Microsoft colludes with China to develop its Artificial Intelligence

China has 50,000 to 100,000 military hackers – Wikipedia

Microsoft Research Asia’s scientists are working with China’s National University of Technology (CNUT) on projects that include cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) facial recognition for surveillance systems to track minorities and others deemed undesirables by the Communist state.

CNUT is controlled by our Asian opponent’s top military body, the Central Military Commission.

Learn how China’s police use cameras to arrest suspect in just minutes!

Microsoft-in-China-640x480
Two spellings of Microsoft

Part of the AI research is to recreate detailed environmental maps by analyzing not just human faces, but their surroundings, which experts say could have clear applications for surveillance and censorship. In other words, it not only decides your identity, but knows exactly where you are and keeps a constant record of that.

Samm Sacks, a China tech policy expert, said documents from the research raised “red flags because of the nature of the technology, the author affiliations, combined with what we know about how this technology is being deployed in China right now.”

The Chinese government is using these technologies to build surveillance systems and to detain minorities [in Xinjiang],” Sacks explained.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), said “we must ensure that American business interests are not aiding Chinese Communist party’s oppression.”

American companies need to understand that doing business in China carries significant and deepening risk.

In addition to being targeted by the Chinese Communist party for espionage, American companies are increasingly at risk of boosting the Chinese Communist party’s human rights atrocities.

Examine why China’s “credit” rating decides your place in society!

Microsoft’s President Brad Smith said no need to worry and then outlined areas where we should worry:

We believe there are three problems that governments need to address,” Smith said.

First, especially in its current state of development, certain uses of facial recognition technology increase the risk of decisions and, more generally, outcomes that are biased and, in some cases, in violation of laws prohibiting discrimination.

Second, the widespread use of this technology can lead to new intrusions into people’s privacy.

And third, the use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms.

Brad Smith

Other Peking research includes use of machine reading at very high speeds.

Elsa Kania, a military technology expert, said China sees “natural language processing as a way to enable censorship (on a large) scale.”

Microsoft Research also operates several “tech clubs” for students at Chinese universities known to have military links including NUDT, Beihang University and Harbin Institute of Technology.

Smith says the problems with China or other countries using Microsoft research should be addressed by governments.

He said a major concern is possible discrimination against women and non-whites:

Especially in the current state of development, certain uses of facial recognition technology increase the risk of decisions, outcomes and experiences that are biased and even in violation of discrimination laws. Recent research has demonstrated, for example, that some facial recognition technologies have encountered higher error rates when seeking to determine the gender of women and people of color.

Determining the gender or color of citizens is probably not high on the list in China. Their big goal is to decide who goes to prison or is executed for being outspoken or criticizing the Communist Party.

Smith does admit that governments might infringe on the rights of everyone:

The use of facial recognition technology by a government can encroach on democratic freedoms and human rights. Democracy has always depended on the ability of people to assemble, to meet and talk with each other and even to discuss their views both in private and in public. This in turn relies on the ability of people to move freely and without constant government surveillance.

In a dictatorship that surveillance, aided by Microsoft and other U.S. companies, is already imprisoning many Chinese. Does Smith believe that China will change their laws to use AI in “good” ways?

China’s advanced AI program has been underway for years!

The Microsoft president admits that the company is working on AI all over the world and cooperates with local and national authorities, and he offered several positive outcomes:

It’s striking to review the breadth of this innovation. Police in New Delhi recently trialed facial recognition technology and identified almost 3,000 missing children in four days.

Historians in the United States have used the technology to identify the portraits of unknown soldiers in Civil War photographs taken in the 1860s.

And in October, the National Australia Bank designed a proof of concept to enable customers to withdraw money from an Automatic Teller Machine using facial recognition and a PIN.

While many are concerned that Micsrosoft’s AI relationship with China could be a threat to its citizens and our military superiority, Smith seems more excited about how it could mean more sales at the local shopping mall.

He really said the following:

From the moment one steps into a shopping mall, it’s possible not only to be photographed but to be recognized by a computer wherever one goes. Beyond information collected by a single camera in a single session, longer-term histories can be pieced together over time from multiple cameras at different locations.

A mall owner could choose to share this information with every store. Stores could know immediately when you visited them last and what you looked at or purchased, and by sharing this data with other stores, they could predict what you’re looking to buy on your current visit.

Our point is not that the law should deprive commercial establishments of this new technology. To the contrary, we are among the companies working to help stores responsibly use this and other digital technology to improve shopping and other consumer experiences. We believe that a great many shoppers will welcome and benefit from improvements in customer service that will result.

Oh, how happy we will be when the retailers know all about our shopping habits.

Meanwhile, back in China, an estimated 3 million are being held in concentration camps, and the so-modern Peking men and women are working on algorithms to make that imprisoned total even larger.

China steals our tech and produces weapons for far less than the United States!

Our government doesn’t seem too excited by China and Microsoft colluding on AI.

Despite other bidders, Microsoft had a terrific bonanza in February, thanks this time to our defense department:

The Pentagon announced a $1.76 billion deal, which will see Microsoft provide enterprise services to the DoD, Coast Guard, and our so-trustworthy intelligence community.

In a statement announcing the deal, the Pentagon explains what Microsoft will do:

Microsoft product engineering services for software developers and product teams to leverage a range of proprietary resources and source code, and Microsoft premier support for tools, knowledge database, problem resolution assistance, and custom changes to Microsoft source code when applicable.

The Washington State tech firm spends about $10 million each election cycle on grateful politicians, plus other lobbying, and the list of 2018 top recipients follows:

Chamber Member Amount
House Schrier, Kim (D-WA) $142,005
Senate Cantwell, Maria (D-WA) $96,898
House DelBene, Suzan (D-WA) $83,211
House O’Rourke, Beto (D-TX) $76,477
Senate Heitkamp, Heidi (D-ND) $60,645
House Smith, Adam (D-WA) $54,950
House Long, Carolyn (D-WA) $54,257
Senate Booker, Cory (D-NJ) $49,240
House Rosen, Jacky (D-NV) $49,138
Senate Tester, Jon (D-MT) $44,469
Senate Jones, Doug (D-AL) $42,520
House Brown, Lisa (D-WA) $41,222
Senate Nelson, Bill (D-FL) $36,776
Senate Kaine, Tim (D-VA) $36,002
Senate Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN) $33,678
House Kilmer, Derek (D-WA) $30,900
Senate McCaskill, Claire (D-MO) $28,994
House Jayapal, Pramila (D-WA) $28,270
Senate Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $27,198
House Rodgers, Cathy McMorris (R-WA) $26,349
See all recipients

Seven men together are twice as rich as 16,800,000 median Black households, or 42,000,000 citizens

They are all white.

They are all men.

They are all rich.

But you never hear politicians, professors or protestors criticize these richest men in America, because wealth has its privileges and allows immense power.

It’s not just being able to buy your children entrance into the best colleges, or owning a $100 million house that you visit for just one week in the summer, or traveling in private jets, or even owning yachts that can cost as much as Queen Mary 2.

Great wealth also allows you to pay for political campaigns and earn eternal gratitude and favors to you and your elite class.

For a dire lesson in inequality, contrast the entitled rich to the median Black family in America, whose net worth is $16,300.

There are 16.8 million Black families, which equals 42 million individuals. Together, their total wealth is $274 billion, less than $7,000 a person.

If you are super rich it doesn’t take long to make that Black person’s $7,000 in net wealth. For example, last year Jeff Bezos earned $7,000 every five seconds of every minute of every hour of every day for 365 days.

Jeffrey Preston Bezos

Three men have more combined wealth than all 42,000,000 Black citizens of America – Jeff Bezos ($145 billion), William Gates ($99 billion), and Warren Buffett ($85 billion) – a total of $330 billion, versus national median Black wealth of $274 billion.

Add four more men – Larry Ellison ($65 billion), Mark Zuckerberg ($61 billion), Michael Bloomberg ($57 billion) and Larry Page ($55 billion) – and you reach a total of $567 billion – more than twice the wealth ($274 billion) of America’s Black citizens.

That $567 billion is enough to send a check for $5,670 to every family (100 million) in America. It could build 100,000 schools at a cost of $5.67 million each, or buy 22,680,000 new cars at $25 grand apiece.

After the top seven  the Charles and David Koch have $50.5 billion each. Those sons of the founder of the John Birch Society are the same guys who invested $800 million in the last election to put their candidates into office. That was less than one percent of their wealth and it created a host of friends in high places.

Worldwide, there are 2,153 billionaires, including 256 women, with a total wealth of $9.1 trillion, up from $7.6 trillion last year, proving once again that the rich do indeed get richer and richer, year after year.

The following video with Jane Goodall and others from DAVOS 2019 is more than worthwhile to watch:

 

Overcharging for the border wall is a major crime caused by private greed and political corruption

What do a U.S. Navy Destroyer and a proposed fence across the nation’s southern border have in common?

Both are ripoffs in their own fashion, designed to enrich private corporations and pay off politicians with campaign contributions or even old-fashioned bags of cash.

Too expensive to shoot!

The Zumwalt destroyer began as a great idea: build a modern, stealth destroyer with a super gun – the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS). Some 32 vessels were planned, but only three will be produced at a cost of $7.5 billion each, a total of $22,500,000,000.

By contrast, the fleet of Arleigh Burke destroyers, ordered for future construction, will cost about $900 million each, or 1/8th the price of a Zumwalt.

The Burke is a proven design. The Zumwalt is a catastrophe.

To show the gross incompetence of private contractors, once the first Zumwalt was launched, someone decided to analyze the cost of projectiles (shells) for its fancy new gun. The bill was $800,000 each round. This “surprise” was one of the reasons the ship was discontinued.

The proposed wall on the Southern border falls right into the no-expense-spared Zumwalt fiasco – another blatant use of private contractors for government (public) projects.

This year Congress has approved $1.375 billion to build only 55 miles of wall. That’s $25 million per mile, or $4,735 per foot.

What White House and Congress are proposing for $25 million per mile is really a fence – same design as politicians allowed President Obama to build – the type you see on tv with the teenagers climbing easily and sitting atop.

What would a real wall cost? Not an 18-foot flimsy, but a solid, concrete awesome structure, ready for adornment on the Mexican side by urban mural painters flown in from Chicago, New York and Philly

Could we build it for less than $4,735 a foot? You bet we can. Check this estimate:

Wall Plan for Dummies
Concrete Per yard $90
Shipping Per Yard $60
Total price per yard $150
Above grade wall in feet 25
Below grade wall feet 8
Total above and buried feet 33
Thickness of wall in feet 2.00
Cubic feet per running foot 66
Total cubic yards per foot 2.44
Concrete $ per running mile $1,936,000
Rebar price per running foot $3
Rebar price per running mile $15,840
Digging Trench per foot $20
Digging trench per mile $105,600
Price per mile $2,057,440
Price per running foot $390
Total miles $1.375 Billion 668

Using public management, not favored or friendly-to-politicians private contractors, we could build 668 miles, instead of 55 – with the same amount of money.

And you might build the wall thicker, taller, adorned with barbed wire and cameras, but no matter what you did, it should never cost $4,735 a running foot.

Fortunately, some contractors are still honest enough to question this waste of money. At least one has suggested that overpaying is not a blessing (unless you’re part of the gang in power approving the project).

What happens if you take away the payoffs and get down to bare essentials,

Fisher Sand and Gravel Company’s President and CEO Thomas Fisher said the government is more than overpaying.

“Our whole point is to break through the government bureaucracy,” Fisher said “If they do the small procurements as they are now … that’s not going to cut it.”

Fisher explained  that the $1.37 billion is enough for him to build 20 miles of levee wall in the Rio Grande Valley, plus another 214 miles.

That price would include warranty, electronic surveillance and a paved road on top of the structure, plus adjacent highway.

While Congress is aware of this proposal (it was one of the demonstration projects), it has ruled that the White House cannot construct it or any other concrete wall.

Compounding this disaster is the Army Corps of Engineers – which used to build using the Army, but now places contracts to private companies, so they can profit from public projects.

And the Corps doesn’t appear ready to even start looking at how to allot the $8 billion total that Trump is hoping to spend on the wall in coming years.

Reportedly, the Corps is also still considering how to spend $900 million for the project that Congress gave Department of Homeland Security last fiscal year, and has not requested bids from the private sector, because it’s still in the “procurement process.”

Despite the uproar by both political parties, only 35 miles of wall have been constructed in the two years since Trump took office.

How hard is it to just copy the Wall Plan for Dummies, email it, and request quotes?

Or maybe it’s just time to cut the red tape and call Tom Fisher at 800-932-8740.

How I fell off a 1963 American LaFrance pumper, and why 70% of fire companies fear closing

Swedesburg fir truckUnlike the Army drill sergeant, you can’t recruit the unwilling to become volunteers at your local fire station.

And that is causing a huge national problem – too few volunteers to drive trucks, connect hoses, dash into buildings, douse flames and save lives.

Some 70% of all the fire companies in the United States are volunteer. Instead of the $180 per hour your grumpy plumber charges, these firefighters risk their lives for free – no pensions, no bonuses, just smoke in their lungs and joy helping others.

I’m preaching from personal experience.

In the late 1960s I moved to Swedesburg, Upper Merion, a tiny village in Southeastern Pennsylvania. About 2 AM my first night there, I jumped out of bed, when a fire siren screamed through the window.

That siren was located just next door on top of the local funeral home – some 30 feet from my bed. It served the Swedesburg Vol. Fire Company, directly across the street.

Some nights, especially during thunderstorms, that siren could wail two or three times. After a couple weeks, I decided to volunteer to become a firefighter. If I was to be awakened, why not for a good cause?

It was a grand decision. Not just the 15-cent beers. Not only learning to play pinochle from first generation Polish experts. Not even the sweet agony of mastering the Polka at a fire house wedding.

The magic drama was fighting fires, protecting property, saving lives – being one of a highly-trained team of brave and fearless individuals, who were always pushing harder to improve their skills and guarantee the viability of their fire company.

And I also learned how to fall off a fire truck with minimum resulting bodily damage.

It happened on an early morning run. No time to even drink very necessary coffee.

The fire was in King of Prussia, where the PA turnpike meets the Schuylkill Expressway, and our truck zoomed into Bridgeport and then made a hard left turn up Route 202. Standing on the back bumper, I momentarily forgot where I was and scratched my nose.

Unfortunately, I used the hand holding the bar on the back of the pumper and off I went, skidding on my knees.

Back at the fire house, Bernie Gutkowski – a former fire chief and the township’s sole undertaker – examined my badly scraped knees, and then announced:

I’ll be right back. I have just what you need .

He returned with a small bottle of clear liquid, which he poured on my knees and watched me writhe and scream. Three days later, the scrapes were gone – no infection, no problems.

A week later I had to ask him what was the magic chemical in the bottle. His answer: formaldehyde.

But being a fire company volunteer is not just fun and games. Brush fires can choke you. House fires sadden, when you realize a family’s loss. Downed, sparking electric wires jump and twist at you. And worst of all, the constant specter of death.

In Pennsylvania, more than 90 percent of the state’s fire companies are volunteer, and since my stint in the 60s, the number of volunteer firefighters has declined by 88 percent.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) reports that younger generations are simply not signing up to volunteer:

Modern lifestyles involve more transience than in past generations. More families consist of two-income households or people working multiple jobs, and often employers impose inflexible schedules that make volunteering to fight fires in off-hours much more difficult.

Today’s Millennials also have far more debt than previous generations carried – particularly from student loans. Many husbands and wives must both work full-time to pay bills, leaving little availability for community service.

The NVFC says that because more than half of the volunteer firefighters in the country are more than 40 years old, there will be dire consequences if departments can’t find ways to attract new, young volunteers.

“A lot of these communities could never replace the service provided by the volunteers with a paid career fire department, because it would be not financially feasible for these municipalities to do that,” Robert Timko, director of the NVFC Pennsylvania Chapter, explained.

Despite expense, inaction is no solution.

“We can’t fight a structure fire with four guys on a truck. If that’s the only truck on the road, I have to call other departments, two or three departments most of the time,” Stroudsburg Township Fire Chief William Unruh said.

“We want to make sure that we all go home at the end of the day.”

Since the 60s, volunteer fire departments have assumed wider roles — emergency medical services, hazardous materials operations, technical rescue operations — and so the cost of training firefighters has soared. These greater training standards and new federal requirements have also increased time demands for prospective volunteers.

“We have to train a little bit harder than when I joined the fire department,” Unruh said. “The essentials class was probably only 30 hours long. The fundamentals of firefighting now is at 180 hours.”

NVPA estimates the time donated by volunteer firefighters saves localities across the country an estimated $46 billion per year.

If you want more information on how to join your local volunteer fire department, contact volunteerFD.org.

Nickels, dimes and dreams – author urges that all workers be fairly valued for their time and effort

A Montana coal miner’s daughter recently found herself the honored guest of King Willem-Alexander at the Royal Palace in the Netherlands.

It was a case of the guest being better-known than the host, despite title and wealth.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Ph.D, who researched and wrote the best-selling Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, enjoyed her triumph on Nov. 27, when she was awarded a 150,000 Euro ($169,500) prize for “exceptional contribution to the humanities, the social sciences or the arts, in Europe and beyond.”

The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation in Amsterdam recognized her for “writing about the widening gap between rich and poor, about the working poor and the middle-class fear of losing its comfortable existence…when they were hardly on the political agenda.”

A member of the Institute for Policy Studies board of trustees, Ehrenreich also founded the IPS-affiliated Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which supports investigative journalism.

Although her doctorate was in cellular immunology from Rockefeller University, she never worked in the sciences, and concentrated on journalism, winning various honors, including the National Magazine Award in 1980.

Ehrenreich, 77, was born in Butte, Montana. Her father was a copper miner, and her family pro-union.

But regardless of your politics, her on-the-street and undercover reporting is unique in this age of pompous pundits. When she wanted to write about poverty, she lived it.

As she accepted the award, so ironically in Amsterdam’s opulent Dutch Golden Age palace (video above), Ehrenreich ripped into causes of today’s extreme inequality.

Excerpts of her acceptance remarks follow:

Wow. Amsterdam is completely disorienting to an American. I’ve been here for more than a week and haven’t heard a single gunshot. Even the dignitaries, like the king and queen, are warm, kind people. When I met the Dutch ambassador to the US last spring, in connection with this prize, he was so pleasant and jolly that I had to question his credentials.

And now this: For me, this is like a fairy tale come true. We’re in the royal palace! With the king and queen! And I’m here with everyone I love including all the people who have enabled me and inspired me for so many years! Thank you so much to all the Dutch people not only for the Erasmus Prize but for this unforgettable moment!

Well of course I’m saying all these nice things about The Netherlands in the hope that you will, when necessary, grant me refugee status. Me, my family and friends, that is.

One thing about this country that is strange, even exotic, to an American is that you seem to lack the steep class divisions that are so visible almost everywhere in my country. You may eventually get to the same divided condition as my country — this is the way most industrialized countries are trending — but at least for now, the Dutch welfare state remains strong enough to prevent that from happening.

In the US, by contrast, we have virtually no welfare state to protect the poor and downwardly mobile, and the results are visible even to tourists.

Take Manhattan, that once-beautiful island that, according to legend, the Dutch bought from the Indians for $24 — and that’s a real estate deal that even Trump would have to admire. Today, Manhattan land sells for $1000/sq. foot, so $24 would get you a few square inches.

One sad consequence of the current prices is that only the super-rich can afford to live in the upper story apartments where the sun still shines. Walk around on the sidewalks of Manhattan today and you will be in the perpetual shade of the sky-scrapers housing American — and Russian and Chinese — billionaires.

Actually, you’ll be in the shade of the empty apartments of the super-rich – because when you have 6 or 7 homes you can’t be in any one of them much of the time.

I have spent a lot of time in that shade. I was born into the relative poverty of a working class family in Montana and spent a good portion of my adult life struggling economically, partly because I chose to be a writer and a journalist. This seemed like a good fit for me because I’d been educated as a scientist and journalists have the same goal — finding the truth and getting people to pay attention to it.

At the beginning of my career, I could earn enough to support my family, at however minimal a level. But starting in the 90s that began to change. Newspapers and other news outlets were taken over by large corporations that were concerned only about the bottom line.

They cut their staffs, including journalists, and closed those magazines and newspapers that weren’t making enough money, at least by the standards of their new owners, with the result that, today, writers aren’t paid well when they’re paid at all.

To make things worse, I often chose to write about poverty — about all the people who are left out of America’s fabulous wealth, who try to get by on about $10/hr while raising children and paying exorbitant prices for rent and medical care. This seems so unfair to me, so easily fixable.

Why not, for example, open up the empty sky-high apartments of the super-rich as squats for the homeless while their super-rich owners are off in London or the Caribbean?

But this of course is not the kind of thing that the new super-rich owners of the media business want to hear. I found the demand for my kinds of stories diminishing. Editors urged me to write less about economic inequality and more about “feminine” topics like the first lady’s fashion choices and the secrets of success of female CEOs. I could no longer make a living in journalism, and had to find other ways to support myself.

What is worse, I could not be sure I was actually making a difference. I had started in the 80s doing the conventional type of journalism: interviewing people and getting their stories published. This was my way of debunking the common prejudice that the poor are only poor because they want to be – because they don’t make an effort, or because somewhere along the way they forgot to get an education for a high-paying career.

I got some praise for “giving a voice to the voiceless” but nothing changed. In fact, things were only getting worse: Wages started going down relative to the cost of living; the welfare state began to disappear; unions were becoming weaker.

So I decided to turn things up a notch, to try “immersion journalism,” in the style of the German journalist Gunter Wallraff who went undercover to report on the lives of Turkish guest workers (I had not heard of him at the time.)

I left home, found the cheapest housing I could, and took the best paying jobs I could find – as a waitress, a hotel housekeeper, a cleaning lady, a nursing home aide and a Walmart employee. I didn’t deliberately select these jobs: They selected me.

These are the only kinds of jobs I could get without using my actual credentials. (Not that my credentials would have helped, since I never did see a job advertisement for a political essayist, especially not a sarcastic feminist political essayist.)

To my utter surprise, the book that I wrote about my experiences became a bestseller, and helped reinforce the ongoing movement for higher wages. To my even greater surprise, many people praised me for my bravery for having done this – to which I could only say: Millions of people do this kind of work every day for their entire lives – haven’t you noticed them?

And I learned a very important lesson: I never use the word “unskilled” any more to refer to anyone’s work. I learned the hard way that every job takes skill, intelligence and concentration – and should be paid accordingly.

Now I’m in my third and final phase of my personal campaign for social justice. Six years ago, it struck me that people living in poverty (or near poverty) don’t need someone to “give them a voice.” They have voices and they know what they want to say. They just need some help, some support to allow them to write and help them get published.

So I created something called the Economic Hardship Reporting Project for exactly that purpose. In our six years of existence, we have raised money from philanthropists to help support over 100 people – factory workers, house cleaners, and many professional journalists who have fallen on hard times.

We’ve turned some lives around. We’ve called attention to issues no one was thinking about — like the plasma business, which pays poor people for their vital blood proteins, at considerable cost to their health. Or the growing number of childcare centers that operate 24 hours a day, because their parents have to work pretty much around the clock … about homeless Americans who live year-round in tents … and about the epidemic of suicides among American farmers.

We are very proud of what we do. Some of our people have won prizes and awards. All of them have had their work published in widely read media outlets. A few have gotten book contracts or actual paying jobs. We like to think that we’re making a difference.

And maybe we are. But it’s a tiny difference compared to what needs to happen. And I guess that’s the story of my life as a journalist: You try and try to bring attention to what is really happening and to all the unnecessary pain in the world. Most of the time you fail. You don’t change the world. You may not even get paid for your work.

But once in a while, very rarely, you are recognized and applauded for what you are trying to do. This is one of those moments — and not only for me. I am encouraged and emboldened to work even harder for a just and equitable society, as are my many friends and colleagues and loved ones. I thank you on behalf of all of them.

From left: Queen Máxima, Barbara Ehrenreich, King Willem-Alexander, and former Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. Erasmus Prize ceremony, Nov. 27, 2018. Photo: Praemium Erasmianum Foundation

Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge costs $2.3 billion a mile; Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge price – $588 million!

Once called the Tappan Zee Bridge, the three-mile Mario Cuomo span over the Hudson River took 15 years of planning and construction, cost $7 billion with finance charges and interest, but lacks one essential element – public transit buses running at high speed.

Meanwhile, in the land of poppies and pandas, the world’s longest connector, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, opened November 6. Public transit  buses began cutting commuter time from four hours to just 30 minutes on its 34-mile span across China’s Pearl River estuary.

China’s new world’s longest bridge and tunnel system cost one-fourth of Cuomo’s suspension structure per mile, once again demonstrating the inefficiency of American corrupt infrastructure repair and replace. The result here has been little effort to improve our highways and bridges, install public transit or even ensure safety of our citizens.

The Federal Highway Administration stats show:

  • There are 612,677 bridges in the United States.
  • Of them, 54,259 are “structurally deficient,” which means they have at least one key structural element in poor condition.
  • That’s almost 9% of all US bridges, and the figure includes the famous Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Americans cross these structurally deficient bridges 174 million times each day.

Why does it cost so much to build here, resulting in little repair or replace?

Ryan Cooper studied this question after learning that, for example:

Spain, a developed market democracy, gets 10 to 20 times as much infrastructure for its money as America does, and it is of much higher quality to boot.

He explained corruption is one reason:

Every American infrastructure project features a scramble on the part of all parties to skim as much for themselves as possible. This leads to a self-defeating cycle in which voters are reluctant to pay for new stuff, so elites try to fund new projects in a duplicitous way, which only leads to more cost overruns.

And Cooper maintained that you can’t blame this on political philosophy:

The fact that both left- and right-aligned institutions (public employee unions and private contractors, respectively) are implicated here is evidence that this isn’t a typical left-right situation. And if we look internationally, both Singapore (very free-market) and Sweden (socialist) manage much cheaper building costs than America.

34 miles in 30 minutes!

The hidden infrastructure costs include payoffs to office holders, a practice I reported as far back as the mid-60s. Individual “considerations” could reach millions in today’s dollars for approving contractors for local roads, allowing zoning changes or issuing permits. Many a poor fella became rich after a few years in borough or township office, even though stated salaries were very low. Imagine today’s possible immense payoffs to state officials, governors and those lobbyist-appreciated creatures in Congress?

China has corruption under control, and rather than fining “white-collar” criminals, it has them executed rather often for kickbacks and bribery. Their new bridge is 20 times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, according to The Wall Street Journal, and the six-lane highway links up a region with a population of about 70 million.

Since ships use the waterway, there’s a four-mile middle section, where the bridge changes to an undersea tunnel that links a pair of artificial islands.

Bridge enters 4-mile tunnel

There’s no rail link – only private shuttle buses. Car owners must have separate permits for each city, which are subject to a quota, and pay a toll.

The bridge has “yawn cameras” that alert authorities if bus drivers seem sleepy — three yawns and they must explain themselves, France 24 reported.

Oddly, cars in Hong Kong and Macau drive on the left and mainland Chinese drivers stay on the right, so there’s a merge point where they switch sides.

Yawning is strictly discouraged!

Dr. Kermit Gosnell – America’s worst serial killer exposed in a movie never released for years to hide it from you

Five years and five months ago a West Philadelphia doctor was convicted of murder, and only avoided lethal injection through a plea deal. The press ignored the case – a hot potato – because it focused on a monster, who performed hundreds of illegal late-term abortions, covered up his crimes, and also killed many living babies who briefly survived his sloppy and unsanitary procedures.

Kermit Barron Gosnell

This Friday night, the movie describing his crimes, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer“, will debut on 600-750 screens nationwide. The media, for the most part, will ignore the film.

Some may picket it, but anyone who goes to see it, will be horrified.

The film, produced in 2014, was blocked after Jeffrey Minehart, a judge on the case, sued the filmmakers. Minehart claimed  that the movie (and a book) portrayed him as part of “Philadelphia’s liberal corrupt government.” Continue reading “Dr. Kermit Gosnell – America’s worst serial killer exposed in a movie never released for years to hide it from you”

FISA documents reference the Steele/Trump/Russian Dossier – same one we described as a fake “spy” novel in April 2017

The White House just decided to release unredacted FISA documents this week that would reference the so-called Russian Dossier, submitted by Christopher Steele, and its impact on the independent counsel investigation into foreign meddling and collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump election campaign.

What is the dossier? Is it real or a pack of lies? We published the unredacted version, along with complete text and photos in April, 2017. At that time we decided it was a fake.

Read the following from our archives and decide for yourself.


Someone was watching an old spy movie … when they created a “Russian Dossier” (RUDO) on then candidate President Donald Trump. Continue reading “FISA documents reference the Steele/Trump/Russian Dossier – same one we described as a fake “spy” novel in April 2017″