OPEN DISCUSSION – MARCH 2018

224

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224 COMMENTS

  1. The March open discussion thread is now open.

    Please do NOT add any further comments to earlier Open Discussion threads.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  2. UK members might be interested in this petition.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200131

    End the animal cruelty laws exemptions for halal and shechita slaughter houses

    The EU’s 2009 slaughter regulation requires all animals, including poultry, to be stunned before slaughter.
    Religious abattoirs in the UK are de facto exempt from laws which apply to non-religious abattoirs.
    Animal welfare must take priority over faith tradition.

  3. Hundreds gather at church for blessing ceremony featuring AR-15s

    NEWFOUNDLAND, Pa. — Hundreds of crown-wearing worshipers clutching
    AR-15 rifles drank holy wine and exchanged or renewed wedding vows in
    a commitment ceremony at a Pennsylvania church on Wednesday, prompting
    a nearby school to cancel classes. With state police and a smattering
    of protesters standing watch outside the church, brides clad in white
    and grooms in dark suits brought dozens of unloaded AR-15s into World
    Peace and Unification Sanctuary for a religious event that doubled as
    an advertisement for the Second Amendment.

    World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland believes the
    AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the biblical book of Revelation.

    Sheer lunacy. Sheer, literal lunacy. And since it’s the idea of the son of the founder of the original Moonie cult, I guess there’s a pun in there somewhere too. But seriously: how sick is this?

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hundreds-of-worshipers-gather-at-church-hosting-ceremony-featuring-ar-15s/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=48658133

  4. Dear Mr. Rimmer,

    I’d like to rectify some of the statements made by you. You spoke about several leaders and certain “psychopaths”. I think you confuse psychopaths and sociopaths here. Both can probably accurately be described as “pricks” (not sure whether that’s the medical term), but psychopaths are the murderers who like cutting people into little bits (Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, etc. etc.), whereas sociopaths are people who are totally selfish and disregard other people completely, but don’t enjoy cutting people into pieces.

  5. Marco #3 Mar 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    brought dozens of unloaded AR-15s into World
    Peace and Unification Sanctuary for a religious event

    Perhaps it should be explained to them, that for an AR-15 to be a Christian symbol of peace, it not only needs to be unloaded, but it also needs to be put into a vice and have the barrel hammered into a 90° bend! – as instructed by THE BIBLE 🙂

    King James Bible – and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

  6. Hi, Adrian.

    I honestly don’t think I confuse anything.

    The analysis of various leaders that informed my judgements was done using the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (which see), done by a psychologist. I put the link up just over a year ago. I’ll try and find it.

    Currently what we know as psychopathic and sociopathic are diagnosed in DSM5 as Antisocial Personality Disorder.

    It is a current misapprehension that psychopaths are killers. The psychopathic, being very low in empathy merely have little difficulty in killing, hence suitability for leadership in times of war, say. They are rarely murderers because they are mostly scrupulously rational and have too much to lose, unless, that is, they are also psychotic. It is this latter that goes most readily with murder.

    Sociopath was coined around 1955 to soften the blow of “psychopath” (1910) and create a lesser condition that could be used with family members, but it is a term rarely used by researchers. I have one psychopath friend (diagnosed before DSM5) and, more so than aspie me, has no innate empathy. Like me he has learned how to behave himself according to cultural norms. Like me he is growing into conditioned responses that look suspiciously like emotions.

  7. I think it fits into my musings the other day about Evangelicals having made Republican America their god.

    The American Constitution is A Good Thing > All good things come from God > Therefore the American Constitution comes from God.

    The American Constitution includes the second amendment > Therefore the second amendment comes from God > Therefore God wants us to have guns > Therefore we would be going against God’s will by trying to limit them ….

    and so on and so forth.

    It really is completely bonkers.

  8. It really is completely bonkers.

    There is a new satire, a new Gulliver’s Travels to be written. We have found our Yahoos, looking to all intents and purposes like real people.

  9. Vicki

    Meh. Native New Englander here. No worries. Battening down the hatches as we speak. 🙂 We’ve had much worse than this one. My home owner’s insurance policy is up to snuff.

  10. Vicki #10
    Mar 1, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Looks like you have some nasty weather headed your way…

    (In England) I’ve also got frosts and 6 inches of drifting powder snow with some roads closed from time to time, – but Scotland and the SW have it worse, while the unprepared people in the south around London, are making a big fuss about a small amount of snow as usual!

  11. Alf #13

    “And if god is good, then the AR 15 is divine. Pray to the AR”.

    Probably only a matter of time. We really are well into the realms of lunacy here.

  12. Alan #13

    (In England) I’ve also got frosts and 6 inches of drifting powder snow
    with some roads closed from time to time…

    The biggest threats to the east coast right now are high winds and storm surge, and the full moon is exacerbating the high tides, causing floods. March is really coming in like a lion. A really, really pissed off lion.

  13. Vicki #15
    Mar 2, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Those who usually cope are coping!
    In NE England – many roads are closed by drifts – Including the A1 main east-coast route into Scotland – until the diggers and ploughs clear them in the next day or so.
    The road south from my house is also still closed, but I have just seen a service bus which usually uses that road, come through on a road coming in from the west – and then carry on into town!

    right now are high winds and storm surge, and the full moon is exacerbating the high tides, causing floods.

    Unlike the low-lying East of England, the NE has mostly high cliffs, so coastal flooding is not much of a problem – although some selected very local river-side plains or estuaries and valley floors may flood, if melt-water from a rapid thaw (+rain?) meets an incoming high tide.

  14. Marco #14
    Mar 2, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Alf #13 – “And if god is good, then the AR 15 is divine. Pray to the AR”.

    Probably only a matter of time.
    We really are well into the realms of lunacy here.

    Well actually, If 4 of them were bent (as@#6), and tied together, they could make the form of a cross!

    If an extra right-angle bend was put on the end of each barrel before they were tied into the shape of a cross, they could even make that cross beloved of the ultra-right – the swastika! 🙂

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/images/DeutscheChristenBadge.jpg

  15. I’ve always been confused by the “thou shall not put other gods before me” mumbo jumbo (and yes, I am aware that looking for logic and coherence in any of religion is futile)…. But, ONE god, right?

    But let’s put statues of all these people all around and let’s pray to all these other minor–like B list deities. So, pray to St. Blaise, St. Rose, Saint whomever…. THAT doesn’t piss ole’ “ONLY ONE GOD” off? Then, let’s “bless” shit.

    I know, bless some water. Then sell it. This must be a real problem for folks that are also homeopath believers. Remember folks, it’s blessed water! Yeah, water my testicles have been washed in. Drink up!

    Hey, wait a minute…. Bless your AR-15.

    Guy on the street: “Is that an AR-15???”
    Nutball asshole: “No sir-ee-bob, This here’s a genuine AR-16. The extra “one” comes from Gawd.”

  16. crookedshoes #18
    Mar 2, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve always been confused by the “thou shall not put other gods before me”

    That comes down to the evolution of old El, Yahweh, Jehova etc. who had their place with the others in the polytheist pantheon, before the monotheist priests killed off their competitors, and pronounced all other gods (including God’s wife) to be “false”! (A bit like those “persecuted Xtians” did with the Roman and Greek gods, once they had an emperor in tow!)

    http://religion.wikia.com/wiki/Canaanite_religion

    Like other people of the Ancient Near East Canaanite religious beliefs were polytheistic, with families typically focusing worship on ancestral household gods and goddesses while acknowledging the existence of other deities such as Baal and El.

    A large number of deities were worshiped by the followers of the Canaanite (Phoenician) religions – [where the Israelites were one tribe among many.]

    Anat, virgin goddess of war and strife, sister and putative mate of Ba’al Hadad

    Athirat, “walker of the sea”, Mother Goddess, wife of El (also known as Elat and after the Bronze Age as Asherah)

    Athtart, better known by her Greek name Astarte, assists Anat in The Myth of Ba’al

    Baalat or Baalit, the wife or female counterpart of Baal (also Belili)

    Ba’al Hadad, storm god, perhaps superseded El as head of the Pantheon

    Baal Hammon, god of fertility and renewer of all energies in the Phoenician colonies of the Western Mediterranean

    Dagon, god of crop fertility and grain, father of Baal or Hadad

    El Elyon (lit. God Most High) and El; also transliterated as Ilu

    Eshmun, god, or as Baalat Asclepius, goddess, of healing

    Kotharat, goddesses of marriage and pregnancy

    Kothar wa Hasis, the skilled, god of craftsmanship

    Lotan, serpent ally of Yam

    Melqart, king of the city, the underworld and cycle of vegetation in Tyre

    Molech or Moloch, putative god of fire[4]

    Mot or Mawat, god of death (not worshiped or given offerings)

    Nikkal-wa-Ib, goddess of orchards and fruit

    Qadeshtu, lit. “Holy One”, putative goddess of love, modernly thought to be a sacred prostitute, although there is no evidence of sacred prostitution in ancient Canaanite cities

    Resheph, god of plague and of healing

    Shalim and Shachar, twin gods of dawn and dusk

    Shamayim, the god of the heavens

    Shapash, also transliterated Shapshu, goddess of the sun; sometimes equated with the Mesopotamian sun god Shemesh[5] whose gender is disputed[6]

    Yahweh or Yah, for a short time, a son of El and brother of Baal, sometimes married to Asherah.

    Yam-nahar or Yaw, also called Judge Nahar

    Yarikh, god of the moon and husband of Nikkal

    There are some references to some of these in the OT Bible.

  17. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/03/02/what-to-expect-from-famed-evangelist-billy-grahams-funeral/?utm_term=.e1f7cac22623

    I believe Graham was sincere. But he opened the floodgates that allowed religion to infest our government. The crop of political evangelists that emerged has done more damage than I can fathom. I’m thinking of shysters like Falwell and his son, Graham’s own children, and worst of all, the acceptance of these snakes in our halls of government.

    The honor of lying in state is a slap in the face to a nation built on secular ideas.

  18. Vicki

    I totally agree with that. And maybe Graham was sincere but I can hardly discriminate between the genuinely deluded and those who are good fakers for big profit. Film footage of Graham hanging out with African kids was very sad. I thought, those kids need brainwashing like they need a hole in the head. Even if he was sincere in his belief and mission here on earth, he still did massive damage to a very large number of people by infecting them with his personal favorite strain of mind virus.

    It’s a sign of the times and a show of force by the fundamentalists here that they got their guy a lying in state along with every other perk they currently enjoy thanks to this stupid and incompetent administration.

    Have you heard the media talking heads describe Graham as “evangelical, not fundamentalist”? As if the former is admirable but the latter is dangerous crazy.

  19. Have you heard the media talking heads describe Graham as
    “evangelical, not fundamentalist”? As if the former is admirable but
    the latter is dangerous crazy.

    You would think the media could look more objectively at our current political morass and conclude evangelicals and fundamentalists are virtually two sides of the same coin.

    On a more positive note, I read that Mike Huckabee’s tenure on the board of the Country Music Association’s charitable foundation lasted less than 24 hours precisely because of his evangelical/fundamentalist views.

  20. Monotheists in the past never doubted the existence of a Creator. Today, many tend to think that their acceptance of God was due to ignorance about natural processes explained by science.

    That seems to me blatantly false. I find it is very difficult to believe that they could have not known about cause and effect.
    So what is it that led them to believe in a Creator?

    It seems to me that our ancestors had a very different philosophical position regarding creation. They did not accept the idea that change in things is limited to rearrangement as we would say today, but understood that things may also totally change into others. One thing perishes and changes into another that begins to exist. In other words, things are created out of other things, not out of nothing.
    When one examines the Bible or the Quran, he or she will find that God does not speak of creatio ex nihilo, but creatio ex materia, not in the sense of rearrangement but in the sense of total change. It seems that this was self-evident to people back then.

    That sounds like an extremely powerful idea. But wait, that’s not all!

    There was a Damascene orthodox theologian 700 years back with the name of Ibn Taymiyya. The man defended this view explained above, namely that God is not known to have created anything out of nothing, but is known to create one thing out of another. After a fair amount of reflection, I noticed that the man accepted the existence of natural causes, but claimed that those natural causes and their effects are themselves created and made to cause one another. He based that belief on the self-evident fact of creation. He claimed that composite things are composed of fundamental parts which are themselves not composite but ‘actually indivisible’, although tangible and of measure. A body of water, for example, is composed of a finite number of those fundamental water ‘particles’. Surprisingly, he mentions that, once that fundamental ‘particle’ is overpowered, it totally changes into air. Only if those particles are immune to total change may it be said that change within that body of water is only due to rearrangement. In this way, he believed that the universe is created because every one of its parts, no matter how small or big, is subject to total change and is with beginning.

    Although Ibn Taymiyya accepted that every creature was preceded by another, he did not accept the infinite regress in creators, because he believed that the more those things with beginning are, the greater the need for a separate eternal Creator to bring them into existence is.

    What are your thoughts?

  21. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #24
    Mar 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Monotheists in the past never doubted the existence of a Creator.

    When one examines the Bible or the Quran,
    he or she will find that God does not speak of creatio ex nihilo,
    but creatio ex materia, not in the sense of rearrangement but in the sense of total change.
    It seems that this was self-evident to people back then.

    There was a Damascene orthodox theologian 700 years back with the name of Ibn Taymiyya.
    The man defended this view explained above,
    namely that God is not known to have created anything out of nothing,

    It seems that it was not self-evident to some allegedly “infallible” monotheists!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Catholic_Church#Pope_Pius_IX

    On God the Creator, the Vatican Council was very clear.

    If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of nothing by God; or holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for the glory of God: let him be anathema.

    That is a feature of “faith-thinking”!
    Because faith-based views are based on “faith” in mythology, rather than objective evidence, different faith-thinkers can hold completely contradictory views with equal confidence and sincerity – even about “interpretations” of the same texts!

    Science on the other hand is prepared to state the limitations and accuracy of its evidence, and recognise what are unknowns, describing estimates of probability in terms of:- repeatedly tested factual observations, scientific theories, hypotheses, speculations, refuted falsehoods, and unknowns!

    Although Ibn Taymiyya accepted that every creature was preceded by another,
    he did not accept the infinite regress in creators,

    Logic does not care who chooses to believe it or who chooses to compartmentalise their cognitive dissonance and self contradictions!
    The anthropomorphic notion of a universe creator is debunked by the infinite regression of the creator, of the creator, of the creator, of the creator, . . . .. . . . . .
    (Turtles all the way down! )

    Of course creator myths are certainly not confined to the ancestral monotheists of the Levant, or to their polytheist forebears.

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

  22. Alan, as we have seen all to often, a person has been idolized and no consideration is given
    to the fact, he is just like us, human.
    Seven hundred years and people talk about history like they knew Jesus or “God” or a guy named Ibn.

  23. It seems to me that our ancestors had a very different philosophical position regarding creation.

    Of course they did, they were uneducated. That is ignorance through populace. And they were executed for not being a christian. I would agree with the church if I would be killed for disagreement.
    They were not even permitted to read or possess the bible. 99 percent of the people could not read.
    They also thought the Earth was the center of the Universe and the definition of the Universe? They thought the Solar System was it. That was the “Universe” to them.
    They also thought killing cats was a good idea.
    You need to mention all the stupid things.

  24. The anthropomorphic notion of a universe creator is debunked by the infinite regression of the creator, of the creator, of the creator, of the creator, . . . .. . . . . .

    I wish to clarify a point regarding this statement above. The conclusion stated in the beginning does not follow. Why is that? Because reason draws a distinction between condition and creator.

    For Ibn Taymiyya, reason leads to God having always been creating one thing after another. This is because events must be caused by others, although not all events are created. Uncreated events are those referred to as God’s actions.
    It is rationally impossible for God to have always been not a Creator and then begin to create without reason after an infinite duration. Every event subsisting in God is conditional on an event before it that subsists in His being, because He has always existed.

    Nonetheless, he certainly believed that an infinite regress of creators and dependencies is impossible as was correctly pointed out. He claimed this is known to be false by the consensus of rational minds.
    Thus, he did not reject the infinite regress of conditions, even considered the regress within God to be necessary, but rejected the infinite regress of dependencies and creators.

  25. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #28

    You present an interesting speculation concerning an ever-existing God, the uncreated events of his divine actions, and his ongoing acts of creation. All that can serve as a fine little mental exercise, perhaps as a warm-up at the beginning of a class.

    What most people here would be more interested to have from you is some firm, empirical evidence that this God you speak of actually exists and the divine creative activity about which you have been speculating, in the footsteps of the worthy son of Taymiyya, is an account of what really happened. I cannot imagine or speculate what form such evidence might take, but it would be grossly dishonest to suggest that an empirical question like that concerning the origin of the universe can be answered by logical speculation. No, Sir, empirical facts are needed in order to answer such a question.

  26. Ibn Taymiyya found it self-evident that things are created out of other things, and rejected the notion that we know things to be created out of nothing. Refer to my first comment for further detail.

    Ibn Taymiyya writes:

    As for the Kalam theologians… they do not at all conceptualize any of those witnessed objects to be originated in other objects and out of preexistent things. They then claim that all those objects were created and originated out of nothing, although they do not know of a single case in which an object originates out of nothing!

    He also rejects the philosophers’ theory of bodies being composed of eternal substantial matter and originating substantial forms. According to him, there is no such composition. Bodies simply have form, and only particular objects, and properties of those objects, exist.

    I translated the following helpful passage from one of Ibn Taymiyya’s works. As one should be able to see, his method was that of adhering to plain meanings of scriptural text and consensus. He saw no problem in that because he finds revelation to be in line with reason and innate nature.

    Ibn Taymiyya writes:

    …For it is the agreement of the Pious Predecessors and early scholars that God is to be described as He described Himself and as His Messenger described Him, without altering or negating His Attributes, and without specifying their modality or equating them with attributes of His creatures. For it is known through revelation as well as reason that God has no equal, neither in His being, nor in His attributes and actions, just as He says: ((There is nothing like unto Him)), and He says: ((Do you know of any similarity to Him?)), and He says: ((So do not make equals to God while you know)), and He says: ((Nor is there to Him any equivalent)).

    And it is known through reason that all what is possible for one of the two equals is also possible for the other, what is necessary for one is necessary for the other, and what is impossible for one is impossible for the other. If a creature were equal to the Creator, both must be equal in regards to what is necessary, possible and impossible. But it is known that the Creator is necessarily existent and eternal, and that a creature may not possibly be necessarily existent and eternal, but is necessarily contingent and with beginning. If a creature were equal to the Creator, both must be necessarily existent and eternal, while not being necessarily existent or eternal. Both must be necessarily with beginning, necessarily without beginning, necessarily existent, not necessarily existent. And these are contradictions…

  27. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #28
    Mar 6, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    For Ibn Taymiyya, reason leads to God having always been creating one thing after another.

    This appears to be the projection of an anthropomorphic psychological need to attribute the forces of nature to some magical parental figure, similar to the dependent infant looking to parents for answers to all problems.

    There is abundant evidence, that over billions of years from the later stages of the big-bang onward, no supernatural or alien being interventions, are required for the stages of the universe, the galaxies, solar-systems or life-forms to evolve as they are at present.

    This is because events must be caused by others, although not all events are created.

    The argument as to whether matter can be created from “nothing” or it arises from some underlying cause, is speculation, so no-one can give definitive answers. There is however evidence of particles matter and anti-matter annihilating each other, and of matter being converted into other forms of energy, in nuclear reactors.

    Uncreated events are those referred to as God’s actions.

    I think we would need to have clear definitions and evidence of “uncreated events” or for that matter, a clear definition of “nothing”!

    There is no place in the universe, the galaxies or the solar-systems where there is “nothing”. There are the energies of (electromagnetic / gravitational) forces and radiation everywhere!

    It is rationally impossible for God to have always been not a Creator and then begin to create without reason after an infinite duration.

    This is pure speculative assertion which has nothing to do with “rationality”. It is vastly more plausible that some forces or energies predated our universe, than that some person or earlier civilisation, was involved in its creation for some theological purpose.
    There is no evidence of “purpose” in either the evolution of galaxies, or the evolution of life-forms, with humans representing an almost infinitesimal part of our universe, and specific religious groups representing an even smaller area of space and time.

    Every event subsisting in God is conditional on an event before it that subsists in His being, because He has always existed.

    There is no reason to believe that some living entity always existed (without relatives or an evolved supporting ecosystem).
    It is vastly more probable that some energy system pre-dates our universe, but any claims about “infinity” are wild speculations about the unknown.

    On the other hand, – back on Earth, awareness every event in the memory of an individual human brain, is conditional on the pre-existence of that human brain, and any god-delusion which has been indoctrinated into that brain, will back-reference and filter any perceptions to those core indoctrinated beliefs derived from mythology; – frequently to the exclusion of challenging scientific evidence – and of course frequently in conflict with the views of some other god-delusion(s) from a different time or place!
    The human ego is THE central feature of ITS universe!

    The god-of gaps, is a patch over ignorance of the unknown in those who want answers to speculative questions which are at present beyond our (or in some cases their), investigative capabilities.
    It is a counter-productive view, as it assumes answers have already been obtained, and therefore discourages further objective investigations!

  28. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #30
    Mar 7, 2018 at 6:24 am

    Ibn Taymiyya writes:

    For it is known through revelation as well as reason that God has no equal, neither in His being, nor in His attributes and actions, just as He says:

    Anything which is “known through revelation” is referring to “voices or illusions”, in the head of some mystic! ANY description of whatever illusions may be in their heads, is simply internally generated by their god-delusions.
    Voices in the head etc. – are the symptoms of various psychotic conditions as we are discussing over here:-
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/02/a-new-era-of-rationally-designed-antipsychotics/#comment-230878

    The tangled semantics, are usually indications of struggling attempts to describe incoherent thoughts about unknowns – as patches covering over the gaps in personal knowledge!

  29. There are a few important points here. Please refer to the previous comments for further detail, because all those topics are interrelated. Additionally, the crux of the matter of whether things begin to exist or not is explained there.

    It was claimed that

    no supernatural or alien being interventions, are required for the stages of the universe, the galaxies, solar-systems or life-forms to evolve as they are at present.

    Ibn Taymiyya believed that God is the Creator of all objects within the universe, and therefore the Creator of all the existent properties subsisting in those objects. As the man repeatedly stresses, nothing happens within the universe except by God’s creative power and determining will, not even the actions and decisions of living things. God is the direct Creator of every existent within the universe.

    It is not difficult to then see that his belief did not rest on observations of unusual phenomena which have no known causes, because he literally saw everything within the universe as evidence of God, whether those things are unusual or usual, unexplained or otherwise.

    Also it was claimed that

    we need to have clear definitions and evidence of “uncreated events” or for that matter, a clear definition of “nothing”!

    In truth, uncreated events exist either way.
    The decisions and actions subsisting in the Creator’s being must be uncreated. Otherwise, a regress in dependencies and in the basis of actions will follow. If the act of creation within God is itself created, it should be dependent in its existence on another act of creation, and that is absurd.

    Atheists should also accept the existence of uncreated events, because they do not believe in a Creator.

    Also, it was claimed that

    any claims about “infinity” are wild speculations about the unknown.

    Ibn Taymiyya would have certainly considered that as a false statement. He understood infinity/eternity as the lack of beginning. Objects either have beginning or not. If they do not have beginning they are eternal. If they have beginning, they must depend on that which is eternal and has no beginning.

    Also it was claimed that

    There is no reason to believe that some living entity always existed (without relatives or an evolved supporting ecosystem).

    In short, as Ibn Taymiyya clarifies, God’s existence may not possibly be conditional on the existence of anything outside of Himself, because He necessarily exists and is independent. If a thing necessarily exists, it must not possibly be dependent on another in its existence. Rather, it exists in and of itself.

  30. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman,

    I fear you may be overestimating the extent of our interest in the thoughts of Ibn Taymiyya.

  31. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #33
    Mar 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Ibn Taymiyya believed that God is the Creator of all objects within the universe,

    Living 700 years ago, he would have no idea what a galaxy or a universe was!

    It is not difficult to then see that his belief did not rest on observations of unusual phenomena which have no known causes,
    because he literally saw everything within the universe
    as evidence of God, whether those things are unusual or usual, unexplained or otherwise.

    That is the usual fantasy of the delusional mystic.
    It is also frequently the view of the indoctrinated, who have no understanding of science, but assert they have knowledge of such subjects. That is why it is known as the god-of-gaps!

    Atheists should also accept the existence of uncreated events, because they do not believe in a Creator.

    That all depends of the definition of the words “creation”, “created” and “uncreated”! As they are used theologically, they are so vague as to be meaningless, except in the sense of begging the question about assumptions of a creator entity.

    I believe and understand that planets are created by gravity interacting with matter in accretion disks which are orbiting stars.

    No personalised or anthropomorphised living or supernatural entities are involved. The forces and matter, simply follow the laws of physics in assembling solar-systems.

  32. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #30

    “I translated the following helpful passage from one of Ibn Taymiyya’s
    works. As one should be able to see, his method was that of adhering
    to plain meanings of scriptural text and consensus. He saw no problem
    in that because he finds revelation to be in line with reason and
    innate nature.”

    And there, in a nutshell, is the fatal flaw in all your arguments here.
    Depending on the ‘revelations’ of scriptures handed down by primitive middle-eastern goatherds and camel traders from a pre-scientific era of general ignorance will get you precisely nowhere today.

  33. Ibn Taymiyyah, when not regaling us with his particular take on ‘creation’, seems to be a thoroughly charming character. An influential medieval writer in Islam, his particular interpretations of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and his rejection of some aspects of classical Islamic tradition are believed to have had considerable influence on contemporary Wahhabism, Salafism, and Jihadism. Particular aspects of his teachings had a profound influence on Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of the Hanbali reform movement practiced in Saudi Arabia known as Wahhabism, and on other later Wahabi scholars. Moreover, Ibn Taymiyyah’s controversial fatwa allowing jihad against other Muslims is referenced to by Al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups.

    That hasn’t turned out well …….

  34. @#32 – Anything which is “known through revelation” is referring to “voices or illusions”, in the head of some mystic!
    ANY description of whatever illusions may be in their heads, is simply internally generated by their god-delusions.
    Voices in the head etc. – are the symptoms of various psychotic conditions.

    For religious “prophets” who are not inherently psychotic, psychoactive substances have been traditionally used to boost their “powers of revelation”!

    http://listverse.com/2008/05/11/top-10-psychoactive-substances-used-in-religious-ceremonies/

    This is a list of entheogens –
    which, according to Wikipedia are: in the strictest sense, psychoactive substances used in a religious or shamanic context.
    Plants and herbs have been used for many centuries in religious contexts due to their mind altering nature.

  35. Alan, and how many times have they consumed substances without knowing it? As in Ergot, in Rye mold. And Rome, lead.
    We still can’t seem to feed ourselves without poisoning ourselves.

  36. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #33
    Mar 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    There are a few important points here.

    No there’s just the usual load of mystical gibberish which means nothing and is definitely not important.

  37. Alan4discussion #38

    For religious “prophets” who are not inherently psychotic,
    psychoactive substances have been traditionally used to boost their
    “powers of revelation”!

    There is another factor sometimes at work here : the deliberate submission of the self-styled ‘prophet’ to extended periods of fasting, dehydration and extreme heat exhaustion in exposed desert cave locations, almost inevitably leaving the subject in a state of delirium ( an acutely disturbed state of mind characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence, as seen in cases of intoxication, fever, and other disorders.)

  38. Arkrid, these guys are coming and going, like lemmings jumping off a cliff.
    There is nothing Trump is doing that is NOT destructive to this country. It seems intentional.

  39. Roger, I had a discussion about the origin of “prophets” with a believer.
    Their “prophets” behavior could be brain damage, epilepsy, mental disorder, drugs (intentional and non).
    Soo,,,I’m sure there are lots of “prophets” in “charge” of mental institutions.
    One other thing you mentioned. The caves. Bacteria and cave gas could have taken a toll also.

  40. It should be restated that creation involves bringing something into existence after it literally did not exist, out of another, not out of nothing. It is an action. Read #24!

    I would like to add that the explanation of Ibn Taymiyya’s position there is intended to clarify why the limitation of change within matter to rearragement is a false position. I mentioned it because I realize many falsely believe things only rearrange and do not totally change, and so may conclude that the universe is eternal.
    Indeed, Ibn Taymiyya simply saw no need to mention any of those arguments to prove God’s existence. He was dealing with false meanings of creation invented by kalam theologians, and he clarifies the rational meaning.

    It was claimed that

    planets are created by gravity.

    It should be very clear that gravity is not an agent. Gravity may not be said to create anything. That is the case whether gravity is thought of as acceleration (motion), a gravitional force (action), or anything less than an agent.

    The act of creation, in its correct usage as understood by the masses, describes objects, not actions and properties of objects. That is because, as Ibn Taymiyya correctly mentions, actions and properties may not possibly subsist in actions and properties. They must subsist in objects and bodies.

    It was also claimed that affirming creation is

    begging the question about assumptions of a creator entity.

    Indeed, it will be begging the question only if the existence of acts of creation is not self-evident.
    But one who sees the sun everyday does not need to substantiate the sun’s existence with evidence, for example. In the same way, rejecting creation is a denial of a self-evident fact.

  41. All you are doing is restating your opinions without facts.
    Planets are created by accretion, accretion is an activity or function of gravity.
    Without gravity, all would fall apart.

    The act of creation, in its correct usage as understood by the masses,

    And this is nonsense and illogical. Who are these “masses”? This is another grandiose statement made without warrant. This is just another statement of absurdity.
    On this website we don’t want to hear the same thing over and over without any proof. At this point you are not having a discussion with anyone, you are stating your religious nonsense repeatedly.

  42. I would like to add that the explanation of Ibn Taymiyya’s

    Please don’t. No one really is interested in an obscure person in history.

  43. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #45
    Mar 8, 2018 at 12:38 am
    planets are created by gravity.

    It should be very clear that gravity is not an agent.

    It should be very clear that gravity is indeed an agent. An agent is something that produces an effect on something else. Gravity produces an effect on things with mass. It brings them together and causes dust and gas to create planets and suns. Your meaningless jibber jabber informs no one.

  44. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #45
    Mar 8, 2018 at 12:38 am

    It should be restated that creation involves
    bringing something into existence after it literally did not exist, out of another,
    not out of nothing. It is an action.

    Read #24!

    @#24 – The man defended this view explained above,
    namely that God is not known to have created anything out of nothing, but is known to create one thing out of another.

    OR: – substituting science for god-did-it: –

    namely that PHYSICS is not known to have created the universe out of nothing, but is known to create one thing out of another.

    That’s how the physics of the universe works: hydrogen atoms were created out of the sub-atomic “particles” in the energy of the big-bang, stars were formed by gravity, collecting and packing these atoms together under pressure, nuclear fusion converted these light atoms into photons and heavier atoms, until the stars ran out of light atoms and exploded.
    The heaver atoms mixed with lighter atoms elsewhere, and gravity again pulled them together into new stars and planets. All of these processes involve matter and energy being converted from one material form into another – along with being converted into new structures.

    I would like to add that the explanation of Ibn Taymiyya’s position there is intended to clarify why the limitation of change within matter to rearragement is a false position.
    I mentioned it because I realize many falsely believe things only rearrange and do not totally change,

    E=MC² Matter changes to energy and vice-versa! (The basic nuclear physics which runs power-stations, explodes bombs, and powers stars)

    and so may conclude that the universe is eternal.

    That conclusion would not follow! Some models suggest the eventual heat-death of the universe. Others have postulated a “big-crunch”!

    planets are created by gravity.

    It should be very clear that gravity is not an agent.
    Gravity may not be said to create anything.

    Science confirms beyond doubt, that gravity is the agent which consolidates atoms into stars and planets, initiates nuclear fusion converting hydrogen atoms into heavier atoms in stars, in an interaction with outward pressure, and pulls together all the consolidated material of stars planets, and smaller orbiting bodies.

    That is the case whether gravity is thought of as acceleration (motion), a gravitional force (action), or anything less than an agent.

    Gravity is NOT acceleration! It is the FORCE which causes acceleration.

    As I pointed out earlier, Taymiyya lived before the discovery of galaxies and the wider universe, so was focussed on bronze-age notions about the formation of EARTH.

    The writers of Genesis, clearly had no idea of the processes or sequence in which our planet formed, or the sequences in which life evolved on it!

  45. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #45
    Mar 8, 2018 at 12:38 am

    begging the question about assumptions of a creator entity.

    Indeed, it will be begging the question only if the existence of acts of creation is not self-evident.

    . . . and of course the need for some intelligent life form, as a creator, building a planet and putting his pet animals on it, is NOT self evident!
    It is like a child putting together a toy farm, with toy people, and toy animals!

    But one who sees the sun everyday does not need to substantiate the sun’s existence with evidence, for example.

    The observation of photons from the sunlight, IS EVIDENCE of the Sun’s existence!

    In the same way, rejecting creation is a denial of a self-evident fact.

    This is simply the fallacy of trying to use a forced analogy.
    It is ONLY self-evident to those who have been indoctrinated to think so, and who have no understanding of the actual physical processes involved, so are resorting using god-did-it gapology to pretend they have understanding!

  46. Muhammad

    Thank you for your input so far.

    Learning about Ibn Taymiyya is mildly interesting. but in noting

    Ibn Taymiyya found it self-evident that things are created out of other things, and rejected the notion that we know things to be created out of nothing.

    we must remember he was preceded in this by Anixamender of Miletus in the sixth centuryBCE who professed the same. The start of it all was in a primordial void, apeiron, which was an undeterminate substance. (later he notes that humans came from fish….true!) Nowadays cosmologists accept that there is a “substance that just is”, or at least a property of quantum reality, that can create spacetimes, comprised of emergent stuff (interchangeable mass and energy) with unidirectional time in the form of an entropic clock.

    Ibn Taymiyya’s keenness to put down later Greek Logicians for how they became used by theologians may have caused him to overlook this thread of scientific thought binding in the likes of Democritus.

    These speculations, well behind the philosophical curve, are, though, merely in the service of theology, and religious cosmogenies have their parallels in the realities of evidence based cosmologies.

    What would be much more interesting for us to hear about from you are the substantial contributions from the Golden Age of Islam before its intellectual silencing, carrying the torch for civilisation in the West whilst Christianity presided over “The Closing of the Western Mind”.

    “Pathfinders” and “The House of Wisdom” by particle physicist Jim Al Khalili do a wonderful job of portraying a rich, pluralist and open culture, inventive, caring deeply for earlier wisdom and extending it, eventually in its comparative intellectual death throes bringing the rebirth of European intellectual life.

    Why do not more Muslims loudly celebrate this momentous period? Setting the Renaissance aflame, made us.

  47. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #24
    Mar 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    In other words, things are created out of other things, not out of nothing.
    When one examines the Bible or the Quran, he or she will find that God does not speak of creatio ex nihilo, but creatio ex materia, not in the sense of rearrangement but in the sense of total change. It seems that this was self-evident to people back then.

    Nonsense. Genesis says “in the beginning god created the heavens and the earth”. It doesn’t say they were changed from something else but created i.e from nothing. If there was already something else there it would not have been “the beginning”.

    I’m also not sure how you think you know what was or was not self evident to bronze age goat herders you’ve never spoken to. The simple fact is that no one back then had any real clue where the universe came from or indeed what the universe even was. They just made up stories which for some insane reason some people still believe today despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

  48. Muhammad

    Ibn Taymiyya writes… Ibn Taymiyya believes… Ibn Taymiyya
    thinks…

    All of Ibn Taymiyya’s ruminations are just that: ruminations.

  49. @ Vicki #53

    ( @ Muhammad) :

    Ibn Taymiyya writes… Ibn Taymiyya believes… Ibn Taymiyya thinks…

    *

    “All of Ibn Taymiyya’s ruminations are just that: ruminations”

    Look on the bright side, though, Vicki. Muhammad only has 700 year’s worth of research to read up on before he is up to speed with the rest of us.

  50. I appreciate your response, phil rimmer.

    I am personally not very interested in natural sciences. Although I do not reject the right, and at times the obligation, of people to scientific inquiry and experimentation, I believe that science is not really fulfilling in itself and is not a virtue in itself. I also believe that knowledge can be very destructive at times, and constructive at others.
    I have been exposed to a somewhat robust understanding of Islam. I realize that many Christians have not been exposed to correct rational arguments for principal matter within their religion, and that this might have led many to forsake it for atheism when no better alternative was presented. I believe it is far better for me to clarify what I know to those people.

    It is true that some scholars despised some natural sciences due to its close relationship with Greek philosophy then. However, well-established scholars like Ibn Taymiyya thought well of natural sciences generally. He was not fearful of the sciences, but was only worried of people getting confused.

    I do not know exactly what the position of early Greek philosophers was, but I do know that Ibn Taymiyya speaks of leading Greek philosophers who did not accept the form of the universe to be eternal as Aristotle did. As I understand it, Ibn Taymiyya seems to be unsure whether or not those philosophers had this intuitive understanding of creation as mentioned in the Quran.

    I wish to draw your attention to the fact that Ibn Taymiyya did not accept the existence of a boundless, infinite substance! He correctly believed that all what exists must have a spatial limit. Things have definite measure, and are spatially and temporally related.

    He also rejected that space or time as defined by physicists and philosophers exist outside the mind. He only accepted that particular substantial things and their properties to exist in reality. This to him was very clear.
    He instead used time and place in an intuitive and comprehensible sense, understanding place to simply be the body under or surrounding an object, and time to be the measure of motion. Because every moving creature is preceded by another moving creature, every time is preceded by another. Thus, the genus is eternal, although every particular motion is created by God. It is meaningless to say that spacetime is created or uncreated. Only things within this imagined continuum we call ‘space-time’ exist.

    Ibn Taymiyya writes:

    There is neither a sun nor a moon in the Garden, but time is known by completely different lights… time there is the measure of motion in which those lights appear.
    But is there any substantial time underlying that (measure of motion)? People disagree over this. A group of Platonic philosophers affirm its existence, just as they affirm the existence of abstract universals that are called Platonic and absolute forms, and affirm the existence of Prime Matter, that is matter abstracted from form, and they affirm space as a substantial thing.
    As for the majority of rational people among philosophers and others, they know that none of that has any real existence, but that those are only things imagined by the mind. People then erroneously think that this which exists in their minds is existent outside the mind… There exists nothing in reality other than particular things and properties subsisting in them. There is no place other than the body and that which subsists in it, there is no time other than the measure of motion, and there is no matter abstracted from form…

  51. ((And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days – and His Throne had been upon water – that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed.))
    Quran 11:7

    Similarly, as Ibn Taymiyya mentions, there were Jewish rabbis who accepted that heaven and earth were created out of preexistent matter and found this to be in line with their scriptures.

    1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

  52. Muhammad,

    In the absence of evidence to support his claims, there is no reason why we should take Ibn Taymiyya’s ideas any more seriously than anyone else’s.

    Please stop telling us what he said and start pointing us to evidence that he was right.

    Unevidenced, unsubstantiated claims are of no interest whatsoever.

  53. Muhammad,

    A pity.

    You have answered perhaps more fully than you intended. So nothing more from me. And Thank you anyway.

    Except…one point,,,

    I wish to draw your attention to the fact that Ibn Taymiyya did not accept the existence of a boundless, infinite substance!

    I don’t know where you got that idea from. Certainly not from me.

  54. Muhammad,

    I am personally not very interested in natural sciences. Although I do not reject the right, and at times the obligation, of people to scientific inquiry and experimentation, I believe that science is not really fulfilling in itself and is not a virtue in itself. I also believe that knowledge can be very destructive at times, and constructive at others.

    That’s a pity, Muhammad, because what we know about Western history is that if not for the Enlightenment, we’d all be living in the dark ages. I recommend that you read the new book by Steven Pinker Enlightenment Now and the one he wrote previously, The Better Angels of our Nature. I don’t expect you to convert out of your favorite ideology; Islam, but you may possibly feel a glimmer of understanding of why the West is imminently more advanced on all measures of the qualities that make life better for everyone.

    Provoked by challenges to conventional wisdom from science and exploration, mindful of the bloodshed of recent wars of religion, and abetted by the easy movement of ideas and people, the thinkers of the Enlightenment sought a new understanding of the human condition. The era was a cornucopia of ideas, some of them contradictory, but four themes tie them together: reason, science, humanism and progress.

    If there’s anything the Enlightenment thinkers had in common, it was an insistence that we energetically apply the standard of reason to understanding our world, and not fall back on generators of delusion like faith, dogma, revelation, authority, charisma, mysticism, divination, visions, gut feelings, or the hermeneutic parsing of sacred texts.

    From: Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now, the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Page 8.

    I don’t know where you’re from in this world but something we know is that in countries where religion dominates the landscape, and this includes every Muslim majority country I can think of, those four critical themes of the Enlightenment – reason, science, humanism and progress are sadly lacking.

    I hope you rethink your mediocre opinion of science. I hope you develop enhanced reasoning skills. Read about humanistic values and compare them to the old outdated values of Islam. If you and your culture really want to progress to a better life for your people then take an example from a part of the world that has moved forward in all measures of well-being. We are five hundred years ahead of you.

    This is why you are reading replies to your comments that reject your attempt to reconcile a modern understanding of science topics with old outdated ways of looking at the world and universe. Our knowledge of the scientific facts of these matters is centuries ahead of what the ancients knew in their time. You are reading material, including the Koran and then trying to retrofit facts that you can’t turn away from.

  55. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #55

    ” I am personally not very interested in natural sciences.”

    And yet your ability to communicate that message here on this forum, the life you currently enjoy, even probably your very existence on this planet, would not be possible without the advancements in natural sciences that have become known to us.

    Irony is not strong in the islamic world, one supposes?

    “I have been exposed to a somewhat robust understanding of Islam.”

    Unfortunately, you seem to regard that as some kind of virtue, rather than the intellectual blind alley in which you have become abandoned.

  56. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #56

    ((And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days –
    and His Throne had been upon water – that He might test you as to
    which of you is best in deed.))
    Quran 11:7

    Similarly, as Ibn Taymiyya mentions, there were Jewish rabbis who
    accepted that heaven and earth were created out of preexistent matter
    and found this to be in line with their scriptures

    1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the
    waters.

    All you have confirmed here is how so much of the quaran is merely bare-faced plagiarism of jewish biblical scripture. This particular creation myth is itself of course borrowed from earlier Mesopotamian theology, but recast to reflect the Israelites’ latter-day adoption of monotheism.

    If you are trying to present an argument here you will have to progress beyond the Bronze Age.

  57. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #55

    “I have been exposed to a somewhat robust understanding of Islam. I
    realize that many Christians have not been exposed to correct rational
    arguments for principal matter within their religion, and that this
    might have led many to forsake it for atheism when no better
    alternative was presented. I believe it is far better for me to
    clarify what I know to those people.”

    There is an unfortunate tendency for followers of your particular persuasion to combine the kind of delusional and inflated sense of their own worth that you reveal here, with an unpleasant undercurrent of tribalistic disdain for other belief systems.

    Although it only serves to confirm the collective position here on this forum that religious indoctrination does nothing but harm to the human mind, the attitudes you express above do you no credit, either here or elsewhere.

  58. Ibn Taymiyya writes:

    There is neither a sun nor a moon in the Garden, but time is known by completely different lights… time there is the measure of motion in which those lights appear.

    That is indeed how the ancients measured time: Days by the rising and setting of the Sun, months by the phases of the Moon, and years by the seasonal effects of the Earth’s motion in its orbit.

    But is there any substantial time underlying that (measure of motion)?

    The mechanics on these motions are clearly determined and measured, by time, as Newton established, with some minor adjustments calculated by Einstein.

    The Greeks were VERY advanced in making these astronomical calculations, and had even devised mechanical computers to track them both forward and back in time.

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

    Outside of that dial is another ring which is rotatable, marked off with the months and days of the Sothic Egyptian calendar, twelve months of 30 days plus five intercalary days.
    The months are marked with the Egyptian names for the months transcribed into the Greek alphabet.
    The first task, then, is to rotate the Egyptian calendar ring to match the current zodiac points. The Egyptian calendar ignored leap days, so it advanced through a full zodiac sign in about 120 years.

    As for the majority of rational people among philosophers and others, they know that none of that has any real existence,
    but that those are only things imagined by the mind.
    People then erroneously think that this which exists in their minds is existent outside the mind…

    That is the nature of the images formed by faith-based delusions and dogmatic adherence to speculations.
    It describes the sort of flawed mental images which scientists discard when the flaws are debunked by objective repeat testing. What science does is work to match mental images as accurately as possible to observable physical reality as confirmed by repeated testing.

    There exists nothing in reality other than particular things and properties subsisting in them.

    There is indeed nothing in the universe and space-time continuum, except matter, energy, and the associated forces (Gravity, electromagnetism etc.), with properties according to the physical state of the matter: (solid, liquid, gas, plasma, temperature, pressure, density, etc.).

    There is no place other than the body and that which subsists in it,

    This sounds like an attempt to describe spacial co-ordinates in terms of measurements of objects. The Greeks were good at mathematics.

    There is no time other than the measure of motion,

    I think this is backwards. There is no motion except measured in terms of direction, space, and time (eg. miles{space} per hour{time} going north{direction})

    and there is no matter abstracted from form…

    I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean, but all matter is convertible into and from energy!
    The ancients however, did not know of Einstein’s formula, or nuclear physics, so this was probably just philosophical ramblings!

  59. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #55

    “I have been exposed to a somewhat robust understanding of Islam.
    I realize that many Christians have not been exposed to correct rational
    arguments for principal matter within their religion,

    I have yet to discover ANY religion which is based on objective evidence and rational arguments.
    That does not however, mean that some believers cannot apply logical reasoning to some compartmentalised aspects of their thinking!

    and that this might have led many to forsake it for atheism

    Rational arguments and objective understandings of history, science, and logical reasoning, do tend to cause people to abandon religions for atheism!

    when no better alternative was presented.

    It really is no surprise that that those indoctrinated in their religions, claim that these are better than all the others, and that all religions except their own are false or flawed!
    They also have a tendency to concoct fallacious arguments and assertively try to stick a “reasoned logic” label, on to these assumed beliefs based on faith in ancient mythology!

  60. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #24

    Monotheists in the past never doubted the existence of a Creator.

    So what is it that led them to believe in a Creator?

    In studying the evolution of superstition and religious belief in humans, one of the most persuasive theories is that it is a product of the neurological mechanism called HADD or hypersensitive agency-detecting device. This originally evolved as the default rapid response behaviour to anything detected by the primary senses that could represent potential danger from predators: run first, analyse later. Humans learned that many things have “agency,” or the ability to act of their own accord. This understanding of how the world worked facilitated the rapid decision-making process that humans (indeed, many other species also!) had to go through to survive when they heard a rustling in the long grass.

    But in addition to helping humans make rational decisions, HADD may have planted the seeds for religious thought. In addition to attributing agency to lions, for example, humans started attributing agency to things that really didn’t have agency at all. The roar of a thunderstorm or the devastation of a flood was widely seen across primitive cultures as the product of a dangerous personal agent in the sky or river. The most powerful could even beget entire worlds.

    Thus were gods invented by humans.

  61. Read #24!

    It was claimed that

    all matter is convertible into and from energy

    I should clarify that I do not reject that matter and energy are interchangeable. However, it is far clearer that there exists no abstracted matter underlying the process, and that matter does not rearrange into energy. Only particular objects exist, and those objects have different forms and are described with particular properties. They, along with their inseperable properties, come into existence and go out of existence, and we know this from the fact of continuous change.

    Ibn Taymiyya clearly believed that created objects not only change into other objects, but also are subject to change into properties, and vice versa.

    Objects are not of the same class. Objects and the properties of objects are not of the same class with greater reason.
    In this way, the property of one object is not the very other object out of which it is originated, and this is the only comprehensible position.

    Ibn Taymiyya writes the following about classes:

    And it is without doubt that neither trees are of the same class as date seeds, spikes of the same class as grain, man of the same class as semen, nor semen of the same class as man. [Still,] God creates this out of that, and that out of this. He therefore brings each class out of another very different one, and ((This is the creation of God. So show Me that which those beside Him have created.))

    … And He creates one thing out of its opposite, such as when He makes fire out of green trees. For when He causes green trees to be rubbed together, He originates heat [within them] out of such motion, up until the very green tree changes into fire…
    Creating one thing [of some class] out of another of a different class more strongly indicates the power of God the Exalted and Powerful Creator, just as He mentions about Himself in saying:
    ((Say, “O God, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honor whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.
    You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause the day to enter the night; and You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give provision to whom You will without account.”
    ))

  62. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #55
    Mar 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    I have been exposed to a somewhat robust understanding of Islam.

    Clearly you haven’t or it would be evident to you that Islam is as false as every other religion and more evil than most. It is racist, sexist, mysogynistic, responsible for huge amounts of human suffering over the centuries and a curse on humanity. The middle east was a centre for learning before Islam came along and stifled everything. It’s been an intellectual desert ever since as you ably demonstrate. Stuck in its ridiculous bronze age dogma in a world full of scientific marvels it no longer understands or even seems to want to.

    I realize that many Christians have not been exposed to correct rational arguments for principal matter within their religion, and that this might have led many to forsake it for atheism when no better alternative was presented.

    Arrogant much are you? The old “every other religion but mine is false and stupid” ploy you theists always spout.

    I believe it is far better for me to clarify what I know to those people.

    I believe it is far better for you to shut up and go away. You have made it very clear already what you know and do now know. You know nothing of interest and very little of anything else. You are just one more of a long list of arrogant, blinkered, brainwashed theists who come in here and think we’ll be impressed when they spout their meaningless gibberish. You can’t even spout original gibberish. All you can do is parrot someone else’s.

  63. Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #66
    Mar 9, 2018 at 1:28 am

    It was claimed that

    all matter is convertible into and from energy

    This is not merely a claim! It is established beyond all reasonable doubt, by science and by engineering applications of those properties in the nuclear industries.

    I should clarify that I do not reject that matter and energy are interchangeable.

    Why then do you go on to the following statement?

    However, it is far clearer that there exists no abstracted matter underlying the process, and that matter does not rearrange into energy.

    Matter rearranges into energy in nuclear reactors, in hydrogen bombs, and in stars. In the processes of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion atoms are changed into energy and different atoms. This is VERY basic observable and measurable science.
    Any matter which falls into a star, will have part of its matter changed into energy.

    Only particular objects exist, and those objects have different forms and are described with particular properties.
    They, along with their inseperable properties, come into existence and go out of existence, and we know this from the fact of continuous change.

    They do, but the changes are clearly mapped out by science over a very extensive range of materials and properties.

    In this way, the property of one object is not the very other object out of which it is originated, and this is the only comprehensible position.

    Science gives much clearer explanations of what you are trying to say.
    When materials change their chemistry, or physical state, some of the former properties may remain, or new ones will manifest themselves.

    eg. Ice, liquid water, and steam, are different states of the molecules, but some chemical reactions are the same, and some are different, because of the differing energy levels (temperatures) of the materials.

    Other chemical properties or states of matter, may change with physical changes in pressure. (In the pressure of the deep oceans, water may boil at +300°c.)

    Nuclear reactions are somewhat different. When atoms change into different isotopes, their properties change radically!

    A much better understanding of the workings of materials, energies, mechanisms, planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe, can be found in modern scientific textbooks and research papers, than in the fumbling attempts at explanations in ancient texts.

  64. Ibn Taymiyya writes the following about classes:

    And it is without doubt that neither trees are of the same class as date seeds, spikes of the same class as grain, man of the same class as semen, nor semen of the same class as man. [Still,] God creates this out of that, and that out of this. He therefore brings each class out of another very different one, and ((This is the creation of God. So show Me that which those beside Him have created.))

    In summary, this says:-
    “These are the workings of nature which I don’t understand: – THEREFORE – my-god-did-it-with-supernatural-powers!” God of gaps section 1.01!

    It really is quite easy to understand primitive attempts to demonstrate plausible knowledge of mechanisms, which the individual writer is lacking!

  65. Alan4discussion #68
    Mar 9, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Matter rearranges into energy in nuclear reactors, in hydrogen bombs, and in stars.

    And in many much simpler cases such as a fire, internal combustion engine or an animal’s body as it processes food to obtain heat and motion. However the amounts of energy released in such cases are so small that the change in mass of the reactants is not easy to measure. If a wooden log is burned the carbon and hydrogen in the log combine with oxygen in the air to form carbon dioxide and water vapour and various other products of combustion. However if the products could be weighed precisely enough and compared with the original mass of the wood and oxygen there would indeed have been a tiny loss of mass equal to the amount of heat energy released according to E=MC^2.

    The reverse happened when the log was growing in the tree it came from. Energy from sunlight was turned into mass by photosynthesis. The ancients had no conception if any of this and I’d suggest most modern non scientists don’t understand it even now.

  66. Arkrid Sandwich #70
    Mar 9, 2018 at 5:46 am

    E=MC^2.

    A little tip when typing equations and formuli:

    Look up “alt codes” on-line and print or save a list.

    eg.

    Engage the number lock, press and hold the left “Alt key” and type:

    Squared – Alt key 0178 x²

    Cubed – Alt key 0179 x³

    degrees – Alt key 248 0°c

  67. For the sake of completeness I’ll add a brief footnote to the above. In the cases of combustion I mention there are still the same number and type of atoms at the end of the process as there were at the start. They have simply combined into new molecules which have a lower energy state and are therefore slightly lighter. In the case of atomic bombs and fusion inside stars the number and type or atoms actually change too. Stars turn hydrogen into helium and then still heavier elements. This is clearly a more profound change than burning a log into carbon dioxide and water but it is still essentially the same process of turning mass into energy or more precisely as the system radiates energy it also loses mass.

    All types of energy have mass. A compressed spring weighs a tiny bit more than an uncompressed one. A spinning planet weighs more than if it did not spin. A moving car weighs more than when it is stationary.

  68. Arkrid Sandwich #72
    Mar 9, 2018 at 6:25 am

    For the sake of completeness I’ll add a brief footnote to the above.

    Some good points – perhaps more suited to debates among scientists who understand measuring techniques and practical limitations.

    I tend to go for the big, blatantly obvious, hard to miss, features, when trying to move people from “god-did-it” to a more scientific understanding of nature!

  69. Alan4discussion #73
    Mar 9, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Some good points – perhaps more suited to debates among scientists who understand measuring techniques and practical limitations.

    I’m sure I’ll not convince god bothering theists any more than you will but we must try.

  70. @ Arkrid Sandwich #75

    I’m sure I’ll not convince god bothering theists any more than you
    will but we must try.

    I’m prepared to give the hapless Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman the benefit of the doubt here.

    Perhaps he was given a school project to do on the subject of Ibn Taymiyya, and he has come here to show us his homework.

  71. Muhammad

    I hope you will be able to tell me about how all you are saying translates in the modern Islam. Is/Are there any Muslim countries that show us a model of this perfect religion working, as a safe country to be in or one that takes all this science and makes good use of it? It’s all very well telling us that it is a superior religion but where is it showing its superiority other than interpreted texts??

  72. @ Muhammad Abu Abdurrahman #66

    ” Ibn Taymiyya writes the following about classes: And it is without
    doubt that neither trees are of the same class as date
    seeds…..[Still,] God creates this out of that…”

    Ibn Tamiyya at least can be excused for having no understanding of processes such as transpiration and photosynthesis….. you know, how trees ACTUALLY grow.
    However, you do not advance his reputation here by reproducing such ignorant drivel.

    Unlike you, (per #55), we here are very interested in natural sciences, and we believe that the advancement of science and knowledge (essentially synonymous) are both fulfilling and a virtue.

    The alternative you appear to endorse, albeit as a victim of childhood cultural conditioning, is nothing but archaic mysticism and wilful ignorance which offers no prospect for human progress, as we know from past history and in some cases sadly still today.

  73. I’ve just been revisiting some of my favourite Roy Zimmerman songs. Some just never age…

    Thanks Phil, I just shot two hours down the drain laughing.

  74. I would like everybody to know about my “god”
    He is called Ibn Sombulist.
    I met him years ago and I have been spreading his word. But only at night.
    Anyone want to hear more?

  75. I urge the moderators to be sincere and truthful, even if they find truth to be against themselves.

    What is this??? The moderators are more than fair and truthful.
    And patient. Don’t push it.

  76. Mohammad Abu Abdurrahman #84
    Mar 10, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Olgun,

    You are right to say that Islam is a superior religion.

    You really don’t get sarcasm it seems. Perhaps there are language difficulties at work here.

    The important thing is that we accept what we know to be true.

    Which is exactly what you are incapable of doing because you cannot tell the difference between truth and falsehood. Your religion isn’t true. Your god doesn’t exist and your so called prophet Mohammed was a charlatan and a conman, the Donald Trump of his day so to speak. Yet you have the arrogance to lecture us about incontrovertible physics based on the iron age wafflings of ancients who knew nothing about it. You personify everything we in here find dangerous about religion. Its blind and wilful ignorance and refusal to base views on facts and evidence instead of ancient dogma.

  77. alf, #83

    I’m a fucking disgrace of an aspie, crying into my coffee.

    His guitar playing covers many styles and is rich and complex and clever when needed.

    Here another stirring political one. The video plays quite a role in telling the story…right to the very end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imouDc5u3as

    I needed this when telling Americans they work 8 hours a week more than their German counterparts for the same level of lifestyle with far less security, all to pay for that extra house….

    Alan.

    How about covering one or two?

  78. Akrid #86

    Didn’t catch the post to me. I’m guessing it was more of the same ” quotes” and why it was deleted?

  79. @#86 – The important thing is that we accept what we know to be true.

    Nope!
    Assumed “truth” through indoctrinated preconception, repeats the errors of the past! – as is clearly demonstrated in some posts on this thread!

    The important thing is that we ONLY PROVISIONALLY accept what we know HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY EVIDENCE to be true.

  80. I needed this when telling Americans they work 8 hours a week more than their German counterparts for the same level of lifestyle with far less security, all to pay for that extra house…

    Phil, most people, especially young people work two jobs to pay for their health insurance. And this is not on the level of home buyers.
    For forty years, I worked an average of 60 hours. And I barely was barely able to make payments.
    It’s getting worse and unsustainable. Something is gonna give.

  81. Phil, If a person listens to “someday” and doesn’t feel moved, there is something wrong with them.
    Even if a person didn’t belong to a union, they set a standard for treatment of employees.

  82. alf #90

    Health insurance, university tuition, housing costs and no pensions. I feel so sorry for the young Americans. Only the wealthy families could compensate for this situation. I agree that it’s unsustainable.

    alf, you might add that if the young people have to pay for health insurance and child care on top of that they’ll end up owing hundreds to the company at the end of the week!

  83. phil rimmer #95

    This is hugely important now.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09tcvp2

    The Silence of the Liberals.

    White liberal abandonment of progressive Muslims.

    A similar theme is reflected here:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2018/01/why-are-journalists-dancing-to-the-islamists-tune-over-sara-khan

    It is all part of an ugly pattern that has been going on here for far too long. An unholy (pun intended) alliance between reactionary islamism and a significant part of the political left that can only be explained by a shameless appeal to identity politics, a cynical calculation that such accomodation will secure for them the block vote from a designated community concentrated in certain key constituencies in the post-industrial North (including Scotland, where the SNP is complicit) and inner city areas. Polarisation, rather than integration, is the inevitable outcome. Add segregated ‘faith’ schooling into the mix and you have a recipe for long-term social disorder.

  84. rogeroney #96
    Mar 12, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    It is all part of an ugly pattern that has been going on here for far too long. An unholy (pun intended) alliance between reactionary islamism and a significant part of the political left that can only be explained by a shameless appeal to identity politics, a cynical calculation that such accomodation will secure for them the block vote from a designated community concentrated in certain key constituencies

    There is similar nuttery in the loony-left sections of the Labour Party, who suspended Ken Livingstone for quoting some inconvenient unpalatable facts about the history of political Zionism in Israel – where as we know, ALL criticism of Zionism and the Israeli government’s abuse of Palestinians, is (allegedly) “anti-Semitic bigotry” according to people who have no credible answers to the criticisms!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43244090

    Ken Livingstone’s suspension from Labour over anti-Semitism claims has been extended pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

    The former London mayor’s suspension had been due to expire on 27 April.

    But Labour’s outgoing general secretary, Iain McNicol, has signed off on an extended extension.

    Mr Livingstone is facing an internal investigation into his conduct after refusing to apologise for statements he made about Adolf Hitler and Zionism.

    Obviously these block heads are holding an extended self-important grandiose “political investigation”, because they are too incompetent and stupid, to carry out an investigation of historical records which took me under 20 minutes!

  85. Alan4discussion #97

    There is similar nuttery in the loony-left sections of the Labour
    Party, who suspended Ken Livingstone for quoting some inconvenient
    unpalatable facts about the history of political Zionism in Israel

    Ken Livingstone, now retired and largely forgotten, has plenty of previous form when it comes to offending the wider Jewish community whenever there is a focus on Israel. In this case, his admittedly partial grasp of history, and controversial statements that slyly insinuated a moral equivalence between 1930’s Hitler and Zionist Jews, were deployed in a calculated act of deflection from the highly criticised and racist suggestions made earlier by muslim labour MP Naz Shah that all Israel’s Jews should be relocated to the US. Shah subsequently had the good grace to apologise and withdraw her remarks. However, bringing up Hitler and the Holocaust when discussing present day Arab-Israel relations is generally unhelpful, to say the least, and the widespread offense Livingstone stirred up, not just inside the Jewish community, made it hard for the Labour leadership, even under the execrable Corbyn, to ignore.

  86. rogeroney #98
    Mar 12, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Ken Livingstone, now retired and largely forgotten, has plenty of previous form when it comes to offending the wider Jewish community whenever there is a focus on Israel.
    In this case, his admittedly partial grasp of history, and controversial statements that slyly insinuated a moral equivalence between 1930’s Hitler and Zionist Jews

    Zionist propagandist denials of history, should not be conflated with actual historical documents! All inconvenient facts are labelled “controversial” in some quarters!

    There were certainly plenty of parallels between Hitler’s henchmen and the Zionist Stern gang terrorists, who eventually became prominent members of the Israeli government!

    .. . . and yes! some of them did have talks with Hitler’s NAZIs about moving some Jews to Palestine!

    Some of this was discussed in detail in this earlier debate:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/03/why-i-no-longer-support-israel/#li-comment-173237

    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html

    ISRAEL & PALESTINE: THE MAPS TELL THE TRUE STORY

    The truth is that far from being the poor victim it likes to portray itself as, Israel is in fact the most aggressive and belligerent nation in the region, having invaded pretty much everyone it shares a border with.

    The following maps show just who is wiping who off of the map!

  87. Well cadet bone-spurs has shown his true colours yet again i.e. true cowardice. After boasting how he wasn’t afraid of the NRA and was going to raise the age for buying guns to 21 it turns out he’s as afraid of the NRA as he was of doing national service. His actual plan for gun control just announced loses any mention of raising the age, throws in a few sops about background checks which are so weak even the NRA doesn’t object to them and goes back to his batshit crazy plan to arm teachers which is what the NRA wanted all along because it sells more guns.

    I doubt if Trump, who thinks in his own deluded mind he’d run in to face down someone armed with an AR-15, has ever actually faced down anything more scary than a golf ball in a bad lie. As many who have played golf with him tell us, he deals with that by cheating and moving the ball. Trump is very good at moving the ball, usually to the opinion of whoever he last spoke to.

    So once again president blowhard talks tough when he’s on camera and collapses as soon as they’re not on him.

    As an aside I’ve just been watching the first 6 episodes of Our Cartoon President. They didn’t exactly help my case of TSO (Trump satire overload) which I imagine we’re all suffering from but they did nail him to a T. Even a few new insights perhaps. I especially liked the episode focusing on Melania. Worth a watch anyway.

  88. rogeroney #98
    Mar 12, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    However, bringing up Hitler and the Holocaust when discussing present day Arab-Israel relations is generally unhelpful, to say the least,

    Not really! The ghettoisation and repression of the Palestinian Arabs since the late 1940s, has very close parallels with Hitler’s treatment of Jews in occupied territories, and with the apartheid regimes in various African colonies.

    and the widespread offense Livingstone stirred up,

    Don’t fundamentalists and their tribalist followers, love to play the offended martyr, when other people resist their attacks, or even-handed objective criticism is directed at THEIR reprehensible activities!

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

    The following is a list of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel. As of 2013, Israel had been condemned in 45 resolutions by United Nations Human Rights Council. Since its creation in 2006—the Council had resolved almost more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined.

    The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices.[3]
    The 9th Emergency Session of the General Assembly was convened at the request of the Security Council when the United States blocked efforts to adopt sanctions against Israel.

    not just inside the Jewish community, made it hard for the Labour leadership, even under the execrable Corbyn, to ignore.

    Actually significant numbers of rational secular Jews, condemn the activities of the Zionists, but the Zionist lobby and media in the USA is loud, well-funded, and strong!

    The execrable Corbynites are as pig ignorant of history as the US evangelicals – and they get their (pseudo)-information from the same junk media propagandist sources of misleading emotive rhetoric!

    Corbyn swallowed the Murdock media junk supporting brexit, BECAUSE he was too ignorant and ideologically focussed, to study the objective expert advice available!
    Like Trump, Farage, Gove, and Boris, he is interested pandering to fanatical groups for votes, and has little interest in facts or predictable outcomes!

  89. Voters are going to the ballot box today in Pennsylvania’s 18th district which went to Trump by 20 points in 2016. At present the Democrat Conor Lamb is leading in the polls by a small margin. It probably all depends on voter turnout. If the Repugs lose this House seat it will signal a major calamity as Trump went all in for the Repug candidate Rick Saccone despite allegedly saying privately how bad a candidate he is. Even just a narrow victory for Saccone would be terrible given how red the district was before. If Dems can win a seat as red as this though it will show that Trump himself is completely toxic everywhere in the country now as of course anyone with half a brain knows he is. He also still has the rest of the year before the midterms to make things even worse and will undoubtedly find many ways to do so. He’s massively alienated young voters by capitulating to the NRA on gun control and they’re all going to be voting for many years to come. Kim Jong Un now has the chance to run rings round Trump in the supposed upcoming N Korea talks and we know that Trump is nowhere near smart enough to hold his own in anything that complicated.

    As I’ve said before, this 4 years is going to be painful but Trump is destroying the Republican party far better than any Dem efforts could do.

  90. rogeroney #98
    Mar 12, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    The international views based on actual records and international laws, are very different to those in the Western propagandist junk media!

    https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/ga11982.doc.htm

    General Assembly Plenary Seventy-second Session, 60th Meeting (AM) 30 November 2017

    Declaring Israel’s Actions in Syrian Golan, East Jerusalem ‘Null and Void’, General Assembly Adopts Six Resolutions on Palestine, Middle East

    After the debate concluded, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution “Jerusalem” (document A/72/L.11) by a recorded vote of 151 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 9 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo).

    By that text, the Assembly reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and void.
    It further stressed the need for the parties to refrain from provocative actions, especially in areas of religious and cultural sensitivity, and called for respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem.

    By that text — “The Syrian Golan” (document A/71/L.17), adopted by a recorded vote of 105 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United Kingdom, United States) with 58 abstentions — the Assembly declared that Israel had failed to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and demanded its withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan.

    Adopting the draft resolution “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” (document A/72/L.16) by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, United States) with 8 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Fiji, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Tonga), the Assembly called for the intensification of efforts by the parties towards the conclusion of a final peace settlement, stressed the need for resumed negotiations and called upon Israel to cease all unilateral actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    Of course Zionists scream anti-semitism, and the loony-fringe “politically correct” gullibles, decide that people deciding to be offended by facts, has some relevance to the reality of situations, so clueless fence-sitting fudgists are required to intervene and enforce their versions of “political-correctness”!!
    The Zionist war on history, has close similarities to the Trumpist war on science!

  91. Some day, the history books will explain that the American policy of supporting the aggressive expansionist policies of Israel and the support given in the form of massive amounts of money and military equipment enabled Israel to create a state of apartheid and grind the Palestinians into the dust. The consequences of this short sighted action are a threat to world peace. The Israeli oppression of the Palestinians is the number one recruitment tactic of all Jihadist organizations.

    Criticism of Israel is NOT antisemitism just as criticism of Islam and Christianity is NOT islamophobia and persecution of Christians. People have rights and deserve protection. Ideologies deserve no protection. Big difference.

    America has an obnoxious unruly child that was left to run amok. That child is now a juvenile delinquent on the way to being a full blown psychopath.

  92. Breaking news. Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaces him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson had openly criticised the fragile ego’d Trump on a number of occasions and contradicted official WH dogma on others including saying that it was incontrovertible that Russia had meddled in the US election. He famously called Trump a moron last year. Trump has the memory span of a goldfish for policy positions which he changes on a whim depending on who he last spoke to but he never forgets a criticism or a grudge.

    Pompeo’s main qualification for doing anything in the Trump administration is that he’s a staunch Trump sycophant as well as being about as rabidly far right wing as anyone in the Republican party. A climate change sceptic, homophobe, anti abortionist, anti government handouts, anti Obamacare, NRA member and former member of the Tea Party his religious right nutjob credentials are first class. His credentials to be a diplomat would seem to be sadly lacking though but then Trump doesn’t really care about foreign relations in his “America first and only” world view. I’m sure Pompeo will continue the destruction of the Department of State at least as ably as Tillerson started it.

    Pompeo desires regime change in North Korea and his main danger might be in whispering in Trump’s ear to be even more belligerent or maybe initiate a first strike.

  93. Cadet bone-spurs doesn’t have the courage to stand up to the NRA, he certainly wouldn’t go anywhere near a man armed with an AR-15. It seems he doesn’t even have the courage to fire his Secretary of State face to face. Tillerson learned he was fired from Trump’s tweet this morning just as Comey saw his own demise on tv news before anyone official had told him. The coward in chief shows how brave he really isn’t yet again.

  94. Arkrid

    Firing people by twitter. This is from a guy who claims to be a paragon of business management! You’re right about him; no guts, no empathy, no competence, no knowledge, no ability to understand the big picture, poor risk assessment, ignorance of basic ethics, and a complete callous disregard for any other human on this planet except for himself.

  95. @ Alan4discussion #101

    There were certainly plenty of parallels between Hitler’s henchmen and
    the Zionist Stern gang terrorists, who eventually became prominent
    members of the Israeli government!

    There is no doubt that the actions of the Israeli State including those of its founders are on occasion reprehensible, but the point I was making at #98, and this extends to the rightful condemnation of Livingstone’s remarks, focussed on the implication of moral equivalence between Zionist activism and the behaviour of the Nazis. The Holocaust was a crime of unique and utter depravity, and any attempts to diminish that fact for partisan political reasons need to be firmly rebutted, out of common decency.

    LaurieB #104

    Criticism of Israel is NOT antisemitism

    Indeed so.

  96. rogeroney #109
    Mar 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    There is no doubt that the actions of the Israeli State including those of its founders are on occasion reprehensible,

    It’s founders were terrorists! They blew up the King David hotel, and assassinated the UN mediator when he would not give them all their own way! The same gangsters went on to be Israeli government ministers repressing Palestinians! – as is explained on the linked earlier discussion @#99, about an OP article written by a secular Jew on why he does not support Israel!

    but the point I was making at #98, and this extends to the rightful condemnation of Livingstone’s remarks,

    There is no “rightful condemnation of Livingstone’s remarks”! Livingstone’s remarks are quoting historical records of Israeli terrorists negotiating with Hitler to “help solve Hitler’s removal of Jews from Europe”, save those Jews from Nazi persecution by arranging for them to be shipped to Palestine, and to dump them in Palestine to meet the common NAZI / Zionist objectives, of expanding the Jewish population of Palestine, in support of terrorists undermining the British Empire in the middle East!

    Ken Livingstone as a man of integrity, is quite rightly refusing to apologise for quoting the history which Zionists deem offensive and want re-written! – despite the attacks on him by “politically correct” bigots and ignoramus block-heads in his own party!

    focussed on the implication of moral equivalence between Zionist activism and the behaviour of the Nazis.

    While there certainly were “moral equivalences”, these have NOTHING to do with the accuracy of the quotes involved!

    The Holocaust was a crime of unique and utter depravity, and any attempts to diminish that fact for partisan political reasons need to be firmly rebutted, out of common decency.

    Ken Livingstone is not a holocaust denier, and denial of historical records to pander to Zionist fanatics, has NOTHING to do with “common decency” and a great deal to do with Zionist partisan political propagandist lying!
    “God’s chosen people proclaim ‘their alleged right’ to privileged,, biblically endorsed armed land grabs” – in violation of international law! – With “God’s chosen lobbyists”, bringing money, modern weapons, trained military personnel, and clandestine/overt support from scheming foreign powers!

    (See the maps linked @#99)

  97. On the Rachel Maddow show, Andrea Mitchell said that Trump actually called Tillerson to fire him from Air Force One on his way to California.

  98. It’s looking likely that the Dems have taken the house seat in PA18. With a few thousand absentee ballots still to be counted Conor Lamb leads Republican Rick Saccone by 579 votes. Saccone would have to take an unusually high proportion of these ballots to catch up which is vanishingly unlikely. If the result is confirmed then it’s a devastating blow for both the Repubs and Trump personally who campaigned twice there for Saccone. It’s thought that all he achieved was to make Dems more resolved to vote.

  99. Marco #111
    Mar 13, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation is not best pleased about Pompeo’s appointment either:

    I see another dubious appointment has exited the White House revolving door!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43388157

    The president’s long-time personal aide John McEntee has been fired by the White House, according to US media.

    Mr McEntee, who served as an aide since early in the campaign, was reportedly escorted by security and was not permitted to collect his belongings.

    President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced on Tuesday Mr McEntee would join as a “senior adviser for campaign operations”.

    Mr McEntee was fired amid a US Department of Homeland Security investigation against him for financial crimes, CBS News reports.

    The former Fox News producer joined Mr Trump’s presidential campaign in the early months and had since been seen by his side at many events.

    John McEntee was one of the early Trump campaign true believers who followed the long-shot candidate to the White House – along with Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino. Now, only social media director Mr Scavino remains.

    Details of Mr McEntee’s dismissal have been scarce, with only a foreboding report that he was under investigation for “serious financial crimes” – ones not tied to any current Trump controversies.

    At the very least, it appears Mr McEntee did not have a permanent security clearance and, with the ongoing criminal investigation, was unlikely to ever be granted one.

    Mr McEntee’s firing – which reportedly concluded with his being escorted from White House grounds – will likely renew scrutiny of the administration’s background check process that first began after the termination of Rob Porter, another close Trump aide, because of his own clearance issues.

    Mr McEntee won’t be fully out of the Trump orbit, however.
    Shortly after his announced firing, he was hired by the Trump campaign – which is becoming a landing place for many of the former Trump hands who are unwilling or unable to work in the White House.

  100. The absentee ballots have been counted in Pennsylvania’s 18th district and Democrat Conor Lamb’s lead has actually gone up to 627 votes. It’s all over bar the shouting although an official result has not yet been declared.

    Repugs are scrambling to deny this is a crushing repudiation of Trump. Sycophant Paul Ryan said it was really a win for Repugs because both candidates campaigned as pro life, pro gun, anti Pelosi conservatives. We can safely predict that Trump will soon tweet he told everyone all along how Saccone was a weak candidate and so called it right from the start. The “Roy Moore” ploy as it will become known. In fact Trump is going to have to say how weak every Repug candidate is from now on in case they lose and he gets the blame. Then when they lose he can say they would have lost even more bigly if he hadn’t campaigned for them but their weakness was too much for even his magnificent greatness to overcome.

    In fact the polls in PA had it just about spot on. They predicted a 5 point lead for Lamb if turnout were to be unusually high but predicted only a slim lead, statistical tie, under normal conditions which is how it ended up in reality. There was no Trump effect from his recent campaigning there. If Trump had moved the needle even a couple of points Saccone would have won.

    Repugs will lie as usual and try and find excuses but this is a massive YUGE repudiation of cadet bone-spurs and everything he stands for. It’s a 20 point swing from 2016 and applied over the whole country it means a catastrophe for Repugs in the mid terms. The deplorables will stand firm. The ultra right wing religious nutjobs for whom nothing is worse than letting Dems win but everyone else is realising that all Trump delivered was lies and chaos. Actually I suspect with many Trump voters it’s not the lies and chaos that mainly concern them. It’s how weak the boastful strong man turned out to be. He crumbles at every hurdle after bragging how tough he’s going to be. What many voters wanted was a Washington outsider who’d stick it to the “man” for them. Turns out that Trump is the man and is too scared to stick it to a five year old. He promised to drain the swamp but filled it with Goldman Sachs people and billionaires. Every bit of legislation was about how it would enrich himself and his ilk. He’s clueless about picking staff who are all chosen for their sycophancy rather than their ability. He said he’d have no time for golf because he was going to work so hard but even when he’s not golfing he mainly fritters his days away in “executive time” i.e snoozing and watching tv. He can’t even walk well enough to keep up with other world leaders. He has to take a buggy when they go for a stroll. He’s the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz. He roars but then runs away, or at least as fast as his bone spurs will let him. He’s the weakest, laziest most incompetent man on the planet, not just of those who’ve held the presidency. He went golfing while Florida students buried their classmates. He attacks the weak from the safety of his bully pulpit. Grieving war widows, disabled reporters, vets with PTSD but put him face to face with anyone and he capitulates in an instant. He was sooo not scared of the NRA until he had to meet their leaders and then suddenly it was up to the states to decide if they wanted to raise the age limit for buying guns. He’d run in to face down someone with an AR-15 but he fired his Secretary of State by tweet at 7.45 am and only plucked up the courage to phone him a few hours later.

    For many years he’s run the long con. Keep his actual results as secret as possible and boast about how great he is and will be. I said 2 years ago that when he was exposed to the spotlight of constant media coverage he’d burn in its light like a moth in a flame as so it came to pass. We now see him for who he really is. The constant lies, boasting, strong man talk are the big distraction. The white noise that tries to obscure his true self. What Trump is at his core is an inveterate coward. His face might be orange but his spine is pure yellow.

  101. The torrent of lies that pours out of anyone connected to Trump is mind blowing. After news leaked that HUD was paying $31,000 for dining room furniture for Ben Carson, HUD released a statement saying Carson had nothing to do with it and the furniture had been ordered by a “staffer”. Carson himself later declared he didn’t know how much furniture cost. Emails obtained under a freedom of information request now show that it was Carson and his wife who personally chose the furniture and were fully involved all the way through the process.

    Meanwhile Trump and his shyster lawyer Cohen who have denied Trump ever had an affair with Stormy Daniels and Trump wasn’t involved in paying her $130,000 to keep quiet about their non existent affair have more egg on their faces. It turns out the lawyer dealing with the arbitration to try and hush the matter up is a Trump lawyer Jill Martin who gives her address at a Trump property.

    This sort of stuff would have destroyed any other administration but Trump has made it the new normal. It’s now more shocking when we we find out they told the truth about something.

  102. Arkrid Sandwich #116
    Mar 14, 2018 at 3:55 am

    It’s looking likely that the Dems have taken the house seat in PA18.
    With a few thousand absentee ballots still to be counted
    Conor Lamb leads Republican Rick Saccone by 579 votes.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/13/us/elections/results-pennsylvania-house-special-election.html

    Lamb Wins 18th Congressional District

    Candidate Party Votes Pct.
    Conor Lamb Dem. 113,813 49.8%
    Rick Saccone Rep. 113,186 49.6
    Drew Miller Lib. 1,379 0.6

    228,378 votes, 100% reporting (593 of 593 precincts)

    Conor Lamb, a Democrat, pulled off a narrow but major upset by winning a special House election in the heart of Pennsylvania Trump country. Mr. Lamb won in the state’s 18th Congressional District, a reliably Republican seat in recent elections and an area that Donald J. Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016. The victory is an ominous sign for Republicans ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

    The results may still be contested, but Mr. Lamb’s current lead appears insurmountable based on the number of provisional, military and other absentee ballots left to count.

    Now Mr. Lamb will have to decide soon which district to run in this year. The State Supreme Court threw out Pennsylvania’s current congressional map and recently issued a new map with redrawn boundaries.

    Yep! It looks like a massive swing against Trump candidates!

  103. With the seat in PA18 Dems now have 194 seats in the House. They need to flip 24 more to take control. There are 112 more seats coming up for election that went for Trump by a smaller margin than PA18 in 2016. On that basis, as Trump continually destroys not only his own credibility but that of everyone who comes into contact with him, it could be a landslide for Dems later this year.

    As predicted Trump is already boasting that he helped Saccone based on the last poll before the vote that showed Lamb ahead by 5 points although that one was contingent on unusually high voter turnout and the normal turnout poll was a statistical tie as I mentioned above. S’funny how all polls that show Dems leading anything are fake news until Trump wants to cherry pick one to try and prove how great he is.

    A few Repugs are still trying to talk tough but inside and in private they’re all shitting themselves bigly. Dems taking the House looks more and more like a lock and that raises the spectre of impeachment. It’ll never pass the Senate but it’ll go on Trump’s record and he’ll hate that even if he gets away with it.

    The whitewash House report on Russian collusion is yet more proof that Repugs are now bereft of honour or decency and will never put country ahead of party. It’s not Muslims or Mexicans or even North Korea that represents the gravest threat to the USA, or the world. It’s the Republican party by a mile. Thankfully Trump is destroying them with every tweet.

  104. I’m really not sure if this is the lace to discuss, but after Hawking’s death I have read read his “Universe in a Nutshell” and he has made a statement I wonder if you folks can clarify for me.”It turns out that a mathematical model involving imaginary time predicts not only effects we have already observed but also effects we have not been able to measure yet nevertheless believe in for other reasons.” What effects we “have already observed.” effects not observed but still believe in. Can you mention some of each so I can look up and study them.

  105. Republican senator Jeff Flake gave an impassioned speech at the National Press Club yesterday essentially saying his party was no longer fit to hold office.

    http://www.prescottenews.com/index.php/news/current-news/item/31627-senator-jeff-flake-speaks-at-national-press-club

    I’m sorry to say that it gives me no pleasure to talk to you this afternoon about the state of our politics – about the damage being done, my party’s seeming amnesia in the face of it, and what we as a country must do in response to these relentless threats to our democratic institutions. To see our way clear in the daily maelstrom of this current administration requires perspective – which is, of course, easier said than done.

    We will throw our backs into reinforcing the beams of the American system of justice, to make sure that never again will the independence of the judiciary be so threatened and the tenets of justice be so abused. It is a measure of how far we have fallen when we must fight for the basic ideas of American liberty and for the preservation of basic norms – such as, the attorney general is not the president’s personal lawyer, and the FBI director does not owe the president personal loyalty, but rather loyalty to the Constitution – to name but two.

    In the wake of this storm, we will once again make clear to our allies that we are allies, and we will not ever again be afraid to remind friend and foe alike that it is our values that make America America.

    We will not wink and nod at dictators.

    Nor will we congratulate them for the good job they are doing in their programs of extrajudicial killings.

    Nor will we host them in the Oval Office.

    Nor will we hesitate to punish them for attacking our elections.

    If this president saw it as his mandate to come in and turn the system upside down, to break the logjam and get things done, then it strains comprehension how going easy on dictators, and how undermining the independence of our justice system are part of the solution to breaking Washington’s partisan logjam.

    How anomalous is this behavior? At a Pennsylvania rally just days ago, the President sought to quiet the crowd from booing at the mention of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Just as he encouraged, and reveled in, a chorus of jeers for the U.S. news media. This was the same speech, of course, in which he taunted a member of congress for having a “low IQ.”

    Referring to the media as “the enemy of the people” is not normal or acceptable. It is hard to say whether the President is aware of that phrase’s ignoble pedigree, or whether this impulse just comes naturally to him. Either way, dictators around the world are borrowing the President’s usage of the term “fake news” to silence legitimate criticism and opposition.

    According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, there are a record number of journalists now being jailed worldwide, with 21 of that number being held on “false news” charges, gravely echoing the President’s language.

    Yet we are told – mostly by people in my party – to ignore the President’s words. Pay attention to what he does, not what he says, these people say.

    There is nothing that will be more vital to expunge from the American record than this frenzied attack on the truth. There are few jobs that will be more difficult than putting that particular horse back in the barn. Such is the power of a president to either build or destroy. And the irony should not escape us here – that someone whose name became known to us as a builder would have such a penchant for destruction.

    In my recent book, I wrote about Richard Nixon’s “madman theory” in which the strategic projection of the appearance of instability can force a desired outcome from a fearful foe. But for that theory to have coherence, you have to actually think strategically. And once you take the theory away, all that remains is the madman.

    But then, never has a party abandoned – fled! – its principles and deeply-held beliefs as quickly as my party fled its principles in the face of a nativist juggernaut.

    If my party is going to try to pass off the degradation of the United States and her values from the White House as normal … if we are going to cloister ourselves in the alternative truth of an erratic leader … if we are going to refuse to live in the world that everyone else lives in … and reckon with the daily reality that they face – including their very real and understandable anxiety they feel … then my party might not deserve to lead.

    Interesting stuff. Trump is a madman and his own party is not fit to lead. Both true of course. There is more of interest in the full text of his speech at the link above.

  106. Arkrid, I think Jeff Flake has been waiting to jump the boat for a while.
    He seems to be trying to change the party from within. Obviously a waste of time.

  107. alf1200 #133
    Mar 16, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Andrew McCabe was just fired. That coward Trump fired him two days before retirement.

    Disgusting and mean. Just nasty. And then pigface tweets it’s a great day for democracy.

  108. This is electoralvote.com’s take on McCabe today.

    Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was scheduled to retire tomorrow, with a pension reflecting his 20 years of service to his country. However, in a development that was simultaneously petty, deeply concerning, and entirely foreseeable, McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday night.

    The official reason that McCabe was fired is that when he talked to FBI inspectors during an internal review of one of his decisions (to allow agents to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation in 2016), he was not “candid” enough. While that is technically a fireable offense, it is the kind of thing that is generally overlooked (think of how many current cabinet officers were not “candid” enough during their confirmation hearings), or else that results in a compromise that the guilty party retires so as to avoid formal sanctions. McCabe, in fact, had already effectively retired—he stopped doing actual work months ago, and was using accrued leave time to cover the gap until he reached his retirement date, which he would have done tomorrow. Under any other president, he almost certainly would have been allowed to go quietly into the night, and that would have been that.

    But Donald Trump isn’t any other president, and McCabe’s lack of candor isn’t the real issue. The true reason that McCabe was fired is that Donald Trump hates him and, more significantly, hates what he represents (or, at least, what he represents to the President). First of all, though McCabe is a registered Republican, his wife is a Democrat. She ran for the Virginia state senate and got a big donation from a super PAC controlled by then-governor Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons. Ipso facto, as far as The Donald is concerned, McCabe is a Democrat and a close friend of Hillary Clinton, and so is a “deep state” mole trying to bring down the Trump administration from within. None of this, of course, is supported by any evidence. However, it does lead to Trump’s second complaint about McCabe: That because he’s a mole, he didn’t do enough to hammer Hillary for her e-mail server. This matter was examined exhaustively, of course, and there wasn’t enough to hammer Hillary. And even if McCabe had wanted to do so, it wasn’t his call, it was then-director James Comey’s. And that leads us to the third and final problem, namely that McCabe is part of the FBI, which Trump thinks is out to get him. He’s already fired the director (Comey), and he hasn’t been able to bring himself to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. That leaves McCabe as the biggest, juiciest target at the Bureau. To put all of this more succinctly, McCabe embodies virtually all of the things that anger Trump the most—Russiagate, “Crooked Hillary,” the FBI, Barack Obama, the deep state—and he is, unlike most of the other windmills Trump is tilting at, within the President’s reach. So, of course Trump desperately wanted to fire him.

    The problem for Trump is that, yet again, he has put short-term gain ahead of long-term pain. Here are the main problems he just created for himself:

    Votes: It is inconceivable that Donald Trump gained a single vote for himself or his party on Friday night. Undoubtedly, there are many in the Breitbart/Infowars crowd that truly believe McCabe was a shill, a mole, a Clinton lackey, etc., but they were already voting for Trump. Nobody was brought into the Trump camp with the firing. On the other hand, the President’s decision looks petty and selfish, and politicizes the law enforcement apparatus, which is supposed to be (and needs to be) apolitical. There is much in common with Dick Nixon’s decision to fire two attorneys general and the special prosecutor in 1974, and to try to sweep it under the rug by doing it late on a weekend night. Doing it that way added “cowardly” to the list, along with selfish, petty, etc. The parallels to the Saturday Night Massacre are strong enough that historian David Brinkley is already referring to yesterday’s events as the “Friday Night Slaughter.” In Nixon’s case, his approval rating began to crater immediately after the Massacre. In Trump’s case, his approval is already quite low; maybe it will go even lower. Beyond that, there are people who will see that a hardworking public servant was just deprived of his well-earned retirement money for less-than-noble reasons, and at the hands of a man who has never had to worry about money in his life. There is no question that will cost Trump some votes.

    McCabe Unleashed: A savvier political operator might have realized, as LBJ put it, that it’s sometimes better to have enemies “inside the tent pissing out, as opposed to outside the tent pissing in.” Trump might have been wise to dispatch an underling to chat with McCabe, and to make a deal that he would be allowed to retire with dignity if he agreed to button his lip. Now, however, McCabe has no reason to be silent. He’s already spoken out, blasting “this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation.” He is going to be a popular guest on CNN, MSNBC, the Sunday news shows, etc. for a good long time. He’s undoubtedly also going to file a lawsuit, which probably won’t be succesful, but will keep this matter in the headlines for months And he might just get to depose Trump under oath, with all that entails.

    The FBI Unleashed: Certainly, some FBI agents are Republicans, just as some are Democrats. But, almost without exception, their first loyalty is to the Bureau. There can be no doubt that Trump is now at war with them, and they will certainly close ranks. At the same time they are watching each other’s backs, they will also be watching extra closely for evidence of malfeasance by members of the administration. Sparring with the FBI rarely works out well for presidents, and that’s before we consider that this particular president’s closet has so many skeletons it could be confused with the Paris catacombs.

    The Bureaucracy: Everyone in the government has now been put on notice that their future, including the pension they have earned over the years, is subject to being snuffed out if they offend the President. This, needless to say, will not be good for morale. Donald Trump probably does not care about that, but there are two things that he really should care about. First, it is the bureaucrats who actually carry out the president’s policies; their significance is so great that political scientists sometimes refer to the bureaucracy as the fourth branch of the government. If their enthusiasm is low, Trump’s policies won’t be as vigorously carried out as he would like, and they may not be carried out at all. Second, while The Donald is happy to leave a lot of jobs vacant, he does have to hire some people. And every time he behaves in this manner, that gets harder.

    In short, whether the President realizes it or not, he shot himself in the foot on Friday night. And he’s not the only one who took a hit. In theory, Jeff Sessions is supposed to place the law above politics, and is supposed to be an advocate for the Constitution. Most AGs, including the two Nixon fired all those years ago, would have refused Trump’s order. Sessions, on the other hand, announced to the world that he’s just a partisan stooge. Similarly, Chief of Staff John Kelly has been portrayed as a moderating force who keeps Trump from doing too much damage. However, the President deviated enormously from constitutional norms on Friday night, and Kelly stood by and did nothing. It’s true that he might not have been able to stop the President but, like Sessions, he could have resigned and he did not. It’s another reminder that not only are there no grown-ups in the White House, the problem is getting worse.

    On the other hand, it is at least possible that Sessions genuinely thinks he is doing what is best for the country. He knows that if he refused to fire McCabe, then Trump would fire him and replace him with someone (Scott Pruitt?) who would fire Robert Mueller. Using this reasoning, Sessions might be thinking that on the whole, punishing McCabe is a small price to pay to keep Mueller on the job. Four-dimensional chess anyone?

    All I’ll add is the sheer hypocrisy of firing McCabe because he “wasn’t candid enough” when Trump lies every time he opens his mouth and Sessions played the “I don’t recall” card 47 times when he was testifying before Congress is appalling. Sessions is a disgusting little scumbag weasel and Trump’s continuing attack on the security services is unprecedented. I wonder how many of Trump’s secret service bodyguards would take a bullet for the cowardly piece of shit they have to protect? Hopefully none.

    Regardless of their politics I’m sure a lot of ordinary Joes will see McCabe as a working stiff like themselves who just got bilked out of his pension by the coward in chief for no good reason and will never vote for him again.

  109. Arkrid

    Someone on MSNBC just pointed out the strange situation of many Americans now cheering on a porn star over their own President and hoping that she punishes him like nobody else has been able to.

  110. LaurieB #137
    Mar 17, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Someone on MSNBC just pointed out the strange situation of many Americans now cheering on a porn star over their own President and hoping that she punishes him like nobody else has been able to.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43439731

    Lawyers for US President Donald Trump are seeking $20 million (£14m) in damages from a porn actress he says broke a non-disclosure deal signed before the 2016 elections.

    A CrowdJustice campaign to raise funds for her legal fees has already raised almost $200,000.

  111. A CrowdJustice campaign to raise funds for her legal fees has already raised almost $200,000.

    “crowdjustice” inspiring and scary at the same time! o_O In this case I find myself to be entirely sympathetic to the bunch wielding the pitchforks. I DO own a perfectly serviceable pitchfork, by the way, and I’m NOT afraid to use it!!!

  112. Strange world. Porn star is getting a fundraiser to talk about her “Presidential Affairs”.
    (Office of Presidential Affairs should be a new department)

  113. A Democrat senator has offered McCabe a security job in his office for a week so he can accumulate the service to reach his pension since Trump fired him 2 days early. Looks like Trump’s mean and vindictive plan will fail. Trump meanwhile is tweeting furiously about everything that upsets him. He’s pretty much admitted that firing McCabe was really about Comey and also McCabe’s wife Jill who is a Democrat. McCabe has revealed that Trump was obsessed with Jill and brought her up every time they spoke. Trump was convinced that because she is a Democrat it meant that McCabe himself was working against him. He was also obsessed with the fact that Jill McCabe took a campaign donation from Terry McAuliffe, an ally of the Clinton’s. This gives an insight into Trump’s rampant paranoia and prediliction for grudges which influence much of his behaviour.

    Trump is also in a meltdown about the Mueller investigation now that his business’s financial records have been subpeona’d. One of his lawyers has gone on camera claiming it needs to be shut down and then made the awful blunder of saying he was speaking on behalf of Trump and then trying to walk that back to claim he was only speaking for himself. A dumb lawyer for a dumb fake president. Seems fitting to me.

    Ex CIA chief John Brennan has launched a scathing attack on Trump after McCabe’s firing.

    When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.

    We all know Trump is itching to fire Mueller but with the Dems set to take back the House this year he’s going to get impeached if he does so. Maybe he’s banking on the Senate saving him because it needs a 2/3s majority there to confirm impeachment and that’s never going to happen with the spineless partisan scumbags who now comprise the Republican party. Trump has always gone on the attack when he’s under fire just as he is with Stormy Daniels now, suing her for $20 million. I suspect his instincts are to fire Mueller and try and get away with it. He’s rarely if ever faced any hard consequences in his life and doesn’t think they apply to him.

  114. Arkrid #144

    McCabe has revealed that Trump was obsessed with Jill and brought her
    up every time they spoke.

    According to right-wing media (Fox, Limbaugh, etc), Democrats are evil anarchists who are trying to take down the country. Look at the Roy Moore fiasco: the governor of Alabama acknowledged the likelihood of the allegations, but urged voters to support him anyway because he wasn’t a Democrat.

    And sadly, right-wing media is Trump’s source of information. In that context, the vitriolic obsession with anything left of nuts makes a little more sense. Why else would the specters of Obama and Hillary constantly hover over their addled brains? He and his supporters have been fed this steady diet for the last 20 years; it’s all they know.

  115. A little thrown there, at first, Vicki.

    right-wing media is Trump’s source of information.

    That “information” reference seemed a little odd. After some regulator hassles they are, though, now free to use their own term

    Rightruthiness ™ ………..Sleepy….

    in its stead.

  116. Trump’s paranoia now that Mueller is looking into his business records is going crazy. His latest tweet is this:

    “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”

    Of course it’s manifestly untrue but Trump rarely lets facts get in way of a good tantrum. Mueller himself is a Republican as are several of his team. However the salient point is that Trump is now going directly after Mueller by name after holding himself in check so far. There is talk that Trump wants to replace Sessions as AG with his sock puppet Scott Pruitt who is busy destroying the EPA at present. Pruitt would very likely do whatever Trump told him to including firing Mueller however it’s a bit more complex than that. Trump can fire Sessions but then deputy AG Rosenstein takes over and if Trump fires him too then the number 3 in the AG’s office takes over. There’s no mechanism for Trump to just shove in a new AG and bypass the order of succession.

    When the Dems take the House back in November Trump will be out of options. Even if he manages to stop Mueller the House can just reappoint him and his team with their own funding. Trump would also certainly get impeached for obstruction of justice too.

  117. Arkrid Sandwich #147
    Mar 19, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Trump’s paranoia now that Mueller is looking into his business records is going crazy. His latest tweet is this:

    “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”

    Of course it’s manifestly untrue but Trump rarely lets facts get in way of a good tantrum.
    Mueller himself is a Republican as are several of his team.

    . . . . . Not to mention warnings from several Republicans against Trump going after Mueller, to further obstruct justice, as was tried by Nixon after Watergate!

    Ah! But maybe those were “biased Republicans” who had a second cousin who once voted Democrat!

  118. LaurieB #137
    Mar 17, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Arkrid

    Someone on MSNBC just pointed out the strange situation of many Americans now cheering on a porn star over their own President and hoping that she punishes him like nobody else has been able to.

    Even stranger I imagine many are cheering Kim Jong Un on because Trump makes even him look a bit likeable. Ok not so much but I bet many people’s opinion of KJU’s nuclear ambitions have softened somewhat. His strategy actually looks very sensible and I’m sure Trump is the bigger danger to world peace.

    Trump seems to have changed recently. I think his first year was mainly spent in bafflement at how the presidency worked. As he himself said, who knew it would be harder than running a construction company. I think Trump has now fully taken on board just how bulletproof his job is when the Dems don’t have enough members of the Senate to confirm an impeachment. His firing of McCabe and direct attacks on Mueller now indicate he doesn’t think he can be held accountable by anyone for anything. People keep saying that Trump thrives on chaos. I don’t believe that at all. I think he thrives on two things. Building tall penislike buildings he can put his name on and destroying everything else. Especially things that a black man built. I think Trump is deeply and rabidly racist, far more than most people imagine. He both hates and fears black people or in fact anyone without white skin. I think destroying things just because he can makes him feel powerful. It feeds his narcissism and soothes his fragile ego. The most extreme expression of this is the nuclear button and I bet he’s dying to become the first president since WWII to bomb something into glass just to show he can. NK is the obvious choice. If I were KJU I’d be wanting an awful lot of conventional weapons aimed at SK and the best nuclear deterrent I could get to ward this possibility off.

    It may actually transpire that we need to root for KJU to succeed with his nuclear program just to keep Trump in check. Now that would be a reversal.

  119. Following up some links in Google the other day I inadvertently found myself on Fox News’s website. This was not a happy experience. Not so much because of the articles themselves but the comments section below where the deplorables lurk. These people are utterly rabid and devoid of common sense. There was exhilaration over McCabe’s firing with words like traitor and treasonous being used. Delight at his potential loss of pension. If a sane person tries to comment they attack like pirana. The favourite epithet seems to be “liberal” usually in conjunction with an adjective or two like bleeding heart, snowflake or namby pamby. 50 years ago the epithet would have been commie but apparently being liberal is the biggest sin in today’s demonocracy. All the word really means from its Latin roots is “free” and I thought the USA was supposed to be the land of those but it’s clearly poison to the rabid religious right. There is not an equivalence on the left of politics. The religious right have demonised the left but I think most Dems would prefer to work with Republicans rather than against them for the good of the country.

    The right have no such concerns about the country. To them all that matters is not letting the enemy win anything. What freedom means to the right is very different to what it means to the left. It means freedom to own lots of phallic assault weapons, freedom to be racist, freedom to be homophobic, freedom to diminish and degrade women, freedom to be pro life when that life is just a sperm and an egg but to not give a shit when it reaches school age. I suspect the biggest fear for most of these cretins would be to go into a public toilet and find someone in women’s clothing standing at a urinal with their dress hoiked up and pissing on the porcelain holding a bigger cock than they have. The only thing worse would be if the person were black.

  120. PhineasTPH #129
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    I’m really not sure if this is the place to discuss, but after Hawking’s death
    I have read read his “Universe in a Nutshell”
    and he has made a statement I wonder if you folks can clarify for me.

    You really need a theoretical physicist to discuss this.

    ”It turns out that a mathematical model involving imaginary time predicts not only effects we have already observed but also effects we have not been able to measure yet nevertheless believe in for other reasons.” What effects we “have already observed.” effects not observed but still believe in. Can you mention some of each so I can look up and study them.

    All I can offer is some basic links.

    https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/a-brief-history-of-hawking-s-scientific-legacy

    The term “imaginary time” seems like a perfect obfuscation, or a mystical incantation, but here is what it really means:
    The universe today has three dimensions of space, and one distinct dimension of time. We can move around in space, but we are constrained to experience time as unidirectional, always from the past to the future.

    The Hartle-Hawking proposal is that quantum effects turn the time dimension into a fourth dimension of space at the Big Bang (the mathematics of this involves “imaginary” numbers, such as the square root of -1). Time’s “Brief History” ceases to exist, and the singularity is somewhat tamed.

    Does the real universe behave in this fascinating way? That still remains unknown.

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

    Imaginary time is a mathematical representation of time which appears in some approaches to special relativity and quantum mechanics. It finds uses in connecting quantum mechanics with statistical mechanics and in certain cosmological theories.

    Mathematically, imaginary time is real time which has undergone a Wick rotation so that its coordinates are multiplied by the imaginary root i. Imaginary time is not imaginary in the sense that it is unreal or made-up (any more than, say, irrational numbers defy logic), it is simply expressed in terms of what mathematicians call imaginary numbers.

  121. PhineasTPH #129
    Mar 15, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    I’m really not sure if this is the lace to discuss, but after Hawking’s death I have read read his “Universe in a Nutshell” and he has made a statement I wonder if you folks can clarify for me.”It turns out that a mathematical model involving imaginary time predicts not only effects we have already observed but also effects we have not been able to measure yet nevertheless believe in for other reasons.” What effects we “have already observed.” effects not observed but still believe in. Can you mention some of each so I can look up and study them.

    Hawking goes on to discuss some of these effects in chapter 3 and again in the last chapter so I suggest you read it again. Effects that imaginary time predicts that we have not observed, and maybe never can, are that the universe has no boundaries in space or time. It removes some of the problems of the singularity of the Big bang and replaces them with a point in spacetime which is not so extraordinary. It also seems to predict that the universe will eventually collapse again and that it may have done so many or even infinite times already. It also implies that the universe is completely self contained and requires nothing outside itself to account for its properties, its matter and energy.

    Things it seems to predict that we have observed are the inflationary phase of the universe and the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

    Imaginary time is merely a mathematical construct which allows calculations to be done which have no equivalent in equations using real time. Equations that resolve into infinities or into the square root of a minus number are not very useful. Turning time into imaginary time allows calculations with real solutions which can then be turned back into real time as the last step.

  122. More bad news for the security of the planet. As widely predicted in the media, Trump has replaced H.R.McMaster as National Security Adviser with John Bolton’s moustache. Bolton’s moustache is a war hawk who has previously called for regime change in North Korea and Iran and pre-emptive strikes on NK. His world view is much the same as Trump’s – America first and fuck everyone else.

  123. Arkrid Sandwich #156
    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:27 am

    More bad news for the security of the planet.
    As widely predicted in the media,
    Trump has replaced H.R.McMaster as National Security Adviser with John Bolton’s moustache.

    That is well in line with the Trump perception of policy advice!

    Advisors are appointed to praise Trump and tell him things he likes to hear, (such as how much cleverer a “deal-maker” he is, than his predecessors who made all those “unfair rubbish-deals” he is ripping up!) – Not those “establishment people” who tell him things they think a competent president needs to know!

    As I linked on this other discussion:-

    John Dowd is reported to have concluded that Mr Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice.

  124. Bolton isn’t just another “yes man”. He’s a snarling fascist. Trump is too stupid to control him. The bull has been invited into the china shop.

  125. Yes, Bolton is an extremely worrying development.

    What we’re seeing is the full-on Foxification of the Trump administration. This is a man who has gleaned all his information (sic) and attitudes and solutions (sic again) from the loons at Fox News, and is therefore convinced that only they (and he, obviously) understand the world and know what they’re talking about. So he appointed pretty terrible people and then got frustrated with them if they showed even the slightest openness to being influenced by more informed advisors or inclined to even the mildest degree of moderation – and is now replacing them with the very fanatics who shaped his views in the first place.

    Where others may have tried, however ineffectually, to hold Trump’s worst excesses in check, Bolton will be egging him on to go even further. He’ll be the new Steve Bannon in Trump’s life. Trump always needs a strong man to look up to and tell him what to do.

    The UK newspaper The Independent identified the threat that would be posed by someone like John Bolton in this article from October last year: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-revenge-rex-tillerson-generals-obama-presidency-a7989111.html The whole article’s worth a read, but this bit stands out:

    “As with all Trump hires, it was always a matter of when rather than
    if they would terminally displease their boss, or discover the limits
    of their endurance. What follows if he replaces them with ideological
    warmongers, in the mould of Steve Bannon, or the theatrically maniacal
    John Bolton doesn’t bear contemplating.”

    Who is left in Trump circles who will still be able to urge him back from the brink?

  126. I do wonder how long Bolton will last anyway. The essential point is that Trump’s narcissism means he can’t work with anyone. Anyone who’s bad eventually gets canned and anyone who’s good at their job makes Trump look bad. The only line to try and tread is that of complete sycophant but don’t upstage him. Trump’s main beef with McMaster was that his security briefings were too long and complex. They contained actual information which Trump avoids like the plague. Bolton has no military experience, he dodged the draft like Trump did, so I’m not sure what his credentials for being NSA are. He’s also known for being very abrasive and pissing off everyone he comes into contact with. I imagine in time the actual generals will have had their fill of him and then another night of the long knives will start.

  127. Bolton was blocked in the past by lack of congressional approval (he got around it eventually) but this time he was placed in a position that doesn’t require congressional approval and it’s a position that has close access to the President and deals with the most sensitive classified material. It was pointed out last night on MSNBC that the office of the security advisor is next to that of the President in the White House. After high level meetings, the cabinet members all drive away to their offices and the N.S.A. stays next to the President to offer the final word. We’ve heard that the last person to have Trump’s ear strongly influences his next move on issues. Now that person will be Bolton.

  128. We’ve heard that the last person to have Trump’s ear strongly
    influences his next move on issues. Now that person will be Bolton.

    That’s nothing short of terrifying, Laurie.

    Arkrid:

    I do wonder how long Bolton will last anyway. The essential point is
    that Trump’s narcissism means he can’t work with anyone. Anyone who’s
    bad eventually gets canned and anyone who’s good at their job makes
    Trump look bad.

    I suspect the surefire way for anyone to survive is to consistently tell Trump what he wants to hear. Trump wants to hear Fox-style fanaticism. He wants to hear that every problem can be solved if you just kill enough people. And that’s exactly what Bolton will tell him.

    I’ve been concerned since the day Trump became President-Elect, but the Bolton development has chilled me through and through.

  129. Arkrid

    Trump is ignorant and intends to stay that way. He admires bullies and operates on a dominant/submissive dynamic. What I mean by that is that I see him swing back and forth between those two roles depending on who he is interacting with at the time. He bullies those who he can get away with it and is submissive to those he fears like Putin. I think Bolton will intimidate him and turn him into a toady. Bolton must have been biding his time until the day when he’d be offered a high power post that doesn’t need congressional approval. This is his dream job. I want to watch Bolton speak on important issues to get a feeling of his intelligence level and then we’ll know if we are dealing with a smart psychopath or a stupid psychopath in combination with the stupid psychopath that currently occupies the highest office in the land.

    Is there any chance that Canada would be willing to invade and colonize us?? Here’s hoping!

  130. The thing is, I’ve always been convinced that, for Trump, having the ability to launch a nuclear war was a huge part of the appeal of the Presidency.

    It’s just not in his nature to value peace. Or diplomacy. Or to have these massive toys at his disposal and not to want to use them. Imagine having them under his command and getting to the end of his presidency without ever having used them. He’d see that as a failure or, at the very least, a wasted opportunity. He’s always got to be the biggest, the best. He’ll do anything if it means people will talk about him. I just don’t see him stepping away from using the biggest, most devastating weapons in his arsenal. I see him using them – Because He Can.

    Remember those images of Trump pretending to drive a fire engine on the White House lawn?

    http://time.com/4711764/donald-trump-pretend-truck-photo-white-house/

    That was him all over. The ultimate man-child. And now America’s nuclear weapons are Trump’s fire engine.

    While he had slightly less fanatical people around him, there were some grounds to hope that cooler heads would prevail. But now he’s moved them all out and is moving the fanatics in. Meanwhile, the pressure’s building. He’s going to need something to show for his head-to-head with Kim Jong-Un in May. The heat’s being turned up all the time re. Russia, which means he’s going to be desperate for a distraction – and also that it’s likely he’ll soon have nothing to lose. If Trump’s going to go down, it’s entirely in his character to take as many people as possible with him.

    The danger lies entirely in the character of the man.

  131. Marco

    I see him using them – Because He Can

    Add to that the total lack of empathy displayed over other much lesser incidents that come into his view. I’d like to hear what he has to say about the previous use of devastating bombs and the wide spread carnage they caused. What would he say about Japan WW2 ? It’s interesting to ask Americans what they think about that historical event. In high school in the late seventies the lesson taught us that it was an efficient military tactic to drop those bombs. It brought the war to a faster end. We never heard about the disastrous consequences. No understanding of the victims being real people with real families and real lives. I only came to understand that action in real context when a non-American confronted me over the event and caused me to rethink it from a different perspective. But does Trump/Bolton still hold onto that archaic whitewashed view of nuclear weapons? I’m betting they do. This “America first” mindset doesn’t seem to allow empathy toward outsiders, especially if they are seen as being very different from themselves. North Koreans are probably seen as very different. Less than human?…A bunch of robots?…

  132. Agree with all that, Laurie.

    Add to that the total lack of empathy displayed over other much lesser
    incidents that come into his view.

    Exactly. Someone protests at one of his campaign meetings? Easy: give them a good kicking. Drag them out.

    Someone’s selling drugs? Easy: kill ’em.

    He despises anything less than immediate, extreme action. Look at all the reports circulating about him being impatient with detail. Apparently that was one of his frustrations with H R McMaster: that he insisted on talking Trump through the various options, the pros and cons of each one, rather than just presenting him with a solution and saying: Do this.

    Trump doesn’t do detail. He doesn’t do research. He doesn’t do patience. He doesn’t do insight. And he doesn’t do diplomacy. His whole approach is Biff! Bang! Ker-pow! The louder and harder the better.

    This is not a man who would consider it a failure to launch a nuclear weapon.

  133. Marco #169
    Mar 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    North Koreans are probably seen as very different.

    Yep! – a bit like Cuba! – One of those “evil” communist regimes on which the US has been waging trade-wars and military threats, ever since the partition of the country after WW2.

    Less than human?…A bunch of robots?…

    Yep! unlike those US “corporate liberated workers” in “Utopian” South Korean industries! (Cough!)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-43497017

    The government in South Korea’s capital is introducing a new initiative to force its employees to leave work on time – by powering down all their computers at 20:00 on Fridays.

    It says it is trying to stop a “culture of working overtime”.

    South Korea has some of the longest working hours in the world.

    Government employees there work an average of 2,739 hours a year – about 1,000 hours more than workers in other developed countries.

    Earlier this month, South Korea’s national assembly passed a law to cut down the maximum weekly working hours to 52, down from 68.

  134. On another subject –
    I see that opportunist brexiteer Corbyn, has sacked one of his shadow ministers for calling for a second referendum! –
    Despite all the serious expert studies showing that REMAINING a member of the EU, provides better economic and social prospects than ANY of the brexit options – together with the minimal prospect of ANY credible brexit solution to the “OPEN while CLOSED”, IRISH BORDER PROBLEM!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43521321

    Jeremy Corbyn has sacked a shadow cabinet minister who broke ranks with official Labour Party policy to call for another EU referendum.

    Owen Smith was asked to stand down as shadow Northern Ireland secretary by the Labour leader, after calling for a second vote after EU talks have ended.

    He is to be replaced by Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd.

    Mr Smith said he would continue to “speak up” for what he called his “long-held views” on Brexit.

    He said in a tweet that his views on Brexit, which he outlined in a Guardian article, were shared by other supporters and members of the Labour party.

  135. Alan, #172

    Disgraceful.

    And to think there are still Remainers out there clinging to the farcical notion that Corbyn is on their side.

  136. Marco #173
    Mar 23, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Alan, #172

    Disgraceful.

    And to think there are still Remainers out there clinging to the farcical notion that Corbyn is on their side.

    There are probably upward of one third of the party who support remain on the basis of the evidence, but they tend to be shouted down by the clueless propaganda-fed Corbynite yahoo’s chorus!

    Of course they are also trying to fight local council elections where the planned succession of Tory government £multimillion cuts – past, present, and future is reducing the central government funding from taxation – eventually to zero, – forcing the progressive reduction and closures of public services!
    Scurrilous government spokespersons are as usual, trying to pretend that these cuts and the raising of local council taxes, are due to inept local government management of services!

  137. There are probably upward of one third of the party who support remain
    on the basis of the evidence, but they tend to be shouted down by the
    clueless propaganda-fed Corbynite yahoo’s chorus!

    I think it may well be rather more than that, Alan.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/27/labour-voters-could-abandon-party-over-brexit-stance-poll-finds

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/26/labour-brexit-rethink-second-referendum-guardian-icm-poll

    The problem is that both Corbyn’s Labour Party and the Tories want Brexit to happen for their own reasons. It’s never been about “the will of the people” – if it had been, there wouldn’t be this huge resistance from both parties to the idea of a 2nd referendum, and there’d be a lot more interest in investigating the implications of the Cambridge Analytica scandal for the authenticity of the referendum result.

    And Brexit’s going to happen on 29 March next year, and there’s no national election due before then that could serve as a proxy referendum. And once we’re out, we’re out.

    So both parties – for reasons of their own – are just keeping their eyes fixed on 29th March next year and doing whatever it takes to get there with Brexit intact.

    This is why all the talk of insisting on a meaningful vote for Parliament on the final deal – though entirely right and proper if we had anything like a functioning democracy right now – has been a waste of time. There’s no way we’re going to have a final deal before Brexit actually happens. The government knows that. Corbyn knows that. Rees-Mogg knows that. They all do. Given all the ideological blowhards hell-bent on a hard Brexit for their own purposes, it’s desperately dangerous for us to be leaving the EU before reaching a legally binding agreement on what happens next.

  138. Marco #177
    Mar 23, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    The problem is that both Corbyn’s Labour Party and the Tories want Brexit to happen for their own reasons.

    The Tories of course also have those who support REMAIN on the basis of evidence. It is the economically clueless fantasist brexiteers backed by support from the propaganda rags, who recognised that a chorus of manipulated yahoos, could shout down informed opinion!

    It’s never been about “the will of the people” – if it had been,

    It is only the will of protesting ‘KIPper type anti-establishment rebels, and the clueless easily swayed people, who have been repeatedly told it is “THEIR WILL”, by the tabloid propaganda rags – the Express, The Daily Mail, and The Sun!

    there wouldn’t be this huge resistance from both parties to the idea of a 2nd referendum, and there’d be a lot more interest in investigating the implications of the Cambridge Analytica scandal for the authenticity of the referendum result.

    I see the resistance as coming from the left and right loony fringes which have taken over their party leaderships as a result of this “perverted by liars” referendum.
    Like Trump’s election – The referendum – in their view, “MUST be valid” if it put them in power! – and if brexit was thrown out by the British electorate, after all these devious manoeuvrings , the brexiteers would be exposed as the clueless, lying, opportunist, time and resource wasters, they are!

  139. Worrying article here by Sarah Kendzior about developments on the Iran front within 24 hours of John Bolton’s appointment:

    https://amp.fastcompany.com/40549085/will-the-indictment-of-iranian-hackers-prove-the-pretext-for-john-boltons-war?

    Bolton, who has vowed that the U.S. oust the current Iranian
    government by 2019, has no such hesitations. For Bolton, the answer to
    any international crisis is always war, and the indicted Iranian
    hackers, presented with much fanfare by Rosenstein, give the
    administration an ostensible pretext. Needless to say, an
    administration that runs on “alternative facts” will simply invent an
    excuse where none exists, but the timing of the announcement seems
    geared to direct the nation’s attention to Iran as a major threat,
    laying the groundwork for Bolton to pursue military and even nuclear
    strikes–now justified in official documents by the changes in the
    Pentagon’s nuclear posture review–when he begins his tenure in April.

    Worth reading the whole thing. I’ve found her an insightful commentator in the past.

  140. Thanks Marco-

    Rosenstein vowed harsh repercussions for the Iranian hackers, including their extradition to the United States and imprisonment if convicted.

    –blah, blah, blah–

    I hate to be this guy, I really do. But I don’t see how it can be avoided.

    Stuxnet is without a doubt the granddaddy of nation-state viruses. In 2010, US and Israeli coders (reportedly) unleashed the computer worm on Iranian nuclear facilities, sending their centrifuges into overdrive and spoiling the nuclear material they were working on.

    Can you imagine?

  141. Would someone please tell me when I should pack my bags, sell my house and move to another country?
    This is worse then I thought it would be a year ago.

  142. Sean #180

    I hadn’t heard about Stuxnet, but I’m struggling in vain to feel shocked about it. Not that it isn’t shocking of itself. Just that I’m not shocked that the US was reportedly behind it. There’s very little I’d put past the US, I’m afraid.

    I’m always struck by the sheer hypocrisy of the US taking it upon itself to declare which countries are and are not allowed to have nuclear weapons – while itself possessing vast quantities of the things and now wanting even more. All this fuss over North Korea developing nuclear weapons that might reach the US … yet apparently it never even occurs to anyone that the NK development might itself be intended as a deterrent against the weapons that the US has.

    I’m opposed to nuclear weapons, on principle, though that’s a genie we’re not going to get back into the bottle now. But imagine a world where the US were the only country that had them! Would anyone really trust them to use that power wisely? No, didn’t think so.

  143. Marco #182
    Mar 24, 2018 at 4:07 am

    I’m opposed to nuclear weapons, on principle, though that’s a genie we’re not going to get back into the bottle now.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_nuclear_weapons
    Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, three states that were not parties to the Treaty have conducted nuclear tests, namely India, Pakistan, and North Korea.

    Israel is also generally understood to have nuclear weapons,[2][3][4][5][6] but does not acknowledge it (Israel maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity), and is not known definitively to have conducted a nuclear test.[7] Israel is estimated to possess somewhere between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads.[

    Strangely, we hear little about the nuclear weapons in backward, war-torn, tribal, Islamic, Pakistan – or in the fanatically, militaristic, expansionist, Zionist Israel!

  144. I see that opportunist brexiteer Corbyn, has sacked one of his shadow ministers for calling for a second referendum! –

    Marco #173
    Mar 23, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Alan, #172 – Disgraceful. – And to think there are still Remainers out there clinging to the farcical notion that Corbyn is on their side.

    Worse than that!
    There are still low paid employees and small businesses, who think he is on their side! – Despite the whip to force through article 50, without any attempt to do basic homework, to seek evidence of ANY coherent brexiteer plan which would benefit the UK economy, protect workers from exploitation and unemployment, or discourage companies from relocating their businesses to other European venues to escape tariffs !

  145. Richard Painter, Conservative ethics lawyer for Bush, stated yesterday he would run for Frankens seat as a Democrat or Independent.
    I think he is done with the GOP.
    He has always been socially responsible and honest as a arrow.

  146. alf

    I saw that too. I’ve been loving his blunt assessments through this whole year. He has quite a following now. Why doesn’t he just come over to the Dems? At the beginning of this fiasco I saw him described as a “superconservative” and I haven’t looked into his views in depth but I don’t see any signs of superconservatism in his tweets and TV talking heads appearances. He blasted antiabortion bunch. How conservative could he be?

  147. I just watched The Falling Man, concerning one of the “jumpers” who chose to die by hitting the ground rather than burning alive.
    Most people were rightly appalled by the actions of the religious extremists who caused the attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001. Sadly those people seem to believe that it was a perversion of religion, rather than a religion itself, that led to their actions.
    However I was even more appalled by the response of the family who a journalist believed were related to the falling man himself. They did not wish to believe that he may have jumped, because that would mean he committed suicide, and therefore would burn in hell for eternity.
    Nobody commented that a god who would apparently force an innocent person to let himself be burned alive, through no fault of his own, to avoid eternal damnation is not worthy of any worship or belief. This just shows how blind faith in so-called moderate religion is as unacceptable as the beliefs of the madmen who caused the disaster.

  148. Laurie, He seems to understand the corruption and dysfunction on the hill.
    I have complete confidence in him. For now.
    Besides, who could say “disgusting” and “treason” like he can?
    Is your house up for sale yet?

  149. Jeremy, If we go back to the root of the problem, how would “gawd” allow such hate to exist that
    would be used in his name to slaughter and kill. Both sides “done prayed” they would win?
    Better yet, why would “dog” allow two different sides?
    (sorry, I’m a bad spelier and dyslectical)

  150. alf

    The election can’t get here fast enough. I’m encouraged by the high schoolers. If anyone can fix this gun bullshit, they can. Still, the problems in this place are overwhelming. I don’t see a way out.

  151. The Daily Beast has been speculating on how close Trump is to a psychiatric breakdown. My personal opinion is not close at all because he’s spent his whole life with people hating him and suing him and he’s gone out of his way to make sure there are plenty of those by stiffing them on their invoices thousands of times. However his twitter feed certainly gives an excellent insight into his state of mind. A few rules have become established over time. On the very rare occasions Trump tells the truth he says it once, maybe twice and then satisfied he’s made his point he shuts up. When he rants on and on about something endlessly then you know it’s a lie. No matter how many times he screams “NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION, WITCH HUNT!!!” it never takes away the fear inside him that Mueller will get to the bottom of his ties to Russia so he has to keep repeating it.

    When his back is really to the wall he starts relitigating old news that still bugs him. This tweet appeared on the 22nd and shows how much he burns about losing the popular vote and having a smaller inauguration crowd than the hated Obama.

    *Mar 22, 2018 05:40:37 AM – Remember when they were saying, during the campaign, that Donald Trump is giving great speeches and drawing big crowds, but he is spending much less money and not using social media as well as Crooked Hillary’s large and highly sophisticated staff. Well, not saying that anymore! *

    Something that has struck me over the last couple of years and I’ve mentioned it in here before is Trump’s obsession with men crying. That’s his favourite put down to men along with “weak” and “crazy”. This about Biden after Biden said he’d have beaten Trump up in high school.

    Mar 22, 2018 05:19:57 AM – Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!

    Note how both of these tweets direct from Trump’s innermost psyche came at the same time in the morning when he first wakes up burning about the demons raging inside him.

    The obvious psychological projection in this is startling. Trump is terrified of being thought of as weak or crazy and the cardinal sin is for a man to ever blub so this is what he accuses his enemies of. You can just picture the blubbing little Donnie being disciplined by his domineering father and being told “stop that bawling you little shit or I’ll take my belt off and give you something to really cry about. Real men are strong not weak and real men never cry.” So Trump’s favourite boasts are the image he has of himself that his malignant narcissism fosters continually. That he’s super smart, a very stable genius who knows more about everything than the supposed experts, that he’s strong and brave and would run in to a school unarmed to face down someone with an assualt rifle. As with almost everything Trump says repeatedly we can confidently predict that the opposite is true. He’s a simpering coward with a yellow streak a mile wide and dumb as a rock. The attention span of a goldfish and the IQ of a tree frog.

    A final thought struck me. If Trump really were as smart and as brave as he likes to think he is. If he had super powers maybe, would he not be exactly like the disgusting god of the old testament? A venal, vindictive, mysogynistic, racist, sadist who tortures and torments people and destroys things just to show off his power? I suspect that for the most rabid of his supporters who are generally religious nutjobs it’s not much of a stretch to venerate Trump when they venerate a god who’s almost exactly like him.

    I don’t know why it’s taking so long for people to understand how to get under Trump’s skin and drive him really over the edge. Just hurl back at him the taunts he uses on others. Call him weak, call him crazy, make up a story that a staffer walked into his room and found him blubbing like a little girl. Say that he cries himself to sleep alone every night because Melania hates him and never goes near him anymore. I suspect that’s true enough anyway and that one of the things he fears the most is her divorcing him because of the sex scandals that are hitting him every day. He knows he’s too old and fat and ugly to ever get a good looking young woman again.

  152. I suspect it is important that Painter remains true to his political identity. It is those in the feeding frenzy on the religious right who have made the movement to become…. and its time we break the glass case and use the F-word reserved for such occasions… Fascisti.

    Absolutely as many as possible must feel betrayed by this and act against them.

    Whilst its true that we need to re-centre American politics with its two right wing parties limiting choices and one centre right party pushing the other right party righter and wronger, now we need first to dis-empower the loons.

    My second thought is that Facebook etc., bland chatathon app. has become as dangerous as religion. Its creation of isolated universes of thought, its lack of necessary adult supervision and comment is quite the equal of religion’s most poisonous of attributes. It creates isolated worlds but facilitates those skilled, in lifting the flap on the back of every person’s head and flipping the switches.

    Its specific evils are far less ostensible and so far more dangerous. There is a new urgency to teach the virtues of critical thinking and the scientific method. The creation of an institution 358 years ago that enshrined peer review and skepticism stopped the headlong rush into folly and its time for all to see its particular virtues. The fourth estate must be re-invented, sanitised by an ethical trust in disinterest, and embedded in more of our new cultural constructs.

    We should develop a greater fear of going on such apps and flipping up the flap on the back of our own head.

  153. Trump isn’t the end of our problems, but hopefully will deliver a lot of clarity to the rebound and what it achieves.

    The job of the midterms should be to deliver sufficient confidence into an impeachment process. Alliances with old school Republicans, democratic Republicans should be forged.

    We could get ahead by starting to coin useful terminology (something we on the left are pants at, or never think to do.)

    I propose the distinction Democratic Republicans and Republican Fascisti. The former plays well to old school. People from the former group are keeping their head low in the GOP. We need to flatter them by outing them.

  154. Weak, crazy Donny is really panicking now as Mueller gets closer to him. After announcing last week that new lawyers were joining his team, Joseph di Genova and his wife, that has apparently fallen through after the event because they already represent someone with interests which would conflict with those of Trump. This is clearly bullshit because the first thing any lawyer does if you approach them is see if they already have a conflict of interest before taking on the job. More likely is they have decided not to work for someone who never takes his lawyer’s advice and stiffs people on their bills. Little Donny immediately resorted to a twitter rant showing just how upset he is by all this by claiming he isn’t.

    Mar 25, 2018 06:40:41 AM – Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case…don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country – and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!

    On the basis that the opposite of anything mad Donny says is true, especially when it’s in caps, then he’s really struggling now to find lawyers who’ll work for him, he’s really unhappy with his existing team and THERE IS LOTS AND LOTS OF COLLUSION!!

    A word to the unwise little Donny. If you spend your entire life pissing people off then one day it’s gonna bite you in your fat arse when they tell you to fuck off when you need their help.

    Trump is reportedly also starting to rant about Rex Tillerson again in private, despite this being done and dusted history, saying that he was was never smart enough for the job. Undoubtedly it’s really because Tillerson said crazy Donny was a moron and Trump can never let go of a slight, especially when it hits really close to home.

    Donny, we’ve actually figured out your labyrinthine secret code believe it or not. Anything you scream repeatedly is untrue. Anything you feel the urge to put in caps is even more untrue and doubly so when it needs exclamation marks.

  155. America waits patiently for the 60 minutes interview with Stormy to begin. Sections of the Anderson Cooper interview with Karen McDougal keep playing over and over on TV highlighting what a nasty rat Trump was during their affair to Melania, just postpartum. No matter what we think of Melania, every woman can feel that treachery and feel what pain she must be in to have this sordid crap all over national TV. Hopefully women will vote him a punishment in the upcoming elections.

  156. My second thought is that Facebook etc., bland chatathon app. has become as dangerous as religion.

    Phil, If a person goes on youtube and watches nothing but police abuse cases, they will become convinced that all
    police officers are out to kill you. Or animal abuse cases may make you think in a similar manner.
    We all have to be careful of choosing to immerse ourselves in any topic without keeping this in mind.

  157. Arkrid, IF, the house and senate is not captured by the Democrats, the country needs to put as much pressure on Trump to make him crack. Sorry it’s cruel. But the fate of the country and world depends on it.

  158. I said in here some time ago that the Parkland students had a huge amount going for them because it would be hard for anyone to attack students who had survived a mass murder of their classmates without making themselves look really dickish. This has apparently not stopped the NRA from doing just that though. In a horrific display of tone deafness the NRA has said that these protests are not spontaneous but are the doing of anti-gun billionaires and hollywood elites exploiting the children. In a youtube video on the NRATV account a black actor claimed “To all the kids from Parkland getting ready to use your First Amendment to attack everyone else’s Second Amendment at your march on Saturday, I wish a hero like Blaine had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month,” Colion Noir said. “Because your classmates would still be alive and no one would know your names. And because the media would have completely and utterly ignored your story the way they ignored his.”

    Officer Blaine Gaskill, who stopped another shooting in Maryland was actually covered in huge detail by all the media but like Trump, the NRA don’t ever let the truth get in the way of a good rant.

    It’s hard to imagine how anyone in the NRA could have thought that doing this was a good idea but then it’s hard to imagine how 62 million people could have voted for a scumbag like Trump or how Republican politicians would bend the knee so readily and kowtow to him.

    What comes around goes around though. The backlash against Trump and the GOP in November is going to be huge as will the backlash against the NRA now. All the NRA have demonstrated is they care for nothing except selling more guns and you can either support the NRA or you can support the nation’s children but NOT BOTH.

    In November the Dems will take back the House and put an end to Trump’s chances of passing any more hateful legislation for the rest of his term and face him with the very real prospect of impeachment.

  159. Arkrid Sandwich #195
    Mar 25, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    T-Rump – Mar 25, 2018 06:40:41 AM – Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case…don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted.

    I think he means the sort of “top” lawyers chosen by Trump for appointments to White House postings .. and of course the Trump understanding of what constitutes “a top law firm” / “top scientist” / “top journalist” / “top administrator” etc. !! 🙂

    T-Rump continues;- Problem is that a new lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more),

    Yep! – I don’t suppose it could be anything to do with reading up on all that detailed paperwork, or case-work, reports, and legal reference material, which Trump of the “massive intellectual concentration span” does not bother with before tweeting instant answers! 🙂

  160. The appalling Rick Santorum has opined that school kids should learn CPR rather than campaign for other people to save them from guns. Then supposedly they could save themselves because CPR is well known for fixing the internal damage that high velocity military spec bullets do to internal organs when they turn them into jelly.

    Santorum’s homophobic remarks comparing gay sex to beastiality and “man on dog” led to gay comedian Dan Savage setting up a competition in 2003 to define an alternative usage of the word santorum. The winning entry was the frothy mix of fecal matter, lube and semen resulting from anal sex. As of today this is still the top hit in google searches on the word santorum rather than the actual person. Tarred with this definition, and unable to get Google to remove the search results, Santorum failed in his 2012 attempt to get the nomination for a presidential run. It seems he didn’t learn enough from the experience though after his tone deaf comments about school shooting survivors.

    Santorum received nearly $100,000 from the NRA while he was senator for PA and he and his wife are lifelong members of it. One of his daughters was born profoundly disabled with a condition similar to Down Syndrome but with a shorter life expectancy. Only 10% make it to 1 year old. Initially he says he thought his best option was to not love her and just let her die. His birthday present to her on her 3rd birthday was an NRA membership.

    Donald Trump grabs most of the headlines these days but let’s not forget that the crazy runs deep and wide in Republican lawmakers.

  161. Sorry, alf.

    As ever too much remains in my head. Thought clearly, but not of much use to others.

    Have you been following the Cambridge Analytica story?

  162. More top lawyers turn down Trump this week. Dan Webb and Tom Buchanan of the law firm Winston and Strawn. It’s being reported that Trump has approached many other firms with the same result. No one wants a client who takes no notice of his lawyer’s advice, doesn’t pay his bills and may well cause other clients to leave in disgust.

    Meanwhile Trump, who has called every trade deal in history terrible because it wasn’t him who negotiated it, got his first chance to show what he can do with a new trade deal with South Korea. He had called the existing deal terrible and a job killer. Now SK is a pretty soft target when it comes to deal making. It’s a very small country and they don’t want to piss off the country that might nuke North Korea which would then hurl missiles at Seoul. So how did the self proclaimed world’s best deal maker make out? Well he scored some pretty huge concessions from SK.

    SK have agreed to let American car makers double their maximum quota of exports to SK from 25,000 cars a year up to 50,000 a year. Good news you all cry except the USA only sells about 10,000 cars a year in SK anyway.

    He also got SK to agree to extending the 25% tariff they pay on pickup trucks exported to the USA until 2041 which was due to expire in 2021. The trouble is SK doesn’t export any pickup trucks to the USA in the first place.

    SK have also agreed to pay a 25% tariff on the unicorn feed they make specially for the American market which will go a long way towards making American producers of unicorn feed more competitive.

    The only part of the deal that has any actual effect on things which the two countries do trade in is about steel. SK supplies about 10% of the steel that the USA imports and it has agreed to limit its exports to 70% of previous levels. In return it becomes exempt from the 25% tariff that Trump is imposing on steel imports. All this will do is hurt American companies which rely on South Korean steel without creating any actual revenue.

    So the existing “terrible”, “job killing” deal marches on almost unchanged in most pertinent repects which means Trump is no doubt going to boast it’s the best trade deal the USA has ever made.

    We still have to see how Trump makes out when he’s negotiating with countries that are not small, weak and so dependent on the USA. Suggestions on a postcard please.

    Finally it’s being reported that following Stormy Daniels’ revelation about swatting Trump’s ample backside with a rolled up magazine his new nickname in the White House behind his back is “Spanky”. One wonders if there are any Russian hookers who can support this predeliction of his.

  163. Meanwhile, it looks like some of Trump’s claims/lies, could end up in front of those “so-called-judges” again!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43571519

    Adult-film star Stormy Daniels has filed a court motion for US President Donald Trump to testify about her claim that they had a relationship.

    The attorney, Michael Avenatti, is also seeking a legal interview with the president’s lawyer.

    Ms Daniels alleges she had unprotected sex with Mr Trump in 2006 a year after he married Melania Trump. He denies it.

    Mr Avenatti’s motion, filed in a court in the Central District of California early on Wednesday, ramps up the legal duel between the porn star and the president.

    Ms Daniels says she signed an agreement to keep quiet about her claims in exchange for $130,000 (£91,000) of “hush” money in October 2016, days before the presidential election.

    If this is being disputed, there should be bank statements which support any claims of payments – unless some dubious offshore account was used!

    In the court documents, Mr Avenatti said he wanted to take a deposition from Mr Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for no more than two hours each.

    The lawyer said his aim was to establish if the president consented to the agreement, reports the Washington Post newspaper.

    A deposition is out-of-court testimony by a witness – who commits to tell the truth on possible penalty of perjury – that may be used in a legal case.

    On Monday, Ms Daniels filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging the non-disclosure agreement was invalid because Mr Trump did not sign it.

    She also sued Mr Trump’s lawyer, arguing he defamed her by suggesting she was a liar.

    While Mr Trump has denied her claims, his lawyers are seeking $20m in damages from Ms Daniels, arguing she broke the non-disclosure deal.

    She has meanwhile reportedly extended her nationwide tour of strip clubs, Making America Horny Again, until November.

    Ms Daniels has also been touting a $14.99-per-month subscription to her naked web cam service.

  164. Turd in a suit Rick Santorum is trying to walk back his fatuous CPR comments and says he “mispoke”. No you didn’t shit for brains. You opened your stupid mouth and idiocy came out as it usually does when you speak.

    Trump demonstrates once again how clueless he is at picking people as he tweet fires the latest in a long list of disasters. VA secretary Shulkin is out after flying to Wimbledon last year on the tax payer’s dime. He should have known that only Trump himself is allowed to profit from the job. I think we also finally find out why the White House doctor Ronny Jackson gave the obese Trump such a glowing health report in January. Quid pro quo for the VA job it seems which he’s just landed.

  165. I want to see Nancy Pelosi march into the House wearing hooker gear and carrying a rolled up magazine and saying this is how she’s going to get Spanky to agree to Dem’s demands on legislation.

  166. Arkrid Sandwich #207
    Mar 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

    VA secretary Shulkin is out after flying to Wimbledon last year on the tax payer’s dime.
    He should have known that only Trump himself is allowed to profit from the job.

    Even that seems to be coming under scrutiny!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43577444

    Donald Trump’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit alleging ownership of his business empire while president is a violation of the US constitution has been rejected by a federal judge.

    He is accused of breaching the constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits the receipt of gifts without congressional approval.

    The case will focus on business linked to the Trump International Hotel.

  167. Arkrid Sandwich #207
    Mar 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

    I think we also finally find out why the White House doctor Ronny Jackson gave the obese Trump such a glowing health report in January.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43578598

    Rear Admiral Jackson, 50, has worked as presidential physician to three presidents, serving George W Bush and Barack Obama before Mr Trump moved into the White House.

    He comes to the veterans post, which entails running a vast department, with little administrative or political experience.

    However, he has a wealth of military experience, having served with a Marine unit during the war in Iraq.

    He caught public attention after Mr Trump’s medical, telling reporters the president was in “excellent health”.

  168. As predicted the bloviating moron touts his trade deal with SK despite bugger all having changed.

    Mar 28, 2018 11:14:34 AM .@USTradeRep just announced an agreement in principle with South Korea on KORUS! A great deal for American and Korean workers.

    I fail to see how any part of the deal is great for either American or Korean workers. Most of the provisions are irrelevant and the steel part hurts both countries.

  169. Arkrid Sandwich #207
    Mar 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

    Trump demonstrates once again how clueless he is at picking people as he tweet fires the latest in a long list of disasters.
    VA secretary Shulkin is out after flying to Wimbledon last year on the tax payer’s dime.
    He should have known that only Trump himself is allowed to profit from the job.

    Apparently that is only the pretext, as being a profiteering rogue, is a qualification for a Trump appointment, if the past record is anything to go by!

    It seems the real reason was a failure to wholeheartedly support a Trump rip off of citizens as the stooge of privatisation “healthcare” opportunists!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43574256

    In a scathing column for the New York Times, Mr Shulkin wrote:
    “As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”

    He said that in recent months “the environment in Washington has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve”.

    The former hospital administrator, who first served under President Barack Obama, said that “advocates within the administration for privatising” veterans’ healthcare services “saw me as an obstacle to privatisation who had to be removed”.

    It is traditional for departing cabinet secretaries to thank the president for giving them the opportunity to serve, but Mr Shulkin pointedly made no reference to Mr Trump.

    In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) on Thursday morning, Mr Shulkin said a critical report by an internal watchdog had been used by the White House as a pretext to get rid of him.

    The inspector general’s report found that Mr Shulkin and his wife used an official trip to Europe last summer to sightsee and improperly accepted tickets for the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

    “There was nothing improper about this trip, and I was not allowed to put up an official statement or to even respond to this by the White House,” he said.

    “I think this was really just being used in a political context to try to make sure that I wasn’t as effective as a leader moving forward.”

    The inspector general determined that during the nine-day trip, the secretary and his wife spent $122,000 (£87,000) on “sightseeing and other unofficial activities”.

    Mr Shulkin agreed last month to reimburse the government for his wife’s airfare, which was more than $4,300.

  170. At what was supposed to be a speech on infrastructure in Ohio Trump gave one of his usual rambling disjointed campaign type speeches which show clearly that he still only sees the presidency as some kind of reality tv show. He praised the reboot of Roseanne and its ratings which he said were “unbelievable. 18 million viewers, and it was all about us”. Earlier this week he telephoned Roseanne Barr, a self proclaimed Trump supporter in real life, to congratulate her on the ratings. The premise of the first show was that Roseanne and her sister hadn’t spoken for a year after Roseanne voted for Trump and her sister voted for Hillary. Trump seems to think that the success of the show is therefore because of him.

    He also touted his pathetic South Korean trade deal which contains nothing of interest but bizarrely said he might hold off on signing it until after talks with North Korea to use it as leverage with them. It’s not clear how a trade deal on cars and steel with SK can have any effect on the denuclearisation of NK. He also talked about pulling all troops out of Syria which will have blindsided the Pentagon who are committed to keeping troops there rather than handing the situation back to Assad, Russia and Iran.

    Meanwhile the WH have admitted it was doctor Ronny Jackson’s performance in selling Trump’s claimed clean bill of health that swung his nomination to head up the VA. It was certainly a great performance albeit falling somewhat short on medical reliability. Trump had to apparently gain a couple of inches in height to avoid being classified as obese and only pass a basic test for severe Alzheimers to earn a clean bill of mental health. Jackson demonstrated he knows very well which side his bread is buttered by flattering that Trump’s health is down to his good genetics despite not having conducted any genetic tests and that he might live to 200 if he ate fewer burgers. He ticks every box for a Trump appointee. Plenty of flattery, nice teeth and good in front of a camera.
    It obviously matters not one jot that he has no experience in running large institutions.

    Trump is now pretty much down to just appointing people he knows voted for him for every job seeing as he’s run out of everyone even mildly qualified. Not that there were many of those prepared to work for him in the first place. Soon the government will be entirely staffed by ex Fox News contributors.

    The bigger news is probably Manafort. He still seems to be pinning his hopes on a pardon from Trump rather than co-operating with Mueller and saving his hide from the voluminous charges against him. That’s a pretty risky bet with a man who lies pathologically, never pays his dues and throws everyone under the bus on a whim. If Mueller can get Manafort charged with state crimes rather than just federal ones then Trump’s power of pardon won’t save him. It also now seems that Trump’s ex lawyer John Dowd may have discussed pardons with Manafort and Flynn which would appear to be potential obstruction of justice although it would no doubt have to go all the way up to the Supreme Court to be decided. It could well be that a lot of this ends up hinging on Mitch MConnell thwarting Obama’s Scotus pick for a year until Trump could appoint a right wing judge.

  171. Attacking the Parkland school survivors is turning out to be a very bad idea as anyone with a brain knew from the get go. Rick Santorum is desperately trying to walk back his crazy and now Fox News Host Laura Ingraham has come unstuck. After mocking student David Hogg on twitter for getting turned down by some CA universities he responded by asking which companies advertised on her show and suggesting his followers might want to contact them. Within hours several of the largest said they were dropping their ads with her and shortly after she issued an apology.

    Only the NRA seems to still be full on with attack ads against the students but I imagine they are going to notice a hit with their subscriptions in due course when their saner members decide maybe the NRA no longer represents their morality. Of course this is not such an instant or noticeable process as tv advertisers pulling huge chunks of cash which is what eventually laid Bill O’Reilly low.

    I don’t think the students are going to get their wishes granted as fast as they’d like but this process will take place over the years as they become of age to vote and the Republican party enters its death throws.

  172. More unhinged and divorced from reality tweeting from Spanky.

    Mar 29, 2018 06:57:38 AM – I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

    Amazon pays hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and the US Postal System makes its money from delivering stuff. Trump maybe thinks the USPS is a free service which the government provides. The USPS is free to contract with whom it likes at whatever rates they agree on and if it decides Amazon is not a profitable customer it can decline to deliver stuff for them. In truth what lies behind all this is Trump hates Amazon because its owner Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man who actually is worth billions unlike Trump who just claims he is and also Bezos owns the Washington Post which is not exactly Trump’s biggest fan.

    Based on the current Amazon stock price, Bezos is worth well over $100 billion. Trump claimed he was worth $10 billion but in court his lawyers and accountants couldn’t provide evidence that he was even worth $1 billion. He’s probably only a millionaire not a billionaire which would be plenty for most people but not for someone as malignantly narcissistic as Trump. At least Bezos isn’t black. The only thing Trump hates more than white people who are richer than him is black ones who are.

  173. To my extreme surprise Spanky’s approval rating has been ticking upwards slightly in the last few months. In mid December it hit a low of 37% and his disapproval rating hit a high of 58%. The gap has now closed to 41% approval and 53% disapproval. I’m asking myself where the good news is that these people who were polled are seeing. He’s under siege legally for two affairs when his son was a baby, lawyers and cabinet secretaries are leaving him in droves, Mueller is closing in, the tax cut directed 1.5 trillion dollars into the hands of the mega rich and big companies which the working and middle classes will never see again, the recent spending bill will increase the budget deficit even more massively, his trade deal with SK was a nothingburger, there’s no wall and no likelihood of there ever being one. What the hell are these people seeing to make him more favourable in their eyes which I’m not? Sure his ratings are worse than any other president in history at the same point but IMO the only true rating would be approval 0% and disapproval 100%.

    There are noteable similarities in the stories which Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal related about Trump. They both got taken to the same bungalow at the Beverley Hills Hotel and they both got told how much they reminded him of his smart and beautiful girlfriend, umm I mean daughter, Ivanka. It’s not clear whether they reminded him most of Ivanka when he was lying naked on top of them but we can surmise.

    It looks like Pruitt’s goose is cooked. Like Betsy Devil he’s so paranoid he requires a full time security staff to protect him which costs a fortune, he spent $43,000 on a soundproof booth in his office so his calls couldn’t be overheard, he’s been profligate with the taxpayer’s money on first class and private flights and now it seems he’s been using an apartment on Capitol Hill when he stays in Washington provided on the cheap by lobbyists for the energy industry. Why is it so hard to remember the cardinal rule – only Trump himself is allowed to profit from his position? With anyone else it’s bad optics and for Spanky it’s all about ratings. DeVil herself must be getting nervous as must Carson who has only woken once in the last year from his permanent torpor to spend $31,000 on a dining room suite and then lie about it.

  174. Arkrid #217

    I wonder whether his approval ratings will start to plunge again once the Democrats have identified their presidential candidate for 2020?

    So much of US political policy seems to depend on the person of the President that, until there’s a clearly defined alternative President on the scene, it’s hard to formulate and communicate any clear and effective alternative policies. Is there anyone in the Democratic Party who can say, bindingly, what a future Democratic administration would do differently?

    Yes, there are various Democrats (plus Bernie, of course) taking pop shots at Trump, and there’s plenty of clamour – but isn’t it all just noise at this point, if there’s no specific alternative to hold up to him? And doesn’t that leave him a pretty clear field?

  175. Spanky is getting very animated about Amazon again in another twitter tizzy. However this time he lets us know what it’s really about as per my post #216 by ranting about the Washington Post too.

    Mar 31, 2018 07:45:41 AM – While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that “the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,” and that does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a “lobbyist” and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. “increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.” This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!

    Of course we need to follow Trump twitter rules as previously described. If he’s obsessed with something then it’s a lie, more so if it’s in caps and doubly more so with exclamation marks. It has never been reported if the USPS is losing money with Amazon in particular and certainly not in specifics like $1.50 per package because no one knows the contract or parcel volume details. However the 2006 Bush era law which USPS operates under forbids it to price its services at less than direct cost so as not to unfairly undercut Fedex, UPS etc. The main reasons USPS loses money each year in total after overheads is pension costs which it is forced to prepay for 75 years into the future. Also because monopoly services like 1st class mail are falling. Market value services like packages is actually an increasing part of its business and a profitable one. So it’s almost certain that USPS is not losing money from Amazon because firstly it’s not allowed to by law and secondly it would re-negotiate the deal.

    The Washington Post won a pulitzer for investigating Spanky’s self proclaimed philanthropy which revealed that he often just kept the money he said he’d donate until forced to give it up by adverse publicity and also used other people’s charitable donations to the Trump Foundation to buy things for himself. The same Post reporter also broke the Access Hollywood Pussygate scandal. So Trump hates the WaPo with a vengeance because it has caught him out on his lies and his venality a number of times.

    Reading the online WaPo I’m actually amazed how fair and balanced it is to Trump. It often prints op ed pieces from rabidly right wing contributors like Newt Gingrich which make your brain melt when you read them. Of course Trump only likes reporting that’s completely servile and biased towards him such as Fox Noise. He can’t go after his real target, the much richer Jeff Bezos, because unlike Trump’s financials which are still a secret, Bezos’ Amazon stock holdings and its share price are open knowledge.

  176. Arkrid Sandwich #221
    Mar 31, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    TRUMP: – Mar 31, 2018 07:45:41 AM – While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. . . . . . . If the P.O. “increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.” This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!

    As usual the Trump claims are unevidenced trumponomics!
    He does not mention in which junk-news outlet it was “reported”!

    There are details here!

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-contract-usps-fact-checking-trump-tweets-amazon-post-office-03-31-2018/

    Amazon has denied benefiting from postal service favoritism.
    “The Postal Regulatory Commission has consistently found that Amazon’s contracts with the USPS are profitable,” the company told Fortune last year.

    Packages and shipping are one area that’s growing for the postal service, bringing in more than $19 billion in revenue last year even as volume of letters and magazines declined. In fact, its projected revenue growth “is driven entirely by increases in shipping and packages,” the postal service said in its latest annual report.

    The 2006 law also mandated that each line of business within the postal service cover its attributable costs. In other words, for the postal service to lose money on package delivery would be against the law.

    How much does Amazon pay the postal service?

    Amazon ships enough with the post office to qualify for bulk rates, giving it a significant volume discount that varies depending on package weight and number. (Here are the postal service’s latest rates.) (see link)

    Of course those “evil on-line companies”, are taking business away from old retail developments, which pay rents on their premises to property developers like Trump; – leading to closures of struggling retail businesses, empty properties, and declines in rental rates!! 🙂

  177. at #221, #222

    The scariest takeaway from this is we get an insight into Trump’s complete inability to aborb or use real facts when he’s consumed by personal hatreds or biases on an issue. What chance then of him dealing properly with much more complex issues like North Korea, Russia, Syria, Iran? Sadly he was voted into power by people who have no better grip on reality than Trump does and a similar inability to employ critical thinking. The vast majority of them were voting against their own best interests but could not and probably still cannot see it.

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