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Open Thread 28 Aug - 3 Sep

by Bjinse Tue Aug 29th, 2017 at 08:56:26 PM EST

Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent threads

On facecrack a friend asked, given our prior experience of Evangelicals using natural disasters as evidence of God's wrath against San Francisco, LA, New York, etc. what they would imagine Texas had done. I tried to post the following comment and was frustrated that I could not get it to post:

In the little oil boom town of Wann, Oklahoma, where both of my parents lived a tornado came through town around 1930. My father was a religious skeptic and 20 years old at the time. The tornado picked up the Baptist Church which his mother attended and which he had attended until he got too big for them to make him attend, (around 14), and set it back down at right angles to its foundation! My father teased his mother by saying "Boy those Baptists must have been doing something wrong!" My grandmother responded "Oh, shut up Gene!"

So I closed FB, reopened it and tried to get back to where I had been. So I checked recent comments. There were six messages that my successive attempts to post the above had been marked as spam!  WTF!  And is there any way to communicate with anyone? Given the speed with which they were blocked it has to be an algorithm. and and a pretty broad brush one at that.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 12:55:28 AM EST
Perhaps they don't like mention of particular Christian sects such as Baptist?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 12:59:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice story.

Regarding Facebook, I think you are not alone in having the very human action of trying to post get read as a bot by the algorithms. I don't think there is anyone to talk to. All hail the algorithms, our new overlords!

by fjallstrom on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 06:59:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Ha'aretz provides a clue to what went wrong in Houston. From an interview with the author of a first grade textbook on science.
In the chapter, "What a farmer does in the fall," you say that what a farmer does is to pray, and then you provide the prayer for rain. I don't understand the connection between a science book and this prayer. I myself live in a moshav [cooperative village], I breed animals and vegetables occasionally. I don't pray. Maybe something scientific is out of whack in me.
Maybe, instead of relying on Israeli science, the Texans should watch the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and realize that they also need a prayer to stop the rain.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 at 07:03:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This guy was part of the Vote Leave fanboi group

EU Referendum - Richard North - Brexit: playing chicken

Having taken a fairly dim view of the recent position papers produced in the name of our government, one can hardly be surprised that first Barnier and now Juncker are less than impressed by them.

We can see the game. The EU wants to discuss the Phase 1 issues and will not move on until there has been shown "sufficient progress" in resolving them. HMG wants to by-pass some of these issues and discuss trade immediately, arguing that everything can be discussed together.

This is how it has been for some time now. And if neither side gives way, then the outcome for the UK is dire. Thus, it really doesn't matter who is to blame. Unless this is sorted, we're in for a torrid time. And if the EU isn't going to bend, then it is going to be up to the UK to make the first move.

The trouble is that, as far as it goes, Downing Street is insisting that the talks are in "a 'good position", while former foreign secretary William Hague - echoing the views of many - says it is clear the EU is "giving Britain the run around".

Clearly, there is no meeting of minds and no indication of when the two sides are likely to converge, if at all. It will probably take a heroic intervention by Mrs May to set negotiations back on course, except that it is unlikely that she has the political strength to secure such a prize.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 06:52:43 AM EST
Independent - Steve Bullock - As a British EU negotiator, I can tell you that Brexit is going to be far worse than anyone could have guessed

For anyone following Brexit developments, the last week should have shown that the level of complexity involved in Brexit is unprecedented. Ministers however seem to have inserted their heads firmly into the sand, hoping tricky problems will just go away.

Who knew a fortnight ago that leaving the apparently obscure Euratom Treaty would jeopardise not only the UK nuclear industry, but also the supply of medical isotopes for cancer treatment?

Did anybody realise that the work needed to establish a new customs IT system was unlikely to be done in time, and what that would mean?

Was everyone already aware that UK airlines like easyJet would need to set up in the EU27 and Ryanair might move its planes to EU27 countries due to the UK leaving the Open Skies Agreement?

Well, some people knew, but they're just experts, so have been largely ignored.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 07:43:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How a New Generation of Progressive Activists Is Leading the Trump Resistance - RollingStone
Marshall Ganz is a storied organizer who was active in the civil-rights and farmworker-union movements of the Sixties and Seventies - and more recently helped structure the 2008 movement that elected Barack Obama. "The fact that Indivisible is rooted outside of the Democratic Party is an enormous strength," he says. "They can develop their own agenda. They can be the ones exercising influence over Congress, the Senate or the presidency - which is something the Obama organization could not do because it was owned by Obama." Once inside the White House, Obama muzzled his activists in favor of an establishment brand of governing. "The approach he took," Ganz says, "there was no real role for people."

Moulitsas points to lessons of the Obama presidency to argue that movement politics can't thrive inside the Democratic Party. "What happened when Obama won? We all went home." But he is confident that progressives will reform the party most quickly by breaking ahead and letting officials play catch up. "That's actually ideal: Let the party piggyback off that popular wave rather than the other way around."

by Bernard on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 06:35:34 PM EST
Markos Moulitsas? Progessive?
But don't feel sorry for the ones who enabled this nightmare by voting for the incoming Trump-Putin administration. For example, why should we weep for the retired coal miners who will now lose their health insurance thanks to the GOP majority--despite the best efforts of coal-state Democrats to change the outcome?

Yes, this will be a terrible outcome for a group of people who have really drawn a shitty lot in life. But how sorry should we be for this crowd?

I don't believe Sanders or Corbyn would even have thought likr this. If that's what the "new generation" is like, give me the old generation any day.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 07:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in his defence;-

  1. He is not a politician. He runs a website which rallies support for soft left progressive causes. Which means that from a european perspective he's a mainstream conservative (his backstory is republican libertarian). He is allowed the freedom to vent and be imperfect because he doesn't have to grub for donations, let alone win votes.

  2. He has form. When four contractors were ripped to pieces in Fallujah (prompting its destruction), kos publicly responded that contractors were the scum of the earth and deserved what they got.

What was not explained by him at the time, but emerged subesequently, was that he recognised that they were CIA contractors who were attached to interrogation units, ie torturers. The people of Fallujah knew that as well.

3) Given the disaster that is the Trump Presidency and the white nationalism that underpinned it, there is considerable resentment against such people around in the progressive community. Turkeys voted for xmas and now expect sympathy for their plight. A lot of people are gonna die for those choices and those who see that are perhaps a little short on the empathy right now for those whom they see as collaborators.

I'm not excusing kos, just saying that, unlike a professional politician, he's not beholden to public opinion and is free to say what he likes. It takes all sorts y'know and few of us are saints.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 07:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you say is true, but it doesn't mean we can't call Markos a lying hypocrite.  Because he is one.  Why did everyone go home after Obama won?  Because he betrayed everything the minute he took office.  Why did we support Sanders over Clintstone?  Because we knew she was just an extension of Bilious Bill and Conveniently No Longer Barry, mouthing progressive platitudes while enforcing neolib and neocon policies.  Did Markos know this?  Damned right he did.  So what did he do with his site?  Turned it into a Hilbot anti-Sanders attack site where Sanders supporters were daily accused of being misogynistic Bernie Bros bent on putting Trump in office.  Now he claims to be a progressive?  I smell mendacity.
by rifek on Sat Sep 2nd, 2017 at 10:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, sort of.

I remember that, during the Primary, kos favored Hillary but was happy for the system to play out. However, as the year progressed, the tenor of the Bernie-bot attacks on Hillary became such that kos felt he had to step in and read the riot act to the effect that any Dem is better than any republican for President so don't undermine the more likely candidate as it might come back to bite ya in November.

After Hillary won the primary, some of the attacks did not stop. At that point, when the bernie bots were doing the GOP's job for them, kos stamped down.

Now, you can make all sorts of points about how the system wwas rigged against Bernie. Of course it was, she helped design the system, she helped put all the people at State level in place. She knew everybody and they all owed her. If Bernie wanted a level playing field, he had to have put more work in.

Yea, Bernie would have been better, but Hillary should have been good enough. But her emails, Benghazi... the msm attacks all day everyday.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 07:28:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which may all be true, but it leaves an interesting question:

Why didn't Kos support Sanders over Clinton?

The Bernie bots were right - Clinton wasn't good enough. She ran a terrible campaign and lost to Mr KKKRazy.

Sanders was always more likely to win than Clinton was. The polls showed this clearly.

So why didn't Kos support him?

I don't think this is about hindsight - it's about Kos choosing party faction over party outcome.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 11:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hesitate to be the a spokesperson for kos, but he's surely entitled to his own preferences.

As I said elsewhere in this thread, Markos comes from the soft right, not the left. He's going to be wary of a (largely untested at governing) firebrand like Sanders.

He has always been about the rather conservative politics of the possible, of taking the public as they are and building platforms they will be comfortable with.

In the UK he's kinda like Polly Toynbee reacting to Corbyn, Whatever the superficial attractions, she just don't believe it's possible for him to get elected. And Markos never really believed in the electability of Bernie.

But I don't believe that he tilted the site towards Hillary until the Bernie-bots started attacking Hillary after Supertuesday. In his mind, at that point the Primary was largely settled. It wasn't just a waste of energy to keep on contesting the policy positions and personal history after that, by creating drama around the Democrat primary, it was creating 2 - 3 months of unnecessary negativity in front of Hillary's Presidential bid. And also removing attention from the GOP car crash.

So, that was when he started getting grumpy. As far as he's concerned, first and foremost dKos exists to elect Democrats, and if people want to start fights on his site that jeopardizes that, then they're out. I think that's fair personally. His site, his rules

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 02:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough; and as the article mentions, Kos, who was created as a reaction to GWB, is not the main engine of the new grassroot, by far. Since Trump inauguration quite of a number of initiatives were started:

Our Revolution
Swing Left
Run for Something
Sister District

by Bernard on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 04:27:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and he's very much in favour of them. But until they start putting up candidates or at least candidates start name-checking them and their positions, he's not really that interested

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 04:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was so disappointed with him and Booman too.
My conclusion is if you focus exclusively on so-called pragmatism, you can become very politically smart but remain completely blind to the will of the people.
Kos wasn't just grumpy, he was tyrannical, too much forest, no trees.
Same with Boorman.  I think they both share responsibility for Trump's election because they willingly overlooked the DNC gaming the political process and through strong influence affecting many to change their vote from Bernie to Hillary.
After joyfully following Kos for 12 years as daily go-to blog, it was especially galling to see him drive out his brightest posters and reduce the site to a pitiful shadow of what it was.
Nothing progressive about endorsing Hillary, zeeero minus!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 05:52:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I recall correctly, Kos was resigned to supporting Hillary prior to the declaration of candidacy by anyone else because she had, in his opinion, already locked down just about every possible avenue of action and funding within and adjacent to the party. In his opinion, which I am doing my best to paraphrase from distant memory, Hillary had learned from her failure to Obama, and was determined to end the primary before it began -- to an even greater extent than she had tried to do in 2008.

Given how things went, it was clear that she had more or less succeeded, proving Kos right.

It was something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter if we like her or not, she's already locked things up, and I'd rather try to make the best of a bad situation rather than tear the party down and potentially give the election away."

Remember, NOBODY thought Trump had a chance of winning the election. It was just not possible. So, yeah, he chose to support the flawed presumptive-nominee and enjoy a victory lap, rather than stage an ugly and ultimately futile fight, especially given how the Republican primaries were turning out.

Kos also consistently worked to highlight and support down-ballot races across the country, and on several occasions bemoaned the fact that the primary fight was drawing attention away from what seemed, at the time, like the building blocks for a Democratic wave election.

It's easy to imagine that everybody saw a Trump victory coming, and to beleive that everybody could see just how flawed and unelectable Hillary was ... but at the time it just did not look that way.

by Zwackus on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 03:52:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember, NOBODY thought Trump had a chance of winning the election.

Nathan Robinson in Current Affairs, Feb 2016.

But this is far from a typical previous American election. And recently, everything about the electability calculus has changed, due to one simple fact: Donald Trump is likely to be the Republican nominee for President. Given this reality, every Democratic strategic question must operate not on the basis of abstract electability against a hypothetical candidate, but specific electability against the actual Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

Here, a Clinton match-up is highly likely to be an unmitigated electoral disaster, whereas a Sanders candidacy stands a far better chance. Every one of Clinton's (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump's strengths, whereas every one of Trump's (few) weaknesses plays to every one of Sanders's strengths. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 05:36:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, that's Nostradamus level prescience.

Nathan Robinson got the gift

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 07:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At first, I expected this to be the usual bitter Sanders supporter stuff. I have seen a lot of it, having been an early grassroots volunteer with the Sanders campaign, and having joined several of their groups on Facebook and whatnot. They slowly descended into insanity. But no, this guy almost exactly predicted the course of the general election, and I had to wonder if his fake Trump speech had been lifted from a speech Trump had made. I am impressed.

Sadly, a lone prophet crying into the wilderness.

by Zwackus on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 11:26:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read this at the time it was originally posted and put an excerpt on ET. I believed then that his analysis was correct and it has informed my views since. But too many just blew it off as hopeless idealism.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 01:02:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that is - I think - the real problem: any chance of a left-leaning non-corporate-owned government is dismissed as "hopeless idealism" and "not pragmatic."

Kos has done a huge amount to promote that point of view, not least by banning anyone who dissents from it too enthusiastically and persuasively.

It's an incredibly toxic argument, because of course the right hasn't operated with the same level of pragmatic restraint.

It's going to be interesting to see if the new generation of left-leaning sites can make up for the deficit.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 02:42:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although now, after the June election with Corbyn, that argument holds a lot less water

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 04:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you elaborate on that first for the UK? I am much less immersed in UK media.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2017 at 01:57:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"And that is - I think - the real problem: any chance of a left-leaning non-corporate-owned government is dismissed as "hopeless idealism" and "not pragmatic.""

That was also the prevailing view in the UK which dismissed corbyn as "unelectable".

I made a point earlier in the thread to tbg about Polly Toynbee, the Guardian journalist, whose every other article between Corbyn's election as leader and the result of the last General Election telling anybody who would listen that Corbyn was a disaster for the Labour party because it was impossible for him to form a Government given how unacceptably left wing he was. She considered his installation as Leader as some display of impossibilist romanticism by a young and naive left wing who would betray the working classes who need a Labour govt by rendering one unelectable for the foreseeable future.

Being nice well off members of the London eleite who only ever met the sons and daughters of other elites for whom a nice middle class bit of Blairite neo-conservatism with a little pink bow on it was about as left wing as they wanted to get. They simply missed the widespread desperation in the rest of the country that needed and could respond to more radical suggestions. that knew that the old bullshit didn't work.

She has moderated her view since then, but I don't think she's ever really been able to accept that she was wrong.

I believe a similar dynamic was in the US media regarding Sanders.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 5th, 2017 at 03:27:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in the USA the view that Sanders is unacceptably socialist still has strong supporters and is repeated regularly in various media well to the left of Fox News. That view is even held by many who believe themselves to be 'progressives'. They just do not accept that an economic agenda that is aimed at reigning in the financial sector is a part of being progressive, but, rather, that it derails and makes impossible any progressive government, by which they mean a government such as Obama's that had a social agenda but not a reformist agenda for finance.

I try to make the point that, regardless of their views on social issues, it is vital to address the concerns of the victims of globalization and that failure to do so just drives the country further to the right, with Trump being exhibit A. The massive appeal of Sanders shown during the primaries in the very states that cost Clinton the election are exhibit B. And I try to ward that, without economic reform, all their cherished social reforms and advances are greatly at risk of being rolled back.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2017 at 04:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - I always assumed the G was a neoliberal bastion, and people like Toynbee were propagandists paid to support the status quo while only appearing to challenge it.

Exactly like the Dem establishment, in fact. And the "progressive" French left. And so on, more or less everywhere.

The army of anti-Corbyn trolls that invaded FB in the run up to the election supports the contention.

I genuinely fear for the UK if Corbyn wins the next election. I think he'll be lucky to last a year without a coup or an assassination.

The bottom line being that we can have the appearance of democracy, with voting panto and media festivals around elections, and punditry, and all of that.

But we absolutely cannot have the reality of democracy - which isn't just about voting, but about the consistent creation and implementation of policies that benefit the conditions and prospects of the majority of the population at the expense of the privileged hyper-minority.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 5th, 2017 at 06:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The G has become more of a neoliberal paper since its online version started grubbing for USian pageviews.

Toynbee has always been a liberal, after all she was a founder member of the Social Democrats after they broke away from the Labour party. So she's never been well-disposed to anything more left wing than the guilt-tripped capitalism so well represented by Blair.

But, the G does at least have some leftish writers. Paul Mason, Owen Jones, Aditya Chakraborty and Zoe Williams do good stuff.

We don't do coups here, at least, not violent ones.Corbyn will be PM and will be okay. But he wont be able to change anything, cos the basic structures within the civil service and beyond don't exist for the major changes needed to be remotely possible. to

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 5th, 2017 at 07:56:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't do coups here, at least, not violent one.

Oliver Cromwell?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 05:55:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, I don't think anyone is safe if you search for precedents far enough back.

I was referring to that recent era where the Establishment prefer to illusion of democratic involvment in order that their rule remain undisturbed. So, nothing overt to frighten the horses, whatever happens behind the scenes.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 09:14:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there was the aborted coup against Wilson in 1974. Maybe that could serve as a model. No need for a coup if you can scare the PM with a show of force.
by fjallstrom on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 10:31:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Background reading:

Harold Wilson Conspiracy Theories

British readers should note the Rees-Mogg name. The son of that Rees-Moog is currently being lined up as a possible leader of the Tory party - at the same time that the Great Repeal Bill threatens to end parliamentary oversight.

Some people might be alarmed by the threat implied by that combination.

I think it's useful to consider that the Establishment has been around a long time, and has successfully demonised and neutered the Labour Party for much of its existence.

The Corbyn hysteria is just the latest chapter in a long and shameful series of democratic distortions and smear campaigns.

I've long suspected that one of the main motivations for Brexit is to end any danger of EU political leverage over an Establishment attempt to "Take back control" from genuine democracy.

The fact that the Establishment wants to leave the ECHR, the ECJ, and the Single Market/Customs Union, fits tidily with this.

In fact it doesn't make much sense otherwise, because what modern state actively wants to end judicial oversight?

If this is true the economic damage caused by Brexit is largely irrelevant, because the true goal is dictatorship.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 12:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've come to think of the Union as a middle class* project (which isn't an indictment from my point of view, your mileage may vary) and a culmination of the process of moving power from an upper class or foreign power to the middle class that was behind most of 19th/20th C nationalism.

I tend to view Brexit as a segment of the Establishment using the working class dissatisfaction with that middle class project to gather power back into their hands, ironically via the same nationalism that originally took their power away.

* Not the same as middle income

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 08:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They slowly descended into insanity.
It is, at the very least, an open question as to which group descended into insanity. But, for me, the question has been answered by the results of the election.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 01:06:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"They" here means the Sanders people I worked with. They were not crazy for supporting Sanders, they were a little crazy for supporting a variety of conspiracy theory BS about vote rigging and stolen elections. Some of them followed that CT rabbit hole a lot deeper, and they were straight up nuts. And then there were the "Bernie or Bust" people, some of whom continued to claim that Trump was a better pick than Clinton, well into the general.
by Zwackus on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 03:26:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should have seen the way Hillary's supporters behaved here at the Salt Lake County Democratic Convention.  They attempted to adjourn the convention before we had even counted and confirmed the ballots in the contested races, all to block a purely hortatory resolution calling on the superdelegates to vote as the voters had.  Activity like this was repeated nationwide.
by rifek on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 04:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that he was a PhD student when he wrote this....

Another good article of his is how Chomsky was a major inspiration for him.

If I were to summarize the main points I've taken from Chomsky's writings and talks, they would be this: you should have both compassion and consistency, care about freedom and fairness alike, and be rational, curious, and humble. Note again that this doesn't matter whether you are a linguist or a political scientist; it's not the subject that matters so much as the method.

I have a crude generalization to offer (feel free to ignore it): people I have met whose political awakenings came through reading Chomsky have consistently tended to hold more humane and less dogmatic political beliefs than those whose political awakenings came through reading Karl Marx. I have met compassionate and thoughtful Marxists, and I have met obnoxious and unthinking Chomsky fans. But I believe that the way Chomsky introduces a person to politics, by offering observations and facts rather than an elaborate ideological structure, lends itself to more modesty and reflection than some of the more systematized political tendencies.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 02:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an alleged "Bernie-bot" and with daughters who were accused of being "Bernie bros", I'll just say that my recollection of what went on last year at DKos differs, namely that the Clintstone forces opened fire on us for daring to support anyone but Hillary, some folks fired back, and Markos stomped in decidedly on Hillary's side, well before the race was decided.  The bulk of us, who weren't interested in a rumble, simply left, and the place turned into the sort of Clintstone echo chamber that produced the election debacle.  Last year simply confirmed to me why I hadn't been in there with any regularity for a dozen years: He is very selective in how he controls the place (Back then the problem was a mob of self-proclaimed "old Russia hands" who harassed anyone who posted on anything east of the Oder-Neisse and who Markos let run in spite of a number of complaints.).  It's his site, so he can run it as he wants, but he doesn't get to call it free and open (or progressive for that matter) while gaming the content without people who know better calling bollocks.
by rifek on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 04:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for the lack of context: I quoted that part of a long article, mainly because it's echoing some discussions we've had here - repeatedly ("Once inside the White House, Obama muzzled his activists in favor of an establishment brand of governing.")

Actually, the article is not about Kos, but rather people like Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg of Indivisible, Ethan Todras-Whitehill of Swing Left or Nina Turner (Our Revolution).

by Bernard on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 08:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
campaign in poetry, govern in prose.

Obama's revolutionary act was getting elected in the first place. He couldn't have done it if he had been nything other than a middle of the road politician.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 1st, 2017 at 09:39:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with the criticism of Kos that follows, but he is right on this, I suspect:
"That's actually ideal: Let the party piggyback off that popular wave rather than the other way around."

There are some very good people posting and commenting at Kos, but nothing very progressive is likely to be strongly pushed by Kos. And, if there is a centrist candidate running, Kos will likely support that candidate over an 'unelectable' more progressive candidate. Or at least that is my read.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 02:02:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, that's true. But if the progressive wins, kos will suppport them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 07:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That may also be true, but what does that really say about his political judgement?
One has to take into account he was a republican with affection for the military mindset before.
I think his ego ran away with him becoming so successful and he was sure his blog was a kingmaker.
Starting off uniting democrats and finishing by splitting them up.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2017 at 05:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen the idea pushed on the site, by supporting authors, and by Kos himself, that it's important to match teh candidate to the district, and to keep a big tent open for right-leaning Democracts to run and win in red states. He has not often, to my memory, supported blue dogs in safe progressive seats, and when considering elections in places like New York and California the site has consistently pushed the idea that "safe blue seats can do better than X." I don't think there is anyone happy with the disgraceful state of New York state politics, with traitor democrats supporting a minority Republican government in the State House, and the various writers on Kos have repeatedly tried to wade in and get involved in fixing that situation by supporting primary runs against those scumbags.

The problem is that a good chunk of the site just does not get worked up about those sorts of down-ballot and local issues, regardless of how much Kos and the contributing editors push them.

by Zwackus on Mon Sep 4th, 2017 at 03:58:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With Photobucket gone, I'm trying postimage. Let me know if the following (from the entrance to the Tempio Canoviano in Possagno) works

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 04:30:20 PM EST
That works. Or at least it works for me.
by fjallstrom on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 05:23:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, good for me

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 05:51:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Works for me

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 03:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Making another attempt, with a different image host...

This is a picture of the Ferrandina-Matera "train" line. It was built about 30 years ago, but the money ran out before they built the track. Think of it as Italy's version of BER.

Some pictures of Matera

And the tomb of Jesus, in the Pasolini film. I didn't bother with a picture of the site of the Gibson crucifixion.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 05:50:40 PM EST
good photos.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 05:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Railway Technology. Is this timeframe serious?
China's enthusiasm for high-speed trains has known few boundaries so far and now it has set its ambitions on a new grandiose scheme: reviving the ancient Silk Road route via a state-of-the-art high-speed rail network for both passengers and freight.

The $150bn railway would start in Xinjiang and snake its way across 3,700 miles through 40 Asian and European countries which hold a total population of three billion people. Although this gargantuan project might seem like wishful thinking, Chinese media reported a rather short prospective timeline: an initial finish date is envisioned for 2020, followed by the start of operational services by 2030. Despite China's confidence, there are a host of obstacles that could prove insurmountable to the project as a whole, let alone the high-speed timetable that has been reported.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 06:34:23 PM EST
in the absence of Dodo, my first thought is that it's a translation mistake.

That said, they've achieved remarkable builds in short timescales before. But I don't understand the desire for hi-speed, this only makes sense as a freight line, accessing overland either the substantial oil fields of the Middle East or the mineral resources currently up for grabs in Afghanistan.

Indeed, I still don't understand the desire for the freight line into Europe. There simply isn't a product going either way that neither needs to fly cos it's perishable nor wait aboard a ship.

So I can see what the Chinese want a freight line into Pakistan/Afghanistan/Iran. But can't see any point in a high speed line.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 09:25:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it makes sense as a political project. You can move freight, make travel easier to bind together the populations along the railroad (including the Chinese population), export Chinese technology, get an alternate route to Europe if the US closes the waterways and get some political capital in the countries along the route (assuming China picks up the tab).

Moving freight is just one of the uses. I doubt the Russian railroad to the Pacific made sense on commercial terms before it was built. Yet they built it, and once it was there it could also be used to haul freight.

No idea if the timeline makes sense. I guess they could start at a number of places at the same time to decrease build time. Unlike the grand 18th century railroads, you already have good enough communications so you don't have to use it to haul the material you use to build the next stretch.

by fjallstrom on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 at 10:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Related diaries:

Another Great Game by DoDo, March 2006.
The New Silk Road by Frank, July 2013.

and comment threads with articles on the subject:

August 2014: Tibet railway opens to Xigaze
May 2017: China's Xi lays out $900bn Silk Road vision amid claims of empire-building

by Bernard on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 12:21:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the freight aspect is good, but the distances from even NE Pakistan through to anywhere useful in China are such that, even with 200 mph (300kph) trains, you'd really rather fly.

A robust fast (80-100 mph/120-150 kph) freight line is all that's really needed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might want to look up Pepe Escobar's reporting on multilateral financing and trade agreements tying One Road/Silk Road/Belt/Funds over the past ten years. This will require suspending disbelief in the truthiness of not-MSM.

Or try tunneling through Foreign Policy pay wall.

"Pivot to Asia" kinda eclipsed Anglo-merican interest in development and diplomacy of those crazy Eurasian Economic Union and AIIB thingies sparked a border war @ Ukraine until, yanno, too late.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 06:55:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An interesting detail: Cost is estimated at $150bn, and $242bn for Moscow-Beijing, compared with £50bn for HS2....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 03:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a lot of the cost of HS2 is buying and getting access to the trackbed, much of which will be legal fees (it's a stupid and expensive route in those terms)

No such problems across Siberia/the N of the Himalayas

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 04:35:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember when Daou was posting at DKos? Good. Because nobody else wants to. That whole run up to the first ever NETROOTS NATION confab --STARRING BABA BOXER-- was soooo much more exciting!

This Pro-Hillary Website Looks Like North Korean Agitprop

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 06:25:28 PM EST
Who has David Cameron Been talking to?

Still running after all these years ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 06:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here is Current Affairs on the website.

Sanders responds.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday brushed off Hillary Clinton's criticism of him in her new book about the 2016 presidential election, saying he's not interested in playing the blame game.

"My response is that right now it's appropriate to look forward and not backward," Sanders told The Hill.

"I'm working overtime now to see we overturn Trump's decision on DACA, pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and next week I'll be offering a Medicare-for-all single-payer system," he said.

Sanders said he wants to focus on the legislative challenges at hand and not debate who is to blame for President Trump's stunning electoral upset of Clinton, the Democratic nominee, in November.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 06:33:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If calculatedrisk's board was still operating, why, I'd have to publish that bit under one of my by-lines, Hag Watch Int'l

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 07:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen those on Twitter. Thought they were a parody of fact-checking sites.
by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 at 07:46:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 12:45:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 8th, 2017 at 01:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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