Sessions, leaks, security, Manafort and 'false news.'

Six fun (sad/awful/false/infuriating) stories emerged from the swamp in the last couple of days. Peter Taylor noted elsewhere on the site some vows made by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on the issue of "leaks."  Some of the usual suspects have pretended that this is a "Threat" against the noble profession of prostitution journalism. The strongest or least-false coverage of this issue from that point of view may be from font of evul Politico ... in a story called Jeff Sessions' Attack on the Media Is Worse Than You Think.  Of course, Objectivist analysis might find that the threat is more than necessary, and that it will encourage a proper "chilling effect." Less clear is the notion of "Lie Detectors" (in the White House). Polygraphs are a useful investigative tool, but not accepted by US courts on the whole.  Less intrusive than a lie detector is the power to subpoena ... but see the story for all the convolutions. (one stand-out point was that it is relatively rare for journalist-itutes to be prosecuted or held in contempt for refusing to reveal sources [think Judith Miller]; the Politico story points out that the four arrested cited-but-not-cited by Sessions were not recipients but those who had purloined secret and often highly-classified 'spy' entrails from the DC borg.) ********************************* The second story circulating is that Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC.  This may or may not be true -- even though everyone and the dog has been biting on the "news." I do not know if this would become public in the normal course of justice. The third story is that President Trump is a lazy do-nothing, who spends far too much time at his golf clubs ... instantiated in a nasty Newsweek cover. The fourth story is related to the Mueller grand jury suggestion ... this excerpt is from the brief Slate article "U.S. Reportedly Intercepted Suspected Russian Agents' Chatter That Manafort Asked for Their Help With Clinton: Manafort was the first somewhat hinky part of the Trump campaign and influence apparat to appear in posts here on OL, back a year and more ago.  It's not surprising that Mueller would request documents and testimony from the Manafort axis.  It isn't that he was a tool of Russia or an obvious go-between, but that he could have been a major conduit for the wink-wink quid pro quo that the crazy Russia conspiracists are certain is going to be found. Did Mr Manafort wink-nudge the Trump attitude that 'we take help from where it comes, given that politics  is a dirty dirty game'? I mean, isn't the essential question reduced to who promised what in return?   I take the tentative position that Trump's stated positions on Russia during the campaign and since being in office are obvious. So it will be exceedingly hard to show him 'promising' things on the down low, since he did it on the stump. Then, if he was inclined to reduce sanctions bite on Russia and to warm things up between the superpower and the also-ran, it was open and public.  Which requires that underlings and satellites were going to be the ones dealing with the details of wink-wink, nudge-nudge. If you are a Menshist, or not. (the more hysterical of the Russia hoopla employees and hobbyists are those who think every rumour is true, every leak informs the big picture. So the Flynn Effect [very pro-Russia relax] and other fizz from the week means Russian "information warfare" was coordinated. Which is alarmist nonsense, right?) ************************************* The fifth story is about vacation-time, but in this instance taken by the manly President of Russia. Here's a sample: The sixth story is as usual performed by two casts, in two theatres. In the permutations, a Cernovich wing in the White House leaks out a broad range of accusations against Trump's National Security Adviser Lt. General HR McMaster -- that he is a tool of Soros/Rothschilds/Saudis, an enemy of Israel, and ever-so Swamp-Like that his hideous influence must be extirpated from Cabinet. Two guys come shambling up the alley. First guy looks like Steve Bannon, the second guy looks like  McMaster, and the guy with McMaster is brown and in a turban**. Which one would you ask out on a date/for help?  Which one is leaking to the Washington Post, or -- as this week -- to Cernovich-Breitbart-Gateway Pundit? I think there is a mini-war of ideas in the White House, which slops over into a war of words and Grand Hoopla Theatre in the mediatic multiplex. But what do I know. I am that guy who wrote "Why Donald Trump lost the election."  Incidentally, as a bonus seventh story -- did you know that obsessive humans do such things as rigorously analyze Twitter accounts that peddle the Kremlin lines of attack? Yes you did, but did you know that PR and political attack campaigns have a particular 'footprint' or pattern? Of course you did, so it won't be a surprise that there is a website that tracks real-time information-warfare memes and their flows in Kremlin-friendly orbit. If you squint and pretend to be Louise Mensch, yesterday's peak trends like the Cernovich Leaks from the angry West Wingers about McMaster were coordinated with a robust 'managed news' campaign directed by the drunk guy in the alley. See if you can find your favourites bot link or alt-news site here. I add a screenshot of the crazy site, but first an intro from the feverish topic ends of Twitter. __________________________ * I am picturing Harjit Sajjan, who rarely togs out in his Commander outfit, but still. Who doesn't feel safer when a turbaned Sikh gets on the bus?  I would think Bannon was a drunk, and McMaster probably a loud talker. Which makes me think how many more generals should join the Trump cabinet and administrative apparatus.



Mixed Martial Arts: Tucker Carlson vs Amy Peikoff

Peter Taylor left a crumb trail to an entertaining video from FoxNews' ratings juggernaut Tucker Carlson's show.  Featuring the Objectivist lawyer and scholar Amy Peikoff.  Veddy interesting ... "I must say, you seem like a logical atheist ..." sez the man with the Beatles haircut. [ ...] [... see below for the video missing above: Atheist and Haircut] From the "Friendly Atheist" ...  



Reading: Dark Oasis

There is a reading festival in Chilliwack, including a lottery-style draw for fabulous prizes, accorded to a pool of readers.  You fill out a little reading report and you may be rewarded with ... weekly-distributed prizes, all around fifty bucks value, from Arts Centre/Playhouse events to Plants. Anyway, there was another little promotion going on when we visited the main library: local, small-press "Chilliwack"-keyed books aka "Local Indie Authors." I picked up .. Dark Oasis, A Self-Made Messiah Unveiled, by a guy named Jasun Horsley.  

It is a gripping tale told from the perspective of an almost-cult-member, the central figure being John de Ruiter, who now runs a "philosophy" empire out of an Edmonton "Oasis." The book will not be to the taste of those who want an extremely-skeptic take on de Ruiter; the author is somewhat reminiscent of the book published by Greg Mamishian and his wife, in that it examines a cult leader/philosopher, but this one is enlarged by the 'spiritual' beliefs of Horsley. So, if you don't want to read something by someone who identified with Carlos Castenada for a time, who is a "seeker" of spiritual truths, pass. But this seeker is able to describe the entire assembly of the present "philosophy" and its internal and 'intended' cultishness. The seeker and the skeptic in one. With a few wobbles along the way. Anyway, just a Reading:  note. I include a recent video of John de Ruiter, just to give a glimpse of the weirdness of his message. This is de Ruiter "on the road": -- for a sample of Jasun Horsley's writing style and format, see his series of smaller articles at Auticulture, especially The Casualties of “Truth”: Deconstructing John de Ruiter’s Sexual “Calling”.  That's right, Sex!



Fire, Cognition, Fury, Persuasion [Updated]

President Trump, in his inimitable fashion, has pushed back against one of the central themes of Michael Wolff's breathless work of gossip, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. The theme -- fanciful, false, 'fake' or not -- is that Trump's White House was staffed with more than a few folks who view the man in the Oval Office as unfit for the job, lacking the qualities of mind that one should expect. This is not a new theme. Here is an article in Statnews last year that tried (and failed?) to 'measure' a difference between a younger and older Trump's vocabulary and fluency.   Trump wasn’t always so linguistically challenged. What could explain the change? Research has shown that changes in speaking style can result from cognitive decline. STAT therefore asked experts in neurolinguistics and cognitive assessment, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists, to compare Trump’s speech from decades ago to that in 2017; they all agreed there had been a deterioration, and some said it could reflect changes in the health of Trump’s brain.
  The author of the Statnews May 2017 article helpfully includes several brief video excerpts -- from 1987 and 1991, and from a more recent video of the President speaking extemporaneously.     ... the decline of Grand Supreme Hoopla ...  



Watching: 'Linguistics Are How You Win: Everyone Must Hear the Term "Moral Panic"'

Tarl Warwick (such a nice Lovecraftian name) aka Styxhexenhammer666 is someone I pay attention to, so that I can at the very least understand various arguments made.  He is quite assured before the camera**, which still impresses me), and can run on for at least ten minutes, even if not colouring within the lines of his topic.  Here he hews fairly strictly to the concept of Moral Panic and raises some questions that readers/watchers/listeners here can either analyze, scoff at, or nap through.   I can't get access to automated captions at the moment, but will poke them in here once I figure out how .. The Invision Power Board software no longer allows embedded files in an iframe ... so I had to come up with a kludge, for readers: I use a kludge within a form element, a textarea. The only drawback is that in some browsers the size of the box is fixed to maximum width.  Advanced example:Textarea with sizing and wrap attribute (try values of hard, soft, and off to see how it affects wrapping). The maximum number of characters is constrained to 200 by the maxlength attribute. Full automated caption file ... 00:00:00,709 - 00:00:02,878 All right everyone if you've ever read 00:00:02,879 - 00:00:05,068 or watched 1984 you know that one 00:00:05,069 - 00:00:08,339 element of propaganda and this work gets 00:00:08,340 - 00:00:10,619 it right definitely is language control 00:00:10,620 - 00:00:12,779 language control is perhaps the most 00:00:12,780 - 00:00:14,758 important aspect other than physical 00:00:14,759 - 00:00:17,549 force itself in controlling people in 00:00:17,550 - 00:00:19,469 fact if you have enough propaganda if 00:00:19,470 - 00:00:22,108 you're given enough psychological leeway 00:00:22,109 - 00:00:23,518 and you have enough of a corporate 00:00:23,519 - 00:00:25,589 apparatus to deliver it and get around 00:00:25,590 - 00:00:27,749 the 1st and 4th amendments which is what 00:00:27,750 - 00:00:29,579 Silicon Valley is for it to be it 00:00:29,580 - 00:00:31,409 appears then you don't need to use 00:00:31,410 - 00:00:33,659 physical force not necessary to round 00:00:33,660 - 00:00:36,359 people up in camps it's not necessary to 00:00:36,360 - 00:00:38,009 force them out in the middle of the 00:00:38,010 - 00:00:39,569 night and you know beat their daughters 00:00:39,570 - 00:00:41,968 at gunpoint it's not necessary to a 00:00:41,969 - 00:00:44,099 physically harass and intimidate them 00:00:44,100 - 00:00:46,139 all you have to do is have a such a 00:00:46,140 - 00:00:48,119 system that's created that is more or 00:00:48,120 - 00:00:50,159 less model I think it's monopolized its 00:00:50,160 - 00:00:51,808 government co-opted controlled by a 00:00:51,809 - 00:00:54,058 bunch of CEOs and bankers who have 00:00:54,059 - 00:00:55,589 nothing in common with the general 00:00:55,590 - 00:00:57,959 population you simply control people by 00:00:57,960 - 00:00:59,939 figuring out what language will or will 00:00:59,940 - 00:01:02,669 not be used or accepted on these 00:01:02,670 - 00:01:04,499 platforms that have been integrated 00:01:04,500 - 00:01:06,359 together into a gigantic corporate 00:01:06,360 - 00:01:08,759 monopoly that's what we see with the 00:01:08,760 - 00:01:09,600 internet today 00:01:09,601 - 00:01:12,329 we have a trust involving a few dozen 00:01:12,330 - 00:01:14,699 extremely large companies they work with 00:01:14,700 - 00:01:16,798 the US government this is why what 00:01:16,799 - 00:01:17,969 they're doing is technically illegal 00:01:17,970 - 00:01:21,059 already because it is you can't work 00:01:21,060 - 00:01:22,258 around the First Amendment by 00:01:22,259 - 00:01:24,089 privatizing abuse you can't say well 00:01:24,090 - 00:01:25,769 like the government can't say I can't 00:01:25,770 - 00:01:27,508 prevent you from speaking but I can 00:01:27,509 - 00:01:29,368 command all these corporations to not 00:01:29,369 - 00:01:30,899 sell you the paper to use on your 00:01:30,900 - 00:01:33,328 printer that would be illegal it would 00:01:33,329 - 00:01:35,008 be explicitly illegal as long as they do 00:01:35,009 - 00:01:37,438 it through middlemen nobody so far as 00:01:37,439 - 00:01:38,609 notice but I'm going to give a 00:01:38,610 - 00:01:41,548 suggestion to the Creator community to 00:01:41,549 - 00:01:43,319 alt tech to the online world to 00:01:43,320 - 00:01:45,179 political dissidents you know people and 00:01:45,180 - 00:01:46,919 the handful of people in our government 00:01:46,920 - 00:01:48,929 that are still awake there's one 00:01:48,930 - 00:01:50,758 important thing you can do to break this 00:01:50,759 - 00:01:52,648 sort of psychological conditioning 00:01:52,649 - 00:01:54,478 because it relies upon controlling 00:01:54,479 - 00:01:57,059 language so they'll use the term quality 00:01:57,060 - 00:01:59,099 filter it's not a quality filter it's a 00:01:59,100 - 00:02:01,319 censorship tool you're only calling it 00:02:01,320 - 00:02:03,269 though it's so opaque the way that it's 00:02:03,270 - 00:02:04,559 designed we don't even know what it's 00:02:04,560 - 00:02:06,539 filtering or how well then how can you 00:02:06,540 - 00:02:08,848 possibly say that oh just trust us 00:02:08,849 - 00:02:10,889 it's for quality assurance within 00:02:10,890 - 00:02:12,419 conversation no it's not it's 00:02:12,420 - 00:02:13,340 suppressing beep 00:02:13,341 - 00:02:15,348 that have certain views that have 00:02:15,349 - 00:02:16,878 certain beliefs that's all it is 00:02:16,879 - 00:02:18,649 family-friendly no it's not 00:02:18,650 - 00:02:20,779 family-friendly it's sanitized and 00:02:20,780 - 00:02:23,029 injected with propaganda it's not 00:02:23,030 - 00:02:26,238 fact-checking it's fact skewing see how 00:02:26,239 - 00:02:28,219 easy that is you've got to look at the 00:02:28,220 - 00:02:29,988 language of the terminology used when 00:02:29,989 - 00:02:31,429 they make up new terms 00:02:31,430 - 00:02:33,499 literally new speak you should always 00:02:33,500 - 00:02:35,119 pick them apart and think really 00:02:35,120 - 00:02:37,219 critically about whether it actually 00:02:37,220 - 00:02:39,409 properly represents what's going on 00:02:39,410 - 00:02:42,859 number one expose that fact to people 00:02:42,860 - 00:02:45,828 deride and mock these situations these 00:02:45,829 - 00:02:47,779 systems that are being made by Silicon 00:02:47,780 - 00:02:49,639 Valley the quality filters that and 00:02:49,640 - 00:02:51,318 stuff just call them what they are 00:02:51,319 - 00:02:53,449 censorship and derived them as such and 00:02:53,450 - 00:02:55,009 don't get bogged down in the muff 00:02:55,010 - 00:02:57,499 free-market debates that's it's 00:02:57,500 - 00:02:59,298 not a free market everyone knows that at 00:02:59,299 - 00:03:02,208 this point number two use the term moral 00:03:02,209 - 00:03:03,949 panic I see more and more people 00:03:03,950 - 00:03:06,318 starting to use legacy media I need to 00:03:06,319 - 00:03:08,268 talk about moral panic apparently ten 00:03:08,269 - 00:03:11,089 times more often if the term enters the 00:03:11,090 - 00:03:12,859 public discourse at a high enough level 00:03:12,860 - 00:03:15,469 seeps its way into public consciousness 00:03:15,470 - 00:03:18,589 as things like legacy media corporatism 00:03:18,590 - 00:03:20,988 terms like that are we can very quickly 00:03:20,989 - 00:03:23,629 collapse the entire sense of ship 00:03:23,630 - 00:03:25,939 paradigm because then people will have a 00:03:25,940 - 00:03:28,129 new term to substitute for what for the 00:03:28,130 - 00:03:29,929 new speak that's already being used see 00:03:29,930 - 00:03:33,078 the thing is this is counter propaganda 00:03:33,079 - 00:03:35,509 I'll tell you why I'll tell you why this 00:03:35,510 - 00:03:37,399 isn't technically like libertarian new 00:03:37,400 - 00:03:39,409 speaker selling which some people pry if 00:03:39,410 - 00:03:41,089 they're jackboot liquors they probably 00:03:41,090 - 00:03:43,578 claim them because this term already 00:03:43,579 - 00:03:45,409 entered the public lexicon a long time 00:03:45,410 - 00:03:47,149 ago it's already been around but there's 00:03:47,150 - 00:03:49,098 never been as far as I know before the 00:03:49,099 - 00:03:51,738 fairly modern era because the quality 00:03:51,739 - 00:03:53,958 filter what's what's a real quality 00:03:53,959 - 00:03:56,149 filter real quality filters you slap it 00:03:56,150 - 00:03:58,759 into your wall to filter the incoming AC 00:03:58,760 - 00:04:01,309 air so you don't get Legionnaires 00:04:01,310 - 00:04:03,138 disease or something that's a quality 00:04:03,139 - 00:04:04,969 filter family-friendly no 00:04:04,970 - 00:04:06,229 family-friendly is sitting around 00:04:06,230 - 00:04:08,479 playing checkers or watching The 00:04:08,480 - 00:04:09,949 Waltons or something you're not gonna 00:04:09,950 - 00:04:11,988 get family-friendly on a free and open 00:04:11,989 - 00:04:13,458 Internet because people aren't 00:04:13,459 - 00:04:17,029 constantly facing obstacles to absorbing 00:04:17,030 - 00:04:18,978 whatever content they want it'd be 00:04:18,979 - 00:04:20,659 draconian it'd be tyrannical its 00:04:20,660 - 00:04:22,098 censorship that's all it is 00:04:22,099 - 00:04:24,949 Oh build your own website they say you 00:04:24,950 - 00:04:25,550 can't 00:04:25,551 - 00:04:27,439 it's become impossible that's the whole 00:04:27,440 - 00:04:30,228 point good luck finding someone to act 00:04:30,229 - 00:04:32,329 as a registrar good luck payment 00:04:32,330 - 00:04:34,758 processing good luck using anything that 00:04:34,759 - 00:04:37,189 was built by any other site on your site 00:04:37,190 - 00:04:39,619 good luck finding a host good luck at 00:04:39,620 - 00:04:41,119 this point without net neutrality he'll 00:04:41,120 - 00:04:43,279 good luck finding an isp to serve you at 00:04:43,280 - 00:04:45,138 some point they'll eventually join the 00:04:45,139 - 00:04:47,598 fray because they become now a target 00:04:47,599 - 00:04:50,168 for the crap divest that's another thing 00:04:50,169 - 00:04:52,549 we can make up our own news speak 00:04:52,550 - 00:04:54,228 technically speaking for more benevolent 00:04:54,229 - 00:04:57,258 reasons use the term crap to fist to 00:04:57,259 - 00:04:59,239 denote somebody who's who claims to be 00:04:59,240 - 00:05:01,369 active istic but they're really just a 00:05:01,370 - 00:05:02,388 bored moralist 00:05:02,389 - 00:05:05,059 soccer mom that's a mockery is one big 00:05:05,060 - 00:05:06,829 way in which you defeat authoritarianism 00:05:06,830 - 00:05:09,198 look censorship and authoritarianism 00:05:09,199 - 00:05:12,439 stem from fear a group is losing power 00:05:12,440 - 00:05:14,689 or fears losing power or money or 00:05:14,690 - 00:05:16,879 something or audience and so they lash 00:05:16,880 - 00:05:18,619 out it's sort of like what a religion 00:05:18,620 - 00:05:20,149 does when it goes into decline it 00:05:20,150 - 00:05:22,728 declares some pogroms starts a crusade 00:05:22,729 - 00:05:25,128 all people are becoming decadent no no 00:05:25,129 - 00:05:27,529 the tithing level has decreased we must 00:05:27,530 - 00:05:30,228 kill anyone who disagrees with us states 00:05:30,229 - 00:05:32,388 do this a state that is under pressure 00:05:32,389 - 00:05:34,788 spawns authoritarianism far more readily 00:05:34,789 - 00:05:36,918 we saw this with via our Germany we're 00:05:36,919 - 00:05:38,568 seeing it all over Europe today it's 00:05:38,569 - 00:05:39,888 coming from the left and the right 00:05:39,889 - 00:05:42,739 groups are becoming more given over 00:05:42,740 - 00:05:44,869 towards political intimidation tactics 00:05:44,870 - 00:05:46,999 not necessarily authoritarianism as 00:05:47,000 - 00:05:49,638 directed to a populist sometimes it's 00:05:49,639 - 00:05:51,348 more in the realm of intimidation like 00:05:51,349 - 00:05:52,939 they're literally more willing to throw 00:05:52,940 - 00:05:54,918 a punch you know on the floor of some 00:05:54,919 - 00:05:57,379 some Congress some or some Parliament 00:05:57,380 - 00:05:58,848 all of a sudden they break out into what 00:05:58,849 - 00:06:01,129 amounts to a white-collar riot and it's 00:06:01,130 - 00:06:02,568 all very funny because they know they're 00:06:02,569 - 00:06:04,549 throwing cut HUD there they're $10 cup 00:06:04,550 - 00:06:06,559 coffee at each other and then grabbing 00:06:06,560 - 00:06:08,508 each other's thousand dollar suits and 00:06:08,509 - 00:06:10,429 ripping men's stuff like that mats can 00:06:10,430 - 00:06:12,619 be a little bit funny it's like in you 00:06:12,620 - 00:06:14,059 know in the Balkan states when 00:06:14,060 - 00:06:15,888 occasionally son throws a gas grenade 00:06:15,889 - 00:06:17,478 into the parliament or sorry it's just a 00:06:17,479 - 00:06:19,728 normal activity there once in a while 00:06:19,729 - 00:06:23,448 door when they lose a soccer match then 00:06:23,449 - 00:06:25,309 it happens even more than then the cars 00:06:25,310 - 00:06:27,258 start flipping and buildings start 00:06:27,259 - 00:06:29,689 burning honestly but no Linguistics are 00:06:29,690 - 00:06:32,448 how you understand reality you've got to 00:06:32,449 - 00:06:35,088 understand the concept of picking apart 00:06:35,089 - 00:06:37,788 language develop this skill it's not 00:06:37,789 - 00:06:38,719 that difficult 00:06:38,719 - 00:06:39,560 it's just Luke 00:06:39,561 - 00:06:41,418 terms especially when you hear a term 00:06:41,419 - 00:06:43,789 for the first time it sort of fires off 00:06:43,790 - 00:06:45,888 the the dopamine in your brain a little 00:06:45,889 - 00:06:48,168 bit take a step back and look at what 00:06:48,169 - 00:06:50,029 it's actually saying what does quality 00:06:50,030 - 00:06:52,129 filter in the sense of a multi-billion 00:06:52,130 - 00:06:54,289 dollar corporate entity imposing it on 00:06:54,290 - 00:06:56,089 political speech what does it actually 00:06:56,090 - 00:06:58,819 mean there's a simpler way of saying it 00:06:58,820 - 00:07:00,529 it's an old term it's been around for a 00:07:00,530 - 00:07:01,070 long time 00:07:01,071 - 00:07:03,439 censorship or corporate censorship if 00:07:03,440 - 00:07:05,119 you will because it involves a 00:07:05,120 - 00:07:07,099 multi-billion dollar entity if it 00:07:07,100 - 00:07:09,309 involves like Google the concept that 00:07:09,310 - 00:07:11,539 corporations can be moral actors I 00:07:11,540 - 00:07:13,638 reject completely it's impossible if 00:07:13,639 - 00:07:15,829 they exist within a competitive 00:07:15,830 - 00:07:18,049 framework they will naturally seek to 00:07:18,050 - 00:07:20,359 use those those tools they're developing 00:07:20,360 - 00:07:22,399 that they're presenting to you as though 00:07:22,400 - 00:07:23,959 therefore you're fit to keep your 00:07:23,960 - 00:07:25,789 children safer to protect you from 00:07:25,790 - 00:07:27,829 harmful opinions which you know 00:07:27,830 - 00:07:29,478 literally means anything that's non 00:07:29,479 - 00:07:31,839 corporate istic non neoliberal inform 00:07:31,840 - 00:07:34,638 they will inevitably aim them at smaller 00:07:34,639 - 00:07:36,769 competitors we see that right now what 00:07:36,770 - 00:07:38,269 are they doing to the alt-text site so 00:07:38,270 - 00:07:40,249 we're kicking off your payment processor 00:07:40,250 - 00:07:42,079 because you're not doing what Google 00:07:42,080 - 00:07:44,478 does and and policing and micro policing 00:07:44,479 - 00:07:46,519 everything that goes on on your site 00:07:46,520 - 00:07:48,559 oh you allow people to say things that 00:07:48,560 - 00:07:50,839 we find offensive you can't take money 00:07:50,840 - 00:07:53,359 we're kicking you off of your host your 00:07:53,360 - 00:07:56,179 registrar will drop you the ISP won't 00:07:56,180 - 00:07:58,609 serve you other sites won't allow you to 00:07:58,610 - 00:08:00,529 use their widgets or whatever the 00:08:00,530 - 00:08:02,689 they use now essentially your deep 00:08:02,690 - 00:08:03,350 person 00:08:03,351 - 00:08:06,409 well that sounds anti-competitive to me 00:08:06,410 - 00:08:07,788 it's funny you'd have to build your own 00:08:07,789 - 00:08:10,189 Internet in order to have actual free 00:08:10,190 - 00:08:12,319 speech going on I suppose to some extent 00:08:12,320 - 00:08:14,439 I think that that's quite chilling I 00:08:14,440 - 00:08:16,849 think it's absolutely ludicrous that 00:08:16,850 - 00:08:19,129 we're allowing US firms to get away with 00:08:19,130 - 00:08:21,138 this if you want to be authoritarians 00:08:21,139 - 00:08:23,569 why don't you relocate all of your 00:08:23,570 - 00:08:25,909 headquarters and stuff to a Malawi or 00:08:25,910 - 00:08:28,579 you know China or something you'd fit in 00:08:28,580 - 00:08:31,459 more in China do you you have an F oh so 00:08:31,460 - 00:08:33,619 that is not markedly different from what 00:08:33,620 - 00:08:35,899 China is doing on its intranet it 00:08:35,900 - 00:08:38,239 monitors everything it removes and 00:08:38,240 - 00:08:41,208 censors and D platforms at a whim it can 00:08:41,209 - 00:08:42,949 prevent you from engaging in commerce 00:08:42,950 - 00:08:44,778 because it can say well this person is a 00:08:44,779 - 00:08:46,579 dissident we better alert the 00:08:46,580 - 00:08:48,109 authorities they shouldn't be banking 00:08:48,110 - 00:08:49,549 they shouldn't be able to get a loan or 00:08:49,550 - 00:08:51,559 a house or something it's the same thing 00:08:51,560 - 00:08:53,369 we're under a four 00:08:53,370 - 00:08:55,799 of censorship right now under these US 00:08:55,800 - 00:08:57,959 tech firms that to a more limited extent 00:08:57,960 - 00:08:59,639 is essentially an extension of China 00:08:59,640 - 00:09:02,069 that's what it is it's not any different 00:09:02,070 - 00:09:04,019 it's just censorship it's not a quality 00:09:04,020 - 00:09:05,879 filter the Chinese used to Anu speak 00:09:05,880 - 00:09:07,919 like that to oh this is the protection 00:09:07,920 - 00:09:10,349 filter this is the great Internet wall 00:09:10,350 - 00:09:11,819 that'll keep you safe from the evil 00:09:11,820 - 00:09:14,729 outside world this is the this is the 00:09:14,730 - 00:09:16,528 hall monitor that's going to keep your 00:09:16,529 - 00:09:18,419 kids safe from bad opinions like 00:09:18,420 - 00:09:20,639 believing in labor unions or something 00:09:20,640 - 00:09:21,929 or thinking that they should get more 00:09:21,930 - 00:09:24,119 ten cents an hour and work from the time 00:09:24,120 - 00:09:26,249 that they're 10 11 years old that's what 00:09:26,250 - 00:09:28,079 in the nation of communist China they 00:09:28,080 - 00:09:29,789 would tell you aren't they telling you 00:09:29,790 - 00:09:32,399 basically the same thing here only with 00:09:32,400 - 00:09:34,409 without the suicide Nets because they 00:09:34,410 - 00:09:36,179 pay their staff you know six-figure 00:09:36,180 - 00:09:38,669 incomes not that big a different model 00:09:38,670 - 00:09:40,049 now when you really think about it 00:09:40,050 - 00:09:44,720 that's about all Pisa

Placeholder for GW/CC 'How I got here' thread

Long ago Jonathan and I got some good traction out of a tangle of issues related to Global Warming slash Climate Change.  I think we are slated to renew or refresh our earlier exchanges.  I am going to poke in links to some he-said/he-saids from a few different threads at different times. One feature of the updated software is an automated 'sampling' of a link posted raw.  See below.  So this blog entry will be kind of administrative-technical while being built and edited. I haven't figured out if Jonathan and I should impose some 'rules' going in, so your comment may be subject to arbitrary deletion before the field is ready for play. Fan notes included. Adam, see what you think of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, especially the revealing map-based representations of opinion. You can drill and zoom down to state, county, district level to track data across a number of survey questions, where some of the answers are surprising. On some measures at least, the thing it is not found only in the UK, Quebec, Canada: Here's a snapshot of several maps which do not always show an expected Red State/Blue State pattern; Edited 4 May 2015 by william.scherk   Plug my How To Get Where I Got book of books, Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming. Insert link to Amazon, Library link, and to the intro chapter of Weart's companion website to the book. Make sure you include a link to Ellen's mention of a book review.  Bob Kolker's June 3 comment is a good hinge. What do we (J and I) think we know about the mechanism Bob sketches? What can we 'stipulate' or what can we agree on, for the sake of argument?    

World Press Freedom Index

A depressing report from the folks at Reporters without Borders.  It contains all the data undergirding the index,  which lets you dig into the specifics.  We are probably (Canadians and Americans) thinking we have nothing to envy in other nations, in terms of press freedom, but the methodology suggests no -- we don't even crack the top ten. The way I look at it is ... an open society cannot function without press/media freedom -- including full freedom to report without the need to 'obey government authorities.'  The most striking case for me is that of Turkey. It has a few insane-seeming laws that are based on the old concept of lèse-majesté  (roughly, this means 'wound/injury [of/to] majesty' from the Latin laesa majestas). In the Turkish system, any criticism of the President, the State, or Turkishness can be criminalized. As the RWB report indicates, this has the effect of making Erdogan the arbiter of what can and cannot be said about him, his policies, and the nation ... this is also the basis of the sad and disgusting extension of "terror" laws in Saudi Arabia, which nation is ... near the bottom of the index.

Reading: Freud, the Making of an Illusion

I've mentioned the author Frederick Crews a few times on OL** ... and now I am ploughing steadily through his book "Freud, the Making of an Illusion."  

It's the kind of book people reserve the word 'magisterial' for, so far.  The subject is Freud's story-telling, in essence, and the divergence from the actualities. Crew is the first to exploit the new availability of previously censored or suppressed materials.  He has previously rubbished mythic Freud in some earlier work referred to by the lesser term "tour-de-force." What will appeal to the Objectivist or Objectivish is the hard line, the hard line for reality trumping bullshit.  Crews was the first to achieve a kind of encyclopedic knowledge of the Freudian-derived Recovered Memory movement and its associated Satanic Ritual Abuse allegations, trials and injustices. He was able to 'wrap it up' like a good prosecutor, with an at-my-fingertips-knowledge of what went down where and when and how and why. A good taste of what would be to come were you to purchase or borrow the book comes from its Preface, which I quote from (you can also Look Inside at Amazon): Among historical figures, Sigmund Freud ranks with Shakespeare and Jesus of Nazareth for the amount of attention bestowed upon him by scholars and commentators. Unlike them, he left behind thousands of documents that show what he was doing and thinking from adolescence until his death at age 83. Although many of those records were placed under lengthy restriction by followers who felt both financial and emotional incentives to idealize him, that blackout has at least partially expired by now. More revelations will emerge, but they are unlikely to alter the outlines of Freud's conduct and beliefs as they appear in the most responsible recent studies. [...] Of course, hardcore partisans can be counted upon to dismiss this book as an extended exercise in Freud-bashing -- a notion that gets invoked whenever the psychoanalytic legend of lonely and heroic discovery is challenged. To call someone a Freud basher is at once to Shield Freud's theory from skeptical examination and to shift the focus, as Freud himself so often did, from objective issues to the supposedly twisted mind of the critic. Like other aspects of Freudolatry, the charge of Freud bashing deserves to be retired at last. The best way to accomplish that end, however, is just to display the actual record of Freud's doings and to weigh that record by an appeal to consensual standards of judgment. _________________________________ ** totalismCult Warning Signs william.scherk posted a blog entry in Friends and Foes ...One of the many astute chroniclers of this time wasFrederick Crews, whose "The Memory Wars" still stands out above the rest. I note in passing his most recent book, a stunning tour de force in my opinion. See Freud: The Making of an Illusion. I have mentioned his work a couple of times here...  January 12    30 comments Solving a Puzzle-- Understanding Some People's Reactions william.scherk replied to Philip Coates's topic in Objectivist Living Room ...ThenFrederick Crews saved me. He let me see that crashing through the Dominant Discourse of Freudian Bullshit was a dangerous job. Those who had peddled that shit all the years were deadly opposed to being pushed off their thrones, their departmental thrones, their kingdoms of influence and tenure...  January 30, 2012    358 replies Emotions as products of Ideas william.scherk commented on nealelehman's blog entry in neale's Blog ...readFrederick Crews on Freud/psychoanalysis, anything you can get by Allen Esterson, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Frank Cioffi, and the very interesting current-philosophical-outrages site Butterflies and Wheels , a British site that is part of my regular reading. My favourite living philosopher is Susa...  June 30, 2007    6 comments

"Trolling" for food in Venezuela

This is a headline that needed an entry -- it is embedded within a story about, er, "cyber warfare" -- or whatever laden term best describes the augmented reality of propaganda, misinformation, and its effects. It's in a Bloomberg special report called A Global Guide to State-Sponsored Trolling. I can't wait till I get to the Canadian section. ________ ____ ____ ___ __ ________ __________ _____ / ____/ / / __ \/ __ )/ | / / / ____/ / / / _/ __ \/ ___/ /\ / / __/ / / / / / __ / /| | / / / / __/ / / // // / / / __/ ___ __ / .\ / /_/ / /__/ /_/ / /_/ / ___ |/ /__ / /_/ / /_/ // // /_/ / /__ |_ _| .| /_/\_\ \____/____/\____/_____/_/ |_/____/ \____/\____/___/_____/____/ |_||__| _____ _ _ _____ _ / ____| | | | / ____| | | | (___ | |_ __ _| |_ ___ ___ | (___ _ __ ___ _ __ ___ ___ _ __ ___ __| | \___ \| __/ _` | __/ _ \|___| \___ \| '_ \ / _ \| '_ \/ __|/ _ \| '__/ _ \/ _` | ____) | || (_| | || __/ ____) | |_) | (_) | | | \__ \ (_) | | | __/ (_| | |_____/ \__\__,_|\__\___| |_____/| .__/ \___/|_| |_|___/\___/|_| \___|\__,_| | | _________ _______ ________ ___ |_| ___ _______ __ __ ________ | || _ \ | || | | | | | | \ | || | |__ __|| | | | | _ || | | | |_ _| | \ | || _ | | | | |_| / | | | || | | | | | | \| || ||___| | | | _ \ | |_| || |___ | |___ _| |_ | |\ || ||_ | | | | | \ \ | || || || | | | \ || |_/ | |___| |___| \___\|________||_______||_______||_______| |__| \___||________|

The Best Days of the Trump Presidency

I have learned a few serenity lessons along the way, having been a typically shy-but-exuberant child and a normally anguished-at-times-by-love teenager. Emoting can be fun when it involves a bodily thrill short of nausea or panic or grief.  Outrage is then physical, in anger, disgust, just as with alarm, fear, and ever more physical as emotions heighten or become infused with more potent bodily energy -- to Rage, Revulsion, Terror.  How to keep your head when all around you are losing theirs.  The first lesson is 'suppress' ... try not to let the emoting of others influence your own unduly. Suppress 'triggers.' Anticipate loaded language and fallacious appeals, mentally diffuse their impact, try to extract salient details.   The second lesson is 'edit.'  Similar to suppress but you do it to yourself, doing your best to strip off an emotive overburden to the frame, the structure, the data, the theory. Needless to say, I may have learned a few beginner's lessons -- but don't always enforce the lessons in distance. Still, on a very newsworthy/peak-histrionic moment, following Helsinki it could be hard for most people to restrain their emotions, since hyper-loaded language has been dropped in such volume and spatter -- from treason to heavily-laden phrases about disgrace, embarrassment, shame, disgust, and so on. What a (moving) moment. As I noted elsewhere,  this is A Big Moment in White House Hoopla. Everyone talks about Mr Trump today.  In terms of getting everyone to talk about Mr Trump and Mr Putin, it's a Great Day.  From one point of view, rather relaxed, a powerful warrior went to Brussels, England and Scotland. He shook up the Old Order. He was undiplomatic, straight-talking, forceful and determined in the NATO meetings. In Britain he said what he wanted, America First.  Fiddle with a Hard Brexit, say bye-bye to a special trade deal. Round of golf, tea with Elizabeth Windsor in a palace, beautiful Helsinki, historic Helsinki. Joy. Power. Exhilaration. And he knocked it out of the park, crushed it, dominated, chided, controlled, set the agenda, mastered the fine details and the deep motives. Spoke of a new era of peace and strength, a new realism. Joy. Pride. Anticipation. Warmth of affection.  Having calmed everyone down for a moment, try to read this with no dander up-getting.  Your opinion is or may be an analogue to political reality.    

Bones (and flesh) of Contention

I will put the whole list of unremarkables and red-zoned claims/statements, perhaps regrouping them, and adding links where appropriate. I have been hungering for some kind of discussion with OLers on climatology's raging discourse. This may be the opening, a list of contentious contentions, and notes on same. Sharpen the dialogue, deepen the inquiry, get over the hurdles of shared knowledge. To the curb with unwarranted assumptions, as we dig. I do believe reasoned and reasonable inquiry can give us great tubers and fruits of reliable knowledge ... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++= Here's a helpful bit of exposition from a summary article at Wikipedia. This gives a little further edge to unremarkable science, but perhaps sharpens our focus on just what it is that Dennis May considers fraudulencing and hoaxeronony:   [T]he primary cause of ozone depletion is the presence of chlorine-containing source gases (primarily CFCs and related halocarbons). In the presence of UV light, these gases dissociate, releasing chlorine atoms, which then go on to catalyze ozone destruction. The Cl-catalyzed ozone depletion can take place in the gas phase, but it is dramatically enhanced in the presence of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs).   In the rest of this comment, Emphases added. Bold for claims by Dennis May. Bold blue for unremarkable scientific findings. Red bold for iffy-ish statements IDed by Dennis's sniffs, clues from earlier statements on OL and Atlantis II, What we think we may know so far ... Ozone is a type of oxygen, three oxygen molecules bound together. Where Ozone comes from, where it lives, how it dies, where and how it travels in its life-cycle, this is generally understood. Today, in 2012, there just aren't any large Ozone mysteries Ozone is, like oxygen itself, a powerful, changeable, 'sticky'/repulsive, catalytic chemical under certain circumstances. Ozone is most heavily concentrated in a band of Earth's uppermost atmosphere (the stratosphere); Ozone concentrations can be measured. The heaviest concentration in the vertical column we call our atmosphere is in the so-called Ozone layer.' Ozone concentrations are not regionally diffuse; some areas of earth have stronger on average, some weaker. Ozone is most heavily "produced" in lower latitudes (the 'tropics' or equatorial latitudes) because of how most Ozone is produced -- photolysis. Ozone is made when solar radiation 'splits' a common atmospheric Oxygen molecule (two coupled O atoms). Ozone results when a 'single' O atom meets a twinned/couple Oxygen molecule. Solar radiation can also 'split' Ozone. Ozone effectively acts as a 'sun-screen' for Solar Radiation in several frequency bands, especially Ultraviolet B. Ozone 'absorbs' the energy of the Ultraviolet B, allowing less UV-b to strike living organisms on the earth's surface. Ozone concentrations in the stratsophere over the poles have marked seasonal variations. Stratospheric ozone levels will be changeable, from day to day, from season to seaon, and varying by latitude. The Ozone 'band' or layer can have differing 'thickness' as well as 'saturation.' Heavy Ozone layers can usually be found at the highest latitudes (ie, Canada, Siberia). There are essentially no remaining robust disagreements about the atmospheric chemistry of Ozone; how it is produced and how it is depleted is well-understood.
adduce some evidence showing robust disagreements about the atmospheric chemistry of Ozone, how it is produced and how it is depleted Current review of Atmospheric Science in re Ozone depletion Outlier arguments in re Ozone depletion: published; online rants; online corrections;crazy arguments; Ozone depletion can refer to two things. It can refer to: an observed decline (4%/decade) in the total volume in the Earth's upper atmosphere (stratosphere) a much larger 'springtime' decline of levels of ozone in the polar stratosphere. The seasonal 'springtime' decline over the Arctic and Antarctic is commonly referred to as the "Ozone Hole." This Ozone 'hole' (area of strong, persistent, seasonal depletion) depletion is characterized by 'destruction' of Ozone by the catalysis of Halogens. find some evidence against the discovery of 'destruction' of Ozone by the catalysis of Halogens. This is mainstream science. Two or three cites. Such as ... [*]Atmospheric halogens contain a marked proportion of 'atomic' halogens find research findings or observations that supplant the accepted measurements, that atmospheric halogens contain a marked proportion of 'atomic' halogens. Find 'measures' and 'definitions' of atmospheric halogens; contrast with proportions of 'atomic' halogens. Do they jibe? If yes, scour the literature for some differences regarding proportions/measurement If cannot find ... [*]Atomic halogens are derived from "Photodissociation" of human-made 'halocarbon' refrigerants. Evidence against the scientific finding that atmospheric Atomic halogens are derived from "Photodissociation" of human-made 'halocarbon' refrigerants. Again, this is atmospheric chemistry, a measurement and an observation. The claim is that human-manufactured refrigerents enter the atmosphere and leave catalytic derivatives (atomic halogens) that act to 'crack' Ozone. Two things must be disproved to disprove the conclusions of 23. I must find the studies and experiments that disprove the chemistry observed and predicted by photodissociation; the catalytic agents traceable directly to human production; those same catalytic agents' ability to crack Ozone via atmospheric chemical reactions in the PSCs (polar stratospheric clouds) [*]Halocarbons (human-made, refrigerents such as Freon, CFSs, Halons) have been determined -- through multiple, mutually-reinforcing scientific observation and experiment) to be 'Ozone-depleting substances' (ODS). multiple instances in which the halocarbons (Freon, CFSs, Halons) have been determined to have no role to play in the atmospheric chemistry of Ozone, and thus show evidence that the halocarbons should not be seen as Ozone-depleting substances (ODS). This will be difficult to knock over. Four or five cites from observation and experiment on the chemistry of halocarbons as ODSs. If there are no experimental evidence to be found to subvert the findings ... [*]Ozone layers or Ozone bands, or Ozone directly contributed to 'protection' of living things from excess, harmful UVB wavelengths of light. [*]The 'Monteal Protocol' is an international protocol that effectively banned ODS production (or banned their introduction into the atmosphere by propellants) world-wide. [*]The so-called Ozone Hole (properly holes, more properly, areas of Ozone Depletion) is a cause for concern, IF a demonstrated connection between ODS and declining Ozone concentrations worldwide can be demonstrated. If Ozone Holes do expose the surface of the earth (and its living biota) to increased amounts of UVB -- AND -- if a causal connection can be demonstrated between ODS and Ozone depletion in the stratosphere, sone certainly would argue that such increased harmful radiation is a cause for concern -- especially if the connection dials back to human-produced catalytic substances. This is perhaps the only one worth arguing about on list, on the main rink: first we have to look at current and recent (decadal) measurements and agree upon their utility. IF the survey says that the declines have paused, peaked or begun to reverse, let's speculate on why, according to standard atmospheric chemistry ... If the one went up, the chemistry is correct, the samples bear out the theory, then the time-lapse of Ozone depletion should make sense in the theory, and not in the counter-theory (which has not been advance anyhow) [*]In much of the world of climatology and atmospheric chemistry, etcetera, there is no particular scientific disarray or confusion in regard to the Ozone Hole(s). show something from the atmospherics and climatological literature that features clashes, disagreements, disarray and confusion with regard to Ozone holes. The fact is there isn't much confusion in re Ozone holes to be found. Where are the papers that would have pinpointed fraud or misrepresentation in a way that corresponds to Dennis's charge. If the mechanics are generally agreed upon, and the seasonal variations are fairly well understood, and if the mechanics of ozone-depletion are straight, then the final connection is the mechanics of ozone depletion, which is not much in discussion today, in the science. [*]Some overlapping concerns have been publicized that more fully engage ODS (especially CFCs) in the major concerns of present-day climatology: Anthropogenic Global Warming; some of the ODS have been rightly characterized as 'greenhouse gases' in their own right. notes overlapping concerns with CFCs in climatology. I have no idea what is wrong with that observation. That CFCs are part of what are called 'greenhouse gases' is hardly counterfactual. If Dennis can find otherwise, supercalifragilistic. Likewise a convenient detour into another discussion. Ellen has once or twice taken issue with this kind of 'GHG' uneasy-analogy manner of understanding AGW. [*]Some 'critics' have charged Hoax and Fraud with regard to Ozone Depletion. [*]It is up to the 'critic' charging Fraudulization and Hoaxering to provide evidence and warrants for such a charge makes me sigh for him, his wife, the local feedlot staff, and for the future of armchair de-hoaxerology. This one he will never answer to, sigh sigh sigh. Source: The Junk Science of Climate Change

C-SPAN, Strzok, live feed

Live, from Miami Beach, it's the Jackie Gleason Show! Actually, I wish. Today my Twitter feed was a go go with Peter Strzok answering questions from a combined committee of the House, ostensibly part of "Clinton Email Investigation.  I give but the link, since I don't have the knowledge or right to embed. [Added: yesterday's hearing has been made embeddable:] "JULY 12, 2018 FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok on 2016 Investigations FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who was removed from the special counsel’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections, testified before a joint hearing of two House committees responsible for FBI and Justice Department oversight."

Essay on the Deep State, by Mike Lofgren

Do you ever get slightly confused by the term "Deep State," or wonder if another person is sensing the same concept as you? Here's an interesting analytical essay by Mike Lofgren, author of the book "The Deep State."  Anatomy of the Deep State   -- who knew there was a website called  Here's a link to their page on Deep State, which uncovers the interesting provenance of the phrase ...

Test Bed -- brainstorming Weather Gods, or, a thrillah about the world's weather system and its manipulators

I thought Caroljane and Michael had some interesting  brainstorm results, laid out below. I also had some storms of creativity ... which I will add once I finish furiously scribbling notes on a break by the river. We have secretly kept everything green behind our fencing, despite the water-restrictions. I hate when Israel steals our clouds all summer. My basic notion is weather weapons, weapons of war, that is what the protagonists come to be up against, discovering and destroying the military-industrial-scientific projects that have been used to manipulate weather events in aid of endless war.  The thing is, it is a Deep kind of thing that our heroes have to get at. My favourite character-in-mind so far is a refugee from an intelligence agency. He is justifiably paranoid about his design of a master database. He knows too much, courtesy of his eidetic memory.  But which of his fears of rogue action are true?  Is he really just one of thousands on The List, the Kill the Designers list? In my flight of fancy we would get to fabulous settings, some of them mirroring or paying homage to Atlas Shrugged. Glaciers, underground CERN-style secret facilities. Low earth-orbit nuclear 'climate helper' satellites, that thousand screen command room deep underground. The 'database cities' of the INTEL surveilance future. On supersonic 'chemtrail' secret weapons. I'd also keep the political shenanigans sort of in your face but slightly out of focus, save that just as in Atlas Shrugged we are in a kind of alternate era where implausible events have already taken place.  One of the questions the protagonists learn to ask is, "Does the President Know?"   In my characters I want a 'rescue team slash commando force' to coalesce so I am looking to ex-military intelligence people, disparate people from a disbanded training unit, who have made the transition out of the forces for successful contract or independent careers. I want them to be bonded somehow conceptually, as a Protect Whistleblowers and Defectors unit, in the end. As if they all swore an oath and the oath comes in handy. Meaning the team our hero assembles or acquires should have a point of identity in common, to make the whole shelf of sinister secrecy and secret agent of technology stuff plausible. I need a bad-ass name for the Giant Computer Cloud that eats snow and steals clouds from nations and regions, thus 'false-flagging' weather manipulation events that may be possible in the next thirty-odd years. If Rand could have a free-energy motor, then we and the Frankensteins of CERN-7 can have gravity-enhancers, dark-matter sinks and sleeves and other theoretical devices almost ready to go. This on top of a semi-secret Space Programme where local weather is enhanced, altered, made wet or dry or whatever to punish Mexico. Somehow we got to stick the Vatican and on-three-continent catacombs in there. I want to avoid the nightmare pace of State of Fear, by having characters sleep and eat and so on. Not too much, just enough so that they don't seem freaky. So, plausible or wildly not -- Iranians can't get used to Israel-CERN-rogues-hidden-hands stealing their snow and clouds.  Things is gonna blow up if we don't stop the sinister secret organization from carrying out its plans. And Caroljane gets to write all the terse sex scenes.    

Top Twitter feeds

A Twitter List by wsscherk is my compilation of accounts our dear Leader follows. This post originally was a summer test of embedding such a thing on a page, which I did later do with both the Salon and anti-Salon lists elsewhere.  Sorry if Michael felt his privacy invaded -- this post was put on a "Publish later" schedule and forgotten about until it popped up.  In any case, Twitter Lists are a means to narrowly focus and sample tweets from interest groups, subject areas, kooks and crazies, and so on. Here is a link to how I organize my lists. Some are essential, some are works in progress. I like to dip in during my Twitter encounters ...    

All Polls Are Wrong

The phrase "all polls are wrong" was a cool hinge-point of argument last year, as the Trump train rolled on ... Yesterday a Democrat penned an interesting article at The Hill. It didn't say that "all polls are wrong," but that surveys of President Trump's popularity in the USA are flawed and in no way indicative. In other words ... Why the polls are still wrong.  Here's a few excerpts from the article: The Penn article also received some pushback, in this instance from Philip Bump of the fey canoes Washington Post: Why is a former Clinton pollster writing iffy poll analysis that panders to Trump supporters? Here's a snapshot from the folks at 538:

Killing NAFTA

Bloomberg has a short Trump-whisperer item on the President's supposed impatience with negotiations to "update" the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump’s Impatience Emerging as Biggest Threat to Nafta Agreement Some of you may have read the earlier report in which he instructs General Kelly that he "wants tariffs" ... while his weepy loser staff won't bring him tariffs. That report could be 100% shit, and since said tariffs were to be imposed on China, not perhaps pertinent. The Bloomberg story could be shit too, yet the President has been clear since the campaign that NAFTA is the shittiest deal the USA has ever signed. The upshot of the story is his purported wish to withdraw from the trade deal. That kind of talk gets Canadians antsy, since these are among the biggest trade flows on the planet, somewhere around the trillion dollar mark. Or so the could-be-lying bean counters tell us. Whither NAFTA and the USA-Canada relationship? I don't believe Trump wants to punish Canada as much as he does Mexico, but in the end, why not? Why not punish Canada for fucking you guys over? This is a boring topic, trade between the two giant geographies, and my belief that compromise will occur may turn out to be falsified.  Is Bloomberg under the giant umbrella FallSnooze? Zzzzzzzzzz ...

2018 Mid-term Congressional Elections: 300 days of excitement

There are times when I miss the Objectivist Living stalwart "Adam Selene." I am definitely going to miss his wonkish, passionate opinions on the coming mid-terms. I put this blog entry up to have a place for OLers who are interested in tracking the campaigns, the shoddy and unconvincing polls, and the final night of returns.  With the disbanding of President Trump's "voter fraud" commission** we will have no executive guidance on where or how various states are vulnerable to rigging or other hinkiness. In among the news-hoopla today, a few reports that stand out. This from The Week: A record-breaking 31 House Republicans won't seek re-election in 2018 A whopping 31 House Republicans will not be seeking re-election in November, NPR reports, including Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), who announced his impending retirement from Congress on Wednesday. The 2018 GOP exodus is a new record: The last time there was such a massive departure from Congress was when 28 Democrats left in 1994, and Republicans subsequently seized control. Most significantly, Republicans in states won by Hillary Clinton are leaving in droves. "Vulnerable House Republicans would clearly rather call it quits than stand for re-election with a deeply unpopular agenda hanging over their heads," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Tyler Law told NPR. [...] Democrats would need to flip 24 seats to take back the House, with the Senate being more of a long shot; in the upper chamber, Democrats have to defend 25 seats and pick up an additional three in order to take back the majority. A Washington Post/ABC News poll from November found that hypothetical Democratic candidates are favored by voters against their Republican counterparts 51 percent to 40 percent. One of my favourite election handicapping sites is Decision Desk HQ, a relatively-nonpartisan group of wonks and dweebs. Their DDHQ 2018 House Midterm Forecast is a good place to come up to speed on the challenges and excitement ahead. The 2018 House Midterm Election is bound to be one of the more interesting in recent memory. With Donald Trump in the White House, infighting on both sides of Congress, and an American public that is bursting at the seams we have a recipe for a perfect political storm. Keep your eye on this page, which houses our forecasts for all 435 congressional districts, and stick with us as we attempt to answer the ultimate questions: who will win majority control of the US House of Representatives? Here is an image from that page: [Guy keeps 'fixing' his blog layout. He now works for the Economist] Click on the image above to go to the fully interactive version of this image, where you can zoom in and examine each race's details and present-day forecasts. Eg,  -- another very good site is Ballotpedia. Here is a link to their comprehensive 2018 elections page. ___________________ ** a welter of reports on the controversial commission and its end can be accessed here. Click the following for a snapshot ... Prediction:  surprise surprise!   Countdown clock.

Friends and foes chatter [Updated]

Chat instructions via video! So, my new "livecasting" set-up is  coming along. Today I botched a brief video header for this topic. I insert it just for fun. The other voice you hear is young Jordan Sather; since I wasn't wearing the headphones, I didn't know he was talking. He is talking about the Toronto attack, obliquely,  via Qanon. I will replace this with a better version where the sounds make sense and I wear the headphones as I mix. I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to add a question, comment, request to the chat box  below. You need not be an Objectivist Living member or 'sign in' or register to use the chatbox below. You need not claim a name or moniker.
Using this one is as easy as typing in an acronym (ME) and then banging out a short or long screed. If you know or can learn a little code,  you can add images, hotlinks, and add emphasis to your screed/line of tossed-off text: It's based on the old forum standard bbcode mark-up; where you use square brackets to do some magic:  You can click the ''help" button at the bottom of the chat box -- to see all the bbcode, options for registering an avatar image, 'claiming' your name ... otherwise do a Quick Start: Click in the "name" box, and enter a screen name. Click on "message" and type your message. Then hit Enter to post!  

SCIAM: "Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News"

The article "Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News" appeared at the Scientific American website on February 6th. Its subheadline is "Researchers identify a major risk factor for pernicious effects of misinformation."  The article makes for interesting reading, whether you consider 'fake news' a classifier for broad swaths of the information landscape, or whether you consider 'fake news' to be particular items that are inaccurate, infused with partisan bias, subject to grotesque editorial demands, or otherwise not adequate to your needs. Excerpts: ... you can guess what happened next. If you seek verity, verily you must verify ... To that end, that of critical appraisal, one dear to the heart of all Objectivish people, the magazine has another useful (or familiar) set of verification rules of thumb: Six Tips for Identifying Fake News  -- this is presented at the site as an MP3 sound file, which I link to here:   Note on audio files: the code to insert an audio file is dead easy if you have a little knowledge of HTML. Any modern browser will return a little player like that above -- given the code format below. All you need to do is make sure the file to be played is MP3, the web standard. <audio controls src=""> -- to insert similar audio file code on OL in your edit box, click on the "Source" button up under "Content" at the top of the edit box. This reveals the underlying HTML.