Eight years ago this month, I was in fairly-regular contact with Bruce Chapman, the part-time producer of short and funny politically-incorrect videos. One of his spots touted the fictitious pharmaceutical product, “Tryphorgetin,” as it poked fun at Hillary Clinton in the fall of 2007 before seeming to disappear from the web after the 2008 elections. Today, it resurfaced in my Facebook feed, and I decided it was worth sharing again as the former first lady, senator and secretary of state makes another run for the White House.
Worth noting, this spoof ad was such a hit at the time that conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh played it during the Oct. 5, 2007, broadcast of “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Now, I hope Rush will play it again as we approach the homestretch of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Seven years ago today, I shared a piece under the headline, Few Differences Between Somali, Domestic Pirates. Little did I realize how much I’d miss those Somali pirates after they were replaced on the world stage by new dogs known as ISIS.
Above: A screenshot of a post published 8 years ago today, but no longer online.
On Nov. 18, 2008, I wrote:
Regardless of where they sleep — or don’t sleep — at night, modern-day pirates seem to be receiving a lot of attention of late. Perhaps their notoriety stems from the fact that they share so much in common.
Sea-loving lowlifes can be found hijacking ships off the coast of the lawless Puntland region of northeastern Somalia” and pointed to examples of their latest work:
• On Sept. 27, the Somali pirates seized a cargo ship containing 33 Russian T-72 battle tanks bound for Kenya. Though nearly two months have passed since its capture, the ship and its prized contents remain in the hands of the pirates, birthed alongside 11 other illegally-seized ships.
• Some two weeks later, the Somali pirates nabbed an Iranian vessel carrying what was later determined to be a floating “dirty bomb” headed for the Israeli coast. It was recovered — but only after 16 pirates died from burns suffered as a result of their proximity to the vessel’s radioactive cargo.
• Over the weekend, the Somali pirates hijacked what has been described as the largest “booty” ever seized by marauders at sea — a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million of “black gold.”
Chief Gangplankster Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and cronies in 2008.
Conversely, land-lubbing pirates can be found wearing silk and wool suits while walking the halls of government in our nation’s capital, promoting a massive bailout of the financial industry by the federal government (a.k.a., “taxpayers”):
• Two months ago, domestic pirates tossed about problem-solving figures that ranged from $700 billion to $1 trillion — or, by some estimates, an estimated $6,500 per family. After much rhetoric was exchanged, they passed a two-phased bailout package — $350 billion per phase. Pirates voting in favor of the measure reconciled their actions by claiming that “doing nothing was not an option.” Soon after, they began feigning surprise over the fact that the people they put in charge of the money can’t tell us where they’ve spent it.
• Today, the same pirates, led by Chief Gangplankster Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are holding meetings to discuss the matter of a proposed $50 billion bailout of the nation’s domestic automobile industry. That industry, by the way, is one many of the pirates say is “too big to fail.” Apparently, their financial illiteracy prevents them from reading articles on the subject — like this one by George Will — that explain in precise detail that the industry has failed.
Obviously, both groups of pirates are keen on taking advantage of opportunities in order to realize their own twisted versions of success. My worry, however, is that the pirates in Washington will, one day too soon, pass what might be described as a piece of ‘dirty bomb’ legislation that blows up on in the faces of all Americans.
Seven years later, Somali pirates have been replaced by ISIS fighters, but the ranks of our domestic pirates have seen only minor leadership changes (i.e., Paul Ryan replace John Boehner as speaker of the House and Mitch McConnell took the Senate gavel from Harry Reid). And, as for so-called “dirty bomb” pieces of legislation,” we’ve seen plenty of ’em blow up in our faces.
Would it surprise you to learn the federal government has been spending millions of dollars to develop a voice stress-based credibility-assessment technology to vet foreign individuals seeking entry into the United States from places like Syria? Hardly. But it might surprise you to learn the money has been spent despite the fact that kind of technology already exists and has proven itself over and over again in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
AVATAR – University of Arizona BORDERS Program
During an exhaustive four-year investigation of the federal government’s use of credibility-assessment technologies, including the polygraph, I found numerous individuals — most of whom worked with or for government agencies — eager to disparage the idea that one can detect deception by measuring stress in the human voice. Toward the end of my investigation, I learned about a government-funded effort at the University of Arizona to develop a voice stress-based technology despite the fact such a technology already exists and has proven itself to the point that more state and local law enforcement agencies use it than use the polygraph.
Slightly modified with the addition of links in place of footnotes for stand-alone publication, details of my brief electronic exchanges with a man involved in the aforementioned research at the U of A appear below as excerpted from my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo:
Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.
If, as polygraph loyalists have claimed for decades, it is not possible to detect stress in the human voice, then why have so many taxpayer dollars been dedicated to pairing the study of the human voice with credibility-assessment technologies?
He began by explaining that the program has received funding from several sources, including — but not limited to — the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and no fewer than three branches of the U.S. military.
Next, he described the history of the project.
“We started down this path to develop a non-intrusive, non-invasive next-generation polygraph about 10 years ago with funding from the Polygraph Institute at Ft. Jackson,” he wrote.
If, per Dr. Nunamaker, the effort began 10 years ago at Polygraph Headquarters, that means it got its start at about the same time the 2003 National Research Council report, “The Polygraph and Lie Detection,” was published and offered, among other things, that the majority of 57 research studies touted by the American Polygraph Association were “unreliable, unscientific and biased.”
In a message August 31, 2012, Dr. Nunamaker offered more details about his research.
“The UA team has created an Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessment in Real-Time (AVATAR) that uses an embodied conversational agent–an animated human face backed by biometric sensors and intelligent agents–to conduct interviews,” he explained. “It is currently being used at the Nogales, Mexico-U.S. border and is designed to detect changes in arousal, behavior and cognitive effort that may signal stress, risk or credibility.”
In the same message, Dr. Nunamaker pointed me to a then-recent article in which the AVATAR system was described as one that uses “speech recognition and voice-anomaly-detection software” to flag certain exchanges “as questionable and worthy of follow-up interrogation.”
Those exchanges, according to the article, “are color coded green, yellow or red to highlight the potential severity of questionable responses.” Ring familiar?
Further into the article, reporter Larry Greenemeier relied upon Aaron Elkins, a post-doctoral researcher who helped develop the system, to provide an explanation of how anomaly detection is employed by AVATAR.
After stating that it is based on vocal characteristics, Elkins explained a number of ways in which a person’s voice might tip the program. One of his explanations was particularly interesting.
“The kiosk’s speech recognition software monitors the content of an interviewee’s answers and can flag a response indicating when, for example, a person acknowledges having a criminal record.”
Elkins clarified his views further during an interview eight days later.
“I will stress that is a very large leap to say that they’re lying…or what they’re saying is untrue — but what it does is draw attention that there is something going on,” he said. At the end of that statement, reporter Som Lisaius added seven words — precisely the intent behind any credibility assessment — with which I’m certain every [sic] Computer Voice Stress Analyzer® examiner I’ve interviews during the past four years would agree.
To even the most-impartial observer, Elkins’ explanations confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that BORDERS researchers believe stress can be detected in the voice utterances of individuals facing real-life jeopardy.
NOTE: Though I tried twice between August 2012 and February 2013 to find out from officials at the BORDERS program how much funding they have received from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and all other sources since the inception of the program, I received no replies to my inquiries.
To learn more about why federal government agencies are funding this kind of research despite the fact a polygraph replacement already exists and has proven itself in a wide range of applications, one must understand that a technological “turf war” is to blame and has been raging silently for more than 40 years. Details of that turf war can be found inside The Clapper Memo.
After trying to learn more this weekend about the folks involved in the Million Student March student group, I learned you can send a kid to college, but you can’t make him think.
The decision to learn more about these young people came to me early Saturday morning while putting together my latest weekly recap which included a mention of a now-famousvideo of Neil Cavuto’s recentFox Business interview of Keely Mullen, a young female college student identified as the national organizer of the Million Student March. Based upon her interview performance, I concluded she could not have been “the brains” behind the student group and decided to find out who else is at the heart of the misguided movement.
I started by visiting theICANN WHOIS website where one can find details about who is responsible for a domain name or an IP address. There, I typed in the domain name for the group’s website (which I will not share because that’s my prerogative as owner of this website). Next, I filled in a Captcha blank and clicked on the “LOOKUP” button. Milliseconds later, I was shocked to find the personal information (i.e., phone number, physical address and email address) of the person who had registered the domain (which I will not share for the same reason).
After grabbing a few screenshots of the personal information, I concluded that I had two options:
1) I could expose this person’s personal information for all the world — including individuals previously unaware of the ICANN WHOIS website as well as potentially-violent folks on the opposite side of the philosophical arena — to see; or
2) I could use the person’s phone number to contact him and advise him to purchase private registration immediately. Why? So that he might avoid being found by the aforementioned “potentially-violent folks” who might wish to do him harm because they disagree with his political philosophy.
Perhaps, because I can’t shake my fatherly instincts (I’ve put one son through college while a second is in college and a third is in the pipeline), I chose Option #2. Before exercising that option, however, I decided to learn more about this person and found the following:
• This person is co-founder with Mullen of the student activism group; he has given interviews to numerous national media outlets; and he has written at least one pro-communism article for at least one socialist online publication;
• This person is a third-year student at a very expensive and well-known university in New England;
• This person is under 21 years of age; and
• In addition to being a co-founder with Mullen, this person teamed up with her to create both the group’s website and the group’s Facebook page (links to which I will not share) as tools to call students nationwide to action.
I dialed this young person’s phone number at 12:48 p.m. Central Saturday afternoon, careful to block my own phone number from appearing in his Caller ID. After all, I didn’t know whether or not he was a genuine nut job or simply a misguided college student. After a technical glitch surfaced during the first attempt, he answered the second time I called and our brief conversation began.
I told him I was an investigative reporter who, while insisting on remaining anonymous, had something important to share with him. Having gotten his attention, I continued by telling him I wholeheartedly disagree with the philosophy embodied in the Million Student March, but felt obligated to offer some advice that might prevent him from enduring bodily harm.
My advice came out something like this: “You need to obtain private registration for your domain so that your personal information is not be visible on the ICANN WHOIS website for anyone, including those who might wish to do you harm, to find.”
I could sense he was paying very close attention while still a bit confused.
To emphasize how important it was for him to complete the recommended task, I reminded him I had reached him by dialing the very phone number listed on the ICANN WHOIS website. I hammered home my point by reading out loud to him the rest of his personal information I had found online, including his email address and a physical address — which I assume belongs to his parents or another relative in a state not too far away from where he attends school.
When he told me he had, indeed, received several threats as a result of his newfound notoriety, I recommended he move — at least until the situation settled down a bit — in case someone who didn’t have his best interests in mind had also found his personal information online.
Our short conversation ended with him thanking me. And that, I think, is the difference between a conservative and a socialist. A true conservative is willing to help safeguard the life of a young, impressionable and naive college student even if that student is pushing a political agenda that makes no sense whatsoever. But, per the headline above, the story does not end there.
When I finished writing my first version of this piece, it included his name, exact age, the university he attends and the domain for his group’s website, but it did not include his phone number or addresses — email and physical, that is. I planned to publish the piece Saturday afternoon after I was able to confirm this young person had taken my advice.
When I checked the ICANN WHOIS website Saturday at 2 p.m., the information was still visible on the site, indicating this young person had still not taken action to protect it.
When I checked later that night, nothing had changed.
Same thing Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. Same thing Monday morning.
It seems as if this young person — half of the “brain trust” responsible for launching a student movement purported to be national in scope — doesn’t care whether or not his personal information is available to be found by anyone familiar with the ICANN WHOIS website.
Fully realizing it won’t take anyone long to figure out who this kid is, I feel as if I’ve done as much as I can to give him a chance. And now you understand the inspiration for the headline, atop this article.
UPDATE 11/17/2015 at 8:55 a.m. Central: As of two minutes ago, he still hasn’t acted to protect his personal info. smh
UPDATE 11/19/2015 at 8:15 a.m. Central: He still hasn’t acted to protect his personal info.
The past week was full of news about a multitude of events in which many of the participants attached themselves to their own definition of justice. In my weekly recap below, I offer a review of those events and how I followed them Nov. 8-14, 2015.
If resignations count as victories, does that mean the Missouri Tigers are bowl-eligible? Click on image above to read about political correctness on campus.
The week began with good news and bad news, depending upon who your favorite college football team is. For me, good news surfaced when my two favorite football teams, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in that order, were ranked #8 and #12, respectively, in the college football playoff rankings for Week 11. For many of my neighbors, bad news surfaced when football players at the University of Missouri went on strike and prompted me — and many others in cyberspace — to ask, “Haven’t the Missouri Tigers been on strike all season? Ahem, 4-5?”
I also shared a few political points, including one aimed at Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar who’s running for governor as a Democrat Republican in Missouri. It seems he not only aligns with Al Gore and other liberals in promoting climate change propaganda, but he’s also a big fan of global governance. As a result, I’m siding with a trustworthy Marine, John Brunner, to be the Show-Me State’s next Republican governor.
On a more personal note, Sunday marked Day 100 of the fitness regimen I started Aug. 1, and I reported the loss of 17 pounds toward my goal of 30 that will bring me to the “ultimate fighting weight” at which I graduated from Air Force Officer Training School more than 30 years ago.
Among the day’s updates on my Facebook page, I pointed to news about a Jordanian policeman waging an “insider attack” that killed two Americans as a stark reminder of some of the subject matter I covered in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo. In addition, I dubbed The University of Missouri at Columbia “Ferguson West” as protests continued at the school with the football team that’s 4-5.
Among the day’s updates onmy Facebook page was one that featured a list of questions that came to mind after I read an article in The New York Times about the protests at Mizzou:
• What will happen when a journalist calls the campus police at the University of Missouri at Columbia to report students are trampling upon his freedom of the press?
• Will the campus police come to the aide of the journalist?
• What if the police don’t come to the aide of the journalist? That will make for some interesting reporting. It will also lead to some interesting explanations by the campus police.
• How long will it take for Reverend Al Sharpton and his gang of race hustlers to arrive on campus and begin stoking the fires of discontent?
• MOST IMPORTANT: Will Mizzou football fans stage a mass boycott of the team’s next home game or will it simply look as if they have taken the drastic step when so many stadium seats appear empty as the Tigers trudge through another forgettable season? So many questions. So little time.
Also on Facebook Tuesday, I managed to photograph members of an anarchist group appearing to break the law at my favorite St. Louis-area lake, and I asked a tongue-in-cheek question: Does notching two same-day victories (i.e., getting both the university system president and the chancellor to resign their positions), make the previously 4-5 University of Missouri Tigers football team bowl eligible? Inquiring minds want to know.
• Related to the student protests at Mizzou, I shared a link to the abstract of the doctoral dissertation, “It’s ‘a good thing’: The commodification of femininity, affluence, and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon,” completed by Dr. Melissa Click at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst six years before she made headlines for all the wrong reasons at Mizzou;
My fifth article of the week, published Thursday, was more crass commercial message than news, because I asked people to do two things: 1) buy my books; and, afterward, 2) copy Steve Jennings’ example and send me photos of themselves holding copies of my books. Soon after, Ivan Nikolov took the bull by the horns and sent me a photo of himself holding up his copy of The Clapper Memo. Thanks, friend!
Facebook friend Ivan Nikolov holds a copy of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.
Finally, I shared a priceless video (above) that features Fox Business Channel‘s Neil Cavuto interviewing Keely Mullen, Million Student March National Organizer, about her group’s demand that rich people pay for everyone else’s college costs, that all student loan debt is cancelled and that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour for workers on college campuses. After watching it, you’ll understand why I prefaced it with the comment, “I thought I heard the wind whistling through her head, ear to ear, as she spoke.”
Another five-star review ofThree Days In August appeared on Amazon Friday, but I didn’t come across it until today; hence, this is the first mention I’ve made of it. Regardless, the review (below) is a good one and appears to have been written by an attorney:
I had a court-martial at Fort Benning where the Military Judge was the same judge who was presided over US v. Stewart. Both my client and I bought this book to obtain some G-2 on him. It is a really quick read and an informative look on the evolution of military justice in regards to sexual assault prosecutions, which has only grown worse. Bob McCarty has a keen knack for writing about military justice, and this book is by no means dull, particularly if you are a military justice practitioner, or you would like some insight to what it’s like to be sitting in a chair next to your TDS counsel if you are thrown into the military justice machine.
FYI: TDS is the Army acronym for Trial Defense Services (i.e., uniform-wearing defense attorneys).
Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the articles above and those to follow. For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me onFacebook andTwitter. Please show your support bybuying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how toorder signed copies, click here. Until next time.