Showing posts from July 11, 2016

En vacances!

[I'm off to Vancouver Island to visit family and friends. The next postings will be on Sunday 17 July! *RON*]

The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia

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["Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy." The wildly contradictory, vituperative comments to the original article are worth a peek. At some level, the comments are the story here. *RON*]

By Michael T. Klare, The Nation, 7 July 2016

For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war …

Do You Own Your Own Fingerprints?

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[Interesting. An obscure Illinois law could lead to broader limits on biometrics. "In Canada and Europe, Facebook stopped offering tag suggestions on photos following pressure from regulators to obtain consent to collect people’s images." *RON*]

Dune Lawrence, Bloomberg Businessweek, 7 July 2016

These days, many of us regularly feed pieces of ourselves into machines for convenience and security. Our fingerprints unlock our smartphones, and companies are experimenting with more novel biometric markers—voice, heartbeat, grip—as ID for banking and other transactions. But there are almost no laws in place to control how companies use such information. Nor is it clear what rights people have to protect scans of their retinas or the contours of their face from cataloging by the private sector.

There’s one place where people seeking privacy protections can turn: the courts. A series of plaintiffs are suing tech giants, including Facebook and Go…

How the Media Overthrew Party Politics

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[Argues very effectively that the 2016 campaign is less a populist revolt than a corporate media takeover. Based on this research: Pre-Primary News Coverage of the 2016 Presidential Race: Trump’s Rise, Sanders’ Emergence, Clinton’s Struggle. See also: The Media Against Jeremy Corbyn. And it's not just the news media: The CIA's Cozy Relationship With Hollywood: Even Liberals Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Are Part of the Game. *RON*]

By Neal Gabler, Moyers & Company, 6 July 2016

No matter how this presidential election turns out, it is crystal clear we are in the midst of a political revolution — and the media are a primary reason why. Never before has there been a major-party candidate created almost wholly by the media, full-blown and virtually outside the boundaries of the traditional parties’ apparatuses.

Pundits talk about a populist revolt, about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders taking on the comfortable party apparatchiks and d…

Have conservatives noticed their favorite climate talking point has been obliterated?

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[Conservative deniers have misplaced their priorities and downplayed real perils. *RON*]

Ryan Cooper, The Week, 7 July 2016
Conservatives have long been searching for a reason to do nothing about climate change. For some, this means outright denial of an overwhelming scientific consensus. But that's a bit too kooky for the more cosmopolitan brand of conservative. You can't espouse conspiracy derp and be taken seriously in high society.

Several years ago, it seemed like that crowd had a perfect argument to justify inaction on climate: the global warming "pause." Measurements of global atmospheric temperatures were not quite increasing on the exact path predicted by climate models. Climate science was "troubled," wrote Will Wilkinson. The "warming plateau is...effectively killing the rationale for green policies that limit growth," wrote Walter Russell Mead — hence seeming to justify a policy of "focusing f…

Vancouver’s real estate is ‘fuelled by a money laundering bubble’: Market analyst

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["Finance Minister Mike de Jong has said he does not believe Vancouver is in a real estate bubble, to which Cohodes said 'he’s full of more crap than a Christmas turkey.'" The criticism offered of this view is Henny-Pennyism, "Don't say things like that or the sky will fall!" *RON*]
By Amy Judd, Global News, 6 July 2016

There is no denying that the real estate market in Vancouver is red hot – prices have been rising with no end in sight.

But one market analyst thinks we will see the bubble burst.

Marc Cohodes used to run one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street. Now, he’s eyeing the Canadian housing market.

“Short selling in stocks is basically, you borrow shares that other people own and you sell them,” said Cohodes. “If I was in the cattle business and I thought the price of cows were going to go down, I would sell all my cows, I would borrow some of your cows, I would sell them with the promise to buy them ba…

America’s New Civil War?

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[Makes good and interesting points. Is the US a failing state? *RON*]
By Navin Bapat., politicalviolenceataglance, 11 July 2016

Is the United States waging a war against its African American population? Most would likely dismiss such a suggestion. However, imagine what we would think about another state whose institutions are dominated by a majority with a history of slavery and overt discrimination against a minority group. In present day, the minority group is overrepresented in the state’s prison system, has nearly twice the unemployment rate of the majority, and has considerably less wealth. Since the start of 2013, the state’s security forces killed over 1,000 members of the minority group. These observations would lead most of us to strongly consider the possibility that this state is in some form of armed conflict, perhaps state failure or civil war. However, many do not consider police treatment of African Americans to be ‘war.’ But we s…