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Showing posts from 2017

Today's Trumpery

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[Welcome to the monkey house. A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]


Trump Eliminates Plastic Water Bottle Ban in National Parks, Removes White House Bikeshare Station, EvoWatch [The astonishing pettiness of these reversals shines a spotlight on his personality]
The Clever Games Tax "Reformers" Play, Truthout
Trump Says Sun Equally to Blame for Blocking Moon, New Yorker [Just a bit of levity from Andy Borowitz]
Trump’s attack on science isn’t going very well, Washington Post
The Noxious Combination of Racism, the Alt Right and the Upper Class, AlterNet
A Deal Breaker for Trump’s Supporters? Nope. Not This Time, Either. New York Times

Schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai wins Oxford university place

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[Nice to have some good news once in a while! Nobel laureate shot in head at age of 15 after pushing for Pakistani girls to be educated confirms she will study PPE. Seems hard to believe that this happened only five years ago. *RON*]

Amelia Hill, The Guardian, 17 August 2017
Five years ago, the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai in the head for advocating the right of girls to be educated. Now she has won a place at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, to study philosophy, politics and economics, or PPE.
The 20-year-old Nobel peace prize winner tweeted a screenshot of the confirmation and said: “So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students – the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead!”

A-level results day 2017: boys outperform girls in reaching top grades - as it happened
Students have complained of extra stress from sitting new, untested qualifications this summer for which many felt ill prepared

Alan Rusbridger, the principa…

The Road to Radicalism in Charlottesville

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[Violent extremism—whether in jihadist or white supremacist form—is often driven by the same processes. Two particularly good books on this topic: a) Farha Khosrokhavar (2015) Radicalization: Why Some People Choose the Path of Violence, and b) Judy J. Johnson (2009) What's So Wrong With Being Absolutely Right: The Dangerous Nature of Dogmatic Belief. *RON*]
Julia Joffe, The Atlantic, 16 August 2017 
“Of course, it was terrorism,” said General H.R. McMaster on Sunday morning, the day after James Alex Fields, Jr. allegedly plowed his gray 2010 Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-white supremacist protestors, then reversed and, bumper dangling by a thread, hit still more people on the way back. When he was done, one person, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was dead and 19 more were injured. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the attack was an act of “domestic terrorism” and that the Department of Justice was investigating him. …

Russia And U.S. Are Nearly Tied As Leaders In Income Inequality

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[Apparently this is what it takes to be a super-power or former super-power... Russia’s income gap is widening to American levels, according to a landmark new study of Moscow's post-Communist balance sheet. *RON*]
Alexander C. Kaufman Huffington Post, 18 August 2017
Politics in the United States might look increasingly like Russia, with a macho president who bashesthe press, promotesloyal propagandists, contestselections and winks at white nationalists. But when it comes to how wealth is distributed, Russia ― where for 69 years the Soviet Union attempted a radical policy of income equality ― is looking a lot more like the U.S.

Top income shares are now at least as high as the U.S., with the richest 1 percent of the population controlling 20 to 25 percent of earnings, according to a new study by three of the world’s most renowned economists researching income inequality. The analysis identifies major flaws in official Russian income estimates, …

Tweet from the account of Charlottesville rally organizer insults slain protester Heather Heyer

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[In Canada you would most likely be arrested for doing this. Will there be any response in the US? *RON*]

Matt Pearce, LA Times, 19 August 2017

A tweet from the account of the far-right activist who organized the Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally insulted the protester who was killed at the event, saying late Friday night that her death was “payback time.”

Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist,” stated the tweet on an account belonging to Jason Kessler. “Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time.”

The tweet linked to a story on neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer that also insulted Heyer in crude terms and appeared to take glee in her death.

Kessler did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Police say Heyer was killed when a rally attendee, James A. Fields, 20, drove his sports car into a crowd of counter-protesters at the event Aug. 12, which drew white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right figure…

'Way to go, Vancouver': PM cheers as thousands oppose anti-immigration rally

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[Fantastic - Vancouver shows the world how it is done! Click on the original article if you'd like to see some video that cannot be copied to into Blogger. *RON*]

Jeff Lagerquist, Graham Slaughter and Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca, 19 August 2017
Thousands gathered outside Vancouver City Hall on Saturday to show their support for diversity, in anticipation of a rally against Islam, immigration and the Liberal government’s policies on multiculturalism.

Vancouver police said they made five arrests for breaching the peace and two people were escorted out of the rally “to prevent a disturbance.” One of those arrested was brandishing a knife, according to police.

However, there were no reports of assaults or injuries among the estimated 4,000 people who attended, police said.


It was also clear that the pro-immigration group vastly outnumbered the anti-immigration rally.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his support in a tweet after the rally ende…

Today's Trumpery

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The hilarious way a German town turned neo-Nazis against Nazism

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[Hoisted by their own petard. This is such a great idea that it really needs to be spread around. "If only the Führer knew!" :-D *RON*]
Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, 17 August 2017
There isn’t a clear playbook for people who suddenly find their hometown filled with neo-Nazis. They can ignore them and hope they go away quickly. They can protest peacefully, and potentially put their lives on the line against armed and dangerous white supremacists. They can attempt to meet force with force, and risk men like Donald Trump blurring the lines between racist and anti-racist protests.

Three years ago, however, a small German town found a fourth option — you can involuntarily conscript Nazis into anti-Nazism.

Wunsiedel, a town of less than 10,000 people, was once the burial site of Nazi leader Rudolf Hess, former top deputy to Adolf Hitler. Though Hess’ body was exhumed in 2011 and the grave was destroyed, dozens of neo-Nazis still made an ann…

More of B.C. has burned this year than ever before in recorded history

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[With 906,000 hectares burned, the 2017 season smashes a record first set in 1958 — and dwarfs anything the province has ever seen. I heard a radio news report yesterday that some of the most recent fires were set by would-be looters. *RON*]

Tristin Hopper, National Post, 17 August 2017

As of this week, more than 906,000 hectares of British Columbia have been consumed by wildfires since April — easily surpassing any year on record for the province.
And with several more weeks of summer to go, thousands more hectares of brush and forest are expected to fall to the flames before autumn.

“Temperatures should be relatively seasonal going forward, so that’s one silver lining,” Kevin Skrepnek with the B.C. Wildfire Service told the Canadian Press today.

However, high winds and a lack of rain will be keeping forests ablaze for the time being.

A total of 1,030 individual fires have hit B.C. in the last five months — a rough average of seven per day. As of th…

UK publisher pulls scholarly articles from China website at Beijing's request

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["Let's see: freedom of expression and democracy, or make a buck?" The joys of capitalism: zero principles, zero backbone. *RON*]
John Ruwitch and Fanny Potkin, Reuters, 18 August 2017

SHANGHAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Cambridge University Press, one of Britain's most respected academic publishers, has blocked online access in China to hundreds of scholarly articles and book reviews on Chinese affairs after coming under pressure from Beijing.

The articles were published in the China Quarterly, a leading academic journal on Chinese affairs that has been in print since the 1960s, and covered a range of topics deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese government.

The publisher said in a statement on Friday it had complied with an instruction to remove the content so that its other academic and educational materials would remain available in China. It would not proactively censor content, it said.

The list of articles the Chinese gover…

Global stock markets fall after Barcelona terror attack and Trump turmoil

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[There was a brief upward tick in US markets when Bannon was fired, but it didn't last. A measure of market volatility spiked higher, while traditional haven assets including the Japanese yen and gold gained. But see also: Nuclear Fears Wipe $1 Trillion Off Global Stock Markets. *RON*]
Garfield Reynolds, Robert Brand, Bloomberg / The Independent, 18 August 2017

European stocks extended a global slide after terrorists struck a crowded tourist street in Barcelona, exacerbating unease triggered by mounting concerns about dysfunction in President Donald Trump’s administration and US policy paralysis.

Travel and leisure shares led the decline of the Stoxx Europe 600 index along with banks, while industries across the board were caught in the downturn.

Equities fell from Tokyo to Sydney earlier after the S&P 500 Index on Thursday tumbled 1.5 per cent, its second-biggest drop for 2017.

A measure of market volatility spiked higher, while traditiona…

It’s wrong to say we can’t stop this terror tactic

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[I suppose countries can't afford to not be doing mitigation, but it's also an endless game of catch-up as the enemy adopts new and different tactics. Until 2001 who would have thought that anyone would purposefully fly an airplane into a skyscraper? *RON*]

Matthew Parris, The Times, 19 August 2017


Like so many Times readers, I know Las Ramblas in Barcelona well. Like many of you, and with hindsight, I can now see why the jihadists chose it.

As it happens, much of my family live not far away. We go there often. The scene is gay with flower-sellers, stalls, kiosks, street artists, caged birds and performing monkeys. Side-streets like sleeves to left and right of the promenade carry vehicular traffic, shady trees line the way, and between them stretches a wide and crowded central pavement nearly a mile long, down which it would almost be possible to drive a combine harvester, let alone a white van, harvesting in the grimmest sense. And the va…

Today's Trumpery

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Peter Van Buren Says Thanks, and Goodbye

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[This gives you an idea of how low the level of public discourse has sunk on the Internet. Compare this with Naked Capitalism, which has disabled comments on its web site: "The caliber of discourse has degenerated utterly at NC in the wake of Charlotteville. I am disabling comments on all live posts. I am sick, now up until 9 AM ruining my health. I do not need this bullshit. It is not worth the effort to clean up the disinformation and the upset and dishonest argumentation. I have really had it. I’m not getting any posts done and that is far more important than riding herd on out of control comments. I am also truly appalled by what some of you have said. This has brought out the worst in a lot of people. I have never had to blacklist and moderate so many people in such a short period of time. You guys managed to ruin a great comments section. Well done." *RON*]
Peter Van Buren, AntiWar.com, 14 August 2017

I’ll save someone the time t…

Fox News Quietly Deletes Article Cheering ‘Plowing Through Protesters’

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[Fox removed the piece three days after Heather Heyer, 32, was murdered when an alleged white-supremacist drove through a crowd of anti-racism protesters. *RON*]
Andrew Kirell, The Daily Beast, 15 August 2017
Fox News once published an article advocating that cars drive into liberal protesters attempting to block traffic.

And only after a woman was killed Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.—when a car allegedly driven by white-supremacist activist James Alex Fields plowed through a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators—did Fox decided to delete it.

On January 29, 2017, the cable outlet’s unabashedly conservative opinion site Fox Nation published an article titled, “Here’s A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road.”

“Here’s a compilation of liberal protesters getting pushed out of the way by cars and trucks,” wrote the article’s author. “Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years.”

Fox quietly deleted the artic…

Public Enemy

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[This is just quite something to read! *RON*]

Harper's Magazine, no author given, from the September 2017 issue


From the jury selection process that took place over three days in June for the trial of Martin Shkreli, an investor and hedge fund founder who is facing eight counts of securities and wire fraud. In 2015, when Shkreli was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company raised the price of its drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent. In 2016, Shkreli was widely criticized for defending the 400 percent increase in the price of EpiPen, an emergency allergy injection sold by Mylan. More than two hundred potential jurors were excused from the trial. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto presided. Benjamin Brafman is a lawyer representing Shkreli.

the court: The purpose of jury selection is to ensure fairness and impartiality in this case. If you think that you could not be fair and impartial, it is your duty to tell me. All right. Juror Number 1.

juror no. 1: I’m aware …