Horrorshow Open Thread: It Can’t Happen Here — Can It?

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Careful What You Post to Social Media, Volume 1984

This is bad:

For years, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have provided data to a company marketing social media surveillance tools to police, according to a newly published investigation by the ACLU of Northern California. Geofeedia used the company’s APIs to create real-time maps of social media activity in protest areas, maps which were subsequently used to identify, and in some cases arrest, protestors shortly after their posts became public. All three services have terminated Geofeedia’s access to the relevant APIs.

The ACLU’s report includes direct evidence the tool was used to monitor unrest after the Freddie Gray verdict in Baltimore, in the form of a testimonial provided by Geofeedia to an unnamed police department. As protests escalated, police and Geofeedia representatives monitored social media posts in real time, in some cases running photos through a facial recognition systems to locate protestors with outstanding warrants.

The testimonial describes one specific case at a local high school, where students planned to walk out of class to join the crowds. “We were able to turn around and alert local police, who intercepted the kids — some of whom had already hijacked a metro bus — and found their backpacks full of rocks, bottles, and fence posts,” Baltimore police Sergeant Andrew Vaccaro says in the testimonial. “They planned to do a lot of damage.”

Geofeedia demonstrated similar capabilities in a public demo compiled around the Ferguson protests. Notably, the resulting map makes no distinction between posts by protestors and credentialed press, drawing all relevant posts into the same graphic. All the data included in the map is drawn from publicly available metadata — specifically images, geolocation data, and screen names available on Instagram’s public feed. Still, it’s easy to see how such a tool could be used by police to identify and retain data on protestors at an otherwise impossible scale.


A CAP in Illinois

What is the situation and why am I thinking it is an adverse selection event if anyone offers to write credits for the Land of Lincoln members.

Land of Lincoln was a Co-Op. It was placed under state oversight in July. It’s reserves had gotten too low due to a higher than expected risk adjustment bill and no compensating risk corridor asset. Coverage for people on the individual market will terminate on 9/30/16. That means people will be running without coverage from October 1 to December 31.

New York had a similar experience in 2015 when Health Republic was liquidated in the fall of 2015.

Normally regulators would prefer to allow an insurer under oversight to run until the next open enrollment period. That would allow their members to have continuous coverage with the least amount of disruption and added stress. However Land of Lincoln and Health Republic could not make it to the end of the current policy year. Instead, they ended mid-contract. This triggers a Special Enrollment Period as the members lost coverage due to no fault of their own.

In New York, there was an arrangement that people who were on Health Republic who signed up for a month of coverage would have their deductibles and out of pocket expenses credited to their new policies.

That is now not the case in Illinois. Blue Cross and Blue Shield is refusing to enter into a voluntary arrangement to credit deductible and out of pocket spending for any new policies it rights for any qualifying event. That is their right to do so. However, their refusal to do so pretty much forces every other Illinois insurer to also refuse to extend deductible credits.

Adverse selection is the cause of this race to mutually assured ugliness.

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Capital Idea, Old Chap!

Words fail me:

On Thursday morning, the Daily Beast published an exceedingly gross and bizarre article by a straight, married male writer who lured in gay Olympians through hookup apps for no particular purpose. The entire piece is an astoundingly creepy exercise in Grindr-baiting, which involves a journalist accessing Grindr in an unlikely setting and … seeing what happens. But the Daily Beast piece, penned by Nico Hines, is a uniquely disgusting and irresponsible entry into the tired genre. Hines entices his (often closeted) subjects under false pretenses; effectively outs several closeted athletes who live in repressive countries; then writes about the whole thing in a tone of mocking yet lurid condescension. By 10:30 a.m. ET, the Daily Beast had, in response to criticism, edited out the most identifying details about closeted athletes—but that’s too little, too late. (Update, 9:15 p.m.: On Thursday evening, the Daily Beast took down the piece entirely.)

I’ve been steaming about this all day.

Late Night RNC Fustercluck Open Thread

Late Night Nightmare Fuel Open Thread: Open Carry in Cleveland Today

Per CNN:

The head of Cleveland’s largest police union is calling on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to temporarily restrict the state’s gun laws during this week’s Republican National Convention following Sunday’s shooting in Louisiana that killed three officers and wounded at least three others.

“We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told CNN. “They can fight about it after the RNC or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over.”

So-called “open carry” gun laws in Ohio allow for licensed firearm owners to wear their weapons in public. With the exception of a small “secure zone” inside and around the Quicken Loans Arena, residents, delegates and protesters are legally permitted to walk around the city — including within its 1.7 square mile regulated “event zone” — with any firearm not explicitly banned by the state.

Kasich, responding to the request, said: “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”…

Governor Kasich is not gonna be anywhere near Cleveland this week. And if, goddess forfend, something terrible involving open-carry participants were to happen, it would redound very badly on those people in the RNC currently supporting a presidential candidate who is not John Kasich. The Governor washes his hands before the crowd

Loomis also said officers here would begin ramping up inspections and oversight over anyone who is holstering a weapon entering the downtown area, where the Republican convention is scheduled to begin on Monday.

“We are going to be looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry,” he said. “An AR-15, a shotgun, multiple handguns. It’s irresponsible of those folks — especially right now — to be coming downtown with open carry AR’s or anything else. I couldn’t care less if it’s legal or not. We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can’t go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that’s exactly what they’re doing by bringing those guns down there.”…

The first key test for law enforcement comes Monday, as the convention opens, when Citizens for Trump and Black on Black Crime, Inc., which has marched in the past with Black Lives Matter-affiliated protestors, are among the many groups that are set to protest.
Citizens for Trump is scheduled to hold a rally expected to attract more than a thousand people to Settler’s Landing Park, less than a mile from where Republican delegates will be gathering at the Quicken Loans Arena…

Alfred Porter Jr., president of Black on Black Crime, Inc., a four-decade-old anti-violence group, told CNN it would not alter a planned demonstration Monday in Cleveland’s downtown Public Square.
“Nothing has changed because I still feel the same way, our message will still be the same,” Porter said on Sunday afternoon. “We refuse to let anybody who has a simplistic or violent or hateful message stop the type of message that we have been sending out for accountability. Our message is not to go out there and start murdering police officers.”…

Responsible Republicans respond:

Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governor to suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.

“I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who have permits can openly carry guns in public…

Jeff Larson, the CEO of the RNC, agreed with the governor.

“[Open carry] is in the Constitution in Ohio, so the governor can’t relax it for a day or tighten it up for five days,” he told reporters at a press conference Sunday. Waving away the police union’s safety concerns, Larson added, “I feel good about the security plan. I think it’s going to be fine.”…

Stay away from Cleveland

Folks, I know how tempting it is to go to the snakes’ den and tell them what you think to their face. I have done it. It’s cathartic. It feels great. Please don’t.

From a tactical perspective the convention does not need our help to be be a complete dumpster fire. Half the people in that convention hall hate the other half with the heat of a hundred suns, while a huge faction of delegates are openly scheming to unseat the nominee, i.e., destroy the party in order to save it. We should give them space to express all these feelings at each other. A common enemy outside would just give them a reason to rally together. Trump wants chaos. He feeds on it. The crazier things get outside the more Republicans will support him. Someone else once gained (siezed) power the exact same way.

Second and more important, Cleveland will be a security nightmare. Cleveland cops are a long way from role models on a good day. Next week the Cleveland PD will be overwhelmed, scared and dressed like an invading army. They will have divisions of staties and National Guard who will almost certainly follow their lead, open carry lunatics dressed like commandos will wander around giving them heartburn, and they will have an especially short fuse for anything that might be connected with Black Lives Matter. I recognize that is not fair. They have the badges and that is the mood right now, at least among departments with a history of racial problems. Does that sound like Cleveland to you? Best case scenario, expect aggressive crowd control and ‘free speech zones’ a good mile from the convention. I would not be surprised to see kettling, violent arrests for little or no reason and a whole lot of mace. It would not surprise me to see LRADs and possibly even microwave-based active denial systems deployed. I know the last one sounds crazy, but microwave torture (“crowd control”) beams have developed to the point where police departments could theoretically deploy them, if the DoD completely lost its mind. Given the circumstances I would not 100% write it off.

Finally, I know you know this already, but Trump’s hard core are fucking nuts. They are armed, racist, angry and they don’t believe in non-violence. Ohio’s laws let people open carry any guns they want right up to whatever line the Secret Service draws on the pavement. You legally have to retreat before using deadly force in Ohio, but don’t count on Florida Man knowing that. The RSVP list already includes those neo-Nazis who had the rally in Sacramento with all the stabbings. Inside the convention horrible people will be whipping up hate and fear like a soufflé cook on a meth bender.

I understand that dissent is the beating heart of a free society, and I would never tell anyone that they can’t go and speak their mind at jerks who richly deserve it. All I am suggesting is, for this occasion anyway, maybe live tweet it instead.