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14 - 22 Oct 2017

by Bjinse Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:01:05 PM EST

Your take on this week's news


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by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:02:34 PM EST
The Finnish Model - Foreign Affairs


Each year, several of Finland's top athletes join the Finnish Defence Forces as conscripts. So do music stars, who could similarly try to be exempted. Though the FDF--like most armed forces--exempts would-be conscripts only for health-related reasons, in many countries young men fake illnesses in order to avoid service. And young star athletes and artists would, one might think, have a good reason to avoid the draft, as their careers could suffer irreparably from a year away from the limelight. (Next year's cohort of conscripts will include one of the country's biggest pop stars, Robin, who will enter the navy.)

Indeed, as Granlund's and Robin's enlistments show, the FDF has managed a feat that other armed forces could learn from: it has made itself an attractive destination for conscripts and professional troops alike. This helps explain why the armed forces routinely have more applicants than openings for noncommissioned officer positions. According to a May Eurobarometer poll, 95 percent of Finns trust their army, a higher rate than anywhere else in the European Union. (In Germany, 66 percent trust the army; across the EU, the average is 75 percent.)

Granlund and many other Finns may consider conscription a patriotic duty, but militaries cannot count on citizens' love of country to fill their ranks. Consider the case of Russia: even though a June poll found that 87 percent of the country's citizens support President Vladimir Putin's handling of foreign affairs, only around 37 percent of its young men perform military service, which in theory is mandatory for everyone.

The appeal of Finland's military extends beyond patriotism and depends partly on its willingness to listen to its soldiers. In 2002, the FDF introduced a system that tracks and evaluates soldiers' and officers' experiences. "It has changed how we treat our soldiers and how soldiers view the FDF," said Brigadier General Jukka Sonninen, the FDF's head of training.

by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:06:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Macron seeks to disrupt European politics ahead of 2019 EU elections - Euractiv
Coalition or solo ride? After Macron's tour of France, the upcoming European parliamentary elections in 2019 have provided a new impetus to REM, the president's party.

This vote takes places every five years in all countries of the bloc. And since 1976, three large parties or "groups", as they're called in Brussels, dominate the assembly: the European People's Party (EPP), the European Socialist & Democratic party (S&D), and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

The latter, closer to Macron's REM, hasn't received any formal application from REM.

"Formally, they haven't yet become part of any European group," said Didrik de Schaetzen, communication director for ALDE.

On paper, political relations are quite real: Macron is close to Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel and his Luxembourg counterpart, Xavier Bettel - whose parties are both affiliated with ALDE.

During the presidential campaign, REM's alliance with centrist political party MODEM - itself a member of ALDE group - had strengthened the links between Macron and Guy Verhofstadt's group.

But the affiliation is far from certain. "Regarding ALDE, [affiliation] will not happen automatically. We are more progressive than liberal. We want to speak with everyone," said Arnaud Leroy, one of REM's directors.

"For the 2019 elections, we want to disrupt the European political game like we did in France. We are more inclined towards creating something ex nihilo," he explained.

by Bernard on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We are more progressive than liberal", which is why we are busy totally dismantling workers' rights, reducing tax on wealthiest people and bending backwards to get mega bankers to come.

Truly in up is down territory.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 08:13:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like Hollande was the French Zapatero (look at what they did to the PS on both sides of the Pyrenees), Macron is apparently aiming at the French Blair position; not a reassuring thought.
by Bernard on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 06:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Der Standard
Auch nach der Auszählung der Stimmkarten bleibt Tirol bei einem "Nein" für eine Bewerbung für Olympische Winterspiele 2026. Das Ergebnis habe sich durch die 29.030 ausgezählten Stimmkarten nur geringfügig geändert und liege jetzt bei 46,75 Prozent für "Ja" und 53,25 für "Nein" (zuvor: 46,65 "Ja" und 53,35 "Nein"), teilte Landeswahlleiter Josef Liener das vorläufige Endergebnis am Montag mit. - derstandard.at/2000066054063/Tiroler-Klein-Gemeinden-fuer-Winterspiele-2026.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 07:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent
Britain should engage its 'Blitz spirit' for the Brexit process and "stay calm and carry on" despite challenges ahead, a leading economist has said.

Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said there was a "bumpy road ahead" but urged Britain to remember Winston Churchill and government efforts to raise morale during the Second World War.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 04:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's always WWII and Churchill with these people.

But, of course, it was the working classes who suffered and starved during WWII. Food in restaurants was carefully kept off ration, and so the well off could feast well every night. The land owners, or at least the grandsons of the ones from WWII, have no memory of struggle or privation. that was what poor people were for.

Let there be no mistake. WWII was shit for the working classes, those who weren't put in harm's way were over-worked and starved. Their homes were bombed and not replaced for over a decade.

the 50s were a miserable time of economic mis-management as the relics of Empire clung pointlessly and expensively to their fading dreams of past glory. Huge opportunities in re-building civil infrastructure were squandered as we retained a military to manage empire even as it melted away and then chased the chimera of standing militarily co-equal with USA and USSR.

And now, the f..wits, having wasted every opportunity handed them for the last 70 years, they want to go back and rattle the bones yet again. History repeats, once as tragedy, the second time as farce. But what happens at the 3rd and 4th time of asking?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 07:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the rich in control, what else would you expect in a psaudo-democracy?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 03:16:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Some call it "meme."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 03:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian Lindner: CDU must not get the finance ministry - Politico
The leader of Germany's Free Democrats (FDP), Christian Lindner, said he does not want Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's conservative CDU party to head the finance ministry again.

Lindner said in an interview published Tuesday he would be on board with a new finance minister from the Green party, his own party, or even Merkel's sister party, the CSU.

"Anything would be better than keeping the chancellery and the finance ministry in the hands of the CDU," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

He added that the combination of Schäuble as finance minister and Merkel as chancellor for the past eight years has not "proven to be successful."

by Bernard on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 07:51:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FAZ
Der mutmaßliche Schweizer Spion Daniel M. kommt im Prozess um das Ausspähen der nordrhein-westfälischen Steuerbehörden voraussichtlich mit einer Bewährungsstrafe davon. Dafür muss der 54-Jährige aber ein umfassendes Geständnis ablegen und detailliert schildern, was mit zehntausenden Euro geschah, die er für die ihm vorgeworfene Spionagetätigkeit erhalten haben soll. ,,Oberste Bedingung sind glaubhafte Angaben", sagte der Vorsitzende Richter am Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt, Josef Bill, am Mittwoch. Dann könne er mit einer Bewährungsstrafe von anderthalb bis zwei Jahren sowie einer Geldauflage davonkommen. Die Höchststrafe für die M. vorgeworfene geheimdienstliche Tätigkeit beträgt fünf Jahre Gefängnis
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 03:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EMF is back. I was beginning to wonder if I'd imagined 2012.

"the most sceptic countries"? Ouch!
Toes of the EP are back in the spotlight, too. Note also the roll call inset, true to heritage language "accountability".
Finally the European Prosecutor's Office Is Born

The regulation was also made possible with the obligatory consent of the European Parliament, where 456 voted in favour, 115 against and 60 abstained.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 07:38:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:02:38 PM EST
On quantification of anything and its consequences

w/3 8 Oct 2017
source: Bloomberg, now excepting subscriber registration to read articles in their entirety.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 04:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist  - Guardian
The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the car into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country's newspapers, Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a "one-woman WikiLeaks". Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe's smallest member state.

Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta's prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

by Bernard on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 07:06:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'The situation is desperate': murdered Maltese journalist's final words  - Guardian
In her last blog post, published the day she died, Daphne Caruana Galizia signed off with a sentence that seems particularly chilling now.

"There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate."

Caruana Galizia, 53, felt she had good reason to feel pessimistic about Malta, and her enemies had good reason to fear her. Someone, it seems, was worried enough to want her silenced.

In that last post, which appeared just before a bomb blew up the car she was driving, Caruana Galizia had taken aim, and not for the first time, at Maltese politicians. But they were far from the only people in the firing line.

by Bernard on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 07:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
jobs saved or created
LG to open Europe's biggest car battery factory next year
LG Chem plans to spend 5.9 billion zlotys ($1.63 billion)[EUR 1.3B, KRW 1.812T] on the factory near the southwestern city of Wroclaw, according to Polish state industry agency ARP. ... The factory will employ 2,500 people. LG Chem, a subsidiary of Korea's LG Corp, did not name the likely customers but said they would include top car companies.

"The company has chosen Poland as the most competitive location for production to satisfy the needs of European and global car producers," said Chang-Beom Kang, vice president at LG Chem.

comparative advantage
VW targets 400,000 annual EV, plug-in hybrid sales in China by 2020 Jan 2017
"The company hopes to achieve the target by introducing 15 EV and hybrid models in China over the next three or four years."
VW plans to build first EVs with JAC in 2018
"In 2016, Volkswagen sales in China rose 12 percent to 3.98 million vehicles - more than any other foreign automaker."
Bowing to Beijing, VW accelerates EV timetable Jul 2017
"The 5.1 billion yuan ($761 million) plant, due to start production in late 2018, will build up to 100,000 EVs at full capacity."
VW taps electric Golf to help meet China's EV quota
"[I]nstead of procuring batteries from its usual suppliers -- South Korea's LG Chem or Panasonic of Japan -- Volkswagen will buy the cells from China's Contemporary Amperex Technology."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 10:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Private emoluments on parade.
Bill Clinton sought State's permission to meet with Russian nuclear official during Obama uranium decision
Bill Clinton instead got together with Vladimir Putin at the Russian leader's private homestead.

Can't wait for US public to "discover" how long US government has been buying rockets from Russian firms.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 05:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:02:42 PM EST
communicable disease.

Don't Put Trump Above the Law, Emoluments Challengers Urge

To earn the right to take the president to court, [plaintiff's attorney Deepak] Gupta will have to prove not only that the president's business dealings are illegal, but that his clients have been harmed by them.

The event which has not occurred.
Gupta told the court that he has numerical proof [!] of Trump's competition with another of his clients, New York hotel mogul Eric Goode. Ranked 35th in the area, Trump SoHo's price differs by only $1 from Goode's Bowery Hotel, which outranks its nearby competitor by two points but has an important drawback.

"What our clients can't offer is the ability to curry favor with the president of the United States," Gupta said.


"emoluments magnet"
Since the emoluments clause proscribes certain foreign business transactions only "without the consent of Congress," the Republican-led Legislature presents another variable in the case.

"Your clients would not have a cause of action no matter how severe [their complaints] if [Congress] decided to consent," said [U.S. District Judge George] Daniels.

archived:
One significant flaw in the complaint exposes the standing of the gov't.s of MD and the D.C. to dismissal ...
Trump Reveals Flat Revenue at Controversial Washington Hotel
Losses Mount at Trump's Scottish Resorts
Donald Trump's first 100 days have been a moneymaking success story

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 12:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since leaving the UN General Assembly audibly gasping at the audacity of his "rocket man" declaration, Mr Trump has withdrawn US membership in UNESCO and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the "Iran Deal". Concerted effort to resist or obey orders of the hegemon have yet to materialize.

whip it good
Mogherini lashes out [?] at Trump, says EU is the `only credible' global power

"It is a deal that prevented a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, next to us. That brought security in the region and to young people in the country. That was the European way and it was thanks to us because we were the mediator," she said.

Why Trump Has Gone Nuclear on Iran
straight out of season 6 of 'Homeland'
US allies will also be "encouraged" to reach what for all practical purposes is a non-denial denial renegotiation. This can be easily interpreted as unilateral extorsion. It's not gonna happen - as the EU, Russia and China have made abundantly clear. Washington then will be de facto pulling out of the JCPOA. Or, in Trump's words, following the advice of the spectacular incompetent rabid neocon US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the deal "will be terminated".


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 08:29:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
o, dear.
IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari - usually a cordial, soft-spoken man but tough as nails, with combat experience in the Iran-Iraq war - has made it very clear; "If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State [ISIS] all around the world."
ibid.

Trump is truly ripping the imperial sieves "a new one."
China, Russia, US, EU{France, Germany} plus "Britain"

"It seems that some have deliberately created a fake atmosphere in order to ignore such a legal process and block the path to assessing the (nuclear) conclusion in a timely and detailed manner and placing it in a legal path in compliance with the Iranian nation's interests," [AlJafari] said.

2015

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 08:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The American Conservative
I understand you had a striking exchange in conversation with a senior African diplomat recently. What happened?

The exchange was with a former foreign minister of an East African country. We spoke several months ago while I was in his country to meet with army officers for my research on civil - military relations. Well read and well informed, he expressed distress over what he saw as the Trump Administration's attack on the foundations of American power in the world. He compared Trump to Gorbachev. I was curious about this comparison, given that most Americans generally view Gorbachev in a positive light.

He explained that Russians know Gorbachev as the man who destroyed a superpower. He said that "Trump is your Gorbachev" because he is also destroying his country's global power. He noted that Trump was systematically undermining the architecture of American power, such as NATO and all sorts of other arenas of cooperation that make America essential in the calculations of other countries. He pointed to people like Sebastian Gorka and took the time to find out who he and some of the other advisors actually are. His country, he explained, prefers to get advice from "reality-based professionals" and wondered how others in the American political establishment could tolerate people who are so harmful to American power.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 01:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's this sort of reasoning which provoked Mr Obama's elevation to Nobel laureate.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 05:11:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't Trump deserve it at least as much as Obama?

A physics prof. at the Technion once nominated Begin for the Physics Prize "he deserves at least as much as the Peace Prize".

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 05:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait. To what sort of physics was he referring?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 07:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gorbachev made an afaik sincere effort to reform the superpower and scale back the empire in a controlled manner. It didn't work as he wanted it to, but he tried.

Yeltsin on the other hand, was as far as I can tell only in it for power, money for him and his friends and family, and eventually to avoid jail (or execution).

by fjallstrom on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 07:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump Likely to Block Release of Some JFK Files - Politico
The 1992 law, the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, was passed by Congress in response to the furor created by Oliver Stone's conspiracy-laden hit film "JFK," which was released the year before. As a result of the law, millions of pages of documents related to the assassination were made public in the 1990s--but not all.

A relatively small fraction--the 3,100 documents that the public has never seen, as well as the full text of more than 30,000 files previously released only in part--have been held back until now. Most of those documents were created inside the CIA, the FBI and the Justice Department. Under the law, however, everything must be released, in full, by next Thursday unless Trump decides otherwise.

Until now, Trump, himself no stranger to conspiracy theories, including a seemingly bizarre theory offered during last year's presidential campaign that connected JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the father of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, has given no clue in public on his plans for the JFK documents. (Cruz and his father adamantly deny the allegations of a family tie to Oswald.)

by Bernard on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 06:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump says he'll allow Kennedy assassination files to be released

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 02:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything to put on a good show as long as he doesn't have to do any work or produce anything ... like all of the bosses I ever worked for.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Oct 23rd, 2017 at 04:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage
Those extraordinary powers were supposed to be temporary [?!]. But even [!] after 16 years, there's been no congressional [WHO?] oversight of the ["]emergency["].


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 07:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:02:46 PM EST
As South Sudan implodes, America reconsiders its support for the regime - The Economist

South Sudan, the world's newest country, is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been broken apart, soaked in petrol and set alight. It will not be easy to put back together. It seceded from Sudan in 2011, after half a century of on-off rebellion and a peace deal in 2005. In a referendum, 99% of South Sudanese (who are mostly black and non-Muslim) voted to separate from the Arab, Muslim north. Sadly, clashes between different ethnic groups within South Sudan began almost immediately after independence.

(...)

The mayhem is now many-sided. The other tribes (of which the country has about 60) accuse Mr Kiir of funnelling government jobs and cash to Dinkas, and of using the national army to assert Dinka supremacy. Terrified non-Dinkas have formed armed groups to defend their homes, land and cows--and sometimes to raid the neighbouring villages. The government sees these groups as rebels to be exterminated, and tacitly encourages the ethnic cleansing of areas thought to support them. All sides slaughter civilians.

In Wau, Dinkas walk in the streets without fear (except at night, when robbers prowl). Meanwhile, tens of thousands of non-Dinkas huddle in tented camps nearby, guarded by UN peacekeepers. The non-Dinkas say they are too scared to return home. Many report being raped if they venture out to collect firewood. "Now it is death for anyone who is not a Dinka. If you can't talk like a Dinka, if you don't have the right [ritual] scars, they shoot you, no questions asked," says Abdullah, a farmer. "They want to clear the other groups and take control of everything. They kill you and take your land to graze their cattle on."

Out of South Sudan's pre-war population of 12m, the UN estimates that 2m have been displaced internally and another 2m have fled abroad. So bad is the violence that some flee into the war-ravaged Central African Republic, or into Sudan's troubled region of Darfur. Though South Sudan is fertile, more than half of its people face hunger. A famine earlier this year was averted by food aid. Diarrhoea, cholera and malaria have spread rapidly, along with kala-azar (a deadly parasitic disease carried by sandflies).

The economy is a disaster. The state depends on oil, which is 95% of exports. Not only has the oil price fallen by more than half since 2011, but output has collapsed in the fighting. The IMF guesses that real income has been cut in half since 2013. Inflation is over 300% a year. The government is short of cash. Unpaid soldiers rob civilians with impunity.

Much of the budget is stolen. Absurdly, half of the government's net oil revenues are spent on petrol subsidies--the government insists that fuel should be sold for far less than it costs. As a result, petrol stations have run dry. Outside each one, black-market traders sell fuel in water bottles for more than ten times the official price. The finance minister says fuel subsidies should be scrapped, but faces resistance from those who pocket them.

by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:15:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As South Sudan implodes, America reconsiders its support for the regime

IOW, The Emperor and his cohorts haven't yet found a way to get rich off the situation. I mean, if they can't get richer, what's the point?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The median age in South Sudan is 17, just a stone's throw from Lord of the Flies territory.
by Andhakari on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 11:40:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice to see around these parts again Andhakari!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 11:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Current Affairs
Why not build The Wall, after all? Oh yes, it will be expensive, and contentious, and time-consuming. Most of the land along the border is privately-owned, which will inevitably entail "lengthy legal proceedings, political blowback and substantial expropriation payments." Yes, there's a lot of doubt about whether a wall would even be effective in deterring border crossings, especially by cartel operatives, who can certainly afford ladders, and have been paying Border Patrol agents to look the other way for years already. Yes, it is a frivolous pet project of Trump's, not a serious solution to any immigration problems the Democrats supposedly care about. Yes, it's a clear waste of taxpayer money.

But here's the most important consideration: when you have a group of people, like those in Trump administration, who are determined to do evil, it is much, much better for them to be wasting money than using it efficiently. If Trump wants to pour money and time into The Wall, and Republicans in Congress are willing to go along with him, and Democrats can barter substantive, permanent relief for Dreamers and some other classes of undocumented people in return, that would actually be a pretty tempting offer. The construction of The Wall will be a logistical nightmare, and almost certainly won't be finished by the time Trump's term is up--and even if it is, well, walls are much quicker to take down than they are to put up. We can mark our calendars for a big bulldozer parade along the border, followed by dancing in the streets.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 04:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There would be substantial ecological damage from that silly wall.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 02:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can erection or destruction of a physical barrier damage the ecology of "emanations" such as social media?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 07:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
communicable disease.

USA imposes economic sactions against 'Ba'athist Iraq' commerce beginning 1990.
USA invades Iraq 2003. With USA military troops. And armament. Recruits Shi'ia militia and politicians.
Total Iraqi combatant and civilian casualities undefined.

Iraq's state and militia defend its territory.
Veterans & Widows Say Big Pharma Funded Terror in Iraq

Dozens of families of U.S. troops killed or wounded in Iraq sued some of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies Tuesday, claiming they paid millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Iraq's Health Ministry for lucrative contracts, which financed the Iran-backed Shiite Mahdi Army.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 12:14:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We did this
A digest of events and political groups forming New Zealand's newest government.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 08:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
City of Dickinson, TX
Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement by and between the City of Dickinson and

[...]

11. Verification not to Boycott Israel. By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 05:05:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
William O. Douglas, "Judicial Treatment of Nonconformists"
during the Red scares, 1939-1975
In the October 1943 term, there had been a similar case from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Dunne v. United States (138 F 2d 137), in which we denied certiorari. The case involved two conspiracies--advocacy of the overthrow of the government by violence, and advocacy of disloyalty and insubordination in the armed services. No overt acts were charged apart from advocacy. Yet the case, emotionally speaking, was less appealing than Dennis because Dennis was in the classic framework of teaching.
[...]
The arrival of Earl Warren made part of the difference. Moreover, I think the notorious and high-handed way in which the loyalty security program was administered was making itself felt on the judicial conscience. In any event, the Court construed executive orders and regulations concerning the discharge of "subversives" from government employment quite strictly, to give the accused employees a full measure of procedural due process of law. [See "The Case of Emily Geller" for an example of a loyalty security hearing.]
[...]
The Court also did a shade better when it came to loyalty oaths. The vice of many loyalty oaths is that they look to the past, not to present fitness or future promises of behavior. They punish a person for acts which may not have been unlawful when committed. They have all the essential earmarks of bills of attainder historically used to inflict punishment on unpopular minorities. A person seeking a public post can of course be tested for present loyalty and for his disposition toward law and order. But disqualifying him because of past actions or thoughts that are not necessarily relevant to present fitness is punishment for acts which may have been innocent when done. Certainly a person put on the blacklist for public employment suffers punishment of an acute and measurable amount. (For more on blacklisting, specifically in Hollywood, click here.)

&tc.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 01:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clan politics endanger Somaliland's presidential election
When Jamal Ali Hussein, the former CEO of Citibank Tanzania and a Harvard alumnus, decided to directly engage in Somaliland politics six years ago, many Somalilanders were hopeful and believed that his positive impact would be visible in a short period. He later managed to be nominated as the presidential candidate of the Justice and Welfare Party, also known as UCID. He was accompanied by his vice presidential candidate Abdirashid Hassan Matan, another young educated but novice politician. However, Hussein's and Matan's political inexperience came to light soon....

Donald Trump's comments on Africa at the UN were, um, odd
"Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they're spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets. It's really become a place they have to go, that they want to go."


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 11:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a good thing that The Nation is erecting its "paywall" now before, yanno, Mr Snowden reveals all.

source: ["]Secret["] US Military Documents Reveal a Constellation of American Military Bases Across Africa

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 12:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:03:41 PM EST
The US Is Paying Big Oil to Keep Fossil Fuels Profitable - Motherboard
Subsidies are not cash handouts. They're a mix of tax breaks, tax credits, and regulations that forego government revenue, transfer liability, or provide services at below-market rates. Another significant subsidy takes the form of uncompensated government costs for fixing roads damaged by heavy fracking trucks. Governments justify these as supporting economic growth and job creation.
The analysis looked at the impact of $4 billion a year in production subsidies given to oil companies. Study authors argue this money encourages companies to drill oil fields that would otherwise be unprofitable. That would likely produce 17 billion barrels and, once burned, add 7 billion tonnes of additional climate-heating carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere by the year 2050.
by Bernard on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

source: Irish Independent, 15 Oct
Brittany 'apocalypse': Hurricane Ophelia brings yellow skies and burning odour
The tropical storm, which passed the Brittany coast on its way north, brought with it particles of sand from the Sahara [!] desert and the smell of the huge forest fires that have ravished parts of Portugal [!] and Spain [!].

archived: Ophelia is expected to transition...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 09:54:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the skies were spectacular and eerie here in SE England

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 03:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So yeah. Last night I fell asleep on the the sixth reading of this passage, wondering idly if there are sufficient numbers of nouveau taoist confuscian ancestor worshipers  inhabiting the UK to revoke the Tories' mandate.
As the Hekla eruption was in Iceland, it is not surprising that its most dramatic affects were in Britain. According to the paleo-climatologists Chris Sear and Mick Kelly:
The dust veil [put up by the volcano] may well have created an area of low pressure and low temperature over the British Isles. This, the research indicates, led to extremely high rainfall, which, combined with cold weather, would have made agricultural life impossible in areas such as the Scottish Highlands, the southern uplands, the Pennines, the Lake District and Wales. 146
The archaeologist John Barber now postulates catastrophes and major depopulation in Northern Britain in the mid-12th century BC, whe he and Baillie tentatively link to Hekla II. 147 They also suggest that the breakdown of the economy in the Highlands let to social disruption:
The catastrophe was so sudden and severe that it appears to have forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their upland homes to seek a new life in the already inhabited valleys and lowlands. Widespread warfare would have followed and in the later half of the twelfth century BC, valley settlements start to be fortified. 148

However, the drama had a background. Barber and Baillie agree that for several centuries before the eruption the Scottish Highlands had been under severe environmental stress as a result of long-term climatic changes. Nevertheless, they insist that the final breakdown occurred only after the eruption.

Bernal, "The Thera Eruption," Black Athena, vol II The Archaeological and Documentary Evidence. 1991. p 303

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 09:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas
Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna. Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless [?] of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline. This yet unrecognized loss of insect biomass must be taken into account in evaluating declines in abundance of species depending on insects as a food source, and ecosystem functioning in the European landscape.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 08:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What we know for sure is that pesticides cannot be to blame. Monsanto, Bayer... assured us of the fact.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 09:30:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I thought that's what pesticides are supposed to do. Are you actually claiming that these respectable companies actually lied to us?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 09:52:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only supposed to eliminate pests, with surgical precision, but to somehow leave all other insects unharmed.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 07:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:03:44 PM EST
Is Europe's ghostliest train station about to rise again?

 It was one of the world's most opulent railway stations, sitting imposingly on the French-Spanish border - but then it fell into disrepair. Now, writes Chris Bockman, the building is showing new signs of life.

When they built the station at Canfranc, it was on a grand scale and with no expense spared. It had to be bold and modern - an architect's dream come true, built in iron and glass, complete with a hospital, restaurant and living quarters for customs officers from both France and Spain.

At the time it was nicknamed the "Titanic of the Mountains".

To give you an idea of its size - there are 365 windows, one for each day of the year; hundreds of doors; and the platforms are more than 200m long. The question is, how did such an extravagant station, high up on a mountainside in a village with a population of just 500 people, ever see the light of day?

by Bjinse on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 11:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's Dodo?  This is his gig.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 04:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dodo is another on the list of the long gone. Although in his case he isn't on FB (afaik) either so he really has fallen off the world

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 04:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: Long Gone ... gone where?  Is ET so non-informational that it's not worth a comment?  What do these people spend their time doing?  I DON'T GET IT !!  What's up with Jerome? At least Mig pops up now and then.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 08:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
gone, as n no longer posting on ET. Beyond that, I don't know.

He worked for Hungarian Railways, but his department was privatised then downsized and he lost his job. Beyond that, I don't know as he stopped posting.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 06:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh shit.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 08:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why so judgemental?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 09:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, at least you pop up now and again :-)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 12:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporations Have Utterly Failed to Protect Speech - Motherboard
Facebook and Twitter are hurting those they should be protecting.

Add this all to the ongoing trainwreck regarding possible election interference on Facebook (a byproduct of the company running ads from essentially anyone who can pay and relying largely on user reports to weed out the bad), and it's very clear that there is a serious problem with how private corporations manage public speech. Namely, the corporations in charge of the largest speech platforms on Earth have utterly failed to manage speech on those platforms, and increasingly seem incapable of doing so.

The actions that Facebook and Twitter take to police speech don't follow any kind of moral compass, are disproportionately applied, and--at least outwardly--seem completely arbitrary. They are full of false equivalences, as in the case of Lil B being banned because, as one Facebook spokesperson told Motherboard, if you flipped his comment around to say black people are violent that would be hateful: "If you just took a step back and replaced it with anything else, those are the type of things that our hate speech policies are intended to capture and they apply equally to all races," the spokesperson said. As if these same platforms aren't full of white people, often with connections to power, saying racist, harmful, hateful things with impunity.

These companies' actions are also often arbitrary and callous, as is the case with Facebook's ongoing campaign to force trans people to use their legal names, a policy that also puts sex workers and survivors of abuse at risk.

by Bernard on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, the ultra-rich screwing over the rest of us.  Big surprise.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 04:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect their biggest problem is that the problem is absolutely colossal and they have no interest in losing the profit that would be used employing the necessary number of people to police it effectively

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 04:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heken: they have no interest in losing the profit

As they write in the article:

Every piece of content on their platforms is monetizable and they are managing customers, not citizens.
[...]

Despite Facebook's recent attempts to address the issue under government pressure, the Russian ad problem is not a bug, it's a feature. It's discourse by market demand. The health or quality of speech matters only insofar as it is a value-proposition.

by Bernard on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 06:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And me ... a dinosaur ... without even a cell phone, much less a "device".  Oh woe is me.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 08:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silicon Valley Is Inserting Its Biases Into Nearly Every Technology We Use - Motherboard
In 2015, a Google Photo algorithm auto-tagged two black friends as "gorillas," a result of the program having been under-trained to recognize dark-skinned faces. That same year, a British pediatrician was denied access to the women's locker room at her gym because the software it used to manage its membership system automatically coded her title--"doctor"--as male. Around the same time, a young father weighing his two-and-a-half-year-old toddler on a smart scale was told by the accompanying app not to be discouraged by the weight gain--he could still shed those pounds!

These examples are just a glimpse of the embedded biases encoded in our technology, catalogued in Sara Wachter-Boettcher's new book, Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech. Watcher-Boettcher also chronicles more alarming instances of biased tech, like crime prediction software programs that mistakenly code black defendants as having a higher risk of committing another offense than white defendants, and design flaws in social media platforms that leave women and people of color wide open to online harassment.

Nearly all of these examples, she writes, are the result of an insular, mostly-white, tech industry that has built its own biases into the foundations of the technology we use and depend on.

by Bernard on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On face recognition technologies and non-white people, there is of course Joy Buolamwini's work:

'A white mask worked better': why algorithms are not colour blind - Guardian

A lot of your work concerns facial recognition technology. How did you become interested in that area?
When I was a computer science undergraduate I was working on social robotics - the robots use computer vision to detect the humans they socialise with. I discovered I had a hard time being detected by the robot compared to lighter-skinned people. At the time I thought this was a one-off thing and that people would fix this.

Later I was in Hong Kong for an entrepreneur event where I tried out another social robot and ran into similar problems. I asked about the code that they used and it turned out we'd used the same open-source code for face detection - this is where I started to get a sense that unconscious bias might feed into the technology that we create. But again I assumed people would fix this.

So I was very surprised to come to the Media Lab about half a decade later as a graduate student, and run into the same problem. I found wearing a white mask worked better than using my actual face.

by Bernard on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:25:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...  an insular, mostly-white, tech industry that has built its own biases into the foundations of the technology we use and depend on.

There's nothing stopping her or anybody else from rewriting the code.  You can do that in software.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 04:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Man makes the machine, yo.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 06:51:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those who take decisions about the code that will go into production are those who wield power in the tech industry. Mostly white; mostly male.

Not a terribly complicated concept.

by Bernard on Tue Oct 17th, 2017 at 07:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is stupid to expect Silicon Valley Techbros to be anything other than Silicon Vally Techbros.

Not a terribly complicated concept.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 11:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did anyone say otherwise?
by Bernard on Mon Oct 23rd, 2017 at 06:24:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Google's Latest Self-Learning AI Is Like an "Alien Civilisation Inventing Its Own Mathematics"
"What we're seeing here is a model free from human bias and presuppositions. It can learn whatever it determines is optimal, which may indeed be more nuanced that our own conceptions of the same."

It's a good thing then that in the very near future all human activity will be playing Go. Obversely, the GOOG machine can play Go for everyone on planet otherwise occupied.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 10:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What we're seeing here is a model free from human bias and presuppositions. It can learn whatever it determines is optimal, which may indeed be more nuanced that our own conceptions of the same."

If it kills off all the Republicans and Tories, I'll say "Job well done."

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 01:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We went through the same hysteria* with Watson/DeepBlue after it won the Jeopardy match in 2011.  One result was MD Anderson pouring $60 million into a joint venture and achieved nothing.

The MD Anderson nightmare doesn't stand on its own. I regularly hear from startup founders in the AI space that their own financial services and biotech clients have had similar experiences working with IBM.

The narrative isn't the product of any single malfunction, but rather the result of overhyped marketing, deficiencies in operating with deep learning and GPUs and intensive data preparation demands.

AlphaGo is a Go playing Expert System.  It can never be more than that because Neural Net technology does not allow it to be anything more.  Both Hinton ("We need to start over") and LeCun (They don't work in the real world") let the cat out of the bag on that one.  

* a psychological disorder whose symptoms include selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and over dramatic or attention-seeking behavior.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 12:15:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Watson will be responsible for its own marketing, then we have Artificial Intelligence.

Learning Go for 960 hours straight up to a superb level is kinda cool, but... extremely dorky.

The annual top chess engine competition is under way. No Google or IBM products there, because staying behind an open source champion would be bad marketing.

by das monde on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 03:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"AI" per se is an insidious oxymoron. As I said, "man makes the machine." A machine, automation or automated processes --a type of system requires standardization of its constituents (systematic value) in order to guarantee predictability of its purposes-- are by definition artificial, not "natural," phenomena. Thus, as AK has said, "It can never be more than that", strictly speaking  because its human designer(s> do "not allow it to be anything more." The limiting factor even to parallel processing or "distributed" schemes on which astonishing! computing power rely, I think, will always be the programmatic scope of intelligence its engineers define.

I've been considering bitcoin and npm "block chain" theory and praxis as emulations of "best practices" in computing R&D. And I am not persuaded this method can or will obtain efficiencies in production or "innovation" to either human or machine benefit searches. The I/O and iteration are chiefly copies of prior "art." That is, the "system" lacks discriminating purpose.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 12:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 12:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS JUST IN!
Routes to Defensibility for your AI Startup
Copy of copy of copy of "a competitive strategy" is search of a business and unmet demand.

(I walk to my stacks, pull out Shapiro and Varian, Information Rules, a Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (1999) and Dolan and Simon,Power Pricing (1996)... grimace at Tho. Stewart, Wealth of Knowledge (2001)... return)

World of coders now equipped to transform 'barriers to entry' into moats.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 02:37:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If humans want Artificial God or artificial management (i.e., asking a machine to "make"/compel them), they may get that.

Corporations are AI entities already, Romney could say.

by das monde on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 10:32:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You fundamentally misunderstand the point of AI.

Its debatable whether the aims are achievable, but it's absolutely clear that the development of independent, self-enhancing intelligence - which transcends the abilities of its developers - is a core aim.

And the aim has been attained in minor ways across many fields. Google's AlphaGo developers didn't need to understand Go to master level to be able build a system capable of beating a master.

The only difference with general AI is that the goal is to automate learning itself, not to solve specific problems in one limited domain.

Of course this requires the design of a system with discrimination and abstraction - not necessarily a purpose in human terms, but still an explicit meta-goal.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 23rd, 2017 at 01:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
props for the link: It refers to interesting (B) cases. The (A) cases being in a collection of primary and secondary research into "pricing knowledge management" I did around the turn of this century. IBM's decades-long "first mover advantage" and business model has been unraveling since the dotcom "boom". Probably SAP's, too. I no longer have the resources to follow up.

That said, all too many CS ventures, or "independent software vendors" (ISVs), share the same maintenance of effort dilemma. Apart from continually raising working capital (which determines marketing investment, inc. advertising and R&D)

The narrative business problem isn't the product of any single malfunction, but rather the result of overhyped marketing, deficiencies in operating with deep learning and GPUs and intensive data preparation demands. failure to identify and satisfy unmet demand


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 10:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent
You may think that offering your seat to someone elderly on public transport is a considerate thing to do, but experts have revealed that doing so could actually hamper their health as they age.

In fact, old people should be encouraged to stand and discouraged from taking it easy in order to keep themselves fit, an Oxford professor claims.

Sir Muir Gray, clinical adviser to Public Health England, has spoken out to say the elderly should try to walk for ten minutes a day and relatives should encourage to take the stairs instead of a lift or excalator.

If the bus is full, the driver should let the young people board. The elderly should walk; it's good for them.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 01:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only that but they're a bunch of fat fucks.  Was in the local Post Office yesterday ... there was this old fat fuck in front of me holding things up, carrying a cane; behind me, another old fat fuck.  They're everywhere.  They should get their social security checks cut for their own good.  Put them all on a diet.  Waste of good food anyway ... they'll just up and die any minute anyway.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 03:27:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus ... remember that old fat fuck with the cane?  After holding up the line at the Post Office he probably dottered home to watch geriatric porn.  There's an ugly thought for you ... old fat fucks getting it on.  Like watching a Harvey Weinstein video.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 03:42:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How a Healthy Economy Can Shorten Life Spans
The health of a nation's economy and the health of its people are connected, but in some surprising ways. At times like these, when the economy is strong and unemployment is low, research has found that death rates rise.
It must be healthy to do this kind of research.
by das monde on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 09:45:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, life spans in southern Italy are even higher than the national average (and senior discounts at Matera museums start at 70).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 01:29:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for the comment section

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 02:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An unusual story in that certainty of facts representing so-called antifa modus operandi elsewhere may imply international organization. To what end?

Police: Neo-Nazi demo and anti-fascist counter-protest in Tampere restless - Investigation opened

Police first called the demos peaceful, but an investigation of violent activities in the counter-protest is to be opened.
[...]
The protests were organised by the Nordic Resistance Movement and the opposing group, called "Tampere Without Nazis". The counter-protesters numbered some 800 people according to police, an estimated four times more than the neo-Nazi rally.
[...]
Counter-demonstrators detonated at least three smoke bombs during the demonstration, Yle reports. Counter-demonstrators also shortly interfered with train traffic by walking on the tracks for about half an hour. One demonstrator was taken into custody on suspicion of assault, one was detained on grounds of endangerment and two more were apprehended in order to prevent escalation. All those detained were marching in protest to the neo-Nazi gathering.

YLE is a state organ. Counterfactual reporting, if any, invited.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 11:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labor's Stake in the Fight for Veterans' Health Care
[L]ike Britain's National Health Service, the VHA provides direct care to veterans, via salaried personnel who are not paid on a fee-for-service basis. As the nation's largest publicly funded, fully integrated health care network, it's a model of socialized medicine more far-reaching than the single-payer plans proposed by Congressman John Conyers and [?!] Senator Bernie Sanders (who is also a leading defender of the VHA).
[...]
Bernie Sanders, former chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Senate and longtime defender [!] of the VHA, has introduced legislation to reduce staff shortages by allocating $5 billion to new hiring. But Secretary for Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin, who served in the Obama administration, is under White House and Congressional pressure to expand a program called "Choice" [!] instead. ...Created by Congress in 2014, Choice allows veterans who have to travel 40 miles or more to the nearest VHA facility, or who face appointment delays longer than 30 days, to use private providers instead.

archived: Faux Accompli

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 03:32:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Der Postillon
Die Spitzen von SPD, Linken und AfD haben sich heute in Berlin zu ersten Sondierungsgesprächen für die Bildung einer Opposition in der neuen Legislaturperiode getroffen. Dabei wollen sie ausloten, ob es eine gemeinsame Basis für Kritik an der Politik der Bundesregierung gibt.

Das Fazit nach den ersten Stunden war verhalten positiv, die Chance für Rot-Rot-Blau, das intern auch r2b oder Nordkorea-Opposition genannt wird, ist da.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 23rd, 2017 at 07:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:03:46 PM EST
Today -100: October 18, 1917: The German agent pervades the land
A NYT editorial warns, "The German agent pervades the land."
THE RUMOR AS A WEAPON
As the channels of print are rapidly closed to the German Government's propagandists in the United States, they are resorting more and more to the spreading of poison by word of mouth. We are not now speaking of those who do the German Government's work without knowledge, the pacifists and Socialists, but of the actual agents of Wilhelmstrasse; for it is certain that this poison cannot be the product of any others. ...
With German-language papers now under strict censorship/ban by the Post Office, these agents' principle weapon is spreading rumors about sunk transport ships, mutinies, etc.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 10:11:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:03:49 PM EST

AMENADIEL: So what happened?
LUCIFER: It was terrible, brother.
AMENADIEL: No. I meant Mom.
LUCIFER: Didn't you get my text?
AMENADIEL: What do you mean? The string nonsensible emogies? Fire, sword, doughnut, spaceman, clock, dancing lady, flashlight, thumbs up? How am I suppose to know what that means?
LUCIFER: I ignited the flaming sword, used it to cut a hole in space and time, Mom's light flooded through it, and then it closed up behind her. All good!
AMENADIEL: Mom? Mom is ... Mome is gone?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 at 05:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am grateful for eurotrib. I am grateful that it is up and running after all these years with the tacit agreement of its correspondents to hear out to the extent common courtesy allows for all their idiosyncrasies.

I have, of course, "tried out" a few other internet exchanges(English-language domains)and am sad to confirm, for all the lip-service paid to transparency and "marginalized voices", actual tolerance for that is dissipating apace.

Apart from generalized paranoia attributable to the GWOT  and increasingly arcane "troll" defenses, I'm left to wonder if curiosity and indeed conversation are a lost skills.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Oct 21st, 2017 at 03:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conversation in person is doing ok, but humans aren't really good at remote comms. Psychologically, eye contact has a considerable compulsion towards civility. So keyboards and anonimity loosen the dampers.

Why does ET persist? Goodness knows, we've had our scraps and trolls. And we are a mere shadow of the energy of our first 5 years.

Probably lack of imagination. I suspect that's my problem

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 at 07:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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