Puerto Rico Teamsters Union, “Frente Amplio”, Refuse to Deliver Supplies – Use Hurricane Maria as Contract Leverage…

Puerto Rican born and raised, Colonel Michael A. Valle (”Torch”), Commander, 101st Air and Space Operations Group, and Director of the Joint Air Component Coordination Element, 1st Air Force, responsible for Hurricane Maria relief efforts, has the following comment:

…They have the generators, water, food, medicine, and fuel on the ground, yet the supplies are not moving across the island as quickly as they’re needed.

“It’s a lack of drivers for the transport trucks, the 18 wheelers. Supplies we have. Trucks we have. There are ships full of supplies, backed up in the ports, waiting to have a vehicle to unload into. However, only 20% of the truck drivers show up to work. These are private citizens in Puerto Rico, paid by companies that are contracted by the government”.. (link)

The ports are so full of relief supplies they can’t fit any more on the available space. CNBC ground report confirms Colonel Valle’s ground report.  WATCH:

 

The reason for truck drivers not showing up?  The Puerto Rican Teamsters Union, Frente Amplio, is refusing to move the product.

Meanwhile, amid floods and lack of power the Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, finds a way to get propaganda T-Shirts to politicize the tragedy on very fake news CNN.

Go figure.

 

From: The Conservative Treehouse

Gamers have an advantage in learning

Video games are apparently better than their reputation.

Neuropsychologists of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum let video gamers compete against non-gamers in a learning competition. During the test, the video gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas that are relevant for learning. Prof Dr Boris Suchan, Sabrina Schenk and Robert Lech report their findings in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.

The weather prediction task

The research team studied 17 volunteers who – according to their own statement – played action-based games on the computer or a console for more than 15 hours a week. The control group consisted of 17 volunteers who didn’t play video games on a regular basis. Both teams did the so-called weather prediction task, a well-established test to investigate the learning of probabilities. The researchers simultaneously recorded the brain activity of the participants via magnetic resonance imaging.

The participants were shown a combination of three cue cards with different symbols. They should estimate whether the card combination predicted sun or rain and got a feedback if their choice was right or wrong right away. The volunteers gradually learned, on the basis of the feedback, which card combination stands for which weather prediction. The combinations were thereby linked to higher or lower probabilities for sun and rain. After completing the task, the study participants filled out a questionnaire to sample their acquired knowledge about the cue card combinations.

Video gamers better with high uncertainties

The gamers were notably better in combining the cue cards with the weather predictions than the control group. They fared even better with cue card combinations that had a high uncertainty such as a combination that predicted 60 percent rain and 40 percent sunshine.

The analysis of the questionnaire revealed that the gamers had acquired more knowledge about the meaning of the card combinations than the control group. “Our study shows that gamers are better in analysing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge and to categorise facts – especially in situations with high uncertainties,” says first author Sabrina Schenk.

This kind of learning is linked to an increased activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a key role in learning and memory. “We think that playing video games trains certain brain regions like the hippocampus”, says Schenk. “That is not only important for young people, but also for older people; this is because changes in the hippocampus can lead to a decrease in memory performance. Maybe we can treat that with video games in the future.”

Funding

The study was conceived as part of Collaborative Research Centre 874, which has been funded since 2010 by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) to investigate memory formation and sensory processing.

Original publication

Sabrina Schenk, Robert K. Lech, Boris Suchan: Games people play: How video games improve probabilistic learning, in: Behavioral Brain Research, 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.08.027

Press contact

Prof Dr Boris Suchan
Department of Clinical Neuropsychology
Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience
Faculty of Psychology
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Germany
Phone: +49 234 32 27575
Email: boris.suchan@rub.de

EU Commission Says No Evidence of Piracy Affecting Video Game Sales

The European Commission has released a new study suggesting that there is no evidence linking illegal downloads of video games and other media affecting legal sales of said content. Conducted by research firm Ecorys across the EU, the survey reports that 51% of adults and 71% of minors in the EU downloaded or streamed illegal content. Lowering prices “would not change piracy rates” and also did not have an affect on consumers spending with 55% willing to pay market price or higher for the content. 

Those of you interested in reading the report can find it here at a whopping 307 pages to weather through.

One section of the report actually claims that piracy has a positive effect on legal sales in the games industry. A table shows the displacement rate for video games is +24%, “implying that illegal consumption leads to increased legal consumption.”

FIRST LOOK: HERE’S TRUMP’S ‘AMERICA FIRST’ TAX PLAN

Basic framework for tax relief targeting the middle-class and small businesses

 
Goals:
  • Tax relief for middle-class families.
  • The simplicity of “postcard” tax filing for the vast majority of Americans.
  • Tax relief for businesses, especially small businesses.
  • Ending incentives to ship jobs, capital, and tax revenue overseas
  • Broadening the tax base and providing greater fairness for all Americans by closing special interest tax rates and loopholes.
 

 

Feds rush aid to Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is ramping up its response Monday to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, even as President Donald Trump brought up the island’s struggles before Hurricane Maria struck — including “billions of dollars” in debt to “Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”

The Trump administration has tried to blunt criticism that its response to Hurricane Maria has fallen short of its efforts in Texas and Florida after the recent hurricanes there.

Five days after the Category 4 storm slammed into Puerto Rico, many of the more than 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory were still without adequate food, water and fuel. Flights off the island were infrequent, communications were spotty and roads were clogged with debris. Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month.

Trump himself pointed out some differences between the two states and the island in a series of tweets Monday night.

“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble.”

Trump also noted that the island’s electrical grid was already “in terrible shape.” Still, he promised, “Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well.”

In Washington, officials said no armada of U.S. Navy ships was headed to the island because supplies could be carried in more efficiently by plane. The Trump administration ruled out temporarily setting aside federal restrictions on foreign ships’ transportation of cargo, saying it wasn’t needed. The government had waived those rules in Florida and Texas until last week.

Though the administration said the focus on aid was strong, when two Cabinet secretaries spoke at a conference on another subject — including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose agency is helping restore the island’s power — neither made any mention of Puerto Rico or Hurricane Maria.

Democratic lawmakers with large Puerto Rican constituencies back on the mainland characterized the response so far as too little and too slow. The confirmed toll from Maria jumped to at least 49 on Monday, including 16 dead in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Ricans are Americans,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who traveled to Puerto Rico over the weekend to assess the damage. “We cannot and will not turn our backs on them.”

Trump himself was expected at the end of last week to visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, after they had been ravaged by Hurricane Irma. But the trip was delayed after Maria set its sights on the islands.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, and White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert landed in San Juan on Monday, appearing with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello at a brief news briefing. Though Rossello had urgently called for more emergency assistance over the weekend, he expressed his gratitude for the help so far.

The governor said the presence of Long and Bossert was “a clear indication that the administration is committed with Puerto Rico’s recovery process.”

Long said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We realize that.”

Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made no mention of Puerto Rico or the hurricane during a joint appearance before the National Petroleum Council, a business-friendly federal advisory committee. News reporters were not allowed to ask questions.

Perry had traveled with Trump to Texas and Florida following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Energy Department crews are working in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, coordinating with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, FEMA and a team from the New York Power Authority, among others. An eight-member team from the Western Area Power Authority, an Energy Department agency, assisted with initial damage assessments in Puerto Rico and has been redeployed to St. Thomas. A spokeswoman said additional responders would go to Puerto Rico as soon as transportation to the hurricane-ravaged island could be arranged.

Zinke’s department oversees the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with other territories.

The federal response to Maria faces obvious logistical challenges beyond those in Texas or Florida. Supplies must be delivered by air or sea, rather than with convoys of trucks.

FEMA said it had more than 700 staff on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They were helping coordinate a federal response that now includes more than 10,000 federal personnel spread across the two Caribbean archipelagos.

In Puerto Rico, federal workers supplied diesel to fuel generators at hospitals and delivered desperately needed food and water to hard-hit communities across the island. Cargo flights are bringing in additional supplies, and barges loaded with more goods are starting to arrive in the island’s ports.

San Juan’s international airport handled nearly 100 arrivals and departures on Sunday, including military and relief operations, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The Pentagon dispatched the Navy amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, which provided helicopters and Marines to help with the relief effort onshore.

However, the Trump administration said Monday it would not waive federal restrictions on foreign ships’ transportation of cargo as it had following Harvey and Irma. The administration said it will continue to enforce the Jones Act, which requires that goods transported between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flagged ships.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said the agency had concluded there were already enough US-flagged vessels available.

On Capitol Hill, congressional leaders were talking about how to pay for it all. Puerto Rico was already struggling from steep financial and economic challenges before Maria made landfall.

After the devastating storm, Puerto Ricans will now be eligible to benefit from the same pots of federal emergency disaster aid and rebuilding funds available to residents in Texas and Florida.

Lawmakers approved a $15 billion hurricane relief packaged after Harvey hit Texas, but billions more will likely now be needed to respond to Maria.

Ryan said Monday that Congress will ensure the people of Puerto Rico “have what they need.”

“Dreamer” arrested in Tennessee church shooting that left 1 dead, 6 injured

From: Yahoo.com

Police have identified the gunman, a Sudanese immigrant,  who shot a woman dead and injured six other churchgoers after he opened fire Sunday morning at a Tennessee church as services were ending.

The shooting at Burnett’s Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, started in the church’s parking lot, according to police and the Nashville Fire Department. Nashville Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said emergency calls came in around 11:15 a.m. as services were letting out.

The gunman, identified by police as 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, arrived in the parking lot and first fatally fired at 39-year-old Melanie Smith, who was walking to her car, police said. Samson was wearing a neoprene half-mask and drove an SUV, Aaron said.

After gunning down the woman in the parking lot, Samson went inside through the rear of the church and began “indiscriminately shooting at people,” police said, wounding six people.

A church usher, identified as 22-year-old Robert Engle, ran up and confronted Samson and was subsequently pistol-whipped by him, police said. Samson was at some point shot in the left pectoral, though police still don’t know if the gun discharged on its own during Engle’s struggle with the suspect.

At that point, Engle went to his car, where he got his weapon to confront the shooter again.

Police said Samson had attended the church within the past two years. He has been released from a local hospital and will be charged with one count of murder, with additional charges to come.

 

 

The Memphis FBI Field Office’s Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Sunday.

All seven of the wounded were taken to area hospitals. Five of them were sent to Vanderbilt Medical Center and one to Skyline Medical Center.

Vanderbilt Medical Center said in a statement after the shooting that its emergency medicine physicians and trauma center surgeons are caring for two critically injured gunshot victims, and another four individuals who are currently in stable condition.

Nashville Christian School released a statement on Sunday, saying, “As you may already know, one of our Bible teachers, Joey Spann, and his wife were both injured in the church shooting this morning at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch. We do not have any additional information at this time but want to boldly ask you to pray. Please lift up Coach Joey Spann and his wife Peggy and all who have been injured or impacted by this tragic event.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a statement on Sunday: “This is a terrible tragedy for our city,” she said. “My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

“My administration, especially the Metro Nashville Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and promote non-violence,” she added.

ABC News’ Ben Stein contributed to this report.

Also: Freaking Reddit.

And thank goodness for the Usher:

 https://twitter.com/SophieNC5/status/912258625653166080/photo/1

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Police have made it clear: more lives could have been lost Sunday if not for an usher’s quick, brave actions to stop a church shooter in Antioch.  

Caleb Engle, age 22, stopped the suspect’s murderous rampage at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. 

When the shooting started, Engle moved to confront the alleged gunman, Emanuel Samson. During the struggle Samson’s gun discharged, hitting Samson in the chest.

Engle, who had been pistol-whipped, then ran to his car to get his own gun and held Samson until police arrived.

“He’s the hero. He’s the person that stopped this madness,” said Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson. 

Engle has been discharged from the hospital and released this statement, reading in part: 

“I ask everyone to pray for the victims, family members of the victims, our church community. Please pray for healing. Also, please pray for the shooter, the shooter’s family and friends. They are hurting, as well.”

From:Fox

One woman was killed and seven other people were hurt after a suspect identified as a Sudanese immigrant opened fire at a Tennessee church Sunday, police said, as the FBI confirmed it’s launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

The suspect, 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, immigrated from Sudan two decades ago, police said. He’s suspected of bringing at least two pistols and a mask to the predominantly white Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, southeast of Nashville, before opening fire.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department tweeted that Samson had been released from the hospital and will be charged with murder and attempted murder.

Photos from a Facebook page under Samson’s name seemed to show him lifting weights and showing off his physique. A post earlier Sunday read: “Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B.” Another post read, “Become the creator instead of what’s created. What you say, goes.”

Police have not commented on the Facebook posts. 

“The Memphis FBI Field Office’s Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence,” FBI Memphis told Fox News.

An usher, identified as Robert Engle, 22, confronted the gunman at one point and was pistol-whipped, causing “significant injury around his head,” police added. They said Engle went to his own car, grabbed a pistol and headed back into the church.

Law enforcement confirmed Samson is a legal U.S. resident who immigrated from Sudan in 1996.

It was initially reported that the gunman shot himself, although police said it’s unclear whether he shot himself or the gun unintentionally discharged during his scuffle with Engle.

Police said that Burnette Chapel churchgoers recognized Samson as attending their church one to two years ago, but noted he hadn’t attended services “in quite a while.”

The woman who was shot and killed in the church parking lot, identified as Melanie Smith, 39, was walking to her car when she was hit, police said.

The gunman, with his blue vehicle still running in the parking lot, then entered the back of the church and shot six people – three women and three men – who were rushed to the hospital, police said. 

Police identified those being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and in stable condition as: William Jenkins, 83; Marlene Jenkins, 84; Peggy Spann, 65; and Linda Busch, 68. David Spann, 60, was also being treated at Vanderbilt, but was listed as in critical but stable condition.

Katherine Dickerson, 64, was in stable condition at Skyline Medical Center. Engle was also being treated at Skyline.

Nashville Christian School wrote on Facebook that David Spann, nicknamed Joey, is a Bible teacher at the school, in addition to working as a high school and middle school basketball coach. Spann is reportedly a pastor at the Burnette Chapel.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson called Engle a “hero” for his actions at the church Sunday.

Several witnesses claimed the shooter was wearing a “clown mask” when he opened fire, but police said what he wore more closely resembled a ski mask.

https://twitter.com/MayorMeganBarry/status/912026131477483520/photo/1

Megan Barry, mayor of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, said in a statement that the shooting “is a terrible tragedy for our city. My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones.”

Gov. Bill Haslam added that he and his wife, Crissy, were praying for the victims and “committed to supporting the Antioch community in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

The church has a weekly service starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. The surrounding area was closed off as police investigated the situation.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 
 

Intel Self-Learning Artificial Intelligence Chip

While AMD and NVIDIA’s GPUs have been at the forefront of all that have been marveling at AI and what it is going to do for us, we have not heard a lot out of Intel. Seems as though Intel is now ready to talk about; Neuromorphic Computing: The Future of AI and Compute. OK, the video does not tell us a damn thing, besides the fact that Intel thinks its marketing team is worth spending money on, but you can read a bit deeper at this page. I know that I am working “neuromorphic” into at least three conversations this week just to watch peoples’ reactions.

 

Introducing the Intel Loihi test chip – The Intel Loihi research test chip includes digital circuits that mimic the brain’s basic mechanics, making machine learning faster and more efficient while requiring lower compute power. Neuromorphic chip models draw inspiration from how neurons communicate and learn, using spikes and plastic synapses that can be modulated based on timing. This could help computers self-organize and make decisions based on patterns and associations.

Climate alarmists have finally admitted that they’ve got it wrong on global warming.

This is the inescapable conclusion of a landmark paper, published in Nature Geoscience, which finally admits that the computer models have overstated the impact of carbon dioxide on climate and that the planet is warming more slowly than predicted.

The paper – titled Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C –  concedes that it is now almost impossible that the doomsday predictions made in the last IPCC Assessment Report of 1.5 degrees C warming above pre-industrial levels by 2022 will come true.

In order for that to happen, temperatures would have to rise by a massive 0.5 degrees C in five years.

Since global mean temperatures rarely rise by even as much as 0.25 degrees C in a decade, that would mean the planet would have to do 20 years’ worth of extreme warming in the space of the next five years.

This, the scientists admit, is next to impossible. Which means their “carbon budget” – the amount of CO2 they say is needed to increase global warming by a certain degree – is wrong. This in turn means that the computer models they’ve been using to scare the world with tales of man-made climate doom are wrong too.

One researcher – from the alarmist side of the argument, not the skeptical one – has described the paper’s conclusion as “breathtaking” in its implications.

He’s right. The scientists who’ve written this paper aren’t climate skeptics. They’re longstanding warmists, implacable foes of climate skeptics, and they’re also actually the people responsible for producing the IPCC’s carbon budget.

In other words, this represents the most massive climbdown from the alarmist camp.

But you certainly wouldn’t guess this from the way the scientists are trying to spin their report.

According to the London Times:

 Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London and one ofthe study’s authors, admitted that his previous prediction had been wrong.

He stated during the climate summit in Paris in December 2015: “All the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5C is simply incompatible with democracy.”

Speaking to The Times, he said: “When the facts change, I change my mind, as Keynes said.

“It’s still likely to be very difficult to achieve these kind of changes quickly enough but we are in a better place than I thought.”

and

Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford and another author of the paper, said: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

He said that the group of about a dozen computer models, produced by government research institutes and universities around the world, had been assembled a decade ago “so it’s not that surprising that it’s starting to divert a little bit from observations”.

He said that too many of the models used “were on the hot side”, meaning they forecast too much warming.

Note the disingenuousness here.

Grubb is claiming that the facts have changed. Which they haven’t. Climate skeptics have been saying for years that the IPCC climate models have been running “too hot.” Indeed, the Global Warming Policy Foundation produced a paper stating this three years ago. Naturally it was ignored by alarmists who have always sought to marginalize the GWPF as a denialist institution which they claim – erroneously – is in the pay of sinister fossil fuel interests.

Allen’s “so it’s not that surprising” is indeed true if you’re on the skeptical side of the argument. But not if, like Allen, you’re one of those scientists who’ve spent the last 20 years scorning, mocking and vilifying all those skeptics who for years have been arguing the very point which Allen himself is now admitting is correct.

That’s why Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation says, this is a “landmark” moment in the history of great climate change scare.

“It’s the first official confirmation we’ve had that CO2 is not as big a driver of climate change as the computer models have claimed; and it’s the first official admission that the planet is not warming dangerously.”

But this is not, unfortunately, a cause for wild celebrations in the street. ManBearPig has been scotched but by no means been slain. Nor are the alarmists yet ready to admit the full scale of their errors.

This is little more than a damage limitation exercise by scamsters who know they’ve been caught cheating and have now been forced to concede at least some territory to their opponents for fear of looking ridiculous.

Paul Homewood has their number:

1) We have known for several years that the climate models have been running far too hot.

This rather belated admission is welcome, but a cynic would wonder why it was not made before Paris.

2) I suspect part of the motivation is to keep Paris on track. Most observers, including even James Hansen, have realised that it was not worth the paper it was written on.

This new study is designed to restore the belief that the original climate targets can be achieved, via Paris and beyond.

3) Although they talk of the difference between 0.9C and 1.3C, the significance is much greater.

Making the reasonable assumption that a significant part of the warming since the mid 19thC is natural, this means that any AGW signal is much less than previously thought.

4) Given that that they now admit they have got it so wrong, why should we be expected to have any faith at all in the models?

5) Finally, we must remember that temperatures since 2000 have been artificially raised by the recent record El Nino, and the ongoing warm phase of the AMO.

Yup. But at least we climate skeptics have been proved right yet again, that’s the main thing.

Oh, and by the way, snooty alarmist scumbags: that word you were looking for to describe the current state of global warming science is: “Sorry.”

Comcast, AT&T Are Abusing Minority Groups To Support Killing Net Neutrality

For years, I’ve noted how one of the greasier lobbying tactics in telecom is the use of minority groups to provide the illusion of broad support for what’s often awful policy. Such groups are given cash for a shiny new event center in exchange for parroting any policy position that comes across their desks, even if it dramatically undermines their constituents. As a result, we’ve shown how time and time again you’ll see minority coalitions like the “Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership” supporting awful mergers or opposing consumer-centric policies like more cable box competition or net neutrality.

And it’s not just minority groups. A wide variety of groups take telecom cash to repeat whatever they’re told, whether it’s rural Texas school associations, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association or even “balloonists.” Some of these groups are created specifically for this purpose. Other times, these groups are “co-opted” without understanding what they’re actually supporting. The goal overall is simple: to create the illusion of broad support for bad ideas the actual public — minority or otherwise — would oppose.

With the debate over net neutrality heating up once again, ISPs have again dusted off this tried and true tactic to mislead the press, public, and politicians. As a result, we’re seeing numerous civil rights groups that are more than happy to let giant corporations like AT&T and Comcast rent their identity for the weekend. This week, a coalition of such groups, including the NAACP, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and the National Urban League, fired off a letter urging Senators to move quickly to craft “a permanent statutory solution” to “solve” net neutrality once and for all:

The issue of network neutrality and the importance of a free and open internet has been a political football. Every time the political pendulum swings, this policy debate becomes difficult, convoluted, and even condescending. One thing is crystal clear: The internet should be open and accessible.

For this reason, we support a permanent statutory solution that enshrines the basic open internet principles into law. These core principles are not controversial and should not be subject to endless litigation, regulation, and reconsideration. A statute locking in net neutrality would protect net neutrality no matter how the political winds blow.

A statutory approach also avoids the jurisdictional and classification problems that plagued the last FCC. The goal should be improvement, deployment, and adoption of the high speed networks that all Americans deserve. Legislation will provide certainty to consumers and industry for the foreseeable future.

On the surface this sounds perfectly reasonable. Until you understand what’s actually happening in telecom policy and the fight for net neutrality right now.

While there’s no debate that a Congress-made net neutrality law would be the ideal solution, you may have noticed that Congress is so awash in telecom campaign contributions that crafting a law not riddled with fatal loopholes has been impossible. As a result, the best path forward for those that actually care about net neutrality is to leave the existing rules and the FCC’s Title II authority in place (which is what these groups should be advocating for).

But, since that’s not what ISPs want, they’re pushing Congress — and their armies of dollar-per-holler policy tendrils — to push for a new law, one that will claim to “solve” net neutrality but will actually work to kill it through “compromise.”

The FCC technically could walk back net neutrality via the rulemaking process, but it would require another public open comment period. And since the 4 million comments made the last go-round broke FCC records, ISPs aren’t keen on revisiting this strategy. So the strategy is this: craft a new Communications Act rewrite or other law professing to codify net neutrality into law, but bury it with so many loopholes as to make it net neutrality protection in name only. When net neutrality supporting Senators in Congress fail to come to the table, they’ll be derided as being unwilling to compromise for the good of the people.

But it’s not really a compromise when the end product is worse than doing nothing (read: leaving the popular rules alone).

Once you understand all of that, it becomes clearer how the broadband industry is using these groups to create bogus support for a new, much weaker net neutrality law to “avoid the jurisdictional and classification problems that plagued the last FCC.” And if you follow the money behind this week’s letter, you’ll find that the group that coordinated it has a long, proud history of taking money from telecom companies, in exchange for coordinating civil rights group support for everything from the the latest megamerger to the assault on net neutrality:

Telecom issues, however, are a particular specialty. Last week’s letter was organized by the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council (MMTC), a group funded by the telecom industry that has previously encouraged civil rights groups to oppose net neutrality. MMTC in previous years reported receiving about a third of its budget from industry-sponsored events; its annual summit, which was held last week, was made possible by $100,000 sponsorships from Comcast and AT&T, as well as a $75,000 sponsorships from Charter Communications and Verizon.

This tactic has been so successful for Comcast, the company actually renamed their top lobbyist, David Cohen, the company’s “Chief Diversity Officer.” And while Comcast does indeed occasionally fund groups and events that put the needed cash and services to good work, you’re supposed to ignore the fact that Comcast lobbyists are actively working to undermine the minority communities the company claims to be helping with their other hand. Whenever I point this out, Comcast yells at me for calling Cohen a lobbyist.

We’ve been talking about this strategy for more than a decade now and nothing really seems to change. Since this cozy quid pro quo isn’t technically illegal, and is never put into writing, groups accused by reporters of selling their constituents down river either don’t respond to requests for comment (as was the case in The Intercept’s latest report on this subject), or they become breathlessly indignant at the very idea their integrity could be questioned. All the while, these groups’ constituents are usually entirely unaware they’re being used as political props — to actively undermine our collective best interests.

Equifax Hired a Music Major(aka a Garbage Degree) as Chief Security Officer

When Congress hauls in Equifax CEO Richard Smith to grill him, it can start by asking why he put someone with degrees in music in charge of the company’s data security: those who managed to pull up Susan Mauldin’s LinkedIn page before it was altered and taken down were surprised to find that Equifax’s CSO had an amusing but rather irrelevant set of qualifications. Remember, it’s not what you know, but who you know…

Equifax “Chief Security Officer” Susan Mauldin has a bachelor’s degree and a master of fine arts degree in music composition from the University of Georgia. Her LinkedIn professional profile lists no education related to technology or security. This is the person who was in charge of keeping your personal and financial data safe — and whose apparent failings have put 143 million of us at risk from identity theft and fraud. It was revealed this week that the massive data breach came due to a software vulnerability that was known about, and should have been patched, months earlier.