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An adequate measure, or a slide down the slippery slope? Feb. 22nd, 2017 @ 10:49 am
Germany leads fightback against fake news

The article cites a Breitbart "report" about a fictitious mob attack on a German church that never happened. And there's of course Trump's claims about an incident in Sweden that didn't happen when he said it did (well, something did happen a couple days later, but that's an entirely different story).

The point here is about fake news, and deliberate lies in the media that are designed to serve an agenda. As the job of the paid Internet troll and fake news creator has flourished in recent times, I expect another job, that of the impartial (?) fact-checker to take its due place on the scene as well.

As for Germany, the bigger problem there might not be so much the amount of BS conveyed via Facebook, but more the (self?)-censorship in the main news outlets when it comes to reporting on issues that directly affect society, but are outside that imaginary (and arbitrary?) line of acceptable, politically correct subjects. Ignoring those topics is not helping tackle the important issues of the day in any way, it just sweeps them under the rug and postpones the process of addressing them to a later point in time, thus potentially making them worse (the migration topic is a fine example there). Fake news are spreading because the media is losing credibility, fast.

There's an argument that freedom of speech must include the freedom to "lie." For one man's "lies" are another man's truths. If you disagree with a claim that is made, you are free to challenge and debate it in the open, thereby exercising one's own freedom of speech as well. But silencing and censoring "lies" is a very slippery slope. Indeed, who decides what is a lie and what is not? This comes dangerously close to thought policing.

On the other hand, lies are lies and fake news is fake news and in the case of invented facts, it's all a lie and fake news, period. Truth does not come in the form of a multiple choice answer. Interpretation of the facts, on the other hand...

So what say you? Where do you stand on this?

Of light-lines, and smartphone zombies Feb. 21st, 2017 @ 01:38 pm
A very ingenious invention that would possibly prevent lots of traffic accidents involving pedestrians immersed in their own parallel words, a.k.a. smartphone activities:

Really tells a lot about our modern culture, doesn't it? Some'd argue the general gene pool just too a major hit LOL.

Next up: they'll make an app that would make the signal color appear on the phones themselves. Or a signal sent to the smartphone that turns it off.

Or maybe a Pokemon-shaped traffic warden giving directions amidst heavy traffic. Perhaps that would attract the attention of everybody on the road.

Not that this innovation tackles the real problem in any way, namely bad drivers. Or conversely, idiot pedestrians.

That thing that happened in Sweden Feb. 20th, 2017 @ 12:09 am
After the terrible events #lastnightinSweden, IKEA have sold out of this:

As for the terrible event in Sweden? Well, a popular Swedish singer had technical problems during a music competition.

That's indeed terrible. And apparently warrants a mention by he Liar In Chief. Thank goodness he's here to inform us all about things that never happened!

My guess is, at some point Trump will run out of countries, religions, actors, politicians, media outlets, business leaders, appointees, advisors, and hired staffers to fault and blame for his failures, and the only people left to criticize will be the people who elected him.

When that time comes it will become clear that only they were ever the problem.

And he actually passes for one of the smarter players Feb. 19th, 2017 @ 12:04 am
While we're still on the War on Reason topic...

Kyrie Irving believes the Earth is flat

"This is not even a conspiracy theory," Irving said during the podcast. "The Earth is flat. What I've been taught is that the earth is round. But if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that, can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what's going on with these planets?"

"I just found that out," Irving said while laughing. "I think people should do their own research, man. Then hopefully they will either back my belief or they will throw it in the water."

Astonishing. And he spent at least an hour or two inside a Duke University lecture hall. Actually, grade school should have taken care of this. Maybe the problem is the flat world map on the wall, instead of a round globe spinning on the teacher's desk? Do teachers still keep a globe on the desk?

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The dream workplace Feb. 18th, 2017 @ 12:07 am
We have all heard about Google's awesome work conditions. Hey, there was even this recent piece of news about Google employees quitting because they were being given too much money (what?!)

But I think the most amazing thing about them is the offices they work in. Those places are organised in a way to inspire creativity. The laid-back atmosphere, the innovative designs, everything. How could you not love that? Just look at some examples...

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The Shambling Mound's Fourth Week Feb. 18th, 2017 @ 10:42 am
One must admire, if only from an aesthetic level, the sheer chutzpah of Lord Dampnut who holds press conference to claim "I turn on the TV, open the newspapers, and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine." Ahhh, Lord Dampnut. The art of the double-down, where reality can be altered by sheer will power and bluster.

How did this "fine-tuned machine" operate this week? Well, the National Security adviser Michael Flynn resigned after providing "incomplete information" to the administration about the degree that he discussed sanctions against Russia to their ambassador. The sanction had been put in place under the Obama administration after Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement in the separatist conflict in Ukraine. Watch this space, as reports are coming in that Lord Dampnut's election team had contacts with Russian intelligence for a year prior to the election.

Further, Trumps new nominee for the position, Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward has turned down the offer - and to think that General David Petraeus has been considered, a person convicted of giving out classified information to his biographer, with whom he was having an affair.

Another resignation of sorts was Lord Dampnut's nominee for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, dropping out of the nomination. Puzder apparently wasn't keen on having disinvest from some two hundred companies and funds that would have constituted a conflict of interest if he had taken up the role - among several other issues (including opposition to minimum wages). Apparently some smart Republican senators were having second thoughts about the nomination.

Well, if this fourth week is indication of a "fine-tuned machine", let's hope that nothing serious goes wrong, eh?

Friday fun. How to annoy Europeans with one sentence? Feb. 17th, 2017 @ 10:18 am

What about the various US states? Got any ideas? =)

So the tango begins again Feb. 16th, 2017 @ 11:00 am
Trump: Crimea was 'taken' by Russia

'We don't return our territories' Russia responds to US call to return Crimea to Ukraine

See, Trump is the perfect bluffer. Don't you ever sit on a poker table with him, ever.

While the US and global progressive community, Apple, Microsoft, Google et al are hurling criticism at him because of his ridiculously arbitrary travel ban, another piece of news went almost unnoticed: he's planning a colossal expansion of the US navy.

The number of warships will increase from 272 to 355. One more carrier will be built, 16 other large war ships, 18 submarines and many more lesser vessels. The purpose is to deploy all of this into the Pacific. Not Russia, not Iran. The Pacific. Russia has one crappy carrier, and Iran has 7 meager U-boats, 3 frigates and 2 corvettes. Getting worked up about those is just bullshit.

No, the real target is China. The Pivot to Asia. Everything beyond that is pure bluffing. Flynn, the Crimea debacle, the NATO funding - all those are just noises in the system. Trump likes to create a chaos and do his thing amidst it. And his thing now is China. But he may've done his calculations wrong. China is not Iraq or Libya. It's where the plan for US dominance will find its grave.

And no, any illusions that he's truly "anti-establishment", are deluded. He's part of the One-Party state that has ruled the US for eternity: the Party of War.

Re: Flynn resignation Feb. 15th, 2017 @ 12:04 am
Other than Trump looking for distractions and liking to "fire" subordinates more than anything else to judge from his tenure on The Apprentice, it made no sense to fire Yates over refusing to defend Trump's executive order temporarily barring refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries - an action that had been challenged in court. Why? Because, that's the job of the Solicitor General. Pending Sessions' approval as AG, Trump had it well within his power to appoint a temporary advocate dedicated to prosecuting his flawed constitutional interpretation of an EO overriding the establishment's clause. But, firing Yates after she had warned the administration about Flynn's possibly traitorous behavior exposing agents in place to certain death at the hands of Putin? That's a coverup on the way to high treason.

Another bad thing about this is that when all the dirt comes fully out, and if Trump is gotten rid of, one way or another, the US is still stuck with Republicans. Especially a Torquemada-like Vice President, an experienced politician who would smoothly push his poisonous agenda. If this were England, you guys could have new elections and finally get the first female president. Or something even better.

On the other hand, even a Torquemada for prez is still better than the Orange Fuhrer with his freakishly small fingers on the nuclear button...

The least among several evils, duh?

The balkanization of Europe Feb. 14th, 2017 @ 02:22 pm
Exactly a quarter of a century ago, in a small Dutch town called Maastricht, the European community was renamed to the European Union. The beginning of this union became a tale that everyone kept telling their kids as an example of economic and political success. But the downsides of that success that few people used to talk about until recently, which remained largely ignored for the last quarter of a century, are now threatening the future of the union more and more.

In the first years after Maastricht, these flaws might have been too difficult to spot, granted. But they remained there to linger, never to be addressed, and it took a lot of time for them to come to the surface and start threatening the unity of the union in a noticeable way. That time has come now.

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The new Soros, OMG! Feb. 13th, 2017 @ 02:04 pm
The hybrid-warfare alternative-fact post-truth propaganda outlets are at it again.

Breitbart, obviously...

Seven Ways Obama Is Trying to Sabotage the Trump Administration

Sperry: Obama Organizing Violent Anti-Trump Protesters Just Miles from White House

So let me see if I'm getting this right. Obama, who's been vacationing since the day he stepped down from office, and is having some pretty good time away from everything (and well earned, might I add), is somehow secretly plotting to overthrow America's lawfully elected president. Right?

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The Shambling Mound's Third Week Feb. 12th, 2017 @ 12:06 pm
Under the continuing rule of the orange-haired monster, Lord Dampnut, the most important local council in the global village, continues to lurch from one "yuge" problem to the next. Some commentators have finally noticed what is an intrinsic problem regardless of the political decisions themselves; that Lord Dampnut is not used to the idea of running a country which is built the checks and balances of a separation of powers and a rule of law. He is far more familiar with the sort of rule where he makes all the decisions and everyone follows those decisions.

As a result, Lord Dampnut is finding himself in the unenviable position of coming into increasing conflict with the internal legal system, whilst backing off on belligerence towards international powers. The big event of the week of course was the decision of the appeals court to uphold the suspension of the travel ban on selective group of Muslim-majority countries. True to his style, Lord Dampnut angrily treated "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!". The recursive irony of telling an appeals court that they will be taken to court has not been lost. Yo dawg, I hear you like courts, & etc.

Security, the main excuse for the travel ban, is of course an especially selective issue with Lord Dampnut, as reliable sources suggested that only Islamic fundamentalists will be an issue. Neo-nazi terrorists will not, apparently, be a problem. Well, why should they? After all, people with similar ideologies are now the people in charge of operations.

In further selective choices, Lord Dampnut's nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos was elected to the Senate. Requiring a historic tie-breaker vote, DeVos is a long-standing campaigner against public education (an area in which she has no experience). One fairly suspects that familial connections will encourage an "Amway" education system.

Attracting quite a bit of media attention in the week, was the events following department store Nordstrom dropping Ivanka Trump's line of clothing items. Lord Dampnut complained using the POTUS twitter account and the following day Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway continued the issue directly promoting Ivanka's items. The Federal ethics rules prohibit executive branch employees from using their positions to endorse products, and complaints have been lodged with the Office of Government Ethics.

We have a word for when business and government interests coincide, don't we?
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News as it could've been: The Ali Baba plan Feb. 11th, 2017 @ 12:07 am
TRUMP TOWER, New York -- U.S. President *GASP* Donald Trump met yesterday with Ali Baba, an Arabian entrepreneur, who vowed to bring one million "e-commerce" jobs to America.

Mr Baba said he knew of a thieves' den that could be entered by simply uttering a "secret phrase" (if only he could remember it). Inside the den, Mr Baba said, there are tons of bags of gold coins that would cover the new jobs, with many bags left over for other national purposes, such as rebuilding the Navy while cutting business taxes in half. Oh, and that Wall of course.

Speaking from their own den, Democrats on Capitol Hill protested that federal job training would have to be set up first, along with a vast new entitlement program for anyone displaced by the changes.

Mr Trump has promised to implement the plan in the first 1001 nights of his Presidency.

The jobs proposal would have to go through the Senate Commerce Committee first of course, shown here authoring some "earmarks"...

Friday offtopic. Thought-provoking stuff. Feb. 10th, 2017 @ 03:53 pm

What does it mean to be an individualist? What is society? Where is society headed? Renown Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski raises these and other questions in his paintings. His fascinating illustrations are gaining a lot of popularity. They depict the very essence of the issues of the modern world.

He's got a distinct painting style that's unique for him. He says he first considers every idea very thoroughly in attempt to load every image with as much meaning as possible.

Here are a few examples. The combination of humor and provocation raises a ton of inconvenient questions about the world we live in.

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The psycho-in-chief Feb. 9th, 2017 @ 04:03 pm
Leaks Suggest Trump’s Own Team Is Alarmed By His Conduct

"...A brooding commander in chief, wandering the White House alone in a bathrobe at night, watching too much cable television and venting his frustrations through angry tweets."

I know this sounds a bit too desperate from some people, but these are shaping up to become desperate times indeed. The thing is, as disparaging about science as he may be, in fact medical science might have a certain higher authority over the POTUS and the ability to stop him if necessary - by declaring him insane.

See, protests are a nice thing - people speaking their mind, standing up to authoritarianism and all that jazz. On the other hand, anti-Trump protesters may be wasting their breath, and indeed if they start to get too angry or disorderly that will be playing into Trump's hands as a would-be dictator. Fortunately, the world-wide Women's March was a peaceful affair.

Trump seems intent on causing trouble (with his latest gestures), and he has shrewdly tapped into, or created, a general division and discontent for his "popularity", even though everything he does is motivated by transparent self-interest. I would classify him as a delusional narcissistic megalomaniac with a lot of charisma, which is an extremely dangerous blend for a POTUS. The idea of the building of the wall for example, coming from a man who has some knowledge of building, is especially nuts on three counts. 1) It is an impossibly huge building project. 2) There is no chance Mexico would pay for it. 3) Since the invention of ropes, ladders, ramps, cranes, tunnels, planes and boats no wall along such a long border will keep people out (it will instead create a great business for dangerous criminal traffickers). The idea comes out of Trump's narcissistic delusions; he wants a historical monument to his own ego that might be seen from outer space.

More evidence for his delusional narcissism came when he lost the argument on the size of the inauguration crowd. He is certifiably mad enough not to be a POTUS - but we already knew that, didn't we. So if scientists (and psychologists) are as concerned about the safety of their country and the world as much as they may be about their research project funding under this anti-scientific new administration, perhaps they should not stand by and leave it to protesters, marches, armies of lawyers and politicians. Impeachment takes too long. Have him psychologically examined before it's too late.

Some good news from around the world Feb. 8th, 2017 @ 10:52 am
Let's take a wee break from the usual depressing Trump-related stuff, and look into the latest developments in the world of technology. You know, the one that will largely shape up the future.

Starting with the Czechs. Nearly 3 decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Czech Republic is at the cutting edge of technology like it once was at the time it was the industrial hub of Central Europe. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, an innovative company has signed a memorandum with the Czech government, and is planning to build a super-futuristic high-speed train between Brno and Bratislava. It'll be only 13 km long, but a subsequent expansion will also include Prague (another 220 km away).

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Wow... just wow. Feb. 7th, 2017 @ 09:32 pm

I'm finding it difficult to know where to begin...

After the Donald's unswerving support for Uncle Vlad and his crew, I wonder if just maybe he can introduce a similar "family values" orientated law into America? Nope, that's not the place to start.

Does the Russian Church's support for this bill indicate that it is in favour of physical correction when a wife misbehaves: for example, by not having the Man's food on the table when he gets home?  No not there either.

This seems better:

Are these the actions of a fucking misogynistic bunch of total arseholes, and is this what Russia has come to? And should we, in the West, be doing everything we possibly can to stop this sort of shit from happening anywhere near any of us?

Can we legislate ourselves back into barbarism? Yes we can.
Should we stand by idly while it happens? That's the killer question.

Who's really the villain? Feb. 7th, 2017 @ 02:00 pm
Trump’s First Military Operation Kills 8-Year-Old Girl, 6 Years After Obama Killed Her Brother

It’s really sad that the crazy American war machine is immune to scientific and rational reality-testing of its perverse ideas: Targeted killings of high-value targets DOES NOT WORK! Especially not against an ideology-based hydra with enourmous recruitment potential. Against such a foe, targeted killings work as a forced evolution of the leadership group towards smarter, more creative, more radical, more ruthless and more covert people and unless the recruitment to the group is blocked as well, the capacity and viciousness of the group increases.

In fact the biggest terrorists are the US congress and the corporations they work for. he American soldiers aren't defending America because America is not being attacked, rather they're pointlessly losing their lives for agenda-driven, narcissistic wealthy elites that will do anything to have power and control and continue this worldwide unrest.

The establishment creates false narratives and instills fear in societies such as America to justify what they do and continue to segregate groups in order to divide and conquer. The more you think that people in the Middle-East are the "Others" you should fear, the more power you are handing over to the figureheads of the corporatocracy that continue to act as a mouthpiece for the various corporate industrial complexes: military, financial, energy, food, pharmaceutical, prison, etc.

The more the US expands this idea of "terrorism", the more they will expand wars and armed attacks into more and more countries - for their agendas. Whoever believed the new administration was going to interrupt this vicious cycle, was an idiot.

China Captured U.S. Underwater Drone Feb. 6th, 2017 @ 10:58 am
Originally posted by debunkgpolitics at China Captured U.S. Underwater Drone
The Economist (issue 12/24/2016-1/6/2017, page 53)
China captured an underwater drone from the U.S. Navy. The drone was returned five days later. The Pentagon said the drone cost $150,000 and did not contain sensitive information. The article suggested that China tried to challenge Pres. Trump. Whether the drone contained anything of significant value may not have mattered to China. China possibly cared more about ridiculing Pres. Trump as an ineffective head of state than acquiring anything of significant value. Do you think the United States could recover damages for, at least, trespass to chattels?
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Because we're all about Trump's First X Days summaries... Feb. 6th, 2017 @ 03:21 pm
Let me jump on the bandwagon here too a little bit. First, I must say there are others who've done a much better summary than the one you're about to see, but still. Let me know if I've missed something.

My recap of the first 2 weeks of the Trump presidency goes like this.

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