5.25.2018

End-o-Week Buzz

Think

Our Leaders
  • Netanyahu Needs Conflict to Survive  True for all leaders. Nothing unites followers like a good enemy. Trump's ability to position himself against America's enemies, as defined by Fox News, is the source of his rise and power.
He makes shit up. It’s what he does. It’s who he is. We don’t need cable news panelists to debate whether or not his latest lie is actually the truth. It’s not. It’s always a lie.
Yes, he makes shit up but a lot of those lies didn't originate with Trump. They were pushed by right-wing talking heads on Fox News and other right-wing sites long before Trump ran for office. Fox viewers believe that shit and were jumping to vote for someone who could spout that Fox News crap. Trump was the guy but it could have been Bill O'Reilly.

Around the World
It was all vapor, like Trump himself. If it weren’t for the Murdoch press and television and the army of Russian, United Arab Emirates, Saudi and Israeli internet robots, and if it weren’t for the pusillanimous character of the Republican Party, which is afraid to call out Trump on his horse manure, no one would ever have taken this thing seriously to begin with.
About 37% of Iran’s oil exports go to European destinations. All told, the EU is Iran’s number one trading partner. The value of trade between the EU and Iran soared from $9.2 billion in 2015 to $25 billion in 2017. Given EU leaders’ resolve to nullify the extraterritorial application of US sanctions on Iran, trade between their bloc and the Islamic Republic is unlikely to dip. The angry parting of the EU from the Trump administration over the Iran nuclear deal is set to become a milestone in the weakening of the Western alliance forged 70 years ago in the form of NATO.
I get the feeling the post WWII alliances are fading.

About those Tax Cuts

Medicare for All








5.23.2018

Tuesday Morning Buzz


Music

We may get to see Hendrix again.... Holograms Hit The Road: Will Fans of Frank Zappa, Ronnie James Dio and Others Show Up for Their Virtual Versions?

Also... Tyler Childers





Artificial Intelligence and Media

Supplying artificial intelligence training sets as a way to shape media content, get your voice heard while censoring opponents and change the political-economic landscape.  The study and the collection of angry tweets will be made available to tech companies in hopes of improving automated systems for identifying hate speech online.

Related... Why did Facebook ban The Electronic Intifada’s ad for “Killing Gaza”?



Police State

Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Facial Recognition Technology
Rekognition can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image. It can quickly scan information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces, according to Amazon.
I'd guess that once the software has identified a face and connected it to a name, it will do a serious web/social media search on all the people it finds and display that to the cops as well. I can't wait......

Also, the "k" in the spelling gives it nice "Soviet Union" feel.

Ian Welsh on Rekognition.


Politics

The Rude Pundit on Scandals with a great opening paragraph. (NSFW)

Bernie Sanders emerges as Washington’s leading voice against Gaza violence.


Middle East

Why would the US support Egypt's military regime? They get $1.6 billion a year.
Authorities have arrested a number of secular activists since President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was re-elected to a second four-year term in March. He faced no serious challengers, after several potentially strong candidates were arrested or intimidated into withdrawing from the race. 
.. The latest arrests come amid a wider crackdown on dissent since Sisi led the military overthrow of a freely elected but divisive president in 2013. Thousands of people have been jailed, unauthorized protests have been banned and hundreds of websites, including many run by independent journalists and rights activists, have been blocked.




5.21.2018

Monday

Tech Stuff

Tetris on a business card














Security

News crew discovers 40 cellphone-tracking devices operating around DC.  I'm sure local cops are using these too. It might be better to just turn your phone off.


Education

Gin and Tacos - SHELL GAMING, PART III


Living is Hard

The argument is valid but wouldn't it be easier to just make it easy for the workers to unionize? Who is the freeloader: the working poor on food stamps — or corporations that don’t pay them enough? Sen. Sherrod Brown has a plan to tax corporations that don’t pay their workers enough.



Middle East

Our support of Israel is reaching crazy levels. We are the big bully friend of the spoiled brat Israel. It will both hurt the US and Israel in the long run.  Congress to Consider Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights New measure recognizes Israel's control of Syrian territory 

and... we support this, well our politicians support it, I don't think the American people do.
Never in modern history has there been such a merciless, sustained campaign of collective punishment like the one that Israel has meted out against the people of Gaza. And that punishment is horrifying enough, just when you consider the humanitarian consequences of the blockade and the poisoning of the environment and the water supply. But then add to that the regular massacres of people literally trapped between the sea and a nuclear-armed nation-state, with the most advanced mass-killing machinery on the planet and you have to ask: What does Israel really want? And the answer, it seems, is submission and acceptance of dehumanization by the Palestinians or they die. 
from....  BLACKLISTED ACADEMIC NORMAN FINKELSTEIN ON GAZA, “THE WORLD’S LARGEST CONCENTRATION CAMP”

This might be the craziest biased-news claim I've ever heard.  Liberman suggests Muslim ad money causes CNN, BBC, France 24 bias against Israel


Politics

Democracy on the Run















5.20.2018

Old Workers


Forget New Robots. Keep Your Eye on the Old People.
The median age at the hot tech companies ranges from 27 to 31. It’s 38 at IBM and 39 at Hewlett Packard, still young by most standards, but in the tech industry those are viewed as much stodgier places to work. Overall, the median age of American workers is a little over 42.
and
The populations of the U.S. and many other developed nations are aging, and the big surprise has been that older people want to work more than in previous generations.
No mention that many of those old people have to work. I know some want to work but since pensions have been killed off in the US, many old folks have to work if they want to eat.

I work in an electric utility where the staff is extremely old with an average age of around 53. That's pretty standard in the utility business.

Electric Utility workers are old
The average age of an employee in the energy industry is more than 50 years old, and more than 500,000 workers are expected to retire in the next five to 10 yea
Health insurance is the main driver keep workers in place at my utility. Utility workers make good money and many have very good pensions with full retirement often at 60 or 62 but few can afford to pay for health insurance, often 600 to 1500 a month until age 65 when medicare kicks in.

Medicare for all were spur a huge retirement exodus form the utility business.

tnb





5.19.2018

Late Week Buzz

Economics

College costs: SHELL GAMING, PART I and SHELL GAMING, PART II

Demographics and Inflation
Demographic shifts, such as population ageing, have been suggested as possible explanations for the past decade’s low inflation. We exploit cross-country variation in a long panel to identify age structure effects in inflation, controlling for standard monetary factors. A robust relationship emerges that accords with the lifecycle hypothesis. That is, inflationary pressure rises when the share of dependants increases and, conversely, subsides when the share of working age population increases. This relationship accounts for the bulk of trend inflation, for instance, about7 percentage points of US disinflation since the 1980s. It predicts rising inflation over the coming decades. 

Inequality

Billionaires Have Too Much Political Power    No Shit?

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy


Neoliberalism

Stumbling and Mumbling on Neoliberalism
 In the mid-80s nobody argued that the share of GDP going to the top 1% should double. Of course, many advocated policies which, it turns out, had this effect. Some of them intended this. But those policies were justified on other grounds, often sincerely. Instead, the belief that the top 1% “deserve” 15% of total incomes rather than 7-8% has mostly followed them getting 15%, not led it. A host of cognitive biases – the just world illusion, anchoring effect and status quo bias underpin an ideology which defends inequality. John Jost calls this system justification (pdf). You can gather all these biases under the umbrella term “neoliberal ideology” if you want. But it follows economic events rather than is the creator of them.


Middle East Wars.

Killing Gaza

The American Conservative: Get Ready for the New Middle East Battlefield: The Golan  This AC article shows Israel trying to provoke Syria and Iran in the Golan. That Israel, is a friend of ISIS as long as they fight Syria and that Israel is pretty good at provoking its enemies.
A check of the actual conflict chronology shows that Israel initiated the incident by striking Syrian military targets in Kisweh (the Damascus suburbs) and Baath city (Quneitra) over the two preceding days. Russia had warned both Syria and Iran of the impending Israeli strike with the result that neither Iranian military personnel nor weapons systems appear to have been hit. The Syrian military (and not the IRGC) retaliated by firing 55 rockets at Israeli military outposts and installations in the occupied part of the Golan. Local Arab media identified these targets as key Israeli surveillance centers that crippled Israel’s “eyes and ears” along that vital demarcation line. Israel’s vaunted “Iron Dome” defense system failed to intercept most of these rockets, while the Syrian military intercepted more than half of Israel’s missiles, according to Russian military officials.
   and
Israel has materially backed many of these militant forces along its border with Syria for years, including medical and other forms of support for extremists, like al-Nusra fighters, and moral support for ISIS, which maintains a small presence on Israel’s border with Syria. Nusra and ISIS, after all, have been the most successful “opposition” forces combating the SAA in the Syrian crisis, and were therefore valuable assets for Israel-–especially as neither group has shown any inclination to target the Israelis. ISIS once even apologized to Israel for a brief clash with IDF forces in late 2016.
   and
while it is unlikely that any of Israel’s three opponents (Syria, Iran, or Hezbollah) will choose to pick a fight with the Israelis right now, it’s also clear that all of them will retaliate if provoked. In the past seven years, the Middle East has never been so close to war as it is today, which is why there’s an urgent need for cooler heads to prevail—even if, as with Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah—they need to retaliate in order to de-escalate conflict and establish deterrence.

Trump

Donald Trump is a hero to Jewish Israelis. American Jews and Evangelicals too. The embassy move and dropping out of the Iran deal have probably moved his approval rating more than anything else he could have done. Both are bad for the world in the long run but help him and the R's today.


Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms. A spoiled rich kid trying anything to get his way.

Felix Salmon on Shady looking Real Estate Deals




5.16.2018

Mid-Week Buzz


Cool Stuff

3D-printed tourbillon





Trump and the Nobel Peace prize

I haven't heard much about it lately. Blowing up the middle-east, defending the slaughter of Palestinians for a few million Sheldon Bucks sure didn't help and now this  North Korea threatens to pull out of Trump-Kim summit over denuclearization demands. At this point I'd say there's no chance.


Israel vs Gaza

Well,....we're past the death and destruction, the one-sided US media ignoring the situation, and on to the The Onion. Three good ones.



Crappy Media

From the BBC













If you're asking this question you either have your head stuck in the sand or are trying to manipulate public opinion.


Tax Cut

Oh, about that tax cut. We're taking it back by raising gas prices with unrest in the middle east.. . Why Rising Gasoline Prices Won’t Cut into Consumer Spending


Drug Prices

Oh, and your drug prices probably aren't going to go down.

Pharma Paid and Trump Delivered   I don't like the headline because most of the pharma takeover and price gouging started long before Trump. He's just the idiot who bought votes by saying he'd fix it when he really knew nothing about it and now isn't going to do anything other than talk. Still, some good lines in the post.
But this week in his long-awaited speech, Trump blamed foreign countries for high drug prices in the US and reversed his campaign pledge to use Medicare’s buying power to negotiate lower drug prices. Pharma stock prices rose; the shilling paid off.

Pharma has two lobbyists for every member of Congress. It spends more on lobbying than tobacco, oil and defense contractors combined. 

The US government is captured. Pharma operatives head both Health and Human Services and the FDA. The CDC Foundation which receives millions from corporations (not that it affects policies or anything) lists as donors Abbott, AbbVie, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Eli Lilly, Amgen, Genentech, Gilead and many more.

Health Care Costs - My Colonoscopy Bill

Had a colonoscopy last month and  got the bill today.

The only items on the bill were "doctor" and "hospital" charges. No detail at all.

The total charge was $5,100 of which they "wrote off for the insurance company" about $1,600 which made the total amount paid about $3,500. The Healthcare Blue Book says a fair price is around $2,300. So it seems a little on the high side especially for a poor rural Indiana hospital .

The doctor's charge was almost $1,900 (of the 5,040) for less than 45 minutes, a pretty good rate of about $2,500 per hour. The insurance company only paid him $300 which is quite a hit from what he wanted but still a pretty good rate of $400 per hour. I'm pretty sure he did 4, maybe 5 procedures before noon so at worst he had maybe a $1600 morning.  That'll make this month's Beemer payment.

The total Hospital charge was $3200 and the insurance paid the full amount.  I had the procedure without anesthesia and was out in about 4 hours including about an hour of just waiting around on the hospital bed because,... well, i don't know, something came up and the Dr. had to leave for a bit. I'd guess they billed the insurance company as if I had anesthesia and was there for most of the day just waking up. Anyway, that's about $800 an hour. The 4 or 5 procedures they did that morning probably netted them $15,000 to $20,000 in hospital charges.

Anyway it seems high for a very common procedure but they are the only hospital in about 40 mile radius. They can charge what they want.

The insurance company paid it all so it cost me nothing other than time and inflated future health care premiums.

The service wasn't to bad. I waited around by myself for about 2 of the 4 hours. The hospital had a lot of staff who didn't appear overworked. I watched several nurses stand around quite a bit while I laid there for a hour waiting on the Doctor.

Overall, It was a pretty good picture of US health care. Pretty good, though not great customer service, very high cost for a standard procedure, an opaque Hospital bill hiding the true cost of service, an Insurance company making profits in the middle, there was no way for me to price shop or negotiate a better price, the hospital has little incentive to keep costs down, the person receiving the service had no skin in the payment and,.... my health insurance costs about 20,000 per year for me and my family.

So,
  • am I satisfied with my health care? Yes.
  • do I like my Doctor? Yes, A damned nice guy.
  • do I like the hospital? No, hard to deal with, monopolistic attitude.
  • do I like my insurance company? Not really, they're a tic on the system?
  • do I think it was way too expensive? Yes.
  • do I like my entire health care package, everything it takes to get my health care and get it paid for? Well, Not really, It's way to complicated and costly. Though for me the costs aren't too bad but I have a 1%'er's health insurance plan. For those without, it must be horribly costly.

#medicareforall

tnb


5.15.2018

Tuesday Buzz

Misc

How Pro Wrestling Ate American Politics (And The World)


Middle East

Palestinians cannot be killed, they only die

US Block UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel on Gaza. We are becoming a rogue nation.

Very Few first world countries attend the US Embassy Gala.

Ivanka Trump Opens U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem During Israeli Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza

Fifteen Thoughts About Israel
 If you kill 58 people because you feel some ancient scripture entitles you to a particular section of dirt, you have killed 58 people. Your internal beliefs do not give you a free pass for your egregious actions upon others.

A front row seat for the guy who stroked a 30 million dollar check to the republicans last week.

Israel-Gaza Coverage
  • CNN has one small "both-sides" line on its front page. 
  • Fox has nothing, they do have a Hillary story though,.. imagine that. 
  • MSNBC has nothing. They are almost all Trump, All the time.
  • ABC News has nothing
  • CBS News has a small "both-sides" like headline
  • NBC News has this which I find amazing for a US news outlet.





  • Update: CNN now has "LIVE UPDATES Video Shows Palestinians shooting down Israeli tear gas drone" (2018.05.15 2:00pm est). Palestinians doing the shooting. wow


Trump

No More Mister Nice thinks Trump's ratings are peaking because TRUMP IS BECOMING THE PRESIDENT HIS VOTERS WANTED. That might be but I'd give the Israeli Embassy move and dropping out of the Iranian deal a lot of credit too. Our media love what Israel loves, so Trump gets good press from all major Media outlets when he follows the Pro-Israeli line. That has to be helping his ratings. 

Trump's moves in the Middle East might end up easing Israel's lock on US public opinion. Social media is filled with examples of the US media whitewashing the slaughter. Reportedly, CNN and NYT have changed headlines to appear slightly more evenhanded. Maybe the American people will begin to see what's really going on. Well, at least those of us in the Progressive bubble. The right wing bubble is probably shouting "Lock her up!" right now.

“Too many jobs in China lost,” Trump wrote.  "but... but... dear leader,.. what about American Jobs" the MAGA voter sobbed.

.



Monday Buzz

Stuff

The HP-35 Pocket Calculator

Felix Salmon: Nota bene: Flipping modern masters. I liked this....
The fun fact about the Picasso is that it’s being sold by an amateur painter, Sue Gross, who used to copy her artworks using an overhead projector. When she took the Picasso from her marital home, she replaced it with her own copy, and her soon-to-be-ex-husband didn’t notice: he tried to make arrangements to ship her own copy to her, long after she’d taken possession of the real thing.
A not-your-average-soccer-mom SUV, the $100,000 505 Horsepower Alfa Romeo Stelvio. They won't be selling many of these to mid-western Trump voter.













More from the Middle East

Nice way to start a New Era. Haaretz 2018.05.14


















Nobody cares about the criminal in the White House? Tell us how you feel...

The president is implicated in a counter-intelligence investigation into collusion with a foreign adversary, his mobbed up personal lawyer is under investigation for payoffs to porn stars on the president's behalf, he and half the cabinet are engaged in open graft and corruption and he's a pathological liar whose administration is in total chaos and meltdown every single day. But nobody is talking about it and nobody cares because the economy is good. Actually I hear this from Democrats too only they say nobody cares because the economy is bad. 
I don't believe it. The country is being run by a blatant criminal who is so unfit for the office he's single-handedly changing the global order because of it. It is the most shocking and stunning political story in my lifetime, akin to what happened in the 1930s and the 1850s. And if it's true that nobody cares about any of that then our political culture is so fucked up that we might as well throw in the towel. 

I wish I'd said this......





Propaganda

CNN front page with not a word about "Israelis hurling bullets" at the Palestinians or noting that all 37 dead are Palestinians


























CNN still not even trying...the front page a few hours later.














No mention of who were killed, "clashes" instead of "shooting Palestinian's like fish in a barrel" and always "the right to defend" even though they are shooting over a wall into another country.


Bad Guy of the Day

First Palestinian disturbances in Gaza Monday – funded by Iran, says Shin Bet. At one time in my life, everything bad that happened in the world was blamed on the Soviets/communists. When they collapsed we started blaming everything on "Terrorism". It looks like Iran is the new bad guy of the day. 





5.13.2018

Weekend Buzz


Torture, Sell-outs, Cops, Mad Magazine and more

Torturing-up, sort of like failing-up  Rude Pundit is on it.

Fake News is going to get worse before it gets better.  Old people can’t open new tabs and it’s fueling our descent into hell and Influence? In this economy?

Cops have a secret, unaccountable system for tracking you by your cellphone, and they abuse it like crazy Police abusing something, imagine that.

MAD magazine. MAD magazine made me the smart-assed, radical I'm am today. More... covers. and MAD Site - issue #1

After Authenticity - nobody talks about sellouts anymore?  Peak sell-out was when The Who sold their first song for a TV commercial.

Digitopoly on the Google AI Calls: Should we let AI just make calls?


The Fuck-Up in the Middle East

The Independent - Robert Fiske
In the West, it’s easy to concentrate on each daily drama about the Middle East and forget the world in which the real people of the region live. The latest ravings of the American president on the Iran nuclear agreement – mercifully, at last, firmly opposed by the EU – obscure the lands of mass graves and tunnels in which the Muslim Middle East now exists. Even inside the area, there has now arisen an almost macabre disinterest in the suffering that has been inflicted here over the past six years.
Project Syndicate: A New Era of Nuclear Uncertainty - Javier Solana
by abandoning the nuclear deal with Iran, the United States has left its European allies in the lurch, with no strategy to restore stability to the region
Oh... and it ain't just anti-war, peace-loving hippies who think the loud-mouth screwed up.

The American Conservative - Israel Nudges Trump Towards War With Iran
Donald Trump has put America on a path to war in the Middle East. Future historians will look back on his decision to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal, and related actions, as a folly akin to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The consequences could be equally catastrophic.

Also,  Middle East flareups make gas prices go up.














Gin, and Smoke, And Lies





5.11.2018

Iran Deal... yes I'm still pissed about it.

Iran Deal

The whole god-damned planet except Trump, Israel, the Saudis and their satellites think the deal should stay in place. Who are the rogue nations again?


Our Liberal Media

Even the #NeverTrumpers agree with and support Trump as long as he's following the Israeli line on Iran and the middle east. Here's a good post on the NYT, Bret Stephens and the #NeverTrump farce including this.
Thus we have a curious situation in which a New York Times columnist feels that the president is too unstable to be trusted with a Twitter account, but is capable of renegotiating complex diplomatic frameworks and pursuing regime change in the Middle East

Our Liberal Media #2

The WP Carries water for Israel too. Israel had been hitting Syria for a few days but now claims Iran hit first. The WP gives the Israeli line to the American people.

Also.... every article I've seen from the WP for a month has been behind a paywall but this pure propaganda is on the free side, imagine that.


Propaganda Tweet 
In the real world.....
  • 1. Israel has been bombing the shit out of Syria claiming that its hitting Iranian forces.
  • 2. "pushing back preemptively"  How the fuck do you do that?
  • 3. is probably right on the money.


Closer to the Truth

A pretty good rundown of how the neocon-Israeli firsters took over the Iraq war planning and are repeating the process with Iran.

Ian Welsh - This should be front page on every US paper.


The Deal

The Art of breaking a Deal. Art? Closer to War Crime.


About That Swamp or The "Real" Deal

Adelson give 30 million to R's. Within one day of Trump breaking the Iran Deal.
Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has cut a $30 million check to the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund, a massive cash infusion that top Republicans hope will alter the party's electoral outlook six months before Election Day.
As fucking Swampy as you can get. More on Adelson.
Adelson, for his part, was Trump and the GOP’s biggest campaign supporter. He and his wife Miriam contributed $35 million in outside spending to elect Trump, $20 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund (a super PAC exclusively dedicated to securing a GOP majority in the House of Representatives), and $35 million to the Senate Leadership Fund (the Senate counterpart) in the 2016 election cycle.
Even More
Discussing why Adelson was committed to donate “limitless” amounts of money to influence the elections, the New York Times reasoned: “The first answer is clearly his disgust for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supported by President Obama and most Israelis. He considers a Palestinian state “a stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” and has called the Palestinian prime minister a terrorist. He is even further to the right than the main pro-Israeli lobbying group, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, which he broke with in 2007 when it supported economic aid to the Palestinians.”[26]
Oh. And Paul Ryan is a dick....to avoid campaign finance laws.
When Ryan (R-Wis.) left the room, Coleman made the ask and secured the $30 million contribution.
I have a vision of all of the congressional R's standing in Trumps office begging him to break the deal because uncle Sheldon had promised them a boat-load of money if they could get the big dummy to act on Iran.


Swampy

With the Adelson donation above, Cohen/Trump/Stormy/ATT scandal, the Scott Pruitt scandals this might be the most openly corrupt administration in US History.


Health Care

Something I hadn't thought of. You want Americans to quit bitching about high US drug prices?  Just raise the price for the rest of the world.



5.09.2018

Buzz - Iran.. Mostly...


Iran: The Stupid Hurts

The 3 Biggest Consequences of Trump Pulling Out of the Iran Deal. Maybe the rest of the world will just continue the deal leaving the US, Israel and The Saudis as the world's rogue nations.

Analysis: Trump's withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal isolates US:   This post (emphasis by tnb) blames Bolton and Pompeo for Trumps mistaken beliefs about Iran but again it's really the Right-wing propaganda machine and pro-Israeli partisans in the US media that are responsible for the ignorance.
"according to Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a non-partisan group in Washington that advocates for nuclear weapons reductions. 
Trump believes the fantasy that has been told to him by his National Security Adviser John Bolton and new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that by trying to re-impose sanctions we can force the Europeans to work with us to renegotiate a completely new agreement with the Iranians that's better for us and worse for the Iranians," Kimball told Al Jazeera. "That's just fantastical thinking." 
How..... "Will it make America Safer". The Idiot speaks.
"Trump was asked a very basic question by a reporter who was in attendance at the White House for the ceremony.

“Mr. President, how does this America safer?” she said. “How does this make American safer?”

Trump gathered his thoughts for a moment, then just restated the question in the form of an assertion.

“This will make America much safer,” he said, before getting up for the table on which he signed the memorandum."

OK. One more. A good summary from No More Mister Nice blog:  West of Eden: Deal Away

OK... One more... Really.... last one....sort of an FJM treatment from American Conservative.
"Trump’s statement on the withdrawal was filled with the usual false and discredited assertions about the agreement that its opponents have been using for years. Opponents of the deal have never have credible arguments on their side, and so they have had to resort to lying about the deal’s provisions, changing the goalposts for what the deal was supposed to do, and confuse the issue by bringing up issues unrelated to the agreement. Trump repeated some version of all three of these attacks in his unpersuasive bid to justify an obnoxious and irrational decision."


War Drums

Israel is stirring it up. Israel has attacked Iranian units in Syria three times in the last ten days.  Claiming Iran is about to attack. Claiming these are Iranian sites. In reality, these are attacks on Syrian Government positions. There are sure to be some Iranians or at least Iranian equipment there since they are allies but it sure looks to me like Israel is punching at Syria trying to get Iran to strike so Israel can send a few bombs there way.

Key takeaway.... It ain't Iran stirring up trouble in the middle-east.


The Intercept: They want war with Iran
So let’s be clear: On the one side, we have a dizzying array of serving and retired generals and spy chiefs from both the United States and Israel, none of whom are friends or fans of Iran, yet all of whom agree that the Islamic Republic is complying with the stringent terms of the JCPOA, and that the United States should stay in the deal because it bolsters U.S., regional, and global security.

And on the other side? A former property developer and reality TV star; a chicken hawk who wants to bomb everyone; a 32-year-old Gulf prince who can’t win a war against rebels from the poorest Arab country; and an allegedly corrupt politician who has been claiming Iran is “three to five years” away from a nuclear weapons capability since … 1992.

This isn’t about security or protecting American — or Israeli — cities from Iranian missiles. Trump & Co. aren’t trying to avoid war with Iran. They want war with Iran


Drug Laws

Opioid distributor apologizes for shipping large volumes of painkillers to West Virginia. I pretty sure someone selling pot on a street corner would be in jail by now.


Politics

Speaking of interfering in US politics.


Our Right-wing media

CNN thinks Trump is right about Iran.





Trump and Iran

Politifact: Trump withdraws U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal. Here’s what you need to know

A good list of the lies Trump and Netanyahu used as reasons to leave Iran Deal.

This is a good example of propaganda poisoning the atmosphere. Fox News and the right-wing propaganda outfits spent years bashing Obama with basically a shit-ton of lies, in the Iran case those listed in the post above but there were many others.

Those lies were designed to increase ratings, enrage the R base, and restrict Obama's policy making ability and they worked. Most Americans, especially Trump supporters never saw a good rundown of the facts and just believe what they saw on Fox.

Trump is one of those believers and now he's making policy, bad policy, based on those lies.

The normal media should shoulder some of the blame. In all matters Israel, Iran, or the Middle East, their views are closer to the Fox News view than to reality.

I'm not sure democracy can exist in a world without an independent, trustworthy media. The vast swamp of propaganda we're living in may be our undoing.


5.08.2018

Tuesday Buzz


War Drums

Mish On Regime Change in Iran. Short and on point. The main takeaway, "it's all a pack of lies" The Case For and Against a US Sponsored Regime Change in Iran.


Big Business

In Blow to Monsanto, India's Top Court Upholds Decision That Seeds Cannot Be Patented.  It'll be interesting to see how the US responds to this.


Propaganda

The foreign policy statements you get from Fox News Watchers from a Politico article on Iran
"It was insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made," Trump said" 

American Crapitalism

Yeah, because employees have too much power today.  The Supreme Court is poised to make forced arbitration nearly inescapable

I retired at 34, moved to Scotland and now travel around the world — here's how I spend my savings
Yeah, but in the US don't forget to add between $1,000 and $2,000 per month for health insurance.

Iran vs US and Israel

Pretty much everyone on the planet except right-wingers in the US and Israel think the Iran deal should stay in place, so.. we're letting the FoxNews-watching idiot make the decision.

5.07.2018

Buzz.......

Cool Stuff







Politics

Teabagistan (Indiana) is a mess. The voters claim they hate the swamp but their politicians are about as swampy as you can get. The R primary for the Senate seat has Messer, about as swampy as you can get against a Teabagger and a filthy rich guy. The House seat that Messer is vacating looks like it'll go to Mike Pence's brother who's been hand-picked by the R Swamp.
"Pence is the unsurprising front-runner in his Republican primary thanks to the $1.2 million he has raised with the help of his powerful brother and other GOP bigwigs; half of his fundraising haul has come from out of state." [FiveThirtyEight: What’s At Stake In The First Big Primary Day Of 2018]

War Drums

Extraordinary Western military movements in Md East before Trump’s Iran decision – some via Israel

Hezbollah in shock election win, gets control of Lebanese parliament. I'd expect this to trigger some reaction from Israel or the Saudis.


Good Stuff

Roaming Charges: All the President’s Lawyers


Hurray......