Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Robert and Laureen

At Capital Swing 2018:

Liberal Redneck: The right to bear harm

Delta's new pre-flight safety instructions

Their response to Georgia lawmakers.

Mueller drops charges against Gates

Obviously because Gates is now cooperating with the investigation. And Gates has some juicy dirt on the Dumpsters. Speculation is that Gates has been turned not to get Manafort but the Presidunce himself. This gets better by the day.

Colbert on Kushner's lost security clearance

He also jokes about Dump's Tweets, the Russia investigation, Dump's refusal to enforce sanctions and to empower cyber security for the next election. That is, Putin is controlling Dump's puppet strings.

NM oil and gas power play

Good expose. The highlights follow. See the article for the informative and damning details.
  1. NMOGA’s Executive Director, Ryan Flynn, gave a speech last October to members of his association, the full transcript of which was leaked and full of some pretty concerning rhetoric. Besides proclaiming that his intention was to make NMOGA the “most powerful organization” in the state, Flynn also unabashedly pointed out his close personal ties with Governor Susana Martinez and touted that relationship as something positive for oil and gas companies. He also demonized grassroots organizations that have fought for stricter regulations and fought for clean energy throughout the state.
  2. We learned that Flynn had been tapped by President Trump to head up the California branch of the Environmental Protection Agency, a move that has chilling prospects based on Flynn’s close ties to the extraction industry that the EPA is charged with helping regulate. He declined the job, but it is very compelling that someone so highly esteemed by the Trump administration is pulling the strings of New Mexico’s most powerful lobby.

Kairos of endless entanglement

Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology at the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion of Drew University, gave the 2017 Taylor Lectures at Yale Divinity School. Her lectures explored a “Political Theology of the Earth.” This is the third of the three-part lecture series.

Dick's Sporting Goods on the gun issue


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Warren questions our top military cyber official

You can see the video at her FB post, where she said:

"Congress voted overwhelmingly to impose sanctions on Russians who used cyberattacks to interfere in our 2016 election – but the Trump Administration hasn’t actually enforced them. I asked Admiral Mike Rogers, our top military cyber official, what Vladimir Putin thinks of that. His answer should concern anyone – Democrat or Republican – who believes the Administration has a responsibility to defend our electoral system. We need to use every tool available to prevent Putin from interfering in our democracy ever again."

Congress passed sanctions for Russia's deliberate cyber attack on our election, and Dump has refused to enforce them. So Warren asks Admiral Rogers what message this lack of action sends to Putin. He replied: "I believe that President Putin has come to the conclusion that there is little price to pay here, and therefore I can continue this activity." Exactly what Dump the Russian agent wants.


Fallacy of misplaced opposition

Given Jordan Peterson's ill-informed criticism of Derrida, Ken Wilber had a similar critique. The latter got a lot of that from David Ray Griffin. So a reminder from Catherine Keller in the archive.

"David Ray Griffin’s general argument with deconstruction [...] suffers from a 'fallacy of misplaced opposition.' He does not however engage Derrida, who coined the term deconstruction, nor Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray, or Julia Kristeva, or indeed any of the French theorists whom one thinks of as originators of the 'deconstructive postmodernism' to which this series offers the preferred alternative. Instead, he disputes with U.S. philosophers like Karl Popper, Wilfrid Sellars, and Keith Campbell. They are no doubt worthy opponents. Yet their questions, terms, and analytic methods simply do not represent what is known as 'deconstruction.' [...] For he has mounted the argument against a 'deconstruction' of his own invention."

The trouble with positive thinking

From this TED talk:

"Normal, natural emotions are now seen as good or bad. And being positive has become a new form of moral correctness. People with cancer are automatically told to just stay positive. Women, to stop being so angry. And the list goes on. It's a tyranny. It's a tyranny of positivity. And it's cruel. Unkind. And ineffective. And we do it to ourselves, and we do it to others" (6:45).

"Research on emotional suppression shows that when emotions are pushed aside or ignored, they get stronger. Psychologists call this amplification. Like that delicious chocolate cake in the refrigerator -- the more you try to ignore it ... (Laughter) the greater its hold on you. You might think you're in control of unwanted emotions when you ignore them, but in fact they control you. Internal pain always comes out. Always. And who pays the price? We do. Our children, our colleagues, our communities" (8:09).

Dump's infrastructure con

He wants $1.5 trillion in spending but only $200 billion comes from federal funding. The rest is private investment, and in return they get to privatize that infrastructure and charge we the people user fees for roads and bridges. It's yet another giant scam giveaway to the wealthy while dumping on everyone else. It's just great for them but not at all for America. And as usual, Reich has real solutions to our infrastructure problems that work for we the people.

Rubin: Dump is an empty, damaged soul

Jennifer Rubin is a conservative opinion writer. She discusses Dump's heroic claim of running into the line of fire. She makes clear that for Dump everything is about him. She notes his 5-time military deferral for bone spurs and his incessant fears about everything. So Dump has to compensate with ridiculous boasting. But he can't even stand up to Russia. He is a coward and everyone knows it.

Colbert on Dump arming teachers

And Dump's fake heroism, bone spurs and all.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dump's puppet masters

Boris and Natasha are behind this, just as I suspected.


Dump orders parade to celebrate his imaginary heroism

Continuing this post, Borowitz has something to say about it.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Shortly after he declared that he would have run into a Florida high school unarmed to thwart a mass shooting, Donald J. Trump announced that he was planning a parade in Washington, D.C., to celebrate his hypothetical act of heroism.

“Anyone can act with bravery in the moment,” Trump told reporters in the White House. “But it takes a very special kind of hero to tell people about the incredibly brave thing he would have done weeks after the thing happened.”

He added that it was one of his greatest regrets that bone spurs prevented him from serving in the Vietnam War, “because the really courageous things I would have done during that war would have been off the charts.”

“As soon as the Tet Offensive happened, I would have run unarmed right into that mess,” he said. “We probably would have won the war right after I did that.”

Trump said that the parade he was ordering would honor not only him but all of America’s “last responders.”

According to a new poll, Trump’s assertion that he would have run into the Florida high school unarmed was believed by his daughter Ivanka.

Florida student now has more Twitter followers than NRA

The times they are a changin.' Vocal Florida student shooting survivor now has more Twitter followers than the NRA. The students have been hear and they're only going to get louder until those who support the NRA are voted out of office.

Cadet 'Bone Spurs' Dump said he'd rush into a gun battle

And without a gun! Sure he would, just like he got out of doing military service for a bogus bone spurs deferral. Cowardly Dump even runs away from high school students who criticize him, let alone an armed mad man. The bigger the brag the smaller the courage (and penis).

US General thinks Jesus is Rambo

At first I thought this was an Onion piece but it is frighteningly real. Retired Lieutenant General William Boykin has said that Jesus will return carrying at assault rifle leading a mighty Army in the second coming. And Jesus was directly responsible for the US 2nd Amendment. Jesus was also "ripped, tough, strong man’s man with big, bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, strong shoulders,’ who smelled bad!” Jesus f___ing Christ indeed.

The Kochs brag about writing our laws

The Intercept got a Koch document about their braggadocio. They are proud to have bought off Congress and Dump to rollback pollution protections, approve oil pipelines, get better tax breaks, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and more. See the link for how the Kochs have achieved this.

The tax scam is breaking the US bank

The cost of giving all that money to corps and the rich:

"According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will run out of money even sooner than expected, thanks to the new tax legislation, which is estimated to lead to a fall in revenue of $136 billion in 2018." As to all that hype about the cuts stimulating growth and tax revenue: "That’s wishful thinking. So is most Republican rhetoric around tax cutting." 

New poll: 70% back stricter gun laws

This is the highest in forever. The Florida student activism is largely to credit. Keep up the good work leaders of tomorrow.

How is trickle-down economics working for you?

Yet what Dump and Repugnantans have enacted is exactly more of the same. If you like their economic plan they you obviously like getting pissed on. Please see your doctor soon about this masochistic tendency.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Fact checking the dualing memos

Detailed fact check by Bloomberg Politics. The Steele dossier was not part of the original FBI investigation into Page. It was part of the initial FISA application, but it was only one source of several in seeking the warrant. It was also noted in the application that the dossier had political motivations. "Several of the points from the dossier had been corroborated through other investigative avenues," contrary to Repugnantan lies.

The 2nd Amendment was about slave patrols

Good history of how the 2nd Amendment came to be and why. It's no wonder why many gun nuts are also racist white nationalists.

"The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says 'State' instead of ' Country'  [...] was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.  Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too."

See the link for the details.

Dear Dump voter

Reich understands why people voted for him given the promises Dump made. But this video also aptly demonstrates that Dump has broken those promises by doing exactly the opposite. Facts are provided but we know all too well that facts have no effect on Dumpsters. Fortunately facts do effect those with a discerning mind, and there are a few of them that were fooled by Dump too but will be fooled no longer.

Schiff defends the Dem memo

He discusses information that is curiously missing from the Repugnantan memo and their lying spin.

JP on gun control

As usual he brings his humor to the issue. Good depiction of the redneck gun rationalizations.

Who is behind the Supreme Corp union-busting cases?

Expose on the big money behind the upcoming and previous, similar Supreme Corp cases. And not surprisingly the agenda is to neuter unions that protect workers, which gets in the way of obscene profits at the public's expense. After explaining the issues in the current case, the dark money organizations behind this and previous, similar cases are revealed, all of which are backed by giant corporations and the wealthy with this specific agenda. As usual, follow the money and it all becomes plain as day. It concludes:

"The decision in this case will determine the future of effective unions, democratic decision-making in the workplace, and the preservation of good, middle-class jobs in public employment."

And that is the crux of what the oligarchs want: Elimination of unions and democracy, and shitty jobs.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Democratic counter Nunes memo

It's been released. Contrary to Nunes, the FBI/DOJ minimally relied on the Steele dossier in the renewal FISA application on Carter Page. There was plenty of other evidence upon which the warrants were based, detailed in the memo. The application also detailed the political orientation of Steele's information. See it for several more details. And funny how there has been nothing on this memo in the corporate media.

The public sector union Supreme Corp case

It is a matter of freeloaders getting union protection at no cost. Unions have to protect all employees, not just union members. So why should union members have to pay for the services and protections of those who choose not to join? It would be fair if those who chose not be become members didn't get union protection, but the law requires unions to cover them too. And that law is specifically designed to drain unions of resources and to ultimately eliminate them. That is what this case is all about.

Liberal redneck on guns

It's a bit dated but more relevant than ever.

Renewables contribute 18% to US electricity generation

So says the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

Zizek on Jordan Peterson

His full comments are here. Some excerpts:

"While critical of many stances and political practices of PC, identity politics and LGBT+, I nonetheless see in them an often inadequate and distorted expression of very real and pressing problems."

"The notion of 'cultural Marxism' manipulated by some secret Communist centre and aiming to destroy Western freedoms is a pure alt-right conspiracy theory."

Lakoff on sick conservative view of the poor

From this blog post.

"What if they [people] don’t prosper? That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. In this conservative view, the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving while the rich deserve their wealth. Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility, not social responsibility. What you become is only up to you, not society. You are responsible for yourself, not for others."

Companies sticking with NRA

Continuing the last post, following are some of the companies that are so far sticking with the NRA. Please consider pressuring them with your buying power to instead drop the NRA from their support.
Amazon, Apple, Clearent, FedEx, Google, Roku, United, YouTube. See the link for more.

Companies cutting ties with NRA

The list is growing by the day. Delta and United Airlines are the latest, joining; TrueCar; First National Bank of Omaha; Enterprise, National, Hertz, Avis and Alamo car rentals; Allied and North American airlines; MetLife; Symantec;  Chubb; Wyndham Hotel Group. This is how you win against the NRA and other big money groups; hit them in their money belt.

Pox's Shep Smith on Russiagate

He's one of the few sane voices at Pox Views. In this clip he destroys Dump's repeated claim that the Russia thing is a hoax, especially in light of the indictments.

Good guy with a gun

Funny parody on the topic.

Friday, February 23, 2018

So what have student protests done?

Sounds to me like active, engaged and effective people leading the charge into a new and better era.


Who is Mick Mulvaney?

Senator Warren narrates this episode of Whois from NowThisPolitics. Mulvaney is the right-wing nut job, the head of both the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren gives his history and just what he's doing to destroy the agencies he heads, along with public protections, to pay off himself and the rich.

For Prasangika geeks

From Evan Thomson's feed today:

"It is not that there are some objects within the grasp of our cognitive capacities as well as some beyond them, but rather that the very concept of an object is something established by these capacities. It is not that
parts of the world might not correspond to our linguistic and conceptual frameworks but that the idea of a structure of reality independent of these practices is incoherent." -- Jan Westerhoff Nāgārjuna's Madhyamaka, p. 207.


And then there's Thakchoe's paper on semantic nominalism. The abstract:

Greenwald v. Risen Russia debate

Continuing this post, here's the video below of the Greenwald v. Risen debate on the Russia investigation. I'm with Risen on this one.

Bollier on the Commons

See his article here. A short excerpt:

"The commons lies at the heart of a major cultural and social shift now underway. People’s attitudes about corporate property rights and neoliberal capitalism are changing as cooperative endeavors — on digital networks and elsewhere — become more feasible and attractive. [...] A new breed of commoners is building the vision of a very different kind of society, project by project. This new universe of social activity is being built on the foundation of a very different ethics and social logic than that of homo economicus — the economist’s fiction that we are all selfish, utility-maximizing, rational materialists. [...] The wealth of the commons is not accumulated like capital; its vitality comes from being circulated. As I describe in my new book, Think Like a Commoner, the story of our time is the rise of the commons as a new way to emancipate oneself from predatory markets and to collaborate with peers to protect and expand one’s shared wealth."

Colbert: Dump wants more guns in schools

His monologue last night making fun of the gun-loving lunatic in the Blight House.

Amnesty International: Dump is a human rights violator

So they say here, and on a par with Egypt, the Philippines, Venezuela, Russia and China.  Dump "marks a new era of human rights regression." This includes Dump's views on the rights of women, LGBTQ, immigrants and Muslims. See the link for details.

FL shooting survivor on Senator Rubio

According to this article, Stoneman Douglas sophomore Sarah Chadwick tweeted Friday:

Unstable man plots to bring guns into schools

The above and following is from The Onion. While satirically funny, it's also a clear warning sign of the very real danger of this preposterous notion of arming school teachers. The NRA's leadership are truly unstable gun nuts that are complicit in killing children, no exaggeration.

"FAIRFAX, VA—According to sources, local man Wayne LaPierre, an individual with a long history of unstable and dangerous behavior, revealed a detailed plot this week to bring semiautomatic weapons into schools. The disturbed man has reportedly been carefully planning this plot for months and has published numerous ranting posts to his website in which he lays out, in explicit detail, his desire to bring numerous guns into school hallways and classrooms. While the crazed individual has, as of press time, not yet acted on his plan, sources confirmed he has every intention of doing so in the near future and will stop at nothing to see his plot fulfilled. Additional reports have suggested that the unstable man may have also been helped in his planning by a number of accomplices in the United States Congress."

Places Repugnantans support gun bans

For example, guns are banned in the Blight House, the Repugnantan National Convention, Mar-a-Lago, the US Capitol building, and in Repugnantan town halls. It's ok to ban guns in places that protect these hypocrites, but not for our children.

The interior world of exercise

Fascinating article on how vesicles communicate through the blood to organs during exercise.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Russiamania: Glenn Greenwald v. James Risen

See this Intercept podcast including transcript. I prefer the latter because I can read much faster. There is also a link to the video therein. The blurb:

"James Risen and Glenn Greenwald have both won Pulitzer Prizes. They both have found themselves in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for their journalism. And they both write for The Intercept. But Jim and Glenn have taken very different approaches to covering the Trump/Russia story. This week on Intercepted, they go head-to-head in a debate. Glenn is one of the most high-profile critics of the official story that has been put forward by the U.S. intelligence community, the Democrats, and many media outlets, including some of this country’s most powerful papers and news channels. Jim battled both the Bush and Obama administrations — under threat of imprisonment — for refusing to name his sources in some of the most sensitive national security reporting of the modern era. Jim broke a key story on a secret NSA channel to Russia and his first column for The Intercept, about the Trump/Russia investigation, posed the question: Is Donald Trump a traitor?"

The GOP and blood money

Apt cartoon.


Scientific American: More guns are linked to more crimes

But the word 'science' is in the title so you know gun nuts are going to cry fake news. But in this article the three main points are:
  • The claim that gun ownership stops crime is common in the U.S., and that belief drives laws that make it easy to own and keep firearms.
  • But about 30 careful studies show more guns are linked to more crimes: murders, rapes, and others. Far less research shows that guns help.
  • Interviews with people in heavily gun-owning towns show they are not as wedded to the crime defense idea as the gun lobby claims.
See the link for the scientific details that having more guns only leads to more, not less, crime.

Olympics update

The US women's hockey team wins gold by beating Canada in overtime shootout. Mikaela Shiffrin wins the silver in the super combined with a great slalom performance. Unfortunately Lindsey Vonn missed a gate in the slalom and was out. Jamie Anderson gets a silver in the women's big air competition. David Wise comes back on his last run to take the gold in men's freestyle half pipe. See the video here.

The time to act is now and these kids are doing it

Colbert on student activism for gun control. He applauds them for doing what adults should be doing but won't.

Colbert on goop's coffee enemas

Funny bit about a real product for the idle and idiotic rich. Colbert then sells his own enema product.

The Dance of the Greasy Son

Colbert turns Dump Jr.'s comment about India's poor into a Bollywood production.

Colbert on the fake news about student gun protests

These kids are validly concerned and doing something about it. Since the Repugnantans usually depict them as lazy and entitled, and the kids are dispelling that lie, then the next strategy is to call them paid actors with an agenda. That's not working either you Repugnantan bastards.

Kimmel on the student gun protests

And the fake news calling them fake news. As usual, he doesn't hold back in calling out despicable people haters and gun lovers.

Our right to life

You tell 'em George. Repugnantans are always harping on the fetus' right to life. How about after they're born?




Dump's notes: Remember to pretend to care

Dump attended a 'listening session' with survivors of the Florida shooting. This image captures his notes to himself, which remind him to pretend to give a shit about those students.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The oceanic feeling and the path of concentration

From Mark Epstein: The psychodynamics of meditation.

"The path of concentration involves the stabilization and quiescence of the mind through the development of one-pointedness and absorption in a single object of meditation. Attention is repeatedly restricted, narrowed and focused until a kind of oneness or merger is achieved in a series of trance states known as the eight "jhanas" or realms of absorption. The experience is of progressively more sublime feelings of relaxation, tranquillity, contentment and bliss, culminating in "formless states" of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, and "neither perception nor non-perception" (Goleman, 1988). A certain degree of training in concentration, or "samadhi," is seen as indispensable in Buddhist meditation, but the development of only concentration is recognized as a temptation to be avoided because of the seductive and deceptive nature of these states.

A message from true Christians

You know, the ones that actually follow Jesus' teachings.


Gun laws v. gun deaths

See the chart below measuring the incidence of gun laws compared with gun deaths in US States. The result cannot be any more clear.


Dem wins KY State House seat

In a district Dump won by 49 points. According to this tally, the Dems have now won 38 seats formerly held by Repugs since Dump became Presidunce. A blue tidal wave is coming this November.

Two laws could change US mass killings

See Hartmann's article here. The two suggested, sensible laws follow. See the link for details.
  1. Treat all semi-automatic weapons in a similar way under the same laws as fully-automatic weapons.
  2. Regulate gun ownership and usage the same way we regulate car ownership and usage.

Framing the economic story

This article discusses how we must properly frame a new economic vision if we want to garner the support necessary to enact it. You can download the full report at the link. The two complementary, broad story lines are "resisting corporate power" and "meeting our needs."

On the first:

"This story centres on how the economy is both unfair and broken and lays blame squarely on corporate power and wealthy elites. It argues that the economic system has been unfairly influenced by a powerful few for their own benefit, and that this manipulation is the source of the economy’s problems. This story draws either on the value of Economic Strength or the value of Equality as the rationale for supporting progressive policies and uses a reprogramming metaphor to show how the economy has been intentionally designed—and can be redesigned— through policy decisions."

On the second:

This is one job I'd be glad to have


National Climate Assesment

It's out and it's not good. Sea level rise is accelerating and “temperatures over Europe and North America today are the highest they have been in 11,000 years.” There's also an increase in intensity and severity of storms. So yeah, let's just deny and ignore this like it's just a natural cycle that will turn around without interference. Just apply laissez faire economics to the whether.

Dump's budget cuts Medicare, Medicare and Social Security

Remember when he promised not to do this. Well his budget is available for everyone to see and the facts are quite the contrary. I know, Dumpsters will call this reality fake news and keep they head in the sand (and up their asses).

"He proposes cuts of over $1.8 trillion to the three programs. On top of that, he proposes to slash Meals on Wheels, home heating assistance, and other programs on which seniors rely. It is noteworthy that Republicans just passed, for almost the same price tag, a huge tax giveaway to their donors. So that’s the Republican plan: save money by gutting programs for the elderly and transfer the savings to the billionaire class.”

Talking to God or ultimate reality

This also goes for shentong Buddhists that are certain they communicate with ultimate reality during altered states.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

PA Supreme Court draws new voting districts

The districts were formerly gerrymandered by the Repugnantans to attain a lopsided victory in an otherwise fairly balanced State. The Supreme Court ordered them to re-draw them or they would do it themselves. Since the Repugs refused to do it it was done for them.

"Democrats couldn’t have asked for much more from the new map. It’s arguably even better for them than the maps they proposed themselves. Over all, a half-dozen competitive Republican-held congressional districts move to the left, endangering several incumbent Republicans, one of whom may now be all but doomed to defeat, and improving Democratic standing in two open races."

Jamie Lee Stand Up

On the Corden show. Funny stuff.

The Young Turks lampoons Fergie's national anthem

Funny recreation of Fergie's disastrous rendition of the national anthem at the NBA All-Star game.

Mueller charges lawyer for lying in Gates interaction

We get one step closer to Dump.

"Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a charge against lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan for lying to investigators about his interaction with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates in September 2016. CNN's Jessica Schneider reports."

Repugnantans are smearing the shooting victims

Amazing, isn't it? Since the surviving Florida students are speaking up for gun control there is now a repugnantan smear campaign against them claiming they are being funded and provoked by George Soros! This video shows one of their spokes-villains throwing out this outlandish theory, which the video below is of said students refuting the nut job conspiracy theory.

Trickle-down economics is not capitalism

By Eric Beinhocker. Subtitled "The rise of rentiers and the destruction of the middle class." He thinks Ayn Rand would be aghast at what today passes for free enterprise! Today's corporations are not bastions of independent, innovative entrepreneurs winning the competitive race but giant corporations paying off government to maintain oligopolies. Rand wrote specifically against this phenomenon in Atlas Shrugged. Of course these oligarchs distort Rand's idealism as cover for what they are doing but they are nothing like Rand's hero in the book.

"Trickle-down economics may work in textbook economic theory with ivory-tower assumptions about perfectly rational people and perfectly efficient markets. But in the real world of politics and interests, it simply provides a cover story for rentier economics. It dresses up anti-market behavior in free-market rhetoric."

How we fight fascism

By Chris Hedges. An excellent explanation on why and how Dump came to power, given how most of us no longer trust the establishment because of how we've been so badly neglected and abused. So instead of focusing on the cause of this problem we are led by our establishment induced poverty to blame each other under the flag of fascism. Some excerpts below. Sound at all familiar? Continue reading at the link on how we fight it, which sounds a lot like Sanders and Warren.

"She [Clara Zetkin] warned that the longer the stagnation and rot of a dysfunctional democracy went unaddressed, the more attractive fascism would become. And as 21st-century America’s own capitalist democracy disintegrates, replaced by a naked kleptocracy that disdains the rule of law, the struggle of past anti-fascists mirrors our own. History has amply illustrated where political paralysis, economic decline, hypermilitarism and widespread corruption lead."

Dump ranked worst Presidunce in US history

According to this survey of 200 political scientists from "the American Political Science Association’s section on presidents and executive politics." I They rate on a scale of 1 to 100, with Dump receiving an average score of 12.34. Even conservatives didn't think much of Dump, voting him just 5 from the bottom. So you are the best at something Conald Dump: Being the worst Presidunce ever!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Third Industrial Revolution: A radically new sharing economy

New video. The blurb:

The global economy is in crisis. The exponential exhaustion of natural resources, declining productivity, slow growth, rising unemployment, and steep inequality, forces us to rethink our economic models. Where do we go from here? In this feature-length documentary, social and economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin lays out a road map to usher in a new economic system.

A Third Industrial Revolution is unfolding with the convergence of three pivotal technologies: an ultra-fast 5G communication internet, a renewable energy internet, and a driverless mobility internet, all connected to the Internet of Things embedded across society and the environment.

This 21st century smart digital infrastructure is giving rise to a radical new sharing economy that is transforming the way we manage, power and move economic life. But with climate change now ravaging the planet, it needs to happen fast. Change of this magnitude requires political will and a profound ideological shift.

The meaning of America on President's Day

A powerful, profound statement by Robert Reich, copied below, on what America once was, what it has become, and hopefully what it can be yet again. Amen brother Reich.

"When Trump and his followers refer to “America,” what do they mean? Some see a country of white English-speaking Christians.Others want a land inhabited by self-seeking individuals free to accumulate as much money and power as possible, who pay taxes only to protect their assets from criminals and foreign aggressors. Others think mainly about flags, national anthems, pledges of allegiance, military parades, and secure borders.

Trump encourages a combination of all three – tribalism, libertarianism, and loyalty. But the core of our national identity has not been any of this. It has been found in the ideals we share – political equality, equal opportunity, freedom of speech and of the press, a dedication to open inquiry and truth, and to democracy and the rule of law.

We are not a race. We are not a creed. We are a conviction – that all people are created equal, that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, and that government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. Political scientist Carl Friedrich, comparing Americans to Gallic people, noted that “to be an American is an ideal, while to be a Frenchman is a fact.” That idealism led Lincoln to proclaim that America might yet be the “last best hope” for humankind. It prompted Emma Lazarus, some two decades later, to welcome to American the world’s “tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

It inspired the poems of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, and the songs of Woody Guthrie. All turned their love for America into demands that we live up to our ideals. “This land is your land, this land is my land,” sang Guthrie. “Let America be America again,” pleaded Hughes: “The land that never has been yet – /And yet must be – the land where every man is free. / The land that’s mind – the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME –.”

That idealism sought to preserve and protect our democracy – not inundate it with big money, or allow one party or candidate to suppress votes from rivals, or permit a foreign power to intrude on our elections. It spawned a patriotism that once required all of us take on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going – paying taxes in full rather than seeking loopholes or squirreling money away in foreign tax shelters, serving in the armed forces or volunteering in our communities rather than relying on others to do the work.

How fake news helped elect Dump

In Rosenstein's announcement about the Russian indictments he said: "There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election" (5:28). Just because the indictment didn't address the issue doesn't mean it had no effect. This recent study indeed shows that the very conduct outlined in the indictment likely did exactly that. "Our study concludes that fake news most likely did have a substantial impact on the voting decisions of a strategically important set of voters." The study was focused on former Obama voters who voted for Dump. "Our survey data show that 10 percent of these former Obama voters cast ballots for Trump in 2016, 4 percent switched to minor parties and 8 percent did not vote." The fake news stories that flipped these voters were the following:

Fact Check: The Russian indictments show clear support for Dump

See the article here. It quotes the indictment: "By early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ('Trump Campaign') and disparaging Hillary Clinton” (p. 4). See the article and indictment for the timeline and the details.

CabFair ethical alternative to Uber

82% of Londoners would use an Uber alternative that had better rights for drivers, and 54% would pay more for that ethical alternative. So reports the New Economics Foundation, which is also working on that alternative called CabFair that would be owned by the drivers.

Dump budget eliminates funding for low-income home heating

It's right there in his budget. And this after giving $6 trillion in the tax scam to the 1%. How caring and compassionate our Presidunce is. To the rich, that is. The rest of us can literally freeze to death. Keep in mind the Repugnantans are complicit in this and get out and vote this year.

Dump budget cuts 16% from national gun background check

And why haven't we heard about this on corporate media? That's a $12 million cut.

The Making of Our Cartoon President

An ad about the new show from Executive Producer Stephen Colbert.

Unknowing

This applies equally to ultimate reality. Claims to the certainty of knowing it inevitably lead to spiritual totalitarianism.





The case of empathy

Subtitle above of an interview with de Waal and Thompson titled: Primates, monks and the mind. Therein they discuss the development of empathy from primates to monks. While the former provides a foundation for the latter, the latter adds on empathic capacities not in the former. (I'm also reminded of Rifkin's stages of empathy.)

Thompson: " The most basic, in a way the foundational or ground floor one, is a coupling or pairing between one’s bodily being and the being of another. This can take various forms. There are various kinds of affective and motor resonances. [...] Without it it’s hard to see how the more developed forms of empathy could arise. A second, more developed aspect, could be described as involving some kind of imaginative transposition or movement to the place of another, so that you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, imaginatively speaking. And then, third, this perspective-taking can become more complex in the sense that you don’t simply put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, but you put yourself in somebody else’s shoes such that you comprehend how they see you. Here there’s a kind of reiteration of empathy, so that you have an empathetic experience of someone else’s empathetic experience of you. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moonlight Sonata - Tina S.

Damn, amazing talent and performance. I'm in awe.

Koch brothers and NRA timeshare ownership of Speaker Ryan

Borowitz does it again.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a unique accord, the billionaire Koch brothers and the National Rifle Association have reached a timeshare agreement over the ownership of House Speaker Paul Ryan, representatives of both parties have confirmed.

Speaking on behalf of the Kochs, Charles Koch said that he contacted the N.R.A.’s executive director, Wayne LaPierre, with the timeshare proposal “so that we could all get the maximum enjoyment out of owning Paul.”

The arrangement is intended to minimize conflicts between the Kochs and the gun group that have arisen in the past when both co-owners have wanted to use Ryan at the same time, Koch said.“I said to Wayne, ‘This is craziness,’ ” he said. “ ‘Let’s work something out where you get Paul half the year, and we’ll take him the other half.’ ”

Under the timeshare deal, the Kochs will have the exclusive use of Ryan during the months when tax cuts and environmental deregulation are put to a vote, while the N.R.A. will have him for the months when gun legislation is to be defeated.

Additionally, each co-owner is responsible for insuring that Ryan is well maintained and in good condition when the other’s period of using him commences.

Koch indicated that, if the timeshare agreement is a success, the two parties are likely to work out a similar deal for their longtime joint ownership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

You want an assault rifle ban?

Simple and effective solution.


Democratizing the workplace

See Richard Wolff's article on it here. This emerging and growing mode of economic development puts businesses in the hands of those that work them. Worker self-directed enterprises (WSDE) is one form this can take. Instead of seeking solutions in government or in capitalistic oriented businesses, the goal is to give the power back to the people that make the goods and services. Employees therein directly function to democratically divide and assign labor, determine what, were and how a good is to be produced, and decide on wages, distribution of surplus and ownership. 

Of course a transition to WSDEs from capitalism requires several implementing factors: Laws need to enacted to create the structural framework; school curriculums need to educate future workers on the societal need for WSDE's and how they operate; political parties and platforms need to promote them. It's not an easy transition but a necessary one which is well on its way given the growing interest and implementation.

Roundtable Rival - Lindsey Stirling

Not just great music but great dancing, costumes, choreography and storytelling.

Victor Da Silva - Anna Melnikova | Kremlin Cup 2017

This couple was having sex and a dance broke out. Enough steam here to run an airplane engine.

Senators Gillibrand and Booker: No more corporate cash

This is a good sign that these Senators decided to quit received corporate SuperPAC money. It's about time that other Dems are responding to the notion of representing we the people instead of corporations, even if it is just pressure from we the people motivating them. Keep up that pressure people!

Supreme Corp case will break the back of Unions

Warren discusses this upcoming case, in which Supreme Corp lackey Gorsich will cast the deciding vote to defund unions. She goes into Gorsich's long history of intending just such a decimation. I like how she frames healthy unions as an issue of freedom. And Koch backed Gorsich wants to take away our freedoms. It appears that freedom only applies to the wealthy in their freedom to take away ours. Having all the money and power is not enough for them; they want all the freedom too.

Have we lost the common good?

Reich explores the question in this short clip. We've lost trust in our institutions because they have failed us. And they've failed us because they no longer give a shit about us, instead sucking up all the money and resources for themselves. Can we restore the common good?

Women have mental illness too but...


Saturday, February 17, 2018

ALEC wants a Constitutional Convention

And they are getting closer with each day. Iowa is the latest State to sign on, using verbatim the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) wording.

"ALEC wants a convention called in order to push a balanced budget amendment for Congress (though opponents argue there are simply times where the national government has to do deficit spending for national emergencies or defense reasons). Such austerity proposals would certainly cause deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Other ideas include allowing states to ignore certain U.S. Supreme Court decisions that they do not agree with. ALEC has already come dangerously close to its goal of getting the 34 states needed for a convention. Iowa’s addition would leave if just a handful of states away from reality."

Also see Bill Moyer's expose here

Sanders on the humanitarian Olympics

The US is losing this one big time with no medals whatsoever.


Flawless logic

So let's do it then and give them a taste of their own useless medicine. Only I'd just offer them "too f___ing bad."


Speaker Ryan takes action on gun violence!

Obviously not, but it might have got your attention?


What we do depends on who the killer is

Obvious flow chart in Dumpland.


The 2nd Amendment

Note the phrase "well regulated," unlike the NRA wanting as little regulation as possible, preferably none. Although the NRA is like a militia, only not much regulated and not for any humane or socially responsible purpose.






Clip of Our Cartoon President

From the new Showtime series and executive producer Stephen Colbert.

Hollywood's Grey area

Maher's new rule explores the grey area between sexual misconduct and what both men and women are programmed to believe about romance by Hollywood movies. It truly is mixed messages, just like romance itself.

Maher's monologue

He covers the indicted Russians plotting to interfere with our election, traitor Dump and his budget proving he's a pathological liar, the Environmental Destruction Agency, Dump's affairs and their payoffs, the mass shooting.

A new restoration story by Monbiot

Bauwens commented on the following video by Monbiot: "Monbiot is among my favourite journalists. In this engrossing and highly educational (and entertaining) speech he manages to take you from the paradigmatic stories of Keynes and Neo-liberalism to how the latter has assaulted our self-definition of what it means to be human and thus, the crisis of alienation and loneliness all around us. He then introduces some elements of a new story struggling to be born. This is a speech you may well take in more than once. Why? Because it move us towards a new ‘restoration’ story that can sustain the colossal effort needed to bend the curve of self-destructive path we are travelling, and that is energizing."

Rangton/shentong debate

This wiki gives a good history of it. Bruce Alderman* discussed how metaphysical views, both east and west, saw the absolute realm as a primal whole underlying the relative realm, or fundamental elements from which the rest of the material realm was constructed. That is, it expresses as the reduction of reality to our direct access to it in toto like the metaphysical notions of eastern meditative traditions, or our direct access to reality via representational models of reason typical of western empirical traditions.

* Integral Theory Conference, 2013

Friday, February 16, 2018

Congress blocks gun violence research

This fact comes up every time there is one of these shootings. Now why do you suppose that is?

"A policy rider that has been including in spending bills since 1996 effectively bans the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching gun violence. The so called the Dickey amendment has not definitively outlawed research on gun violence and safety, but Congress 'coincidentally' removed funding from the CDC to the exact amount it once spent on that research. This sends the message to CDC scientists that such research is strongly discouraged, deprioritized, and ultimately, it is not conducted."


Florida shooting survivior has his own 'thoughts and prayers'

See this interview with Cameron Kasky. He thinks it's a GOP facade that nothing can be done about it. He's convinced they get an NRA memo after every shooting to just send 'thoughs and prayers' and 'now is not the time to talk about it.' He's right that this is the only developed country where this kind of shit happens. His school had had repeated drills for just this scenario and it did no good, plus there was an armed guard on duty. Gun control is the answer that complicit Repugnantans refuse to consider given their giant NRA pay-off.

FBI investigates Russian NRA money being laudered to Dump

According to this story. "The FBI recently launched an investigation to determine whether a Russian central banker, and Putin ally, illegally funneled money through the organization to help the Trump campaign." No collusion here, move along, see the new mass killing?

NRA campaign contributions to lapdog Congresspeople

These are the very Congresspeople voting against any gun legislation. Think there's any connection between their blood money and their votes? Their worthless thoughts and prayers are pretty expensive fake sentiments. This expose gives us names and contributions. Is this one of your Congresspeople? And what are you going to do about it?

Kimmel on the Florida high school shooting

Kimmel again pleads with Congress to do something about it, meaning stricter gun laws. Quit with the BS thoughts and prayers that do nothing but gloss over the problem and never addresses it. Another of Kimmel's impassioned pleas that will fall on deaf Congressional ears due to massive financial contributions to them from the NRA. He encourages us to go to everytown.org and use it to contact Congress. If Congress doesn't respond then vote them out. NOW is the time!

DC Grand Jury indicts 13 Russians

Via the Special Council's office. 3 Russian companies were also indicted. They were all for seeking interference in the US political system, including the 2016 election. It's an 8-count indictment. It was noted that no American, including any on the Trump campaign, knowingly colluded with these Russians.

Campaign contribution to a Repugnantan

This is the only sort of contribution these complicit gun runners should ever get.


Media manipulation

Be aware, be woke.


The myth that mental illness causes mass shootings

Good article in Behavioral Scientist, especially since it debunks the repugnantan fallacy that the mentally ill are responsible and therefore the only remedy is early treatment. (Never mind that Dump has removed the prohibition that mentally ill people cannot own a gun.) The bare truth is that owning military-style weapons is the cause of mass killings and we need to outlaw them. From the article:

"In their 2016 edited book Gun Violence and Mental Illness, psychiatrists Liza Gold and Robert Simon summarize the evidence debunking the myth that mental illness is a leading cause of gun violence. As they report, less than 5% of shootings are committed by people with a diagnosable mental illness. Like mentally healthy offenders, the mentally ill are far more likely to shoot people they know rather than strangers. The mentally ill are also far more likely to be victims of gun violence rather than perpetrators. These data suggest that the link between mental illness and mass shooting exists in our minds, not in reality."

Review of Self Comes to Mind by Antonio Damasio

From the archive:

And this one is from a review/analysis of Damasio's book Self Comes to Mind:

"On Page 8 he says, 'I believe that conscious minds arise when a self process is added to a basic mind process.' So, in Damasio's view the difference between mind and consciousness is all about the self. He defines 'mind' as the process by which the brain creates images based on its maps, both of the body and of the world. But he says that the mind is unconscious until it has a sense of self.

"Now, based on Damasio's definition, minds have existed for a long time, but they weren't conscious. He says, 'A mind unwitnessed is still a mind.' The key idea is that mind developed independently of consciousness—or at least before it. But they're both rooted in the physical processes of the brain, which itself evolved to maintain life.

"Damasio sees consciousness as being mind plus the self process. Thus consciousness is more than being awake; but of course, you have to be awake to be conscious.

"According to Damasio, consciousness requires that: 1. You are awake; 2. You have an operational mind, that is, one that makes images; and 3. You have what he calls an 'automatic, unprompted, unreduced sense of self.'

"He has what he calls 'core consciousness'—which he describes as having a sense of self in the here-and-now, without a sense of past or future—and 'autobiographical consciousness,' which includes both personhood and identity....this way of thinking about consciousness allows for consciousness to exist in many non-human species.... He emphasizes that 'core consciousness does not require language.'

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Blight House Valentine's Day cards

As only Kimmel can tell it.

Another Democrat upsets Repugnantan incumbent

This is another episode of an optimistic trend. Dem Margaret Good defeated Repug Buchanan is a red Florida State district. It's a district that Dump won by 5 points.

The Florida mass killer didn't act alone

He had plenty of enabling help, and just as guilty.




101 ways Dump betrayed us

This short video lays out just a few of those ways. See the rest at this link.

Warren's Pocahontus speech

She compares the myth of Pocahontas to the reality, the former a means to whitewash colonization. The latter is that she was instrumental in negotiating between the tribes and the settlers. For this she was rewarded by imprisonment and rape. Later she was forced into marriage, taken to Great Britain as a token for trade relations and died at 21.

And now Pocahontas is the butt of Dump's crass and inhumane assault on Native Americans. Great speech given by someone who appreciates Natives and all people, and fights to protect their rights. Quite the contrast from that Stinking Dump.

What we know so far in the Mueller investigation

Contrary to Dump's bullshit obfuscation, the investigation is in top gear and proceeding quickly. Even though most of it is secret, this article points out there are things we already know about that indicates it is very serious business. The bullet points are highlighted below. See the link for the informative details.

1. Preexisting Business Deals and Money Laundering.
2. Russian Information Operations.
3. Active Cyber Intrusions.
4. Russian Campaign Contacts.
5. Obstruction of Justice.
 
 

Who Congress protects and who it kills

This says it all.




Mikaela Shiffrin wins giant slalom gold medal

She wins her first gold and is in several other ski events. How many will she win? Again, NBC won't post the embed code so see it here.

Savchenko-Massot win gold in pairs skating

They were down by 5 points going into the free skate and this performance caught them up and won  the gold by a fraction of a point. Near flawless and highly emotional, artistic routine. Again, stingy NBC won't allow embeds so see it here.


Reich interviews Lakoff

On how progressives need to genuinely frame their values and morals in order to win elections.

Dump unleashes corporate criminals

This should make America great again, unleashing a bigger swamp to prey on us. Yeah, he cares about us working people. If you believe that one, I've got a great investment opportunity for you.

"Federal penalties imposed on the largest U.S. companies for all kinds of misconduct fell sharply during the first 12 months of the Trump administration, with combined fines and settlements dropping to a fraction of the levels seen during the Obama Administrations. The Fortune 100 list of the very largest publicly traded U.S. corporations paid $1.1 billion in penalties to federal regulatory agencies and the Justice Department during Trump’s first year, compared to an annual average of more than $17 billion during the Obama years."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Peter DeBenedittis for NM Governor

Here's his website. The following video gives a brief introduction. Some of his key issues: Health Care for All;Expanded Medical Cannabis, Legalized Recreational Cannabis & Industrial Hemp;
See the website for much more.

Towards a cognitive neuroscience of self-awareness

Recall the anterior cingulate cortex's (ACC) role in meditative states from the last post. This neuroscience article by the above name claims that "self-awareness is a pivotal component of conscious experience. It is correlated with a paralimbic network of medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate and medial parietal/posterior cingulate cortical 'hubs' and associated regions. Electromagnetic and transmitter manipulation have demonstrated that the network is not an epiphenomenon but instrumental in generation of self-awareness."

Concerning meditation and this brain network: "The new understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of self-awareness outlined in Section 4 may lead to the application of unconventional therapeutical strategies to increase dopaminergic activity and to improve paralimbic interaction. These strategies include relaxation meditation like yoga nidra or mindfulness meditation, which in independent studies have been shown to increase dopaminergic tone and induce growth in paralimbic structures."

The neurocircuitry of awakening

See Dan Brown talking about it in this video. He is also co-author in the paper "Mapping complex mind states." Some excerpts from the latter follow. Note that it does not differentiate the different aspect of 'self' as discussed by Damasio. It appears that what it means by 'self' is the autobiographical self-reference system. However Damasio would see some of these results as examples of the proto-self and core self. This neuroscience article compares Damasio's different types of self to meditative states.

"Modulation within the anterior cingulate (ACC) executive hub was observed in the gamma band range. [...] The ACC represents a core brain structure in terms of centralized executive functioning. [...] An overarching theory proposes the key interplay of the ACC in 'self-regulatory' processes, broadly defined. [...] These findings suggest enhanced executive control extending to challenging cognitive, emotional, and physical processing demands, largely observed during periods of sustained attention. Furthermore, enhanced current density within the ACC, d[orsal]ACC, and v[entral]ACC, was exclusive to the gamma-band frequency range, whereby modulation of gamma activity has been associated with increasing complexity of experimental tasks, task difficulty, and mental effort" (49).

Kimmel on Dump's Presidential portrait

A big fuss is being made over Obama's Presidential portrait so Kimmel projects what Dump's will look like.

Shaun White wins gold

He was in 2nd place going into his final run, the last run of the competition. He needed to beat 95.25 and he came through big time with 97.75 to win the gold. NBC didn't embed the link so you can watch it here.

Where our tax dollars go


The origin of Valentine's Day

From this source:

"While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

"To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage."