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Tx State Senator: Russians assured me of no future election meddling

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Recently, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) traveled to Russia to meet with officials and one of the people he brought along was Texas State Senator Don Huffines. Reading about the trip in The Dallas Morning News, Huffines, a Republican, boldly states that he’s been assured by Russian officials that no future election meddling in American elections will happen. No, really.

Huffines traveled all the way to Moscow to deliver the message: don’t mess with Texas elections. By the same token, American elections in general. His interview, while braggadocious about his personal role in securing the alleged promise from a Russian official, was hardly a profile in courage. He consistently backed off from speaking about President Trump or Trump’s approach to Russian relations in general. Huffines was interviewed Thursday and was still in Moscow.

We have met with Konstantin Kosachev, a member of the Russian senate and a chairman of the foreign relations committee, and with Sergei Ryabkov, the deputy of what’s really their state department. We were supposed to meet with their secretary of state, but he was on vacation and was too far away to make it.

[Note: Kosachev is among the Russians personally targeted by U.S. sanctions, and he has repeatedly denied Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ryabkov has been a leading figure in efforts to calm tensions between the U.S. and Russia, especially after last year’s tit-for-tat decisions to expel hundreds of diplomats from each country.]

It was mainly a meeting with Sen. Paul, and a chance for him to visit with the Russian government. My role was to — I came over here very concerned about meddling in our elections. We have a committee in the Senate on elections security, and I am a member of that committee and it’s something I’ve worked on and have been talking about — the need to make sure our elections are safe and secure. So, my message is that we’re very concerned about the meddling and I wanted to come look them in the eye and tell them Texas is upset, and we don’t want any foreign government meddling in our elections.

He finally got to the good part. After reassuring Texans that he paid his own way, he took credit for Russian promises not to meddle in our elections. (Emphasis mine)

I came here — spending my money, as you know I don’t take a legislative salary or accept government benefits; I certainly paid for the whole trip — to tell them that we don’t want them meddling. And it succeeded. They said they would not meddle in our elections.

In fact, Kosachev said so in a press conference [after the meeting.] He said that because I asked him to say that.

 

Though I am just reading about this remarkable claim, a bit of breaking news over here, a roundtable discussion took place Monday in Moscow in which Huffines participated. Also around the table were Senator Paul and Cato Institute CEO Peter Goettler.

“Don Huffines regularly hears from Texans who are concerned about the security of our elections, and who are alarmed by Russia’s efforts to undermine our democratic institutions,” Huffines’ chief of staff, Brent Connett, told The News. “In meetings with Russian officials, Senator Huffines is having frank discussions, relaying Texans’ concerns, and demanding that Russia stop meddling in our elections.

Does the trip make him a traitor? Apparently, some Americans have clapped back on Senator Paul and his delegation’s decision to go and talk to the Russian officials.

“LOL. No,” he answered. “I love my country & I swore an oath to uphold & defend our divinely-inspired US Constitution. I stand for liberty. I stand for election integrity. And I’m over here demanding that Russia stop messing with Texas elections.”

Huffines and his twin brother were asked by their longtime friend, Senator Paul, to be a part of his trip to build opportunities for communication with Russia. Paul specifically points to former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and his talks with President Reagan, which drew criticism from both Russians and Americans at the time, especially the private meeting between the two. Sound familiar? Paul had a private meeting with Gorbachev on this trip.

“President Gorbachev was instrumental in bringing down the Iron Curtain and restoring ties with the West, and he knows firsthand the critical necessity of engagement,” Paul said in a statement. “Our conversation further encouraged me that open dialogue between our two nations does not have to be a thing of the past. While our discussion focused on various items, the importance of nuclear disarmament was greatly discussed.”

“I’m pleased to announce that we will be furthering this conversation,” Paul said. “We have invited members of the foreign relations committee of Russia to come to the United States and meet with us in Washington.”

Huffines admits that the Russian officials did not claim previous interference in American elections. They denied any meddling and Huffines says he doesn’t believe them. He believes, as most Americans do, that there was Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He thought it was important, though, to hear from Americans face to face that the meddling must not happen again.

They responded [to our concerns about the meddling]. The conversation lasted about 10 minutes. They had done some homework on Texas. Nothing significant, but they had points they made about Texas to just add to the discussion. The chairman spoke mostly, but many of the others at the table were English speakers so we had quite a bit of conversation in English, which was then relayed by individual translators for the Russians who did not speak English.

Huffines was careful to not step on Senator Paul’s toes. He spoke at length about the importance of opening communication between the two nations. He also admitted it is important to trust but verify any claims made by Russians to U.S. officials on future behavior.

While happy to take credit for eliminating future Russian meddling in our elections (sarcasm mine) he steered clear of opining about Russian sanctions or the topics of discussion brought up by Senator Paul.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

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Previously Deported Illegal Alien Charged with Brutal Murder of Shakopee, MN Woman

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Minnesota officials charged Fraider Diaz-Carbajal from Mexico with the brutal murder of his former girlfriend in Shakopee, Minnesota earlier this month.

Fraider Diaz-Carbajal had been previously deported but told the court he has lived in the are for 18 years.
Fraider does not speak English and needed a translator.

He stabbed his former girlfriend several times before cutting his own neck.

SW News Media reported:

A 27-year-old woman who was killed in Shakopee on Aug. 12 has been identified as Enedelia Perez Garcia, 27, and today prosecutors charged Fraider Diaz-Carbajal, 35, 1279 Taylor St. Unit 6, with second-degree murder (not premeditated) in her death. Police say he was in the country illegally after being deported in 2014.

At about 4:02 p.m. on Aug. 12, Shakopee police were dispatched to a fight call involving a knife at 1279 Taylor St., No. 6., and while on the way to the Taylor Ridge Towhomes, they were told a male had a knife and a female was possibly dead.

According to the charging documents, officers found a bloody scene in the upstairs bedroom: Diaz-Carbajal was lying with his head resting on the stomach and chest of a woman who was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall and did not appear to be breathing. Diaz-Carbajal’s throat was cut with a 6 to 8-inch-long laceration and there were several stab wounds in his abdomen. He was “taking occasional breaths and moving” and a large, bloody knife was at his left side.

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Can AI produce fine art?

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We don’t normally cover the fine art beat here for obvious reasons, but there was a sale of a painting to a French collector in February which drew some attention. Another work by the same artist is going on sale at Christie’s presently. They works are going for some impressive amounts of money, but that’s not what makes the story interesting. The artist is an Artificial Intelligence program from a company named Obvious. (Time)

Hanging inside a gold frame on a pristine white wall in Christie’s Central London Gallery is a dark, moody portrait of a man in Puritan-style black clothes—the work, it seems, of some Old Master. But scrawled in the bottom right corner, there’s an unexpected signature: a mathematical equation.

This is Edmond de Belamy by French art collective Obvious—or, more accurately, by an algorithm designed by Obvious.

“The whole process is about humans having as little input as possible in the finished piece,” says Gauthier Vernier, one of three 25 year-old French men who started Obvious in April 2017 out of their apartment in Paris. Since then, by teaching a computer about art history and showing it how to make its own work, Obvious have produced 11 artworks with the help of artificial intelligence.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the technical particulars behind this since you can read them all at the article and at the Obvious Art website if you wish. The short version is that they developed an algorithm that scanned a vast number of paintings taken from classical art. It uses something called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) which randomly generate images meeting certain criteria (a face has two eyes, one nose, one mouth, etc.) and the program “tests” each image itself to see if it can tell whether it’s original art or a computer generation. The results do indeed resemble portraits.

Here’s the real question: Is this art? Allow me to offer the definitive answers (plural) because it works both ways.

First… Yes. This is art.

But that answer comes with a caveat. Anything can be art because art is in the eye of the beholder. You can walk down the beach, find a particularly interesting looking piece of driftwood, take it home, clean it up and mount it on a wooden base. If you find it attractive, if it brings you pleasure, if your friends come over and compliment you on it… it’s art. And that’s only good art I’m talking about. Some of the crap put out by human beings as “modern art” is total garbage. If a crucifix in a jar of urine or three basketballs shoved into a broken fish tank (I actually saw that one in a gallery in New York City some years ago) qualify as art, then anything this robot spits out can certainly bear the name.

Second… No. This is definitely not art.

What they are presenting is a painting. But it didn’t come from an original thought or moment of inspiration in a mind, human or otherwise. They fed a bunch of examples into a program and had it randomly place zeros and ones corresponding to random colors until it generated something which matched certain test criteria that the programmers defined as being “art.” There was no feeling, no intent nor even any knowledge in the “mind” of the program of what it was doing. It was solving a math problem by randomly guessing combinations until it arrived at some solutions which met those design criteria.

It also wasn’t “painted” in any way that requires effort, training or involves risk of messing up a brush stroke. I had to search for a while to find out how the actual, physical paintings are created, but the AI only generates an image file. It’s then fed into a fancy laserjet printer which is set up to print on canvas instead of paper. Then a human being took it out and mounted it in a frame. An artist could never reproduce one of their painting precisely by hand. There would always be at least minute differences. Obvious could crank out the same portrait a thousand times and they would all be the same.

This isn’t even artificial intelligence as near as I can see. And it’s certainly not fine art. You could switch out the canvas for paper and it would be making interesting posters. If some rich collector wants to go to Christie’s and lay out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for one of these creations, that’s up to them. But save up your money, because Obvious can produce thousands more for you in no time at all.

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President Trump Responds to Manafort Conviction “Nothing to do With Russian Collusion” (VIDEO)

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“NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIAN COLLUSION” – President Trump

President Trump responded Tuesday afternoon after a jury found his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on 8 felony counts.

The President spoke to the press shortly after he landed in Charleston, West Virginia as he headed to his rally.

“It doesn’t involve me but I still feel really sad…you know it’s a very sad thing that happened. This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion…this has absolutely nothing to do…this is a witch hunt and it’s a disgrace,” Trump said.

President Trump also said that he feels very bad for Paul Manafort. “He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Ronald Reagan…” Trump continued.

The President didn’t answer any questions about his former lawyer Michael Cohen who just pleaded guilty to 8 counts; his plea deal includes 3-5 years jail time.

VIDEO:


After four days of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict on 8 counts and could not make a decision on 10 counts in the tax evasion and bank fraud case against Paul Manafort.

Judge Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 counts. The jury found Manafort guilty on 8 counts.

Both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort were hunted down by Mueller and his thugs because of their association with Donald Trump.

We currently have a two-tiered justice system because AG Sessions is AWOL.

One set of laws for Trump and his supporters and another set of laws for Democrats and Clinton-Deep State cronies.

H/T: Zero Hedge

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