…some people can get there with a conch to the ear…

A scientist reveals what being near the ocean actually does to your brain 

There is something magical about a large body of water.

A stretch of ocean across the coastline with never ending waves; a large flat lake glistening in the early morning mist; a quiet, dark pool at the bottom of a waterfall. A river passing by on its way to the ocean. These are nature’s incredible tranquilizers.

We know intuitively from experience that it’s healthy to be near the ocean. Now science is demonstrating that the ocean inspires creative thinking, reduces anxiety and promotes compassionate thinking.

The latest research is revealed by scientist and marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols in his latest book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

He writes: “We have a ‘blue mind’ — and it’s perfectly tailored to make us happy in all sorts of ways that go way beyond relaxing in the surf, listening to the murmur of a stream, or floating quietly in a pool.”

 “Blue Mind” is defined as “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion.”

We experience this state when we sit near water and gaze out at it. It induces a mindful state in which the brain is relaxed but focused.

During one of his numerous TEDx Talks on the topic (see below) he explains that water holds vast cognitive, emotional, psychological and social benefits. “Nature is medicine – a walk on the beach; a surfing session; a stroll through the woods heals us. It fixes what broken inside of us. Nature can reduce our stress, it can make us more creative and bring us together.”

Nichols also speaks of the sense of awe we feel when we step out onto the beach towards the water — a common feeling confirmed by his research. “This sense of awe moves us from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ perspective. Awe and wonder, and passion takes over in water. There is a feeling of connection to others and something beyond the immediate.”

 

It is no wonder that being near the ocean is a natural choice for many of life’s meaningful events, celebrations and ceremonies. And it’s also no wonder that so many people dream their whole life of retiring at the seaside.

Researchers at the University of Exeter found that people are healthier when they live closer to the English coast. The researchers looked at data from 48 million people in England from the 2001 census, comparing how close people lived to the sea with how happy they said they were.

Even just a view of the ocean can boost a person’s mental health.

A study carried out by researchers at Canterbury University, Otago University, and Michigan State University in the USA, looked into the relationship between mental health and exposure to green and blue space. Blue space refers to the visibility of water. The study found that just being able to see the ocean contributes to wellbeing, and lower stress levels.

As so often is the case, scientists come up with research results that are not surprising at all. Most people intuitively seek water knowing that it holds something special for them.

Now it’s backed by science.

……..enough

…Mueller’s investigation is larger and further along than you think…..

 …with plenty of reasons why tRumpy is soiling his diaper a lot these days……

The Mueller investigation appears to have been picking up steam in the last three weeks —and homing in on a series of targets.
ERIC THAYER/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES
PRESIDENT TRUMP CLAIMED in a tweet over the weekend that the controversial Nunes memo “totally vindicates” him, clearing him of the cloud of the Russia investigation that has hung over his administration for a year now.Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, if anything, the Mueller investigation appears to have been picking up steam in the past three weeks—and homing in on a series of targets.

Last summer, I wrote an analysis exploring the “known unknowns” of the Russia investigation—unanswered but knowable questions regarding Mueller’s probe. Today, given a week that saw immense sturm und drang over Devin Nunes’ memo—a document that seems purposefully designed to obfuscate and muddy the waters around Mueller’s investigation—it seems worth asking the opposite question: What are the known knowns of the Mueller investigation, and where might it be heading?

The first thing we know is that we know it is large.

We speak about the “Mueller probe” as a single entity, but it’s important to understand that there are no fewer than five (known) separate investigations under the broad umbrella of the special counsel’s office—some threads of these investigations may overlap or intersect, some may be completely free-standing, and some potential targets may be part of multiple threads. But it’s important to understand the different “buckets” of Mueller’s probe.

As special counsel, Mueller has broad authority to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” a catch-all phrase that allows him to pursue other criminality he may stumble across in the course of the investigation. As the acting attorney general overseeing Mueller, Rod Rosenstein has the ability to grant Mueller the ability to expand his investigation as necessary and has been briefed regularly on how the work is unfolding. Yet even without being privy to those conversations, we have a good sense of the purview of his investigation.

Right now, we know it involves at least five separate investigative angles:

1. Preexisting Business Deals and Money Laundering.Business dealings and money laundering related to Trump campaign staff, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign aide Rick Gates, are a major target of the inquiry. While this phase of the investigation has already led to the indictment of Gates and Manafort, it almost certainly will continue to bear further fruit. Gates appears to be heading toward a plea deal with Mueller, and there is expected to be a so-called “superseding” indictment that may add to or refine the existing charges. Such indictments are common in federal prosecutions, particularly in complicated financial cases where additional evidence may surface. Mueller’s team is believed to have amassed more than 400,000 documents in this part of the investigation alone. There have also been reports—largely advanced through intriguing reporting by Buzzfeed—about suspicious payments flagged by Citibank that passed through the accounts of the Russian embassy in the United States, including an abnormal attempted $150,000 cash withdrawal by the embassy just days after the election.

2. Russian Information Operations. When we speak in shorthand about the “hacking of the election,” we are actually talking about unique and distinct efforts, with varying degrees of coordination, by different entities associated with the Russian government. One of these is the “information operations” (bots and trolls) that swirled around the 2016 election, focused on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, possibly with the coordination or involvement of the Trump campaign’s data team, Cambridge Analytica.

Presumably these so-called active measures were conducted by or with the coordination of what’s known colloquially as the Russian troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, in St. Petersburg. The extent to which these social media efforts impacted the outcome of the election remains an open question, but according to Bloomberg these social media sites are a “red hot” focus of Mueller’s team, and he obtained search warrants to examine the records of companies like Facebook. In recent weeks, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have begun working to notify more than a million users they suspect interacted with Russian trolls and propaganda.

3. Active Cyber Intrusions. Separate from the trolls and bots on social media were a series of active operations and cyber intrusions carried out by Russian intelligence officers at the GRU and the FSB against political targets like John Podesta and the DNC. We know that Russian intelligence also penetrated the Republican National Committee, but none of those emails or documents were made public. This thread of the investigation may also involve unofficial or official campaign contacts with WikiLeaks or other campaign advisers, like Roger Stone, as well as the warning—via the Australian government—that former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos appeared to have foreknowledge of the hacking of Democratic emails.

Western intelligence, specifically the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, has evidently been monitoring for years the “Advanced Persistent Threats”—government-sponsored hackers who make up the Russia teams known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, which were responsible for the attacks on Democratic targets. AIVD even evidently managed to penetrate a security camera in the workspace of Cozy Bear, near Red Square in Moscow, and take screenshots of those working for the team. According to The Wall Street Journal, there are at least six Russian intelligence officers who may already be identified as personally responsible for at least some of these intrusions. Bringing criminal charges against these individuals would be consistent with the practices established over the past five years by the Justice Department’s National Security Division, which indicted—and in some cases even arrested—specific government and military hackers from nation-states like Iran, China, and Russia.

4. Russian Campaign Contacts. This corner of the investigation remains perhaps the most mysterious aspect of Mueller’s probe, as questions continue to swirl about the links and contacts among Russian nationals and officials and Trump campaign staff, including Carter Page, the subject of the FISA warrant that was the focus of the Nunes memo. Numerous campaign (and now administration) officials have lied about or failed to disclose contacts with both Russian nationals and Russian government officials, from meetings with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to government banker Sergey Gorkov to the infamous Trump Tower meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. with Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya.

At least two members of the campaign—Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn—have already pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators  about these contacts. But many other Trump aides face scrutiny, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. Some of these contacts may go back years; Page himself originally surfaced in January 2015 as “Male #1” in the indictment of three Russian SVR agents, working undercover in New York City, who had tried to recruit Page, an oil and gas adviser, as an intelligence asset, only to decide that he was too scatterbrained to be a useful source.

5. Obstruction of Justice. This is the big kahuna—the question of whether President Trump obstructed justice by pressuring FBI director James Comey to “look past” the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn and whether his firing in May was in any way tied to Comey’s refusal to stop the investigation. This thread, as far as we know from public reporting, remains the only part of the investigation that stretches directly into the Oval Office. It likely focuses not only on the President and the FBI director but also on a handful of related questions about the FBI investigation of Flynn and the White House’s statements about the Trump Tower meeting. The president himself has said publicly that he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.”

There’s fresh reason to believe that this is an active criminal investigation; lost amid the news of the Nunes memo on Friday was a court ruling in a lawsuit where I and a handful of other reporters from outlets like CNN and Daily Caller are suing the Justice Department to release the “Comey memos”: The ruling held that, based on the FBI’s private testimony to the court—including evidence from Michael Dreeben, one of the leaders of the special counsel’s office—releasing the memos would compromise the investigation. “Having heard this, the Court is now fully convinced that disclosure ‘could reasonably be expected to interfere’ with that ongoing investigation,” the judge wrote in our case.

Even the most generous interpretation of the Nunes memo—which has been widely debunked by serious analysts—raises questions only around the fourth thread of this investigation, insofar as it focuses on Carter Page, the one-time foreign policy adviser who appears to be ancillary to most of the rest of the Russia probes. All of the other avenues remain unsullied by the Nunes memo.

The second thing that we know is that large parts of the investigation remain out of sight. While we’ve seen four indictments or guilty pleas, they only involve threads one (money laundering) and four (Russian campaign contacts). We haven’t seen any public moves or charges by Mueller’s team regarding the information operations, the active cyber intrusions, or the obstruction of justice investigation.

We also know there’s significant relevant evidence that’s not yet public: Both Flynn and Papadopoulos traded cooperation and information as part of their respective plea deals, and none of the information that they provided has become public yet.

We also know that, despite the relative period of quiet since Flynn’s guilty plea in December, Mueller is moving fast. While parts of the case will likely unfold and continue for years, particularly if some defendants head for trial, Mueller has in recent weeks been interviewing senior and central figures, like Comey and Sessions. He’s also begun working to interview President Trump himself. Given that standard procedure would be to interview the central figure in an investigation last—when all the evidence is gathered—it seems likely that such interest means that Mueller is confident he knows what he needs to know for the obstruction case, at least.

All of these pieces of public evidence, the “known knowns,” point to one conclusion: Bob Mueller has a busy few weeks ahead of him—and the sturm und drang of the last week will likely only intensify as more of the investigation comes into public view.

 

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….insanity clause…..a night at the opera….

…………fun is where you find it….

 

 

 

…Park It A Spell…

……Free Parking.        ……. do yourself a favor…. Watch and Listen…… ……stay for the ending…….. sweet musical teamwork……..

w

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..A New History of the Second World War…

 In 1936, Charles Lindbergh arrived in Berlin to inspect the Luftwaffe. The visit had been arranged by Truman Smith, an ingenious intelligence officer who knew that Herman Göring, the Nazi air marshal, would find the American aviator’s celebrity irresistible; Lindbergh flew to Berlin with his wife, Anne, as his co-pilot, and then, along with Smith and another officer, spent a few days meeting German pilots, inspecting operations, and even flying several German planes. (The group also had dinner at Göring’s house, where they met his pet lion cub, Augie.)
Lindbergh was impressed by what he saw; Göring so enjoyed impressing him that Smith was able to arrange four more visits over the next few years. Drawing on them, Lindbergh sent a dire warning to General Henry (Hap) Arnold, the commander of the U.S. Air Force, in 1938. “Germany is undoubtedly the most powerful nation in the world in military aviation,” he wrote, “and her margin of leadership is increasing with each month that passes.”

Lindbergh was right to sound the alarm about a German military buildup.

But he was wrong about the strength of the the Luftwaffe, which was not as good as he—or the Nazis—believed it to be. It was true that the Germans had more planes than anyone else. But, as the historian Victor Davis Hanson explains, in “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won,” the Luftwaffe had a number of weaknesses, some very fundamental.

A lack of four-engine bombers, for example, made it hard for Germany to conduct truly devastating long-range strategic-bombing campaigns against enemies overseas. (The Nazis never succeeded in mass-producing an equivalent to America’s B-17 Flying Fortress, which was in the air before the war.) The German Navy had no aircraft carriers, which made air supremacy during naval battles impossible. (In total, the Axis fielded only sixteen carriers; the Allies, a hundred and fifty-five.)

Germany had limited access to oil, and thus to aviation fuel, and this constrained the number of missions the Luftwaffe could fly. Unlike the Allies, who excelled at building tidy, concrete runways from scratch as the front shifted, the Germans relied on whatever slapdash rural runways they could find, resulting in more wear and tear on their planes.

The Nazis were slower than the Allies to replace downed aircraft (they had less experience with high-volume manufacturing); they were also slower to replace fallen pilots (their aircraft were harder to operate). Over time, this lower replacement rate eroded, then reversed, their initial numbers advantage.

They also lagged behind in various other areas of aviation technology: “navigation aids, drop tanks, self-sealing tanks, chaff, air-to-surface radar.” Some of these factors emerged only during the war. But others were clear beforehand, and analysts could have noticed them.

In truth, Hanson writes, Lindbergh and many others were “hypnotized by Nazi braggadocio and pageantry.” The Nazis were apparently hypnotized, too. As a land-based power with a small navy, they needed the Luftwaffe to perform miracles (for instance, bombing Britain into submission). They did not see the Luftwaffe realistically; they deluded themselves into believing it could do the impossible.

“The Second World Wars” takes an unusual approach to its subject. The book is not a chronological retelling of the conflict but a high-altitude, statistics-saturated overview of the dynamics and constraints that shaped it. Hanson is unusual, too: he is a classicist and a specialist in military history at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where he edits Strategika, “an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past”; he’s also an almond farmer and a conservative polemicist whose articles on race, immigration, and the decline of agrarian values appear regularly on National Review’s Web site and other places.

I’ve long found his political commentary tiresome—but his deeply researched and detailed military analyses are fascinating. “The Second World Wars” confines itself to the latter subject, with spectacular results. Hanson starts with the idea that the Axis powers were more or less destined to lose, then works backward to understand the reasons for their defeat.

The book revolves around a question highly relevant to our own brewing confrontation with North Korea: Why, and how, do weaker nations convince themselves, against all evidence to the contrary, that they are capable of defeating stronger ones?

Hanson begins by putting the Second World War in a “classical context.” Although it was a high-tech conflict with newly lethal weapons, he writes, it still followed patterns established over millennia: “British, American, Italian, and German soldiers often found themselves fortifying or destroying the Mediterranean stonework of the Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Ottomans.” In many instances, military planners on both sides ignored the lessons of the past.

Some lessons were local: it’s always been hard to “campaign northward up the narrow backbone of the Italian peninsula,” for example, which is exactly what the Allies struggled to do.

Others were universal. Small countries have difficulty defeating big ones, because—obviously—bigger countries have more people and resources at their disposal; Germany, Italy, and Japan, therefore, should have been more concerned about their relatively small size compared to their foes. History shows that the only way to win a total war is to occupy your enemy’s capital with infantrymen, with whom you can force regime change.

Hitler should have paused to ask how, with such a weak navy, he planned to cross the oceans and sack London and, later,Washington. At a fundamental level, it was a mistake for him to attack countries whose capitals he had no way to reach.

In terms of management and logistics, the Axis powers were similarly, and sometimes quite conspicuously, disadvantaged.

Before the war, the United States produced a little more than half of the world’s oil; Axis leaders should have known this would be a decisive factor in a mechanized conflict involving tanks, planes, and other vehicles. (The Nazis may have underestimated the importance of fuel because—even though they planned to quickly conquer vast amounts of territory through blitzkrieg—many of their supply lines remained dependent upon horses for the duration of the war.)

In general, Allied management was more flexible—British planners quickly figured out the best way to place radar installations, for example—while the Axis powers, with their more hierarchical cultures, tended toward rigidity. Axis leaders believed that Fascism could make up the difference by producing more fanatical soldiers with more “élan.”

For a brief time at the beginning of the war, Allied countries believed this, too. (There was widespread fear, especially, of Japanese soldiers.) They soon realized that defending one’s homeland against invaders turns pretty much everyone into a fanatic.

In any event, Hanson shows that the Second World War hinged to an unprecedented extent upon artillery (“At least half of the combat dead of World War II probably fell to artillery or mortar fire”): the Allies had bigger, faster factories and could produce more guns and shells. “

The most significant statistic of the war is the ten-to-one advantage in aggregate artillery production (in total over a million large guns) enjoyed by the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the United States over the three Axis powers.”

Russia, meanwhile, excelled at manufacturing cheap, easily serviceable, and quickly manufactured tanks, which, by the end of the war, were better than the tanks the Nazis fielded.

Many Allied factories remained beyond the reach of Axis forces. There were a few possible turning points in the war: had Hitler chosen not to invade Russia, or not to declare war on the United States, he might have kept his Continental gains.

Similarly, Japan might have contented itself with a few local conquests. But temperance and Fascism do not mix, and the outsized ambitions of the Axis powers put them on a collision course with the massive geographical, managerial, and logistical advantages possessed by the Allies, which, Hanson suggests, they should have known would be insurmountable.

The Axis powers fell prey to their own mythmaking: they were adept at creating narratives that made exceedingly unlikely victories seem not just plausible but inevitable. When the Allies perceived just how far Fascist fantasy diverged from reality, they concluded that Axis leaders had brainwashed their citizens and themselves. They began to realize that “the destruction of populist ideologies, especially those fueled by claims of racial superiority,” would prove “a task far more arduous than the defeat of a sovereign people’s military”:

Sober Germans, Italians, and Japanese, in the Allied way of thinking, had to be freed from their own hypnotic adherence to evil, even if by suffering along with their soldiers. . . . Death was commonplace in World War II because fascist zealotry and the overwhelming force required to extinguish it would logically lead to Allied self-justifications of violence and collective punishment of civilians unthinkable in World War I.

Hanson explores the specific decision-making processes behind the most merciless Allied decisions—“the firebombing of the major German and Japanese cities, the dropping of two atomic bombs, the Allied-sanctioned ethnic cleansing of millions of German-speaking civilians from Eastern Europe, the absolute end of the idea of Prussia”—while, from a higher altitude, pointing out that the delusional ideological fervor that shaped the beginning of the war shaped its end, too.

Could the Axis and Allied countries have performed a searching, clear-eyed inventory of their respective strengths and weaknesses and decided beforehand that there was no point in having a world war?

Could the Allies have done this on their own and decided to check Hitler’s aggression earlier? One of the tragic elements of war, in Hanson’s view, is that it often uncovers a reality that might have been comprehended in advance and by other means.

Unfortunately, in the years before the Second World War, confusion reigned. The Axis countries lived in a fantasy world—they believed their own propaganda, which argued that, for reasons of race and ideology, they were unbeatable.

The Allies, meanwhile, underestimated their own economic might in the wake of the Great Depression. They allowed themselves to be intimidated by Fascist rhetoric; justifiably horrified by the First World War, they wanted to give pacifism a chance, and so refrained from the flag-waving displays of aggression that might have revealed their true strength, while hoping, despite his proclamations to the contrary, that Hitler might be satisfied with smaller, regional conquests.

“Most wars since antiquity can be defined as the result of such flawed prewar assessments of relative military and economic strength as well as strategic objectives,” Hanson writes. “Prewar Nazi Germany had no accurate idea of how powerful were Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union; and the latter had no inkling of the full scope of Hitler’s military ambitions.

It took a world war to educate them all.”

In a general way, Hanson’s ideas are reminiscent of the thought of the Austrianeconomist Friedrich Hayek, who saw the market as a kind of information-producing machine. Buying and selling, Hayek wrote, were a “procedure for discovering facts which, if the procedure did not exist, would remain unknown or at least would not be used.”

In National Review Online, Hanson writes that “war is a horrific laboratory experiment that confirms or rejects vague and inexact prewar guesses about relative strength or weakness.” Seeing war as a tragically destructive form of information discovery makes Hanson think differently about peace.

The problem with peace is that it obscures the realities of relative military strength; it’s especially important, therefore, for countries to flex their muscles during peacetime. In the present, Hanson favors an aggressive response to North Korea, in large part because it might clear up mutual ignorance about everyone’s capabilities and intentions.

Sadly, a detailed examination of exactly when and how deterrence averts conflict is beyond the scope of “The Second World Wars.”

Instead, with an extraordinary array of facts and statistics, the book offers an account of the fatalism of war.

Until it begins, war is a matter of choice. After that, it’s shaped by forces and realities which dwarf the individuals who participate.

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…Golda Meir, on the Palestinians…

Golda Meir, on the Palestinians

 The following op-ed by Golda Meir was printed in The New York Times 41 years ago.

by

January 14, 1976

To be misquoted is an occupational hazard of political leadership; for this reason I should like to clarify my position in regard to the Palestinian issue. I have been charged with being rigidly insensitive to the question of the Palestinian Arabs. In evidence of this I am supposed to have said, “There are no Palestinians.” My actual words were: “There is no Palestinian people. There are Palestinian refugees.” The distinction is not semantic. My statement was based on a lifetime of debates with Arab nationalists who vehemently excluded a separatist Palestinian Arab nationalism from their formulations.

When in 1921 I came to Palestine – until the end of World War I a barren, sparsely inhabited Turkish province – we, the Jewish pioneers, were the avowed Palestinians. So we were named in the world. Arab nationalists, on the other hand, stridently rejected the designation. Arab spokesmen continued to insist that the land we had cherished for centuries was, like Lebanon, merely a fragment of Syria. On the grounds that it dismembered an ideal unitary Arab state, they fought before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry and at the United Nations.

When the Arab historian Philip K. Hitti informed the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that “there is no such thing as Palestine in history,” it was left to David Ben-Gurion to stress the central role of Palestine in Jewish, if not Arab, history.

As late as May 1956, Ahmed Shukairy, subsequently head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, declared to the United Nations Security Council, “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.” In view of this, I believe I may be forgiven if I took Arab spokesmen at their word.

Until the 1960’s, attention was focused on the Arab refugees for whose plight the Arab states would allow no solution though many constructive and far-reaching proposals were made by Israel and the world community.

I repeatedly expressed my sympathy for the needless sufferings of refugees whose abnormal situation was created and exploited by the Arab states as a tactic in their campaign against Israel. However, refugee status could not indefinitely be maintained for the original 550,000 Arabs who in 1948 joined the exodus from the battle areas during the Arab attack on the new state of Israel.

When the refugee card began to wear thin, the Palestinian terrorist appeared on the scene flourishing not the arguable claims of displaced refugees but of a ghoulish nationalism that could only be sated on the corpse of Israel.

I repeat again. We dispossessed no Arabs. Our toil in the deserts and marshes of Palestine created more habitable living space for both Arab and Jew. Until 1948 the Arabs of Palestine multiplied and flourished as the direct result of Zionist settlement. Whatever subsequent ills befell the Arabs were the inevitable result of the Arab design to drive us into the sea. Had Israel not repelled her would-be destroyers there would have been no Jewish refugees alive in the Middle East to concern the world.

Now, two years after the surprise attack of the Yom Kippur War, I am well aware of the potency of Arab petrobillions and I have no illusions about the moral fiber of the United Nations, most of whose members hailed gun-toting Yasir Arafat and shamefully passed the anti-Semitic resolution that described Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, as racist.

But though Israel is small and beset, I am not prepared to accede to the easy formula that in the Arab-Israeli conflict we witness two equal contending rights that demand further “flexibility” from Israel. Justice was not violated when in the huge territories liberated by the Allies from the Sultan, 1 percent was set aside for the Jewish homeland on its ancestral site, while in a parallel settlement 99 percent of the area was allotted for the establishment of independent Arab states.

We successively accepted the truncation of Transjordan, three-fourths of the area of historic Palestine, and finally the painful compromise of the 1947 partition resolution in the hope for peace. Yet though Israel arose in only one-fifth of the territory originally assigned for the Jewish homeland, the Arabs invaded the young state.

I ask again, as I have often asked, why did the Arabs not set up a Palestine state in their portion instead of cannibalizing the country by Jordan’s seizure of the West Bank and Egypt’s capture of the Gaza Strip? And, since the question of the 1967 borders looms heavily in the present discussions, why did the Arabs converge upon us in June 1967, when the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Sinai, the Gaza Strip and old Jerusalem were in their hands?

These are not idle questions. They go to the heart of the matter – the Arab denial of Israel’s right to exist. This right is not subject to debate. That is why Israel cannot by its presence sanction the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the Security Council, a participation in direct violation of Resolutions 242 and 338.

We have no common language with exultant murderers of the innocent and with a terrorist movement ideologically committed to the liquidation of Jewish national independence.

At no point has the P.L.O. renounced its program for the “elimination of the Zionist entity.” With startling effrontery P.L.O. spokesmen admit that their proposed state on the West Bank would be merely a convenient “point of departure,” a tactical “first stage” and finally, a combatant “arsenal” strategically situated for the easier penetration of Israel.

I am often asked a hypothetical question: How would we react if the P.L.O. agreed to abandon its weapon, terror, and its goal, the destruction of Israel? The answer is simple. Any movement that forswore both its means and its end would by that fact become a different organization with a different leadership. There is no room for such speculation in the case of the P.L.O.

This does not mean that at this stage I disregard whatever national aspirations Palestinian Arabs have developed in recent years. However, these can be satisfied within the boundaries of historic Palestine.

The majority of the refugees never left Palestine; they are settled on the West Bank and in Jordan, the majority of whose population is Palestinian. Whatever nomenclature is used, both the people involved and the territory on which they live are Palestinian.

A mini-Palestine state, planted as a time bomb against Israel on the West Bank, would only serve as a focal point for the further exploitation of regional tensions by the Soviet Union.

But in a genuine peace settlement a viable Palestine-Jordan could flourish side by side with Israel within the original area of Mandatory Palestine.

On July 21, 1974, the Israeli Government passed the following resolution: “The peace will be founded on the existence of two independent states only – Israel, with united Jerusalem as its capital, and a Jordanian-Palestinian Arab state, east of Israel, within borders to be determined in negotiations between Israel and Jordan.”

All allied problems can be equitably solved. For this to happen the adversaries of Israel will have to stop devising overt schemes for her immediate or piecemeal extinction.

There are 21 Arab states, rich in oil, land and sovereignty. There is only one small state in which Jewish national independence has been dearly achieved. Surely it is not extravagant to demand that in the current power play the right of a small democracy to freedom and life not be betrayed.

Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel from February 1969 to June 1974.

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….”Open Mind”… Plug-in to combat fake news…

…Pretty ingenious…..maybe even pivotal?……

In this Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, photo, Yale graduate students Michael Lopez-Brau, left, and Stefan Uddenberg pose at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The pair helped create an internet browser extension, "Open Mind," with students from Cal Tech and Waterloo University. The extension is designed to flag fake and biased news stories and provide the reader with alternatives. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)
Yale graduate students Michael Lopez-Brau, left, and Stefan Uddenberg pose at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.The pair helped create an internet browser extension, “Open Mind,” with students from Cal Tech

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A team of college students is getting attention from internet companies and Congress after developing a browser extension that alerts users to fake and biased news stories and helps guide them to more balanced coverage.

The plug-in, “Open Mind,” was developed earlier this month during a 36-hour problem-solving competition known as a hackathon at Yale University.

The winning team was comprised of four students: Michael Lopez-Brau and Stefan Uddenberg, both doctoral students in Yale’s psychology department; Alex Cui, an undergraduate who studies machine learning at the California Institute of Technology; and Jeff An, who studies computer science at the University of Waterloo and business at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.

That team competed against others to win a challenge from Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, which asked students to find a way to counter fake news.

The team’s software, designed as an extension for Google’s Chrome browser, will display a warning screen when someone enters a site known to disseminate fake news. It also will alert a reader if a story shared on social media is fake or biased.

But it does much more than just warn.

The plug-in uses existing sentiment analysis technology to analyze any story that might appear in a newsfeed, identifying the major players and any political slant. It then can suggest to the reader other stories on the same topic that have an alternate viewpoint.

“So let’s say there is an article that is very pro-Trump on a topic,” An said. “We would then try to give you something more left of center. We can go out and find for you that alternative article.”

The extension also collects browsing data and can show a user a graph that indicates whether they have been reading stories from just one side of a political spectrum. It curates a news feed for that user, showing alternative stories to the ones they have been reading.

The idea, said Lopez-Brau, is to help get people out of the habit of associating on social media only with people who share their viewpoints and reading biased news coverage skewed toward their beliefs.

“Social media sites grow bubbles,” Lopez-Brau said. “They make it extremely easy for people to only follow people with similar interests, so often there is no real opportunity for them to be confronted with an opposing viewpoint. They’ve allowed us to silo people off at a distance.”

The team’s prize for winning the challenge will be a meeting this spring with members of Congress.

Facebook, which was one of the sponsors of Yale’s hackathon, also is interested in talking to the students as part of its ongoing work to solve the same problem, said Ruchika Budhraja, a Facebook spokeswoman.

“We’re building products, many of which are very similar to what the students came up with at Yale,” Budhraja said. “We have something called “Related Articles,” which helps people discover articles on the same topic when they share an article.”

The two Yale students plan to create a research project using the extension, tracking the browsing history of volunteers to try and determine if the plug-in actually changes browsing habits.

“The solution is not to just tell people if something is fake or not,” Cui said. “The solution is to develop a kind of a news auto-immune system.”

– Associated Press – December 25, 2017

 

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………… you bet

……

 

…Tied To The Whipping Post….

…..the real deal….13:15 long  … start to finish…….13:15 ……..sweet classic stuff………

 

……….sometimes……..w

 

 

 

 

…Man With Soul Leaves Government, Tells Truth In Resignation……

 ..GOP Hosers said they intended to dismantle the government and they’re doing just that …………until we stop them…….Joel stood up…..will we?…..

Joel Clement, who served as an executive in the Interior Department, and who was a whistleblower after Trump’s administration retaliated against him for publicly disclosing how climate change affected Alaska Native communities, has effectively handed in his resignation.

Currently, the inspector general for the Interior Department is investigating if the Trump administration’s reassignment of Clement as well as a dozen other senior executive personnel, was even legal in the first place. Clement, a scientist and policy expert, was removed from his job and forced to take an accounting position for which he has no experience.

“Keeping my voice is more important than keeping my job,” he said. “I have not found another job yet. I have vast contacts inside the agency and outside. I do believe I can be a strong voice to resisting what the Zinke team is doing.”

It appears Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke broke the law when making the move, which on its face, looked like it was retaliation for speaking out against President Trump. Zinke also made comments that a lot of the employees at Interior were ‘disloyal.’ He went as far as saying “30 percent” of the people working for him didn’t deserve to be there.

“Everyone is pissed here about his comments about loyalty. It’s the buzz in the building. You hear snide remarks all day long at how ludicrous that was. They clearly have lost respect for the leadership of that organization,” Clement said.

Resignation Letter:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

“I hereby resign my position as Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).

The career men and women of DOI serve because they believe in DOI’s mission to protect our nation’s natural and cultural resources and they believe that service to this country is a responsibility and an honor. I’m proud to have served at DOI alongside such devoted public servants, and I share their dedication to the mission and country, so it is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as a senior official at the Department. I have three reasons for my resignation:

Poor Leadership. I blew the whistle on the Trump administration because I believe you unlawfully retaliated against me for disclosing the perilous impacts of climate change upon Alaska Native communities and for working to help get them out of harm’s way.

The investigations into my whistleblower complaints are ongoing and I hope to prevail. Retaliating against civil servants for raising health and safety concerns is unlawful, but there are many more items to add to your resume of failure: You and President Trump have waged an allout assault on the civil service by muzzling scientists and policy experts like myself; you conducted an arbitrary and sloppy review of our treasured National Monuments to score political points; your team has compromised tribal sovereignty by limiting programs meant to serve Indians and Alaska Natives; you are undercutting important work to protect the western sage grouse and its habitat; you eliminated a rule that prevented oil and gas interests from cheating taxpayers on royalty payments; you cancelled the moratorium on a failed coal leasing program that was also shortchanging taxpayers; and you even cancelled a study into the health risks of people living near mountaintop removal coal mines after rescinding a rule that would have protected their health.

You have disrespected the career staff of the Department by questioning their loyalty and you have played fast and loose with government regulations to score points with your political base at the expense of American health and safety. Secretary Zinke, your agenda profoundly undermines the DOI mission and betrays the American people.

Waste of Taxpayer Dollars. My background is in science, policy, and climate change. You reassigned me to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue. My new colleagues were as surprised as I was by the involuntary reassignment to a job title with no duties in an office that specializes in auditing and dispersing fossil fuel royalty income. They acted in good faith to find a role for
me, and I deeply appreciate their efforts.

In the end, however, reassigning and training me as an auditor when I have no background in that field will involve an exorbitant amount of time and effort on the part of my colleagues, incur significant taxpayer expense, and create a situation in which these talented specialists are being led by someone without experience in their field.

I choose to save them the trouble, save taxpayer dollars, and honor the organization by stepping away to find a role more suited to my skills. Secretary Zinke, you and your fellow high-flying Cabinet officials have demonstrated over and over that you are willing to waste taxpayer dollars, but I’m not.
Climate Change Is Real and It’s Dangerous.

I have highlighted the Alaska Native communities on the brink in the Arctic, but many other Americans are facing climate impacts head-on. Families in the path of devastating hurricanes, businesses in coastal communities experiencing frequent and severe flooding, fishermen pulling up empty nets due to warming seas, medical professionals working to understand new disease vectors, farming communities hit by floods of biblical proportions, and owners of forestlands laid waste by invasive insects.

These are just a few of the impacts Americans face. If the Trump administration continues to try to silence experts in science, health and other fields, many more Americans, and the natural ecosystems upon which they depend, will be put at risk. The solutions and adaptations to these impacts will be complex, but exponentially less difficult and expensive than waiting until tragedy strikes – as we have seen with Houston, Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico – and there is no time to waste. We must act quickly to limit climate change while also preparing for its impacts.

Secretary Zinke: It is well known that you, Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, and President Trump are shackled to special interests such as oil, gas, and mining. You are unwilling to lead on climate change, and cannot be trusted with our nation’s natural resources.

So for those three compelling reasons – poor leadership, waste, and your failures on climate change, I tender my resignation. The best use of my skills is to join with the majority of Americans who understand what’s at stake, working to find ways to innovate and thrive despite the many hurdles ahead. You have not silenced me; I will continue to be an outspoken advocate for action, and my voice will be part of the American chorus calling for your resignation so that someone loyal to the interests of all Americans, not just special interests, can take your job.

My thoughts and wishes are with the career women and men who remain at DOI. I encourage them to persist when possible, resist when necessary, and speak truth to power so the institution may recover and thrive once this assault on its mission is over.”

Joel Clement

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……….Calamity Jane says it all for me on this one……………..w

………aggravated aggregator……..career journalist…..

 

 

 

..Don’t blame God or nature. This is our fault…

Scientists call the interval since the Industrial Revolution the “Anthropocene, a period when our species has become the major factor altering the biological, physical and chemical properties of the planet on a geological scale. Empowered by fossil fuel–driven technologies, a rapidly growing human population and an insatiable demand for constant growth in consumption and the global economy, our species is responsible for the calamitous consequences.

We now know that the weight of water behind large dams and injecting pressurized water into the earth for fracking induce earthquakes. Clearing large swathes of forests, draining wetlands, depleting water for industrial agriculture, polluting marine and freshwater ecosystems with nitrogen, plastics and pesticides from farmland and cities, expanding urban areas, and employing ecologically destructive fishing practices such as drift nets and trawling, all combine to produce species extinction on a scale not seen since the mega-extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

But we use language to deflect blame from ourselves. Not long ago, wolves, seals and basking sharks were called “pests” or “vermin,” regarded as nuisances to be killed for bounties. Insects are the most numerous, diverse and important group of animals in ecosystems, yet all are affected by insecticides applied to eliminate the handful that attack commercial crops. One egregious class of pesticide is neonicotinoids, nerve toxins to which bees — important pollinators — are especially sensitive. Ancient forests are called “wild” or “decadent” while plantations that replace them after clear cutting are termed “normal.”

Environmentalists branded like criminals

One of the rarest ecosystems on Earth is the temperate rainforest stretching between Alaska and northern California, pinched between the Pacific Ocean and coastal mountains. The huge trees there have been decimated in the U.S. Fewer than 10 per cent remain. Yet environmentalists who called for the entire remnant to be protected from logging were branded as “greedy.”

Former B.C. premier Glen Clark famously labelled environmentalists like me “enemies of B.C.” Former federal finance minister Joe Oliver called us “foreign-funded radicals” while others said we were “eco-terrorists.” The real enemies, radicals and eco-terrorists are those who rush to destroy forests, watersheds or the atmosphere without regard to ecological consequences.

Recently-defeated B.C. premier Christy Clark called opponents of pipelines or LNG plants “forces of no.” We who want to protect what we all need to survive would more accurately be called “forces of know” who say “yes” to a future of clean, renewable energy and a rich environment.

The Great Bear Rainforest, pictured here, is one of the rarest ecosystems on Earth  Stretching 64,000 square kilometres from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska, it is home to some of the wildest and rares species of wildlife in Canada.

We seem to have forgotten that the word economy, like ecology, is based on the Greek oikos, meaning “domain” or “household.” Because of our ability to find ways to exploit our surroundings, humans are not confined to a specific habitat or ecosystem. We’ve found ways to live almost everywhere — in deserts, the Arctic, jungles, wetlands and mountains. Ecologists seek the principles, rules and laws that enable species to flourish sustainably. Economists are charged with “managing” our activity within the biosphere, our domain.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper decreed it was impossible to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid climate change because it would destroy the economy. To people like him, the economy is more important than the air that provides weather and climate and enables us to live. At the same time, many “fiscal conservatives” rail against an effective market solution to climate change — carbon pricing — ignoring the example of Sweden, which imposed a carbon tax of about $35 a tonne in 1991, grew its economy by 60 per cent by 2012 while reducing emissions by 25 per cent, then raised the tax to more than $160 in 2014.

We know climate change is caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels. It’s influencing the frequency and intensity of such events as monstrous wildfires (Kelowna, Fort McMurray), floods (Calgary, Toronto), hurricanes (Katrina, Sandy), drought (California, Alberta), and loss of glaciers and ice sheets. There’s no longer anything “natural” about them.

We must acknowledge the human imprint. If we’re the cause of the problems, then we must stop blaming “nature” or “God.” We have to take responsibility and tackle them with the urgency they require.

 December 7th 2017

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…………….be part of the solution or part of the problem…….everybody gets to choose…………w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……an aggravated one ………

 

 

 

 

 

..California Abalone diving prohibited next year…

……Population on the brink of collapse….

The decision came at a meeting of California Fish and Game Commission Thursday in San Diego, following a warning from scientists at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that the population is in severe decline. The commission voted unanimously to close the fishery for one year, in 2018. The season would normally open in April.

“There are multiple indications that this fishery is collapsing,” said Cynthia Catton, an environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “There’s no sign that it’s even hit the bottom yet. We’re seeing continuing active mortality, we’re seeing continued starvation conditions.”

The decision to close or keep the abalone fishery open has created tensions between state biologists on one side, and members of the diving community and the Nature Conservancy on the other. The two sides disagree on the best way to maintain the sea snail’s dwindling population in light of severe environmental conditions, as well as on the best scientific methods to tract their population.

Kelp forest devastation over the past few years have led to starvation, mortality and low reproduction rates in red abalone, and an exploding population of purple sea urchin, which compete with abalone for food, has only made it worse. For the same reasons, the 2017 season for sport abalone fishing was reduced by two months and the annual limit was reduced from 18 to 12 per person.

However, because abalone take many years to reach reproductive age, “The consequences could last generations,” said Catton.

The abalone fishery south of San Francisco has been closed since 1997 for similar reasons, and the population has not yet recovered enough to reopen. That’s in contrast to the fishery’s heyday in the 1950s and ’60s, when California commercial fishermen brought in around 2,000 metric tons of different species of abalone annually. Commercial fishing was banned in the state in 1997.

In a letter it submitted last month to the Fish and Game Commission, the Nature Conservancy argued to keep the fishery open, offering an alternative way to monitor and manage the population, which it called “a conservative approach to resource management under the recent extreme environmental conditions, thereby ensuring full stock recovery, while still maintaining access to the resource.”

Yet avid divers like Jack Likins of Gualala (Mendocino County) argue that the abalone would actually be better protected if the legal fishing remains open in a limited capacity, because poaching would continue. They also worry it would never reopen once closed.

According to a management plan created 20 years ago, the state must close the fishery when the density of abalones in certain areas drops below a certain level. (The state is in the process of updating that plan.) Catton and a team of fellow scientists based at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay, along with volunteer divers, conduct the surveys each fall.

“It’s hard to describe the emotion that I felt doing the surveys this year. It was just heartbreaking,” she said. “Areas that I remember being lush with kelp, that I remember having to fight the kelp, now it’s bare rock. It’s just bare rock, with countless abalone shells littering the floor.”

In August and September, the divers surveyed the 10 most popular diving sites in Mendocino and Sonoma and found abalone at an average of .15 animals per square meter, which they consider half the bare minimum, which triggers a closure of the fishery. The density has dropped 65 percent since they conducted a survey last year, Catton said.

Also, Catton observed that the live animals had lost muscle mass, meaning they can’t reliably clamp onto rocks which makes them vulnerable to predators, including sea urchins and seagulls.

“It’s one of their primary defenses against predation — human predation or otherwise,” she said of a healthy abalone’s foot muscle. “It holds them in place and keeps them from getting washed up on shore with the waves.”

When abalones are starving, their reproductive organs also shrink. The other thing Catton found alarming was that abalone had moved mostly to shallow areas no more than 15 feet deep, she said. Normally a lot of them congregate in the deeper areas that most divers can’t access, which forms a natural protected nursery to keep the population going.

Yet Likins, who dives about 30 times a season, mostly to do volunteer surveys for the nonprofit organizations Reef Check and the Nature Conservancy, said things often look different to him than what the surveys represent. He also said that surveys have been proven to be problematic, based on a peer review of the department’s methods as well as analysis done by the Nature Conservancy.

“The main drawbacks of it basically are that it’s statistically unreliable,” said Likins. “There is so much variation from year to year.” He also said though the surveys are done at popular diving spots, they don’t account for vast areas of the coast where abalone inhabit.

Tara Duggan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: tduggan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @taraduggan

 

 

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…………………                                    w

……just another aggravated aggregator……………..

 

 

 

 

..The next step in the sequence is almost insultingly obvious….

Trump is preparing to shut down Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 election.

By

Robert Mueller. Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

..The Mueller Investigation Is in Mortal Danger…

If there was any single event that would cause the Republican elite to openly revolt against the ongoing Trumpification of their party, it would be the nomination of Roy Moore for U.S. Senate in Alabama. Even prior to the allegations of child molestation, Moore had discovered innovative new realms of extremism that had never occurred to even his most ideologically fervent colleagues. He proposed banning Muslims from serving in elected office, called for the criminalization of homosexuality, and defied court rulings and declared his own biblical jurisprudence the sole valid legal authority.

And if that revolt was going to begin anywhere, it would likely be in Utah. The state’s Mormon culture recoiled from Donald Trump’s libidinous boasting, erratic behavior, and displays of extravagant consumption. Between the 2012 and 2016 elections, Utah’s Republican presidential margin underwent an astonishing 28 percent collapse.

Orrin Hatch, who has represented Utah in the Senate since 1977, greeted Moore’s candidacy in this year’s election with skepticism. (“I have trouble with” Moore’s comments on gays and Muslims, he said in October.) Once evidence surfaced of Moore’s alleged predation of teenage girls, Hatch pulled the rip cord. “If the deeply disturbing allegations in the Washington Post are true, Senator Hatch believes that Judge Moore should step aside immediately,” his spokesman declared.

But even in Utah, there were forces at work to make Hatch reconsider. He was facing a potential primary challenge from a Trumpian candidate who had met with party insurrectionist Steve Bannon and Citizens United president David Bossie. In November, Hatch lavished praise on the president, calling him “one of the best I’ve served under.” Trump rewarded Hatch by endorsing him. Hatch then defended Trump’s endorsement of Moore, arguing that he “needs every Republican he can get so he can put his agenda through.”

Hatch’s response to Moore has followed that of his entire party, and the backtracking has usefully laid bare its power dynamics. As recently as a few weeks ago, Republicans were debating whether to shun Moore or, should he win, vote to expel him from the Senate. They have settled on a course of action that had initially been off the map altogether: endorsing their lecherous ayatollah and providing financial support from the Republican National Committee.

What mattered most was that Donald Trump has contempt for any standards of conduct. (Indeed, he reportedly has taken offense at the accusations against Moore, which remind him of his own treatment.) And no Republican who wishes to stay in office can afford to offend the president, who commands overwhelming support among the party base.

Would Republicans denounce him? Expel him? It turned out they would do nothing. By the time Moore came along, the party’s moral sensibilities had been worn to a nub.

The next step in the sequence is almost insultingly obvious. Trump is preparing to shut down Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 election.

The administration and its allied media organs, especially those owned by Rupert Murdoch, have spent months floating a series of rationales, of varying degrees of implausibility, for why a deeply respected Republican law-enforcement veteran is disqualified to lead the inquiry: He is friends with James Comey, who is biased because Trump fired him; Comey is biased because he pursued leads turned up in Christopher Steele’s investigation, which was financed by Democrats; Mueller has failed to investigate Hillary Clinton’s marginal-to-nonexistent role in a uranium sale.

The newest pseudo-scandal fixates on the role of Peter Strzok, an FBI official who helped tweak the language Comey employed in his statement condemning Clinton’s email carelessness and has also worked for Mueller.
His alleged crime is a series of text messages criticizing Trump. Mueller removed Strzok from his team, but that is not enough for Trump’s supporters, who are seizing on Strzok’s role as a pretext to discredit and remove Mueller, too. The notion that a law-enforcement official should be disqualified for privately expressing partisan views is a novel one, and certainly did not trouble Republicans last year, when Rudy Giuliani was boasting on television about his network of friendly agents. Yet in the conservative media, Mueller and Comey have assumed fiendish personae of almost Clintonian proportions.

When Mueller was appointed, legal scholars debated whether Trump had the technical authority to fire him, but even the majority who believed he did assumed such a power existed only in theory. Republicans in Congress, everyone believed, would never sit still for such a blatant cover-up.
Josh Blackman, a conservative lawyer, argued that Trump could remove the special counsel, but “make no mistake: Mueller’s firing would likely accelerate the end of the Trump administration.” Texas representative Mike McCaul declared in July, “If he fired Bob Mueller, I think you’d see a tremendous backlash, response from both Democrats but also House Republicans.” Such a rash move “could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency,” Senator Lindsey Graham proclaimed.

In August, members of both parties began drawing up legislation to prevent Trump from sacking Mueller. “The Mueller situation really gave rise to our thinking about how we can address the current situation,” explained Republican senator Thom Tillis, a sponsor of one of the bills. By early autumn, the momentum behind the effort had slowed; by Thanksgiving, Republican interest had melted away. “I don’t see any heightened kind of urgency, if you’re talking about some of the reports around Flynn and others,” Tillis said recently. “I don’t see any great risk.”

In fact, the risk has swelled. Trump has publicly declared any investigation into his finances would constitute a red line, and that he reserves the option to fire Mueller if he investigates them. Earlier this month, it was reported that Mueller has subpoenaed records at Deutsche Bank, an institution favored both by Trump and the Russian spy network.

John Dowd, a lawyer for Trump, recently floated the wildly expansive defense that a “president cannot obstruct justice, because he is the chief law-enforcement officer.” Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett called the investigation “illegitimate and corrupt” and declared that “the FBI has become America’s secret police.” Graham is now calling for a special counsel to investigate “Clinton email scandal, Uranium One, role of Fusion GPS, and FBI and DOJ bias during 2016 campaign” — i.e., every anti-Mueller conspiracy theory. And perhaps as ominously, Trump’s allies have been surfacing fallback defenses. Yes, “some conspiratorial quid pro quo between somebody in the Trump campaign and somebody representing Vladimir Putin” is “possible,” allowed Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins, but “we would be stupid not to understand that other countries have a stake in the outcome of our elections and, by omission or commission, try to advance their interests.

This is reality.” The notion of a criminal conspiracy by a hostile nation to intervene in the election in return for pliant foreign policy has gone from unthinkable to blasé, an offense only to naïve bourgeois morality.

It is almost a maxim of the Trump era that the bounds of the unthinkable continuously shrink.

The capitulation to Moore was a dry run for the coming assault on the rule of law.

By

*This article appears in the December 11, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.

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……….   the captain has turned on the seatbelt sign……………………W

 

………..

 

 

…Not a stand-up guy…

If you read about Louis C.K.’s actions, and if you understand and care about standup comedy, you might well be aghast. What he said and did was particularly manipulative, and particularly insidious.
Imagine yourself a female comic, talented but not yet successful, invited to the hotel room of Louis C.K., who is rightfully considered one of the best comics of all time.
He is cutting-edge — a man who, for example, managed to successfully deliver, on Saturday Night Live, a shtick that was at least ostensibly sympathetic to pedophiles. He did it because he knew how. He’s that good.So there you are, in his hotel room.
You are flattered to be there. Selfishly, perhaps, you think a friendship with Louis might provide a boost to your career.
And he looks you up and down and he says, deadpan, something like: “Do you mind if I take my clothes off and masturbate while looking at you?”
You laugh. Of course you laugh. It is funny. He is doing something sophisticated, from the standpoint of comedy, and is inviting you into a pretty rarefied club. He is making fun of romance by reducing the entire absurd mating dance to its most absurd, un-hypocritical center. Not, “Hey, can I buy you a drink?” Not, “Come here often?” The hell with all that. Let’s get down to the nakedly disgusting basics.That’s satire. That’s comedy.
So, yes, you laugh. This guy is edgy. Edge is good. Edge is the essence of the best comedy. And he seems to be honoring you by assuming you’ll get it.
Then he takes off his clothes.“Holy cow, this guy is really edgy.” See, you may well be extremely uncomfortable — who wouldn’t be? — but you also understand on some level that it’s the identical joke, but taken to a greater, edgier extreme. Edgy humor is supposed to make you uncomfortable. You think: This must be the way really great comics deal with each other: We are above niceties. We don’t have to pretend, among ourselves. We can tell it raw. And he is doing that, and he is doing that with you. He is respecting your talent. You are kind of grateful, maybe.
Then he … does it.Now where are you?This is why I really, really hate what Louis C.K. did to these women. He is taking advantage of their professional adulation of him, and of their ambition, and — more than anything else — of the professional comic’s endemic insecurity about their art, and manipulating them through the inherent ambiguity of humor. These women are comedians. He takes the thing they love and turns it against them.

So yeah, screw you, Louie.

========

Gene Weingarten on
This column is adapted from Gene’s Nov. 14 online chat introduction.

Below the Beltway

By Gene Weingarten

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group

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……………So Louis has been getting attaboys for his acknowledgement and admission of the facts….and I won’t be rooting for his comeback tour ………….but I am rooting for the scales to make obvious the significant differences ……….in this power/sex/abuser context………….. between a Louis C.K. …….a Senator Al Franken …………………………………………………….and a serial abuser/rapist the likes of Harvey Weinstein …………       …accountability is crucial ….no assault can remain buried….no victim still afraid to come forward………….. all of which is bizarrely held hostage by President Pussy Grabber remaining in the White House …………..but in the meantime ….not just abusers but their facilitators and faceless friends who helped as well ………..stop or be stopped……………..w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House…..

……. one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, Joe Bonamassa…

 

and if that’s not enough for now…..hope you don’t mind….🎶

….

…………

Published on Mar 22, 2013

Hailed worldwide as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, Joe Bonamassa has almost single-handedly redefined the blues-rock genre and brought it into the mainstream. He continues this role with his first-ever entirely acoustic concert, recorded at the venerable Vienna Opera House with a global ensemble put together by longtime creative partner Kevin Shirley. The 2CD/2DVD/B, comes out March 26, 2013 on Bonamassa’s label J&R Adventures.

Bonamassa — a predominantly electric guitar player — was ready for a complete departure from his usual projects. For years, he had been wowing audiences with his flagship acoustic song “Woke Up Dreaming,” which has become an iconic staple of his world tour and a fan favorite. Building on the popularity of this song, Bonamassa and producer Shirley set out to design an entirely new and intimate “unplugged” concert experience that they would then bring to seven lucky cities in Europe during summer 2012. They recorded the performance in Vienna— the “City of Music” — at the Vienna Opera House, a culturally iconic venue steeped in history and heritage, making it the perfect backdrop for this unprecedented show.

An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House features gorgeously textured music — 20 songs, filmed in HD and recorded in Dolby 5.1 — made with a wealth of rare, vintage, organic and “oddball” instruments. The DVD and Blu-ray will feature 90 minutes of extra footage, interviews and a making-of documentary. Highlights among the 20 songs include favorites that span Bonamassa’s career—”The Ballad of John Henry,” “Woke Up Dreaming,” “Ball Peen Hammer,” “Sloe Gin,” and “Mountain Time”—including many he doesn’t normally perform live, such as “Athens to Athens,” “Black Lung Heartache,” “Jelly Roll,” “Around The Bend,” “Jockey Full of Bourbon,” “Seagull,” and “Richmond.” Accompanying Bonamassa on the same stage once graced by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, and Haydn are: traditional Irish fiddler Gerry O’Connor, who also plays mandolin and banjo; Swedish multi-instrumentalist Mats Wester on the nyckelharpa, a keyed fiddle; Los Angeles-based keyboardist Arlan Schierbaum texturing the mix with celeste, accordions, toy pianos, and assorted “organic” instruments; and renowned Puerto Rican percussionist Lenny Castro, whose works spans genres and reads like a who’s who of artists, including the Rolling Stones, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Boz Scaggs, Toto, Steely Dan, Christopher Cross, Stevie Wonder, David Sanborn, Avenged Sevenfold, Little Feat, Tom Petty, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more.

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……..🎶………………..your welcome………..w……….► FREE ALBUM DOWNLOAD – http://goo.gl/9oI018

 

 

 

 

 

 

… One of….10 Hacks For Safer Cyber Citizenship…

Chances are cyber criminal already have all your personal data.

Defrag This

 Now is the time to up your game with this series of 10 Hacks for Safer Cyber Citizenship.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and it couldn’t come too soon.

……and flew by just like that……w

On the back of the announcement that 145.5 million people lost all of their personal data including social security numbers, birthdates and addresses thanks to Equifax, we all need to ratchet up our online security game.  So, this month, we’ll do a series of posts that will take you well down the path to being a cyber super guru.

Hack #1 Use the Force (of Math)

Mathematics is a crazy thing and some really simple knowledge can go a long way to improving your safety. There is this little trick of exponentials you can use to really improve your security. The power of exponents can best be explained by an old math trick.

Start the month by putting one penny in a piggy bank. Each day double yesterday’s contribution. On the second day you add 2¢, the third you add 4¢, etc.  After one week, you have a total savings of 32¢. Sounds boring and our simple minds would extrapolate that at this rate, we might have saved a few dollars after a month. But in fact, after 30 days you would have banked $2,684,354.56.

10-hacks-for-safer-cyber-citizenship.jpg

Now in reality, on the 29th you’d have to come up with over $1,300,000 to put in the piggy bank and you would need a pretty big piggy bank to pull this trick off.  But the trick shows the power of exponents and here we are only using an exponent of 2.

Now let’s apply this trick to passwords. If you use only numbers for a password you have an exponent of 10. Use the lower-case alphabet and you have an exponent of 26. And if you use symbols, numbers, upper and lower case alphabet characters, you have a much larger exponent. That is the math part.

Now for the computer part. You see, cybercriminals have tools that can generate guesses at a password really fast. The more complex your password, and the longer it is, the longer you would survive one of these password breakers. It is estimated that a 4-digit numeric PIN can be hacked by a computer in 22 milliseconds. A 6-character alphabetic password would only last 21 seconds. Using 6 characters that include symbols, numbers, upper and lower case letters raises that to 11 hours.

But hackers are patient and 11 hours isn’t very long for a computer.

Here is where the power of exponents come in.

Just add four more characters and it would take 91 millennia to hack your password.

That means, your 10-character password is un-hackable.

By KEVIN CONKLIN|

Oct 2017

Defrag This

| Read. Reflect. Reboot.

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………..Did you hear that?….He used the U Word!…….Un- FrigginHackable…..BaBoom!………w

145.5 million people lost all of their personal data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

..The death of Christianity …in the U.S….

…Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals……….so says Miguel De La Torre……..

Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence. The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered by the ambitions of Trumpish flimflammers who have sold their souls for expediency. No greater proof is needed of the death of Christianity than the rush to defend a child molester in order to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Evangelicals have constructed an exclusive interpretation which fuses and confuses white supremacy with salvation. Only those from the dominant culture, along with their supposed inferiors who with colonized minds embrace assimilation, can be saved. But their salvation damns Jesus. To save Jesus from those claiming to be his heirs, we must wrench him from the hands of those who use him as a façade from which to hide their phobias — their fear of blacks, their fear of the undocumented, their fear of Muslims, their fear of everything queer.

Evangelicalism has ceased to be a faith perspective rooted on Jesus the Christ and has become a political movement whose beliefs repudiate all Jesus advocated. A message of hate permeates their pronouncements, evident in sulphurous proclamations like the Nashville Statement, which elevates centuries of sexual dysfunctionalities since the days of Augustine by imposing them upon Holy Writ. They condemn as sin those who express love outside the evangelical anti-body straight jacket.

.Evangelicalism’s unholy marriage to the Prosperity Gospel justifies multi-millionaire bilkers wearing holy vestments made of sheep’s clothing who discovered being profiteers rather than prophets delivers an earthly security never promised by the One in whose name they slaughter those who are hungry, thirsty and naked, and the alien among them. Christianity at a profit is an abomination before all that is Holy. From their gilded pedestals erected in white centers of wealth and power, they gaslight all to believe they are the ones being persecuted because of their faith.

Evangelicalism’s embrace of a new age of ignorance, blames homosexuality for Harvey’s rage rather than considering the scientific consequences climate change has on the number of increasing storms of greater and greater ferocity. To ignore the damage caused to God’s creation so the few can profit in raping Mother Earth causes celebrations in the fiery pits of Gehenna.

Evangelicalism forsakes holding a sexual predator, an adulterer, a liar and a racistaccountable, instead serving as a shield  against those who question POTUS’ immorality because of some warped reincarnation of Cyrus. Laying holy hands upon the incarnation of the very vices Jesus condemned to advance a political agenda — instead of rebuking and chastising in loving prayer — has prostituted the gospel in exchange for the victory of a Supreme Court pick.

Evangelicalism either remained silent or actually supported Charlottesville goose steppers because they protect their white privilege with the doublespeak of preserving heritage, leading them to equate opponents of fascist movements with the purveyors of hatred. Jesus has yet recovered from the vomiting induced by the Christian defenders of torch-wielding white nationalists calling for “blood-and-soil.”

The Evangelicals’ Jesus is satanic, and those who hustle this demon are “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Cor. 11:13-15, NIV).

You might wonder if my condemnation is too harsh. It is not, for the Spirit of the Lord has convicted me to shout from the mountaintop how God’s precious children are being devoured by the hatred and bigotry of those who have positioned themselves as the voice of God in America.

As a young man, I walked down the sawdust aisle at a Southern Baptist church and gave my heart to Jesus. Besides offering my broken heart, I also gave my mind to understanding God, and my arm to procuring God’s call for justice. I have always considered myself to be an evangelical, but I can no longer allow my name to be tarnished by that political party masquerading as Christian. Like many women and men of good will who still struggle to believe, but not in the evangelical political agenda, I too no longer want or wish to be associated with an ideology responsible for tearing humanity apart. But if you, dear reader, still cling to a hate-mongering ideology, may I humbly suggest you get saved.

 |  NOVEMBER 2017

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………………..well….not the snappy ending I was rooting for………….but I did get this…… I realized I was weak on “Gehenna”…..so I Googled it and learned that it is a Biblical term that has been interpreted as analogous to the concept of “Hades“, “Hell” or “Purgatory“. ..ok….good enough….but the best part…… ….wait for it……”For other uses, see Gehenna (disambiguation).  Not to be confused with Gahanna, Ohio. ” ……………so I woke up in Gahanna……..feeling like hell…………….. it was only Ohio….   #Beelzebub

….and what about all those guys doing time in hell on a meat rap?……..w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….Hey Joe….

Joe Bonamassa – Live from The Royal Albert Hall 2009

…When moralizers get caught with their pants down…

…and this dirtbag could end up in the United States Senate……

When moralizers get caught with their pants down
Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally, in Fairhope, Ala., on Sept. 25. 

From the LATimes Editorial Board

OK, let’s get this straight. Roy Moore, the self-righteous, Bible-thumping Alabama Republican running for the U.S. Senate has been accused of having a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. Three other women said he pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his 30s. And who is Moore? A man who kept a gigantic monument of the Ten Commandments on his courthouse wall despite a judge’s order to remove it, and who has been a life-long public pontificator on behalf of traditional sexual morality. A rabble-rousing evangelical Christian who has condemned homosexuality, said that “the transgenders don’t have rights” and who has called the United States “a moral slum.”

Is there no commandment about hypocrisy? If not, there should be. Moore categorically denies the allegations, which were first reported by the Washington Post. And no one should be judged before all the evidence is in. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Yet we cannot be blamed if we feel we’ve seen this movie before. There has been no short supply, historically, of mendacious conservatives who sermonize about the way others live their lives, but fail to abide by the standards they so glibly set. David Vitter. Dennis Hastert. Larry Craig. Just last month, Rep. Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican who claimed to “stand for the dignity and value of all human life, both the born and the unborn” resigned from Congress after the local paper published text messages in which he urged his mistress to have an abortion. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Out of pure cynicism and political expediency, they deny truths about themselves and others, set rules (and pass laws!) that they personally can’t or won’t obey.

Does that make them worse than other run-of-the-mill sinners? In some ways, it does. Louis C.K., unacceptable as his behavior may have been, didn’t inveigh sanctimoniously against masturbation. Quite the contrary.

As the Moore story developed, we were reminded on Facebook of a quote from the late Christopher Hitchens, for whom the puncturing of smug pieties was a lifelong commitment: “Whenever I hear some bigmouth in Washington or the Christian heartland banging on about the evils of sodomy or whatever, I mentally enter his name in my notebook and contentedly set my watch. Sooner, rather than later, he will be discovered down on his weary and well-worn old knees in some dreary motel or latrine, with an expired Visa card, having tried to pay well over the odds to be peed upon….”

One of our colleagues on the editorial board begs to differ with all this. The “hypocrisy” argument, he has written, is “an exaggerated evil.” He argues: “I’d want a legislator to vote for tough penalties against, say, kidnapping, even if he was incubating a plan to kidnap someone during the election recess.” Plus, he notes, some public figures see their duty as reflecting their constituents’ preferences, not their own — so maybe they’re not required to walk the walk. At the end of the day, he says, it’s not the hypocrisy that matters, but the underlying behavior that exposes it.

But the hypocrisy does matter. Fire-breathing preachers and members of Congress and other complacent moralizers ought to live the lives they insist others must live, or at the very least, be transparent about their inability to do so.

While it is true that few of us live up to standards every day of behavior we endorse in the abstract, most of us don’t set the rules for others or make broad pronouncements about whose chosen lifestyles are acceptable or legal.

Given the number of people who spoke on the record about Moore in the Washington Post, this is not a story that will — or should — go away just because Moore has issued a categorical denial. Even in the absence of any criminal charges, he should make himself available for a detailed interview about the specific allegations. Did he know these women and girls? What was his interaction with them? If he is not willing to address or refute their recollections, he should get out of the race.

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………..we don’t often get an opportunity to put down an old dog like this……..shouldn’t be wasted…………………..w

 

…… American Gun Sickness…….

Pistols for sale at Target Masters, an indoor shooting center, in Garland, Texas on March 3.
Cooper Neill for The Washington Post via Getty Images

America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries  in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms.

These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.

1) America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany

Javier Zarracina/Vox

This chart, compiled using United Nations data collected by Simon Rogers for the Guardian, shows that America far and away leads other developed countries when it comes to gun-related homicides. Why? Extensive reviews of the research by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center suggest the answer is pretty simple: The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.

2) America has 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world

Javier Zarracina/Vox

3) There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook

Soo Oh/Vox

In December 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since then, there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings, with at least 1,715 people killed and 6,089 wounded as of October 2017.

The counts come via the Gun Violence Archive, which has hosted a database that tracks mass shootings since 2013. But since some shootings go unreported, the database is likely missing some, as well as the details of some of the events.

The tracker uses a fairly broad definition of “mass shooting”: It includes not just shootings in which four or more people were murdered, but shootings in which four or more people were shot at all (excluding the shooter).

Even under this broad definition, it’s worth noting that mass shootings make up a tiny portion of America’s firearm deaths, which totaled more than 33,000 in 2014.

4) On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America

Christopher Ingraham/Washington Post

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, supporters of gun rights often argue that it’s inappropriate to bring up political debates about gun control in the aftermath of a tragedy. For example, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a strong supporter of gun rights, criticized former President Barack Obama for “trying to score cheap political points” when Obama mentioned gun control after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

But if this argument is followed to its logical end, then it will never be the right time to discuss mass shootings, as Christopher Ingraham pointed out at the Washington Post. Under the broader definition of mass shootings, America has nearly one mass shooting a day. So if lawmakers are forced to wait for a time when there isn’t a mass shooting to talk gun control, they could find themselves waiting for a very long time.

5) States with more guns have more gun deaths

Mother Jones

Using data from a study in Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mother Jones put together the chart above that shows states with more guns tend to have far more gun deaths. And it’s not just one study. “Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide,” David Hemenway, the Harvard Injury Control Research Center’s director, wrote in Private Guns, Public Health.

Read more in Mother Jones’s “10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down.”

6) It’s not just the US: Developed countries with more guns also have more gun deaths

Josh Tewksbury

7) States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths

Zara Matheson/Martin Prosperity Institute

When economist Richard Florida took a look at gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths. (Read more at Florida’s “The Geography of Gun Deaths.”)

This is backed by other research: A 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiologic Reviews, found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence — a strong indicator that restricting access to guns can save lives.

8) Still, gun homicides (like all homicides) have declined over the past couple decades

The good news is that all firearm homicides, like all homicides and crime, have declined over the past two decades. (Although that may have changed in 2015 and 2016, with a recent rise in murders nationwide.)

There’s still a lot of debate among criminal justice experts about why this crime drop is occurring — some of the most credible ideas include mass incarceration, more and better policing, and reduced lead exposure from gasoline. But one theory that researchers have widely debunked is the idea that more guns have deterred crime — in fact, the opposite may be true, based on research compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Center.

9) Most gun deaths are suicides

Although America’s political debate about guns tends to focus on grisly mass shootings and murders, a majority of gun-related deaths in the US are suicides. As Dylan Matthews explained for Vox, this is actually one of the most compelling reasons for reducing access to guns — there is a lot of research that shows greater access to guns dramatically increases the risk of suicide.

10) The states with the most guns report the most suicides

11) Guns allow people to kill themselves much more easily

Estelle Caswell/Vox

Perhaps the reason access to guns so strongly contributes to suicides is that guns are much deadlier than alternatives like cutting and poison.

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, previously explained that this is why reducing access to guns can be so important to preventing suicides: Just stalling an attempt or making it less likely to result in death makes a huge difference.

“Time is really key to preventing suicide in a suicidal person,” Harkavy-Friedman said. “First, the crisis won’t last, so it will seem less dire and less hopeless with time. Second, it opens the opportunity for someone to help or for the suicidal person to reach out to someone to help. That’s why limiting access to lethal means is so powerful.”

She added, “[I]f we keep the method of suicide away from a person when they consider it, in that moment they will not switch to another method. It doesn’t mean they never will. But in that moment, their thinking is very inflexible and rigid. So it’s not like they say, ‘Oh, this isn’t going to work. I’m going to try something else.’ They generally can’t adjust their thinking, and they don’t switch methods.”

12) Programs that limit access to guns have decreased suicides

Estelle Caswell/Vox

When countries reduced access to guns, they saw a drop in the number of firearm suicides. The data above, taken from a study by Australian researchers, shows that suicides dropped dramatically after the Australian government set up a gun buyback program that reduced the number of firearms in the country by about one-fifth.

The Australian study found that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people correlated with up to a 50 percent drop in firearm homicides, and a 74 percent drop in gun suicides. As Dylan Matthews noted for Vox, the drop in homicides wasn’t statistically significant. But the drop in suicides most definitely was — and the results are striking.

Australia is far from alone in these types of results. A study from Israeli researchers found that suicides among Israeli soldiers dropped by 40 percent — particularly on weekends — when the military stopped letting soldiers take their guns home over the weekend.

This data and research have a clear message: States and countries can significantly reduce the number of suicides by restricting access to guns.

13) Since the shooting of Michael Brown, police have killed at least 2,900 people

Soo Oh/Vox

Since police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, police have killed at least 2,902 people as of May 2017.

Fatal Encounters, a nonprofit, has tracked these killings by collecting reports from the media, public, and law enforcement and verifying them through news reports. Some of the data is incomplete, with details about a victim’s race, age, and other factors sometimes missing. It also includes killings that were potentially legally justified, and is likely missing some killings entirely.

A huge majority of the 1,112 deaths on the map are from gunshots, which is hardly surprising given that guns are so deadly compared with other tools used by police. There are also noticeable numbers of fatalities from vehicle crashes, stun guns, and asphyxiations. In some cases, people died from stab wounds, medical emergencies, and what’s called “suicide by cop,” when people kill themselves by baiting a police officer into using deadly force.

14) In states with more guns, more police officers are also killed on duty

Given that states with more guns tend to have more homicides, it isn’t too surprising that, as a study in the American Journal of Public Health found, states with more guns also have more cops die in the line of duty.

Researchers looked at federal data for firearm ownership and homicides of police officers across the US over 15 years. They found that states with more gun ownership had more cops killed in homicides: Every 10 percent increase in firearm ownership correlated with 10 additional officers killed in homicides over the 15-year study period.

The findings could help explain why US police officers appear to kill more people than cops in other developed countries. For US police officers, the higher rates of guns and gun violence — even against them — in America mean they not only will encounter more guns and violence, but they can expect to encounter more guns and deadly violence, making them more likely to anticipate and perceive a threat and use deadly force as a result.

15) Support for gun ownership has sharply increased since the early ’90s

Over the past 20 years, Americans have clearly shifted from supporting gun control measures to greater support of “protecting the right of Americans to own guns,” according to Pew Research Center surveys. This shift has happened even as major mass shootings, such as the attacks on Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School, have received more press attention.

16) High-profile shootings don’t appear to lead to more support for gun control

Although mass shootings are often viewed as some of the worst acts of gun violence, they seem to have little effect on public opinion about gun rights, based on surveysfrom the Pew Research Center. That helps explain why Americans’ support for the right to own guns appears to be rising over the past 20 years even as more of these mass shootings make it to the news.

17) But specific gun control policies are fairly popular

Although Americans say they want to protect the right to bear arms, they’re very much supportive of many gun policy proposals — including some fairly contentious ideas, such as more background checks on private and gun show sales and banning semi-automatic and assault-style weapons, according to Pew Research Center surveys.

This type of contradiction isn’t exclusive to gun policy issues. For example, although most Americans in the past said they don’t like Obamacare, most of them also said they like the specific policies in the health-care law. Americans just don’t like some policy ideas until you get specific.

For people who believe the empirical evidence that more guns mean more violence, this contradiction is the source of a lot of frustration. Americans by and large support policies that reduce access to guns. But once these policies are proposed, they’re broadly spun by politicians and pundits into attempts to “take away your guns.” So nothing gets done, and preventable deaths keep occurring.

by

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NOT NORMAL not normal…Bang…………….bang bang….NOT Normal NOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NORMAL…………….bang bang bang….NOT Normal NOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NORMAL…………….bang bang bang bang….NOT Normal NOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT NormalNOT Normal NOT NOT NOT…..

w

Aggravated Aggregator Chews The News

 

….GOP Economics….Passing the Turd …By The Clean End……

…..you enter a room …looking for the mark……you can’t find the mark…………you are the mark!…….

Workers picket the New York State Capitol in Albany for a raise in the minimum wage in 1963.
Bettmann / Getty
In a rich, post-industrial society, where most people walk around with supercomputers in their pockets and a person can have virtually anything delivered to his or her doorstep overnight, it seems wrong that people who work should have to live in poverty. Yet in America, there are more than ten million members of the working poor: people in the workforce whose household income is below the poverty line. Looking around, it isn’t hard to understand why.
The two most common occupations in the United States are retail salesperson and cashier. Eight million people have one of those two jobs, which typically pay about $9–$10 per hour. It’s hard to make ends meet on such meager wages.
A few years ago, McDonald’s was embarrassed by the revelation that its internal help line was recommending that even a full-time restaurant employee apply for various forms of public assistance.Poverty in the midst of plenty exists because many working people simply don’t make very much money. This is possible because the minimum wage that businesses must pay is low: only $7.25 per hour in the United States in 2016 (although it is higher in some states and cities).
At that rate, a person working full-time for a whole year, with no vacations or holidays, earns about $15,000—which is below the poverty line for a family of two, let alone a family of four. A minimum-wage employee is poor enough to qualify for food stamps and, in most states, Medicaid.
Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum is roughly the same as in the 1960s and 1970s, despite significant increases in average living standards over that period.
The United States currently has the lowest minimum wage, as a proportion of its average wage, of any advanced economy, contributing to today’s soaring levels of inequality. At first glance, it seems that raising the minimum wage would be a good way to combat poverty.
 
The argument against increasing the minimum wage often relies on what I call “economism”—the misleading application of basic lessons from Economics 101 to real-world problems, creating the illusion of consensus and reducing a complex topic to a simple, open-and-shut case.
According to economism, a pair of supply and demand curves proves that a minimum wage increases unemployment and hurts exactly the low-wage workers it is supposed to help.
The argument goes like this: Low-skilled labor is bought and sold in a market, just like any good or service, and its price should be set by supply and demand.
A minimum wage, however, upsets this happy equilibrium because it sets a price floor in the market for labor. If it is below the natural wage rate, then nothing changes. But if the minimum (say, $7.25 an hour) is above the natural wage (say, $6 per hour), it distorts the market.
More people want jobs at $7.25 than at $6, but companies want to hire fewer employees. The result: more unemployment.
The people who are still employed are better off, because they are being paid more for the same work; their gain is exactly balanced by their employers’ loss. But society as a whole is worse off, as transactions that would have benefited both buyers and suppliers of labor will not occur because of the minimum wage. These are jobs that someone would have been willing to do for less than $6 per hour and for which some company would have been willing to pay more than $6 per hour.
Now those jobs are gone, as well as the goods and services that they would have produced.
 
The minimum wage has been a hobgoblin of economism since its origins.
Henry Hazlitt wrote in Economics in One Lesson, “For a low wage you substitute unemployment. You do harm all around, with no comparable compensation.”
In Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman patronizingly described the minimum wage as “about as clear a case as one can find of a measure the effects of which are precisely the opposite of those intended by the men of good will who support it.” Because employers will not pay people more money than their work is worth, he continued, “insofar as minimum-wage laws have any effect at all, their effect is clearly to increase poverty.”
Jude Wanniski similarly concluded in The Way the World Works, “Every increase in the minimum wage induces a decline in real output and a decline in employment.”
On the campaign trail in 1980, Ronald Reagan said, “The minimum wage has caused more misery and unemployment than anything since the Great Depression.” Think tanks including Cato, Heritage, and the Manhattan Institute have reliably attacked the minimum wage for decades, all the while emphasizing the key lesson from Economics 101: Higher wages cause employers to cut jobs.In today’s environment of increasing economic inequality, the minimum wage is a centerpiece of political debate.
California, New York City, and Seattle are all raising their minimums to $15, and President Barack Obama called for a federal minimum of $10.10.
An army of commentators has responded by reminding us of what we should have learned in Economics 101. In The Wall Street Journal, the economist Richard Vedder explained, “If the price of something rises, people buy less of it—including labor. Thus governmental interferences such as minimum-wage laws lower the quantity of labor demanded.”
Writing for Forbes, Tim Worstall offered a mathematical proof: “A reduction in wage costs of some few thousand dollars increases employment. Obviously therefore a rise in wage costs of four or five times that is going to have significant unemployment effects.
QED: A $15 minimum wage is going to destroy many jobs.” (Of theoretical arguments in favor of a higher minimum wage, he continued, “I’m afraid I really just don’t believe those arguments.”)
Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute and National Review chimed in, “A minimum wage is no different from a tax on firms that use low-wage and unskilled labor. And if there’s anything that economists agree upon, it’s that if you tax something you get less of it.”

The real impact of the minimum wage, however, is much less clear than these talking points might indicate. Looking at historical experience, there is no obvious relationship between the minimum wage and unemployment: adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum was highest from 1967 through 1969, when the unemployment rate was below 4 percent—a historically low level. When economists try to tackle this question, they come up with all sorts of results.

In 1994, David Card and Alan Krueger evaluated an increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage by comparing fast-food restaurants on both sides of the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. They concluded, “Contrary to the central prediction of the textbook model … we find no evidence that the rise in New Jersey’s minimum wage reduced employment at fast-food restaurants in the state.”

Card and Krueger’s findings have been vigorously contested across dozens of empirical studies. Today, people on both sides of the debate can cite papers supporting their position, and reviews of the academic research disagree on what conclusions to draw.

David Neumark and William Wascher, economists who have long argued against the minimum wage, reviewed more than one hundred empirical papers in 2006. Although the studies had a wide range of results, they concluded that the “preponderance of the evidence” indicated that a higher minimum wage does increase unemployment.

On the other hand, two recent meta-studies (which pool together the results of multiple analyses) have found that increasing the minimum wage does not have a significant impact on employment. In the past several years, a new round of sophisticated analysescomparing changes in employment levels between neighboring counties also found “strong earnings effects and no employment effects of minimum wage increases.” (That is, the number of jobs stays the same and workers make more money.)

Not surprisingly, Neumark and Wascher have contested this approach. The profession as a whole is divided on the topic: When the University of Chicago Booth School of Business asked a panel of prominent economists in 2013 whether increasing the minimum wage to $9 would “make it noticeably harder for low-skilled workers to find employment,” the responses were split down the middle.

The idea that a higher minimum wage might not increase unemployment runs directly counter to the lessons of Economics 101.

According to the textbook, if labor becomes more expensive, companies buy less of it. But there are several reasons why the real world does not behave so predictably. Although the standard model predicts that employers will replace workers with machines if wages increase, additional labor-saving technologies are not available to every company at a reasonable cost. Small employers in particular have limited flexibility; at their scale, they may not be able to maintain their operations with fewer workers. (Imagine a local copy shop: No matter how fast the copy machine is, there still needs to be one person to deal with customers.) Therefore, some companies can’t lay off employees if the minimum wage is increased.

At the other extreme, very large employers may have enough market power that the usual supply-and-demand model doesn’t apply to them. They can reduce the wage level by hiring fewer workers (only those willing to work for low pay), just as a monopolist can boost prices by cutting production (think of an oil cartel, for example). A minimum wage forces them to pay more, which eliminates the incentive to minimize their workforce.

In the above examples, a higher minimum wage will raise labor costs. But many companies can recoup cost increases in the form of higher prices; because most of their customers are not poor, the net effect is to transfer money from higher-income to lower-income families. In addition, companies that pay more often benefit from higher employee productivity, offsetting the growth in labor costs.

Justin Wolfers and Jan Zilinsky identified several reasons why higher wages boost productivity: They motivate people to work harder, they attract higher-skilled workers, and they reduce employee turnover, lowering hiring and training costs, among other things. If fewer people quit their jobs, that also reduces the number of people who are out of work at any one time because they’re looking for something better. A higher minimum wage motivates more people to enter the labor force, raising both employment and output.

Finally, higher pay increases workers’ buying power. Because poor people spend a relatively large proportion of their income, a higher minimum wage can boost overall economic activity and stimulate economic growth, creating more jobs. All of these factors vastly complicate the two-dimensional diagram taught in Economics 101 and help explain why a higher minimum wage does not necessarily throw people out of work. The supply-and-demand diagram is a good conceptual starting point for thinking about the minimum wage. But on its own, it has limited predictive value in the much more complex real world.

Even if a higher minimum wage does cause some people to lose their jobs, that cost has to be balanced against the benefit of greater earnings for other low-income workers.
A study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that a $10.10 minimum would reduce employment by 500,000 jobs but would increase incomes for most poor families, moving 900,000 people above the poverty line.
Similarly, a recent paper by the economist Arindrajit Dube finds that a 10 percent raise in the minimum wage should reduce the number of families living in poverty by around 2 percent to 3 percent.
The economists polled in the 2013 Chicago Booth study thought that increasing the minimum wage would be a good idea because its potential impact on employment would be outweighed by the benefits to people who were still able to find jobs. Raising the minimum wage would also reduce inequality by narrowing the pay gap between low-income and higher-income workers.
In short, whether the minimum wage should be increased (or eliminated) is a complicated question. The economic research is difficult to parse, and arguments often turn on sophisticated econometric details.
Any change in the minimum wage would have different effects on different groups of people, and should also be compared with other policies that could help the working poor—such as the negative income tax (a cash grant to low-income households, similar to today’s Earned Income Tax Credit) favored by Milton Friedman, or the guaranteed minimum income that Friedrich Hayek assumed would exist.

Nevertheless, when the topic reaches the national stage, it is economism’s facile punch line that gets delivered, along with its all-purpose dismissal: people who want a higher minimum wage just don’t understand economics (although, by that standard, several Nobel Prize winners don’t understand economics). Many leading political figures largely repeat the central theses of economism, claiming that they have only the best interests of the poor at heart.

This conviction that the minimum wage hurts the poor is an example of economism in action.

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Senator Marco Rubio opposed increasing the minimum wage because companies would then substitute capital for labor: “I’m worried about the people whose wage is going to go down to zero because you’ve made them more expensive than a machine.”

Senator Ted Cruz also chimed in on behalf of the poor, saying, “the minimum wage consistently hurts the most vulnerable.”

Senator Rand Paul explained, “when the [minimum wage] is above the market wage it causes unemployment” because it reduces the number of employees whom companies can afford to hire.

The former governor Jeb Bush also invoked Economics 101, saying that wages should be left “to the private sector,” meaning companies like Walmart, which “raised wages because of supply and demand.”

For Congressman Paul Ryan, raising the minimum wage is “bad economics” and “will hurt the economy because it raises the price of labor.”

This conviction that the minimum wage hurts the poor is an example of economism in action. Economists have many different opinions on the subject, based on different theories and research studies, but when it comes to public debate, one particular result of one particular model is presented as an unassailable economic theorem. (Politicians advocating for a higher minimum wage, by contrast, tend to avoid economic models altogether, instead arguing in terms of fairness or helping the poor.) This happens partly because the competitive market model taught in introductory economics classes is simple, clear, and memorable. But it also happens because there is a large interest group that wants to keep the minimum wage low: businesses that rely heavily on cheap labor.

The restaurant industry has been a major force behind the advertising and public relations campaigns opposing the minimum wage, including many of the op-ed articles repeating the basic lesson of supply and demand.
For example, Andy Puzder, the CEO of a restaurant company (and President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Labor Department), explained in The Wall Street Journal, “Every retailer has locations that are profitable, but only marginally. Increased labor costs can push these stores over the line and into the loss column. When that happens, companies that want to stay competitive will close them.” As a result, “broad increases in the minimum wage destroy jobs and hurt the working-class Americans that they are supposed to help.”
A recent study by researchers at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, however, found that higher minimum wages have not affected either the number of restaurants or the number of people that they employ, contrary to the industry’s dire predictions, while they have modestly increased workers’ pay. Because restaurant closings do not seem to increase, the implication is that paying employees more cuts into excess profits—profits beyond those necessary to stay in business.
Or, as the financial commentator Barry Ritholtz put it, “raising the minimum wage works as a wealth transfer, from shareholders and franchisees, to minimum wage workers.”
But instead of greedily demanding higher profits, industry executives can invoke Economics 101, which provides a simple explanation of the world that serves their interests.
 
The fact that this is the debate already demonstrates the historical influence of economism. Once upon a time, the major issue affecting workers’ wages and income inequality was unionization.
In the 1950s, about one in every three wage and salary employees was a union member. Unions, of course, were an early and frequent target of economism. Hayek argued that unions are bad both for workers, because “they cannot in the long run increase real wages for all wishing to work above the level that would establish itself in a free market,” and for society as a whole, because “by establishing effective monopolies in the supply of the different kinds of labor, the unions will prevent competition from acting as an effective regulator of the allocation of all resources.”
For Friedman, unions “harmed the public at large and workers as a whole by distorting the use of labor” while increasing inequality even within the working class. The changing composition of the U.S. workforce, state right-to-work laws, and aggressive anti-unionization tactics by employers—increasingly tolerated by the National Labor Relations Board, beginning with the Reagan administration—all contributed to a long, slow fall in unionization levels.
By 2015, only 12 percent of wage and salary employees were union members—fewer than 7 percent in the private sector. Low- and middle-income workers’ reduced bargaining power is a major reason why their wages have not kept pace with the overall growth of the economy.
According to an analysis by the sociologists Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld, one-fifth to one-third of the increase in inequality between 1973 and 2007 results from the decline of unions.
With unions only a distant memory for many people, federal minimum-wage legislation has become the best hope for propping up wages for low-income workers.
And again, the worldview of economism comes to the aid of employers by abstracting away from the reality of low-wage work to a pristine world ruled by the “law” of supply and demand.

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