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Cruz: is he done? Apr. 28th, 2016 @ 01:23 pm
Small Super-Tuesday has gone, and Cruz was left empty-handed (as expected). After the NY defeat and this handful of other, more recent defeats, is he now practically finished?

Well, he believes not. Or does he?

Republican Cruz, hoping to revive struggling campaign, taps Fiorina as No. 2

Looks more like the desperate move of someone who's seeing the nomination slipping away from him, and fast. It now seems more than certain that the guy has no chance of winning outright (a contested convention is always an option, though - with all the nasty implications for the party, in result of the base's backlash).

As for Fiorina, she brings no visible meaningful qualities to the potential ticket that I can think of. It's an exercise in futility as it were, seeing as Cruz' path to the White House is now practically non-existent. Then again, this seems pretty much in line with the decision-making of a failed campaign.

What's left now is for Trump to pick up Kasich as his running VP mate, and he'll wrap up this thing. Which I don't see happening though, as Kasich did make that sleazy deal with Cruz, which effectively burned his bridges. On the other hand, I've constantly got to remind myself that this is politics that we're talking about, so principled positions and actions are more like an exotic rarity rather than the norm.

Speaking of Cruz/Trump, here`s an argumentCollapse )

That's what shoving down the throat looks like Apr. 27th, 2016 @ 02:05 pm

Merkel and Obama are trying hard to push TTIP through, the article basically says.

Rough translation of some parts mine:

"Chancelor Merkel has defended the secrecy of the TTIP negotiations. She claims it couldn't be done in public because the other party (the US) are bound to get some "advantages". Merkel said nothing would be concealed, and no current standards would be violated. All European standards will be preserved. Environment and consumer protection will stay at the same level."

Even despite her latest shenanigans, I'm still kinda surprised that Merkel would outright lie about the facts. She's usually supposed to know better.

It's quite evident that everything about these TTIP negotiations has been completely intransparent from day one. There's a reason that Wikileaks has offered 100 thousand euros to anyone who could get them the full text of the TTIP agreement. But apparently, no one among those directly involved in these negotiations considers themselves poor or honest enough to want that sort of money for such a thing.

Read more...Collapse )

Memories of Chernobyl Apr. 26th, 2016 @ 11:02 pm
Hi, all you nuclear mutants environmentally aware fellows! Awesome lettuce salads for Easter, May 1 parades under the open sky and all that, while in blissful ignorance about what had just happened not more than a thousand km away from our homes - that's what I could say about this time of the year back in 1986...

On this day, exactly thirty years ago, the biggest and most dangerous incident happened in the nuclear plant in Northern Ukraine. The consequences were devastating and the effects are being felt even today. And for those who'd like to make parallels with Fukushima - I'll just say this. Believe me, these two incidents are very different. If anything, that one was marked by the complete silence of the communist elites who kept the people totally in the dark, letting them sunbathe outdoors, eat fresh lettuces and queue under the radioactive rain, only to learn about the horrible incident many days and weeks later.

Lest we forget...Collapse )

But, but, we used to be pals, bro! Apr. 25th, 2016 @ 02:15 pm
When Obama asked his good political pal, Aussie PM Malcolm Turnbull what he thought of the fact that Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states were trying to export a more stringent form of Islam to other parts of the world (like Indonesia), the Oz guy responded with a question: "But, but, I thought those guys used to be your pals?" Obama hesitated for a moment and said, "Oh well. It's complicated".

Don't worry, that's just a joke published at The Atlantic. But still, it tells a whole story of America's relations with the Saudis - specifically, the change that has occurred there. The quiet mutual understanding that used to be taken for granted between the US and KSA for decades now seems to have given way to distrust and reservations.

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Congrats, you're in the Matrix. Probably. Maybe. Apr. 24th, 2016 @ 04:57 pm
Universe Is Probably A Simulation: Neil DeGrasse Tyson

So, Neil deGrasse Tyson has argued during the latest Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate that statistically, it's far more likely that we live in a simulated universe rather than a real one. It's not exactly a novel idea, and has a lot more to do with philosophy rather than actual empirical science, but it's a fascinating thought indeed.

Video of the entire debate:

Let`s discuss the theoretical and political implications of this sort of thingCollapse )

Friday offtopic. Your fave song of all time? Apr. 23rd, 2016 @ 12:08 am
I mean, which song has stuck in your head for good? Which one do you hum to yourself on a regular basis? Which song could you say has inspired you, or you connect with some profound memory? All in all, is there one song that you could single out as your most favourite one of all time? I'm sure most of us have more than one, but if you should really really pick one, which one would it be?

Mine:Collapse )

The science of cuteness Apr. 22nd, 2016 @ 11:49 am

Interesting piece trying to explain what are the features that human adults see in adolescent animals that make them perceive babies of any species as "cute". It's an evolutional thing mostly, as one might've expected. (source)

Oh, and here are some notable specimens. (collection)

The guy with the thinnest skin in the world Apr. 21st, 2016 @ 11:01 am
This is what has caused Erdogan's wrath, and has made him file one of hundreds of lawsuits for defamation. It's also what has made Merkel bend over backwards and start persecuting journalists and satirists for the sake of appeasing the new Ottoman sultan, lest he unleash the hordes of refugees upon poor Europe, as has been pointed here the other day. Here's the whole deal:

Yep. That's right. In a typical Facebook-style childish manner, Erdogan has been compared to Gollum. As John Oliver said the other night on his show, this parallel isn't even worth contesting. Because it's a biological fact. Indeed, the resemblance is uncanny.

The one thing more eery than that, is the way presumably open societies like Germany could easily agree to "adapt" and "evolve" on fundamental matters of openness and freedom of speech under the pressure of the circumstances. If anyone believes that by giving some leeway to guys like Erdogan, we'd appease them to a point where they'd somehow decide to stop pushing more and more into the same direction, then we truly do deserve all what's coming for us. And I can tell you what's coming is not pretty.

The Luegenpresse is at it again Apr. 20th, 2016 @ 09:29 am
Hi, ma'fellow procrastinators reasonable honesty-loving folks! We may've heard of Erdogan's attempts to actively influence the political discourse and the level of free speech in Germany by demanding that a satirical depiction of His Greatness be removed from the press, lest he unleash the hordes of refugees onto Europe again (and indirectly succeeding to have the relevant journalist fired, by the way). But what about censorship for the sake of not-offending-anyone at a top state level? Case in point:

White House censors French president for saying ‘Islamist terrorism’

"President Obama is so paranoid about linking terrorists to the Muslim faith that when French President Francois Hollande used the phrase "Islamist terrorism" at a meeting in Washington, White House officials posted their official press video with audio of the words cut out completely. ... The White House's transcript of the event shows the French leader declared at the 4:49 minute mark that "the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq." But rather than include Hollande's remark in its entirety, the Obama administration posted footage in which his interpreter’s English translation of the words "Islamist terrorism" was missing."

Surely, that was just an unintentional glitch, right?Collapse )

For shame, Brazil! Apr. 19th, 2016 @ 02:03 pm
Last evening the Brazilian parliament saw the longest session in its entire history. Never before have the Brazilian MPs shown such zeal as yesterday, during the impeachment vote against president Dilma Rousseff. Certainly not at the time the important measures against corruption were being discussed, or the urgently needed reform of the Brazilian political system. The impeachment procedure was supported by 367 MPs. Only 137 were against.

Dilma stands accused of having exaggerated the data about the government budget during her first term (2011-2014) in order to be re-elected. The real data would've probably cost her presidency in 2014. So she forged it.

OK, but let`s take a step back hereCollapse )

Of think-tanks, and other Illuminati devilries Apr. 18th, 2016 @ 01:51 pm
There's no other country in the world wielding as much influence as the US. After 9-11, the US has firmly stepped on an interventionist path: Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. And it seems this policy is going to be preserved after this year's general election. When we listen to the statements of the presidential candidates, the impression sticks out that these people haven't learned any lessons from history. Most of them still talk of military interventions in the Middle East in the same way GWB spoke at his time. Even though they're supposed to have drawn some conclusions from the fiasco in the two latest interventions.

This blindness is partly due to the fact that the government circles may be in lack of alternative ideas for foreign policy. The reason for this is the problematic bound between government and the so called "think-tanks". These private organizations have placed themselves somewhere in the space between the academical world of the universities and the political world of parliaments. They are financed by private donors, foundations and corporations aiming to expand their influence both on domestic and foreign policy. But even most people who are deeply interested in politics have very little info on these organizations and the true scope of their influence on foreign policy. The opaqueness there is truly remarkable.

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The goddess of stupid crawls from under the woodwork yet again Apr. 17th, 2016 @ 12:09 am
...And starts spewing worthless crap out of her topmost orifice.

Sarah Palin mocks Bill Nye over climate change: He's 'as much as scientist as I am'

No, m'dear, he's not as much as a scientist as you are - for the simple reason that you're the exact opposite of a scientist.

Of course, right after these comments surfaced, the Internet went asplode about her remarks because, let's face it, the Internet is mostly 90's kids, and talking trash on Bill Nye is like talking trash on the Original Power Rangers or Rocket Power. You just don't do it.

For example...Collapse )

Well played, Sultan effendi Apr. 16th, 2016 @ 12:02 am
Erdogan calls for unity among Muslim states as leaders gather in Istanbul

Preaching unity of all Muslims but coming up with declarations against Hezbollah and Iran? Cool. Did he omit to mention that he meant unity of Sunni Muslims?

Notably, there were two words missing from any of the statements on this summit: "Muslim Brotherhood".

Erdogan is one of the staunchest supporters of the ulcer that is the MB in the Middle East. Islamic unity has long been the pipe dream of MB from day one of its existence, in fact that concept is at the core of all its actions ever since it was founded in 1928. A great chunk of Sunni Islamic terrorism can be traced back to that organization under one form or another.

Read more...Collapse )

Friday offtopic. Spring has come, and is full of trailers. Apr. 15th, 2016 @ 01:22 pm
The second one has arrived. And all Game of Thrones fans are counting the days until the moment when they will realise Jon Snow is... alive... dead... or something in between. We don't know. And that is so exciting! For the first time, no one knows what is going to happen. The feeling is both frightening and mesmerising.

Game of Thrones season VI begins April 24.

Two sides of the Occupy/Teaparty coin Apr. 14th, 2016 @ 04:36 pm
Quite an interesting piece, this.

Revolutionaries Have to Be Smart and Ruthless

Particularly this part:

"Look, I understand the sentiment that the system is rotten and the game is rigged. I do. But I don’t take people seriously who seek power but have no real idea how power works. If you want to be the nominee of the Republican or the Democratic Party, you need to figure out how that can be done. And, if you’re an outsider who is running with a message that the gatekeepers are all a bunch of losers and morons, or that they’re all corrupted by money, then you’ll need a plan for winning the people you’ve insulted over to your side."

Here`s the dealCollapse )

Everybody hates Ted Apr. 13th, 2016 @ 12:04 am
"With Trump bruised after Wisconsin, Republicans are beginning to realize that Cruz is their last chance.", BloombergPolitics argues. Doesn't sound like the most inspiring slogan, does it? "Vote for me, I'm your last chance to avert disaster!" Or something like that. Gotta pity the GOP for the predicament they've put themselves in.

Or you don't have to.

I must say I peed a little from laughing while reading some of these. That's a very interesting (and enlidhtening) collection of Tweets by prominent political smart-heads, the Republican ones being of particular interest. My personal fave? "Stop, you're wrong, you're crazy!" (pronounced by none else but John McCain himself). Sums it all up on Ted, methinks.

Read more...Collapse )
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What was *really* Obama's biggest blunder? Apr. 12th, 2016 @ 02:31 pm
Incumbents do tend to show a proneness to self-introspection and reflection upon their (now almost finished) tenure. Obama is no exception. In a recent interview, when prompted to point out what he believes was the biggest blunder of his presidency, he cited the Libya debacle, more specifically the lack of an exit plan:

Obama Reveals His Biggest Foreign Policy Mistake

Some would instantly claim coyness, even disingenuousness here, I'm sure. I mean, was that his biggest blunder? Really? The US wasn't even the driving force behind that intervention. France and Britain were. As soon as Sarko's former buddy Gaddafi threatened to reveal some inconvenient secrets about the former's campaign donors, Sarko suddenly started to push for a military intervention and a removal of the Gaddafi regime. Even despite the threat that without anyone solid and ruthless enough in Tripoli to contain the migrant pressure from North Africa and the Sahel, Europe would be having a huge problem on its hands, once chaos inevitably started reigning in Libya. Which is what really happened. But nobody seemed to care at the time.

But here is my pointCollapse )

Any Trump fans? Apr. 11th, 2016 @ 08:03 pm
I've been meaning to ask this for a while. I've heard lots of opinions on Trump from people leaning towards both sides of the spectrum (and in between), but curiously, I can't say I've noticed anyone clearly stating that they support Trump in this election. Indeed, there doesn't seem to be many Trump supporters on LJ in general, either. I mean, there were at least a couple of folks who I "thought" were Trump supporters but then I realized they were actually seeing the light and realizing that the man is an idiot who isn't prepared to run the most powerful country in the world.

So is LJ actually devoid of Trump supporters, or I'm just frequenting the "wrong" places?

Also, if you are on any other political forums, including off LJ, could you say your experience is different? I mean, are there more or less Trump supporters on other online platforms than on LJ? You don't have to name specific names, users, forums or websites if you don't want to. I'm just trying to form an opinion if Trump actually has any sort of online ground movement, like Ron Paul did. As it seems to be most rampant on Facebook and Twitter, mostly involving people who don't seem to necessarily follow politics closely (we're political junkies over here for the most part), or even people who'd go on a discussion board to learn or share thoughts on politics on a daily basis. Your observations?
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Re: Panama Leaks... Whistleblowers 0, Apathy 1 Apr. 10th, 2016 @ 09:51 pm
I'm intrigued by the level of apathy inherent to that case. I suspect it is insurmountable. The Snowden leaks did nothing, this will probably pass right over the heads of the peasantry as well. Really, what are we actually expecting to happen? The Snowden leaks have had an impact and are talked about constantly in reference to government snooping - but so what? Are we expecting some sort of revolution? Meh.

Sure, these leaks will probably have a somewhat bigger impact because the press love to bring people down a peg or two, and with specific people being named it's easier for people to focus their attention. I would expect a few important people to suffer serious setbacks in their careers and a few prosecutions too where applicable. And that's about it.

I hate to sound cynical, but...Collapse )

Some cartoons on election 2016 Apr. 9th, 2016 @ 12:04 am
I really liked some of these. Got others you can recommend?

A few samples...

SEE MOARCollapse )
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