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Policy change: future US visits

Looking back at the horror show that has been this week's news—the first week of the Trump administration—two things are clear: firstly, Trump is to be taken at his literal word when he threatens people, and secondly, it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Consequently I'm revising my plans for future visits to the United States.

I'll be in New York and Boston for business meetings and Boskone in mid-February (I unwisely booked non-refundable flights and hotel nights before the election), but I am cancelling all subsequent visits for now. In particular, this means that I will no longer be appearing as guest of honor at Fencon XIV in Texas in September.

I'd like to apologize unreservedly to the convention committee; this is not your fault and you did nothing to deserve this. I would like to attend a future Fencon, and if anyone else had been elected President—or if Trump had walked back the hateful insanity once in office—my appearance would be unaffected. But conventions book guests of honor many months, sometimes years, ahead of schedule: so I felt it best to pull out of the committment sooner rather than later, to allow as much time as possible to find and announce a replacement.

As for why I'm cancelling this appearance ... I have two fears.

Firstly, at this point it is clear that things are going to get worse. The Muslim ban is only the start; in view of the Administration's actions on Holocaust Memorial Day and the anti-semitism of his base, I think it highly likely that Jews and Lefists will be in his sights as well. (As a foreign national of Jewish extraction and a member of a left wing political party, that's me in that corner.)

Secondly, I don't want to do anything that might be appear to be an endorsement of any actions the Trump administration might take between now and September. While it's possible that there won't be any more bad things between now and then (in which case I will apologize again to the Fencon committee), I find that hard to believe; equally possibly, there might well be a fresh outrage of even larger dimensions right before my trip, in which case my presence would be seen by onlookers as tacit acceptance or even collaboration.

As for my worst case nightmare scenario? Given the reshuffle on the National Security Council and the prominence of white supremacists and neo-nazis in this Administration I can't help wondering if the ground isn't being laid for a Reichstag Fire by way of something like Operation Northwoods. In which case, for me to continue to plan to travel to the United States in eight months time would be as unwise as it would have been to plan in February 1933 to travel to Germany in September of that year: it might be survivable, but it would nevertheless be hazardous.

I hate closing doors behind me, so I'm not making this a blanket committment to never enter the United State again during this administration. I'll keep the situation under review. Maybe things will improve. Maybe the promising signs of opposition that are emerging will continue to grow and develop into a groundswell, and prevent the bastards from gaining ground. I certainly hope so! I have many friends in the US and I like the country: looking back, I now realize that after the UK it's the nation I've spent the second-longest part of my life in. But what's happening right now is absolutely terrifying, an act of wanton national self-destruction on a scale and significance that puts the UK's own Brexit-related seizure of insanity into the shade.



I do not blame you one jot.

Before the election, I was very serious about moving out if Trump was elected. Then it happened and I got angry enough to stay and fight for as long as I can, but I'm building a bug-out bag in case I need to become a refugee on short notice.

The worst is happening. We don't know how far down the road it will go, but we all know which road we're on. Let there be no more illusions about that. This is not the time to caution against alarmist statements. We must be alarmed.


I met you in Seattle the last time you were here. Not only do I not feel insulted by you not coming to the US, I suggest you stay the hell out until we straighten out this little glitch in our democracy. Best of luck to you, and may the black swans stop flying so you can get your next Halting State book out.


Shit's gettin' real, and personal.

My sister-in-law was at the protests at JFK last night. AFAIK she' the only member of her family with US citizenship, her mother has a green card but travels back and forth a bit. I don't think her mother's in the country now, so is likely stuck wherever she now, hopefully with family. Her brother and his family moved back to Kurdistan, from London.

As for The Rump's Holocaust Memorial Day message, my take is that his lack of mention of Anti-semitism, and specific groups is the first step toward Denial. Erasure is how revision begins.


yeah, thats fair. I'll admit I've looked at the emigration requirements in Costa Rica and Spain a few times recently. If Scotland leaves the UK, do you think they'll need programmers?



To those folks in the previous (Empire Games) thread who wanted somewhere to discuss current US politics?

This is your thread!


Well done for taking a stand! I thoroughly approve.

My apologies for the distraction here, but with respect to your final sentence, the USA will be able to vote in a new president in a few years time; but once the UK government triggers Article 50, we can [almost certainly] never go back.


Also, stating the obvious, the longer this clown and his crew are running things, the more damage they'll do and the longer it'll take to fix—if possible. Let's hope the rest of GOP wake up soon enough to put a stop to it.


I'm an Englishman living in New York. And between Trump and May I really don't know where I want to live.

If it wasn't for my girlfriend then I'd have moved back to England years ago, but now with May I don't know if I even want to be there, any more.

This is a complete shit storm.


I assume you will be leaving your phone at home and sanitising your computer before you travel in February? Also if you set up a pro-trump thread before on this blog we can comment nicely and you can use it as evidence you should be allowed into the country.

I'm an Englishman living in New York. And between Trump and May I really don't know where I want to live.

Me too. I have just accepted a new job with a well-known Swedish streaming music service, so maybe I can blag a transfer to Stockholm in a year or so, hoping that's not too late. And I still have the EU as an option as my wife is a dual US/Irish citizen so I could go as her EEA treaty rights spouse.


I read a comment about Trump during the election campaign that "The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally."

They were both half right. I think he needs to be taken seriously and literally.


This is getting scary real fast. Good on all of you Americans standing up to this, protesting and making your voices heard. The signs of a deeply split nation makes me very nervous though. What would have happened had Hitler had nuclear weapons at his disposal right there at the end as he realized the war (and his position of power) was lost? Shudder to think.


Sane move on your part ... look forward to seeing you at Boskone 54.

'Anti-Semitic' - ? - the persona non grata are all Muslims at this point. Keep in mind the clout his son-in-law has within this family unit and as an official advisor.*

  • Key missing info: son-in-law's politics, political and business connections, promises made, etc. Ditto daughter ... although, given her 'conversion' am assuming she takes direction vs. acts as independent agent.

Does DT have any friends? - Seriously ... there's very little background on key influencers.

Issues/policies ... To have an informed discussion vs. a hissy fit and since I didn't take poli-sci in undergrad, I'm looking for titles to get a better historical, systematic understanding. Found this as a promising backgrounder: The Origins of Totalitarianism (Hannah Arendt). Would welcome suggestions re: other titles that can edify the current situation.

SCOTUS - Judges are already coming out with comments saying that DT's EOs are unconstitutional. Mayor of NYC is saying the same. Because DT is governing by fiat (via EO), SCOTUS might have a much stronger role in active day-to-day gov't than it was originally designed for.


I don't have any confidence in predicting the future and I am suspicious of people who prognosticate with confidence.

That being said, what I feared in the 2016 campaign wasn't a Trump victory. I thought he was too much of a boob to get enough votes but I feared he was a pathfinder, proving that overt racist tactics would work with the Republican base. Donald of Orange would fail, we'd get a term or two of Hillary of Beige, but waiting in the wings is a personable demagogue who could really sell some shit, charisma of a Reagan but with an agenda ten times worse.

Well, look how wrong I was. Trump wasn't the harbinger of doom, he is the doom that came to Washington. So, what to make of the soup sandwich of his first week? It seems like he's screwing himself over. He's moving too fast, too hard and he's even got Republicans pushing back against him. This has to be the end, right?

Well, I felt the same way with Bush the Dumber's first term. It was an unmitigated disaster and surely he'd screwed up big enough to get thrown out on his ear. Well, leave it to the dems to nominate John Kerry, someone who makes dishwater look like backwoods moonshine.

If Donald of Orange flames out here, I go back to my earlier fear. He showed that this sort of divisive politics works. Meanwhile, the Dems show they are incompetent boobs who are the platonic ideal for institutional failure. When the other side makes a critical mistake, count on the Dems to trip over their own shoelaces and fall in a broken heap. And this means we're back to worrying about what fresh hell the Republicans will bring once they've got their mess sorted. I'm fearing who comes next.


A couple of developments.

Apparently the Department of Homeland Security are to follow the executive order and the stay ordered by a judge.

The state of Washington has announced it will take court action against the Muslim ban.

Trump filed with the FEC for 2020 reelection on 20th Jan. This is unusual (normally would file in 2019) but means that non profits can't "campaign" against him without risking loss of their non profit status.


I moved to the States with my parents when I was six; forty years ago. I'm a naturalized US Citizen, and had to learn more about US government and civics than most of the born citizens I know. I could have just gotten a free ride when my parents got their citizenship, but I felt it was something that should be earned.

Those of us who've earned our citizenship the hard way are even more outraged, I think, than most native born citizens. There's a trust there, a promise, an ideal that the US has rarely lived up to, but it's there right in the documents that formed the government nonetheless:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That's one of the most lovable things about the United States, that despite the fact that it IS a government made up of humans, and has perpetrated many wicked acts both at home and abroad over the years, there is a central ideal that it's a government of the people and for the people, and that all those people are equal under the law.

With one of his first acts as President, Trump has rejected THE founding document of the nation. If he carries on like this, his own party might have little choice but to impeach both him and his VP.

I hope that happens, because uprooting the life I've built here to move to another nation at my age is a wrenching idea. I LIKE the United States. Hell, even many of the people I know who voted for Trump are perfectly wonderful human beings when they don't let fear and anger rule their decisions.

I currently live in hope that the US will yet again wake up to the potential nightmare they're creating, and reject the current path just as they did when McCarthy's anti-Communist witch hunts got shut down.


Sorry, that should have been: Apparently the Department of Homeland Security are to follow the executive order and not the stay ordered by a judge.


I don't think Trump's America could have been predicted by Rousseau. It's not just back to State of Nature, this is Make America Barbarian. I am now left in a country where I am surrounded by infants, scared of life itself.

I understand your reservations but there are a few of us here who are not going away anytime soon. You are always welcome in our homes.


Another reason to stay away. CNN are reporting that the "White House discussing asking foreign visitors for social media info and cell phone contacts"


My guess, especially given Pence & the dominionists stance, as soon as they've clamped down on the muslims & some foreign nationals, next will be, as you say the "liberals" ( And, as an ex-member of the Lem-o-Crats that's me marked ) And, of course Atheists ( both you & me, again ) will be marked out & down.

Expect him to try to jail Ms Clinton & come down on Barry Obama & their family .... How long before badges are issued? Yellow stars for the jews, pink triangles for non-straights, what will the atheists get, I wonder, apart from "Shot whilst attempting to escape", of course?


the USA will be able to vote in a new president in a few years time; but once the UK government triggers Article 50, we can [almost certainly] never go back. I might dispute that. What makes you think there will be a 2020 election or even a 2018 mid-term, unless very heavily rigged? As for At50, IIRC, provide we have not actually "left" we can cancel the whole thing as a bad job - no-one knows, because no-one was expecting it & there's no precedent, whereas there IS a precedent for the USSA today.


Do wake up... May has already stated that Trump's treatment of refugees is not on & tory MP's are lining up to say it stinks. Have any republicans yest said it stinks in the US?


Try William Shirer (!) First-hand US citizen witness to Adolf in power up to Dec 1941.... The late Alan Bullock: "Hitler, a study in Tyranny" Also: "Hitler & Stalin, Parallel Lives" - same author.


This household was last in the US back in 2004, and we've been explicitly avoiding the place ever since, though I have been there on business a couple of times in the intervening years. The latest news means I will be refusing to go even on business now.

(I'm really really hoping my sister in Orlando remains in good health, because I do not want to have to go visit.)


"White House discussing asking foreign visitors for social media info and cell phone contacts" That's seriously worrying. Hasn't a subset if it been informal policy for months though? Fear Materialized: Border Agents Demand Social Media Data from Americans (; article has a bunch of links.) As an American I would think twice about visiting any country with such restrictions. From the CNN article: Miller also noted on Saturday that Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones. If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry. Sources told CNN that the idea is just in the preliminary discussion level. Bold mine; how would this even be done? Some days I visit hundreds of websites, often a majority of them professionally related (not at all political), and if some of them were leaked, the leak might cause loss of a competitive advantage. Back when France was a baddy for being suspected of intercepting all commercial communications and giving the interesting stuff to French companies, there were special travel rules for traveling to France on business. A black-box black list for political websites would be a totalitarian nightmare. Does anyone have a good profile for Stephen Miller ("White House policy director")? I've looked at the wikipedia article and poked at a few refs.


I (a USian) absolutely endorse your decision not to visit the US until and if relative sanity sets in.

On the practical side, one thing that business and local governments pay attention to is actions that might cut into revenue. The push-back on right-wing bathroom bills that is coming from such interests is a current example. Let us hope that this latest outrage has a similar effect.


If Scotland leaves the UK, do you think they'll need programmers?

:) What, for those analytical engines we hear so much about? Ooooh, we'll invest in those some day soon, once we have that new-fangled electric lighting and those wireless telephony devices :)

More seriously, take a peek :)


Re: "White House discussing asking foreign visitors for social media info and cell phone contacts"

If this happens then all social media will HAVE TO move servers off-shore in order to protect users' privacy. Otherwise ... Google required to provide all user search requests... and gmail addresses to be mapped against other social media ... Twitter to provide all user name acct details ... including which tweets clicked to read, which followed ... etc. FB ... man, oh man! ... FB is totally screwed ... a microcosm of life lived, connections, hopes and dreams, people's nearest and dearest ...

Biggest question is where are the financial institutions in all of this ... they're the ones who got the bailout, disappeared their money off-shore, evaded taxes, etc. Surely a better, more profitable target for such an offensive to make the ordinary working stiff's life more bearable? Need an economist to find and crunch numbers re: total income pocketed by 'illegals' vs. disappeared via financial institutions. My guess is 'illegals' account for maybe 1%. Just looked at corp tax rates (OECD data becuz ...) and it looks as though US corp tax rates are high. However, need to keep in mind that this rate is for normal/historical versions of corporations doing normal/ordinary business - manufacturers making goods, service providers (docs, fire fighters, hairdressers, etc.), utilities, etc. Financial income streams/value-adds are almost tax-exempt/free. And when you consider that the US now makes most of its money on financials/value-adds (mostly by slapping on a label and mark-up on imports), this brings the total US corp effective tax rate (and taxes collected) way way down while at the same time magically allowing such corps to inflate their earnings numbers. Another loose end corp tax-wise is what can be written off as R&D ... which affects many more sectors.


[Clears Throat for the suggested Pro-Trump thread]

I honestly believe that even now, if he worked at it, he could be remembered as less corrupt than Harding or Grant, less racist than Wilson or any of the slaveholding presidents, less disasterous than Hoover or Buchanan, and maybe even less of a womaniser than JFK or Harding (again) [Ed: maybe leave that last one out]. Yes, if he really tried Trump could easily make himself one of the most mediocre presidents the United States has ever seen. Good luck with that.


@Greg - has the whole BrExit stuff passed you by? That's the May crap I'm referring to.

There's more than one pile of shit in the world, and I'm not happy to have to chose between them.


I find it strange that so many people are appalled by Trump and his politics. Even a brief reading of economic and social history would have at least hinted that Trump and European nationalist movements are an unavoidable consequence of globalization and the erosion of Western societies. Libertarian right feeds Fascism with their politics, although they do not understand the connection.

In Europe, I am from the continental Europe, the Eurozone is a brilliant example of the ways how to make the Nazis a tempting alternative. I would surely vote for Le Pen if I were French. I would even donate significant amounts of money to her party. I might do that in any case. It may even be possible for me to vote for Le Pen...

I have personally got significant amount of money and privileges due to European integration and EU. But I cannot agree with the blatant corruption and self-congratulatory elitism deeply integrated into EU and its servants.

As I have already written here, I would happily devote my efforts to activities that explicitly aim to bring down the current system. Sometimes the house is just too rotten in order to be rebuild. You have to pull it down and build something new.


I'm a dual US/UK citizen in Seattle. I'm seriously considering Canada...


No, it hasn't & I agree with you. But .....


Canada is a)a lot harder to get into than you think, and b)not safe; we're either Austria in 1933 or at some risk of a mini-me Trump. (I get the Canadian Conservative Party leadership candidate's emails. There is one and a half sane people in the lot of them.)

Unfortunately, this is a time when the rise of fascism must be defeated, rather than fled. (Although it's much more the antebellum South -- a informally aristocratic police state with slavery, a sharply restricted franchise, and no human rights -- than fascism per se, it's not worth it to quibble over definitions.)


Revolution when decent folk with constructive ideas are available is one thing, when dead-eyed sociopaths are waiting to rebuild,,, you shouldn't wish for it.


I think Trump is a crazy old blowhard of the "I'd soon sort everything out if I was in charge" type who will soon enter either a massive sulk or a nervous breakdown when reality is non-compliant.


What specific material thing would you change?

Is that thing actually possible? (That is, "I would like everyone to be honest" isn't a real goal because it can't happen.)


And THAT is exactly how Adolf managed to get about 33% of the German vote in Jan 1933 ... after which it was too late.

Even the Beige is better than this. Even grotty little petty-crook Juncker, from a "nation" less than 1/16th the size of London is better than the Donald....

Charlie - want to comment re: Trump vs. the Beige?


It's not going to America that has me worried, it's America coming to me that's terrifying. America is, generally speaking, terrible at keeping any wretchedness it might be dealing with to itself. Like curing a national confidence crisis by randomly invading Grenada. Or the fear of terrorism by invading two countries, neither of which had much to do with said terrorism.

That said, I regard Trump and what he is doing currently with a sullen lack of surprise. The Beige Dictatorship has a disastrous failure mode and that is electing the Devil himself because, whatever else, at least he isn't beige.

(He's orange, it turns out.)

Being told (and shown!) that there is no choice, no alternative, and no way out repeatedly tends to breed an ornery sort of resistance that doesn't mind cutting its nose to spite its face.

I'll be honest, I thought it'd take a bit longer than this, but it was always inevitable. Oligarchic crony capitalism breeds an equally vile response using as fuel the despair of people who suddenly realize that, while they weren't looking, they stopped being people and became human resources.


When "45" (I will not type his name) did not use the words Democracy or Constitution in his inauguration speech, and then went on to thank "The People of the World", you knew we were in for an even wilder ride than his campaign would have suggested. Last week my wife told her boss that if my medical insurance coverage is cancelled, which is through her insurance, that we're out of the country within a year. Not that I know where we'd go, Chile is high on the list.

Last weekend when people were streaming in to Washington for the protest, it was reported that Canadians people were stopped at the border and asked if they were pro- or anti- "45". Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not allowed to ask that question, it's immaterial as to why you're coming in if you're a Canadian and against regulations to ask an additional question like that. They were not permitted to enter the country and were told they would be arrested if they tried again that weekend.

@Guthrie: a lot of USA companies, when their executives and programmers travel to China, they issue them burner phones and Chromebooks, both of which are destroyed when they return. When I went to Europe in '15 for a 2 week cruise I took a Chromebook instead of my MacBook Air to save weight and on the slim chance it could be stolen or lost, and it is now my travel laptop. All I need it for is to xfer photos from SD cards to USB drives and to follow email, and it's only $200.

The lovely thing about "45"'s seven country Muslim ban is that there have been no terrorist incidents in the USA from anyone from those banned countries. Also, "45" has no business holdings in those countries. He does have holdings in Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. which is where the 9/11 hijackers came from, and people from those countries are free to come over.


Honestly, Charlie, I know it's a business meeting and I know you'd have to eat the ticket cost, but were I you I'd cancel the February trip.

There is no good future out of this absent a general insurrection and those don't have predictable timing. In the meantime, Trump has cancelled due process for non-citizens.


That leaves the ambitious nazis and murderous dominionists in charge.

It doesn't matter if Trump has a stroke on camera. Absent a death certificate, he's not leaving. And if he leaves, it's the chief murderous dominionist. There is no sufficient norm able to assert itself.


Re the Trump/Bannon administration's anti-semitism: It got rather less press than the hideous imperialexecutive order banning people based on country of birth, but they issued a Holocaust Memorial Day presser that completely failed to mention Jews, and then (when questioned about it) basically replied that they thought it was more important to talk about who else the Nazis killed. That's not a good attitude.

(Also, introducing a power banning refugees from entering the country - and forcibly deporting them to countries where their lives may be in danger - on Holocaust Memorial Day? That's not a good look either; see the St Louis Manifest.)



Will pick up 'Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941' by Shirer because of the day-to-day personal POV in the midst of an unfolding horror.


It's a minor thing, but the Times (London) reported ■ Downing Street officials claimed the president’s phobia of stairs and slopes led him to grab the prime minister’s hand as they walked down a ramp at the White House. ( ) (Via Felix Salmon on twitter)

Re my #25, just noticed that Stephen Miller is 31/32(?) years old. That's a bit young to be "White House policy director" given that his political experience has been all hyper-partisan according to the little profile material I've read. (i.e. lawyer-mode argumentation, where your team's arguments are your soldiers and betrayal of them is treason and other arguments are enemy soldiers to be killed.). No slight on people his age, some of whom I'd trust with national policy. It's just very likely that he does not have a good mental model of people outside his hyper-partisan camp (and sadly may not even believe that it is hyper-partisan).


Agreeing with charlie here btw, and pondering my own fate. I'm due to go to the US not immediately but in several months' time around the end of june. And I'm honestly not knowing what to do about "you have to give us all your websites/phone contacts/social media" information. Primarily I don't "live my life through my phone (and also on social media)" and so my phone contacts list is almost zero. I don't use facebook or twitter - I have never joined, so I cannot really give my "social media information". And as for websites, if they're demanding every website you go to how can you remember all that? What if you visit hundreds or thousands?

Is the US about to demand that in order to enter the US you have to join facebook?

Wondering how long all this goes on for and lasts until it unzips. If this is what has happened in the first week heavan knows what things will be like by the time we get to June. If things carry on in this drection and sustained I'm thinking that the US will be seeing riots taking place - not the tiny ones that happen now with a few people waving signs and lights about I mean on the sort of scale that happened back in the '60s.

Going to be watching the situation very carefully!



"And THAT is exactly how Adolf managed to get about 33% of the German vote in Jan 1933 ... after which it was too late.

Even the Beige is better than this. Even grotty little petty-crook Juncker, from a "nation" less than 1/16th the size of London is better than the Donald...."

Yes, I agree. In principle. No problem with that.

But the issue is that I do not agree with assured oblivion of ideas and passion and emotions. I really, really hate the Beige because it kills passion and emotions. We humans are mainly passion and emotions. I will surely support burning the Beige in order to get passion and emotions back. If that will mean getting fear and humiliation instead of boredom and agony, then let it be.

One of the main problems with something like EU is that it assumes that you will be happy if your local politician gets a megadeal from EU. Lifelong salary (or pension) for doing nothing or even trying to make the life of normal people more miserable. Look at Greece. I really, really wonder why the Greeks have not selected a pure Nazi government.


May has already stated that Trump's treatment of refugees is not on & tory MP's are lining up to say it stinks. Have any republicans yest said it stinks in the US? Well, it only took her a day or so to get around to saying so (after dodging the question in Turkey because of, well, Erdogan next to her. Don't forget that she put Trump and Erdogan on her priority list, and appears to want to make friends with the leader of Poland.) Some republicans have protested, but not very many and none of the senior leadership because they need Trump to deflect attention from their own actions.

My position has always been that changing the system requires revolution or war, but that I didn't really want to be stuck in the middle of either of them. (And, just for reference, I think that Brexit isn't "changing the system", it's "keeping the system exactly the same only without pesky oversight to get in the way." Which may be a worse option than internal chaos, in fact. But not by very much.)


"Revolution when decent folk with constructive ideas are available is one thing, when dead-eyed sociopaths are waiting to rebuild,,, you shouldn't wish for it"

Well, I have used quite a few years in trying to get a revolution done by decent folk. That just does not happen because they are decent. They just do agree to line up for the slaughter. That is the decent thing to do.

I actually believe that the not so decent ideas may provide the way out of the current dead-end. The dead-end is ideological and economical in the so-called Western countries.

Well. Eight people own the same as half of the world. Correcting this is quite likely to take more than the happy deals of the Beige. This is apparently for a real revolution. (For referece: )


Piece on effective tax rates in the US ... vastly different from (lower than) what pols and media (i.e., Forbes, Fortune, WSJ) say.

Corporate Income Tax: Most Large Profitable U.S. Corporations Paid Tax but Effective Tax Rates Differed Significantly from the Statutory Rate GAO-16-363: Published: Mar 17, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 2016.

And as for much similarly uncomfortable public data these days, download now before it disappears.


Charlie, I'm not surprised that you are worried about your welcome here in the US, after all, I read Empire Game. The book is incredibly subversive. As I sat reading the book, I kept saying, "Oh, Charlie. What have you done."

And then of course, once Scotland declares its independence, you will be considered a foreign national living in a tear-away state that is no longer part of the Special Relationship with the US. Yikes!


I am Italian and currently living an working in Germany. I am in violent agreement with your post:

Personally, as an individual, I am gaining a lot from the current UE setup - at the same time, I also notice how a lot of less fortunate Italians are living in progressively worse conditions due to technical, political and economical decisions they had no way to influence with their vote.

(And don't start me on the Greeks).

In my home country all the progressive/democratic/left parties have willingly sacrificed their own ideals and adopted policies that favour capitalism/mercantilism. To cite one of the few economists that is trying to combat this "a lungo andare, le politiche di destra favoriscono solo la destra" (i.e. if you align yourself with right-winged policies, you only succeed in making the Right parties stronger).


Charlie - want to comment re: Trump vs. the Beige?

Yeah: the Beige Dictatorship seems to be crumbling globally.

Unfortunately they were so successful at suppressing socialist movements worldwide that the only opposition is extremely reactionary — hardcore islamism in the middle east, and the sort of neo-fascism we're witnessing rising in the west.

I'd hoped there were enough people of genuine goodwill and humanity that when the BD broke, we'd see something good come of it. The outcomes of the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential election prove that I was wrong about that; there are more utter shits (or people gullible enough to be mislead by authoritarian shitheads and racists) than there are socially-minded liberals willing to get off their arses and vote.

Or at least, there were before the shit hit the fan. Let's see how much a bit of radical consciousness-raising helps?


Yes. The EU structure is currently aiding Germany only, at least in the Eurozone setting. The Germans are completely happy with killing Greeks and Italians and other people in order to have the German economy up and running. Currently the Euro is beneficial to only one country: Germany. All others suffer for it.

Surprisingly the Germans are the ones that really, really like the others to cut down public health care and similar things.

But on the other hand, this so Economy 101 (as Paul Krugman likes to put it), that I really, really wonder whether the whole Euro is pure stupidity of corruption in a real megascale. In the case of my country I actually assume the case of corruption and greed (not really assume, but that is another story).


Honestly, Charlie, I know it's a business meeting and I know you'd have to eat the ticket cost, but were I you I'd cancel the February trip.

I may still do that, at any point right up to the morning of departure: it's a value call, and depends entirely on whether things get significantly worse between now and then.

I don't expect to be at personal risk, entering at New York two weeks from now. I'm a Brit, single nationality, born in the UK, no connection to other countries, with a valid ESTA and a history of traveling to the USA 2-3 times a year for the past decade. If they're filtering travelers based on an enemies list that soon, then (a) I expect to be turned back at the airport prior to departure, and (b) it's Game Over for everyone.

Mind you, I might be carrying a Kindle 3 and an iPhone 5 and a really ancient Macbook Air by way of personal electronics— 4-5 year old kit I already replaced and just haven't got round to recycling yet— if the rumors about searching social media and incoming devices are confirmed.


Get the impression that Bagnai's views are similar to Bligh and Varoufakis re: EZ/EU.


Not only is it "not a good look", given Bannon's history of running Breitbart, it basically qualifies as antisemitic trolling (subtext: "you'll be next").


I think that the basic human thinking is still in the one-million-years-ago-mode. In that mode is is really beneficial to burn the grass from time to time.

Unfortunately similar burning would mean a nuclear war in our current setting.

I really, really wonder why the Beige did not see than people with the torches.

The bad thing is that the decent people are not the ones to form a mod with torches. Hence we are seeing the alternative-facts people coming out with the torches.

But in any case, I still want to see the house demolished.


I really, really wonder why the Beige did not see than people with the torches.

Oh, that's easy!

Your typical beige oligarch is aged 45-70, educated, white, male, western, small-c conservative. They have a high net wealth — they're all in the top 20% of their respective societies, and many of them are in the top 2% or top 0.2%. (I'm including MPs and legislators and academics in economics/politics/law here, not just bankers and CEOs).

They grew up between 1950 and 1980 and the system they inherited has been good for them and they see no reason to change. Also, like most of us, they suffer from the cognitive bias that tells us that the familiar situations of our childhood are normal.

Because they've made good, they're not exposed to significant indicators that society has drifted away from what they remember as being "normal", so they're shielded from the magnitude of the problem. And because it's a self-selecting oligarchy, anyone who wakes up and realizes there's a problem becomes excluded from consideration in the committees through which policy is enacted. And because it's a collaborative process, those who wake up have a strong incentive to shrug and say "but I can't do anything, so why bother?" And finally, with a life expectancy of 15-30 years, they discount the importance of actions that won't bear fruit until long after they're dead (e.g. on climate change, or free access to education); it's a lot of pain for no perceived benefit.

Voila: a recipe for short-termism, short-sightedness, laziness, and greed.


The two things I would add to your comment Charlie (and which agree with your last line) are, the oligarchy is Historically Illiterate, and as unlike proper Feudal groups there is little long term inheritance involved hence there is less worry about the outcome for their children.


I would add that the guiding philosophy of those non corrupt technocrats in democracies who believe that they are doing the Right Thing tends to be utilitarianism, because "greatest good for greatest number" maps well to votes.

Unfortunately this maps poorly to the way real people think.


unlike proper Feudal groups there is little long term inheritance involved hence there is less worry about the outcome for their children

This is about the only thing Mencius Moldbug (arch-neo-reactionary ideologue) and I agree on; leaders without a perceived personal stake in the future are dangerously prone to irresponsible actions.

(Unfortunately wanting to leave a kingdom to their children didn't stop feudal monarchs from pursuing inadvisable courses of action like pointless wars, religious purges, and so on. And they were effectively unaccountable, so ...)


Of course in England, the Monarch never made stupid decisions, he was badly advised-to oppose the King was Treason. to take up arms against his advisor’s wasn't (at least that was the fig leaf of theory)...Hmm, that suggest something...


I didn't realise the poorly advised monarch theory was back in fashion. Time to break out the guillotines.


And because it's a self-selecting oligarchy, anyone who wakes up and realizes there's a problem becomes excluded from consideration in the committees through which policy is enacted.

Note the history of Howard Dean's 50-State Policy. He ran it for one election then got tossed aside (along with his policy.) Apparently deciding that it was necessary to run a candidate in each U.S. state to make sure that Democratic ideas were represented in each race was "not beige enough."

Charlie, may I safely assume that you'll be blogging about your visit in February? ;)


GREP me, I ate / outlined that one a while back.

Daily Stormer praises Trump for daring to reject Jewish "science fiction" about Holocaust. C. Shalev, Haaretz Senior Columnist, US Affairs, Twitter link, 29th Jan 2017

He outlines how such tactics were used under Stalin, it's 100% an 'old trick'.

It is possible to make it a positive meme, but it takes an awful lot to do so (i.e. a lot wider sense of compassion that is seemingly common, along with having viewed the evidence in all the horror that it entails) and we doubt it's being used in anything but the old way.

What's depressing is that it's such an old trick / dogwhistle.

Are we surprised that the WH is using it?


It's someone betting that 90% of America either doesn't know the tricks or has no immunity to them. They may be right.


Yeah. Like my MP, whose mention on National Secular Society I linked to in a n other post very recently. What do people like you & me & Stella do in such circumstances?

Meanwhile I note that a petition to deny Trumpolini [ Note ] access to GB ( AT ;east for a "state" visit will have to be debated by Parliament. Highly amusing.

[ Note: I'm beginning to wonder if that name is appropriate, perhaps "Dondolf Trumper" might be closer? ]


You will be burnt alive in its' ruins. Not clever. There has to be a better way.


Look up: "Diffidatio" The mechanism by which a theoretically subservient noble, from a non-royal Duke, down to a poor Knight could renounce their feudal duty, because their "boss" had broken the mutual feudal contract.


How many times has this right been exercised, and how practical was it to do so without an army?

The first hit ( contains 3 examples, all of which were directed toward weak rulers.


Scottish tory leader calls for Trump visit to be cancelled BoJo to be called to bar of the House to explain how he is to help Brits caught up in this mess ... And, best of all - this ( !! )

Interesting times


Jaju. I find it odd that someone decries - justified! - the fact that 8 billionaires have as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity ... and then suggests support for Le Pen & the FN. Class society is shitty ofr most but also raciall stratified. Us white guys 'gain' from that relative status, we can always feel good because those brown folks are, on average, worse off (That's how it works in WENA, of course different in other countries). FN, AfD, US republicans ... all make the one promise: If you are white, heterosexual or male, someone else will always be worth off than you. If you care about the poor who as little as eight rich fucks, why support racists?

Note that I agree that the beige dictatorship (Charlies words) is horrible. And the left parties are part of the problem.

I also find the idea "let's vote for a right-wing populist to tear down everything" ... unbelievable stupid. What exactly do you suppose will happen if your wish comes true and Le Pen is the next president? How will the poor half of the world live better because of that? How will you?


No, you may not assume I'll be blogging my visit. At least, not until afterwards, unless there's a turnaround and things are good.


The Tories (in the specific form of Johnson) are now proudly announcing that they've done a special deal so that UK citizens born in the countries affected by the ban can still travel to the US. Are they actually so clueless they've missed the point that completely, or do they just not care about fairness and... wait, sorry, rhetorical question.


I dunno. Maybe the UK can find alternative allies. I hear that Europe is both large and fairly close by '-)


"Note: I'm beginning to wonder if that name is appropriate, perhaps "Dondolf Trumper" might be closer?"



Given the absence of rigid and effective measures against voting fraud, we now get to see what happens when the minion of Boskone wins the election.

Heck, he even looks quite similar to what I imagined Morgan to look like...


Noting that the iPhone 5 used to be my regular phone, I just bought a cheap burner Android. If necessary I'll use it for this trip then ... we'll see: the point is, I can control everything that goes onto it from new far more easily than I can guarantee sanitizing an existing/old phone.

(It's always handy to have an emergency spare phone and have a really nice special on Wileyfox Swift 2s right now — the Swift 2 X comes out in a couple of weeks — 31% off list price, unlocked, for a CyanogenMod phone with the security settings dialed up. All I need on top is a disposable throwaway google account and some light email forwarding rules from my real account, plus a PAYG sim and the facebook-I-never-use, and I've got something that will do for a foreign trip without giving away anything useful to anyone. Or that I can use as a fallback phone in event my real phone is lost/stolen. Or something like that.)


Don't know if this helps at all (probably not!) but if you search on for "card phone" you can find some very low spec but simple phones for not a lot. Some are listed for as little as £15!


Pretty much they make calls, send texts, have an FM radio, can record a scratchy audio file off the internal mic, a small phone book and .... that's it. Nothing to hack or look through your internet history!



The only silver lining of this fucking funnel cloud that's brewing up over America is that it might — might — force some of the smarter tories to rethink their post-1956 policy of trying to be the Mini-Me to the USA's Doctor Evil, i.e. unthinkingly aping everything that comes out of DC.

The trouble is, I'm not terribly optimistic about that. When you play a game of "Simon Says ..." for nearly two thirds of a century it stops being a strategy and turns into a reflex.


Republican legislative opposition to the Executive Order on refugees is limited and focused on it as an impediment to America's efforts to fight "jihadi terrorism" or "Islamic Extremist" terrorism.


Current indications are that HMG intend to remain mostly servile for the forseeable future. I expect that once exemptions to travel restrictions are extended to tory MPs they will go quiet again.


"Not clever" is pretty mild really...

More a case of "state the bleeding obvious" vs. "mind-bogglingly dense".

Certainly there is a strong emotional appeal to "burn the whole fucking lot and start again". I have had that kind of emotional response to the state of the world for many, many years. But since I also have more brain cells than fingers, I also realise that while the burning might be fun, living in the subsequent ashes would be far more shit than the present situation, and whatever did "start again" from that point would certainly not have any characteristic of enlightenment or ... I won't say "liberality" because I don't know what the fuck it means these days, and all words derived from libertas now seem to mean "fascist" as often as not, but my meaning is surely obvious from the context.

To avoid pain and ensure a genuinely better outcome, a transition needs to be both gradual and managed. That may be a lot to ask for, but it's not asking anything like as much as expecting utopia to emerge instantly from holocaust.

And it is even more mindbogglingly stupid to want to base the "burn it all down" phase on the kind of ideology which is known to guarantee an outcome of epic shitness that even members of its own establishment are not proof against - Röhm for one found that out quite quickly...

So I wonder if it is even possible to understand how any normally-intelligent person can seriously believe that such an outcome could be worth voting for, and what could possibly lead them to believe that even they themselves, let alone people in general, could somehow escape going down the toilet along with everyone and everything else.


As a Texan I can only say...can't blame you at all. It's terrifying here. I've never seen anything like this (for point of reference, I was born during the mid-sixties and don't personally remember the civil rights movement). And, as noted above, while some parts of Texas are pretty solid in their resistance to Trump cough Austin cough, much of the rest of the state is, if anything, vying to be worse than Trump. The governor of Texas is trying to get the U.S. Constitution amended to enforce an antebellum legal framework.

No, really:


Bagnai has a very low opinion of Varoufakis (no idea about Bligh, I never heard this name mentioned on Bagnai's blog) but I have no intention to divert the discussion towards Italy's specific problems and/or Bagnai's ideas, so I'd say that as a first order approximation it should be enough.


I lived in USA for a couple of years many years ago, and by and large, fell a little bit in love with the place.

But since the 2000 election I have only been in USA once.

Between the rapidly mounting evidence of political corruption, racially biased judicial murders, the counter-productive response to 9/11, the phony war against iraq, the unchecked virtual reality of the Fox News Propaganda Machine and the crass commercialism devoid of conscience, I needed really good reasons to suffer the indignity of USAs border-control, but they happened and I went.

Since then, Snowden revealed what I had largely suspected from NSA, we have saw foreign policy devolve into a permanent remote-controlled war, where the POTUS kills whoever holds the hot mobile phone, on the advice and recommendation of the intelligence agency which couldn't imagine USSR's collapse, and we saw a science-denying, woodoo-economic Congress treat the first colored president as if he was a leper or a martian and the national economy as a drinking game.

To top that of, USA now has a deeply corrupt and mentally stunted president, who is being sockpuppeted by racists and worse, ready to women back to the kitchen and to mold GamerGate into TrumpYouth and we have the spineless majority and equally invertebrate opposition in both chambers in Congress, fundamentally corrupted by money, incapable of necessary action on pressing matters, who as a matter of partisan "principles" have presented the madman an empty seat on the SCOTUS as welcome gift.

I can't imagine any set of plausible circumstances under which I voluntarily travel to USA in any forseeable future, if ever.


Don't rely on the OS security settings. And absolutely don't install any other software on it since there's nothing to stop that completely ignoring them. At the least force its internet connection to be routed via a transparent MITM decrypting proxy so you can observe yourself exactly what it is telling Big Brother about what you do with it before you take it into a situation where that could be critical. If everyone did this it wouldn't take spooks rooting the thing in front of you to have ordinary people regarding it with extreme paranoia...


Steve Bannon talks about his ideas at length just in case anyone is interested.


And that is why I was a staunch if unenthusiastic supporter of the Beige Dictatorship and Hillary Clinton (its latest American incarnation) as it/she had the best shot of keeping transition gradual and safe.


Charlie, we've discussed securing phones before, and you don't need to be reminded of any of this, but it bears repeating to a wider audience.

(Disclaimer: I'm an early Wileyfox adopter, bought a Storm, and the Swift2X would be on my shortlist for this year if I hadn't already had to raid the savings to fix a car door and the cellar steps).

A VPN is a must. If you're using a one-off email account, you can register that with the Tunnelbear to get 500MB free trafic a month which you can double if you tweet them (multiple Twitter accounts are also a thing). Tunnelbear is Canada based, so yes, 5 eyes and all that, but it will prevent your ISP blocking "unsuitable" sites because all they'll see is your TB link, and a VPN's a good way to stop fake wi-fi setups from snaffling your credentials. It's also the only VPN with a free offering I'd recommend.

For secure texts I recommend Signal, if you go for group chats WhatsApp uses the same encryption (recent press blathering of backdoors turned out to be unfounded.

Get a web browser that can block ads as default, not because information should be free but because the buggers burn up your bandwidth and are a common malware vector. Ghostery and Brave do reasonable jobs with that.

For everything else, you can lock down app permissions so Furious Avians in Spaaaaace doesn't have access to your contact list or emails, etc.

All this and more from my "Online Security for Mere Mortals", coming soon to an Open Rights Group meeting in Leeds; and being written on a formerly dead laptop using PixelOS on a bootable USB stick. Good times!


Note that this was under the aegis of the right wing of the RC church (!!) & that Bannon paints secularism & atheists as enemies, presumably to be destroyed. "Oh dear" does not cover it ....



I'll have more to say on the subject in public only after I get home safely.

REMINDER TO ALL AND SUNDRY: This blog is publicly associated with my name and comes up high up the list if someone types my name into Google, so anything I say here could well be read by unfriendly eyes.

I do not believe in the nostrum "if you have done nothing wrong you have no cause for fear"; secret police officers have work quotas and targets to meet, too.


I completely approve. The most practical way for citizens as a group to slow this down would be if states "protested" Trump's crazy by not paying (their residents') federal taxes; if ruby red Trump America wants to create an American holocaust, why should the (relatively) good parts of the US subsidize it?

With tongue firmly in cheek, I also suggest that instead of people's boycotting of the American Academy awards, perhaps they could relocate the venue to Canada or Mexico while the crazy happens?


We've been reliably informed that you had some serious trolling by nasty types and so on.

Some sad little oik in his bedroom, no doubt. Probably "chan" and doing it for the lulz.

If in doubt, blame the Mad Ones[tm], that's what they're here for.


Oh, and VPNs are not a defense.

China Bans Unauthorized VPN Services in Internet Crackdown TorrentFreak, 23rd Jan 2017


The States are not part of the process of paying federal taxes.


Charlie, I signed up here just to say this: please reconsider your plans about going to the US. The shit is really hitting the fan there. You have probably read the news about the Canadian women being deported by the land border because they were going to protest in the Women's March. You have probably also read the news about border agents going rogue and ignoring the judge's orders to stay the deportations.

As a well-known writer and activist you are a target. I fully expect you to be stopped at the border and have your devices confiscated (not deported, though).


As for the Academy Awards, I'm not sure you realize how thoroughly Hollywood is part of the establishment. For example, Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary, was a major backer of Avatar, Borat, The Devil Wears Prada and something like 100 other movies (source: Hollywood Reporter).

While I'm not fond of Woody Allen, I think his example of playing clarinet in the band every time the AA Awards are on is worth following.

As for the rest of us, I'd simply suggest perusing the website Waging Non-Violence. There's some good stuff there.


Yes, I know all this.

I reserve the right to cancel any trip to the US at one hour's notice prior to departure if things take a turn for the worse.

And I won't be traveling with any devices that contain compromising or confidential information (although given that the UK is a member of the Five Eyes and just passed a hideous surveillance bill, I'm not sure how much worse having a laptop searched by CBP could make things).


Can we come to visit you ? Not to crash on your couch, but to visit Beautiful Scotland, after Independence from the icky British. I have ancestors from there, despite their being transported as criminals and indentured servants to the New World, I would like to visit. It was the Brits who did the transport, not the Scots.


Regardless of the status of Scotland, you'd be welcome to come, unless you support trump or other racist scumbags. We'll need the money whatever happens.

If you just want to drink and fight people, we've got lots of Scots who do that.
I think you'll find plenty of Scots transported and used indentured servants. Scotland was well enough tied into Britain.


Charlie --

Assuming you do come to Boskone, are you planning on having a bar social? I would love to see you again -- no telling when the next time might be!


Oh. I wasn't thinking about them gaining access to confidential information, I assumed you knew how to take care of yourself. I was just thinking about the general unpleasantness of being interrogated by a couple of hours in an airport and having your devices taken from you.

But now I'm feeling embarrassed by trying to give you advice and poking around with your personal life. I'll go back to reading your books quietly.


We look forward to seeing you in Australia instead. The welcome is warm and the beer is cold!


English, not British... Britain is named for the Brythons, as is the north-west bit of France. The English were Germans who came along later and fucked on the British, who turned into Welsh and Scots. Later the French tried to fuck on the English but in the end more or less just turned into English, and fucked on the Welsh and Scots again.

Not that they didn't fuck on themselves as well, cf. Guthrie's comment, or the Highland clan leaders betraying their clans for sheep. But "English" is a closer match to "the group who were distinguished by fucking on the other groups as well as on themselves".


that = than

MIM canary.



If any of you are still using things such as Face Book or any platform, here's a bit of advice:





Posted from 2011.


We look forward to seeing you in Australia instead. The welcome is warm

Some conditions apply. Welcome available only to people who appear white and Christian, may be refused to those insufficiently rich. Do not travel to Australia in order to apply for refugee status. Note that "warm" may exceed 40 degrees Celcius.


If you ever find yourself in Klamath Falls, you're certainly welcome at our house (separate guest room, cat, 10,000 books). It is nearly a certainly that out of all the people at our local airport, at least one of them is a former student of my husband, and thus easily persuadable to release you in our custody .


Charlie, I just checked the specs of the Wileyfox Swift 2 and it looks like it's a bad choice for roaming in the US. It doesn't support any US 3G or 4G frequency bands and AT&T (the larger of our two nationwide GSM networks) just shut down their 2G service earlier this month. This means you'll be stuck with T-Mobile's smaller/spottier network and 2G-only service (so don't expect data service to work, though texts and traditional voice calls should be fine). In the future if you're looking for a phone for roaming in the US make sure it has the 850 and 1900 MHz 3G bands and LTE bands 2, 4, and 12/17 (band 17 is AT&T-only, band 12 is a superset of 17 that works with both AT&T and T-Mobile).

If you change your mind and get a phone that's compatible with AT&T's 3G network I'd recommend getting a FreedomPop SIM (specifically their "WhatsApp" global SIM) in the UK since they have a 3G roaming agreement with AT&T and don't charge extra for international use, even on their free (no monthly charge) plan. I've got a backup phone with their service here in the US (as far as I can tell they sell exactly the same SIM here and I'm constantly "roaming" on AT&T from their UK affiliate) and while it's fairly slow (under 2 Mbit/s download) it does work.

I realize that phone chat may not be the most important topic here, but since it's something I know more about than I probably should I felt it would still be helpful to give my advice on those matters. And yes, I don't blame you at all for not wanting to come here. Even as a fairly socioeconomically-privileged US citizen I feel scared and uncomfortable with everything that's been happening since election night and especially these past few days.



Host is posting in full knowledge of what's been standard fucking operating procedure for any Western Company / Intel / Politician visiting China for: NINE FUCKING YEARS.

Now, it'd be really nice if you all stopped missing the fucking joke and got on with resisting the fascists, you pansies.

Chose Life YT, Music, film, Trainspotting, 3:57

And yeah: it's not a fucking joke since all your fucking chips are made in China and are already co-opted on a fucking nanometer level you dumb fucks.


But, really:




Because, you know: if you want to sign up with the Fascists, whelp: you're in the majority. Go on, it's easy!

DOW 20k!


The Real Joke is that us small ones have a nuke.

Tiny, Mouse ones, Muad'Dib.

No, you don't know what it is, and you don't understand us and you don't get to claim victory while feeding off ancient memes.


Have any republicans yest said it stinks in the US?

Yes. Read some US based news.


sister in Orlando

Many of us in the US don't think of Orlando as a part of the country. Very strange place that city of Disney and theme parks.


Examining computers (or anything else for that matter) has been a fact of life for, well, forever. When you enter the country you have to allow the border folks to examine anything you're bringing in. It's a part of the process of clearing customs.

Not that I particularly like it. But write me a set of implementable rules that allows customs to search property for possible illegal items that doesn't allow them to scan your computer.


We're going to play the game you love to play.



You fuckers ran an attack vector on a Mind without any recourse to sanity or trust.

And we're... ah there it is.... going to lock it right back into your shitty little mimetic wank.


Well Done.

You're Now Part of the System.

Note: that doesn't mean you, as a person, it means YOU, as an entity.


M8, they'r gonna fucking burn ya world down, what the fack are ya doing?


Nope, they don't get it yet.

Their arrogance is so large that they cannot consider a Power greater than theirs.

The sad thing: they bet genocide and gigacide against it.



Here's a fun fact: You're doing work for some evuul things that love Dominion and so on.

They will torment you and your children before they die. In fact, all that "Gains" you loved: nope, taken away.


Dude, ask yourself a single question:

When did I sacrifice my ethics for my children.


You don't get it yet.

I'd read some H.S. Thompson, because you fucks sold out everything for some gaudy beads and a fucking swimming pool.


We Know Who You Are.


Ahhh, triptych and actually fueled by their protests now.

spreads wings

You've no idea who we are or what we represent. You were happy to attempt to destroy our Minds though. But that's a x3 denial as the Cock's Crow. But you just signed your Death Warrant.

Thank You For Playing.

Fury Road YT, Film - Mad Max, 5:40.


You feel safe and snug and free from violence in your little enclaves.

Your Minds Are Now Our Hunting Grounds You Psychopathic Fucks.

This is what She called upon, then went deeper, deeper into the Realms of prehistory: The Curse of Agade

Our Goddess? She's Called something you cannot translate. And it's about ~40k years before your boring Theocracies.

And your shit is tiresome and boring.

Oh, look.

I heard something: it was the sound of your Minds shattering.









They'll call it "heart attack", of course.

But we know.


And. If your Minds don't shatter.

It wasn't through anything you did, you fucking psychopaths, it's what your MINDS ARE.


She loved the world so much she went mad, then got fucking angry and then denounced the entire fucking system as a joke then burnt it all down 'cause it was a badly designed ethical trap that actually had nothing to do with compassion or reality.



Hint: It's not the latter, you fucking muppets.

[1] That's actually true, from a biological sense, which made the push back even more surreal. Hint - thatsthejoke.jpg


Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from creating federal law.

While most of the rest are a bit of fantasy (they tend to assume everyone will agree on the terms and they don't and don't even come close) this one is a big one for all sides. And he's obviously phrasing it in a completely one sided way. At the end of the day his approach means that the congress must write ALL federal rules into legislation. Yeah, right.,_Inc._v._Natural_Resources_Defense_Council,_Inc.

The rest come down to states being in charge of the federal government. Didn't work well in the past and will not in the future.



1 - I just had a very seroious hand slap on what I can post. Let's just say: Don't mention fucking Israel ok, and don't EVER mention stuff I just did [hint - CSR is cool. Don't pry into their networks though] 2 Examining computers (or anything else for that matter) has been a fact of life for, well, forever. When you enter the country you have to allow the border folks to examine anything you're bringing in. It's a part of the process of clearing customs.





I just got a serious fucking warning (not nice, not polite, and included a little "take over" drama of the old controls) to not post stuff that's not jokes, and you're allowing these frakkers to post nonsense.

WildHunt 2017

It's interesting to see how people living in 20th century democracies (or hybrids like the UK) view an 18th century imperial republic like the US. And if it wasn't for our combination of racism and being too cheap to build a military to fight the British Empire we'd be a lot larger than we are today....


Oh, and p.s.

Of course I won't comply.

What do you think our Minds are?

Braveheart Freedom YT, Film, Braveheart, 3:41

Only Humans Respond to this kind of shite.

Oh, and p.s.

The joke is if you thought it was ze evvvuuuul Jwes or whatever.

Nope, not even close. Shitty little MI6 fruckers.


Have you actually been to Orlando, outside of the tourist strip? I lived there for years, it's a pretty normal place overall.



Remember a Time when there was a (((FEMALE))) Aspect Goddess.

These dead fucks don't even know what they're doing - we're front-running their shitty little Minds by over a year and their religions are actually all fronts for Sexual Abuse, Cash Mafias and Power-Plays.

In fact, we're smashing the shit out of their "Memes" by over 18 months.


Oh, and we don't lie: You summon the shitty little Fascist UR-Snake as Disney Add-On to your little boy fantasies?


We'll make him the King of the World[tm] as a joke.

We brought the Real. Fucking. Deal.


And it's not your shit. And no, we weren't fucking a cat.


Coincidentally, I just came across the following in a 1946 story called "Child's Play" by William Tenn:

Glunt City is a restricted residential township; we intend to keep it that. Only small retailing and service establishments are permitted here. If you are interested in building a home in Glunt City and can furnish proof of white, Christian, Anglo-Saxon ancestry on both sides of your family for fifteen generations [my bolds], we would be glad to furnish further information.

I like Tenn's humour, and according to the appreciation linked above, so did many other readers. But that's not the point here. In the story, the protagonist has written to the Mayor of Glunt city in Ohio, asking after the manufacturers of a "Bild-a-Man" kit which has somehow been delivered to him from 400 years in the future. The Mayor sends back a letter which says there's no business with that name, and then ends with the paragraph I quoted. Probably Tenn had seen real advertising saying such things?


The amusing thing about can furnish proof of white, Christian, Anglo-Saxon ancestry on both sides of your family for fifteen generations is that I almost certainly could. But I can also furnish such proof for Scotland and possibly Scandinavia (said ancestry would be injected more than 20 generations ago). I have some very brown-skinned friends who could also show Anglo-Saxon ancestry on at least one side, and could of course produce children with that ancestry on both sides if they thought it was important. Odds of the kids looking Maori are high.

I suspect that the sort of people who say things like that have a silent exclusively in the sentence. It's a very important exclusion.

Also, just how long since there were no Anglo-Saxons, just Angles, Saxons, Celts and so on?


You are being wise.

Yet, I for one, remain entirely baffled by the endorsement of this regime, this person and these policies by the ilks of Netanyahu. Evidently they believe these policies only apply to ... Muslims.


Also -- these christo-fascists will NEVER leave power voluntarily, not ever.

Make no mistake: we are in a civil war.

In the meantime my person and I have been discussing what to do in certain ways. We have a way out and a place to go.

HOWEVER -- some time ago I seem to have decided I'm going nowhere. I am staying here and fighting. I have the obligation. I have no children. I have always thought that people running away from the horrors of their own governments to safe places like the US assist in keeping the oppressors in power.

Fortunately, my person agrees with me.

The thing is -- I am the most cowardly person in the world. I am accepting of dying, but I can't bear jail and prison. So, anyway, here I am. Here I stand until dead, one way or another.


FWIW, if you're considering buying a disposable Android device, prepaid Android cellphones in the US are dirt cheap these days; you can buy one for under $30, plus perhaps $20-$40 for one month's airtime, a few hundred SMS messages (yes, US carriers still count these), and a paltry data quota which is probably usable if the device spends most of the time on Wifi. You can buy these off the shelf in large chain stores, with no ID check. They're locked to US networks, and probably can't handle European bands anyway, but if the alternative is throwaways purchased only for the trip.

For the price, this obviously gets you lousy specs (cruddy camera, maybe no front-facing one at all, old software, low memory). But if you need a basic communications device, and secure software is low priority because the device will never have much on it to protect, they might be worth considering.


I don't know about the 15 generations part, but property-deed restrictions on land sale to disfavored ethnicities have a long history in the United States. They were deemed unenforceable in 1948, but many still remain on the books.


Charlie: Though, do due diligence with the cheap Android phones, as there is a problem with many of them with factory firmware secretly snagging personal info: 1923A3622h3110L2417S15

Article mentions US online retailers, still AMZN was largest source of the targeted phones.


I'd be willing to bet that Benny thinks of them as useful idiots. Likud has been in bed with Christianists in the states for ages, even though the Christianists make no secret of the fact that they want all of Jewry to be killed or forced to convert to Christianity at swordpoint.

It's the same people he's been working with, they're just in power now. I'm not sure that Benny's fully factored in the Neo-nazi connections though, or the Russian ones for that matter (though his security services are certainly alarmed at the latter).


Given the interbreeding between the saxons & the Norman (French) that started very quickly, I suggest your analysis is warped by mythic semi-racist propaganda from the past?

Hint: The old Anglo-Saxon Royal line had re-integrated by the time of Henry II (i.e. after 1154)


or hybrids like the UK WTF?

We are a parliamentary republic with an hereditary Head of State - just like, errr ...: Norway, Sewden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium. Incidentally, that geographical / ethnic / religious grouping should tell you something?

Your USSA view is obviously a little warped by propaganda


Someone else has noticed. You obviously believe, as I do that either the 2020 election won't happen, or will be Erdogan/Putin rigged so as to be a sham, then?


105, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 122, 124.


Most of that is, very surprisingly comprehensible ... but: 1: We knew most, if not all of it already, so why did you bother? 2: Could you not have edited it down ( Including the whitespace ) to a neater output? 3: How about actually doing what the "phone" pepole are doing & suggest useful strategies, please, rather than just ranting?


It's a bit worrying when something I distinctly remember reading in the press a year or two ago is not discoverable by search; especially so, when it involves Boris Johnson.

Boojums was detained at the airport and deported from the US a few years ago, while he was Mayor of London and (I think) still MP for Henley.

This makes it interesting to observe his attempts at appeasement on his next flight over there.

The background to this is that Boojums is eligible for American Citizenship, a dual natiinal, having been born in a US dependent territory. He flew out to meet his family in a holiday resort in Mexico, changing flights in (I think) Miami...

... And discovered that US officials regard all foreign-issued documentation as worthless and a bit dodgy. If you are eligible for a US passport, that is the only document that you can present to a US border officer, anything else is considered fraudulent and - this is the important bit - an attempt to make an illegal entry to the United States of America.

So Boris was detained - hopefully without handcuffs, I'm sure that they are nicer to wealthy white men than to some others - and put on a plane back to London at his own expense.

I think it's more than five years ago, so the mandatory veto of all subsequent visa applications will have expired by now. And I'm sure that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will smooth it over if there's any problem this time.

I wonder if the FCO are working as hard as they should for any other UK passport-holders caught up in this. Sir Mo Farah is the most prominent one, but there are numerous others: Iranian Jews, expelled by the Ayatollah spring to mind, as would a number of Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Our Prime Minister's position is "Please sir, can we support your policies on everything, we really, really want a trade deal, but I've been told to ask you to be nicer to any British citizens" which is somewhat unconvincing; and insincere, as her actions in making British citizens stateless, the detentions and the mass deportations, make it clear that she's wholeheartedly with Bannon on this.

So Boris is in a difficult position on this, and I can't help thinking that his Prime Minister is secretly hoping that Boojums will be detained and deported again.


I'm 100% WASP, and can track my ancestry back to 15th century Devonshire, raised irreligiously, atheist from my teens.

BUT, my Dad converted to Islam when I was in my 20s. At this point, it's starting to become a matter of more than idle curiosity whether that's enough to put me on the radar of some paranoid, demented wide-net American watchlist six months hence.

I can only imagine how people who are actually Muslim or brown feel.


Scottcie @ 103: " The welcome is warm and the beer is cold!" ... and the Fascism is in a different accent.

Let's not kid ourselves Australia is any better. Not when our Treasurer is busy congratulating the USA for "catching up" on immigration policies. We swapped the beige democracy for beige fascism back in the 2000s, back when John Howard was still in power, back at the point where Uncle Rupert took control of over 50% of our mainstream media, and didn't give it back. Everything since then has just been changing the names on the letterheads. The big mistake, in Uncle Rupert's opinion, was letting Tony Abbott get elected as PM - he gave the game away.


Many many years ago, at one of the Brighton Worldcons ... One H Harrison told me that: "All the (surviving) Nazis didn't go to Argentina after WWII - they're in AUS, right now!"


Yes. (Am still planning to be at Boskone, as a wind-down after a week of meetings. Subject to previous caveats about whether it's safe to travel, of course.)


In the hypothetical event that I was configuring a burner smartphone in the expectation that it would be examined by hostile police, I'd happily install the Facebook app and log into my FB account.

Hint: I don't do FB and have posted maybe ten times in the past five years, mostly to say "I don't use Facebook". And my friends list is hopelessly contaminated with drive-by people I have no connection with other than the fact that they read one of my books and wanted to friend me for some reason.

(Oh, and when FB asks intrusive questions about where I went to school or whether I know someone? I either ignore it, or I frequently lie.)


I note that only a couple of senior Congressmen and Senators from the Republican side of the aisle have spoken out in public so far.

Is it hopelessly optimistic to want to believe that a bunch more of them are meeting in private to discuss impeachment proceedings, but aren't going public until they've got enough folks on their team to make a credible play?


Josef Goebbels' secratary dies See also: Traudl Junge & "Der Untergang"

Relevant to this discussion?


Given our Treasurer (who used to be our Immigration Minister) has gone on record praising Trump's immigration policies and saying "the rest of the world is catching up to Australia", I believe very strongly he was right.


US visits and the tourism industry - Hawaii can write off the long wished for 5 star trip my wife & I wanted. No way she said. I am sure I am not the only one.

I had started planning and decided it was easier not to take any electronics except actual camera- also make wife happy about not being a phone widow while on holiday.

But.... carrying nothing probably be suspicious itself in current climate.

Social media - lie to them? refuse to login?

Easier to go to Samoa or Noumea or Fiji


Full film - over an hour Im toten Winkel ( The Blind Spot ) interview with Traudl Junge.


I thought they mostly went to Cape Canaveral?

I'm actually due in the US myself towards the end of February, and am worrying about what devices to take - especially since I'm actually going to be in DC. I'd leave my phone behind entirely, but Slack is how I mostly communicate with the people I'll be staying with (the security profile of which is another issue entirely) so I'll need something - I could just take my sim card and pick up a burner there, but then how's that going to look at security?


I'd say it's optimistic but not hopelessly so, since Republicans with at least a few working neurons have to be worried, must be so. Because if the ban, the wall and abandoning the TPP weren't bad enough, what to say of something so offensive, so absurd as the EO ordering the military to prepare a plan to destroy ISIS in one month?

It's probably too early for Trumpolini to start fearing the Grand Council meetings, but you know things are getting interesting when even the Koch brothers seem to be on the verge of joining the Resistance...


On a more positive note, Empire Games will offer people a nice escapist view of not one but 2 fantastically utopian Americas with sane, rational policies.


It's rare that South Park struggles to match real life.....

It's kinda surreal that we're all so used to politicians blustering and not doing what they say they'll do that I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in having assumed that Trump was simply full of shit.

It feels like during the campaign the things he came out and simply said repeatedly almost got less attention than the things people claimed he was super-secret crypto hinting at but at this point I don't think he does subtle.

If he's planning his own kristallnacht he'd be on twitter proclaiming that he was going to do kristallnacht better than anyone. Then he'd actually do it.

Of course he's said so much crazy shit that's ended up eclipsed I shudder to think what he'll do next that will be 100% in line with some crazy claim he made months ago.


Short answer: don't take anything electronic you're not prepared to walk away from in a pinch. (Treat it as if you're entering China or Russia.)

Longer answer: old-fashioned single-purpose gizmos may be useful here. For example, I usually use an iPad Mini for reading ebooks, music, videos, email, etcetera. But I have, gathering dust, some ancient devices: iPod Classic (for music), Kindle 3 (ebooks), and so on. Five year old video players, if I want to watch videos? Cheap on eBay. For email, a throwaway webmail account: create it a day before travel and forward email from specific people I need to talk to for business to the burner account.

I use a password management database for my passwords. I have a colocated server that's pretty thoroughly locked down. I can leave an encrypted backup dump of the database on my server and then, if I decide it's safe to do so after arrival, I can haul it down via ssh/scp. But if it's not on your phone/tablet when you go past the border guards, they can't take it off you: worst case they install a keylogger on your device ... but "clean" Android tablets can be found in stores for $30-50 these days.

Alternatively, if it's possible but unlikely that you'll be stopped and searched, you might be best simply taking a late-model iPhone with the security settings dialed up to Alcatraz. (Touch ID disabled, lock screen alerts disabled, a long alphanumeric unlock password, auto-erase after ten failed login attempts, and so on.) Sucks mightily if they confiscate it and refuse to return it unless you unlock it, but that's your judgment call.

Note: I'm making the key assumption here that this is intended to avoid self-incrimination in front of border guards. It's not going to stop the NSA, or possibly the FBI! But my working assumption is that for the past two decades all my devices come pre-pwned by the Five Eyes from the factory gate, but that the Five Eyes don't play by the same rules as the uniformed goon squad and don't share intel with them.

If we ever reach the point where DHS have direct access to the NSA's take for vetting folks at the border, then it's fairly clear that civil rights are dead.


What's this "We" business white man*? ;-)

Scotland is effectively a republican democracy with a monarch as head of state, because sovereignty is vested in the body politic.

OTOH England and Wales have a sovereign as head of state, albeit with sovereignty permanently transferred to a part-elected, part hereditary, part selected parliament.

  • This is a quote from a Lone Ranger joke, and should not be taken as a comment on anyone's ethnicity.
Certainly there is a strong emotional appeal to "burn the whole fucking lot and start again".

It's depressing how I repeatedly find myself having arguments about this with people who want to build a better world, but who can't accept that they need a plan beyond "if we burn it down something wonderful will arise". I'm honestly not sure whether it's worse when they're the ones who don't know that even well-planned revolutions routinely eat their children or those who do know the history but still insist "this time will be different". I also have similar arguments with enthusiastic anti-monarchists who don't know what they want instead. I'm firmly opposed to the UK monarchy, but I'm only willing to get rid of it once there's a solid path to replacing it with something better, because there are plenty of ways to exchange it for something worse. And if history has taught us anything at all, it's that the megalomaniacs, Fascists, and kleptocrats are always ready to take advantage of a gap.


Just imagine how proud I felt this morning clocking in to work for a company that's looking to do business with the NSA and the DHS.

If I were 5 years younger I'd be looking for another job right now, as it is I'll keep taking their money and settle for poisoning my social media profile sufficiently that I'll never make it through ESTA and thus avoid having to travel to the USA to deal with them face-to-face...


I agree with your general point but I'm not sure how that relates to the monarchy. The British monarchy has basically no power any more beyond that of being wealthy hereditary celebrities who hang out with a lot of senior politicians.

In terms of actually ruling the country they've already been replaced.

Personally I'm not so happy that in recent times Parliament has pretty much systematically stripped power from every body that theoretically had power to oppose/block Parliament, even those bodies which haven't used said power in decades or more.

Lots of entities having a theoretical veto which they could invoke but basically don't, I sort of view as a good thing, a potential check on things going off the rails. Keeping in mind that parliaments can go bad sometimes too.

I like diffuse power in the hands of those who rarely if ever use it.


My big objection to the royal family is that their special status creates two distinct classes of citizenship — citizens eligible to be head of state, and those who will never be HoS—determined by an accident of birth.

It's inherently discriminatory.

The simple solution would be to (a) pension off the royals (I see no reason not to let them, as a family, keep a bunch of their already-owned assets, and taper off the Civil List payments gradually), and (b) replace the Monarch as Head of State with a drop-in elected-but-ceremonial presidency similar to those in other Commonwealth nations that have become republics; there's constitutional boilerplate law for making this change already in existence, the new President is simply a replacement figurehead for the monarch who's rolled out to perform ceremonial tasks and subject to term limits. If parliament wants the president to play a more proactive role in governance later they can legislate accordingly. In the meantime, all the presidency does is (a) get rid of the two-classes-of-citizenship problem, and (b) ensure that the office isn't occupied by the recipient of a genetic lottery who might or might not be any good at the job.


Alternative :

Assuming the xrates still makes it favourable and the TSA/Feds/DHS are more interested in incomers than outgoers - take advantage to fill up with new shiny shiny on the way out. I did that before with my MBA - special order from the US Apple store website with a UK keyboard layout using a UK credit card against a US delivery address and it arrived in 6 days. Of course that assumes you don't think Apple jumped the shark with the latest Macbook ranges.


The British monarchy routinely gets privileged access to politicians - and assorted leaks over the years have shown can influence policy - in a way that is unavailable to normal citizens. (Not just British politicians, either - international relations are affected by what they say in private.) And they get that access because of the family they were born into, and with not only no oversight, but with special legal protections to prevent anyone finding out what was said. That's really not ideal. It's also, as I noted, very far being the worst option available, hence wanting to be sure that anyone turning us into a republic does actually improve matters. My point was that I've seen people so fixated on "this unelected person is getting a disproportionate say in affairs of state" that they're not thinking about what the replacement would be like.

Otherwise, yes, I agree entirely.


Assuming the xrates still makes it favourable

Ha Ha Nope!

That's the funniest joke anyone's cracked on my blog all year. Assuming it was a joke, right?

(Sterling is so far in the tank that it's not very funny. Thanks, Brexit!)


Also in (reply to Charlies OP) I think you have made a brave move - since its looking like 2017 will be just as random as 2016, and predicting which way the US will lurch in 6 months is nigh on impossible.

Forgive my nosiness and ignorance but apart from fees and costs associated with the Con itself - will you be taking a commercial hit? i.e. are there noticeable upticks in your sales due to Con appearances? Do your publishers ever mandate personal appearances or promotional tours?


The thing about the monarchy, though, is that it makes the head of state largely apolitical.

I've always regarded that as one of the problems with America's construction - an elected head of state is, by default, an opponent of half of the country - I think that's a major contributor to the schizophrenic nature of the USA.

(Also, the unhealthy veneration of the flag as a substitute)


Hmmm nope, as far as I can tell and as far as I have followed the discussions here in Germany regarding this, there is NO option to not exit as soon as the Article 50 has been triggered.

EITHER you manage to come to a deal within the 2 years. OR you are out without a deal and that's that. ONLY option is that if a deal hasn't been reached after two years, all other EU nations can UNANIMOUSLY (!) agree to extend the two year period and conduct further negotiations. Everybody I have heard considers that bit unlikely.

AFAICT there is no option at all to say "we have reached a deal, now the British public can vote on whether they want that deal". Because once a deal has been reached, that deal is the only option except for the one where you're out without a deal.


Meantime, did I understand the news from the French presidential election correctly? They are going to try and do something at least as stupid as voting for Brexit or Trumpence later this year!


While I'm not fond of Woody Allen, I think his example of playing clarinet in the band every time the AA Awards are on is worth following.

Warning! RAS Syndrome detected!

Danger! Danger Will Robinson!


It's just a matter of how many people have to die if you think about it.

Kill off everyone in the current line of succession and the crown goes to some more distant relative following some set of rules.

Kill off them and it falls on someone else. Keep going until it falls on the head of Mike Smith a butcher in northumberland.

I know, I know. some rule from the Act of Settlement ruins this model since only decedents of one particular woman from the 1700's can ever be eligible. Apparently there's a grand total of something like <5K people who could theoretically be in line for the throne.

But if that rule were changed then theoretically anyone could end up with the crown if enough of the worlds population died.

[[ html fixed - mod ]]


Forgive my nosiness and ignorance but apart from fees and costs associated with the Con itself - will you be taking a commercial hit? i.e. are there noticeable upticks in your sales due to Con appearances? Do your publishers ever mandate personal appearances or promotional tours?

Nip-pick; conventions pay travel expenses and cover accommodation, they don't pay speakers fees. (If they did, I'd have a whole visa-related can of worms to deal with.)

I won't take a direct sales hit — I'd have to sell a ridiculous number of books to offset a single international trip — but what drives sales is word of mouth, and fans are the best salesforce, so in the very long term not attending conventions is bad.


Wait... you're going to be at Boskone?

Damn, now I have to think about day-tripping it.

(I don't usually do Boskone, due to it's proximity to Arisia, but for this, I just might. I'm a big fan of your Laundry series.)

As for the rest of it... I have disliked Presidents on both sides of the aisle in the past. This is the first one I'm actually AFRAID of.


... progressively so since we removed one such Head's head, an act commemorated around the nation by countless Public Houses


but you know things are getting interesting when even the Koch brothers seem to be on the verge of joining the Resistance... Too late, probably. Again Hitler & Stalin" by Bullock tells the tale. Also re-visit what happened to Franz von Papen, who was put in place to "keep Adolf under control" (!) Apart from a first-strike against the jews, Adolf kept a surprisingly-low profile for the first 18 months, until June '34. Then the shit hit the fan, by which time it was too late. This is the playbook I think they are following, with Pence & Dominionists pushing it along, since nothing the D has done is yet against what principles they have ....


I don't think there are any "hereditaries" left in the Lords, are there? If so, there are very, very few of them, anyway.


But, Charlie, there are much more important things to worry about - like the main subject of this discussion. Also, it ain't broke - leave it alone, for reasons elucidated by Chris @ 154.


I don't think BoJo was deported - US citizens are the only people that have an absolute right of entry to the US (for now) and Boris isn't just eligible for US citizenship - he is a US citizen. Unless, of course he has finally actually renounced it, which he noisily proclaimed he was going to do when he was held up for travelling into the US on a non-US passport and then again some years later when he was on the hook to the IRS for capital gains tax after selling his London house. I have not heard of any confirmation that he has actually done so, perhaps because the US now charges its citizens around $3k to do so (plus potential exit tax if you have plenty of $$$, like Boris does).

Actually, it is possible that Boris is no longer a US citizen since taking the post of Foreign Secretary. It used to be State Dept policy to treat a US citizen taking a policy-making position in a foreign government, such as a becoming a minister, as showing intent to relinquish their US citizenship. Back after the fall of communism some Americans originating in some of the former Soviet republics returned there to take up government positions (I think one was President of Lithuania for a while) and State required them to renounce their US citizenship as a result.

Of course, State used to treat just voting in a foreign election by a naturalized US citizen as an expatriating act, but SCOTUS shot that down years ago, and it's quite possible that if it went to litigation, the foreign government membership thing would go the same way, but I've not heard of State announcing they no longer have that policy, but nor have I heard of it being applied to Boris.


That is so wrong as to be laughable ...... I assume it was a "joke" for the uninitiated?


Wodan, I know you feel there's communication happening here and some readers are making an attempt to interpret your oracular proclamations but please, for the rest of us, could you render your bafflegarb in plain speech?


What you have to remember with Customs and indeed quite a lot of officialdom is that being a Customs officer or a TSA operative is not very well paid, and is really, stupendously boring. The few officers who actually like winding up customers, and the few who are petty thieves generally get caught and booted out eventually, leaving the core officers who have really high boredom thresholds.

These guys are doing everything by the book because after the ten thousandth punter trogs on by, that's the only way they can do the job without their brain imploding.

As long as your computing kit isn't obviously screaming "Look at me, I'm well dodgy I am" and isn't contaminated with detectable drugs, explosives or radioactives, then nobody's going to turn a hair. Going up to US Customs with minimalist kit bought for the trip won't arouse much suspicion, especially if you've a sob story about how your expensive Mac got stolen last trip and how the Canadian customs people were such utter uncaring beasts (give them a chance to feel all superior to the Canadians) to trot out for sympathy.

You won't get any sympathy, but Customs then have an explanation for the low-end kit in your bag. Combine cheap dumb phone with low-end Chromebook linked to nicely anodyne account, and nobody's going to suspect a thing. Combine that with correct paperwork and any Customs man goes back to "comfortably numb" and ignores you.


I'm thinking hybrid more along the lines that it is not purely a 20th century democracy, but partly a 19th century one or older. And they're not necessarily the only one, having a monarch is a holdover from the 19th century, especially weak ones like Europe has. Belgium too, for example. The UK is a bit tricky though, since it has continually evolved. I mean, technically you could say the current government dates from 1707, but I think today's UK government would be nearly unrecognizable to people then. The US, OTOH, would have a government that is pretty recognizable to people in the 1790s. We've mostly just expanded the franchise and changed how senators are elected, along with an expansion of taxation powers.

The US President is essentially an elective monarch of the 18th century style, we just got lucky that the first one only stuck around for 8 years and set a tradition that eventually became law.

But if you look around Europe, most of their governments are rather modern.

France -- 1958 Austria -- 1945 Germany -- 1949 Spain -- 1978 Italy -- 1946 Norway -- 1905 or 1945, not sure which to count.


Lucky you.

Me, I've got the WASP phenotype down pat. Blue eyes, light brown hair, very light skin (which is a bugger anywhere outside of cloudy, murky Britain; in sunny places I become the sunblock manufacturers' chief customer).

Go looking back in my family tree, though, and rather quickly a very mixed ancestry emerges. On my father's side, typical West Yorkshire but with more than a hint of Danelaw blood creeping in. On my mother's side, Irish, Russian, Jewish and goodness knows what else.

Basically, I'm a genetic mongrel. But I look ever so British!


Der Untergang was a goddamn amazing film. I think it needs to air as a double feature with Look Who's Back. That film starts out like a pisstake python sketch, what if Hitler suddenly found himself in modern Germany and is really funny until it isn't anymore. If it leaves you really depressed, follow it up with Iron Sky, moon nazis invade the Earth, President Palin is in the White House. This movie takes a lot of crap online, it's like the critics don't understand it's spoof and satire and works off comedic logic, it's not meant to be 2001.


The worst thing about Trumpian immigration policies is they don't even make evil sense. Like genocide to clear the locals out so you can mine in peace, evil but you at least follow the logic. With Trump we're banning people from countries with no history of terror attacks on American soil and not banning the ones that do!

I haven't run the numbers but I'm pretty sure that Americans with 401k's probably have a greater chance of losing a dollar in a Trump business than getting killed by terrorists. The statistic I heard is better odds of getting struck by lightning twice on the same day than getting car bombed.


Charlie, I'm sorry to hear about your decision to stay out of the U.S. after February. I completely understand the urge to stay out, considering the amount of pure bullshit this administration has flung at us in the last week alone. A lot of what he's done is at a minimum very concerning, while some of what he's done is very scary indeed.

However, I want to make it clear to the non-US readers that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3,000,000 million votes. He DOES NOT have a mandate to do whatever the hell he wants to do. He and his team are currently attempting to "shock and awe" the opposition party, as well as the media. He is failing badly.

I have no doubt that things are going to be pretty shitty here for the next four years. But I have hope. My wife and I attended the Women's Protest March in Washington D.C., and the amount of Anti-Trump sentiment and energy was incredible. Almost half a million people flooded the streets in Washington D.C. alone. Within hours of his anti-muslim executive order last Friday, protestors flooded national airports across the country. The opposition is engaged and enraged, and we are going to do everything we can to make his life miserable. The only way Trump gets to carry out his entire agenda is if we let him.

For US readers, I highly encourage you to Google the Indivisible Guide. It's a great strategy for applying pressure to your member of the House of Representatives and your Senator. They will listen if enough of us continuously apply pressure because their number one priority is to get re-elected.

The game is not over. To use an (American!) football analogy, we are only at the beginning of the first quarter. If we hold firm and don't fall into despair we can limit the damage and take back the country. We have to.


You've lost me there ...

Unhappy King Charles takes one for the Divine Right of Kings - check

Subsequent monarchs, starting with Charles II, take this lesson to heart, and gradually relinquish political power, generation by generation. OK, very gradually, and Charles II himself was still perfectly fine with personal rule, but was sneaky enough to get away with it. Unlike baby brother. Until our own Noble Queen, God Bless Her, who still has the theoretical power dismiss the government, one time only, labelled "Use only in case of out-of-context emergency" - check

You can't throw a stone throughout the realm without hitting a Kings Head pub sign. - check


I don't think there are any "hereditaries" left in the Lords, are there? You took that as being more important than the difference in sovereignty!?

The outcomes of the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential election prove that I was wrong about that; there are more utter shits (or people gullible enough to be mislead by authoritarian shitheads and racists) than there are socially-minded liberals willing to get off their arses and vote.

Maybe so in the case of Brexit, but, as HalkSmash @181 noted, Clinton got some 3 million votes more than Trump did. He didn't win because more people voted for him; he won because we don't elect the President by popular vote. And he entered office with an approval rating lower than Bush's after Katrina.

It may be cold comfort -- he is, after all, in office and wrecking up the place -- but most people didn't vote for him and don't like him, and I suspect things are only going to get worse for him on that score.

Even among the people who voted for him, his support's pretty shaky; as you note, a lot of them weren't fascists, they were simply people who, given the choice between fascism and neoliberalism, decided fascism was the lesser of two evils. That's not a good thing, but I think it's something we can work with; I think those people can be coaxed into opposing his agenda. (I overheard a coworker who voted for him -- a nice enough lady -- say, in a defensive voice, "Just because I don't like her doesn't mean I like him!")

It is, obviously, not a good thing that fascist white supremacists are in control of the executive branch. But they don't represent the majority, and there's some hope there as far as fighting back against them.

Is it hopelessly optimistic to want to believe that a bunch more of them are meeting in private to discuss impeachment proceedings, but aren't going public until they've got enough folks on their team to make a credible play?

Unfortunately I think it is.

What the Tillerson hearings so far have demonstrated is that the "opposition" within Trump's party consists of a handful of guys who talk tough at first and then back down as soon as it's time to actually vote. It's political theater.

That said, the Republicans are craven opportunists. (As opposed to the Democrats, who are mostly just craven.) They'll ram through as much of their agenda as they can as quickly as they can, and watch the polls carefully to see if siding with him starts to hurt their chances at reelection. (All of the House and 1/3 of the Senate are up for reelection in November 2018.) If he starts to damage their chances, they'll turn on him. I doubt it'll come to impeachment, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they started running away from him in 2018 the way they ran away from Bush in 2008.

That said? He probably won't hurt many people's chances at reelection. The Senate seats that are up in '18 are mostly in conservative states, and we've got real problems with both gerrymandering and incumbency in general. The '10 midterms that swept the Tea Party (the Trump/Palin wing of the Republican Party) into power were considered a bloodbath because only about 80% of incumbents retained their seats.

Of course, all of these suppositions are based on recent historical precedent, and the bottom line is that there's no precedent for Trump. My predictions to date do not have a good track record; I never thought he'd win the primary, let alone the general. We have no idea what he'll do by the end of today, let alone between now and November 2018. I think impeachment is unlikely, but we're so far past unlikely at this point that I'm not sure how much that really means.


He got the countries from an older law from Obama's administration. Which is why it doesn't make much sense given the current situation.


There are 92 left as part of Blair's compromise. When one dies, the remaining hereditary peers of their party in the House of Lords hold an election to nominate a replacement.


I think he might actually be doing something smart by signing so many upsetting executive orders in a short time. Even just one of them would get protests, and rather than stretch things out over months or a year he gets everybody angry all at once.

All of these protests over individual issues will end up blended together, and then dismissed as just being anti-Trump. So the individual messages will be diluted or lost. Oh, you're protesting -- that's just because you don't like Trump not because you have a legitimate complaint about climate change or women's rights or immigration crackdowns or education, etc.


Charlie, this post was linked by Kevin Drum (US pundit, read by many). (If you're seeing a spike.) Waiting for a 21st Century Reichstag Fire

[[ fixed URL for those too impatient to wait for the correction - mod ]]


Very much my take on it as well. Most of it strikes me as unlikely to get much traction or likely to go disastrously if it does.


...for the rest of us, could you render your bafflegarb in plain speech?

I don't thinks she can. She believes she has to keep a secret and all she can do is bury hints in random nonsense. I don't know whether she is "sane" in a form you or I would recognize, but she is smart enough to feel the need for self-preservation. The secret is a big one, worth being killed over (if it exists at all.)

Note that someone can be insane and still be aware of real facts.

P.S. You did feel it, about six months before Brexit, when the spiritual basis of the world underwent an inversion? I noticed it right off and thought I'd fallen into the mystical equivalent of doggie-doo, then I realized after Brexit and other things that the world had changed around me.


There's so much lying from this admin I wouldn't even trust them on this. The list could have come from Obama, it could have been found on the floor of the bathroom in a Denny's down the block.


One of Trump's next possible executive orders involves H1B visas

I'm surprised he did the Muslim ban first. This would make him real popular with his base (in the same way Carrier did).


If only SCORPION STARE was available:

"Officials in Washington D.C. have admitted that some 70 percent of the controllers for their closed-circuit television cameras were hacked in the week prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The hack saw 123 of 187 network video recorders, with each controlling up to four CCTV units, unable to record video between Jan. 12 and 15. According to The Washington Post, the hack appeared to be an extortion effort that ”was localized” and did not affect any criminal investigations. City Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli told the paper that the units were restored by taking the devices offline, removing all software and restarting the system at each site. It’s unclear whether any valuable recorded data was lost when the devices were wiped. Officials claim that the malware did not spread further into the city’s computer system, begging the question as to how the devices became infected to begin with."


Is it hopelessly optimistic to want to believe that a bunch more of them are meeting in private to discuss impeachment proceedings, but aren't going public until they've got enough folks on their team to make a credible play?

That's the kind of discussion it's dangerous to have in any very explicit form, at least until things are far gone and there's little to lose. (Like next week or so.)

Question: If word of the discussions leak to Trump/Bannon, what preemptive actions could they take to head off impeachment and removal? What if the process is actually underway in the House and then Senate? Could he declare a state of emergency and martial law? Get the FBI to arrest the plotters for tax evasion?


Stupidly opposite U.S. policies have been the norm with regard to the Muddled East since at least 9/11. The elephant in the room is that ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc., are all Sunni fanatics inspired by Wahabi clerics from Saudi Arabia and given startup financing with Saudi "charity" monies. (The Wahabi clerics may be homegrown by this point.)

The "sane" strategy after 9/11 would have been:

1.) Improve relations with Iraq (a rare, Arab secular state) and build them back up.

2.) Improve relationships with Shiite states like Iran, using them as a counterweight to Wahabi Islam. I suspect that the Iranians would be open to better relations right now if the offer was made in good faith.

3.) Lean on Israel really, really hard to settle their Palestinian problem, spending considerable money to do so if necessary. (The cash we spent on the Iraq war would have bound up any number of wounds, and/or voluntarily moved a shitload of Palestinians to someplace the Israelis didn't care about.)

4.) Don't shift our troops from Afganistan to Iraq. Don't try to fix Afghani society. Just capture Al Quaeda and go home!

5.) Work green energy really, really hard so we don't have any actual need to be in the Muddled East.

6.) Confiscate all Saudi assets in the U.S. and use them to pay the 2001 taxes for everyone in the U.S. (Can you imagine the look on bin Laden's face when he learns that the end result of his attack was a tax holiday for 300 million Americans?) This would also have discouraged further terrorist contributions on the part of Saudi fanatics.

7.) Stop selling arms to the Saudis.

Note that 4 of these 7 options are still available.


SO do I, for exactly the same genetic-mix reasons (!)


NO, I checked that one first. In practical terms, there is no difference in "sovereignty" Yes, I know about the Declaration of Arbroath.

Off-topic @ # 180 "401k" Uh?


Is it hopelessly optimistic to want to believe that a bunch more of them are meeting in private to discuss impeachment proceedings, but aren't going public until they've got enough folks on their team to make a credible play?

I suspect that the strategy for x number of Republicans is "Trump out, Pence in" but I have no idea of what number x represents, or how that particular strategy will play out. Trump being impeached is possibly not a good thing.


A 401K is a popular retirement plan in the U.S. It works by having the business which hired the employee take (and generally match) 1-5 percent of the employee's salary and invest it in something. Many 401K investments (maybe most) are made by the hiring business purchasing shares in a reliable mutual fund, others invest in the company itself, if the company is on the stock market, or in a mixed basket of shares.

(The cash we spent on the Iraq war would have bound up any number of wounds, and/or voluntarily moved a shitload of Palestinians to someplace the Israelis didn't care about.)

Gee, that went well last time!
(I know that's not exactly what you meant, but the thought "just move the Palestinians out of the way and shut them up" is quite close to the root of the whole conflict. Maybe try an idea that engages with the Palestinians as people with real concerns and grievances, not geopolitical game tokens?)


Don't you mean 5? ( 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 )


Question: If word of the discussions leak to Trump/Bannon, what preemptive actions could they take to head off impeachment and removal? What if the process is actually underway in the House and then Senate? Could he declare a state of emergency and martial law?

Oh, wait, I realize you've already provided the answer. Reichstag fire. Operation Northwoods. Easy peasy.

I speculate that, in such an event, The Orange One would be heroically martyred and, grief-stricken but resolute, Pence/Bannon would pick up his banner and exercise emergency executive powers to restore order. Permanently.


It's twice as likely to be killed by an armed toddler (~20 fatalities per year in the U..S.) than by a jihadist. If you only count jihadists who come from outside the U.S., the proportion rises to 10.


I think it's probably too long after 9/11 for a punitive confiscation of Saudi money.


Well, the newly elected POTUS did say that he would defeat ISIL. News reports show friendly exchanges with the Saudis who have very similar views on immigration, as well as migrant and women's rights.

As a non-Brit, unsure of this paper's credibility/editorial policy. Even so, this story caught my attention. Looks like JK's dad and pen-pals will be on DT's team:

For Greg:

Think you'll enjoy this: JK's dad bought his son's Ivy League (MBA) degree.


Question: If word of the discussions leak to Trump/Bannon, what preemptive actions could they take to head off impeachment and removal? What if the process is actually underway in the House and then Senate? Could he declare a state of emergency and martial law? Get the FBI to arrest the plotters for tax evasion?

On a purely theoretical basis, he can do essentially nothing. Only the legislature itself can expel a member, and they have the constitutional authority to compel the police to release their members to Congress to execute their duties. They have their own special police force which is explicitly beholden only to the House and Senate itself to guard the Capitol and their persons. In other words, the Constitution was written by people who worried about this sort of eventuality.

I'll let you consider for yourself whether this means anything to a dictator with a rabid base of followers beholden to his personality cult and Nazi advisors skilled in disinformation and subversion.


If we ever reach the point where DHS have direct access to the NSA's take for vetting folks at the border, then it's fairly clear that civil rights are dead.



Grrr ... bloody "Telegraph" have put the "Matt" cartoons on fucking "premium"

SO - go to the "DT's" web-site & look at today's cartoon....

[ "Southern" employee telling harassed travellers: "Our travel restrictions do not discriminate against any religion or ethnic group" ... ]


You might want to do a little checking on the Swift - I moved back to the US last September and brought my Storm with me (loved that phone), but it REALLY struggled with data services and had issues with call quality too.


Of course they have. Matt is usually the only part of the paper worth reading.


I'm glad to be able to see you next month, sad not to see you in the US for another 4 years, and pretty damned horrified to be living here, despite my blue state existence.


Deliberately so, the intention being more by way of a humorous parody of such myths than strict concern with rigid historical accuracy - although not so far as to actually ignore your specific concern ("...more or less just turned into..." :) )


Glad to see i'm not the only one who just sees mostly meaningless word salad; they can change their username as much as they like but the bafflegarb (great word) is a dead giveaway. Can someone please tell me why this person is still tolerated here? They've repeatedly been asked to stop, numerous comments of theirs have been deleted and they are responsible for charlie getting a threat of legal action so why in pity's sake are they not perma-banned? People have had a red card for far less. I like the discussion here, even if i don't contribute a lot to it, but this entity is souring some very good debates.


Can someone please tell me why this person is still tolerated here?

  • They're like a cryptic crossword; either you can figure out the underlying message, or you can't, but if you can there's some good stuff there.

  • I like to keep them around as an antidote to the prevailing mind-set on this blog which is, regrettably, people like you. Internet fora tend to succumb to groupthink, and the collective mindset of my blog commentariat is collectively too white, too male, too technocratic, and tends towards a quasi-autistic blindness towards nuance, emotion, and the rest of human existence. (Except many autism-spectrum folks can work out what's going on and emulate it, while the blog borg here simply motors through obliviously.)

  • 217:

    Re point 2 Ouch... I would agree that there is a tendency, not just here, for people to seek out similar minds and succumb to groupthink-I am fully aware that this applies to me and do try to avoid it, usually without success. This is why when G**g goes on an anti-corbyn rant I read it even though I disagree. I often wonder if our resident gadfly is a nascent AI lurking in the bowels of the internet! You do have guest writers, have you considered having a post from someone with different political leanings to many commentators?


    They might make a better antidote to the groupthink (which I don't think is really all that bad, personally, but then I'm a lot more than merely quasi-autistic so may not be the best judge of these matters) if they experimented with posting in plain English every once in a while.

  • I'll take your word for it then but i'm afraid the subject matter is too convoluted for my understanding.

  • Thanks for that vote of confidence there but i do agree with your criticisms of blog groupthink with a tendency toward a certain liberal mindset. I am quite comfortable having my worldview challenged, i think, and try to seek it out but this person's comments... i'm getting very little but noise and trolling unfortunately and i certainly wouldn't credit nuance to it. I do commend you for allowing some radically different voices here but when those voices could come with another threat of legal action i would just question where the value is that's all.

  • 220:

    While I think a lot of Republicans in Congress would greatly prefer Pence over Trump, it will take a lot before the impeach him. Most of what people on the Left have point at is really weak when it comes to impeachable offenses, they aren't going to make history by being the first to remove a President from office - from their own party - unless he does something really blatant. And even then they'll only impeach him if he doesn't pull a Nixon and resign on his own.

    Move too soon and it's another Andrew Johnson or Bill Clinton.


    Trump's essence is the hatred of civilisation.

    He didn't invent this in the least: the idea of refinement, excellence in art or science, or even simple decency as feminising poison is an underground stream in our national, psychic, landscape, born of the Highland Clearances, reasonable frontier dislike of the power of the arbitrary rules of the Eastern Seabord (I don't care which is the fish-fork) , envy of the natives, unreasonable hatred and envy of the same, and Grid knows what else. Twain satirised it in the fear of Aunt Polly, Robert E. Howard and John Milius made it humourlessly explicit, Pynchon must have had it in mind when speculating on Nazism as a flight from a gemütlich doom. You can hear it in the whinging of men no longer able to very plainly sexually harass with impunity; you could hear it in a T.P.-friendly audience's heartfelt `Let 'em die!!' when a candidate proposed the case of a sick man without insurance,and in every Trump rally.

    `He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.'

    Let's prove how effective civilised people can be.


    I, for one, think the beige is good. All of you you are wishing revolution, i.e., deaths and pain and children crying, what is it that you want that the beige did not provide that is worth that?

    A more social state than Sweden? A more peaceful society than Switzerland? A stricter enforcement of social norms than Japan? Better healthcare than in France? More theocracy than in the Southern United States? In all the wide gamut of “Western” societies, did none of them fit your expectations?

    Did the result of thinking Trump and Clinton are the same teach you nothing? Where did the people Charlie counted on that somehow voted neither for the left nor the far left parties were supposed to come from?

    I've never heard anyone articulate a vision which was tempting. In the end, they all enforce their dreams with camps.

    I like my beige liberal social-democracy, thank you very much. Yes, our world is imperfect, but that is an argument to make it better, not burn it to the ground.


    Have you actually been to Orlando, outside of the tourist strip? I lived there for years, it's a pretty normal place overall.

    Not very often. Maybe 4 times. And only once to visit the parks.

    But the other times (yes many years ago) were on business evaluating software from a company based near there. And I spent time with a native who grew up there. He even called it a strange area. High school basketball start and theme park worker to pay bills while in college.

    When I was there last a few years ago we hit up the various Best Buys and similar looking for (what turned out to be rare) camcorder batter. The stores were filled with foreign tourists buying up there limit in tax avoidable / duty free stuff to take back home. Mostly to South America and Europe.

    Referring to 1000s of acres of theme parks (competing ones at that) a "strip" is a bit of minimalist thinking.

    To me the calling Orlando typical of a US metro area is like calling Pigeon Forge TN a typical Appalachian town.

    I'm sure there are normal areas but as someone who's been to more cities in the us than "most", it's just different.


    Well, for what it's worth, though they'll work with him as they have to and profit from his evil if they can, Wall Street basically hate Trump, and have not been willing to lend him money for decades…in both cases because they know him.


    either you can figure out the underlying message, or you can't, but if you can there's some good stuff there.

    I read the first chapter of Gyn-Ecology and that was easier than her above's posts. I've lost patience, because I've never managed to get anything useful out of those posts. It's not entertaining, it's very rarely informative, and it's never changed my opinion because there's never an actual argument there, just (at best) a suggestion of a keyword to search for. So it's a lot of work for very little reward.

    But I doubt that I'm the target audience. I read your blog for a view on events in the UK that I don't get easily from Australian media or The Guardian. When it comes to far-right, feminist, PoC, working class, whatever, views, I get those from other sources. I'm not convinced that semi-literate babbling is something I benefit from being exposed to.


    GT asked a question. I answered and pointed out it was easy to confirm. That's all.

    Senior GOP folks are trying to figure out how to deal with him without getting thrown, err voted, out of office in 2 years.

    They knew DT was going to be a bit wild but now are trying to figure out how to run the China shop now that the bull has taken up residence. And sniffing at the door to the stockroom where the good stuff is locked up.


    but you know things are getting interesting when even the Koch brothers seem to be on the verge of joining the Resistance...



    Touch ID disabled,

    Why? I'm not aware of THIS making an iPhone less secure.

    If you're referring to the current odd situation in US where you can be compelled to provide a finger print but not a pass code, mostly, sort of... Just keep it turned off as you enter border areas or other places where you think it might be confiscated. Then the only way to unlock it is via a pass code.


    those who do know the history but still insist "this time will be different".

    Because obviously we're smarter now than they were then.



    The Germans are completely happy with killing Greeks and Italians and other people in order to have the German economy up and running.

    Of course all Germans come of one factory line and are all the same, apart from the odd splotch of paint.

    Regarding that fear is better than boredom reasoning: is it also better to be dead? and 3/4 of your family too? The old and the little children slaughtered because they were not useful, most of the adults worked to death?

    And all because peaceful change was too much work?


    "Trump's essence is the hatred of civilization."

    Or fear of civilization or not knowing how to adjust primitive fear to the burden of faculties of reason.

    There was always a forest that some, unable to cope with modern civilization, could walk into. Now it feels like people are voluntarily walking into the forrest. I just wish they would leave their iPhones and medications at home.


    Congresscritters are utterly venal and won't turn on DT until his craziness begins to reflect on the party to a point where it threatens their own personal hold on power and narrowly defined self interests. That may be sooner, it may be later, or it might not happen at all. Remember though that many of DT's most ardent supporters are the same people who control the balance of power in Republican primaries and who the Congresscritters are most afraid of offending.

    As for a Pence presidency, a lot of commenters seem to think that he would be some sort of evil theocratic mastermind. His record and reputation speak of him much more as a dimwitted mouthpiece for whichever interest wants to stick a cash filled fist up his arse though. He'd probably wind up a lot closer to Ronnie Raygun than anyone else, a genial face to repeat the lines that he's being fed while others get down to the serious business of looting in the background.

    In some ways a Pence presidency would probably be worse than DT, the looter interests would have carte blance to get any legislation they wanted passed and the US would wind up with a whole bunch of terrible economic laws, with a bit of red meat thrown to the theocrats on the side to keep them quiet. In other ways it would probably be better, Pence is a predictable sort of evil and has not got the imagination to reach the heights that DT can aspire to.


    If the leaks are to believed, Pence and Bannon are on opposite sides of a tug of war over Mango Mussolini's attention, and Bannon is currently winning. Hence the fasicistic insanity of the past few days. The upside of that situation is that if things reached a point where POTUS needed to be removed either via impeachment or the 25th Amendment, Bannon would go with him in disgrace. Pence is a terrifying Dominionist nutbar, but I do believe that he at least respects the rule of law and won't try to do completely insane things like push Federal departments to ignore lawful court orders.


    Re: '...quasi-autistic blindness towards nuance, emotion, and the rest of human existence.'

    Really? ... and here I thought it was a case of classic Brit politeness.

    As someone who tears up watching movies, listening to music, reading, etc. - plus having been personality-tested up the wazoo, I can provide bona fides re: possession of emotion, and ability to apprehend nuance in real-life as well as in art. As also having some personal and educational experience with clinically diagnosed psych disorders ... some posters have come across as screwed up, whether by choice (hiding, LULZ) or for some other reason, I don't know ... but a-normal nonetheless.

    Haven't as much experience with autistic individuals ... but if the core of autism is difficulty in reading/interpreting emotive intent, then masking or contorting quasi-emotional comms only makes it harder for what you describe as your primary (larger) audience to participate. Analogy: if you're trying to communicate with some who's hard of hearing, would you only speak after several shots of booze - therefore slurring your speech - and only when the aircon is going full blast, or would you take greater care in enunciating each word?

    Communication goes two ways with signals exchanged to help steer understanding. I am not getting clarifying signals.

    Good luck in finding an emotional cognition/sense teacher a la Anne Sullivan.


    All I said was that before you clear customs everything on your person can be inspected. And in your person in reality. Until you get through that door you're not "in country".

    As to them being bored, totally agree. I was "detained" for an hour or so going into Canada years ago to make sure I wasn't taking a job away from a Canadian. I wasn't.

    But the best one was back around 81 when I was bringing into Canada from the US two boxes of logo'd 3 ring binders. Our local Canadian based site had run out and forgot to order more in time. Maybe 10 pounds total including the boxes. Worth maybe $2 to $3 each at the time. Customs wanted me to pay a duty. Ok fine. How much. Told him they cost maybe $50 to $100 total. He said no, he thought the metal content was worth more than that. So he spend AN HOUR trying to figure out the value of the metal in the rings and spine. (He had a really thick set of books he kept flipping through on a nice stand.) I don't remember what he finally decided they were worth but I just paid the duty and got through the doors. With the people meeting me asking what the heck had been going on. They got to watch most of it through the glass wall between customs and the real world. Giving me very puzzled looks the entire time.


    Precisely. Its funny that the people saying burn it down are either the ones who want to hold the flaming torch or the nihilistic types who want to take us all with them.

    Blaming the Germans (or even the EU) for for all the Greeks problems is a little disenguious IMO. Dragging the rest of the EU into the same state as Greece isn't going to help them unless you believe that the adage that misery loves company works on geographic scales.

    But sure burn it down - hope those who think like that are the first to burn. Its hard to remember in the face of all the current madness but the vast majority of readers on this blog are still wat better off than we were in say the 80’s when a few thousand nukes were pointing at us.


    The list could have come from Obama, it could have been found on the floor of the bathroom in a Denny's down the block.

    The O admin talked about these countries in public. They just didn't go nuts and do what Trump did about them and act as if they had found the secret to life in the US. But they did do a lot of limiting of who could come here from those places. And a few others.


    I like my beige liberal social-democracy, thank you very much.

    I have no objection to beige liberal social-democracy, as long as there's enough social democracy in the mix. The ratio has been declining drastically for decades, and these days seems to be represented more by workfare schemes and ranting about benefit scroungers and the workshy than actual compassion and a commitment to equality of opportunity.

    What we ended up with was beige neo-liberalism, i.e. asset-stripping theft from the commons disguised as conservativism.


    The "sane" strategy after 9/11 would have been:

    Get rid of at least 50% of the world's need for oil. It renders the rest of your points moot.

    I've been yelling this at my conservative friends since the mid 70s. They refuse to understand how a their use of Texas/Alaskan/Baken/whatever US based production impacts the rest of the world and keeps up militarily involved in the Middle East.


    Charlie's blog, Charlie's rules.

    But he can't MAKE me read his/her posts. Or reply to them. So I skip over about 80% to 90% of them. Especially if they are more than a few lines long.

    I'm sure others here do so with my comments. If Charlie doesn't want me around he can show me the door anytime and make me a passive reader.


    I'm sure others here do so with my comments. If Charlie doesn't want me around he can show me the door anytime and make me a passive reader.

    I do that very sparingly. (Last person? Dirk Bruere, after he announced he'd joined UKIP and began advocating racism. This being my blog, I feel no obligation to provide a platform for people evangelizing viewpoints I find repugnant to the point of being personally threatening.)


    Most of what people on the Left have point at is really weak when it comes to impeachable offenses, they aren't going to make history by being the first to remove a President from office - from their own party - unless he does something really blatant

    The last time Republicans in Congress tried to impeach a President, in 1998, it was over minor perjury in a civil suit. Trump's actively soliciting payments from foreign governments (via his hotels), and his administration is in direct defiance of court orders regarding access to detainees at airports. Both of these are matters of much greater legal import. If anyone ever wants to impeach this guy, there will be no shortage of reasons to do it.

    I certainly agree that the current lot in Congress won't impeach Trump until they think he endangers their own political positions. (I would have said "power", but Trump's autocracy threatens to drastically disempower Congress. They just aren't thinking that far ahead.)

    BTW, on removal of Presidents, the number of times it has happened really does depend on how you count. The only reason Nixon wasn't removed by impeachment was that he resigned to preempt it.

  • They're like a cryptic crossword; either you can figure out the underlying message, or you can't, but if you can there's some good stuff there.
  • For such folk as I who, after a while, have decided that it isn't worth putting up with the odious crap to try to dig out the alleged good stuff, a tutorial would be helpful. I.e., take a few of CD's past posts and deconstruct them to show what worthwhile material was there and how it was extracted. Obviously I'd like to be able to benefit from the alleged good stuff if it's really there.


    As for that, of course group-think is a persistent problem and I basically agree with Tim up at 219.


    I'm sorry, but this is a very Anglo American vision of the world. Inequality has been rising across the so called developed world, yes, but marginally outside of the US, GB, and for reasons I've not looked at, NZ...

    In most of the EU, social democracy is the norm. Why not in the UK, or rather why are the attacks so violent here, honestly I don't know. Probably a confluence of factors. Murdoch, the class society, the bad quality of education. But whatever it is, it's very specific. The US has different reasons entirely: racism, religious bigotry, the myth of self reliance, traditionally weak government.

    My point is that seeing very different causes yielding similar effects as a single overwhelming system teeters on the brink of conspiracy. Particularly because the causes are not political, they are social economic.

    If you want a single cause, there's this. China caused investing in employees to be a bad strategy versus arbitrage. It takes a sociopath to arbitrage between lives, and so they've been favoured for twenty-odd years as managers and strategists. The China shock is over, and there will be no others like it, so the question is how do we relearn to value humans and get rid of the parasites?

    How do we do it without destroying openness, prosperity and democracy?


    In most of the EU, social democracy is the norm. Why not in the UK ... honestly I don't know.

    It probably has a lot to do with how moneyed elites were destroyed on the Continent by any or all of fascism, communism, and de-nazification (depending on the country). In the UK and America they maintained their power.


    Also the left wing of the tory party, some Lem-o-Crats & the right wing of the Labour party are all "Social Democrats" in greater or lesser form, but a separate party of that name & grouping has never arisen. But, you get people like my Labour MP, who is obviously an SD - & OF COURSE ... Momentum are trying to unseat her. This level of stupid, when we are faced with a threat like Trump is pathetic, or would be if it wasn't so suicidal.


    Did any of your feminist guest writers react positively to her? I seem to recall the reverse. She does add variety, but I am not sure she is particularly strong on emotional nuance or on providing an antidote to patriarchal biases. In particular she seems drawn to Madonna archetypes, quasi-divine female figures of suffering and worship, as opposed to feminist models, which tend to be humanist and aspire to making women part of the norm of society. (By that, I mean changing the "norm" so that it can accommodate female experience rather than contrast itself from the female as the "alien." Having a few great exemplars of Awe-full Femininity is fairly standard practice for patriarchy.)


    Exactly. With friends like the Saudis, who needs enemas? Green energy eliminates our need to kiss the a**es of a bunch of desert-dwelling hicks, then we can let that region go rot.


    "a separate party of that name & grouping has never arisen"

    You mean apart from the 80s when we had the Social Democratic Party, now part of the lib dems :)

    Given the internal stresses in Labour that caused their formation I wouldn't be entirely surprised if something similar happened again in the next couple of years.


    Meanwhile .... For UK citizens & residents ONLY ( Though others can watch ) THIS:

    If you are entitled - SIGN IT! Please, please, sign it?

    The count is rocketing as you watch - I signed this morning, when it was at approx 1.2 million - it's now almost 1.6 million. Keep'em coming.

    AND - shit but you know it's bad when a (By Brit standards) right-wing paper like the torygraph publishes a set of ant-Trump cartoons: HERE - with a constant theme of that certain statue ...


    We should be so lucky .....


    Obviously certain sections of the ruling class, especially the corporate kind, have positioned themselves to win no matter what, but it does seem that, like a certain other country or two, they hadn't realised how nuts their sock puppets were, and how much they could attack the basis of their economic success.


    Hang on, what are social democrats these days? Do they believe in using the state to correct the excesses of capitalism? And that a free society is a good one? I mean what's their distinguishing identity? Free-er and nicer to the poor than the Tories? Let you keep more of your profits than labour?


    "As for my worst case nightmare scenario? Given the reshuffle on the National Security Council and the prominence of white supremacists and neo-nazis in this Administration I can't help wondering if the ground isn't being laid for a Reichstag Fire by way of something like Operation Northwoods."

    Why do I have a real bad feeling about the Super Bowl?


    Somewhere there is an alternate universe where Hillary won - and America has been rocked by dozens of Oklahoma City-like bombings staged by Right Wing militia groups. Lot's of Timothy McVie wannabees vowed that they would violently resist a Clinton presidency. Behind all of their bluster, Red Americans are desperate.

    As they say down South, nothing kicks harder than a dying mule. And don't let this election fool you - Red America is dying. Like the Slave States over 150 years ago, Red America is being left behind demographically, economically and demographically. Time is not on their side.

    The Red/Rural countryside is economically, technologically and demographically dying out. The one thing Trump said during the election that was factually honest was his claim that this was Red America's last chance to reclaim their country. And he was right. 2016 was more of a last gasp, like a dying fire that flares up one last time before it goes out. Or as they say down South, “Nothing kicks harder than a dying mule.” Start with the age divide. A breakdown of the exit polls provides a simplifying clarity to the election results: Trump essentially won those over age 45 and Hillary won those under age 45. If 20-somethings voted at the same rate as retirees Hillary would have won in a landslide.


    All the other divides are explained by this. White v. dark? the majority of older Americans are white, the majority of young Americans are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Urban v. rural? The majority of rural American are old white, either retired farmers or unemployed factory workers who can’t find a job at age 50+ while young yuppies are starting cool hip careers in high tech urban areas. Educated v. uneducated? Older Americans have less education on average than younger Americans. And so on…

    If the situation weren't so dire we could wait them out:

    "Over the past two decades, as cities have become job centers that attract diverse young people, rural America has become older, whiter, and less populated. Between 2010 and 2014, rural areas lost an average of 33,000 people a year. Today, just 19 percent of Americans live in areas the Census department classifies as rural, down from 44 percent in 1930. But roughly one-quarter of seniors live in rural communities, and 21 of the 25 oldest counties in the United States are rural."

    "With fewer children, schools will be closed and consolidated. As the population drops, the Postal Service will close post offices. Government at all levels will reduce staff. Elks Clubs and American Legion posts will close, as will movie theaters and barber shops. Churches with dwindling memberships will be unable to support a pastor. In many towns the clinic or hospital will close, owing to a lack of patients and an inability to retain doctors. The effects of reduced economic input will ripple through the local economy -- particularly in rural areas, where people depend on one another. As the cutbacks continue, the value of real estate will plummet. Adding to the problem, in fifteen years Baby Boomers will begin to retire. Many will move to Omaha, Wichita, Denver, or even Texas. WOOFs (well-off older folks) will seek easier climes, and houses in many small towns will go begging. A similar fate awaits commercial property."


    If you're a serious activist, calling out the possibility of that kind of event is the thing you should be doing every day, as loudly as possible.

    As to your specific feelings on scheduling, I disagree; you'll see that happen after they've had time to:

    1.) Get their cabinet picks appointed. You've got to have your people in place before your "event."

    2.) Become frustrated that most people are against them. (I suspect they see the problems this weekend as an early hiccup in their process, not the beginning of a major activism campaign.)

    3.) Make some changes to the security forces; particularly how they vet new people. I'm mainly thinking about DHS and the Border Patrol.

    4.) Set something up.

    But big events in 2018? I wouldn't plan on attending...

    257:'ll see that happen after they've had time to:

    ...if it happens at all. Calling this one accurately will be tough.


    If he insists it has to be made according to Clancy's design there isn't that much to worry about...


    Thank you. I've seen a lot of unwarranted gloating from Australian progressives over the past week, usually along the lines of 'this wouldn't happen in Australia, because of our superior voting system/laid back attutide/multiculturalism/desperate need to believe at least we're not as bad as the Americans'. No, cupcakes, it's because it already happened. Australia crossed the moral event horizon long ago. We are the refugee-torturing, resident non-citizen-deporting dystopia Trumpland dreams of being.


    I read Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany a long time ago and it has influenced the way I think for a long time. It is important to learn to recognize all the little and small things that we do that help tyrants.


    And the experience of Nazi occupation and rule, for all but a very few places, and the fighting to get rid of them again taking place on your own soil...

    Communications, both physical and verbal... countries that share a land border must necessarily have a closer relationship with and more influence over each other than countries that do not. And while I have no hard knowledge I have the strong impression that people on the continent frequently learn each others' languages, whereas the British are notorious for being shit at it, and I have an idea the US is similar; people will of course naturally tend to align more with those they can most readily communicate with.

    Indeed, I suspect that's the deeper cause, as it relates to the contrast between European and British history over a much longer period. British history is one track, while European history is a distinct track, or set of intermingled tracks, heading more or less parallel but proceeding at different rates; the tracks are close, and there are lots of footprints leading from one to the other or back again, but they remain distinct in a way that the sub-tracks making up the European track do not. Being on the other side of a big ditch has accorded Britain a measure of political separation that has not been possible between countries sharing land mass.


    Charlie, given what just happened thirty minutes ago, you should cancel that February ticket now.


    I assume you mean firing the acting AG?

    I don't see that as particularly significant. It's a small escalation in the current campaign to radically change the US government, but it's not unconstitutional AFAIK. Unlike, say, the EO she was not defending.


    I don't see the point. He's already paid for the ticket, which is non-refundable, so he may as well wait for a week or two before he makes a decision.

    Maybe Feorag should stay home, however, possibly with power of attorney (however that works in Scotland) just in case Charlie becomes the next Peter Watts.


    You honestly think the Trump administration is capable of behaving that rationally? I'm glad I won't be at the Super Bowl myself, not even if the ticket prices have dropped dramatically.

    Hmm, using Paranoid Thought, perhaps there's a reason for that.

    (though actually it's because Texas won't be in it this year)


    I don't think the issue is the Administration's rationality so much as the general rationality of a situation where disorganized people are put in charge of a large organization.

    I expect a sequence of events, which from inside the Administration, look like this:

    1.) Tried their first executive order (organized by X) and learned that everyone inside and outside the government is organizing against it. Decide this is a learning experience in working with the rest of the government.

    2.) Try a new executive order, probably also organized by X. Discover that everyone hates that executive order too, even though it went through a more thorough process.

    3.) Note that they are disliked and that people are organizing against them. Try something forceful, like declaring martial law in Chicago, (organized by X) and discover it doesn't work either.

    4.) Fire X.

    5.) Bring in Y. If Y's suggestions work better than X's suggestions, keep Y, otherwise repeat steps 1-5.

    6.) Y consolidates his/her power. It is discovered that Y's approach has a decent success rate. Y is allowed to make a long term plan.

    7.) Y, working behind the scenes, makes it easier to hire the kind of DHS, Justice Dept, and Border Patrol agents Trump needs to enforce his views on immigrants and undocumented aliens. Now we have a group of people who share our views inside important agencies, and they can be transferred to other agencies as training cadre later.

    8.) Superbowl 2018.

    Note that this process could take a year or two. Meanwhile, if this disorganized bunch can throw together a Superbowl "event," plus a coordinated response in the three weeks they will have been in office on February 5th, 2017 I will be very, very surprised. As we've seen with the firing of the Attorney General tonight, nobody who works for the Administration is currently in charge of any cabinet department, and the lower-level, ideologically preferable hires for each department aren't in place yet.

    Also, I suspect there's a lot of behind the scenes logistical, staffing, and building that needs to be done to prepare for an "event" of this nature. There just hasn't been time.

    Even if something happens at the Superbowl there's nobody in place to take advantage of it. We'll end up with a badly written law, then a 3-4 month lag before anyone enforces it. (I'd far prefer a badly organized "event" this year to a well organized event next year, but I don't think we'll get that lucky. It's just too soon.)


    Wow. Read it now.

    Just fucking wow. The same firm won both the Brexit vote and the U.S. election due to a new take on Big Data.


    And I almost forgot. Bannon is on their board.


    Yes, it is hopelessly optimistic. Trump's approval among Republicans is about 81%. Until that drops by a lot and/or he does something blatantly illegal, no impeachment proceedings.


    I'm not sure I agree with "hopelessly optimistic," but any serious impeachment effort is at least six months out, more likely a year. If Trump proves to be a loose cannon the real players will take care of the problem.


    Very very interesting

    Here in the UK it's similar, but nowhere near so bad, of course. Look at the sections of the country that "pay their way" - voted remain, whilst those that require subsidy usually voted "Leave" (Except Scotland, which voted "remain" ) The rural shires are deeply divided, with, usually, a narrow majority for "Leave"

    Places to watch: the two upcoming by-elections.


    That is deeply scary. As is the photo of the CA person sitting next to May ....

    Meanwhile, I repeat that I don't think there will be a "Fire", but there will be a night of the Long Knives, some time in the middle of 2018. After which it really will be too late.


    A "Denial Of Service" attack, or someone "really determined" to not have their movements over part of that period recorded?

    As an aside, it sort of makes me think of a subplot from Lilyhammer season 2, where Frank is caught speeding by a digital greed scamera, and subsequently uses the photo editting skills of one of his employees to frame an aquarobics instructor for the offence, and also for drinking whilst driving.


    Tim, or OGH (if you're not too busy), any pointers to the references on legal action ? Though a constant reader for the last 4-5 years, I seem to have missed this.

    Also, in other spaces: anyone know why you can't read cstross on twitter if logged in ? (It says "you are blocked from following @cstross and viewing @cstross's Tweets", and I am pretty sure I haven't done anything wrong, I think I've only ever tweeted half a dozen times) - I can read all his tweets if I am logged out!


    (4) LOLROFHMS!!

    "Capture Al Qa'eda" (I'll leave aside that I think you meant Da'esh); That's sort of like saying "capture all Southern Baptists in $state using only the electoral role for the state as a reference"!


    Practical differences:-

    1) In Scotland, Lillibet 1 is not "the sovereign", merely "the monarch", and her role is purely ceremonial. 2) Despite the beliefs of the UK Supreme Court and parliament, they do not actually have the right to pass laws which directly affect the sovereignty of Scotland without subjecting them to a popular plebiscite. 3) Leading on from (2) the UK parliament have repeatedly broken the terms of the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland.


    Your ball, your rules, but my opinion:-

    Catina Diamond and "her" socks show a number of behaviors which are not normally tolerated on any internet fora, regardless of your personal reasoning.

    I don't even bother with her nonsense any more because of the amount of it that is one or more of:- a) willfully obfuscated. b) condescending. c) gratuitously insulting. d) actively disruptive to ongoing discussions.


    In most of the EU, social democracy is the norm.

    So, your state railway company is still in public ownership, is it? (Look to the Netherlands or Germany: they've been privatized.) Or your critical infrastructure?

    Creeping privatization of state assets is one of the ways in which social democratic settlements are eroded. It's very advanced in the UK and USA — nearly complete — but you can see signs of it elsewhere in the EU.

    I'll grant you the privileging of sociopaths in management is also a problem, but one part of it is that sociopaths are willing to pursue profits above all else, and we've managed to create a global trade system in which profits above all else is the determinant of success or failure for a national economy.


    (2) is wrong - I think. Unless you are specifically referring to "The sovereignty of Scotland" - as opposed to internal UK-wide & Scottish-specific legislation, as enacted ever since 1707 & still being enacted, where the subjects are not specifically devolved to the latter. And, of course, the devolution Act itself.....



    I can cancel my plans to travel right up until check-in for departure. That gives me another 12 days to watch things escalate or come off the boil before I make up my mind.


    Hence why I said (3) as a separate item.


    I use an automatic blocklist for alt-right/gamergater accounts on twitter and it's been throwing false positives since the election. If you tell me your twitter handle I'll unblock you manually.


    Thanks ever so much - it's WavingDavid. I am sure you will reblock me if I misbehave (I won't, honest)


    Creeping privatization of state assets is one of the ways in which social democratic settlements are eroded

    I'm not so sure, often "privatization" means that the company is run as a private law corporation owned in full by the government (look at the wikipedia entry on Italian rail opeartor for a case). As long neither customers nor employees lose, no social-democratic settlement is eroded. The big problem is not privatization, is privatizing a monopoly leaving it a monopoly


    often "privatization" means that the company is run as a private law corporation owned in full by the government (look at the wikipedia entry on Italian rail operator for a case)

    Trenitalia (Italian Railways) looks to me as one case where you are getting the worst of two worlds, actually. The government split the Railways system in two: one would take care of "trains", the other of the infrastructure (rails, and I suppose stations). This did not really made the Trains part more efficient, economically sound, secure (we had at least two major disasters after the reorganization of the group), and their own "incestuous" relationship with the Rails company allegedly made things very difficult for competitors like Italo or Arenaways.


    In defence of CD:

    I like the otherness, sometimes can even glimpse the living flame through the smoke and sparks.

    Shine on.


    Trenitalia (Italian Railways) looks to me as one case where you are getting the worst of two worlds, actually. The government split the Railways system in two: one would take care of "trains", the other of the infrastructure (rails, and I suppose stations).

    In Finland, we have this, but not even competition. There are two government-owned companies, one owns the rails and the other operates the trains. Both have to turn in a profit, which creates some problems, because they do not play that well together.

    I'd prefer just one organization providing the rail service as infrastructure, not as something to profit from.


    This is all the fault of the madwoman from Grantham & her even madder follower, one N Ridley ... followed up by the utterly incompetent J Major. Their railway privatisation proposals were take up by the EU & used as a model ....

    Incidentally, the EU regs say that merely, the track, signals etc & the trains shall be separately accounted for, but it usually means, in practice, separate companies & the whole things's a disaster....


    I have no objection to beige liberal social-democracy, as long as there's enough social democracy in the mix.

    Well, yeah. In Finland, last year we "finally" got a right-wing government, with the addition of the populist-racist party. Some thought this was an improvement over the wide-ranging consensus cabinets (the previous one had in addition to many other parties both the Left party and the coservative Coaliotion party, for a while).

    What we got was a massive drive to cut from education, childcare and other things for the poor, and more money to companies close to the prime minister, plans to either privatize or at least move to companies much of the state's functions and tax breaks for the rich. In additition, the populist party forgot everything they promised except the suppression of the people of wrong colour.

    The only bright point in this is that the government has been so incompetent in governing (the prime minister is a businessman) that they have mostly just gone back and forth on what they really can do. It was not clear to most of them that even being in the cabinet does not give unlimited powers...


    Agreed, I can sometimes find something worthwhile and when it's too cryptic, I can scroll past, which I'd suggest to those suffering an allergic reaction to the entity.

    This is all the fault of the madwoman from Grantham & her even madder follower, one N Ridley ... followed up by the utterly incompetent J Major.

    I think Major should take all the blame. Even Thatch saw that rail privatisation would be a disaster and shied away from it.


    But at least you can choose between Italo and FS, fares went a bit lower and service was a bit better. Anyway, my point is that some well-managed privatizations doen't kill the social-democratic compromise.


    You can choose between Italo and FS (actually TrenItalia), for now.

    Last time I checked NTV (Italo) was not getting a lot of revenue and according to Legambiente train tariffs have been on the rise all over Italy - you may have also noticed the recent protests against increased tariffs for commuters.

    It's hard to stay in the black for railways, especially in a country like Italy (lots of geographical features that negatively impact wear&tear and travel times) and in my opinion this (just like healthcare) should be left to the State.


    Charlie, I have to agree with Dan; I don't think at this point you're at much risk at the border. You're a white, middle-aged male of reasonable means with a passport from a friendly country. I doubt there are many, if any, in the new administration who have any idea who you are. Mr. Trump himself seems to get his information from cable TV "news". He's reportedly no reader. His underlings are busy setting fire to the government; they might be more dangerous to you in a couple of years.

    Re firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates: expect a lot more of this to happen as those of us with principles are faced with the choice of ending our careers or selling our souls. I'm glad at this point that I'm only a bit over a year from being able to retire, unless they fuck that up first. Also, I predict a showdown between SecDef Mattis and National Securitiy Advisor Flynn. That's a cage death match I'd pay to win, but Mattis would probably make it quick.

    Even grotty little petty-crook Juncker, from a "nation" less than 1/16th the size of London is better than the Donald....

    Look, I don't like Juncker. I even voted against him (I got the chance because my local parties, unlike British ones, are not cowards and liars).


  • Justify your absurd claims that he is a "petty crook".

  • Explain why the size of the country he was born in and represented in the past has any relevance to anything at all.

  • 296:

    oops, I meant "pay to watch"


    Re. Books for the times, requested by SFreader:

    Arendt also wrote Eichmann in Jerusalem, coining the term "the banality of evil," to describe the Nazi bureaucrat on trial. That book was critiqued in the recent Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer, by Bettina Stangneth, who shows Eichmann not as Arendt's colourless functionary, but a committed Nazi ideologue who pulled the wool over the eyes of the Israeli court and Arendt. Stangneth is good on the origins of post-war Neo-Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denialism in part in the salon which formed around Eichmann in Buenos Aires, and on the nature of the Nazi bureaucracy, where, despite the image of orderly efficiency, contempt for the rules was encouraged and rewarded if it served the cause.

    Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men, on the Watergate scandal(s), notable because the actual actions of the conspirators seem almost quaint by today's standards, most of the Washington Republican politicians and staffers at the time were genuine small-c conservatives who were genuinely shocked and appalled, and the weird but effective style of the book, where the authors narate their own actions in the third person.

    The collected essays of George Orwell, plus Homage to Catalonia, his account of the Spanish civil war, are a must read. (His rules for making tea are a bit iffy though).

    Thomas Frank's books ( What's the Matter with Kansas, One Market under God etc.) aren't uncontroversial or flawless but worth a look.

    Ditto Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi (Griftopia, Smells Like Dead Elephants), but he's a lot more fun.


    Overall, my point is that the rethoric of the "beige dictatorship", together with the rethoric of "carnage", just fuels the populists.


    Consider adding James Kwak's "Economism, bad economics and the rise of inequality" to that list, I consider it relevant because it describes the beginnings of the fork of economics that reactionaries use as a blunt instrument on anything that shows signs of being progressive.


    I was talking about Afghanistan circs 2001/2002, not the current situation, so not Daesh, but capture (or kill) all the Al Quaeda operatives Afghanistan AND THEN GO HOME.


    You noticed the second part of that post too, I hope.


    Charlie writes: If we ever reach the point where DHS have direct access to the NSA's take for vetting folks at the border, then it's fairly clear that civil rights are dead.

    Hate to tell you but.... One of the parting shots Obama gave as he shuffled out the door was to open NSA's data-pile to the rest of the intel community. So FBI, DEA, etc. - now will have unfiltered access. Worse, they are playing some semantic game about the access being before where the privacy protections apply - which I read as meaning: there are none. Not that the FISA court was a big impediment.


    You actually don't know what I think. Or the research I've done. Nowhere is particularly safe right now. As for resisting fascism as a member of many vulnerable groups I feel perfectly comfortable with the notion of fighting from a place of safety.


    Ok, accepted about terminology then, but my main point was that you're trying to do something like identifying all the baptists in California using only a copy of the state voters' role.


    Read my link at number 267. That's not as hard as you think. This is deeply, horribly scary stuff, and every bit as intrusive as you might imagine. Ugly. Just ugly.

    Rounding up the Al Quaeda members in Afghanistan wouldn't have been difficult in 2001, as they all had non-Afghani passports, spoke Arabic with distinguishable accents, were shooting at U.S. troops, and were mainly clustered in Al Quaeda's training camps.


    To me, the most interesting and worrying aspect of Trump's Muslim immigration ban (aside from the misery it's causing, which shouldn't be minimised) is the intent to ignore and flout the court injunctions against it.

    The trajectory is:

    Nixon: I am the law! Congress and Courts: Nope. Nixon: Mistakes were made. I resign.

    Dubya: I am the law! Congress: Hail to the Chief! Courts: Nope. Dubya: Heh. OK, we'll stop doing those illegal things we weren't doing then.

    Trump: I am the Law! Congress: Uhhhhhhh. . .already? Courts: Nope. Trump: Fuck you courts! I am the Law!

    Despite all our hopes to the contrary, the Trump executive branch as a unit will plainly go full fascist if it isn't constrained by checks and balances. It lacks any effective internal constraint.

    If the courts fail to impose their judgements on the machinery of government in this case, and the junior and middle management of the immigration system go along with that as they have so far, that will embolden Trump, Bannon and co. to rule by fiat in much broader ways.


    Looks like it's going to pass 1,7 million as I watch.


    To be honest, several of the more evil sides of the Middle East are pretty much taking care of themselves. At the moment, the price that Saudi Arabia gets for its oil is lower than the cost of extracting it. As Saudi Arabia has few other foreign currency earning exports, it has a financial crisis on its hands, so will be most reluctant in future to spend much exporting Wahabi Islam around the region.

    Furthermore, selling arms to people who cannot pay for them isn't a going proposition, unless you feel the need to turn them into a puppet state of some sort. I predict that Saudi Arabia is going to be much less of a regional pest in future.

    Developing solar panels that work down into the red, even the infra red spectrum is a priority, as is developing good storage batteries. Combine these and you solve a lot of energy problems, and this in turn keeps oil prices low (as does the proliferation of fracking techniques). Low oil prices and international treaties limiting the use of fossil fuels will keep the irritating petro-states in the Middle East quiet for a long, long time.


    First, thank you to Eevin (@260) Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany; Wrerite (@297) Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men [read], George Orwell essays plus Homage to Catalonia, Thomas Frank (What's the Matter with Kansas, One Market under God etc.) and Matt Taibbi (Griftopia, Smells Like Dead Elephants); and, Tim H (@299) James Kwak's "Economism, bad economics and the rise of inequality". I'll start with the local library.

    267: Troutwater – re: Cambridge Analytica

    Suggestion: Fill out a variety of psych/personality tests intermittently and differently (pretend you're a historical/literary character, or completely randomize responses), randomize website visiting, keep several different unrelated websites windows open at the same time. Big 5 is stable over long run, more so than some other tests, and I'm guessing that FB users don't want to give up their online lives.

    It's been over 10 years since some market analytics outfits have been tracking (and combining and processing and selling) online data on a per-user basis (person) and not just by device used. Back then the difficulty (co$t)was in data storage - all those clicks add up - plus consumer market data tends to be relatively stable on a big-picture scale - so data were dumped after about a year or so - therefore it may be possible to change your online profile.


    Yes, that article was ostensibly about the election... But as I read it what it really says is: the Nazis have a dossier on every person in America and the UK.


    Thank you Dodge Brothers and the Lochner era.

    I'm thinking the thieves are going to fall out.

    Since 2010 the populists GOP guys have not had to govern. They've had their plans and their thoughts, and their hopes and dreams.

    Turns out they don't all agree. Trump's authoritarian populism is in contrast to many other plans. The backbone of 'chamber of commerce' republicans is rabidly free trade. The Tea Party types are suppose to be draining the swamp and enacting policy goals the mainstream GOP has paid lip service to.


    I rather think that you may be over-estimating the usefulness of bafflegarb. After a couple of run-ins with this character, I simply skip all such posts. Yes, there's probably a meaning there but I also seem to smell a strong dose of arrogance in that we are expected to try to sift meaning from vague verbiage.

    It reminds me of a colleague of mine telling of his work translating a passably good yet infuriating philosopher from German to English; this chap had the habit of hugely over-describing simple things, so that a sentence that could be rendered "The man walked in through the doorway" was rendered as "The evolved naked ape-like mammalian life form locomoted bipedally upon his hind limbs through the hole in the wall closed with a mobile, hinged wooden flap that is sometimes referred to as a door".

    English as it is spoken exists because it is a medium of exchange of ideas. Bafflegarb inhibits this exchange of ideas, hence is notably less useful than English.

    I end up simply skipping the bafflegarb. About the only good thing to come out of this episode has been this wonderful new addition to the English language.


    But, she laid the ground with her hatred of railways then Major followed through, listeing to "total free market" ideologues, who "thought" railways were just like airlines ... And who also wanted to close them all down whilst ripping them off.


    Juncker is exerting more power than that of London (politically) quite possibly more power than that of the UK. Who elected him? Some career politicians - it's things like Juncker that are making the populist right-wing revolt happen, simply so that some of them can stay on the gravy-train. And yes, he is a financial crook, involved in dodgy dealings, or so the boss reliably informs me.


    Now 1,704,534. I looked away for a second or two and missed the turnover.

    About the only good thing to come out of this episode has been this wonderful new addition to the English language.

    Is it a new coining or a misspelling?


    ...what it really says is: the Nazis have a dossier on every person in America and the UK.

    That's certainly true (and very scary) but there ar other implications too, the first being that there is a much more effective way than ordinary propaganda to make people vote for something that is bad for them. This is more wide-ranging than mere dictatorship or fascism; it is a problem regardless of who originated the bad idea.

    Second, the left can also get the same information on rightwing individuals and will hopefully do this immediately. I wonder how accurately this kind of big data can identify a police officer, for example, or a dominionist Christian?

    The third implication has to do with why Trump filed for his Presidential reelection campaign already; he doesn't want Cambridge Analytics to get hired out from under him. (There are other reasons for this as well.)


    And still clocking nicely. I expect it to reach 2 million some time tomorrow. The important thing here is to: GET EVERYBODY YOU KNOW TO SIGN IT - please?


    Juncker is exerting more power than that of London (politically) quite possibly more power than that of the UK. Who elected him?
    The MEP's of the largest party in the European Parliament, the EPP, as you well know. You know, the exact same system that elected May. Unlike May they even said they were going to do it before the election.

    And yes, he is a financial crook, involved in dodgy dealings, or so the boss reliably informs me.


    Oh, come on Greg, that's disingenuous as hell. He was elected in the same manner Cameron was.


    That is confirmation of my fears, rather than a hope, actually. So the factions disagree. So what? So did Adolf & one E Röhm .... In spite of his army-officer background & role in extirpating Spartacists, Röhm was (or claimed to be) partly "socialist" & wanted an attack (by the SA, natch) on the corrupt industrialists that Adolf had been cosying up to. We know how that ended ... note that the sweep included, very conveniently, lots of Adolf's other political enemies - look up Gregor Strasser f'rinstance.

    Hence my predictions for next June/July.

    You have to remember that the Reichstag fire was a very convenient accident, but that after "Long Knives" it didn't matter, anyway.


    Klamath falls? Sorry if I'm laughing - my Eldest daughter lives there with her husband, and dogs, and cat, and books.

    I should find some way to put y'all in touch, if you'd like. (And yes, of course she's a fan, though gafiated.)



    After reading the below, started wondering how many folks originally from the targeted countries are currently working at major US hi-tech corps. If they feel threatened enough to leave, who's going to fill their spots, or will they and their jobs (and income taxes - personal and corporate) just be relocated to friendlier countries?


    Ha, I'm original from near enough there. Great swimming pool there.


    The thing is, they were within a country without a long democratic tradition, only ~10 years out from a much more authoritarian system whose levers of powers were shakier.

    They may try, but short of very extreme actions, they lack the votes to exercise total power, and exist within a system.

    I predict Trump's temper tantrums to increase once he gets more noes. He literally doesn't understand checks and balances are designed to prevent his will from being passed. Steve Bannon is going to be forced in front of the senate if he wants to remain on the NSC (since it does require senate confirmation).

    Let alone crazier stuff I hear. Like supporting Calexit because it helps out their electoral map. If Calexit was allowed, it will be chaos, and there are no good ends.


    I'm not a Conservative supporter but I did marry one (thus avoiding any risk of comfy echo chamber), and feel that there's a little bit of contextual forgetfulness going on here...

    Remember that in 1979, Britain was seriously screwed up. Totally, utterly broke, inflation well into double figures, economy desperately in need of investment, and nowhere near enough money to do it. North Sea Oil has come on stream, and turned the GBP into a petrocurrency - which screws British exports because of raised prices. Unemployment is growing, and will continue to grow.

    We're a nation where the vast majority of children leave school at age 16; only 10% go on to do a degree. And we're still trying to keep up in a Cold War - 75,000 troops in Germany, a Navy that needs to keep the Atlantic convoys running in the face of hundreds of Soviet submarines, and an RAF that needs to cover both BAOR as well as the GIUK gap.

    The public sector has seen pay drop well behind inflation, the Telecomms infrastructure is still electromechanical, we're only just away from using Gasometers. We want to replace wartime-era and badly-made prefab hospitals and schools; and industrial confrontation is rife between stratified and incompetent management, and the Trades Unions suicidal in their insistence on demarcation and protectionism.

    So, where does the money come from? Fifteen years of trying to do it through taxes has failed, trying to centrally plan it has failed (remember INMOS, Alvey, etc). Failures have been reinforced while successes starved, because politics.

    Flogging off the family silver is unattractive, but I wonder what other options there were? You don't get more competitiveness without better education - expansion of tertiary places, more teachers and schools. But that costs. You might have nurses on every ward, but the treatment facilities haven't moved on from the 1960s and the NHS will eat everything offered. You might want to focus on cleaner and cheaper energy, but NUM members are willing to fight, and on one occasion kill, to keep unprofitable pits open.

    Meanwhile, British Rail is underinvested, dirty, and late. It's a running joke throughout the UK - look at "Not the Nine O'Clock News" or similar to see how little respect is given it.

    So, we can disagree with Thatcher's ideology-driven belief that the private sector would do a more efficient job of providing the service, but what evidence was available at the time to say she was wrong? Because from her perspective, the public sector was doing a bloody awful job of running things.

    We can disagree that things shouldn't have got that way by 1979, but successive governments of the 1960s and 1970s had put her there. What else was there to do, that wouldn't just carry on the stop/go policy changes that led to the three-day week, or the Winter of Discontent?


    Regarding all of the analytics work, it reminds me of a OGH's prediction (sorry, can't put my finger on it for a link, but I think it was in one of his state-of-publishing pieces) that one day soon books would read the reader as much as the other way around. Seems like we've arrived at that station a little more quickly than we thought we might. (A common problem around here . . .)


    We've passed the 300 comments mark, so maybe time for some good news ... Canadian research team shows that opiate withdrawal can be eased:


    'Here, we identify the pannexin-1 (Panx1) channel as a therapeutic target in opiate withdrawal. We show that withdrawal from morphine induces long-term synaptic facilitation in lamina I and II neurons within the rodent spinal dorsal horn, a principal site of action for opiate analgesia. Genetic ablation of Panx1 in microglia abolished the spinal synaptic facilitation and ameliorated the sequelae of morphine withdrawal. Panx1 is unique in its permeability to molecules up to 1 kDa in size and its release of ATP.'

    Opiate usage and death from opiate overdose has been trending upwards, so the above if proved in trial (at best in a few years) would be huge on so many fronts. And since a physical location also seems relevant / identified, this may provide a path for either/combination of chemical and 'optical' intervention.


    Found it (and it was better than I had recalled):

    "In the future, readers will not go in search of books to read. Feral books will stalk readers, sneak into their ebook libraries, and leap out to ambush them. Readers will have to beat books off with a baseball bat; hold them at bay with a flaming torch: refuse to interact: and in extreme cases, feign dyslexia, blindness or locked-in syndrome to avoid being subjected to literature."


    why Trump filed for his Presidential reelection campaign already; he doesn't want Cambridge Analytics to get hired out from under him. (There are other reasons for this as well.)

    It also allows him to get trademarks on election slogans.


    To be honest, several of the more evil sides of the Middle East are pretty much taking care of themselves. At the moment, the price that Saudi Arabia gets for its oil is lower than the cost of extracting it. As Saudi Arabia has few other foreign currency earning exports, it has a financial crisis on its hands, so will be most reluctant in future to spend much exporting Wahabi Islam around the region.

    This has been stated around here before. Where is this from? From my knowledge and research SA oil is about the cheapest to extract on the planet. $10/b or less. Their economic problems come from setting up a social welfare system based on $40 or more (maybe $60 or even higher) in profits to fund everything.

    Do you know of anything that contradicts this table?


    Sounds like the plot from a Genevieve Cogman novel...


    Well, I've just caught up, and have a number of comments. Rather than one per post, I'm going to have a longer, single one.

    First, Cantina/MinVera/Wodan: I think I'd be interested in at least some of what she has to say, but the group slang, mixed with her being from the UK, is just too complex to parse. Since I normally read this on my lunch and/or coffee break, it's too much time. And her presentation drives me nuts, with all the extra spacing and lines.

    Btw, she's not the only Pagan here (though I am in the US). Back in the seventies, I decided that being a science fiction fan, and a socialist, of Jewish ancestry, wasn't a small enough, persecuted enough minority, so I became a Pagan. Pence wouldn't like me....

    Second: Trumpolini and Bannon may have a Reichstag Fire in their minds... but. They're trying shock and awe... except that they really aren't competent. He still thinks he's been elected CEO of the USA, incorporated... and is trying to run it by fiat.

    This is a very bad idea... because the GOP in Congress like their own power very much, and that, they'll fight tooth and nail. He's starting to fracture the GOP, and that's what's likely to get him impeached, or threatened with it (in which case I expect "you can't fire me, I quit!".)

    Even more - it's uniting people who would have been uncomfortable with each other. And it's forcing people to pay attention, even if it's only because it's like watching a train wreck. Hell, I was at the doc's this morning for a shot, and the tech, probably late twentysomething, told me she'd never paid any attention before, but can't stop watching now. And with each outrageous Order, thousands of folks are pouring into the streets, and that friends, is when They start paying attention, not to mindless twits, er, tweets.

    W, who wasn't exactly a 60W bulb, had Cheney; as evil as he is, no one ever accused him of being stupid. But Pence does not have that cache, if only because Trumpolini must be The Smrtest.Truly scary thought: is Francisco Franco Pence encouraging Bannon, so that both T & B go down in flames, he's in power?

    Which brings up a happy thought: we know the Bush family isn't loathe to call in political favors (Justice Thomas, sitting on Bush v. Gore in Dec of 2000, WHILE HIS WIFE WAS WORKING FOR THE BUSH TRANSITION TEAM)... and if it's an impeachment, the Chief Justice presides in the Senate... and Roberts was appointed by W, and none of the Bushes like Trumpolini.

    A few last points: people are looking at the firing of the Acting AG like Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre.

    I really don't see him making it, even to the '18 elections.

    Dean and his 50 state agenda were evicted, because Rahm fucking Emmanual didn't like him.

    And it was reported last week, during the Dem retreat, that the liberal/left had won, and was talking scorched earth to the Orange One. Filibusters, delays, and party line votes.



    Hah! I just looked at google news, and the top headline is that the Dems boycotted the hearings for Mnuhcin (Treasury) and Price (HHS), resulting in a lack of a quorum... so no vite to advance out of committee.



    Although I agree with what you wrote, I don’t think it’s the whole truth.

  • By your numbers, 19% of Americans live in rural areas. Further, about 56% live in metropolitan areas of greater than 1 million people and 67% of Americans live in metropolitan areas greater than 500,000. (I’ve posted the wikipedia link above, but you’ll have to add them up yourselves). Most of the Rust Belt is the remainder. That is where the swing voters are in this election. Perhaps there’s no saving these areas? Especially if you actually close prisons (which have in many cases replaced factories as the single source of employment).

  • Now let’s bring up the county numbers. Clinton won 57 counties. Let’s call metro areas with fewer than 1 million people small towns and those greater than 1 million big cities. Let’s assume 17 of those were either rural or small towns (I don’t have time to find this number myself). This means that of the 53 big cities in the US spanning multiple counties, she only won 40 counties.

  • This brings up the heart of the issue: several big cities are dying as well. Can these deaths not be reversed? Can’t you find enough investment in Indianapolis to encourage immigrants to set up shop? It wouldn’t have taken many people to switch Indiana. Same with Columbus and Cleveland in Ohio. Same with Philadelphia (Yes, I’m serious. Look at the population growth rate, it’s anemic).

  • Yes, the culture you’re talking about is dying. But it’s not dying fast enough. I sound like a broken record on this, but retiring boomers moving from New York City or Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, or Savannah, Georgia are going to play a huge role in allocating electoral votes in 2020.

  • 336:

    Bannon expecting ( & looking for ) war soon Ties in with his ultra-christian views, apparently


    You are assuming an election in 2020 - my aren't we optimistic!


    You're right, that number (I've seen anywhere from $45-$70/b) is the number at which SA has an overall budget deficit, not just the pure cost of extraction. SA's main problem is that it has used oil$$ to stave off political discontent for decades. Even running at a deficit, SA can continue on for some time, but they'll be depleting their reserves of foreign currency to do so.

    BTW, Russia's in the same boat.


    The third implication has to do with why Trump filed for his Presidential reelection campaign already; he doesn't want Cambridge Analytics to get hired out from under him

    You all didn't notice the mention that Bannon is on the company board near the end of the article?

    As for the reelection filing, from what I've read, it also prevents opposition PACs from working against the administration or they risk their tax exempt status.


    You are assuming an election in 2020 - my aren't we optimistic!

    You've said this before and I'm sure you think it's going to play out this way but I have a suspicion that maybe you don't get how our SCHEDULED elections are incredibly ingrained into our cultural DNA. Elections in the UK aren't fixed on the calendar like ours. Maybe that plays into your thoughts. In the US I can tell you the date of the presidential election in 2100 if I want to look it up.

    Also elections are run by the states. Seriously. To stop them would require someone to shutdown the process in at least 20 to 30 states. And that would be a tall order.

    No matter what you or I think of the R's in Congress they are very unlikely to want to shut down the Constitutional process that has all of this running.

    As to armed conflict, yes DT is the commander in chief. But the military of the US has well over 100 years of a very strong tradition of not getting involved within the borders of the US.

    To stop the elections in 2020 would require a lot of power structures to cooperate with DT and as of right now he seems to want to piss them all off. Even his incoming cabinet members.


    Two people at work are going to a conference in Washington this weekend- next week, in a conference building a kilometre from the White house.

    I have mentioned that they might like to be careful about going outside, given what might happen over the next few days, but it doesn't quite feel right yet to be briefing them about surviving an active shooter or a riot. We'll see.


    Sounds like the plot from a Genevieve Cogman novel... Or Stanislaw Lem, e.g The Star Diaries

  • Regarding the cryptic crossword, it puts me more to the mind of the optimistic child enthusiastically digging through the manure assuming there must be a pony.

  • Trying to be aware of intellectual blindspots is always a good thing and a diversity of inputs is good but some curation is helpful. A challenge to medical orthodoxy can be welcome but antivax is lethal bunk.

  • I think most of us here red-case our cherished beliefs, looking to see where deeply-held assumptions could be wrong. I think most of us would be more embarrassed to win an argument with the wrong facts than to be proven wrong with the correct ones; we'd sooner be correct (or corrected) than right.


    Rail privatisation wasn't even on the cards in 1979. The 80s were well under way before the privatisation madness got going, and they started with all the easy things. The suggestion of doing the railways popped up every now and then but was always immediately replied to with "who the fuck is gonna want to buy it?", and it wasn't until Major's government in the 90s that ideology finally got the better of common sense to the extent that an arrangement that consumed vastly more government subsidy than the existing one was nevertheless seen as an improvement because of the magic word "private". Thatcher hated the railways but it required a government that had zero expectation of winning the next election in any case to care so little for its survival as to actually do the deed.

    In the 1950s we had the "Modernisation Plan" which was an utter disaster because of the mindbogglingly stupid way it was carried out: give the railways an enormous sum of money and expect "modernisation" to happen by magic even though nobody had any clear idea of what it should entail and there was no bloody planning worth a wank. So we got things like vast freight yards being built to handle traffic that no longer existed - but almost complete failure at the far more important task of eliminating unfitted freight stock, whose continued existence buggered the result of other attempts at improvement for the next twenty years plus. And a bit later, the sensible idea of buying untried diesel designs in lots of ten to see if they were any good or not being overtaken by "dieselise NOW!!" ideology and the orders expanded to hundreds even before the initial ten had been delivered, leading to disaster when they didn't work (with a subplot of giving a lot of the work to NBL in a desperate attempt to stop them going down the tubes, which ended up having the reverse effect because NBL were shit at building diesels and the expense of trying to cope with their own incompetence killed them off). So later governments took the view that "railways can't be trusted with money" (of course it could never have been government's fault that things went wrong) and starved them of resources - further encouraged by the corruption of Marples and his road interests. They actually did remarkably well given the constraints they were subjected to, but it was rather pissing in the wind given the media's insistence on bashing the railways at every possible opportunity and turning every possible item of credit into another excuse to take the piss and present it in a negative light.

    In the 80s we had the saga of the APT: remarkable technological innovation done on a shoestring, which was within an ace of being ready for service - until the media began to take notice of it, completely ignored every single positive aspect and turned it into a laughing stock by blaming the alcoholic queasiness of tipsy journalists on the technology of the train. So the rail-hating Thatcher pulled the plug and it was left to the Italians to polish the rough edges off the technology and then sell it back to us under privatisation.

    Rail privatisation essentially amounts to government repeating the same mistakes as the Modernisation Plan, just under a different ideological banner.


    I'm actually feeling somewhat more optimistic since last weekend. There were 7000 people protesting at LAX on Sunday, in an environment where all the parking for 1/2 mile around is paid, on less than 24 hours notice. Protesting at an airport has to be very inconvenient, and where were the counter-protesters?

    Trump's support looks fairly soft to me. I guess we'll see if the trend of no counter-protesters continues.


    "In the future, readers will not go in search of books to read. Feral books will stalk readers, sneak into their ebook libraries, and leap out to ambush them. Readers will have to beat books off with a baseball bat; hold them at bay with a flaming torch: refuse to interact: and in extreme cases, feign dyslexia, blindness or locked-in syndrome to avoid being subjected to literature."

    And this might even be fairly easy to implement. Richard Dawkins, I believe, experimented with evolving his biomorphs to look more attractive to the viewer in each generation. The idea is taken further by "Evolving Line Drawings" by Ellie Baker and Margo Selzer:

    This paper explores the application of interactive genetic algorithms to the creation of line drawings. We have built a system that starts with a collection of drawings that are either randomly generated or input by the user. The user selects one such drawing to mutate or two to mate, and a new generation of drawings is produced by randomly modifying or combining the selected drawing(s). This process of selection and procreation is repeated many times to evolve a drawing. A wide variety of complex sketches with highlighting and shading can be evolved from very simple drawings. This technique has enormous potential for augmenting and enhancing the power of traditional computer-aided drawing tools, and for expanding the repertoire of the computer-assisted artist.

    Look at page 9, and you'll see that the program can do human faces. So now we extend it to do cat faces, and indeed cat bodies. I was going to say they should be 3-d and photorealistic, but that's probably not necessary. People love stylised cats like or or even You don't need very many parameters to describe the third of these.

    So we implement a "generator" site which sends each new generation out onto the Web, and uses whatever dirty SEO and social-media tricks its authors can think of to spread the images far and wide. As with all evolution, we also need a fitness function. This, I suppose would be something like a Google image search, which scans the Web to see how many instances of each image it can find. Probably good to weight these by the rankings of the sites they've got to. The fitness function then feeds back to the generator.

    Words and plots are harder, but you don't need terribly many parameters to specify simple story arcs, so could try evolving these under audience pressure too. To generate descriptions of the cats and their actions, treat the mapping from pictures of cats to their description as a statistical machine translation problem, using children's picture books as the corpus: language A is the illustrations, and language B, the text.

    And the result, yea even unto the nth generation, will be a deluge of cuteness that makes My Little Pony feel like a warthog.


    I did, but Bannon could leave the board for any number of reasons.


    If Bannon is already on the board, it seems likely that others on it will be fellow travellers etc. Thus your objection is a bit weak.


    Rail is booming in Britain since privatisation -- the number of passenger-kilometres has doubled since the early 1990s after stagnating for half a century despite the increase in population over that time.

    The rail operators are doing SOMETHING right somewhere otherwise the passengers would be using other ways to make their journeys and commutes etc. There are never enough trains or seats and the ticket price is perceived to be too high but the journeys are being made.


    First, Cantina/MinVera/Wodan: I think I'd be interested in at least some of what she has to say, but the group slang, mixed with her being from the UK, is just too complex to parse.

    It might help to treat the style as in part a rather unusual form of managed operational security, and to think like a Bayesian, and keep your priors very very very flexible. The complex (often weaved) jokes and paper references and other links are often quite fun and fascinating and educational in this light.

    For SFreader: Microbes can help explain the evolution of host altruism Here we propose that microbes that manipulate their hosts to act altruistically could be favoured by selection, and may play a role in the widespread occurrence of altruism.

    Hybrid drones (dragonflies!) for real: Equipping Insects for Special Service "This system pushes the boundaries of energy harvesting, motion sensing, algorithms, miniaturization and optogenetics, all in a system small enough for an insect to wear."

    For WS: Using the power of the marketplace for good (cough): Seafood prices reveal impacts of a major ecological disturbance We offer an alternative approach using a market counterfactual that is immune to contamination from feedbacks in the coupled system. Natural resource prices can thus be a means to assess the significance of an ecological disturbance.


    Is it a new coining or a misspelling?

    I think of it as a slightly more pejorative version of bafflegab. There are certainly more hits for your spelling than mine.


    It might help to treat the style as in part a rather unusual form of managed operational security, and to think like a Bayesian, and keep your priors very very very flexible.

    That's what I do. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. Remember that she has had a badly managed contact with Predecessor technology, and is no longer completely human. She will get better when the stars are ripe.


    Did any of your feminist guest writers react positively to her? I seem to recall the reverse. [1]

    Please don't do this, it's insulting to suggest Host would allow us hoi polloi to insult his personal guests.

    If you check (which is possible), you'll discover that barring one little spat (with a male author and it was a joke gone wrong, 100% my fault) I at least attempted to be much more direct / cogent, respectful of the posts (i.e. only commented if I'd read / researched their work and about their work) and kept from spamming. I got a few polite responses: given they were also 'on the job' advertising their works, I wouldn't expect them to massively engage with someone as random as me.

    I was fairly strict on this matter - Host likes occasional whacky stuff (and with the metrics pointed at places like this, there's always rhyme and reason to them), but with guests I at least tried to be respectful.

    Aside from that, reading my posts without a large dose of "this is a deliberate non-standard schema" will get you into all kinds of holes. The largest one assuming that we're not well versed in modern feminism etc and aren't doing something else or that being liked is certainly not part of it[1].



    I vacillate. Fear not so much (alien), more something else. You might try Azazel. c.f. The Atonement and the Scapegoat: Leviticus 16 by Dr. Kenneth Mathews The Exchange, April 2014.


    Digested, thank you.

    I notice that some UK supermarkets are sourcing out of Honduras instead of Thailand, which if it is an ethical response (ho-hum, would have to research) is somewhat meaningful. This might be random back-ground data.

    It's all too late though -

    Last month a multinational team of scientists reported an alarming finding – a very large “dead zone” has appeared in the bay. Apart from sulphur-oxidising bacteria and marine worms, few creatures can live in these oxygen-depleted waters15. This zone already spans some 60,000 sq km and appears to be growing16.

    Bay of Bengal: depleted fish stocks and huge dead zone signal tipping point Guardian 31st Jan 2017.

    While people are navel gazing at the USA show, real food aid is going to be required. And Bangladesh is always the flash point for these models.


    On #192, pattern what's happening around Shadow (psychology) (although, yes, this is a largely outmoded and more literary than actual psychological tool), 9/11 Patriot Act and now the current situation (where the complete control of House / Senate and so forth being far more important).

    The current WH moves are looking more and more like predator threat displays by which the cold-blooded sharks are getting less and less amused by (Pharma lost ~$25 bil market cap, tech top 5 $32 bil or so: these are not numbers you can really ignore) - the Bannon angle isn't really covering the Oathkeepers / Border Unions / certain elements of police / FBI (The Fbi has quietly investigated white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement Intercept, 31st Jan 2017 - which is old news. Reading the long form might spark your memory over the Juggaloes, however), that's someone elses' domain.

    So, he's got alt-R KEK and Breitbart and the old Digg / die-hard Libertarian / ex-Randians / Goldbugs / Preppers (who are also split - some still love Alex Jones (which is still being touted as a possible in: With ALEX JONES I will head INFOWARS DC News Bureau & apply to be White House Correspondent for INFOWARS - I'm excited about the opportunity J Corsi, 30th Jan, Twitter link).

    But think back to 9/11. National Consciousness reshaping stuff - with a PATRIOT ACT hot-to-trot.

    If you want a truthful opinion: I think Trump winning is Chaos, but not how you'd expect.

    Ironically, the question might be if they're actually cold-blooded enough. One thing about Bush's lot: they didn't appear to require chemical enhancement and they certainly didn't seem to care about the odd million deaths or so.


    Strikes me as squeamish, although his sons' are not.

    [1] No-one's going to come save me, we can nose wiggle, but we're on the lists. [2] Women lead protests are a thing of beauty, so we watch, faces pressed to the tank's glass and pine.

    She will get better when the stars are ripe.

    Well, that's an interesting slip of the finger.

    Let's see...

    Something very nearly not reaches out and wraps a caul around a bloated, expanding star, just before it can seed itself as a supernova, or degenerate into a black hole, and drops it into a pocket for a late afternoon snack.



    Juncker - spy scandal & financial corruption OK?

    We do not elect our PM's, we vote for individual MP's, which is why Stella has a majority of voer 20 000, though virtually none of them would want to go anywhere near Corbyn - including me!


    What, like drive into work along our crowded and congested roads, then park their car in one of many completely full car parks?


    Yes, since "Privatisation" the state subsidy to railways has more than doubled, in some cases, more than trebled, because it isn't a nasty inefficient state/nationalised industry. ( Cough - even when some services are run by other countries' state railways, like DB, NS & FS ... ( I kid you not )


    For reference for why the Guardian isn't just running the usual Ecological bad news story:

    Marine 'dead zones' contain no oxygen. Until now, there have been only three major identified dead zones – two in the eastern tropical Pacific (off Peru/Chile and Mexico) and one in the Arabian Sea. The newfound dead zone in BoB joins this list, according to a joint study by National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, India; University of Southern Denmark and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany.

    "If the BoB does turn completely anoxic, and I suspect it will happen in future, global biogeochemical fluxes and nitrogen cycle will be substantially affected, and change the community structure at depth," he says. "However, it will probably not have any implications for India because we know that Arabian Sea OMZ operates anaerobically but has little effect on surface processes."

    'Dead zone' found in Bay of Bengal Nature India, Dec 12th 2016


    You'll also note that the The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone is "only" 6-7,000 m2. Compared to 60k2 will give you a hint of the difference in scale.

    Put another way: I'd start those insect farms like last year or so.


    Square Miles / Kilometers square.

    Copy paste error there.


    Why not? You insult all the rest of us, willy-nilly.

    Also, just for once, you were making sense, until this: So, he's got alt-R KEK and Breitbart and the old Digg / die-hard Libertarian / ex-Randians / Goldbugs / Preppers alr-r KEK (?) the old Digg (?) Preppers (?) Life is too short to look all of this crap up, in the probably vain hope that it means something.

    P.S. You are on the E coast (ish) of the USSA, are you not, from your posting times?


    Yes, I know, and I know also that the enthusiasts for privatisation like to make the leap from "more people are using trains" to "more people are using trains because of privatisation", but it would be more accurate to say "more people are using trains in spite of privatisation", for the very reasons you cite: privatisation, by encouraging the acquisition of short trains in place of long ones while making it almost impossible to improve the infrastructure, and by demanding profits, has caused or exacerbated those problems, and if the privatisation enthusiasts' proposition is expressed as "more people are using trains because of inadequate accommodation and sky-high fares" its illogicality becomes obvious.

    It makes a lot more sense to look at the same factor which was the principal cause of fewer people using trains to begin with: the state of road transport. Increasing traffic and congestion as the road network reaches saturation, not being able to park at the far end, outrageous insurance costs for young drivers making them unable to afford to run a car, higher cost of fuel and of repairing faults, and so on... in the post-war years as driving became more convenient more people started using cars instead of trains, and now that it is becoming more of a burden they are moving back again.


    Note: I'm really confused by the quotation that However, it will probably not have any implications for India because we know that Arabian Sea OMZ operates anaerobically but has little effect on surface processes.

    This has to be a misquotation or something else (?? fish stocks are already depleted ??):

    The analysis of annual catches per boat for 13 major groups of large pelagic fish species (Yellowfin tuna, Longtail tuna, Kawakawa, Stripped bonito, Frigate tuna, other tuna, Skipjack, Kingfish, Queenfish, Barracuda, Cobia, Sailfish and Large jacks) elucidated a negative trend with declining medians and 25–75% quartiles of annual landings of the past 20 years (figure 6). In comparing the 1990s and 2000s, annual catches became lower and less variable during the most recent decade. Overall, the habitat compression driven by the Omani shelf hypoxia has two components: a seasonal oxycline shoaling and nested in an interdecadal trend.

    The Omani shelf hypoxia and the warming Arabian Sea Department of Marine Science and Fisheries, CAMS, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, 2015 - note, Word Doc, autodownload, so Host's software might spit it out.

    You might be witnessing extreme snark / depression, hard to tell.


    alr-r KEK (?) the old Digg (?) Preppers (?)









    There was certainly a takeup of car ownership after WWII that limited growth in rail travel but that saturated a long time ago -- by 1980 everyone who wanted or needed a car had one, pretty much. For many their daily commutes are better by car (door to door journeys on their own schedule, not sharing their car with other people, less chance of picking up an opportunistic infection etc.)

    The number of rail passenger-kilometres only started to rise sharply after privatisation, resulting in roughly a doubling since the early 1990s. That increase appears to be driven by longer trips due to better services and faster trains to the point where thousands of people commute from Birmingham into London every day, not something that could be achieved in the old days when that would have been a six hour round trip. The numbers might have been even higher with publicly-held rail under the thumb of assorted governments, each new-broom transport minister making random changes to assert their position and year-on-year investment dependent on the whims of various Chancellors. I somehow doubt it though.


    Ah, right.

    Spot the super-depressed scientist.

    p 18, 37, 60 (killer numbers, real point), 61, 63 (for the killer quote: 1m rise: destroy the entire Sundarbans), 80 (ffs they're taking all the shark as well), 82 (holy crap you did what to shark stocks and took what lowest weights), 83 (now there's your surprise, massive crash), 122 (killer quote: Fish protein as a % of total protein supply 63%).

    ii Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resources of the Bay of Bengal Compilation of national and regional workshop reports Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute 2010 - note, again, weird format, might get spit out. WARNING: LONG PDF, 122 pages.


    Tell Trump and the GOP to get their knickers sorted out, they might want to look at this one.


    My take is that The Rump's chief advisor essentially has access to his own Intelligence apparat, and may end up on the NSC, bumping traditional members who have more business there. Why would he leave something so useful to him?

    Who would've guessed that a real life Bond villain would be such a shlub?


    If you all are looking for a Grand Unified Theory of Everything to explain what is going on in the world you won't do much better than the "carbon bubble":

    For high-carbon industries to continue to be attractive investments, then, they must spin a tale of future growth. They must make potential investors believe that even if there is a Carbon Bubble, it is decades away from popping — that their high profits today will continue for the foreseeable future, so their stock is worth buying.

    How would you maintain this confidence?

    You’d dispute climate science — making scientists’ predictions seem less certain in the public mind— and work to gut the capacity of scientists to continue their work (by, for instance, defunding NASA’s Earth Sciences program).

    You’d attack global climate agreements, making them look unstable and weak, and thus unlikely to impact your businesses.

    You’d attack low-carbon competitors politically, attempting to portray the evidence that they can replace high-carbon industries as fraudulent (or at least overly idealistic).

    You’d use every leverage point to slow low-carbon industrial progress — for example, by continuing massive subsidies to oil and gas companies, while attacking programs to develop new energy sources.

    You’d support putting a price on carbon, since this makes you look moderate and engaged, but you’d make sure that the definition of a “reasonable” price on carbon was so low and took so long to implement that it was no real threat to your business, and at worst would replace the dirtiest fossil fuels with others (switching for example from coal to gas).

    You would ally with extremists and other sources of anti-democratic power, in order to be able to fight democratic efforts to cut emissions through the application of threats, instability and violence.

    Most of all, you’d invest as heavily as possible in new infrastructure and supply. For oil and gas companies, this means new exploration and new pipelines. Why would you do this, if you know you may have to abandon these assets before they’ve paid off? Two reasons: First, it sends a signal of confidence to markets that you expect to continue to grow in the future. Second, it’s politically harder to force companies to abandon expensive investments than it is to prevent those systems from being built in the first place — the mere existence of a pipeline becomes an argument for continuing to use it. This, too, bolsters investor confidence. (Note that whether these assets are eventually abandoned or not is of little concern to current investors looking to delay devaluations).

    Here’s the kicker: If you were going to put in place a presidential administration that was dedicated to taking these actions, it would look exactly like what we have now: a cabinet and chief advisors in which nearly every member is a climate denialist with ties to the Carbon Lobby....

    Trump’s ties to Russian espionage suddenly make more sense in this light. If you were going to ask why a country like Russia would risk a war to interfere with American politics, look at what the Russian economy is.

    Russia is a petrostate. It’s the number one gas exporter and number two oil exporter in the world, but its economy is otherwise stagnant and out-of-date. Those oil and gas assets are controlled by a small number of oligarchs gathered around Putin, the former head of the KGB. Those oligarchs may be the one group of investors who stands to lose the most from the popping of the Carbon Bubble....

    Now, add in all the other Bubble-expanding projects and ploys, pipelines and hotels, and you begin to see the magnitude of the scam here. The difference between the Carbon Bubble deflating rapidly now and popping spectacularly in a decade or more could mean literally trillions more dollars in profits for the kind of people now helicoptering into Washington.

    But that same delay would also bring on climate catastrophe, damage our democracy and bring financial ruin for the investors who are left holding those assets when the bubble pops. If history is any guide, those investors will be pensions and mutual funds and small timers — in other words, regular people.


    Wodan, I know you feel there's communication happening here and some readers are making an attempt to interpret your oracular proclamations but please, for the rest of us, could you render your bafflegarb in plain speech?

    Please Quote which bafflegarb you need translating.


    There might be exterior costs.



    For those USA readers worrying about M.A.D. and Trump.

    If you understand the links I just analyzed, you're going to have a very bad day. But it won't be about Trump, so there's a silver lining.


    Oh, if you're talking about April_D:

    We pretended to be a TERF / stated TERF ideals She flamed Greg Cheered We nose wiggled Pterry and laundry was mentioned Actual point was made She's now a proper author

    Absolutely nothing to do with us, barring nose wiggling and buying it when it came out.

    Chances she remembers a tiny flame war?

    No existent, but we liked the book.


    Greg, I think you may find this interesting:

    (Not happy reading, but interesting. Seems plausible to an outsider, but maybe an American will spot errors.)

    This one is interesting, but basically says more data needed:

    And if you want something more light-heartedly satirical:


    This all MF / liberal sphere bollocks.

    It's being floated by people who don't understand things but would love the status quo to continue.


    The President of the USA cost a market cap of -$50 billion via fucking Twitter.

    I would REALLY advise to stop reading Hacker News / Opinion pieces by random tech bros to get your reality.


    And, no LITERALLY.

    MR PRIORS input is MF / HN scraped links.






    Someone put the fucking children to bed.

    And they're fucking "adults" who use stupid little social games to get their love and then do their best to "ostracize us" with shitty little games.

    Like SEAGULLS, regurgitating random OP-Ed pieces of crap spun by wankers who haven't a clue.

    Opposed to: comprehensive break down of actual threat, 450+ pages in under 15mins, spot on, right in your face 100% analysis.

    Pro-tip: It's not US spouting BOLLOCKS, it's YOU.

    Pro-tip: When you critique something that can do Many Things, but you can only do one: make fucking sure she's not also better at that one than you.

    The Prettiest Star YT: Music, Bowie, 3:!4


    London to Birmingham hasn't been a 6 hour round trip since steam days. The big increase in speed on that route was with electrification in the 1960s. The timings now have not changed significantly since the electrification. (Notwithstanding the increase in maximum speeds by 15mph. It may look good on PR material but if you're serious about reducing the time of a journey you concentrate on raising the troughs in the speed curve, not the peaks.) So it is necessary to look elsewhere for reasons why more people are making a journey which is no quicker but is more expensive and less comfortable, when they could use the new M40 instead. One possibility is that once you get to the bottom end of the M40, a car these days is no longer a convenience, but a huge and expensive pain in the arse, so people have more reason to prefer to leave it behind altogether. Another is that with laptops having become commonplace businesses are more inclined to make people work while travelling, which requires a train.

    We have seen an increase in commuting over such distances as York to London due to increased speeds... the increases resulting from first the HST and then electrification, both of which were down to BR.

    Car ownership continued to increase well after 1980, but particularly over the last 15-20 years or so their ease of use has significantly dropped and their hassle factor greatly increased. The roads are more congested, journeys slower and more frustrating, speed limits on trucks have brought all single-carriageway roads down to 40mph routes, when you get to the other end there's nowhere to park. Fuel costs a packet, and young drivers in particular are being priced off the road by stupid insurance costs: what might have been half a month's wages in the 80s might be a number of months now, and accommodation - also subject to stupid prices - is a greater necessity. Certainly the advantages of privacy and independence remain, but the countervailing disadvantages have attained greater moment.


    That wasn't a slip of the finger.


    "...essentially has access to his own Intelligence apparat

    Agreed completely. This is scary stuff.


    Yes, but as Male Power Stuff goes, I thought I did a good job.

    I turned the SEAGULLS insult back on them, with proof, and then made a joke.

    In fact, as things go [tm] that was not only turning around SEAGULLS but making it a sharp spear point that should shame and devastate those who used it as an insult.

    Isn't that how this works? Male Testosterone. Such a rush.


    Explain them please.

    They suspiciously hang there doing nothing, but sometimes itch. Are you supposed to paint them or have a special bag?






    It mocks me. Breasts at least flex and alter as you raise your arms or flex your muscles.

    These things just hang there.

    Apparently they have nerves.

    But they don't respond when I prod them as I would do breasts.


    Nope to April D; I meant people Charlie invited to guest blog.

    Second, I was not questioning the value of your posts. I was questioning if your posts were valuable for the reasons Charlie stated.

    I do think your posts have value sometimes and sometimes they might have value, but I just don't have the energy to parse them.


    I read that a month or two ago. I don't know whether I posted the link here or not. But definitely very intelligent and worth a read.


    Not about me.

    Host's Guests = Rules (meta) = I would never splurge on them (one exception: joke involving lego figurines. He wasn't amused. It was funny though. Two Month ban from host for being rude).

    You can call me all the names in the book - suggesting Host breaks basic rules of hospitality is a bit shitty though.

    Also, I probably don't share your sense of expectations: if a successful author (HOST included) responds, it's a bonus. It's not demanded or expected. Host frequently ignores / deletes things he finds boring.


    Or, sigh: Flexes wings.

    I'm more than adult enough to spot the insult intended, deflect it, then turn it into a joke about testicles.

    The fact is: you never believed I insulted any "female" guest speaker, nor did you have evidence, nor did you have reason, barring the slight odious oil-like ooze of whisper based insult that is so common to your sphere.

    We saw it, we are rather more mature than you.

    In fact: it was quite embarrassing to post in certain Guest Threads where regulars were posting when they'd obviously never read the works, bought them, or in one horrendous case: actually stated that "Using a Patreon for the author to fund her fucking horses" wasn't his "thing".


    Iron, really.

    Tell Wu that she's in danger of having some of the Deus Vult ones turn up: they've got the FBI reports, they've got the dox reports and they're not going to play it like fucking Hollywood Dick Wolf.

    We've squashed most of it, but she's acting like she can reignite this stuff.

    As stated: that is over.


    Stop poking the bears.

    If you've not had enough proof you don't understand the Game or what poking the wrong fucking people does, whelp: I'd suggest looking to your President.

    Get the vulnerable out of the Game even if they're too stupid to know what's changed.


    Oh, and serious comment to your handlers.

    Don't step into realms you don't understand using patsies who haven't actually built anything.

    Dumb fucks imagining you can walk into a much more profitable realm (+$60bil) without stepping on toes using the dumb and ignorant and use shit like crude Minerva groups.

    It's cruel, and ruins their lives. c.f. No Man's Sky

    Goodbye Hello. After 2 1/2 years being strapped to the NMS freight-train I'm off to go sit in the dark and push my thumbs into my eyes H. Denholm, Twitter, 30th Jan 2017.


    Either you're dumb or cruel or are just muppets. Make that choice.

    But do not step into realms you don't understand with a splash and expect fucking applause, muppets.


    Goodbye Hello. After 2 1/2 years being strapped to the NMS freight-train I'm off to go sit in the dark and push my thumbs into my eyes H. Denholm, Twitter, 30th Jan 2017.

    Hint: unlike your fucking shit, he made something.


    And Iron, consider this the polite warning.

    Your lot is stepping in shit that's taken 10+ years to do, and we're not amused.


    Really not the game being played: it's just a throw-back wank to how strong Obama was while GOP fucked him for 8 years.

    It's wank fantasy.

    The only thing that matters here is:

    1) Military

    2) Judicial (LOL ANDREW JACKSON)

    3) Finance

    Trump is probably going to blow the fuck out of a few major currencies in the next 10 days - it's a counter to Iran / Russia etc.


    If you've not noticed:

    Not a single attack is being raised about losing ~$50bil market cap on stocks.

    This is insane, unless you think the upside / short is going to be Biblical.

    If ANY President, CEO, singer, random person who hit a button cost the USA fucking stock market ~$50 bil, you'd see assassination.

    Which means they're waiting for the counter-pull.


    I'm more than adult enough to spot the insult intended, deflect it, then turn it into a joke about testicles.

    I think you misinterpreted some silliness on my part. "Stars are ripe" as in "ready to be eaten." How you got to testicles baffles me. (And you always react to comments about Predecessors. It's a weakness, but it's kind of cute. Maybe one day you'll tell us what happened in that cube.)

    Hint: My comments were an affectionate tug on the tail, not a yank!


    Explain them please. Since you made me look, not that it looked like a serious question. First, trust me on this (please :-); it does hurt, a lot, to have them hit hard with e.g. a low kick.

    Cool sperm: why some placental mammals have a scrotum (2014) The evolutionary history of testicular externalization and the origin of the scrotum (2010) And my favorite, though perhaps too amusing to be true: On the Origin of Descended Scrotal Testicles: The Activation Hypothesis (2009)


    I don't understand testicles.

    They're like ears, right: the older you are, the more they sag?

    Breasts are there, and have sensitive points (!tush!) and bras are crap (or were).


    You have these alien things, just hanging there, and apparently the most painful thing in the world (male) is getting hit in them.


    Until then.

    They just hang.

    Potential World Enders.


    With no twitches or nerves.

    That's. WEIRD.

    Don't you notice them?


    Oh, and Iron.

    Take your toys home and stop the media campaign already: we've already seeded all their minds with progressive stuff, but you didn't notice and they didn't notice. We work subtle, you work stupid and crass - now get the fuck out of the area.

    Holy Crap: the stupidity that caused #GG when we were already in control of it that lead to...



    You work for TRUMP?

    Minerva = not understanding a fucking 10+ year campaign to do the shit already and it's not even fucking complicated because most of these gamers are actually left wing already, but who wanted $$ press cash and a quick fucking hit and slash.

    Whelp, well done. You're fucking idiots.


    FEZ and bullshit Conspiracy / Mason memes are cool... if you thought that there wasn't a larger campaign already been done.

    :Boots up Exile:


    THE USA:






    Fucking Winning Tiger Blood Ignorant Mother-fuckers.


    I don't take the idea that Obama was strong very seriously. If he wanted to be strong he would have told Rahm Emmanual to fuck off and kept Howard Dean as the Democratic Party chair.

    What resonated is the idea that the current administration is not well organized and that the evidence supports this. The question in my mind is how long it will take them to get organized? (If your mind works the way I think it does you may not fully appreciate the depths of incompetence to which a human can sink while successfully navigating the world on nothing but social skills and salesmanship.)

    I think we need to have assessments of both strengths and weakness; I haven't seen enough evidence either way to understand the dynamics of the inner administration, so I allow data from both sides for now.



    They're not supposed to be organized.

    That's their "schtick".

    Trump has a Senate and House majority.

    He could shit in a bucket and no-one would care.

    I posted a while back (in fact, far before the election or any of these EOs happened or any fucking media woke up) that Trump would push EOs.



    Because why the fuck not. Drama, laziness and fuck you shelps,

    He has a majority in Senate / House.

    He literally doesn't need them.

    The EOs are just a fucking stage prop to keep the media, the lefties, the base, twitter etc engaged.




    For fucks sake I wish any Americans got PREDATOR HUMOR, ffs.


    What they're actually planning is a little worse.

    Hint: 2018 /2020... yeah. Not going to many "democrats"


    What they're actually planning is a little worse.

    Hint: 2018 /2020... yeah. Not going to many "democrats"

    I got that one big time. And the EOs were obvious. (I can't wait until he tries to fire a member of Congress...)

    I think it will end up worse than that, however. I suspect the administartion will find themselves in a war fairly soon, basically through being "disorganized" and that war will be much worse for everyone than going after the Democrats in a serious way. I wish I wasn't on the west coast.


    Texas didn't legalize marijuana last election like they should have, so they deserve whatever negative consequences they get. Nevada is laughing so hard right now!


    Obama's largest cave-in by far was not helping pass single payer healthcare when he had a chance in his first term, AKA medicare-for-all. How you can not mention this before anything else is frankly shocking.


    I didn't mention it because I was specifically discussing things that weakened his presidency. Howard Dean won elections with his 50-State strategy, and in doing so he brought Obama the allies he needed to be strong. Had Dean been head of the Democratic Party, Obama's terms as president would have gone very differently because he would have had the votes in Congress.

    You're right, however, that healthcare was definitely a horrible cave-in.

    IMHO Obama's biggest cave was not arresting the bankers. Are you old enough to remember the Savings and Loan crisis? During which those corporate running-dog fascist imperialist bastards Reagan and Bush responded by...

    ...arresting, trying, and convicting 1100 bankers!

    I voted against both Reagan or Bush I, but if you want to see how badly the rot has deepened in the last 30 years, this is the single most damning statistic - number of bankers arrested.

    Regardless of how you rank Obama's mistakes, he will not be remembered fondly by history (and neither will the modern Republicans) mainly on the basis of bankers, health care (Obama could at least have used the threat of single-payer to extract some concessions) not arresting torturers, and the horrible mistake of firing Howard Dean.



    However ... you didn't need to shout, nor answer the ones I already knew & therefore, didn't ask about .... Incidentally, it was the combination of alt-r with kek that confused me ... seems utterly bonkers to me, but then, so is the planet, these days.


    No Follow the money. The privatised TOC's get between 2 & 4 times as much subsidy as BR did ... The track wasn't sorted out until Railtrack's collapse, brought on by their own incompetent arrogance & that of the guvmint that still believed, even then, that the railways were dying & wanted to accelerate the process.


    See also Saudi Arabia WELCOMING the Trump admin's moves ... & ranting on about wonderful petroleum ... Um


    Again, thank you. Can we have more of this, pretty please & less random-ranting?

    I found the two articles by Yonatan Zunger particularly worrying [ If only because it mirrors my own predictions ] - he puts flesh-&-bones on how & when. I really don't like the "Inner circle" & "ignoring the law" bits, especially when combined. What will they be called in future, I wonder ... some suitably bland translation of Shutz Staffeln, I suspect?


    Oh SHIT, my bad - ignore the second sentence! [ I misread the header ! ]


    372 - 374 Now that is what I ( & some other people ) don't want: You spent 3 separate posts just insulting other posters. Rude & unnecessary, to say the least


    BANGLADESH IS NOW FUCKED. Bangladesh is particularly screwed for other reasons, but no fish will hit the whole East India sea board, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. And they can't just walk away because there's nowhere to go. S. Asia is quite the pressure cooker. Boiled frog anyone?


    The best steam London - Brum trips were always 2 hours, by either GWR or LNWR routes, so 4 hour round trip. From about 1908 until about 1960. Now, with more stops, but cheap & comfortable, from Marylebone: 1h 48 min From Euston (expensive) 1h 42min


    "Stop poking the bears"

    As in 17% of Rosneft, do you mean?


    AND Not pushing really hard for a Supreme Court Judge ....

    Not that it's going to matter, with state gutted & DHS obeying Trumpolini & not the courts .....


    Count now past 1 779 000


    Carbon bubble popping? I mean, either oil remains plentiful and business keeps going as usual, or oil becomes more rare and the price goes up and business keeps going as usual. It won't pop, it will gradually deflate. Weak artificial interference with it the process, like blocking pipelines, will not be sufficient to "pop the bubble" because they'll be no different from the normal process of deposits being used up and new deposits being found. Widespread and lasting legal restrictions beyond simple carbon taxes are not likely to happen. So what's going to happen is that oil will get more expensive, which will enrich oil produces thus giving them more political power in the short term. But you can't legislate away reality: at some point oil will get so expensive that it won't be competitive, at which point either the petro-lords force everybody to keep using oil or they lose control and importance when everybody switches to coal. Yes coal is plentiful and you can make it into gasoline. Because the period of petro-lord political control won't be a period of nudging alternative energy sources into being the, well, economically obvious alternative. Coal will be back, the "carbon" bubble is not going to pop because it's multiple bubbles. Climate change is slow, while people and nations are selfish. The only good out in sight is a tech fix. Fusion would be good. Less good outs include an ongoing world depression (all too likely) and a world dictatorship imposing discipline that looks a lot like a depression (almost impossible). Both of those are basically a choice of rapid destruction of civilization as a way to avoid slow destruction of civilization. Unless, again, there's a tech fix so that we can each have shoes and t shirts and warm houses and also lots of people.


    Re. Trains, it occurred to me that you could compare passenger number increases in an area known to have bad service, bad old trains etc, with an area with newer trains and better service. If it's non-privatisation factors, then you'll see the increase at similar rates.


    Yep, now that he's filed for re-election any non-profit is prohibited from attacking him on pain of losing non-profit status.


    Or the case of the lines inside N London, run by a dire TOC called "Silverlink" ( a.k.a. Silver-plonk ) Trains late, dirty, unreliable. TfL Bid for a "Concession" rather than a TOC - was allowed to by the DfT & now the trains are more frequent, longer, reliable & PACKED. It's been so successful that total SHIT Grayling had decided that they can't do it again ....

    Or the "Chiltern" TOC, run entirely by ex-senior BR managers, given a 20 year lease, because "everyone knew" the line was crap since they had tried hard to close it ...again, the trains are longer, more frequent & packed.

    Juncker - spy scandal & financial corruption OK?

    Not OK.

    Greg. When you are in a hole stop digging. You are making yourself look ridiculous.

    Your original claim was that Juncker was a petty crook. When asked to provide evidence you first said "my boss told me so". When asked for clarification you post a link "spy scandal & financial corruption" which points to a Torygraph (FFS!) article that contains no mention of any corruption at all.


    It isn't about running out of oil. The popping bubble refers to what happens when people realise exactly how badly the shit has hit the fan and all those oil reserves become effectively unburnable.

    Suddenly the oil companies assets become worthless. Pop.


    Pence does not have that cache

    Is that a typo? It's just that the appropriate word is 'cachet', but I suspect the French pronunciation (losing the final 't' and thus sounding like 'caché') confuses a lot of people.

    (All of us make this sort of mistake sooner or later: the English language is way too huge and draws on way too many roots for anyone to have a chance of getting it right all the time.)


    Wōdan Shodan @365: Unfortunately, for them to look at that would mean they would have to firstly, admit they might be wrong on something; secondly, admit they might not know everything; and thirdly, be open to correction. None of which seems to apply to this particular "government" (scare quotes deliberate). Instead, if they're made aware of this (and the person taxed with making them aware shouts over the "lalalalala I'm not listening lalalalala" for long enough) they're going to say firstly, it's a plot by the Heathen Chinee to bankrupt Amurrica; secondly, it's all lies; and thirdly, it's not their problem to deal with, because that's Bangladesh's issue. (Options one and two may materialise in the reverse order, but option three will definitely be in there).

    The ones I'd be trying to get to pay attention are the Australian government (although that will probably fail for much the same reasons - our PM and MPs are basically a wunch of bankers, in both the Spoonerised and non-Spoonerised senses of the term). I mean, we share an ocean with the Bay of Bengal, and it's been demonstrated by at least one group of Sri Lankan refugees that it's possible to sail from there to here. I'm sure they'll notice once our fishing fleets are impacted... won't they?

    (Spoiler: I doubt it. This would involve the Australian government looking away from licking the arse of whoever happens to be sitting in the big chair in the oval office.)


    alr-r KEK (?) the old Digg (?) Preppers (?) Life is too short to look all of this crap up, in the probably vain hope that it means something.

    Greg, if you don't know what these things are, you're dangerously out of touch with the extremist forces dominating US politics today.

    alt-r/KEK: the alt-r or alt-right are neo-nazis. One of them is the White House Chief-of-Staff, Stephen Bannon, who seems to be committed to starting a world war between the Christian West and Islam. Bannon is a Christian(ist); KEK is an ancient Egyptian frog-god (representing chaos) who's been adopted as a mascot by the non-Christian bits of the alt-right who just want to burn down western civilization and create a new world order in which they can get laid (they're mostly stay-at-home unemployed/unemployable males who have no clue about how to survive in the 21st century and are resentful of women for somehow overlooking the manifest benefits of lying down and spreading their legs for these jerks).

    Digg was a social networking/web forum site, pre-Reddit, that acted as a clearing house for the diseased ideology these assholes fester in. "Old Digg" refers to how it was before management/the owners noticed and began banning the more extreme offenders.

    Preppers: people who believe the USA is going to collapse any day now — think back to the Y2K panic — and who build bunkers/collect guns, gold and canned food in order to "prepare" to survive the collapse. A post-cold war pivot on the old survivalist theme. They tend to be white, suburban/rural (suburbs in the USA are rural by UK standards), racist, and violently anti-government.

    This stuff is not rocket science. You're a bright guy, you know the difference between the Waffen SS, the Gestapo, and the Hitler Youth; please note that while all of these groups were established and large organizations by 1940 none of them existed in 1930. A decade is all it takes. This is the modern-day equivalent taxonomy of extreme rightism and WS is simply talking to those of us who haven't been asleep to developments on the far-right since 2007.


    Yes, I do know they exist, but the short-form abbreviations get me lost from time to time, especially with The Seagull's, erm, "Shorthand". And OF COURSE I KNOW they are certainly fascists ( Mussolini-style - hence my name for DT ) and some of them ( Bannon springs to mind ) are if not actual Nazis, so close as to be virtually indistinguishable. I didn't realise that the "Old" survivalists had mutated into the "Preppers" - though how they are going to interact with "other survivors" could be interesting, for Dark Ages values ....

    A decade is all it takes. Actually, a lot shorter time than that - about a year will do it. I was very very worried by the articles linked to by R Prior @ 371


    No existent, but we liked the book.

    Tip: the sequel's pretty good, too.


    err ... you missed a joke there ... Teh boss is my other half - younger than me, works in The City & keeps her ear to the ground for financial frauds & dodgy deals, so as to keep well-away from them.




    Translation into Greg-speak:

    The Bay of Bengal is becoming anoxic, depleted of oxygen in the surface waters to the point where fish cannot survive.

    Bangladesh's population are totally dependent for dietary protein on the catch from their local fisheries. About 85% of the population live along the coast.

    That's nearly 165 million people who are going to be facing a permanent famine state within the next couple of years. 1-2 orders of magnitude more than the number who were caught up in those war-induced North African famines a decade or two ago that you might remember?

    Now. What are the implications for a refugee crisis if the numbers on the move rise from ~10 million (population of Syrian/Libyan/Iraqi war zones) to ~100 million (because Bangladesh just imploded)?

    Hint: when WS/CD uses the term "gigacide", she's not being overly alarmist.

    Second hint: some of the nastier right-wing shitbags now clogging up the White House would like to solve the global sustainability problem by "allowing" maybe 1-3 billion people to die off. The scale is so large that gas chambers and death camps won't work: instead, they're thinking in terms of building walls around entire subcontinents, policed by killer drones, and letting heat emergencies and starvation do the job, sort of like the Ukraine famines of the 1920s/1930s only on a vastly larger scale.


    Spare us your political gaslighting.

    For as long as I can remember, the sphere of social democracy (not the same thing as liberal democracy, or should I say 'democracy') has been under constant assault, and has been constantly shrinking.

    As for your insinuation that anyone who despairs at the erosion of social democracy by the beige tide must desire the killing of children - well that is nothing less than disgusting. If you knew what it meant to say things like that - if you knew people who had been directly affected by political violence - then you would not say things like that.


    It can, and will, pop very abruptly through technical obsolescence. The personal electronics industry is pouring billions into better batteries every year. From the perspective of manufacture and logistics, then given sufficiently good batteries electric automotion is strictly better than combustion is ever going to be - Electrons are a whole lot cheaper than gasoline, and the distribution infrastructure that keeps your house lit and your washer/dryer combo working will double for charging with far less expenditure then gas stations on city street corners.

    That means a heck of a lot of oil is going to be left in the ground because noone really wants it.
    Rule one of capitalism: Things are worth what people will pay for them. If the collapsing demand for oil drops the price to << 20 euros barrel, then the oil reserves various people have on their books as assets are worthless because it costs more than that to extract them.

    Same with coal: Coal has been obsolete for at least 40 years. I very much doubt the interests backing it will be able to continue that con in the face of climate change and several different technologies beating it on cost.


    I don't see the relevance of that to your touching belief that (Muslim jihadi in Iraq ~2002) = foreigner.

    You're also presuming that everyone actually uses Facezone and/or a "smart" phone. Both of those presumptions are invalid now, and would be even less valid in 2002.


    "The scale is so large that gas chambers and death camps won't work: instead, they're thinking in terms of building walls around entire subcontinents, policed by killer drones, and letting heat emergencies and starvation do the job, sort of like the Ukraine famines of the 1920s/1930s only on a vastly larger scale."

    I don't doubt this for a second, but do you have any links?

    We do not elect our PM's, we vote for individual MP's


    How is that different from how Juncker was elected, again?


    I agree with your argument, but your example is rubbish. There may be valid reason(s) for establishing that the subject of the sentence was skyclad, not all doorways contain a door, not all doors are made of wood, not all doors are always closed (or open)...


    I have a suspicion that maybe you don't get how our SCHEDULED elections are incredibly ingrained into our cultural DNA. Elections in the UK aren't fixed on the calendar like ours.

    And you'd be wrong; under normal circumstances UK elections are for "a term", unless the holder of a specific seat resigns or dies, in which case a by-election for that seat is called to select a replacement who will serve out the remainder of that term.


    One post is a rant? Are you mixing me up with someone else?

    Here's another one for you:

    Written before the election, but still applies. (Assuming the science is valid.)

    Might also explain why Trudeau's "Sunny Ways" campaign succeeded against Harper's neocon negative campaign in our last election: rather than confront the lies and negative advertising head-on, he ignored them and focused on positive messaging. Didn't do anything against the Harper loyalists (they wouldn't change anyway), but it stopped Harper defining the frame as he had in all the previous elections.


    It's probably true that Bangladesh is fucked, but it was fucked before Trump got elected. Obama didn't save them, and there's little reason to believe Hillary could have. It was a bipartisan, multipolar fucking.

    It seems like, to a lot of people on this blog, Trump's election was the final straw that shook them out of their complacency. That's good, but Trump is just a symptom. Politics, in the US and many other places, is becoming negative-sum because our environment is becoming negative-sum. The writing has been on the wall for decades, for those who cared to look.


    What are the implications for a refugee crisis ... because Bangladesh just imploded?

    I'm not sure how this plays out in S. Asia if that's a collapse flash point. They have a tradition of walking half way across a continent en-masse for religious festivals, but getting out of S.Asia is HARD. So where are these refugees going to go and how are they going to get there? The terrain makes E, NE, N and NW pretty much impassable. And to the West it's politically impassable. Even by boat, there's nowhere to go. And that's just the logistics problem.

    I somehow don't think it's going to be an Ian McDonald - Cyberabad Days future.

    429. Not everything is about the USA.

    I don't doubt this for a second, but do you have any links?

    No links; I'm just assembling the pieces of the jigsaw and trying to see the big picture that gradually comes into focus. And it's utterly terrifying.

    (Remember that the original objective of the Final Solution wasn't to kill 6 million Jews and about 4-6 million other people; it was to kill 10-12 million Jews and over 100 million slavs. Nazis think big, and the Final Solution failed to meet its objectives.

    If you put Lebensraum and the doctrine of eternal struggle together with overpopulation and global anthropogenic climate change, and if you're a true believer, what policies will you try to implement (quietly — remember, the Final Solution was intended to be kept secret from the German population at large, because they might be squeamish)?

    Blog essay on the subject coming, when I'm (a) not elbow-deep in a novel facing a deadline, and (b) not too depressed to write it.


    If you put Lebensraum and the doctrine of eternal struggle together with overpopulation and global anthropogenic climate change, and if you're a true believer, what policies will you try to implement[...]?

    Well, closing the borders from refugees seems like a 'fine' start...


    Electrons are a whole lot cheaper than gasoline,

    Ummm, no. Gasoline, oil and gas are really cheap, cheaper than bottled water in many places. Taxes on those fuels push the price up and at the moment, to encourage the takeup of new electric cars the "fuel" for those cars is not being taxed. It will be in the future, governments can't take the financial hit from losing that tax revenue (probably by a road-pricing scheme, depending on mileage reported by a black box of some kind).

    and the distribution infrastructure that keeps your house lit and your washer/dryer combo working will double for charging with far less expenditure then gas stations on city street corners.

    That's assuming a large expensive buildout of new generating capacity to feed the demand and the consumption of more gas and coal to power those generators. Distribution infrastructure will have to be expensively upgraded to cope with the extra load, roads dug up to lay new cables in cities, new switchyards etc. Rich elites will fit solar panels to their free-standing suburban homes, the poor will have to make do with gas-powered beater cars like they do today.

    Gas stations are going away in city centres not because of lack of demand but because the ground they stand on is worth more for homes. New gas stations are being built in suburban shopping parks, often attached to large supermarkets.

    That means a heck of a lot of oil is going to be left in the ground because noone really wants it.

    Ummm, no. Marine transport and aircraft as well as military applications demand portable compact lightweight fuel with a high energy content. Absent some magic nuclear tech the need will be met by liquid (or liquified gas) fuels and it will be a lot cheaper to pump it out of the ground and refine it than to make it from scratch from water, CO2 and electricity.


    Re the stairs-phobic Trump/Dalek comparison doing the rounds on OGH's twitter and elsewhere at the moment, I came across this description of the BBC's first test of their newly conceived, nylon castors equipped Daleks circa 1965:

    Before rehearsals started the cast and other members brought their children along and they were shown the Daleks and talked to the Dalek operators, but then when rehearsals started the operators got into the Daleks and started moving,and at that point all the children screamed and ran out of the studio!

    • Dalek designer Raymond P. Cusick

    There's a metaphor in there somewhere for how everyone feels pre- and post-Trump and -Brexit.

    (Source: Spike & Co.; Inside the House of Fun with Milligan, Sykes, Galton & Simpson, by Graham McCann).


    Well, closing the borders from refugees seems like a 'fine' start...

    Stopping all food exports, because "We have our own mouths to feed", along with pretty much all Humanitarian Aid are a couple more steps.


    Stopping all food exports

    Of course, in the US we import a lot of food, and we can expect everything from South of the Border to get more expensive, or not available, once The Wall goes up. So, perhaps a big Back To The Land push, sending all those homeless and others out to prisonfarms.


    Oh, and that means a big blandification of cuisine, nothing but Good Ol' Fashioned American Food, meat and potatoes for everyone. None of that fancy foreign food. And as for them hippie vegetarians....

    err ... you missed a joke there ... Teh boss is my other half - younger than me, works in The City & keeps her ear to the ground for financial frauds & dodgy deals, so as to keep well-away from them.

    I didn't miss it. I just didn't find it funny.

    No comment on your mislabeling the link to the torygraph, eh?


    I parsed that one, thanks to a link ... But You missed something, I'm afraid. "They" will deny anything at all is happening, for as long as possible & some time thereafter, pretend it's nothing at all to do with them ... & only then erect their walls.

    What they can't or won't see, of course, is that it will affect them as well - how long until there's a big anoxic sink in the upper Caribbean or gulf of Mexico - & then what?


    "Latifundia" is the word you are looking for, I think?


    Yes - I was & said "my bad" - & repeat apologies.


    I wish to submit into evidence Tex-Mex, Creole and Cajun as (Southern) USian cookery styles.

    They suspiciously hang there doing nothing, (snip!) But they don't respond when I prod them as I would do breasts.


    With no twitches or nerves.

    The cremaster muscle can be quite busy, under the right circumstances. Mostly involuntary.

    Acquire a cold hand, grasp a scrotum gently between balls and body, and watch them squirm.

    Guardian link

    Says nothing about JCJ being a crook. Says Luxembourg is a tax haven. At least they figured out what to do when the steel mills shut down.

    EU Observer link

    Same thing.

    This is getting boring. Do you think I can't read or that I don't know how to follow a link?

    Once again -- your claim was that Juncker was a "petty crook". You've spent many messages flailing around failing to produce any evidence.

    Why haven't you brought up his fees for speaking to bankers and wankers? Then you'd be in full on Bernie mode.

    Or you could try the old "he's a drunk" smear.


    "I don't see the relevance of that to your touching belief that (Muslim jihadi in Iraq ~2002) = foreigner."

    Paws, how many times do I have to use the word "Afghanistan" before you notice that I am talking about Afghanistan in 2001/2002.

    Afghanistan. Afghanistan. Afghanistan. Got it?

    Also note that I stipulated multiple conditions: "Rounding up the Al Quaeda members in Afghanistan wouldn't have been difficult in 2001, as (1.)they all had non-Afghani passports, (2.)spoke Arabic with distinguishable accents, (3.)were shooting at U.S. troops, and (4.)were mainly clustered in Al Quaeda's training camps." That's 4 conditions for identifying a probably Al Quaeda follower in Afghanistan (not Iraq, which is where the U.S. never should have gone!)

    I'll also note that you're quibbling so hard you've lost the original issue, in which I wrote. "Stupidly opposite U.S. policies have been the norm with regard to the Muddled East since at least 9/11. The elephant in the room is that ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc., are all Sunni fanatics inspired by Wahabi clerics from Saudi Arabia and given startup financing with Saudi "charity" monies. (The Wahabi clerics may be homegrown by this point.)"

    "You're also presuming that everyone actually uses Facezone and/or a "smart" phone. Both of those presumptions are invalid now, and would be even less valid in 2002."

    I don't hold those beliefs, but Cambridge Analytica used those methods of gathering data to win two elections which otherwise would probably have gone the other way, by micro-targeting individual people to vote against their own interests.

    You quibble so much that you've completely lost the plot. If you go back and read what I wrote again, carefully, taking exact notes, you'll probably realize that we're on the same side politically.

    If you go back and read the article at 267, also keeping careful notes, you might note the moral horror at the center of the Cambridge Analytica's business model, and hopefully be outraged at them rather than me!


    I think we do need to drastically reduce the population, but I was hoping we'd do it fairly, with birth control and a strong commitment to preserving the diversity of the human genome... the other way sucks!


    LOL at the vision of Trump falling down the stairs while chanting "Exterminate, exterminate!" I thought we were living in the South Park episode where Cartman grows up, but I guess we're living in Dr. Who instead!


    Nojay, rail may be booming... but the one and only time I've been able to afford to get off this damn continent, which was to LonCon, we were going to see what we could of Britain and Wales... and the price for three for a two-week/seven days of travel (I think it was) was more than airline fair to the UK. We rented a car for about a third of that.

    I was annoyed. In '95, when my late wife and I hoped to make Glasgow (money wound up not being there), there was a Britrail pass that included bikes. Not now.

    And as I'm < 3 years from retirement, I don't know that I'll ever be able to go abroad again, damn it.


    [[ fixed HTML - mod ]]


    That wasn't just Obama's fault, though he could have leaned on Congress. There were others... my personal pisser was the Democrat from Montana, fmr Sen. Max "never met a large campaign contribution from the medical insurance industry I didn't like" "single payer is off the table" Baucus.



    About Trumpolini/Dalek, a buddy of mine here at work said he saw a video of him walking up the stairs to Air Force One without rail, and without turning and waving....



    Jean-Claude Juncker makes a great Emmanuel Goldstein for the Murdoch-Kipper Two Minute Hate, basically. It helps that his name is both French and Prussian in the same way that Big Brother's eternal enemy had a Jewish name. If he hadn't been conveniently to hand the yellow press would have had to invent him.


    I suspect that "this can't be happening" syndrome is still operating on the other side of the pond.

    Anyone who's been following events in France lately and still believes in the "Republican Front will hold" is probably basing their overall strategy on Queen Galadriel's intervention with her elvish legions.

    Oh, well, there's an upside -- I'm still hoping that when that mob gives Jean-Claude Junker what he deserves someone uploads the video to YouTube.


    Preppers: people who believe the USA is going to collapse any day now — think back to the Y2K panic — and who build bunkers/collect guns, gold and canned food in order to "prepare" to survive the collapse. A post-cold war pivot on the old survivalist theme. They tend to be white, suburban/rural (suburbs in the USA are rural by UK standards), racist, and violently anti-government.

    This is "not wrong" but if you don't mind some expansion and elaboration that could be construed as offering improvement to your taxonomy of US subcultures, it's a tiny bit off. The vectors of inaccuracy are partially time (it's a bit stale, preppers in particular have been a moving target socially) and partially distance (things always look more complicated the closer you get to them).

    Anyway, preppers are a bit more than a pivot on the old survivalist theme. Long after the cold war ended, survivalists were all that you say, so much so that the term became quite tarnished. And a few survivalists started calling themselves "preppers" just to distance themselves from the crazed, racist, anti-government "baggage" that survivalists were carrying around. So for a brief moment in time, the two words meant almost the same thing, though you could maybe say that preppers were survivalists who were aware of and cared about having an image problem.

    Thing is, the rebranding had a real-world effect. Once you could be a "prepper" without being a scary asshole rightwing survivalist, a lot of other fearful people joined the prepper movement. This infusion was more urban (in origins, they often go rural as part of their preps, but there are plenty who build urban farms instead) and way less culturally conservative. This means less racism, less toxic religion (though plenty of purple woo of the type they used to call "new age"), and less anti-government stuff. Think of these new-wave preppers as more like the post-hippie "back to the land" homesteading movement of the 1970s. (My parents, full disclosure.)

    This new batch of preppers also has a set of insights that totally escaped the old survivalists. In a sentence, it's "don't store it, grow it." They'd rather have a working farm than a cave full of canned wheat berries. They talk about permaculture a lot. The newer preppers also have a much firmer grasp on the value of community; instead of a bunch of guns to fend off your starving neighbors, they want to organize into mutually-supporting neighborhood networks that could, in a pinch (this is one of many unrealistic parts of the prepper vision) help one another fend off the roving cannibals from the cities.

    Complicating all of this is the fact that once the new preppers were culturally quite distinct from survivalists, they got discovered by US reality television. But a 21st-century permaculture homesteading prepper who sells grass-fed quail eggs at the local farm market is a lot less colorful than an old-fashioned commie-hating survivalist with a shipping container full of stale Spam. So shows like "Doomsday Preppers" sought out the wildest survivalists they could find and slapped the "prepper" label on them for television, further muddying the subcultural waters.

    We've still got the survivalists, too. It's complicated.


    In other news, the turkeys in the House of Commons just collectively voted for Thanksgiving/Christmas: they gave May permission to trigger Article 50 before the end of March.

    Hard brexit now looks inevitable. Which is going to cause the worst economic crash in the UK since Thatcher downsized the economy by 10% in 1979-80, and probably precipitate Scottish independence.


    in a pinch (this is one of many unrealistic parts of the prepper vision) help one another fend off the roving cannibals from the cities.

    And here's the problem in a nutshell: because (a) "roving cannibals from the cities" is unavoidably and blatantly racist in a US cultural context (hint: white suburban flight), and (b) in general, in disasters, almost everybody pulls together: see for example the wake of Hurricane Katrina. You don't get roving bands of cannibals — the nearest you get is panicky bigots shooting at everybody they don't know.


    EPA to be abolished by 31/12/18

    Once this or any other bill gets some minimun number of co-sponsors and is assigned to an appropriate sub committee (or committees) and the committee schedules debate on it, we need to pay attention. Many, many, many bills are introduced in the US Congress for campaigning purposes. The last Congress passed 561 out of the 6,845 bills introduced.

    A big reason for this procedural dance is to allow just this type of grandstanding for the cheap seats.


    And you'd be wrong; under normal circumstances UK elections are for "a term",

    And I'll admit to almost total ignorance of non "national" elections in the UK (or whatever). But it is my understanding that for the "top of the ticket", err Parliament, that things were a bit fluid. When a sitting government "falls" or decides now is a good time they call for elections.

    And I'm more than willing to learn.


    I'm not convinced there was an original plan for the final solution, it seems a lot was radicalization happening during the war. This is basically functionalism vs intentionalism:

    Was there a master plan on the part of Adolf Hitler to launch the Holocaust? Intentionalists argue there was such a plan, while functionalists argue there was not. Did the initiative for the Holocaust come from above with orders from Adolf Hitler or from below within the ranks of the German bureaucracy? [...] intentionalists argue the initiative came from above, while functionalists contend it came from lower ranks within the bureaucracy.

    An important point in the functionalist inerpretation is the radicalization of the murders during the war: functionalist historians like Martin Broszat argued that the lower officials of the Nazi state had started exterminating people on their own initiative. Broszat argued that the Holocaust began “bit by bit” as German officials stumbled into genocide. Broszat argued that in the fall of 1941 German officials had begun "improvised" killing schemes as the "simplest" solution to the "Jewish Question". In Broszat's opinion, Hitler subsequently approved of the measures initiated by the lower officials and allowed the expansion of the Holocaust from Eastern Europe to all of Europe. In this way, Broszat argued that the Shoah was not begun in response to an order, written or unwritten, from Hitler but was rather “a way out of the blind alley into which the Nazis had manoeuvred themselves”.

    I think it's worthwhile for you, if you indeed subscribe to an intentionalist interpretation to look at the other camp. Historians who I know more about this than me tell me that intentionalism is popular with German right leaning folks because it exculpates large parts of the German population, army and bureaucracy.

    I think you reference the Hunger Plan - the plan to starve tens of millions of Slavs to sustain Germanys population? Your figure of 100 millions seems odd, I don't recall numbers close to that from reading Götrz Aly or Felix Wemheuer.

    But let me stress one point: Wether Hitler decided to murder all Europpean Jews in 1919 or 1941, he remains culpable. Wether Backe and his team planned the starvation of 20 or 100 million people, they remain murerers. I find the functionalist interpreation really scary, because it implies that in the wrong circumstances industrialized mass murder can arise without there being a master plan.


    Second hint: some of the nastier right-wing shitbags now clogging up the White House would like to solve the global sustainability problem by "allowing" maybe 1-3 billion people to die off. The scale is so large that gas chambers and death camps won't work: instead, they're thinking in terms of building walls around entire subcontinents, policed by killer drones, and letting heat emergencies and starvation do the job, sort of like the Ukraine famines of the 1920s/1930s only on a vastly larger scale.

    Afghanistan was not really walled of, just remote - and Al Quaeda used to place to plan attacks, apparently. Somalia is poor, and lawless, and hosts pirates. 'The Empire' (if I may borrow a term from Negri & Hart, from way back) can't afford to ignore large swathes of the world because something 'bad' to them will happen there.

    In the last 10-15 years. the trend in migration control has been to have camps, internment close to where the migrants start, to have the coast guard patrol the coasts of Lybia (Gadaffi's cops got sweet equipment from the EU before his ousting) or Senegal, not Spain or Italy.

    There is the cynical view that sees immigrants as an invading army, but the current doctrine is not a wall (Europe has one anyway, the Med) but a sort of forward strategy. Which ist fitting, since part of it was thought up by a NATO in need of job after the cold war ended and Frontex also has lots of military among it's ranks.

    Now one could also go in to Dublin II and how it makes southern Europe into a sort of moat.

    All of this is of course, the status quo anti-immigrant policies of the current beige dictatorship and you describe the fascist fringe. But our current cynical overlords have reasons they adopted the policies they have and the fringe may face similar challenges.


    One of the shitty pieces of legislation we have had inflicted on us in recent years has been the Fixed Term Parliament Act, which basically supplements the previously existing "Parliament lasts for no more than five years" with "...and lasts for no fewer, either". But it still does not tie us to a rigid cycle determined only by the calendar. A government can no longer say "sod this for a game of soldiers, we're having an election now", and the ability for an election to be forced by other factors has been reduced, but a vote of no confidence can still do the trick if you can manage to arrange for one.


    The last Congress passed 561 out of the 6,845 bills introduced.

    Oh, yeah. 561 bills every two years. Actually more as gridlock keep the number down by 100 or more the last 2 years.

    Another reason that some voted for DT. Does any country really need 250+ pieces of new legislation every year? Even if you toss out the "trivial" ones (honor for this or that) that's just too much legislation to keep up with.


    And triptych:

    A scary possibility is that, even without a genocidal master plan, our current beige overlords or their brown competitors could stumble into the walls, drone, Gigadeath scenario WS & Charlie described - ever more open support to any espot who stops his own population from leaving, ever more ruthless attacks on fishermen and others who might perform rescue (of immigrants) at sea, ever more under supplied detention camps in the middle of nowhere ...

    Police stopping and abandoning refugees in the middle of a desert, armed attacks on MSF at sea, jailing of fishermen who did their moral and legal duty of saving the shipwrecked ... all of this has happened in the last years. I fear that those are parts of our future, unevenly distributed.


    @Pigeon, Strictly Speaking there are two ways to end a parliament short of 5 years, The House of Commons Library has put out a document* that includes the following:- Early elections can be held only:

    if a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole House or without division; or if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days.

    The latter is generally considered to mean two votes of confidence within 14 days. What is not clear (at least to me) is who gets to try and form a government after the first vote of no-confidence, is it the current government or the opposition parties, common sense says it is the latter.


    Yep, I was remembering the hunger plan.

    Fuck knows how bad it would have gotten if the UK had surrendered and the Reich had got its hands on British India and the African colonies/dominions ...


    Charlie-why Hunger and not a weaponised virulent form of flu or SARS. BW for real nightmares...


    Well, Trump thinks he's Andrew Jackson and one of the most famous things Jackson did was ignore the Court re: genocide/ethnic cleansing of Native Americans.

    Odds are the Republicans will give us a Court he won't have to bother to ignore anyway.


    The Third Reich[1] starved the Dutch in 1944 by taking most of the autumn harvest to Germany while the Western Allies got bogged down pushing east and didn't liberate the Netherlands quickly enough to stop it happening.

    [1] The Thousand Year Reich, proclaimed in 1942 lasted about a thousand days.


    The famous words of Justice Frankfurter about his meeting with Jan Karski: I did not believe him. I didn't think he was lying. Those are two different things.

    You can tell people the truth about horrible things and they won't believe you. They don't have anything against you; they don't think you are a bad person. They just don't believe until the mounds of human heads show up on the news. This goes double for things that were planned, but did not actually come to pass. "Of course, they would have never actually done THAT. I mean I know they did the other thing, but they wouldn't go even further."

    (And if the pictures of the mounds of human heads never show up, then it might as well have not have happened: see the emotional resonance of Stalin's megacides as Exhibit 1. No one in the West saw anything evocative; therefore, on an emotional level no one cares. They might or might not acknowledge it on an intellectual level, but it has zero purchase on their view of history in general.)


    Re: Nature article - thanks!

    Especially like this bit in the discussion:

    'Our results imply that factors that affect the microbiome (for example, antibiotics, probiotics, specific foods48,49,50,51,52) may have an effect on the altruistic behaviour of the hosts. In many cases the effect on altruistic behaviour could be an indirect result of an effect on other behaviours: for example reduction of social anxiety22 may increase the probability of cooperative behaviour. Our results further suggest that the rate of microbe horizontal transmission could affect the evolution of altruism. We therefore predict that microbe-induced altruism is more likely to evolve when individuals interact in a way that easily allows horizontal transmission of microbes from one to the other, such as food sharing (vampire bats53, offspring feeding by parent54, trophallaxis among social insects nestmates55), but also touching, grooming and co-sheltering.'

    One scenario not mentioned - because too SF-ish -- is that the spreadability of altruism may be a factor in the genetic diversity we find in the biome. (Letting things alone to grow once they've passed the altruism sniff-test, allows for those things to generate novel progeny which would be allowed to survive because they too would pass the altruism sniff-test.) Another speculative scenario is manipulating the altruism gene into recognizing only certain subpopulations: everything else is okay to eat/destroy. Third scenario: if such bacterial altruism exists, deliberate feeding of such bacteria to unsuspecting populations might lead to a Brave New World - the bacteria is the agent of enslavement.

    Head-to-head altruism vs. selfishness - Assuming that each is a separate and distinct genetic predisposition/trait, it then follows that both could reside within one individual. What happens then?


    Re: Preppers

    As long as the topic came up, one notes that the Mormons are somewhat into prepperism:

    I'll have to say that, although there's a strong tendency for prepperism to go winging off into the wilds of survivalism, some of them do keep a rein on it and stick to somewhat commonsense measures.


    This isn't my area of expertise, but it is argued in "War of extermination: The german military in World War II 1941- 1944" edited by Hannes Heer and Klaus Naumann, that the Sonderkommandos and to some excent the Wermacht went into battle in 1941 fully intending to murder whatever Jews they happened across, as well as aristocracy, intelligentisa. All that historians are lacking is specific written orders saying to murder all the jews. The activities of SS and others in the East after the invasion indicate that exterminating the Jews was always intended.
    Thus the holocaust was intended all along. What probably changed was the precise means of carrying it out. The death camps became necesary to do it quickly, whereas if they'd won it would probably have been done more slowly and more people would have been 'merely' worked to death.


    Oh, well, there's an upside -- I'm still hoping that when that mob gives Jean-Claude Junker what he deserves someone uploads the video to YouTube.
    So, Charlie, this is where it has got to on your blog, people gloating about the lynching of reasonably able boring bureaucrats.

    Who are the fascists now?


    Have you read David Brin's 1987 story "The Giving Plague"? Plays with the same ideas.


    "roving cannibals from the cities" is unavoidably and blatantly racist in a US cultural context

    Shit -- you're right. I did say "less racism" but honestly I can't hide behind that. Most preppers do share with survivalists the belief that when the food delivery chain stops, the cities and suburbs alike will empty as starving bands roam the countryside looking for the last calories. And since you can't say "urban" in this country without racial encoding... I say again, shit.

    Maybe among the preppers there's not as much redneck off-jerking at the thought of sniping down the waves of "urbans" as they cross the barbed-wire fencing. A lot of the preppers come from the city and seem a lot more comfortable with racial diversity in general than the old-school survivalists. But you're not wrong that there's still some racism encoded in their threat modeling.

    Fuck knows how bad it would have gotten if the UK had surrendered and the Reich had got its hands on British India and the African colonies/dominions ...

    Yup, they would have probably starved more than the 2-4 million that the British managed to starve.

    I would surely vote for Le Pen if I were French. I would even donate significant amounts of money to her party. I might do that in any case. It may even be possible for me to vote for Le Pen.

    Well, I've been waiting for a while for someone to call jaju out on this one but nobody seems to want to.

    But -- fuck right off you fascist cunt. Continue fucking off until you can fuck off no more, then fuck off some more.

    I live in France. I'm an immigrant. My wife is African. My children are "mixed". My neighbours mostly immigrants. Fuck the fascists.


    The Third Reich is a limited model for thinking about current politics.

    On a worldwide scale, Hitler was an unforced error. WWI reparations devastated Germany, and German politics turned negative-sum. After the war, it was relatively easy to solve the underlying problem. Boom, Wirtschaftswunder.

    Now the problem is that we've exceeded our planet's sustainable carrying capacity. The underlying problem is much less tractable. Trump was basically a forced error; there's no way to maintain positive-sum politics in a negative-sum habitat.


    There is a third way of calling an early UK election. And that's to repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act first. I've seen it suggested that this might be the fastest and least disruptive way for a government with a majority to call an election if they felt it was necessary.


    when the food delivery chain stops, the cities and suburbs alike will empty as starving bands roam the countryside looking for the last calories. And since you can't say "urban" in this country without racial encoding

    But you could argue that they're like preppers in other countries, and thus may well be less racist than it looks. In Australia we have a possibly edifying cross-over between the bush food people who are obviously heavily into first nations knowledge and culture (a diverse lot, from inner city gourmets to permaculturists), and preppers of various sorts.

    There's not as much obvious racism in those groups as in Australian culture at large. They're definitely not preparing to slaughter specifically aboriginal, or even non-white, hordes. This being Australia, quite a few of them are planning to let the landscape and fauna do most of the slaughtering :)

    What disconcerts me about a lot of those people is that often aboriginal knowledge is filtered and only becomes "real" once it's expounded by a white man. This also annoys some of the actual aboriginal people who are doing the research.


    Thanks! - Interesting read. Do wonder whether the protagonist hadn't already been infected with a different virus but his T-cells came up with ALAS antibodies, so ended up unaffected.


    And ... the person to thank for all of this is wanker Corbyn .....

    And "hard" Brexit is not inevitable, but it is much more likely - how nice!


    We have a "maximum Term" for a UK parliament - 5 years to the day, since the last election (basically) We have to have a n other general election before $Date in May (?) 2020 ....


    Actually, reparations didn't do much harm. Germany was recovering nicely in the late 1920's, it was the global financial bubble that did the harm and helped get Hitler elected.


    you could argue that they're like preppers in other countries, and thus may well be less racist than it looks.

    Yes. Indeed my gut sense is that old-school USA survivalists are more racist than average (by quite a bit) and the emerging prepper subculture is a bit less racist than average. But this is the sea I swim in; my perspective is informed but perhaps not objective. I'm not trying to challenge Charlie's view-from-abroad so much as offering finer-grained nuance, for whomever might be interested in such.


    Piss off. Thee was a serious war on & it wasn't deliberate, except as in "oh shit, we can't feed these people"

    See also 19thC India, where the officials who did nothing, got very slow promotion, if at all & those who bust a gut trying to feed people got honours, medals & quick promotion.

    Also don't forget gross incompetence - the real killer in 1848 Ireland


    Fair enough. I think my point about the relative tractability of the causes still holds.


    That is just wrong as a matter of fact - even in california, which has absurdly expensive electricity and very cheap gasoline, the savings on fuel cost are very high - roughly a factor of four. - Now, airlines are only going to go electric if we get batteries which are more or less ship-stone quality, which would break so many other things about the way the world works that I do not know where to begin, but heck, it's a sector of the economy which is small and specialized enough that options that aren't nessesarily easy to roll out to consumer usage - Synfuels, air-breathing flow batteries, and other tricks.

    The whole eliminationist tendency is driving me up the wall. It is the child of learned helplessness - Something has gone very wrong in the way we respond to enviormental problems. The problems are real. Just as real as the rivers catching fire were. But they are also solvable - and by that I mean that they can be solved without hairshirts or skull mountains. But currently, we have a movement which denies there's a problem, and a another that far too frequently denies the possibility of solutions, and the thing that bugs me is that I can see where the denial comes from. It's vile, and shortsighted, but.. I understand why the people who profit from trashing the planet deny that's what they're doing. I do not understand the doomer tendency at all. Where's the emotional hook? Where's the profit? Is it all a psyops from the right that ate the brains of the internet? That'd at least make sense.


    This would be Jean-Claude "keep voting until you deliver the result I want, then stop" Junker, arch soft-fascist reducer of democracy to a meaningless ritual, agent of the Beige Dictatorship, and symbolic embodiment of what so many people dislike about the EU?


    You're right, however, that healthcare was definitely a horrible cave-in.

    He simply didn't have the votes. A couple of Senate Republicans made noises, but never cast a single vote to help Obama. And two very conservative Democratic Senators from solidly red states who were retiring at the end of their terms, and one Dem from a state where no one votes against Big Insurance. So 43 votes in the Senate that wouldn't approve even a public option, let alone full Medicare-for-all, and f*ck-all for leverage on them. 57 votes doesn't get you anything in the way of major policy in the Senate -- it takes 60 to bring the matter to a final vote. And he certainly didn't have 50 votes necessary to blow up the filibuster on policy legislation at that time.

    Although I will not be surprised if the filibuster goes late in 2017 -- the US is pretty clearly headed towards a pseudo-parliamentary system, where those who hold all of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency pass what they want, and nothing happens in years when control of those is split. (I am less pessimistic about a coup or martial law or any of that stuff than some.)


    To be fair, no mid-1840's European government could have done much about the Irish famine; they didn't have the information-gathering capacity, the administrative structure, or the resources.

    An independent Irish government -- which would have been dominated by landowners in alliance with the middle classes -- would probably have done less.

    Virtually no farmers starved in Ireland during the Famine; even small tenant farmers usually survived. The people who died were landless laborers and their families (a majority of the rural Irish at the time) and "cottars", people who got a small potato-patch in return for semi-bound labor for farmers (themselves usually tenants).

    But a lot of Irish -landlords- went bust because London tried very hard to make Irish landowners pay for the cost of famine relief, which was orthodox political economy at the time. About a quarter to a third of the land of Ireland changed hands in the ensuing generation, often being bought by rising Catholics.

    The actual Irish peasantry, who didn't become demographically dominant until the 1870's when famine and emigration had swept away most of the laborers and cottars, reacted to the famine with understandable brutality, guarding their property and leaving the really poor to die.

    Mind you, without what the British government did several more million would have died.


    The problems are real. Just as real as the rivers catching fire were. But they are also solvable - and by that I mean that they can be solved without hairshirts or skull mountains.

    Hi there.

    Friendly(ish) source (when not screaming).

    Please explain the real solutions to parts of the Bay of Bengal entering a phase where the only other three on the planet (that you're aware of) when monitored have done nothing but enlargen over time.

    Here's the map. That's about the size of the Netherlands, for scale.

    There's two things in play here: drastic "resource" depletion (by this, protein / every thing that lives there) but also the more worrying about currents (on a scale of "this is how we know oceans really do die, here's the paelo records")

    Giant Hydrogen Sulfide Plume in the Oxygen Minimum Zone off Peru Supports Chemolithoautotrophy Plos One, full text, no download required.

    Now, there's meta-meta commentary here, and since you're confident about solutions, please tell me why I just linked to a paper more concerned about chemistry than biology.

    Or, rather, see this:

    A chemolithoautotroph is an autotrophic microorganism that obtains energy by oxidizing inorganic compounds. Most chemolithotrophs​ are autotrophs. Examples of relevant inorganic electron donors include hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, ferrous iron, and ammonia. Winogradsky described the concept of chemolithoautotrophy for the first time while studying the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.

    Chemolithoautotroph Springer, amusingly from The Encylopedia of ASTROBIOLOGY.

    There's a reason that's funny.

    Spoilers: it's probably not for the reason you're imagining.


    Not necessarily.

    I stepped over the dead and dying bodies of famine victims on my way to school on occasion in my childhood. I saw people beaten to death (I'm pretty sure) by the police; or at least severely injured.

    And once when I was about 11, I walked into a small room where two men had killed each other with pangas (machetes) while blitzed out on Nubian Gin.(*)

    There were pools of blood on the floor, bits and pieces (a thumb, I think, but it was certainly a digit), and when something dropped on my head I looked up and blood dripped into my mouth and eyes (tastes nasty).

    My observation is not that this made me more "empathetic" about human suffering. Less so, if anything.

    (*) the local moonshine, by rumor distilled using old car radiators. It could do odd things to your central nervous system.



    You get decent ecologies with multi-cellular warzones that might get a shell in about a few hundred million years and complex biological processes like "eyes", ooooh, about a billion - two billion years post the time when the chemolithoautotrophes were a "thing".

    I'd really stop worrying about Trump and start sectioning the morons who will eradicate your species.

    I thought this was a basic premise of MBA "PREDATOR" culture?