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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Schroder-Bernstein in NBG

@ means less numerous than or equally numerous with
# means less numerous than
~  means equinumerous
/x/ means cardinal of x
e   means element of
€  means subset of
¥  is the intersection symbol

Theorem: (x @ y)(y @ x) --> x ~ y

x # y --> No bijection exists from x to y; ran(x) ¥ y is non-empty.
So x e T, where T is the class of sets each of which is bijective with x.
So x ~ /x/ e T and /x/ e On U 0. Likewise for y.
From this, we see that
x @ y equiv. to /x/ <= /y/
Now /x/ <= /y/ --> /x/ € of /y/
and likewise for /y/ <= /x/
Thus (x@y)(y@x) -> (/x/ € /y/)(/y/ € /x/)  -> /x/ = /y/ -> x ~ y

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Who stole Clinton's email?

Pssst... Whoever stole Clinton's emails probably violated the Espionage Act.
Here are the basics:
1. An intelligence system inspector general found that some public emails on her private server concerned special access national security programs and recommended counterintelligence action.
2.  An unknown number of government emails went missing after State Dept. lawyers sought all her work-related emails.
Most remain unaccounted for.
As the FBI is already checking on Clinton's apparent violation of security protocols, it has little choice but to investigate the apparent theft of government documents, some of which could well have been highly classified.
3. Clinton declined to turn over the data until she and her staff had had a chance to weed out personal emails.
4. Obviously, the FBI would need to question Clinton and her aides about the missing documents. The feds would also need to look into the possibility that a foreign power hacked her account and for its own reasons erased certain documents.
5. As in the Valery Plame national security leak case, which involved high-level Bush administration officials, the correct course of action would be appointment of an independent, outside counsel to oversee the investigation.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Will Europe censor America's news?

The Euro union's new internet privacy measure may well be used to limit what news Americans can read.

In the United States, the Washington Post had the right to publish the leaked Pentagon Papers. In Britain, Publisher Katherine Graham and Editor Ben Bradlee, would have been prosecuted for violation of the secrecy law (modified in 1989).

 "You are reminded that to publish the contents of a document which is known to have been unlawfully disclosed by a crown servant is in itself a breach of section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1989," newspapers were warned concerning the "Downing Street" scandal. But the alternative internet press in America had no problem covering that scandal, in which it was revealed that Tony Blair had had to dissuade George Bush from bombing the Al Jazeera press offices.

The European Parliament's action to require that non-European internet companies block unwanted web sites could well mean that we in America would be prohibited from seeing material from the Snowden data trove, or from reading Hillary Clinton's emails on Wikileaks, on grounds that her position involved European secrets that the Euro union governments would prefer to keep their voters from seeing.

Britain has on the books a law that compels servers to de-list sites that "glorify" terrorism. The Euro-union presumably could order Google to black out U.S. sites that promote the second amendment.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Podesta Group's client named in Panama Papers
Combined from Free Beacon and Public Integrity reports
A firm with ties to senior members of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign registered to lobby on behalf of a major Russian bank just weeks before a massive leak exposed the bank’s role in a web of secret financial dealings that have enriched members of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
The “Panama Papers” are being called “the Wikileaks of the mega-rich.” Corporate documents leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca show how world leaders have used offshore tax havens to hide their involvement in lucrative companies and business deals around the world.
Among those companies is the Russian Sberbank, whose U.S. investment banking branch recently enlisted the services of the Podesta Group. According to its lobbying registration form, the firm will work on banking, trade, and foreign relations issues.
One of the three lobbyists working on the account is Tony Podesta, a bundler for the Clinton campaign and the brother of campaign chairman John Podesta, who co-founded the firm.
Politico reported last month that Podesta and two of the firm’s other lobbyists would be working to affect “the scope of U.S. sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine conflict and whether relief is possible.”
And Podesta Group took $7,067,891 from 'worst' violators of human rights, records show.
The firm was paid to spruce up the image of Azerbaijan, a country whose government represses political activists, human rights advocates and journalists.
Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after being convicted on charges including tax evasion and abuse of power — charges widely condemned by human rights groups and journalism organizations. Ismayilova is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity. The consortium unleashed the Panama Papers scandal.
Podesta Group characterized Azerbaijan’s 2013 election as a step in “strengthening its democratic society.” The human rights group Freedom House issued a report which said the election was “marred by candidate and voter intimidation … and other serious irregularities.”
Podesta Group has represented Azerbaijan since 2013, receiving $1.9 million for its services since then.
Other nations, such as communist Vietnam, along with Thailand and Egypt, have also hired Podesta Group.

Countries with the worst human rights violation records have spent $168 million on U.S. lobbyists and public relations specialists.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cruz ignoring Obama gag order

And Americans don't seem to mind...

Would that more public figures would blow off idiotic federal no-talk rules applied for political reasons.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has deep-sixed a probe into whether Ted Cruz revealed classified information when, during a presidential debate, he discussed the government’s ability to monitor phone records.

“The committee is not investigating anything said during" a Republican presidential debate, top committee members have revealed.

Thus far, Cruz has suffered no political fallout among the electorate for his purported indiscretion on national television.

The Cruz campaign justifies breaking the federal gag order on grounds that it is absurd to stay silent about anything that has already been "widely reported." This view seems consistent with the perspective of the woman or man in the street, though the liberal news commentary organization MSNBC tried to make an issue of the technicality.

“There’s nothing that Senator Cruz said" during December's debate "that wasn’t widely reported and saturated in the public domain,” a campaign spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, told NBC News.

The intelligence committee's bipartisan brush-off of the "scandal" came after panel chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said that his staff would look into whether Cruz violated a gag order on discussing NSA surveillance. The issue came up when GOP rival Marco Rubio (R-FL) implied that Cruz had violated a secret arrangement to refrain from public mention of certain matters.

“The old program covered 20 percent to 30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists; the new program covers nearly 100 percent,” Cruz said of the NSA's metadata surveillance system, adding that “that gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism."

Rubio began his response to Cruz by saying, “Let me be very careful when answering this, because I don’t think national television in front of 15 million people is the place to discuss classified information.”

And, Rebecca Glover Watkins, a top spokeswoman for Chairman Burr, tweeted just after the exchange: "Cruz shouldn’t have said that."

But, as intelligence panel lawmakers understood, Cruz's judgment was to prove accurate: Federal gag orders based on technicalities get little respect from the voters.

Rubio has since dropped out of the race.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sy Hersh's blemished record

Seymour M. Hersh still regards himself as an investigative reporter. In a London Review of Books article published in May, he quoted an intelligence source who trashed the White House account of the killing of Bin Laden.

Hersh's report was derided because only one anonymous source was used. In his defense, I observe that one true insider is worth a dozen anonymous sources who are less well placed. The issue is whether Hersh believed his source and whether the reporter had an ax to grind.
                                         Seymour M. Hersh
Surely it is disturbing that all photographs of events inside the Bin Laden compound were either deliberately destroyed or handed off to the CIA, which, unlike other federal entities, does not have to make them public under freedom of information statutes. The fact that the body was ditched at sea rather than brought back for autopsy and secret burial on some military base adds to the aura of mystery.

So one may be inclined to give Hersh the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, Hersh, whose specialty is investigative reporting, spent five years looking into John F. Kennedy's foibles and in the process concluded that JFK had been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and that Jack Ruby was another deranged loner. The murder of Kennedy, a man with many powerful enemies, and the silencing of Oswald were non-conspiratorial, according to Hersh.

From Hersh's book, The Dark Side of Camelot (Little Brown, 1997):

"Over the next thirty-five years, the nation would remain obsessed with the Kennedy assassination. Hundreds of books would be written, full of feverish speculation about Oswald and Ruby and their possible links to organized crime or Soviet intelligence. In five years of reporting for this book, I found nothing that would change the instinctive conclusions of Julius Draznin, or the much more detailed findings of the Warren Commission -- Oswald and Ruby acted alone."

Hersh cites one source, Draznin, who was an expert on the Chicago mob, for this conclusion, though hundreds of important sources were still available to be interviewed in the 1990s. Hersh fails to mention the investigations of congressional committees in the 1970s which did not affirm the Warren report. Hersh discredited hundreds of books with one phrase, as if none of those writers could have been fairly good investigators.

Hersh implies that because some books are of poor quality, they must all be bad. However, I have read many of those books and found that though some are amateurish, many are highly accurate. That doesn't mean that within thousands of details there might not be slip-ups or misinterpretations. But the weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly against the Warren Commission. 

I would add that much of the controversy in the 1970s followed the line set by James Angleton, a top CIA man, that Cuban intelligence deployed Oswald as the shooter. However, CIA people involved in anti-Castro activities kept surfacing in connection with the Dallas murder.

As to possible Soviet intrigue, it is faintly possible that Hersh was ignorant of or had forgot the fact that Angleton, the CIA man who controlled what the Warren panel knew, was later named by his top aide as a probable Red mole. 

Oswald was blamed for turning over U2 secrets to the Soviets but Angleton already knew that a CIA mole had betrayed those secrets before Oswald "defected." Like his friend, the British arch traitor Kim Philby, Angleton controlled the mole hunt.

                                  James Angleton, left, and Kim Philby

It was Hersh who was tipped by a high-level intelligence source that Angleton had been running illegal programs to spy on Americans. Hersh's December 1974 report forced Angleton out without the CIA having to disclose that he had been identified in 1974 by his aide, Clare Edward Petty, as a probable Soviet agent.

Petty was forced to retire immediately on alerting agency bosses. Yet later, the CIA chief at the time, William Colby, said that "I couldn't find" that Angleton's unit had "ever caught a spy" and "that really bothered me."

The books that absolve the CIA of a role in Kennedy's murder and the ensuing coverup tend to  misrepresent important details. Somewhere (hopefully) I have notes that point this out.

It may of course be relevant that Hersh has long had high-level intelligence agency sources. Perhaps these sources led him around by the nose. It's a favored game among intelligence professionals to lay a trail for a "useful idiot" reporter to follow. It's also routine for reporters, as with police and intelligence people, to obtain information from people with unsavory motives, though the information  still has to be checked. 

Curiously, soon after the 9/11 attacks, Hersh quoted an intelligence source as saying someone appeared to have laid a false trail for "useful idiot" FBI agents to follow.

At any rate, Hersh's handling of the JFK slaying issue tells us that we should read The Dark Side of Camelot and his other reports with great caution.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Socratic dialogue on abortion

September 19, 2015 at 1:49pm
P: Is there a fundamental right to abortion?
Q: Of course.
P: So any woman has a right to terminate her pregnancy for any reason?
Q: Undoubtedly.
P: Well, suppose the preborn being -- or perhaps we might say potential human -- experiences pain during the termination process?
Q: As the, er, being is not viable, how can it experience pain?
P: If there are physiological studies that show that the being's reactions are consistent with a viable infant's feeling of pain, would that be relevant?
Q: Well, then you are only talking about what MIGHT be.
P: So if there is a possibility that the being in the womb experiences pain during abortion, that possibility is of no relevance to society?
Q: Not to society, but that consideration might affect a woman's personal decision.
P: None of society's business?
Q: No.
P: So if a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy for trivial or shallow reasons, that is her affair.
Q: Yes.
P: In many cases, the decision for abortion is economically based, as when the family of a young woman presses her to abort so that she can go on to an economically prosperous life, or when a woman aborts the being in her womb because she has enough children and doesn't want one more mouth to feed. Is that correct?
Q: Economic issues are plainly a driving force behind abortion.
P: Also, many women resent the idea that a male-dominated society may control a woman's right to reproduce. So-called reproductive rights.
Q: Yes, very true.
P:  What is it that she doesn't want reproduced?
Q: Another human, but that's only after birth. Before birth, the quality of humanity doesn't exist.
P: So you say. Others would say, before the first trimester. And there are yet other ideas. So there is little agreement about when the being in the womb becomes a bona fide human being.  Anyway, wouldn't you agree that "reproduce" means reproduce oneself?
Q: Well, the child is not a clone. The father's genes contribute.
P: So she is reproducing herself and her sex partner.
Q: I suppose.
P: And that reproduction is in progress in the womb. So is she not destroying a reproduction of herself?
Q: You are just playing word games.
P: Well, you do agree that a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy for economic reasons.
Q: Correct.
P: So then, a woman -- perhaps in consultation with her partner -- has a right to terminate a pregnancy based on the sex, or gender, of the being in the womb.
Q: I don't quite follow.
P: She has a right to terminate a pregnancy based on sex preference.
Q: It's a trivial reason, but I suppose it is none of society's business.
P: Now suppose a large number of women preferentially abort females? Would that be acceptable?
Q: It doesn't sound right, but fortunately that isn't the case.
P: What do you think feminists would think of such a practice?
Q: They would probably try to outlaw it.
P:  So then society does have an interest in maintaining the life of a being in the womb?
Q:  Your scenario is not the case.
P:  You are wrong; it is a fact. In India, couples routinely terminate females in the womb for socioeconomic reasons. Further, there is a shortage of brides there, which is the consequence of this practice. India's laws against revealing the sex of the being in the womb have proved ineffective.
Q: Well, point. But this isn't India.
P: The original question was, Is there a FUNDAMENTAL right to abortion?
Q: Ah, I see what you mean. If we must go by cases, there isn't a fundamental, all-encompassing right.
P: So society is permitted to take an interest in the welfare of the being in the womb.
Q: I would say you have made a good case. But, unfortunately for you, most people think in memes, and won't follow philosophical arguments.
P: Agreed.