November 25th, 2014
Youtube video from NY city
By Barry Secrest
Various reports coming in point to buildings on fire in Ferguson, Missouri, looting and shots being fired, although there have been no reports of casualties.
Police have fired volley after volley of tear gas rounds, as the increasingly unruly crowds tried to overturn and set on fire, police cars.
In New York City the growing crowd, as seen in the video, are increasingly unruly.
Crowds in St. Louis attack police car
Foxnews is reporting people lying in the street to memorialize Michael Brown in LA.
Initial crowd reaction in Ferguson of decision
Community organizing activists have established a website informing protesters of where to gather in many cities across the US.
The verdict was announced at 9:00pm.
The event protests/ rallies will take place either immediately following the verdict announcement or the day after announcement, at various times dependent upon the location. Some of the locations actually indicate 'Police HQ' as the venue of the protest, while others indicate Federal Buildings, City Halls, and various monuments.
The website, which has quickly risen in the number of visits according to web traffic experts, is titled 'Ferguson National Response Network.' When navigating the site, visitors can click on a city to learn both the location and time for the gathering, along with notes, which are left by other members.
The notes left by visitors for each city are an assemblage of remarks and often racially motivated diatribes. In one note, a video gif image shows a young white girl being high-kicked to the ground by a black male, another depicts an animated college student hoping to be hit by an approaching car in order for her to avoid having to pay tuition....
November 24th, 2014
Significant? You betcha.....The Wapo normally cheerleads for Obama; when they agree with Conservatives, you know something's up.....~Refocus Notes
By Ed Morrisey
Actually, Glenn Kessler gives Peak Pinocchio to both Barack Obama and his press secretary Josh Earnest for disseminating a dishonest argument intended to bolster the notion that Obama’s predecessors used executive power for amnesty. The argument actually began on Wednesday afternoon as Earnest laid out the structure of the defense:
Q What executive actions that were taken in the past regarding immigration would involve millions of people like this upcoming one?
MR. EARNEST: There are a couple of them. President George H.W. Bush — I believe this was -— I think this would have been– I’m not sure what year this was, but I can look this up for you — he expanded the family fairness program to cover more than 1.5 million unauthorized spouses and children. This represented about 40 percent of the undocumented population at the time.
On Sunday, Obama himself made the same argument on ABC’s This Week:
“If you look, every president – Democrat and Republican – over decades has done the same thing as I mentioned in my remarks,” he added. “George H. W. Bush, about 40 percent of the undocumented persons at the time were provided a similar kind of relief as a consequence of executive action.”
Everyone remembers the massive amnesty program that Bush 41 authored without Congressional authorization, right? Right? It was in all the papers — well, at least a few. The New York Times ran several stories about an action Bush 41 did take in 1990 to administer the 1986 immigration-reform bill pushed by Democrats and signed by Ronald Reagan.
Glenn Kessler traces the trajectory of the Paper of Record’s speculation on how many people mightbe impacted by Bush’s intervention, and how it grew from 100,000 to 1.5 million on no evidence at all. The Washington Post reported the 100K figure at the time, but it got multiplied by 15 through sheer speculation:
However, the Philadelphia Inquirer said the number was possibly higher: “McNary and his top aides at the Immigration and Naturalization Service said they could not predict how many dependents would come forward, although they did not dispute estimates from immigrants’ advocacy groups of 500,000 or more. ‘There’s no way to count them. It may run to a million,’ said INS spokesman Duke Austin.”
That’s certainly not billed as a precise estimate. But big round numbers are often catnip for journalists.
That 1 million figure soon turned up in a Los Angeles Times article on Feb. 15: “Although there are no firm figures, the immigration service estimates as many as 1 million aliens could be affected by the new policy.”
On March 5, the Times ran another article on the policy shift that included this sentence: “The Federal Immigration Commissioner, Gene McNary, said recently that as many as 1.5 million illegal aliens could be affected by the new policy, called ‘family fairness,’ and intended to allow close family members of legalized immigrants to remain in the country under certain conditions.”
This is the report that the White House apparently seized like Rose grabbing a door off the Titanic, but it doesn’t support their argument at all. That’s because the actual number of applicants under Bush’s action came to just under 47,000. That’s 1/30th of the claim made by Earnest and Obama. Within a month, Kessler notes, Congress passed an amended version of the immigration law, which Bush signed, which gave an even wider window for family members to apply for deportation protection. The total number of those who applied under the new law, over a four-year period, was about 200,000 — less than 1/7th of the numbers Earnest and Obama claimed, and only about 6% of the overall illegal immigrant population at the time.
None of this was a secret, and certainly shouldn’t have been to the White House, which has access to all of this data. Apparently, all they know how to do is troll Google for any supporting argument they can find. Kessler concludes much the same thing:
To recap, the White House seized on an apparently inaccurate news report, which cited an estimate much higher than any other news organization. Meanwhile, officials ignored other contemporaneous reporting using much lower figures — as well as the actual outcome of the policy. That’s worthy of Four Pinocchios.
It’s also worthy of a large helping of scorn. Either this White House is too incompetent to do proper research, or it’s deliberately obfuscating the facts in order to demagogue on its actions, and exploiting George H. W. Bush to do it. Given the recent revelations about their key adviser Jonathan Gruber’s attitudes about honesty, transparency, and respect for the American voter, I know which way I’m leaning on that question.
Update: After I wrote this post but before it published, Kessler updated his post and reduced the Pinocchios to three.
One note: We like to have a steady publication of posts here, so other than breaking news we try to put a fixed amount of time between posts. Sometimes the news cycle forces us to reorder the posts during the day, so there can be quite a bit of time between writing and posting. Usually it’s not this much time, but …. it’s been a busy day, too.
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November 24th, 2014
by STEVE WATSON
In the wake of much backlash against his executive amnesty order, Obama has claimed that he isn’t doing anything different to past presidents, falsely suggesting that Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush all signed similar executive orders.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week in an interview aired Sunday, Obama stated that he has “by a longshot” issued fewer executive actions than most former presidents.
“If you ask historians, take a look at the track records of the modern presidency, I’ve actually been very restrained. And I’ve been very restrained with respect to immigration. I bent over backwards and will continue to do everything I can to get Congress to work,” Obama said, adding that criticisms of his immigration order are “a lot of rhetoric.”
Obama echoed comments made previously by White House officials, advisors, and left leaning talking heads claiming that past presidents used executive actions to provide amnesty to non citizens illegally residing in the US.
The claims include suggestions that in 1987 Reagan allowed legalization for three million immigrants without working with Congress, and that the first Bush paved the way for a further 1.5 million to gain legal status three years later with an executive order in 1990.
However, as David Frum noted in The Atlantic last week, the actions taken by Reagan and Bush can hardly be compared to the one Obama announced Friday.
“Reagan and Bush acted in conjunction with Congress and in furtherance of a congressional purpose.” Frum writes. “In 1986, Congress passed a full-blown amnesty, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, conferring residency rights on some 3 million people.”
In other words, Ronald Reagan signed a statute that had already been debated and passed by Congress, where as Obama is set to write and enact a law by himself.
Frum also notes that “Reagan and Bush legalized much smaller numbers of people.”
Only about 50,000 people ultimately gained legal status this way, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data as reviewed and re-reviewed by Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Given that Obama intends for some 5 million to gain legal status, it is misleading at best to compare the latest amnesty order to the actions of previous presidents.
Frum also notes that the previous amnesties did not work and were “riddled with fraud” and led to an increase in illegal immigration.
“The argument that ‘Reagan and Bush did it,’ is essentially an argument that future generations should not learn from the errors of previous generations.” Frum concludes, adding that “With the advantage of experience, it is clear that their decisions did not produce the desired result, and actually greatly worsened the problem they sought to solve. Let’s not repeat their mistake.”
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November 23rd, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday continued to slam President Barack Obama’s move to shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, saying the president was getting into the business of counterfeiting.
“For 4 to 5 million people here illegally, he’s promising to print out and give out work authorizations — essentially, he’s gotten in the job of counterfeiting immigration papers, because there’s no legal authority to do what he’s doing,” the Texas Republican charged on “Fox News Sunday.”
Cruz, who has been weighing a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, said Obama’s action also sets a precedent for future presidents to be able to impose their own laws, “whether it’s immigration, whether it’s tax, whether it’s labor, whether it’s environmental.”
Still, while he’s been a vocal critic of Obama’s immigration plan, Cruz said he “actually can’t put it any better than ‘Saturday Night Live’ put it last night.”
“They reprised the old ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ — you remember, how a bill becomes a law? And ‘Saturday Night Live’ literally had the president pushing the bill down the steps of the Capitol because we no longer need the steps in the Constitution for how we pass laws,” Cruz said, adding, “because the president now is claiming unilateral authority the Constitution doesn’t give him.”
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November 23rd, 2014
livescience.com/By Stuart Gibson, University of Kent
Faking photographs is not a new phenomenon. The Cottingley Fairies seemed convincing to some in 1917, just as the images recently broadcast on Russian television, purporting to besatellite images showing the MH17 airliner being fired upon by a jet fighter, may have convinced others.
In fact, recently there’s been a proliferation of images appearing in the media that are not all they seem. Did Malaysian politician Jeffrey Wong Su En really receive a knighthood from the Queen? Has Iran exaggerated its missiles, or North Korea its assault hovercraft? Was this cover of Nature manipulated for artistic symmetry? The widespread use and high quality of digital cameras and photo editing software has made the art of faking a whole lot easier and more commonplace – whether convincing or not.
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Images can mislead the viewer by modifying, inserting or removing objects from the scene. Many photo editing applications include tools that can remove objects cleanly from their surroundings with a few clicks. This is known asinpainting.
An early method was to fill the void left in the image by smoothly interpolating inwards, based on sampling the pixels at the edge of the missing area. Other techniques include seam carving, content-aware image resizing in which an algorithm establishes the image’s important areas in order to remove or expand sections around them without affecting the subject of the image.
An alternative is to clone an area of the image (or another) and copy it into the gap. This technique can also be used to replicate objects – such as Iranian missiles, or North Korean hovercraft – and is easily implemented in editing software, although the edges of the copied region may need to be skilfully blended into the background to be convincing.
So the content – and therefore the interpretation – of an image can be dramatically altered. But creating really convincing images is more challenging than you might think; the direction and strength of lighting must be consistent between the altered region and the rest of the image, and this is hard to fake.
Unmasking a forgery
Digital image forensics is the science of detecting tampered regions in images and connecting images to the cameras or devices that created them.
Broadly there are two lines of investigation: those forgeries revealed by inconsistencies in the image’s composition and those with detectable disturbances introduced during editing.
A poorly constructed composite photo will exhibit gross inconsistencies in lighting and perspective that will be noticed even by the untrained eye. For more accomplished forgeries, a rigorous analysis of shadowand reflection geometry may be required to detect tampered regions. This is a method developed recently by researchers at Dartmouth College in the US, whose approach is to superimpose lines on an image connecting objects to their shadows in order to indicate the position of a light source within the scene. Objects inserted into the image are likely to exhibit shading that is inconsistent with what would be expected given the position of the light source in the image.
When white light passes through a lens it can separate into red, green and blue wavelengths of light, producing an effect called lateral chromatic aberration which can be seen in photographs. The strength of the chromatic aberration depends on the properties of the lens and the distance of objects in the image from the lens' focal centre. So any elements of the composition added from another photograph, captured using a different lens, will show detectable differences in chromatic aberration.
An image composite of foreground and background objects.
Credit: Stuart Gibson
Our research group designed software that detects differences in image noise to identify the edited region.
Credit: Stuart Gibson
All photographs contain artefacts – regular patterns, distortions, or errors – caused by the imaging process which are mostly imperceptible to the human eye but play an important role in digital image forensics.
For example, colour digital images are created by applying a filter of alternating red, green and blue over the pixels of a camera’s sensor, so that each absorbs only one colour. A process called demosaicing then renders this information as a full colour image, but leaves a regular pattern. Any interruption to this pattern indicates tampering.
An interesting, growing trend is counter forensics, where the forger attempts to cover their tracks in order to evade these and other detection methods. For example, the image noise present in the original can be sampled and fake noise applied to any inserted image objects so that they appear to match the original. Clearly, faking it and finding fakes are two disciplines that are going to keep evolving as technology advances.
Stuart Gibson does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read theoriginal article. Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google +. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science.