ABC’s ‘The View’ Turns on ‘Wonky’ Hillary: ‘She’s Not a Great Communicator’

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Thursday on ABC’s “The View” co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg agreed Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is not resonating with voters on the campaign trail. Goldberg said, “Hillary Clinton has not been able to get her message out, apparently, in an effective way, according to a lot of folks. So I ask you what do you think she needs to do to resonate because there’s a debate tonight. What does she need to do to resonate with the voters?” Behar added, “Bernie has a very specific message. He keeps talking about income equality and free college. Her messages are a little mushy. She’s good at a lot of things, she’s experienced, she’s really brilliant, but she needs to focus more and have one or two or three things that she keeps repeating the way Bernie does.” Co-host Raven-Symoné asked, “Why do you think she doesn’t have that? She knows how to be a part of a campaign.” Behar continued, “Because she’s a wonk. She’s wonky. She’s an intellectual. You know what I mean? She talks like a politician…She needs to appeal to young women. They’re having trouble with her. She’s got to hone in on what you want to
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Rubio: Hillary Lying to Benghazi Families Disqualifies Her to Be Commander-in-Chief

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Thursday on the campaign trail in South Carolina, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton disqualified herself to be commander-in-chief when she told the family members of the victims of the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi it was not a planned terror attack but a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim YouTube video that caused the deaths of their loved ones. Rubio said, “Let me tell you, she’s not qualified to be president. Because, I’m on the intelligence committee. If someone on my staff were to take intelligence information and put it on their server, you know what would happen to them? They would be fired, but they would be prosecuted. You know how they prosecute people that violate intelligence? Look up the name David Petraeus online. You’ll see that. Look at what they did after his service to our country. I’m not saying he was right. He was charged and now take a star or two from retirement as a general. And then you have the secretary of state, took intelligence information, put it on her server. She’s under FBI investigation but she did it because thinks she’s above the law. She’s not above the
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BitPay’s Stephen Pair: Community Needs to Become Proficient at Managing Bitcoin Forks

As opposing sides in Bitcoin’s long-lasting scaling dispute seem to be inching closer, one of the remaining sources of contention is not whether, but how to achieve a small block size bump.

TheBitcoin Core development team wants to increase the maximum block capacity through aSegregatedWitnesssoft fork, which has since been embraced by a large part of Bitcoin’s development community and a significant segment of the Bitcoin industry.

Others, like CEO of major payment processorBitPay Stephen Pair, believe the perceived benefits of soft forks over hard forks are being overstated.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Pair explained:

“I think soft forks aren’t the panacea that many people perceive them to be. It’s true that not all nodes on the network need to upgrade at the same time with a soft fork. But once the majority of hashing power has adopted new consensus rules, anyone running a full node should probably want to upgrade to validate the new transaction semantics. And this is especially true when you consider that SPV-nodes make the assumption that peers are performing full validation to keep miners in check.”

A centerpiece of Bitcoin Core’s scalability “road map,” Segregated Witness is set to increase the effective block size to some 1.6 megabytes to 2 megabytes by moving signature data into a new data structure. Pair is skeptical, however, that Segregated Witness should be considered a short-term scaling solution.

“Segregated Witness would completely change the structure of a Bitcoin transaction, and shouldn’t be rushed,” Pair said. “It needs a lot of time to be tested and widely supported. I’m not certain how contorted the implementation has to be to deploy it as a soft fork, but this is code we’ll have to live with for a long time. The more complex the Bitcoin validation code becomes, the more vulnerable it will be to various types of attack. A cleaner implementation done as a hard fork might be preferable.”

On Hard Forks

Pair himself initiallysigned an industry letter in support ofBIP 101, the proposal by former Bitcoin Core lead developer Gavin Andresen intended to increase the block size limit to 8 megabytes, then doubling every other year for the next 20 years. He latersaid he preferredBlockstream president Adam Back’s “BIP 248,” an informal proposal to raise the limit to 8 megabytes over four years. And more recently, Pairpitched his own solution: a dynamic block size cap to automatically re-adjust based on recent transaction volume. Additionally, the BitPay CEO is willing to accept a one-time block size increase, such as a hard fork block size limit increase as proposed by Bitcoin Classic.

Pair did add, however, that a hard fork shouldn’t be thought of too lightly:

“The big risk of a hard fork is that non-upgraded nodes would go off on a defunct fork and they would be vulnerable to double-spend attacks. With a hard fork, you need to make sure people have plenty of time to upgrade. There is a need to come up with good engineering solutions to managing either type of fork; Version Bits as described inBIP-9 is a good start.”

On Firm Forks

An alternative proposal to increase the block size limit is sometimes referred to as a “firm fork” or a “soft hardfork.” This could allow a majority of miners to change any consensus rules, including those that would typically require a hard fork. But as opposed to both hard forks and soft forks, it would render non-upgraded nodes completely unable to detect any new transactions.

“While the additional complexity of implementing it may not be worth the effort, you could perform a hard fork where miners effectively DOS old nodes by merge mining empty blocks under the old consensus rules,” Pair explained. “I think that would make hard forks a lot safer. People will still have to upgrade, but for those that neglect to upgrade, it will be immediately apparent as it will seem that no transactions are being included in their chain.”

This proposal has itself sparked some controversy, to the point where some dubbed it an “evil soft fork.” Since users would no longer be able to opt-out of a change, they’d have to follow the rules as decided on by miners – or create a new chain.

Pair is not too worried about these consequences, however:

“A user would either want to follow the longest chain, or explicitly go off on a weaker fork. Either way, he would need to upgrade. A firm fork would ensure that the old chain is no longer functional. But whether it’s hard forks or soft forks or firm forks… the important thing is that we, as a community, need to become proficient at managing changes of consensus rules.”

The post BitPay’s Stephen Pair: Community Needs to Become Proficient at Managing Bitcoin Forks appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.


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Slush Pool Introduces Provably Fair Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining today is dominated by mining pools. These mining pools arguably have a strong hold on the Bitcoin network, but also on their own participants. Since mining pools typically operate with little transparency, participants must issue a lot of trust in pool operators not to cheat them out of Bitcoin.

Czech Republic-basedSlush Pool – accounting for some4 percent of total hash power on the Bitcoin network – now believes it has solved this problem. Its “provably fair” mining should take away any mistrust – plus introduce some added benefits.

A Quick Recap on Mining

Miners are the entities on the Bitcoin network that confirm transactions and secure the network with hash power by finding Bitcoin blocks. These blocks include several types of data, most importantly transactions, but also the previous block header (linking blocks together), a timestamp and a random number called a “nonce.”

Using a mathematical trick called hashing, miners combine and scramble all of this data into an unpredictable random number called a hash, which is the “block header,” identifying the block. The same data will always result in the exact same block header, but if even a tiny alteration is made to any of the data, it will result into a completely new hash.

If a miner hashes data ten times, odds are that one of these hashes starts with a zero. If a miner does it a hundred times, odds are one of them starts with two zeros. The Bitcoin network requires a valid block header to start with a certain amount of zeros: the difficulty factor.

Miners essentially keep hashing potential blocks until they find a valid block, or one that meets the required difficulty.

A Quick Recap on Pools

Mining pools – the first of which was Slush Pool back in 2010 – divide the work required to find blocks among all participants. A pool operator constructs a block, minus the nonce, and sends this block to all participants, called “hashers.” (“Hashers” are sometimes simply referred to as “miners” – but they don’t do everything typical [solo] miners do.)

Hashers take the block as provided by the pool operator, and simply add a nonce to hash the bundle together. If any of the hashers finds a valid block, it sends this block to the pool operator, after which the pool redistributes the block reward among all connected hashers. (A hasher cannot keep the profit of the block for himself, as the coinbase transaction in the block is already attributed to the Bitcoin address controlled by the pool operator.)

The part of the block reward attributed to each hasher is based on his or her share of hash power contributed to the pool. This share, in turn, is calculated using “almost valid” blocks. If Bitcoin’s difficulty requires valid blocks to start with 10 zeros, an “almost valid” block might start with nine zeros, or eight, or seven. Since hashers find these “almost valid” blocks more often, pool operators have a good idea of how much hash power each hasher contributes.

(There is always a slight element of variance – luck – involved, as some hashers might randomly find a bit more almost-valid blocks than others. But as more almost-valid blocks are taken into account, this variance increasingly cancels out.)

The Problem: Pool Operator Control

The problem is that no one but the pool operator knows what percentage of hash power each hasher contributes. While hashers provide the pool operator with a certain amount of almost-valid blocks, they have no way of knowing how many “of the blocks all other hashers found. They have to trust the mining pool to tell them what their share is.

Well, almost. Hashers do know how much hash power they contributed to a pool, they can see how many blocks a pool found, and they can estimate how much total hash power is connected to the Bitcoin network based on how often blocks are found. As such, they can also estimate how much their mining pool contributes to the network, and therefore whether the pool is being honest.

But since pools – and smaller pools in particular – find only a certain number of blocks, it can take a long time to gather enough data to reliably draw a conclusion.

This uncertainty can be abused by dishonest pool operators. A pool operator could claim the total hash power is a bit higher than it really is, and that the pool is on an unlucky streak. He could then issue hashers too little share and skim some profit of the top for himself.

Likewise, if an honest pool operator really does have an unlucky streak, hashers might falsely conclude the total hash power of their mining pool is lower than it really is — and falsely conclude their share is bigger than the pool operator claims it is.

The Solution: Publish the Blocks

The solution as introduced by Slush Pool is straightforward. Rather than keeping the almost- valid blocks for themselves, Slush Pool will publish them for anyone to see.

Since it’s easy to check whether these almost-valid blocks are indeed almost valid (meaning they did require hash power to produce), and due to the much lower impact of variance, it’s impossible to fake the public list. And it becomes impossible for a pool operator to pretend the total hash power is more than it really is.

(If hashers keep track of the almost-valid blocks they submit, they could also check whether these are included in the public list – though this shouldn’t even be necessary.)

As an added benefit, this solution also offers more transparency, perhaps most interestingly regarding miner votes. With the introduction of Bitcoin XT, soon to be followed by Bitcoin Classic, Slush Pool was the only mining pool to allow individual hashers to vote on their preferred block size limit. But while hashers – and any other interested party – had to trust Slush Pool to actually attribute the right amount of hash power to the preference hashers desired, Slush Pool can now prove that it does.

The post Slush Pool Introduces Provably Fair Bitcoin Mining appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.


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CBC’s Barbara Lee Refuses to Endorse Hillary

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Before the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton on Thursday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a prominent left-wing Congressional Black Caucus member, refused to endorse Clinton. Other prominent Congressional Black Caucus leaders like Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) have also not endorsed Clinton as Sanders and Clinton fight for black voters ahead of South Carolina’s primary, where blacks make up a majority of the primary electorate. Lee said she wanted to make it clear that there is a “clear distinction” between the Congressional Black Caucus and the CBC PAC. “Amy, first of all, I want to make it clear there’s a clear distinction between the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC,” Lee told “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman. “We actually have a Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus. I don’t want the viewers, your viewers, to believe that the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC are one and the same.” Lee added that, “I have not endorsed in the campaign, and I think what’s important is the issues be addressed.” When Goodman mentioned that Lee endorsed Barack Obama in 2007 before Iowa and South Carolina, Lee said that “at that point, he was the right
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John Lewis Slams Bernie’s Civil Rights Activism: ‘I Never Saw Him’

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On Thursday, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) endorsed Hillary Clinton along with the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) civil rights activism, saying he never met Sanders during the civil rights era. Sanders has noted that he participated in the March on Washington and was arrested while he was a student at the University of Chicago when he tried to desegregate housing at the university and the surrounding neighborhoods. “To be very frank, I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis said in response to a question about Sanders’s civil rights advocacy. He pointed out that he met both Clintons during the civil rights era. Lewis noted that he was the chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966 and, “I was involved in the the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed the Voter Education Project, but I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.” Lewis also said he knows the South since he was “I was born and grew up in rural Alabama. And during the height of the civil rights movement, I worked in 11 southern states and Texas.” He said he
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Bloomberg’s Halperin: Everything That Could Go Wrong with the Hillary Campaign Is Going Wrong

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Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Bloomberg TV’s Mark Halperin, co-host of “With All Due Respect,” acknowledged that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has some obstacles to overcome given the lackluster performances in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. According to Halperin, there is a lot of friction within the campaign. However, he said to expect Clinton to do well in the upcoming South Carolina and Nevada contests. “Right now, Sanders has momentum, he has money, he’s got message and everything that could go wrong or be in a bad place in a Clinton campaign is going wrong with her campaign right now,” Halperin said. “There’s distrust between the candidate and a lot of the staff. There’s questions about the balance between fundraising, positive message, negative message. There’s no doubt as a static analysis, these next two states, Nevada and South Carolina, should be better for her but Sanders has momentum and in those two states, I think the best she can do is come out with victories that stabilize her campaign.” Halperin went on to say that the real marker of the Clinton campaign will be set beyond Nevada and South Carolina. “The real battle will be in march where she is
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Harry Reid on Dem Superdelgate System: Wrong to Rely on High White Populations of Iowa, New Hampshire

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In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made an appearance to discuss his home state’s upcoming primary. During that appearance, host Andrea Mitchell asked Reid if he thought given the outcome of the New Hampshire primary, which was an overwhelming electoral victory for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), if Sanders should have gotten the bulk of the delegates instead of a 15-15 split with his opponent Hillary Clinton. According to Reid, high white populations of Iowa and New Hampshire make the superdelegate system appropriate despite acknowledging it isn’t a good system. “The process was totally unfair before — eight years ago,” Reid said. “Eight years ago, I looked at this and I thought, how in the world could we have the future of this country be dependent on Iowa, which is 93 percent white, and we have New Hampshire which is 97 percent white, no diversity. No diversity in Iowa. And have the final decision made as to who is going to be the president of the United States based on those two states, it was wrong. We now have Nevada and South Carolina before we get into the rest of the country as to who’s chosen
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