Wednesday, Jul. 12, 2017

Word to the wise: Technology can now create a completely realistic video that shows the subject appearing to speak the words of a totally separate audio track.

The story at the link talks about practical applications without addressing the nefarious purposes to which this new ability can (and will) be applied, but one can well imagine a few. It’s easy to see how a person on video could be made to “speak” a highly edited version of what he or she originally said. The result would be seamless, as if the edits hadn’t been made. See for yourself --- it is stunning.

To extend the possibilities even more, there’s a new AI called “Lyrebird” that can duplicate a person’s voice, creating entirely new sentences as if they’d actually been spoken. That’s right, with this application, we’ll literally be able to put words in someone’s mouth. We’re headed into uncharted waters, folks. If you thought politics was a dirty game before, just wait till this is in common use!

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The latest Russia story

July 12, 2017 12:00 AM

Well, it’s Wednesday afternoon. Is it safe to turn the TV back on yet? When I went to bed last night, so many Democratic politicians and cable news talking heads were having a meltdown that I was afraid my television would overheat.

The cause of all this anguished bloviation was, of course, Donald Trump Jr. releasing all his emails and openly admitting to Sean Hannity that, yes, about 10 months ago during the campaign, he agreed to a meeting with a Russian attorney whom he had been told might have incriminating information about Hillary Clinton’s shady dealings with Russia. It turned out she didn’t, it was a ridiculous waste of time, and he cut it short after 20 minutes and forgot about it. I don’t know what shocked these liberals more: that he had the meeting or that someone in politics actually released his emails to the public and openly admitted something.


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This shocking revelation caused what passes for today’s Democratic leadership (Schumer, Franken, Kaine, et al) to gather before the cameras with grave faces and suggest in all seriousness that we could be dealing here with Russian collusion, perjury, even treason. Well, at least it’s nice to know that they now oppose all three of those things. They said Trump Jr. had now admitted that someone connected to the Russian government had colluded with the campaign to harm Hillary Clinton -- which might be worrisome if the attorney were connected to the Russian government (she apparently isn’t) and possessed any information on Hillary (she didn’t). Or if any actual crime had been committed, which genuine legal experts seriously doubt.

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I only wish they’d taken things like the ISIS threat to infiltrate the refugee population with terrorists half as seriously as they did Donald Trump Jr.’s farcical time-waster of a meeting. Or cared half as much about collusion with Russia when their own presidential candidate was raking in millions of dollars in donations to her family foundation from dodgy Russian sources while signing off on selling Russian interests a fifth of the US uranium supply. Well, live and learn!


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Here’s a round-up of the past 24 hours’ worth of hysteria, in case you had more important things to occupy your time: READ HERE

On the other side of the fence, defenders of Trump Jr. called his agreement to take the meeting a stupid rookie political mistake (I don’t think Russia has had “crown prosecutors” since about 1917), but admitted that all campaigns are willing to listen to damaging information about their opponents; they’d just let a lower-level lackey handle the meetings. What do you think that anti-Trump “Russian dossier” was all about? Byron York in the Washington Examiner put it pretty well in an editorial entitled, “Trump Russia Investigation Takes Sharp Turn Toward The Dumb.”

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In listening to all this hoohah, two things occurred to me that I haven’t heard anyone else mention. First, Trump Jr. admitted taking this meeting in hopes that he would learn something about Hillary Clinton’s alleged shady dealings with Russia. If the New York Times had put a fraction of the journalistic diligence into investigating that subject that they do to examining every syllable ever uttered by anyone within 100 yards of Donald Trump, he wouldn’t have needed to take the meeting. He could have read about Hillary’s shady dealings with Russia in the New York Times.

Secondly, according to the generally agreed-upon description of the meeting, the Russian attorney reportedly spoke nothing but inane nonsense. Paul Manafort just started reading his cell phone, Jared Kushner simply walked out after five minutes, and Trump Jr. listened politely for 20 minutes, then ran out of patience and went back to more important work. I couldn’t help thinking, “Man, how I envy them! I wish that every time someone started pratting on with inane nonsense about Russia, I could look at my cell phone, walk out or just go back to doing something more important.” Sadly, those three are now learning what millions of Americans already know: a major political party and a mass media machine are dead set on making sure we are all stuck listening to inane prattle about Russia to the detriment of everything more important for at least the next three-and-a-half years.

It’s enough to make you seriously consider playing Russian roulette.

Finally, if you missed it, here’s Sean Hannity’s message to the Russia-obsessed media: READ MORE

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A rare case

July 12, 2017 12:00 AM

A judge in Milwaukee has halted the deportation of 1400 Iraqi nationals, and this might be a case where some conservatives would side with the judge over the Trump Administration. The Justice Department says they have criminal records and should legally be deported. But their relatives argue that their offenses are years old and nonviolent, and they’ve paid their debts to society. But mostly, because they’re Christians, they fear that deporting them back to Iraq amounts to a death sentence.

It’s a rare case that brings together the ACLU and spiritual leaders such the Rev. Franklin Graham, but they are in unison in calling on the Trump Administration to halt these deportations. I understand that Donald Trump ran on a platform of enforcing immigration laws, but to enforce them blindly without regard to any extenuating life-or-death circumstances not only endangers these Christian Iraqis, it hands his critics a club to beat him with on a silver platter.

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If you still wonder why liberal Democrats can’t get elected except in deep blue urban areas (hint: it’s not a Russian conspiracy) and why they seem so out of touch with everyday working Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey may hold a clue. It found that 36% of Democrats believe that churches have a negative impact on American society. Among liberal Democrats, that jumps to 44%. Only 40% of liberals think that churches have a positive impact on society. By contrast, just 14% of Republicans have a negative view of churches. And what do a majority of liberals think does have a positive impact on American society? Fifty-one percent said the national news media do.

Some conservative pundits have long noted that secular liberals seem to have replaced religion with politics, from the way they look for inspiration to “charismatic” figures, from JFK to Obama to Jon Stewart. But when nearly half actually think that churches are bad for society, then it doesn’t take a Divine Revelation to understand why they’re not winning elections in the South and Midwest.

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Aborted babies are human beings

July 12, 2017 12:00 AM

The Pro-Life Action League has launched a new campaign designed to make people see aborted babies as human beings. It’s an exhibit of photos of aborted children, titled “They Were Our Brothers and Sisters.” Unlike pro-life photos that emphasize the horrible violence done to babies’ bodies by abortionists, these photos were chosen to emphasize their humanity. Referred to as their “only baby photo,” these pictures show that aborted babies look like any other babies, with faces and ten toes and ten fingers – the only difference is that the babies in other baby pictures were allowed to live.

It’s a heartbreaking and unsettling exhibit, but it definitely makes people think. I can’t understand how people can be vegetarian because they “won’t eat something with a face,” but also be pro-abortion. Maybe this exhibit will help them to realize how they’ve been denying reality by forcing them to look the innocent victims of abortion directly in their faces.

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It goes without saying that Nevada is like no other state, but here’s a new wrinkle: the Governor just issued a state of emergency because the supply of marijuana is running low. Just about 10 days after officially legalizing recreational pot, a bureaucratic logjam has prevented distributors from obtaining state licenses (that’s the trouble with drug-dealing, too much paperwork), while demand proved stronger than anticipated (seriously?!) And the state is depending on the 15% tax on legalized pot to fund the public schools (there’s a good lesson when you’re trying to teach kids to stay off of drugs: they pay your teacher’s salary). So the low stash of weed is considered a state crisis. Gee, if only there were some way they could mellow out.

I would comment further on this, but the entire system sounds like something that someone who was on drugs came up with. More details at the link.

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