Saturday, July 29, 2017

In response to a critic of Portland, a Sanctuary City

This post was written in response to a post that appeared at http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/sanctuary

Tessera, you are making a number of false assumptions here. You call sanctuary cities, "sanctuaries for criminals", when in fact they are the opposite. They are sanctuaries from criminals.
I've known many immigrants. I was adopted by one. His brother lived in the US as the owner of a successful small business until he died recently. Neither of these men were remotely criminal. They came to the US seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.

If you look at our history, you will see the same story repeated over and over again. Immigrants came to our shores to escape starvation, repression, or sudden death at the hands of true criminals. That's what history tells us. That's why the US has always welcomed immigrants.

The story you are repeating--for I know you did not invent it yourself--is an utter lie. You compare immigrants to burglars, assassins, and thieves. Those are not the immigrants I know. The people I know who seek sanctuary are children and their parents, who left countries where criminal gangs have taken the place of civil government. They deserve our love, not the hatred you pour out onto the page.

Coincidentally, the measures being proposed by our soulless government are precisely those that will turn the largest number of young men into criminals. ICE arrests these people near the border and releases them on the other side of it, where criminal gangs can abduct them, torture them, and force them to become members. Those young men, once converted, will return to this country as criminals.

So you see, the sanctuary movement is not accepting criminals into this country. It is welcoming young men and women who have nowhere else to go and saving them from a life of crime.
Paradoxically, the government that you claim is preserving the rule of law is actually in the process of destroying it. Rule of law requires that people be convicted of a crime before they can be punished for it. Yet here you are, claiming immigrants to be criminals and calling for their punishment. On what evidence? On the words of a right-wing website you happen to have read?

Possibly you were frightened by those words of hate and dissension. No wonder! The authors intended to scare you and used every means at their command to do so. But we must resist these enemies of humanity whenever they appear.

We must emulate the members of the Underground Railroad in the antebellum South, who saved slaves from an inhuman system of bondage and gave them a chance to be free. We must emulate the underground in Europe during the great slaughter of Jews, who hid them, shepherded them away from Europe, and brought them to America, where they and their descendants are still living today.

Most of all, we must resist people who use lies and propaganda to foster hatred and division. We can't let them sucker us into their heinous game. Please reconsider your position on this issue and adopt the ways of understanding and love.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scam:: Beware FeaturedRentals and Apartment Hunters Inc... they are hunting US!

(originally published a year ago, on getsatisfaction.com): 

To Walkscore.com: Your apartment listings appear to have been invaded by a nasty scamming organization called Apartment Hunters Inc. I have been searching for apartments through your site and when I try to contact the property, the link mostly leads to rentjungle.com. When I click on "contact" on their site, it leads to FeaturedRentals.com, a company that requires you to pay $49 before they let you get contact information. This company emailed me, and when I followed their "sign up" link, I found that behind them is an organization called Apartment Hunters Inc, which has all sorts of complaints against them for posting fraudulent listings and ripping people off. The Better Business Bureau gives them a rating of "F". I have had to search apartment complexes by name, and look for their websites, in order to avoid these people. I really hope you address this problem, as I will not continue using and recommending your service otherwise. 

I have been experiencing this, not just with one listing, but REPEATEDLY, with MANY listings. RentJungle's link led me to FeaturedRentals.com, which now is giving a three-day free "trial" before charging you $49 for thirty days of their "service". I looked at the address of some of the listings elsewhere and found that they were already off the market. 

Then I got an email from Featured Rentals.com, telling me the unit was "empty and available for immediate occupancy", and providing a "sign up" link. When I followed that link to see where it went, I came to a page where they wanted my credit card number and other info. I noticed that the "real" web address at the top of the screen showed "ApartmentHunters.com". Searching them and adding "review" revealed a huge amount of complaints about scamming and fraudulent listing of already-rented properties. 

Here is just one of the listings that I followed: https://www.walkscore.com/score/12388... 

You DO have a problem, Walk Score, and you need to address it!!


~Holly Masri

Friday, July 14, 2017

What did the President know and when did he know it?

You'd have to ask the Russians about that.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a professional expert on Soviet espionage techniques, has generously given us a peek into the world of Soviet espionage. He has described the purpose of Donnie's meeting with 2 Russian espionage assets and indicated that it went exactly as the Russian spymasters had hoped. That Donnie did not recognize this as an important meeting is hardly surprising.

The meeting was intended to feel out the Trump campaign and discover what Trump would do if the Russians ran their intended program of disruption and propaganda. The answer of course is that Trump would do nothing and did nothing in fact.

The question that needs to be asked now is, why did the Russians accept Donnie's indifference to their overture as permission to go full-speed ahead? Shouldn't they also be sure of Donald's response? Shouldn't the Russians ascertain whether Donnie told his father, Donald, about the meeting before they went ahead with their planned cyber attack? It seems to me they would want more assurance than the compliance of the candidate's son. Unless, of course, they had already gotten that assurance from Donald, something along the lines of, "Donnie speaks for me." But even then, they would want some assurance after the overture was made.

What if the Russians did receive such an assurance, in plain view, and the whole world heard it but didn't know what it meant?

Donald could have sent the ok to them in the form of a coded message, such as, "Why did Hillary erase 33,000 emails?" That would have fit into the cover story that Donnie told about what happened in the meeting, and it was a specific message the Russians would be sure to get but which would not obviously be an assent.

Everything Donald Trump and his associates did after this meeting is completely consistent with my assumption. Nothing that Donnie says about the meeting that cannot be independently verified makes any sense at all.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

When Will Trump Leave Office?

Donald Trump and the rest of his administration are doing worse than bungle their responsibilities. Each misstep by a Trump appointee emphasizes just how incompetent the president and his appointees are. You can't unring these bells. Once a stupid mistake is made, it sits around on the internet forever, springing into consciousness again and again.

Take Trump's pre-election description of how easy it was for him to sexually assault women because he was a tv star. The statement he made was undoubtedly true but still something you don't want to say when your job depends on the good will of women. Recently, Trump attacked Mika Brzezinski for her personal appearance. This comment immediately brought to mind his previous comments about women and their personal appearance. You can't take back what you said once it has been recorded for posterity.

My point is this: No matter how badly the public views Trump right now, it is bound to get worse, because these issues are additive. One stupid remark is added to another and another and so on. So Trump's reputation for stupidity (or sexism, if you prefer) just keeps on growing. Add to that the other lapses, faux pas, and revelations of ignorance that Trump continues to make and you soon have a snowball that will push Trump from office because he will no longer be able to fulfill the duties of the Presidency, which demand the confidence of the majority of Americans.

Trump clearly doesn't believe in democracy. He has staffed his departments with the wealthy, apparently on the assumption that wealthy people are better at their jobs than ordinary people. The form of government favored by Trump and his supporters is therefore plutocracy, or government by the wealthy, rather than democracy, government by the people. This accounts for some of the odd choices he has made as well as his disdain of scientists. Scientists are not wealthy, so their opinions are less important than those of business executives, he thinks.

So Trump's popularity ratings are still falling and his esteem among the educated classes is non-existent. What does this mean for how long his presidency will last? What will be the tipping point where Republicans recognize that Trump is poisonous to their political careers?

I believe that point is near. Some Republicans have stopped holding meetings with their constituents altogether, while others are holding closed meetings for Republican voters only. No doubt, these politicians believe that Trump will weather the storm and they will come out better in the end if they stick by him. When they begin to understand that Trump is toxic, there will be a mad rush toward the exits.

Look forward to this event sooner rather than later.

Masri Zone welcomes comments from all viewpoints. We will never release the names of our commenters. Please feel free to vent.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

EditorWriter Resume

Allan Masri
4200 SW 107th Ave. Apt. 1303  Beaverton, OR 97005
cell: (202) 421-5202
allan.masri@gmail.com
Blog: http://masrizone.blogspot.com

Writer/Editor
I am seeking a position as a writer and/or editor. Both UCSC and George Washington University have links to my blog or posts from it. I believe my expertise in legal studies and computer engineering should be helpful to your site.

Education
The George Washington University, College of Professional Studies, Washington, DC Master’s in Professional Studies, Paralegal Studies (May 2012) GPA: 3.92 Coursework: Litigation, Legal Research & Writing, Contracts and Corporations, Intellectual Property, International Law, Administrative Law.
Master’s Thesis: Asbestos and the Law. Legal history of Asbestos industry and litigation from 1950-2012. Available online at http://masrizone.blogspot.com/2012/04/asbestos-and-law.html
California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA Graduate studies in History Department GPA: 4.0 Coursework: American History, European History, African History, History of Technology, California History Senior Thesis: Constitutional John. Biography of State Senator and 1914 California Gubernatorial candidate John Curtin. Honors: President's Fellowship
University of California, College of Arts and Sciences, Berkeley CA Degree: BA Classical Languages, June 1970 GPA: 3.2 Coursework: Greek (3 years), Latin (4 years), French (2 years) Honors: Dean's List, Undergraduate Fellowship
De Anza College, Cupertino CA GPA: 3.75 Coursework: Data Structures, Calculus, Analytic Geometry, Unix
Awards
Presidential Management Fellowship semi-finalist (2013) Outstanding Contribution to QCRM (Apple, 1995) President's Fellowship (CSU, Stanislaus, 1980) Undergraduate Fellowship (UC, Berkeley, 1968)
Volunteer
DC National Lawyers Guild
● Served as member of Board of Directors of (2013 to 2014).
● Prepared interrogatories for landmark DC gay common law marriage case (2014).
● Chaired DC NLG Criminal Justice Committee while working for prison reform in Viginia.
● Drafted two bills modeled after New York City bills to end racial profiling in the District of Columbia.
● Testified in favor of marijuana legalization bills before of DC Council (2013).
● Researched citations in Jewler v. Lawler. Washington DC.

Tenants and Workers United (Alexandria, VA)
● Helped organize tenants, primarily Spanish-speaking (in Alexandria, VA). Wrote articles and testified before Alexandria Planning Commission.

Publications
Golden Hills of California. Fresno: Valley Publishers. 1979.
Golden Hills of California Part II: The Northern Mines. Santa Cruz: Paper Vision Press. 1982.
Wrote blog posts on diverse subjects at http://masrizone.blogspot.com (2009-2016)
Wrote and researched articles for Reverb Press online magazine (June 2015-August 2015)
No Lawyers in Heaven (novel). Self-Published. September 2015.

Unpublished Works
Awake and Beyond. Collected poetry.
Bar Guide to the Costa Blanca. Novel. Stories of foreign lands and people. Primarily a fictionalized memoir.
Flowers and War. Novel. Historical novel set in Pre-Columbian America. Used research on Aztec civiliation and Nahuatl language.
The Divine Aretine. Full-length comedy set in Renaissance Rome. Based on the life and writings of Pietro Aretino and Michelangelo Buonarroti.


Language Study
Spanish. Traveled in Mexico and Spain. Studied and read. Translated over 50 articles into English. Completed 25 levels of Duolingo.com.
French. Traveled in France and Europe. Read French literature. Took two years of courses at the University of California.
Latin. Studied Latin in high shool and college for 10 years. Majored in Classical Languages at the University of California, Berkeley.
Ancient Greek. Studied ancient Greek for 3 years at University. Read Plato, Xenophon, Euripides, and other authors.
Other languages. Studied other languages for terms ranging from 3 months to a year. Languages studied include Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish.
Employment
Localization Engineer. Worked as localization engineer for 2 years at AOL. Localized Mozilla browser into Japanese, Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.
Apple build engineer. Set up program builds to resolve problems at Genentech and elsewhere. Used Applescript.
Computer Programs Used
CafeTran 4.0.1. Full-featured, professional CAT program
OmegaT 1.0. Share-ware CAT program with limited functionality
Mozilla. Browser that uses XML technology to translate into other languages. Uses same technology as CafeTran and Trados. Mozilla is open-source so its features can be changed by programmers.
XML/XSL. XML is a markup language similar to HTML that is primarily used to transfer data between distinct programs. XSL is a program that can transpose one XML file into another file to be used for data transfer.
Perl. Perl is a scripting language that can be used to manipulate XML files, like XSL, but very much more powerful.
4DO. 4DO is a relational database that can be used as a standalone program or as a front end for full-featured database programs like Oracle.
SQL. SQL is a language that can build, populate, and search databases remotely. It can be used with Oracle, among others.
Unix and Unix Shell Scripts. These scripts can be used to communicate with remote databases. Unix has security features that make it superior to an operating system like ms-dos. Apple has used unix in all its recent operating systems.
Websites
Masrizone.blogspot.com. MasriZone is a blog that has been online since 2009. Its articles deal with art, politics, science and environmental issues, and investigative journalism. It has had 35,000 visits.
Quora.com. Contributed 350 answers that garnered 345,000 views since 2015.
Simpleflysoftware.com. http://tinyurl.com/kn267pc. [waybackmachine arhive] The website for a website design and implementation business that had several clients between 2006 and 2014.
EZWinners.com. http://tinyurl.com/moskjsz. [waybackmachine arhive] EZWinners was a database program that held over 100,000 records of horse races and used them to calculate probabilities for upcoming races. Designed the database and the algorithms and the frontend user interface.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump's new order

Trump tries to squirm away from another attack, or rather series of attacks. The focus of these attacks seems to be serious investigations into the Russian interference in the election. Trump is calling for an investigation of the Democrats, because they wire-tapped Trump tower. He apparently got the idea after reading an article in Breitbart that accuses Obama of trying to sabotage Trump’s election.

He still doesn’t understand where the attacks are coming from. He understands they are getting ever closer to the truth, which is that Trump himself was at the center of the Russian conspiracy to defeat Clinton. It has been admitted that Flynn and Jared Kushner met with the Soviet ambassador in Trump tower, but only for a brief, courtesy call.

Unfortunately for this lie to cover up the truth, reporters had the lobby of Trump tower staked out at all times, so the ambassador would have had to enter through a back entrance. So this meeting between top Trumpists just before the election was not a courtesy call, but a negotiation to decide what Trump would do in exchange for Russian sabotage of the democratic candidate.

By now we all know, or should know, at least a part of what Trump promised in exchange for Russian support:

• An end to EPA interference in the fossil fuel industry. This is important since the rest of the world has agreed to reduce their dependence on Russian oil.
• An agreement that Russian steel would be used to build American pipelines. Trump signed an order today that enforces just that.
• Doubtless other things we haven’t found out about yet.

Trump’s biggest mistake has been to assume that once he controlled the presidency and the congress, no one would be left to oppose his will. He overlooked the fact that people in the intelligence community, spies if you will, would act to preserve American democracy. And they have been acting by releasing, bit by bit, every piece of the espionage puzzle that makes it perfectly clear what the Russians have been up to, and that every member of the Trump White House was part of the conspiracy, up to and including Trump himself.

Right now, Flynn is gone. Sessions is still Attorney General, but it is not known how long he can last after lying to Congress. Lying to Congress is perjury and is punishable by 5 years in prison. It’s not even barely conceivable that a man can hold the highest legal office in the US after he lies to Congress to conceal his involvement in a conspiracy to take over the government with the help of a foreign government. That is what is called a coup and can’t be tolerated in a Democracy.

Republicans had to resort to a coup to take over the government because they realized they could not win a fair election. So they sold out their country for wealth and power.

What happens now? The Constitution did not foresee this vast a conspiracy. The Framers always assumed that American property-owners were honorable men and would never desert to an enemy en masse, as they have obviously done. If the word “honorable” implies “honest”, it is becoming clear there is not a single honorable man in the Republican Party.

What can be done to rectify the situation?

I suggest the Congress should appoint ex-President Obama to take over the government until a new election can be run. In the meantime, he can begin to undo the terrible damage the Trumpists have inflicted on the government and the country.

The USA is now in extremis. We must act before it is too late.