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Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke Tue Sep 19th, 2017 at 04:35:45 PM EST

Always useful to start with A Guide to Crap Detection Resources
https:/docs.google.com/document/d/163G79vq-mFWjIqMb9AzYGbr5Y8YMGcpbSzJRutO8tpw

Then to look at what just happened.  The Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School tracked the 2016 election and published what they found.
Media Coverage of the 2016 Election
https:/shorensteincenter.org/research-media-coverage-2016-election

Combatting Fake News:  An Agenda for Research and Action
https:/shorensteincenter.org/combating-fake-news-agenda-for-research

Exploring the Role of Algorithms in Online Harmful Speech
https:/shorensteincenter.org/exploring-role-algorithms-online-harmful-speech

Another academic report from Harvard comes from the Berkman Klein Center at the Law School
Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
https://cyber.harvard.edu/node/99981

The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative housed at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), is studying how foreign state and other actors are undermining democracy around the world and developing tools to cope.
http://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org

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Faux Accompli

by Cat Thu Sep 14th, 2017 at 10:00:12 PM EST

Now, I will relate how I came upon the Democratic Party's faux accompli. US press rarely or never cites the bill number of legislation which they are paid to promote. If it did, people might read the actual text.

Enemy of the People has been atwitter since Wednesday about Mr Sander's bold action, popularity, and political acumen despite partisan rivalry in repealing or reforming the PPACA. He promised in a NYT OpEd to introduce Wednesday, 13 September 2017.

On Wednesday I will introduce the Medicare for All Act in the Senate with 15 co-sponsors and support from dozens of grass-roots organizations. Under this legislation, every family in America would receive comprehensive coverage, and middle-class families would save thousands of dollars a year by eliminating their private insurance costs as we move to a publicly funded program.

So. I went looking for the text of Mr Sander's "Medicare-for-All" bill.

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2034

by Frank Schnittger Sun Sep 10th, 2017 at 07:39:10 PM EST

Nobody had really expected Brexit to have quite the consequences it eventually had. For some it was simply an expression of a latent English nationalism that had been triumphant in the Second World War, and which had been overwhelmed by the peace which followed. Somehow the EU didn't quite give adequate expression to the enormity of British success in that war, or compensate adequately for the loss of empire which followed.

For others it was simply a domestic response to a domestic problem. Immigration was changing the shape of English life. Whole towns and cities were becoming dominated by an immigrant culture that might have had many merits, but it simply wasn't English. Ethnically Indian and Pakistani immigrants might speak with posh English accents and play cricket. Footballers and athletes of African origin might dominate the Premier League and bring Olympic success. But it wasn't quite the same thing as having Ethel or Timothy next door make it to the big time.

For still others Brexit was a rebellion against an establishment which had delivered years of austerity; at declining public services and rising prices for privatised public utilities. A protest at the bankers and financiers of London who grew wealthy while every other region of the United Kingdom declined. A rejection of the globalisation which seemed to benefit the third world more than the first. A resentment that so many decisions seemed to be made by faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. A sense of powerlessness in the face of a world being moved by foreign forces, beyond English control.

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LQD: "I don't know how to be human any more."

by ARGeezer Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 05:19:10 PM EST

Tropical Depressions  Sam Kriss, Ellie Mae O'Hagan  The Baffler

On a wretched December afternoon in 2015, as raindrops pattered a planetary threnody on grayed-out streets, five thousand activists gathered around Paris's Arc de Triomphe, hoping to force world leaders to do something, anything, that would save the future. Ellie was there. But what she remembers most from that afternoon during the UN's Climate Change Conference wasn't what happened in the open, in front of cameras and under the sky. As they took the Metro together, activists commiserated, briefly, before the moment of struggle and the need to be brave, over just how hopeless it could sometimes feel. People talked about bafflement, rage, despair; the sense of having discovered a huge government conspiracy to wipe out the human race--but one that everybody knows about and nobody seems willing to stop.

Twenty meters beneath the Paris streets, the Metro became a cocoon, tight and terrified, in which a brief moment of honest release was possible. Eventually someone expressed the psychic toll in words that have stuck with Ellie since. It was a chance remark: "I don't know how to be human any more."

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The Third Tribe of Ulster

by Frank Schnittger Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 09:56:33 AM EST

Newton Emerson asks us to remember the Third Tribe of Ulster - one that is largely of Scottish descent, Presbyterian beliefs, and prone to dreaming of an Independent Ulster rather than one tied to either England or Ireland. Politically it is represented by the Paisleyite Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), rather than the previously dominant and anglophile Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and holds the English (perfidious Albion) in almost as much suspicion as do Irish Nationalists, formerly represented mostly by the Social Democrat and Labour Party (SDLP) and now by Sinn Fein.

Historically, he certainly has a point, but there is a another more modern third tribe his analysis ignores: This third, and possibly fastest growing tribe in N. Ireland today is neither Scottish, English, nor exclusively Irish; neither Roman Catholic, Presbyterian nor Anglican. It is neither Unionist nor nationalist. It is secular, disillusioned with tribal politics, and just wants to get on with life, make a decent living, and not be bothered by all the religious and political fanatics who seek to divide and conquer.

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The Focus Group

by THE Twank Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 10:33:27 PM EST

The Focus Group

Recently on the news I saw a "focus group" in which a panel of Republican voters were asked questions concerning "President Trump".  The usual crap you might expect ... something like,  "Describe in one word a description of President Trump".  My attitude: who gives a flying fuck about this shit?  Let's get to the heart of the matter ... and you KNOW they would never ask these questions, but what the fuck. Here we go.

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Labour grows up?

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 27th, 2017 at 12:26:45 PM EST

At last the British Labour party has decided to do what oppositions are supposed to do and put clear blue water between its policy on Brexit and that of the Tories:

Labour is committing itself to continued UK membership of the EU single market and customs union during a transition period following the official Brexit date of March 2019.

In a dramatic policy shift, the party's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has announced that a Labour government would abide by "the same basic terms" of Britain's current EU membership during the transition, which some observers expect to last as long as four or five years.

And in an article for the Observer, he made clear that the party is open to the possibility of negotiating new single market and customs union terms which the UK could sign up to on a permanent basis.

At June's general election, Labour promised to seek to "retain the benefits" of the single market and customs union as part of a "jobs-first" Brexit, but leader Jeremy Corbyn has so far stopped short of committing to continued membership beyond the date of Brexit.

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Exhibit 1

by Cat Tue Aug 22nd, 2017 at 11:28:10 PM EST

I did write

In the USA,the convicted person doesn't "appeal" the sentence. The convict's complaint addresses the injury (certain death) resulting from defective "due process" at trial e.g. errors in findings of fact (evidence) or findings of law (procedure) that preclude an exculpatory verdict. The remedy sought is a new trial.

Following is an example of those principles invoked by the petition, MARCELLUS WILLIAMS, Petitioner, v. STEVE LARKIN, Superintendent, Potosi Correctional Center, Respondent (pdf), reported today

Whether the governor of Missouri is or is not a lawyer is irrelevant. The same, Mr Eric Grietens, confidently stated the certainty of harm to Mr Williams commanded by sentencing. "A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment. To carry out the death penalty, the people of Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt. In light of new information, I am appointing a Board of Inquiry in this case." That is to investigate findings of fact.

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EU Position Papers

by Cat Tue Aug 22nd, 2017 at 06:31:45 PM EST

The United Kingdom triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017. What has happened since then on the EU side?

29 April 2017, the European Council at EU27 published European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations (HTML)

3 May 2017, the European Commission published recommendation, organizing a negotiating task force and citing establishing law, delivered to the Council.

22 May 2017, the Council published authorisation for the opening of the Article 50 negotiations with the UK and EU agenda of priorities.

19 June 2017, the first round of negotiation with the UK concluded with agreement of the parties to Terms of Reference for the Article 50 TEU Negotiations (pdf)

The United Kingdom, and the European Commission, representing the EU, share the understanding  that  the  following, elements will  guide the negotiations under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union
(TEU)
[...]
  1. Indicative dates for first sessions have been agreed as per paragraph 9 below . Each round will include discussion of each of the issues set out in Paragraph 3.
  2. Indicative dates are:
  • Second round: w/c 17 th July
  • Third round: w/c 28 th August
  • Fourth round: w/c 18 th September
  • Fifth round: w/c 9 th October

But you'd never know it to judge from Anglo-american press reporting on the series of non sequitors representing participation by UK gov't. agents in these A50 negotiations with the EU or their agreed, scheduled agenda.

Front paged - Frank Schnittger

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Women's Rugby World Cup

by Frank Schnittger Fri Aug 18th, 2017 at 05:07:18 PM EST


The Women's Rugby World Cup is taking place in Ireland at the moment with the initial group stages just completed in Dublin, and the ranking matches, Semi Finals and Finals scheduled for Belfast over the next week. England, with a semi-professional squad, are the holders and favourites, but France have also been investing in their squad, New Zealand are always strong, and the USA have been improving rapidly.

Women's international rugby is an emerging sport with participation, funding and standards improving rapidly from a very low base. Standards are as yet very uneven around the world with many very one-sided encounters in this world cup, the worst of which was a 121-0 drubbing of Hong Kong by New Zealand.

Ireland won the Women's Six Nations Championship with a grand slam in 2013 and again in 2015 and finished fourth in the 2014 Women's world Cup but have struggled to beat Australia and Japan in their first two matches this time around. They have just lost to France 21-5 in a very good match watched by over three million people on TV in France alone.

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PACER

by Cat Fri Aug 18th, 2017 at 12:58:34 PM EST

I have for many years @ eurotib.com promoted PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) URL and search to provide subscribers primary source material which may or may NOT validate Anglo-merican reportage.

I've no idea whether national or EU gov't. provides similar public access to records of court proceedings in situ. eurotrib.com comment history does not obtain.

I had last promoted PACER 10 May 2009.

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What the fall of the Sterling really means

by Luis de Sousa Mon Aug 21st, 2017 at 07:50:38 AM EST

Last Friday the Sterling closed at 1.094 to the Euro. Not only is it a remarkable figure for crossing below 1.1, it is the lowest weekly close since 2009. In effect, since the common currency was introduced to currency markets in 1993, the Sterling closed against it below this level only in eleven other weeks. They all took place between December of 2008 and October of 2009, at the height of the housing crisis, when European institutions failed to address financial markets with the haste seen in grown-up economies.

This brief note puts this monetary devaluation into a broader perspective, within the context of the UK's exit from the EU. Sterling is just a visible facet of an overall economic setting deteriorating in anticipation of the UK's shift into a new - and largely unknown - economic paradigm.

Front paged - Frank Schnittger

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Sterling devaluation: Cause and effect

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 20th, 2017 at 08:57:59 PM EST

My central expectation, repeated in numerous blog posts and comments since the referendum, is that we will see a hard Brexit (defined as one without a substantive Brexit or post Brexit trade deal) accompanied by at least a 30% devaluation of Sterling relative to the Euro.  

Faced with such a devaluation EU policy makers will have little option but to impose tariffs on imports from the UK, if only to preserve the competitiveness of the EU's own industries. If the UK retaliates with tariffs of its own, a hard Brexit will result in a trade war, even worse than the worst case scenario of "no deal" Brexit Pundits, all of whom seem to expect standard WTO tariffs to kick in at that stage.

My point has always been that WTO tariffs have to be negotiated, and there simply isn't any automatic process by which some default set of tariffs will kick in once the UK leaves the EU.

But the 30% relative devaluation figure was always a "finger in the air" guess. It now looks as if I might have been too conservative in my prognostication. Sterling has already declined from 77P to the Euro to 91P to the Euro - a devaluation of 18% since the referendum. Morgan Stanley are now predicting that the euro will trade at £1.02 by the end of the first quarter of 2018 - a total devaluation of 32.5% - and that is before we even know the exact shape that Brexit will take...

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Now you see it, now you don't

by Frank Schnittger Wed Aug 16th, 2017 at 01:36:29 PM EST

The UK's Brexit secretary David Davis Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Leo Varadker's pre-emptive shot across the bows appears to have had the desired effect of scaring the British off any notions of re-imposing border controls on the island of Ireland. However in forcing the UK to discard discredited notions of a frictionless tech border he has done no more than inspire another bout of "having our cake and eating it" thinking on the part of the UK Government. Somehow the UK is going to leave the EU, Single Market and Custom's Union without imposing any sort of border controls within Ireland at all at all...

Clearly, the UK government wants to keep the Irish Government on side while also keeping the DUP sweet.  The result is that it is effectively seeking to cast the EU in the role of the bad boy seeking to re-impose hard border controls within Ireland. Trusted trader status for Irish companies and exemptions for small cross border traders may seem like music to the ears of business and political leaders, North and south, but why should the rest of the EU tolerate it?

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Booman should run for Office

by Frank Schnittger Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 12:54:10 PM EST

[Cross-posted from the Booman Tribune]

With Booman off on his holidays to consider his future, I thought I might contribute an outside perspective which he may, or may not, find of interest.  All of us have benefited greatly from his analyses here, and the platform he provides for further discussion and debate. For me his is the go to site for insights on US political developments. But maybe the time has come for Booman to consider entering the fray directly, rather than just being an informed commentator and bystander.

By chance I recently found myself waiting in a surgery idly looking through the first few pages of Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope". In it he describes his somewhat crazy decision to run for the Senate as a more or less no hope outsider. He justified it to his long suffering wife as a one last shot at making a difference in politics. She reluctantly agreed but didn't promise him her vote. She wanted a greater contribution from him towards family life and raising their kids.

However the dysfunctionality he describes in US public life has been amplified many times since the election of Donald Trump. If ever there was a time to take responsibility and attempt to lead the US out of the swamp it has entered, it is now. The long odds really aren't the issue. It is the principle that matters. So why should Booman run for office?

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Brexit balance of power swings from UK to Ireland

by Frank Schnittger Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 07:09:39 PM EST

Fintan O'Toole's "Brexiteers' foolishness gives Ireland control" has neatly summarised what I have been saying over a number of posts in the last few months:

Yes, those really are vague pink glimmers in the early morning sky. Reality is dawning on the Brexiteers. Once, they were going to walk away from the European Union in March 2019, whistling Rule Britannia and greeting queues of foreign supplicants begging for trade deals. Now, they are hoping to cling on until June 2022. They know they are going over a cliff and realise that it is better to climb down slowly than to plunge off the top.

But this climbdown also creates a crucial weakness - one that explains why the Irish Government's tone has changed so radically.

To understand this new weakness, we have to recall that there were two possible scenarios in which the Irish Government had very little power. One was that the UK would simply walk away from the EU without any deal, the car-crash Brexit for which British prime minister Theresa May's old mantra, "No deal is better than a bad deal", was meant to be the overture. If that happened, Ireland was completely impotent.

The other possible scenario was the straightforward one set out in article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The UK and the EU would negotiate a full exit deal by March 2019. In this case, Ireland would have very little power either. Even if the deal was a betrayal of our interests, we could not veto it.

The deal would have to be ratified by the European Parliament and then by the European Council. But, crucially, the council has to accept the deal only by a qualified majority. In both bodies, therefore, Ireland could easily be out-voted.

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From the Quiet Mutiny

by Oui Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 02:31:46 PM EST

[Cross-posted from Booman Tribune]

Fighting Communism in SE Asia - the years of the Ugly American, Rand Corp., domino theory, Robert McNamara, Westmoreland, president Johnson and the Pentagon Papers with whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. The treacherous acts of the 1968 Paris Talks with rising star Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. Tricky Dick faced impeachment over the cover-up and collusion to obstruct justice after the Watergate break-in. A lesson people in power can live a dishonorable life until death with impunity. Henry Kissinger the bag of dirt, still has influence in U.S. foreign policy with both Republicans and the leadership of Democrats: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Is that the Hope for young people living their ideals? Henry Kissinger still this week hit the radio air waves in Holland in an interview with Jan Arend Boekenstein talking about The Idealist. In my volunteer work on the weekends I live my ideals ... with teeners and get plenty of appreciation for what I do. I'm a blessed person and nothing will change that in the short term.

'Pentagon Papers' Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg Explains Why We Go To War

In de aftermath of FBI's Hoover, the Kennedy assassination, the Tonkin Gulf incident, the tragic year of the TET offensive, lies, indoctrination, "patriotism", the downfall of U.S. democracy through the murders/assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I lived through those years and it formed me, gave me insight and I was a critical thinker in 1965 and have remained so.

John Pilger - The Quiet Mutiny - World in Action (1970)

    "The war isn't over, but it is ending. It is ending not because of the Paris talks or the demonstrations at home. It is ending because the largest and wealthiest and most powerful organisation on Earth, the American Army, is being challenged from within, from the very cellars of its pyramid, from the most forgotten, the most brutalised and certainly the bravest of its members. The war is ending because the grunt is taking no more bullshit."

Continued below the fold ...

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Always Read the Footnotes

by Cat Wed Aug 2nd, 2017 at 03:08:54 PM EST

5. The Financial Action Task Force

Thirty-seven member and observer states constitute FATF. You may compare this cohort listing to the disjunctive table in Wikipedia's flawed article, "Legality of bitcoin by country or territory", wherein editors cite, for example, US Internal Revenue Service treatment of property. Hold that thought and ask yourself, "SELF, does my government tax this property yet?"

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130 Years Later

by Helen Wed Aug 2nd, 2017 at 12:57:26 PM EST

Poplar is near the centre of the old East End of London. Located just north of  the Isle of Dogs, that long lazy loop that the Thames takes as it begins its meander from London to the sea. There lie the East India docks, the most famous of the large docks of London.

Now shadowed by the towers of the Docklands financial district, you only have to cross the East India Dock Road, still one of the major arteries east of London, to enter into a timeless world of people who have always existed in the margins of society. They've been left behind by the fast flowing currents of global finance, but once the people of this area provided the numerous and anonymous labour for the shipping trade that powered the British Empire.

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Leo Varadkar Slams UK on Brexit

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jul 29th, 2017 at 10:33:12 AM EST

Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney once famously characterised the polite Irish society approach to difficult or awkward topics as "whatever you say, say nothing" and Irish politicians have, in the main, practised that down to a fine art. Even sports coaches and players are quick to praise their opponents, lest any derogatory comments be pinned on the opposing dressing-room walls as motivational material for the battle ahead. "They think you're shite" the opposition coach would say: "Just look at what they said about you", pointing to the offending article pinned to the wall. "Now prove them wrong!".

One of the reasons Leo Varadkar stood out from a pack of fairly mediocre ministers to win the Fine Gael leadership and prime ministership was his willingness to buck the trend and come out with the occasional, usually well calibrated and orchestrated "outspoken comment" to demonstrate a fresh and open approach to politics. He would only be saying, of course, what many had been saying quietly for quite some time, but couldn't quite bring themselves to say publicly, for fear of causing offence...

Now he's gone done it again with Brexit: Defiant Varadkar tells British: we won't design Brexit border for you. Taoiseach says `if anyone should be angry, it's us.'

"What we're not going to do is to design a border for the Brexiteers because they're the ones who want a border. It's up to them to say what it is, say how it would work and first of all convince their own people, their own voters that this is actually a good idea," Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Varadkar said there was a political border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, but not an economic one.

"As far as this Government is concerned there shouldn't be an economic border. We don't want one," he said.

"It's the UK, it's Britain that has decided to leave and if they want to put forward smart solutions, technological solutions for borders of the future and all of that that's up to them.

"We're not going to be doing that work for them because we don't think there should be an economic border at all. That is our position. It is our position in negotiations with the British Government and it's the very clear position that we have when we engage with the task force that is negotiating on our behalf with the UK."

Mr Varadkar said an economic border would not be in the interests of the Republic, Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom, "and we're not going to be helping them to design some sort of border that we don't believe should exist in the first place".

---<snip>---

Meanwhile, asked if he was frustrated with the British approach to Brexit talks, Mr Varadkar said: "If anyone should be angry, it's us, quite frankly."

"We have an agreement. We signed up to the single European Act. We joined the EC alongside the United Kingdom. We have a Good Friday Agreement and part of the Good Friday Agreement...talks about working together and continuing to do so within the context of the EU."


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News and Views

 18 - 24 Sep 2017

by Bjinse - Sep 18, 46 comments

Your take on this week's news

 11 - 17 Sep 2017

by Bjinse - Sep 11, 137 comments

Your take on this week's news

 Open Thread 18 - 24 Sep

by Bjinse - Sep 18, 21 comments

The need for threads is greater than the need for answers

 Open Thread 11 - 17 Sep

by Bjinse - Sep 11, 27 comments

Thread's but a walking shadow

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Top Diaries

Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke - Sep 19
1 comment

2034

by Frank Schnittger - Sep 10
5 comments

Labour grows up?

by Frank Schnittger - Aug 27
57 comments

Recent Diaries

Civic Self Defense Resources

by gmoke - Sep 19
1 comment

Faux Accompli

by Cat - Sep 14
7 comments

2034

by Frank Schnittger - Sep 10
5 comments

The Focus Group

by THE Twank - Aug 31
10 comments

Labour grows up?

by Frank Schnittger - Aug 27
57 comments

Exhibit 1

by Cat - Aug 22
22 comments

EU Position Papers

by Cat - Aug 22
24 comments

PACER

by Cat - Aug 18
5 comments

More Diaries...