frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.



Check out my old  Voice of the People page.


Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

jonsdarc@mindspring.com




Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington



ARCHIVES
1074 POSTS
LATEST ITEM

June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
September 2016
August 2016
May 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
September 2014
August 2014
May 2014
March 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
July 2012
April 2012
March 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
August 2010
July 2010
March 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
August 2009
July 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
June 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
June 2005
May 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004

Friday, 28 June 2013 at 11h 9m 31s

New York Times says

Click the link. It's a rare 2 page editorial from the New York Times editorial board.

The government claims that under Section 215 it may seize all of our phone call information now because it might conceivably be relevant to an investigation at some later date, even if there is no particular reason to believe that any but a tiny fraction of the data collected might possibly be suspicious. That is a shockingly flimsy argument — any data might be “relevant” to an investigation eventually, if by “eventually” you mean “sometime before the end of time.” If all data is “relevant,” it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance.

[SOURCE: Editorial | New York Times | 27 June 2013]


Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 11h 33m 38s

Old slogans without substance


And when you elect people who think this way, who see government as something that is inherently negative, then what you get is an insider network of fools who will just use the tax revenue to pursue their own agenda, rather than their idea of the "people".

Whenever you hear someone say "government is the problem" what they are really saying is "giving people too much power is the problem". However, it's not just any particular group of "people" that is the problem but rather instead the "right kind" of people that is the problem, otherwise why are they bothering to run for office or take a position in the government they protest so much.

Government is inherent to a society of people living within whatever boundary of existence you want to choose. Government is necessary for any group of people to make collective decisions and keep all of us on the most beneficial plane of existence. Government should be more powerful than private firms or individuals, but government should also be accountable and kept in check. Any questions or debates about government should be around how to account for and keep the power of government in check, not about some simple syllogism about whether government is or is not the problem. That is childish nonsense and should not be acceptable for adults over the age of 30.

Those who speak ill of government as a political slogan are really just trying to use government for their own personal motivations of accumulation. That's why so many so-called conservatives are corrupt. Very few of them believe the pablum they give the sops who vote them into office. They are just used car sales people, selling old decrepit political slogans so they can get their own slice of the power.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 8h 11m 9s

Wealth Inequality in America


Friday, 21 June 2013 at 16h 32m 22s

Bayesian analysis of Using Two Independent Surveillance techniques

How much oversight is necessary when using surveillance techniques on a very rare event? How frequently would innocent persons get caught up in surveillance schemes that are by their nature dependent upon the judgement of imperfect human beings?

These are questions I asked myself recently, and after a few days I feel that this can be a Bayesian probability model. In this model there are three events with mutually exclusive results.

  • You are either "Bad" (criminal, terrorist, predator) or you are not bad .... P(Bad) or P(nBad)

  • You get a suspect hit with technique number One, or you don't .... P(S1) or P(nS1)

  • You get a suspect hit with technique number Two, or you don't .... P(S2) or P(nS2)

The P(stuff) means the probability of , or percent of expected occurrences, or rate per 100 persons.

So P(Bad) means the percentage of Bad, or how many out of 100 are gonna be bad.

Since being "Bad" is exceptionally rare, I used an initial rate of one person per 100,000 being a very dangerous criminal, terrorist, or deadly predator. I also assumed that the potential of innocent suspects was 1/10 th the rate of actual suspects, or 1 out of 10 potential suspects, which I agree is somewhat unrealistically small, but for the initial run of the Bayesian test, I assumed a good faith "best case scenario".

I also assumed the error rates of the two surveillance techniques are decorrelated, or independent of each other, which ignores the affect of "group think" and time investment in certain suspects that can often blind side investigations.

The effectiveness rate is the percentage of actual suspects given that you have a positive result from either surveillance technique. I assumed this was 25% at first.

So what is the probability that you have a non-bad individual as a suspect given that you have a suspect hit with either surveillance technique number one or number two.

Here is the formula


With the initial assumptions, the percentage of false positives is =(10^5-1)/(10^5+0.25*10^6-1) = 28.57%

If we assume the effectiveness rate of either surveillance technique is 99% .. . than the number of false positives is =(10^5-1)/(10^5+0.99*10^6-1) = 9.17%.

If we now assume that the base rate of "bad" is one per 10,000 ... there is no difference. Even if we assume the base rate of "bad" is one per 1,000 ... again no significant difference.

So, the best case scenario is that 9 out of 100 persons considered a suspect by these two surveillance methods will be innocent. The only way to reduce this rate is to reduce the number of false positives. If this is reduced to 1 per 100 the percentage is 1/10 th .. or 0.917%

This is kind of like trying to find something very, very specific with only 10 words ( 1 out of 10 rate) or with 100 words. How many different factors or distinguishing characteristics are necessary to obtain highly probable knowledge that a suspect is a criminal? It certainly can't be more than 100, or at least that's what I am assuming in this analysis. Very often, in criminal investigations there isn't more than 10 degrees of information relative to the case at hand.

Keep in mind that you lose accuracy the more characteristics that are included. This is because each multiple characteristic grouping is a subset of a larger grouping of less characteristics. For instance, being a male is a larger group than a male with blond hair, or a male with blond hair who also works night shifts at a bar. The percentage or rate per 100 DECREASES with the more characteristics you include.

So, for instance, say a suspect has 7 characteristics : went on trip, makes regular large income transfers, was born abroad, has history of making trips, associates with other suspects, known to drink alcohol. Not all of these filters are close to 100% predicative, and some might increase or decrease based upon other characteristics. Even assuming all seven are 99% accurate and also independent the effectiveness rate will be 93 percent. If one of the factors is only 90% predictive however, the overall effectiveness drops to 85%. If two of the factors are only 90% predictive, the overall effectiveness drops to 77%.

This is why I thought 1 out of 10 (90% effective) was unrealistic.

Using these "filters" an investigation swoops up 2,000 persons in a typical dragnet to protect America, 180 innocent persons are going to have to deal with legal costs and possible life-long repercussions by inadvertently getting on a government suspect list.

If we assume 1 one per one hundred innocent rate, this becomes 18 innocent persons per 2,000 surveillance lists.

And these are both very low-end, best-case scenario assumptions. In the real-world there is a very large potential to be much larger than 200 innocents per 2,000 suspect list.

This is why you need multiple layers of oversight and very top-level restricted access to these types of programs. Keeping the collected data secure from malfeasance is another matter.

The whole fabric of the constitution is based upon the credo of "innocent before proven guilty". It appears to me that the current elites who push the surveillance state as "necessary" and "nothing to worry about" are turning this national credo around, so that now it seems that assuming guilt is being used in order to defend the security and safety of the innocent.


Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 9h 52m 15s

Greg Mankiw and the Divine Right of Wealth

Greg Mankiw is a neo-conservative ideologue who pretends to teach Economics at Harvard University. I say pretend because Mr. Mankiw is of the academic ilk that cannot separate personal philosophical biases from the development of Economics as a science responsive to criticism and rigorous investigation. Mr. Mankiw is the "goto" guy who writes academic papers that justify the elite view of the status quo.

From 2003 to 2005, Mankiw was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. In 2006, he became an economic adviser to Mitt Romney and continued during Romney's 2012 presidential bid.

SNIP

On November 2, 2011, some of the students in his Economics 10 class walked out of his lecture. About 60 to 70 out of 750 students participated. Before leaving, they handed Mankiw an open letter critical of his course, saying in part:

"we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today ... Economics 10 makes it difficult for subsequent economics courses to teach effectively as it offers only one heavily skewed perspective rather than a solid grounding on which other courses can expand. ... Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy around the world. If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system. The last five years of economic turmoil have been proof enough of this."

The students concluded their letter by stating they would instead be attending the Occupy Boston demonstration then under way.


[SOURCE:  | Wikipedia.org]

Mr. Mankiw's smug and often snarky reaction to legitimate criticism is either arrogance or marginalization. In other words: he's better than you, and the points you make (although true) are insignificant to the big picture only he understands.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post. Recently, Mankiw wrote a paper that explains the reason the top 1% (or top 0.1%) have a disproportionate share of wealth (in the United States or the globe) as due to their individual societal contribution, or marginal productivity. Someone is rich and wealthy because they contributed more to society relative to someone else. Or in mathematical terms, the change in social contribution per something else (the derivative with respect to ...) is larger than other members of society.

There are so many criticisms of this "great person" or "marginal production" theory by people more qualified than myself. I have included two good ones below by Matt Bruenig at Demos.org, and one of my favorites, Australian economist Steve Keen at Unlearning Economics.

[SOURCE: Greg Mankiw | Harvard University]

[SOURCE: Steve Keen | Unlearning Economics | 15 June 2013]
[SOURCE: Matt Bruenig | Demos.org | 19 June 2013]

I find the individualistic notions of economics by faux-academics like Greg Mankiw both ridiculous and deceptive. All individuals want to take credit for all they have gotten in this life, while at the same time minimizing or completely ignoring the relevant environmental or lucky aspects of their ascent. People who achieve a high position also tend to be fairly ruthless and psychopathic, because these traits have an advantage in a competitive environment that rewards monetary gain at the expense of almost everything else. It's kinda hard to feel "good" about earning millions at the expense of creating externalities like birth defects and low wage dead-end jobs, unless you are either ignorant or completely ambivalent -- which is a nice way of saying you don't give a fuck.

Since the default un-analyzed mindset for any individual is a self-centered point of view, individuals who achieve high social status will also tend (or want) to believe they deserve their position. This is where people like Greg Mankiw play their social role for the elite who need to feel like they have the "divine right of wealth".

Mankiw is no different than the court suck-ups who told the King that he has a legitimate line of royalty and has been appointed by a higher authority to enjoy a disproportionate share of the wealth of the realm.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013 at 18h 3m 16s

What should be asked at the NSA hearings

This is what we all need to realize. Power can metastasize from even the most well intentioned ideas. Given that the government has basically become the plaything of the corporate elite and the plutocracy, the omnipotent surveillance state can be used for outside groups and interests. Someone appointed to a position could get information, and then resign a year later, becoming rewarded by the interest groups that benefited.

The current congressional hearing has already revealed the FBI is using drones on a "limited" basis. Click here for the Guardian story.

I don't know about you, but Mueller looks creepy to me.



What this means is more feds sitting in air-conditioned bunkers looking at various LCD screens of video feeds from the drones they are using in a continuously increasing "limited" basis.

Anyway, I got the blockquote below from a fellow who lives in San Francisco named Marc Perkel, and it was posted on bartcop.


Congress is asking the wrong questions. I think if they really want to know what’s going on they would give Snowden immunity and bring him back and get him to tell Congress what’s really going on. But short of that, here’s what I would be asking if I were on the committee.

We now know you are getting information for the cell phone companies and major IT companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Are you also getting information from the banks? And if you are, are you accumulating a database of credit card purchases? Do you have the ability to include NSA code into operating system updates that would create a back door for the NSA to collect keystrokes, activate the microphone or cameras, read the file system, or modify the operating systems of Windows and mac computers or Windows, iPhones and Android phones?

If you have an NSA back door into our computers and cell phones, what do you have in place to prevent China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada from discovering the back door? If the NSA databases were hacked by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada, what would the security implications be?

Since Edward Snowden had the access he had, what is the security implications for an evil Snowden who was selling this information on the black market rather that trying to protect America (rightly or wrongly) from itself? With an operation this large did you have any reasonable expectation it would remain secret? If not Snowden wasn’t it just a matter of time before we found out for someone else? Wouldn’t it be better to give Snowden immunity and bring him back here rather than risk that he be captured by an enemy and forced to reveal what he knows to an enemy?

Because the NSA has extracted this data and is keeping it outside the source companies, doesn’t that increase the security risks and exposure of sensitive information? Isn’t our position that there are 2 kinds of people in the world, Americans and foreigners, and insult to 96% of the world’s population? Does this not cause them to respect us less and have no respect for our privacy when we have no respect for theirs?

Does our spying set a world wide precedent whereby other countries will have the green light to spy on us because we spy on them? Doesn’t this put the whole world at risk? Assuming it was inevitable that this spying would eventually become public, doesn’t it put America in greater danger by alienating the rest of the world because we are spying on them? Isn’t this just the same argument as the torture argument, that we increase the number of enemies more than we prevent attacks? Isn’t this just going to be another terrorist recruiting tool?

When you tell us that you are lying to us for our own good then why should we believe anything you say? Don’t laws that undermine and nullify the constitution, even if it’s for our own safety, make us a nation that is no longer under the rule of law? That secret courts and secret warrants making secret law make us no longer America? The secret NSA court orders require companies to lie to the public about what information they are giving to the NSA. If these companies tell the truth they are punished. What the government requires its citizens to lie and punishes the truth, how is that not an Orwellian society?

What America lies to the world and we have secret courts that require citizens and corporations to lie, doesn’t that weaken America as a world power? Doesn’t that send a message to the world that we are not to be trusted? Doesn’t the appearance that we are taking the same kind of steps that one would take towards becoming an Orwellian society create at least an apparent threat to the world and undermine our international relations?

With this kind of information is there not an opportunity for criminals, companies, or our enemies to blackmail our elected officials?

For example, Senator Vitter is tracked using his smart phone GPS to 5 hotels. One could search for all smart phones in his vicinity to determine what women were with him at the same time and cross reference them based on how often these women frequent hotels in these areas to determine if he is seeing prostitutes again. And that this won’t be revealed as long as he supports some cause – such as NSA spying? How do we know this isn’t already happening?

Doesn’t the NSA already effectively have a gun owner’s database? For example, if someone joins the NRA with their credit card online, buys ammo at Walmart with a debit card, and has his smart phone with GPS in his pocket while going to a gun club or firing range, don’t we know that are a gun owner? And because of their GPS phone, don’t we also know where they are so we can pick them up at any time?

If we see government misconduct, like we find a CIA torture camp, and we want to report it to th press, doesn’t the fact that the NSA has the news media’s phones and email tapped discourage whistle blowers from reporting things that need to get out into the press to protect democracy? Doesn’t this threaten free speech?

Since this kind of technology can be used to create an Orwellian society, what safeguards do you have to make sure that doesn’t happen? Have you considered this possibility and fully explored the ramifications?

Taking all of the above questions into consideration, how do you repair the trust we should have in our government and how to we assure the “foreigners” that we are going to respect their rights as citizens of the planet?


[SOURCE: Mark Perkel | bartcop.com | 19 June 2013]


Wednesday, 19 June 2013 at 17h 46m 2s

Medical Bankruptcy


Ah, but someone made a bundle of money, got to become super rich, have a lotsa toys, and own scenic acres of land with huge gated mansions and a swimming pool.

Only to get cancer and have to sell everything because the insurance company decided to screw you with litigation and better lawyers than you can afford.


Saturday, 15 June 2013 at 16h 10m 10s

Why you should care about the NSA et al Surveillance

Because there are a lot of false positives. They make mistakes.


For example, when a computer programmer named David Mery entered a tube station wearing a jacket in warm weather, an algorithm monitoring the CCTV brought him to the attention of a human operator as someone suspicious. When Mery let a train go by without boarding, the operator decided it was alarming behaviour. The police arrested him, searched him, asked him to explain every scrap of paper in his flat. A doodle consisting of random scribbles was characterised as a map of the tube station. Though he was never convicted of a crime, Mery is still on file as a potential terrorist eight years later, and can't get a visa to travel abroad. Once a computer ascribes suspiciousness to someone, everything else in that person's life becomes sinister and inexplicable.

[SOURCE: Cory Doctorow | guardian.co.uk |14 June 2013 ]

How many David Mery's are out there? How many innocent people do we improperly tag? How effective is this procedure? What is the ratio of intercepted events to non-intercepted events? How insulated is this from potential abuse?

There's a short video with examples of false positives that have life changing repercussions. Click here to see the short video

I do a lesson with my statistics students involving a test that is inaccurate ONLY one percent of the time for a rare disease. Because the disease is rare however, the one percent error rate of the huge number of non-diseased people will produce a large amount of false positives.

Say a test has a 1 percent error rate for a disease that occurs in 0.1 percent of the population. This means that out of 1,000 people, 1 person has the disease but one percent (the error rate) of the 999 who don't will get a positive test result nonetheless, which is 9.99 or 10 people. One percent of the diseased 1 person out of 1,000 will also get a negative test result because of the error rate, so only 0.99 of the 1 gets a positive (1 minus .01 times 1) test result. Adding the 9.99 false positives to the 0.99 true positives and you get the total number of positive test results, 10.98 out of 1,000. Notice that 9.99 out of 10.98 positive results is the percentage of false positives.

90 percent of the positive results are false.

Even if the error rate was 0.1% (99.9 percent accurate) the false positives would still be 50%. You can't rely on data mining to find suspects. You have to use search warrants after the proper police work, which is how almost every single terrorist was ever found or initially identified. Data mining isn't useful for finding terrorists.

But the number one problem with the data mining aspect of the Surveillance programs is too many false positives. How many lives will be ruined while we believe the illusion of security?


Saturday, 15 June 2013 at 15h 20m 21s

Glenn Greenwald 1 hour speech

You have to respect the knowledge that Glenn Greenwald has. He gives this essentially impromptu speech and pulls out quotes off the top of his head. You can also tell that he is someone who is truly strong in his convictions by the elaborate and honest reasoning he gives.



Of course, I'm sure he's not a saint, but if there is any dirt on this man, it will be out there for them to find and broadcast loudly everywhere.

I suspect there isn't any, because Glenn has been good with civil liberties and the 4th amendment for more than a decade. He is reliable where others (I'm looking at you Josh Marshall and Dianne Feinstein) have shown themselves fickle and inconsistent on these matters.


Saturday, 15 June 2013 at 12h 34m 14s

Biden Debates Obama retroactively




GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS