… despite what the U.S. Department of State says.

239 – according to The Guardian that is how many people have been killed in America so far this year – by the police. Last year, so far, they have counted 1145. That number might go up since they don’t increase the number until reported deaths have been validated. (by the way – the Guardian are doing this because apparently nobody in the US Govt is counting.

That said – this year’s run rate seems to be on target for even more and both are significantly smaller numbers than the total killings in the USA by gun violence last year – some 13,000 according to one source.

Yes – old news. BUT – my point relates to this announcement from the US department of state.

Essentially, as a result of 31 dead in a terrorist attack in Brussels – and ‘to be confirmed intel on possible future attacks’, the department is essentially advising US citizens to stay away from Europe, even though there was not one US citizen killed in any of the attacks. [see update at end of post].

Meanwhile, no such alerts are broadcast re US citizens traveling to say

Chicago – where a person is shot every 2.5 hours and murdered every 14 or
New Orleanswhich accounts for a third of all Louisiana gun deaths – and in turn that state has the highest gun death per capita than any other state or even
LA – where 670 people were killed in the past year

And for all of that – America might not remember the 70s and 80s in Europe – but Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site has an interesting set of data. Bottom line – even after Paris and Brussels – the European death count is significantly lower than in the days when the IRA were operating in London, or Baader Meinhof In Germany, or The ETA in Spain.

How soon we forget. Or did we ever know, certainly the USA seems to have started to treat terrorism as a new way to keep their citizens in a constant set of fear ever since 911. Before that there are strong suggestions that they might even funded it – of course The IRA weren’t terrorists – just like Timothy McVeigh or The Unibomber. And ‘NIMBY’ thinking seemingly works just as well for terrorism as it does for ‘property zoning’

First published on Beyond Bridges on March 24th, 2016.

Updated March 25th, 2016

Updated to reflect two sad losses in the Brussels bombings this week. That said, judging by my inbox this morning this post has hit a nerve, so a follow up will be forthcoming,

Facebook is the latest tech giant to face a European antitrust investigation … there is seemingly no large tech company exempt – including Apple.

But, as far as I can tell, more often than not, it is all about whether they are paying the right taxes, using power to broker better commercial deals or trampling over citizen rights … none of which we bother to think about in the USA. I think that is why we are always surprised when the EEC seems to pick on US companies. I am not a big fan of the Eurocrats – but I do like their stance one protection of the citizen.

Unlike here where we tap the Executive chairman of Alphabet to make the Pentagon more Google-ish … let’s hope it iI only about the stuff in the article!

Interesting really. In the USA people vote for a government who then make sure that corporations are protected. In Europe, the faceless ‘unelected’ bureaucrats go out of their way to ensure that the people are protected.

In a similar vein ….

… and talking about companies trampling over people’s rights – how about entire countries ?

 

They are pouring their hope into uncertain vessels, and surely know it. Bernie Sanders is an actual radical: He would fundamentally change an economic system that imperfectly but for two centuries made America the wealthiest country in the history of the world. In the young his support is understandable: They have never been taught anything good about capitalism and in their lifetimes have seen it do nothing—nothing—to protect its own reputation.

[ Source : Peggy Noonan – WSJ ]

BTW – I know he might want to do that … but …. we all know that without ‘we the people’ fully supporting him  (not just through the election, but after the election), without The Senate, without Congress … well just how much power will he have – and what exactly will he be able to do ?

I like Scott Galloway, when he sticks to what he knows.

On brand, he knows a lot. And he is all about brand. So much so that he of all people should know what it means to stick to your brand. He didn’t. Not on this occasion.

This was his podcast on the 23rd of this month. The caption reads :

Why is Apple a loser? L2 Founder and NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway calls Tim Cook’s concern about consumers’ privacy disingenuous.

I am not going to waste my time rekeying what he said. It’s not worth my time. Its not even worth my time to relisten to what he said. He is wrong. He is not just wrong because I disagree with him, he is wrong because of the massive over simplification he is making about the situation. He also weakens his argument by introduces a totally unconnected piece of crap at the end of the piece (but that is a different story.)

I heard it and was going to ignore it, but then two days later he produced this …

https://www.l2inc.com/scott-galloway-on-apple-vs-fbi-sorry-not-sorry/2016/blog

Turn out that his listeners – at a ratio of 10 to 1 agreed with me. And so, he responded. Don’t worry. It’s just more rambling, ill-informed, spurious crap.

I will go back to listening to him when he gets back to brand, or learns about the issues he rambles on about.

Meanwhile – some thoughts on why he is wrong (just from this site you are on now!)

Pandora |
Our Security … Ours |
What Moral Authority |
Why This Argument Is Important |

 

Congressman Lieu graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a B.S. in Computer Science and an A.B. in Political Science and graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994, where he was Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal and received four American Jurisprudence awards.He also served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas Tang of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

[ Source : Wikipedia ]

… in other words, Congressman Lieu is very well positioned (in congress potentially uniquely) to comment on this attempt by the Feds to infringe on our rights as citizens. (And I know that is not how they are phrasing it … but read on …

Forcing Apple to weaken its encryption system in this one case means the government can force Apple—or any other private sector company—to weaken encryption systems in all future cases. This precedent-setting action will both weaken the privacy of Americans and hurt American businesses. And how can the FBI ensure the software that it is forcing Apple to create won’t fall into the wrong hands? Given the number of cyberbreaches in the federal government—including at the Department of Justice—the FBI cannot guarantee this back door software will not end up in the hands of hackers or other criminals.

[ Source : Congressman Lieu via Jim Dalrymple ]

John Gruber : "This whole debate hinges upon a sheer fantasy, that somehow their can exist secure encryption that the “good guys” can break when they want to."

The United States has lost the moral authority to create the environment in which the value in our personal data can be unlocked by technological innovation.

Interesting take. Essentially, the argument is that in a post Snowden world, the world at large no longer trusts the USA to lead the way in this ‘Brave New World’. But if not the USA, then who ? The article suggests that the UK is well positioned. Really ? I don’t think so. They really are just as bad.

[ Source : The Internet of Me – Medium ]

You might have read / heard / seen the outpouring about Apple’s stance on security, which, depending on who you are reading / listening to / watching is either ‘courageous’ or ‘unpatriotic’.

If you need a catch up this is ‘The Apple Position’ in the form of a letter from Tim Cook to Apple customers.

There are already hundreds of personal takes and spins out there as to what this means. Needless to say the Media are skimming over the details … big time. In fact, some of the tech press don’t always get  it. That said, Ben Thompson’s excellent summary is well worth a read, concluding that

This is why I’m just a tiny bit worried about Tim Cook drawing such a stark line in the sand with this case: the PR optics could not possibly be worse for Apple. It’s a case of domestic terrorism with a clear cut bad guy and a warrant that no one could object to, and Apple is capable of fulfilling the request.

and picking one random writer Marco Arment concludes ..

I commend Apple for standing up to this, but unfortunately, I suspect they’re eventually going to lose. I’d love to be proven wrong, but nobody in the government is protecting our rights anymore, and Americans simply just don’t care enough to compel them to.

Plenty of places to go understand the technical nuances of what is under discussion – but really Ben’s piece does a great job.

My take ?

Tim and Apple are demonstrating once again that they are on the side of us – the people – and taking a stand on our behalf against a government that systematically overruns and takes away our rights without a care in the world. ( The UK runs a close second – but is getting better as Europe tries to make corporations more accountable – and keeps finding

Sure in this particular case, they could absolutely do what is being asked, because the phone is an old model. On newer phones what is being asked of them is impossible, but still possible according to some..

So if they did break the code for the Feds, it could be a great marketing campaign … “the Feds have just insisted and forced us to break into an iPhone 5C. If you prefer to remain secure, upgrade your phone now to a more secure model that even we – the manufacturer – can’t hack.” But that is not what they are doing.

Rather they are drawing a very careful and specific line in the sand. We (Apple) are not a branch of government.

Meanwhile, Apple sells its phone all over the world. I don’t know the precise numbers, but let’s say The Feds banned the sale of encrypted iPhones in the US. Yes – it would make a dent in sales, but arguably not the end of the world for Apple. And actually if this was the threat – would we all stand by and watch. I think not ?

Maybe also that by standing up for the people in this way they win the ‘Moral Authority’ argument.

Great piece from Robert Reich over on BillMoyers, where he sees the following as the ‘general consensus’ and why that is wrong.

We shouldn’t try for a single-payer system
We shouldn’t try for a $15 an hour minimum wage
We shouldn’t try to restore the Glass-Steagall Act
We shouldn’t try for free public higher education
We shouldn’t try to tax carbon or speculative trades on Wall Street
We shouldn’t try to get big money out of politics

[ Source : Bill Moyers ]

Most importantly is the core message. Just like everything that is important to you in your life. Never, ever, give up. 

Remember in 2008 …  Continue reading

Way back last year … ok, December 15th I wrote this piece. It was primarily about the ongoing assassination attempt of Corbyn in the UK – initially by ‘his own’ … though I wouldn’t exactly call Tony Bliar (sic) and Mendelson ‘his own’ – but they are at least meant to be in the same party. Anyway to my point, I wrote …

Bernie doesn’t have it quite as bad here in the USA, since he hasn’t yet got to that dominant position of ‘numero uno’.

Well how fast does time move. Here we are just 5 weeks later and we have the New York Times weighing in. Notice – liberal pundits ganging up against Bernie. That’s right – vote for BAU, because otherwise the status quo might change. And we do not want that do we ?

In recent weeks, major liberal pundits are putting in overtime to freshen their case against Bernie Sanders, urging citizen’s to ignore their conscience and quit screwing with the interests of the moneyed elite.

The New York Times reports “alarmed Hillary Clinton supporters” are warning Sanders “would be an electoral disaster who would frighten swing voters and send Democrats in tight congressional and governor’s races to defeat.” Supporters cast Sanders as “unelectable” and attempt to present him as the Republicans’ favored nominee because super political action committees run by operatives like Karl Rove would supposedly prefer to see the Republican nominee run against Sanders.

[ Source : New York Times ]

Ok. Not really. Finally the truth is weighing down the noise. As for Mandelson – is he still alive ?

Apparently – but it seems that he has moved over to the Tories.

Party membership figures are a controversial issue, with the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson, who is opposed to Corbyn, telling a Labour meeting in the Lords last month that “30,000 long-term members have left the party, real members, tens of thousands”.

But the newly released figures undermine his claim, showing a total of 13,860 have left since the general election, some of them having resigned while others have gone as part of natural churn. The increase in membership is continuing, with just under 1,000 having joined since Christmas Eve.

[ Source : The Guardian ]