American Elephants


The Feds Are Going to Track “Hate Speech” on Twitter! by The Elephant's Child

Just when the news is full of the depredations of the newly-named Islamic State, we learn that our government is creating a database to track “hate speech” on Twitter. The feds will spend nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and “hate speech” on Twitter.

Watch what you are tweeting, folks. The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” (of course it would be “memes,” not words or ideas)  and what it considers “false and misleading ideas” with a major focus on political activity online. Sorry, free speech is out. Old fashioned nonsense! What we need is control. No unpleasant words allowed. And don’t go ‘denying’ Global Warming!

The university has so far received $919,917 for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

They are calling it “Truthy” a name from Stephen Colbert. It will attempt to catalog how information is spread (and how to shut it down?). They claim to be completely non-partisan, but suggest that some tweets are engineered by “the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns” according to the website.

“Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.

Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics  and computer science at Indiana University. You can tell that the project is completely non-partisan because it would never even occur to any Republican or Conservative to attempt to trace “hate speech” on Twitter. Republicans don’t even believe there is such a thing as “hate speech”, which presumes to read the mind and intent of the speaker, something quite impossible.

Republicans believe in free speech which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” and that even includes political speech, which would suggest that this effort is out of line. The response to nasty speech, which can be distinguished from “hate speech” is Shame.

The government-funded researchers hope the public will use their tool to squeal on other tweeters. They want to know why some “memes” go viral and others don’t. I don’t think it takes $1 million to answer that one.

I find it absolutely astonishing the extent to which Democrats are frightened by those who disagree with them, and struggle to find ways to silence them. But I have a pretty good idea of just why they do it.



Lois Lerner’s Missing Emails Exist After All ! by The Elephant's Child

Judicial Watch announced today that the lawyers at the Department of Justice are now saying that all federal government emails are backed up, along with other data, in case of a government-wide catastrophe.  This means the “missing,” “destroyed” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS employees are backed up and can be recovered. That goes for the emails of all those other agencies that suffered from a rash of “hard-drive crashes,” are there, just like the tech experts claimed.

The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.

Judicial Watch is not about to let that “too onerous” claim get by. The focus on hard drive crashes has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along what the rules are about preserving email records, but has withheld that information in the hopes no one would notice.

I’m torn between Emily Litella’s “nevermind” and Shakespeare’s “The truth will out.”

In Chicago politics, truth can be buried for years, but then somebody goes too far and governors and mayors are sent off to serve some time. This administration seems to believe that bringing Chicago-style politics to our nation’s capitol is perfectly normal.

There have been hints of this backup system, but nothing definite. If it is truly government wide than huge numbers of people must be aware of it. The wheels of justice will grind slowly along. A suit from Judicial Watch, and a demand for a wide range of documents under a Freedom of Information Act request, and a couple of honest judges have created a victory for public accountability.



Taking the ISIS Threat to America Seriously: by The Elephant's Child

ISIS-tank
Stating it plainly, David French laid it out in six sentences at NRO:

  1. Al-Qaeda carried out the deadliest attack on American soil in American history and the most devastating foreign attack against an American city since the British occupied and burned Washington in the War of 1812.
  2. ISIS is more brutal than al-Qaeda.
  3. ISIS has more financial resources than al-Qaeda.
  4. ISIS controls more territory—and possesses more firepower —than al-Qaeda.
  5. ISIS has seized uranium in sufficient quantities to make a dirty bomb.
  6. The leader of ISIS told his American captors: “See you in New York,” and ISIS militants have pledged to rise the black flag of jihad over the White House.

I would add that large numbers of the Islamic State fighters have been recruited from European countries and the United States and Canada — they have passports. The 9/11 terrorists came in on ordinary passports, they didn’t find it necessary to cross a border surreptitiously, though our currently open borders must be tempting.

“Brutal” isn’t a strong enough word. The Islamic State is recruiting by encouraging a kind of blood lust. Come join us and chop off people’s heads, whatever you ever wanted to do, in your wildest fantasies, to your enemies — come and let us fantasize together.

And now we learn that Obama dithered for a month after the rescue mission was planned. We have been told that the captured Americans were not where intelligence thought they were — was that information from before or after the month of dithering?




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