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Biochemist Goes to War: 7

by THE Twank Sat Mar 25th, 2017 at 06:05:48 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War  Part VII

Welcome to Washington D.C.

Scene 1: The Pot Shop, post bloodbath.  Rory; "Jeff, I told you last time, I don't work human based problems ... I'm a scientist ... I do sets of controlled experiments. I don't see how I can help you." "When I got back to D.C., I talked to my boss, Lenny. I told him about you ... you being a generalized problem solver ... and we agreed we had a problem.  That golf course thing has us spooked ... never saw anything like it. Guys' dicks turning black and needing to be amputated ... gnarly." "So that's what was up when you were here last ... you never said." "Yeah, anyway ... I told Lenny we could use a fresh pair of eyes around this place and you would be just the person.  He said he'd talk to his boss but he didn't hold out much hope ... budget cutbacks and all.  Lenny's son-in-law knew one of the guys from the golf course ... you know what it's like to visit a friend who just had his dick cut off?  Pretty scary scene ... now they're looking for a dick donor ... the guy wants to scale up to something big and black ... like in the pornos.  That'll be freaky looking ... pink body ... big black dick." "Well, Christmas is coming ... look at it from the wife's point of view ... something to fill up her ... stocking." "Yeah, real funny ... didn't know you did stand-up.  And now this mass killing with hundreds dead ... what the hell is it with Illinois ... what they puttin'  in the water?  This has Lenny's boss freaking ... he thinks there's some terrorist group out to get ... US." "OK, you just said the magic word ... terrorist.  Since 9-11, that word opens up the piggy bank ... big time.  This is what you do, Jeff.  Tell your boss ... Lenny is it? ... that for my services I want one hundred MILLION dollars ... all in cash, hundreds.  Fifty mil up front ... the balance when I complete the job. Got that?" "A fucking hundred million ... Lenny will crap his pants ... God knows what his boss will say." "Remind them both they may have a terrorist group out to get them ... you only need to die once ... it tends to be permanent." "I'll get back to you." "Yeah, you do that ... (click) ... nimrod." Turns to Conrad who was listening to the conversation; "Can you believe that joker ... that should scare him away." "Why so ... the hundred million?  That's nothing to those clowns. That's taxpayers money ... they don't care.  Terrorists threatening their lives ... especially after that Rep. Krupt incident.  Don't think they don't have that in the back of their mind ... it could've been them." "That's OK, we won't be hearing from them again." Rory's phone buzzes; shit, him again; "Yeah Jeff, what now?" "How's this ... we pay you one million in cash for one day of your time?" "Fine.  Write this down ... this is how it's going to go.  Do everything I say ... we'll be fine.  Screw up one thing ... I'm out.  Ready to write?"

Read more... (1562 words in story)

An Independent Northern Ireland within the EU?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 10:49:00 PM EST

Dr. Nat O'Connor (School of CPSP, Ulster University) has an interesting piece up on the Progressive Economy website on the options for Northern Ireland if it doesn't want to go the full Brexit with the leavers in Westminster. In particular he asks: Could Northern Ireland be an independent member of the EU, or have a "special status" within it? It is well worth a read in full and discusses the options for Northern Ireland under six headings:

    Being inside the European Customs Union
    Being inside the European Single Market
    Holding EU Citizenship Rights
    Participating in EU Programmes (e.g. CAP, Erasmus)
    Common EU Security and Defence
    The "European Project"

My response is included below the fold...

Read more... (13 comments, 942 words in story)

Biochemist Goes to War: 6

by THE Twank Tue Mar 21st, 2017 at 04:57:37 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War  Part VI

White Nationalists

Scene 1: Rory in Amy's kitchen.  More pie.  Rory: "The house in Sacramento looks great ... quiet, residential neighborhood ... near a university ... get the hell out of Illinois while you still can. All the Red states are turning into hellholes ... The Enemy is destroying everything decent it can.  These are scorched-earth policies they're performing ... if you're weak or vulnerable, some accountant will find a way to capitalize on you.  The homeless will be targeted  ... probably as test subjects for immortality drugs for the uberwealthy. Time to head to the high ground ... I've had a 2nd home in Sacramento for years.  Now that your mom has passed on, it's time you moved to Sac too." "Rory, I was born in Illinois ... it's easy for you ... you came from upstate New York so uprooting to California isn't that big a deal.  My whole life is here." "Yep, and I'm trying to make sure your horrible death isn't here ... and that's what's flowing out of D.C. right now."

Read more... (1453 words in story)

LQD: Kulturkampf Of The Left?

by ARGeezer Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 02:37:16 PM EST

Kulturkampf Of The Left? Extremes, Be Gone!  Ľuboš Blaha  Social Europe
If only!

A culture war has erupted in Europe, and it's happening even amongst left-wingers. On the one hand, we have the liberal cosmopolitans who "welcome" refugees, advocate supra-national identities, consider borders obsolete, and have an inclination to label working-class people with some conservative prejudices as pure fascists. On the other hand, there are the traditional socialists who distrust globalisation, supra-national projects and individualistic liberal values. They consider the post-material "New Left" ridiculous and they blame it for the fact that working-class voters are leaving the Left and beginning to vote for the far-right. In their extreme, both these attitudes are dangerous - one leads to neoliberalism, the other to nationalism.

The ultra-liberal part of the Left is gradually changing to a more social version of liberal globalism, and it fights hand-in-hand with right-wing neoliberals for a world without borders. In this kind of world, transnational capital can exploit people all over the planet without any constraints from the nation states, but the social globalists add to this grim neoliberal picture a promise of a brighter tomorrow in the form of a global welfare state and transnational regulatory bodies.

The problem is that, in reality, even the strongest one of these transnational bodies - the European Union - sometimes behaves like a neoliberal tank that crushes the social achievements of the post-war era. Look at the neoliberal rape of Tsipras´s Greece or the Americanization threat of TTIP. And there is nothing else besides the EU that would even begin to look like a more progressive and cosmopolitan order. Whether we like it or not, the cosmopolitan "brighter tomorrow" is nowhere in sight. In the meantime, we live in a cruel neoliberal reality, in which the cosmopolitan Left loses out, and transnational capital takes all. That is why liberal cosmopolitanism is not just a utopian concept, but also a dangerous one. It is useful for transnational capital, which wants to get rid of the socially protective measures of nation states.

Read more... (790 words in story)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

by Frank Schnittger Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 12:34:48 PM EST


St. Patrick's day has never been a particularly big deal for me: more an excuse for a lie-in or a long week-end away after a long winter. Although almost every Irish town or city has a St. Patrick's day parade which attracts almost every group you can throw a uniform or costume at as well as large crowds of onlookers, it has never seemed to me to be much more than an excuse for a monumental piss-up afterwards. Shure it's no harm to have a bit of craic, might be a typical response.  We seem to be in the process of patenting craic as a uniquely Irish contribution to world civilisation.

Read more... (15 comments, 652 words in story)

Biochemist Goes to War: 5

by THE Twank Fri Mar 17th, 2017 at 04:35:59 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War  Part V

Meet the Enemy

Scene 1: The Douchbag Country Club.  Very little activity ... no one golfing.  A few employees scattered around.  Jeff of the EIS is addressing six temporary EIS employees ... all have jackets with the EIS logo in huge letters ... all with official looking faux CSI kits.  Jeff: "OK, listen up people.  This is a training exercise." Jeff pauses to shoo away one of Conrad's flies which lands upon his shoulder and attaches.  "In a little while a small group of real reporters will be allowed on the premises.  They're here to add realism to this exercise.  You have mock cameras ... take pictures of anything that looks reasonable.  No screwing around ... the whole exercise is being filmed." A lie but who cares.  "Remember ... you do not speak to the media.  If anyone asks you a question, say that all information on this case is classified and direct them to me, Agent Piccard.  If any  reporter gets pushy, call over one of the police ... they will warn the reporter not to bother you or they will be led off the premises."  One of the faux agents: "Are there any phrases that sound really scienterrific that we could use with each other to sound impressive?"  "The following phrase can be used if you ... say ... collect a soil sample ... or take a closeup photo of anything ... or even do a dust for fingerprints bit ...  just say to your fellow agent, "Do you think this is amenable to the fragistan carcoblans?" ... and you both peer into each other's eyes like you said something meaningful.  The reporter will be so busy trying to write down  fragistan carcoblans and google it that that person will be out of action for ten minutes.  It's fun to watch.   One final thing.  You have your list of red tape items.  For example, all unopened alcoholic beverages and all materials from the kitchen walkin cooler will be red-tagged and moved into the red-tag van or the refrigerated red-tag truck.  All other items will be loaded into the other vehicles for transport to the central office.  That's it ... get to work ... try to enjoy yourself and always ... always ... look official."  The faux agents scatter ... some taking pictures ... other putting soil samples in test tubes and adding phony reagents.  Two agents head for the storage areas to box up red-tag items for transport to Lenny's estate.  Three reporters enter ... they've already been instructed to take all the pictures they wish but under no circumstances should they disturb the agents in any way ... treat this like a murder scene ... your cooperation is appreciated ... there will be a Q&A session with Head Agent Piccard at the end of the day.

Read more... (2 comments, 1940 words in story)

To Earth [also known as Gaia], Mother of All

by gmoke Wed Mar 15th, 2017 at 01:43:56 AM EST

To Earth [also known as Gaia], Mother of All

I shall sing of well-formed Earth, mother of all
and oldest of all, who nourishes all things living on land.
Her beauty nurtures all creatures that walk upon the land,
and all that move in the deep or fly in the air.
O mighty one, you are the source of fair children and goodly fruit,
and on you it depends to give life to, or take it away from,
mortal men.  Blessed is the man you favor
with willing heart, for he will have everything in abundance.
His life-giving land teems with crops, and on his fields
his flocks thrive while his house is filled with goods.
Such men with just laws rule a city
of beautiful women, while much prosperity and wealth attend them.
Their sons glory in youthful glee
and their daughters with cheerful hearts in flower-dances.

from The Homeric Hymns
Apostolos N Athanassakis, translator
Baltimore, MD:  The John Hopkins University Press, 1976
ISBN 0-8018-1792-7

Comments >> (3 comments)

Biochemist Goes to War: 4

by THE Twank Mon Mar 13th, 2017 at 03:09:44 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War  Part IV

Enter Biomimetics

Scene 1: The Pot Shop ... Rory and Conrad.  There's a huge TV screen with multiple
smaller insert screens. Conrad controls the contents of all the screens. Conrad: "Here's the feed from Tigerhawk, as you call him ... notice the time-stamp. Here comes the Rep.s  dive ... ah, look at him splash around ... till ...  oh, poor baby ... here comes the muscle to the rescue ... oh shit, he's in trouble too ... Doc, what did you spike the pool with?" "Con nitric acid ... had gallons of the stuff sitting around for ages ... never thought I'd use it." "OK, I'm changing the feed ... the cops show up ... then later, these bozos in their Haz-Mat suits.  EPA boys.  FBI's here too.  Here's an interesting exchange ... listen.  Haz-Mat guy: "My pH meter says this pool is acidic as all hell." Bodyguard ... dumb as nails but always trying to impress; "Acid?  That's who did it!  The pool guy was here yesterday ... he had a jug of ... what did he call it ... moronic acid? The crap was nasty!" Haz-Mat: "I think you mean ... (very snooty) ... muriatic acid. Officer Idiot ... find out who the pool service is ... lock them up.  We'll need to dump a slew of base in to neutralize it. Case closed. Wonder why the pool guy hated the Rep. so much? " Rory: "Wait a sec.  How did you change the feed from Tigerhawk?  What was recording?" "Patience, doc ... you'll see.  So, how long you been in the snuffing biz?  And how long do you plan to stay in the biz?" "My beef is with the Feds ... all the R boys and girls ... and I do mean ALL of them.  They're an infestation and I'm the exterminator.  I don't look on them as human ... I don't know what they are, to be honest ... could be invaders from another planet trying to terraform Earth to their own needs.  They gotta be stopped ... all this bullshit protesting is a total waste of time.  They should reserve protesting for something social ... like universal birth control.   There's a war on. Stepping on cockroaches on the kitchen floor in the middle of the night." "OK, stop right there ... keep my friends out of it.  Follow me." Conrad leads Rory down to his basement ... reminiscent of Rory's place. "When I was in 10th grade bio class I took a liking to insects.  They called me BugMan.  Had huge collections on pins ... dragonflies ... beetles ... you name it.  Then in college I learned about biomimetics ... human technology mimicking living systems. I've been at it for 15 years ... me and my friends.  You asked earlier what was transmitting after I cut away from Tigerhawk ... it was a couple of these guys." In a tray are dozens of flies ... or what appear to be flies. "You have trained flies?"  "Nope, mechanical flies based on organic fly systems.  My guys have basic abilities ... they fly, land, watch, and listen.  All information is transmitted to my base technology for recording and time-stamp.  I actually have the ability to bug places ... with artificial bugs.  I'm also into spiders ... they don't fly but they crawl up walls ... walk on ceilings ... go everywhere a normal spider could go.  My latest creation is an artificial honey bee ... like my flies but they carry a sting and I decide what venom gets pumped.  Thought that last one would interest you. Remember the X-Files episode with the honey bees ... Roy Thinnes?  "Yeah, those buggers were cool but they were still bees." "Yup, mine are the improved variety.  They see, hear, and sting ... silent assassins."  "I'm not a physicist but I know enough physics to ask ... how are these guys powered?  What's the energy source?"  "Tiny Eveready batteries ... no, no just kidding.  My energy guy tells me that my creations absorb all form of electromagnetic radiation ... visible light, radio waves ... the entire spectrum.  They convert that energy into useful work ... don't ask me how ... it's not my field.  I just tell Vick ... that's my energy guy ... what I'm designing and he handles the energy needs.  One final thing ... I've already got a few places bugged that you might find interesting."

Scene 2: (EIS) ... Jeff in Lenny's office.  Jeff: "This just popped up on the news feed.  Remember Rep. Krupt ... the guy who lost his family under mysterious circumstances?  He just turned up dead ... in his  swimming pool along with his body guard."  "What the hell were they doing ... or don't I want to know?  All those Rep.s are perverts."  "That's not the point.  The local cops are charging the pool service for spiking the pool with muriatic acid ... here's some photos of Krupt's corpse just after they hauled him out of his pool." "Oh shit, I don't want to see that just before lunch ... what's the point?"  "Krupt's family dies ... nobody knows how ... now Krupt is dead.  What?  Do I need to spell it out?"  "Look, you little shit! The only reason I gave you this job is because your mother was once my secretary sucking my dick so don't get all uppity with your bullshit."  Just the image Jeff wanted in his head ... his mother and Lenny. "Fine. Let me work on it.  Something might turn up." "Yeah, well don't waste too much taxpayer money on it.  Rumor has it there's a new variety of v.d. spreading among the hookers in D.C. and the politicians are raising hell ... the wives are getting infected and they'll be knocking on our door before long.  Bone up on boner diseases while you have the time."

Scene 3: Jeff's desk.  Jeff still trying to lose the image of his mother kneeling in front of Lenny with his pants down.  She's moved on ... now she kneels in front of a Senator.  Ambitious sort.  "OK, how much muriatic acid would it take to cause the damage in the photo of the dead Rep.? pH ... concentration ... what's the volume of the pool ... what's the concentration of the pool muriatic acid ... welcome back to 2nd semester chem.  I wonder if the EPA boys logged the pH of the pool ... that would help." Five hours later ... Jeff talking to himself. "A rough estimate ... assuming I'm starting with the right concentration of hydrogen chloride in the pool service acid ... is 25 gallons.  How the fuck did the pool guy get 25 gallons of acid into that pool without anybody noticing?  This is bullshit ... they got the wrong guy!"  Jeff thinks that he has to tell Lenny ... then he remembers his mom with Lenny ... he also realizes that Lenny won't understand any of his calculations or even care ... but if anything comes out of it, Lenny'll claim the credit.  Conclusion: Fuck Lenny, and not in a nice mom way.  Jeff knows there's someone in Illinois snuffing people ... probably someone with an agenda.

Scene 4:  Lenny comes rushing out to Jeff's desk. Lenny; "Pack your bags.  You're going to Illinois.  You've got a girlfriend there, don't you?  "Yeah, my almost fiance.  Is this about the Krupt family deaths? "Fuck those idiots ... nobody cares about them.  This is Big ... really big.  Guy's dicks are turning black.  A whole bunch of them.  This could be my ticket out of this shithole ... all the way to the White House.  Me ... Special Assistant to the Emperor ... making sure his dick doesn't turn black and fall off.  Can't you see it ... me and the Emperor's tiny orange dick ... in the same photo ... "The State of the Dick is Sound." Ground zero is a golf course.  Here's a list of stuff to special tag for me.  Christmas isn't that far away and golf crap makes great stocking stuffers for politicians. We want a special show of force ... take a dozen phonies with you with cameras ... do the whole CSI routine ... make sure none of them talk to the press ... you're the only one to be quoted ... don't screw this up.  Oh, about that crack I made earlier about your mother ... forget it ... I really miss your mom." "Yeah, I bet you do.  I'll make sure you get your loot.  I gotta pack."

Scene 5: Rory on the phone to Ray, the new Maintenance Supervisor at Amy's company. "Doc, there's something weird happening.  I'm getting phone calls from the wives of some of the old golf club guys.  They're calling me from hospitals ... all over northern Illinois ... asking me how my dick is."  "Ray, what's the point?  So you're popular with the wives ... a fringe benefit since they treated you so badly." "Their husband's dicks are turning black ... some need them cut off ... the medical term is dickectomy.  Ever hear of such shit?"  "No, this is new. Let me look into it ... I'll get back to you ... and glad to hear your new position is working out.  Amy says only good things.  Gotta go."  Need to call Conrad and get some of his boys over to the Club House.

Scene 6: The Pot Shop.  Rory and Conrad are watching the show.  Big bowl of popcorn being shared.  Rory; "How many of your boys did you drop off at the Club?"  "Four ... each with enhanced sensors.  We should be able to see and hear everything.  Pass the corn."

===================

Next Time:  Meet the Enemy

The impact of Brexit on the Irish economy

by Frank Schnittger Thu Mar 9th, 2017 at 11:32:33 PM EST

There have been many dire predictions of the negative impact of Brexit on the Irish economy, with exports to the UK already down by half a €Billion or 4% in the last year and with some Irish mushroom exporters going broke because their margins couldn't survive the 10% devaluation of sterling that has already taken place. But the Irish economy is facing the twin challenges of Brexit and Trump from a fundamentally healthy position. Total exports to all markets rose by 4% to €117 Billion last year and UK exports, at 13% of the total, make up a continually declining part of total exports.

Read more... (25 comments, 1190 words in story)

Biochemist Goes to War: 3

by THE Twank Thu Mar 9th, 2017 at 03:46:03 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War  Part III

Send in the Drones

Scene 1: Amy's on the phone to Rory. "Yeah, the maintenance position has been unfilled for 6 months.  Candidates have been either lazy college kids who don't know which end's up or people who can't get beyond raking leaves.  Any qualified person wants twice what we'd offer. (pause) Fine, you have Ray give me a call.  Make sure he has a current resume; have him dress appropriately for the interview ... no three piece suits, no overalls; something in between. I'm the first step in the interviewing process; if I'm impressed, I'll route him to my boss Steve for final approval.  (pause)  That's right ... you owe me and someday I'll collect, believe me.  Oh, before you go.  Remember Rep. Krupt ... the asshole who lost his family?  According to the newspaper he's moved into a huge estate ... high wall around the entire place ... guard dogs ... really odd.  Either he fears for his life or he's throwing pool parties with 16 year olds and doesn't want the press finding out.  OK, bye"

Read more... (2 comments, 1526 words in story)

Lords vote for a "meaningful" vote on the terms of Brexit

by Frank Schnittger Wed Mar 8th, 2017 at 06:22:33 PM EST

For the second time in a few days, Theresa May's government has suffered a defeat in a House of Lords vote.  Their Lordships are concerned not to give the Government a free hand to negotiate whatever deal it sees fit without having to submit it to Parliament for approval before Brexit finally happens.  However as The Telegraph has noted:

At first glance, the amendment to the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords giving Parliament a "meaningful vote" on a Brexit deal may look innocuous. After all, Britain has voted to restore the primacy of its own Parliament, so why should that Parliament not decide on the Brexit deal? That is the argument that advocates will make for the amendment, which may well be endorsed in the upper house and conceivably by the House of Commons next week, since a number of Conservative MPs are said to be minded to support it there.  Yet that argument is flawed and this amendment should not pass.

The flaws are both practical and principled. The practical flaw is found in the effect this amendment would have on Brexit negotiations. It is no secret that some EU leaders still believe that Britain can be persuaded to reverse its decision to leave; the EU, after all, has a history of trying to overturn democratic votes, even referendum decisions, a contempt for the electorate that partly explains why the integrationist project is failing. If those leaders believe that the British Parliament could reject any Brexit deal and instead continue our membership, they will have a strong incentive to offer the worst deal possible.

As usual, The Telegraph sees no irony in criticising the EU for a lack of democracy in the context of an article on a vote in the entirely unelected House of Lords. But there is a bigger problem with the House of Lords vote. A correspondent and European Tribune reader who wishes to remain anonymous writes (by email):

Read more... (21 comments, 1744 words in story)

Tailor made politics

by Luis de Sousa Mon Mar 6th, 2017 at 05:48:47 PM EST

2017 is election year in various economic heavy weight members of the EU. The Netherlands comes first, with the suffrage scheduled for the 15th of March.

Polls keep showing the PVV of Geert Wilders ahead, with twenty odd percent of votes, almost double of the record score the party obtained in 2010. In face of such projections the foreign  media focuses almost exclusively on Wilders, the candidate that easily produces sensational headlines with his extreme right rhetoric.

If the rise of Wilder's party is substantial, more important is what is happening with the remaining parties.

Promoted - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (4 comments, 1079 words in story)

Biochemist Goes to War: 2

by THE Twank Sun Mar 5th, 2017 at 06:57:36 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War  Part II

The Country Club and the EIS.

Scene 1: Rory drives his ancient VW into the Douchbag Country Club parking lot. Beautiful day ... sunny ... warm.  A patron addresses Rory; " Fantastic car ... where'd you get this antique?" "I bought it new in 1980 ... only car I've owned since.  I'm new here ... thinking of joining.  What's the procedure?"  "The clubhouse is that way ... you can't miss it ... go in, ask for Albert at the desk ... he handles all new recruits.  Welcome!"

Read more... (1883 words in story)

Northern Ireland elections results

by Frank Schnittger Fri Mar 3rd, 2017 at 06:40:50 PM EST

[Updated with all counts completed]

Party: % Share of vote : Change since 2016: -> Seats
Sinn Fein 28% (+4% since May) -> 27
Democratic Unionist Party 28% (-1%) -> 28
Ulster Unionist Part 13% (0%) -> 10
Social Democrat and Labour Party 12% (0%) -> 12
Alliance 9% (+2%) -> 8
Smaller parties and Independents 10% (-6%) -> 5
Counting in the Northern Ireland elections has just been completed with all 90 seats filled. Turnout is up 10% from 55 to 65% compared to the last elections in May 2016. Early elections were called when Sinn Fein collapsed the Executive as a result of the "Cash for Ash" scandal and deteriorating relationships with the DUP, the major Unionist party.

The other major issue is Brexit where the DUP campaigned for Brexit and the other major parties campaigned against with the result that Northern Ireland, as a whole, voted against Brexit in the referendum last June. The implications of Brexit for the N. Ireland economy and the border with the Republic were hotly debated throughout the campaign.

Read more... (6 comments, 603 words in story)

Biochemist Goes to War: 1

by THE Twank Wed Mar 1st, 2017 at 12:51:44 AM EST

A Biochemist Goes To War:  Part I

This ranks somewhere between scyfy and scyreal.  The theme is simple ... people stop taking shit from the Federal Government and the Republicans, and do more than protest. They'll protest themselves to death ... or worse.  Here's a tale about a biochemist who decides to fight back; the Feds never realize what they're  dealing with.

Read more... (5 comments, 1868 words in story)

Creeping Despotism Log #3

by THE Twank Mon Feb 27th, 2017 at 06:36:06 AM EST

This week's diary is  a little different. I've cited two pieces by Arthur Gilroy over at The Booman Tribune ... yes, the link at the top of the European Tribune homepage.  One is titled "More Non-Partisan, Pro-Freedom Sense From the Internet, Part V" ;  the second is titled "The Southification of the North? Thats NEWS!!!???"  Lastly,  I was going to give  you "A Biochemist Goes to War", Part I ; my own creation, but I came across an extensive piece by Les Leopold of AlterNet  (published in Salon) titled "Constitutional collapse: Why we could be on the verge of a democratic apocalypse".  This supports my diary series theme, so I've decided to leave publishing my baby till next time, I hope.

Read more... (540 words in story)

LQD - Fighting in the Infotainment Wars

by ATinNM Sun Feb 26th, 2017 at 05:22:37 PM EST

The Neurobiology of the article is simplified but the practical is spot-on.  We on the Left keep bringing a research paper to a gun fight and then wonder why we lose.  Human Decision Making, which includes deciding to act, is completed by the brain's Affective Processing systems.  Affective Processing is necessary and sufficient to arrive at a decision, Cognitive Processing is neither.

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An Independent Northern Ireland within the EU?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 at 10:40:53 PM EST

Dr. Nat O'Connor (School of CPSP, Ulster University) has an interesting piece up on the Progressive Economy website on the options for Northern Ireland if it doesn't want to go the full Brexit with the leavers in Westminster. In particular he asks: Could Northern Ireland be an independent member of the EU, or have a “special status” within it? It is well worth a read in full and discusses the options for Northern Ireland under six headings:

    Being inside the European Customs Union
    Being inside the European Single Market
    Holding EU Citizenship Rights
    Participating in EU Programmes (e.g. CAP, Erasmus)
    Common EU Security and Defence
    The "European Project"

My response is included below the fold...

Read more... (928 words in story)

Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

by Frank Schnittger Thu Feb 23rd, 2017 at 04:45:54 PM EST

Enda Kenny, one of the EU's longest serving Prime Ministers, is set to resign in the aftermath of his St. Patrick's day visit to the US and the UK's formal declaration of Brexit under Article 50 next month. Opposition to his leadership of Fine Gael, the largest party and incumbent Government, has been growing since their disastrous campaign and results in the General Election last year. He is perhaps best known for his forthright condemnation of the Vatican in the aftermath of the child sexual abuse scandals which have come to light in recent years: Wiki

On 20 July [2011], Kenny condemned the Vatican[ for its role in the scandal, stating that the Church's role in obstructing the investigation was a serious infringement upon the sovereignty of Ireland and that the scandal revealed "the dysfunction, disconnection and elitism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day". He added that "the historic relationship between church and state in Ireland could not be the same again".

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Creeping Despotism Log #2

by THE Twank Mon Feb 20th, 2017 at 06:45:43 AM EST

Tues. (2/14/17) Rachel Maddow Show ...  Flynn "resignation/firing" is the big deal; getting to the bottom of the Trump/Putin connection is hot; the Congress investigating the whole mess ... right. But ... here's the biggie ... some historian bigwig thinks we can sleep well at night because "the last cold-warrior" will come riding to the rescue.  Kids, if that's the best you got, old worthless Sen. McCain, kiss it goodbye.

Read more... (467 words in story)
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News and Views

 27 March - 2 April 2017

by Bjinse - Mar 27, 12 comments

Your take on this week's news

 20 - 26 March 2017

by Bjinse - Mar 20, 50 comments

Your take on this week's news

 Open Thread 27 March

by Bjinse - Mar 27, 4 comments

Like a flash of lightning in the clouds, we thread in the flicker.

 Open Thread 13-26 March

by Bjinse - Mar 13, 38 comments

He was going to thread forever, or die in the attempt

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