Showing posts from August 29, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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

The Collected Crimes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Longreads
Already-pardoned Arpaio asks judge to undo conviction, National Post
Trump plans to lift Obama-era ban on giving local police military equipment, Fox News [= More Fergusons]
Wall Street insiders sell bank shares as Trump rally reverses, Irish Times [= Fading optimism]
Will Disappointing Tax Reform Puncture the Stock Market Bubble?, Naked Capitalism [= Endless wars their only solution]
Two lawsuits challenge Trump transgender military service ban, Reuters

Industrial farming is driving the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, says leading academic

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[Some scientists have been arguing for decades that the original agricultural revolution was what spelled the beginning of the end for humans and, possibly, the planet. E.g., see Spenser Wells (2010) Pandora's Seed: the Unforeseen Costs of Civilization. 'Re-imagining a world with less stuff but more joy is probably the way forward,' says Professor Raj Patel. *RON*]

Ian Johnston, The Independent, 27 August 2017

Industrial agriculture is bringing about the mass extinction of life on Earth, according to a leading academic.

Professor Raj Patel said mass deforestation to clear the ground for single crops like palm oil and soy, the creation of vast dead zones in the sea by fertiliser and other chemicals, and the pillaging of fishing grounds to make feed for livestock show giant corporations can not be trusted to produce food for the world.

The author of bestselling book The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democ…

The Rush to Develop Oil and Gas We Don’t Need

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[Please reconcile this - "the United States already has abundant oil and gas available, the industry has chosen not to drill on leases they already own and is not even bidding on what the government is offering" - with this: Gasoline prices expected to jump in wake of tropical storm Harvey. *RON*]

Jim Lyons, New York Times, 28 August 2017

Imagine the businessman Donald Trump putting his real estate up for sale when the market was near the bottom. That’s the equivalent of what President Trump is doing with the oil and gas on our public lands. His misguided move to increase production in a soft energy market is bad for government revenues, not necessary for national security and likely to damage natural resources that millions of Americans use and enjoy.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently directed the Bureau of Land Management to ramp up sales of oil and gas leases on federal land. He wants leases sold at least every 90 days and drilli…

Syria Summary - Towards The End Of The Caliphate

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[The caliphate is slowly disappearing from under ISIS but, I think, not in the minds of the radicalized. *RON*]
Posted by b, Moon of Alabama, 27 August 2017
This map from the last Syria summary shows the forming of two cauldrons north and north-west of Palmyra. ISIS forces there were enclosed by the Syrian army progressing eastwards on several axes.
Ten days later the most eastward of those cauldrons has been eliminated.
The Syrian army progresses further east and continues to move onto Deir Ezzor on three axes.

ISIS attempted counterattacks towards the supply line to Aleppo and along the Euphrates southeast of Raqqa. Both were defeated within a day or two and the attacking ISIS forces were eliminated. There is clearly a change in the pattern of ISIS deployment. It is now lacking manpower and is giving up in outlining areas. Its counterattacks use swarming tactics and lack the command and force of monolithic military units. In Iraq the army and …

A million skilled workers plan to leave the UK after Brexit

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[Brexit as brain-drain. A staggering 55 per cent of those with PhDs and 49 per cent of those with postgraduate degrees have either decided to leave or are considering it. 84 per cent of skilled healthcare workers say they will go. *RON*]
Shehab Khan, The Independent, 28 August 2017

Almost one million EU citizens working in the UK, many of whom are highly qualified, are planning to either leave the country or have already decided to do so following Brexit, a new study has found.

The international survey, which sampled 2,000 EU citizens working in the UK and 1,000 EU citizens from the ten countries most likely to supply EU labour, also found that 50 per cent of people felt less welcome since the referendum.

The research also discovered that 55 per cent of those with PhDs and 49 per cent of those with postgraduate degrees had either decided to leave or were considering it.

Karen Briggs, Head of Brexit at KPMG, who conducted the research, said: “Our …

The concept of schizophrenia is coming to an end – here’s why

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[Unlike Thomas Szasz, the author doesn't argue that mental illness doesn't exist, but that what we now call schizophrenia is more than one thing - part of a spectrum of disorders. *RON*]

Simon McCarthy-Jones, The Conversation, 24 August 2017
The concept of schizophrenia is dying. Harried for decades by psychology, it now appears to have been fatally wounded by psychiatry, the very profession that once sustained it. Its passing will not be mourned.

Today, having a diagnosis of schizophrenia is associated with a life-expectancy reduction of nearly two decades. By some criteria, only one in seven people recover. Despite heralded advances in treatments, staggeringly, the proportion of people who recover hasn’t increased over time. Something is profoundly wrong.

Part of the problem turns out to be the concept of schizophrenia itself.

Arguments that schizophrenia is a distinct disease have been “fatally undermined”. Just as we now have the concept…