443 COMMENTS

  1. This! Shocking, absolutely shocking. The positive desire for an idiocracy is blatant.

    Republicans now hate the idea of higher education.

    http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/

    By 2016, Republicans’ ratings of colleges and universities were mixed (43% positive, 45% negative). Today, for the first time on a question asked since 2010, a majority (58%) of Republicans say colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, while 36% say they have a positive effect.

  2. Is it all about a massive inferiority complex, do you suppose?

    I have long suspected that that’s what underlies the EU-phobia of the Brexiteers. That, as a country, the UK doesn’t have the innate sense of self-confidence that would enable us to interact as equals with the EU27; and that this finds expression in brash arrogance and demands that we should be in charge (but as a right: not as something we negotiate and agree). It’s very, very apparent to me whenever I travel in mainland Europe that people there generally come across with a calm, polite assurance that is far from commonplace here.

    And I’ve also long suspected that the Trumpeteers and the Brexiteers are driven largely by the same kind of issues and fears. It’s not unusual for a chronic lack of self-confidence to be turned outwards into fear and hatred of others.

    I can’t think of any other reason to object to higher education. Isn’t it a tacit admission that they fear the educated will look down on them?

  3. Phil (#2)

    Shocked? Why? How do you expect these Plutocrats to stay in power? They have top keep people dumbed down. They do that two ways: they make higher education unaffordable, and that creates a wall. But they build a wall around the wall too by propagating the idea that higher education is somehow something undesirable, to be looked down upon, as “elitist”. Remember how they denigrated Obama for being well educated? They called him an elitist. They alway say the liberal elites… The same with the press. They want their base to look upon the press as elitist and, above all, dishonest. These are very dangerous, sick people. And they cannot allow people to get too smart and they can’t let the truth be exposed. So they do everything they can to keep people confused and dumb.

    The stupid majority. Sounds pejorative, but I didn’t coin the phrase; Norman Mailer did. That is what the Republicans need in order to stay in power. This is not about an “idiocracy”; it is not a government comprised of idiots or incompetents; but they want to perpetuate idiocy and incompetency as much as they can and for as long as they can. Hell you’ve seen Fox News, haven’t you? Do you think Fox News was created for the purpose of informing and educating?

    Those in power now are not idiots; but idiots will vote for them. Those in power are skilled manipulators, propagandists, and they are maniacs.

    Surprised? Look who was assigned to be Secretary of Education? Devos. A billionaire, a religious screw-ball, and reactionary to the core – determined like her co-conspirators to destroy the remnants of our system of publicly funded education, and to undermine the tradition of higher education itself. An agent of destruction like the others. Nothing less than that. And part of Trump’s oligarchy.

  4. Marco

    Isn’t it a tacit admission that they fear the educated will look down on them?

    I suspect that also. But doesn’t this, perhaps, also suggests they fear they may be wrong… especially on this occasion? They just don’t know. Better that nobody does.

    I think the reversal in two years is the nearest sign we have that they know they have fucked up.

    I’ve always felt that Europeans seem more comfortable in their own skin, too. But sometimes I rather like our lack of confidence that we lampoon our own pretensions and failures…..

    Dan,

    How do you contrive (in a people) such a sudden turn around? Two years and a pretty thoroughgoing switch.

    Trump is cunning, very cunning, but not smart…. not even close.

  5. Marco #3
    Jul 11, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Is it all about a massive inferiority complex, do you suppose?

    In an increasingly technical world, educated teens and twenty-somethings, are a serious threat to the work prospects of older know-it-all innumerate, irrational, science illiterates, who are proud of their ignorance, and trying to hang on to positions of power and authority! !
    In their eyes, somebody else must be to blame for the consequences of their ignorance, stupidity and refusal to learn modern skills!

    I have long suspected that that’s what underlies the EU-phobia of the Brexiteers.

    The brexiteers are arrogant and stupid enough, to think that just because the uneducated gullible buy their “Emperor’s New Clothes” Utopian fairy stories sold by the gutter press, that European negotiators are going to buy their double talk and let them have their cake and eat it!

    The brexiteers are NOT going to get a better deal out of Europe than the one the UK already has inside it!
    Reality started to kick in when Europe dictated the terms under which negotiations would take place, – but as the brexiteers had no idea about the reality of negotiations or likely outcomes in the first place, the fantasies are still strong in some of them!
    They still have not cottoned on to the fact that the UK can say NO to a deal – AND so can ANY ONE of the 27 other countries in the EU, or the 29 states of the Customs Union.

    Contrary to brexiteer blitherings, about negotiating “brilliant trade deals” elsewhere, – “No deal with Europe”, is likely to much WORSE than a bad deal with Europe, and any deal outside is going to be worse than remaining a member!
    But apparently – according to the brexiteers, (some very stupid fence sitting politicians, and the junk media) “THE People have spoken” and are demanding this is inflicted on them, – even if they had no idea what they were voting about it at the time!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40520218

    The European Union and Japan have formally agreed an outline free-trade deal.

    The agreement paves the way for trading in goods without tariff barriers between two of the world’s biggest economic areas.

    However, few specific details are known and a full, workable agreement may take some time.

    Two of the most important sectors are Japanese cars and, for Europe, EU farming goods into Japan.

    Analysis: Damian Grammaticas, BBC News

    The EU and Japan have done two deals for the price of one: a trade deal and a complementary “Strategic Partnership”. One will create a major free-trading economic bloc, the second will see them co-operate in other areas like combating climate change.

    If the brexiteers mess up on this some very silly pro-brexit voters who at present work in areas with major car manufacturers, will lose out big-time!

  6. Phil

    “How do you contrive (in a people) such a sudden turn around?”

    Good question, Phil. I thought about that after I posted my comment. It does seem a bit farfetched; how could Trump have changed people’s minds about the benefits of education in just two years? I think he may have, a little. The recent increase of negative opinion about the press, however, among Republican voters is definitely Trump.

    One thing I do know: the Republicans, and Trump’s administration in particular, like what that survey said. And what I said has general validity. Maybe this mindset is just starting to metastasize now, really infiltrate the rank and file. Things change when they change. Just like cancer cells themselves.

    But you’re right. Good question.

    It’s not just the Republicans; it’s a culture. I don’t think TV and smart-phones are apt to make people yearn to cultivate their minds. Yes, I know that banal. Still true, however.

    Moreover, many democrats are losing interest too, according to an article I read. College degrees are no longer completely necessary to become a success in the new internet era; colleges sell people on the need for college but if you’re smart and entrepreneurial you can do quite well without college.

  7. “Republicans see college as negative”

    If a conservative speaker shows up on campus he is either shouted down or attacked. Is it any wonder Republicans would feel less than warm about colleges? The whole concept of open debate on campus is dead.

    Republicans don’t “hate the idea of higher education,” they hate its current implementation.

  8. …If a conservative speaker shows up on campus he is either shouted down or attacked. Is it any wonder Republicans would feel less than warm about colleges? The whole concept of open debate on campus is dead…

    Crass overgeneralization.

    In most US state campuses people are free to say what they want.

    Conversely, in many conservative/religious colleges there are restrictions on freedom of thought (e.g., see Liberty “University”).

    …Republicans don’t “hate the idea of higher education,” they hate its current implementation…

    What they really hate is that real Universities produce evidence that is incompatible with their worldview, making it look outdated, to say the least.

  9. Fox news has been working on the demonization of the elitist liberal college Professors for some years now. Profs have been presented as evil brainwashers of innocent young students. The word liberal is spoken with a tone and facial expression that most people would use with the word pedophile. I’m not surprised at those numbers in comment 2.

    I don’t think that conservatives ever got over the campus activism of the sixties and seventies. It’s all mashed together in their minds – protestors, radicals, riots, demonstrators, Berkeley, liberal Professors…

  10. Phil,

    I hate when I cause confusion.

    Two years and a pretty thoroughgoing switch.

    I forgot. Trump’s only been in office seven months. But I wasn’t talking about just Trump. And I don’t think you were asking me about Trump, necessarily. You were asking how I would explain the sudden shift. Sorry. I got a little mixed up. (It happens.)

    Sour grapes and the resentment of shame? They can’t afford college and are too clueless to value it.

    The sudden switch? Beats me. I think it’s just the way people feel now as opposed to two years ago. Who could possibly say?

  11. skepticj 10

    That is what Fox News says. Give some examples of “conservative” speakers who are bona fide scholars, like Justice Kennedy, being shouted down. The right is always playing the hurt feelings card. And they always talk about protesters who vandalize and how intolerant these liberal students are. Well that’s just their opportunistic way of delegitimizing dissent and opposition. “These liberals all so intolerant and violent and unfair. Whatever happened to free speech?” Bla bla bla.

    Are “liberal” students unfair and intolerant at times? Sure. But you mustn’t generalize or cherry-pick in order to demonize these institutions.

    Anne Coulter and that American Nazi guy and people like them are not really conservatives; they are moral monsters, and should be shouted down. People are angry. They’ve had enough of the pernicious filth that comes out of these assholes’ mouths. I think a fair amount of leftists and progressives have been shouted down too over the years, don’t you think? And I think a few have even been physically hurt and killed – on the campus, off the campus, while marching, protesting, etc. – and by the very same types of people who support the Ann Coulters and Milo Yiannopouloses of the world, and complain that these eminent thinkers are being “shouted down.” Don’t play the poor conservative victim card.

    By the way, a college campus that is a “safe space” is not worthy of being called a college campus.

  12. Re: why the sudden flip in Republican attitudes to tertiary education?

    Of course they don’t feel guilty about their choices but they do feel vulnerable. They have been closing off primary and secondary education where they can for many decades, whilst the US tertiary education has remained world class.

    To Marco’s point I think it at least an inferiority complex but more rather a vulnerability. Cleverness has traction over dogma with the rich (clever) movers and shakers. Cleverness is ungovernable. It needs taming.

    I share Dan’s flummoxedness over whatever suddenly flipped the switch and I’m going to suggest something I have never ever done before. I’m going to moot a modest conspiracy, perhaps through social media and seeded via the Bannons of the world.

    I wonder if a study of social media traffic fed from particular sources could be identified as feeding such an agenda?

    I think scepticj is wrong in fact about universities (which are mostly robustly rational) but maybe has a clue in the cultivation of the image of universities. The Hyper Pro Social vocal few become cast as the new nature of the entire left and the universities are the factories producing this threat.

    So essentially Cantaz’s points then Dan’s and Laurie’s just above with a little extra paranoia thrown in to explain the suddenness of change, perhaps?

  13. skepticj #10
    Jul 11, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    If a conservative speaker shows up on campus he is either shouted down or attacked.

    If a conservative speaker shows up on campus, preaching pseudo-science, ideological science denial, and fundamentalist religious nonsense, his fallacious arguments, “alternative facts”, and confused religious assumptions, are either shouted down or critically objectively attacked – as they should be in a rational institution working on evidence-based education!

    Is it any wonder Republicans would feel less than warm about colleges?

    Given the standard of reporting in the Republican press, they are likely to find any level of objective intellectual presentation, in place of right wing propagandist opinion, challenging!

    The whole concept of open debate on campus is dead.

    The concept that science deniers, YECs, ideological fantacists, hired propagandists, and backward red-necks, have anything to contribute to modern objective education, is deeply flawed.
    Most of them are not even qualified to have a seat at the table in an honest and competent evidence-based debate of serious issues, because they have nothing of value to contribute!

    Republicans don’t “hate the idea of higher education,” they hate its current implementation.

    Yep! That real science, real history, mathematical evaluation, and expectation of numeracy and literacy, boggles their closed minds and exposes their ignorance!
    If the village idiot turns up to give lectures in a university, they can expect a rough ride -and considerable ridicule! – Just as if for reasons of “political correctness”, the team from weight-watchers turns up to represent the country in World Olympic athletic events!

    You only need look as far as Trump’s cabinet to see the problem of the Republican uneducated, posing as know-it-all experts on subjects they know nothing about!

  14. New posts to older threads (say those not immediately clickable from the home page) get lost almost immediately as only a tiny window’s worth of recent posts is visible.

    I wonder if a very brief note or link here might draw more views for these and bring some life back to them?

    The risk is clutter but it might be worth a try. Alan very often adds useful updates to old threads and I think we often miss them when absent for a day or two.

  15. phil rimmer #17
    Jul 12, 2017 at 5:18 am
    New posts to older threads (say those not immediately clickable from the home page) get lost almost immediately as only a tiny window’s worth of recent posts is visible.

    As with the button on the discussions and tweets on the Home Page, a button on the recent posts list would be helpful!

    Alan very often adds useful updates to old threads and I think we often miss them when absent for a day or two.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/05/how-damaging-is-comey-memo-for-trump/#li-comment-223747

    Timeline of denials by Trump team of campaign talks with Russia

  16. @#6 – The brexiteers are NOT going to get a better deal out of Europe than the one the UK already has inside it!
    Reality started to kick in when Europe dictated the terms under which negotiations would take place, –
    but as the brexiteers had no idea about the reality of negotiations or likely outcomes in the first place,
    the fantasies are still strong in some of them!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40579769

    The EU’s top Brexit negotiator has said there are still major differences between the EU and UK on the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.

    “The British position does not allow those persons concerned to continue to live their lives as they do today,” Michael Barnier said.

    Mr Barnier said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) must have jurisdiction to guarantee citizen’s rights.

    He also said it was essential that the UK recognise its financial obligations.

    “We want EU citizens in Britain to have the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU,” he told a news conference.

    That would require the ECJ to be the ultimate guarantor” of those rights, he said – because Britain could simply change its laws later, creating uncertainty.

    Damn it!! 🙂 The Brexteers had hoped he would not spot that dodge!

    UK law also imposes restrictions in areas such as reuniting families across borders, he said – something which is not applied to UK citizens living in Spain, for example.

    Mr Barnier also said that those rights – along with the so-called “divorce payment” and border issues – must be dealt with before future UK-EU trade could be discussed.

    The financial payment the EU claims will be owed to cover the UK’s commitments is also a key point for Mr Barnier. Some estimates have put the amount at up to €100bn (£89bn).

    Asked about UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s comment that the EU could “go whistle” over the demand, Mr Barnier replied: “I’m not hearing any whistling. Just the clock ticking.

    He denied that the EU was holding the UK government to ransom.

    “It is not an exit bill, it is not a ransom – we won’t ask for anything else than what the UK has committed to as a member,” he said.

    Boris is still in brexiteer fantasy land, while Mr Barnier, is complaining about a lack of paperwork giving details of the UK objectives and intended outcomes in negotiations!

    The UK brexiteers after months to put together a coherent plan, are still wandering down the short two-year timetable, with their fantasy fairy-tales, still being presented in place of properly planned, evaluated, potential outcomes!

    Brexiteers still seem to hold the delusion that EU negotiators are going to accept vague waffle and double-talk, in place of detailed proposals and guarantees, – but the splits in brexiteer ranks are already showing – and will do more so, as the Tory sponsors from industries, work out the damage THEIR businesses are likely to suffer, as a result of the antics of brexiteering buffoons!

  17. .. and while the Trump Team is disabling US education, setting up “America First” – splendid isolation, – and cutting US financial support for overseas medical charities etc., – others are developing new sustainable technologies and investing in stability and trade in third-world countries!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-40578106

    Ships carrying Chinese troops are heading to Djibouti to set up Beijing’s first overseas military base, reports state media.

    China says the support base will be used for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and West Asia.

    It will also be used for military co-operation, naval exercises and rescue missions, Xinhua said.

    China has ramped up investment in Africa, as well as rapidly modernised its military in recent years.

    The Xinhua report said the ships departed from the port city of Zhanjiang in China’s southern Guangdong province on Tuesday.

    It did not specify the number of troops or ships that departed for Djibouti, nor when the base would start operations.

    The report said the Djibouti base came after “friendly negotiations” between the two countries. Previous reports said construction began last year.

    The base is widely seen as a move by China to stake its military presence in the region.

    But an editorial (in Chinese) on Wednesday in the state-run Global Times said that the “essential purpose of China’s development of its military might is to protect ‘China’s safety’, and is not about seeking to control the world”.

    The newspaper pointed out that the US, Japan and France also have military bases in Djibouti.

    Djibouti, a tiny country at the Horn of Africa, is favoured for its location as it sits near a busy shipping route.
    It is also seen as a stable country in an otherwise volatile region.

    In 2015, at a major summit with African nations, China pledged to invest $60bn (then £40bn) in Africa’s development.

    Besides becoming the continent’s largest trading partner, it has also poured in funds and manpower for infrastructure projects.

    Many of them are railways linking up African countries, including one that connects Djibouti with the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, as well as railways in Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia.

    In return, Africa supplies China with natural resources, minerals and energy.

    China also embarked on its first foreign peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in 2015.

  18. There is also an interesting development about Trump’s use of twitter for presidential statements!
    As usual, he tries to mix personal and business interests with state responsibilities, to play it both ways to suit himself!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40577858

    President Trump sued for blocking people on Twitter

    President Donald Trump has been party to an eye-watering 4,000 lawsuits over the last 30 years, US media say.

    And now the mogul turned commander-in-chief has attracted one more, after seven people sued him for blocking them on Twitter.

    Mr Trump is an avid user of the social media forum, which he deploys to praise allies and lambast critics.

    The lawsuit was filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute, a free speech group at Columbia University.

    The seven Twitter users involved claim their accounts were blocked by the president, or his aides, after they replied to his tweets with mocking or critical comments.

    People on Twitter are unable to see or respond to tweets from accounts that block them.

    The legal complaint argues that by blocking these individuals, Mr Trump has barred them from joining the online conversation.

    It calls the move an attempt to “suppress dissent” in a public forum – and a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the president’s social media director Daniel Scavino are also named in the lawsuit.

    Last month, Mr Spicer said Mr Trump’s tweets were considered “official statements by the president of the United States”.

    The president’s @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has 33.7m followers, while the official @POTUS account has 19.3m.

    Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, said the president’s love of Twitter means it has become “an important source of news and information about the government”.

    “The First Amendment applies to this digital forum in the same way it applies to town halls and open school board meetings,” he said.

    “The White House acts unlawfully when it excludes people from this forum simply because they’ve disagreed with the president.”

    According to the institute, the account’s blocking habit should be a concern for everyone.

    Why? Because even if they can read the president’s tweets, what they see has been consciously cleansed of criticism.

  19. @#19 – The UK brexiteers after months to put together a coherent plan, are still wandering down the short two-year timetable, with their fantasy fairy-tales, still being presented in place of properly planned, evaluated, potential outcomes!

    I see some of the experts are confirming this view!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40585744

    The government’s “vague” Brexit plan has been compared to a “chocolate orange” by the boss of the UK’s public spending watchdog.

    Sir Amyas Morse said ministers had to be more “united” or the project would fall apart “at the first tap” like the segments of the chocolate treat.

    “It needs to be coming through as uniform, a little bit more like a cricket ball,” he added.

    Sir Amyas waded into the Brexit debate over concerns the UK would not have a new customs system in place by the time it left the EU.

    The National Audit Office head said it would be a “horror show” if officials were forced to manually process imports and exports,

    He told reporters at a briefing in London there was “very little flexibility” in current plans and not enough support for officials trying to put a back-up plan in place.

    He said “active energetic” support for government departments dealing with the consequences of Brexit was needed.

    But he suggested they were being left to their own devices to see how they got on.

    In brexiteer speak, this lack of planning, is known as: “TAKING BACK CONTROL”!

    Brexit was the biggest peacetime challenge to government but that was “only just beginning to click into people’s awareness in government”, he added.

    “It needs to act as far as possible in a unified way and we have an issue there because of departmental government.

    “What we don’t want to find is that at the first tap, this falls apart like a chocolate orange. It needs to be coming through as uniform, a little bit more like a cricket ball.”

    Sir Amyas said he had “expressed interest” to Brexit Secretary David Davis and officials at the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) in seeing a report on the overall preparedness across government but the response had been “vague”.

    Brexit Minister Steve Baker rejected his “vivid” analogy.

    @#19 – but the splits in brexiteer ranks are already showing

    Showing the minister is still in denial, – and laughably calling for THE OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES IN PARLIAMENT to be “UNITED” in support of the vague proposals of the divided shambolic shuffling fantasist brexiteers!

    Meanwhile the European negotiators have made it plain they are not buying into Tory double talk about “protecting the rights” of EU nationals in the UK, with non-parity proposals!

    Of course the stupidity of brexit was always – from day one, an effort to patch together the divisions in the Tory Party, rather than providing anything of value to the country!
    It appears to be failing on both counts, but has also split the opposition, hence making the problem of removing the time wasting stupidity and political posturing, more difficult!

  20. Alan – there is NO stupidity in Brexit!

    It is result of the majority of the British population’s desire to take control of its affairs and control its borders. There is already the prospect of massive emigration from Africa to Europe which Italy is currently bearing the burden of because of the EU’s pathetic mismanagement of the illegal migration from Libya. It makes sense for an island state such as the UK to control its borders under these circumstances.

    The jury is still out as to how the Brexit negotiations will proceed and what its conclusions will be for the UK as a whole. And no amount of gloom from the doom merchants can change that.

  21. Erol #23
    Jul 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Alan – there is NO stupidity in Brexit!

    Perhaps you should look a little more deeply! “Leap before you look”, never was a good strategy!

    The present system arises from Cameron’s attempts to stop the nutty Tory right wing MPs defecting to UKIP, while the split in the Labour Party, is the result of Corbyn’s priority of winning votes from UKIP so as to make himself prime minister.

    Neither of them, nor Theresa May, have any plan as to how this will affect the country, although numerous academic organisations and businesses have pointed out negative effects on our trading position and economy!
    The pound has already massively dropped in value putting up food and import prices, just on the prospects of brexit!

    It is result of the majority of the British population’s desire to take control of its affairs and control its borders.

    Not quite! It is the result people who had no idea what they were being asked to comment on, being fed brexiteer Utopian fairy-tales about taking control of UK borders to distract from the real causes of illegal immigration: Namely, the cuts in staff and resources to the UK Border Agency, and the pathetic attempt to make three patrol boats do the job of twelve around thousands of miles of UK coastline, as a government cost cutting exercise!

    There is already the prospect of massive emigration from Africa to Europe which Italy is currently bearing the burden of because of the EU’s pathetic mismanagement of the illegal migration from Libya.

    The mass immigration from Libya is the direct result of the destabilisation of African countries by foreign powers, greedy corporations, and arms from the trade of weapons merchants to foreign sponsored terrorist groups.
    The route through Libya is the direct result of the stupid military adventure attempting regime change in Libya, for which the UK had a major responsibility, – and is now recognised as a disastrously incompetent intervention!

    The US, UK, and European unnecessary attacks on Iraq on the basis of false claims about “weapons of mass destruction”, are the primary causes of the Syrian refugee exoduses, which are causing vastly more problems for southern and eastern Europe than in the UK.

    @#22 – Sir Amyas said he had “expressed interest” to Brexit Secretary David Davis and officials at the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) in seeing a report on the overall preparedness across government but the response had been “vague”.

    The jury is still out as to how the Brexit negotiations will proceed and what its conclusions will be for the UK as a whole.

    “The jury” which should have been in place BEFORE the referendum, has not yet even been recruited to make a report on likely outcomes, but the vagueness and shuffling, is because the brexiteers don’t want the public to know they have been talking crap since before the referendum, and for the last several months!

    It is pure fantasy to suggest there are no predictable outcomes, as I point out @#19 and #22.

    And no amount of gloom from the doom merchants can change that.

    The doom and gloom is coming from people who have studied the negative impacts on their specialist business activities and the UK economy as a whole. They also know that brexiteer claims are worthless because they still have no evaluation, report or plan!

    The fantasy fairy-stories are coming from political brexiteers, who months down the line, still have no coherent plan – apart from “Keep reading junk in the Daily Express” and make up whimsical nonsense about immigration, and reneging on previously agreed debts, like barmy Boris does!

  22. At Just under three quarters of a billion people the EU is the biggest single duty-free technology market with common standards and also has a propensity to innovate on ecological and sustainability matters. Our strongest performance as a country is in this market. Its growth drives inward investment like no other sector and brings in the talent we can’t supply sufficiently rapidly ourselves. We were the high perch from which to attack this sumptuous market.

    62% of UK technology product goes to the EU, but with an expected 5% duty coming straight off the profit reducing it by 33% to 50%, our ability to compete in selling to this immediate huge market is critically damaged. And worse, profitable access to the tech manufacturing of Eastern European countries now cheaper than China, will probably be penalised, in tit for tat duty.

    (I’m too disgusted to talk about the opportunity with Japan that we will now miss out on.)

    The EU is waking up to its own border integrity issues and they’ll get fixed by and by.

    Erol, what is your expectation of average import duty into the EU? What figure did you weigh against a notional improvement in immigration control? Where can I get more Polish Phds to plug the gap?

    Is your business not affected by all this?

    And finally, where do you live? North, midlands, south, Wales, Scotland, NI, city, town, country? What problems did you actually experience there to make you think Brexit the most pressing problem?

  23. Alan #24

    Neither of them, nor Theresa May, have any plan as to how this will
    affect the country, although numerous academic organizations and
    businesses have pointed out negative effects on our trading position
    and economy! The pound has already massively dropped in value putting
    up food and import prices, just on the prospects of brexit!

    There cannot be a ‘plan’ because there is now a chess game in progress between the UK and the EU to determine what is and what is not possible for securing free trade agreements that will benefit BOTH parties. The red line for the UK is that there cannot be ‘free’ movement of persons from the EU into the UK. The drop in the pound has boosted British exports and – as usual, such currency fluctuations will have both +ve and -ve effects for the UK in general.

    Not quite! It is the result people who had no idea what they were
    being asked to comment on, being fed brexiteer Utopian fairy-tales
    about taking control of UK borders to distract from the real causes of
    illegal immigration

    Sorry – I simply don’t agree. The 52% who voted for Brexit knew exactly what they wanted which is as stated in my post #23.

    The route through Libya is the direct result of the stupid military
    adventure attempting regime change in Libya, for which the UK had a
    major responsibility, – and is now recognised as a disastrously
    incompetent intervention!

    That may well be. There clearly was a great deal of naivety by western powers to believe that by getting rid of the dictator Ghadafi it would lead to a fairer and more ‘democratic’ Libya that would be beneficial for the country. Unfortunately it seems that because of the malign influence of Islamist fanatics this wasn’t to be. This influence appears to be the main reason why a good proportion of middle eastern nations end up being ruled by dictators instead.

    But this in itself doesn’t excuse the mass emigration now arising from Libya which now needs to be halted.

    They also know that brexiteer claims are worthless because they still
    have no evaluation, report or plan!

    As I said, what will eventually transpire is the outcome of a grand chess game now being played out between the two parties. The notion of having an ‘evaluation’ or ‘plan’ is itself meaningless because the UK cannot foretell what the EU’s moves are going to be in this game.

  24. what will eventually transpire is the outcome of a grand chess game now being played out between the two parties. The notion of having an ‘evaluation’ or ‘plan’ is itself meaningless because the UK cannot foretell what the EU’s moves are going to be in this game.

    And you voted for this!!!???

    Because of the certainty that…???

  25. I’d love to talk about Captain Fantastic. But I don’t want to spoil it. My favourite reviewer Peter Bradshaw hated it. My poor second favourite reviewer Mark Kermode loved it. I liked it but was annoyed by it and now I have totally changed my mind.

    I suspect only a few have seen it. Its currently on UK Netflix or Amazon atm. I think its worth seeing. It is all about cults and living morally and well.

  26. @Phil – #28

    I saw it Phil. I liked it. It was a bit heavy handed at times, as well as being a bit fantastical (hence the title), but it was a good hearted film that was heavier hitting than the phrase “good hearted” would let on. The juxtaposition of survival skills and left wing politics (uneasy natural bedfellows) was interesting to me. But it’s hard for most of the people who post here to push back much against the message of thinking critically, much less celebrating Noam Chomsky day in place of Xmas!

  27. Laurie,

    Amazon? I’ll go check later.

    Steven 007

    Survivalism seemed a weird choice and it seemed very heavy handed. Then something clicked for me. Quarantining your kids from a sick society makes ideological sense. But such Ideology makes you blind to whole humanness (all that entails) and moral existence in the world. And yes its a fantasy but look at its market. It needs vivid brushstrokes.

  28. Phil:

    I support what I strongly believe is in the interests of the UK. I do not subscribe to the ridiculous notion of a European super state that wields power over individual nation states – I never have and I never will. It will not work. The Greeks already know this and now the Italian public are realizing it as well. I view JC Juncker as a kind of EU Blatter whose main purpose is a huge ego trip while also enriching himself.

    I am London-based but am not a business person. I have an R&D background. However if someone of the calibre of John Longworth can be pro-Brexit then that makes it all the more credible:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35741715

    Clearly, if Brexit leads to significant changes to the business environment between the UK and the EU that may impact upon the viability of some businesses. The target for the negotiations would/should be to minimize any such impact for both sides. Let’s hope they do so.

  29. LaurieB ,

    It was na economist that developed Obama Care and Hillary Clinton visited European countries (included Portugal) to know how each system worked (it was mentioned by my professor of economics at the time in a class.

    https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/wzYZdeKR7lA

    So, you would vote for Bernie Sanders because of Heath Care Services, I see Hillary Clinton just said in her campaign there are things to improve in Obamacare, but the creation of it is really something.

    Don´t Forget to see the answer
    https://twitter.com/GOP/status/882623989662830592

  30. Laurie,

    Beat you to it, Phil. It’s available on Amazon Prime.

    Since we’re on movies, here’s a sci-fi film that I’d strongly recommend; but it is not for the faint-hearted. THX-1138.

    Young George Lucas’s masterpiece and ten times better than Star Wars.

  31. Maria,

    And Obama originally wanted a public option. The uncompromising Republicans wouldn’t allow it. The Republicans made the healthcare bill as bad as it could be so that they could do what they are doing now. But it was still a vast improvement compared to what it was like before.

    I even heard a politician say (and someone that sounded like she was telling the truth) that the Republicans wouldn’t allow a provision that would have let premiums be controlled! Now they use that to attack “Obamacare”.

    Stevo, I saw that: you said “believe.” This is a reason site. What – knowledge isn’t good enough for you? I researched and verified! 😉

  32. Erol #26
    Jul 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Alan #24 – Neither of them, nor Theresa May, have any plan as to how this will
    affect the country, although numerous academic organizations and
    businesses have pointed out negative effects on our trading position
    and economy! The pound has already massively dropped in value putting up food and import prices, just on the prospects of brexit!

    There cannot be a ‘plan’ because there is now a chess game in progress

    “Chess games have rules” and those know the rules and the players can make certain predictions about outcomes.

    between the UK and the EU to determine what is and what is not possible for securing free trade agreements that will benefit BOTH parties.

    You talk as if this was a negotiation between equal parties who have equal weight of “chess pieces”, and player of equal capabilities!

    We don’t! It to 27 to one against, coupled with the fact that the Wallies who proposed the the referendum, had not even noticed that the UK needed abou400 professional trade negotiators just to replace existing EU trade deals with other countries, and had NONE at all! It also reflects on their depth of planning and research in seeking professional advice on the subject! Zilch!!

    Bumbling buffoons like Boris don’t even know the rules of the game, let alone predictable scenarios – and laughably quote “red lines” as if THEY were in a position to dictate terms!
    Despite brexiteer fantasies and fairy-stories about their supposedly “brilliant negotiating skills”, they are rank amateurs who cannot even put a coherent plan together, have no idea about the scale of the task they are setting the country, and delude themselves into thinking THEY are going to dictate terms to the other 27, demanding better terms as non-members than we have as full members!

    The red line for the UK is that there cannot be ‘free’ movement of persons from the EU into the UK.

    The red-line is that Europe has made it perfectly clear that the questions of borders, “divorce payments”, and the rights of EU citizens working in the UK, need to be settled, BEFORE ANY talks can even start about new trade agreements or UK access to the EU free trade area!

    The other red-line is that if there is not a fairly free exchange of immigrants and workers between the EU and the UK, half the NHS will close down for lack of staff, and masses of joint university projects which can generate high-tech jobs will go down the pan!

    The drop in the pound has boosted British exports and – as usual, such currency fluctuations will have both +ve and -ve effects for the UK in general.

    If it drops to £10 pounds to the Euro, we could export even more – and all work for peanuts! That is not a rational argument for anyone who does not want to work in a sweat shop!

    Not quite! It is the result people who had no idea what they were
    being asked to comment on, being fed brexiteer Utopian fairy-tales
    about taking control of UK borders to distract from the real causes of
    illegal immigration

    Sorry – I simply don’t agree. The 52% who voted for Brexit knew exactly what they wanted which is as stated in my post #23.

    Hyped Europhobia, based on the false-news junk media!?? Hardly an informed position!

    Really? They knew all about the European Union? the European Courts?
    The customs union? the police co-operation against terrorists, joint international research projects?
    Most did not even know which countries were members of the EU!

    That’s not what the survey evidence shows even at a basic level:

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/nov/27/brits-least-knowledgeable-european-union-basic-questions

    Averaged across two measures – the proportion who gave three correct answers, and who gave at least one correct answer – the data suggests British people are among the least knowledgeable about the EU Only 27% of British respondents answered all three questions correctly (only Latvia was lower on this measure), and 84% answered at least one correctly (only Spain was lower on this measure).

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/01/poll-european-eu-rights-brexit
    Six out of 10 Britons want to keep their European Union citizenship after Brexit – including the rights to live, work, study and travel in the EU – and many would be prepared to pay large sums to do so, according to research led by the London School of Economics.

    Support for retaining the rights is particularly strong among 18- to 24-year-olds, 85% of whom want to retain their EU citizenship in addition to their British citizenship. Around 80% of people living in London also want to maintain the same rights.

    The findings come as pressure on Theresa May mounts from UK business groups, led by the CBI and Remain politicians in both houses of parliament, as well as cultural figures from across Europe, to pull back from her plans for a “hard Brexit” in favour of a deal that maintains the strongest possible trade and other links with the EU after the UK leaves in 2019.

    The reality is, that Theresa may plays silly sods with red lines, the Uk will be out of the EU with no deal at all! and precious little prospect of deals approaching anywhere near the volume of EU trade with anyone else! ( Most countries apart from those led by clowns like Trump and May, are getting themselves organised into trading groups, and penalising isolationist “outsiders”! – see #6 on EU – Japan deal).

  33. Erol #26
    Jul 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    As I said, what will eventually transpire is the outcome of a grand chess game now being played out between the two parties. The notion of having an ‘evaluation’ or ‘plan’ is itself meaningless because the UK cannot foretell what the EU’s moves are going to be in this game.

    That is utter nonsense!
    The EU negotiators have already set out priorities and terms, for the structure of the negotiations. If the UK acts pig-headed stupid over boundaries access and debts! – NO DEAL!! = UK up the Hard Brexit creek with no paddle, and has a huge loss of free access to our traditional European markets!

    Erol #33
    Jul 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Clearly, if Brexit leads to significant changes to the business environment between the UK and the EU that may impact upon the viability of some businesses.

    There is no doubt that a NO-DEAL scenario will have a massive negative impact on numerous UK businesses and public services!

    Even the uncertainty from the threat of brexit is already damaging British industries!

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jun/26/skilled-labour-shortage-fuelled-by-uncertainty-for-eu-workers

    Skilled labour shortage fuelled by uncertainty for EU workers

    Survey by Lloyds finds more than half of British companies are struggling to recruit the staff they need – up from almost a third in January

    British businesses face their biggest challenge in recruiting skilled labour in a decade, as high employment combines with a fall in the value of the pound and uncertainty about the future for EU nationals in the UK.

    A net balance of 52% of 1,500 UK companies questioned in May said they had experienced difficulty in recruiting skilled labour during the past six months, compared with 31% in January.

    The balance of companies facing challenges in recruiting unskilled labour also rose to 26% from 14%, according to the predominantly small and medium-sized businesses surveyed for Lloyds bank’s regular Business in Britain report.

    Lloyds’ findings come after the National Farmers’ Union warned that the number of seasonal workers coming to the UK this year had dropped by 17%, because the lack of clarity on the future for EU workers in post-Brexit Britain and a drop in the value of sterling had hit recruitment.

    The target for the negotiations would/should be to minimize any such impact for both sides. Let’s hope they do so.

    Wishful “hope”, is no substitute for a coherent plan and proper professional economic evaluation!

    Of course brexiteers do not want a coherent plan and proper professional economic evaluation, because this is likely to show that the best UK option is to bin brexit, and get on with joint projects of dealing with the problems of immigration from outside the EU and modernising industries and services.

    However if someone of the calibre of John Longworth can be pro-Brexit then that makes it all the more credible:

    Not really!
    One maverick expressing a personal view, contradicting the consensus in the organisations he represents and then resigning over a year ago, is just cherry-picking anecdotal opinions!

  34. Erol.

    If I thought the EU was headed to Federalism I’d join you in the march against it, as would the bulk of the EU. Junckers is a temporary servant of the EU not to my taste. He will be gone soon enough. He was brought in to stiffen the sinews of the organisation and brought exactly the wrong psychology. You can see there is no taste for a USE amongst the members, can’t you?

    There is no existential threat to the UK. There never was.

    So you had no cost benefit analysis in your voting brexit? It was entirely ideological?

  35. Maria

    So, you would vote for Bernie Sanders because of Heath Care Services, I see Hillary Clinton just said in her campaign there are things to improve in Obamacare, but the creation of it is really something.

    Yes, Maria, I would vote for Sanders because he wants universal single payer health care. This is the only program that will solve our massive health insurance failure in the US. Obamacare was, as I see it, a great step in the right direction. It’s true that it isn’t quite right as it stands, this based on the opinions of plenty of Democrats but it was a significant improvement over the predatory system that was before it. I hope that Obamacare stands and that Dems go on to improve it, when they have the majority back in place and after that I hope that medicaid (low income government subsidized health insurance) is granted to higher and higher income people until at some point then we’ll have universal coverage.

    It’s not just the health coverage that has me sold on Sanders, it’s plenty of other issues too. I have his book here on my Kindle and now have it opened to remind me about the other issues that he speaks for.

    Ok, here’s another one; Ending Voter Suppression at 41% point in the book. That voter suppression still exists in this country is an abomination. Here’s what Bernie says about this problem from his book Our Revolution:

    We need to encourage voter registration, not make it a burden for voters. We should join other countries in making certain that every person is automatically registered to vote when he/she turns eighteen. Every person who moves to a new state should be automatically registered to vote as soon as he/she has a new postal address. The burden of registering voters should be on the state, not the individual voter….We should make election day a federal holiday, or spread Election Day over a two-day weekend, to increase voters’ ability to participate.

    Huh??!! This is incredible! You see, until someone gets out there and comes up with ideas and communicates them in a simple way then everyone just goes along day to day with the current stupid system. Most Americans would be shocked to hear these ideas for the first time.

    Here’s another issue that Bernie is way out in front on: Making Public Colleges and Universities Tuition-Free at 74%

    …This plan, the College for All Act, would allow all Americans, if they had the ability and the desire, to go to college regardless of the income of their families. It would also prevent them from going deeply into debt as a result of their education.

    All of the chapters of his book deal with our worst daunting issues here and give solid ideas on how to make changes. He deals with campaign finance reform, combating climate change, criminal justice system reform, immigration reform, corporate media, income/wealth disparity between classes.

    I want all of this. I hope he runs in the next Presidential election.

  36. Captain Fantastic is available on DVD at my public library. Tomorrow morning I’ll grab my coffee and trot on over there (across the street) and sign it out.

    Problem solved!

    I’ll also get a Grateful Dead CD while I’m at it.

    Dan
    THX-1138 is not available on Netflix and there’s only one copy of DVD in my whole library system. It’s listed as longterm overdue. That means it’s stolen. Will keep searching because I do like sci fi, especially dystopias.

  37. Laurie,

    I wouldn’t put all my eggs in the Sanders basket. He’s just one man. And there is as yet no revolution. There are some rumblings but that’s it.

    Yes, all those ideas are good ideas. But Sanders didn’t invent them and doesn’t own those ideas; they are very basic ideas, shared by all or most progressives, and, presumably, by most democrats in Congress, and by Hillary. Voter suppression has been going on for years. We’ve had ample time to correct it under Obama. It isn’t so easy. You don’t think Obama tried? (Maybe he didn’t. Not sure.) Let’s see what Sanders does if he is elected in 2020 with a Republican House or Senate and/or the Koch brothers et al. working hard to undermine his efforts.

    Obama said he liked the idea of single payer. The public option was struck down, so how could single payer have been created? You remember those awful town hall meetings when that crazy tea party was going strong? Do you know that that tea party was not a grass roots movement but was created by the Koch brothers and some other groups that share that right-wing agenda? Do you know how hard it was to get passed what Obama got passed with all that intense public opposition? Don’t you remember that? Obamacare was, as a result of all that, a deeply compromised piece of legislation.

    Do you think Sanders is a better negotiator, a more skilled politician, than Obama? More progressive on healthcare? I think he is more progressive than Obama in general. I like Obama but he does not have a revolutionary or radical bone in his body. (The fact that Obama is hated by the right so much just shows you how twisted and sick the right has become.)

    And it’s not just about getting people to register. People are uneducated or cynical or too busy being apolitical, brainwashed, dulled by the media, tranquilized, self-absorbed. This a culture we’re talking about. This revolution will take years, decades, to succeed, if it succeeds or even partially succeeds. Sanders has no quick fix. Don’t kid yourself.

    “We disempower ourselves all the time. You can’t tell me that all those folks who don’t vote are doing so because somebody’s turned them away or somebody’s intimidated them. No. It’s because they decided they had something better to do.” –Obama 2016

    Sanders talks the talk, but can he walk the walk? I hope so.

    THX-1138. If you like dystopian movies you’ll love it. Scared the shit out of me. (Robert Duvall’s in it. One of the greatest actors of all times.) Keep trying. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. $3.99 on Amazon, to rent.

  38. P.S. I am expressing skepticism and perhaps a bit of cynicism, but I am not an oracle; nor do I wish to be a downer. I hope, for all our sakes, that Sanders runs and wins in 2020 and is able to achieve progress in the areas you mentioned: campaign finance reform, combating climate change, criminal justice system reform, immigration reform, corporate media, income/wealth disparity between classes.

    But remember: all presidential candidates – the democratic ones – have excited us with their promises: Bill Clinton, Obama, Carter, etc. They all did some good things, but have also disappointed in a profound way. People like FDR don’t come along too often, and that was also a different time.

    I am very skeptical, but you don’t have to be – obviously.

  39. Dan, first things first — stay focused on what the sane in the USA need to do next. You need to get a majority of worthy Democrats in both houses of Congress in the upcoming mid-term elections. Then, at the next presidential election, you need to elect a worthy president (Bernie Sanders, if he runs again for office, would certainly be a good choice). If that can be accomplished, most of the problems you have been airing and re-airing here will evaporate, as president and congress work together again for the people they are in fact duty-bound to serve, namely all citizens of the USA.

  40. Dan,

    Do you know that that tea party was not a grass roots movement but was created by the Koch brothers and some other groups that share that right-wing agenda? Do you know how hard it was to get passed what Obama got passed with all that intense public opposition? Don’t you remember that? Obamacare was, as a result of all that, a deeply compromised piece of legislation.

    Winning the presidency will never be enough. You have to win top to bottom to begin to wrest power from the money purchased power and media. Your dauntedness at the task is key to keeping US cleverly crippled. (Its a democracy with a system designed to deny power to any single election event. Only sustained political pressure over two presidential cycles to win sufficient change throughout the system can win real change.)

    The only other hope is a major crash like the one that gave you the New Deal, which ushered in decades of economic growth and the lowest levels of inequality….ever in the USA. Clearly 2008 didn’t hurt enough.

  41. Phil

    Watched Captain Fantastic night on your recommendation. The very first scene with the hunter set the agenda for me. We did not know in what era we were with a primitive looking man hunting in the most primitive way until…, we got a glimpse of a very modern tool, his hunting knife. From there on in it was a battle of the old and the new. A father trying to hold back time with cliches all the way of modern life, teenage angst, awkward questions about sex etc. The end shows the balance needed between the two where dad finally tames the savage beast in him.

  42. Phil

    Just ignore the article – these unexpected consequences of mass migration clearly don’t matter to you.

  43. Olgun – ‘economic pragmatism’ remains to be proved.

    Phil – and your concerns for the indigenous population are…..??

  44. Erol

    Olgun – ‘economic pragmatism’ remains to be proved

    It puts a huge dent in the words ‘remarkable humanitarian gesture’ though 😉

    If it were proved, does that make the suffering of the indeginous people worth it?

  45. Phil – if you are concerned then why shy away from mentioning it?

    Olgun – your question is hypothetical and would need to determine the degree of ‘success’ against the degree of ‘suffering’ endured – both unknowable quantities at present. I dare say that if a plague was to take hold in Germany with many deaths occurring as a result, this would also likely have a negative impact upon the economy!

  46. Sorry I jumped in a bit early Laurie. Hope I didn’t spoil it for you?

    Phil

    Are you saying that the education of the children to a high degree and making them street wise can be done together and that’s what that scene shows?

  47. Garrick

    The enemy in the end is not just an administration, not just Trump and Bannon; it is corporate power. The Democrats will still be serving mom and dad: the corporations. Just serving them less.

    It would be good to win back the White House and both houses of Congress; but the Democrats are not so wholly different than the Republicans. They are absolutely to be preferred; but the difference between the two parties, I must admit, is not as great as one would hope. Sanders and Warren and Frank and a few others are the best among them; but Democrats in power, as a whole, are not immune to bribery and have been colluding with big business, drug companies, etc., too. Michael Moore exposed this in his film Sicko. And in terms of foreign policy, there are many democrats who can be said to have willingly complied with the neoconservatives. This is a system, a corrupt capitalist system of entrenched interests on both sides of the aisle, at a certain advanced stage. The future at this point, even under the best, most favorable conditions, remains dubious.

    If Sanders doesn’t run and Warren gets sick or something or is the victim of fake news from Russia then what? Even if we win but the democrat is a typical, lousy, ineffectual, compromising status quo president, it’ll start all over again in 2022 and 2024.

    And the sea levels continue to rise…

  48. Am I too negative, Garrick? I’ve been told that before – maybe half a million times. But I used to be much worse.

    Laurie, why don’t you just rent THX-1138? You’ll never get to see it otherwise. Will four dollars make or break you?

  49. Ivanka! Yuck! The ultimate phony.

    While President Trump has chastised companies for outsourcing jobs overseas, an examination by The Washington Post has revealed the extent to which Ivanka Trump’s company relies exclusively on foreign factories in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves.

    And while Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is “my life’s mission,” The Post found that her company lags behind many in the apparel industry when it comes to monitoring the treatment of the largely female workforce employed in factories around the world.

  50. Olgun

    No, no, no spoilers ruined the film for me. I also read through some reviews of the film on Rotten Tomatoes, NY Times, The New Yorker, etc. Pretty much everything that came up on the first page of Google when I entered the name of the film. Even the critical review and comments didn’t lessen my appreciation of the film.

    The film definitely plays to my personal political and cultural biases, heh. Brain candy delivered on video to my long sublimated hippie utopian Chomsky loving mind. The gorgeous Northwestern US scenery, the forest, wildlife, yes, I’m pining for that, can smell the moss and dirt, ~moan~

    What must it be like to grow up like those kids? Off the grid, learning in an unstructured way, back to the ways of the hunter-gatherers, it seems idyllic to me, the product of authoritarian conservative parents. Is the father in this film just an authoritarian lefty liberal parent? Maybe it’s my bias to bear right now but I wish I’d been assigned to read Marx and Chomsky rather than the Bible and every vapid dusty textbook assigned in my public school education. I want their education! Not mine!

    As soon as they set out on their journey to their Grandparents’ home I felt the end of their utopia was near. The visit with the cousins was the foreshadowing of doom. You feel it coming; their world is going down the crapper now. The alpha male, so strong and confident (sexy attractive!) is knocked off his position at the top by that establishment grandfather and his simpering broken wife and the law and its enforcers make their presence known and there you go, he’s thrown into a crisis of doubt. Truth is that there were cracks in the facade prior to his crisis of doubt. The oldest son was helped to apply for college by his mom unbeknownst to his father, and some defiant behavior from the younger son as well.

    That the father took the time to stop and consider all of what his kids said and his in-laws as well was what I’d expect from a liberal rational thinker. He made an assessment of the situation and modified his behavior in response to his new understanding of the needs of his children and what was best for their future. He made some sacrifices but stayed true to his principles.

  51. Glad you liked it, Laurie. I think it is a graphic novel of a film. At first I thought the story trite then I thought it marvellous. I’ll say more later.

    Ollie, I was commenting on your phrase a man holding back time. I thought rather he was sequestering his kids not from modernity but a uniquely crass modernity. (Finland, Finland, Finland. That’s the country for him.) Yes its schematic… clever kids exist in the USA thanks to their education. But a movie isn’t a novel, its a short story (at best a graphic novel) and hasn’t time for finesse when it is mostly a polemic

  52. This analysis of one of the main themes of the movie snapped my view of it into richness. So beguiled by the delight of an impossibly rich childhood, I hadn’t noticed how numerous the warning flags were. It put a proper meaty story behind its polemic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxb69j2Dqo

    Also, I loved the repeated kicks (by counter example) at the American approach to sex education. Children are tough and trust worthy once inoculated with the truth, and that simply means answering honestly when asked.

  53. Dan #62 and #63

    We are in agreement on the political situation in the USA, and the difference between us is that you have to live in it and I do not. Nor do I want to offer an on-line equivalent of tea and sympathy. You do have my sympathy though — it is horrible enough to think that the US polity, founded on the best of political principles, should have been so corrupted and soiled, but how much worse it must be to have to live in it. Still, because you and all your saner fellow Americans live there, you have an obligation to do what can be done to clean the polity up again as quickly as you can. Bewailing your plight will do no good. Self-pity is not what is needed. Your awareness of the severity of the United States’ political corruption by Big Money should at least press upon you the aptness of Bernie Sanders’s talk of revolution. In a country as large as the USA the task of cleaning up its corrupted political system will take a while. But, as long as there are steps that can be taken to do that task, those are the steps that people like you should be taking. Never mind that perfection will not be achieved (it never is, even in the best of polities), just keep working towards a democratic polity freed from the control of Big Money. The education system, for example, is very important in making opportunities for all a reality in people’s lives, but the education system can only be reinvigorated to that end if the elected representatives in Congress and in the White House are motivated to work together to that end. Likewise with all the other things that are needed in a vibrant, free, open and just society. So just keep working for what is better, as Phil Rimmer has repeatedly said on various discussion-boards here — that actually is the only way anything worthwhile is achieved in this world — step by step. So you and your saner fellow Americans need to do what you can to get better representatives in Congress at the next mid-term elections, and so on. While there’s life, there’s hope.

  54. Dan

    Yes, all those ideas are good ideas. But Sanders didn’t invent them and doesn’t own those ideas; they are very basic ideas, shared by all or most progressives, and, presumably, by most democrats in Congress, and by Hillary.

    If Sanders didn’t invent them then who did? Some of these ideas come from the Europeans like obviously, universal health care and he must be aware of their voting arrangements there too. Was it Australia that has compulsory voting? How does that even work out? What happens if a citizen just doesn’t vote? Penalty of some sort? Ok, look, as much as I was devoted to Hillary, as I described on another thread, I just don’t remember hearing her advocate hard for any of the ideas that he’s held up right out front. And he has plans for implementation for these ideas in a rough draft state in his book. These plans involve shifting big blocks of cash from one place to another in the government. It’s some really bold shit he’s talking about. I support Hillary and I was crushed when she lost but there’s no way she was thinking outside the box like Sanders and his supporters are.

    I’m not sure if I’ll go along with the statement that his “basic ideas are shared by most progressives”. I’m not sure about this. Where are you getting this? Granted, you and I find it to be completely reasonable and if we found ourselves with the power to implement these policies of course we would only need a very short meeting to breeze through the list of executive actions, but Dan, are we really “most progressives”? Just the fact that we’re atheists puts us in a subset of “most progressives” I’m often reminded of this when talking with my other progressive friends. I realize that Hillary did make a great effort to reform our shit healthcare system back in that administration but these ideas that Sanders has grabbed and forcefully presents in his book and speeches are way outside the box of the Democratic party at the present time.

    That is the shock of the past campaign – how many Americans thought that Trump was presidential material and how many Americans strongly supported Sanders, the Socialist! That Bernie attracted so much admiration is something that gives me much hope now. If not for that I’d be convinced that we’re completely and utterly screwed. That northern border…only six hours drive away…could be there in time for a glass of wine and some of that heavenly fois gras…

    Voter suppression has been going on for years. We’ve had ample time to correct it under Obama. It isn’t so easy. You don’t think Obama tried? (Maybe he didn’t. Not sure.) Let’s see what Sanders does if he is elected in 2020 with a Republican House or Senate and/or the Koch brothers et al. working hard to undermine his efforts.

    I agree with your frustration over the thwarting of Obamas efforts by the House and Senate. I wonder what he would have accomplished if he had them on his side the whole time. We’ll never know. Eight years of Obama unimpeded followed by eight years of Hillary also unimpeded – what would America look like then? Hey this would be an interesting book. A utopia not a Trump dystopia, right? ha. More of my massive bias speaking, I know! I know! Just venting dammit!

    Laurie, why don’t you just rent THX-1138? You’ll never get to see it otherwise. Will four dollars make or break you?

    Errr…you must be unaware of the devastating genetic condition that I am afflicted with – New England yankee cheapness. I will find that video and it will be for free, so help me god! I’ll never go without seeing a movie for free ever again!! sob.

  55. Laurie,

    I haven’t read your comment to me yet in its entirety but let me just say that I post a lot here and some of my comments are better than others. That one was not one of my better ones.

    Compulsory voting, however, is a terrible, terrible idea. Not voting is a right. What if the choice was two monsters!!??

    And I would say that most progressives want most of what Sanders wants. No? Maybe not. I don’t know; I thought they did.

  56. Phil

    Also, I loved the repeated kicks (by counter example) at the American approach to sex education.

    That was excellent.

    Thinking about the cult/religious leader aspects of the film pointed out in that clip. Watching it again.

  57. Dan #62

    I have responded to you, and my response was here at #68. Now I see it has vanished and LaurieB’s message has taken its place.

    Garrick looks suspiciously at LaurieB.

    Perhaps it will turn up later.

  58. Garrick

    haha. I had nothing to do with it and if you only knew what a technodunce I really am you would never have cast your evil eye in my direction.

    We have noticed here in the past that if someone is in edit mode then somehow that comment gets mixed up in order to others that come in at the same time. Could this be a possible explanation? Were you editing?

    Also, if you included links then your comment could be sidelined for some time then it reappears in order.

  59. Garrick, I want to read what you said.

    Laurie, don’t watch clips of THX1138. It’ll spoil it. But check out the opening scene, if you can.

    I like Sanders and I will read Pinker (and that physicist’s book that Olgun mentioned).

    You’re right: what exactly is a progressive? They vary. Not one thing.

    Man are you cheap! 4 dollars for a unique masterpiece is not a lot; and I thought your portfolio was doing well.

  60. LaurieB #74

    Yes, I did edit the message before posting it. That was probably what led to it being snatched by the system, though I too know very little about such technical matters. No hyperlink was included.

    I am not Australian but I do know that voting in national and state elections in Australia has been compulsory for Australians since 1924. However, according to the following Wikipedia article, Australia is not the only country with compulsory voting.

    Wikipedia: Compulsory voting

    As Phil mentioned at #71, spoiling one’s vote is how Australians abstain legally from casting a vote for any of the candidates. But the Wikipedia article mentions the different approach taken in Belgium, where enrolled voters must present themselves at a polling-station on election day but may choose not to cast a vote. If, however, a voter fails to vote in four successive elections, he or she can lose the right to vote for ten years.

    The Wikipedia article also sets out some of the arguments for and against compulsory voting, which you may find interesting.

  61. Sorry, Garrick. Editing comments generally causes them to trigger the spam filter, which then puts them aside pending moderator approval. Now retrieved and posted.

    The mods

  62. Thank you, Moderator! This must be as much a nuisance to you as it is to us. There is another coming through to you now. My response to LaurieB. I edited that too, but it also has a hyperlink in it, so there was not much chance of that one getting through without delay.

  63. No, nothing else showing in our system and needing approval at the moment. There is a reply from you to Laurie, complete with hyperlink, a couple of posts above this one (#77). Is that the one you mean?

  64. “Editing comments generally causes them to trigger the spam filter.”

    Suggestion for Garrick and others.

    I had this or a similar problem. I devised a solution. I discovered that editing during the 10 minute time period in the space, the editing box at the bottom, that appears after pressing “click to edit” caused me to lose comments. In my case editing in this way activated the spam filter. So, If this is what is happening with you, here’s a suggestion: don’t edit after pressing “click to edit”. If you see a mistake after posting, copy the comment, press “click to edit”, delete the comment, paste the comment back, make the correction, and then post again. You can do this multiple times and your comment will never go to spam. I hope that was clear.

    Compulsory voting is an abomination. I made this point before: What if the choice was between two monsters!!?? Choosing not to vote in order to make a statement is often a mistake but not always. Gore Vidal once remarked that if no one voted there might be a constitutional convention. That would be interesting.

    “I wouldn’t dream of voting. I think it’s 51% who did not vote in the last election, which thrills me. We can say only 49% voted for these two jokers and therefore I don’t regard this as a legitimate government, certainly not a democratic or representative one.” – Gore Vidal 1988

    He was entitled to his opinion and his right not to vote.

    Loved your comment, Garrick. Nothing there to find fault with. (I must be bi-polar. What the hell was I kvetching about in comment 44? I voiced some valid concerns but what’s with all the negativity?)

  65. Phil

    No vote (equivalent to spoiling your paper) would be made an option to express your position.

    Not a bad idea. So you’d have to go to the voting place and go in the booth, and you can choose “no vote” once you’re in there; but you can’t just stay home. Not bad, Phil. I can live with that. It’s a start, but we have so many other problems; it won’t make much difference until we address poverty, inequality, education, propaganda, indoctrination, racism, stupidity… Well that last one can’t be fixed, even by Captain Fantastic aka Bernie.

    What the hell does spoiling your paper mean?

  66. Dan,

    Spoiling your paper means doing something to it that makes it fail to satisfy the rules for a formal vote. Like ticking every box, writing 1 in every box, handing it in blank even. In Australia we call it an informal vote.

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/Informal_Voting/

    In Australian the informal voting rate is usually single digits. Probably quite a few will be genuine mistakes as with our preferential system voting is not completely trivial. For example 8 candidates have to be numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Number then 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 and it’s informal.

    I’ve always liked the idea of a “None of the above option”. I think I can be required to take the trouble to go to the voting booth as a civic duty but I’m not so sure I should be required to choose between candidates all of whom I don’t want to vote for.

  67. None of my Jewish friends were happy with Zionism in the first place. Its arrogance has consumed perhaps two generations of good will. Besides, rigid, top to bottom nationalisms and identities are increasingly passé in a world that needs broader coordination over shared resources and more local autonomy to deal with topical issues .

    This additional battleground growing from it, of undue religious influence in the state, possibly needs more targeted sanctions. But if it leads folk to question this example of an uber zionism, and realise the arrogance of a sense of entitlement on no good basis, then maybe the general sanctions should stand and their condemnation be broadened.

    P.S. Missed your continued response on TB in Germany. My concern for any affected by new disease threats should be taken for granted. My response was specifically directed at your initial partisan use of the issue.

  68. Phil

    The Palestine problem will never be resolved if hardliners such as Netanyahu continue to head the Israeli government. I know that there is a strong peace movement in Israel but it doesn’t seem to be able to muster enough support to achieve a fair settlement with the Palestinians. Perhaps the recent objections by American Jews might eventually lead to a change in government there?

    With regard to the previous discussion on Germany and TB, the issues with mass migration are many and complex but too little concern is directed to their effects on intaking countries in my opinion. This disease problem was not one I had foreseen and posted the link because of its novelty.

  69. mmurray

    Spoiling your paper.

    This was always a therapeutic opportunity for me. Drawing the genitalia of choice adjacent to the biggest arsehole in the list has improved my depressed state for an entire day.

  70. The pound has already massively dropped in value putting up food and
    import prices, just on the prospects of brexit! Alan4discussion

    I´ve read an economist on that, that´s irrelevant it seems. Perhaps not for you.
    Before the Euro currency, I used to pay for my usual breakfast muffin, €0,25 and in the first of Euro the price for it was €1,00, now its €0,80.
    Everything is affected also when someone as the German minister of Mekel says Portugal is in grreat need for a second amount of Money (when in fact the internal deficit has the best balance of the latest 50 years).

  71. Portugal e o Euro: o Brexit é uma Aula prática de Moeda

    https://oeconomistaport.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/portugal-e-o-euro-o-brexit-e-uma-aula-pratica-de-moeda/

    The article looks like interesting, not pro not against brexit, perhaps you can translate the page.
    I know that you´re a fierce anti-brexit and defend “rationality”, but I see economists divide on the subject too, and one shouldn´t be enslaved by economic rules I think, fear difficulties coming through, if one thinks there is nothing more valuable the UE can offer because it´s going in the wrong way politically -on more step towards federalism each time-I would rather prefer famine than European federalism.

  72. Maria, Alan, Erol

    Good link Maria. Translated…

    The word “federalism” is one of the banned in the European Union, says Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

    If there is anyone in Portugal who knows the corridors of power well in Brussels, she is the current Secretary of State for European Affairs. From 2005 to 2011, Margarida Marques, 62, headed the representation in Lisbon of the European Commission. And she was an official of the institution from 1994 to 2015 – leaving to join the current government, which represents in the Council of General Affairs, the council where the heads of government of the EU with the European affairs portfolio.

    Margarida Marques has no doubts. “There are words that have been banned in the EU.” “Federalism” is one of those words. The other two are words associated with federalism: “Constitutional Treaty” and “more integration”. “It can be,” says the Secretary of State, “until it is favorable to the content but the word can not be pronounced.” So what she advocates is what she calls “better Europe” – a “better Europe”, which corrects the mistakes of “excessive Brussels imposition on national policies”. This is because, she acknowledges, “there has been excessive intrusion by the European Commission”, for example through the European semester (verification of the compatibility of national budgets with European objectives and, moreover, It is necessary to say a thousand times that the Eurogroup does not exist. “” The impression was created that, by the imposition of Brussels, national policies were always the same, even if they were carried out by different parties. And this brought populism to the fore. What is needed is to strengthen the internal market in the digital economy and in the energy sector and to strengthen common policies, for example in defense and security. ”

  73. It’s good to finally get the truth. Fantastic article about the sheer irrationality of the right, the complicity of the news media, and other related topics. You might want to read this. (I don’t agree entirely with the author’s assessment of the two parties, but neither do I disagree entirely – and nobody should.)

    http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/america-oligarchy#.WWoZJcqJj9I.email

    THE RIGHT WING
    The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told: America Is an Oligarchy
    Our nation is controlled by corporate power and the individually wealthy, and the major press is in on the con.

    To deny the existence of climate change in the face of this kind of data is irrational. Saying so is not partisan or biased, it’s simply an accurate description of their behavior. The same is true of the GOP’s position on health care, national budgets, state budgets, and tax policy. In all cases their policies are counterfactual and counterproductive.

    Doubt that? Consider the collapse of the economy in Kansas after they adopted supply-side and trickle-down-economics. Or the fact that the three biggest economic collapses in U.S. history followed periods when the Republicans were in control and they’d implemented their destructive laissez-faire economic policies. Or watch as they fumble with health care, literally threatening death to hundreds of thousands in the process, and leaving 22 million more Americans uninsured.

    But the press still covers all this in a way that is “balanced,” rather than accurate. Oh, yes, they will often point out that the Republican “perspective” is opposed by most scientists, or that economists and health care specialists take issue with their proposals, but they don’t point out just how at odds their rhetoric is with reality. And that’s the real story here. It’s not that there are two different perspectives on climate, or the economy, or the consequences of taxation and fiscal policies or health care. It’s that this Party is behaving as if it were literally insane. And that should be newsworthy. Throw in Trump’s irrational, self-destructive and contradictory tweets, and the press should be running above-the-fold headlines and lead stories sounding the alarm.

    Which raises the question, why aren’t they?

    Well, they’re wholly owned subsidiaries of corporate America, that’s why.

  74. Sorry, Maria, #94, that article is just wish thinking. Wage growth is collapsing and the expected increase in unemployment was mitigated by a carefully timed programme of quantitative easing from the Bank of England, put in to achieve exactly this. Mark Carney estimated 250,000 jobs preserved by it.

  75. Two months ago, article 50 of Lisbon Treaty was activated by PM Theresa May.

    Phil,
    Let´s stay calm. Notice that economists don´t have a crystal ball to predict the future (Some people will not loose more than what they did already actually).
    Isn´t it too soon- only after two months- to point out brexit effects on economy and prices to consumer-bluff-, there´s no doubt it will have negative huge impact and negative side effects for every one, lasting perhaps for more than a decade, no one doubts that, that´s not the point.
    Let´s see within a decade how the economy recovery was (if we can meet again).

    “I think employment is likely to be quite strong. It is unlikely that
    [Brexit] will cause any large scale unemployment. even in a very, very
    pessimistic outcome — the reason for that being the pound has absorbed
    most of the costs, meaning that we effectively have real term wage
    cuts and our purchasing power falls but people become more employable
    as a result. So there are good and bad [aspects] to the fall in the
    pound.”

  76. Erol,

    I agree with you about Palestine-Israel. Those damned Zionists, with their apartheid state and their settlements and their brutal amoral, illegal occupation, equate Zionism with Judaism, think they speak for all Jews, which is bullshit. They demonize those who disagree with them as “antisemitic” os as self-hating Jews, or as fake Jews. Believe me, I know. I am not an activist myself but there are people in my family who are very involved in the struggle for human rights over there, for Palestinian liberation. The Israeli government is spreading propaganda and lies. They are the terrorists!

    I wouldn’t describe them as merely arrogant, Phil; that’s an accurate understatement. They are nationalists, fascists. I am prepared to say that I hate them at this point.

    I just got an article. You know what they’re doing in Israel now? They have “games” for tourists: “Kill a Palestinian”. That’s right. They have these “become an anti-terrorist” game that you pay for and participate in. Completely sick. (I lost the article.)

    (I am an American “Jew”, by the way, and not a theist and I am no more interested in the well-being of Jews than I am in the well-being of any other group – ethnic or religious: I care just as much about the Iranians and the Turks and the Chinese and the Catholics, the Germans, the Muslims, the Hindus, the North Koreans, the blacks, the Protestants, atheists, Brazilians, the Scottish, the Irish, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, Russians, etc. Sounds hokey? So be it. And I will never refrain from speaking out against anyone who expresses abhorrent ideas or who strikes me as unfair or immoral, regardless of where they are from or what they claim they are.)

    The situation over there is quite bleak now. But not hopeless.

  77. Maria

    Phil,
    Let´s stay calm.

    I’m quite calm. But not passive. From the inside we see already altered investment strategies. Development plans built on UK expansion into main European market areas of technology, bring forward plans or newly adopt them for European bases to achieve that end. Huge earlier investments have been put at risk and mitigations need planning immediately.

    A marginal wrong decision, arrived at through dishonesty, that puts so much at risk needs addressing again. Nor should it ever be allowed to happen again.

  78. So, Laurie. Cult-ish?

    Cults create clones and squash individuality with litanies and isolate from outside influence.

    Watched it again last night. Thought it even better.

  79. Phil

    You probably made the day of the people counting the votes as well. Interestingly if your ballot paper was otherwise formal then the vote would count

    So you can get in a vote and express disgust at the same time.

  80. A marginal wrong decision, arrived at through dishonesty, that puts so
    much at risk needs addressing again. Nor should it ever be allowed to
    happen again.

    Phil,

    I don´t know exactely what you mean by saying it, it looks kind of a thread to the political establishment on “economic” grounds, and it seems that the political state shouldn´t become an “institution” made to protect vested economic interests (I believe that´s how it works in US).
    It seems liberal economic doctrines are healthy in UK, and you gave two examples of that happening. corporations didn´t made of state an institution ready to protect vested interests, despite the fact that politicians will negociate to reach the best solutions.

  81. DN News 11 hours ago

    Former editor of diplomacy for Sky News and the BBC, Tim Marshall is considered a reputed specialist in international relations. The DN spoke about the future of relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), current conflict points and the superpowers of the future.

    As a Briton, how do you see the UK’s relationship with the EU and its future?
    I voted for staying in the EU, but I believe that the only ones currently thinking that the EU 27 is stronger are the so-called federalists. And federalism is perhaps the reason why there are so many Europeans reticent and skeptical about the European project. Only the idea of ​​a country that abandons the EU is subjected to some form of punishment (which in itself is highly undemocratic) what does it tell us about the EU? That the member states only do so because they fear punishment? Which would also say a lot about what the EU is. Of course, a country that wants to leave can not be rewarded, but it can not be punished either. It is therefore necessary to seek points of agreement even if you believe there is a window of opportunity for the UK to remain in the EU. And the EU will not get any stronger with the British exit. It will increasingly continue to run at various speeds, or risk disintegrating. There will be more and more different ways of dealing with the same problems.
    You´ve mentioned a window of opportunity for the UK to stay. How is it possible?
    The British political situation became unpredictable after the recent elections, which were precisely aimed at making the political situation more stable and predictable, to the point where it is possible to think that the agreement negotiated with the United Kingdom (which has to be voted on in Parliament here Two years) can be turned down by him, challenging the outcome of the 2016 referendum, arguing that “yes, we know they want to leave but we do not believe it is under these conditions. Which would trigger the process of a second referendum. So far, the dominant idea is that it is not the French who have to hold five referendums until they reach the desired outcome, but the elections have created the impression that there is still a possibility of staying. Of course, those who want to stay will do everything to open this window.

    http://www.msn.com/pt-pt/noticias/mundo/h%C3%A1-uma-oportunidade-para-o-reino-unido-ficar-na-ue/ar-BBEsOkn?li=AAl4orZ&ocid=spartandhp
    ……………

  82. Grid Batteries Are Poised to Become Cheaper Than Natural-Gas Plants in Minnesota.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608273/grid-batteries-are-poised-to-become-cheaper-than-natural-gas-plants-in-minnesota/?set=608263

    Just to be clear this is NG plants configured to be peak supply sources (Peakers). These often consist of gas turbines kept spinning by electric motors so they can be fired up at a moments notice (within seconds) to meet transient demands or sudden deficiencies in supply.

    Additionally, EVs could profitably be plugged in 23 hours a day. Globally car makers are committing to car ranges consisting entirely of using electrical power and storage as part of the power train. As wind and solar power dip below gas power station costs, the gas peaker requirements may well not remain the last toe hold for fossil for much longer.

  83. Maria,

    Politicians traded a low interference (zero duty) access to the worlds largest most sophisticated market in favour of totally contentious political gains (more autonomy over immigration etc.) and secured by lying about economic gains.

    They have been meddling with a huge and successful capitalist venture to its detriment.

    I believe in globalisation (especially from a position of power) and not least because it is the moral solution to global inequality. I have no desire to be exclusively a Little Englander nor do most young folk who most have to live with the choices made for them. Our identity needs to shift with the problems we are addressing, global, regional, national, local.

    Look at the graphic. The old fucked up the young, who most have to live with their fearful choices.

    https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/15372/production/_90089868_eu_ref_uk_regions_leave_remain_gra624_by_age.png

  84. Erol 109

    Yes, encouraging. Thanks

    How did you get that flame icon? I used to have one. I want one too.

    They’re starting to go after Bernie Sanders and even his wife on The Goebbels Channel (Fox News) now, the bastards. They can’t start too soon, I guess.

  85. Maria, the regionalism I intended, between global and national, were precisely things like trading and shared cultural blocks like the EU.

  86. Phil

    I haven’t skipped town to avoid your comment #102. Just a grueling day jostling my way through IKEA on a hot Sunday afternoon. I must be out of my mind.

    I also watched the film again and read Wiki pages on cults, ideology, and brainwashing.

    I took a few notes while watching the film and the bonus material. These aren’t exact quotations. I may have dropped words, paraphrased, etc. Mostly going for the main idea.

    What we’ve created here may be unique in all of human existence. We’ve created a paradise
    Garden of Eden???

    Grappling with what kind of parent are you going to be…Conflict about how much of the real world do you let in and how much do you keep away?

    The father isn’t a hero and the grandfather not a villain, just complicated individuals trying to work out their differences on how to raise children.

    The second time around I definitely felt those religious/spiritual references more strongly than the first viewing. The coming of age ritual in the opening scene, purification ritual in the waterfall, meditation circle in natural setting, the comforting scene after mother’s death with book in hand (from the clip you posted above). These really feel cult-like especially after reading the Wiki page on cults:

    The term cult usually refers to a social group defined by its religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal.

    A political cult is a cult with a primary interest in political action and ideology.[96][97] Groups which some writers have termed “political cults”, mostly advocating far-left or far-right agendas, have received some attention from journalists and scholars.

    Cults create clones and squash individuality with litanies and isolate from outside influence.

    As for the ideological clones, those kids were very talented at reciting certain litanies! Even though there is a scene where the younger son wants to disagree (with celebrating Chomsky day) he is advised or invited to defend his opinion but he backs away shaking his head. I don’t think he’s comfortable with the idea of presenting his case. Is he intimidated? Will he be pressured to conform to the approved litany? Obviously they are isolated from outside influence. Their Garden of Eden paradise came crashing down due to outside influence. Their fall from grace. The two guys shaving and cutting their long hair was a Sampson-like acceptance of their defeat. Loss of their savage power and acceptance of the norms of “civilized” society. It was sad. The father was reduced to bland, civilized mediocrity. The son, maybe was more anticipating of his future adventures and cutting his hair was part of a new beginning.

    The scenes of the father agonizing over his decision to isolate the kids from the outside world seem very real to me. but now I’m wondering if he didn’t stage his grief and the whole scene of handing custody over to the grandparents so that the kids would be offered the choice of whether to stay in the outside world or come back to their paradise of their own accord. It could’ve gone either way. Could he have contrived this whole thing? Maybe he just wanted redemption from his guilt over the isolation and endangerment of his kids.

    Speaking of accusations of endangerment, do you think he really put his kids at extreme risk? The kid climbing rock face had a minor injury and the daughter had a more dangerous injury from falling off the roof, but considering the physical training they went through on a regular basis, it seems like they were in very good shape physically. In their opinions (litany) I saw a reflection of my own kids but to a lesser degree. As parents, we transfer our own political perspectives to our kids somewhat unaware of that at times and other times more assertively. At what point does it become ideological brainwashing?

    The scene of “liberating” food from the store was just a risky illegal activity. Is this the worst episode of parenting he participated in? Well, I guess the social awkwardness of his oldest son is quite an unfortunate consequence, worse than shoplifting in the long run.

    Totally disjointed comment. Exhausted.

  87. Dan

    Those flames next to the comment – I think they indicate a financial donation. I had one that has disappeared a while ago. I need to update my donation and get it back.

  88. Laurie,

    Great observations. I need sleep so a quick note for now…

    It was sad. The father was reduced to bland, civilized mediocrity. The son, maybe was more anticipating of his future adventures and cutting his hair was part of a new beginning.

    It was sad BUT he became a father to all his children. He preached reason and took his own advice. By learning stuff you get kicked out of the garden. The son didn’t go to Princeton etc. But Namibia to start living. I think love and sex are the very tokens of the problem of a sequestered paradise and the need to be freed to be in the world and be whole. His sadness is also the sadness of every parent, especially those who have done their job well.

  89. His sadness is also the sadness of every parent, especially those who have done their job well.

    Yes that’s true. It’s a bittersweet sadness.

    You mentioned above the kick they took at American puritanical dealings with the subject of sex which we loved but I also liked the kick at our dealings with death. You know this is one of my pet peeves, ha.

  90. Yep. Celebrating loved ones is reduced to a ghastly farce by the church. Body fetishising is weird for spirit believers.

    A sweet little film “What we did on our holiday” punctures quite a few adult idiocies including this one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUY23_cfI4o

    Another odd but I thought wonderful Greek film, Attenberg (on death and intimacy) has another perspective. (You can’t get cremated in Greece!)

  91. ****URGENT MOD MESSAGE**

    WE HAVE JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT THE SITE WILL BE CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE ETC. STARTING VERY SOON AND LASTING UNTIL FRIDAY 21st AT THE EARLIEST, POSSIBLY STRETCHING TO MONDAY 24th. SORRY FOR ANY DISAPPOINTMENT THIS MAY CAUSE, BUT IT SOUNDS AS IF EVERYTHING WILL BE UP AND RUNNING AGAIN BY NEXT WEEK AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN THEN.

  92. On voting rights, and spoiling your vote:

    I’ve used the Spoiled Vote approach to ensure that (a) I wasn’t giving my vote to any of the candidates and – more importantly – (b) I was making it more difficult for anyone to steal my vote to use in support of any candidate.

    Doing this assumes that some level of fraud was likely, but also that the election wasn’t 100% rigged (or there’d have been no point in voting at all, as it wasn’t compulsory).

  93. OHooligan 123

    Terrifying article. I’d encourage everyone to read that one. That’s an important article. have read similar articles about the ministerial and wicked Koch brothers and the extreme right and all that but they didn’t spell it out like this one does. I am sure that that is precisely what is going on. Bannon I am sure is in on that completely. They are trying to suppress the vote too now although they call it protecting us from voter fraud. And fake news. It all fits. We’re talking about the end of American democracy. They can do it. No one can say precisely where democracy ends and (what the article calls) totalitarian capitalism begins.

    This word freedom. —It’s so Orwellian. FREE market, FREEDOM of property owners – to discriminate, religious FREEDOM. FREEDOM from government oversight, FREEDOM from regulations! It’s a new species of libertarianism which is nothing other than tyranny and savagery. Trump called the ACA a nightmare. Thats a lie, an abominable lie; it’s slander.

    How could all these Republicans in the Congress, who are supporting Trump, be willing to be a party to such a diabolical and ultimately self destructive conspiracy? Do you have to take an “I am a total fucking asshole” test in order to become a Republican? Maybe they are all Satanists. Maybe they’re part of the Illuminati or some other fucked up secret society. Freemasons? Never could figure out that weird pyramid with the eye on the one dollar bill.

    Ailing McCain is heroically leaving his hospital bed to vote for a health bill that will cause terrible suffering. Makes no sense. He must be part of a cult!

    Any thoughts on what’s behind it all? Love of money? power? greed? Is it racism? classism? sexism? The South’s revenge? All of the above? I can’t figure it out because I am not part of their club. Nor do I know any of the initiated. Wish I did. The Kochs, McConnell, Ryan…. Who are these monsters? What makes them tick? Life can be a wonderful adventure and you don’t have to have a lot of wealth to have a good life; just a roof over your head, enough food and enough funds to keep your head above water, a heart and a mind, some passion for something… why exploit and oppress? Why is it, someone tell me why it is, that someone always has to feed off of someone else’s goddamned misery? Why hurt people? Why!

    I’ll get off my soap-box…

    It doesn’t look good. I’ve just about had it.

    My poor mother broke her hip this afternoon. She’s having surgery tomorrow (Tuesday). Between that and your article I ain’t doing so hot. I wish we could be talking about happier things.

    Laurie, you there? There’s always Canada, right? Just in case Bernie’s revolution never materializes or succeeds.

  94. O’Hool 123

    Preaching to the converted here. Very useful extra ammo. Thanks.

    On Patheos somewhere there is a a thread about a Chinese party official warning party members about displaying any religious behaviour and bias. Normally I’d rush to the barricades of free speech and howl such meddling down. But what was interesting was how Americans were quick to praise their own free speech standards and claim China an ideological dictatorship. Now the democratic deficit in China is huge, but having spent a lot of time studying their evolving policy on economics, science, agriculture and technology, I have come to admire them greatly. China is not an ideological dictatorship but a pragmatic technocracy, deeply concerned to fuel societal well being via sustained lifting of individual wealth. Whilst China has seen average wages rise at least 6% per annum since 1960, US wages pretty much flat-topped from 1980. Only by working 8 hours a week more than a German can an American have the same standard of living. Those extra 8 hours go to buy that third Ferrari for her boss.

    Having freedom of speech has done nothing for Americans in fending off the sheer professionalism of the parasites that now afflict them. Never will they have a Government putting funding, legislation and new standards in place to lift their poorest (farmers and farm workers) out of poverty with a projected fast track wage rise of 12.5% per annum. Never will a US government cancel the building of more coal mines and use the very investment funds to compensate and retrain workers affected.

    Until Americans take against these kleptocrats and stop admiring them, realising them the thieving psychopaths they are, then the only undoing is for intelligent Republicans to come to their moral senses. Selfishness has wormtongued its way into too many American heads and hearts.

  95. Dan,

    Sorry to hear about your mother. I hope all goes well for her tomorrow.

    My solution if this nonsense persists is Revolution. Sorry if that brings you out in a rash. But I increasingly feel Bernie’s vocabulary hits the spot. Failing that the slow accumulation of states down the west and half the east coast and in the top middle into the United States of Canada. Culture, compassion and creativity.

    The United States of Dixie could be left in peace.

  96. Phil,

    Thank you.

    Sanders. Let me clarify.

    I have never heard Bernie Sanders say anything that I don’t strongly agree with. He is right, his vocabulary is right, his energy and commitment is right, his approach is right. He nails it every time.

    I just worry that the forces and influences that are at work and in opposition to any kind of reversal of this right wing extremist movement or to the implementation of any progressive policies at this point are just too powerful and pervasive, and that everything is just going to get worse and worse.

    So it’s just worry and negative projection, that I am expressing, not an aversion to Bernie or anything he’s said or written.

  97. Bernie Sanders – folks, aren’t you apparently forgetting a small but not unimportant detail about him? Wikipedia claims he was born 08 September 1941. He’ll be turning 76 this year. By election time 2020 he’ll be 79. Reagan, born 06 February 1911, was 69 at inauguration and turned 70 shortly thereafter. So he turned 78 shortly after leaving office after two terms. Sanders would enter office a year older than Reagan was leaving office, and Reagan was not overly healthy when he left. Is a 79-year-old man up to the office of the President of the US? Just think of it another way, as of 08 September 2021 he would be too old to be eligible for election as Pope!

  98. Dan

    So sorry to hear about your mom. So alarming. She will have a difficult rehabilitation but you’ll keep her on track with her physical therapy. Let us know how she comes through the surgery tomorrow.

  99. Grumpy K

    As old as Bernie is, he’s keeping up a campaign schedule that would kill a horse. I don’t know how he does it. He’s sharper cognitively than most fifty year olds I know and I’m including myself in that. He has tremendous momentum and the young people (except for the self-sabotage bunch) love him. The situation is so depressing here in the US right now I can’t imagine how much darker it would be without Bernie. I don’t care if he’s 100.

  100. Laurie (130)

    First of all, thanks. The surgery went well. That was today (Tuesday). No hip replacement was necessary. She’ll be in a rehab for a few days, not sure how long. Then I’ll be here when she comes home and will do everything I can do to help for as long as I’m needed.

    Sanders better stick around a while. I think age could be a factor, but may not be. (Very profound, huh?)

    It is depressing; that’s the word; it’s kind of weird too; Trump and the people that work for him are just flat out lying to us now on a daily and continuous basis; that’s what they’re doing. That’s not normal. We are dealing with a nefarious organization masquerading as an administration.

    It is almost as shocking that so many people on TV, who I wouldn’t think would be Trump supporters, are taking it so calmly. TV has a way of making things appear normal than they are. I had an article on another thread that said the news is “in on it.” It does seem conspiratorial.

    This whole “fake news” business is something new and appalling. Could you imagine Obama saying, in a press conference: “Uh…thank you, Chris, but you see what you have to…uh, understand is that we are dealing with fake news….The NY Times and CNN are basically fake news, so don’t believe what they tell ya.”

    An unprecedented level of mendacity and skullduggery. And they all use the same talking points: “those premiums, those deductibles. Obamacare is a disaster.” They all the same thing!

    And Trump wants an FBI director who is loyal and will follow orders and report directly to him, to serve his interests, doesn’t want a bureau that will be adversarial to him in any way. They’re supposed to be an independent arm of the Justice Department. This is madness and despotism! It’s getting weirder and more bizarre every day.

    I suspect, Laurie, that this situation might be worse, darker, more sinister than we know; we’re all walking around with scrambled brains trying to recover from the shock that we are really in the hands of bad people, people that do not mean well. I mentioned this to my sister the other day: You know how they have flags and posters of dictators all over the place in those places where they have military dictatorships? Trump would love that. That’s what he wants to be, what he essentially is: a dictator!

    Did you read OHooligan’s article? (123)

  101. Watching Warren now on Maddow. (They rebroadcast it at midnight.) So refreshing to see someone who truly cares – unlike these unencumbered political analysts on CNN. I think I’m in love – although I must be true to Hillary. I need some advice about that. Hee-hee.

    (I don’t want to put down CNN too much. They have been maligned.)

    Seriously, this healthcare bill might pass, and that would be a real disaster!! Comparable to 9/ 11, as Sanders said.

    This is a terrible time.

    Laurie, you watch MSNBC; that Liberty Mutual ad is driving me up the wall! Over and over again.

  102. Dan #133

    I was looking at your comment on statins on the “You win some thread”, but contrary to my suggestion to move the discussion over here, posts on that subject persisted on that thread until the moderators deleted all of them as “off topic” – including my links to expert advice on the subject.

    You are correct that oats helps reduce cholesterol, but I would not pay ANY attention to the reckless gutter press, who do not care if their sensationalist pseudo-science causes people to stop taking their prescribed statins, and then suffer a stroke or heat attack in consequence!

    https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/treatments/natural-alternatives-to-statins

    Cholesterol Lowering Plan

    “So we look at what their triggers are for eating unhealthy food. Then we look at the basics – lowering saturated fats in the diet, replacing it with healthier fat, and including high fibre carbohydrates or whole grains, at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, and one portion of oily fish a week.”

    The third stage is looking at cholesterol-busting foods.
    These include:
    nuts
    soya
    plant sterol and stanol fortified products – spread, yogurt and milk (read the labels)
    foods rich in soluble fibre, for example, oats and barley, vegetables such as aubergines and okra, and fruits such as apples, citrus fruits and berries

    If people lack a healthy lifestyle, or by way of ageing have raised cholesterol levels, or raised blood pressure, healthy foods are a good option, but prescribed statins may also be required to combat hardening arteries .

    Why have I been prescribed statins?

    Statins reduce the amount of cholesterol in our blood, and reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke if you have already had one.

    If you have high levels of cholesterol, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease, and so are at risk of cardiovascular disease, your doctor will probably prescribe statins to lower your risk.

    Heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease are collectively known as cardiovascular disease (CVD), which causes one third of all deaths in the UK.
    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has draft guidance out at the moment, recommending reducing the threshold for prescribing statins from those with a 20% risk to those with a 10% risk. This will mean that millions more people may be prescribed statins by their GPs.

    The experts on my now disappeared links, say there MAY be a very SLIGHT risk of accelerating the onset of alzheimers in those already developing it, from fat soluble statins, but this is very small compared to the risks of heart attacks and strokes which stains defend against.

    I hope this helps you continue an active healthy life!

  103. Dan

    Good news about your mom. Encourage her to give it all she’s got in rehab. The physical therapists will push her hard. When my dad had to work with them he’d get his back up over their “pushiness” but I’d point my finger at him and say, “if you want to walk again and get back home with independence then you have to fight for that!” They can really lose ground very quickly if they don’t fight to get their strength back. I hope her rehab goes as smoothly as possible.

    I don’t think the news is “in on it”. I think there is one news channel that is blatantly in on it and in fact is the media/propaganda entity of the Republican party and its wealthy predatory super-capitalist backers. I don’t expect perfect neutrality from media outlets because I don’t see how this would be possible but my feeling is that PBS and BBC are the most neutral sources I can find. I am faithful to MSNBC and acknowledge that it leans left but I’m happy to explain to others that our left leaning media station would be considered stodgy centrist in Europe. I know CNN is accused of supporting the liberal agenda but for the life of me, I don’t perceive it. They seem so centrist to me as to be boring. Have you heard about the Emmy awards for Maddow, O’Donnell and Hayes? I’m going to watch the interview with Maddow and Conway again for a reminder.

    Yes, I read O’hooligan’s article. This is the stuff that is most depressing; the scope of this whole con job. 99.9% of Americans are just strolling along whistling a happy tune, completely unaware of this disaster. The Trump voters all pissed off about Mexicans taking our jobs (not) and sharia law taking over the American legal system (not) and poor people collecting benefits, and Iran cheating on the Obama nuclear deal – “How could he trust them!!!” that they’ve gone and invited the fox into the hen house! Forgive them Lord they know not what they do. ~eye roll~.

    I understand that there may appear to be a complacency around us but there may be some explanation for this perception; people are waiting for Mueller to collect his info. He is said to be widely admired and trusted. This seems to have a calming effect on us. I’m trying to be patient and let him collect everything he needs. I understand that impulsively attacking highly placed political figures without a solid legal case is a mistake. Also, I think people understand that while we count on these various investigations to reach deep into areas where average citizens can’t go, one thing that the average citizen can do is vote the bastards out of office at the next opportunity we get. So I’m just sittin pretty for now but on election day I’ll be voting a straight Democratic ticket, even if that means I’ll have to hold my nose on a few of those people, just to pull the rug out from under the treacherous Republicans.

    What worries me is something that I’ve asked here before; will it be possible to undo the damage that these snakes have done and will continue to do? If the Dems take control of the House/Senate next year, will that cut the Repubs off at the knees? If they take the next Presidential election, can they undo most of this mess then?

    Last night I watched a show (I think it was CNN) on 1967 the summer of love in San Francisco. The activism then, Dan! If this is what Revolution looks like – count me in!! Yeeehaaaaa!

  104. Vicki #135
    Jul 26, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Trump’s latest governance via Twitter/**distraction**:

    Apparently, nobody has any idea how this transgender ban is supposed to work in the real world, so the military and the White House are busy referring enquiries to each other, and to anywhere where someone might think up an answer!

    With all the chaos and investigations, he is in desperate need of some distractions.

  105. Alan,

    I was just saying that 210 or 220 didn’t seem that high to me. I am not an MD, and I am sure you are right about statins. I agree with your last comment on the Dawkins-Islam thread too. (Is sound real? Just kidding.)

    Nice comment, Laurie. And thanks. By “in on it” I just mean that they are part of the profit driven system and are colluding in their own way with big business. They loved the money that came in covering Trump 24/7 and that helped him. And they are complicit in so far as they are not likely to discuss certain issues like global warming or environmental issues in any great detail, in any serious or sustained way: half the commercials are for natural gas and oil and pharmaceuticals. You see my point. They have one hand tied behind their back, are constrained. And it’s not just about being centrist or left of center: they never say “You, sir, are a liar!!” You never hear the truth very often because they want these bad people back. ($) Frustrating.

    Happy for Maddow and O’Donnell. You’re watching that interview with Conway? Okay, but you’ve seen one interview with her and her fellow surrogates and you’ve seen them all. They all do the same thing: they deflect. Conway is an acrobat, a professional liar and propagandist, and that’s all; a bad person, rotten to the core.

  106. Dan
    Yes, they are part of the profit driven system. They are constrained and yes, I think they’re too soft on the liars and give a false sense of equivalency on many issues. I saw the commercials for oil and gas. All true.

    I will try to watch the Conway interview but no guarantees that I’ll actually get through the whole thing. Conway is a toxic liar and I avoid watching her.

    Can you believe the stupid news conference going on right now? Obviously, our new press secretary has acceded to her creepy boss’s suggestion that she upgrade her hair and makeup for the camera. ~steaming~

    She wasted half the time reading a letter (fake?) from some kid asking pointless questions to Trump. WTF? On a national press conference?! This is a blatant appeal to the “low information” Trump base. “Awe…what a cute kid! And he loves his country and his President! Awe…” So much sappy treacle.

    Devos, Sec. of Education, the cross eyed dunce presents the propaganda item that Trump has donated half of his salary to creating a STEM camp for kids. Don’t even get me started. Two dunces collaborate to create and announce a STEM camp and meanwhile, behind the scenes they undermine public education in debilitating measures. Then, Devos said that she and Ivanka, the fake “feminist” self-serving corporate money grubber had an educational moment at the Smithsonian to encourage girls to study STEM subjects. No mention of help with exorbitant tuition payments or universal health care or any other programs to take the financial pressure off the lower economic classes, girls AND boys, who need all of this help to get to college BEFORE they even decide to major in STEM courses. No mention of the dire situation of our inner city schools and those students that are trapped in poverty and in failing schools. What did they do, hand pick some delightful little girls from the financially privileged Washington D.C. crowd and stroll around a museum that poor minority kids wouldn’t even know existed? Devos should be mucking around in our most challenged inner city schools and get herself a paradigm shift now and then. She doesn’t have the guts for that. Stupid brainwashed elitist bitch.

    Dan, P. S. Through no fault of your own, you have no chance with Maddow. Through no credit to myself, I have a better chance than you. Although, truth be told, it is highly unlikely that either of us has any chance whatsoever.
    😉

  107. LaurieB #139
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I see “Trumpcare” is still in difficulties!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40723060

    The US Senate has rejected a Republican plan to replace President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare policy.

    The 57-43 vote defeat marks the start of a days-long debate on a sweeping overhaul that critics fear could deny healthcare to millions of Americans.

    The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) was crafted over two months but attention now turns to other options.

    President Donald Trump has urged senators to pass a bill, without indicating which one he supports.

    A repeal-only bill, which would consign so-called Obamacare to history in two years, to give time to Republicans to devise a replacement, could be debated and voted on next.

    But that measure – which non-partisan analysts say will take health insurance from more than 30 million people – has already failed to win enough support in the Republican party.

    Other attempts to replace Obamacare have collapsed in recent weeks due to divisions in the party.

    President Trump had made scrapping the policy a key campaign pledge. He says the system is “torturing” Americans.

    He secured a victory on Tuesday when the Senate agreed to allow the debate on health care legislation reform to go forward, but only after Republican Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in support of the bill.

    What bills could come forward?

    The key repeal-and-replace bill, the BCRA, has fallen by the wayside.

    Next could be a repeal-only bill with a two-year delay, in the hope of finding agreement before that time elapses.

    But senators will also consider a “skinny bill”, a far narrower measure that would scale back some of the more controversial elements in an effort to get a wider consensus.

    A special Senate-House of Representatives committee would then be tasked with finalising a bill that could still see changes during negotiations.

    If successful, the full House and Senate would again have to approve the measure.

    Of course a two year delay could take the decisions to after the mid-term elections!

  108. Laurie

    So true. Everything you just wrote is true. How do we get others to understand? I keep hearing about getting the message out . Warren stresses says that and I suppose it is necessary; but so many people can’t appreciate the message unless it’s loud and simple like “lower taxes create jobs” or “parents should be able to choose what schools to send their kids”, etc. The more reasonable and humane messages are not heard because they just aren’t loud and simple enough. .

    I do take issue with one thing you said. Ivanka is a real feminist, has devoted her life to empowering women and helping women become successful entrepreneurs. (Ha-ha. Actually she deserves the Darling of the Feminists Award – and she’d be the first female to get it.)

    No, I meant Warren! (Does she have a boyfriend? Husband?)

    Your question: can the damage be reversed? I don’t know. I think so. Waiting to hear about the health bill.

    Spoke to my mother. I reminded her about (what you said about) PT, and that you have to push. She knows. She broke her femur bone in a gym a while back. She got through it. She’s no amateur.

    Trump speaking in front of kids now at the Rose Garden. Looks Propaganda-ish. (And they look like the Nazi youth.)

  109. Laurie

    I used to think that cbrown was a female and then he mentioned a past vasectomy…awkward.

    I thought cBrown was a female too. Why is that? Maybe OHooligan’s a female. No way to know.

    Don’t you think Kushner looks like a transexual? Nothing wrong with that but that guy has a strange face. Very androgynous.

    Great press briefing today. Press: Thank you Sarah, Thank you, Sarah, Thank you Sarah About Sessions about this about that what can you tell us what can you thank you… About Sessions, thank you…what can you tell us…About Reince Priebus …Thank you Sarah…The Russian investigation…What does the president…….Thank you Sarah…what can you…Sarah, Sessions and Priebus, the president yesterday issued…Thank you…

    Sanders: Like I said like I said like I said Im not going to comment I’m not going to comment I’m not going to comment like I said like I said…

    I can’t stand these people. She said “fake news” again and that the Russia thing is a witch hunt and a hoax. They’re all a bunch of liars and hypocrites. That little schmuck Don Jr and others said they were talking about adoptions at that meeting. They think the public is stupid and to a large extent they’re right. But…

    When the Kremlin Says ‘Adoptions,’ It Means ‘Sanctions’

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/10/world/americas/kremlin-adoptions-sanctions-russia.html

  110. Here’s an interesting side-note, Phil.

    It is notable that “our” first scientist of note, Roger Bacon held his contemporaries in the lowest esteem but Aristotle, Averoes and Avicena in the highest.

    “When an evil–minded man resolutely thinks of injuring another, when he passionately desires this and intends to do so with determination, and is firmly convinced that he can injure him, then there is no doubt that nature will obey the intentions of his will.” (Roger Bacon, Opus Majus, Londini, 1733, p. 252. Quote from Schopenhauer’s The Will in Nature)

    Glad to hear that Bacon is considered your first scientist of note. That is exceedingly high praise indeed. Bacon must have been a man of very superior intelligence.

    Bacon was held in high esteem by – guess who?– Schopenhauer. Bacon, “our” first scientist of note, believed, along with Schopenhauer, that the real agent in “Magic” is the will.

  111. GrumpyK

    Had it not been for him and other Christian theologians, this philosophical genius might be utterly unknown to the world.

    So the child Aristotle, the author of the preposterous and dogmatic unmoved mover, is a great philosophical genius but other (modern and grown-up) philosophers who painstakingly avoided such groundless assertions and illogic are latent theists and therefore not great just because they are not comprehended?

    Hope you don’t mind a little give and take. This is the place for spirited yet civil debate.

    (Apparently, you don’t have a corner on grumpiness.)

    Respectfully,

    DR

  112. “This word freedom. —It’s so Orwellian. FREE market, FREEDOM of property owners – to discriminate, religious FREEDOM. FREEDOM from government oversight, FREEDOM from regulations! It’s a new species of libertarianism which is nothing other than tyranny and savagery. Trump called the ACA a nightmare. Thats a lie, an abominable lie.” –Me #125

    Here’s another one:

    Health Care Freedom Act

    And it just sank, thanks to McCain. Yay! To McConnell, Ryan, all of those sick “conservative” bastards: Yay!

  113. Dan #146
    Jul 28, 2017 at 3:52 am

    “This word freedom. —It’s so Orwellian. FREE market, FREEDOM of property owners – to discriminate, religious FREEDOM. FREEDOM from government oversight, FREEDOM from regulations! It’s a new species of libertarianism which is nothing other than tyranny and savagery.

    Ah! The misapprehension of the gullible followers, who have not read the translations!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Newspeak_words

    Then of course there are those with heads full of “freedumb” pseudo-knowledge, who have been homeschooled by evangelists, or “educated” in YEC bible colleges!

  114. Dan,

    Roger Bacon is the first English/western scientist of note. And deserves much praise. For me the first scientist of note is Democritus.

    Aristotle’s first cause argument is a logical one to make and I don’t criticise him for it, though it becomes dangerous in Aquinas’s hands and misleads us from a the subtle truth for long enough. It is surrounded by some useful physics concepts.

    Schopenhauer was right….’nuff said. He was though compromised by a religiously primitive view of what the human mind might constitute, f’rinstance as were all philosophers up until this point. (My old complaint of philosophers creating solutions with insufficient parts and idealising what they do conjecture… Bloody Plato! 🙂 ) It was of course Freud who broke this all apart from direct observation. Though Freud was consistently wrong in his just so analyses he was thumpingly right to note our manifold interiors.

    My point there is no one single mind that gets it all right. We cannot find to praise a perfect philosopher or scientist. The greatest minds live a the very edge of comprehension trying to scout ahead. Only the drudges following on behind may appear to do better.

  115. Arkrid

    circus troupe?

    No. Un-cynical comment. I think Republicans may have glimmers of morality somewhere in their selfish ideology-fritzed wiring. McCain maybe focused on his legacy right now. Good on him.

  116. Arkrid,

    I did indeed check on which troo/uper I intended before publishing. Thespian not soldier

    He played his part for the good guys’n’gals.

  117. Indeed, good on McCain. And I agree that this cancer scare has him thinking about his legacy. John McCain is exasperating and always has been. I liked him in 2000 and wanted to like him in 2008 (I was not early on the Obama train; I was a Jon Hunstman (best republican IMO in the last 25 years; Obama thought so as well and made him Ambassador to China, a task he took seriously. He was the only American politician I know of who spoke Mandarin with Chinese leadership) and then HRC supporter). Of course his embrace of Palin convinced me he had premature Alzheimer’s (I’ve since learned he had little to do with the idea itself though obviously he gave it the green light). Had he run with a competent candidate history might be a bit different. Anyway we’ve all heard about his speech to the senate. It was a good one. Unfortunately it came on the heels of his yea vote. But lines like the following – a republican speaking truth! – is encouraging in some small way:

    “All we’ve managed to do is make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular when we started trying to get rid of it,” he said.”

    His vote on the skinny repeal almost makes up for the yea.

  118. Phil,

    Points all well taken.

    I try to take what I can and leave the rest, when it comes to philosophers. Most people never take anything.

    A First Cause is hard to avoid when you are trying to comprehend how it all started. I don’t hold that against Aristotle or anyone. But to say that it only begs the question: “what was before that?” is not puerile or obstinate. Not in the least. (Nor are you saying it is. No straw-man.)

    I am glad McCain voted no, but really….is being human and sensible something we should be unduly praising, Phil? Reminds me of Plato’s Allegory of the Metals. (Now there’s someone you have to take from. Some of those dialogues are stunning – to say the least.)

    For me the first philosopher of note was Parmenides: That which is must be.

  119. Dan

    …is being human and sensible something we should be unduly praising, Phil?

    Normally, no….

    Steven 007

    McCain… Its almost like he remembers when Republicans could be decent….

  120. “Obamacare” was not unpopular. Certainly not for those who had pre-existing conditions or for families whose children had lifetime limits on coverage for, say, congenital heart conditions. Or for the millions that are now covered. It was an improvement, compared to what it was like before it. Whatever unpopularity exists now was generated by Republican talking points and misinformation, and any shortcomings a result of Republican obstructionism.

    I am glad that McCain did not choose to cause suffering to the millions that would lose their coverage or to the many women that rely on Planned Parenthood clinics. McCain is not a man I have very high regard for as a senator. Why did he vote yes on all of those horrible Trump appointees!! He’s slightly better than the rest, as are a few others. All relative.

    Pro-life Huntsman is a center-right politician with traditionally conservative economic and social views. Who needs that shit, Steven? We can do so much better than that. And he’s a waffler, and banal – thinks everything goes in cycles. Trump is part of a cycle, he said. So is extinction! So what if Huntsman’s not a complete imbecile?

    Sorry. Maybe I am being “emotional”; but I am not really in the mood to pay compliments to any Republican at this point, to anyone who still allies himself with that “party”. But one must be fair: I acknowledge that McCain, A loyal Republican, did the right thing and deserves some praise for that. I was pleasantly surprised.

    And Republicans have some nerve claiming Lincoln as their own.

  121. Dan #158
    Jul 28, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    But one must be fair: I acknowledge that McCain, A loyal Republican, did the right thing and deserves some praise for that. I was pleasantly surprised.

    It will be interesting to see how rebel Republicans respond to this health issue! – Particularly as they claim to need to save money spent on healthcare!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40758495

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to limit nicotine content in tobacco products, for the first time in its history.

    The policy announced on Friday has a goal of cutting back on nicotine levels in order to discourage addiction and lower the number of US smokers.

    The FDA says tobacco is responsible for 480,000 American deaths each year, and $300bn (£228bn) in medical costs.

    Stock market shares of tobacco plummeted after the plan was announced.

  122. Dan #145

    Ah, a quote of mine from the “You win some, you lose some! (KPFA Cancellation)” thread. The philosophical genius I was referring to there was Ibn Rushd (Latinized Averroes), 1126 – 1198, last and greatest of the Arabian commentators of Aristotle, not Aristotle himself. And my point was that had it been up to Islam to preserve the memory of Ibn Rushd, likely no one would know his name anymore. Yes, he inspired Thomas Aquinas and other Christian theologians, but their taking up his writings, and in turn commenting on them, preserved his memory as his (nominally) own religion would not have done.

    As for the ol’ Greek himself, his philosophy (a term which has only been narrowed down to its far more narrow definition fairly recently) was very wide-ranging. The part which we would nowadays consider natural sciences has ended up in the dustbin for all practical purposes. The metaphysics – well, the topic (about which I have not read much, unless it includes theology) impresses me as superstition hopped up by a much expanded vocabulary – and often put forward with a high level of verbosity (now why does this spontaneously remind me of at least two or three high-volume posters here? grin). Other parts – vague memories involving theater – and most of all his contribution to logic seem to hold up to modern scrutiny far better.

    As for latent theists – let me just list what is to be found under the topic: monotheism, hard polytheism, soft polytheism, henotheism, kathenotheism, monolatrism (which is what the pre-Babylon belief of very many Israelites in OT time may have been), pantheism (with a nod to nontheism), panentheism, deism with the (I kid you not!) subdivisions pandeism and polydeism, autotheism, eutheism, dystheism, and misotheism. Theologians can split hairs in their “profession” with the best of the philosophers in theirs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is that with theism you mostly mean monotheism (as Schopenhauer may have done, though he apparently was not ignorant of eastern beliefs). As I can also be pigheaded when not sufficiently convinced (just in case you haven’t noticed yet … whistle), for my taste “will is in everything” retains a flavor of vague panentheism.

    I love give and take. And considering the (partly justified) reputation of the “natives” of the part of Germany I have been living in for over forty years (with interruptions), assuming I have a corner on grumpiness is a totally alien concept to me. I could blame them for messing up my originally sunny disposition – but the truth is probably simply watching the news in those fortysomething years.

    As for choosing my user name (haven’t been able to find a place telling me when exactly I did), the first part certainly had something to do with my less-than-sweet disposition at the time, and the second was to give the “bluddy Limies & Yanks” a rough bearing on where I’m coming from. Both “Krauts” and “Limies” actually has to do with the respective navies finally getting the former scourge of all navies, scurvy, under control.

  123. Dan, you ARE emotional and that’s ok 😉 I didn’t feel the need to at the time but I should have clarified my position. You’ve seen me post enough to know where I stand politically, at least in part. During the republican primaries in 2012 Hunstman was THE only coherent republican (by a long shot). Obama saw this early on which is why he was in his administration. And he was and is, by far, the best Mormon candidate of all time (I know, I know, that’s like winning the tallest midget contest), ha-ha. At any rate, does this not sound like a reasonable republican:

    In early November 2012, just days before Barack Obama was re-elected as President, the Associated Press named Huntsman as a possible successor to Hillary Clinton as the United States Secretary of State.[82] This speculation was echoed by various media outlets[83] particularly after Huntsman came to the defense of United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, describing the criticism of her response to the 2012 Benghazi attack as being “overblown.”

    So Obama considered him for Secretary of State, and he came to the defense of Rice during Benghazi. Huff Po described him as “a conservative technocrat-optimist with moderate positions who was willing to work substantively with President Barack Obama”

    Does that sound like a center right conservative? Just because he describes himself as one, likely because he knows that appeals to the base, does not make it so and it’s obviously not so. He is not pro life; not sure where you read that (in an extremely conservative state he signed some bills limiting abortions. I don’t agree but can forgive him for this appeal to the base), and is FOR same sex marriage. Again, center right conservative? I don’t think so. And how about this for a center right conservative:

    Later that year, in response to perceived anti-science comments by Rick Perry and other Republican presidential candidates, he tweeted: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

    Listen, he’s persona non grata in the party these days, but he had promise.

  124. GK,

    Beautiful comment, sir. Thanks.

    Sorry , I thought you meant Aristotle. As for S.’s will being something like pantheism, I do see where you’re coming from.

    No, he was not ignorant of Eastern beliefs. (I can’t recall, at the moment, any discussions of polytheism; I am sure he did discuss it somewhere and he had to have been aware of it: why wouldn’t he be?) I have read all of his works multiple times (except for his work on vision and color). Theism has no place in his philosophy, although he did write about “magic” and “occult” phenomena in his late essay “Transcendent Speculation” as it relates to the “will in nature” and the “unity of time” (present and past). He described an incident in that essay: he noticed that ink had been spilled on his desk. His serving woman entered his room and appeared upset. He asked her what was wrong and assured her that he would not be angry. She confessed that she had spilled the ink. He then informs the reader that he had had a dream the night before that the lady would spill ink on his desk. And he was a credible man. I do not doubt him. (And that is the kind of thing I was referring to on the “Seeing Ghosts” thread.) He then goes on to speculate about dreams predicting the future and about time and he suggests the possibility that everything in the past and in the future are (somehow) one.

    Apart from that sort of thing he was rational to the core, avoided, to the best of his ability, everything that was not grounded in reason (And that essay mentioned above, although I don’t regard even that as superstitious writing, was not really representative of his philosophy as a whole; it was just him speculating.)

    If the will is a residue of theism that somehow had to express itself, although circuitously and in a distorted form, and, as it were, against his own will, like the manifest content of as dream, one would first have to read him carefully and thoroughly; one would have to see how he arrived at his conception of will as the only explanation for what cannot be explained to his satisfaction by empirical causality or by mechanistic means. But just reading “The will is in everything” and forming a conclusion based on that one phrase, is, I would say, premature.

  125. Steven,

    Yes, Huntsman is not that bad, I guess. Probably no different than a good conservative Democrat. They overlap. But this: “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming” does not impress me and should not impress anyone. What does he want, praise? How about this: “I am against lunacy and brutality!”

    “Huntsman!” (What an enlightened man.) “Hunstman! Huntsman!” the crowd cheered.

    My emotionalism just turned into cynicism.

  126. P.S. GrumpyK, I addressed you as Sir. I have actually no idea if you are male or female. Laurie was wrong about another commenter named cBrown. I suppose I could be wrong too.

  127. “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global
    warming” does not impress me and should not impress anyone. What does
    he want, praise? How about this: “I am against lunacy and brutality!”

    Dan, he was responding directly to anti science comments from republicans. So in a party that abhors and shuns science, yes, this should be applauded. It’s a step in the right direction certainly, don’t you think?

  128. Dan #164

    Certainly “ma’am” would have been immensely far wider of the mark.

    I’ll confess to a certain reservation I have with the term “Sir”. Not with the one Queen Elisabeth bestows on citizens of an amazing number of non-UK countries (Sir Peter Jackson of J.R.R. Tolkien movies trilogies fame – or for me being as close to being a Tolkien scholar as a non-professional can get, infamy). Guessing that the potential recipients are any citizens of any country belonging to the Commonwealth.

    No, it has to do with one of my favorite (anti-) war movies, “Full Metal Jacket”, directed by my absolutely favorite director of all time, Stanley Kubrick. It’s in the first, basic training part of the movie, where the recruits have to address their superiors, especially Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Ronald Lee Ermey having been an actual US Marines drill Sergeant during the Vietnam War) with “sir yes (rarely no) sir”. I spent 15 months doing duty with the West German army during 1977-78. This was not just Cold War time, it was the most virulent time of the leftist Red Army Faction terrorists here. I was a very good shot with the caliber .30-06 munitions German automatic rifle we had with us during (especially) night patrol of the barracks. I’m pretty certain I would have shot back.

    But.

    Some of the military language put me off, at least in the sense that I decided never to use it in civilian life after discharge end of March 1978 again. The term is “jawohl”, though mostly barked out to sound like “jawoll!” (please remember that German J is pronounced like English Y, I had enough issues with that in my nine years in the US!). I have heard generation of young-‘uns in our company (and not just there) responding in the affirmative by using “jawohl”, and each time it has invariably raised the hackles on my neck. My affirmative has just as invariably been a simple “ja”.

    Perhaps relevant was the experience my wife and I had in the early 90s heading ultimately heading over to Ireland for a three-week vacation. This was the Rotterdam-to-Hull ferry leg, somewhat more than fourteen hours between embarkation in Rotterdam and debarkation in Hull. The announcements on the PA system of the ferry were (at least) in German and English. The German announcements started with “achtung bitte,” the British ones with “attention please”. Residues of WWII enmity or whatever cropped up when some Brits mocked the German announcements with drill instructor type barks of ach-TUNG!!! Yeah, right. I know what the corresponding barks in the English-speaking armies is (Monty Python’s writer-performers were brilliant at this, especially Graham Chapman and John Cleese): “’ten-SHUN!!!” We need to de-militarize our civilian language, maybe?

    A P.S. to this ferry ride. While sitting in the bar and enjoying my first (or so) Guinness, I overheard some guys talking. One of them had apparently just come back from military duty with the British forces in Bosnia. The guy was absolutely not happy about what he had experienced …

  129. GK #160

    And my point was that had it been up to Islam to preserve the memory of Ibn Rushd, likely no one would know his name anymore.

    I still have to strongly argue with this. Religions don’t preserve science. Never have, never will. Cultures are not religions. There are many reasons why Muslims lost their cultural mojo and the memory of it. Relative impoverishment, no printing, the crusades, the edict that everything was know (religious!), the subsequent rewriting of their history by colonists in the nineteenth century.

    More to the point the Catholic Church banned Averroesm. Islam never did that. Scientists and a few interested scribes preserved science. They were often learned religious folk, but only because they had the languages and the leisure.

  130. Steven007

    Steve! How’s one of my very favorite Dawkins site members doing? Of course you’re right about Huntsman. He does deserve to be applauded. I had been watching the news on TV too much and that makes me crazy. I am calmer now.

    Q: cholesterol is okay, but my TSH is up. It is 5.5. Three years ago it was 1.6. I might need to go on synthroid like my mother and sister. Should I be worried? Please choose your words carefully; I have terrible health anxiety. (That stress is more likely to kill me than anything else.) What can you tell me about hypothyroidism? I don’t want to die. (Apart from that I am fit as a fiddle – physically, that is. Mentally I’m not so sure.)

    Phil,

    I just saw a documentary about Da Vinci. Un-f-ing-believable!

    Bad sentence (162):

    If the will is a residue of theism that somehow had to express itself, although circuitously and in a distorted form, and, as it were, against his own will, like the manifest content of as dream, one would first have to read him carefully and thoroughly.

    New and improved:

    If one wants to make the case that S’s will was a residue of theism that somehow had to express itself, although circuitously and in a distorted form, and, as it were, against his own will, like the manifest content of a dream, one would first have to read him carefully and thoroughly.

  131. GK

    Loved your comment. It was very interesting and exceedingly rich from a literary standpoint.

    Full Metal Jacket is an awesome movie; I concur. (That drill sergeant scared the shit out of me.) So is Eyes Wide Shut. There are some YouTube videos about “hidden messages” in that film. Truly spooky. The Shining would have been a great film had it simply been about a man who has a psychotic break and we see the world through his psychotic eyes, perhaps. But the haunted house stuff and the kid with his special powers ruined it; so we’re left with a great performance by Nicholson, some good scenes, and a flop overall.

    (My mother was born in Frankfurt. Her father was from Ulm.)

    I won’t call you sir, sir….Sorry. Not funny.

  132. For Reckless and any others wanting to discuss Media and Journalism.

    This

    http://www.acsh.org/sites/default/files/ACSH-RCS%20infographic%20v8.jpg

    was a fairly recently published informed, expert but subjective assessment of science news journalism.

    I found myself in almost complete agreement on the placements, accuracy versus interestingness.

    In the same manner I wonder if we can agree some scores out of ten for accuracy (X) and interestingness (Y) in other areas of news and documentary-with-analysis reporting of say politics, social, cultural matters? (Best would be top right.)

    Politics/World Affairs.

    Al Jazzera English (X, Y)?

    BBC

    BBC World Service

    Russian TV RT

    MNBC

    Huff Po

    Wash Po

    WSJ

    NYT

    Fox News

    etc. etc.

  133. phil rimmer #170
    Jul 29, 2017 at 4:39 am

    I found myself in almost complete agreement on the placements, accuracy versus interestingness.
    Al Jazzera English (X, Y)?

    It is interesting that the closure of this station, is one of the demands of the theocracies of Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc , in their conflict with Qatar in their allegations of Qatari sponsorship of “terrorism”!

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/saudi-arabia-uae-egypt-bahrain-cut-ties-qatar-170605031700062.html

    Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain cut ties to Qatar
    Qatar calls decision by Gulf nations and Egypt ‘unjustified’, saying allegations against Doha have ‘no basis in fact’.

    Of course while Saudi is making open war against Shias in the Yemen, and arming and funding Sunni rebels in Syria, “Atheists are Classified As Terrorists Under New Saudi Arabian Laws”!

  134. Alan,

    From the main wiki page, which I urge all to read….

    “Some observers have argued that Al Jazeera has formidable authority as an opinion-maker. Noah Bonsey and Jeb Koogler, for example, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, argue that the way in which the station covers any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could well determine whether or not that deal is actually accepted by the Palestinian public.[69]

    The channel’s tremendous popularity has also, for better or worse, made it a shaper of public opinion. Its coverage often determines what becomes a story and what does not, as well as how Arab viewers think about issues. Whether in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, or Syria, the stories highlighted and the criticisms aired by guests on Al Jazeera’s news programs have often significantly affected the course of events in the region.
    In Palestine, the station’s influence is particularly strong. Recent polling indicates that in the West Bank and Gaza, Al Jazeera is the primary news source for an astounding 53.4 percent of Palestinian viewers. The second and third most watched channels, Palestine TV and Al Arabiya, poll a distant 12.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The result of Al Jazeera’s market dominance is that it has itself become a mover and shaker in Palestinian politics, helping to craft public perceptions and influence the debate. This has obvious implications for the peace process: how Al Jazeera covers the deliberations and the outcome of any negotiated agreement with Israel will fundamentally shape how it is viewed—and, more importantly, whether it is accepted—by the Palestinian public.

  135. Phil #179

    Like the video Phil. Comment about calling Egypt a Muslim country and point very important. The identity crisis of EU countries as well. Cameron’s disallusioned statement that the UK is a Christian country comes to mind. Where did th e pigeon holing start?

  136. Phil 170

    The people who make up lists are themselves biased. (Or not.) Most people are. Soon we’ll need a list for the most fair and unbiased compliers of most “fair and unbiased” list compliers. Just take a frigging science article and ask yourself or someone you know and trust if it sems accurate. If it’s “no” a sufficient number of times then you can make a determination. Someone on RealClearScience makes a list of who is better and who is worse? Maybe they are full of shit.

    I’ve been reading the NY Times Tuesday’s Science Times for years (although not recently); it’s excellent. They put people like Johnny Depp on lists like “ten greatest actors of all times” and someone like Alec Guinness won’t even be on them. I am a list skeptic. (Some lists are useful.)

    And Nawaz again? I have to tell you – and I know it’s the message and not the messenger – I think that guy, with his fancy clothes pontificating yet again about the nuances associated with his favorite subject, is a bit tiresome, verbose and even fatuous at times. He makes good points. But he always says: “you find extremism amongst all groups: communists, Christians, Muslims. So what you have to understand is that, etc, etc.” I prefer Harris and Dawkins and that lady. (Forgot her name. Ali something or something Ali.)

    I’m finally bored with the issue of terrorism. Horrible systems of government, lack of education, low self esteem, stupidity, wanting to be a big man and part of something fearsome, mental illness, theocracy, authoritarianism, poverty, despair, the West for sure, and Israel, holy books themselves perhaps, group psychology, repressed rage, shame… There are so many factors that play a role in creating terrorism around the world. Good luck trying to end it by sitting and pontificating in front of an audience like a detached academician. There’s as much chance of solving the problem that way as solving it militarily.

    I guess the former can’t hurt, and Nawaz is okay. (Don’t want him coming after me.) Just bored.

    I am more interested in terrorism in the form of the repeated lies being fed to the public by this abomination called an administration right here at home.

    Al Jezeera is very good I hear. But how many people here in the US watch it or read it! My mother and a handful of others! Same with The Nation. How many people read The Nation? They’re watching fucking Fox and reading the NY Post!

  137. Dan #184
    Jul 29, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    The people who make up lists are themselves biased. (Or not.)
    Most people are.

    If we are looking for lists without personal biases, then they need to have been compiled using scientific methodology – not personal preferences.

    Soon we’ll need a list for the most fair and unbiased compliers of most “fair and unbiased” list compliers.

    Surely what is needed are surveys listing numbers of scientific claims in programmes/articles, compared to peer-reviewed citations supporting them, refuting them, or showing that they are irrelevant waffle!

    Just take a frigging science article and ask yourself or someone you know and trust if it seems accurate.
    If it’s “no” a sufficient number of times then you can make a determination.

    The whole issue of “bias” is in the qualification, competence, integrity, and methodology, of the persons or organisations you ask. There are plenty of people with “opinions”. – “Informed competent opinions” – not so much!

    Someone on RealClearScience makes a list of who is better and who is worse?
    Maybe they are full of shit.

    That is why citations to reputable information sources are important!
    All views and opinions are NOT equal!
    Scientific evidence is not something whimsically plucked out of the air.
    Competent science reviewers, will quickly identify those who are obviously “full of shit” – and with many publications, it REALLY IS obvious to any competent person!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/07/nasa-is-seriously-considering-terraforming-part-of-the-moon-with-robots/

    With a bit of help from other RDFS posters, I demonstrated this VERY clearly, in this linked discussion of a “Popular Science” article!

  138. Phil
    Yes, I saw that the graphic presents science content.

    was a fairly recently published informed, expert but subjective assessment of science news journalism.

    “expert but subjective”. This makes me nervous. Surely this can be quantified (like everything else in existence) to achieve a result as close to objectivity as we possibly can. My Slate vs NY Times comment is a feeling, an impression because I have no explanation of the criteria used to create that graphic.

  139. That’s right, Alan. I think if you are dealing with science articles any study or presentation about the reliability of sources should provide specific examples and an explanation of the precise methods used in making determinations – which should include a review of the quality of the sources cited by the sources. Otherwise what’s the point?

    With political news it seems near to hopeless. Few people on the right are going to trust a study that proves that the NY Times is more accurate than the Wall Street Journal or the national Review, no matter what.

    Have you noticed how often people say “the fact of the matter is…”? That carries no weight. But even if you pulled out a bona fide peer-reviewed statistical analysis that actually proves that, say, trickle down economics doesn’t create jobs, many people will just turn the other way, reject it. “No no, that doesn’t prove anything.”

    “I don’t believe your proof,” they’ll even say. “Let’s see you prove that that was proof. Come on, where’s your proof that that’s proof!”

    Laurie, do you find that guy Nawaz irritating or is it just me (that finds him irritating)?

  140. Dan
    I don’t find him to be irritating. I have been watching from the sidelines to see how his message has been received. What you perceive as pomposity I see as an assertive self confidence that given what his message is and who it is aimed at, he needs a truckload of it! He’s up against some frothing at the mouth fundamentalists and even the moderates of his religion who will view him as an absolute enemy of Islam who deserves to die painfully. He actually frightened me, for his sake, when I first noticed him out there in the marketplace of ideas. I don’t have half the guts this guy has. Here’s me hiding behind a computer screen and him out there using his own name in the middle of public crowds.

    He’s extremely important because he identifies as a Muslim and yet he advocates for moderation. When criticism comes from a group insider it’s powerful. I know you must feel this when you discuss issues with Jews. I feel this when I discuss Christianity with others, especially the mainline Protestants that being the church I grew up in. At least they can never say that I’m an outsider attacking them just to be mean. I feel I have the right to take the Protestants on and point out their ethical failures and bullshit scriptures. This is what Nawaz can do for the Muslims. Of course it needs to be said that a renegade ex-Methodist is in no danger whatsoever and a renegade Muslim is risking his/her life. That’s what Nawaz is about. He’s trying to lead and he needs all of the authority and resilience he can muster.

  141. Dan

    Nawaz may be the one to save our bacon or at least a rasher or two. He at least has a political plan and has dedicated himself to doing something. Sam Harris and Ayan Hirsi Ali recognise this and have been persuaded that a broadened and re-invigorated moderate Muslim identity can improve the possibility of mass push-back against the bully Islamists…from within Islam. Sam and Maajid co-authored a book and Ali’s third has a radical change of tone as she sees the simple practicality of Maajid’s endeavour. Your indifference is irrelevant. Your endless well-poisoning and messenger shooting, (on the strength of suits!!!) though, is unwelcome.

    The graphic reflected my views on the publications pretty well, on both axes. People with a science degree can tell when a non science trained person writes about the stuff and gets it wrong. Interestingness is entirely subjective. It is a little surprising to find consensus. But, that makes it interesting! Nor is this science. It was entirely open handed. Its what you do to see how similar or different we are.

    To claim that there is no chance of usefully prioritising science journalism from inspection is value destroying pomo nonsense. Political journalism likewise, perhaps with a little more latitude needed. Read the Atlantic to see it done well.

    Do you have a list of great and greatish novels? Is it fatuous?

  142. Laurie,

    Yeah, I guess so. Okay. When you’re right you’re right.

    I never set about to discuss issues with jews, by the way. I discuss issues with whoever I happen to be talking to. I did try talking about Palestinian rights once to a group of Jews visiting from Israel. It was not constructive. I left feeling depressed.

    I never discuss Judaism because I know nothing about it except that it isn’t true; but I do like discussing and debating religion in general. All religions are the same to me. (I’m not a simpleton; I know they’re not the same from a historical, cultural and anthropological perspective, but you know what I mean.)

    I am inside nothing except my own skin. But I see you’re point. My mother, as you know, is a strong advocate for Palestinian rights and also a German-Jewish refugee. You would think that would be advantageous. Well the horror continues and no one’s reading her book.

    Do I sound negative? Leave me alone. I heard that. I can hear people’s thoughts. (kidding)

    Unlike me she isn’t such a defeatist and so damned negative, and knows how hard it is but does what she can. She was invited, again, to speak in Germany, btw. (She’s doing okay.)

    Sorry, I’m just feeling very negative about everything right now. That’s not good. And my impression of Nawaz is completely visceral.

  143. Phil,

    Sorry. I just looked at that image of the different newspapers and outlets and thought it might be missing something. I was probably missing something. I am not focused, need to rest.

    “To claim that there is no chance of usefully prioritising science journalism from inspection is value destroying pomo nonsense.”

    If I made such a claim I am amazed. I can’t comprehend what you say I claimed.

    I am wrong about Nawaz as I said above.

    Not a good Dawkins site day for me. I’ll talk to you during the week, hopefully.

  144. Dan

    Take some time away from the stinking media and all of the completely depressing news about D.C. and do something completely different tomorrow. I’m going to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with my daughter tomorrow. We’ll have an extremely expensive lunch, gaze at some masterpieces and wonder at what her life was all about. We need to recharge sometimes. Art does that for me. I stand before these amazing creations and I think – the world is full of idiots, shitheads and psychopaths but then there’s this right here in front of me. How did a human create this?! It’s unbelievable! Everything that goes into the creation of a masterpiece. It’s elegant and parsimonious. Nothing is missing and nothing is superfluous about it. There is a mastery of the materials and a spontaneous expression that can never be imitated by another.

    Try to get some inspiration, Dan. We could be dealing with this state of affairs for three more years. Fortify yourself!

  145. There will of course be some winners and some losers from Brexit.

    We do need to exit the EU as soon as possible so that we can control our borders.

    Angela Merkel has invited large numbers of people from Islamic countries into Germany. As soon as they are given German citizenship they will be free to travel to the UK and other EU countries. We already cannot cope with the existing Muslim population, it would be even harder with potentially millions more arriving. Hungary and Poland understand this, the EU is putting them under pressure to accept the migrants. How democratic is that? The EU really does not care about the wishes of Hungarians and Poles not to be swamped by those whose culture cannot be integrated.

    The west generally is facing an existential crisis due to the rise of Islam within it. Exiting the EU in order to slow down the rate of Islamisation of the UK is in fact a rational decision. Concerns about the economy or trade pale into insignificance compared to the absolute necessity to avoid being subject to Sharia law for everyone in the UK. This will happen if demographic trends continue.

  146. Hugo Jenks #195
    Jul 30, 2017 at 1:52 am

    There will of course be some winners and some losers from Brexit.

    .. and according to the calculations of the potential losers, they will be the same losers who suffered in the banking crisis. – Ordinary citizens, main-stream businesses, University research departments, and public services.
    The “winners” will be the hedge-fund and opportunists who will benefit from exploiting the chaos and disrupted regulatory systems!

    We do need to exit the EU as soon as possible so that we can control our borders.

    Not really!
    If we were serious about controlling our borders, rather than making Europhobic excuses for UK political incompetence, the government would have ensured that there was appropriate staffing levels (rather than cuts) in the staffing of the Borders Agency, the appropriate number of coastguard patrol boats patrolling our shores and ports, (12 instead of 3) and that migrants and immigrants and vehicles, were properly checked in at ports and airports. (They still aren’t)

    It is indicative of the no-plan and no-idea, brexiteer fairy stories, and dismissals of warnings from experts as “scare-mongering” that none of these things were done in good time, and many are still not in place yet.

    Angela Merkel has invited large numbers of people from Islamic countries into Germany.

    That raises the issue of the other massive failing of UK (and allied) governments, in GENERATING a massive refugee problem, by reducing middle-east and African states to chaotic lawless civil wars, by reckless military adventures, in clueless attempts at “regime change” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya!

    As soon as they are given German citizenship they will be free to travel to the UK and other EU countries.

    Those with a sense of morality see, some humanitarian responsibility to help these people, while the selfish war-mongers want to duck all responsibilities, and carry on profiting from arms sales at home and abroad, to the perpetrators of the crises!
    A better solution would be to stop arms sales to factions in Syria and Libya and other parts of Africa to let the locals restore law and order, so that traffickers are dealt with locally, and the conflicts CAUSING the refugee crisis subside!

    The west generally is facing an existential crisis due to the rise of Islam within it.
    Exiting the EU in order to slow down the rate of Islamisation of the UK is in fact a rational decision.

    Nope! This is another brexteer fairy story put about by the tabloid rags, such as the Daily Express, Daily Mail, and Sun!
    The majority of UK Muslims are a residue from the British Empire and Commonwealth migrations, and have NOTHING to do with the EU!

    They come from Pakistan, Bangladesh. Somalia, and India!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33715473

    SEE THE ONS Census 2011 on the link

    Concerns about the economy or trade pale into insignificance compared to the absolute necessity to avoid being subject to Sharia law for everyone in the UK.

    Avoiding Sharia Law is important, but as the Muslim percentage of the population is very small (apart from in Ghetto Areas), a campaign to expose the evils of this, and give a kick up the backside to the “politically correct” apologists, is a much better solution than massively disrupting and handicapping our international trade agreements. The pound has already dropped substantially at the threat of the chaos of brexit and negotiations carried out by clueless incompetent brexiteers!

    Hugo Jenks #196
    Jul 30, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Even UKIP is currently confused on this issue.

    UKIP is confused on almost every political and financial issue involved. Their main “talent” is rebelling against each other, and all forms of competent administration, regulation, and expert advice, – making up semi-plausible superficial nonsense which can appeal to the uneducated!
    They are the “useful idiot” sponsored puppets, of millionaire backers who have their own opportunist agendas which they want cheaply fed in bulk to the gutter press!

  147. Hugo Jenks #195

    I agree that Angela Merkel’s decision (of which she has since repented) to let in hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern migrants some two years ago was reckless, and that the problem of migrants and refugees from the Middle East needed to be dealt with by due process despite the immense numbers involved. It does not follow, however, that leaving the EU was necessary to protect one’s own country from an excessive influx of migrants. This is the faulty logic that misled too many Britons.

    When Mrs Merkel decided to let in all those migrants without due process, she overreached herself. If she expected other member-states to take a share of the migrants, she should have had their agreement first. For that reason Poland and Hungary have been within their rights to refuse to accept these migrants. Britain could have done likewise. That migrant crisis needed a joint EU decision-making process and action-plan, and the EU was found wanting even the ability to form such a process; which is to say that the problem is one about the constitution of the EU, not whether Britain should remain in the EU. Obviously, the EU still has some serious rethinking to do on how it can act as a coherent entity when faced with problems from outside. Britain has opted, rather inconsequently, to quit the EU altogether, instead of contributing to sorting out how to improve the EU for all its member-nations.

    The really sad part is that, in opting out of the EU, Britain has opted for worse conditions in commerce, finance, movement of people, research and a vast array of fields of co-operation than it enjoys at present as a member of the EU. Bear in mind that this is not the eighteenth or nineteenth century — there is no wide and savage world out there to colonize and exploit — Britain will not be able to bluff and bluster its way to prosperity and glory around the globe as it once did. It will have to negotiate with its neighbors near and far, and it will have to settle for less than it has at present. Where else will it find an open market of more than 500 million people?

    But what do I know? I live on the opposite side of the planet to Europe. I am just sorry to see Britain shooting itself in the foot like this.

  148. Garrick #198
    Jul 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

    But what do I know? I live on the opposite side of the planet to Europe. I am just sorry to see Britain shooting itself in the foot like this.

    Perhaps like those of us at a distance from the USA, who do not have the “benefit” of being fed Republican/Trump junk via Faux-Noose, Dimbart, and InfoWhores, you may have missed out on the constant UK barrage of Europhobic brexiteer pseudo-knowledge headlines, from The Daily Wail, The Daily Express, and The Sun which I see on news stands almost every day!

  149. Alan@197

    That raises the issue of the other massive failing of UK (and allied)
    governments, in GENERATING a massive refugee problem, by reducing
    middle-east and African states to chaotic lawless civil wars, by
    reckless military adventures, in clueless attempts at “regime change”
    in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya!

    Alan, this is nonsense. You know very well that the primary problem with Middle Eastern regimes is that they have been run by dictatorships largely unloved and resented by their populations. In the Syria case for example Bashar al-Assad is from a minority Alawite sect which has repressed the largely Sunni population for decades (i.e. also by his father before him) and once the Arab Spring was initiated from Tunisia the people of Syria took their chance to try and topple him by instigating a popular uprising which, with hindsight, has proved disastrous!

    http://www.iamsyria.org/conflict-background.html

    Similarly with Libya being governed by the evil dictator Ghadafi. In this case the ‘crime’ that you allude to for the western powers was in their desire to hasten his downfall in order to try and establish a more democratic system for Libya. Again, with wonderful hindsight, this was utterly naive because of the all pervading influence of Islam in the Middle East and the desire by many in that region to install repressive theocracies instead, something wholly perplexing for western governments to understand in general.

    The majority of UK Muslims are a residue from the British Empire and
    Commonwealth migrations, and have NOTHING to do with the EU!

    They come from Pakistan, Bangladesh. Somalia, and India!

    This is obviously true! But the fact that Merkel was so very quick to welcome with open arms thousands of Syrian refugees which, by implication, could by choice have moved across Europe and settled in the UK because of open borders, was a worrying factor in adopting the Brexit choice for many Brits at the time of the referendum.

  150. Erol #200
    Jul 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Alan, this is nonsense. You know very well that the primary problem with Middle Eastern regimes is that they have been run by dictatorships largely unloved and resented by their populations.

    It is not nonsense at all!
    The peoples of Libya, Syria and even Iraq, were far better off under Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad’s rules of law, which were repressive, but effective in keeping the jihadist fanatics in order and allowing most citizens to get on with their lives.
    It was the stupid notion that some sort of western democracy would work in these cultures, and had to be imposed from outside by clandestine foreign interests, along with propaganda campaigns, installing corrupt pro-western, anti-Russian, puppet governments, while grabbing oil resources by using foreign funding, of weapons for rebels, military intervention, and corporate slush-funds, that was the problem.

    It is because of foreign backing of different foreign powers for conflicting rebel groups, that the civil wars over whose puppet government will be installed, have persisted for so long!
    Meanwhile the locals have spent years dodging bullets and bombs in war-zones, and some of them are looking for revenge on the people who are orchestrating this! No surprise really! The most dedicated and persistent are the religious fanatics who think martyrdom brings eternal bliss. No surprise there either!

    Like Bush sending US troops to chase all over Afghanistan looking for Bin Laden when he was actually in Pakistan, – not to mention Bush flying his guests and business associates – the Bin Laden family, back home out of the USA after the 9/11 attacks and then attacking Iraq! – The levels of destructive interfering incompetence beggars belief!

  151. Olgun @201

    I’m not making a judgment on whether a large refugee intake into the UK would ultimately be beneficial or not, simply that it was something that could have been forced on the UK without the indigenous population’s – or indeed UK government’s – acceptance.

  152. Erol #200
    Jul 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

    This is obviously true! But the fact that Merkel was so very quick to welcome with open arms thousands of Syrian refugees which, by implication, could by choice have moved across Europe and settled in the UK because of open borders,

    The EU rule on asylum seekers is clear!

    A European regulation allows a country such as the UK to return an adult asylum seeker to the first European country they reached. This means that countries on the edge of Europe have responsibility for a lot more asylum seekers than others.

    So once again this is brexiteer scaremongering fantasy!

    was a worrying factor in adopting the Brexit choice for many Brits at the time of the referendum.

    . . . . And like so many other brexiteer fantasies, pseudo-solutions to non-problems, fake pseudo-solutions to real problems, and blaming Europe for UK political failures, reckless cost cutting, dereliction of government responsibilities, – months after deciding to LEAP BEFORE WE LOOK, Theresa May has finally set up an investigation into positive and negative effects on the UK of leaving the EU – but it is not due to report until after we have left! When it come to the levels of clueless incompetence and fantasy-finance of brexiteers, they are so farcical you couldn’t make it up!
    (Yes I know! – THEY DID – and the readers of the SUN, Express and Mail, swallowed it, hook, line and sinker!)
    Most who voted “leave”, still don’t know what they voted for leaving! (European Court(s), EU, European Customs Union, ESA ?) – Or where they will land if we do leave! (WTO rules).

  153. Alan@202

    The peoples of Libya, Syria and even Iraq, were far better off under
    Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad’s rules of law, which were repressive, but
    effective in keeping the jihadist fanatics in order and allowing most
    citizens to get on with their lives.

    Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!! Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail? No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed! in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil, as it did in WWII! Unfortunately it’s taking much longer for the Syrians to achieve their goal. The rise of the jihadists and of ISIS in particular could not have been predicted beforehand, and your proclamations from the benefit of hindsight are really of little worth.

  154. Alan@204

    The EU rule on asylum seekers is clear!

    A European regulation allows a country such as the UK to return an
    adult asylum seeker to the first European country they reached. This
    means that countries on the edge of Europe have responsibility for a
    lot more asylum seekers than others.

    Ha Ha! Try telling that to the Greeks and Italians who are desperate for asylum seekers and economic migrants – some of whom are posing as asylum seekers – to move on further into Europe because they’re finding it so difficult to cope!

  155. Erol #206
    Jul 30, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Ha Ha! Try telling that to the Greeks and Italians who are desperate for asylum seekers and economic migrants – some of whom are posing as asylum seekers – to move on further into Europe because they’re finding it so difficult to cope!

    The Italians are taking some sensible action to try to remedy the problem of lawlessness, caused by the very stupid destabilisation of Libya, – and tackle the problem at source – rather than trying to pass it on to some other European country!
    The UK should be helping them with this, rather that pretending we can cop-out by leaving the EU!
    However, the conflicts within Libya and armed rival factions make this difficult!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40750994

    Italy’s cabinet has backed sending a mission to Libya to try to stem the influx of migrants.

    The mission would help Libya “reinforce their capacity to control their borders and national territory”, said Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

    It would reportedly comprise ships, planes and at least 700 sailors.

    Mr Gentiloni claimed it had been requested by Libya, but the UN-backed government there vigorously denied making any such request.

    In an earlier statement, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj said his administration had agreed to receive only training and arms from Italy.

    “Libya’s national sovereignty is a red line that nobody must cross,” he said.

    Mr Sarraj, whose administration’s control of Libya is limited, held a face-to-face meeting with Mr Gentiloni in Italy on Wednesday.

    Mr Sarraj did acknowledge asking Rome for border guards in southern Libya in that meeting.

    More than 94,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy so far this year, according to the UN. But more than 2,370 people have died trying.

    Migrants picked up in Libyan coastal waters – and not international waters – can be legally returned to Libya, but aid workers say that conditions in Libyan migrant reception camps are dire.

    Stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia for the promotion of Wahhabi attacks on Shia Muslims, and restricting Saudi backing Sunni/Wahhabi rebel terrorists in Africa and Syria, would also help reduce the numbers forced to flee for their lives!

  156. Erol #205
    Jul 30, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!!

    Not really! I was critical of the actions at the times they were initiated!

    Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail?

    No! They rebelled against Assad because they were conned by propagandists, just like the supporters of brexiteers are in the UK and Trump supporters in the US. The foreign powers who were clandestinely arming dissenting factions within the populations were running fanciful propaganda stories about an “Arab Spring”, for consumption by gullible Arabs and their European and US populations.

    No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed!

    That was the false dream they were sold, but civil wars rarely end like that! The stories are “glorious” but that is only because they are written by the victors who end up in power and write the stories!

    in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil, as it did in WWII!

    Thousands died in dire circumstances because of arguments between politicians of little merit!

    I think the Polish perspective on WW2 sums it up! In the beginning Britain entered WW2 to “save Poland from Hitler” – and at the end of WW2 after much bloodshed, it “handed Poland over to Stalin”!

    Somehow, I think the Poles were less than impressed!

    Meanwhile, after making huge profits from selling arms to both sides, the USA joined in to participate in defeating Germany – after its ally Japan attacked Peal Harbour!

    > Erol #205
    Jul 30, 2017 at 9:50 am
    >

    Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!!

    Not really! I was critical of the actions at the times they were initiated!

    Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail?

    No! They rebelled against Assad because they were conned by propagandists, just like the supporters of brexiteers are in the UK and Trump supporters in the US. The foreign powers who were clandestinely arming dissenting factions within the populations were running fanciful propaganda stories about an “Arab Spring”, for consumption by gullible Arabs and their European and US populations.

    No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed!

    That was the false dream they were sold, but civil wars rarely end like that! The stories are “glorious” but that is only because they are written by the victors who end up in power and write the stories!

    in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil, as it did in WWII!

    Thousands died in dire circumstances because of arguments between politicians of little merit!

    I think the Polish perspective on WW2 sums it up! In the beginning Britain entered WW2 to “save Poland from Hitler” – and at the end of WW2 after much bloodshed, it “handed Poland over to Stalin”!

    Somehow, I think the Poles were less than impressed!

    Meanwhile, after making huge profits from selling arms to both sides, the USA joined in to participate in defeating Germany – after its ally Japan attacked Peal Harbour!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40750994

    France says it plans to set up “hotspots” in Libya to process asylum seekers, in a bid to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

    President Emmanuel Macron said the move would stop people not eligible for asylum from “taking crazy risks”. The centres would be ready “this summer”.

  157. Alan@208

    No! They rebelled against Assad because they were conned by
    propagandists, just like the supporters of brexiteers are in the UK
    and Trump supporters in the US. The foreign powers who were
    clandestinely arming dissenting factions within the populations were
    running fanciful propaganda stories about an “Arab Spring”, for
    consumption by gullible Arabs and their European and US populations.

    What is your evidence for any of this!? Just saying it’s so doesn’t make it true!

    I myself am a Brexiteer in outlook and I can assure you that I was not swayed by any propaganda. I can claim that you are vehemently anti-Brexit because of the opposite propaganda that has impacted upon you! It’s a very easy claim to make!

  158. Erol #205
    Jul 30, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Alan@202

    Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!!

    Not really! I was critical of of these decisions at the time they were first implemented!

    Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail?

    No! They were sold fanciful propagandist dreams! – rather like the supporters of brexit and the supporters of Trump!

    No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed! in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil,

    These are just glorious fairy stories about war – written by the winners who achieve power and wealth.
    Civil wars and colonial wars mainly generate losers who suffer, die, and lose the lands, homes, possessions, families and communities!

    as it did in WWII!

    Perhaps a more realistic view of WW2 comes from a Polish perspective!

    Britain entered WW2 to “save Poland from Hitler” and at the end of WW2, handed Poland over to Stalin!

    I think the Poles were less than impressed!

    In WW2 American – after profiting from selling weapons to both sides, joined in to defeat Germany after its ally Japan attacked Pear Harbour!

    Both America and Russia collected as much German advanced military equipment as they could as spoils of war!

  159. Alan@208(amended)

    France says it plans to set up “hotspots” in Libya to process asylum
    seekers, in a bid to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. President
    Emmanuel Macron said the move would stop people not eligible for
    asylum from “taking crazy risks”. The centres would be ready “this
    summer”.

    Yawn – I’ll believe it when I see it! The EU elite have been issuing these sorts of high-minded statements for some months now but nothing ever happens!

  160. Alan@210

    These are just glorious fairy stories about war – written by the
    winners who achieve power and wealth.

    And this is an astonishingly cynical viewpoint from someone whose freedom to express his current views is owed to the many who fought and died against the tyranny of the Nazis during the same war!

  161. Erol #210
    Jul 30, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Alan@208

    No! They rebelled against Assad because they were conned by
    propagandists, just like the supporters of brexiteers are in the UK
    and Trump supporters in the US. The foreign powers who were clandestinely arming dissenting factions within the populations were running fanciful propaganda stories about an “Arab Spring”, for
    consumption by gullible Arabs and their European and US populations.

    What is your evidence for any of this!?

    There is a long history of empires, conquests, colonialism, and divisions from the past! To suggest that there was some unity of purpose in the rebellions in Syria is utter naivety!

    Just saying it’s so doesn’t make it true!

    It does not take any great depth of understanding to know that manipulative foreign clandestine operations exploit political, cultural and religious differences to set local groups against each other, with arms and military support for the chosen puppet government. The history books are full of examples!

    Are you unaware of the various conflicting armed militias in Syria and who their foreign sponsors are?

    To suggest that there was some unity of purpose in the rebellions in Syria is utter naivety!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War
    List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War

    I myself am a Brexiteer in outlook and I can assure you that I was not swayed by any propaganda.

    Perhaps you could list any brexiteer claims which are evidence rather than made-up propaganda based!

    I can claim that you are vehemently anti-Brexit because of the opposite propaganda that has impacted upon you! It’s a very easy claim to make!

    It has been very easy for brexiteers to make all sorts of fanciful claims, but most of these conflict with the evidence based claims made by expert bodies, scientific bodies, and professional and business organisations, about the complexities and serious damaging problems which brexit will cause research, public services, border issues including Ireland, and business and the economy generally.
    Most brexiteers are unaware of other EU-like world trading groupings of counties in The world’s free trade areas or the effects of swapping EU rules for WTO rules!

    The facts are, that months after the referendum, the government brexiteers still have no coherent plan or accurate assessment of likely effects on the UK economy!
    They just have brexiteer Utopian fairy stories about “wonderful new trade agreements” – negotiated by “expert” brexiteers who do not seem to know what a trade agreement is, and who failed to notice that the UK government had in its employment NO professional trade negotiators, when we urgently need hundreds of them, if all the present arrangements are to be renegotiated and re-written !
    The EU lists 50 countries with which it currently has a trade agreement. The UK will have to renegotiate all of these plus any with any outside countries.
    Canada recently negotiated a trade deal with the EU. It took SEVEN YEARS!

  162. Erol #213
    Jul 30, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Alan@210

    These are just glorious fairy stories about war – written by the
    winners who achieve power and wealth.

    And this is an astonishingly cynical viewpoint from someone whose freedom to express his current views is owed to the many who fought and died against the tyranny of the Nazis during the same war!

    Most of those victims of WW2 who fought or died from effects of war were Russian, and Chinese.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#Human_losses_by_country

    Neither of those populations faired at the end of the war!

  163. Hugo Jenks #196
    Jul 30, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Even UKIP is currently confused on this issue.

    UKIP is dedicated to confused rebellious fighting – against each other – when the extreme right can’t find any establishment figures or organisations to attack or debates to disrupt!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40740027

    A leading member of UKIP has resigned from the party’s front bench for the second time, saying he is worried about the direction the party is taking.

    Patrick O’Flynn, who is standing down as economics spokesman, claims the “centrist approach” advocated by him and others “is falling by the wayside”.

    The ex-journalist made the announcement as nominations are set to close in the contest to replace leader Paul Nuttall.

    Mr Nuttall quit after UKIP failed to win any seats in the general election.

    Mr O’Flynn also resigned as economics spokesman in 2015 after he described former UKIP leader Nigel Farage as “snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive” – remarks for which he later apologised.

    Announcing his most recent departure, he said: “I have always argued for UKIP to be at the commonsense centre of politics, rather than defined as on the right-wing.

    “It is clear to me that UKIP’s activist base wishes to go in a more libertarian, shrink-the-state and Thatcherite direction.

    “It is regrettable that the more centrist approach argued by the likes of me and Suzanne Evans is falling by the wayside.”

    Mr O’Flynn, who will continue to serve as an MEP, said he was proud of the role he played in bringing about Brexit.

    UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge withdrew his leadership bid on Wednesday, with a call for “libertarian” candidates to unite against hard-liners using the party “as a vehicle for the views of the EDL and the BNP”.

  164. Alan@215

    Are you unaware of the various conflicting armed militias in Syria and
    who their foreign sponsors are? To suggest that there was some unity
    of purpose in the rebellions in Syria is utter naivety!

    You are again arguing from a position of knowledge after the event! The initial uprising in Syria occurred spontaneously from earlier events that occurred in Tunisia without any evidence of Western interference or support so why impute that there was any? The West admittedly played a part in bringing the downfall of Ghadafi but couldn’t foresee the after effects caused by ensuing Islamist fervour. The West’s failing in this regard was naivety but that is the sum total in my view.

    Perhaps you could list any brexiteer claims which are evidence rather
    than made-up propaganda based!

    The end result of the Brexit negotiations is yet to be defined because – by definition – the two sides have to agree on terms favourable to BOTH. Hence, this is akin to a chess game whose likely conclusion will be a draw. Because everything is up for negotiation the notions of ‘evidence’ or ‘propaganda’ are meaningless. The UK wishes to achieve certain end points – we will have to wait and see whether these are ultimately achieved.

    Canada recently negotiated a trade deal with the EU. It took SEVEN
    YEARS!

    One could argue that because the UK has been a member already that the time taken to achieve a result will be much quicker. Remember that it’s also very much in the interests of the EU to achieve a quick settlement, so we will just have to wait and see how things pan out!

  165. Alan@217

    Most of those victims of WW2 who fought or died from effects of war
    were Russian, and Chinese.

    Both these countries were seriously impoverished before the war anyway, so there wasn’t any good prospect of quickly gaining social and economic progress following it. The Russian people have only risen in this regard following the collapse of Communist rule in 1989 and the Chinese by the more recent adoption of capitalist economic modes of development!

  166. Yeh sorry about that Erol. I’m not a member either but it opened for me???

    It was about Erdogan threatening to let loose 3M refugees.

  167. Erol #219
    Jul 30, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Alan@215

    Are you unaware of the various conflicting armed militias in Syria and who their foreign sponsors are? To suggest that there was some unity of purpose in the rebellions in Syria is utter naivety!

    You are again arguing from a position of knowledge after the event! The initial uprising in Syria occurred spontaneously from earlier events that occurred in Tunisia without any evidence of Western interference or support so why impute that there was any?

    Yeah!
    Military weapons rebels use to attack a state army, just grow on trees where they can be picked for free? 🙂

    Did you look at the list of rebel factions and their sponsors?

    Saudi Arabia is running a blockade on Qatar and accusing them of “terrorism” because Saudi and Qatar are sponsoring opposing rebel forces on the basis of the Sunni – Shia divide. The Turks are opposing the Kurds because of the potential for a Kurdish PPK revolt in the part of Turkey which was once Kurdistan!

    None of the events in Libya, or Syria were “spontaneous”!
    The only countries which have made anything like a recovery from “the Arab Spring”, are Tunisia where the ruling CDR was disbanded and removed from office, during a fairly peaceful consensus of other parties against corruption and dominating foreign investment, . . . . . . .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunisian_Revolution . . . . . .
    and Egypt, where the army kicked out the Muslim Brotherhood and locked up their leaders!
    Assad would have done the same with ISIS, if meddling foreign powers had not been arming rebels and attacking his forces along with generating chaos in Iraq which was spilling over into Syria!

  168. Olgun@221

    Olgun I managed to open the link – I had signed up for the FT ages ago (but forgot) so it was expecting me to do this before opening the link.

    However the article you linked is dated November 25th 2016 so it’s not relevant now. I’d like to see Erdogan try this now after apparently receiving billions of Euros for causing a halt to the migration!

  169. Erol #219
    Jul 30, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Alan@215

    Perhaps you could list any brexiteer claims which are evidence rather than made-up propaganda based!

    The end result of the Brexit negotiations is yet to be defined

    This is just a repetition of May’s pretence of secrecy as an excuse for the lack of a coherent plan!

    because – by definition – the two sides have to agree on terms favourable to BOTH.

    No they don’t! If the agreement is not acceptable to ALL 27 remaining EU members the UK is up Brexit-creek with no paddle and no deal!

    Hence, this is akin to a chess game whose likely conclusion will be a draw.

    You talk as if this is a negotiation between equals! The rules are in place and the EU negotiators have spelt it out that they will not even talk about new trade deals until the matters of the rights of EU citizens, borders, and payments of agreed UK contributions to the EU budget, have been met!

    Because everything is up for negotiation the notions of ‘evidence’ or ‘propaganda’ are meaningless.

    Again you are simply repeating brexiteer nonsense as propagated in the propaganda-driven tabloid rag gutter press! Just because THEY make up junk in place of evidence, that does not mean that everyone else does!

    There is abundant evidence of the massive problems which have to be tackled, and abundant evidence that clowns like Michael Gove with his record number of votes of no confidence in him as a minister, and buffoons like whistling Boris, have no idea of even where to start dealing with foreign trade and economic issues!

    The UK wishes to achieve certain end points – we will have to wait and see whether these are ultimately achieved.

    The brexiteer “plan” does seem to be to continue with “no plan” until The UK is out with no plan B and no replacement significant trade agreements to replace its present trade with the EU or other countries with which the EU has trade agreements.

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105184445/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/international-transactions/outward-foreign-affiliates-statistics/how-important-is-the-european-union-to-uk-trade-and-investment-/sty-eu.html

    The UK has traditionally had strong trade links with the EU. Despite changes in the composition of the global economy, the EU in 2014 accounted for 44.6% of UK exports of goods and services, and 53.2% of UK imports of goods and services.
    However, strong economic growth in many developing economies outside the EU has resulted in non-EU economies growing in importance to UK trade, with the proportion accounted for by the EU falling consistently since 1999, despite the value of EU trade increasing.

    Canada recently negotiated a trade deal with the EU. It took SEVEN YEARS!

    One could argue that because the UK has been a member already that the time taken to achieve a result will be much quicker.

    Brexiteers can make up any argumentative nonsense they like, but if they don’t sort out the Irish border issue, the outstanding agreed payments due to the EU, the rights of EU and UK citizens working in each others’ countries, and the international component supplies for joint manufacturing projects, -within the article 50 2 year time limit, the UK will simply have no deal at all, and no prospect of negotiating one in the foreseeable future .

    The EU is unlikely to be sympathetic to demands for more time and “transitional periods”, when brexiteers have faffed about for months with no-plan of where to start with negotiations, while other people urged them to get their act together!

    Remember that it’s also very much in the interests of the EU to achieve a quick settlement,

    No it isn’t!
    It is vastly more damaging to the UK to have no deal and be penalised by trade tariffs on around half our import export business, than for the other 27 countries who will carry on trading with each other and with the 50 other countries (now plus Japan) with whom the EU has trade agreements!

    so we will just have to wait and see how things pan out!

    This is not a plan! It is fatalistic ignorant stupidity!
    Any negotiators who are “just waiting to see how things pan out”, (despite numerous quite clear dire warnings from experts), should be sacked and replaced immediately!

    Here are a few issues:-

    ‘Only morons would want to leave nuclear body Euratom’ … failure to foresee the problems that leaving Euratom would cause. . . . . .

    The five business groups, including the CBI are also demanding a trade-friendly final Brexit deal.

    Brexit is damaging UK science already.

    Britain ‘SLEEPWALKING’ into Brexit as businesses and workers UNPREPARED

    Brexit is already damaging Germany’s trade with the UK and it is set to get worse

    calls for access to the single market without free movement could damage any chance of a UK-EU trade deal.

    Any wish-thinkers who think they can have their cake and eat it should also be dumped quickly!
    The 27 other EU member states are not going to give the UK a better deal as a non-member, than it has as a member! – and any one of the 27 governments or parliaments, can block a deal which tries to do so!

    So about that list of evidence based “benefits of brexit”? Any suggestions?

  170. Alan@222

    None of the events in Libya, or Syria were “spontaneous”!

    From: http://www.iamsyria.org/conflict-background.html

    The unrest in Syria was started alongside a string of revolutions in the middle east, known as the Arab Spring. Unrest in Syria began when residents in the small Syrian town of Dara’a, took to the streets to protest the torture of young boys, who put up anti-government graffiti on their school building. President Assad responded with heavy-handed force, causing demonstrations to quickly spread across the country.

    Up to this point in March 2011, President Bashar al-Assad had been ruling over the Syrian people with an iron fist. After the initial protest in March 2011, President Assad started to crackdown on the demonstrations across the country. In April 2011, he began to send tanks into cities and having regime forces open fire on civilians.

    As Assad’s military forces continued to crack down on demonstrations through the summer of 2011, thousands of regime soldiers began to break away from the government to launch attacks against them. As the opposition grew stronger, the United Nations warned Syria was on the verge of a civil war and called for immediate action.

    In August 2011, the Syrian National Council (SNC) was formed to fight the Syrian government. Their goal was to end President Assad’s rule and establish a modern democratic state. Unfortunately the opposition was a fractious collection of political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and armed militants, divided along ideological, ethnic or sectarian lines.

    Ethical divisions in Syria also play a pivotal role in the conflict. The Assad family, and much of the nation’s elite, especially the military, belong to the Alawite sect, a minority in a mostly Sunni country. While the Assad government has the advantage of crushing firepower and units of loyal, elite troops, the insurgents should not be underestimated. They are highly motivated and, over time, demographics should tip in their favor. Alawites constitute about 12 percent of the 23 million Syrians. Sunni Muslims, the opposition’s backbone, make up about 75 percent of the population.

  171. Alan@225

    You talk as if this is a negotiation between equals! The rules are in
    place and the EU negotiators have spelt it out that they will not even
    talk about new trade deals until the matters of the rights of EU
    citizens, borders, and payments of agreed UK contributions to the EU
    budget, have been met!

    It is more equal than you currently imagine!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/europe-more-at-risk-from-hard-financial-brexit-than-uk-says-mark-carney-a7521861.html

    The European Union is at greater risk than the UK if the two parties are unable to agree a financial transition phase for the City of London after Brexit in 2019, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned.

    The rest of your comments in 225 are largely based upon the false notion that the UK is analogous to a fly irritating an elephant’s bottom! I do not subscribe to such a view!! Who is eventually correct will become apparent in due course. We are clearly diametrically opposed with our respective outlooks on this matter, and I suggest we cease further needless discussion until things become much clearer on the Brexit front.

  172. Erol #226
    Jul 31, 2017 at 5:15 am

    You confirm much of what I said.

    In August 2011, the Syrian National Council (SNC) was formed to fight the Syrian government.
    Their goal was to end President Assad’s rule and establish a modern democratic state.

    Allegedly! – I have seem to evidence that conflicting Muslim sects want to “establish a modern (secular) democratic state”. Assad’s regime was one of the few semi-secular states with a mainly Muslim population.

    The Assad family, and much of the nation’s elite,
    especially the military,
    belong to the Alawite sect, a minority in a mostly Sunni country.
    Alawites constitute about 12 percent of the 23 million Syrians.
    Sunni Muslims, the opposition’s backbone,
    make up about 75 percent of the population.

    So when the power of the forceful government which was repressing the jihadists was undermined and unable to maintain a system of law in some areas, the predominantly Sunni population became dominated by Sunni Wahhbi ISIS – with a bit of help from Saudi sponsorship and weapons! (along with some rebel army units and some American weapons from a US trained group of rebels – who once in Syria promptly handed their weapons over to ISIS!) Then there are the Turkish armed anti Kurd rebel factions!

    Unfortunately the opposition was a fractious collection of political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and armed militants, divided along ideological, ethnic or sectarian lines.

    Long-time exiles are usually the cultivated political tools or agents of foreign governments, who recruit candidates to form puppet governments or instigate unrest, when they want to organise regime change and international power struggles!

    Armed militants, are armed by foreign governments or foreign corporations, seeking a free hand to exploit local resources after buying corrupt local politicians and establishing neo-colonial puppet empires.

    Ethical divisions in Syria also play a pivotal role in the conflict.

    Is this a typo? I think you mean “ethnic divisions” or religious divisions.

    While the Assad government has the advantage of crushing firepower and units of loyal, elite troops,
    the insurgents should not be underestimated.
    They are highly motivated and, over time,
    demographics should tip in their favor.

    Indeed so! The jihadists fighting for fundamentalist Sharia Law, are almost certainly the most ruthless motivated group! – They will only be kept from power by forceful containment or military repression!
    Nicey whimsical talk about democracy makes no impression on them! -and any voting they do (as with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) will be fundamentalist theology based, with a total disregard for the rights of non-Sunni-Muslims, Christians, women, or apostates.

    Perhaps if you look at some of the other discussions you will see the sorts of fundamentalist Islamic activities which civilised people do not allow.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/07/letter-to-kpfa/#li-comment-224247

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/07/letter-to-kpfa/#li-comment-224283

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/07/letter-to-kpfa/#li-comment-224287

  173. Erol #227
    Jul 31, 2017 at 5:32 am

    @ link and Quate – The European Union is at greater risk than the UK if the two parties are unable to agree a financial transition phase for the City of London after Brexit in 2019, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned.

    This prediction is based on the assumption that the major banks and institutions remain in the city of London.
    However in anticipation of a messy brexit, some are already relocating to Paris or Ireland!

    The rest of your comments in 225 are largely based upon the false notion that the UK is analogous to a fly irritating an elephant’s bottom!

    The UK is approximately tens times more dependent on trade with the EU than the EU is dependent on trade with the UK.

    Within the EU we can negotiate trade and investment deals more effectively as part of a larger economic bloc. The terms under which Britain would have access to the EU from outside are unknown. It’s possible that Britain would in effect have to contribute to EU spending and adopt many EU business rules to gain full access to the market, or the UK would have products which were disqualified from EU sales as they were incompatible with EU safety standards, and competition rules.

    I do not subscribe to such a view!!

    Who subscribes to the view, has little bearing on the underlying facts, rules of negotiations, of international laws and agreements governing trade.
    Britain needs access to the EU markets, or it will by default operate under the less favourable World Trade Organisation rules, and potentially have tariffs charged on its products while competitors do not!

    We keep hearing brexiteers chant “The best deal for Britain”, but evidence suggests the best deal for Britain is the one we already have as EU members! – but that is not to say that the EU does not need some reforms!

    However when Britain had the chance of holding the presidency of the EU and chairing meetings on reform, our brexteers turned it down!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-gives-up-presidency-of-eu-council-to-focus-on-brexit-negotiations-a7145801.html

    UK will no longer get EU council presidency next year because of Brexit, Theresa May says

    Britain was due to chair the European Council’s rotating presidency

    Its a bit like the borders issue!
    The clowns who are too incompetent to use the existing border controls, want to blame Europe for the under manning and under funding of the UK Borders Agency, and “take back” the control, they failed to effectively operate in the first place!

  174. Alan@228

    Ethical divisions in Syria also play a pivotal role in the conflict.
    Is this a typo? I think you mean “ethnic divisions” or religious
    divisions.

    If you look you will see that what I’ve posted is lifted directly from the iamsyria.org website so it will have been their typo (which I hadn’t noticed!)

    The point that is being made is that the uprising was a spontaneous event that followed the initial torture of the young boys who put up anti-government graffiti on their school building. Everything else that followed was subject to the additional forces that impacted upon the country, mostly for the worse.

    I accept your point that al-Assad is the lesser of two evils when it comes to now taking into account the jihadists that have mushroomed in the country since those early days, and my view is that he shouldn’t be pushed off from his perch anytime soon. He will, unfortunately, still have to have role in running the country otherwise the jihadists will run amok!

  175. Further to ~229:-

    @#229 – This prediction is based on the assumption that the major banks and institutions remain in the city of London.
    However in anticipation of a messy brexit, some are already relocating to Paris or Ireland!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40772332

    Brexit: Race to host EU agencies relocated from London

    EU countries have until midnight to submit bids to provide a new home for two agencies that will be relocated from the UK after Brexit.

    The European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Canary Wharf in London, employ just over 1,000 staff between them.

    The banking and medicines agencies are seen as the first spoils of Brexit by the 27 remaining members of the EU.

    About 20 countries are expected to enter the bidding process.

    There will be fierce competition to attract the agencies’ highly skilled employees, their families and the business that comes with them.

    This includes about 40,000 hotel stays for visitors each year.

    Countries have printed glossy brochures, posted promotional videos online and hired lobbying firms.

    Frankfurt – location of the European Central Bank and a major financial centre – is seen as favourite to get the EBA. But Paris is also keen to win that contest.

    And the Irish government is marketing Dublin as a location, with a brochure that highlights the city’s business culture as well as “beaches and mountains on its doorstep”.

  176. Erol #230
    Jul 31, 2017 at 6:56 am

    I accept your point that al-Assad is the lesser of two evils when it comes to now taking into account the jihadists that have mushroomed in the country since those early days,
    and my view is that he shouldn’t be pushed off from his perch anytime soon.
    He will, unfortunately, still have to have role in running the country
    otherwise the jihadists will run amok!

    I am glad we are in agreement on that, although it has been my view that this should be been anticipated, (based on population analysis) before incompetent foreign interventions took place!

    Unfortunately various other foreign powers have different agendas, and are still working towards their own plans for puppet regimes.

  177. Alan@233

    ….although it has been my view that this should be been
    anticipated….before incompetent foreign interventions took place

    But what evidence is there for ‘foreign interventions’ to have initiated the Syrian conflict??? These came later when everyone with their own selfish interests flocked in!

  178. What can you tell me about hypothyroidism? I don’t want to die.

    Dan, this is off topic but…oh wait. It’s not, ha-ha. I did however give maria melo (in lowercase since she does the same) some sound nutrition advice a week or so ago on an unrelated thread when statins were being discussed. I included you in that as well I believe. It posted briefly but since it was way off topic the mods deleted it. As an aside to the mods, is it unreasonable when there are occasional forays into topics that deviate from the OP that instead of being relegated to oblivion these posts are instead placed in the Open Thread? I’m not sure how easy or practical it is for you to do that.

    Anyway, hypothyroidism is a fairly common condition where one has an underactive thyroid. If you’re on a low salt diet due perhaps to hypertension, you might want to use a bit more iodized salt (the most common kind) on your food. Too little iodine is a common cause of hypothyroidism. I was actually diagnosed with this and take levothyroxine (generic Synthroid). It’s no big deal. That said I do have some bad news for you concerning your mortality. You said “I don’t want to die”. I’m afraid your death is a certainty. Though probably not for a long time so don’t fret. Glass half full and all that. 😉

    I hope you’re well, aside from the smell emanating daily from the Trumpster truck in DC.

  179. Erol #233
    Jul 31, 2017 at 7:59 am

    But what evidence is there for ‘foreign interventions’ to have initiated the Syrian conflict???

    The Western opposition to, and demonisation of, the Syrian regime has a long history, which is essentially about Russia having, or being denied, a naval port-base in the Middle East. It is also about Syrian opposition to the illegal Israeli annexation of the West Bank and Sinai.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_involvement_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War#History_of_ties_between_Syria_and_Russia

    During the Cold War (1947–1991), Syria was an ally to the Soviet Union in opposition to the Western powers, and a stronger political bond grew.[14]
    Between 1955 and 1958, Syria received about $294 million from the Soviet Union for military and economic assistance.[15]

    The Suez War in 1956 accelerated a multiplication of ties between Syria and the Soviet Union, simultaneously with the increase in power and influence of the Syrian Ba’ath Party.[16]

    The Syrian Revolution of February 1966 gave the Soviet Union the opportunity to further support Syria.
    In 1971, under an agreement with the Syrian Ba’athist government’s President Hafez al-Assad, the Soviet Union was allowed to open its naval military base in Tartus, giving the Soviet Union a stable presence in the Middle East.[17][18]
    Thousands of Syrian military officers and educated professionals studied in Russia during President Hafez al-Assad’s three-decade rule (1971–2000)

    The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing international armed conflict taking place in Syria.

    By 2012 it was reported the U.S was running a covert operation in aid of militant groups fighting the Assad government.[23][24]

    On 6 March 2013, the Arab League gave its members the green light to arm the Syrian rebels.[25] On 26 March 2013, at the Arab league summit in Doha, the League recognised the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

    Since 2014, a significant part of Syria′s territory had been claimed by Islamic State (ISIL), an entity internationally recognised as a terrorist organization;

    Despite the benefits in Tunisia “The Arab Spring” became a propagandist front to ferment dissent and rebellion in other Middle Eastern countries.

    There is also a parallel with governments undermined, and foreign sponsored Islamic terrorism in Africa:- Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and Al-Qaeda – and open war in the Yemen by Saudi Arabia.

    Saudi is of course one of those “nice” countries where multinational corporations produce oil for export!

    These came later when everyone with their own selfish interests flocked in!

    The DISCOVERY of clandestine activities came later, when the attacks on Assad became more blatant, but the discoveries certainly followed closely after the events!

  180. Olgun@234

    Yes, potential gas pipelines will also be a factor to consider for the greedy, self-interested external players of the Syrian disaster. But this doesn’t detract from my original point which was that the instigation of the violence in the country was brought about via a popular uprising directed against al-Assad’s dictatorship.

  181. Erol #237
    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:54 am

    But this doesn’t detract from my original point which was that the instigation of the violence in the country was brought about via a popular uprising directed against al-Assad’s dictatorship.

    Popular uprisings don’t just happen! Sensationalist media campaigns, plotters, and conspiring groups, foreign intelligence agencies, and corporate mercenaries, plan them over periods of months or years. To be nationwide, they need funding and organisation – which may, or may not, originate in the same country!

  182. Alan@238

    Popular uprisings don’t just happen!

    Yes, they can – if the impetus stems from years of sustained resentment from dictatorial rule which is then ignited by an outrageous act such as the torture of the two boys as mentioned in the link that I gave. Your suggested scenario is also feasible but there’s no evidence that there was any pre-planning in this particular instance.

  183. Erol #239
    Aug 1, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Popular uprisings don’t just happen!

    Yes, they can – if the impetus stems from years of sustained resentment from dictatorial rule
    which is then ignited by an outrageous act such as
    the torture of the two boys as mentioned in the link that I gave.

    . . . and yet with regular canings with hundreds of lashings, and executions, there is no popular uprising in Saudi Arabia! – or in other places where torture is a regular occurrence?

    Your suggested scenario is also feasible but there’s no evidence that there was any pre-planning in this particular instance.

    Would you really expect there to be readily available evidence of foreign intelligence agency clandestine operations to place agents and agitators in other countries?

    Are you aware of the number of ruthless dictators who came to power as a result of CIA anti-“communist”operations in South and Central America? or the number of rogue regimes, which resulted from commercial corruption, or failed attempts at revolutionary regime change? (Iran-Contra – British Empire set-up of Saudi Arabia)

    The KGB set up quite a few puppet regimes in Eastern Europe too after WW2!

  184. Alan@240

    ….and yet with regular canings with hundreds of lashings, and
    executions, there is no popular uprising in Saudi Arabia! – or in
    other places where torture is a regular occurrence?

    Evidently the Syrian people – who I would consider to be more westernized than Saudis – were more inclined to overcome their dictatorial regime!

    Would you really expect there to be readily available evidence of
    foreign intelligence agency clandestine operations to place agents and
    agitators in other countries?

    No, I wouldn’t. But the course of events in the early days of the Syrian uprising as I’ve just described above ring true for me personally, so there’s no reason to consider foreign conspiracy involvement in this particular case. However, I can understand how someone who’s more conspiracy minded such as yourself would wish to choose this latter option even though there’s no evidence to support it. Just because such foreign intervention has been discovered to have occurred in the past, it doesn’t therefore mean that ALL attempts to dethrone despised despots are dependent upon them.

  185. Erol #241
    Aug 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Would you really expect there to be readily available evidence of
    foreign intelligence agency clandestine operations to place agents and agitators in other countries?

    No, I wouldn’t. But the course of events in the early days of the Syrian uprising as I’ve just described above ring true for me personally, so there’s no reason to consider foreign conspiracy involvement in this particular case.

    This really does look like pure wish-thinking on your part!

    However, I can understand how someone who’s more conspiracy minded such as yourself would wish to choose this latter option even though there’s no evidence to support it.

    I think you mean I am more streetwise about the reality of clandestine operations and political conflicts!

    There is plenty of evidence , but it is not blatantly obvious to the casual observer, or the readers of popular tabloid newspapers!

    Spontaneous up-risings from demonstrations by the unprepared and unsupported, are normally put down in a matter of days!

    Army mutinies and civil uprisings, take hundreds or thousands of people and months of planning if those involved don’t wish to rapidly face death in shoot-outs, beatings from riot police, trial in establishment courts, or later court-martial!
    I would suggest a look at the recent situation in Turkey would illustrate this!

  186. Alan@242

    This really does look like pure wish-thinking on your part!….I think
    you mean I am more streetwise about the reality of clandestine
    operations and political conflicts!

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one Alan. I read into your ‘streetwise’ as being overly cynical I’m afraid.

    I would suggest a look at the recent situation in Turkey would
    illustrate this!

    Being ethnically Turkish I have been following events in Turkey with great interest!! Erdogan has over the last several years replaced secular generals with his own Islamist leaning ones, so the coup attempt over there last year was doomed to fail. That may not have been a bad thing, since if successful it could have led to a civil war rivaling that of Syria’s because Erdogan has a strong 51% backing by the people. Nevertheless Erdogan’s rule is now far too authoritarian and something will have to give at some point to alleviate this. What this may be, I’m not sure. Perhaps a trade embargo by the EU, since relations with the EU are also rapidly dropping?

  187. Olgun – interesting article. But it still doesn’t provide actual evidence that direct foreign intervention initiated the Syrian civil war.

  188. Here’s a very interesting web link of great relevance to our one:

    http://islam-science.net/islamic-theological-views-on-darwinian-evolution-3888/#

    This is a long article but the conclusions listed at the end include these:

    The debates around evolution have not subsided among Muslim scholars, intellectuals, and educated people. The fast growth and advancement of education in the Muslim world over the last half century, coupled with the spread of a globalized culture through the internet and satellite TV channels, in particular, has brought the issue of evolution (and to a lesser extent other topics at the interface of science and religion) to the center of the discussions. More and more Muslims now express their conviction that evolution is a true fact of nature and the current theory is largely correct, and most of them find it totally compatible with their Islamic beliefs. However, a large majority of Muslims, from both the general public and the elite, including the religious scholarly community, still reject the theory, either partially (for humans) or totally; in fact, in many instances (as we have seen) harsh fatwas are issued against the acceptance of evolution.

    More education is needed to bridge this divide. First, it is important to dispel myths and misconceptions about evolution, particularly the widespread idea of “humans descended from monkey”. Secondly, it is important to explain to any audience (school pupils, university students, educated readers, Muslim scholars) that evolution is not necessarily a materialistic theory; it is not an ideological proposition; it is indeed a fully scientific hypothesis/theory, and tons of work have been and continue to be performed around its various aspects, including the experimental/observational evidence. Most importantly, while the facts of evolution must not be disputed, the theory that explains them must continue to be improved, and the philosophical and theological interpretation of evolution can easily be theistic (for believers). Thirdly, it is often useful to provide names and quotes of great Muslim scholars and thinkers who discussed the idea of evolution in the natural world and/or for humans, both in the classical age of Islam and in modern times. Finally, theological arguments must be addressed to alleviate the serious concerns that many Muslims have on the issues I have outlined above.

    By Nidhal Guessoum, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.*

  189. Erol #243
    Aug 1, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Erdogan has over the last several years replaced secular generals with his own Islamist leaning ones, so the coup attempt over there last year was doomed to fail.

    If you don’t think the Turkish up-rising is typical – try this Shia one against Sunni oppression in Saudi-Arabia!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27619309

    Reporting Saudi Arabia’s hidden uprising

    The Eastern Province is home to most of Saudi Arabia’s Shia Muslims. They make up less than 15% of the population, and many claim they suffer sectarian discrimination. The demonstrations in Saudi Arabia began in early 2011, when protesters demanded the release of nine men held for years without trial.

    They were emboldened by the Arab uprisings sweeping through the region. But in this conservative monarchy, dissent is rarely tolerated.

    Over the past three years of protests 20 young men have been killed, and hundreds more have been injured or jailed.

    [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-40800261}(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-40800261)

    Hundreds of people have reportedly been fleeing a town in eastern Saudi Arabia after weeks of clashes between the security forces and armed men.

    It is the latest intensification of sporadic unrest in the Eastern Province, which is largely Shia.

    At least seven people, including two police officers, have been killed in the clashes, Reuters news agency said.

    Local activists say Saudi forces have been firing randomly towards homes and cars, and that buildings have been damaged or burned in the fighting.

    Shia residents of the region around the city of Qatif have long complained that they are marginalised and discriminated against by the Sunni monarchy.

    In May the UN criticised the Saudi attempt to demolish Awamiya’s 400-year-old al-Masora quarter, home to between 2,000 and 3,000 people, saying it threatened historical and cultural heritage.

    The Saudi authorities had imposed power cuts on residents to try to make them leave, said the UN Special Rapporteur on housing, Leilani Farha.

  190. Alan@247

    They were emboldened by the Arab uprisings sweeping through the
    region. But in this conservative monarchy, dissent is rarely
    tolerated.

    I’m not sure of the point you’re making with this link. The Saudis have acted to stop an uprising in their eastern Shia district just as al-Assad’s forces were quick on the scene to try and quell the Sunni uprising in their domain.

  191. To all:

    The post #246 above was submitted by me yesterday but for some reason has only been accepted now.

  192. Erol #246
    Aug 2, 2017 at 6:33 am

    This has been delayed by the spam filter, as it contains a link.
    Delays on single links don’t always happen, but multiple links and edited posts with links often do.

    More and more Muslims now express their conviction that evolution is a true fact of nature and the current theory is largely correct, and most of them find it totally compatible with their Islamic beliefs.

    Regardless of claims, the problem is that (- as with the claims of the Vatican) the scientific theory of evolution is NOT compatible with their beliefs, unless the science is perverted to accommodate those beliefs!
    Science only does views based on following the evidence, NOT beliefs based on the preconceptions of faith!
    A fudged mixture of faith and evidence is no longer science, just as a mixture of rice pudding and horse-shit is no longer human food, or a fudged, flat/global mixture as a compromised discus shaped Earth, is just as invalid as a flat Earth!

    Any compromising and contaminating of the science, invalidates the new version.

    Theistic evolution, is NOT science. It is an attempt to present theology as science by those who find the ignorance fundamentalism an embarrassment, but who still wish to cling to their indoctrinated beliefs of humans as the central feature of the universe run by big-daddy.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

    However, a large majority of Muslims, from both the general public and the elite, including the religious scholarly community, still reject the theory, either partially (for humans) or totally; in fact, in many instances (as we have seen) harsh fatwas are issued against the acceptance of evolution.

    The same is the case with fundamentalist Christians. The fundamental problem, is their requirement for information to be compatible with their indoctrinated preconceptions!

    Some “moderates” claim to “accept science” without understanding it, just as they claim to support the Quran or Bible without reading it!

  193. However, I can understand how someone who’s more conspiracy minded
    such as yourself would wish to choose this latter option even though
    there’s no evidence to support it.

    Alan,

    Why do you think UKIP is a supported party (I don´t recall your exact words nor will I look for it to transcript, it seemed to me some theory of conspirancy).

  194. Alan@250

    Theistic evolution, is NOT science. It is an attempt to present
    theology as science by those who find the ignorance fundamentalism an
    embarrassment, but who still wish to cling to their indoctrinated
    beliefs of humans as the central feature of the universe run by
    big-daddy.

    I totally agree with you! Nevertheless the fact that someone from the Emirates has broached the topic on an Islam based website is positive in my view, since it could represent a first attempt to enlighten those who are only moderately opposed to evolution in principle. The reforming of Islam will take a long time and needs to start somewhere. Reason will eventually prevail. (Hopefully)

  195. Erol #252
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I totally agree with you! Nevertheless the fact that someone from the Emirates has broached the topic on an Islam based website is positive in my view, since it could represent a first attempt to enlighten those who are only moderately opposed to evolution in principle.

    It is an educational problem of trying to overcome the indoctrinated bigoted ignorance!
    “Theistic evolution” (evolutionary creationism), is junk, but at the same time we do not want to discourage those who are beginning to learn or wish to learn.
    Nobody will ever understand genetics or the mechanisms of Natural Selection, from theistic evolution!

    Evolution has no “guided purpose of creating human worshippers of god(s)”, and in fact has no purposes, aims, or objectives, at all! Organisms replicate because they can – or fail and die.

    However, unless they are encouraged to learn in small steps, they will never learn at all!
    Fortunately when organisations like the Vatican say [their fudged] evolution is acceptable to believers, the REAL science gets taught in Catholic school science departments, and the god-did-it junk, gradually fades from the indoctrinated minds as the new generation learns real science!

  196. maria melo #251
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Why do you think UKIP is a supported party (I don´t recall your exact words nor will I look for it to transcript, it seemed to me some theory of conspirancy).

    UKIP is about herding the rebellious ignorant, who resent various aspects of the establishment.
    Like Trump its leaders tell followers whatever they want to hear in exchange for personal support.
    As they use simplistic fanciful ideological faith-type thinking as a substitute for researched information, – like the irrational religious, there is no consistency in their individual reactionary views, so apart from short periods of collective targeted attacks on particular “common enemy”, people or institutions, (on the basis of my enemy’s enemy is my friend) they spend most of their time fighting each other! – Sometimes literally with fists in the European Parliament!

    https://euobserver.com/institutional/135411

    The European Parliament will investigate an incident that sent British MEP Steven Woolfe to hospital on Thursday (6 October).

The institution’s president, Martin Schulz, referred “this very regrettable matter” to the advisory committee on the conduct of members” on Friday.

    The incident will be dealt with “as a matter of urgency next week,” Schulz said in a statement.

    Woolfe, a member of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) collapsed, after a dispute with fellow-Ukip MEP Mike Hookem, during a group meeting in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

    “Mike came at me and landed a blow. The door frame took the biggest hit after I was shoved into it,” Woolfe told the Daily Mail , adding that he banged his head as he fell.

    Like Trump, these are people who are unfit to rule!

  197. Alan@253

    ………..the REAL science gets taught in Catholic school science
    departments, and the god-did-it junk, gradually fades from the
    indoctrinated minds as the new generation learns real science!

    That’s precisely what is needed for Islam! Did you notice that evolution is no longer to be taught in Turkish schools (up to a certain age) because children are deemed too young to learn the ‘controversial subject’. This will now be delayed until undergraduate study – i.e. presumably until after their initial indoctrination of religious nonsense! I despair for Turkey currently.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-evolution-secondary-school-education-national-curriculum-recep-tayyip-erdogan-regime-a7804016.html

  198. Erol #255
    Aug 3, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Did you notice that evolution is no longer to be taught in Turkish schools (up to a certain age) because children are deemed too young to learn the ‘controversial subject’.

    Yep! We discussed it on RDFS last month!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/07/turkey-will-stop-teaching-evolution-in-schools-education-ministry-says/

    i.e. presumably until after their initial indoctrination of religious nonsense!

    That is the indoctrination plan – which is very similar to some of the science denial in the Southern States of the USA.

    I despair for Turkey currently.

    Olgun does not like the present situation either, and he is also of Turkish descent!

  199. Another huge problem: mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex. Like everything else, Trump and his agents of destruction are aggravating the situation. Reform? Forget it. Sessions just hired a new guy. These monsters! Hillary was right; a bunch of deplorables voted him in. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility; well so do I. I am watching Trump right now talking about prosecuting Hillary. (This is now, not back when he was campaigning.) I am looking at the faces of his adoring fans with their red hats and their stupid faces. (Some look quite bright.) They are sickening. (Phil, I realize that they are also the dispossessed. I can’t decide whether they deserve compassion and understanding or contempt. Both? Yes!)

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41497-with-gen-inch-in-charge-we-can-expect-further-militarization-of-the-prison-system

    The appointment of retired Army General Mark S. Inch to head the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a major blow to those working for prison reform under Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on August 1, 2017 that Inch would be taking over the position.

    With General Inch at the helm, we can expect conditions for those incarcerated in federal prisons to further deteriorate.

  200. Dan,

    Phil, I realize that they are also the dispossessed. I can’t decide whether they deserve compassion and understanding or contempt.

    Your concern is always for the moral. (This issue is complex as the abused nearly always transition into abusers to normalise their experience.)

    I need to know they are the dispossessed to fix things politically. Compassion is bred (as I have pointed out in a number of psychological experiments and the simple numbers of things like “The Spirit Level”.) Indeed compassion breeds compassion.

    I picked a fight elsewhere a day or two ago with the observation “Fucking punitive Americans”. I think this a national characteristic that particularly affects those in the USA and right across the political spectrum. (I think the roots of it are deep and wide and cultivated. Hyper individualism, the myth of the omni-competent individual, plus insecurity, keeps you conquerable.) Everyone is fearful and judgemental as all hell of others.

    This pressing need for judgement, I contend stands in the way of actually fixing the problem. Repossession of the dispossessed (even if they have become abusers; even if it means treating them generously) is the more moral path, because it fixes things for generations to come. The young deserve nothing of this.

  201. Further to #229:-

    Alan4discussion #229
    Jul 31, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Britain needs access to the EU markets,
    or it will by default operate under the less favourable World Trade Organisation rules,
    and potentially have tariffs charged on its products while competitors do not!

    We keep hearing brexiteers chant
    “The best deal for Britain”,
    but evidence suggests the best deal for Britain is the one we already have as EU members! –
    but that is not to say that the EU does not need some reforms!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40813585

    One of the UK’s biggest business lobby groups has urged the cabinet to stop “dancing around the edges” of Brexit.

    The Institute of Directors (IoD) called on the cabinet to come up with a “transitional agreement” to smooth the move to Brexit.

    It wants it to bridge the “the Brexit Gap” between leaving the EU and setting up new trading arrangements.

    It warned that without agreement, business faces “short-term chaotic cliff edges”.

    The group criticised the cabinet for engaging in what it called “a range of speculative arguments over transition”.

    In recent weeks cabinet members have given opposing views on how long a transition period would last and what it would involve.

    The IoD report Bridging the Brexit Gap: Options for Transition said: “Instead of dancing around the edges, this issue must become a policy discussion for the cabinet.

    Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond warned in June: “There is a large amount of business investment that is being postponed until business can see more clearly what the likely outcome of these discussions is.”

    Allie Renison, IoD head of EU and Trade Policy, said: “The Chancellor is right to worry about business investment stalling.

    “This is among the most frequently considered changes to deal with Brexit, alongside relocation of operations to the EU.

    “The latter is especially true for IoD members in Northern Ireland who are currently considering co-location [or] relocation.”

    Its a bit like the borders issue!
    The clowns who are too incompetent to use the existing border controls,
    want to blame Europe for the under manning and under funding of the UK Borders Agency,
    and “take back” the control,
    they failed to effectively operate in the first place!

    Basically, the cabinet of Europhobic brexiteers, who started with no plan and no idea, months later, are whistling along, heading for the cliff edge, with the two-year clock ticking, and STILL have no plan and no coherent policy!

  202. Phil #259

    Yes I suppose you’re right.

    You know someone needs to come out with a book or a study that once and for all exposes the myth of the free market. I suspect that that myth has done as much to damage to this country than any myth of religion.

    “The free market will take care of everything.” Kind of like religion in a lot of ways. A way to rationalize and manipulate.

    Someone coined the phrase: free market fundamentalism. Very apt.

  203. Dan #261
    Aug 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    “The free market will take care of everything.”
    Kind of like religion in a lot of ways.

    Surely in New York, you have seen its cathedrals, high priests, and televangelists!

    Those towering corporate head-office buildings are unmistakable!

  204. Look at this! It’s sick!

    WASHINGTON — In a sign of an expanding alliance between the Trump administration and one of the most well-financed forces in conservative politics, Vice President Mike Pence has agreed to speak to a gathering of the billionaire Koch brothers’ advocacy network this month.

    Mr. Pence will deliver the keynote address on Aug. 19 in Richmond, Va., to the annual meeting of activists and donors organized by Americans for Prosperity, the group announced on Friday. The nonprofit advocacy group is financed by the industrialist brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, and their allies.

    Now look at what the Koch brothers have been advocating! (From Bernie Sanders’ website)

    https://www.sanders.senate.gov/koch-brothers

  205. Dan #263
    Aug 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    @link -Now look at what the Koch brothers have been advocating!

    A true recipe for a third world state with a puppet government driven by corruption and corporate slush-funds!

  206. You don’t share my fondness for Wilde’s use of Christian imagery and symbolism, Phil?

    Power? No. It [the “Christian twist” in Wilde’s Selfish Giant] is a ghastly and perverse hijacking of a more earthy love. A necessary love as Emily Bronte would have it.

    “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.” – Emily Bronte

    Sounds very earthy, necessary, and powerful.

    Oh Heathcliff, Heathcliff…. sob. He’s so much more her than she is…. sob.

    Phil, all kidding aside, in my opinion it is virtually impossible to write well about love without calling the language of transcendence to one’s aid. The earthy Bronte couldn’t avoid it.

    I basically detest religion as religion but I love how certain authors use religious and mythological (same thing) allusions and themes and symbols to enhance their writing. I have no objection to that as long as it is done well and makes me feel something.

  207. Dan,

    You were right to flip to the open thread. from the other, which is where I responded without seeing this.

    I’ll carry on here.

    Incidentally, no “transcendence” in your example…

  208. You don’t share my fondness for Wilde’s use of Christian imagery and symbolism, Phil?

    He invokes an obscenity.

    Heathcliff…. sob. He’s so much more her than she is

    Exactly not.

  209. So the question is, come August the eleventh will we get a new Open Thread to switch to? This would keep the threads individually manageable.

    This one has done reasonably well and may reach 300 comments. Traffic generally appears better.

  210. Dan,

    Sorry I completely misread what you wrote in ” He’s so much more (her) than she is.”

    “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”

    It is not possible for a Victorian Vicars daughter to escape religious vocabulary and tropes but she very much is striving for something non-ethereal, with the immediacy of her own existence.

  211. Phil, 268

    So the question is, come August the eleventh will we get a new Open
    Thread to switch to? This would keep the threads individually
    manageable.

    Yes, we’re happy with the way the open thread has worked so far. For the sake of clarity, we’ll leave it until 1st Sept to set up the new thread (labeled Open Discussion: September 2017), and then do it monthly from then, always assuming it continues to work well.

    The mods

  212. @#260 – One of the UK’s biggest business lobby groups
    has urged the cabinet to stop “dancing around the edges” of Brexit.

    The Institute of Directors (IoD) called on the cabinet
    to come up with a “transitional agreement” to smooth the move to Brexit.

    Other experts are pointing out the time wasting and lack of planning!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40836488

    The UK needs a “credible fallback” in case no EU trade deal is reached during Brexit negotiations, former Bank of England governor Mervyn King has said.

    Lord King said British negotiators needed to show Brussels the country has an alternative over a bad trade deal post-Brexit.

    The former governor, who served between 2003 and 2013, said no deal was “not the first preference of anybody”.

    He said the government “probably wasted a year” on its contingency plans.

    The first round of Brexit negotiations at the European Commission ended in July.

    Brexit Secretary David Davis said Brussels might delay trade talks due to a lack of progress on the cost of the UK’s “divorce” settlement.

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lord King said: “We are where we are, and we are in a negotiation and it’s important that the negotiation succeeds.

    But it cannot succeed without a credible fallback position and that is something which I think is a practical thing that the civil service ought to be taking a lead on.”

    This is in sharp contrast to the clueless time-wasting shuffling of Theresa May, and the whistling buffoonery of Boris!

    Previously Prime Minister Theresa May has said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

    If the UK left the EU without a trade deal with the 27 other nations it would rely on World Trade Organisation rules, and trade agreements between Europe and other countries may not be available to Britain.

    Warnings of unresolved brexit problems, are also coming from the Leaders of the Republic of Ireland! – with the UK government still having no plan and no answers!

  213. Prime Minister Theresa May has said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

    Is it actually possible that Britain may find itself with a deal worse than “no deal” (which means World Trade Organization rules)? What can Theresa May mean by such a sentence? This seems to be no more than an expression of her own muddlemindedness or, worse, dishonest obfuscation.

    However one looks at the United Kingdom’s options, there can be no deal as good as the one it already has as a member of the European Union. Governments are elected to govern for the common good. Despite the outcome of the referendum, which, by a very slim margin and because of a campaign of misinformation and scaremongering, favored leaving the European Union, the members of Parliament should now do what is manifestly in the interests of the common good of the United Kingdom: disregard the referendum result as injurious to the nation’s interests, cancel the triggering of Article 50, and reaffirm the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union. If some voters object, too bad. Theirs is not the responsibility of governing. The referendum was not binding on Parliament, and rule by referendum is not democratic government but mob rule. The initial and remaining problem in this case seems to be the lack of principle and integrity, the irresponsibility and the spineless self-serving of British parliamentarians.

  214. Garrick #273
    Aug 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Prime Minister Theresa May has said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

    Is it actually possible that Britain may find itself with a deal worse than “no deal” (which means World Trade Organization rules)?

    I suppose the UK could get no deal, WTO Rules, AND a bill from other people, for all the wasted effort and resources, which are being put into negotiations of the brexiteer’s “no-plan fantasies”!

    The pound and investment have already been significantly down-graded, because of the uncertainty and lack of confidence, caused fumbling political ideological idiots, who seem incapable of formulating any coherent plan, but keep chanting, “Brexit means brexit” – and – “Respect the (stupidity of the dishonest con-artists’) referendum”!
    Some businesses are already relocating to other countries.

  215. Phil, you irritate me at times, because you make me question what I like and the validity of my theories. So thanks. Now that I got that off my chest I’d like to say that you can be rigid.

    Incidentally, no “transcendence” in your example…

    Soul? That’s not the language of transcendence? So she said “soul” and Wilde said “the prints of two nails were on his feet.”

    So Wilde makes the little boy into a Christ figure. How is that obscene? I like that story and so do many other people. You do like to be right, don’t you?

    Oh Heathcliff, you dark-skinned animal, you fool, you brute. Come here. No. You mustn’t. sob.

    My love for him is eternal and my love for the other guy isn’t eternal. sob. But I shan’t marry him; we must not be wed. sob. He and I are one but he is more me than me. “Shall we dance the quadrille?” she asked herself. Oh if he could only carry me away to the stars. She flushed – and then fainted, and then flushed – or was it the other way around? Oh Heathcliff… I am all him and he me but I don’t want to be subordinate (yet I hardly know what else to write about). My soul yearns for him so I must be yearning for myself. Where’s my mirror and my candle? Better yet, where’s my horse? Where’s my servant! Fetch me my horse at once!

    Does everyone have to like what you like? I like Henry Miller. You can’t easily go back to the Victorian Era after him. I am not a huge fan of Bronte and, incidentally, I dislike Virginia Woolf with a passion. Her works don’t speak to me.

    Your favorite interlocutor,

    Me

  216. Alan, (on comment 250)

    I´m glad that someone made it clear here. I really appreciate your comment 250, as far as i´ve been participating in the same kind of discussion on different disperse threads here on RDF (not available to link to anymore i´m afraid).

  217. Phil, others

    Back to Trump. Let me cut to the chase. These are all white supremacists. Bannon and Miller are white supremacists and that is what they are selling to their base: bigotry. I heard that Bannon brought in (extremist and lunatic) Ann Coulter to help him with immigration. Probably did. One’s worse than the other. All scum.

    “They are taking your jobs. I want to create jobs and prosperity. They are murderers and rapists. Let them learn English. This is our culture. I represent the will of the people, the workers, the real people.” That could be Hitler. Let’s not kid ourselves. They are all bigots. Sessions wants to be able to seize the property of people suspected (suspected!) of possessing weed. Who has the pot? That’s right. The hispanics and blacks. You got it.

    Compassion breeds compassion. Phil

    It’s hard to feel compassion for the savages that are cheering at trump’s rallies while someone seizes property (asset forfeiture) and wants to fill the private prisons for profit, or feel compassion for someone who hates blacks and latinos and the poor for the psychopaths who lie about the free market in order to get rich while others stay poor and miserable.

    Jeff Sessions Is Taking Law Enforcement Back to the 1980s

    On asset forfeiture, prison sentences, and police oversight, Trump’s beleaguered attorney general is rolling back decades of progress.

    C.J. Ciaramella | August 4, 2017 reason.com

    Take the issue of civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to seize people’s property on the mere suspicion that is connected to criminal activity, like drugs. The practice has become widely criticized by both Republicans and Democrats in recent years, but Sessions has always been a staunch defender of it. In a 2015 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, after listening to speaker after speaker trot out a parade of horribles about asset forfeiture, Sessions had his turn. Ninety-five percent of asset forfeiture cases, Sessions declared, involve people “who have done nothing in their lives but sell dope.”

    The quote is classic Sessions and reveals quite a bit about how he sees criminal justice. […]

  218. And those “pure” and phony and shrill progressives that wouldn’t vote for Hillary because she wasn’t Sanders and because she spoke at Goldman Sachs, etc. have blood on their unencumbered stupid hands – figuratively speaking. They left the most vulnerable behind and now the people they are supposed to care about are being hurt more. Hope they all learned a lesson.

    If that shit happens again in 2020, we’re all doomed.

    (I am thinking of re-reading Wuthering Heights. I read it years ago. The great critic F.O. Matthiessen liked it and I respect him.)

  219. Dan,

    Put an answer to your last post on the Pensacola thread. I should have put it here. (We con’t need to distract the flow of other threads any longer. I’m going to try and kick the habit.)

    I’ll be back on the literary criticism here tomorrow. Its one of my favourite things to debate with you. Thank goodness we have different tastes….

    The Christian story is a cheap conning obscenity. Christ had a bad weekend for our “sins”. Not my sins. Not as protracted and bad a time as my dad had. Eternal Life? I’m not built for it. Such hyperinflation cheapens everything.

  220. Yes Phil, and now I’m thinking about my own list of sins and wondering why I didn’t sin even more delicious sins since I had a ready and waiting scapegoat all good to go…so convenient.

  221. Phil

    We’re talking about literature and art, not religion per se. The allegory of Christ’s life and death has been fodder for many great artists. Moreover, I would question the depth of anyone who would insist that it is without meaning.

    See you tomorrow.

  222. Laurie, Dan,

    I would question the depth of anyone who would insist that it is without meaning.

    Shallow Phil here. I can see how it would work a thousand years ago, but not now. As someone brought up entirely free and clear of anyone I respected telling me this was significant, the allegory of Christ’s life has meant nothing much. A sacrifice that involves a few days dead then back to heaven, had me at WTF at eight.

    The two most religious people in my life were the two Head mistresses of my primary/junior school. Miss Lenham (we said Lemon…we couldn’t hear the difference) and later Miss Lyons. The first dotty and sweet the latter fierce and obsessed with pronunciation. (…with dismal store-is, His strength the more is…)

    These were not clever people. I was occasionally taken by the teacher to see them to show off my knowledge of this or that. I knew they had nothing for me in return.

    The most I got from these folk was a discovery of Christina Rossetti, In the Bleak Mid-Winter… and Blake. Poetry started to work. And around nine I realised I had mysterious buttons inside me. Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…(I was transported in moments to something unpleasant yet wonderful.) DARE (shudder)frame thy fearful symmetry. I was more complicated than I thought.

    Later I got exactly this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fINh4SsOyBw

    the simple palpable idiocy of religion.

    Religiously inspired art was always utterly empty for me. The stories they depicted useless nonsense. The music, however was sublime. The masses and Passions of all of the greats, but also the wild stuff of the Glagolitic Mass, the quirky Petite Misse Solonelle, impossibly sweet Faure, shuddery Penderecki, Peasant/Primitive Orff, sublime Hildegard von Bingen, all just stuffed to the gunnels with music that could transport me wherever my imagination wanted to go.

    The first positive encounter I had with “religion”, I didn’t know it. My neighbour was a history lecturer. A sweet and clever man who was a Quaker and father to my home friends. I loved his library. History, poetry, philosophy, it was an unsuspected literary world about people. I found it fascinating and mysterious, not my books of wonder at all, nor my inherited library of Sci Fi. At eleven he got the just unbanned Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Over several months of discreet reading (I don’t think he knew), it answered a lot of questions and confirmed not a few hypotheses I had formed some topological but others emotional. Grown ups had all sorts of problems to contend with. We had a few simple discussions (though at the time they seemed impossibly profound) about the struggle to live well with others that very possibly started me off on this best of all possible problems to tackle. Not one hint of Christ, because none pertained. None ever has.

  223. Phil, Laurie

    “I would question the depth of anyone who would insist that it is without meaning.”

    I didn’t mean you, Phil, for heaven’s sake. I meant Laurie! (Just kidding, Laurie.) And I shouldn’t have put it that way anyway. Not really interested in debating this right now, as I can’t think of too many examples at the moment of authors that have inspired me where you can see a direct religious influence in their works and to good effect. I can, however, think of more than several that have said that they had read the Bible and that it was an important to them. (Hardy, for example.) I am a non-theist like you. What else can one be? I was just defending the use of religious imagery and symbolism in art and defending religious inspired art. One should find inspiration wherever one can. Some find it in nature, some find it from here, some there, and a few have found it in “Scripture”, along with other texts. I have been uplifted by certain plays and novels and stories that employ certain symbols and/or phrases that one might call “religious”. There aren’t that many. Dickens, and Strindberg, and Dante, come to mind.

    As for religious-inspired music and paintings and sculpture, it’s all around us. (I am not even sure what “religious-inspired” even means, in a physical sense; but if they felt strongly enough about what they were doing to create the works the did, I’d say they were inspired.)

    Who knows? Without that source of inspiration there’s be another and the end product would have been different. But there’s no point in asking “what if”, is there? Perhaps the final product would be worse! Beethoven put it well when he berated a musician for complaining about the difficulty of a certain passage in one of his quartets: “what do I care about your stupid violin; I am trying to speak to my god!” Let Beethoven be.

    I’m actually bored with this topic right now. I like what I like, and, as you know, dislike what I dislike.

    I wouldn’t seek out “atheist literature” and I certainly wouldn’t seek out “theist literature” (if such a thing exists); I read what I read and it’s either good or bad.

    Not interested in watching the Monty Python sketch. Maybe later.

    Unlike you I had no (zero) religious teachers or friends or family members in my childhood. I developed an interest in moral matters and religion (in a very broad sense of the word) after reading my first Norman Mailer book in my early twenties. That changed my life. (Forgot about him; he’s behind a lot of this.)

  224. Cont.

    This is from the transcript, published in 1965, of Mailer’s testimony at the Boston obscenity trial of Naked Lunch, by William Burroughs. I edited the exchange, but left his prepared speech intact. He makes the point that a novel can be enhanced in subtle ways by religious themes, and we as a society can be enhanced. The author might not have even been conscious of using them, as they are so much a part of our culture (and the language of our culture).

    Q. Let me rephrase the question more simply. Do you think that Burroughs in this book has drawn up out of the unconscious, in one way or another, a great deal of material which has become useful, which by being placed in artistic form, has become unique?

    MAILER: I think it is not only unique and useful, but I think that he has given a portrait in this work. I think this work, as one of the gentlemen who testified earlier spoke of St. Augustine, I wouldn’t begin to think of St. Augustine. To me this is a simple portrayal of Hell. It is Hell precisely. In fact, Your Honor, I have written a little bit about that to bring in — Should I read that, if you wish?

    Q. You have some notes. I think?

    THE COURT: You have some notes?

    MAILER: I have some notes.

    Q. Go ahead, Mr. Mailer.

    MAILER: William Burroughs is in my opinion — whatever his conscious intention may be — a religious writer. There is a sense in NAKED LUNCH of the destruction of soul, which is more intense than any I have encountered in any other modern novel. It is a vision of how mankind would act if man was totally divorced from eternity. What gives this vision a machine-gun-edged clarity is an utter lack of sentimentality. The expression of sentimentality in religious matters comes forth usually as a sort of saccharine piety which revolts any idea of religious sentiment in those who are sensitive, discriminating, or deep of feeling. Burroughs avoids even the possibility of such sentimentality (which would, of course, destroy the value of his work), by attaching a stringent, mordant vocabulary to a series of precise and horrific events, a species of gallows humor which is a defeated man’s last pride, the pride that he has, at least, not lost his bitterness. So it is the sort of humor which flourishes in prisons, in the Army, among junkies, race tracks and pool halls, a graffiti of cool, even livid wit, based on bodily functions and the frailties of the body, the slights, humiliations and tortures a body can undergo. It is a wild and deadly humor, as even and implacable as a sales tax; it is the small coin of communication in every one of those worlds. Bitter as alkali, it pickles every serious subject in the caustic of the harshest experience; what is left untouched is as dry and silver as a bone. It is this sort of fine, dry residue which is the emotional substance of Burroughs’ work for me.

    Just as Hieronymus Bosch set down the most diabolical and blood-curdling details with a delicacy of line and a Puckish humor which left one with a sense of the mansions of horror attendant upon Hell, so, too, does Burroughs leave you with an intimate, detailed vision of what Hell might be like, a Hell which may be waiting as the culmination, the final product, of the scientific revolution. At the end of medicine is dope; at the end of life is death; at the end of man may be the Hell which arrives from the vanities of the mind. Nowhere, as in NAKED LUNCH’S collection of monsters, half mad geniuses, cripples, mountebanks, criminals, perverts, and putrefying beasts is there such a modern panoply of the vanities of the human will, of the excesses of evil which occur when the idea of personal or intellectual power reigns superior to the compassions of the flesh.

    We are richer for that record; and we are more impressive as a nation because a publisher can print that record and sell it in an open bookstore, sell it legally. It even offers a hint that the “Great Society,” which Lyndon Johnson speaks of, may not be merely a politician’s high wind, but indeed may have the hard seed of a new truth; for no ordinary society could have the bravery and moral honesty to stare down into the abyss of NAKED LUNCH. But a Great Society can look into the chasm of its own potential Hell and recognize that it is stronger as a nation for possessing an artist who can come back from Hell with a portrait of its dimensions.

    And I would add, and so warrants all, perhaps.

  225. I’m not against the use of biblical and other religious narratives. I often use versions of eden, banishment and knowledge because there is some sort of insight in it.

    The Jesus story is execrable for all its few moments of moral modernity. Eternal life an appalling, morally poisoning bribe.

    Mailer was very astute….

    Monty Python was not for entertainment but simply to evidence my own experience. It felt exactly like that.

  226. Hey Phil,

    Christianity has been a great scourge, for the most part. I think Hell, which is not Christian in origin as far as I know (Alan4D would know, or you might know) is a concept that enriches us all, however. Sounds like an odd thing to say, I guess.

    Imagine if the story of Jesus was written today as a work of fiction! It would make a wonderful and imaginative novel! And we’d be a lot better off if everyone read that story as fiction – a work of fiction with a dark, philosophical message.

    I happen to like the use of the stigmata in The Selfish Giant. I understand your dislike of it. Perhaps I’ll come around to disliking it more.

    I’ll check out the clip now, just wasn’t in the mood before.

  227. Brian spoke more morally, less coercively without tricks and promises and threats.

    Think for yourselves.

    Our very success is the result of a mutualism with great diversity. Religion squashes our varieties of speech, our varieties of concerns, our varieties of aspirations.

  228. Dan,

    The Jesus story is such a contrived thing and carries such baggage, fulfilling prophecy, scapegoating ancient heritable (!) crimes, risen again this day in heaven, swapping the burden of original sin (too obvious coercion) for the sleek subtle coercion of a debt of gratitude, yet still to be repaid… and all for a free $500 BDSM suspension….

    A nobler story is the individual tortured to death whose continued silence saves a village say, and whose suffering and death are quiet and ill perceived. There are, ostensibly, far better souls than Christ’s.

  229. Erol #291
    Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to him [Christ]:

    Apparently, but not really.

    The key passage in the Testimonium Taciteum — “Christ, the author of this name [Chrestians (mentioned in the previous sentence)] was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius” — contains the only mention of Christ in Tacitus’s work. This passage is now regarded by most historians as an interpolation in a passage where Tacitus is referring to the followers of the Jewish instigator Chrestus first suppressed under Claudius (as reported by Suetonius, who, significantly, had no knowledge of a scapegoating of Christians for the fire in Rome in 64 CE). Tacitus wrote this part of his Annals around the year 116 CE, but this interpolation in it is not known until some time after the middle of the fourth century. The documentary evidence is so scant, however, that no certainty can be had on these points. The strongest indications that the cited passage was interpolated by a later scribe is in the textual analysis, the three main points of which are the discrepancy of vowels between ‘Chrestians’ and ‘Christ’, the absence of any mention of blame for the Neronian fire in Rome on Christians in reports by Pliny the Elder and Suetonius, and the disturbance of the flow and balance of the sentence (uncharacteristic of Tacitus’s writing) that results from the presence of this passage.

    If the passage generally thought to have been inserted later is in fact a reference to a man named Christ who was executed under Pontius Pilate — for this remains a possibility, albeit less likely — this still does not count as an independent source concerning a historical Christ. Tacitus was a close friend of Pliny the Younger, and both of them were governors of neighboring provinces in Asia Minor at the same time and corresponded regularly, frequently asking each other for information for the books they were each writing. Pliny had never heard of Christians before 110 CE, when he had occasion to question some Christians about their beliefs, which had to do with “the worship of a certain Christ who was like a god”, but he gives no further details (not even the name Jesus). Tacitus most probably received his information about Christians and their beliefs from Pliny; if he had any other source, it could only have been Christians telling him about their religion. Either way, Tacitus’s mention of Christ and Christians/Chrestians in his Annals, written in the second decade of the second century, relies on Christians’ testimonies of their own religious beliefs. That is to say, it is not an independent source of historical information about someone named Christ and therefore has no value as historical evidence. You can find a good summary of the available evidence and the various arguments based on it regarding Pliny’s and Tacitus’s mentions of Christ in On the Historicity of Jesus, ch. 8, §10 (pp. 342-346) by Richard Carrier.

  230. Erol #291
    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to him:

    After the fire of Rome July 64 AD Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to THE STORIES ABOUT him, told by the early Christians who Nero blamed for the fire! : –

    @wiki link – Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome,

    Tacitus was about 7 years old at the time of the Great Fire of Rome, and like other Romans as he grew up he would have most likely heard about the fire that destroyed most of the city, and Nero’s accusations against Christians.

    So Tacitus is repeating a mythical story he heard as a child, years after the fire, which was around 30 years after supposed events. – Hardly an eye-witness account of any details of anything which is claimed to have happened by the Canonical Gospels of the New Testament! which were edited in the 4th. century AD!

    So:- to sum up:-

    There is a story that some troublesome preacher was crucified, and his followers were blamed by Nero for the fire. (- which could well have been started by Nero as a slum-clearance and redevelopment project!)

    Bear in mind that the area was over-run by itinerant Jewish preachers at this time in history, and that the Romans crucified thousands of criminals, terrorist rebels, rabble-rousers, and trouble-makers!

  231. Garrick@292, and Alan@294,

    Yes, I had realized that a time gap had elapsed before Tacitus’s reference, allowing for corruption of the original story/myth – hence my use of the term ‘apparently’.

  232. Erol #295
    Aug 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    hence my use of the term ‘apparently’.

    While on this site we use terms like “apparently”, by the time trooo believers have passed the story with “faith”, to each other a few times, such vague references from hearsay, mistranslation or later forgery, have morphed into references to “solid evidence” that the biblical accounts of crucifixion, resurrection etc. are troooo!

    The Emperor Constantine sent his dotty old Christian mother across the Mediterranean from Rome, to look for bits of the trroo cross, in the the 4th. century AD, but the evidence from the only archaeological artefact, is that the Christian crucifix is not representative of the type of cross used in Jerusalem at the alleged time of the crucifixion!

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-a-stone-box-a-rare-trace-of-crucifixion/
    The position of the stake was evidence of a crucifixion technique that had not previously been known, according to museum curator David Mevorah.
    In the image of crucifixion made famous by Christian iconography, Jesus is pictured with both feet nailed to the front of the vertical beam of the cross. But this man’s feet had been affixed to the sides of the beam with nails hammered separately through each heel.

    His hands showed no sign of wounds, indicating that they had been tied, rather than nailed, to the horizontal bar.

  233. Cont. from Q of the Wk thread

    In a recent study, biologists have found that baby rats whose mothers lick them have physically different brain structures from those whose mothers don’t (Begley 1998). The differences lie in the brain regions that respond to stress. Licked rats handle stress better then deprived rats do, suggesting that the experiences in life shapes the brain even with simple traits such as temperament. It is very important to understand that our brain has a plasticity that allows it to be shaped by our behaviors and experiences. – Source: some paper I found

    There you go. Mr. Begley. That’s what I say; and I haven’t looked under a microscope since I was in high school. Now this argument may appear superficial, but I will say it again anyway. If someone forces you to chop wood or hunt for game or to use a sledge hammer and you do that for many hours a day for thirty years and your sons do that and their sons do that and this pattern of behavior, directed from without, continues for many generations, than obviously, over time, there will be a physical correlate, a biological mark, if you will, somewhere, in the form of musculature, or a correlate in the form of a mass or process of some kind within the dark, lifeless, unilluminated interior of the brain. Then neuroscientists will look at that mass or pulse or secreted chemical, or whatever it is, give it a name and point to it as a cause of certain behaviors. Then they will form hypotheses: males are more inclined to choose baseball as a past time or a profession because of this thing in the brain or that bodily substance… When all along the physical process or structure named erroneously as cause had been produced by, had come into existence as a result of, behavior; this so-called cause was originally a mere product of the influence of that behavior. Wouldn’t evolutionary biology tend to support my intuitive – and hopefully not asinine – assumption?

    And it isn’t it a mistake to always look to the brain as the ultimate cause of our behavior and personality traits?

  234. Dan #297
    Aug 9, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    The information you seem to have difficulty understanding, is supported by, thousands of man-hours of serious scientific experiments which have tested ideas including using chemical analysis, and high-tec scanning techniques and observations of large sample often over large numbers of years.

    You can’t simply make stuff up and claim that seriously challenges this sort of work!

  235. Dan, read Sapolsky’s latest.

    You will not be unhappy, but you are missing many mechanisms. You are also putting up straw hypotheses.

  236. Here’s a repost of Sapolsky from the intro to behave,

    I MAKE MY living as a combination neurobiologist—someone who studies the brain—and
    primatologist—someone who studies monkeys and apes. Therefore, this is a book that is
    rooted in science, specifically biology. And out of that come three key points. First, you
    can’t begin to understand things like aggression, competition, cooperation, and
    empathy without biology; I say this for the benefit of a certain breed of social scientist
    who finds biology to be irrelevant and a bit ideologically suspect when thinking about
    human social behavior. But just as important, second, you’re just as much up the creek if
    you rely only on biology; this is said for the benefit of a style of molecular
    fundamentalist who believes that the social sciences are destined to be consumed by
    “real” science. And as a third point, by the time you finish this book, you’ll see that it
    actually makes no sense to distinguish between aspects of a behavior that are
    “biological” and those that would be described as, say, “psychological” or “cultural.”

  237. Phil

    I say this for the benefit of a certain breed of social scientist
    who finds biology to be irrelevant and a bit ideologically suspect when thinking about
    human social behavior.

    This is a straw man as it is an erroneous distinction. Such things as aggression are “caused” by mechanisms within the brain. But I refuse to ‘believe’ that these mechanisms were not caused by something more primary.

    (I promise I will read Sapolsky’s book. I give you my word.)

    (Hopefully not an imprecise ) analogy (and proposition): “my muscles cause me to lift heavy objects.”

    Corrected: my muscles did not originate from within the body without a prior cause. They were originally caused by the act of lifting and that in turn enables me to continue lifting.

    And the parts of the brain that produce aggression and other behaviors did not appear without a more primary cause; they evolved and are a product of action and interaction with the environment. The question I am raising is similar to the old chicken-egg question. Obviously the chicken appeared first; and I am quite convinced that aggression (and other emotions) preceded the limbic system.

    I am not not knowledgeable in the area of neurobiology but I am, dare I say it, intellectually gifted and an intuitive thinker. Listen (and try not to laugh), and let me put it another way: if you were to force yourself to, say, never get angry and succeeded (through some technique of some kind; this is a hypothetical situation; stay with me) and your children and their children were taught never to get angry, then over time (after many, many generations) anger would cease to exist and the part of the brain you say CAUSES anger would either cease to exist or would be altered in some way. Then, if anger came back in fashion and everyone started getting angry again and this persisted for centuries, a correlate in the brain would develop alongside the redevelopment of the expression of anger. This correlate (the limbic system of the brain) will be viewed as a cause of anger but only after it had been formed by that which caused it to be formed in the fist place, to wit, the expression of anger (and other emotions).

    Alan, Phil, I could be way off. I’ve been wrong before (I think). But try to appreciate what I am saying.

    Laurie, sorry about The Selfish Giant. I just liked it. Friends?

    Sorry about the straw, Phil. But could you tell me where I used a straw man? I simply cannot accept the notion that any inner process within the brain created the emotions or reason. (Is that the straw?) The cerebral cortex and the limbic system are only emotion and logic and judgment (respectively) objectified.

    (I am acutely aware that there are holes in my argument, but I can’t help feeling that I am on to something. I am, of course, completely impartial when it comes to assessing my own ideas.)

  238. Correction: The limbic system and the cerebral cortex are only emotion and logic and judgment (respectively) objectified.

    One more (crude yet hopefully not imprecise) analogy concerning the related issue of causality: you beat a rock with a shovel until it turns to rubble. The cause of the change in the rock was the impact of the shovel; but the primary cause was you who did the beating. The limbic system is the cause of a given emotion. But the primary cause behind this cause of the emotion was, originally, in the beginning, an external cause that gave rise to the emotion in the first place.

    Okay, one more analogy: complexion was originally determined or caused by the sun as well as genetics. My crudely expressed point is corroborated by this:

    “human skin color ranges in variety from the darkest brown to the lightest hues. An individual’s skin pigmentation is the result of genetics, being the product of both of the individual’s biological parents’ genetic makeup. In evolution, skin pigmentation in human beings evolved by a process of natural selection primarily to regulate the amount of ultraviolet radiation penetrating the skin, controlling its biochemical effects.” From Wikipedia