Jill Stein on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Investigation of Her Campaign for Russian Collusion: ‘There Is No There There’

The former Green Party candidate calls the inquiry evidence of a “new McCarthyism.”

This late November, the Senate Intelligence Committee delivered a request for internal communications and documents to Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. According to former members of Stein’s 2016 presidential campaign, the request arrived through intellience commitee chairs Sen’s Richard Burr and Mark Warner, who are seeking information for the ongoing Russiagate investigation. While the Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to make the details of its inquiry into Stein’s campaign public, Republican Sen. Richard Burr told reporter Emma Loop that he is looking for evidence of Stein’s “collusion with the Russians.”

In recent weeks, the bipartisan investigation into Russian meddling has strayed from its focus on Trump and begun targeting left-wing political figures. Last month, the House Intelligence Committee sent a subpoena to Randy Credico, a retired comedian, noted prison reform activist and local New York political gadfly, seeking information on rumors that he had served as a go-between for right-wing operative Roger Stone and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. And now, Senate investigators have trained their sights on Stein, a veteran anti-war activist and pediatrician despised by Hillary Clinton partisans, who blame her for throwing the election to Trump.

I spoke to Stein immediately after the news from BuzzFeed leaked of the Senate inquiry into her campaign. She characterized the demand for Green Party documents as clear evidence of a “new McCarthyism, which is the flip side of a military madness that is stronger than ever in this country.”

“This is the continuing focus of empire and austerity and the assault on democracy that goes with it,” she continued. “The silver lining is we will get a chance at the microphone. A lot of people will be screaming at us but some people will hear us.”

Since news broke of the congressional inquiry into Stein’s campaign, she has been a punching bag for hardcore Democrat partisans. Zac Petnacas, the former rapid response director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, proclaimed, “Jill Stein is a Russian agent” eight times in one tweet until he reached the maximum character limit.

The origins of allegations against Stein lay in the so-called Steele Dossier, a collection of unverified claims cobbled together by a former MI5 agent named Christopher Steele, who was paid by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. According to journalist Howard Blum, Steele relied on “an army of sources whose loyalty and information he had bought and paid for over the years.” Under the watch of James Comey, the FBI also made a deal to fund the dossier, but the arrangement fell apart, leaving it to the Clinton camp to funnel fees to Steele through the opposition research firm, Fusion GPS.

In addition to claiming that Putin held compromising footage of sex workers urinating on Trump on camera in a VIP suite at the Moscow Ritz, the dossier accused Stein of having been funded by the Russian government to attend a gala hosted by the Russian-backed news network, RT.

Stein told me this claim is false: “I paid my own way to Moscow. They [the Russian government] did not pay for my hotel or expenses, and I have the receipts to prove it.”

A gala dinner and collusion illusions

The RT gala was organized in November 2015 as a celebration of the international network’s 10th anniversary. Dignitaries, diplomats, politicians, media professionals, and activists from around the world gathered in Moscow for the event. I was among those invited to attend and I accepted. I wanted to interact with colleagues from around the globe and had long considered RT a valuable space in a conformist American media environment that is increasingly hostile to dissenting opinions, particularly where Western foreign policy is concerned.

During the two-day affair, I participated in a public panel discussion with former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, historian Peter Kuznick and the Christian Science Monitor’s Moscow correspondent, Fred Weir, among others. I did not have a chance to collude with any Russian officials, though I did attempt a selfie with Mikhail Gorbachev as he brushed by me in a hallway. As far as I know, the only person who received a fee to attend the RT gala was former Gen. Michael Flynn, who was previously unknown to guests and was referred to dismissively as the “Obama general.” Flynn’s one-on-one with RT host Sophie Shevardzadze went over poorly; he was regarded as inarticulate and uninformed by a range of audience members I spoke to (I did not attend).

The event culminated with a catered dinner featuring live music and a video mash-up of RT’s greatest hits over the years. I spent much of the time at a table chatting with former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura and his family, and Lee Camp, a left-wing political comedian who hosts the popular RT program, “Redacted Tonight.” None of us had any inkling that the festivities would come to be seen as a de facto crime scene by packs of Beltway reporters and congressional investigators. It would be months before Flynn emerged as a wild-eyed Trump surrogate and a full year before the Russiagate narrative was spun out of the ashes of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

At a table immediately in front of the stage, Stein was seated beside Willy Wimmer, the former foreign minister of Germany. Also at the table was Czech former Deputy Prime Minister Cyril Svoboda, a Russian filmmaker named Emir Kustursca and Flynn. Stein said her only substantive conversation was with Wimmer, and it lasted about two minutes. In the middle of the event, Russian President Vladimir Putin strode into the room alongside his chief of staff and spokesman. They briefly seated themselves at the dignitaries’ table before Putin appeared on stage for a few remarks, then shuffled toward the exit.

I asked Stein what took place when Putin arrived at her table. “Putin briefly ran around the table and shook everyone’s hand. No names were exchanged, it was an impersonal greeting,” she recalled. “There was nothing about that table that facilitated any communication of any sorts. The one person there who spoke English and Russian fluently was sitting next to Michael Flynn and translated what he said was the conversation between Flynn and Putin. It amounted to something to the effect of, ‘How are you? I’m fine.'”

Stein told me she had requested a moment with Putin or Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss US-Russian cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and de-escalating the conflict in Syria. “Hillary Clinton was promoting a no-fly zone in Syria, which would have put us in the position of shooting down Russian planes when we have 2,000 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. So communication with your adversaries was important and we were in a crisis at the time. Our [Green Party] communications were exemplary,” she asserted. “They were content-focused, not about quid pro quo or any backroom deals. They were on target and in the words of JFK, I believe we should never negotiate out of fear, and never fear to negotiate.”

In the end, Stein was able to meet only with the foreign affairs chair of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament. A statement posted on Stein’s campaign website outlined her agenda for the meeting: “a new commitment to collaborative dialogue between our governments to avert disastrous wars for geopolitical domination, destruction of the climate, and cascading injustices that promote violence and terrorism.”

Stein’s visit to Moscow was part of a wider itinerary that brought her in contact with like-minded political figures across the Atlantic. She had just visited Paris, where she participated in a conference on climate change and rubbed shoulders with Jeremy Corbyn, now the leader of the UK Labour Party. “Corbyn had pretty much the same stance on the need for a peace offensive in the Middle East, a weapons embargo in the region, the dangers of a no-fly zone in Syria and on the need for nuclear non proliferation,” she recalled. “These aren’t fringe ideas and most of the world sees them as absolutely critical.”

Picture of a pseudo-scandal

In the weeks after Hillary Clinton’s election loss, a photograph of Stein seated at the table with Putin and Flynn began making the rounds. For many frustrated Democrats, the image was clear evidence of a nefarious conspiracy between a fringe third-party candidate, a Trump aide and Putin to deprive Hillary of her historic destiny. In their minds, Stein was not just a spoiler, but a spy.

“The fact that they got a photo out of this allowed them to launch a baseless smear campaign,” Stein said. “And they distorted the event itself. It was practically a who’s who of the peace community on hand.”

In July, Stein’s name was added to a Senate Judiciary Committee letter demanding communications between Donald Trump Jr., Russian officials and members of Trump’s presidential campaign. There was no indication that Stein had ever interacted with Trump Jr., and she denounced the letter as “an obvious smear designed to generate a fake news feeding frenzy.”

So far, no material has turned up to validate the committee’s unusual line of inquiry. In the face of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request, Stein pledged cooperation. “We intend to provide any documents that are relevant,” she maintained, “but we had very little communications with Russia other than through RT for our appearances and limited logistics around the RT conference.”

But in the frenetic atmosphere of Russiagate, even Stein’s interviews with RT America have become grounds for suspicion. An error-laden report released by the Director of National Intelligence this January cast RT as a key aspect of Kremlin meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Among the transgressions the DNI accused RT of committing was hosting a third-party debate that gave a platform to candidates like Stein. The report also complained that RT was guilty of promoting “radical discontent.”

Despite the storm of accusations, Stein remains confident that her name will eventually be cleared. “Real people are not buying this effort to demonize us and [the investigation has] lost the thread. There is simply no there there,” she stated. “But there will be a lot of damage done before it comes out on the other end.”

 

Related Stories

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  • By Clasping Hands with Netanyahu, Sen. Kamala Harris Reveals Herself as Just Another ‘Progressive Except For Palestine’
  • NY Times Frets About Russian Propaganda, Ignores the Massive Troll Farms Run By America and Its Allies

Working with Microsoft SQL Server


MS SQL Server


What is SQL Server Management Studio?

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is the main administration console for SQL Server.


SSMS enables you to create database objects (such as databases, tables, stored procedures, views etc), view the data within your database, configure user accounts, perform backups, replication, transfer data between databases, and more.

Fig 3 : SSMS Console Window


User Login :


When creating a new user login, the administrator can assign that login to any number of roles and schemas. This will depend on what that particular login is entitled to.


Create a New Login

Step 1 :  Using SQL Server Management Studio, expand the Security option (at the
server level, not at the database level) and right click n Logins.

Step 2 :  Click on New Login.

Step 3 :   Complete the login properties in the General tab by providing a name for the login, choosing the Authentication method (providing a password if you choose SQL Server authentication), and selecting the database to use as a default.

Step 4 :   Click the Server Roles tab if you need to apply any server-wide security privileges.


Step 5 :
Click the User Mapping tab to specify which databases this user account is allowed to    access. By default, the login will be assigned to the Public role, which provides the login with basic access.
 If the login needs more access in one or more databases, it can be assigned to  another role with greater privileges. In this case, select Task Tracker database  and  db_owner role for that database.
Step 6 :  Click OK to create the login.


NOTE :
These roles are database roles and are different to the server roles in the previous tab. Server roles are for administering the SQL Server. Database roles are more limited. They are created within each database and specify what the login can do within that particular database.




Fig : Server Roles

Server Roles :


When we created a SQL Server login, we had the option of assigning the login one or more server roles. Server roles (not to be confused with database roles) are available to manage permissions on a server.


View the server roles in SSMS, from the Object Explorer, expand the Security folder







Database :

A database is a collection of information that is organized so that it can be easily accessed, managed and updated.
Creating a database can be done by running a SQL script or by “point and click”. 


System Databases

When you install SQL Server, the following four databases are created.
1.master
This database stores system level information such as user accounts, configuration settings, and info on all other databases.
2.model
This database is used as a template for all other databases that are created.
3.msdb
The msdb database is used by the SQL Server Agent for configuring alerts and scheduled jobs etc
4.tempdb


This one holds all temporary tables, temporary stored procedures, and any other temporary storage requirements generated by SQL Server.  


Create Database :

Fig 4 : Create DB 
The following steps demonstrate how to create a database in SQL Server 2014 using SQL Server Management Studio.

Step 1 : From the Object Explorer, right click on the Databases folder/icon and select New Database

Step 2 : 
Name your database and click OK:


Database with the Given Name will be created.

NOTE :
The new database is based on the Model database (System Database).
It already contains system functions, system views, system stored procedures, and (hidden) system tables. These are system objects which provide information about the database.


Create Table :

Fig 5 : Create Table
Steps to create a table in a database using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

Step 1 :   Ensuring you have the correct database expanded (in our case, the TaskTracker database), right click on the Tables icon and select Table

Step 2 :   A new table will open in Design view. Fill in Column_name, Datatype & if(Null) checkbox for making column .
  ( for more options such as PRIMARY KEY, is Identity, etc. right click on left pane of  required tuple to add property )

Step 3 :   Save the table by selecting File > Save able_1 or by right-clicking on the Table’s  tab and selecting. 
Save Table_1  from the contextual menu:  





Insert Data :
There are many ways of getting data into your database. 



1.Manually: Type data directly into your table rows.


2.Copy/Paste: Similar to the previous option, but this one is where you copy data from another source, then paste it into a table in your database.

3.Import: You can use the Import and Export Wizard to import data from another source.

4.SQL Scripts: You can run a SQL script that contains all data to insert.

5.Application/Website: Users update the database via an application or website.





1. Manually


We can use the Edit Top 200 Rows option to manually type data directly into the table rows. Manually entering data is OK if you only have a little bit of data to enter.


Steps :
1. In the Object Explorer, right click on the table you wish to open, and select Edit Top 200 Rows:
2.You can now start entering the data directly into your table.


2. Copy/Paste


You could use a similar method to the above by copying from another datasource and pasting into your database table. This is OK for a small number of records but not for a lot of records.


Steps :

1. Select all required records from the datasource

2. In the destination database (i.e. the one you want to populate with data), right-click on the destination table and select Edit Top 200 Rows. 

3. Select an empty row by right-clicking in the left-most column (it’s more of a button to the left of your left-most column that allows you to select the whole row) and select Paste from the contextual menu:


3 (a). Import 
You can import data from another datasource. The end result is similar to the copy/paste method (i.e. data is copied across to the destination database), but importing the data is more flexible and could be more suitable on many occasions.

Steps :
To import data, right-click on the database and select Tasks > Import Data… and follow the Wizard from there.

The SQL Server Import and Export Wizard can copy data to and from any data source for which a managed .NET Framework data provider or a native OLE DB provider is available. These include:
•SQL Server
•Flat files
•Microsoft Office Access
•Microsoft Office Excel


Start the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard to import data from an Excel worksheet to a SQL Server database. Click Next to bypass the welcome screen. On the Choose a Data Source page (Figure 8), configure the following:

Fig 6: Import Wizard


Step 1 : (Data Source)
Choose Microsoft Excel from the drop-down menu.

Step 2 : (Excel File Path )
Specify the path of the Excel file from which you are importing data.

Step 3: (Excel Version)
Choose the Excel version where you created the Excel.

Click Next to go to the Choose a Destination page (Figure 9), and configure the following:



Step 4 : (Data Source)
Choose SQL Server Native Client 11.0 from the drop-down menu.

Step 5 : (Server Name )
Fig 7 : Import Wizard Client

Type the name of the destination database’s SQL Server instance.

Step 6 : (Authentication)
Choose the appropriate authentication mode for the data destination connection.

Step 7 : (Database )
Choose which database to copy the data into.








Fig 8 : Finish Import

Step 8 :
Click the Next button to go to the Save and Run Package page. Here, select the Run immediately option and click the Next button. 

This takes you to the Complete the Wizard page where you can view the choices you made.

Click Finish to run the package.




3 (b). Exporting data  (from a SQL Server DB to a Microsoft Excel worksheet) :

To export data, start the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard. Then, click the Next button to bypass the Welcome Screen. On the Choose a Data Source page configure the following:

Step 1 : (Data Source )
Fig 9 : Export Wizard

 Choose SQL Server Native Client 11. from the drop-downmenu.

Step 2 : ( Server Name)
Type the name of the SQL Server instance that contains the source data.

Step 3 : (Authentication)
Choose authentication mode for the data source connection.

Step 4 : (Database)
 Choose the database that contains the source data.
Click Next to go to the Choose a Destination page (Figure 2). On this page, configure the following:





Fig 10 : Export Wizard Target

Step 5 : (Destination)
Choose Microsoft Excel from the drop-down menu.

Step 6: (Excel File Path)
Type in the Microsoft Excel worksheet operating system path.

Step 7 : (Excel Version)
Select the version of the Microsoft Excel worksheet.





Step 8:
Fig 11 : Finish Export 

Click the Next button to go to Review Data Type Mapping page. 

This is where you’ll see how different data types are mapped between the source and the destination and how any conversions issues will be handled.

Follow the wizard ahead.




4. SQL Scripts :
In many cases, you will find it more efficient to run a SQL script that contains the data you need to insert. You can use the SQL INSERT statement to insert just the data you specify in the statement.

Eg :
USE [Database_Name] 
GO
INSERT INTO Table_Name (column_name1,column_name2,column_name3) VALUES (‘val1’, ‘val2’, ‘val3’)
5. Application / Website


Server databases are the backend data storage for a front-end application. Users of the application are responsible for adding data to the database (as well as editing it). 
The Difference between these scripts and above scripts is, these scripts are dynamic. i.e Parameters are passed dynamically to the database.

T-SQL Scripts :

1. Create Database :
Creates a user defined database which can hold n number of user defined tables.

Syntax :
Create database

Query :
CREATE DATABASE SCTPL


2. Create Table :
Creates a user defined table which can hold n number of column with their respective constraints defined by user.

Syntax :
USE [DatabaseName]
GO
CREATE TABLE table_name
(
column_name1 Datatype,
column_name2 Datatype,
column_name3 Datatype
)

Query :
USE [SCTPL]
GO
CREATE TABLE Testdb
(
PrimaryID  int PRIMARY KEY IDENTITY,
Year  varchar(255)
)

3. Drop Table :
The SQL Server DROP TABLE statement is used to remove a table definition and all data, indexes, triggers, constraints, and permission specifications for that table.

Syntax :
USE [Database_Name]
GO
DROP TABLE table_name

Query :
USE [SCTPL]
GO
DROP TABLETEST


4. Insert Into :

The SQL Server INSERT INTO statement is used to add new rows of data to a table in the database.

Syntax :
USE [Database_Name]
GO
INSERT INTO Table_Name (column_name1,column_name2,column_name3) VALUES(‘val1’, ‘val2’, ‘val3’)

Query :
USE [Database_Name]
GO
INSERT INTO Table_Name (Year, Country, Location)
VALUES (‘1996′,’Nigeria’,’Akwa Ibom’)
4. Select :
SQL Server SELECT statement is used to fetch the data from a database table which returns data in the form of result table. These result tables are called result-sets.
Syntax :
/*For selecting all entries*/
USE [Database_Name]
GO
SELECT * FROM TEST
/*For selecting Specific entries*/
USE [Database_Name]
GO

SELECT column_name1, column_name2 FROM Table_name


Query :
/*For selecting all entries*/
USE [Database_Name]
GO
SELECT * FROM TEST
/*For selecting Specific entries*/
USE [SUVEN]
GO
SELECT Year, Country FROM TEST
5. Update :
The SQL Server UPDATE Query is used to modify the existing records in a table.
You can use WHERE clause with UPDATE query to update selected rows otherwise all the rows would be affected.

Syntax :
/* Type 1 */
Use [Database_Name]
GO
UPDATE table_name SET column1 = value1, column2 = value2…., columnN = value WHERE [condition]
/* Type 2 */
USE [Database_Name]
GO
UPDATE TABLE_NAME
SET COLUMN_NAME = ‘val1′, Column_name =val


Query :
/* Type 1 */
USE [SUVEN]
GO
UPDATE TEST
SET Location = ‘RenamedColumn Akwa-Ibom
WHERE Location = ‘Akwa Ibom
/* Type 2 */
UPDATE CUSTOMERS SET ADDRESS = Pune‘, SALARY = 1000.00



6. Delete :
The SQL Server DELETE Query is used to delete the existing records from a table.
You have to use WHERE clause with DELETE query to delete selected rows, otherwise all the records would be deleted.

Syntax :
/*For selecting specific entries*/
USE [Database_Name]
GO
DELETE FROM table_name WHERE [condition]
/*For selecting all entries*/
DELETE FROM column_name

Query :
/*For selecting specific entries*/
USE [SUVEN]
GO
DELETE FROM TEST
WHERE SALARY = 1000
/*For selecting all entries*/
DELETE FROM Location



Clauses

1. WHERE Clause:

The MS SQL Server WHERE clause is used to specify a condition while fetching the
data from single table or joining with multiple tables.

If the given condition is satisfied, only then it returns a specific value from the table. You will have to use WHERE clause to filter the records and fetch only necessary records.
The WHERE clause is not only used in SELECT statement, but it is also used in

UPDATE, DELETE statement, etc.


Syntax :
SELECT column1, column2, columnN FROM table_name WHERE [condition]

Query:
SELECT name FROM Stud WHERE id=1


2. LIKE  Clause:

The MS SQL Server LIKE clause is used to compare a value to similar values using wildcard operators. There are two wildcards used in conjunction with the LIKE operator 
  1. The percent sign (%)
  2. The underscore (_)
The percent sign represents zero, one, or multiple characters. 
The underscore represents a single number or character. The symbols can be used in combinations.

Syntax:


/* Type 1 */
SELECT *column-list FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE ‘%XXXX%’
/* Type 2 */
SELECT *column-list FROM table_name WHERE column LIKE ‘_XXXX_’

Query:

/* Type 1 */
SELECT name from Stud
WHERE sid LIKE ‘200%’
(Finds any values that start with 200)
/* Type 2 */
SELECT name from Stud
WHERE SALARYLIKE ‘_00_’
Finds any values that have 00 in the second and third positions & is of four characters. 


3. ORDER BY


The MS SQL Server ORDER BY clause is used to sort the data in ascending or descending order, based on one or more columns. Some database sort query results in ascending order by default.


Syntax :

Use DatabaseName
Go
SELECT columnlist FROM table_name [WHERE condition] [ORDER BY column1, column2, .. columnN] [ASC | DESC]

Query :

/*TYPE 1*/
Use SUVEN
Go
SELECT * FROM Stud ORDER BY NAME

/*TYPE 2*/

SELECT * FROM Stud ORDER BY NAME DES

4. GROUP BY Clause :

The SQL Server GROUP BY clause is used in collaboration with the SELECT statement to arrange identical data into groups.

The GROUP BY clause follows the WHERE clause in a SELECT statement and precedes the ORDER BY clause.

Syntax :

UseSUVEN
Go

SELECT column1, column2 FROM table_name WHERE [ conditions ] GROUP BY column1, column2 ORDER BY column1, column2

Query: 

UseSUVEN
Go
SELECT NAME, SUM(SALARY) as [sum of salary] FROM Stud GROUP BY NAME

6. DISTINCT

The MS SQL Server DISTINCT keyword is used in conjunction with SELECT statement to eliminate all the duplicate records and fetching only unique records.


There may be a situation when you have multiple duplicate records in a table. While fetching such records, it makes more sense to fetch only unique records instead of fetching duplicate records.


Syntax :

Use Suven
Go

SELECT DISTINCTcolumn1, column2,…..columnN FROM table_nameWHERE [condition]

Query :
Use SUVEN
Go
SELECT DISTINCT SALARY FROM CUSTOMERS ORDER BY SALARY 


Joins :

The MS SQL Server Joins clause is used to combine records from two or more tables in a database. A JOIN is a means for combining fields from two tables by using values common to each.

MS SQL Server Join Types −

There are different types of joins available in MS SQL Server −

INNER JOIN         −  Returns rows when there is a match in both tables.

LEFT JOIN            −  Returns all rows from the left table, even if there are no matches in the  
                                  right table.

RIGHT JOIN         −  Returns all rows from the right table, even if there are no matches in the 
                                  left  table.

FULL JOIN            −  Returns rows when there is a match in one of the tables.

SELF JOIN             − This is used to join a table to itself as if the table were two tables, 
                                 temporarily renaming at least one table in the MS SQL Server statement.

CARTESIAN JOIN − Returns the Cartesian product of the sets of records from the two or 
                                  more joined tables.

NOTE :

The join is performed in the WHERE clause. Several operators can be used to join tables, such as =, <, >, <>, <=, >=, !=, BETWEEN, LIKE, and NOT; they can all be used to join tables. However, the most common operator is the equal symbol.


Query Designer :

The query designer is a graphical user interface that assists in building queries for your SQL Server database. This can be particularly useful when building complex queries that involves many tables, views etc.

The Query Designer can also be beneficial for those who are learning how to write SQL. By using the Query Designer to generate the SQL, you can study the SQL and learn the syntax as you go.

Step 1 :  Open a new query by clicking New Query on the toolbar


Step 2 :  Open the Query Designer by selecting Query > Design Query in Editor. from the top menu:

Step 3 : Select the tables you want to run the query against (in this case, we will add both tables), click Add, and close the box by clicking Close:


Step 4 :  
Select the column/s you want to display in your query by checking the checkbox next to the column name. In the middle pane, you can deselect an Output checkbox to hide that field from being displayed when the query is run (but the field will still be involved in the query).

 Add a value under Filter to narrow the results down to only those you’re interested in (in this example, it is creating a WHERE clause to select only those records with a StatusId of “1” – which is “To Do”):

Step 5 :
Click OK once you’re happy with your query. Query will be automatically  Generated by query designer. Execute it using f5 key.


Views :

In SQL Server, a view is a pre-written query that is stored on the database. A view consists of a SELECT statement, and when you run the view, you see the results of it like you would when opening a table. 

Some people like to think of a view as a virtual table. This is because a view can pull together data from multiple tables, as well as aggregate data, and present it as though it is a single table.
Syntax :

CREATE VIEW ViewName AS
SELECT …

Query :

CREATE VIEW ToDoList AS
SELECT  Tasks.TaskName, Tasks.Description
FROM  Status INNER JOIN
Tasks ON
Status.StatusId = Tasks.StatusId
WHERE  (Status.StatusId = 1)
NOTE : Tasks & Status are two different Tables in a single database.


To execute a View  : 

Syntax : select * from View_name


NOTE :
The view will return upto date data. If the data in the table changes, the results of the view will change too. So if you were to add a new task with a status of “To Do”, next time you run the view, it will include the new record in the result set.


Stored Procedures :

A stored procedure will typically contain some business logic. For example, a stored procedure can accept parameters that are passed to it and test against those parameters using IF statements. Eg, if the parameter is one value, do this, if it’s another value, do that.

Benefits of Stored Procedures :

1. Modular programming
You can write a stored procedure once, then call it again and again, from different parts of an application (and even from multiple applications).

2. Performance
Stored procedures provide faster code execution and reduce network traffic.

3. Security
Users can execute a stored procedure without needing to execute any of the statements directly. Therefore, a stored procedure can provide advanced database functionality for users who wouldn’t normally have access to these tasks, but this functionality is made available in a tightly controlled way.

Create a Stored Procedure :

To create a stored procedure, you need to use the CREATE PROCEDURE statement, followed by the code that makes up the stored procedure. If your stored procedure is going to accept parameters, they need to be included after the name.

Syntax :

CREATE PROCEDURE myStoredProcedure AS
OR
CREATE PROCEDURE myStoredProcedure @{Parameter Name} {data type} AS

Query :

CREATE PROCEDURE
LatestTasks @Count int
AS
SET ROWCOUNT @Count
SELECT TaskName AS LatestTasks, DateCreated
FROM Tasks

ORDER BY DateCreated DESC


Execute a Stored Procedure

1. T-Sql Script :

Now that you’ve created your stored procedure, any time you want to execute it, you need to call it using either EXECUTE or EXEC. If the stored procedure requires parameters you provide those after the procedure name. 


Syntax :
EXECUTE LatestTasks
EXEC LatestTasks
OR
EXEC LatestTasks @Count = 5





2. Using The GUI

Step 1 : Using the Object Explorer, navigate to the stored procedure.

Step 2 : Right click on the stored procedure and select Execute Stored Procedure.

Step 3 : A dialog will appear. Enter your parameter values.

Step 4 : Click OK. SQL Server will generate the SQL code and execute the stored 




System Stored Procedures :

SQL Server includes a large number of system stored procedures to assist in database administration tasks. Many of the tasks you can perform via the GUI can be done via a system stored procedure. For example, some of the things you can do with system stored procedures include:
  • Configure security accounts
  • Set up linked servers
  • Create a database maintenance plan
  • Create full text search catalogs
  • Add remote login
  • Configure replication
  • Set up scheduled jobs
  • and much more…
NOTE :
System Stored Procedure has a prefix sp_ as naming convention.
It is a good idea to develop a consistent naming convention for your stored procedures, like usp_,  select_ , etc.

Bridge Constructor Portal is not the Portal game you expected, and that’s just fine

When Bridge Constructor Portal was announced earlier this month, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback. After all, I have played the first two Portal games, and while this mobile spin-off incorporates some of the series’ elements, I wouldn’t call it the follow-up that Portal fans have been clamoring for.

Even so, $5 isn’t asking for a lot, and, at least on paper, Bridge Constructor Portal has plenty to offer.

The game tasks players with being able to use metal girders and suspension wires to build bridges. These bridges allow the always-moving vehicles to get across from one side of the level to the other. Because the game employs a realistic physics system, you have to make sure that the bridges you build properly distribute weight. Otherwise, the bridges will collapse under all the stress.

Whereas previous Bridge Constructor games stopped there, however, Bridge Constructor Portal, you guessed it, uses elements of the Portal series to make the levels that much trickier. For example, many levels include sets of portals where you can hurl vehicles, companion cubes, and other objects through. Items like propulsion gel, sentry turrets, and aerial faith plates are also present and accounted for.

With that combination, the more you progress within Bridge Constructor Portal, the more you realize that the levels end up looking like a frenzy of flying vehicles than your typical roadway. Then again, there’s nothing typical about the game, so I suppose it’s fitting.

As with the Portal series, objects sent through portals maintain their momentum, so you will have to think about how to best use them. It’s no surprise, then, that things can get rather complicated, rather quickly, and they do. The unlimited number of dry runs lend to the send of progress, however, and lend to a sense of accomplishment once you finally get past a certain level you might be stuck on.

Also lending to that sense of accomplishment is the way that Bridge Constructor Portal scales the difficulty. Each level allows you to either get by with one vehicle or a convoy of them. The risk is greater with completing levels with a convoy of vehicles, since you have to account for the greater weight and increased chance of collisions, but you get to brag about it to others.

Not that completing levels with one vehicle is a trivial matter — the game’s mind-boggling levels will make you think hard about how best to approach them, so there is no feeling of scraping by if you manage to get one vehicle from one side of the level to the other.

Editor’s Pick

Making that journey a bit more fun is GLaDOS, the dry and sometimes sarcastic AI voiced by Ellen McLain. She is as witty as ever and brought a smile to my face when I heard her voice, only for that smile to go away as I realize that my bridge engineering skills are not as good as I might think they are.

Poor bridge engineering skills aside, I never felt like Bridge Constructor Portal wasn’t fun. Sure, it might not have been the Portal game I was expecting, but it’s great to look at, the music selection is spot-on, and the game itself was fun to play. Making things better, levels beg to be replayed, since there is usually more than one way to complete them.

If you want to catch a glimpse of what’s possible with the Portal series beyond the Portal gun, Bridge Constructor Portal will be available tomorrow, December 20 for $4.99. The game will also be released for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in early 2018 for $9.99.

AIrrowy takes your mind off signals while keeping roads safe

Don’t you hate it when people don’t use their turn signals? I have to say most of my close calls have been due to drivers failing to use these handy lights. And it seems my experience is backed by a study from the Society of Automotive Engineers, which claims about 2 million accidents a year are caused by drivers not signaling a change of lane or turn. 

Other featured campaigns:

  • Elf Smart Plug makes your home intelligent for cheap
  • PLY is a motorcycle smart helmet that won’t break the bank
  • NOCABLE battery pack charges your smartphone wirelessly

Why is it such a hassle to simply move a lever. Not to defend those who don’t follow the rules, but driving is an attention hog. You have to look for cars, motorcycles, bicycles, lanes, signs, people, animals, debris, speed limits and more. There are plenty of distractions that could endanger your life, so maybe drivers just forget to reach for that lever in the middle of chaos. We are all human, after all, so a little help couldn’t hurt. 

We have come across a very neat tool being featured on Kickstarter. It goes by the name of AIrrowy and automates turn signal actions. The process is simple. Once installed on your vehicle (cars, motorcycles, etc.), it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses an app to predict your driving route. In essence, it is a simplified navigator that knows when and where you are turning. Signals will be activated accordingly.

Interested? The Kickstarter campaign only has a bit over 2 days to go, so you best make your move soon. You can get an AIrrowy for as low as €68. Shipments are estimated to start on April 2018, though, so you will have to wait a few months to stop worrying so much about signals. 

What do you guys think of these automated driving technologies? Will they spoil drivers? Should users still keep an eye on signals to make sure everything is functioning properly? After all, even big names like Tesla have had failures. 

Check out AIrowwy

Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms

The last time I wrote about idle games was nearly 2 years ago. In that time the games have evolved further. And if you look at my Steam account, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is a game I have played for over 300 hours. Or rather, not played. Or to be even more precise, played for a few hours, but have left running on my computer for over 300 hours. It’s complicated!

Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms combines the idle game genre with the RPG genre, and sprinkles a bit of an endless runner into the mix. You start out with one dwarven warrior, Bruenor (who is “famous” in the lore of D&D) on a side-scrolling screen encountering endless hordes of monsters on his way. The dwarf kills monsters, and you can help by dealing damage through clicking on monsters. Every monster drops gold. And that gold can be used to increase your click damage, or to increase the level of Bruenor, or unlock additional heroes and level those up. Once you have fulfilled certain requirements, e.g. kill 25 monsters, you can advance to the next level, where there is the next endless stream of monsters.

Because that is the point of an idle game, there isn’t a whole lot to do. However the game has more strategic depth than one would think, because you need to arrange your heroes in a formation. And with levels each hero acquires special abilities which influence his neighbors in the formation. At one point you will have more heroes available than there are slots in the formation. And selecting the best heroes in the best formation is far from a trivial task. In addition there are some story elements, mostly in the form of friendly banter between the heroes. So for an idle game it is the most interesting and strategic game I know. Yeah, I know, that isn’t saying much. But, anyway, I keep “playing” this.

The math behind the game is interesting in as far as it is exponential, and human brains have problems with exponential. Your stats and gold found quickly go up into million, billions, trillions, quadrillions, etc., until you switch to scientific notation in the settings because you don’t even know the units any more. The one thing that remains linear is gems, with just a handful of them dropping every 5 levels at each boss. With gems you can buy chests, which contain things like helpful potions or gear for your heroes. And, because this is a free-to-play game, of course you can also buy those chests for real money. I probably spent more than I should have, but sometimes when I feel down I use buying special offers in free-to-play games as a sort of retail therapy, and this is my current game of choice for this. I don’t claim that this is rational behavior. 🙂

One of the more interesting choices to do in this game is choosing when to stop a run and to start over. At the end of a run you get divine favor in function of the amount of gold you gathered. And that divine favor increases the amount of gold you will find on the next run. The exponential math is tuned in a way that your divine favor basically determines how far you get in a run, because at some point gold gathering and level gaining becomes very slow, while the monsters keep getting harder and harder, until you can’t beat them any more. So the ideal strategy is doing a run until you hit a progress wall, and then reset to collect divine favor and start the next run. The game is organized in a way that this also over time gives you access to different stories and locations. To make this trickier you can also spend your divine favor for bonuses, but of course if you spend too much the lack of divine favor hurts you more than the bonuses help.

The reason for my 300+ hours is something that I am not really happy about: Idle offline gives far less rewards than idle online. For example while the game is running online, you can set the levels to auto-advance. The latest patch even added “familiars”, which are legal click-bots, but also only work when the game is running. Thus one is pushed towards leaving the computer on for example at night. The whole thing smacks a bit of mining bitcoins, only that the rewards of the game are less valuable than bitcoins. Offline you still gather gold and divine favor at the level you currently are, but with diminishing returns. If you are on holiday and offline for a week you don’t come back with a huge amount of divine favor collected, you’d have gathered more online in a day or two. Still it is nice to get at least some rewards while offline.

Overall I like the game for the D&D Forgotten Realms theme, and the relatively large number of non-trivial decisions you need to make to advance. But it remains an idle game, and I am well aware that this won’t be everybody’s cup of tea.

Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance Compares Fox News Rhetoric to ‘Psychological Warfare’

The network is using dangerous language to destabilize its audience’s understanding of the country’s institutions.

Intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance told MSNBC host Ari Melber that Fox News’ coverage of the Mueller investigation is approaching the level of “psychological warfare.”

Melber and Nance discussed Fox News’ inaccurate use of the word “coup” to describe what amounts to the “nonpartisan rule of law in America.”

“They want to make you lose faith that we can get through this as a Republic,” Melber said.

“This is almost psychological warfare—preparation of the battlefield,” Nance explained. “This is not a coup, and this language is dangerous.”

Watch the exchange below.

 

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Elemental Evil: Sessions 5 and 6

It appears I forgot to chronicle the previous session of my D&D home campaign. The last report was from early July, after which we had a summer break, and then resumed mid-August, and then continued yesterday. Both of these sessions were action-centric, with the group clearing out first the abandoned village of Thundertree and then the goblin stronghold of Cragmaw Castle from monsters. A “door-monster-treasure” type of gameplay can be a lot of fun, but the details aren’t always all that interesting in a journal of events. So I will summarize and concentrate on the highlights in this post.

Thundertree is an abandoned village a day’s travel from Neverwinter. The eruption of Mount Hotenow, which caused quite a catastrophe for Neverwinter half a century ago, destroyed the village of Thundertree. Erdan, the druid of the group who is prone to visions and nightmares, dreamed that the eruption of Hotenow was caused by a group of chanting fire cultists, but probably didn’t go as planned, as the cultists were killed in the event. What remained in Thundertree was mostly abandoned houses, with a population of ash zombies and twig blights. The group had gone to Thundertree to meet the druid Reidoth, who was supposed to know the location of Cragmaw Castle. Their “pet goblin” Droop also claimed to be able to find the way from Thundertree to Cragmaw Castle. They met Reidoth, who was able to provide a safe haven in the village, as well as the directions needed.

After clearing out most of the village from monsters, the group came across another group which likewise was engaged in fighting twig blights. That group was wearing blue armor and white robes, beset with feathers. They explained that they were from a club of aerial enthusiasts, and were in Thundertree to try to tame a griffon nesting here, or get eggs from his nest to raise as aerial mounts. The heroes agreed to accompany them to the griffon’s lair in the highest tower of Thundertree. But once there the air cultists tried to becalm the griffon by offering the adventurers up as sacrifice, so the group ended up killing both the cultists and the griffon. They were able to make the link between a symbol the cultists carried and the same symbol they had seen on a letter to Glasstaff in Phandalin.

On the way to Cragmaw Castle the group tried to question Droop for information about the castle. That was somewhat complicated by the fact that Droop could only count to 3, and used “3” as an answer to any question about numbers in which the answer exceeded 2. Not trusting the goblin’s offer to negotiate safe entry into the castle, they knocked him out and attached him to a tree, guarded by the paladin (the player was absent that session). Instead they built a camouflage out of branches and approached the less guarded south side of the castle at night. From there they could see into the banquet hall, but the goblins there didn’t look out the arrow slits. So they managed after a few attempts to unlock the side door. But they didn’t like the idea of advancing with the goblins in the hall behind them, so they decided to attack there.

From there they moved clockwise room by room. That enabled them to eliminate most guards in small groups. However it did move them more towards the entrance of the castle, instead towards the throne room. The toughest fight was against a group of hobgoblins. Popée the sorceress used a web spell on them, but between succeeded saving throws initially and later the web wasn’t all that effective. Then they tried to burn the web, but in 5E that deals only 2d4 damage, and the player rolled double 1s, so the spell wasn’t really a big success. The hobgoblins however had an ability with which they dealt an extra 2d6 damage if next to an ally. And two of them rolled critical hits, which doubles the number of dice on all damage, knocking the druid out of his bear form. After another fight in the central chapel of the castle the group had enough and decided to go back into the woods to take a long rest.

Returning to the castle they found that the bugbear King Grol had obviously noticed that the group had raided his castle and killed most of the goblinoids in there. So King Grol has gathered all the remaining defenders in the chapel, including a priest from the air cult. That ended up being a tough fight, with Theren being knocked down to zero health, but then rescued. The air cultist priest was a real menace, with a dust devil spell that prevented the archers and casters from sniping from the back. But Popée used a scroll of lightning bolt on King Grol and his pet wolf, killing the wolf and seriously damaging the bugbear. Soon after all the bugbears were dead. The priest tried to transform into gaseous form and flee, but didn’t make it out of the arrow slit in one round and concentrated fire killed him before his next round. At this point it had gotten rather late, and we ended the session.

Web Analytics :- key to e-coMMerce BusineSS

Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. However, Web analytics is not just a process for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a website. Web analytics provides information about the number of visitors to a website and the number of page views.

Importance of Web Analytics
We need Web Analytics to assess the success rate of a website and its associated business. Web analytics used to

  • Assess web content problems so that they can be rectified
  • Have a clear perspective of website trends
  • Monitor web traffic and user flow
  • Demonstrate goals acquisition
  • Figure out potential keywords
  • Identify segments for improvement
  • Find out referring sources

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google Analytics is now the most widely used web analytics service on the Internet. Google Analytics is offered also in two additional versions: the subscription-based Google Analytics 360, previously Google Analytics Premium, targeted at enterprise users, and Google Analytics for Mobile Apps, an SDK that allows gathering usage data from iOS and Android Apps.

Google analytics helps you to track and measure visitors, traffic sources, goals, conversion, and other metrics (as shown in the above image). It basically generates reports on −

  • Audience Analysis: As the name suggests, audience analysis gives you an overview of the audience who visit your site along with their session history, page-views, bounce rate, etc.
  • Acquisition Analysis: Acquisition means ‘to acquire.’ Acquisition analysis is carried out to find out the sources from where your web traffic originates. Using acquisition analysis, you can Capture traffic from all channels, particular source/medium, and from referrals and also Trace traffic from AdWords (paid search).
  • Behavior Analysis: Behavior analysis monitors users’ activities on a website.
  • Conversion Analysis: Conversion is a transaction by a user on your website. For example, download, checkout, buy, etc. To track conversions in analytics, you need to define a goal and set a URL that is traceable.

KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is a powerful web analytics tool that delivers key insights and user interaction on your website. It defines a clear picture of users’ activities on your website and collects acquisition data of every visitor.

KISSmetrics helps you identify the following −

  • Cart size
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Customer activity on your portal
  • Customer bounce points
  • Cart abandoned products
  • Customer occurrence before making a purchase
  • Customer lifetime value, etc.

Best Features of KISSmetrics

  • Ability to track effective marketing channels.
  • Figure out how much time a user takes to convert.
  • Determine a degree of which user was engaged with your site.
  • A convenient dashboard. You do not need to run around searching for figures.
  • Installation
  • Just sign-up for an account and customize accordingly.

Tracking
Add a java snippet under tag of the source code of your website.

Event Setting
By default, KISSmetrics sets two events for you − visited site and search engine hit. To add more events, click on new event, add an attribute and record an event name.

Setting up Metrics
Click on create a new metric. Select your metric type from the list. Give metric name, description, and event. Save metric.

Measures

You need to find a few key metrics for your business. You have a website and it has a tracking code in it.

Audience

Pageviews − Pageviews is the number of views of a page. Multiple pageviews are possible in a single session. If pageviews is improved, it will directly influence AdSense revenue and average time on website.

Bounce rate − Bounce rate reflects the percentage of visitors returning back only after visiting one page of your website. It helps you to know how many visitors do so. If the bounce rate of a website increases, its webmaster should be worried.

Pages per session − Pages/session is the number of pages surfed in a single session. For example, a user landed on your website and surfed 3 pages, then the website pages/session is 3.

Demographic information − Demographic data shows Age and Gender. With the help of Demographic Info, you can find the percentage of Male/Female visitors coming to your website. Analyzing the ratio of this data, you can make a strategy according to genders. Age group data help you find what percentage of age group visiting your website. So, you can make a strategy for highest percentage of age group visitors.

Devices − This data shows the devices info. In devices info, you can easily find how many percentage of visitors come from mobile, how many come from desktop, how many come from tablets, etc. If mobile traffic is high, then you need to make your website responsive.

Acquisition

Traffic sources − In the acquisition, you have to check all your sources of the traffic. Major sources of the traffic are −

Organic traffic is the traffic coming through all search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing….)

Social traffic is the traffic coming through all social media platforms (like − Facebook, Twitter, Google+, …)

Referral traffic is the traffic coming through where your website is linked.

Direct traffic is the traffic coming directly to your website. For example, typing the url of your website, clicking on the link of your website given in emails, etc.

Traffic Sources

Source/Medium − This metrics gives you an idea of the sources from where you are getting traffic (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Direct, Facebook…).

Site Content

Landing pages − Landing pages are the pages where the visitors land first (normally, home pages of the websites are the landing pages). With the help of this metrics, you can find the top pages of the website. Using this metrics, you can analyze how many pages are getting 50% or more traffic of the website. So, you can easily find which type of content is working for you. Further, based on this analysis, you can plan the next content strategy.

Site speed − Site speed is the metrics used for checking page timing (average page load time). Using this metrics, you can find which page is taking more time to load, how many pages have high load time, etc.

Want to Learn Digital Marketing?

Trump Diehards Take Over Taylor Swift’s New App, Instantly Start Spewing Hate

The pop star has come under fire for her refusal to condemn the so-called alt right.

Taylor Swift launched a new app for her loyal fans last week and within just two days, it was overrun by President Donald Trump’s fans to spread homophobia.

In a Tuesday report from the Daily Beast, screen captures of the app reveal the newly launched app, “The Swift Life,” was taken over by dogged Trump supporters.

Swift’s followers rushed to the app stores and by Monday it was among the top trending apps. It gave Swift fans a place on social media to see exclusive videos, use “Tay-mojis” and have their own Swift-centric newsfeed. But the most popular feature, which allows supporters to meet each other and chat, was possessed by right-wing trolls. Many Swift fans already know each other and have met on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve formed a collective of fans ready to respond to any criticism of their favorite star.

While the singer’s fans all had something in common with Swift, their political ideologies don’t mesh well. When conversation turned to politics, the fans started in on Trump and hate aimed at Hillary Clinton.

“Republicans and Trump supporters have just as much right to be here as everyone. There are people who voted for him or may vote Republican but didn’t vote for him. They may not agree with his beliefs but at least he supports our troops,” on fan wrote.

The comment spawned an argument in the comments section which quickly devolved into other Swift fans saying things like, “I just don’t accept gays lesbians and bisexuals,” Britt said.

Another comment from Britt claimed that her husband serving in the military was safer with Trump in office. Hillary has “done some things I don’t agree with when it comes to the safety of our troops… at the end of the day it came down to what I felt was best. There are people who voted for reasons other than Trump being a bigoted, sexist, homophobe,” she wrote in another post. The backlash was swift.

Those who love Swift and Trump quickly flocked to the defense of their kin on social media. They demanded their freedom of speech be recognized.

“I downloaded Tay’s app and before you start criticising me I’m a trump supporter (sic),” one fan tweeted. “I don’t see why people talk politics in there???? Like helloooooo let’s talk about our fav. We should support Taylor and I’m so disappointed she didn’t have one million downloads a minute.”

Britt ultimately deleted all of her posts about the president before writing, “Speak now and forever hold your peace. Not on TSL. Speak now here and everyone jumps down your throat.”

“You don’t get to use ‘free speech’ as an excuse to be rude and hateful,” another fan responded.

Rumors spread of political posts being deleted by moderators while international Swift fans blasted Americans for “ruining the app” and “distracting from Taylor.”

 

 

When a user logs into the app it demands users “help make this a safe and inclusive place for everyone to enjoy.” They’re encouraged to report content, saying, “see anything inappropriate, including instances of bullying or harassment, please report it.”

Swift made news when she refused to speak out against neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the so-called “alt-right.” She ultimately became the darling of the far-right movement, although Swift has tried to remain non-political. However, in 2016 Swift drew attacks from feminist supporters, who alleged that she was using feminist ideals to sell records while secretly supporting the anti-feminist candidate.

In a Yahoo interview with Swift friend Todrick Hall, Swift’s politics came up and he shut down the speculation she was a closet Trump supporter.

“Yeah, many people have been tweeting me, ‘She supports Trump! She probably voted for Trump!’” he said. “They’re making this huge assumption, when Taylor has never to my knowledge come out and said anything about her being pro-Trump.”

While he wouldn’t confess any inside information on whether Swift was a closet white supremacist, he said she has been “nothing but a great person to me,” as an gay African-American man.

“Her family has welcomed me into their home and treated me like I was a member of the family,” he said. “They’ve welcomed every single person I’ve ever brought around them. I’ve never felt like there was ever a moment that I couldn’t be myself, and talk about the fact that I’m gay or whatever.”

“Maybe one day, Taylor will start being super-political, and using her voice to do the things that people think that she should be doing,” he added. “But even then, she will probably be ridiculed for not being vocal enough, or not being on the right side.”

Left-leaning Swift fans attacked the pop star just last week after she claimed she “couldn’t have asked for a better year.” They allege the comment was “tone deaf” to the horrors many people of color faced in wake of the Trump presidency.

“I mean, yeah there were Nazi’s and white supremacy marches, and families are being torn apart, and there were mass shootings, and people are losing health care, but none of that affects me, so 2017 was great!” one person said on Twitter.

 

 

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Life is Pay2Win

I was listening to some well-known YouTubers complaining about lootboxes in new games like Star Wars Battlefront II or Shadow of War and pointing out in painstaking detail how getting this or that bonus unbalances the game in favor of people who buy lootboxes. However they appeared to be totally okay with other people getting the exactly same bonuses by grinding the game for many, many hours. And that annoyed me. Wouldn’t we be much better off if our multiplayer PvP games would be perfectly balanced and the outcome only determined by skill? If you can get bonuses that make you much stronger than another player, why would it matter whether you got them by playing the game for endless hours or by using your credit card? It appeared to me as if some hardcore gamers are quite okay with a game being unfair, as long as that unfairness favors them and their kind.

The only advantage playing a game for longer should be the skill you acquire by practice. Any other bonus you get from grinding is in fact a historical and economical anomaly. The practice will certainly disappear over the coming decade, because it simply isn’t in the interest of game companies to keep doing so. Companies don’t *want* players that use a lot of their bandwidth but give them no money. The only free players they want is those that they are still trying to persuade to cough up some cash.

Fact is that life itself is Pay2Win. In a consumer society, the more money you have, the more luxury you can afford. The whole “American Dream” idea is built around the concept that money is the yardstick for success in life, and that by working hard on pursuits that actually earn you money or improve your chances to earn money later, you are leading a better life. Even the people who would like wealth to be redistributed don’t complain about the fact that more money buys you a better car or the best seats in the theater. So why exactly should video games be exempt from that?

Games went from being fair and balanced to being unfair based on time spent. Now they are moving from there to being unfair based on money spent. People complaining about that on YouTube or various internet forums isn’t going to change that, because millions of people will buy those new games with their new unfairness. Because for millions of people the new unfairness is actually an improvement over the old unfairness. Gaming has become a mass market for the general population, and in the general population there are more people who can afford to spend $100 than there are people who can afford to spend 100 hours. Calling for that to be rolled back to the previous state of unfairness doesn’t even have the benefit of being moral, the moral situation would be games that don’t give you any advantages from neither time nor money.