Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

1 - 7 January 2018

by Bjinse Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:33:26 PM EST

Your take on this week's news

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by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:34:15 PM EST
What next for Brexit in 2018? - BBC News

So what is supposed to happen next?

First of all, the joint EU-UK report on "sufficient progress" needs to be turned into a legal text that will form the basis of a formal withdrawal agreement. And there are still plenty of details that remain unresolved.

Expect the debate about what "full alignment" at the Irish border really means to re-emerge at regular intervals.

At the end of January, formal negotiations are also due to begin on a transition period after Brexit.

The EU's position is that the transition has to take place under all existing rules and regulations (including budget payments, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the free movement of people), and that it should come to an end on 31 December 2020.

No-one in the UK seems entirely happy about the transition proposals. Many businesses say it won't be long enough for them to be ready for a new world after the UK leaves. On the other hand, many supporters of Brexit say the transition will leave the UK as a "vassal state" - following rules without any say in making them.


Anyone hoping for certainty should probably look away now.

by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone hoping for certainty should probably look away now.

[No Shit, Sherlock!]
by Bernard on Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 at 08:31:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
6 European elections to watch this year - Politico

Some of Europe's political big hitters will be in action. Russia's Vladimir Putin and Hungary's Viktor Orbán are seeking reelection while Silvio Berlusconi is campaigning to get his party back into power in Italy.


Italian general election -- March 4

What's at stake: Italy will elect new members to both chambers of parliament in March, which will also be the first time a controversial new electoral law will be used.

The law, which favors coalitions over individual parties, was fiercely contested by the populist 5Star Movement, which refuses to strike alliances with traditional parties. The anti-establishment party argued the legislation was designed to scupper its chances of power: Polls indicate the 5Star Movement could emerge as the single largest party, while the ruling Democratic Party (PD) has been slipping in support amid political infighting.

But electoral experts warn that if surveys are accurate, the new system won't be able to produce a clear-cut winner, meaning old-style political bargaining will be needed to try to avoid an impasse.

Who to watch: Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has made a comeback this election cycle to lead his center-right Forza Italia. He was ousted from public office after a tax fraud conviction in 2013 but has returned rejuvenated to the political scene. Berlusconi is hoping to overturn a ban against him taking office, but is also looking out for alternative candidates if he is unsuccessful.

by Bjinse on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 09:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Russian election is of course featured in the article, with the standard story of if only Navalny could run...

Checking Wikipedia, Navalny's best poll result has been 3.9%. Apart from the Moscow mayor election, his political projects has not gone well, each time ending with Navalny splitting in search of a new voter base. He started as a liberal, then nationalist (guess it would be called alt-right today), and now anti-corruption.

Somehow, I don't think he will fare better than previous political projects in Russia that the west has supported while ignoring the actual opposition parties,
like the Communists (or claiming that they are controlled by the Kremlin).

Doesn't mean it is right to prevent him from running, but the media focus on him as the Only Opponent (TM) is silly. He isn't and won't be the only one who isn't qualified.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 02:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be surprised were any Anglo-merican journalist to admit, the only gauge of a Free and Fair Election ™ is no barrier to entry (which isn't true anywhere, but). For all I know from this distance, Navalny is no more intellectually qualified or less socially acceptable a candidate than Michelle Bachmann is.
The former congresswoman considers an ambitious bid to return to relevance
perennial vanity Republican presidential candidate
One might suppose then, no criteria but the candidate's courage in the face of proverbial "unelectability" vindicates Free and Fair Election ™ (by popularvote.ru or electoralcollege.us). And that is certainly an economical "frame" to restrain the expectations of observers worldwide.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 07:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should we still take Russia's 'elections' seriously?

At a Russian polling station, phantom voters cast ballots for the 'Tsar' - Reuters

At polling station no. 333 in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz, Reuters reporters only counted 256 voters casting their ballots in a regional election on Sunday.

People were voting across Russia in what is seen as a dress rehearsal for next year's presidential vote. Kremlin candidates for regional parliaments and governorships performed strongly nationwide.

When the official results for polling station no. 333 were declared, the turnout was first given as 1,331 before being revised up to 1,867 on Tuesday. That is more than seven times higher than the number of voters counted by Reuters - with 73 percent of the votes going to United Russia, the party of President Vladimir Putin.

Election officials at the polling station said their tally was correct and there were no discrepancies.

by Bjinse on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 10:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe because they are important enough to cheat in?

My point was rather that it is mainly the Communists (and the voters, and democracy and so on) that are cheated.

Right now, Putin polls so high that he would probably win without cheating, but why risk it? According to a lot of commentators on the US Democratic primary, it isn't even cheating if you would win anyway, so from that perspective Putin may or may not be cheating. Though I don't agree with that, so I think we can call it cheating anyway.

by fjallstrom on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 05:00:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While I agree with you, I fail to have confidence that polls wherein it looks Putin would win are done without cheating. Or that they would be representative of what Russian people would actually think (in other words, they are polling the preferred answers which people are expected to give.)
by Bjinse on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 12:57:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm hardly a Russia expert, but I don't get the sense(mostly from sort of following the old Exile crew) that the repression there has escalated to the point that polls would be entirely useless. Here is an old Radio War Nerd episode from middle 2016 interviewing Andrei Soldatov. You do get the sense that there is quite a bit of repression going on, even Novaya Gazeta fired him without explanation, but it doesn't sound like a Turkey situation. He is not in prison, after all.
by generic on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 09:42:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Italian election is interesting. A new election system with a mix of FPTP and proportional representation in both chambers.

I would expect the FPTP part to benefit regional parties like Lega Nord, then again FPTP also benefits the largest parties which right now are PD and M5*. Then again, the Italian parties has a long history of forming blocs before elections, which I would presume will be used to maximize chances for PD and Forza by making deals with smaller parties.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 02:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's at stake: Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven hopes to win another term, and polls have continued to show his party ahead.
Who to watch: The nationalist Sweden Democrats (SD) aim for a further boost after a surge in support at the 2014 election.
... Feminist Initiative 2.2[%]

This Feminist Initiative is a footnote. This footnote to mythical "Swedish models" of equitable society merits consideration, given its statistically insignificant presence on Politico's betting sheet as well as trendy social media #MeToo #V-Day testimonials lately agitating for women's "empowerment" --conspicuously demonstrated in the USA on a case-by-case basis endorsed by westworld celebrity figures.

The tide is high! Replace the racists with feminists! Men's violence against women is restricting women's freedom of action in the home as well as in the public sphere. In order to eliminate violence we need a feminist analysis of all policy areas coupled with powerful measures within the EU....

The Feminist Initiative approach to "truth and reconciliation" of grievances is paradoxically traditional in that its constitution seeks scale economies of "power" through a national listed, partisan election to government. On the other hand, equivocal speech of the platform seems to betray common confusion among Fifth Wave ideologues about limits of bureaucratic authorities and proper placement of bromides poised to mediate socially acceptable, "set-aside" violence like men-on-men, CIS-on-Others, banks-on-minorities, state-on-state, and soforth.
Election platform Equality is not just about economics. It also involves being able to participate and feel reflected in the cultural, political and economic spheres. [...] We need a new political force in parliament, which challenges existing ideologies. Discrimination, sexism and racism are not derived from class oppression and capitalism. These social ills can be enhanced by these structures, but will not necessarily disappear in a socialist society. Neither can liberalism, with its focus on individual rights, sufficiently address structural inequality...

The establishment of this political group  evidently is no anomaly and yet the obscurity of  "natural" constituencies at the polls (The 99%? The 72%? The 51%?) wherever such partisans arise attests to both the resiliance of patronage in westworld political structures and endemic resistance to identarian exclusions.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 10:45:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spanish Court Says Ex-Catalan Vice President to Stay in Jail
"In the decision, the judges said there was a risk that Junqueras might again commit crimes as there was no sign he intended changing his ways."

[ALEX JONES] targets Russian fake news, moving ahead of Commission plans

France wants to force online platforms to comply with transparency measures by identifying who pays for sponsored content, and by limiting the amount of money used to finance that content. Judges could also be summoned to deal with fake news during elections under the new law. Currently, judges can be consulted to rule on fake news but rarely are under the 1881 press freedom law.
Another question [for EU DIGITAL COMMISSION] asks if online firms should "provide greater remuneration to media organisations that produce reliable information online".
Politicians across Europe are increasingly moving to regulate what is shared on internet platforms.

A Trip to the Woodshed
"How do you deal with the problem of a legitimate and lawful but phony American shell corporation?"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 05:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Facebook Used to Be Resistant to Gov't Pressure, That Has Changed' - Analyst
According to the Intercept, Facebook representatives met with the Israeli government in September to determine which accounts to delete for alleged incitement.
Sputnik: How dangerous is Facebook's censorship for freedom of speech and to what extent has Facebook cooperated with other governments, when they demand this?
Kate Klonick: Yeah, that is a great question and that has changed over the years. Back in 2008 ...

archived: jobs saved or created
Facebook decision puts multinationals under pressure

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 08:20:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
re: "what is shared on internet platforms."

Thousands rescued in Spain after being trapped in cars by snowstorm

"There's been nothing, absolutely nothing. They're not telling us what they're doing on the radio or on the Internet - or what's going to happen to us. We haven't seen a snow plough for hours."

A tragedy which neither Tim Berners-Lee nor Mr  Schrödinger before him or their varied evangelists could not have foreseen. As is the custom.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 03:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK's Northern Ireland Minister Quits as May Shuffles Cabinet
James Brokenshire said he was quitting because he is about to have surgery for a lesion on his lung and will need time to recover.

No word in this case who will fill the office.
The parties in Belfast have missed several government-imposed deadlines to restore power sharing, and Northern Ireland faces direct rule from London if a solution is not found soon.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 11:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't he get his surgery postponed, just like most people in the UK this winter?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 07:18:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, he's a Tory so he'll go private, probably at a mate's rate from one of his (many) colleagues who are closely involved in private health provision.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 07:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:34:17 PM EST
comes around. You just have to live long enough to catch it.

-- ancient afro-merican sayin'

Banking Giants Face Antitrust Claims Over High-End Credit Card

The Wyoming-based Black Card LLC wants a judge to declare that the defendant companies' agreements were an unreasonable restraint on trade and that they must pay treble damages for lost business.

[emphasis added; all roads to antitrust vindication end at this test, restraint of trade, not "consumer protection". Book it.]

LQD: Black History Month 2009

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 01:27:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most member states unprepared for sweeping new financial market rules
Mifid II, an acronym short for markets in financial instruments directive II, is ten years in the making and runs thousands of pages long. The massive rulebook beefs up consumer protection and attempts to avoid some of the problems that led to the 2007 financial crisis by requiring much more surveillance of trading .
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), which is in charge of overseeing Mifid II, has tried to calm concerns over the shaky start to the new law. The Paris-based authority warned that companies can still comply with the rules even if the member states where they are located have not yet translated the EU directive into national law.

"The City of London is actually the banker for Europe"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 05:19:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook decision puts multinationals under pressure
In a statement issued this afternoon, the company's chief financial officer Dave Wehner said Facebook will stop routing international sales through its Dublin office, and instead book them in the country where they occur. And pay tax in that country.
The rest (as we know from the Government's defence in the Apple case), is supposed to be subject to the US corporate tax regime (which allows companies to defer their tax payments - hence the offshore cash pile of US multinationals).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 06:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:34:19 PM EST
More attention in one day than he's received in all the years since he was elected in 2008.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 06:56:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump Tower meeting with Russians 'treasonous', Bannon says in explosive book - Guardian
Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president's son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic", according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian.


Soon after, Wolff writes, Bannon remarked mockingly: "The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor - with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers.

"Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately."

Trump hits back at Steve Bannon: 'When he was fired, he lost his mind' - Guardian
"When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party."

Critics pointed, however, to a tweet issued on 17 August 2017, in which Trump wrote: "I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton - it was great! Thanks S."

by Bernard on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 09:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colbert and Noah are all set for Trump's `Most dishonest and corrupt media awards' - CNBC
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: "I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o'clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!"

Now, the hosts of two late-night chat shows in the U.S. are ready to enter the awards. Stephen Colbert of "The Late Show" on CBS and Trevor Noah of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" have both released spoof pitches for the president's consideration.

by Bernard on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 06:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After spat over Trump book, White House adviser said ousted from CNN by security | Times of Israel |

After 'State of the Union' talk show host Jake Tapper accuses Stephen Miller of wasting his viewers' time and ends interview, Miller refuses to leave studio, sources say.

US President Donald Trump's special adviser Stephen Miller was escorted off a CNN set by security after he refused to leave the "State of the Union" studio following a fiery interview with host Jake Tapper, the Business Insider reported Monday.

The paper said two sources reported that Miller had refused several requests to leave and that in the end security was called to escort him out of the building.

"You're not answering the questions... There's one viewer that you care about right now. Your being obsequious, you're being a factotum in order to please him [Donald Trump] and I think I've wasted enough of my viewers' time," Tapper charged, abruptly ending the interview and turning to the camera to announce another item.

Email from 2007 ties Trump adviser Stephen Miller to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer | Electronic Intifada |
How Stephen Miller Rode White Rage from Duke's Campus to Trump's West Wing | Vanity Fair |
The Duke Lacrosse Scandal and the Birth of the Alt-Right | NY Mag |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 12:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I admit I have no idea what Miller was trying to achieve by talking down at Jake Tapper like that.

It's just a student bully trick that most people grow out of by the time they're 25 (or in my case, hopefully 60. I'm 59). However, in certain circles, presumably close to Trump, I guess it's considered the height of sophistication, but it still makes you look stupid.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 04:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking of the description sophomoric.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 05:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's politics as kabuki.  The endpoint foreseen by H. L. Mencken:

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 06:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:34:22 PM EST

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 07:59:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does the President expect Haley to waste her time reporting this information? Isn't it all readily available on the UN website?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 11:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hag Watch Int'l
Ms Haley is otherwise preoccupied closing USAID credit accounts.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 12:06:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

DPRK reopens hotline with ROK in middle of Korean Peninsula  

US, South Korea to delay joint military exercises during Winter Olympics | CNBC |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 09:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 01:10:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow!! Sorry for using an astronomical term but that is a statement in a similar category

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 07:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How The Economist Thinks - Current Affairs
The Economist is not, therefore, an honest examiner of the facts. It is constantly at pains not to risk conclusions that may hurt the case for unregulated markets. This tendency reached its absurd apotheosis in the magazine's infamous 2014 review of Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. The magazine objected to Baptist's brutal depiction of the slave trade, saying the book did not qualify as "an objective history of slavery" because "almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains." When outraged readers pointed out that this is because, well, the victims of slavery tended to be black, The Economist retracted the review. But as Baptist observed in response, there was a reason why the magazine felt the need to mitigate the evils of slavery. Baptist's book portrayed slavery as an integral part of the history of capitalism. As he wrote: "If slavery was profitable--and it was--then it creates an unforgiving paradox for the moral authority of markets--and market fundamentalists. What else, today, might be immoral and yet profitable?"
by Bernard on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 09:05:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"In practice, now that tech has killed newsstands, our magazine has no alternative but to try to survive through social media." advertising sales


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 02:04:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Republican Wins Virginia House Seat in Drawing
Virginia's State Board of Election met shortly after 11 a.m. to settle the contest which pitted Yancey against Democrat Shelly Simonds. The method used to settled the race was a established by a 1705 Virginia law on tiebreakers: a lot drawing. But even now, the race may not actually be over. Simonds still has the right to request another recount, although she said as recently as Wednesday that should would accept the outcome of the lot drawing.

Re: The UK and the EU democratic deficit

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 04:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A democrat wins an election by one vote. That one vote is subsequently made void.

A republican then makes a draw and pulls the republican's name from the hat.

Man, they don't even try to hide it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 06:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they don't. Not in Virginia. VA is the state DKos hacks have imagined is a "blue" state. It needs an old fashion Sunstein nudge though.
Federal Judge Asked to Call Special Election for Virginia House Seat
The eventual victor in the race to represent state House District 28, Republican Robert Thomas Jr., won by only 82 votes.... The filing of the complaint sparked a series of legal challenges and a recount that reduced Thomas's margin of victory to just 73 votes.

With margins this thin and acrimony that deep, J. Reb's opposition needs to fatten their MANDATE of comfort before this year's mid-term. Frankly, either colonize more black-senior-citizens-who-vote or disenfranchise at least 1,000 registered "not-Hispanic" voters of any other race or ethnicity. Maybe both, because attitudes in VA28, VA 94, and all the districts must change before institutions do.

Otherwise, the Trumpians will win.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 06:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
White Nationalists Push Back Against Efforts to Honor Black Confederates - TPM
Now two Republican lawmakers want to erect a new monument at the South Carolina statehouse--to African-Americans who fought for the Confederacy. It's not surprising that they're running into opposition from historians, who say almost no blacks chose to take up arms for the South. But the project is also at odds with the efforts of white nationalists who, for different reasons, want to ensure the Confederacy is remembered as a white supremacist project.
Civil war historians counter that the vast majority of blacks who served in the Confederacy were slaves working as cooks, servants, laborers. A very small number, some historians say, did serve as armed soldiers, but only because they were forced into doing so. They argue the myth of blacks volunteering as soldiers is designed to obfuscate the reality that slavery was the root cause of the conflict.

Meanwhile,  a younger generation of white nationalists proudly acknowledges that the South fought the Civil War to protect and propagate the enslavement of African-Americans. And they have pushed back against efforts to memorialize black Confederates.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 08:35:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
5. The Spin | AUDIO
JH: In 1894, they started their own group, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or the UDC.

And it was incredibly popular. The membership of the UDC would eventually swell to over 100,000 women.

And they set up monuments all across the south and all across the country. There are now more than 1500 confederate memorials, and many of them were funded by the UDC.
CK: By the turn of the century, they had command of the LC narrative, but the ugly reality of slavery was still a problem. What the Confederacy needed-- was a whole new history.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 01:59:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Efforts by the Trump administration to marshal a muscular international response to Iran's crackdown on anti-government protesters appeared to backfire on Friday, as members of the United Nations Security Council instead used a special session called by the United States to lecture the American ambassador on the proper purpose of the body and to reaffirm support for the Iran nuclear agreement.


The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, was more blunt. He asked rhetorically why the Security Council had not taken up the issue of Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo., which were at times also met with a violent police response.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 03:12:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Far Right Can't Decide If The Iran Protests Are A Good Thing, Or A George Soros Deep State Coup - Buzzfeed
As protests in Iran head into their ninth day, those in the streets have received words of support from President Donald Trump and words of ire from the country's theocratic government. In the recesses of the internet, however, the far right are split, asking themselves -- are the protests the result of a coup orchestrated by George Soros and Barack Obama's "deep state," or a repudiation of it? The debate, raging from Twitter to YouTube and the white-supremacist-preferred Gab social network, has exposed ideological divides within the far-right political movement that helped propel Trump into office.
by Bernard on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 07:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US right wing theocrats, aka the GOP, are always uncertain when anybody, anywhere, starts to protest theocratic government.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 05:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I detect similar confusion about the authenticity or artifice of this "uprising" in a series of essays (by Iranian and Anglo-merican commentators) published by that progressive lighhouse, Counterpunch. The odd note in each is how little a 60-odd-year, wildly successful seige on Iran by NATO figures in current evaluations of economic and political deprivations. This one captured for me the burden of carrying revolutionary and counter-revolutionary agitprop for spectators.    

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 04:46:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Roy Moore accuser's house burned in possible arson fire - Euronews
One of the women who accused failed Senate candidate Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual contact said Friday that her Alabama home burned to the ground and that investigators suspect arson.

But the local sheriff said he doesn't believe the blaze that destroyed Tina Johnson's house was connected to the bitter campaign.

"The ongoing investigation does not lead us to believe that the fire is any way related to Roy Moore or allegations made against him," Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin said in a statement.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 03:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Charlie Stross

History gives us the perspective to see what went wrong in the past, and to look for patterns, and check whether those patterns apply to the present and near future. And looking in particular at the history of the past 200-400 years--the age of increasingly rapid change--one glaringly obvious deviation from the norm of the preceding three thousand centuries--is the development of Artificial Intelligence, which happened no earlier than 1553 and no later than 1844.

I'm talking about the very old, very slow AIs we call corporations, of course. What lessons from the history of the company can we draw that tell us about the likely behaviour of the type of artificial intelligence we are all interested in today?


Elon Musk--who I believe you have all heard of--has an obsessive fear of one particular hazard of artificial intelligence--which he conceives of as being a piece of software that functions like a brain-in-a-box)--namely, the paperclip maximizer. A paperclip maximizer is a term of art for a goal-seeking AI that has a single priority, for example maximizing the number of paperclips in the universe. The paperclip maximizer is able to improve itself in pursuit of that goal but has no ability to vary its goal, so it will ultimately attempt to convert all the metallic elements in the solar system into paperclips, even if this is obviously detrimental to the wellbeing of the humans who designed it.

Unfortunately, Musk isn't paying enough attention. Consider his own companies. Tesla is a battery maximizer--an electric car is a battery with wheels and seats. SpaceX is an orbital payload maximizer, driving down the cost of space launches in order to encourage more sales for the service it provides. Solar City is a photovoltaic panel maximizer. And so on. All three of Musk's very own slow AIs are based on an architecture that is designed to maximize return on shareholder investment, even if by doing so they cook the planet the shareholders have to live on. (But if you're Elon Musk, that's okay: you plan to retire on Mars.)

by generic on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 06:25:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
first, by misnomer
the paperclip maximizer approach

a/k/a "hammer" maximizer approach a/k/a "employment" of a bag of nails a/k/a "tools". Who are clearly individual people.

then by category error

'a collection of many individuals united into one body'
Here's the thing about corporations: they're clearly artificial, but legally they're people.

and finally, unintentional tautology

This brings me to another interesting point about computerized AI, as opposed to corporatized AI: AI algorithms tend to embody the prejudices and beliefs of the programmers.

a set of rules clearly defined by people

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 07:29:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dopamine Labs is one startup that provides tools to app developers to make any app more addictive, as well as to reduce the desire to continue a behaviour if it's undesirable.

[...] the app now owns your central nervous system

Facebook, Instagram are taking over human nervous systems, by way of offering validation addiction by "Likes". And Tinder, dating cites are killing human mating by offering too much choice. Humans in flesh is just a resource already.

As for paperclip maximizer: Moving electrons are optimizing action. The universe is thus intelligent?

On the other hand, entropy production maximization is a hallmark of complex, functional systems. Corporations do it better than humans.

by das monde on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 12:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'a collection of many individuals united into one body' do it better than humans.

< wipe tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 04:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole is more than the sum of parts...
by das monde on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 10:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm. As somebody who has regularly outperformed the aggregate in problem solving scenarios, my view is that "the whole" is a consensus seeking device decided upon the most popular person.

If good solutions arrive, they do so by accident, if they work, everybody agrees it was the best possible solution because "everybody" agreed with it. If it doesn't work, well, it's the CYA possible

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 08:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not all wholes singularly rock.
by das monde on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 08:07:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
file in "Charismatic Leaders of Free People", everywhere but Swiss high-end retail establishments.

Oprah Winfrey Announces She's Running For President In 2020

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 06:00:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NY Post does Washington Post, o, c. 1980.
If you need to set a thief to catch a thief, you need a star -- a grand, outsized, fearless star whom Trump can neither intimidate nor outshine -- to catch a star. We're through the looking glass here. America is discarding old approaches in politics. Democrats will have to do the same to match the mood to the moment.

And that's where Oprah Winfrey comes in. She is the mirror image of Trump, but more so. Of course, she's female and he's male; she's America's generous aunt and he's America's crazy uncle. And yes, she's black and he's white, she's liberal and he's whatever he is.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 06:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian, 2015:
Oprah Winfrey: one of the world's best neoliberal capitalist thinkers
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 09:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O-approved strategies

Ima run with that from now through BREXIT FYE, 2021.
See if I don't.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 02:06:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you finally get used to it, the whole post-millennial "Irony isn't just dead, it's producing zombie movies in Washington from beyond the grave" shtick is actually kind of entertaining.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 07:31:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kind of like Game of Thrones without the dragons and youthful serial killer?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 08:25:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh god, NO. Politics is a profession, not a game and it's not a business.

People should arrive in the Whiiite House knowing how it works, where the levers of power are and exactly how to use them. Winfrey may differ from Trump in having curiosity and intellect, but she'd still be running training laps while DC waits on her.

Look, Hillary was rejected for very certain specific reasons, but political expertise is what is absolutely necessary in the next candidate. Cos if the US is gonna  start playing X-Factor to choose politicians, we really are looking at the end of the American experiment.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 08:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is what we've been reduced to here in the US, I'd say that the film Idiocracy will have become prophecy, rather than comedy.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 05:43:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Time | How Oprah Could Beat Donald Trump at His Own Game in 2020
Both are billionaires, worth roughly the same amount.
Both are media personalities famous enough to be known by one name.
Both joined Twitter in early 2009.
Both are skilled at self-promotion.
Both are well-known to the public.
Both have been polled head-to-head.
Both have testified before Congress.
Both have played the role of presidential kingmaker.
Both have no prior record in elected office.
Democrats may bemoan Trump's empty-calorie celebrity campaign win ["IDIOCY"?], but there's no reason to believe that they couldn't face one of their own.

Read Oprah's Powerful Golden Globes Speech
(not me but me, too, because "women and minorities")

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 03:03:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 06:14:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(O, O < reckless eyeballin' > gracious, did I just type that aloud?)

Oprah Denies Presidential Ambition After `Oprah 2020' Goes Viral January 8, 2018, 12:01 AM EST

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 02:33:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 02:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 at 07:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stupid of him (as usual). She wouldn't provide the same impeachment insurance as Pence.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 at 07:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:35:02 PM EST
"currency manipulation" and "petroyuan," rare earth monopoly, PV and steel dumping, ICO ban, totalitarian polity, two Belts and two walls, quantum communication, 1.3B people, illicit FDI, IPR, and BRIC banks, and by the way,
China launches largest carbon market in the world 19 Dec
"With both the EU and China committed to emissions trading, two major international players are championing carbon markets to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement and curb emissions cost-effectively."

The EU climate commissioner also announced "enhanced cooperation" between the EU and China on emission trading, possibly with a view to linking the two markets in the future.

What will those kids think of next!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 12:00:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Popular sweetener causing uptick in fatal superbug: study - New York Post

The quest for guilt-free, "healthier" sugar options has had a serious, unintended consequence -- the proliferation of two highly virulent superbugs, a study published in the journal Nature claims.

The seemingly innocuous, naturally occurring sugar trehalose, a popular sweetener in nutritional drinks and energy products, could have allowed certain strains of the Clostridium difficile bacteria to become much more virulent than they were before, according to the study, which was published Wednesday.

The bacteria -- which cause colitis and can lead to severe diarrhea and death -- has had a resurgence in hospitals across the country, baffling doctors and scientists alike who can't understand what has driven the uptick, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Nearly half a million Americans suffered from the infection in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 29,000 of those patients died within 30 days of the diagnosis and about 15,000 of those deaths were directly linked to the bug.

by Bjinse on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 10:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So yeah. Summer of 2008 was an uncanny year in paleoanthropology "discovery". Memorable.
In August National Geographic flogged counterfactual genomic isolation of neandertal species by the Max Planck Institute (also origin of the 2-4% European Blend). The next month it published "Last of the Neanderthals, an elaborate folio of excavation sites across Europe and eurasia purporting to reveal the neandertal industry, including cannibalism. I read it in my dentist's reception. "uh oh," I sez to myself. "That won't do." Just so I anticipated the next decade of Neandertal Rehab, or "experimental archaeology" postulating heretofore unrecognizable genius and dignity of neandertal material culture.

I mention to explain my suspicion this project represents the latest admission to that canon of separate but equal evolutionary progress.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 03:26:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sydney swelters on hottest day since 1939 as mercury hits 47.3C - BBC
The Australian city of Sydney has experienced its hottest weather in 79 years with temperatures in the region hitting as high as 47.3C (117F).

In Penrith, west of Sydney, residents sweltered as the town bore the brunt of the heat on Sunday.

Severe fire warnings were issued for the greater Sydney area and total fire bans were put in place across the city.

Sunday's temperatures fell short of the scorching heat to hit the area in 1939, when the mercury reached 47.8C.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 03:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:35:06 PM EST
Modernity and morality in Northern Nigeria
As the debate progressed, some Northern Nigerian Muslims wondered if the two clerics were preemptively ingratiating themselves to the British and priming their followers for an impending moderation occasioned by the moderate turn in the foreign and domestic policies of Saudi Arabia, the country that funds most conservative preachers in Northern Nigeria. In this reading, the clerics were signaling a new willingness to moderate their stand on Western cultures in line with the pro-Western reforms of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Northern Nigeria's Salafi Islamic wave, as I call it in my ongoing research project on the historical roots of Boko Haram, began with the slow but well-funded arrival of Wahhabism into Northern Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. The Wahhabi-Salafi wave's most visible face was and still is the Izala sect, with which Sheikh Gombe and Lau are associated. The Jama't Izalat al Bid'a Wa Iqamat as Sunna (Society for the Removal of Innovation and the Reestablishment of the Sunna), Izala for short, was founded in 1978 in Jos by a group of followers of the late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi. Sheikh Ismaila Idris was the leader of the group. Sheikh Gumi was at the time studying and mastering the Wahhabi doctrinal canons in Saudi Arabia. He returned to Nigeria in 1987 to take organizational and spiritual control of the anti-Sufi reform movement, leading the group through an explosion in its followership but also through internal fissures over leadership and doctrines.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 08:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the enemy of science,

Is Reproducibility Really Central to Science?

causality dies.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 05:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If course it isn't central. If it was, economics wouldn't be a science.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 07:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 06:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing I know about the academic world: we love to argue about the minutia. We'll nitpick something to death. As for replication - it's definitely necessary to have any faith in the validity of a hypothesis. If replication is not happening, or is only happening inconsistently, we need to look under the proverbial hood a bit and figure out what's going on. Some level of transparency is needed in order to do so. I'm not sure we necessarily need to preregister every study or upload every line of code used to run analyses, but at bare minimum we do need to show more openness, and we do need to do a better job of archiving our data. More than that, my take at least in the social sciences is that many of our replicability problems would be solved by using larger samples as most of our non-replicable findings were based on pitifully small samples when they were originally run. Editors also need to be more open to publishing replication failures, assuming that the methodology appears otherwise satisfactory. Publication bias has been killing us for decades. I'm not entirely clear that those in position to serve as journal editors quite grasp that yet. Just my two cents.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander
by Don Durito on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 05:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and Facebook

India's National ID Database With Private Information Of Nearly 1.2 Billion People Was Reportedly Breached

less Intel and a dash of Sheldon Whitehouse

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 5th, 2018 at 08:27:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 12:28:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:35:11 PM EST
by Bjinse on Mon Jan 1st, 2018 at 09:35:14 PM EST
Bad start for PM May and darling minister of foreign affairs Boris Johnson.

His friend and protégé Toby Young quits new job before he got started:

Boris Johnson claims columnist Toby Young is the 'ideal man' for universities regulator job

Toby Young: Petition to oust controversial columnist as universities regulator reaches 200,000 signatures
Toby Young resigns from the Office for Students after backlash

And then this from Sp!ked ...

Toby Young is not the problem

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 11:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spiked article is a wonderful addition to the "I may be a anzi but calling me a nazi is a breach of my human rights" argument the alt-right seem to specialize in these days.

Young has written about preventing the disabled from accessing education. To deny people education is to exclude them from society, to officially declare them outisde of society. Once you've gone down that path, is it really much further to say that these "uneducated, illiterate troglodytes" [his phrase] just clutter the place up and maybe it would be kinder if they wee never born?

You might say that's a stretch, but the grotesque cruelty of his many thousands of trolling tweets suggest a man perfectly capable of holding such an opinion.

And people say, "oh it was all a long time ago", as if it was when he was a teenager. No, it was when he was in his forties, 4-zero plus, not 1-4. these aren't the excusable meanderings of a frustrated teenager, these are the outpourings of a fully adult man, a father and a husband.

And yes, lately he has set up 4 schools. But he has also admitted that everything he thought about education was wrong, that he's still elarning, he's had to sack several headmasters. He bascially making it up as he goes along and who knows what damage he is doing to the education of the children his damaged and flawed ideologies are being inflicted upon.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 12:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The conversation - Ansager Allen - Toby Young: what is `progressive eugenics' and what does it have to do with meritocracy?

Meritocracy can nonetheless endanger itself, Young argues, and needs to be protected. Here he makes the highly controversial claim that meritocratic selection is reorganising class boundaries according to IQ. From Young's perspective, this is a problem for social stability.

For many on the left - the so called "twitchfork mob" in Young's terms - he will have already said enough to place himself on the wrong side of history. But he goes further, arguing for a revival of eugenics - the widely discredited science of selective breeding.

He imagines a type of "progressive eugenics" that would "discriminate in favour of the disadvantaged". It would do so by offering a form of (as yet unavailable) embryo intelligence screening, "free of charge to parents on low incomes with below-average IQs". This would help reverse the otherwise "inevitable" consolidation of each social class around a similar genetic profile.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 01:44:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should add that the interview is one of the free ones. Also I have no idea how polling even works and have personally never answered one with the rare exception of teary eyed master students running around university.
by generic on Sat Jan 6th, 2018 at 11:14:45 PM EST
validating verdicality of an estimated population predicted by the Law of Large numbers is complicated.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 07:45:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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