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Damage Done By Trump's Narcissisme

by Oui Mon Mar 5th, 2018 at 09:40:02 PM EST

US and diplomacy from the barrel of a gun with Trump in the White House. Blaming Russia again? Filling the void left by American disinterest, Trump bullying and threats, destroying trade agreements, what does one expect? It was candidate Trump who had no knowledge or interest maintaining the NATO alliance. Europe got the message and is working on its own defence cooperation, based on the EU of the 27. No more expansion into corrupt states like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Poland. That's causing the failure of the EU to advance an united front.

With Italy no longer in US focus, Russia swoops to fill the void | Irish Times - May 30, 2017 |

President Donald Trump made the most of his short time in Italy. He was treated to a private audience with the pope, met both the country's president and its prime minister in Rome, flew to Sicily for a summit of world leaders and visited US troops at a nearby naval air station.

But as the sudden burst of diplomatic activity subsided with his departure, European and US officials fear a return to the new normal of American inattention as the administration struggles with political turmoil and Russia-related scandals back home.

    "
    In Rome Trump left behind an embassy without an
    ambassador and forfeited a geopolitical playing field
    that Moscow's ambassador in Rome is exploiting

More below the fold ...

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Centrum of Democracy - Lacking Vision

by Oui Sat Mar 3rd, 2018 at 09:52:24 AM EST

How the Democrats changed under Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to a union of Lieberman Democrats and McCain Republicans. The result led to a people's journey in the blighted desert of thinking waiting for the prophet to lead the chosen people to the promised land. Unfortunely, not even a common goal has been defined. There is infighting and a possy mentality to throw out the bums, or worse.

First of all, in politics there is no room for ethics and morals, so one abuses the DNC to throw the election of candidates in the primaries to a favorite. The damage done cannot easily be corrected and flowed into the last months of the presidential campaign. Never before in modern times has there been two candidates polling such high ratings of impopularity. Because the GOP managed to unravel under pressure of the Tea Party candidates, its candidate Trump was a complete farce. Nothing good could come forth out of his campaign, his methods, his rhetoric ... yet he represented 47% of the electorate who bothered to cast a vote. The Supreme Court gave us George Bush II and the Electoral College gave the American people Donald Trump.

What Happens to the Democratic Party After Obama? | The Atlantic |

Obama lost fewer governorships than presidents' parties surrendered under Kennedy and Johnson (15) and the Nixon and Ford administrations (13)--and lost more than under Eisenhower, Clinton, and Bush (nine each). Only in lost state legislative seats (850) did Obama significantly exceed any of these predecessors, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ronald Reagan was the great exception to all this: During his two terms, Republicans gained 18 House seats, four senators, four governors, and 237 state legislators. Reagan was also the only two-term president since World War II whose party held the White House when he left.

More below the fold ...

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Free Speech

by Cat Fri Mar 2nd, 2018 at 01:47:28 AM EST

The decision: New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)
Petitioners: The New York Times Company, a New York corporation which publishes the New York Times (NYT), a daily newspaper, and four individual petitioners who were officers of the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King (Ralph Abernathy, S.S. Seay, Sr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and Joseph Lowery) which purchased NYT publishing services
Respondent: L. B. Sullivan, one of the three elected Commissioners of the City of Montgomery, Alabama

Respondent, an elected official in Montgomery, Alabama, brought suit in a state court alleging that he had been libeled by an advertisement in corporate petitioner's newspaper, the text of which appeared over the names of the four individual petitioners and many others.
The published advertisement: "Heed Their Rising Voices"
The political activity: Protest of MLK's arrest and solicitation of funds from anyone receiving the NYT to pay for MLK's legal defense against two counts of felony perjury.
A jury in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County awarded him [SULLIVAN] damages of $500,000, the full amount claimed, against all the petitioners, and the Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed. The advertisement included statements, some of which were false, about police action allegedly directed against students who participated in a civil rights demonstration and against a leader of the civil rights movement; respondent claimed the statements referred to him because his duties included supervision of the police department. The trial judge instructed the jury that such statements were "libelous per se," legal injury being implied without proof of actual damages, and that, for the purpose of compensatory damages, malice was presumed, so that such damages could be awarded against petitioners if the statements were found to have been published by them and to have related to respondent.

Happy Black History Y3 D60

The US Supreme Court reversed the decisions of Alabama appellate courts. Who has benefited? Surely los negros, the blacks, were vindicated. Who else benefited? The New York Time Company in defense of publishing that "black" advertisement, the Pentagon Papers in 1971, and "investigative journalists" purporting to "shield" authoritative sources of true and false information [1] from prosecution by US Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, 2004-2006 [2]. Who else? Anyone to this day who expects model principles set forth to defend publishing, anyone who agitates for freedom to telecommunicate political speech to known and unknown recipients.

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BMW = Brexit Made Wonderful

by Frank Schnittger Wed Feb 28th, 2018 at 05:09:38 PM EST

Fintan O'Toole has an interesting take on why the Brexiteers think they can ultimately force the EU to give the UK what it wants in the Brexit deal:

Marxism is alive and well in British politics. The irony, though, is that its strongest influence is not in Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party. It is on the Tory right. Perhaps the oddest thing about the Brexit zealots - though there is a great deal of competition for this title - is that they cling to a particularly crude form of Marxist economic determinism.

Their whole project is predicated on the belief that a cabal of capitalist bosses can issue orders that the entire European Union would rush to obey. The all-powerful clique in question is made up of the principal shareholders of Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Opel, Porsche and Mercedes.

It would be hard to overstate just how large these German industrialists have loomed in the consciousness of the Brexiteers and their media cheerleaders. They were to be Britain's saviours. It was they who would ensure that the EU would be forced to give Britain all the benefits of the single market and the customs union even after it departed from both. It was they who would provide the lubrication for the zipless, frictionless Brexit of the Leavers' dreams.

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European Trumps

by Bernard Sat Feb 24th, 2018 at 06:05:50 PM EST

Frank has posted a diary on the triumph of Trumpism across the Atlantic. But Trump and his tactics have inspired a number of politicians, or even entire parties, in Europe as well.

Since DJT's election, many European politicians have been nicknamed "the <insert country name> Trump". One such example is Laurent Wauquiez, aka "the French Trump", who has succeeded Nicolas Sarkozy at the helm of the LR (Les Républicains) mainstream right wing party in the wake of humiliating defeats for Sarkozy (in the primary) and Fillon (in the general election). Wauquiez's "strategy" is one that others have tried before him: emulating the Front National's themes, especially the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, while keeping a plutocrat-friendly "pro-business" agenda, despite some vague (pre-election, obviously) protectionist noises.

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TAPI Pipeline, 30 Years in the Making

by Oui Fri Feb 23rd, 2018 at 06:55:03 PM EST

Leaders break ground on TAPI gas pipeline's Afghan section | DW |

Regional politicians have launched construction work on the Afghan section of a natural gas pipeline linking Turkmenistan with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Even the Taliban are now approving the project.

 « click for more info
TAPI and IPI - Pipelines for Good

Regional leaders on Friday launched construction work on the Afghan section of an $8-billion (€6.5-billion) natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan to India.

Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth-largest gas reserves, but has been heavily dependent on exports to China after Russia cut back imports considerably.

More below the fold ...

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The Triumph of Trumpism

by Frank Schnittger Wed Feb 21st, 2018 at 11:22:35 AM EST

Ever since the election of Donald Trump (which like many others, I didn't see coming) I have kind of lost interest in US politics. It's not as if I condemn all Americans as dumb-ass stupid. I have been to the States a couple of times in the distant past and know it is a very varied country. It has it's very conservative backwards parts, and some very progressive forward looking districts. It has lots of very poorly educated people, but also many of the most brilliant minds and innovators in the world.

Since the end of World War II, the USA has gloried in the title of "Leader of the Free World", although allying with Stalin against Hitler is a distinction without much difference. It's subsequent alliance with every nasty dictator on the planet against "communism" didn't do it much credit either. But my dispute is not so much with what the USA was, as with what it has become under Trump. Basically a country without hope. Without almost any major saving graces.

Sure, if you are lucky or smart, with the right racial/linguistic profile, you can still make your fortune there. But don't get sick. Don't "drive while black". And it helps if you are a white supremacist racist bigot. Believing in Zionism, creationism and denying climate change also helps. In general, besides McDonald's, Microsoft and Google, what positive contribution does the USA make to the world now? Dylan and Springsteen belong to a prior age. Hollywood hasn't produced an original or inspirational movie in years. Since MLK, has any US political leader provided much inspiration to the world?

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18 USC 2,371,2349,2028A

by Cat Sun Feb 18th, 2018 at 07:12:04 AM EST

Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictment by grand jury of  Internet Research Agency (IRA), incorporated in Russia, its subsidiaries and thirteen named employees of the firms. Full text of the indictment is here or there.

The list of charges are:

1. Conspiracy to defraud the United States
"by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the US Department of State (State) in administering federal requirements for disclosure of foreign involvement in certain domestic activities."
2. Conspiracy to commit Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud
3-8. Aggravated identity Theft

It's here for cross-reference to observations last year that memorialized civic disorientation and disbelief following the DNC "hack" incident and Mr Trump's election. These were a wave of moral panic to proscribe "offensive" opinions, "fake news", "hate speech", and "Russian" propaganda and interrogation by US senators of "social media" publishers' business practices LQD: Censorship and A Trip to the Woodshed, respectively. Accordingly, the indictment of the Internet Research Agency ("IRA"), incorporated in Russia, relates broadcast speech (internet publication) soliciting political activity (thought or performance) of any "real" US person to illegal "foreign involvement in certain domestic activities."

A sophisticated but no less atavistic redoubt of red-baiting tactics

Count 1 is an array of criminal activities designed to "defraud" the US. Each US agency is the key relating IRA activities to its table of possible criminal charges relating to disclosure. Thus, the Special Counsel advances IRA's purported illegal "political activity" in the USA ("electioneering") under FARA, across FEC purview.

The indictment's token for an instance of IRA non-disclosure is "persona". Never mind that aliases, pseudonyms, brands, and atavars are recognizable "terms of art", that  anonymity for public internet exchange is customary and protected by common law. "False persona" and "US persona" and "online persona": Repetition of the token dramatizes IRA "use of stolen US identities", as if possessed by a patent intent to conceal the foreign origin of the firm's work product (speech). This spiritual offense is more odious to um persons or ah entities who Mr Mueller represents than the sorcery marshaled to contract or stimulate political activity from "real" US ahm persons present in the USA. This offense evidently obstructs, impairs, and defeats US federal regulation of commerce everywhere and ultimately administration of electoral requirements within the USA.

That's not all: "others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States." (p 5) These persons are named "co-conspirators" in the indictment. Their origins are not disclosed as in "Another co-conspirator who worked for the ORGANIZATION traveled to Atlanta, Georgia from approximately November 26, 2014 through November 30, 2014." The IRA reimbursed the co-conspirator's travel expenses. The indictment is larded with trivial incidents like this, one may suppose, to demonstrate at least productive tax-payer dollars.

From this premise flow the remaining criminal charges against foreign defendants and commentary lifted from Democratic Party senators' testimonies in the Judiciary Committee, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee hearings.

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Is a Russian Troll Farm Destroying US Democracy?

by Oui Sat Feb 17th, 2018 at 07:30:03 AM EST

Craziness! A Russian troll farm destroying American democracy? The Americans have been doing an excellent job themselves over the last few decades. The crumbling Empire of Pax Americana. Navel staring by US bloggers has led to stalemate and depression. America has so much to give, it's Washington DC that's not functioning as it should in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Meet Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian Oligarch Indicted in U.S. Election Interference | NY Times |

Putting blame on outside forces will bring another great war so much closer. Thinking of the Doomsday Clock!

American democracy is doomed | Vox - Oct. 8, 2015 |

But voiced in another register, my outlandish thesis is actually the conventional wisdom in the United States. Back when George W. Bush was president and I [Matthew Iglesias] was working at a liberal magazine, there was a very serious discussion in an editorial meeting about the fact that the United States was now exhibiting 11 of the 13 telltale signs of a fascist dictatorship.

More below the fold ...

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Dutch Fake News, Warmongering, Anti-Russia Propaganda

by Oui Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 09:28:34 PM EST

What the media in Holland and the political parties refuse to mention. The lies about Russia were placed in the context of the prospects of war initiated by Putin's Russia and the risk of maintaining unity in the European Union. Halbe Zijlstra spoke at the VVD party congress and positioned his party as anti-Russian by an ugly piece of WARMONGERING. Here is the translation from Dutch - VIDEO.

Speaker Halbe Zijlstra and his lies about a meeting with Vladimir Putin -  VVD Congress in 2016

Halbe Zijlstra started his opening words in the Frisian language, his birthplace ...

0:18
Ladies and gentlemen it's good to be in again
00:21
Friesland on my birthplace
00:23
the high too long and I see as always
00:27
at a VVD Congress a lot of
00:29
cheerfulness and optimism
00:31
I am also an optimist myself

More below the fold ...

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The Best Speech by a Politician on the Future of the Grid I've Ever Read

by gmoke Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 01:37:42 AM EST

Jeremy Corbyn really understands what the future of the grid needs to be in an age of anthropogenic climate change.

A green energy system will look radically different to the one we have today. The past is a centralised system with a few large plants. The future is decentralised, flexible and diverse with new sources of energy large and small, from tidal to solar.

Smart technologies will optimise usage so that instead of keeping gas plants running just in case there is a lull in renewable generation the system fulfils needs by identifying the greenest, most local energy source.

There will be much more use of local, micro grids and of batteries to store and balance fluctuating renewable energy.

We will still need a grid to match energy supply with demand and import and export renewable energy abroad because the wind won't always blow where energy is needed.

But it will be a smart grid, radically transformed.

Source:  https:/labourlist.org/2018/02/a-catapult-into-21st-century-public-ownership-corbyn-speech-on-new-ec onomics

What he is suggesting is not only practical now but also more reliable and more affordable than our present grid, according to the studies I've seen.

The World According to Dutch FM Halbe Zijlstra

by Oui Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 12:44:24 PM EST

Dutch PM Mark Rutte has been on the roll with accusations of Russian disinformation about the MH-17 crash, election meddling and fake news through RT. It took awhile to form a new cabinet after last year's general election, his party nominated its chairman for the task of Foreign Minister. Someone with no experience in diplomacy and foreign affairs. Except of course his meeting with Russia's president Putin in his dacha. Well more or less ...

Dutch Parliament to Question Zijlstra's Credibility | De Volkskrant |

Dutch parliament wants clarification of Zijlstra about Putin's invented meeting. Rutte: 'He is still credible'

Both coalition and opposition parties want clarification from Minister Halbe Zijlstra of Foreign Affairs about his fabricated contacts with Russia. D66, CDA and ChristenUnie want a letter with an explanation to the House of Representatives. Several opposition parties want to quickly debate with Zijlstra, who today in de Volkskrant confesses that since 2014 he has told a fake story about a meeting with the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    Zijlstra lied about talking to Putin: 'I pushed it away because it got the wrong charge'

    "Was it wise to protect the source in the way that I did it? No, that was unwise. But the information is correct."

    No, he has never sat in one room with Putin, as he has always claimed, Halbe Zijlstra now acknowledges. He would have heard his words from a source he wants to protect. "And the content is just true."

More below the fold ...

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Brexit Proxy War

by Oui Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 10:06:11 AM EST

The parallels were clear from the outset, the players behind the scene were covert ...

  •  Pro-Brexit the conservatives/alt-right/Republicans/social-media influence via Cambridge Analytica
  •  Pro-EU Remain camp the neo-liberals/new Labor/Democrats/OSF Soros via Best for Britain

The US Presidential election, just a big surprise win for Donald Trump, supported by ...

  •  UK conservatives/alt-right/Tea Party Republicans/social-media influence via Cambridge Analytica

George Soros raises donation to anti-Brexit Best for Britain group | The Guardian |
George Soros defends £400,000 donation to pro-EU campaign | The Telegraph |

    "To make matters worse, the divorce process will preoccupy both Britain and Europe for years ahead, when they should be uniting to resist external enemies like Putin's Russia and resolve the internal contradictions that made some people regard the EU as their enemy."

Soros as Clinton backer lost on both fronts ...

NATO and Soros Crossed Russia's Red Line in Europe

My earlier diary on topic ...

Brexit: 'Putin Did It'
After Brexit: Transatlantic Opportunity for Europe's Neutrality

And of course Tony Blair getting funded to Remain! Whatever, so long the money is good.

Trump Won't Let Go of Syria - Kills Scores of SAA

by Oui Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 08:02:52 AM EST

Keeping Daesh safe in enclave near Deir Ezzor, east of the Euphrates ...

    "The Coalition remains committed to focusing on the defeat-Daesh [ISIS] mission in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and asserts its non-negotiable right to act in self-defense."
    CENTCOM said in its official statement.

Breaking: US-led Coalition Conducts Strikes Against Syrian Army In Deir Ezzor

Killing up to one hundred soldiers of the SAA.

More below the fold ...

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NATO: Russia Stationing Ballistic Missiles On Our Borders!

by Oui Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 09:01:12 AM EST

Oh horror! Just 10 years ago before the Obama's reset of relations with Russia ... a short historical review.

Europe Uneasy Over Russian Plans to Deploy Missiles | DW - Nov. 2008 |

Plans by Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev to deploy missiles just a stone's throw from EU borders has caused concern in western Europe. Politicians are urging Russia and the US to enter into a constructive dialog.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized Russia's plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad. He told German television it was "the wrong signal at the wrong time."

Steinmeier called on Russia to enter into dialogue with the United States on the issue. He said he hoped Moscow would recognize the election of Barack Obama as an opportunity for a new beginning. At the same time, he warned of a new spiral of rearmament in Europe.

More below the fold ...

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So Now What? (LQD)

by ATinNM Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 06:00:27 PM EST

Trade barriers 'unavoidable' outside customs union, says EU's Barnier

The UK will face "unavoidable" barriers to trade if it leaves the customs union and single market, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said.

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The Case for Irexit

by Frank Schnittger Mon Feb 5th, 2018 at 09:26:59 PM EST


Nigel Farage was in Dublin over the week-end making the case for Ireland to exit the EU along with the UK at a conference organised by the Ukip-led Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the EU Parliament. Some of the participants wore "Make America Great Again" hats and also expressed support for Donald Trump.

Read more... (10 comments, 1448 words in story)

Grin and Bear It - Just A Symptom

by Oui Sun Feb 4th, 2018 at 09:14:17 AM EST

No surprise here, an excellent analysis ...

'Trump's presidency is a symptom of our time'

12 October 2017 - 09:10

Twitter rants, alternative facts, fake news: president Donald J. Trump is truly something new. But according to culture scientist Ico Maly, the ideology that drives the Trump administration is not new, not exclusively American, and not going away. Is the New Right the new normal?

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has shocked the world. Nobody saw it coming. Not the media, not the pollsters, not the political analysts, and not the Tilburg University students following the New Media and Politics class taught by Belgian culture scientist Ico Maly. "In the months leading up to the presidential election, I told my students that there was a real chance Trump would win the White House. They laughed and said there was no way that would happen", Maly says.

More below the fold ...

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The May, The Mop, or The Mogg?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 11:50:40 PM EST


Theresa May, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Boris.

As Theresa May flaps about aimlessly in the wind there is much talk within Conservative circles of deposing her. An unnamed cabinet Minister has apparently threatened to resign in a bid to force her out. Boris is continually trying to both distance and define himself by making speeches about his vision for Brexit and the wonderful opportunities it will bring. Jacob William Rees-Mogg has recently been elected Chair of an influential group of pro-Brexit Tory back-benchers and leads a poll of Tory party members of whom they would like to see succeed Theresa May - ahead of both Michael Gove and Boris Johnson.

Read more... (54 comments, 548 words in story)

LQD: Chips off the ol' block

by Cat Thu Feb 1st, 2018 at 09:40:57 PM EST

Ireland's Pink and Yellow Imperialism

Now that they have their piece of bourgeois respectability in their pocket (the marriage certificate) - why should they care about world peace? Why should they object to their hero leading Ireland into present and future wars? We can only conclude that the LGBT lifestyle - in Ireland at least - is now a firm part of the structure.

And the structure is imperialism - the western kind - the never ending, "permanently structured" kind. The western war against the world - for economic gain - that has lasted for centuries and which destroyed Ireland - now has Ireland's backing. It now has a fig leaf shaped like a shamrock and colored like a rainbow.

Varadkar didn't phrase it like this. In his deceitful words: "a Europe worth building is a Europe worth defending". And in doublespeak Orwell would be proud of - he sold the the concept of a European "army" as being anti-American.

BLM for White Folks May Mean Becoming Just Folks

In part what I'm talking about is our inherited puritanism, but I'm reluctant to call it that.  For the most part, anybody who acknowledges our puritan inheritance also shares the shallow and self-congratulatory opinion that "thank god we're beyond all that, our sexuality freed, our right to have guilt-free fun."

On the contrary.  Among the many reasons people ought to refrain from joining the hysteria of the Me Too movement is its complete acceptance of the dominant attitude towards the body and toward sex, unchanged despite the "sexual revolution," the multibillion dollar  Internet pornography industry, the almost ceaseless appeals to our sexual nature to sell us everything, saturating TV and movies, magazine covers, the Internet.  The young woman of today is arguably worse off than the maidens of pre-birth control yore who lived under the double standard that held  what was good for the gander was fatal to the reputation of the goose.

I had wondered if anyone besides myself and Bruce Dixon were at all alarmed by the latest iteration of testing that divert any doubts about surrendering to the spoils of a truly democratic civilization, one's navel.

Is it suitable for public consumption in war, if not peace?

Comments >> (8 comments)
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News and Views

 23 - 29 April 2018

by Bjinse - Apr 24, 21 comments

Your take on this week's news

 15 - 22 April 2018

by Bjinse - Apr 11, 113 comments

Your take on this week's news

 Open Thread 23-29 April

by Bjinse - Apr 24, 4 comments

Threading is a short parenthesis in a long period

 Open Thread 16-22 April

by Bjinse - Apr 11, 22 comments

It's the glory of the thread that has turned my head

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