Blogs

 

The "Paradise Papers"

Remember the Panama Papers -- the leaking of millions of financial documents, some of which showed the lengths some big players will go to in evading taxes and financial supervision?  There is a new tranche of unveiled financial documents in town. An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has turned up a wide range of financial hanky panky. Here's a brief video: The Paradise Papers – Secrets Of The Global Elite Although a story featured elsewhere at OL was mu grokked to extract a vast plot of Fey Canoes, the Trump administration is also featured ...   -- in other Trump-Russia news ... Key words: Veselnitskaya, Magnitsky, Quid Pro Quo, Mueller ...

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

25 Not Salon-Approved Conservatives Worth Following on Twitter

Mike LaChance is a contributor to the website "Legal Insurrection." His article "25 Not Salon-Approved Conservatives Worth Following on Twitter" wryly comments on an article at boo-hiss Salon. So I made a Twitter list. -- both LaChance and Salon writer Taylor Link address the point of 'the bubble,'' AKA 'information silos,' a tendency to consume news and commentary drawn only from a pool of like-minded people. One of the things I bear in mind as a Twitter consumer. Extend my purview, and all that.  Here's LaChance's 25 embedded: A Twitter List by wsscherk

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Annotating Regi Firehammer's essay on Evolution

I am intrigued by Regi Firehammer's article on Evolution, which is published at USAbig.com. With his permission, I have re-published it at my website with my annotations, suggestions and notes. I will keep this blog entry locked until I have finished the first set of notes. Below is the essay as it stands. -- here is my annotated version as published. My work is incomplete now mostly complete, although the frame will 'update' if the work proceeds and I revise the file. Thanks, Regi, for the opportunity to reason. The direct link to the file is http://wsscherk.hostingmyself.com/0SCRN-CPZ/FirehammerOnEvolutionRevised.html  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Gaseous burbles from "the swamp"

Former President George W Bush doesn't usually make much news, but a speech he gave at his Presidential Center has the usual suspects dragging out portions of his speech for crimes against Trump.  The theme of the conflab at the Bush Center was "The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World." Here is the full speech, and below I add in the full text. Some  folks think it was an unfair attack on the current President (or his perfect policies and actions). You listen, you read, you decide ... The nub of the matter? The full remarks ... cued to (one of) the 'attacks.' You can roll up and down to find other shameful examples of Swamp Gas. -- the kingdom of reaction, via Memeorandum.com -- see also MSK's new OL thread for a candid reaction to the "attack against Trump."  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Ayn Rand sightings

Two long and involved articles that touch -- if only briefly -- on Randian ideas in culture.  The first features Arthur Robinson (of interest to our intrepid Brant Gaede) and the second drags its hooks through 'right wing' science-fiction. Although I am familiar with some of Arthur Robinson's activities, the article on him has dug up a lot of detail, and is fairly well-written -- despite its bias. The 'right-wing' science fiction article has a case of over-reach, but as with the Robinson article, digs up some material that might be of interest to OLers, if only to encourage critical attention. The Grandfather Of Alt-Science
Art Robinson has seeded scientific skepticism within the GOP for decades. Now he wants to use urine to save lives. By Daniel Engber
Filed under Science Skeptics
Published Oct. 12, 2017 ... STAR WARS & GOD EMPERORS
The Sci-Fi Roots of the Far Right—From ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ to Newt’s Moon Base to Donald’s Wall
Pournelle, Gingrich and Trump see a future that must be secured by authoritarian institutions that group together humanity’s best and prevent the rest from stifling them. David Auerbach
DAVID AUERBACH
09.17.17 1:00 AM ET  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Dinesh D'Souza sez Hitler was not anti-gay

Twitter is a phenomenon indeed. Yesterday Dinesh D'Souza let off the mental equivalent of a wet fart ... and reaped a whirlwind of reaction, as they say: Is he stupid, misinformed, caught in a mental litter-box, or is he all three? In other "integrity in reporting" news, Milo Yiannopoulos and Breitbart were subjects of a 'bombshell' report at Buzzfeed that has been in the works for a few months, based on a trove of emails (presumably hacked by 'muh Russians' ...). It is the equivalent of discovering how sausage is actually made. -- the gist of the story concerns the sausage-making of Milo's "seminal" article at Breitbart, "An Establishment Conservative's Guide To The Alt-Right." And one video captures the relationship of Milo and the 'race realists' or 'neo-Nazis' he made acquaintance with. The most recognizable figure in the video besides Milo is Richard Spencer, who has some fun with the Nazi salute as Milo sings a patriotic song ...  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Las Vegas massacre byproducts

A glimpse of the worst kind of 'reporting' ... from the Gateway Pundit, determined to put something out there to agitate and draw clicks, regardless of truth: Then there are those who go with the first thing on their minds (a sample): -- and of course, the "news" from good old 'Baxter Dmitry' ... spinning hard, and adding a "false flag" note drawn from his asshole. Helpfully, the ghouls at Infowars are busting a gut to lay blame ... Alex Jones has identified the culprits: the Democrats and the Deep State:  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Introducing Jagmeet Singh

The two major national parties in Canada are the Liberals and the Conservatives. The third national party is called "The New Democratic Party" or NDP.  The party has just selected this guy, Jagmeet Singh as their leader ... Jagmeet Singh wins NDP leadership race on first ballot He will become the first Sikh to lead a national party. Singh attracted some national and international attention for how he dealt with a finger-wagging heckler at one of his leadership campaign meetings last month. A video went viral and most likely contributed to his win ... Of course, not everybody is enamoured of the turban-sporting socialist lawyer and martial artist, not least the folks at Canada's Rebel Media. Here is a counterpoint to the self-absorption of the left ... which is having a Trumpgasm over Singh and the symbolism of his win. And one for the ladies ...

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

It's Flag Day in Puerto Rico

There is at least one American territory where the stand-up-when-the-President-tells-you-to brouhaha is not pertinent, the island of Puerto Rico.  Apparently, some storm lashed the island and left a bit of a mess. The President is probably demanding flag-obedience before unleashing any aid.  Speaking of aid, here is a mental aid in the form of visual imagery. Back to your regular programming, where dissent is cancer.

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Shock Therapy

Could be interpreted as meaning the US is 'considering' stopping all trade with Russia, China, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and a list of other countries of lesser note.  If you interpret it as a threat of consequence, it could  have been designed to merely send a message to the biggest two-way trade partner, the People's Republic: Uncle Sam envisions extreme measures short of war, targeted at enabler nations. From another angle, the "all trade" is blufftrump, while the biggest offender still remains, yes, China. Surely China can be encouraged to economically cripple the demented state next-door ... (and here's looking at you, Vladimir) China & Russia did surprisingly support that last round of sanctions at the UN, and have enforced them, yet they reportedly see the nuclear issue in a slightly different strategic framework:  DPRK is arming itself with the ultimate weapon as a deterrent to the USA's war powers. The leadership do not so far seem inclined to radically punish the North.   That sounds wrong and stupid and counterfactual, as DPRK seems to threaten -- if not annihilation -- nuclear death in the Homeland. But that's the strategic thinking, along with Russia, in simple terms. These two DPRK neighbours see missiles pointed at the ''adversary nations," not at themselves. Sort of corrupt great power thinking, maybe.  Perhaps a ruined, starving, cold and miserable North Korea would result in the kind of social breakdown seen in collapsed nations elsewhere, but the question for me is what would result. Could the North Koreans be dissuaded from perfecting their 'deterrence' if their neighbours starved them?   Blufftrumping that "all trade" will be extinguished with the unnamed offenders still should and will still send a shiver of alarm through the unnamed, in one of my fantasies. Using trade relationships to punish egregious behaviour of a state actor.  Kind of august as a pronouncement-in-tweet, compelling, demanding, ready to unleash The Power from the apex of decision.   As the President might say, "We'll see what happens." ********************************************************************************** For a walk down another street, here is a neat match-up of fellows in the vector-space of OL  tastes ...

Joe Rogan Experience #1006 - Jordan Peterson & Bret Weinstein - YouTube   Peterson is emerging as a star of the culture wars ... has a wide-ranging Youtube channel, and gets into the wars via his Twitter account. He had one intriguing tweet yesterday outraged that the above video was placed under a Youtube 'restricted' status. I asked for details, he deleted his claim. Fey, very very fey canoes ...

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

"The Five Types of Trump Voters"

The folks at the Voter Study Group have an article from June, in which some 'types' of Trump voters have been discerned. The title and subtitle -- The Five Types of Trump Voters: Who They Are and What They Believe. It is worth a read, if only to explore the path of belief ... The five 'types' are said to be: Staunch Conservatives
Free Marketeers
American Preservationists
Anti-Elites
The Disengaged

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

"Inside Robert Mueller's Army"

The work history of the folks in the Robert Mueller team is reported on by the Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff.  For those unspooked by a relatively quiet news front on the special counsel's activities, and for those who are curious about credible/non-credible implications of the activities. And maybe for those who use "Muh Russia" unironically ... (& for those who may have forgotten the details of the inquiry's frame of reference: the Rosenstein order establishing his authority) The DB article's subheadline slug: To probe alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department. Meet the experts he’s recruited. Here is an excerpt from the conclusion (emphasis added):

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

"Emotions are tools of cognition."

The topic of emotion in Randland has always interested me. My very first point of contact with Objectivish things online was the place of emotion in cognition. It is interesting to find myself in rough agreement with Michael all these years later.  In the midst of a very intriguing conversation with my favourite South African Randian, this by MSK: It's not really fair to truncquote this bit, but readers can plunge back into the front porch thread to gain the flow of discussion, and the hinge-point of disagreement. But besides that, I think I can add a clarifying point in response to this (highlights added): This describes a similar-but-not-identical syndrome that I became aware of by reading the work of Antonio Damasio (whom I have mentioned a few too many times ...). Damasio worked with a neurological patient given the code-name "Elliot."  I mentioned 'Damasio,' 'emotion,' and 'Elliot' in one post five years ago: The gist was this: "Here is a teaser from a popular article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Feeling our way to decision" -- which I excerpted in the 2012 post ... Back to Michael's post today ... I'd like to find the famous example ... perhaps Michael can introspect hard and come up with the details.  -- this is roughly what I began to think when I learned of the case of "Elliot." I won't belabour the point here, since my "too many times" link above shows the same kind of discussion points I would make this time.  Without emotion, one's thinking is crippled. An additional knowledge point would be what "emotional intelligence" is missing in psychopaths (and here I plug the brilliant synthesis of research given in Ken Kiehl's book, The Psychopath Whisperer). Here is a brief extract from the 2010 Scientific American Mind article "Inside the Mind of a Psychopath." -- imagine waking up to a world in which none of these bodily feelings were present in mind,  but were mostly inaccessible ... and try to figure out which emotional circuits are blunted to the point of disappearance in the "rational" mind of a psychopath.

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Civil war .... Domestic Terrorism [updated]

A few perspectives on the white nationalist "road rage" incident in Charlottesville, Virginia.  US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions called the vehicular homicide a clear case of "domestic terrorism." Youtube sensation Mike Cernovich: "Civil War is here! #Charlottesville." Townhall columnist takes a swing at Presidential equivocation: "The Charlottesville Dystopia: Dark Souls, Tested Principles, and Presidential Weakness." Cernovich again: "President Trump Delivers a Statement." A thread introduced by OL's foremost  thought leader MSK, who did not (yet) mention the murder/road rage victim** (kind of a 'sanitizing' operation?): [editing between laptop and tablet. Will unlock the thread when I finish adding some 'brawling' videos ...] Here is a tweet with embedded video. Keep your eye on the stout fellow with long grey hair. He appears to direct a charge into a crowd of 'counter-protesters.' The same fellow, tentatively identified as Michael Tubbs, appears to lead the beating of a defenseless man: Tubbs has a history of violence.  ____________ ** still no mention of the murdered woman, nor the injured, not a word, because ... George Soros. It took the US President two days to denounce the KKK and neo-Nazis. I won't hold my breath waiting for our forum leader to write a few words about James Alex Fields, the alleged terrorist. "The white power dudes are stupid and talk tough, and you will find a deranged individual or so among them, but they are not destructive in the sense the race riot people under President Obama were." Domestic terrorism, said AG Sessions. "Not destructive," says our forum leader ... "Tracking 101." Yeesh. ++++++++++++++++++++ Interesting perspective from the III% (aka the Three Percenters) who supplied some faux-military protection during part of the events in Charlottesville.  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

What do you know about psychopathy?

[Edit: this topic was "blocked" -- which I usually do when I haven't finished a topic opener, to prevent a response to a last-draft-but one. I just unblocked it, after adding my own comment below] I was thinking today about Objectivist/ish conceptions of mind, volition and 'determinism.' The context is a 2014 book called "The Psychopath Whisperer." I am about half-way through giving it a thorough read, and want to recommend it to OLers interested in the intersection of law, punishment, philosophy and neuroscience.  Of interest to those who consider psychology a fatally-soft science or a fledgling, the book's central question is "Are there structural/developmental 'indicators' in brains of psychopaths?" or "Are brains of a psychopath different from non-psychopaths?"   The premise is that psychopaths are indeed 'different from you and me,' and that the brain is the seat of behaviour.  The author, Kent Kiehl, is a bit of an obsessive on the subject of psychopathy. This drive to understand the brain/mind of a psychopath led him to pioneer brain-imaging (fMRI) in prisoners with psychopathy, the worst of the worst offenders -- and to synthesize what he has learned at this point in his research career.  For those of you who would like a link or two, here is the book's page at Amazon (with reviews), and here are some links to explore ... (snatched from the jaws of Google)  

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Presidential Tweets Today

Some folks have penned breathless stories about President Trump's new Chief of Staff General Kelly -- suggesting that he will try to intercede between the president and the Twitter 'send' button.  Eg,  Yeah, well, if Kelly is with the President in New Bedford during the away-days from West Wing renovations, it looks like the ''reining in" is not actually what some folks hoped for:                     So ... what are those "phony Fake News polling" items the President may have in mind?  More importantly, how could we know which polling is worse, worst, worstest?  I don't know, going in -- but there is one outfit that President Trump has touted ...  -- senior White House counsel Kellyanne Conway (who was a pollster by trade) is noticing a possible difference between expectations and reality:  Kellyanne Conway admits Trump’s approval rating is down

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

How Canada became an education superpower

An interesting story from August 1 at the BBC: How Canada became an education superpower -- for those who followed today's Presidential unveiling of an immigration reform, the story has a few explanations of how Canada can place high on international education ranking -- while dealing with large amounts of immigrants. Without getting into the weeds, Canada's immigration policies are more like the reforms suggested for the USA -- a "points-based" system -- except for the family-class newcomers. At roughly ten percent of the American population, Canada inducts a greater relative proportion of immigrants than America does. This year we are likely to admit 300,000 or so ... not including 60,000 refugees. Anyway, some readers may find this intriguing -- how Canada has maintained high in-migration levels and still raised its education rankings to the top tier. I have added some bolding for skimmers ... What say you to the reforms in the pipe for the USA?  With the exception of reducing 'family-class' criteria, it is possible a new immigration framework could pay off in terms of the rankings cited in the BBC story, given time. On the other hand, the equivalent of Canada's yearly target/quotas would be 3,500,000 newcomers every year. Yikes! ____________ From a Business Insider story last Xmas:

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Rich, Seth, Russians, The

Another unsavoury emission from the hoopla turbines. It looks like Sean Spicer may have been 'in the loop' when FoxNews got in trouble with an unwarranted story they published -- while deeper intrigue is found in the form of a lawsuit filing. A dumptruck of details arranged in a narrative of wrong-doing, true or not. The plaintiff feels FoxNews fucked him over and escaped accountability. To set the scene (with light editing and bolded items): I had earlier taken issue with the root of these assertions in an OL-Mail to our thought leader: I followed up  on the Stone truth-mishap when it was raised again. Which gave me back this closely-reasoned rejoinder ... not where I had raised it, but on the front porch (emphases added). Here's the thing.  Seth Rich access ... to the very material that got leaked is not evident. There is no evidentiary argument to support that claim. Seth Rich had his own niche within the DNC, but was not "head of IT" with unimpeded top-level access.  It is Roger Stone that misrepresented the DNC position as vastly greater than prosaic truth. He got it wrong -- and it was an essential part of his argument. I meant to highlight this misrepresentation from Infowars as a key falsehood in the argument structure. Anyway, to "I have a feeling," being the 'gotcha person,' and noting that dear leader did not quote me, let me get all epistemological:   Here's the minor question unanswered: what exactly was Seth Rich's position within the DNC?   A follow-up question would be: what is the probability that Seth Rich had an all-access pass to the superstructure of the DNC computer networks? And one can ask, "If Rich was not likely to be the leaker/conduit, then what does that say about the motive for his murder in DC?" Anyway, who cares?  Right? Well,  I''d say one can't go wrong to rationally examine competing hypotheses. Among which is 'other parties ransacked the DNC.' To the point, finally, the all-access-Seth  claim aside, the issue has caught fire again today. Today the hoopla units turned up sleaze and dishonesty knobs. Here is a sample of Grand Supreme Hoopla from Memeorandum:  

william.scherk

william.scherk