OPEN DISCUSSION – JUNE 2018

186

This thread has been created for open discussion on themes relevant to Reason and Science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads.

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OPEN DISCUSSION – MARCH 2018

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OPEN DISCUSSION – MAY 2018

186 COMMENTS

  1. The June open discussion thread is now open.

    If you wish to continue any of the discussions from earlier Open Discussion threads, please do so here rather than there.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  2. TRANSFERRED FROM MAY OPEN DISCUSSION THREAD

    Originally posted by Alan4discussion, Jun 2, 2018 at 7:42 am

    LaurieB #198
    Jun 2, 2018 at 7:17 am

    I have to admit an ugly thought. I’m so sick of watching
    Trump blundering through this “diplomacy” with N. Korea.
    It’s excruciating to see his pathetic macho posturing when his incompetence is obvious.
    

    As we don’t have a JUNE OPEN DISCUSSION yet, I have put a comment on that topic here: –

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/05/trumps-foreign-policy-looks-a-lot-like-rapture-christians-plan-to-welcome-the-apocalypse/#li-comment-232169

  3. TRANSFERRED FROM MAY OPEN DISCUSSION THREAD

    Originally posted by phil rimmer, Jun 2, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Feckless.

    An Irish virgin.

    We must not mistake a mark on the flip down tray as a sign that the engines have not been serviced.

    I think the specific gesture of not caring about the the specific word is a most likely a gesture of not liking the nature of the discussion.

    Perhaps mods could move these comments into June Open Thread, when created?

  4. TRANSFERRED FROM MAY OPEN DISCUSSION THREAD

    Originally posted by phil rimmer, Jun 2, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Laurie,

    I think sanctions of some sort against the US are indeed appropriate, especially if tied to eco concerns, the issuing of traveller advice for some states to minority groups, etc..

    No real harm will accrue, but a message from the first world to signal the toxicity and downright selfishness of some of US policy decisions needs to make it on to Fux Views. A lot of the world’s population fear the example the US pose to all would-be theo-tyrants that subjection, by appealing to base instincts, is a piece of piss (UK “easy”).

  5. Phil

    Sanctions of some sort are to be expected by reasonable Americans. You know, actions have consequences, right?But also, there are those who would view them as an affront. These are the very ones who would support the current bigot in chief. The thinking goes something like – We saved Europe from destruction and paid big American bucks to rebuild it after the war and now they need to know their obligations to us.

    Even if sanctions and boycotts were to be implemented I seriously doubt this would be covered on FUX as anything other than “The BETRAYAL of our allies who should respect and obey the great US of A!” Remember the highly annoying “freedom fries” debacle. Et-hem. There is never a reasoned, well considered analysis by these people. Just a jingoistic gut reaction. The usually have no knowledge of history or geopolitics with which we can engage them in an exchange of ideas.

    But of course, now that US is going off the rails I can’t blame others who are alarmed and build a defense against the consequences of this situation. I honestly don’t know how to get through to Trumpists and this means those at the highest levels right down to the common folk who are being screwed and conned every single day. I’m just stumped.

    I don’t blame the others in the world for fearing our example. I fear our example too.

    mods, I moved this here from end of May discussion. delete it there if you want to.

  6. LaurieB #6
    Jun 2, 2018 at 9:24 am

    The thinking goes something like –
    We saved Europe from destruction and paid big American bucks to rebuild it after the war and now they need to know their obligations to us.

    Mmmm! Paid??

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan

    The Anglo-American Loan Agreement[1] was a post World War II loan made to the United Kingdom by the United States on 15 July 1946, and paid off in 2006.[2] The loan was negotiated by John Maynard Keynes. The loan was for $3.75 billion (US$57 billion in 2015) at a low 2% interest rate; Canada loaned an additional US$1.19 billion.

    The loan was made primarily to support British overseas expenditure in the immediate post-war years and not to implement the Labour government’s welfare reforms. British treasury officials believed they could implement the Labour government’s domestic reforms without the loan if Britain withdrew from all major overseas commitments.[3]
    Additionally, Britain’s lend-lease balance was paid off for $650 million (US$ 900 million) in 2006.

    The last payment was made on 29 December 2006 for the sum of about $83m (£45.5m), the 29th being the last working day of the year.[2][4][14] The final payment was actually six years late, the British Government having suspended payments due in the years 1956, 1957, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1976 because the exchange rates were seen as impractical.[15] After this final payment Britain’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls, formally thanked the US for its wartime support.[16]

  7. Alan

    That’s a very useful bit of info there! I wasn’t aware of it but now that I am, I’ll definitely be using it when the need arises!

  8. An interesting little snippet inside Trump’s mind yesterday. Kim Jong Un’s representative delivers him a comically yuge letter in an envelope about 15″ x 12″ so A3 size. I’m sure they did this deliberately so that Shallow Hal could get a photo op being handed the yuge letter which must look so much more important to an idiot like him than a normal sized letter. Then he goes outside to tease reporters in one of his pathetic cliffhanger reality tv show endings .“That letter was a very nice letter. Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter. Wouldn’t you like? How much? How much? How much? It was a very interesting letter. At some point, it may be appropriate and maybe I’ll be able to give it to you, maybe.”

    8 minutes later after being asked by a reporter what the letter said it turns out he’s not even opened it yet. He has no idea if it’s nice or interesting. It might be calling him a feckless cnut for all he knows. But that’s not important to Trump in the photo op moment. He invents his own tv show reality so in his mind it was nice and interesting and then he can dangle it like a carrot and make people tune in for the next episode. So when Trump says he had a nice meeting with someone or has a nice relationship with someone we can be just as sure there’s no reason for any truth in this.

    This is why he’s so ineffective and incompetent. He doesn’t deal with the reality of any situation just the fake reality that plays inside his delusional mind until he messes it all up and then has to find someone else to blame. NK seem to have worked out exactly how to pander to his inflated ego so I’m guessing they’ll run rings round him in any meeting. If NK was a Nigerian prince Trump would be wiring him good faith money to get the yuge sum the prince apparently needs to transfer out of the country.

    Kim wants his own photo op of course so he can show himself meeting the president of the USA to his poor beleaguered populace and tell them how important and powerful NK now is in world affairs and how much better everything is going to get for everyone soon. He also eventually wants sanctions dropped and financial aid and then he can dangle nuclear disarmament over Trump like a carrot but put in some ridiculous timescale so he can back out on a pretext later on if someone sends a warship too close. In fact I suspect they’ll just end the first meeting not long after they’ve got the photo op plus a quick chat so they can’t be accused of not showing willing. Spanky will come back saying they had a very nice meeting and how great they get along now.

  9. I think the specific gesture of not caring about the the specific word is a most likely a gesture of not liking the nature of the discussion.

    Well, I am sick to death of interpreting some jackass insult. So you are right.
    Trying to interject some humor in the situation I wake up to everyday.
    I have white supremacy idiots everywhere and religious nutcases coming out of the woodwork here in this town and in this country. I’ve been fired, assaulted, stolen from.
    So, you want me to be so interested in a UK slang word,,,,,,,I could care less.
    There are far more important issues in my country and my life to be interested in some idiot slang from the UK.

  10. What advantage is there in wilfully deciding not to learn something new? This really bugs me. One of the main reasons America is in such a state now is because of how woefully low information…

    Well, If this isn’t a personal insult. I don’t care about UK slang. I don’t care what the slang is for a irish virgin. Because I don’t know, that means I am part of the problem with MY country?
    Your post is improper and shortsided. Its also stereotypes and generalizes.
    I thought we were a more educated and tolerant group.

  11. Phil, comments not directed at you. Sorry.
    I have an anger issue lately. Since Nov 2016.
    And when blame is placed on the victim, I will make a remark and a reaction.
    We live with this shit everyday.
    Twenty years ago, I worked for a pastor in a computer company. I didn’t know he was a pastor when I was hired. I also didn’t know he was a white power supporter.
    I endured eight years of abuse including assault, constant stealing of wages and commissions, forced prayers at christmas partys, and finally termination because of my atheist beliefs.
    So, now I have nightmares, high blood pressure, had two strokes several small heart attacks.
    So, no, I don’t care to learn new slang insults. I’ve just had one.

  12. MOD MESSAGE

    Ok, Alf and Arkrid, you’ve both made your points now. Can we move on and leave the argument there, please?

    Thanks.

    The mods

  13. phil rimmer, Jun 2, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I think sanctions of some sort against the US are indeed appropriate,

    While Trump is smug at present, I think next week is catch-up time!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44341074

    New tariffs imposed by the US on steel and aluminium from the EU are “illegal”, the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.

    The policy came into force on Friday, meaning anyone in the US importing the metals from the EU will have to pay an additional tax.

    On Friday, Mrs May said she was “disappointed” at the US decision – which will see a 25% duty on European steel and a 10% duty on European aluminium – and that the taxes were “unjustified”.

    Dr Fox said Prime Minister Theresa May would be raising the issue at the G7 leaders meeting next week.

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Fox said the UK was still seeking exemptions from the tariffs.

    “We will still be making that case throughout this week,” he said.

    He added: “The United States believes, I believe wrongly and illegally, that this is a national security matter for the US.

    “Given that we export some pretty complex steel products to the United States which are part of their national security programmes themselves, this reasoning that is given is wrong and therefore we believe unlawful.”

    Expecting “competent reasoning” from Trump and the White House, admittedly, is rather optimistic!

  14. The New York Times has published a letter that Trump’s lawyers sent to Mueller.

    They’re literally trying to make out that Trump can’t possibly have committed obstruction because, as President and therefore Chief Law Enforcement Officer, he’d have been obstructing himself and that he is, in any case, to all intents and purposes free to do whatever the hell he likes:

    It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue
    of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither
    constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would
    amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished,
    terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so
    desired.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/02/us/politics/trump-legal-documents.html

  15. Marco #18
    Jun 2, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    because that would
    amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished,
    terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so
    desired.

    Unfortunately lawyers have no qualms about misrepresenting the law in the hope that a futile argument might convince an inept or corrupt judge. It is fairly trivial to see that this is not about him obstructing himself. It is about him obstructing an enquiry into himself and on the insuperable premise that no one is above the law then one can neither pardon oneself nor interfere with, or terminate, an investigation into oneself.

    This sounds like Giuliani gibberish but who knows.

  16. Marco #18
    Jun 2, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    because, as President and therefore Chief Law Enforcement Officer, he’d have been obstructing himself and that he is, in any case, to all intents and purposes free to do whatever the hell he likes:

    Obviously concocted by the stooge lawyer of the liar-in-chief, who remains in post, because he has not yet been sacked by Trump for exhibiting competence or honesty!

    I think that’s why constitutions are written in order to limit such delusions of autocracy in elected officials! 🙂

  17. It is fairly trivial to see that this is not about him obstructing
    himself. It is about him obstructing an enquiry into himself

    Indeed.

    and on
    the insuperable premise that no one is above the law then one can
    neither pardon oneself nor interfere with, or terminate, an
    investigation into oneself.

    I’m a little hazy on this front, though, to be honest. It seems preposterous to me that a President should be able to pardon people who have been found guilty as the result of a proper judicial process. That does, in effect, put him above the laws of the land – free to bat their consequences away, as he wishes. There must be tons of people reading this who know far more about the US constitution than I do. What are the limits on his power, if any?

    But, fifth amendment notwithstanding, doesn’t it speak volumes that he and his legal team are obviously so terrified of this investigation? Resisting it, obstructing it, attempting to discredit and delegitimise it. Willing to undermine the FBI in the attempt, not even drawing the line at exposing individual agents to real danger.

    Just imagine if Obama had raged and squealed and wriggled and twisted and abused like this when all that Birther nonsense was circulating. Trump would have been the first – the very first – to proclaim that it proved he had something to hide. In fact, he did claim that very thing. Wiki:

    Later, Trump appeared on The View repeating several times that “I want
    him [Obama] to show his birth certificate.” He speculated that “there
    [was] something on that birth certificate that [Obama] doesn’t like”

    Yeah, Don. And we want you to show your tax returns. With FAR more reason to suspect there’s something on there you don’t like, or rather, you wouldn’t like us to find out about.

    There are clearly two things going on here. The first is an attempt to cover up illegal collusion with a foreign power in his election campaign. The second is an attempt to delegitimise the FBI and portray it as the enemy within: a political institution, not an impartial one.

    But I can’t help wondering which of the two is the goal, and which the means of achieving it. I can make a case for both. Clearly he can’t afford to have his election exposed as a fraud. But suppose for a moment his ultimate aim is not just to remain President for this and possibly the next term, but to dismantle all the structures that would limit his power as President in any way and allow him to be dictator-in-perpetuity … Setting his supporters against the FBI would be a very good place to start.

  18. Thanks for the link, Olgun.

    In the “alternative reality’ that Trump and his followers live in, he
    may well believe that he is in fact doing the right thing.

    I think you must be a much nicer person than I am. I honestly don’t think he gives a shit about “the right thing”.

  19. Marco #24

    Oh I wasn’t being nice. I think I have high empathy and have tried to live, in my mind, this alternative reality and it just made me nauseous. I just cant believe that Trump is just a Hollywood villian. He has to believe he is doing his version of the right thing doesn’t he?

  20. Olgun #25

    He has to believe he is doing his version of the right thing doesn’t
    he?

    I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone’s mental health, but I gather there are certain personality disorders in which people just don’t give a damn about anything other than themselves.

    I saw a good thread on Twitter the other day, by @fawfulfan, that described perfectly the way I think Trump approaches things. You don’t need to battle with Twitter to read it. It’s all in much more readable form here:

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1002502139367837702.html

  21. Alf.

    Mea culpa. It has only just dawned on me how my bad joke about the meaning of feckless (a pure fantasy of mine) compounded the situation. Alan was the sensible one.

    I also wrote far too cryptically…. I may be getting worse.

  22. Excellent insight I think into Trump, Marco #26

    Everything is a zero sum game to this psycho.

    Considering not one of his business deals actually grew wealth in any notable way that makes perfect sense. He has the heart and soul of a tapeworm and is in the biggest set of guts on the planet.

    Need to go and get my supper..

    ..erm, no.

  23. Olgun #25
    Jun 3, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    He has to believe he is doing his version of the right thing doesn’t he?

    I think the problem, is that Trump thinks elite persons, lying, cheating, and ignoring consequences to others in order to gain power and wealth, IS THE “RIGHT THING”!

    Hence his claims that regulations and international agreements, giving a level playing-field are “unfair”, and that liars, cheats, and convicted criminals, who acted illegally to benefit Republicans or the corrupt wealthy, require Presidential pardons, because the authorities should not be enforcing laws against those promoting Trump-type objectives!

    In the shady world of slush-funds and international corruption, “the right thing”, is to line your pockets providing services for those offering dodgy deals – to undermine the reputable in authority, and to cover-up illegal activities to avoid being caught!

  24. Alan, who were those two (then one) science kids who did great ten minute video pieces that got a thread to themselves… all pauses edited out…????

  25. Olgun #25
    Jun 3, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    He has to believe he is doing his version of the right thing doesn’t he?

    I’m with Marco and Phil on this one. I don’t believe Trump and his offspring give a damn about what’s right. I’ve seen no evidence of any one of them spending one minute pondering ethical challenges or showing concern with any other person who needs help in this life. In fact, it would be easy to compile a list of harsh cruelties that they dole out on a regular basis. I believe he’s a psychopath.

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

  26. Marco #26
    Jun 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone’s mental health,

    Fortunately I am 🙂 I have an online degree in Presidential Psychology from the Auchnagatt University and Farmhouse here in sunny Aberdeenshire.

    Trump only sees people (men at least) in terms of whether they are useful to him or not. He sees women mainly as sex objects if they’re young and pretty (even his own daughter) and irrelevant if they aren’t. He sees transactions with people only in terms of zero sum outcomes so for him to win someone else must lose. The corollary of this is that when other people lose he wins which is subtly different. Trump’s gossamer skinned ego obtains reinforcement from him belittling and humiliating others to make himself seem cleverer, stronger more winning than them. He insults, they lose, so he wins.

    Negotiations (deal making) are the battles where the winner and loser are determined. For him to win he has to drive the price down so the other person loses. However there’s a still a problem with this to a psychopath of Trump’s type. When the deal is agreed then the other person must still be happy so he hasn’t really won yet. That’s why he then stiffs the person on the bill after the work has been done which ensures they really lose so he really wins. There is no empathy at work here. Trump has none. The more he hurts other people the happier he becomes.

    Trump is insanely jealous of anyone who is better or more successful at anything than himself. This causes particular problems with hiring people e.g. to fill his administration. If they are too good it makes him look bad. Of course if they are really bad it also makes him look bad. The only win here is for them to do well but give him all the credit and never take any of his limelight. This is a real tricky one to negotiate so they have to be complete sycophants who vow loyalty only to him and not to any higher purpose as there can be no higher purpose than Trump’s own needs.

    There are even more problems when the task is to run the country which is essentially on behalf of other people’s needs. Trump doesn’t associate with other people’s needs only his own so the entire task has to be framed in terms of what he gets out of it or it’s a pointless exercise in his mind. He wants fame, status, recognition on the world stage and of course to enrich himself personally. Anything that tries to restrict him in terms of those desires is an enemy which is why he immediately framed the establishments of law and order and the press as enemies. They hold his feet to the fire and that’s not acceptable for a living god.

    Trump also seems to have a particular flaw in that he sees money as the primary determinant of win/lose rather than the goods being bought and sold. Money out = bad and money in = good. Of course he has to spend money on things like property to obtain income in future so for himself there is an acceptable trade off but for any other money then the initial equation applies. So for international trade then money out = bad and vice versa regardless of the benefit of the goods to people’s lives or standard of living. Balance of trade deficits are bad so China is winning and the USA is losing even though it really means that the USA is the richer country precisely because it can afford to buy more from China. So Trump is prepared to destroy all trade relationships and enter into trade wars so that he can halt the flow of money out even though that will cripple the US economy in the longer term. In the short term, which is all that Trump seems able to understand, he will make the USA, and hence himself, win by blocking and taxing imports. In his tiny mind that will retain the “lost” money for the home team and by extension himself. Somewhere deeper under all this I suspect he thinks that this “lost” money could potentially go to companies he owns or might own rather than other countries.

    This layered combination of character flaws means Trump is uniquely unfit to run anything altruistic like being President. The most extreme example of such an altruistic enterprise would be a charity and as we’ve seen when Trump has set these up he’s used the money to buy things for himself like a portrait of himself for $10,000.

    I would also like to recommend this youtube video on Right Wing Authoritarianism from The Atheist Experience. It was posted back in 2010 but I think you will all find it extraordinarily relevant to today’s sorry situation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWlj5hN6SM4&t=516s

  27. I hope the Republicans in Congress are pleased with themselves. After 18 months of their spineless kowtowing to the Coward in Chief, their enabling of his megalomania, their refusal to stand up to any of his behaviour either political or personal, we have the tweet that we all knew was eventually coming. Trump announces he has the power to pardon himself because “many legal scholars” say so. Well by definition if they say so they aren’t legal scholars; they’re feckless idiots like his latest inept mouthpiece the senile Giuliani.

    There is absolutely no legal possibility that Trump can pardon himself but it doesn’t really matter. He will undoubtedly do so anyway leading to a legal and constitutional crisis but as I have said before we are in uncharted territory if Trump simply decides to ignore any legal challenges to himself and use the army to barricade the White House. There is no dispute that he is C in C of that and can order them at his will other than in invasions of foreign territory which supposedly requires congressional approval but doesn’t always get it. Presidents have long relied on carte blanche approvals already issued to continue fighting in what are actually arguably new conflicts requiring new approvals.

    The tweet following is maybe even more concerning. “Jun 4, 2018 08:07:17 AM – The appointment of the Special Councel [sic] is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”

    This is Trump letting everyone know that apart from the fact he can’t spell he doesn’t even recognise the right of anyone to investigate him as he will undoubtedly not recognise the right of anyone to charge, impeach or arrest him. We know that Trump has certain implacable behaviours. Never apologise, never back down, never admit error or guilt, always hit back harder. There is not the slightest reason to suspect he’ll change those just because the SCOTUS rule against him or Congress impeaches him.

    It will require armed men and overwhelming force to make Trump go. Make no mistake about this.

    The emperor has spoken as to his intent. He will not go gentle into that good night. He will rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    There is another possibility. Trump pardons everyone connected with him which he can undoubtedly do, even members of his own family and agrees to resign in favour of Pence provided Pence then pardons him. Little bobblehead will bite Trump’s hand off at the shoulder for the chance to sit behind the Resolute Desk and Trump can then chalk it up to his biggest ever win. He fucked the whole country and still didn’t get punished for it. Like he always knew deep inside himself, he was above any of man’s trivial laws.

    I think first though we’ll get the lashing out of the cornered beast. Trump will order Rosenstein to fire Mueller and then fire Rosenstein if he refuses. This is a better delaying tactic than just waiting for Mueller’s report to Congress and might even tide him through to the end of his term if Congress dithers and procrastinates. We’ll get the full Nixon but without the resignation part unless he first strikes this deal with Pence.

  28. Poor Spanky. No one wants to come to his party. The Superbowl winners usually attend a bash and photo op at the White House but this year only about 10 of the Philly Eagles wanted to have anything to do with Trump. That would have looked really bad for him compared to the photos of Obama surrounded by a hundred or more people and even Spanky can’t claim his were the biggest crowds in history when there are so few people in the photo you can count them individually. So he threw his toys out of the pram as usual and disinvited them to save face claiming it was about the “taking a knee” thing. Only the Eagles are one of the teams that never did that once all season.

    Then Fox News showed a pic of Eagles players kneeling and claimed it was them showing disrespect to the anthem only it was a prayer session before the game had started. So they’ve been forced into an abject apology for the lie although I’m sure Spanky won’t follow suit about his reason for disinviting them. Emperors don’t make mistakes or apologise to the plebs.

  29. Economists are calculating that Trump’s trade wars could cost up to 2 million jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in lost GDP. Pork and soybean farmers have already lost billions and are in any case sitting on a glut of soybeans from last years record harvest they can’t sell. It is likely that much of this years harvest will just join it in storage until it all goes bad and gets dumped. Job losses in steel and aluminium related industries alone could be as many as 145,000. I’m sure the Trumpites are just so sick of all the winning that Trump promised.

  30. The Washington Post is reporting yet more out-and-out corruption from the Trump administration:

    Three months after Scott Pruitt was sworn in as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, his executive scheduler emailed Dan Cathy, chairman and president of the fast food company Chick-fil-A, with an unusual request: Would Cathy meet with Pruitt to discuss “a potential business opportunity”?

    A call was arranged, then canceled, and Pruitt eventually spoke with someone from the company’s legal department. Only then did he reveal the “opportunity” on his mind was a job for his wife, Marlyn.

  31. The Economist’s 1/4ly Tech Review is out this week (2nd June Edition).

    It focusses on the Surveillance State – a grave concern for all those of us who want to defend democracy.

    Just … putting that out there.

    Peace.

  32. A lot of the current Surveillance State has all the ruthless incompetence of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/met-police-facial-recognition-success-south-wales-trial-home-office-false-positive-a8345036.html

    May all your Buttles be Tuttles.

    I work with presence detection and now there are stand alone/autonomous, cheap cameras that don’t produce video outputs but data, ethnicity, gender, age. Height estimates, weight estimates, eye tracking, gesture reading are next/here. These are to be used in home security, health monitoring, but also by sellers tracking buying habits poster interest. Also by the wider security industry.

    We’ve just had a data protection “upgrade” whose good intentions have been hijacked by marketeers forcing us to accept they have access to our habits by the sheer tedium of not allowing us to decline access once and for all. Yes forever or no every time. (I want a variety of adverts not an ever narrowing mirror of my own life and interests.)

    Now we may imagine Next or Tesco requiring us to accept the use of our shopping patterns in store, by the fact of entering the store. Soon entire shopping malls or town centres (increasingly private property, sold by the council right under its owners noses.)

  33. More fallout from Trump’s Philly Eagles WH party debacle mentioned above. Firstly the 10 out of the 70 or so team members that it was previously reported were actually prepared to meet Trump turns out to have been a tad high. It was in fact only one person, the quarterback Nick Foles who was prepared to go. This would have led to the commemorative photo being of Trump surrounded by a single white guy compared to Obama in a sea of happy faces at his own Superbowl parties.

    However it got worse. The White House said it was still going ahead with a rally for all the Eagles fans who were attending that the ungrateful unpatriotic team had let down by refusing to meet with Dear Leader. Unfortunately for team Trump the press had a reporter from Philly there who was surprised by a couple of things. Every “fan” was in office attire, suits, ties etc without a single Eagles hat, T shirt or other Eagles item on display and he couldn’t find a single person who could correctly answer any questions about the team. Turns out the small crowd of “eagles fans” who had supposedly travelled from Philly was a hastily assembled mob of interns from the WH and Congress who had been ordered to pretend to be disappointed Eagles fans so that Drumpf could castigate the team about it. Drumpf then compounded the fiasco further by forgetting the words to God Bless America as he has done before.

    It was however the yugest crowd of fake Eagles fans who were actually political interns that had ever been assembled in one place so Trump can score that as a win if he wants. The sorry affair lasted a grand total of 7 minutes and after watching Trump mangle the words to God Bless America again the “fans” trudged back to their offices to get on with the job of screwing the country.

  34. There’s an interesting counterpoint going on at the moment between Bill Clinton and Trump. Clinton is being harangued by interviewers about the Monica Lewinsky affair that’s 20 years old now and making a hash of it by not admitting he should have apologised to her for which he’s being roundly castigated. Trump has cheated on three wives, lies continually and never apologises for anything but sails through it all serenely without any retribution from his base. It seems that normal people are held to normal standards of behaviour but if you just smash through every glass ceiling of decorum then people will give up holding you to account. Any Democrat who behaved as Trump does would have been hounded from office with torches and pitchforks long ago. He has quite literally exhausted people’s ability to “give a fuck” by being so disgusting we don’t want to get into the mire with him. It’s like the old adage about wrestling in mud with a pig. Don’t bother because A] You’ll lose and B] the pig will just enjoy it.

    Trump has somehow managed to create an alternate reality like Seinfeld’s Bizarro World where he can behave as he wants but no one else can. However no matter how tedious it becomes we must continue to “give a fuck” and hammer him on every misstep or the forces of evil will just roll right on over us. Never forget that for evil to triumph it requires only that good men do nothing.

  35. Laurie #31

    Sorry for late reply (all).

    I am still troubled that there is no belief. Do phycopaths have a belief in what they are doing?

  36. I really think Rudolph Giuliani must have fallen out of the stupid tree at birth and hit every fucking branch on the way down. Kim Jong Un pulled out of the last summit because Bolton and Pompeo said idiotic stuff about Libya and Gaddafi implying that Kim would get dragged through the streets and killed too. Not content with spewing legalese bollocks about the Mueller investigation, Giuliani has just said during a conference in Tel Aviv that Kim got down on his hands and knees and begged for the meeting with Trump on 12th June after Trump cancelled it.

    I really don’t see how NK can do anything other than throw a major wobbly at such an insult and withdraw from the meeting. If they swallow something like that they lose major face. The Trump administration is just a clusterfuck of clowns who really couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.

    The security of the planet is at the mercy of people so stupid that words fail me. A plague on the whole rotten lot of these feckless ***ts.

  37. Oh dear. Trouble in paradise. Paul Ryan has voted 100% with what Trump wanted in every Bill that’s gone through Congress since Hair Fuhrer became Coward in Chief but Spygate it seems is a step too far. He’s just announced that he concurs with Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, that there is no evidence the FBI planted any spy in Trump’s campaign and that they did exactly what they should have when informed that certain Trump campaign members had suspicious ties with Russia. For good measure he also commented that no one is above the law and Trump should not be able to pardon himself. Even turtleneck McConnell agreed with Ryan on that.

    Of course Ryan has one foot already out of the door now so he doesn’t have much left to lose so maybe he’ll finally tell the truth once or twice more for a change. Spanky is going to be mad though. He hates being contradicted so expect a tweet storm about the sad loser Lyin’ Ryan who couldn’t get legislation passed because he’s so weak.

    Sycophant in chief Devin Nunes has a bright future in Trumpland though. He’s humped so much water for Trump in the last year he must have camel DNA in him somewhere. He’s busy trying to undermine the law enforcement agencies and help Giuliani’s claim that Mueller is framing Trump. No conspiracy theory is too far to reach for little Devin.

  38. Olgun

    Not sure what you mean by “have a belief in what they are doing.”

    I will guess that you are referring to a process that you and I must have when we are faced with a dilemma or a challenge where we consider a moral framework or ethical analysis and then make our position based on that and on some circumstances that present themselves. We draw on empathy for the underdog or victim in front of us and can actually conjure up a mind scenario where such a bad or sad thing could happen to ourselves. These are all the factors that motivate me to “believe in what I’m doing.” Even if my action is technically wrong, as long as I believe I’m taking the best action for the most good then I can live with it.

    That others operate on a purely selfish basis in life with limited ability to interact with others in a generous trusting way is so sad to me but I know these people are numerous. Think of all the kids who grow up in mean punitive highly competitive families who use humiliation as a correction, and from there go into their mean punitive societies that don’t give a damn if they live or die. These societies create a selfish paranoid bunch of people who have learned to never let down their guard and see all interactions as a zero sum game. Not saying that they are all psychopaths. Just that, genetics aside, at least I can see how these limitations come about based just on their environment. I’ve seen a figure of 1% of the population for psychopathy. If that’s true, there are plenty of them around! I think it was Phil who pointed out that at the current time, the Republican party appears to be a very good fit for the average American psychopath. Perhaps the psychopath in chief is now finding himself in a situation where the birds of a feather have flocked together.

  39. Samantha Bee was back last night with her weekly show after FecklessGate in the previous episode. She apologised for using a word as an insult that she’s used many times before in an effort to reclaim it and hoped that in future her words won’t hurt anyone else….except Ted Cruz. She added maybe people should worry more about the niceness of their actions than the niceness of their words. Finally she apologised for breaking America.

    Nailed it Sam 🙂

    The she covered the immigrant children issue.

    Maybe I’m getting senile or suffering from AuldTimer’s Disease as we call it up here in Scotland but I thought there was a bit about cruel and unusual punishment in the American Constitution. Currently there are 11,000 immigrant kids in lock up, separated from their parents with no idea if they’ll ever see them again, often kept in steel cages of the type you see in dog pounds. Often for many months, 8 months in one case that was reported, some sleeping on the floor, nothing to do all day. The emotional harm that is being done to them is beyond comprehension. If this is not cruel and unusual I don’t know what is.

    The head of ICE trotted out the same excuses I remember hearing Donald Rumsfeld saying about Guantanamo Bay. “Hey, we feed them well, we have lots of vegetables for them, dental care, medical care, whenever they need it. They’re getting treated better than lots of American kids.”

    Well I’m so fucking glad you have lots of vegetables for them. Maybe you should worry a bit more that you’re turning them into one by depriving them of their families for months on end in what I can only describe as prolonged emotional torture.

    Maybe the head of ICE would have grown up into a normal human being if the better part of what he might have been hadn’t dribbled away down his mother’s thighs when she conceived him. Any potential humanity in that embryo got washed down the drain when she showered after the sex.

  40. I can’t even imagine how badly history will tell this story in years to come. What evil fuck could come up with a plan to incarcerate immigrants but on top of it, to incarcerate their children in a facility separate from that of their parents?

    Ethically, we always start out asking – Is there harm? Answer: Massive harm! Any simpleton can see it.

  41. Human beings are very bad at recognising either evil or mental illness when it’s in front of them. People have an idea that the latter is someone in a straight jacket dribbling in a corner on the floor and talking to the voices in their head. In truth mental illness is no more than someone too far from the average in terms of their behaviour. Similarly evil does not require cloven hooves or horns to distinguish it. I’m sure the people who cheered at Hitler’s rallies and voted him into power didn’t recognise what history would some time later. But by then it’s too late. Those in the military just followed orders as they herded jews into train cars and took them for gassing at death camps. The power of the state to make its citizens obey is enormous and although “following orders” might not have been a defence during the Nuremberg Trials it’s probable that any conscientious objectors would have been shot for treason anyway by their own side. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Bush and his administration was evil. I have no doubt about it. Captives are still languishing inside Guantanamo without charges or legal representation. Bush just declared they were prisoners of war but there was never a foreign power that we were at war with in the first place. Trump doesn’t care. To be honest Obama did bugger all to fix it either.

    Trump is evil and so are a lot of Republicans in Congress and government positions who support him. But the people don’t see it. They see “unusual” or “disturbing” or as John McCain might put it “not regular order” but they never see evil until it’s far too late. If I were religious (perish the thought) I’d say that both Bush and Trump are the spawn of Satan designed to cause as much harm and suffering to the world as possible. Satan plays the long game which is easier when you’re an immortal. He guides them from birth, teases them gradually into positions of power where they can cause the most damage. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s elaborate comb-over is primarily designed to hide the 666 on his scalp. When I look at either Bush or Trump I see the Omen films in my head.

    I’m not joking and I’m trying not to be hyperbolic. As Forrest Gump said “evil is as evil does” and I know it when I see it. In another era Trump would very easily be Hitler. I’m sure if he had his way he’d herd black football players who take a knee into train cars. Actually I think he’d happily herd anyone who isn’t white into train cars. What he’s doing to these immigrant children is evil.

    History will recognise it in due course but the people never do in the instant moment.

  42. New to this. I had come to Dawkins site to engage open thinking. Yikes. This is a kettle and pot party. I though I would find debate and good stimulus. I find multiples wheels all in the same rut. Do you guys entertain thinking
    or affirmation of the club? I thought I would surely read some good back and forth vs a closed society of same shoes, same pants, same shirts and same hobbies. Kind of boring to have a large mirror with everyone looking at the same people in the same get-ups with ever increasing pace of hyperbole as a cliff edge nears. Perhaps the
    theoretical proposition of a single cell strand for all things living is correct…lemming DNA is alive and well.

  43. What would you like to discuss. Nearly all of these post are a like a monologue dressed up as open thought.
    I see thought all coming from the same kind of a blase fountainhead that results in everything suspiciously
    group think..or just poor psychoanalytical posturing that is running in some common gene among the posters:
    a Left Talking Point Gene that has become a rather specialized mutant development called the Hate Trump Gene.
    And it seems to be well contained here in its own petri dish. 🙂

  44. Guilty as charged on the gene front but not a recent mutation. Always hated people like him. That and he reminds me of one of two that beat me up when I was fourteen. I am not the person you probably want to discuss things with. You can stir up some interest I am sure though.

  45. Ok Steve, we’ve been scolded enough. There are several threads on the main page to engage us on or give us some substance on this one.

  46. Ok. And so admitted bias and not willing to discuss. “people like him”…. predispositions as such are usually a sure sign of “no discussion – I don’t think anymore on the subject”. Certainly hope you aren’t that in other areas such as evolutionary theories, epistemology, etc. I once read that Dawkins said “evolution is fact”…and i have friends who, I think, they believe. if they say that over and over, it must be so and you must eventually
    succumb to it being so. I was actually fine with it as long he says in the next breath, “of course, a fact today
    can be a fallacy tomorrow”. I don’t think he would actually venture down a very long line of argument that tries to sustain because once one declares something to be a “fact” makes it immutable in foundation. A declared fact can evolve into a complete falsehood depending on acquired knowledge that places the weight of the evidence in clear contradiction to the prior declaration. Of course, the further point, is that the particular declaration of anything being “fact” needs to be very very clearly and strictly defined, or it means very little other than a strong belief in my ability to assess whatever it is I am declaring to be a fact. The declaration that
    “Evolution is a fact” is rather nebulous to have much wieght to it. Fine line we all have trouble with – needing to be right, you to believe I am right, and then affirm your rightness of me and my affirmation of you – buy my books, believe my stuff, be in “the camp” etc. Frankly, I LOVE science, math and history and it is the combination of such that gave me the most serious doubt upon much of Dawkins Pontification that came to near declarative knowledge of “it is so”. Much of it good, and then much of it a need for being. Seems we all have that need in us. Anyway, not much in way of judging Trump nor Obama character traits. I watch for what I believe to be the best course of action for the moment I am in. I like the economic trends like now, I like beginning to define lines of trade transactions, I like the government controls being pulled back, I like the free thinking vs the
    establishments of either side (ticking them both off), I like the peeling back of veils to the DOJ/FBI, I like the business (vs political) approach to the international relations process. We heard of the impending doom…I watched…instead I see the negotiation tactics creating conversation. We heard of the Russian stuff…watched and watching….finding more interaction between others with Russian political operatives than Trump…
    he is a man, full of faults..as we/they all are. I don’t support them on so much moral grounds as I do
    on function grounds…. I don’t believe you give terrorists billions under the table, period. Sheer stupidity
    to me. And the list goes on. Trump will make his mistakes, but to see these very emotionally charged comparisons to Hitler and the likes, strikes me that reason left the building because its what I want.
    Hitler comparisons, and I have seen those, including here, whose argument for such…redefines the entire
    of process in classical logic of “categorical leaps” in the world of the non-sequitur evaluations. But such
    is most common, when we join the group, we live in group think, we close the door to bringing a drink to party unless you have the right badge on, and if you think otherwise, well, shut up and get in line to the cliff. That is what bothers me so much today….the demand to shut up, be called names of slur, etc. It’s a false elitism, or should I say, a dangerous self-righteousness. Once read a book “The Closing of the American Mind”. Probably 30 years ago. Great read…nearly a crystal ball.

  47. Steve #51
    Jun 7, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    blase fountainhead that results in everything suspiciously
    group think..

    People who understand subjects in depth and have looked at them in detail may appear blase to those less familiar with those subjects.

    or just poor psychoanalytical posturing that is running in some common gene among the posters:

    I think you will find some people here are well read in psychology.

    a Left Talking Point Gene

    Badge labelling is no answer to an evidence based argument.

    that has become a rather specialized mutant development called the Hate Trump Gene.

    If you look at Trump’s decisions in detail, they show a lack of basic understanding combined with massive false confidence and a huge ego!

    Since he began his campaign he has made a whole list of beginner-type errors, in staff appointments of incompetents in, administration, diplomacy, economics, national security, and science. He simply denies mistakes, lies about them, and concocts conspiracy theories, rather than learning from them or correcting them.

    He is a know-it-all ignoramus and habitual liar, hyped by propagandists and the corporate sponsored fake news salesmen!

    Outside his fan base in America, he is the laughing-stock of the educated world, but recognised as a dangerous, reckless, incompetent, who does not listen to expert advice, and is only interested in applause from the sycophants around him.

  48. This is pretty much perfect. A cut out and keep piece of evidence. The Closing of the American Mind. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    Dawkins sure bamboozled that Ken Miller and Francis Collins.

    The Hitler comparison doesn’t really work though. The IQs don’t match nor the political savvy.

  49. Steve #54
    Jun 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I once read that Dawkins said “evolution is fact”…

    That evolution is happening as an ongoing process, as it has been for millions of years, is a fact!
    The details of how it has happened and is happening in the millions of species on Earth, is theory and hypothesis, which is open to revision in the light of new evidence.

    There are detailed debates on this recorded in the archives of this site.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/11/is-it-a-theory-is-it-a-law-no-its-a-fact/

    and i have friends who, I think, they believe. if they say that over and over, it must be so and you must eventually succumb to it being so.

    That is not how science works.
    However when evidence has been independently produced thousands of times, with no refutations, there is a scientific consensus which meets any definition of “fact” if we recognise such entities as “facts” as existing at all!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/03/darwin-day-2015-questions-2-is-evolution-a-fact/#li-comment-171826

    A declared fact can evolve into a complete falsehood depending on acquired knowledge that places the weight of the evidence in clear contradiction to the prior declaration.

    This is a generality which makes the error of conflating “can” with” will” and “declared” with “strongly evidenced scientific theories”!

    Many established items of scientific knowledge will never “evolve into a complete falsehood”. They may be slightly modified by more accurate or detailed observations.

    The Earth will NEVER be recognised a the centre of the Solar-System, or the Universe! Science discards claims, once they are effectively refuted.

    However, contrary to popular BELIEF, the Sun is not in the centre of the Solar-System, although the barycenter is always contained within its atmosphere.

    This does NOT mean that heliocentric Solar-System astronomy will “evolve into a complete falsehood”. It means it needs additional parts added to the calculations beyond the historical simple concepts!

    Similarly Newtonian physics needs Einstein’s contributions to include effects of relativity, velocity and gravity!

  50. @#55 – Since he began his campaign he has made a whole list of beginner-type errors, in staff appointments of incompetents in, administration, diplomacy, economics, national security, and science.

    Such as appointments of people like Pruitt, making grossly incompetent and misleading statements, from government bodies which are supposed to honestly present expert opinion!

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/391130-judge-rules-pruitt-must-provide-evidence-used-for-climate-change?mc_cid=b25965c249&mc_eid=22979bf1c7

    The fact that a judge has had to make a ruling for disclosure of Pruitt’s made-up supposed climate “evidence” to be released, is cynically ironic in the light of this legislation!
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/06/us-epa-science-advisers-question-secret-science-rule-on-data-transparency/

  51. Steve #54

    I admitted to bias but that is my starting point Nothing I have seen has taken away from that bias. I am open to discussion because I have recognised my bias and where it comes from and can adjust to it. Evolution has helped to form my bias of people like him. He, and people like him are not to be trusted until they prove themselves but he is re-enforcing my bias rather than allaying them.

  52. Olgun #59
    Jun 8, 2018 at 6:17 am

    I admitted to bias but that is my starting point
    Nothing I have seen has taken away from that bias.

    I don’t think you can label prediction based on history, as “bias”!

    When there is a record of someone making serious mistakes, like wilfully going against against expert advice in appointing incompetents to high-level management jobs 20 or more times, it is rational to predict that they are likely to continue to do so! (either from incompetence, or from perverse delusions of “knowing better than the specialists”!)

  53. Alan #60

    I started with my basic primitive suspicion of the man only because he looked like someone who kicked seven bells out of me. Not sure what word describes that?

  54. I started with my impression of the man as a callous pompous ass parading around NYC as a wanna be emperor. Everything about Trump offends my appreciation of simple honest pleasures and kindness, fairness, and integrity. It’s the New Englander in me. He has gone on to prove himself a stupid dangerous villain since then.

  55. Olgun #61

    I started with my basic primitive suspicion of the man only because he
    looked like someone who kicked seven bells out of me. Not sure what
    word describes that?

    “Understandable” ?

    You are always open and honest about your positions, Olgun, and what leads you to them. Just about everyone has cognitive biases (they’re natural, if not always helpful), but the important thing is to be aware of them, and alert to them, and no one could reasonably accuse you of not being.

    My understanding of your position is that, because of your experiences in childhood you have a visceral distrust of anyone who reminds you of your persecutor then, which means that anyone who does so is starting from a lower base with you. From everything you’ve posted here, though, I have no doubt that if, despite the traumatic memories he awakes in you, Trump had shown himself to be reasonable, responsible, compassionate, evidence-based, honest, truthful, diplomatic, dignified, competent and just plain decent, you wouldn’t have let his appearance (and your memories) stop you from acknowledging the fact.

    He’s given us plenty of reasons to distrust and dislike him. You just have one more, that’s all.

  56. Olgun, nice honesty. Thnx. My perspective on your continuation of thought about evolution informing you of
    “people like him” is that is much more of an observation of consistent traits from the beginning of WRITTEN
    history and your own experience. It seems to me it’s not an evolutionary trait from your perspective (almost has if he stopped or failed to evolve), but given your observations, exactly the opposite – there is no “evolution” from your perspective. It would appear you see, rather, a consistency in human character that you do not like.
    One, in your interpretation, that has so repeated itself since the underpinnings of what we KNOW about man (not a punt to gazillions of years where we are left to surmise on such) that you observe it once again in full bloom, and, well, it irks you. Which the irking is fine, no qualm there. I am irked by the politicians in general
    because of the decades of repeated behavior…which is why I so enjoy the difference – in fact, the very opposite
    of Hitler (example, exposure OF the state control that has been promulgated, and yet now is running very very scared with Trump’s incessant pressure on such to open up). Matters not, really, I happen to see persistent character traits in man from what we know, and very little of any that has changed. Just to be clear, I have no
    qualms with intra-species gene modifications…it’s a genius trait. Adaptive traits within species is readily observed. What is not is some kind of single cell beginning where defined species independently appeared and
    hence, since WRITTEN history, have not shown any observable mutations into some other form. I realize species used to be taken as “fact” and has now become uncomfortable because of its prior use in a definitive way and now needs some careful modifications to keep certain arguments together…but the point remains,
    from what man has actually observed, in all of his record of himself, the observable categories haven’t moved
    around – cow is cow, chicken is chicken, man is man, monkey is monkey – and there has not only NOT been any
    migration between them, but there are no definable transitory intermediaries observable anywhere on the
    observed planet that we KNOW. Which is why I love math, science and history….but I prefer the weight of
    making my decisions based on a predominant weight of evidence from a collection of KNOWN knowledge. Aggregated weight of the known, and ongoing of such is my preferred informative base. Thus, I have never had
    qualms with “micro” evolution, but the non-sequitur to macro remains a testable, verifiable issue. That or the
    proposed single strand we all came from – which man has not even approached the ability to reconstruct the simplest of a living cell, and by the way there is no KNOWN mathematical calculation able to fully be able to calculate the probability of such occurring, again without nonsensical punts to odds we have never seen nor
    experienced as MAN – decided to stop doing so from all WRITTEN history that we have (man recording himself is the intended meaning of such – his, your own observations we make). Without the extrapolation
    of unknown “history” that has been postulated, we simply have no records of such by man observing himself
    in his journey. And I love science, the kind that tests thru observation as a primary means of assessment.
    It is an appropriate and good function of science to plod into ideas and possibilities of things we don’t get,
    but is also good to be honest about limitations to some reasonable weigh to discern such. Electricity on a now
    simple platform, existent but man had not figured out the elements of such prior, to molecular interactions
    in complex platforms, a continued learning process of man – is beautiful…I can go blend a margarita this evening…a great discovery of man’s ability. However, to move to speculations in unknown realms where
    elements must be “postulated” and yet cannot be tested in verifiable manner (that all emenated from a single
    strand…of which observation betrays that jump) is where I stand and wait to be shown such, not told such that
    I am stupid and it must be so. BTW, no disagreement on commonality of elements across man, chickens, cows, etc in SOME of their molecular structures, I would fully expect such. It’s a great observation, but it does not allow for nor condone the jump to conclusions that are held by Dawkins et al. To go further is to become a philosopher, which is great, just don’t try to “prostitute” the sanity of observations (good science, good math, good history) to somehow prove the next step of philosophical proposals. Then it becomes, not really the science that is a problem, but philosopher who needs to go further to exhibits ones “intellect”. I move to philosophy, admittedly, when I go to a next step of interpreting the single strand/cell origin and begin to surmise that which I can’t observe…so I back off and simply go back to who I am, a man, which a documented form of recording himself, as this writing is, Dawkins books are, etc etc…and from there, such becomes my
    first and foremost basis of weight for decision making. Call me boring, practical, or whatever, just me…that’s why I don’t walk in front of a truck doing 70mph, and yet why I do eat ice cream every night piled on with chocolate syrup when I “know” I probably shouldn’t. 🙂 – I didn’t say I was always able to be true to my
    “beliefs”! I, like every man I have ever met, have these funny fluctuations internally of inconsistency at
    various points, at the ones who say they are not liars or always truthful, I know immediately they should carefully be watched…they sniff of dishonesty if they claim such, me included. 🙂 :). Observable trait :).

    “This is pretty much perfect. A cut out and keep piece of evidence. The Closing of the American Mind. Quod erat demonstrandum.” Exactly MY point. I don’t believe you have read the book, as your quip answer suggests, but I could be wrong. Comes across as a “snipey” type of comment. Just read a very entertaining and interesting book on Churchill (prefer such vs Hollywood presentations)…excellent record. Churchill did not seem as a “Christian” as some have tried to stretch, simply in his words “here for this time for a reason”. And he was.,
    though the “elite” of his times wrote and spoke even more harshly than many do of Trump today. For one,
    I am thankful he stayed the course and the critics had to, eventually, eat their crow as it goes. So, far with Trump, void of character assessments, as a businessman myself, I enjoy what he is doing and seeing the tangible results this far, one of great significance occurring in a couple of days…and I am glad Dennis Rodman
    will be in the area and not discouraged from it. This is a deal process. So far, I have not seen anything that
    alarms me in Trump…though press gets all up in arms making silly inexperienced comments in most cases.

    As for Alan4Discussion, this is a predictable human behavior and response. Baby and bath water thinker where
    I could write his responses pretty closely before he does. Parroting the lines of many in the political circles defending well entrenched turf…but then the human nature has exhibited such for many many many years.
    PIcks dumb people, etc etc etc. My guess, Alan has not directly worked with any men or women who have built
    large productive businesses and guided them from their inception to multi-billion operations, probably more
    inclined to opinion posting about such people. I have worked closely with such. There is a different way of thinking that accomplishes the things that others want to get from them – namely their experience, position,
    or money. Policitians of sorts.

    Anyway, back to business for the day. Will look later. Best to all and, again, thnx, Olgun – it lacked the
    condescencion approach from others. Elitist approaches have grown very boring and empty to me. Yours came across more engaging and yet defining. Hence my response to you…and I wish I could put tone to it, as I
    attempted with the smiley faces…I enjoy coffee tables and intellectual DISCUSSIONS where one may talk at
    length at one point, and then shut up, and the other does the same, and there is basis to speak to each other
    as entities who eat, drink, laugh, have kids who rebel, have money struggles, wrestle with own issues
    of discontent or anxiousness – real people…not hiding behind written interactions. The old school did that,
    today, conversations, are often void of human interactions in stuck in worlds of disassociation from one another.
    I try to avoid smug answers or dismissals and converse. Provocative, I get, smugness I have little interest in.

  57. Steve #64

    …but the point remains, from what man has actually observed, in all of
    his record of himself, the observable categories haven’t moved around
    – cow is cow, chicken is chicken, man is man, monkey is monkey – and
    there has not only NOT been any migration between them, but there are
    no definable transitory intermediaries observable anywhere on the
    observed planet that we KNOW.

    I assume that you are aware that evolution is intrinsically a slow process. The fossil evidence shows that the earliest hominim that could walk upright was nicknamed by its discoverer as ‘LUCY’ and determined to be 3.2 million years old. There have, of course, been many other hominim types discovered since then that evolved (and became extinct) prior to our own modern Homo Sapiens. So if you’re looking for evidence of a ‘quick’ species transformation between apes and humans or between two other species you’re not going to be successful!

  58. Steve

    So, far with Trump, void of character assessments, as a businessman myself, I enjoy what he is doing and seeing the tangible results this far, one of great significance occurring in a couple of days…

    What tangible results please you?

  59. Steve #64
    Jun 8, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Adaptive traits within species is readily observed.
    What is not is some kind of single cell beginning where defined species independently appeared and hence, since WRITTEN history, have not shown any observable mutations into some other form.

    You seem to be struggling with the basics of evolutionary biology, ecology, and genetics.
    Observable mutations occur all the time in most populations of living organisms, but changes into “other forms” ( ie. new strains, varieties, sub-species, and species), progress one step at a time over extended time-scales.

    I realize species used to be taken as “fact”

    “Species” has not been taken as fact” since the early collectors of species who based them on single specimens, lost the arguments to Darwin in the 1900s.

    Apart from clones, there never was a species with genes exclusive to one organism! They are all based on variation within a diverse gene pool, with natural selection acting on, sifting, and sorting it, as the struggles to live and reproduce go on.

    and has now become uncomfortable because of its prior use in a definitive way and now needs some careful modifications to keep certain arguments together…
    but the point remains, from what man has actually observed, in all of his record of himself, the observable categories haven’t moved around – –

    The genetics of closely related species, illustrate the common ancestors and ancestral divisions which lead to the modern categories.

    cow is cow, chicken is chicken, man is man, monkey is monkey

    Biologists and animal breeders would strongly differ from this simplistic view. There are many breeds of cattle, many breeds of chicken which have diversified from the wild ancestor, an many different species of monkey.

    and there has not only NOT been any migration between them,

    This is nonsense! There is often back-crossing and hybrid breeding between recently branched species. However, evolutionary branching is only in one direction once certain levels of difference have evolved.

    but there are no definable transitory intermediaries observable anywhere on the observed planet that we KNOW.

    This is simply a tautology, as separate species are normally defined as branched populations which are no longer capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring, but like many things in nature, these are not hard and fast immovable boundaries. Fertility diminishes in offspring as species move a part, and abnormalities proliferate, but it is not clear-cut until a long way down the generations.

    In many instances intermediaries have died out because they are less well suited to both environments which are producing different selection pressures driving the branching of the new species.

    For example, Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears, being descended from a common ancestor can cross-breed, but the “Pizzly Bear” hybrids are less well adapted for either the forest environment of the Grizzly, or the sea-ice habitat of the Polar Bear! Hence they are likely to die out, or be absorbed into one or other population, rather than to persist in the longer term.

    There is genetic and fossil evidence of intermediate forms and common ancestry, in almost every group of related genera – living and extinct.

  60. Steve #64
    Jun 8, 2018 at 10:16 am

    So, far with Trump, void of character assessments, as a businessman myself, I enjoy what he is doing and seeing the tangible results this far, one of great significance occurring in a couple of days…

    I see Twittering proclamations claiming “great significance” every few days, but as for tangible results.
    Looking at the big picture, I see tax-cuts paid for with borrowed money, producing short term joy from the rich benefiting from them, but interest payments and capital repayments will have to be addressed in the longer term. – unless the standard Trump business practice of going bankrupt and defaulting of debts is the objective – or some mug future tax-payers are going to believe some fairy-story about the debts and “austerity”, being their responsibility” – as happened with the sub-prime banking scandal!!

    I also see Trump in posturing conflict with almost everyone and every country he has dealings with!

    I see many US business men and even the Koch Brothers, are annoyed by Trump’s silly plans for trade wars!

  61. Steve #64
    Jun 8, 2018 at 10:16 am

    As for Alan4Discussion, this is a predictable human behavior and response. Baby and bath water thinker where
    I could write his responses pretty closely before he does.

    Really??
    I very much doubt that you could predict my explanations of evolutionary biology, as this would require a deep understanding of the subject which is not evident in your replies!

    PIcks dumb people, etc etc etc.

    Are you seriously suggesting that Trump’s appointees are competent in the specialist subjects where they have been put in charge?

    My guess,

    I reckon that shows why guessing is a very poor way of reaching evidenced conclusions!

    My guess, Alan has not directly worked with any men or women who have built large productive businesses and guided them from their inception to multi-billion operations,

    I think that could be work in progress by one of my sons who is currently head of development at a growing multimillion IT business, monitoring and tracking multi-billions of global trade for governments and multi nationals, or my daughter who is a lawyer dealing in land and property!

  62. @ Steve #54, #64

    I like the government controls being pulled back

    So, you think unrestricted access by the mentally unstable to lethal weapons, more polluted water, environmental degradation, excessive fuel consumption, increasing the use of dangerous pesticides are a good thing?

    I like the free thinking vs the establishments of either side
    (ticking them both off),

    So, you approve of presidential policy ideas being based on whatever was said last night by a spokesman on ‘Fox and Friends’?

    I like the peeling back of veils to the DOJ/FBI,

    So, you approve of unconstitutional meddling, abuse of power, and obstruction in legally mandated investigations, to protect partisan interests and conceal possible criminal behaviour?

    I like the business (vs political) approach to the international
    relations process.

    So you think bribery, corruption, and backhanders for cronies and family members, while totally ignoring humanitarian issues, are the way to conduct international affairs?

    PIcks dumb people, etc etc etc. My guess, Alan has not directly worked
    with any men or women who have built large productive businesses and
    guided them from their inception to multi-billion operations,

    So you think Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson fall into this category ?

    I like the economic trends like now

    So, you are prepared to sacrifice honesty and integrity for a short-term (it will be !) uptick in your 401k ?

    I often wonder about Trump supporter/apologists, about the kind of cognitive dissonance that exists in their minds that enables them to speak favourably of this person while still managing (perhaps, perhaps not) to remain decent human beings themselves.

  63. Steve

    Exactly MY point.

    And if you take one step back it is exactly mine. That true calumny against science, pitiful and ignorant, you exhibited, taking Dawkins as Evolution itself, neglecting the huge wealth of scientists in great concord over it, whilst claiming to love Science, made my point. You have not the least idea of the scale of your task of trashing evolution.

    I don’t believe you have read the book,

    I bought it perhaps seven years ago second hand from the tables outside the the British Film Institute on the South Bank, London. I was attracted to the title, having found value in the later “The Closing of the Western Mind.” It had a few points of merit then got put up in the attic.

    What it failed to address as I recall was the catastrophe of American primary and secondary education, patchy and partial, whilst excessively denigrating the near world class standards of its tertiary education achieved. The educational sins started early.

  64. Erol #65
    Jun 8, 2018 at 11:11 am

    So if you’re looking for evidence of a ‘quick’ species transformation between apes and humans or between two other species you’re not going to be successful!

    That would be because of slow rates of reproduction extend time-scales, – but if we look at bacteria which reproduce quickly: –

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

    The E. coli long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) is an ongoing study in experimental evolution led by Richard Lenski that has been tracking genetic changes in 12 initially identical populations of asexual Escherichia coli bacteria since 24 February 1988.[2] The populations reached the milestone of 50,000 generations in February 2010 and 66,000 in November 2016.[3] Lenski performed the 10,000th transfer of the experiment on March 13, 2017.[4]

    Over the course of the experiment, Lenski and his colleagues have reported a wide array of phenotypic and genotypic changes in the evolving populations. These have included changes that have occurred in all 12 populations and others that have only appeared in one or a few populations.

  65. phil rimmer #71
    Jun 8, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Steve – You have not the least idea of the scale of your task of trashing evolution.

    An argument from incredulity, is very unlikely to progress into evidence based reasoning!

    Steve @#64 – As for Alan4Discussion, this is a predictable human behavior and response. Baby and bath water thinker where
    I could write his responses pretty closely before he does.
    Parroting the lines of many in the political circles defending well entrenched turf

    This sounds like a very poor attempt at commenting on rational references to evidence, expertise, and settled science!

    It is however predictable that I will shoot down posturing incompetents in a debate!

    I try to avoid smug answers or dismissals and converse.
    Provocative, I get,
    smugness I have little interest in.

    Psychological projection – much! – and perhaps an explanation of the lack of understanding of evolution or the recognition of incompetence in the Trump administration!

  66. Alan#72

    That would be because of slow rates of reproduction extend
    time-scales, – but if we look at bacteria which reproduce quickly:

    Yes, point taken for changes resulting through fast rates of bacterial reproduction. I was referring specifically to Steve’s suggestion of the apparent absence of transformations for larger creatures within the human evolutionary timescale.

  67. Erol #74
    Jun 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Yes, point taken for changes resulting through fast rates of bacterial reproduction.

    I thought yourself and other readers might find this experiment interesting, as it debunks the creationist claim that evolution cannot be directly observed happening!

  68. @#67 – For example, Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears, being descended from a common ancestor can cross-breed,
    but the “Pizzly Bear” [or “Grolar”] hybrids are less well adapted for either the forest environment of the Grizzly, or the sea-ice habitat of the Polar Bear!
    Hence they are likely to die out, or be absorbed into one or other population,
    rather than to persist in the longer term.

    The genetic evidence of branching ancestry and cross breeding with re-integration of hybrid bear species, is much more complex than that!

    https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46487

  69. Alan #72 and #75

    I thought yourself and other readers might find this experiment
    interesting, as it debunks the creationist claim that evolution cannot
    be directly observed happening!

    Yes, it’s an apt experiment and the results don’t surprise me because evolution and its genetic basis are a solidly based fact as far as I am concerned. However, I suspect that a bona fide creationist would simply dismiss the experiment as it involves bacteria and not ‘complex’ life, i.e eukaryotes! Perhaps Steve would be more keen to accept a butterfly example:

    Butterfly unlocks evolution secret:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4708459.stm

    This process, called “reinforcement”, prevents closely related species from interbreeding thus driving them further apart genetically and promoting speciation. Although scientists have speculated about this mechanism for years, it has rarely been witnessed in nature.

  70. Steve #64
    Jun 8, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I love math, science and history…. but I prefer the weight of
    making my decisions based on a predominant weight of evidence
    from a collection of KNOWN knowledge.

    Which is strange, when you ignore all the published scientific evidence on genetics, and quote from so called “Intelligent Design” pseudo-science (based faith in biblical mythology, and supported by no observational or experimental evidence whatsoever!), then expressing incredulity about demonstrated and widely published, genetic mechanisms, in top level scientific journals.

    Aggregated weight of the known, and ongoing of such is my preferred informative base.

    Strange again, when you quote from disinformation from circular thinking pseudoscience conspiracy theorists, whose notions have no support from scientific investigative methodology, but have moved from total denial of evolution, to fudged “micro-evolution” acceptance of the areas of evidence where they were being made the biggest laughing stock when in denial! (There is a similar pseudo-science fudge, from churches which support “theistic evolution”.)

    Thus, I have never had qualms with “micro” evolution, but the non-sequitur to macro remains a testable, verifiable issue.

    Long term “macro-evolution” has been confirmed thousands of times!

    Nobody have ever identified a boundary between the creationist invented short-time-scale “micro evolution”, and the long term “macro evolution”.
    They merge seamlessly on the graph of time, running through millions of years with adaptations making changes one small step at a time. !
    The family trees of every mapped organism and genera of organisms on the planet, show this!

    ALL present life on Earth uses the same basic DNA model structure and shows descent from a common ancestor.

    That does not mean that there could be no other earlier simpler chemical replication structures. It simply means that any earlier alternative replication mechanisms have now died out in the face of environmental changes, or competition from more efficient organisms.

  71. Erol #78
    Jun 9, 2018 at 5:29 am

    @ link – Although scientists have speculated about this mechanism for years,
    it has rarely been witnessed in nature.

    Actually this sexual selection, is zoology orientated and misleading, as flower colour/pattern, has been recognised as a driver of evolution in botany for a long time!

    As we know garden flower mixtures, have flowers of assorted colours because humans have in-bred them to produce these.

    However, in the wild, heavy selection pressure on flower colour arises from the capabilities of the eyes of pollinators!
    Birds are good at spotting red flowers.
    Insects can see ultra-violet! etc.
    If only certain pollinators are present in particular sections of habitat, (ignoring scent), only the favoured colour of flowers will be pollinated in significant numbers!

    https://www.sciencealert.com/flowers-pick-birds-over-insects

    New research has shown that certain Australian native flowers have shifted away from using insects as pollinators and evolved their flower colour to the red hues favoured by birds.

    In a study just published in New Phytologist, researchers from RMIT and Monash universities have shown for the first time that Australian native flowers exclusively pollinated by birds have evolved colour spectral signatures that are best discriminated by those birds.

    Night flowering (bat-pollinated) plants are usually scented, and have white flowers which show up in low levels of light!

  72. Alan#80

    Actually this sexual selection, is zoology orientated and misleading,
    as flower colour/pattern, has been recognised as a driver of evolution
    in botany for a long time!

    Thanks, but again, I think a zoological example is likely to have more sway with a creationist rather than a botanical one because it’s ‘closer’ to the human analogy.

    I note that our friend Steve has not taken up the challenge of answering his critics’ posts!

  73. Although it was a dodgy start to summer, bumper year in my garden. Happy to see Honey bees and Common Carder bees lapping up my geranium, Wood Cranes Bill. Realised how much more time the Honey bees spend at each flower whilst the Carders flit from one to the other. Watched as a few Honey bees arched their abdomens back so they could get as deep as possible. Whatever the Carders left behind, they got. Had five different bees in my garden a few years ago. This year, only two so far but not everything has flowered yet. Happy with the numbers of the two that are here now though.

  74. Arkrid Sandwich #83
    Jun 10, 2018 at 1:43 am

    Justin Trudeau is dishonest and weak tweets the coward who lies constantly from the safety of his airplane as he scurries away early from the G7. . . . . .

    . . . . . and as the Liar-in-Chief, reneges on the joint communique that advocated a “rules-based trading system” to which he had just agreed!

  75. Arkrid Sandwich #83
    Jun 10, 2018 at 1:43 am
    >

    Justin Trudeau is dishonest and weak tweets the coward who lies constantly from the safety of his airplane as he scurries away early from the G7.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/10/g7-in-disarray-after-trump-rejects-communique-and-attacks-weak-trudeau

    G7 in disarray after Trump rejects communique and attacks ‘weak’ Trudeau

    Leaders believed they had a deal until the US president launched a personal attack on Canada’s prime minister

    Obviously this is the error of believing anything Trump says will be subsequently honoured in the follow up situation!

  76. I learned fairly early on how psychopathic bullies use unpredictability (alternating affection and hate say) to gain tractability by defeating the viability of plans against them.

  77. Phil #86

    Yes Phil. I didn’t identify them as suchat the time but learned they hate being ignored. That’s when the effection comes in. You let your guard down for a second and they are back to the hate.

  78. phil rimmer #86
    Jun 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I learned fairly early on how psychopathic bullies use unpredictability (alternating affection and hate say) to gain tractability by defeating the viability of plans against them.

    It looks like the standard Trump approach of personal flattery in the hope of compliance with his wishes (and wish-thinking), followed by disparaging personal abuse against those who don’t buy his fantasy sales guff!

    (How could they fail to be persuaded by “the greatest deal-maker on Earth”? :-))

  79. Olgun #87
    Jun 10, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Yes Phil. I didn’t identify them as such at the time but learned
    they hate being ignored.

    As I pointed out in a post which is still in the spam filter, Trump demands to be the unmistakable prominent centre of attention – like a half-brick on a diamond necklace!

  80. Alan4discussion #89
    Jun 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    As I pointed out in a post which is still in the spam filter, Trump demands to be the unmistakable prominent centre of attention – like a half-brick on a diamond necklace!

    Or the turd floating in the punch bowl.

  81. @ Alan4discussion #85

    Obviously this is the error of believing anything Trump says will be
    subsequently honoured in the follow up situation!

    Trump may have been putting on his feeble ‘macho’ act at the G7, in part under the deluded notion that it would put pressure on Kim ahead of the Singapore summit. I suspect that like the rest of the non-Trump universe, Kim will have been watching his adversary keenly, and sizing him up pretty well. The outcome should be interesting, to say the least.

  82. Glad to see comments. It’s not that I have not desired to respond but a busy weekend. Just sitting down
    to muse over the musings. Unfortunately, it’s one of me and several of you, so the answers are not as
    readily composed as are yours. I will return, but it’s a Sunday evening, I’m tired….and no it’s not from a day at
    “church”, I do not go to such.

    Best to you all and will respond beginning with poor little Lucy first and work my way thru the many points, yes, even the Trump haters 🙂 and the presumptuous ones of my seeming lack of exposure to many various facets of the evolutionary postulations. testable and non-testable, provable on scale and fanciful , though remarkably creative and entertaining, on others.

    Best to all.

  83. Ok, I just got back from mowing a neighbors yard. He is disabled.
    And he goes to the VA. Now he tells me we have a trade imbalance with Canada.
    I say yep. We have for decades. We buy little from Canada and they buy lots from us.
    He says, nope, Canada exports more to us than we do to them.
    Ok, what do we buy from Canada? Uhhhh, cheese.
    I’m not gonna be helping him anymore. Two brand new cars in the driveway and a lazy daughter on the couch.
    So I ask my friend and he says he watches Fox. Hmmm.
    I got taken.

  84. Steve, anyone who isn’t a traitor to the USA and logic is a “trump hater”.
    If you can’t see what he is doing you are lost.
    I was trained in propaganda and brainwashing techniques in the USAF.
    It was required if you have a top secret clearance.
    He is using standard tactics and not very clever.

  85. alf1200 #93
    Jun 10, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    We buy little from Canada and they buy lots from us.

    Not remotely true. US exports to Canada were $341 billion in 2107 and imports were $333 billion.

    The main imports from Canada are fuel, vehicles, industrial machinery, agricultural items and plastics. The main exports are exactly the same things. In other words it’s a mutual trade. You buy their cars, they buy yours.

    Regardless of whether someone watches Fox Noise or MSNBC the actual facts are easily available on the internet.

  86. Well we all knew Trump was going to fuck up the G7 meeting because he’s an idiot. We might not have been able to predict he would blow it up. First he asks for his mate Putin to be let back in which really makes one wonder what’s on that pee tape or if Vlad has a big folder titled “Money Laundering with Donny” in his desk drawer. Then he tweets how dishonest and weak Trudeau is but that still pales compared to what two of his sycophants and trade advisors did next.

    Larry Kudlow went on tv and said it was a betrayal by Trudeau and then Peter Navarro went on Fox Noise and declared there’s a “special place in hell” for poor Justin. Hyperbole muchly?

    Ok so these idiots are playing to their boss, Hair Fuhrer, showing him what good little soldiers they are but fuck’s sake, a place in hell for the PM of Canada? Maybe for Saddam, Gaddafi, Mugabe, Idi Amin back in the day but for the PM of their best neighbour and close ally? This is batshit.

    Imagine someone in the Obama administration saying the same thing. They’d have been frogmarched out of the WH. Kudlow and Navarro will probably get a pay raise.

    It’s hard to know whether there’s any method in the madness of King Trump or if it’s all just madness but he seems to be trying to destroy the western alliance. He’s certainly more comfortable with dictators and tyrants than he is with Presidents and PMs of democracies. I suspect there’s nothing in relationships with honest democracies for Trump personally and that’s all he’s concerned about. Canada and Germany are not going to personally enrich him so fuck them. China and Russia on the other hand are happy to deal with him though. China agreed to invest $500 million in an Indonesian based Trump property development 2 days before Trump lifted sanctions on Chinese phone maker ZTE and there’s oil, gas and other goodies in Russia for the raping.

    However all Trump sees in the USA’s traditional allies is a zero sum game. Robert de Niro had it right at the Tony awards last night. “Fuck Trump”. Melania tweets “well don’t look at me!!”

  87. What book is Richard Dawkins talking about here? He says he’s reading a book about how early Christianity was just as bad, if not worse, in its fundamentalism as some radical Islamic groups are today, such as ISIS. See the video at 4:20 onward.

    https://youtu.be/xWctVw4ooYA?t=4m21s

    I realize that there’s probably a whole bunch of books that fit the bill. I’ve been looking around and can’t seem to find any clues. Otherwise, any suggestions on this topic would be appreciated. Cheers.

  88. Steve #92
    Jun 10, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Best to you all and will respond
    beginning with poor little Lucy first and work my way thru the many points,

    Lucy was a very long way down the evolutionary line, and in terms of evolutionary time-scales, very recent!

    From early multicellular organisms, the progression is to chordate worm-like creatures, various fish, amphibians, reptiles mammals, primates, and apes.

    https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_04

    The origin of tetrapods

    The word “tetrapod” means “four feet” and includes all species alive today that have four feet — but this group also includes many animals that don’t have four feet. That’s because the group includes all the organisms (living and extinct) that descended from the last common ancestor of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. So, for example, the ichthyosaur, an extinct swimming reptile, is a tetrapod even though it did not use its limbs to walk on land. So is the snake, even though it has no limbs. And birds and humans are tetrapods even though they only walk on two legs.

    The debates about Lucy, are focussed on if Lucy is in the direct line of Human Ancestry, or is some side branch on the primate evolutionary tree which died out.
    The basic section of the evolutionary tree leading to modern primates is on this link:

    You may notice that the above phylogenetic tree does not include all primate species but is instead a representative tree of three different primate groups.

  89. Arkrid #96

    It’s hard to know whether there’s any method in the madness of King
    Trump or if it’s all just madness but he seems to be trying to destroy
    the western alliance. […] However all Trump sees in the USA’s
    traditional allies is a zero sum game.

    At #26 I linked to a Twitter thread (https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1002502139367837702.html) that discussed this very thing. With every day that passes, I find its analysis more accurate.

    For Trump everything is a zero sum game. There is no such thing as win-win, only win-lose. He’s only happy with any deal if he thinks he’s completely suckered the other side. Therefore, if someone is happy with any deal they’ve done with him, he thinks he’s the one who’s been suckered.

    With that mindset, deals and alliances and treaties are evidence that his side’s been too weak. Anything that the other side would be happy to agree to clearly means he’s been had. We didn’t see his sabotage of the G7 coming, but we certainly should have done.

    That Trump’s efforts to destabilise Western alliances, be that the G7, NATO, the EU, or whatever, totally play into Putin’s hands should be obvious to anyone (though it’s hugely ironic that this most massive betrayal of the West – including the USA itself – should be hailed as a victory by Trump’s nationalist fan club).

    One day we’ll know the full story. Was Putin actually in the driving seat throughout the entire Trump election and presidency? Or was he simply rubbing his hands in glee and keeping the fuel topped up, unable to believe his luck?

  90. Marco #99
    Jun 11, 2018 at 10:50 am

    One day we’ll know the full story.
    Was Putin actually in the driving seat throughout the entire Trump election and presidency?

    It seems the UK is also investigating the Russian connections!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/05/probing-pence-did-his-hillsdale-college-commencement-speech-get-anything-right/#li-comment-232337

    The Sunday Times said Mr Banks and Leave.EU director of communications Andy Wigmore had also had lunch with the Russian ambassador in November 2016 – just three days after they and the former UKIP leader **Nigel Farage had met Donald Trump in New York** following his election victory.

    Bank’s hireling ‘KIPper – Farage – Donald Trump’s laughable and rejected nomination for UK ambassador to the USA!

  91. Alf #93

    Ok, I just got back from mowing a neighbors yard. He is disabled.

    That is so coincidental: I, too, mow my disabled neighbor’s yard. And he voted for Trump and listens to Limbaugh. He also thinks his house is haunted, and his wife is in heaven.

    You didn’t get taken, he did.

    Everything with a grain of salt…

  92. Alan #100

    Indeed. There have been two major acts in the last 2 years – the vote for Brexit and the vote for Trump – that have resulted in serious damage to Western coherence and strength. And behind both of them, there is a myriad of strands leading back to Russia. You’d think the “patriots” might have noticed …

  93. @ Arkrid Sandwich #96

    I suspect there’s nothing in relationships with honest democracies
    for Trump personally and that’s all he’s concerned about.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there.

    Democracies have those bothersome rules, procedures and due process getting in the way, as Trump found when he tried noisily but unsuccessfully to prevent the Scottish authorirties from placing an offshore wind farm in plain view of his Aberdeenshire resort project.

    Dictatorships, on the other hand, can be simply greased with money. A $500 million bung to China paves the way to a Tower in Indonesia, and no questions asked – at least until the Republican majority is lost.

  94. rogeroney #103
    Jun 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Democracies have those bothersome rules, procedures and due process getting in the way, as Trump found when he tried noisily but unsuccessfully to prevent the Scottish authorirties from placing an offshore wind farm in plain view of his Aberdeenshire resort project.

    Those darned judges and the political leaders in other countries (like “Mad Alex” promoting green energy), seem unable to recognise “Trump’s superior whizzdumb” and diplomatic skills! :)- #17 and #18 on the link!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/12/climate-change-skeptic-to-head-epa-mcmorris-rodgers-as-interior-secretary/#li-comment-216230

    A series of colourfully-written letters sent by Donald Trump to then-Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has been published in full for the first time.

  95. There’s a story in Politico today about Trump’s habit of tearing up documents once he’s read them, especially if he doesn’t like what they say. So there’s a team of aides who have to scotch tape the pieces back together because the law says all presidential documents have to be preserved.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/10/trump-papers-filing-system-635164

    How fucking stupid are these folks? Why don’t they give Trump a photocopy in the first place then he can do what he wants with it and they preserve the original?

  96. @#103 – in plain view of his Aberdeenshire resort project.

    In seems that Trump’s “wonderful” golfing centre has fallen somewhat below Trump’s fanciful promised expectations and have very limited accommodation in comparison to the original plans!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/12/climate-change-skeptic-to-head-epa-mcmorris-rodgers-as-interior-secretary/#li-comment-226938

    Donald Trump’s Scottish golf courses have reported losses of £19m.

  97. Arkrid, The trade imbalance is eight billion in our favor. That’s no small peanuts. I am not wrong, your stats tell nothing about the imbalance.
    Yes, the stats are available. And we still have a surplus. And I’m aware of the facts.

  98. Vicky, I’m not gonna do it again. He didn’t even thank me. He pointed out spots in his
    two foot tall grass we missed.
    I’m not as tolerant with idiots as I was thirty years ago.

  99. Yeah, I get it.

    My neighbor is appreciative. He gets me fruit that’s in season at the markets. We don’t really talk much politics, but when he makes outlandish claims (“the immigrants are taking all our jobs” “the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt”) I know he’s just parroting what he hears. I generally point out the fallacies, and we agree to disagree.

    But for the record, how can you miss spots of two-foot-tall grass?!

  100. Steven007 #110
    Jun 11, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Arkrid, alf1200 – this seems to be a good link re: US/Canada trade. I’m sure there are others (looks like this may have been Arkrid’s source):

    Yes it was

  101. I’m shocked that no one in the atheist world has made a connection between the psychologists finding that fairness is an evolutionary bias of the brain.

    First, do you feel good about being fair? The reason you feel good about this is that the brain rewards those who follow its evolutionary biases.

    Second, do you feel bad about being unfair? The brain is punishing you for ignoring its evolutionary biases.

    What if all the elements of the Story of Abraham are also evolutionary biases of the brain? I make them out to be: Freedom of the inner life, freedom to care, freedom from sexual abuse, honesty, fairness, justice and resilience.

    If this interplay between the evolutionary biases of the brain and the conscious self is the “spiritual” life, we are all involved in the spiritual life every second of our lives. Going to church and going to work are both spiritual experiences. Atheists are as spiritual as believers. Being spiritual is our common heritage from the big brain.

    Also people like Donald Trump can be predicted by this theory. If the activity of the conscious self and the biases of the brain are separated, you can see some people, like Trump, would be almost exclusively interested in the self and those people would be balanced by other folks more interested in following the evolutionary biases of the brain.

    Well. what do you think?

  102. Joan,

    When you say “evolutionary bias”, I’m not clear on what that is. Would you say that an evolutionary bias is the same as an evolutionary adaptation? If not then I’d need some explanation of what an evolutionary bias is and how that would work. I’m not denying that humans operate under the influence of bias, of course we do.

    no one in the atheist world has made a connection between the psychologists finding that fairness is an evolutionary bias of the brain.

    There are plenty of atheists in the “atheist world” who have never read any material on evolution or on psychology either. We don’t have a standard reading curriculum. There’s no such thing as an “atheist world”. We don’t all agree on politics or economics or much of anything we can count on except for the agreement that there’s no supernatural higher power(s) known as God(s). That’s about all we can really count on that is agreeable to us.

    First, do you feel good about being fair?

    Feeling good about being fair happens sometimes but wouldn’t you agree that there are other less admirable behaviors and thoughts that make us feel good too? Revenge, jealousy, lust and greed are powerful motivators and seem to exist in our (evolved) minds/brains for reasons that must have served us well in our deep evolutionary history. Aren’t we all just unique combinations of “good” and “bad” impulses? Or are we all created as naturally good creatures on this earth but then act sinfully on occasion for some strange reason?

    the psychologists finding that fairness is an evolutionary bias of the brain.

    When we bring a scientific finding into the discussion, we ought to include the researcher’s name along with the academic paper or article or book with at least a basic citation so that others can read through the material and review the stats.

    To say “the psychologists finding” is too vague. Who are these psychologists? Psychologists disagree with each other constantly. There is no way for me to guess which psychologist you are thinking about if you don’t include their name.

    What if all the elements of the Story of Abraham are also evolutionary biases of the brain? I make them out to be: Freedom of the inner life, freedom to care, freedom from sexual abuse, honesty, fairness, justice and resilience.

    All of these qualities are so important to humanists. They are humanist values and they are also some of the ethical obligations and are mentioned in our most important human rights documents. What in the world do these values have to do with Abraham of the Bible? Honestly, Abraham is not considered by humanists to be any kind of decent example of fairness, justice, compassion and good family leadership! In fact, he’s the very opposite. Can you reconcile this gaping disagreement?

    “spiritual” life,

    There are some atheists that use the word “spiritual” and they may engage you on a discussion around that idea but personally I’ve never been comfortable with the word. If we discuss evolutionary adaptations and also consciousness then that sounds like an interesting discussion but why do we need to bring in the idea of spiritual life? We have a good understanding of adaptations in general and the study of consciousness is advancing every day with fascinating scientific findings. The idea of spiritual adds nothing to our understanding of either one. As Laplace said;

    Napoleon: You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe.
    Laplace: Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.

    Going to church and going to work are both spiritual experiences. Atheists are as spiritual as believers. Being spiritual is our common heritage from the big brain.

    These three statements above are completely useless without a concrete definition of the word “spiritual”. They are all three completely subjective, personal and untestable and so, what good are they? All I can extract from them are a speculation that you admire spirituality and are prone to extending it out to others who don’t understand the state and who regard it as worrisome. Being spiritual can’t be our common heritage since there are many people who operate on a daily basis in a perfectly normal way with not a single molecule of spirituality at all!

    If you can’t imagine how others function well without spirituality and without religion then here’s your chance to investigate that.

    There’s not much mystery about what makes Trump tick. There is enough known about his upbringing and his behavior through most of his life to make a very good guess at his psychological diagnosis. Anyone can google sections from DSM diagnostic manual and follow the clues. Environment and genetics in combination, Joan. It’s all we are. No need to add in all kinds of nebulous factors. Remember Laplace.

  103. First of all, hello, as this is the first time I’m writing here.

    My problem is I’m struggling to find a rational explanation for an incident that happened last week and kind of freaked me out. In short, an unknown priest came to my mother on the train and without introduction or anything, just looked at her and told her: “Someone in your family named Mary cursed you. Because your son doesn’t believe in God he is not protected so the curse stuck to him and his life isn’t going very well. Tell him to wear a silver bracelet or a silver chain necklace.”

    I have never believed in such things and I realize it sounds stupid. But the fact is my mother had an argument with a cousin named Mary, I don’t believe in God and my life isn’t going great. I know what you’re thinking, “lucky guess”, but you got to admit, this guy took kind of a long shot and nailed it.
    Now, objectively, the name Mary is common where I live, so no credit for him on that part. The part with my life not going very well is pretty vague also, it can apply to many people. BUT the part with “your son doesn’t believe in God” intrigued me. I mean I know about cold reading and so on, but how could he know that? I live in Romania where only a very small percentage of the population doesn’t believe in God, somewhere between 1% and 5%, according to polls (the numbers don’t lie, I met maybe 2 or 3 atheists my whole life, they are indeed very rare here). And my mother could’ve had more than one son, or daughters or no children at all. What gave her away? How did this guy do it? I don’t understand what abilities, what skills a person can have in order to read people like that. Not even my mother knew I was an atheist, she suspected I have some doubts about God, but we’ve never had an open conversation on this matter.

    Important thing: this man didn’t ask for money or anything, he didn’t even give my mother his name or the church where she can find him. Apparently, he didn’t have any benefit.

    Sorry for the long message and the off-topic (?) but I’m really interested what is your opinion on this subject. I can’t find a reasonable and rational explanation and it’s bugging me for days.

  104. Tibi#114

    But the fact is my mother had an argument with a cousin named Mary

    How about:

    Mary decided to scare your mother (and yourself) and showed a picture of your mother to the priest and asked him to confront her. The priest, being informed that her son was probably an atheist, readily agreed.

  105. Tibi Stegaru #114
    Jun 12, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Welcome to RDFS.

    Sorry for the long message and the off-topic (?)

    The Open Discussion is for people to introduce their own topics, so yours is as “on-topic” as any other.

    My problem is I’m struggling to find a rational explanation for an incident that happened last week and kind of freaked me out.

    People confide in these priests about all sorts family and personal matters, with the priests quick to attribute any sort of misfortune or natural disaster to “lack of belief or dedication” to their god and church or mosque! (Deep rooted Islamic fundamentalism has set in since the priests told the gullible population, that the Banda Ache tsunami was a punishment from Allah for lack of attendance at the mosque, and entertaining all those heretic tourists!)

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/aceh-sees-disasters-as-sign-of-gods-wrath-20120413-1wyuw.html

    WHEN pentecostal pastor Danny Nalliah thundered that the 2009 Victorian bushfires were caused by God’s wrath at that state’s decision to decriminalise abortion, he was an outlier even among radical Christians.

    But in Aceh, Indonesia’s most devout province (and its most disaster prone), it’s not just common but mainstream to believe that Wednesday’s terrifying earthquake, like the tsunami before it, was a messages from Allah that people were not taking their religion seriously enough.

    In short, an unknown priest came to my mother on the train and without introduction or anything, just looked at her and told her:
    “Someone in your family named Mary cursed you.

    The superstitious are impressed with curses, and of course causes family divisions with scapegoats, and this diverts them from tackling real problems constructively. They may even ask priests to mediate or exorcise the curses!

    Because your son doesn’t believe in God he is not protected so the curse stuck to him and his life isn’t going very well.
    Tell him to wear a silver bracelet or a silver chain necklace.”

    Perhaps there is a market for holy water, religious magic baubles, or “penances”? The use of the term “God” with a capital “G”, assumes some default god, whereas in reality there have been, and are, thousands of (imagined) gods in the brains of their followers.

    In priest infested communities, the priests are well briefed on local gossip, and may well be putting people up to mischief against dissenters from their cult or religion.
    Any demonstration of the power of nature or personal social misfortune, is likely to be claimed as “evidence of the power of their god(s)” – as it has been throughout the history of delusional beliefs.

  106. Joan F. DaVanzo #112

    Going to church and going to work are both spiritual experiences.

    Going to work enables one to do useful things for the community at large and earn money to ensure your subsistence and well being.

    Going to church has the sole purpose of showing devotion to an imaginary deity, the outcome of which is to delude oneself and provide an emotional crutch with a false sense of security.

    How can you equate the two?

  107. Oh hilarious. As expected the idiot Trump achieved precisely nothing in Singapore other than to sign a nothingburger document in front of cameras with his stupidly yuge signature which is his favourite pastime. He described it as a “very comprehensive” document which in his terms it is because it’s almost a full page so a heck of a long read for Spanky. It actually says nothing though. In 4 brief sentences and a couple of additional paragraphs NK and the USA “commit” to establishing friendly relations, building a lasting peace regime, denuclearising the Korean peninsula which of course means the USA needs to remove all theirs too and recovering POW remains.

    That’s it. No other specifics. No timeline. Just a vague statement of intent like how we “commit” to losing weight or stopping smoking at New Years but never do.

    Kim got his photo op with the American president to show his slaves ummm I mean the citizens of NK how important he is. Spanky got to sign something which he can tell Fox Noise is the “yugest” most importantest agreement in history, ever, period and only he could have negotiated it and so where’s my Nobel prize now?

    Nothing will change. Kim will carry on developing his nukes. Spanky will carry on being an idiot. Spanky just gave Kim a whole shitload of legitimacy on the world stage and got nothing in return. In fact if the USA now don’t start visibly pulling troops and materiel out of South Korea, Kim can point to it not holding up its “committment” to the agreement and of course no one can see what NK is doing in its secret labs and bunkers with its nukes and missiles so all in all a pretty big win for Kim. What Kim wanted most apart from his photos to show back home was the phrase “Korean Peninsula” instead of “North Korea” in any agreement then he can hold the USA and SK to everything they try to hold him to. Of course President Moon of SK is not even a party to all this nonsense so no one can hold him to anything that two other idiots promised in respect of someone else’s country. That leaves the USA on the hook and plenty of get out for Kim which is perfect.

    Trump got played like a fiddle just as I said he would a while back. Only the crassest fool could describe a few paragraphs of scribble as “very comprehensive” but no doubt his base and the right wing propaganda machine will believe that’s job done, box ticked, peace brought to Korea now.

    This is the week we can look back on in June 2018 when Trump viciously attacked the democratically elected leader of friendly Canada and then effusively praised a dictator who murders his relatives and citizens on a regular basis and said what an honour it was to meet him. Any last shreds of credibility Trump might once have had on the world stage are now irretrieveably lost. He is indeed the Dotard-in-Chief who blunders his way round in his big plane smashing up long standing relations with friends and playing footsie under the table with enemies.

  108. Well karma is a bitch it seems. Trump adviser Larry Kudlow had his big angry, and completely unjustified, rant on tv about Justin Trudeau calling him a backstabber, got himself all riled up and hot under the collar and then promptly keeled over with a heart attack. Sadly this will never happen to Trump who doesn’t have a heart.

  109. Tibi Stegaru #114
    Jun 12, 2018 at 3:41 am

    I live in Romania where only a very small percentage of the population doesn’t believe in God, somewhere between 1% and 5%, according to polls (the numbers don’t lie, I met maybe 2 or 3 atheists my whole life, they are indeed very rare here).

    Atheists are a subconscious threat to god-delusions. The very notion that people can live productive and constructive lives without god-delusions is a threat to those delusions and to the livelihood priests. It is part of their marketing strategy for their pseudo-solutions to life’s problems to pretend that atheists are unable to cope because of the absence of gods in their lives.
    Theists often deny that atheists actually are atheists, and claim atheists are in denial of their assumed gods, or “have no morals”. This is because the indoctrinated and priest-dependent, have no concept of human relationships or altruistic morality, independent of priest and herd enforced dogma!
    Behind the regularly preached propaganda facade of priestly “goodness”, as this link shows, the reality is quite different!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/02/7-percent-of-australian-catholic-priests-accused-of-abuse/#li-comment-232355

    If atheists are so rare, you can bet in small communities, the priests know who they are and where they are!
    Disparaging the godless is a pulpit routine reinforcing the tribal “badge goodness”, of members of religious groups, and attributing the ills of societies to “outsiders” or a lack of devotion!

  110. Tibi

    Another possibility is that your mother actually does have some inkling of your heretical departure from the prevailing theocracy there. She may not even be able to bring the idea to full consciousness because it’s just too scary to think about. It may be just bouncing around beneath her awareness. Add to that the imperfection of memory and the manipulation of priests and over time, her memory of a conversation with a priest, a train journey, a disturbing argument with cousin Mary and there you have it. All of these low level negative interactions come together in a conglomeration in her mind.

    These phenomena are not unusual at all. In fact it’s mild compared to what our brains can really whip up when they are detached from the normal checks and balances in the brain. Our senses continually bombard our brain with incoming information that must be interpreted by our brain, call it the “explainer” and if this explainer is compromised in any way such as by drug use, damage or also by programming then certain explanations will be entertained that other people’s explainers wouldn’t come up with.

    It’s very easy to knock the explainer in our brains off line, so to speak. Anyone who has tried a hallucinogenic drug knows the silly antics of the explainer as it struggles to come up with plausible stories to deal with incoming stimuli. It’s hilarious to experience. Luckily this is a short term experience that wears off in a few hours.

    What is very much worse is when someone has been brought up to believe that supernatural spiritual mystical explanations for incoming stimuli are perfectly plausible and real. This starts in childhood when children are not taught the difference between fact and fiction and produces an adult that believes that death is not permanent, angels are near us and that there is a man in the sky with magical powers who cares about us individually and gives us rewards and punishments depending on his opinion of our behavior and maybe that crystals have powers and that positive attitudes cure cancer. You name it, anything is plausible to a brain that hasn’t been taught to discriminate between fact and fiction.

    Above, I said that this story of you mom’s is not unusual and mild compared to what the brain can come up with, I was thinking of actual full on hallucinations. I recommend a book by Oliver Sachs titled Hallucinations. We might think that hallucinations happen only to “crazy” people but you will learn from this book that it’s not the case. They are actually quite common and can be explained and understood by us which is a good thing because they are not as scary when we acknowledge that they are just a side effect of the complex awesome brain we have.

    Just reassure your mom that she’s had some negative interactions that all came together in a disturbing way but that everything will work out in the end. She’s worried about you as any mom would be. I understand you’ve faced challenges in your life but a silver bracelet and prayers to a nonexistent deity probably won’t fix anything for you. Your mom is trying in her own way to fix things in the only way she can. Life can really suck sometimes but all I can offer you is support from me and others who have worked through some seriously negative shit and came out of it ok. At least we’re not sitting around waiting for our invisible friend in the sky to swoop down and fix everything. We only have our own resiliency and the help we can get from real people all around us.

    I hope things work out well enough for you but don’t be distracted by these eerie supernatural stories. Other people need them but rational reality based thinkers do NOT.

    You might consider buying a nice silver necklace with a little flying spaghetti monster on it. Seems like a happy compromise! Google it.

    🙂

  111. Arkrid Sandwich #118
    Jun 12, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Nothing will change. Kim will carry on developing his nukes. Spanky will carry on being an idiot.

    The basics behind the rocket science, are very simple!

    If the US stops organising and funding military invasion exercises on North Korea’s border, and takes its nuclear armed battle fleet away, North Korea will have no need for weapons of retaliation!
    If they also stopped attacking and de-stablising other regimes (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.), and arming aggressive rogue states like Saudi-Arabia, Israel, and various dictators, the whole world could be more peaceful!

    If the US stopped waging an economic “sanctions” war, to impoverish Korean citizens and try to con them into believing this is attributable to the communist regime (like they did in Cuba), peace could be restored and the 2 Koreas could co-operate as good neighbours!

    After the G7 abuse directed at Canada and others, the suggestion that Trump has any useful advice on behaving as good neighbours, is laughable!

  112. Tibi, hi.

    Interesting story.

    Just to be clear, were you with your mother during the encounter?

    Have you told anyone about religious doubts?

    Are you noticeably less enthusiastic about religious “duties”?

  113. Trump has been slamming the Iran nuclear deal for ages now saying it’s weak and that its time limited restrictions on Iran being able to produce nuclear fuel which expire in 2030 make it pointless. Of course it was signed by President Blackenstein of Kenya which is probably more important. Anyway clearly the great negotiator Hair Fuhrer would be able to do so much better himself with North Korea and show that uppity nigger how deals should be made. The operative phrase that was apparently essential before Trump got to Singapore was CVID or Complete Verifiable Irreversible Denuclearisation. No sad, weak time-expiring clauses for Emperor Spanky.

    Curious then how nothing like CVID is in the text of what Kim and Trump signed. You see Trump is a coward from the top of his ginger head to the tip of his bone spurry toes. He’s all big and brave from the safety of Air Force One or the Oval Office when he gets to tweeting but put him in front of someone and he’s a lamb staring helplessly at a tiger. Trump was very brave about the NRA until they came and visited him then he suddenly forgot about gun control. Maybe he bust up the G7 agreement, again only from inside Air Force One, to show Kim how tough he is but if so one wonders how a weaker statement than the nothingburger they ended up signing could ever have been written. As usual Trump shot himself bigly in the foot before he even got to Singapore. He boasted how he’d know if Kim was genuine within one minute of meeting him because he’s such a great judge of character and ability. You only have to look at Mike Flynn, The Mooch, Scott Pruit, Betsy DeVil to know that. He also claimed, and others like Pompeo did on his behalf, that one of his great attributes is being able to walk away from a bad deal.

    So here’s his problem. Combine the above and it would have meant that if Trump was going to walk away it would have to be in the first minute. Once he’s stayed that long then by his own claim he already knows it’s going to go great. By the start of minute two he’s basically got to sign whatever Kim wants or he looks like a fool. Trump never sees the longer term consequences of his own boasting. Actually he never seems to see the longer term consequences of anything. That’s why his lawyers are shitting themselves about him speaking to Mueller. He’s got the world’s smallest human brain in charge of the world’s biggest human mouth.

    Trump goes to pieces when he has to do anything in person. He can’t fire people face to face. He does that by tweet or gets someone else to give the bad news. He can’t negotiate in person. He prefers to do that via lawyers. What he really likes doing is destroying things other people have made. Like the jealous preschool toddler knocking over another child’s pile of bricks or the kid on the beach stamping on someone else’s sandcastle, Trump hates everything he didn’t make himself. No one else’s deals are good enough for Trump but his own are inevitably much much worse, except inside his mind.

    Trump is starting to reap what he has sown though. The next G7 is going to be horribly embarrassing after the massive overreaction of himself and his aides. Now he knows that the other 6 are united against him and his stupidity. Even GOP members of congress are horrified at the “place in hell” barb. The GOP is also drafting legislation to over rule Trump’s lifting of sanctions on Chinese phone maker ZTE. It’s not exactly impeachment yet but it’s a small step in the right direction. The presidential powers of pardon are also being looked at in Congress, perhaps with a view to restricting them by legislation. Congress, even on the GOP side, is finally, belatedly, starting to get scared of the monster they’ve unleashed. It’s not popular to say so in public but it’s getting easier in private.

  114. I see the Westminster Parliament has just confirmed a majority of the “no accountability to the national interest”, brexiteering stupid, among its membership! – Just as the con-artist Aaron Banks and his Russian connections are being exposed!

  115. Thanks for your feedback, people.

    Just to clarify a few things, I live in a quite big city of about 300.000 inhabitants, not in a small community where everyone knows each other. My mom was travelling alone to the country’s capital, Bucharest, a 170 kilometer journey and this priest got on the train somewhere along the way. He couldn’t know my mom or me or my mother’s cousin, who lives in another town, not along this route. Plus, I don’t even know this cousin Mary, I maybe met her when I was a child, but don’t remember. She has no way to know about my atheism. I spoke with a very few people about this, only with friends or work colleagues.

    But like I said, this Mary part isn’t the problem, it was quite an easy guess that my mother has a Mary in the family. Everyone has, at least around here, it’s a pretty common name.
    I trust my mom, not only because she’s my mom, but she is a generally rational person, although religious. She was spooked by this encounter and really concentrated to remember as she told this to me. She said she didn’t believe in curses or this kind of things until now, but I can tell she may start to. She tries to make me wear a silver bracelet she found in our house, saying there’s no big deal and that silver has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, so no harm. :)) I resist, but still can’t find a satisfying explanation.

    I resist, but still can’t find a satisfying explanation. Since I heard this story, I start researching this so called clairvoyant priests and found out they’re a pretty big thing, in Romania at least. There are many stories and many priests, especially at monasteries, who apparently read people only by looking at them. There have been even skeptical newspaper reporters that went to these priests and were quite impressed by their abilities. Evidently, there are also some proven charlatans, but these ones rely on vagueness, things that apply to many people, and they ask for a lot of money for their services.

    Do you believe these priests may have a special ability, maybe a talent, maybe even scientific psychological methods, or maybe an area of their brain more developed, a sixth sense, that allow them to read people?

    PS: The majority of people I told this story said not to worry about it and asked me “Do you believe in such things?” although they are religious people. One of course said this is a sign from God to show me that he exists. “What more do you want?” It was easy for him to say that.

  116. Tibi,

    I think your mum probably loves you very much and is worried your life is having a bit of a downer. I suspect she knows pretty well you are an atheist, just not in what way and its significance to you, and like any good religious mum wants to do her bit to make you think again, to “save you”. I think an encounter of some sort happened and that she, quite without malice, embroidered the encounter into a little warning, just not from her.

    Mums worry about their kids not being “good”. Its one of the biggest failures a mother can have. That’s quite a lot of anxiety in the making.

    Maybe its time to come clean about the nature of your atheism and reassure her that this may be the way you can most surely be good, not through obedience but trying to figure it out for yourself and living it. And after all she started you off on a good moral path.

    I could be entirely wrong, but the chat is probably overdue anyway. Maybe the story was to precipitate this?

  117. Tibi Stegaru #126
    Jun 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Do you believe these priests may have a special ability, maybe a talent, maybe even scientific psychological methods, or maybe an area of their brain more developed, a sixth sense, that allow them to read people?

    No!

  118. Tibi Stegaru #126
    Jun 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    this priest got on the train somewhere along the way.
    He couldn’t know my mom or me or my mother’s cousin,
    who lives in another town, not along this route.
    Plus, I don’t even know this cousin Mary,
    I maybe met her when I was a child, but don’t remember.
    She has no way to know about my atheism.

    It is of course possible that this priest mistook your mother for someone else; – Especially if you don’t even know of any cousin Mary.

  119. Tibi,

    Here is another story to show what mothers can do.

    My mother asked me to take her to our communities bone setter, come fortune teller. A woman living on her own in a tower block and mid sixties I would say. Mum said that she had a sore shoulder and needed this woman’s services. Of course I took her and had to wait to take her home again. We went up and sat in her lounge with another couple of people waiting to be seen. When it was my mums turn, I expected her to go into this woman’s kitchen on her own but Mum insisted I go in with her. Once in, the trap was sprung and I was told to sit opposite this woman whilst Mum went to the back behind me. I was instantly angry but did not want to make a fuss. I also decided that I would not give anything away to this woman and sat expressionless whilst she asked a few questions. Confident that I was making it impossible for her to read me, she nevertheless started to make some progress on bits of my life and what was concerning me. I sat even stiller. When it got to the point that began to really knock my confidence, I turned a little and caught my mum giving her all the information she needed without knowing it. She was nodding and looking concerned and betraying me not aware this woman was watching her keenly. I almost laughed out loud at my mums antics, anger gone. This woman told me (my mum really) to bring her two litre bottles of my favourite fizzy drink and my wedding ring which she will pray over and all I have to do is drink the pop and throw my wedding ring into a river and all my worries will be washed away. I did neither. I am still here and those worries a fading memory.

  120. Phil,
    I know what you’re saying, thought about it, but I really don’t believe my mom is trying to trick me in order to “save me”. She knows I am a decent person with strong moral values. I am 99% sure her story is genuine. She isn’t that malicious. She may be worried but she knows better than to invent or exagerate this kind of incident.

    Arkrid Sandwich,
    Why so quick to dismiss those questions? I wasn’t referring to supernatural powers or gift from gods, but to natural, explanable abilities. Like some dogs can smell explosives or drugs or even cancer through natural abilities and training. I think it’s the only reasonable explanation as I am pretty sure that man didn’t just take a lucky guess. I imagine these people meet a lot of persons and through experience learn to read them, observe certain patterns, become good psychologists.

    Alan4discussion,
    I meant I don’t know her well personally. She exists and my mother had an argument with her a few years ago.

    Olgun,
    I know what you’re saying, what I don’t understand is what could’ve give my mom away? What look can a mom have that can suggest she has a son? That doesn’t believe in God.

    I know it’s kind of silly and I shouldn’t give this much thought, but I can’t for some reason. It’s bugging me that I don’t fully understand what happened in that train and what was that man’s purpose.

  121. Tibi #131

    I think it’s the only reasonable explanation as I am pretty sure that
    man didn’t just take a lucky guess

    My mum was reacting to questions.

    What does “you know a Mary and you have been cursed and your son is an atheist” smell or look like?

    Dogs can smell cancer because those cells give off a different smell but apart from being amazed at how sensitive the dogs nose is we do not wonder about any other “special powers” other than the practical one of smell. There is nothing that makes sense, or could, about trying to explain your story from that angle. Yes, things can look confusing at first but that doesn’t mean you have to start putting mystical powers to solve the problem. Explore some of the reasons from the comments here but you can pretty much dismiss any one special power that allows someone to read the past, present and future of a persons complicated life within seconds. Not possible!!

  122. The mentalist/illusionist Derren Brown did some very good exposees of these charlatans and how they operate a few years ago. He explained “cold reading” which is a learned skill but they also use a whole range of tricks to glean info during their shows. Stooges pretending to be audience members striking up chats and asking stuff like names and where you’re from and then passing that on. However all of these conmen rely on people being gullible and superstitious or to be honest, just extremely stupid.

    Derren exposed one supposed psychic with cameras at a show he did. There were two females there, I forget their ages or relationship but maybe sisters who professed to be astonished the guy could “divine” their names and the town they came from. It turned out they’d been to see his show a few months previously and given him all that info. In effect they were astonished he could remember “stuff”. Even when this was pointed out to them they refused to believe he had no powers. Confirmation bias combined with enough stupidity is a powerful tool as religions have known for millenia.

    If paranormal abilities really existed then someone would have claimed the $1 million prize the James Randi foundation has had on offer for many years but no one ever has. Even people who think they are exceptionally rational like scientists can be easily fooled by magicians and illusionists. That’s why the best sceptics like Randi and Penn and Teller are also magicians who know all the tricks.

    The default position is simple. In the absence of any compelling evidence, which is what the situation has been throughout human history, then there is nothing here to see.

  123. One thing you have to give President McBigMouthTinyBrain is that no matter how many dictators his busy schedule involves meeting he’s always got time to lash out at anyone who criticizes him. Target of his ire now is Robert de Niro who yelled “fuck Trump” twice at the Tony Awards. In a typically badly spelled rant, Spanky made his feelings clear.

    Jun 12, 2018 03:53:37 PM Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received to [SIC] many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.” I guess he doesn’t… …realize the economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all time high, and many companies pouring back into our country. Wake up Punchy! [Twitter for iPhone]

    You’d think the drama queen of tacky reality show tv would know that people don’t actually get punched in the head in movies. Hey Spanky, it’s not real you know! Those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park – they didn’t actually exist and no T Rexes ate any actual actors. I know you saw them but it’s called CGI. You may well truly believe he’s punch-drunk just as you may truly believe you’re the world’s greatest deal maker and achieved great things in Singapore but you’re just a fake president running a fake clown show and the lowest of the low IQ’s resides in your own fat head under that ludicrous tuft of fake hair.

  124. Tibi

    She isn’t that malicious.

    I was at great pains to suggest quite the reverse.

    She may be worried but she knows better than to invent or exagerate this kind of incident.

    Which is why I proposed she elaborated an incident of some sort which being of a credulous (religious) sort may well have been not too consciously done.

    Your mum, I suspect wasn’t a reliable witness and had psychological motives subconsciously at work.

  125. Tibi Stegaru #131
    Jun 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I know it’s kind of silly and I shouldn’t give this much thought, but I can’t for some reason. It’s bugging me that I don’t fully understand what happened in that train and what was that man’s purpose.

    Their usual purpose, is to present themselves as sources of wisdom, knowledge and authority, to manipulate people into following their advice.
    Activities such as buying silver or throwing away a wedding ring, would reinforce these beliefs if by chance some improved consequences ensued.
    If not, – as usual for faith-healers, they would just use other cherry picked examples and shrug off the failures.
    You do not say if there was another, potentially impressed audience present on the train, besides your mother.

  126. @#125 – I see the Westminster Parliament has just confirmed a majority of the “no accountability to the national interest”, brexiteering stupid, among its membership!

    . . . and I see they have been given yet another warning by another professional body!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/09/we-ignore-what-doesnt-fit-with-our-biases-even-if-it-costs-us/#li-comment-232401

    Paul Dreschler also said there was “zero evidence” that trade deals outside the EU would provide any economic benefit to Britain.

    He blamed a “tidal wave of ideology” for the government’s Brexit approach.

  127. Olgun,
    I’m afraid I didn’t make myself clear. I suppose it’s my fault, as English isn’t my first language and I hope you understand. I wasn’t talking about mystical or special powers being the answer, just the opposite. I don’t believe everyone can be a good psychologist, like not everyone can sing well. You have to have some inborn qualities and develop them through experience and practice. That’s all I wanted to say really, I don’t know where you got mystical powers from that. Maybe the comparison with dogs wasn’t inspired but it was from the top of my head at that moment. Think about it this way: inborn qualities = keen sense of smell; developing those qualities through experience and practice = training.
    I think what I’m really trying to say is it wasn’t a lucky guess, it was based on something, I think you can agree with me on this. Again, nothing mystical, just to point out. Maybe he and priests like him just have a good intuition, as a gut feeling based on experience, they observe some patterns after interacting with many people. What gave my mom away? How did he manipulate her? That’s what I don’t understand.
    To sum up, the parts with cousin Mary and my life not going well aren’t impressive, Mary is a common name and the second one is pretty vague, they could be just guesses. The parts with “your son” and “doesn’t believe in God” are intriguing. It was risky for him to say that, the chances weren’t in his favor if he was just guessing. But maybe he developed a method in time to tell. Hypothetically, just for example, women with short hair or women who dress a certain way or style tend to have a son. Something like that, I don’t know.

    Arkrid Sandwich,
    I know about cold reading and the Barnum effect and so on and charlatans that use them, but I think those things are pretty obvious, they rely mostly on vagueness, people’s plain naivety. In my case, the priest was annoyingly specific and told those things to my mom directly, without prior contact, information, questions.

    Phil,
    Oh, you meant subconsciously. Yes, I suppose you could be right, I kind of thought about it, that’s why I said I believe my mom’s story was 99% genuine. As you imagine, I regret I wasn’t there to see that man in person and ask him questions, but I can’t do much about it. I can’t even try to find him, as he didn’t say his name or anything.

    Alan4discussion,
    I’ve always believed their main purpose is money, but I can see what you’re saying. I mean, I met quite a lot of priests in my life, they all asked for money pretty directly, this one my mom met didn’t. I understood the other ones, but I can’t really understand this one. And no, there was no audience present in the train compartment, so no one to impress other than my mother. I believe he did something worse than asking for money. Fun, and sad fact really, my mom is more worried than usual about me, especially when I drive. I sent her a message the other day asking her something banal and she immediately called me with a frightened voice “Did something happen?”. She didn’t really do that before.

  128. Tibi #138

    I think what I’m really trying to say is it wasn’t a lucky guess, it
    was based on something, I think you can agree with me on this. Again,
    nothing mystical, just to point out. Maybe he and priests like him
    just have a good intuition, as a gut feeling based on experience, they
    observe some patterns after interacting with many people. What gave my
    mom away?

    Tibi, why should you find it more plausible that a complete stranger detected your atheism when you weren’t even present, than that your own mother should have detected it for herself?

    Mothers watch their sons like hawks. Religious mothers also watch them for signs of “backsliding”.

    My guess is that your mother DID suspect that you no longer believed in her religion and, despite not wanting to raise the subject with you – or perhaps simply not knowing how to do so – was worrying about it.

    There is no reason to believe priests have special powers to detect fellow travellers’ sons’ atheism, but every reason to believe they know a worried person when they see one and have long experience in drawing worried people out to talk about what’s on their mind.

    There is also every reason to believe that a religious mother fretting about her son’s possible atheism would find it comforting to discuss her fears with a priest who seems, to her, to have been heaven-sent for the purpose. And also perfectly reasonable to think that mother might not want to tell you she had chosen to talk about you to a priest behind your back. Also perfectly plausible that someone who believes in mysticism should wrap her story in it (especially if she didn’t feel able to tell you the whole truth).

    You are already ruling out the mystical – quite rightly. You can also rule out any other way of detecting your atheism in your absence without your mother having confided it in some way. Some dogs can be trained to detect some cancers because cancers cause changes to cells which themselves then result in odours specific to those cancers. There is no equivalent for atheism. Not in you yourself, much less in your mother.

    I think you are reading far too much into a simple exchange between a priest and a worried, devout woman on a train. Worried devout women are priests’ speciality.

  129. Marco,
    I realize I tend to over analyze things, but I can’t help it for now. Given time, probably I will forget all about it.
    I can see your point, but I doubt my mother altered the incident, at least not on purpose. She isn’t a fanatic religious person, she doesn’t even go to church regularly. She went after this event, after quite a long time of pause, which shows she was genuinely touched. I can’t imagine her loosing sleep over the fact I might not believe in God and worrying too much that she seeks a priest to talk about it. Plus I didn’t do anything special lately, I haven’t changed anything about me lately so why now?
    And even after this incident, she didn’t tell or suggest me to go to church or to see a priest or anything like that. She just tried to make me wear a silver bracelet like the priest said, her attitude being something like “what’s the big thing wearing a bracelet? just in case.”

  130. I really think forgetting about it is the best thing to do, Tibi.

    When human psychology meets a manipulative person (the priest in this scenario), all sorts of weird things can result. But nothing that defies the laws of physics 🙂

    Congratulations on your excellent English, by the way. Maybe stay around and join in the other discussions too? Or tell us a bit about the situation in Romania. Does the church play an important part in public and political life?Does it have a lot of influence? Do politicians feel they have to stay on the right side of it, or is its influence more on the personal level? Is it causing any problems, social or political or otherwise? It’s always interesting to hear from people from different backgrounds!

    Or, given how unusual atheism is in Romania, it would be interesting to hear your own story of how you became atheist, if you feel ok about sharing it. (But no pressure if you prefer not to, of course.)

  131. Thanks, Marco. Many Romanians know English, especially the young ones living in urban areas. It’s practically the second language of the country. The subject of the situation in Romania is pretty vast, but I’m more than happy to share some information with you. There are many things to say, but I will try not to bore you.

    First, yes, the church, specifically the Romanian Orthodox Church, plays a huge role both in public and in political life, which is very sad indeed and it’s clearly holding us back. 95% of the people are religious and about 85% belong to this church. As you may know, Romania was a communist country from 1947 to 1989 and atheism was a part of that regime. Really one of the few positives of that period, a nightmare period for my country, a reign of terror over the impoverished people. But even then, people remained mostly religious and the leaders knew and used priests as informers. There was a religious persecution, there have been some abuses, like demolishing churches, throwing priests in jail etc. Because of these things, many people link atheism with communism and see it as a very negative thing, almost like a crime. Instead, religion is linked with freedom, with wellness and even patriotism. I’m referring specifically to the orthodox christian faith of the majority, just to be clear.

    After 1990, the Romanian Orthodox Church really flourished and became a power with a lot of influence. It was always high up in the public trust polls, way above the president, the parliament, the army, the firemen, the police, the schools and so on. Many churches were built, way too many, with money coming both from the people directly through donations and from the state budget. To top it all off, the Romanian Orthodox Church is close to finish the construction of an colossal cathedral called the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral, a truly megalomaniac building that costs hundreds of millions of euros. Imagine this, the head of the church, Patriarch Daniel, ordered huge 25 tons church bells made in Austria with his portrait on them.

    Luckily, people, especially the young ones, are beginning to realize some things. There have been protests against the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral and generally against the mindless way money is spent. “We want hospitals, not cathedrals!” (in Romanian it rhymes) was their main slogan. We are still a developing country, we have many things to improve, especially our infrastructure and poverty is still an important issue here. The Romanian Orthodox Church makes a lot of money, owns land, forests, is exempt from many taxes and are helped financially by the state even with priests wages.

    After all this and other scandals involving the Romanian Orthodox Church, including priests that told people who to vote for right at the Sunday sermon, priests that drive fancy sport cars, drunk monks that were filmed gambling, the public trust in the Romanian Orthodox Church isn’t that high anymore. Nonetheless, people remain religious, they still believe in God, but in a more personal way. They don’t go to church that often, the majority goes only on Easter and of course weddings, christenings, funerals.

    There are many more to say, but I don’t want to write an unreadable long post. To be continued. 🙂

  132. Tibi Stegaru #142
    Jun 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    After 1990, the Romanian Orthodox Church really flourished and became a power with a lot of influence.

    The take-over by theocracy, sounds rather like the Catholic Church’s conspiracy with Franco’s fascists in Spain!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Spain#Franco_regime

    The end came in a devastating civil war, 1936–39, which was won by the conservative, pro-Church, Army-backed “Nationalist” forces supported by Nazi Germany and Italy.
    The Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, defeated the Republican “Loyalist” coalition of liberals, socialists, anarchists, and communists, which was backed by the Soviet Union.

  133. Tibi #142

    Thank you for that fascinating reply, Tibi. A masterly overview! The bit about the bells with the patriarch’s portrait on them is truly gobsmacking.

    What a fascinating – yet traumatic – history Romania has had. It sounds, though, as if things are improving little by little. I hope you get your “hospitals, not cathedrals” very soon.

  134. Tibi #138

    Thanks for the explanation. It still reads like that to me but I understand now.

    I think you are right that it has something to do with training/experience to pick up on things others don’t. The example I gave of my mum shows that people give away more than they think they are. This will then not be in their memory and they will swear blind the whole scenario was like this and not that. It’s an intriguing puzzle but you certainly should not be troubled by it.

  135. @#125 – I see the Westminster Parliament
    has just confirmed a majority of the
    “no accountability to the national interest”,
    brexiteering stupid, among its membership!

    I also see that Corbyn, true to form, has surrendered up-front on the issue, and is again fence-sitting telling Labour MPs to abstain, so as to allow the train-wreck of brexit to go ahead in the hands of unaccountable reckless brexiteers, – but that is OK by him, as long as the damage can be blamed on the Tories!
    He will of course fight a few minor skirmishes along the way to APPEAR to be defending the economy, but sold out on the key issues of Europe long ago, with determined attacks on the better educated and informed members of his own party!

    Both the Labour Party and the Tory Party are infested with ideological idiots, who for some reason are being allowed to dominate UK politics, despite the wider understanding of the issues and dangers among the educated public and business leaders!

  136. Alan4discussion,
    I think that comparison is a little far-fetched, but I guess you can find some similarities. The Romanian Orthodox Church and the politicians began a close and mutually beneficial relation with, above all, financial rewards for both sides. I think it’s important to note that Romania, as a secular state with no state religion, recognizes many religions and denominations, so the Romanian Orthodox Church isn’t the only church getting money. All recognized churches receive money from the state or local budget, depending on the number of parishioners they have and on what political capital the decision makers can obtain. Still, the Romanian Orthodox Church is the most important of them, and by far.

    Marco and Phil,
    You really don’t have to thank me, I’m glad to share these things with you and I’m glad you are interested.
    Yes, Romania does have a fascinating history, but I think most countries do, if not all. I myself am not in no circumstances a nationalist, but I care for my country and I love and respect it. I also believe it’s worth visiting if you’re looking for a more different destination.

    Here in Romania we are taught from quite early school we saved Europe from the barbarian Crescent (a metaphor for the Ottoman Empire). We defended Christianity from Islam. That’s the main highlight of our history classes and the thing sticks with all Romanians, along with the idea that we are the descendants of the Romans who conquered this area, hence the name of our country. I guess all countries alter and beautify their history in order to cultivate patriotism and make their citizens proud… The truth is that due to our geostrategic position our nation’s forefathers fought many battles with the Ottoman Empire, the Turks as we call them, and they’ve managed to win some important ones, halting the advance of the Ottomans, but we were their vassals and paid them tribute most of the time.

    An interesting fact is that in 1992 the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized Stephen the Great, a ruler of Romanian region Moldavia in the 15th century, for defending Christianity and building many churches and monasteries (about 25). The popular belief is that he built one after every battle he won against the Turks, but that was proven untrue. Romanian see him as a national hero and this church decision was quite a popular one, even though Stephen the Great was a well-known cruel and Casanova ruler, according to chroniclers. He killed many people for no reason when he got drunk at feasts, many of his wives died suspiciously and so on. “That’s how the things were back then” people say. So this man is a saint now and I can only imagine that in the future Vlad the Impaler, another cruel national hero, on which Dracula is based on, ruler of the Romanian region Wallachia that lived in about the same period as Stephen the Great, will be canonized as well.

    To be continued.

  137. Tibi Stegaru #148
    Jun 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    So this man is a saint now and I can only imagine that in the future Vlad the Impaler, another cruel national hero, on which Dracula is based on, ruler of the Romanian region Wallachia that lived in about the same period as Stephen the Great, will be canonized as well.

    Sainthood is conferred for promoting the religion, NOT for what rational people would regard as moral behaviour.

    A recent Vatican sainthood example is that of the evil purveyor of pain, disease, suffering and dying, in the name of “Jesus”; – The self aggrandising “Mother Theresa”!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Mother_Teresa#Quality_of_medical_care

    Fox specifically held Teresa responsible for conditions in this home, and observed that her order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, so that people who could otherwise survive would be at risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment. . . . . . .

    There have been a series of other reports documenting inattention to medical care in the order’s facilities. Similar points of view have also been expressed by some former volunteers who worked for Teresa’s order. Mother Teresa herself referred to the facilities as “Houses of the Dying”.[5]

    In 2013, in a comprehensive review[6] covering 96% of the literature on Mother Teresa, a group of Université de Montréal academics reinforced the foregoing criticism, detailing, among other issues, the missionary’s practice of “caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, … her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce”.
    Questioning the Vatican’s motivations for ignoring the mass of criticism, the study concluded that Mother Teresa’s “hallowed image—which does not stand up to analysis of the facts—was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign” engineered by the Catholic convert and anti-abortion BBC journalist Malcolm Muggeridge.

    So while the expert medical establishment clearly showed her to be grossly unfit to run a medical establishment, the Vatican ignored and denied the evidence, and then conferred a sainthood for her blundering incompetence, appalling delusional impositions of suffering, and her so-called “treatments”!

  138. Backlash against Trump’s despicable border policy ripping little kids away from their parents and locking them up in cages is growing louder and louder amongst the humans. Three first ladies have now chipped in, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and even Melanoma herself sent a spokeswoman out. However still barely a peep from any Republicans in Congress. They are all so terrified of Trump and having him come after them like he did to SC rep Mark Sanford they won’t act no matter how evilly he behaves. NSA head Kirstjen Nielsen who was in Trump’s bad books a while back for not getting his wall built is so desperate to ingratiate herself again she said the kids are being treated wonderfully well and not to believe anything the fake news media says about it. The vile Ann Coulter went even further. She says these tiny kids are all crisis actors paid to cry and look pathetic by liberals.

    I said a while back that people never recognise evil until it’s too late. Well this is what it looks like folks. Some time ago I struggled to imagine how anyone would manage to attack the teenage Parkland school shooting survivors but that didn’t stop the NRA and others from doing just that. Now even 2 year olds are also fair game it seems in the desperate attempt to justify anything Trump does. It’s strange how these people are so concerned about the rights of embryos not to get aborted but stop giving a shit about them once they’re born.

  139. Arkrid Sandwich #150

    > Some time ago I struggled
    to imagine how anyone would manage to attack the teenage Parkland
    school shooting survivors but that didn’t stop the NRA and others from
    doing just that. Now even 2 year olds are also fair game it seems in
    the desperate attempt to justify anything Trump does. It’s strange how
    these people are so concerned about the rights of embryos not to get
    aborted but stop giving a shit about them once they’re born.

    Yes but they’re ‘christians’. They think they have their ‘god’ on their side.

  140. Arkrid Sandwich #150
    Jun 18, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Backlash against Trump’s despicable border policy ripping little kids away from their parents and locking them up in cages is growing louder and louder amongst the humans. Three first ladies have now chipped in, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and even Melanoma herself sent a spokeswoman out.

    |Ah! But as with his appointed clueless administration heads, he does not see criticism of his pig-ignorance as any reason to refrain from telling everyone else their policies are rubbish and they could do so much better following HIS example! 🙂

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44524873

    US President Donald Trump has attacked the German government’s approach to immigration, as he comes under pressure over his own crackdown on migrants.

    That position has been condemned by many, including former First Lady Laura Bush – wife of Republican ex-president George Bush – who wrote about it in the Washington Post newspaper.

    [Trump’s] zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart,” she wrote, citing stories of children held in detention centres.
    In a series of tweets, the president defended his stance. “We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!” he said.

    Other claims in Mr Trump’s tweets have already been debunked by various German news sites, especially his assertion that “crime in Germany is way up”.

    They pointed out that Germany’s crime rate is at its lowest since 1992, according to official figures released last month.

    On Monday, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called on the US to end what he called its “unconscionable” strategy of forced separations.

  141. Steven, that is exactly what I said. Eight Billion dollars. Are you two confused. Do the math!
    I don’t care about YOUR numbers. The total is Eight Billion Dollars Surplus.
    Do you understand the word “surplus”? I don’t care about gross numbers.

  142. Spanky McBigMouthTinyBrain has just said he’ll impose tariffs on another $200 billion of imports from China after they retaliated to his tariffs on $50 billion of imports last week. That now covers about half of China’s $500 billion annual exports to the US and Trump says if they retaliate any further he’ll add another $200 billion to the list which will mean pretty much everything China sends there.

    The price of steel is now up 50% on last year which is fine for steel manufacturers but not so good for the millions of businesses and people which need steel. Like for cars, trucks, ships, railroads, fridges, bridges and of course guns. The way economies are structured is that vastly fewer people work in the raw materials sectors than the diverse sectors using those raw materials. Trump said during the campaign that he was going to do amazing things for America’s infrastructure. Well he has. He’s made it too expensive to fix any of the parts which need steel.

    Meanwhile the WaPo has revealed that Roger Stone did indeed meet with a Russian despite telling Congress he didn’t. Well of course he did, everyone in Trump’s orbit met with Russians so it was always a pretty safe bet that Stone did too. And every one of them lied about it which is a strange choice if there was no wrongdoing to conceal. Spanky was furious with the WaPo of course and tweeted that all the reporters there should go on strike. The world would certainly be safer if Trump went on strike.

    I think we’re at a sort of tipping point now where we wait to see if any of the Republicans are going to have the morals and the spine to stand up to Trump’s evil war on immigrant children. I suspect not but this can only be fueling a massive Democrat blowback in November.

  143. Steve #92
    Jun 10, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Best to you all and will respond beginning with poor little Lucy first,
    and work my way thru the many points,
    yes, even the Trump haters 🙂
    and the presumptuous ones of my seeming lack of exposure to many various facets of the evolutionary postulations.
    testable and non-testable, provable on scale and fanciful,
    though remarkably creative and entertaining, on others.

    Strange how time and again, those offered creationist “fanciful” grand debunkings of evolutionary biology, fail to materialise! – and those allegedly “presumptuous comments”, turn out to be among the best informed on the subjects under discussion!

  144. The tragedy that is happening at the American-Mexican border is a cruel political tactic by Trump & co. to twist the arms of Democrats and Americans with an ounce of empathy and compassion. He wants his wall on that border no matter the cost in taxpayer dollars or pain and suffering of humans, no matter what their nationalities. He insists on winning and doesn’t care how he does it.

    From Slate.com

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/06/stephen-millers-family-separation-policy-is-already-backfiring.html

    Democrats have gone on the attack, blasting the administration and highlighting the conditions of migrant children at detention centers across the country. “What the administration is doing is, they’re using the grief, the tears, the pain of these kids as mortar to build their wall,” said Rep. Adam Schiff on NBC’s Meet the Press. “It’s an effort to extort a bill to their liking in the Congress.”

    Every day in this place there’s a new low from the psychopath in chief. Just when I think they’ve reached the lowest they can go, nope! The next day brings a new assault on decency.

  145. LaurieB #156
    Jun 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Every day in this place there’s a new low from the psychopath in chief. Just when I think they’ve reached the lowest they can go, nope! The next day brings a new assault on decency.

    I’ve been sat here crying on and off today at that photo of the little girl in the red top we’ve all seen and trying to imagine what thousands more children are going through, locked up in cages like animals and not knowing if they’ll ever see their parents again. We all know now that Trump is an evil psychopath but it’s even harder seeing the women in his administration trying to justify this horror. Neilson, Conway, the Huckabitch. I’m still old fashioned enough to think that women are meant to be the ones with the empathy but these bitches have none of it. And a poll of Republican voters found the majority were still in favour of Trump’s immigration policy.

    I know the majority of Americans are decent people who on an individual basis are not unlike we Brits or most others in Europe and elsewhere but there’s still a huge number of deplorables over there who just don’t think like normal human beings.

    That link I gave a while back to the Authoritarian family model was very enlightening for me. In this model the father is head of the household, the woman is subservient and the children are at the bottom of the pecking order. Orders come down the chain of command and everyone obeys them. In this model the children are most likely to grow up with the same religious and cultural beliefs as the father on such things as homosexuality and racism which is why it’s the preferred model for the major religions. The bible states that God is the ultimate authority, then Jesus, then the church, then the father and the mother should obey him and stay silent in church. Children in this model tend to grow up respecting strong leaders and having less empathy for the poor and sick who they see as non valuable members of society. This is where the right wing religious Republican voter block comes from.

    In family models where the parents are equal, children grow up believing that decisions are best made by discussion, negotiation and compromise. They have more empathy, are much less likely to form their parent’s religious beliefs or at least make their own minds up about these.

    I’ve long said that the Republican party is no longer a real political party but a religious cult. Cults have mad leaders who the cult members obey without question no matter how crazy their demands. With the coming of Trump I think we’ve seen the completion of this transformation. It was basically waiting to happen and I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised. Getting rid of Trump is obviously of vital importance but until the deplorables die out America will remain an anomaly. Such politicians can only exist when there are people to vote them in. Key in all this getting rid of religion which continues to re-poison the well.

  146. Arkrid

    the women in his administration trying to justify this horror. Neilson, Conway, the Huckabitch. I’m still old fashioned enough to think that women are meant to be the ones with the empathy but these bitches have none of it.

    As a feminist of a certain age, my first response to high achieving women who make it to the top of their fields is a teary eyed admiration. How long we’ve waited for this and how much was sacrificed to make this happen! Then, just sometimes, some of these women show us that they don’t deserve our admiration and support. This is a very sad realization and it’s happened from time to time in the past decades. While I could write it off as a bad luck aberration here and there, blaming it on brainwashed religious women who took stands against reproductive rights or some other such excuses, I now find myself in the position of facing very large numbers of women who throw their support behind a blatant sexist pig, racist asshole toad and his entourage. Believe me, this is a very nasty disappointment for progressive women who have been proud to call ourselves feminists.

    Every human rights movement has its traitors, I know that, but it’s the duty of women now to call out these despicable gender traitors and not make excuses for their treachery. Neilson, Conway, Huckabee and every other woman who works for Trump & Co. are there in that job of their own choice. They are not victims. They show up to the job every day and collect a paycheck chock full of big American taxpayer bucks for what they do. If they don’t like what they are being asked to do or say then they need to pack up their stuff in a cardboard box and walk out the door and never go back. That’s what I expect of men and that’s what women should do too. I don’t feel one bit sorry for those women.

  147. Arkrid

    I know the majority of Americans are decent people who on an individual basis

    We shall see if that is true when November gets here. I always believed that your statement was true but I’ve been floored by the number of Trump supporters that came out of the woodwork lately. In November when the election results come in then we will all see exactly how many Americans are decent people and how many are downright deplorable. Isn’t quantification awesome? Yes, it is, so says me. Sadly, because I suppose I live in a liberal bubble, I had no idea how deplorable many of my fellow Americans really are.

    the Authoritarian family model

    Oh yes, I didn’t need to read about it since I grew up in one of those families myself. They do absolutely perpetuate themselves – the gift that keeps on giving. The really odd thing is that I’m not one of them. I’m a liberal democrat black sheep. The only explanation I can think of is that in the late 60’s and 70’s, feminism and hippie culture offered me a strong, very attractive alternative to the authoritarian, puritan, methodist culture of my family. I think the authoritarian family model is just a residual of classic tribal cultural values.

    Getting rid of Trump is obviously of vital importance but until the deplorables die out America will remain an anomaly.

    This is one of the deeply disappointing realizations that we’ve had to face. Books by Sanders and Reich and others have explained in detail how really low our situation is here now. I really don’t know if it can be fixed at all. Something that really knocks me down is when I hear young people parroting their deplorable parents. I think, wow, if the young people don’t fix this then nobody can.

  148. Amid growing outcry against Trump’s border policy including from the UN Commisioner For Human Rights the US has just resigned from the UN Human Rights Council. Trump has said he approves of torture including waterboarding and worse although I suspect not many of us thought even he would apply this model to 2 year olds. It seems he wants to be left to get on with his human rights abuses without having to attend pesky UN meetings where everyone disapproves of him.

    The US is now increasingly isolated from the rest of the world on trade, climate change, its attitudes to dictators and now basic human rights. I said a while back that I didn’t think Trump would baulk at loading black NFL players who took a knee onto railway wagons like the Nazis did with Jews if he thought he could get away with it. Who still thinks that it is impossible that this is all heading quite deliberately towards a fascist dictatorship?

  149. LaurieB #158
    Jun 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Every human rights movement has its traitors, I know that,
    but it’s the duty of women now to call out these despicable gender traitors
    and not make excuses for their treachery.
    Neilson, Conway, Huckabee and every other woman who works for Trump & Co.
    are there in that job of their own choice. They are not victims.
    They show up to the job every day and collect a paycheck chock full of big American taxpayer bucks for what they do.

    I think there is a simple explanation for this!

    They were selected by Trump as loyal bought stooges, and like the rest of Trump’s entourage, probably could not make a living or anything like those salaries, in and environment where they were expected to deliver an honest, competent, job!

    You only have to look at his other appointments of rogue mavericks and incompetents! –

    Pseudo scientists and science deniers in science departments, arch polluters in charge of environmental regulation, the clueless delusional religious, applying “god-will-do-it”, for moral analysis of predicted outcomes, fraudsters and convicts in charge of negotiations, propagandist liars in charge of public information outlets! The list goes on and on! – with nearly all of them traitors to the professions they have supposedly joined as “leaders” – with some appearing in court to be traitors who have made “great deals” with foreign agents, for some very substantial sums of money!

  150. Arkrid Sandwich #160
    Jun 19, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Amid growing outcry against Trump’s border policy including from the UN Commisioner For Human Rights the US has just resigned from the UN Human Rights Council.

    Apparently, (having consulted his Zionist son-in-law), Trump claims this is because the Human Rights Council “is biased against Israel”! – But while the UN Human Rights Council has its flaws – such as having Saudi Arabia in its membership, Trump’s pose is a classic example of psychological projection of bias, from his opposite stand point of pro Israel bias, – (despite his earlier dishonest posturings as a “mediator” with the Palestinians!) !

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-human-rights-council-un-yemen-lawyers-shrouded-in-secrecy-a8188511.html

    A campaign to remove Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council has been launched by a group of British lawyers, who argue the desert kingdom’s membership of the body is “contradictory and ironic”.

    Saudi Arabia, whose seat on the council expires in 2019, has faced international condemnation for its role in the Yemen conflict.

    However, Trump had no problem with one of those “great deals” for the US to make massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia, regardless of its abusive wars!

  151. Well lots of snippets to report this morning. After Homeland Security chief Kristjen Neilsen’s disgraceful support of Trump’s child abuse at the border she went to…I’m not kidding, a Mexican restaurant in DC for dinner. However she never got a chance to compound her tone deafness by ordering watermelon because the other diners all stood and heckled her so loudly she had to be escorted back out to her car. Fox News host Laura Ingraham declared that the children’s detention facilities were like “summer camps” while actually showing a photo of kids lying on the ground in a warehouse with only silver emergency blankets for warmth. Ex campaign operative Corey Lewandoski appeared on Fox and started jeering “womp, womp” while a story about an immigrant boy with Down’s Syndrome being separated from his mother was being told. Trump meanwhile had a 1 hour meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss a solution to the immigrant problem. Leaked reports say he spent the entire hour rambling about his electoral victory, Kim Jong Un, Mark Sanford the SC representative and some other stuff which was vexing him. He took no questions, didn’t let anyone else speak and made zero progress on immigration. Whether he can still even focus on a single relevant issue or whether the cheese has really now slid right off his cracker is up for debate. Chief of Staff John Kelly has apparently given up trying to control him and his insane tweeting and they hardly even speak anymore.

    However on the bright side some Republicans are actually speaking out against child separation as are many evangelicals. A Facebook campaign to raise legal funds for the immigrant children’s representation has raised $5m in 4 days. Fox network hosted celebrities like Seth McFarlane (Family Guy) and others have expressed disgust about being associated with a network that includes Fox News and will leave it. Even pro Trump newspapers can’t support this madness so Spanky can no longer single out just the WaPo and NY Times as being mean to him. Republicans are now trying to decide whether they are still more afraid of Trump or of being decimated in the mid terms but the backlash against Trump’s policy is louder and more widespread than even he might be able to cope with. The words “fascist” and “dictatorship” are appearing more and more on social media and online commentaries.

    Short of him flying to the border on Air Force One and shooting some babies himself it’s hard to imagine how Trump could have done any more to destroy Republican chances in November. He’s been able to get away with yelling “Witch Hunt” for a long time now because no one knows what Mueller might find and many won’t believe his findings anyway but the immigrant story has pictures and they are each worth a thousand words – probably more given the pictures are of tiny children terrified and crying. Trump can’t deny this is actually happening and is struggling to deny it’s his fault. While his supporters might not be so exercised about something as nebulous as collusion with a remote foreign power they know children in distress when they see it and that’s harder to ignore. Trump’s usual water carriers at Fox Noise and in the WH have been able to deflect and obfuscate about Russia, his sexual dalliances, his legislative progress or lack of it, Korea and other grown up topics but on the issue of these kids they’ve only made things worse by showing themselves to be cruel, inhumane, uncaring and evil and have tied Trump himself to that stance. When they see how awful Nielsen, Huckabitch, Lewandowski and Ingraham are I think the message is “just imagine how bad the boss must be if it was his policy and these are only his accolytes”.

    I said yesterday it was a tipping point and I think it just tipped. I actually don’t think Trump is coming back from this one.

    On a final personal note it was hard watching Rachel Maddow go to pieces trying to cover late news on the worst of this story. She’s a seasoned pro and a tough cookie but couldn’t handle that it’s not just toddlers but babies being ripped from their mothers. It’s a sad occasion when breaking news is what breaks the newsreader.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKuIjT-k-C8

  152. Well I said last night that a tipping point had just tipped and so it seems. After days of lying that he couldn’t stop the separation of children from their parents by executive order the Lying Liar in Chief does just that as he caves abjectly to the pressure from all sides. However not without including a whiny little bitch section in the order which blames Congress for not acting sooner. Congress might reply that if Trump had shut the fuck up at his meeting on Capitol Hill yesterday and listened to suggestions instead of boasting about his election win 18 months ago and other sundry shit for the full hour they might have come up with a Bill.

    The damage has been done now though. Trump and his administration have been shown to be monsters although anyone with a brain already knew that. However it seems the American electorate need to be hit firmly over the head with a half brick before they get much of a clue. Perhaps more importantly Trump has shown he’s incapable of leading or even concentrating on a single topic for 5 minutes as he’s consumed with his obsessions about Hillary, his election win, the inauguration crowd sizes, how great a dealmaker he is, what a great job he did with North Korea.

    Trump will now continue to claim it was the Democrat’s fault, Congress’s fault, and he solved it with his stupid yuge signature but he’s damaged his tenuous credibility irreparably now. You can lie about things most people don’t actually know the answer to, or at least his base don’t like who colluded with whom and when and why but even Trump can’t piss on people’s heads and tell them it’s raining.

  153. Arkrid Sandwich #166
    Jun 20, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    @your link ;- “Departing Republicans confess: They have been part of a ‘cult’”

    Corker continued: “To have an administration that wakes up every day on an ad hoc basis just making stuff up as they go along with no coherency to it — I think us having to weigh in on that would actually cause them to have to think about what they’re doing versus, ‘Well, I’m upset with X today so I’ll do this.’ ”

    There is something refreshing about having the Republican Party’s cowardice out in the open, acknowledged by its own members.

    There are very close parallels with the UK brexiteers, who have been debating if the parliament should give government negotiators an advance blank check to endorse whatever options they come up with in negotiations, rather than doing the job they are paid for – namely scrutinising government proposals in the interests of the country and holding the government to account!

    The upper house has passed amendments requiring this, and the Commons has again rejected these, in exchange for negotiated vague promises from Theresa May on behalf of her shambolic, divided, clueless cabinet!

    The chances of brexiteer “have-your-cake-and-eat-it” fantasies, being approved by 27 European states, is zero – as is the chance of “brilliant” brexiteer negotiating skills, producing “wonderful” trade agreements from outside of Europe or other collective trade groupings of nations!

    Brexiteers still cannot even negotiate a coherent policy among themselves – while the list of expert bodies pointing unaddressed issues of functioning arrangements which will need to be rapidly replaced, just keeps on growing!

    I see the latest warning comes about the loss of European arrest warrants (To deal with international criminals and terrorists) if the UK leaves the jurisdiction of the European Court!

    The brexiteers seem to have no answers, but “the (conned by liars) public, made a (marginal) decision in a referendum to LEAVE something or other, so we must all press on regardless of damage to the country”!

    The “We must keep the idiots on-side to maintain our party in government” message, dominates politics on both sides of the Atlantic!

  154. There seems to be an interesting development here:-

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-20/trump-accused-of-lacking-good-character-in-dc-liquor-complaint

    The Trump International Hotel in Washington shouldn’t be allowed to serve alcohol because the hotel’s ultimate owner, President Donald Trump, isn’t of “good character,” a group of religious leaders and former judges said in a complaint.

    The group asked Washington’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to investigate Trump and ultimately revoke his namesake hotel’s license to serve liquor.

    The hotel, blocks from the White House, has become a magnet for Trump administration officials, Republicans and those seeking their favor since it opened in late 2016.

  155. In 1978 when I was 18 I was at my local library and saw a National Geographic on a table. On the cover was the photo of a selfie taken by a gorilla with an Olympus camera and the story inside “Conversations with a Gorilla”. I sat down and read about Koko the lowland gorilla who had been taught sign language by researcher Penny Patterson. She could express emotions, make up new words, understand concepts like love, like, hate, past and future. It changed my life and I followed her story ever since. We’d had pets when I was a kid but this was an animal with feelings, emotions and intelligence almost indistinguishable from those of a human. I’d had no idea this was possible. It tranformed how I thought about animals and our relationship with them and to them.

    I’m very sad to see that Koko died in her sleep on Tuesday at the age of 46. I can’t imagine how devastated Penny must be who gave her entire life to caring for and teaching Koko.

  156. @#162 – Apparently, (having consulted his Zionist son-in-law), Trump claims this is
    because the Human Rights Council “is biased against Israel”!

    Perhaps he will now claim that the Israeli police, the attorney general, and courts, are “biased against Israel’s corrupt government”! 🙂

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-44560264

    The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with fraud relating to the alleged misuse of state funds.

    Sara Netanyahu is charged with misusing 359,000 shekels ($100,000; £77,000) for catering services at the prime minister’s official residence.

    She is also charged with a breach of trust following a police inquiry, the justice ministry says.

    The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office said the decision to indict both Mrs Netanyahu and Mr Seidoff was made “after reviewing all evidence and weighing all circumstances of the case”.

    The expenses claims were said to have been made whilst covering up the fact that the residence also employed a cook.
    State funding for both is not allowed.

    Mr Netanyahu has reacted angrily to what he has long viewed as a witch-hunt against his high-profile family, driven by political opponents.

    Ah! A witch-hunt story about “a strong and honourable woman”, in response to evidence-based criminal charges!
    Somehow that sounds familiar!

  157. Chimps won’t have any clue about human after few thousand years if in-case all human have left the Earth(thanks to Elon Musk). So Is there any chances that our parallel human-advanced species already left the Earth to a different universe without leaving any traces behind and we don’t have any clue of it? After-all why would some advanced species wants to live in Earth when human themselves are trying to leave the planet.

  158. Rajesh Dx #171

    That’s an intriguing idea, Rajesh, but I think it more likely that certain clues about the past existence of intelligent human life would last almost indefinitely – thinking of discarded aircraft left in stable desert environments, telescopes on mountain tops for example. It would have taken significant if not catastrophic geological events to wipe out all evidence of physical technological developments by an earlier intelligent species such as an astronaut dinosaur (!).

  159. Arkrid Sandwich #173

    Where is the post I wrote this morning?

    Perhaps, per Rajesh #172, it already left the Earth to a different universe without leaving any traces behind and we don’t have any clue of it?

  160. I happened to catch the trashy Tex-Mex tongue-in-cheek thriller Machete the other night, whose plotline played on the US/Mexico border issue, back in 2010, in a uniquely raucous way (the director is a close Tarantino buddy).
    It should be a matter of shame to all Americans with a plurality of brain cells, that this spoof campaign clip is such an accurate premonition, and an almost verbatim expression of the attitudes to immigration of their ‘president’ Trump and his enablers :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHpu2wj_ogg

  161. rogeroney #175
    Jun 24, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I see that president twitter-Brain has called for deportations bypassing legal process!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44594652

    US President Donald Trump has called for speedy deportations that bypass any judicial process in a tweet on Sunday.

    “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came,” Mr Trump wrote.

    As of May, all migrants who cross the US border illegally face criminal prosecution under the “zero tolerance” policy.

    So now we have a suggestion of bypassing “criminal prosecutions”, with “no Judges or Court Cases”.
    Apparently the “criminal prosecutions” were “so last month’s” twittering policy on the hoof!

    Those “so-called-judges” just keep irritating the president, by telling him he and his minions are not above the law! 🙂

  162. Alan4discussion #176

    So now we have a suggestion of bypassing “criminal prosecutions”, with
    “no Judges or Court Cases”.

    I understand that the SCOTUS ruled a long time ago that such action would be unconstitutional.
    However, given Trump’s cavalier attitude to marriage vows and contractual obligations of any kind, it is hardly surprising that he is ready to defecate on his sworn oath ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States’…….. a Constitution that he has almost certainly never read, of course.

  163. Meanwhile in the UK, there is next example of millions of £s of fantasy finance for the NHS, from Theresa May and the brexiteers!
    An item of false information, claiming “a brexit dividend” providing extra money for health services, is being much bandied around by the propagandist right-wing junk news outlets such as “Express newspapers”!

    I see that the deputy leader of the Labour Party (Tom Watson) has reported Theresa May to the UK Advertising Standards Authority!

    Mrs May’s own backbench MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has dismissed the claim as “tosh”, and the respected Institute of Fiscal Studies has stated: “There isn’t a Brexit dividend.”

    Government departments have a duty to comply with ASA rules that ads must not mislead and that objective claims are supported by robust evidence.

    The false concept, is that the money which the UK subscribes to the EU for various international services, (managing trade agreements, fighting terrorism and international crime, cross-border scientific and industrial co-operation etc.), can be diverted to the NHS, and replacement UK services can be magicked out of the air for free!

    The reality is, that these processes will cause around an estimated £27 billion in extra costs, and major companies are threatening to LEAVE the UK if the government does not come up with some credible answers in place of government ministers’ fantasy waffle, prevarication, and casual dismissal of warnings from reputable business organisations!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44593095

    Last week, Airbus warned it could leave the UK if Britain were to exit the single market and customs union without a transition deal.

    BMW followed the warning by saying that clarity over Brexit is needed by the end of the summer.

    It has built up an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands amid concerns about Britain’s suitability as an export hub after Brexit.

    In response Mr Hunt said: “It’s completely inappropriate for businesses to be making these kinds of threats.

    Airbus, in its Brexit “risk assessment” published on Thursday, said if the UK left the EU next year without a deal – leaving both the single market and customs union immediately without any agreed transition – it would “lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production”.

    The European plane-maker said the warning was not part of “Project Fear”, but was a “dawning reality”.

    The term “Project Fear” has been used by some pro-Brexit campaigners to denote alleged scaremongering by those in favour of remaining in the EU.

    But Edwin Morgan, director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Business leaders have every right to speak up about their needs and concerns as we approach incredibly significant negotiations for the future of this country.

    “Firms think very carefully before sticking their heads above the parapet, so they should be listened to by politicians, not dismissed.
    Companies have to honestly assess the risks they face, and spelling them out should never be brushed off as a ‘threat’.”

    The propagandist label “Project Fear”, is the brexiteer equivalent of the climate-changer-deniers’ “alarmist” label, on warnings based on scientific evidence!

  164. Well Trump’s trade war which was going to be “good” and “so easy to win” is having predictable results. Harley Davidson are thinking about moving production abroad after being hit with retaliatory tariffs by the EU. Trump lashed out at them on twitter threatening them with tax hikes if they go which is of course illegal as well as another gross abuse of his position. The largest USA nail manufacturer has just laid off 50 of its 600 employees as orders have fallen 50% with the increased price of imported steel and is close to shutting down completely. Products which use a proportion of steel like cars and fridges are obviously going to be hit somewhat by higher raw material prices but of course nails are 100% steel or iron with very little labour input so the cost pretty much follows the raw material price.

    I watched the Daily Show last night which sent a reporter to a Trump rally to ask Trumpkins what they knew about Space Force which they are all chanting like crazy but of course know nothing about. When you watch these idiots try to think what Space Force might actually do or whether there’s any real point to it you realise how utterly crazy they are and how much of a danger they pose to the country with their voting habits. One fat white woman said Space Force will explore up there and tell us what’s really out there. When posed with “but NASA already do that” she replied. “Oh NASA are only going to tell us what they want us to know. Trump will send “his own” people and they’ll tell us the truth.”

    The cult of Trump has made the entire government apparatus a “deep state” in the minds of these paranoid conspiracy theory idiots. The FBI, which is about as right wing as you can get is now a Democrat infested Trump hating organisation. NASA, which won the space race for the USA in the 60s is hiding the truth about space for secret purposes of its own. These people shouldn’t be allowed to breed.

  165. Arkrid Sandwich #179

    Trump will send “his own” people and they’ll tell us the
    truth.”……

    ……… These people shouldn’t be allowed to breed.

    Yes, Arkrid, but what if Trump did assemble all his ‘people’ into one giant rocket, and send them out into Space?

    I’d pay good money to watch that.

  166. Arkrid Sandwich #179
    Jun 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Well Trump’s trade war which was going to be “good” and “so easy to win” is having predictable results. Harley Davidson are thinking about moving production abroad after being hit with retaliatory tariffs by the EU. Trump lashed out at them on twitter threatening them with tax hikes if they go which is of course illegal as well as another gross abuse of his position.

    It could also encourage them to relocate their head office and national registration elsewhere! – Just like the brexiteers are motivating UK companies to think of moving their company registration abroad!

    I commented on Trump’s pathetic rantings and Harley here:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/05/trumps-foreign-policy-looks-a-lot-like-rapture-christians-plan-to-welcome-the-apocalypse/#li-comment-232551

    @realDonaldTrump
    A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!

    @Wiki – in 1929, Harley-Davidsons were produced in Japan under license to the company Rikuo (Rikuo Internal Combustion Company)[51] under the name of Harley-Davidson

    The company has assembly plants in Australia, Brazil, India and Thailand as well as in the US.

    I mean – if it wasn’t reported recently on Faux News or DimBart, – how is poor little Donald supposed to know stuff like this!

  167. Much as I’d like to blame Trump for the Annapolis newspaper shooting because of his attacks on the press I can’t. That’s because I’m sane, and cursed with a logical rational mind. It’s clear the shooter was a nutjob who had a grievance with the paper because it had reported on his harrassment of a school student and he’d been ranting about them on twitter for years. It was also clear to Sean Hannity who was to blame. Not Trump of course and not the actual shooter. According to Hannity it was congresswoman Maxine Waters fault because she’d been mean to Trump and approved of the Huckabitch not getting served at a restaurant. This supposed “incivility” upsets people according to Hannity and makes them do bad things. However it’s only Trumpkins that get upset when people are mean to Hair Fuhrer so basically Hannity is saying that Trumpkins are nutcases who go on gun rampages when they get upset.

    This I have to agree with. The crazy runs deep in these people. The guy who took his AR-15 to a pizza restaurant to investigate the child porn ring that Hillary was supposedly running in its basement attests to this. Humans are not very rational. Half of them believe in invisible sky pixies and talking snakes and there’s still a flat earth society in the 21st century so it’s no great stretch to think that one day a gun nut might actually go and shoot up a newspaper office because of Trump inciting his cult followers to hate the press.

    I think we also know why Trump is so scared of Mueller. Not because of Russia interfering in the election because Trump will slide past that and let all his campaign staff take the heat. Trump will just deny ever knowing anything about it and he’s clueless enough about most things to make that almost believable. However it’s Russian money laundering that Mueller is closing in on. Ever since Trump bought a Florida property for $45 million and sold it to a Russian for twice that I’ve known he was deeply into money laundering and that one day it would bite him in the fat arse. Now it’s looking like that property was just the tip of the iceberg.

    Here’s how the deal works. Say you’re a Russian oligarch with millions in the bank in Russia that Putin could just take if he fell out with you. It’s easily done. Putin gets the courts to convict you of some trumped up charge and your bank accounts are seized by the state. So you want to get your money somewhere safe. You can’t just transfer it to an overseas account as that leaves a trail. The safest thing is to buy property with it as bricks and mortar are well protected by laws in most democracies. The state can’t just take them from you. But you also need some spending cash that you want to keep secret. So you find a corrupt property magnate like Trump and you set up a couple of shell companies using an American lawyer. Better call Saul. Then you transfer funds to the bank account of one of the shell companies and use it buy a Trump property at twice its real value. Trump takes a big slice of commission of the overpayment and pays the balance back to the other shell company. So you pay $90 million for a $45 million house, Trump keeps $10 million and pays the other $35 million back to your second shell company.

    Now there’s no audit trail between the two shell company bank accounts and Putin can’t follow your money anymore. So we can be pretty damn sure that every time Trump bought a property and sold it for much more than it was worth there’s a Russian in the woodpile somewhere. Mueller will be looking at every property Trump ever bought and seeing who he sold it to.

    I’m also hoping that once Trump is out of office he and his children will be faced with criminal charges for using his charities to collect campaign donations tax free. No point doing that while he’s president as he’ll just pardon everyone involved. I so so want to see that fat slob rotting in a jail cell.

  168. Hello all. I think we’re all aware concerned with the state of the world and how it has reached this point of what appears to be near implosion. At times it seems that every online comment is just another unheard scream into the wind. We hear it here, but what about the rest of the world, the world we drive past every day? As I recently drove down the interstate in Florida, I noticed the various signs and billboards. They ranged in content from the usual smattering of tourist spots to a multitude of right to life ads. As I surveyed these assaults to my senses and sensibilities, I had a bit of an epiphany. Why aren’t there any billboards for those of us who choose rationality over mysticism? Perhaps a better question is, why shouldn’t there be? Perhaps there’s something to be said for advertising in this medium and others like it. Imagine the potential impact of a billboard that reads something akin to “Hey, we’re down here…no need to converse with the ceiling.” There is power in media and marketing and others seem to have tapped into that. I may be missing something here, but it seems like we’re a bit behind the curve. People can be prideful and many have trouble putting ego aside in favor of improving society. I get it. No one wants to appear foolish, let alone acquiesce to a point of view counter to everything they have been taught, fearing that they will look weak or stupid. While a huge visual display of alternate views may not immediately change minds, it has the potential to plant the seed. I invite the moderator to forward this to whomever might be of a mind to act on this idea. There is still hope for homo sapiens. We just have to keep on talking…with everyone.

  169. SapiensCruxes #183
    Jun 30, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Why aren’t there any billboards for those of us who choose rationality over mysticism?
    Perhaps a better question is, why shouldn’t there be?
    Perhaps there’s something to be said for advertising in this medium and others like it.

    You make a good point, and it has indeed been tried at times in a limited range of locations!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2013/12/atheist-billboard-ads-rejected-in-vancouver/

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/07/new-atheist-billboard-in-idaho-declares-good-works-in-non-mysterious-ways/

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2013/12/goodwill-without-god-celebrated-in-times-square-new-years-ad-2/

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