Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

5 - 11 February 2018

by Bjinse Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:57:06 AM EST

Your take on this week's news

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by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:58:17 AM EST
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss:

SPD grabs key ministries as Merkel clinches coalition deal - Politico

BERLIN -- Germany's leading parties agreed a deal for a new government on Wednesday, setting the stage for a fourth term for conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel but giving Social Democrats control over the finance and foreign ministries.

After an all-night negotiating session, officials from Merkel's center-right bloc and the center-left SPD confirmed a deal had been reached. No details were officially released but national media outlets reported that SPD leader Martin Schulz would become foreign minister, while Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz would take the finance minister post.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 09:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's Martin Schulz drops bid for foreign minister job after SPD pressure - DW
The current head of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), Martin Schulz, said on Friday that he would no longer pursue a ministerial post in the next German government, including the job of foreign minister. Schulz had come under heavy criticism in his own party for claiming the foreign minister role for himself after leaders of Germany's largest parties agreed to form another coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 01:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EP votes against transnational lists
"If we are not a federation, why would we need such lists?", [Paulo Rangel (EPP)] asked.
Following the end of the vote, the European Parliament finally decided to reduce the number of MEPs from 751 to 705 for the next elections and to remove the MEP reserve initially made for the constitution of a transitional list.

The remaining 27 seats, however, were granted by a large majority to the rebalancing of the Parliament's composition. ... countries that experienced an increase in population will get additional seats for the next elections. France notably gains the most by winning 5 more seats and going from 74 to 79 MEPs.

Don't rush to cheer up: EPP wants pan-EU lists for 2024
"for this to happen, the electoral law should ..."
national and transnational lists, degressive proportionality

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 10:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately we already have an effective transnational party: the fucking EPP.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 07:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paris Cracks Down on Slumlords
Under current laws, around 3,000 sites in France are condemned for their poor conditions each year, but only 80 to 90 landlords face actual criminal charges. This is partly because proving guilt is difficult under current laws, and partly because already marginalized tenants can be afraid to complain or testify because of threats and intimidation.

So what's to be done?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 05:08:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show

The newly-released emails show that the Swedish authorities were eager to give up the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017 and that the CPS dissuaded them from doing so.

Some of the material has surfaced from an information tribunal challenge brought late last year by the Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi.

The CPS lawyer handling the case, who has since retired, commented on an article which suggested that Sweden could drop the case in August 2012. He wrote: "Don't you dare get cold feet!!!".

As the case dragged on, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to the CPS on 18 October 2013 explaining that she had few options left. "There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate," she informed London.

"The time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect. Against this background, we have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order ... and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way."

This is interesting, and the question was raised last year why they didn't drop the investigation sooner, since the motive for dropping it was that it couldn't proceed with Assange at the embassy. Though the practical effects of dragging it out may be minimal, it centers the responsibility with the London authorities.

by fjallstrom on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 11:30:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The Minister has a problem"

I mentioned that I was a amateur cockroach theorist.
I am also an amateur inch theorist: give them one, they'll take a foot (metaphysical, physical, metaphorical, or any combination thereof).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 05:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World According to Dutch FM Halbe Zijlstra

FM Halbe Zijlstra was to travel to Moscow tomorrow evening to meet Russian FM Sergei Lavrov. Too late to be educated about diplomacy and history of Novorossiya. Halbe may need a bit more time to illustrate how he hid behind the curtains in a room of Putin's dacha where the Russian president made such statement.  :-))

Putin 2-Day State Visit to The Netherlands ¶ Nov. 2005
Strong ties of the Dutch with young Peter the Great and shipbuilding
Visit the Hermitage in Amsterdam

Fortunately, Mark Rutte never turns his back on true friends, so it wil become politically a mess before the public will get clarity on Zijlstra staying in his post or is forced to resign.

Better days in US-Russia relations - Putin's stay at the Bush ranch in Texas

 « click for more info
Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin with US President George Bush at the Prairie Chapel Ranch outside Crawford.

Social media has been taken by storm with "lies" of places where #HalbeWasErbij attended on historic occasions.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 06:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zijlstra resigned, the visit to Moscow for a meeting with FM Sergei Lavrov has been cancelled.  

< no tears >

From my diary - The World According to Dutch FM Halbe Zijlstra

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 05:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:58:19 AM EST
It's Time for the ["]Pop-Up["] Olympics
The 35,000-seat pentagonal Olympic Stadium is an extreme example of pop-up architecture, a mega-event venue with a planned lifespan shorter than the career of an aerial snowboarder. The stadium will be used four times in all--for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Games and Paralympics. Then it's slated to be torn down.

With its simple structure and open roof, the temporary structure was designed with demolition in mind--a technique that has been employed before in previous Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, in 1992. Given the sub-freezing temperatures expected, the unheated and roofless facility is perhaps less than ideal.
In all, the Pyeongchang Olympics are set to cost as much as $13 billion, far beyond the $8 billion South Korea projected when the city won its hosting bid (in its third try) in 2011. That sounds like a lot, but put it in perspective: Russia's Sochi Olympics in 2014 cost $51 billion, Bloomberg Businessweek estimated, a feat of excess and state-sanctioned fraud unlikely to be easily duplicated.
"It's wasteful, there's no question about it," Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist [?] at Smith College and frequent critic of Olympic Games excess, says of the stadium demolition. "It's very hard to bring myself to say, `Knock it down.' But since the alternative seems to be it wouldn't be used, and it would cost $10 million to maintain as a white elephant, then, yeah, it's probably better to knock it down."

[1] Jun-beom and Da-mi, Korea Focus, "Success Formula for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games" (Feb 2018)

[2] AP, PC2018, "Fears over South Korea's rising 2018 Winter Olympics costs" (2018)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 04:53:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In terms of public money wasted for big sporting events, the World Cup is giving the Olympics a serious run for their money:

Brazil's white elephant soccer stadiums hardly worth their exorbitant costs - SI

The U.S. played its last game in Manaus, deep in the Amazon, where the $270 million Arena Amazônia is also seen as a 42,000-seat white elephant. As with Brasília, Manaus has no first-division club teams, and the clubs that the city does have all play at other venues. Most concerts take place in the sambadrome next to the big stadium.

Meanwhile, maintenance costs per month for the Manaus stadium are nearly $250,000. They're even more for the bigger stadium in Brasília, Zambon says.

Two other stadiums built for World Cup 2014 are barely used. In Cuiabá, where the Arena Pantanal was closed down at one point for faulty construction work, homeless squatters later took over the locker rooms. And in Natal, where the U.S. men beat Ghana to open the World Cup at the Arena das Dunas, there's no first-division tenant either.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 01:22:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tariff sabotage: Free market extremists hijack Brexit trade chaos
The Policy Exchange think tank - which used to have a direct line to government and even now enjoys extraordinary influence - published a report this morning demanding Britain unilaterally reduce its tariffs as part of a potent new Britannia-rules-the-waves trading adventure.

Comparative Advantage Revival!
The report suggests a phased reduction of tariffs on all items from any country on earth. Goods could flow into the UK without any tax being imposed on them. ... Policy Exchange want to reduce our tariffs without having secured any reciprocal agreement from our trading partners. British producers would be left facing harsh competition without the government having done anything to help them reach the rest of the world.
Take British Sugar ™, which produces domestically and pays decent wages to its workers in the UK. It is unlikely to withstand the sudden arrival of cheap sugar from Brazil and Thailand, especially if [?] barriers go up to UK exports to Europe. But that is not because of the free market. It's because those governments subsidise their sugar industries. This isn't about capitalism. It's about protecting your workers

Mercantalism - Scourge of Free Nations!
Why UK exporters are set for a sugar rush Sep 2017
For the first time since 1968 the UK can produce and sell as much sugar around the world as it would like. The end of the quota also means that French, German and other EU producers can sell more sugar into the UK.

How big is the UK sugar beet industry?

  • There are nearly 10,000 workers in the industry's UK supply chain
  • The UK consumes 2 million tonnes of sugar a year
  • 60% of that comes from UK beets
  • Another 15% comes from EU beets and 25% from imported sugar cane

(50%+) tariffs  EG. BEETS, CAPS, EU prerogatives.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 07:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've been sayng all along, this is the opportunity to create the libertarian wet dream of a free market; low wage, no tax, low (no) regulation.

We will be able to produce nothing and thus export nothing. But storing money, trading financial services....that is what it's all about. The rentier dream of barely even having to leave your home, push a few buttons on a screen enough to get filthy rich. But only if you're already rich.

This is genuine "I'm all right jack" territory. The 1% will make out like bandits and everyone else can either become a bonded slave or will die.

W'eve been dropping Shock doctrine on other countries for 50 years, time to bring it on home.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 08:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and beet and rasher rations! Stuffed with VITAMINS :)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 12:35:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:58:22 AM EST
[W]e are referring Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice for investigation of potential violation(s) of 18 USC § 1001 (c)(2)


the bad penny is 18 USC under SCOTUS heel on 4th, 5th, and 14th Amd.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 10:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, known unknowns for some time now ... I stood pretty much alone @BooMan and endured a year of scorn by the "progressive" community:

Blinded By Love for a Woman

Gubarev et Al v. Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd and Christopher Steele

Covered in my diary - Timeline of Passing Orbis Memo's to UK and US Governments .

    Since the memo became public in January, Steele had not spoken about his role in compiling it but he and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, have filed a defence in the high court of justice in London, in a defamation case brought by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian venture capitalist and owner of a global computer technology company, XBT, and a Dallas-based subsidiary Webzilla.

    Gubarev, who was named along with his company in the December memo as being involved in hacking operation, has denied any such involvement and is also suing Buzzfeed in the US courts for publishing the December memo alongside Steele's earlier reports on election hacking.

    The document said that he passed the memos to Fusion  on the understanding that Fusion would not disclose the material to any third parties without the approval of Steele and Orbis. They did agree to Fusion providing a copy to Senator John McCain  after the veteran Republican had been told about the existence of Steele's research by Sir Andrew Wood, a former UK ambassador to Moscow and an Orbis associate, at a conference in Canada on 8 November.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 11:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"a sinkhole of political confusion"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 01:25:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Republicans claim that the warrant was granted as a result of the Christopher Steele opposition research dossier that was paid for by Hillary Clinton's campaign. No one knows if this assertion is true, but the fight over declassifying the memo predictably turned into political theater."

As I recall, Steele provided the information about Paige to the FBI BEFORE his company was hired by the DNC. But I do not know the exact dates he met the FBI agent in Italy, when the DNC hired his company or when the Cruz campaign dropped those services. Correct me if I am wrong. But I do agree with freedomrider about police tactics in general. I have believed that for >50 years.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 02:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do agree with freedomrider about police tactics in general.

Then Ms Kimberly has represented the current significance of current disputed facts of FBI conduct well enough. The so-called qualified immunity of law enforcement agents --in every political division of the USA-- is out of control and imperils all of us.

one in a long series of bad omens 2009

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 03:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here Politico happily reports that a FISA warrant obtained by the FBI probably intercepted communication between two US citizens.

Gracious. What did they say? Was either party a sexual abuser? And does the House Intelligence Committee minority report address this oversight in the House Intelligence Committee's misleading memorandum?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 05:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From a Vanity Fair article in the March 2017 issue it appears that Steele had no involvement with any Trump/Russia investigation prior to June, 2016.

Separately, Fusion GPS had been formed in Washington D.C. in 2011 by Glenn Simpson and two other former WSJ journalists.  In September,2015 Fusion had been hired to do opposition research by a Republican presidential primary hopeful backed by an anonymous "anyone but Trump" donor. By mid June 2016 that Republican primary candidate and donor knew that Trump had sewn up the nomination and dropped Fusion.  

At about the same time, on June 17, 2016, WaPo published an  article titled INSIDE TRUMP'S FINANCIAL TIES TO RUSSIA AND HIS UNUSUAL FLATTERY OF VLADIMIR PUTIN.

Steele was working at Orbis in London in June, 2016 when he was first contacted in regard to Trump and Russia by Fusion GPS. Steele was subcontracted to Fusion, at first to see if there were business ties between Trump and Russia. Steele had been stationed in Russia by MI6 in the early '90s and headed the Russia Desk at MI6 from 2004 to 2009. He also had connections with the émigré community, Russian oligarchs, former colleagues, etc. Steele worked quickly and filed his first report to Fusion on June 20, 2017. He was alarmed by what he found and Vanity Fair reports that he slipped copies of his first two reports to FBI agents in Italy in early August. In testimony by Simpson before Congress Simpson indicated that Fusion agreed to the information sharing as it felt it was its duty to share that information.

Sadly, given the implications of this report, most Republicans have chosen to take the line that this whole affair is a political smear of Trump by Democrats and only that. While I believe that Putin is a vastly more capable leader than is Trump, I do not find him to be particularly benevolent in his attitudes towards the USA. So I find this situation disconcerting. The Russians, almost certainly with Trump's (unwitting?) help, have managed to throw a big monkey wrench into the gears of the US Government and division into the society. Or perhaps I am just partisan and everything will be just fine and both the USA and Russia will greatly benefit from better cooperation. But I really thing that is the least likely of all outcomes.

My own sense is that Steele, being very familiar with the F.S.B. and Putin, having read and watched coverage of Trump, probably felt that Trump's attitude towards the Russians constituted the most egregious example of the Dunning-Kruger effect he had ever seen and was alarmed at what he found the Russians likely had on Trump and the prospect of Trump being POTUS. Contrary to Trump's apparent opinion, it is not treason to have a low estimate of Trump's ability to deal with Russia or, consequentially, to fear for the security of the USA and the UK. I certainly do.  It is not that Trump is stupid, but rather that he has a too poorly developed and integrated a personality to accept that he cannot do what ever he needs to do better than anyone else. And it is not necessary to have a high opinion of the integrity of the FBI, CIA, DNS, etc. to be so concerned as I am.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 06:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The remarks (above) do not appear to me to be concerned with either lawful and proper application of FISA authority or US Congress concerns with FBI administration of that authority.

The remarks (above) repeat public information about C. STEELE's whereabouts, STEELE's business relationships 2014-2016, and STEELE's only admitted motive for involvement in those relationships: CLINTON (agents, omitted), SIMPSON (d/b/a Fusion), RNC (agents, omitted), FBI(agents, omitted), and international persons (unknown, omitted). STEELE acted on behalf of and exchanged his work product (the "Dossier", his "credibility") for unknown compensation provided by each of his  clients. STEELE's Dossier is not known by the public to instantiate, substantiate, or confirm commission of any crime identified in U.S. Code.

The FBI prohibited STEELE from disclosing his Dossier. STEELE did disclose elements of his Dossier to numerous press agents who then published, 1 Jan 2016 - 30 Jan 2017, Dossier information in whole or in part. STEELE's clients exploited publication of his Dossier to allege either collusion or conspiracy ("any links," per US DOJ Special Counsel commission) by TRUMP or RNC agents relating to RUSSIAN nationals to commit unspecified crimes.

(1) As of today, STEELE is a material witness in three civil suits brought to US and UK courts (1 Trump, 2 Gubarev).
(2) As of today, the US Senate Intelligence Committee seeks indictment of STEELE under 18 USC 1001 in a US District Court.

To judge by prevailing US press speculation about preceding events, opinion leadership has accomplished a turnabout since Wikileaks' publication of partisan correspondence, from interest in style (how) to interest in substance (what).

How reassuring.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 06:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Senate Judiciary Committee referred C.STEELE to DOJ.

Furthermore, the US Senate Judiciary Committee rebuked Mr Sessions in another letter which may have escaped public notice.

Recently the Committee obtained a copy of a memorandum, attached here, from you to the heads of all Department of Justice components and all U.S. Attorneys entitled "Communication with Congress."1

I write to alert you that the memorandum does not appear to comply with existing law and to request that you revise it accordingly.

Landssakes. What will US press make of Republican-on-Republican quibbling over USC in order to usurp Democratic control of the "independent Department of Justice" and Republican Special Counsel.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 11:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny how those Republican senators left out that the Fusion GPS research against Trump started as a Republican project led by Paul Singer and the Washington Free Beacon.
by rifek on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 12:01:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is lengthy and incoherent defense of "the independence of the Justice Department", procedural errors by FBI investigators in fact, and, AND the merit of "tainted evidence" (the "Steele Dossier"). The only interesting point in this polemic advocating DOJ preternatural judgement is this point of law:
The point being is that even if the original testimony to secure the warrant was flawed [!], the law does not say that everything that flows from the original poisoned fruit is also tainted.

You and I know that is no mere metaphor, but direct reference to Weeks v. US, 232 US 383 (1914) and a hot mess of restatements that discriminate among classes of unlawful or illegal searches and inadmissible evidence. The purpose of which taken together, right up to, say, Carroll v. Carman, per curiam (2014), has decimated ordinary recourse to 4th Amd protection from US gov, specifically.

Any political party affiliation.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 12:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 01:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nation's editors are cannibalizing product lines. Front-page headlines in the past week:

The Nunes Memo Shows Real Problems With the FBI, but Not the Ones the GOP Thinks, How FISA and the Patriot Act enable wide-ranging spying on Americans.

What We've Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate, The relentless pursuit of this narrative above all else has had dangerous consequences.



m'k. I've only two "free" stories remaining of my February quota, and I require more compelling ledes to exposition than these to waste them. Perhaps one of you will summarize knowledge of import disclosed therein.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 08:59:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See my posts here and here.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 08:49:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Under paragraphs 7 and 8
Of: "At all material times Fusion was subject to an obligation not to disclose to third parties confidential material provided to it by the Defendants in the course of that working relationship without the agreement of the Defendants."
  1. Whether the alleged duty of confidentiality is said to arise by contract or in equity.
  2. If by contract, state whether the duty arose under (a) a general contract of retainer; or (b) specific contracts relating to the specific work.
  3. In either event state whether any contract(s) relied on were written or oral; if oral, stating when and between whom they were made.
The duty arose both by contract and inequity.
Under paragraphs 23 and 24
Of: "It is denied that in their natural and ordinary meaning, in their proper context, the words complained of bore or were capable of bearing the meaning pleaded at paragraph 7" and " Read in context the natural and ordinary meaning of the words complained of was that there were grounds to investigate whether the Claimants had been coerced by Russia into hacking the cumputers used by the US Democratic Pary leadership, transmitting viruses, planting bugs, stealing data and conducting altering operations".
17. Please identify the context relied on and the reader(s) to whom it was allegedly known.


Persons named in defendants' responses
Parties to confidentiality: Christopher BURROWS  (ORBIS Business Intelligence LTD), Glen SIMPSON (d/b/a FUSION GPS), David KRAMER (current Sr Director for (McCAIN) Human Rights and Freedoms, Institute for International Leadership, former US State Department GS, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor), US Senator John McCAIN, Sir Andrew WOOD (HMSS, UK)
As of today, Mr Steele is a fugitive not unlike Christ Snowden, one might say.
I gather, therefore, your complaints about US House and Senate committees' assignment of importance to US government representatives associated with the Republican Party and disputed facts of STEELS's testimony are with the press feeds which you patronize.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 09:05:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK Ministry of Justice Civil Procedure Rules, CPR 18

corresponding in form if not substance to US Federal Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 09:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rule 33. Interrogatories to Parties (a) In general.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 09:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russians Successfully Hacked U.S. Voter Systems Before 2016 Election, Top Official Says - Newsweek

Russians penetrated voter registration rolls in several states before the 2016 presidential election, according to a U.S. official charged with protecting American elections from hackers.

"We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated," Jeanette Manfra, the Department of Homeland Security's head of cybersecurity, told NBC News in a report published on Wednesday.

Manfra said her assessment came from a "snapshot in time with the visibility that the department had at that time." There was no evidence that any registration rolls were compromised.

by Bjinse on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 09:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These liars need new material or better writers. They may have forgotten in their first campaign to despoil the 2016 election results that Maryland's paper ballots, for example, were identified as targets. And much hilarity ensued in comparing biennial "majority Republican" state voter disenfranchisement before, during, and after election day to bungled Russian "meddling" in "our democracy".

o. wait.

The attempted intrusions were aimed at targeted online systems including registration databases, not the voting itself or tabulation machines used on Election Day. The penetration [!] attempts were not tied to the Internet.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 10:51:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:58:25 AM EST
Washington Post
Former U.S. representative Michele Bachmann has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by Al Franken, just weeks after she told a televangelist she was mulling the decision. Franken resigned effective last month after facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a broadcast published by Right Wing Watch, Bachmann told Minnesota radio host Jan Markell on Saturday that she's decided against running for office, saying she prayed about the race and "wasn't hearing any call from God to do this."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 01:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a sign:

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 09:09:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

His experiences certainly make him an important candidate, able to connect with the thousands who have been isolated and defined by previous misdeeds of theirs or others -- particularly in the city's minority communities, which as elsewhere are disproportionately impacted by the system. But his past might also make him ineligible to do so, depending on how you read a 33-year-old state statute that would seem to bar the formerly incarcerated from holding public office.

The statute is one of hundreds in place across the country that deny basic rights to the formerly incarcerated -- sometimes forever. While the Texas statute appears to offer a way for Conway to run, it isn't clear what path he must take to get there. He is determined to figure it out and, in turn, clear the way for others like him.

by fjallstrom on Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 10:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Florida's felon-disfranchisement scheme plainly has wearied U.S. District Judge Mark Walker; he announced that the state's system violates the Constitution and ordered the parties to a lawsuit to propose a remedy by February 12.

We know which EU nations do and do not disenfranchise convicted felons.

Which EU nations bar convicted felons from elected office?

Democracy in America 2012
true facts and legends about the franchise

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Feb 8th, 2018 at 03:22:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Chronicle of Higher Education database of reported Title VII sexual assault cases is here.
The "Tracker" was cited by Politico in Too Much Netflix, Not Enough Chill: Why Young Americans Are Having Less Sex.
Starting in 2011, for instance, the Obama administration pushed colleges and universities to reduce sexual harassment and violence with a range of Title IX-inspired measures. These measures, and the concerns they underlined, led to the expulsions of hundreds, if not thousands, of men for alleged sexual assaults on campuses.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 05:09:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The purpose of data collection and methods of "data analysis" are not what they once were. Correlation is causality.

The timing of this dip leads us to hypothesize [SIC] that new technology has played a key role in the sexual disconnect among young adults.

Is Reproducibility Really Central to Science?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 05:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a change of location does not change either the motive, opportunity, objective, or material effect of "sexual" assault and harassment.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 10:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

source: we-consent.org, "Changing the Context"
About Us
2015 - Creation of Affirmative Consent Division

In 2015, ISCE created the Affirmative Consent Division to begin a social experiment in resilient coherence. Affirmative consent is an emergent response to changing social mores regarding sexual interactions. Members of our Affirmative Consent division are provided with a mobile application the aim of which is to change the context in which these interactions are discussed. Social complexity theory suggests that by embodying a contextual change and giving that embodiment the opportunity to acquire network effects, coherence can be reached in a "faster" manner. The Affirmative Consent Division is our attempt to see if this theoretical notion has any truth.

LQD: Chips off the ol' block
"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 ..."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 10:00:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I consent clearly and enthusiastically."

is parody, of course, destined for the canon with "Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Collectivism" which has circled the world countless times since 2014.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 11:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian passenger plane crashes near Moscow, no survivors reported | DW |

A Russian domestic passenger plane with 71 passengers and crew on board crashed on the outskirts of the Russian capital on Sunday.

The Antonov An-148 plane, operated by Saratov Airlines, had just taken off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, and was headed to Orsk -- a city in the Urals near the border with Kazakhstan.

Russian news agencies said the jetliner crashed in the Ramensky district outside Moscow. Witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky, according to local media.  

A plane just doesn't drop from the sky when it reaches 6,000 feet after take-off. Preliminary data ...

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 01:55:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crash: Saratow A148 at Moscow on Feb 11tn 2018, midair collision | Aviation Herald |

A Saratow Antonov AN-148-100, registration RA-61704 performing flight 6W-73 from Moscow Domodedovo to Orsk (Russia) with 65 passengers and 6 crew, was climbing out of Moscow's runway 14R when the aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 6000 feet then descended again and disappeared from radar. The aircraft was subsequently found crashed abut 14nm northeast of the aerodrome in the Ramensky District, no survivors were found, about 50 bodies were recovered.

The remains of a second aircraft, a helicopter, were found near the crash site. Russian Media are reporting the two aircraft collided in midair.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 01:59:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will be interested to see how quickly this information proliferates through innerboob exchanges (URLs), the supply chain.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 02:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Green Book to Facebook, how black people still need to outwit racists in rural America - Guardian
Barber, who teaches history at Missouri State University, was planning a road trip to Arkansas with his white wife and two young children, and was apprehensive about what they might encounter in the rural backwaters. Herbert had an idea - why not float the dilemma to friends on Facebook and see what came back?

"Sadly, it's 2017," Herbert went ahead and posted, "and we still have to consider the racial climate of some of the most beautiful places in this country before we decide to vacation there with our families."

The comment sparked intense Facebook reaction. A black friend divulged the fact that he had been called the N-word in Oklahoma and had run into the KKK in Texas. "I remember not taking our kids through parts of Missouri or Arkansas out of fear," he said.

A white woman lamented that, in this day and age, her black friends still had to think twice about where they could go. "This knocks the breath out of me. Your beautiful family has to consider factors mine doesn't. WTF, America?"

A third friend, a black playwright named Michelle Johnson, mentioned the Green Book, the historical travel guide for African American motorists that in the old days of Jim Crow had provided an invaluable roadmap. It listed locations where black drivers could fill up their tanks, get a bite to eat or stay the night, all without danger.

"Just saying," Johnson remarked. "Unfortunately, it needs a comeback."

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 02:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We know.

"Word-of-mouth" never goes out of style.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 02:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's how I learned what a "sundown town" is.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 04:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow !!! Like WOW!!!

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 05:46:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite. Quite the counterfactual experience of public accommodation rules.

And "passing" how have you learned what that is?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 05:49:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:59:05 AM EST
What Today's Headlines About Famine Get Wrong - NPR
Famine is not a natural disaster -- it's primarily man-made.

A related and, de Waal argues, equally important insight from his analysis of famines over the last 150 years, is how few of them were due to natural disasters such as drought or flooding or simply an inability of a place to produce enough food.

Instead de Waal found that 70 percent of the deaths occurred in famines that were fully man-made, meaning they were created by government policies that were either recklessly incompetent (exhibit A is the Great Leap Forward) or expressly intended to starve people in the vein of the Nazi Hunger Plan.

This has also been the case with most of the famines or near-famines we face today -- the crisis in Yemen, for instance, is largely the result of the blockade by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that is preventing food and other supplies from getting in. Similarly, "in Syria we see the starving of cities as a tactic of war carried out by the Assad government."

h/t Melanchthon
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Feb 9th, 2018 at 07:51:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today -100: February 9, 1918: Of German agents, Wobblies, and meat
After much cogitation over various proposals, Baron Rhonda, the Food Controller, tonight issued a meat rationing order which gives each civilian about one pound of meat weekly.
The present prices of meat vary from about a shilling a pound for inferior grades to one shilling 9 pence for the best cuts, so that the persons contented with inferior cuts could obtain rather over a pound of butcher's meat for three coupons of a total value of 15 pence. Children under 16 are entitled to half a ration.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 12:02:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how it worked then, but my Mum is emphatic that she NEVER got her half meat ration once during the WWII. They'd always just "run out".

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 05:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
figures, don't it.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 06:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jo'burg, The Haunting Legacy of South Africa's Gold Mines
"The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research estimated that as early as 2000, up to 20 percent of the stream flow around Johannesburg came from groundwater that was polluted, in part, by mines."
Water scarcity tops list of world miners' worries
"'To draw on wells to sustain your [sic] operations could be a source of potential conflict down the road,' Goldcorp CEO David Garofalo said in an interview late last month."
Water Treatment in South Africa
"The projected cost of this plan is 360 billion Rand, or $35.5 billion [10]. South Africa's Department of Water Affairs, however, currently only has $33 million for funding the project [3]."
Cape Town, Western Cape Government
"Other penalties such as fines or even imprisonment for blatant water wastage are also possible depending on your municipality's stipulations."

source: Life in Cape Town After 'Day Zero'

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Feb 10th, 2018 at 06:22:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:59:08 AM EST
Long, but intriguing - hadn't given this a thought before.

Talk is cheap: the myth of the focus group - Guardian

Focus groups came, over the course of the last century, to shape almost every aspect of our lives, from cake mix to Barbie dolls. Almost nothing is launched into the world without a focus group. Since the late 1980s, they have affected even the political discussions that ultimately determine what kind of society we can have, not to mention the toothpaste we use, the soap operas we watch, the news media we consume, and the video games we play. Focus groups have also helped to create and nourish a seemingly boundless culture of consultation, in which ordinary people weigh in on just about everything, before the people in charge make a decision. Aided by social media and other technologies, the scope of such consultation has, in recent years, expanded its reach with breathtaking speed, allowing companies to aggregate the views and feelings of millions of potential customers.


Traditionally, people have advanced their own interests by organizing and confronting the powerful. They do this by working together in groups. The focus group harnesses this cooperative impulse, but its only result is the production of data that serves the interests of the powerful. Groups have often been a means - indeed, for those without money, the only means - of building power, but the focus group, like the isolated individual, can only provide information. This is why the focus group is a quintessential ritual of, to borrow the historian Lizabeth Cohen's phrase, "a consumer's republic".

Most people in the corporate or political elite have no idea what the majority of people - whose votes or consumer dollars they badly need to win - are like. They don't know people who are not like themselves. Elites live in different neighbourhoods and have different values and habits from most people. Speaking of the clients on the other side of the mirror, former moderator Kara Gilmour says: "A lot of those people are really out of touch. They think they have all the answers because they're the professionals. But when was the last time that they went shopping in a mid-range mall? They never shop in a mid-range mall. They get all their clothes at the sample sales."

by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 08:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The good society

1) Neither money nor power buys anything that matters. Education, health care, or skipping security lines at airports. Nothing works in a society if the elites know that they will not be getting what the majority get.

by generic on Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 09:10:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lazily alluding to tao but paraphrasing Aristotle: That's ... interesting.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Feb 7th, 2018 at 10:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have thought quite a lot about information and representations of information. I have mentioned here my education and professional background, of which "marketing communications" formerly-known-as advertising, to explain that interest and familiarity with modes of information processing by people, the product being classified by people as either qualitative or quantitative "data" formerly-known-as knowledge.

Traditionally, people have advanced their own interests by organizing and confronting the powerful.

This statement exemplifies process error. The first pre-requisite of a task undertaken alone or in concert with other people (incorporation) is information.

>> Traditionaly, people have identified their own interests by organizing and confronting information.

Information is everywhere. Collecting, grouping, sorting, and ordering information produces data (form) for the purpose of its interpretation.

The second pre-requisite of a task undertaken alone or by incorporation is task objective, for example, collecting, grouping, sorting, and ordering information produces data (form) for the purpose of its uniform, or systematic, exchange between people. But the condition, performative language, is sine qua non information processing.

The value(s) of information ->data is ascertained by people. Its value(s) --systematic, extrinsic, intrinsic--cannot be ascertained by one or more people until the such prerequisites are satisfied. Further, its value(s) for people are time-sensitive such that the life-cycle of information->data is proscribed by its application to additional tasks and distribution among people.

In my experience, a "focus group" is a simple and expensive data processing assembly organized by advertisers for the specific purpose of discriminating the systematic value of two or more specific value propositions (advertisements) to a specific population sample. That is to answer a question: Does the advertisement communicate its intended message? IF not, why not?

Subjects are not randomly selected. Test of the advertisement(s) are administered in multiple geographic locations to similarly situated subjects. Various instruments are employed to collect qualitative data (responses to form and spontaneous queries) and quantify it. That data determines the advertiser's investment decision, which advertisement to publish.

The last time that I observed a focus group test was in the late '90s. It offers a provocative conterfactual information to the essay generalizing focus group data collection, analysis, an valuation practices given (above) in the present.

information theory

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 04:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, yes, automated "A/B" tests delivered by innerboob perform the same function.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 04:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 20th-century but still fun [CHILDREN'S] party game called Telephone, people sit in a circle and someone whispers a phrase or sentence to the person to the left, who whispers it to their left, around the clock, until it reaches the original speaker, who annunciates what s/he sent and received. The final utterance may make sense, but it is almost never the one sent and is often complete nonsense. This is one form of truth decay.

I often joked about this phenomenon at the other website.

## truth is agreement
## trust is a probability function

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 08:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:59:10 AM EST
by generic on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 06:01:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 at 10:59:13 AM EST
I am fascinated by popular culture, when it expresses contemporaneous anxieties rather than valorizes normative mores. A serial drama that premiered this month on Netflix accomplishes the former task, Altered Carbon, by radically dissembling personal and institutional "identity" cues over the course of a conventional detective story.

soma esti sema debunked

I enjoy that, because I have for a long time had difficulty apprehending why some people need either to transform or "cling" (to borrow a pejorative term) to perception of a role or so-called social construct (a "skin", in the vernacular of the story) rather than one's ethical praxis.

MEMORABLE QUOTE:  If we do not know our role in this world, why are we in it?

The IMBD synopsis is somewhat amusing, where the protagonist's cause (raison d'être) is given as "to win his freedom", because the season ends with a liturgical narration of class struggle to UNITE the "princess" and the "peasant" in rebellion.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 08:10:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"sleeve" < wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 08:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another literary device employed by the series' creator is subtitling. Language is another class of skin or sleeve.

Actor's speak in diverse languages, but English is the dominant lingua franca. When dialogue occurs such that actors respond to each other in mutually unintelligible languages without apparent aid of mechanical device, subtitles appear. In my case, my version, my URL, English.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 09:22:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I was saying ...

source: Part of monster sewer fatberg goes on display at London museum

putrid exhibit that `reflects the dark side of ourselves' [...] The display also tells a more positive story, revealing that fatbergs can and have been converted into biodiesel, and is one of the fuels powering the No 24 London bus route between Pimlico and Hampstead.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 11th, 2018 at 11:02:11 PM EST

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