The Evening Blues - 3-17-17



eb1pt12



The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Muddy Waters



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features Chicago bluesman Muddy Waters. Enjoy!



Muddy Waters Rhythm & Blues Band Germany 1976

"There is more at work here than getting rid of Trump, there is a need to eliminate a system in which democracy is equated with capitalism, a system driven almost exclusively by financial interests, and beholden to two political parties that are hard wired into neoliberal savagery."

-- Henry Giroux


News and Opinion


Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not to Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion

From MSNBC Politics shows o town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. ... The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed. ...

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. ... But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.” ...

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

"Maddow claims the protection of 1st amendment for publishing Trump’s leaked/stolen tax returns. Fine. But she should apply the same standard to the DNC/Podesta emails, which she and the rest of the MSDNC crew continue to refer to as 'stolen.'"

-- Jeffrey St Clair

It's time to talk about issues Americans care about most. Trump's taxes aren't it

Working Americans are facing countless problems right now. Donald Trump’s tax returns don’t top the list – but you wouldn’t know that by listening to politicians or talking-heads. When will liberals start talking about issues that matter most to every day voters? You’d think that would be one obvious take away from this humiliating election.

Tuesday night saw the revelation of two pages from President Trump’s 2005 tax returns on Rachel Maddow’s nightly MSNBC broadcast. ... As the New York Times reported, the revelation of Trump’s tax returns came after an opening monologue about his ties to Russia, a topic that Maddow seems fond of bringing up lately.

But are these the burning issues animating the politics of most Americans? According to a January CNN/ORC poll, 58% of Americans do not believe that alleged Russian interference gave a decisive edge to Donald Trump in the presidential election, and 56% stated that the United States and Russia should continue with diplomatic relations regardless. In the most recent CNN/ORC poll on the policy priorities of the American public, “the economy” (26%) and “health care” (20%) were higher on the priority list than “national security” (16%), which may or may not contain concern about Russia.

Given the policy discussions that Americans are having, it makes you wonder why pundits like Maddow are not discussing this: the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act will be laden with tax incentives for the wealthiest Americans, with the bill even going so far as to include measures that would enable the Republican-dominated Congress to enact further tax breaks in the future. ...

Trump is far from a populist; he’s a fabulist, selling the working-class Americans who voted for him a bill of goods. Too bad he will likely get away it, given that the opposition in Washington would rather sound like Joe McCarthy’s warmed-over corpse than anything resembling a progressive fighter for working people.

Britain's spy agency GCHQ denies wiretapping Trump

British intelligence officials have taken the rare step of issuing a public statement to deny a White House claim that the U.K. wiretapped Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, calling the accusation “utterly ridiculous.”

The statement from GCHQ, the U.K. government’s intelligence and security organization, came after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated the sensational claim – initially made by a Fox News analyst – in an attempt Thursday to support Trump’s statements that former president Barack Obama tapped his phones.

The allegation originated from Fox News’ judicial analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano, who said Tuesday that three intelligence sources had confirmed to him that Obama used British intelligence to spy on Trump to ensure there were “no American fingerprints.” ...

It was reported Friday that Spicer apologized privately to the GCHQ agency for his comments.


Prior to the discovery of incontrovertible evidence:

Syria: US denies carrying out air strike on mosque in Aleppo province



Ooops:

US says it carried out deadly strike that hit Aleppo mosque

Military officials have confirmed to Airwars that a strike in rural Aleppo which reportedly left dozens dead in and around a mosque was carried out by US aircraft.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said that at least 42 people, mostly civilians, were killed in a strike that “targeted a mosque in al-Jinah village” in the western countryside of Aleppo on March 16th. “The death toll is expected to rise,” said the monitor.

Initial reporting was conflicting, including assertions that Russian forces or the Assad regime were to blame. Photographs reportedly from the site and posted on social media also appeared to depict weapons fragments similar to those found at previous US drone strikes in Syria. ...

The death toll, which could not immediately be confirmed, appears to be at least the second largest ever from US strikes aimed at alleged al-Qeada targets in Syria.

Contrasting Tales of Two Besieged Cities

During the Syrian army’s offensive to retake the eastern part of Aleppo from the insurgent opposition, the Western media portrayed the assault as if Russia and Syria were carrying out a campaign primarily aimed at killing and harming civilians. The humanitarian crisis dominated headlines while key facts, such as Al Qaeda’s domination of the opposition forces and the way in which the militants had brutally conquered the city’s civilians, were marginalized or not reported at all.

A similar military offensive being carried out by the U.S. and its allies in the Iraqi city of Mosul reveals the hypocritical nature of Western news outlets, which portray their own countries’ actions as targeting only Islamic State terrorists and scrupulously avoiding harm to civilians.

There is no doubt that the siege in eastern Aleppo resulted in a humanitarian crisis for the civilian population trapped within the warzone. As the Washington Institute’s Fabrice Balanche described: “What the United Nations is describing [about] the humanitarian situation is correct: hospitals destroyed, people living in shelters, women and children trapped in the rubble, and so on.”

Yet in reality the destruction waged upon Aleppo was hardly different from what is now being done in Mosul as the U.S.-led coalition carries out a similar campaign of counterinsurgency and siege warfare.

Currently the Iraqi army, backed by U.S. airstrikes, is conducting a violent and brutal assault on the western parts of Mosul city in order to drive out the Islamic State. A whole population of civilians is trapped within an ongoing warzone and cut off from food supplies and basic necessities as the military offensive hits heavily populated areas killing civilians while destroying important infrastructure in the process, including hospitals.

Yet, while Western officials and media pundits vehemently condemned the Syrian assault on Aleppo, they are largely silent — or congratulatory and supportive — as the U.S. and its partners lay waste to the more heavily populated city of Mosul.

Rexxon rattles his sabres:

Military action against North Korea 'an option', warns Rex Tillerson

A pre-emptive US military strike against North Korea may be necessary if the threat posed by its nuclear weapons programme reaches a level that “requires action”, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has warned.

Speaking in Seoul on the second day of a visit to the Asia-Pacific region, Tillerson said Washington’s policy of “strategic patience” towards the regime in Pyongyang had ended.

In his strongest comments yet on concerns that North Korea is moving closer towards developing a nuclear strike capability that could threaten the US mainland, Tillerson said “all options are on the table”.

Rand Paul Responds to McCain’s Diss By Suggesting He’s Proof We Need Term Limits



Court Says FBI Doesn't Have To Hand Over Its Rules For Surveilling Domestic Journalists

A couple of years ago, the Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the DOJ over its refusal to release its secret rules governing spying on the nation's journalists. This was prompted by revelations the FBI had used National Security Letters to obtain information on AP and Fox News journalists. The DOJ then issued new rules on the do's and don'ts of surveilling journalists, but once again (a) redacted them into uselessness and (b) granted the FBI an NSL exception, undercutting the entire point of the recrafted rules.

The OIG report -- in which the Inspector General disputed the DOJ's extensive redactions -- still has yet to be released in a less-redacted form. Sadly, it now appears it will never be any less redacted than the unintelligible mess the DOJ handed over a few years ago. A federal judge has sided with the government, finding its investigative techniques and methods are too sensitive to be handed over to the public, much less journalists it may or may not have surveilled using NSLs.

The Hong Kong residents who hid Edward Snowden are seeking refugee status in Canada

When 46-year-old Vanessa Mae Rodel first met Edward Snowden on the doorstep of her run-down apartment, she saw herself in him — a refugee looking for safety, comfort and security in one of the most impoverished areas in Hong Kong after fleeing his country. “He looked very upset and worried,” she recalled. “I said it’s ok, he can stay in my home. I feel like we are the same as asylum-seekers so I should help him.” ...

Rodel, an asylum-seeker from the Philippines and her four-year-old daughter are among the three refugee families who sheltered, fed and looked after Snowden during his two-week stay in Hong Kong before he fled to Moscow in 2013. Others include Sri Lankans Ajith Pushpakumara, Supun Thilina Kellapatha, his wife Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their two small children. The three children were born stateless. ...

Now the families are fighting for a chance at a new life in Canada. Hong Kong based newspaper South China Morning Post revealed last week that a group of Montreal lawyers filed a refugee claim on behalf of the families in January. They are urging immigration minister Ahmed Hussein to expedite the process. Snowden himself has weighed in on their plight telling Ricochet media that their situation is “vulnerable and destitute” and urging on Twitter that Canada “protects them in kind.”


The refugees say that International Social Services, a government contractor responsible for providing welfare to asylum seekers in Hong Kong, have harassed them by slashing their welfare benefits and interrogating them about their time with Snowden. In a place where asylum-seekers are banned from seeking employment, they are completely reliant on government provisions.

Ai Weiwei's refugee-themed piece in Prague



Trump the Outsider Outsources His Budget to Insider Think Tank

President Trump's budget proposal, released on Thursday, echoes none of the populist, anti-establishment themes of candidate Trump’s campaign for higher office. Instead, it calls for a large increase in defense spending while reducing spending for a variety of popular domestic programs.

That’s not surprising considering where those ideas came from. Rather than bringing in new ideas from outside of the Beltway, many of its proposals are lifted straight from the recommendations of an elite ultra-conservative D.C. think tank: the Heritage Foundation. ...

Heritage is certainly pleased with the outcome — mostly. It put out a statement on Thursday praising the White House budget proposal. ...

There was just one part the think tank didn’t like — it complained that Trump’s call for an additional $54 billion in defense spending just isn’t big enough: “President Trump’s 2018 defense budget proposal represents a clear commitment to rebuilding the military and a desire to repeal damaging sequestration defense caps. However, this increase is insufficient to begin the much-needed re-building.”

Ralph Nader Denounces Trump Budget as Corporatist, Militarist & Racist: "The Mask is Off"



Entire homelessness agency could be eliminated by Trump's budget cuts

While much of the attention given to Donald Trump’s budget proposal has focused on dramatic cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency and the state department, amid the many cuts in the plan is the elimination of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (Usich).

In addition, Trump’s budget would cut billions of dollars of funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps provide low-income housing.

Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, warned in a statement that the proposal contained some of the deepest housing cuts since “President Reagan dramatically reduced funding in the early 1980s. Reagan’s deep spending cuts ushered in a new age of homelessness.”

In an interview, she said the reductions might result in 200,000 low-income people no longer receiving rental assistance, putting them at risk of losing the roofs over their heads. About 550,000 people were experiencing homelessness on one night in 2016.

“At a time when we have reached new heights of an affordable housing crisis, and lowest-income people are being impacted most severely, cutting resources is the wrong approach to ending homelessness,” she said.

Chris Hedges: The Rise of Trump



Useless Eaters and Ethnic Purity: the Trump/Bannon War for Biological Nationhood

The Trump regime has defended its plan to cut the “Meals on Wheels” program by saying it “doesn’t show any results.” What kind of “results” are they talking about? The program delivers meals to shut-ins; the shut-ins eat the meal; they don’t starve to death. That is the result, and it happens all day every day. It is one of the most “resultful” programs in existence. But notice that the Trumpists aren’t saying we can’t afford the program; they are clearly saying it’s not delivering the results they want to see. And what are the only “results” produced by not delivering meals to the sick and shut-in who can’t provide for themselves? THEY WILL DIE.

Therefore, we can only conclude that the “result” Donald Trump and his ideological Svengali, Stephen Banon, are looking for is a higher death count for the sick and elderly. We know that throughout his public life, Trump has often expressed his belief in genetic superiority, that the right genes, the right blood are responsible for success in life. (Particularly his succes!) The flipside, of course, is that those who haven’t “succeeded” according to his lights, the people who are “weak” and “losers” (to quote two of his favorite epithets), are therefore genetically inferior. We know this is his belief from his own statements. ...

I don’t think it can be denied any longer that this attitude — this aim – is an intrinsic element in the policies of the Trump regime and the Congressional extremists. The weak, the sick, the different, the “impure” and the “inferior” are to be made to disappear: by deportation, by bans, by walls – and by dying. For the moment, it doesn’t look like actual systematic mass extermination is on the cards; so perhaps we can call their present approach the “Semi-Final Solution.” But who knows what wonders await us down the line. As the late, great Leonard Cohen said: “I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder.”

DOJ Docs Raise Questions About Gorsuch's Views on Torture and Executive Power

With just days until Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a new trove of documents is raising additional questions about the federal judge's time at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where he "played a key role in defending the torture and detention policies that have been rejected by the courts and by our country," according to one group. 

From June 2005 to August 2006, Gorsuch served as the principal deputy to the associate attorney general under former President George W. Bush.

Last week, the department turned over to the Judiciary Committee roughly 150,000 pages of documents related to Gorsuch's tenure there—and as the New York Times reported Wednesday, they show Gorsuch was "at the center of both litigation and negotiations with Congress" over issues including detainee abuses, military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and the Bush administration's broad claims of executive power. Read some examples here.

Trump Sends Hate Group to Represent US at UN Women's Rights Conference

Since President Donald Trump's November election, hate incidents nationwide have increased—and now he's chosen a leader from one group that has itself espoused violence to represent the U.S. on the international stage.

Earlier this week, the State Department announced that representatives from infamous anti-LGBTQ hate group the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) and from the far-right Heritage Foundation will represent the U.S. at a United Nations conference on women's rights later this month:




the horse race



Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party

If you look at the numbers, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America - and it’s not even close. Yet bizarrely, the Democratic party - out of power across the country and increasingly irrelevant - still refuses to embrace him and his message. It’s increasingly clear they do so at their own peril.

A new Fox News poll out this week shows Sanders has a +28 net favorability rating among the US population, dwarfing all other elected politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. And he’s even more popular among the vaunted “independents,” where he is at a mind boggling +41. ...

One would think with numbers like that, Democratic politicians would be falling all over themselves to be associated with Sanders, especially considering the party as a whole is more unpopular than the Republicans and even Donald Trump right now. Yet instead of embracing his message, the establishment wing of the party continues to resist him at almost every turn, and they seem insistent that they don’t have to change their ways to gain back the support of huge swaths of the country. ...

As Politico reported on the Democrats’ post-Trump strategy in February “Democratic aides say they will eventually shift to a positive economic message that Rust Belt Democrats can run on.” However: “for now, aides say, the focus is on slaying the giant and proving to the voters who sent Trump into the White House why his policies will fail.”

In other words, they’re doubling down on the exact same failing strategy that Clinton used in the final months of the campaign. Sanders himself put it this way in his usual blunt style in an interview with New York Magazine this week when asked about whether the Democrats can adapt to the political reality said “there are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”





the evening greens


Japanese government held liable for first time for negligence in Fukushima

A court in Japan has ruled that negligence by the state contributed to the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 and awarded significant damages to evacuees. Although courts have awarded damages arising from the disaster in other cases, Friday’s ruling is the first time the government has been held liable.

The Maebashi district court near Tokyo awarded ¥38.55m (£270,000) to 137 people who were forced to evacuate their homes in the days after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors suffered a catastrophic meltdown, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Despite official claims that the size and destructive power of the quake and tsunami were impossible to foresee, the court said the nuclear meltdown could have been prevented. The ruling said the government should have used its regulatory powers to force the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), who were also held liable, to take adequate preventive measures.

Proposed budget cuts would make many environmental laws basically unenforceable

President Donald Trump's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, released Thursday morning, would drastically slash the Environmental Protection Agency, eliminating 50 programs and 3,200 positions. Of all cabinet-level agencies, the EPA would be saddled with the largest budget reduction at 31 percent.

The downsizing is even more extreme than it appears because it comes on the heels of severe budget cuts that followed the Republican takeover of Congress in 2010 and the budget sequestration deal of 2011. EPA’s budget of $8.2 billion this year was already down by more than 20 percent from $10.3 billion in 2010. It’s smaller today than it was in 2004 — and that’s without adjusting for inflation.

The cuts are also concentrated on EPA’s in-house programs rather than on the big chunk of its funding that is doled out to state, local, and tribal governments. Those state and local “revolving funds” from the EPA are for relatively uncontroversial programs like investing in clean water and sewer infrastructure — programs that make constituents back home happy. Trump’s plan doesn’t touch that $2.3 billion chunk.

Instead, he cuts 31 percent from the remaining share of EPA’s budget, which includes programs that study pollution and environmental toxins, and write and enforce rules to protect public health; altogether, those programs in particular will see a 42 percent cut. Clean air, clean water, and climate change programs would bear the brunt.

Climate Change is Literally Sickening

As temperatures rise, so will rates of illness and disease in the United States. So say the 400,000 physicians who make up the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.

On Wednesday, the newly formed consortium issued “Climate Change Is Harming Our Health,” a report compiled after surveying patients. ... “Even our ‘best-case scenario’ means we’re going to be seeing more with demanding health problems,” one doctor said in the report. “But the worst-case scenarios of climate change really worry me. It would mean a level of human suffering we can barely contemplate, much less respond to.”

Sami people persuade Norway pension fund to divest from Dakota Access

In an act of international solidarity between indigenous peoples, the Sami parliament in Norway has persuaded the country’s second largest pension fund to withdraw its money from companies linked to a controversial oil project backed by Donald Trump. ...

This week, after lobbying by the Sami parliament, Norway’s local authority pension fund KLP announced it would sell of shares worth $58m in companies building the pipeline.

Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami parliament, said the pension fund announced the move when she arrived at a meeting in Oslo to discuss Dakota Access.

“We feel a strong solidarity with other indigenous people in other parts of the world, so we are doing our part in Norway by putting pressure on the pension funds,” she told the Guardian.

In common with Native Americans in the US, the Sami have over the years protested against mining operations and mineral resource prospecting on their land.



Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

The Dutch GreenLeft party shows new ideas can turn the tide of populism

Killing the Elderly: Social Security Starves Us Slowly as the GOP Tries to Kill Us by Gutting Health Care

The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America

Trump Slips into ‘Endless War’ Cycle

Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace In Afghanistan

Prosecutors Allege Dubious ISIS-Nazi Connection in Terror Sting Case

I’ll Stop Bashing Hillary When The Dems Stop Being The Kind Of Party That Created Her

The Canadian Establishment and Prime Minister Trudeau Aim at Ousting Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland

Trumping Trump and Howling at the Moonves

The Public is Clueless About the Federal Budget and It's the New York Times' Fault

Portland Anarchists Patching Up Potholes - government official warns them they might be breaking the law

Race to the Bottom: Cities and States Spend >$45 Billion Per Year Competing for Jobs

Roaming Charges: My Brain is Hanging Upside Down


A Little Night Music


Muddy Waters - Champagne & Reefer

Muddy Waters - Manish Boy

Muddy Waters - Feel Like Blowin' My Horn

Muddy Waters - Baby Please Don't Go

Muddy Waters - Forty Days and Forty Nights

Muddy Waters - I Am The Blues

Muddy Waters - I'm A King Bee

Muddy Waters - She Moves Me

Muddy Waters - The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll

Muddy Waters - Young Fashioned Ways



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Comments

boriscleto's picture

A song as relevant as ever

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6 users have voted.

" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

https://youpic.com/photographer/boriscleto/

joe shikspack's picture

@boriscleto

happy st patrick's day to you, too!

not precisely irish, but in the same vein as your selection:

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Knucklehead's picture

@boriscleto In the beginning there was nothing, then god created light.
There was still nothing, but now you could see it.
"Knucklehead"

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4 users have voted.

I`m already against the next war

NCTim's picture

@Knucklehead NCT

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“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams

NCTim's picture

How have you been? We saw Muddy ~1978, with Johnny Winter and James Cotton. Thanks for the news.

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7 users have voted.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams

joe shikspack's picture

@NCTim

i'm doing allright, still keeping the plates spinning, but really glad it's the weekend! how's by you?

glad that you got to see muddy, what a voice!

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NCTim's picture

@joe shikspack I've been pushing myself to keep busy, rather than sit around and think. So far, so good, but I think a let down is inevitable. I am starting to get my ducks in line for a protracted road trip and figure on doing some shorter trips to sort things out. Maybe places like Baltimore. Wink

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2 users have voted.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams

joe shikspack's picture

@NCTim

there's room to park a bike and a spare bedroom waiting for you.

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divineorder's picture

@NCTim

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6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

NCTim's picture

@divineorder I have not been around much. I have been dealing with the bureaucracy of death and trying to keep my head on straight. The current state of the country is very exasperating and drags me down. My alternative plan is to get out on the road and ignore the day to day BS. I am sure you can relate.

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1 user has voted.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams

OLinda's picture

One would think with numbers like that, Democratic politicians would be falling all over themselves to be associated with Sanders, especially considering the party as a whole is more unpopular than the Republicans and even Donald Trump right now.

Very early on, I had hope that Bernie might meet with Trump and influence him a bit on health care, and maybe other subjects. Trump, iirc, was usual nice, or at least decent toward Bernie, and of course Bernie supporters. However, Bernie can't appear in public without saying the Trump is a pathological liar, so I think that bridge, if it existed, is gone.

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joe shikspack's picture

@OLinda

i'm pretty sure that whatever deal that bernie cut with the democrats (and perhaps his own inclinations) precluded him from getting too close to trump, despite his protestations that he would work with trump on issues where their interests converged.

after bernie got cheated out of the nomination, trump was making a play for bernie's followers by running to the left of hillary. if, in the face of that, bernie had been seen to be cooperating in any way with trump, goodness only knows what the dems would have done to him. after the election was over, i would imagine that trump's ardor for bernie would have cooled considerably, regardless of whether bernie had attempted to cut a deal with him on health care or even backpedalled on his negative characterizations of trump, as there were no longer votes to be had.

i think that bernie is now in a position to cut deals with trump, despite all of the campaign rhetoric, but that is not politically practical considering bernie's apparent need to stay in the good graces of the democrat establishment machine.

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divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack us so far eh?

Hats off to those damn National Nurses, they are bloody awesome and relentless in pushing for healthcare that works !

###

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

much as i like getting lucky, it's something that one shouldn't rely upon. Smile

i am glad the national nurses union is keeping the faith. this is the time for single payer, it's unfortunate that neither of our useless bipartisan organizations are ready for it. the dinosaurs were not ready for asteroids, super volcanoes or an ice age either.

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OLinda's picture

GCHQ story - Fox News’ judicial analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano, who said Tuesday that three intelligence sources had confirmed

This comment isn't about that, but reading the line about 3 sources reminded me of thoughts I had about a previous Washington Post story mentioned here with 9 sources from current and former intelligence people. NINE. Two is what a publisher and editor will usually require to feel safe about running a story. So, they had two, but said oh, let's make another call. ... Okay 4 now, let's call so n so. Okay now we have 8. Who else can we call?

Or did 9 people from "the intelligence community" get together and approach the Post?

Anyway, 9 sources on a story strikes me as odd and little red flags pop up.

This was about a wiretap story or Russia story. Or, a Russia wiretap story, ha.

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OLinda's picture

It hit 70 degrees F here near Denver today, maybe a bit above. Yesterday, too. Tomorrow is supposed to be 80!!! And, Sunday's forecast is high 70s, maybe 80 again. Too weird. March is the month we often have a blizzard. We will probably have a shocking weather switch with 75 one day and 10 below with a blizzard the next.

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joe shikspack's picture

@OLinda

you've got our weather. it's supposed to warm up a bit here over the weekend, so maybe the snow and ice from tuesday will finally melt off, though the weatherman is saying we might get some fairly insignificant snow some night next week.

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divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack and the trees are leafing out. Pollen got me sniffling. We took a bike ride across the river and donated some books to the library. jakkalbessie bought a few from their 50cent sale. We just missed the rock stacking festival here but was apparently a huge success. Some heavy equipment is removing sand from the river. Think they are trying to create more of a reservoir for future drought but it may be something more nefarious like the controversial pipeline approved a while back to carry water up the hill to some new mud development for to the rich d*cks up in the hills outside of the city limits. Meh.

A local guy once told me that spring was not really here until the mesquites leafed out. All the others could be fooled, but not them. Mmmmmm. Guess I will have to ride out to the edge of town and see one. Any excuse to get some exercise.

Even though the mega drought of a couple of years ago is at least temporarily over and everything is green, this area is still so very different from the parts of Costa Rica we were recently enjoying. Feels weird.

196 (1024x1024).jpgDry season 'verrano' scene, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. March 2017

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7 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

i'm just glad that the red buds here were not fooled like the cherry trees were. it remains to be seen whether the cherry trees will lose most of their buds due to the cold and ice. before the cold returned they were a few days to a week off of full bloom.

the red bud in my front yard, that i look forward to seeing every spring appears to be biding its time before pushing out buds. phew!

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4 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Here's Jimmy Dore on Crazy Rachel's big "scoop".

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

heh, i like that, russia hacked the taxes. Smile

jeffrey st clair's (from counterpunch) take on maddow's scoop:

Rachel Maddow’s big exposé on Trump’s taxes turned into a big bust: Trump made $153 million and paid $38 million in taxes. The surprise is that Trump actually paid taxes in 2005, choosing not to avail himself of the $20 billion loss claimed in previous years. In order to cover the flop, Maddow and Co. suggested without the slightest evidence that Trump leaked the returns himself!

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8 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
Oh yeah, nothingburger. Want fries with that Rachel ?

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

well ... of course ... that's why:

Trump's version of ... The Beauty and the Beast.
Merkel-Trump Daughter image-1119756-galleryV9-anud-1119756.jpg

Miss the "good old times?

I love me my Chancellor's little smiles:

Heh, and in case you didn't get it yet ...

ahem...
PS. Thanks for Muddy Waters and the news, Joe, and have a good weekend, all.

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9 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@mimi
There's an interesting article in the current issue of Harper's magazine, Echt Deutsch. It's behind a paywall now. It's about Merkel, the refugee problem, the backlash, Frauke Petry and AfD. Can refugees ever really be German ?

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6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Azazello @Azazello
(redacted most of the angry stuff)
(eight pages ...) but the question is a typical American one... Smile

Refugees didn't come to Germany, because they wanted to be Germans, ok? They came, because they sought safety and shelter and a job and most of them get it after a while, if their asylum request have been accepted. They certainly want to remain and stay culturally, ethnically and socially what they have been before they fled their home countries. I guess most would like to go home if they could and their countries wouldn't be bombed to the point their homes look like Dresden after wwII.

Sorry, I got angry already. Now I will see what the article is all about. Arghh yack, I will do this tomorrow. It's late at night here.

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6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@mimi
well, I don't know if you read my unedited first comment from yesterday night, which was a reaction to the (at least to me) more provocating question if refugees to Germany can ever be Germans, before even having read one sentence of the article. I consider that question not a true problem and somewhat off topic.

Nevertheless, now, having read the article, I am a bit amazed how much of my first comment did fit and answer the article's theme, unknowlingly.

I am not going into details. The article describes facts. If I understand it correctly the article was written by a younger (mid-thirties) author of Jewish descent having grown up in Germany in the eighties, at the time I wasn't living anymore in Germany. Many of his/her experiences I can't emotionally follow, because I haven't felt or lived them.

What I resent in the article is the title. "Echt Deutsch". May be to the author the developments in Germaany are "Echt Deutsch", but I would say, may be he has not had the experience of refugees and immigrants from and to other nations in the world, due to his/her age and location he/her grew up in. I would say what you see in Germany is an "Echt Weltweit" reaction of human beings.

It pains me to see the AfD development of right-wing racist movements in the German population as much as it pains the foreigners, refugees, all those, who are not the "echte Deutsche" a la Frauke Petry. I don't feel German, though I am technically, my son never felt German, though he was technically one, we also don't feel as much American as we probably are expected to feel. Unfortunately we haven't had the luck to feel as "anything". May be that's because what has been identified as "Echt Deutsch" is in fact "Echt Inhumanely Human".

Sorry, Azazello, but I don't care anymore if Germany will resemble more Stuttgart or more Pforzheim (if you read that part of the article). I am a gonner. I won't change the "Petrys" of this world, nowhere, neither in Germany nor elsewhere. That would be "Echter Irrsinn" to believe.

I am seventy years old in a bit, I have given up on a lot of things, among others on "Echt Deutsche Sachen". I am here with the 99 percent of "we are the people", because I am one of "We the people", I am "people too", not just the Petry-version-people of this world.

Sigh. Very depressing to read through this and respond. You have something more uplifting next time?

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2 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@mimi
your possible emotional reaction. I just thought it was interesting, that's all. I still get old-fashioned paper magazines and I've been reading Harper's forever. I am rarely disappointed. I linked the article for you because it was about Germany and yesterday was the first time I had seen you in the EB since I read it. It was a good thing for the Germans to open their doors to so many of the refugees from US regime change wars but it's easy to see how that policy could cause problems. I didn't mean to upset you.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Azazello @Azazello
though. Sorry to have reacted so emotionally, I am not my usual self and reading the EB in the wee hours of late night and early morning my time is something like torturousleep withdrawal to me. heh. I always exaggerate. When I wake up next morning my time it's the wee night hours your time, and I usually am a little bit more composed to answer with some sort of reasonable expressions.

And of course the article was very well written. Just that the subject is getting at me expecially now that I have returned to Germany after 37 years in the US. It's hard to get over what I see here. It's just painful to read the truthful facts of what is going on in Germany from a US magazine, no matter how skillful and well thought through it is.

I hope you forgive and we can have peace. Smile

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4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@mimi

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

leader of the free world. hmm... well i guess trump has kind of abdicated that role in favor of extending and escalating obama's role as the mad bomber.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
"Merkel" being the leader of the world. It's an author of politico and it's not a German author.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

i think that a lot of americans are happy to think that there might be somebody who can act as a check on the morons that usians elected.

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4 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

Twice I have tried to post a comment and I get an error page that says the web site experienced an unexpected error. Doesn't happen if I reload the page, just when trying to post a comment. Wonder if this will go through.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@OLinda

from time to time i have gotten errors like that, but i haven't seen any tonight. that kind of error has always been a short-term phenomenon for me; i've never gotten them for more that 10 minutes or so.

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2 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

@OLinda

Keeps happening. Have been trying to reply to Azazello's comment. Oh well. I see joe was able to reply.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@OLinda

and see if there's something up.

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2 users have voted.
NCTim's picture

@OLinda Closing and reopening the browser seems to ameliorate.

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2 users have voted.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams

@OLinda
I checked the logs and saw the errors your comments kicked out. What caused the error was the unicode characters you trying to add in your comment, they were little bomb images. Our database doesn't recognize unicode character strings and they will cause the errors that you got and prevent you from posting.

Thanks for the heads up.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@JtC

for the quick response. have a good one!

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2 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

@joe shikspack

Thank you, jtc. I didn't add any characters, but it was a Tweet and I think it had those little pictures in it, so....

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2 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Trump is far from a populist; he’s a fabulist, selling the working-class Americans who voted for him a bill of goods. Too bad he will likely get away it, given that the opposition in Washington would rather sound like Joe McCarthy’s warmed-over corpse than anything resembling a progressive fighter for working people.

That sure describes the democrats, doesn't it?

Any cuts to the HUD program is going to be devastating because there isn't enough money for the program now. The waiting lists for subsidized housing and housing vouchers are over two years or longer in many states. And the amount of money for housing vouchers is so low that any place that accepts them has got to be bribing someone who will let them pass inspection and let them be rented out.
The whole damn budget is a dream come true for the people who wrote it and belong to the Heritage think tank. The elites will get more tax cuts and since some of our resources are getting smaller, I believe that this is just another way to commit genocide.
And the F'cking democrats sat back and watched while they continued to lose seats at the federal and state levels as well as governorships.
When they had the chance to back a progressive candidate, they either didn't fund them or they funded the more conservative ones.
Great job Barack and Debbie.

ETA. I think my sigline is going to be true in a short time if it isn't already.

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9 users have voted.

A noun, a verb and Putin.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

that paragraph you quoted really grabbed me, too. it has the ring of truth.

trump's budget (or really, the heritage foundation's) is an interesting trial balloon. it is perfectly designed as a foil for the democrats, a means for them to take up a traditional role. (they should know all the lines by now.)

if the democrats don't perk up and get in touch with their inner outraged fdr in response to this, then it's time to revisit sherlock holmes in "the dog that didn't bark," as an explanation.

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5 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

The Russia Nonsense Is Dead. Can We PLEASE Start Focusing On Real Issues Now?

We all told you so, my lovely Democratic party loyalists. We clear-eyed progressives are better at this than you are, and it’s time for you to hand us the wheel, because you’re really, really bad at driving. While you were all squawking about Vladimir Putin and having vanity politics parades in your vagina hats, we were pointing at very real problems like the DNC chair election, where the Democratic party poised itself to keep repeating the exact same election-losing mistakes it made in 2016. While you were all giving the ridiculous Rachel Maddow her highest ratings since 2008 with your addiction to her fact-free, lie-filled tirades, we were standing in the background saying “Uhh, guys? That’s not gonna work!”

You were wrong, we were right. We know what’s best for the political left, you don’t. The Democratic party just ran a candidate who campaigned on a promise to attack the Russian air force in Syria if elected, and they’re still going out of their way to try and escalate tensions with that exact same nuclear superpower. This is stupid, useless, suicidal and ecocidal, and it needs to stop, immediately. You were wrong to uplift that horrible candidate after your party’s brazen assault on American democracy, and you are wrong to keep uplifting a political establishment that refuses to learn and refuses to change. Trump is now in office because of you, and because of you he may win reelection due to your insane laser-point focus on a doomed issue when you could have been fixing the problem. 

You inept fools played right into Trump’s hands. While you could have been mounting a legitimate counteroffensive, he had you boxing imaginary shadows in the corner. This guy’s committing political suicide by trying to slash the paltry amount of funding the government was providing for Meals on Wheels, leaving himself wide open to a crushing knockout blow two months into his presidency, and you drooling idiots are on the other side of the ring chewing on the ropes. You suck at this. Move out of the way.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack
if that's the right terminology.

Relegated to the minority in both chambers, House and Senate Democrats have almost no legal or procedural power – they can't subpoena documents or control what gets a floor vote. Under a rule change they made several years ago, Democrats can no longer filibuster most presidential appointees. (Supreme Court nominees still need 60 votes for passage, but it's likely Senate Republicans will invoke the "nuclear option" and change that to a simple majority vote.)

I would like to know why Reid changed the procedures for passing legislation a few years ago and why he didn't do it earlier?
I remember reading comments on DK about why Reid wouldn't change the rules after the republicans kept blocking every legislation by using the filibuster and secret holds.
And the number of times people asked why the democrats weren't speaking out against what the republicans were doing. They had so much ammunition to use against them but they kept staying silent.
I'm sure people remember saying that the democrats need to grow a spine and fight back against the republicans.
I finally figured out why the democrats were never going to attack the republicans. It was because they agreed with what they were saying and doing.
The final straw was during the summer when the ACA was being worked on. All that summer the republicans were on tv lying about death panels and not one person from the WH or one democrat spoke up and tried to tell the people the truth about what that part of legislation was about.
That was the agreement that doctors would get paid for discussing end of life actions.
For over 4-6 months the republicans lied about that and no one fought back against the lies.
Kos is wrong (yes I know). There isn't a difference between the two parties except on social issues that don't affect their master's pockets.
On every other issue there is no daylight between them.

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5 users have voted.

A noun, a verb and Putin.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

The whole damn budget is a dream come true for the people who wrote it and belong to the Heritage think tank. The elites will get more tax cuts and since some of our resources are getting smaller, I believe that this is just another way to commit genocide.
And the F'cking democrats sat back and watched while they continued to lose seats at the federal and state levels as well as governorships.
When they had the chance to back a progressive candidate, they either didn't fund them or they funded the more conservative ones.
Great job Barack and Debbie.

And Hillary. Don't forget Her Heinous!

From one of this evening's articles:


source

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6 users have voted.

"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Unabashed Liberal's picture

since it's Mr M's birthday, as well as St Pat's Day; anyhoo, we enjoyed a delicious meal at a locally-owned Italian restaurant, and he enjoyed the day.

Gonna pay a few bills, and swing back by to watch the Hedges video. Also, will probably comment later on Timm's piece. I can't figure out some of the European writers lately--IMO, they don't seem to be able to connect the dots on what's going on, in regards to the Dem Party Establishment, and Bernie's role as Chair of Outreach for Senate Democrats

Oh, was presented with a couple interesting options earlier today--one is to upgrade to a new Latitude, and have it dual-booted with Windows 7 Professional (our preference) and Ubuntu 11.10; the other option--go with the MAC, and have it 'boot camped'--loaded with the MAC and the Windows OS. (Never knew you could do the latter.)

Rainy, and a bit distressing, because of Mister B's mobility challenges--it only aggravates the situation (for him). Thankfully, the precipitation should cease by early next week.

Thanks for tonight's News & Blues, Joe. And, Everyone have a nice weekend!

Mollie


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."--Will Rogers
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6 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

happy birthday to mr. m! and a happy st. patty's day, if you go in for that sort of thing. Smile

if i were faced with your set of computer choices, i would go with a latitude. i have an ultrabook that i am very happy with, it's probably the best laptop i've had in a while. i had a latitide d620 that lasted me a decade and was totally bulletproof. it still runs fine, but doesn't have enough memory for my photography apps.

if you're looking at latitudes, the 7000 series is pretty good. i've played with a 7470 that was very nice and also a 7350 (2 in 1 - the screen detatches so that you can use it as a tablet) that was ok. i don't have much use for tablets, so i wasn't as impressed as i might otherwise have been.

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5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack

we're leaning. Mr M abdicates any responsibility for the decision; or, to state it more positively, he wants me to get 'whatever I think is best.' Wink

I'll look into the series that you're talking about. One vendor carries an E-series (probably older) that is still used by businesses. The top model in that line has 8G RAM, and a solid state hard drive. I think that there are a couple of processors to pick from.

As gorgeous, or striking as the MAC displays are, there's one thing that I don't care for--their very rectangular shape. I honestly like the more squarish [rectangular] shape of an old-fashioned laptop.

By the way, years ago my Department had what were called 'Macintosh' computers. Last time that I used one was probably about 1994; my usage was limited to entering my case statistics and data. (To really age myself, I can remember when one federal agency that I worked for had WANG computers. Whew!)

I looked for a photo of a Macintosh to post, and found this one. I had to laugh when I found it--it's a slightly older model than our office had, but, along the same order. Had these tremendous floppy discs, IIRC.

MAC photo.png

Good for a chuckle, eh?

Biggrin

Mollie


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."--Will Rogers
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5 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

PriceRip's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

          I have more than two dozen of these. I will use the innards of 16 to make a multiprocessing machine to model galactic evolution. It's not original, but it should be fun to build and program.

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5 users have voted.

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@PriceRip

the original Macintosh--as I recall, compared to what we had (before them), they were a huge upgrade. And, of course, very user-friendly.

Have fun with your project!

Mollie


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."--Will Rogers
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3 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

PriceRip's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

          He insisted that TRS-80's, and any IBM was better because he could open the case and solder all sorts of stuff onto the boards. He referred to the Macs as "closed systems" simply because he didn't know how to open the case or how to think in machine code. He was a hardware man and I was an idiot, therefore I had nothing of interest to say.

          He refused to understand the implications of Apple designing the macs using device controller chips with stack allocation in ram rather than on the microprocessor chip. With this architecture, multiprocessor programing with very large stacks accessible at any point makes for a very flexible programing environment. Most users / programers never drove these "little machines that could" to their full potential.

          This is all to say: A savvy user base would have driven the competition to an early grave, sigh.

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5 users have voted.

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

you can always special order a dell laptop with more ram and a solid state hard drive. the ssd's really drive up the price, though. extra memory is not that expensive. i'd also recommend that you go with the pro version of the microsloth os, rather than the home version.

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2 users have voted.
Knucklehead's picture

Thanks Joe , I like your news pile but enjoy the music so much more.
All you bluesters out there have a great weekend & be safe.

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6 users have voted.

I`m already against the next war

joe shikspack's picture

@Knucklehead

thanks for popping by! i hope that all is well out there in knucklehead knolls and you are having a great weekend.

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3 users have voted.

Short opinion piece by an local democratic party organizer caught my eye calling for protests around Trump taxes and of course connection to Russia. This is pushed as the second phase of the Woman's March.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/time_to_organize_ada...

But it uses an interesting angle:

Demanding truth from an increasingly furtive and autocratic government is fundamental in the fight to protect women's rights, human rights and American rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The next Women's March collective action could help us do just that by marshaling women to call on Congress to establish an immediate, independent investigation into the president's ties to Russia and to support Sen. Ron Wyden's bill to compel the President to release his tax returns.

Protecting women's rights is directly tied to the tax returns and of course to Putin??? I would think that Trump's budget is more directly relating to hurting women, and as far as I know, Putin isn't telling gop states to reduce access to abortion services. The democratic party establishment will never give up on Trump=Putin until there is a new president.

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3 users have voted.

America, you've reached either the end of the internet, or you've gone too far into measuring the depths of stupidity.

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3 users have voted.

Fighting for democratic principles,... well, since forever

there seems to be a lot of ambiguity and confusion underlying all the controversy. What is rarely discussed is why (even if Trump's business relationships in Russia do indeed exist to whatever extent) these would necessarily be a bad thing for the USA?

Isn't this entire anti-Trump argument we are hearing based on the assumption that a more amicable relationship with Russia would be undesirable? If so, then it seems to me that Trump's adversaries should be obligated to explain why de-escalation of hostilities is an undesirable course to pursue. And yet they never do. They simply assume, a priori to any discussion of the matter, that Russia is and always will be considered to be an "enemy" of America. And therefor that any private connection or correspondence Trump might have with Russia must be somehow unpatriotic or even traitorous.

This argument is being advanced ad nauseam, without ever having demonstrated the validity of its premise. IMO the relevant question is not whether Trump maintains interests in Russia, but rather why he should be condemned for having them, even if he does.

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4 users have voted.

native