data analysis performed to confirm that assumption. Writing in JAMA, researchers led by former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow Irene Papanicolas and mentor Ashish Jha, M.D., report findings from their study comparing the U.S. with 10 other high-income countries to better understand why health care spending in the U.S. is so much greater.
The Plastic Industryâ€™s Fight to Keep Polluting the World
https://theintercept.com/2019/07/20/plastics-industry-plastic-recycling/, posted 2019 by peter in business environment politics propaganda usa
The APBA began pushing back against plastics restrictions around the country in 2011. Around 2015, the industry group upped its game. Rather than just opposing individual bans, the APBA began lobbying for state preemption laws. The approach, which another Koch brothers-affliated group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has used to fight local action on other issues, including pesticide restrictions and living wage laws, prevents cities and towns from passing local plastic bans. In the past eight years, the American Chemistry Council has helped pass preemption bills based on ALEC’s model in 13 states. According to Seaholm, who joined the group in 2016, 42 percent of Americans now live in states where they can’t pass local bans on plastics.
How the US has hidden its empire | News | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/feb/15/the-us-hidden-empire-overseas-territories-united-states-guam-puerto-rico-american-samoa, posted 2019 by peter in history politics usa war
Yet today, the US continues to hold overseas territory. Besides Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and a handful of minor outlying islands, the US maintains roughly 800 overseas military bases around the world.
None of this, however – not the large colonies, small islands, or military bases – has made much of a dent on the mainland mind. One of the truly distinctive features of the US’s empire is how persistently ignored it has been. This is, it is worth emphasising, unique. The British weren’t confused as to whether there was a British empire. They had a holiday, Empire Day, to celebrate it. France didn’t forget that Algeria was French. It is only the US that has suffered from chronic confusion about its own borders.