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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 6,808

Journal Archives

Fake news: Why the West is blind to Russia's propaganda today

Russia has skilfully exploited social media to divide the West and increase Moscow's power in Europe, the US and eventually Asia.

The use of social media as a platform to divide democracies works, in part, because the strategy preys on a fundamental blind spot in open societies: the origin and volume of voices taking part in an online discussion.

Western countries, inventors of the internet and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, tend to see discussion on social media as an open reflection of the public's views.

That very openness means outside voices can weigh into debates – not to broaden the discussion, but to co-opt arguments and redirect them toward conclusions that undermine Western society and government.


(Warning: Autoplay video at links.)

Donald Trump is a disaster for Brexit

For the most ardent supporters of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump was a mixture of vindication and salvation. The president of the US, no less, thinks it is a great idea for Britain to leave the EU. Even better, he seems to offer an exciting escape route. The UK can leap off the rotting raft of the EU and on to the gleaming battleship HMS Anglosphere.

It is an alluring vision. Unfortunately, it is precisely wrong. The election of Mr Trump has transformed Brexit from a risky decision into a straightforward disaster. For the past 40 years, Britain has had two central pillars to its foreign policy: membership of the EU and a “special relationship” with the US.

The decision to exit the EU leaves Britain much more dependent on the US, just at a time when America has elected an unstable president opposed to most of the central propositions on which UK foreign policy is based.


The refugee row underlined the extent to which Mrs May and Mr Trump have clashing visions of the world. Even when it comes to trade, the supposed basis for their new special relationship, the two leaders have very different views.


A few more banners:









Some more:

Central London again.

Ex-international footballer and now TV presenter and all round good egg Gary Lineker at the Whitehall protest.

Part of the protest at Leeds (not clear from this pic, but police say it's one of the biggest demonstrations the city's ever seen).

Marching on the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh.

Holyrood again.

Holyrood again.

Holyrood again.

More SFW version of above at Holyrood.

Holyrood again.

Large gathering in Sheffield.

Cardiff. Nye Bevan looks on.

Cardiff again.

Albert Square, Manchester (est. 5,000).

Manchester again.

Manchester again.

Manchester again.



Banners at Dundee.

St. Andrews (posh university town east of Edinburgh).

Big turnout at George Square, Glasgow.

Banner at George Square.

Giuliani: Trump asked me how to impose a ban on Muslims lawfully

From Fox:

Giuliani said it in this interview with Jeanine Pirro, from around 3:30 onward.

Theresa May's Brexit Plan Will Leave Britain Subject To Secret Global Trade Courts

Theresa May’s plan for Brexit could leave the UK exposed to a network of secret international courts able to rule in corporations’ favour over the NHS, food standards, environmental rules and more, leading trade experts have told BuzzFeed News.

In a detailed speech in January, May set out a plan for Brexit which would see the UK becoming a pioneer of free trade, signing deals with countries across the world, and leaving the jurisdiction of the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice (ECJ). May and her ministers have said they want to sign deals quickly to show the UK can be a “great, global trading nation” after Brexit.

But trade experts have warned that signing such deals without the EU judicial system will almost inevitably mean signing up to systems known as “ISDS” (Investor State Dispute Settlement) – secretive, binding arbitration systems that can force countries to overturn their laws when it hurts corporate interests. These formed the core of international opposition to trade deals such as TTIP (between the EU and US) and CETA (between the EU and Canada).


“If the narrative is the UK doesn’t want to be subject to ‘unaccountable’ courts then the UK simply cannot enter into trade deals,” Professor Geert van Calster, head of law at the University of Leuven, told BuzzFeed News.


Britain becoming U.S. vassal state, says French presidential hopeful Macron

Britain is becoming subservient to a United States that will be extremely difficult to cooperate with judging by President Donald Trump's "serious and worrying" first acts, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who will hold talks with Trump later on Friday, wants a renewal of the "special relationship" between London and Washington at a time her conservative government redraws its relationship with Europe.

"Britain lived in an equilibrium with Europe," Macron told France Culture radio. "But now it is becoming a vassal state, meaning it is becoming the junior partner of the United State."


Fact is, the "special relationship" and financial and military/intelligence ties ("The Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier", Menwith Hill, etc.) have made the UK a vassal US state for decades.

It'll just be a heck of a lot more apparent outside the EU.

Never mind the optics, Theresa May's US dash was mortifying

In normal times, you'd say everything went swimmingly. Sure, the American president seemed a tad unsure how to say the name of his guest – whom he greeted as Ter-raiser – slightly reinforcing the White House's earlier failure, in a briefing note, to spell the British prime minister’s name correctly, dropping the "h" and thereby suggesting Donald Trump was about to receive Teresa May, who made her name as a porn star.

But other than that, the PM would have been delighted. In the press conference that followed their Oval Office meeting, there were no bombshells: Trump managed to get through it without insulting an entire ethnic group, trashing a democratic norm or declaring war, any of which might have diverted attention from May's big moment. He was on best behaviour, diligently reading the script that had been written for him, attesting to the "deep bond" that connects Britain and the US. May received all the assurances she craved that her country's relationship with the US remains "special". Why, he even, briefly, took her hand.

However, these are not normal times. May and her team will be pleased with the optics and indeed some of the substance – artfully, May got Trump to confirm, on camera, that he is "100% behind Nato" – but the underlying truth is that this dash to Washington was mortifying.


He will have seen May as that most desperate of creatures: the housebuyer who rashly sold her old house before she had found a new one. Having tossed away Britain’s keys to the European single market, she will soon be homeless – and Trump knows it. For all the niceties – May’s shrewd deployment of a royal invitation for a state visit and her compliment to the president on his “stunning election victory”, flattery which saw Trump glow a brighter shade of orange – he will have seen May as a sucker who needs to make a deal. And he will look forward to naming his price.


Which Android phone does Donald Trump use?

The New York Times has reported that Donald Trump still tweets from the White House on his "old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides," contradicting earlier reports that the president had turned in the handset in exchange for a "secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service." It's difficult to know with 100% certainty which Android device Trump currently uses to tweet (or whether it's the off-the-shelf model he likely used during his campaign, or some secured variant.)


So there you go. Trump's personal Android phone is more than likely a Samsung Galaxy S3, released in 2012, and which last received a software update in mid-2015, with firmware based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

As noted in the intro, we don't know for sure that Trump is still using this specific Galaxy S3. The two NYT reports conflict on whether he turned it in, or is still using it to fire out tweets from the White House. But if he is, and it's the same consumer GS3 model he was apparently using as of February 2016, it's safe to say it's a good three years out of step with the latest Android security updates. Many Android security scares have come and gone since the GS3 got its last update in August of 2015.

Naturally, there's huge (YUGE!) interest in which smartphone — secured, or otherwise — the most powerful man in the world is using. (And understandable concern over how protected it is from digital threats.) We may never have an entirely clear answer. Nevertheless, in 2017, a GS3 certainly fits the description of an "old, unsecure Android phone."


Timelapse of the National Mall on Inauguration Day (2017)

Posted because Drudge is currently pushing a CNN Gigapixel high-res photo shot from a low angle looking out from the podium as "proof" that Trump & Spicer's alternative facts about the inauguration turnout aren't so alternative:


In brave new media era, your eyes and ears will not witness same things...


(I can't get CNN's Gigathing to load on my browser, but it's shot from the thick of the crowd, and crops posted by others from it clearly show the white gaps towards the back that every other shot has shown.)

Predictably, this is being lapped up by deplorable flying monkeys on that thread as evidence of the lying media. It's quite something when you can actually witness people deceiving themselves about the evidence of their own eyes. The conclusive timelapse video above was posted as a counterpoint, and one conveniently ignored by many.

Let's hope there's more substantial issues to get them all steamed up in the coming week.
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