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Friday, May 22, 2015

It Takes A Whole Criminal Cartel To Raise A Child

From the enormous and influential gangster banks that have just been fined 5.7 billions of dollars - but no one goes to jail, of course - to a national past time that creates celebrity quarterbacks that cheat and lie about it, we provide an education for the coming generations.

There are articles which assert now that the New England Patriots are not protesting NFL discipline, because the head coach cannot entirely believe the account of his star quarterback.

The Clintons made $30 millions dollars last year due to - gosh, would you believe it!? - their folksiness and God's grace.

When I write the post The Critique Of Ouroboros

I had not yet read Seymour Hersh's article trashing the official government-media-(intel-military-industrial-complex-yadda-yadda-yadda) account of the death of bin Laden. I wrote the post because I did read the criticism of Mr. Hersh, and I found the criticism so bizarre that I wrote about it.

It was so odd to me that I have looked into the matter, and I tend to side with Mr. Hersh.
The Columbia Journalism Review has harshly criticized the media and government:
The media’s reaction to Seymour Hersh’s bin Laden scoop has been disgraceful
Seymour Hersh has done the public a great service by breathing life into questions surrounding the official narrative of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet instead of trying to build off the details of his story, or to disprove his assertions with additional reporting, journalists have largely attempted to tear down the messenger.
Barrels of ink have been spilled ripping apart Hersh’s character, while barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his claims—even though there’s no doubt that the Obama administration has repeatedly misinformed and misled the public about the incident. Even less attention has been paid to the little follow-up reporting that we did get, which revealed that the CIA likely lied about its role in finding bin Laden, which it used to justify torture to the public...

How corrupt are we?

I mean, this is the bin Laden affair where barely a few months had gone by and all the Navy Seals had signed on to book deals and helped provide expert advice to the movie industry...

We live in a Stalinism of the morally deluded.

Since we have nothing of substance to function as a spiritual guide, we create anomalous fairy tales to be our guide. For example, in Syria, we follow the convenient fiction that Assad must be removed at all costs - just as we ten years earlier freely chose to be deluded that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 - and that forms our policy of catastrophe.

And we enforce those delusions!

And we teach them to the next generation.


Der Schatten Des Vampirs

“…the inadequacy of our plans,our contingencies, every missed train, the failed picnics, every lie to a child.”
John Malkovich as F.W.Murnau in The Shadow of the Vampire.

On Mothers’ Day we couldn’t go to my parent's summer cottage, because they had two or three dogs,  and my daughter was allergic to animals. Ditto Fathers’ Day... July 4th... my birthday... and so on.

We used to have picnics with our friends on Fathers’ Day. The fathers would play tennis. The mothers minded the children and laid out a picnic.

We don’t do that anymore, and have not for a long time.The children have families of their own and we have all fallen away.

Die ausgefallenen Picknicks...
Die Zufälligkeiten...
Der Schatten des Vampirs...

The failed picnics… the contingencies...the shadows of the vampire.

 Walking through the forest at Babi Yar today...

 מיין אייגן פּריוואַט באַבי יאַר
 meine private Babi Jar, wo meine Freunde getötet wurden.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mozilla Madness 2

It seems highly possible that my problems with Firefox are due to the Google Search.
I cleaned everything up again, and then switched to for searching, and so far no extra page listings that consists of advertisements.

I'll keep my fingers crosses.


A Vast Despondency


... covers the planet, as we await our fate.
The graphic story of Hellboy is very much positive and cheery compared to the thoughts of the impossible dilettantes of destruction that have mused and mourned about our futures in the media since 9/11.

Just the other day, I ran a composite of the Seven Gods Of Chaos:

Top: Wolfowitz, Kristol, Perle, Feith
Bottom:   Libby,  Bolton,  Ledeen

but there are more than a mere seven eldritch eminences... many more.

In the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman has delved into dark and dangerous palantiri, I think:
Go Ahead, Ruin My Day
March 18, 2015
 As the saying goes, “to err is human, to forgive is divine,” to which I’d add: “to ignore” is even more human, and the results rarely divine. None of us would be human if we didn’t occasionally get so wedded to our wishes that we failed to notice — or outright ignored — the facts on the ground that make a laughingstock of our hopes...

Well, we know what he's talking about now, even though he has deftly hidden his topic from us.
He says, "...facts on the ground..."
Most people when they wish to talk about facticity or what is real and factual, merely use the expression "the facts".
Since Mr. Friedman's facts are "on the ground", we know he is talking about military matters, conflating "facts" with "boots" and imagining both being "on the ground".  Since Ramadi - which to me is the City of Ashes, just as Falluja is Pumbedita - has fallen recently to ISIS, we in in for a ride through the Middle East.
O.K., so we learn to live with Iran on the edge of a bomb, but shouldn’t we at least bomb the Islamic State to smithereens and help destroy this head-chopping menace? Now I despise ISIS as much as anyone, but let me just toss out a different question: Should we be arming ISIS? Or let me ask that differently: Why are we, for the third time since 9/11, fighting a war on behalf of Iran?
"I despise ISIS as much as anyone"?! Really! Nothing like establishing your creds, Friedman.
In 2002, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in Afghanistan (the Taliban regime). In 2003, we destroyed Iran’s main Sunni foe in the Arab world (Saddam Hussein). But because we failed to erect a self-sustaining pluralistic order, which could have been a durable counterbalance to Iran, we created a vacuum in both Iraq and the wider Sunni Arab world. That is why Tehran’s proxies now indirectly dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Sana and Baghdad.
ISIS, with all its awfulness, emerged as the homegrown Sunni Arab response to this crushing defeat of Sunni Arabism — mixing old pro-Saddam Baathists with medieval Sunni religious fanatics with a collection of ideologues, misfits and adventure-seekers from around the Sunni Muslim world. Obviously, I abhor ISIS and don’t want to see it spread or take over Iraq. I simply raise this question rhetorically because no one else is: Why is it in our interest to destroy the last Sunni bulwark to a total Iranian takeover of Iraq? Because the Shiite militias now leading the fight against ISIS will rule better? Really?
"Homegrown Sunni Arab response..."  Sounds rather grassy-rootsy... if you ignore the beheadings and tortures and what-not.
If it seems as though we have only bad choices in the Middle East today and nothing seems to work, there is a reason: Because past is prologue, and the past has carved so much scar tissue into that landscape that it’s hard to see anything healthy or beautiful growing out of it anytime soon. Sorry to be so grim.

Mr. Friedman does not even condemn the choices that led us to this point. Why does he not rend his garments, pour ashes (ramaad) over his head and beg forgiveness for his support of the intrusion into Iraq.

What he calls "scar tissue" is the residue of the freely chosen sins of the fathers that shall be visited upon their children.

He is a frightened man who sees his past decisions coming to consume him.

 Second Great Awakening in America

The shallow ideas of American Exceptionalism and the mission of spreading its gospel in the form of globalization was a hidden theme of Mr. Friedman's. It is a direct descendant of the revivalist and missionary fervor of the 19th century American second and third Great Awakenings, where according to Percy Miller, quoting Edwards A. Park:
God had kept America hidden until the art of the printing press and the Reformation were achieved; then he ushered it on stage, and only now... can we see what God intended...
So has He designed this land for the comprehensive and variegated activity of His church; and as He has  mingled, so he will continue to mingle in it those diversified elements which coalesce with the richest and the most durable character... A character gleaned thus from all nations, will be so versatile, so energetic, as to qualify us for mingling with them all and elevating their religious spirit.
Miller; The Life of the Mind in America

Compare that to Friedman as discussed in Wikipedia:

Friedman first discussed his views on globalization in the book The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999). In 2004, a visit to Bangalore, India, and Dalian, China, gave Friedman new insights into the continuing trends of globalization and the forces behind the process, leading him to write a follow-up analysis, The World Is Flat (2005).
One of Friedman's theses states that individual countries must sacrifice some degree of economic sovereignty to global institutions (such as capital markets and multinational corporations), a situation he has termed the "golden straitjacket"

Friedman supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, writing that the establishment of a democratic state in the Middle East would force other countries in the region to liberalize and modernize.

 I Abhor Firebombing Luxury Vehicles As Much As Anyone...

Through all of his work runs the thread of the superiority of his ideas of democracy, economy, religion, and society.

Now he sees what his ideas have wrought.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Apparently Oklahoma is the earthquake capitol of the contiguous USA, and this is due to fracking.

When I first read about fracking, it was obvious that introjecting large amounts of fluids into the earth would be a problem, because the fluids would tend to decrease friction between adjacent stone particles. First one disturbs the ground, then one reduces the friction, and that seemed a bad idea.

I did not take any particular braininess to see that.
The principle is that of shaving every morning: water makes the razor move across the beard easier.
Water, not soap. Water accounts for most of the ease of shaving, and soap accounts for no more than 10% of total friction reduction.

If the chemicals which are in the fracking fluids also reduce the surface tension of the water, then the water is made "wetter". This is what laundry detergents do: reduce the cohesion of water molecules, allowing them to infiltrate the pores and interstices of the fabrics in the washing machine.

You can even hear it. Start filling the washing machine and listen to the sound of the water falling into it. Add the detergent. You should immediately be able to detect  a reduction in the harshness of the noise of the water falling. The water's surface tension is reduced, and the infalling water easily pushes the water present in the washing machine aside.

If this particular problem of fracking was not contained in every environmental assessment of potential fracking sites, then the personnel involved were either incompetent or liars or both.


One Of My Totem Films

8 1/2

People between the present and the past; both the burden of the traditions of society and the personal history of his own odyssey.
We attempt to make sense by stringing together words and images.

Directed by
Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini
Ennio Flaian0

Marcello Mastroianni
Claudia Cardinale 
Anouk Aimee
Barbara Steele...

A full list of Cast and Crew is available at IMDb:

Asa... Nisi... Masa... ?

A+sa; ni+si; ma+sa which is a substitution cipher.

The children used the chant "Asa nisi masa" three times (I think...) to make the pictures on the wall of their bedroom come to life.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bush Reunion

Top: Wolfowitz, Kristol, Perle, Feith
Bottom:   Libby,  Bolton,  Ledeen

A Mendacity of Neocon Republicans...

"Mendacity" is used as a term of venery:
Venery refers to hunting game animals such as wild boar, hares, wolves, bears and — especially — deer. A close relative to venery is venison, nowadays always meat from a deer but in earlier times the flesh of any hunted animal.

Venery dates from medieval England and is closely connected with the royal forests established by the Norman kings and nobles after the Conquest of 1066...

This led to the expression terms of venery, collective nouns for types of game and other wild animals, such as cete of badgers, murder of crows, parliament of rooks and paddling of ducks.


The Reality Of ISIS

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities.”
Karl Rove, advisor to President George Bush 

If you ask yourself "who and what created ISIS?", recall this good article on the the deliberate lies that were used to destroy the balances of power in the Middle East:
The Phony ‘Bad Intel’ Defense on Iraq
May 15, 2015

Just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld began promoting the notion that Iraq might have weapons of mass destruction and that “within a week, or a month, Saddam could give his WMD to al-Qaeda.” This was an early articulation of the bogus “conjunction of terrorism and WMD,” now immortalized in what is the most damning, first-hand, documentary evidence of U.S./U.K. collusion in launching a war of aggression on false pretenses and how it was to be “justified.”

This evidence was contained in the “Downing Street Memorandum,” written on July 23, 2002, though not published until May 1, 2005, by The London Times (discussed in more detail below). The goal was to systematically conflate Iraq’s supposed stockpiles of WMD with al-Qaeda and 9/11, as a kind of subliminal fear/revenge message to the American public.

It was not long before the agile Rice did a demi-pirouette of 180 degrees, claiming that Saddam had suddenly become “a danger in the region where the 9/11 threat emerged.” By the summer of 2002, the basic decision for war having been taken, something persuasive had to be conjured up to get Congress to authorize it. Weapons of mass deception, as one wag called them, together with warnings about “mushroom clouds” were just what the Doctor Rice ordered.

Sadly, CIA’s malleable director George Tenet followed orders to conjure up WMD in a deceitful National Intelligence Estimate issued on Oct. 1, 2002. The NIE’s main purpose was to deceive Congress into authorizing war on Iraq, which Congress did just ten days later.


We are still suffering the karma of bad intentions that flows from this cynical and debased deception.

We were all guilty, so we shall all be punished.


Siberian Odyssey

Young Cadets In Siberia

The Siberian Times
Stunning photos of Siberia and its people feature in new book
By Derek Lambie
21 October 2014
Stunning images of everyday normal life in Siberia have formed the basis of a new book by a French photojournalist. Guillaume Chauvin, who was born in 1987, spent a year documenting Russia armed with nothing more than his camera and a note pad.

Much of his research for Le Vie Russe – Russian Life – came during a long, but fruitful, stopover in Siberia where he admits he fell in love with the area and its people. Part-photo book, part-diary, it spans 272 pages and is a snapshot of the vast country as it stands at a crossroads between the traditions of the past and the modern world.


Le Vie Russe, Entre Siberie et Aujourd’hui  can be purchased directly from Guillaume Chauvin’s website for 19Euros.

the boys are playing with some electronic game.

Monday, May 18, 2015

East Of Mad Men

I tried my best to find a reason not to like the ending episode of Mad Men, but I admitted failure.

Of course, it was long and tedious for a bit, and I finally gave up at 10:45 pm and hit the <record> button in order to watch the rest of it in the morning. I mean, I am in bed by 8:30 and rise at least an hour before the birds begin caterwauling, so I was really into this show.

I had watched a number of episodes in the preceding Mad Men Marathon, but they were interspersed with homely chores, ironing, folding clothes, etc., and it did not seem to drag. Once I sat down to watch the final episode with no interruptions, it was another matter.
I could not muster enough feigned interest in what was going on, and rapidly began to fail.

I saw the last 20 minutes this morning, and it was a good ending.

It was the best way to handle things, I think.

I wondered a bit about the character of Don Draper, and I kvetched about his seeming "bi-polar" sociopathology, but it was good.

I am firmly convinced that the germinal inspiration of Mad Men was Mr. Weiner musing on what would happen to Caleb or Cal,  the character played by James Dean in East of Eden, when he grows up.

The character in Mad Men, Richard Whitman, who later assumes the identity of Don Draper, is the son of a prostitute, and so also is Caleb in East of Eden.
Richard Whitman spends some time in a bordello, and Cal happens across his mother running a bordello in Salinas.
Cal's father is remote and cold;  Whitman's father is gone and the only male influences he has are abusive.

Whitman joins the US Army and fights in Korea, where he inadvertently causes an explosion which kills the real Don Draper; Caleb takes his brother Aron to Salinas to their mother's bordello and forces him to meet her, an act which causes Aron to recoil in disgust and eventually join the US Army to fight in World War I, where he is killed in battle.

From the basic equivalence of Cain and Abel and Caleb and Aron in East of Eden was born Richard Whitman and Don Draper.

A very good journey.


Yahoo's Email Mess

 "In Yahoo! Mail, we all FLOAT !

Email #1
If I send an email to Joe Doakes, who is on the contact list as "Doakes" with the address "", then the email appears in the SENT folder as "me...Doakes".

So far, so good.

Email #2
If Doakesie replies, it shows up in the INBOX as "".

Email #3
If I reply back, this time the latest email - my reply back to Doakes or email #3 - appears in the SENT folder as "", for all the world as if I an emailing myself.

Furthermore, the Doakes reply - email #2 - to which my email #3 is a reply is now changed in my INBOX to ""  !!

Again, for all the world as if I am emailing myself.

Now try going back and finding emails from Mr. Doakes!

Why do Tech companies think they must justify their existence or their charges by continually re-inventing the wheel?
For pete's sake, it's email! Leave it alone as it was when we could understand what was going pon, before all your "improvements".


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Some Websites I Like

Nicotinamide or Niacinamide


Alltop is a news accumulation site broken down into areas:

Work Health Culture Interests Tech People Good News Geos Sports

where "Geos" refers to "Individual Countries", and things can be broken further down alphabetically.

When you cursor over an entry, a box appears with a brief description of the article, usually enough to get a good idea of what the main thrust of the article is, saving the time of opening in another tab or window.

It manages to get one through a lot of possible areas of interest quickly... no Flash ads; in fact, very few ads at all.
I find it infinitely preferable to what the BBC and CNN have become.
It gives me news.


Due to a run-in with basal cell carcinoma, I have a renewed interest in my skin, the skin being the most extensive organ of the body.

This site is primarily focused on acne, but there is more. The forums are seemingly populated by intelligent folks, which is sort of new for me.
There are good articles with pointers to further medical research and papers.

This was an article I read this morning:

Licochalcone – the licorice root extract in Moisturizer and AHA+ (Glycolic Acid – 10%)

Check out this recent paper about Licochalcone. It shows that acts as an anti oxidant and reduces skin stress. This effect is probably very important in acne.
and you may copy and paste the paper's title into Google, find it on Wiley's, and read it.

It reminded me that among the anti-microbial effects mentioned for licorice root extract, I recently read a paper that stated it attacked the microbes that cause dental caries.

Even better was:

Evidence keeps mounting for the use of niacinamide in acne and general skin health
I have written about niacinamide (AKA nicotinamide), the active component in vitamin B3, for a couple of years now. Evidence shows it can help significantly reduce acne through its anti-inflammatory effects. However, the more I look into this ingredient, the cooler it becomes. The latest double-blind study I found in the journal Dermatology Research and Practice has researchers administering 4% niacinamide to patients with melasma or dark patches of skin from sun exposure...

And, if you recall, last week on the evening news (NBC, I think), there was a spot on Niacinamide or Nicotinamide and the fact that if people used a supplement, it led to a 23% reduction in recurrence of basal cell carcinomas.

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America  is a top notch news site.
It takes on the stories the main stream does not, and it is a well designed site with enough pictures and enough printed words... (I cannot tell you how important "enough printed words" is; I mean, the BBC has begun to look like the Comix Newspaper in the film Fahrenheit 451 !)...

Today there were two interesting articles:

The Syrian comedy troupe that isn't afraid to poke fun at ISIL
Six young filmmakers use humor to counter ISIL propaganda — and win back friends who've joined the group


Indonesia’s transgender priests face uncertain future
An ancient tradition is slowly disappearing as many transgender youths choose to become beauticians instead of bissu

I thought the article about transgender priests interesting, because it is a very common phenomenon in many cultures, not just in Indonesia, and it is not a well-known phenomenon. However, one of my young relatives has been undergoing hormone replacement therapy for a few years...
Quite young, in fact.
So far, I have nothing to say about it. My attention has been elsewhere.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Starbuck's is reported to be moving its bottled water business out of California due to the drought.

I am not a wild-eyed radical, but I have never bought bottled water, except for my parents if they wanted me to get them some, and I have rarely drank bottled water.
Years ago, I took one look at bottled water - and here I mean the small and individual plastic bottles of 12 ounce or so capacity  -  and immediately thought it to be a bad idea.

All that plastic made from fossil fuels struck me as bizarre.

I also never use the Keurig-style coffee / tea makers; same reason; plus the fact that I do not like the taste.

I think of all of that and the effects of climate change... and the Sargasso Sea of plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean... and this is why, dear reader, I started throwing popsicle sticks out of my automobile window. After all, they are wood. Why should I attempt to push garbage against the tide?


Monday, May 11, 2015

The Critique Of Ouroboros

Ouroboros is the serpent which bites its own tail, forming thereby a circle.... a mobius strip, maybe, or perhaps a figure eight. You get the idea.

I came across such a serpent-bites-self critique in CNN today.

Was the bin Laden killing story a lie?
By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst
Updated 8:30 AM ET, Mon May 11, 2015
(CNN)Seymour Hersh is one of the giants of investigative journalism. Early in his career he broke the story of the My Lai massacre during which hundreds of unarmed civilians were killed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam in 1968.

Hersh was still going strong after 9/11, breaking (along with "60 Minutes") the story of the prisoner abuses by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for The New Yorker in 2004.

Now comes another blockbuster from Hersh in which he asserts, "The White House's story (about the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden) might have been written by Lewis Carroll."


The principal claims that Hersh's article makes, which largely rely on the assertions of a single, unnamed, retired senior U.S. intelligence official, are:

• That the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid on the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan was not a firefight in which SEALs went into a dangerous and unknown situation, but a setup in which Pakistan's military had been holding bin Laden prisoner in Abbottabad for five years and simply made him available to the SEALs who flew in helicopters to the compound on the night of the raid.

• An officer from Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency ISI accompanied the SEALs on the raid and showed them around the Abbottabad compound, and the only shots fired that night were the ones that the SEALs fired to kill bin Laden.


• Saudi Arabia was financing bin Laden's upkeep in his Abbottabad compound.


Mr. Bergen replies:

Hersh's account of the bin Laden raid is a farrago of nonsense that is contravened by a multitude of eyewitness accounts, inconvenient facts and simple common sense.

Let's start with the claim that the only shots fired at the Abbottabad compound were the ones that killed bin Laden. That ignores the fact that two SEALs on the mission, Matt Bissonnette, author of "No Easy Day," and Robert O'Neill have publicly said that there were a number of other people killed that night, including bin Laden's two bodyguards, one of his sons and one of the bodyguard's wives. Their account is supplemented by many other U.S. officials who have spoken on the record to myself or to other journalists.

I was the only outsider to visit the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden lived before the Pakistani military demolished it. The compound was trashed, littered almost everywhere with broken glass and several areas of it were sprayed with bullet holes where the SEALS had fired at members of bin Laden's entourage and family, or in one case exchanged fire with one of his bodyguards. The evidence at the compound showed that many bullets were fired the night of bin Laden's death.

Common sense would tell you that the idea that Saudi Arabia was paying for bin Laden's expenses while he was living in Abbottabad is simply risible. Bin Laden's principal goal was the overthrow of the Saudi royal family as a result of which his Saudi citizenship was revoked as far back as 1994.

Why would the Saudis pay for the upkeep of their most mortal enemy? Indeed, why wouldn't they get their close allies, the Pakistanis, to look the other way as they sent their assassins into Pakistan to finish him off?

Common sense would also tell you that if the Pakistanis were holding bin Laden and the U.S. government had found out this fact, the easiest path for both countries would not be to launch a U.S. military raid into Pakistan but would have been to hand bin Laden over quietly to the Americans.

Indeed, the Pakistanis have done this on several occasions with a number of other al Qaeda leaders such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational commander of 9/11, who was handed over to U.S. custody after a raid in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi in 2003. So too was Abu Faraj al-Libi, another key al Qaeda leader who was similarly handed over by the Pakistanis to U.S. custody two years later.

Why cover it up?

Common sense would also tell you that if U.S. officials had found out that the Pakistani officials were hiding bin Laden there is no reason the Americans would have covered this up. After all, around the time of the bin Laden raid, relations between the United States and Pakistan were at an all-time low because the Pakistanis had recently imprisoned Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who had killed two Pakistanis. What did U.S. officials have to lose by saying that bin Laden was being protected by the Pakistanis, if it were true?


All sorts of things are, of course, plausible, but in both journalism and in the writing of history one looks for evidence, not plausibility.

Hersh has had a storied career. One hopes that he won't end it with a story about the Obama administration and the bin Laden raid that reads like Frank Underwood from "House of Cards" has made an unholy alliance with Carrie Mathison from "Homeland" to produce a Pakistani version of Watergate.

Where does one start?

For me, it is evident that we are dealing not with knowledge, but with two competing stories. I would not even go so far as to call them two competing theses, because neither one resembles a self-respecting thesis.

The first thing that is extrremely fishy is the fact that Mr. Bergen uses a formulaic theme for his "story", which essentially is  "Somebody we esteem highly has aged and fallen into his dotage," or simply put, the decline and fall of the once great and mighty.
That is a theme everybody likes, and thus everybody gets sucked into.

But even that theme is not enough.

Mr. Bergen looks for evidence, falls into the Bill O'Reilly-Brian Williams Syndrome of being in a privileged position in Abbottabad, and thus being the only person - in Western journalism - who can speak informedly.
Mr. Bergen saw bullet holes which he knows were made the night of the raid.
I would have liked to find out how that is done.
Were there local CSI tapes with the date next to each hole in the wall?

The ouroboros comes in at 

  • Saudi Arabia was financing bin Laden's upkeep in his Abbottabad compound.

Why would the Saudis pay for the upkeep of their most mortal enemy? Indeed, why wouldn't they get their close allies, the Pakistanis, to look the other way as they sent their assassins into Pakistan to finish him off?

Why indeed?

If Pakistan is Saudi Arabia's closest ally, as Mr. Bergen states, why was Bin Laden not removed earlier?

If Pakistan is not Saudi Arabia's closest ally, Mr. Bergen just told a bald-faced lie, or maybe the answer is  - and Mr. Bergen is the one who is telling us all this  -  that Pakistan keep some prize objects around the house until some nation or state or something comes up with the right amount of pay-off.
Then they sell the obbject to the highest bidder. Or let the highest bidder do the dirty deed.

In any event, secrecy and downright lying seems to be part of the strategy.

In any event, we are not dealing with epistemology, with knowledge, but with who has the better Story (or Myth - in its original sense) at this stage of the game.

I sense that Mr. Bergen might be paying a favor to some important Mr. Big somewhere in order to have produced this "odd" serpent of a piece.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

NFL Football: Is Deflate-Gate A National Disaster?

I grew up playing sports, and I like sports generally. I once wrote that the main difference between ballet and football was the fact that the outcomes for football games or matches were stochastic and described by probabilities, whereas the outcomes for ballet performances were not.

Imagine placing a wager on whether the Nutcracker or the Mouse King would win their battle!

The business of intentionally and illegally under-inflation of balls for a New England Patriots play-off game is not a national disaster.....

However, the mentality and behavior that has led to this corruption of sports is!

Imagine the Mouse King dropping his sword, and then pulling out a semi-automatic gun or an anti-tank rocket launcher!


Beware Of Science!

 Dr. Doom  ( Phd. Cantab )

I believe it was an aide to the Australian PM who just recently said that Climate Change was a UN hoax dreamed up by scientists "in cahoots" with that New-Worldian-Order organization.

Although unstated, I got the distinct impression that the scientists who were working with the UN were the Dr. Doom and Doc Ock types, leading to reflection on what Dr. Sheldon Cooper first pointed out: the prevalence of advanced degree holders in the legions of evil!

Actually, scientists err usually on the side of caution, rather than haste, for we are still in the grips of our old-timey-geological-era ways of looking at things: like, the mills of the gods grind fine, fine... but they do grind slow, slow..., slow.

As I have written before, such is not always the case, and may be rarely the case in chaotic or near-chaotic regimes.

For example, consider a CNN report on climate:
New temperature records highlight global warming's continued rise
By Ben Brumfield, CNN
Updated 3:38 AM ET, Sat May 9, 2015
(CNN)New climate change records have come along to remind us that Earth's thermostat is steadily pushing upward.

More exactly, there are two global high temperature records and a smattering of climate change low points.

March 2015 was the warmest March since record-keeping began in 1880, says the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association. And the first quarter of 2015 was the warmest first quarter on record in those same 136 years.

That gives 2015 a stab at trumping the hottest year on record -- which was 2014.

The uninterrupted continuation of the warming trend is no surprise. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 17 years... 
 yadda, yadda, yadda; ice caps melting and whatever.

The article emphasizes the slow but steady progress of change...
However, remember the year 10,000 died in Europe from a heat wave, and the scientists who issued the definitive report remarked that they expected such results, but not so soon!

Perhaps the CNN article should have emphasized the slow but steady progress of change and compare it to that of a sandpile, rising from a table top as individual sand particles are dropped slowly... until a point is reached when it avalanches.
Then everything changes quite rapidly.

We never know all the parameters; our knowledge is never perfect.

Consider another CNN story from the same day:
American doctor declared free of Ebola finds the virus in his eye months later
By Faith Karimi and Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Updated 11:23 PM ET, Fri May 8, 2015
(CNN)American doctor Ian Crozier was treated for Ebola in Atlanta last year and declared free of the virus in his blood. But he had no way of knowing it still lurked in his eye.

At the time, his eyes were the least of his worries.

"There were lots of things sort of higher on the food chain," he told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." "I was struggling to learn to walk again."

But not long after, mild burning and light sensitivity afflicted his eyes.

Less than two months later, he was back at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta; testing showed the virus was still living in his eye...

Now, did you really see that one coming at us?  Something like that could avalanche into a whole new pandemic.

Maybe that Australian bloke has a better view of Doc Ock:


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Michigan Proposal 1 And The Republican Norquistian "Bleak House" Definition Of Government

Charles Dicken's  Bleak House

First, the proposed amendment to Michigan's constitution failed catastrophically at the polls, those voting "no" being just under 80% of the voters.
The election process cost the State $10 million dollars, and this is in addition to the salaries of the pseudo-legislators who could not face up to making difficult decisions. The legislature is controlled  by Republicans, and Republicans have been exhibiting signs of "chickening out" now that they have control in many areas.

One of the problems they face is that Republicans have followed the brainy political philosopher Grover Norquist and narrowly defined Conservatism as the process by which the government
(1) does not raise any taxes, and 
(2) makes every effort to lower taxes, while 
(3) not reducing public services in such a way that 
(4) they are voted out of office.

They are discovering that it is hard to provide public services without the money to do so.
This calls into question whether they were as awake and studious in Economics 101 as they were in the campus meetings of the Young Republicans while swotting away at whatever colleges they attended.

The US Congress faces the same problem with the ACA, or as they call it, ObamaCare.
While national Republicans have sworn to repeal ObamaCare, the fly in the non-medicinal ointment is the fact that millions of folks have gotten a taste of Health Care, and now have decided they like it.
There is no going back to square one, which for the Republicans is Repeal Without Replacement. Now they actually have to "fix" the ACA, which ACA they have spent years publicly vowing to repeal.
If they do not do this properly, they run the risk of # 4 above.

Second, the narrow definition of government is a modern day abomination.
It was born in insipid brains deficient of imagination and range.

To define the role of government solely according to the four points above, which is essentially what we have in modern Republicanism, is an affront to anyone who has defined Conservatism along the lines of Edmund Burke instead of along the lines of Dinesh DeSouza.

Government should play the role of actively providing an environment in which enterprise and business may flourish and do so legally and morally.

To do this requires money.

To deny taxes for benefits necessary to society is base anarchy which denies the very communal basis of society. In essence, the Norquistian sense of government  -  which is an offspring of the Californian Howard Jarvis anti-tax crusade  -  is a logical contradiction which purports to better society by destroying society, and thus returning to a truly rugged individualism.

However, the Republicans are not foolish enough to embrace a logical contradiction. No. But they are base enough to attempt to disguise their perfidy.

The Government gifted tax cuts to businesses in Michigan, which have resulted in the State not having funding for roads and the Legislature's inability to find funding in any clear and simple way, probably are less than the monetary benefits to business that would flow from Government attention to the   Definition  above in dealing with real concerns, such as that describe below:

Lansing State Journal
Travis Stoliker: Patent system needs upadating
What if a patent troll had stopped Henry Ford from building cars? Well in the early 1900s, the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM), which supported patent attorney George B. Selden, tried to do just that.

“Patent troll” is a term used for entities that do not develop or sell new technologies or products but exist solely to buy patents and use them to sue or threaten operating businesses.


Even into the 2000s, patent trolls were relatively few in number and they generally targeted multi-billion dollar businesses in pursuit of lottery ticket-sized damages. While they still do that, now they also target businesses of every size throughout the economy. While in 2006, patent trolls were responsible for 19 percent of patent litigation in the U.S., they now account for 67 percent of the cases. More than half of the businesses they target are small or non-tech businesses.

The growth in patent troll suits has been fueled by a flood of low-quality — overly broad, vague and overlapping — business method and Internet patents, many of which claim ownership over commonly used features of the Web. For example, patent trolls have sued small hotels and coffee shops for offering free Wi-Fi to their customers.

If sued by a patent troll, a small to medium-sized business has little choice but to settle out of court; taking on the troll through years of costly litigation just does not make business sense. However, settlements can equally devastating to small and medium sized companies, as the average settlement is $1.33 million. This type of patent troll harassment has huge economic consequences for America’s innovative businesses.

Since 1990, patent lawsuits have cost investors more than $500 billion — funds that could otherwise be used for innovation. Apple and Google, for example, now spend more on patent lawsuits and patent purchases than on research and development.

The patent system, once thought to protect inventors, now risks sapping U.S. innovation: patent trolls, often armed with portfolios of thousands of patents, engage in large-scale licensing (read: shakedown) campaigns aimed at America’s most promising, though still financially vulnerable, innovators. What’s more, trolls operate in the shadows, obfuscating their corporate structures and extent of ownership through the use of thousands of shell companies.

In 2014 alone, trolls sued 2,072 companies in 2,791 separate cases. It is not uncommon for trolls to target companies more than once. Recently, Apple was ordered to pay a settlement of more than $532 million. Days after the ruling, the troll was again suing Apple for devices that were released after the original filing.

Patent trolls are using America’s outdated patent system to exploit low-quality patents and skyrocketing court costs to make a financial return on their patent portfolios, while at the same time contributing little or nothing to technology transfer or innovation. Unless steps are taken to even the playing field and enable innovators of all sizes to get back to work, the patent troll problem threatens to derail innovation and economic growth in the United States.
 I added emphasis in areas that reflect the true decline and fall of enterprise, creating a Bleak House mentality of stagnation.


Sunday, May 03, 2015

Ben Carson Condescends...

Ben Carson's Idea of Protesting a Faulty Toilet Installation to the Plumbers' Union

PoliceBen Carson on the Baltimore Protests: If You Wouldn't Protest a Bad Plumber, You Shouldn't ProtestPolice
BY Jason Zengerle
Before Ben Carson was a hero to Tea Partiers, he was a hero to African-Americans—nowhere more so than in his adopted hometown of Baltimore. When he wasn't in the operating room at Johns Hopkins, Carson, a retired Pediatric neurosurgeon, could often be found at Baltimore inner-city schools telling the remarkable story of how he rose from dire poverty to become a world-renowned doctor. He was even immortalized in an episode of The Wire. Earlier today, Carson—who is expected to officially announce that he's running for president next Monday—spoke to me about the unrest in Baltimore. A condensed and edited transcript of our conversation is below....


Do you think that's indicative of a larger problem?
It's certainly indicative of some problems. In no way am I saying that all the police are righteous, by no stretch of the imagination. And clearly we need to be dealing with that. But recognize that we're dealing with a people problem. When you look at the Baltimore police force, it's about as diverse as any police force you're going to find in a big city. There may even be more minorities on that police force than there are non-minorities. The point being that inappropriate behavior comes in all colors, it's not specific. And just because it comes by one color or another color doesn't mean it should be ignored. It needs to be dealt with.

We need to get to the bottom of any problems of discrimination. But the larger issue here is, how do you react when something is wrong? If you have an unpleasant experience with a plumber, do you go out and declare a war on all plumbers? Or teachers or doctors? Of course not. And it makes no sense to do that with police either.

I shall keep that in mind the next time my plumber, Clint, kills one of my neighbors by... oh, breaking their spines, suffocating them, or shooting them with a gun they thought "wuz a taser"


Saturday, May 02, 2015

What's Happening In Baltimore?

As an aside, the Baltimore Nonviolence Center is a good source for what's is happening in Baltimore now:


The Yearning For The East !

! פֿאָרווערטס

Forward !

Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof
Justice, Justice shall you pursue.

The Push to the East in these times refers to the settlement effort of right wing Israel and the Likud, for the West Bank is actually East of the State of Israel.

They are being joined by the US Congress in all its unplumbed depths of amorality.

Originally published on  The Forward, an publication of The Jewish Daily Forward:
Published on Portside (

In Stealth Move, Congress Backs Israeli Right's War on Settlement Boycotts
April 26, 2015
J.J. Goldberg Friday, April 24, 2015
The finance committees of the House and Senate have approved amendments to a trade bill that equate boycotts of West Bank settlement products with boycotts of Israel, strengthening efforts by the Israeli right to silence opponents of West Bank settlements.

Both committees approved the amendments unanimously. Each committee then approved its version of the trade bill on a split vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats divided for and against.
The nearly identical amendments [1] require U.S. trade negotiators to “discourage politically motivated actions” by foreign countries and international organizations that aim to “penalize or otherwise limit” commercial relations with Israel or “persons doing business in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel.” The Senate Finance Committee took its action on Wednesday evening and the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday evening.

A separate measure approved by the House panel as an amendment to the customs bill goes a step further and takes action against some foreign companies if they shun the settlements, as called for by 16 of the 28 member-states of the European Union.

A press release [2] issued Thursday evening by the main sponsor of the House measure, GOP Rep. Peter Hoskam of Illinois, said the amendments “aim to counter the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel by requiring U.S. trade negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union.”

“This is nothing short of a historic win for the U.S.-Israel relationship and a hammer blow to the BDS movement — a campaign solely dedicated to the delegitimization and isolation of our ally Israel,” Hoskam was quoted as saying.

The phrase “in Israel or in territories controlled by Israel” is identical to the language of an Israeli anti-boycott bill that was adopted by the Knesset [3] in 2011 and upheld [4] by Israel’s High Court of Justice last week, punishing Israelis who advocate either type of boycott.

The addition of the phrase “or in territories controlled by Israel” is significant because “Israel” is defined — in both U.S. and Israeli law — as the area inside the pre-1967 armistice line known as the Green Line. Despite the insistence of many pro-Israel activists that the Green Line never constituted a border, most of the territory captured by Israel in 1967 remains under the administration of the Israeli military and outside Israeli sovereignty as defined by Israel.

The Knesset extended Israeli civil law to the captured areas of East Jerusalem in 1967 and 1980 and to the Golan Heights in 1981, but none of the measures spoke of “annexation” or of extending Israeli sovereignty to those areas.

Most nations regard Israeli civilian settlements in the post-1967 territories as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which governs the treatment of territories captured by one nation from another nation in war and forbids transfer of the occupying nation’s civilians into the occupied territory. Israel says the convention doesn’t apply to the West Bank because the territory was captured from Jordan, which was not the legal sovereign. No other nation accepts Israel’s reading. The United States rejects Israel’s reading of the convention but has declined to label the settlements “illegal,” preferring to call them “obstacles to peace.”

This week’s congressional committee measures appear to be the first-ever formal step toward U.S. government recognition of the settlements’ legitimacy. None of the Capitol Hill sources contacted appeared to be aware of the explosive significance of the “territories under the control of Israel” clause.

The global BDS movement [5], launched in 2005 by a group of Palestinian non-governmental organizations, pressures governments, unions, companies, universities and others to end all commercial, academic and cultural ties with Israel “until it meets its obligations under international law.” It seeks to end Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” attain “full equality” for “Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel” and permit “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.” Proponents are divided on whether or not they seek to eliminate the independent existence of the state of Israel.

Advocates of boycotting settlement products, by contrast, seek to protest the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, on the belief that settlements make it increasingly difficult for Israel to contemplate withdrawing from the territories, which they see as essential to ensure Israel’s long-term security.

Israeli rightists have sought in recent years to conflate the two efforts — boycotting Israel as a way of weakening it, versus opposing settlements as a way of ensuring Israel’s future — by referring to both as variants of global BDS. The aim is to cripple opponents of the settlements, both inside and outside Israel, by painting them as anti-Zionists opposed to Israel’s survival. The passage of the 2011 anti-boycott law by the Netanyahu coalition was a major victory for the right’s pro-settlement effort.

Far-right groups in the United States, including the Zionist Organization of America and some smaller groups, have brought that effort into this country in recent years. Among other things they’ve sought to bar Labor Zionists from running candidates in the World Zionist Congress elections; prevent the New Israel Fund and Partners for Progressive Israel, the parent organization of the pioneering Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, from participating in New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade; and remove New Israel Fund donors from leadership positions in New York’s UJA-Federation.

Leaders of mainstream organizations have dismissed the rightists’ efforts as marginal and doomed to failure. The new measures in Congress will undoubtedly add new fuel to the rightists’ efforts.
The congressional anti-boycott amendments are attached to bills easing White House efforts to negotiate controversial trade agreements. Both versions specify that the new anti-boycott provisions apply only to negotiations with Europe over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and not to the better-known Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asia.

European boycott efforts currently in effect or in the pipeline that might fall under the new congressional measures are nearly all limited to the settlements, not to Israel proper. Moreover, the United States already has stiff measures on the books, going back to the 1970s, that target boycotts against Israel. The sole effect of the new congressional measures, therefore, is to extend U.S. protection to the settlements “in territories controlled by Israel.”

The Senate amendment was cosponsored by Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. It was based on a stand-alone measure [6] introduced by Cardin in March.
The House amendment was sponsored by Roskam and Democrat Juan Vargas of California. The language was taken from a far more sweeping measure that Roskam submitted to the House in February, the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act (H.R. 825 [7]). It was adopted Thursday night as part of the Ways and Means committee’s markup of a customs bill.

Unlike the amendments adopted this week, Roskam’s larger bill wouldn’t merely “discourage” European boycotts of Israel and the settlements. It also would amend existing law to require direct federal action to prevent boycotts of Israel and the settlements.

Among other things, the Roskam bill would require the president to report to Congress on foreign efforts to boycott Israel or “territories under the control of Israel,” as well as on steps taken by the United States to combat boycotts. It would also amend the New Deal-era Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require that foreign entities issuing stocks or bonds in the United States report any participation in boycotts, as well as any effort by a foreign government to induce them to boycott.

I am now actually coming around to a  belief shared by my old evangelical friends that the re-establishment of Israel in one day presages the end of times.

As the right wing USA sells its soul alongside right wing Israel, there will be no shelter for 100 years or more.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Was The Indiscriminate Genocide Of The Iraq War Based Upon Lies?

You decide.

One of the major cheerleaders for Indiscriminate Genocide ("IG" - which is killing regardless of ethnic origin, religious persuasion, or any other characteristic jointly shared by the unlucky ones that are killed) is Judith Miller, who at the time wrote for The New York Times.
Judith Miller’s Blame-Shifting Memoir
April 7, 2015
On April 3, former New York Times journalist Judith Miller published an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths: Officials Didn’t Lie, and I Wasn’t Fed a Line.” If this sounds a bit defensive, Miller has tons to be defensive about.
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

In the article, Miller claims, “false narratives [about what she did as a New York Times reporter] deserve, at last, to be retired.” The article appears to be the initial salvo in a major attempt at self-rehabilitation and, coincidentally, comes just as her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, is to be published today.

In reviewing Miller’s book, her “mainstream media” friends are not likely to mention the stunning conclusion reached recently by the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other respected groups that the Iraq War, for which she was lead drum majorette, killed one million people. {emphasis mine}   One might think that, in such circumstances – and with bedlam reigning in Iraq and the wider neighborhood – a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, so to speak, might prompt Miller to keep her head down for a while more...


Miller’s Tale in the WSJ begins with a vintage Miller-style reductio ad absurdum: “I took America to war in Iraq. It was all me.” Since one of us, former UN inspector Scott Ritter, has historical experience and technical expertise that just won’t quit, we asked him to draft a few paragraphs keyed to Miller’s latest tale. He shared the following critique:

Miller’s Revisionist History

“Judith Miller did not take America to war in Iraq. Even a journalist with an ego the size of Ms. Miller’s cannot presume to usurp the war power authorities of the President of the United States, or even the now-dormant Constitutional prerogatives of Congress. What she is guilty of, however, is being a bad journalist.

“She can try to hide this fact by wrapping herself in a collective Pulitzer Prize, or citing past achievements like authoring best-selling books. But this is like former Secretary of State Colin Powell trying to remind people about his past as the National Security Advisor for President Reagan or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

“At the end of the day Mr. Powell will be judged not on his previous achievements, but rather on his biggest failure – his appearance before the United Nations Security Council touting an illusory Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction threat as being worthy of war. In this same vein, Judith Miller will be judged by her authoring stories for the ‘newspaper of record’ that were questionably sourced and very often misleading. One needs only to examine Ms. Miller’s role while embedded in U.S. Army Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, hunting for weapons of mass destruction during the 2003 invasion, for this point to be illustrated.

“Miller may not have singlehandedly taken America and the world to war, but she certainly played a pivotal role in building the public case for the attack on Iraq based upon shoddy reporting that even her editor at the New York Times has since discredited...


“Ms. Miller’s self-described ‘newsworthy claims’ of pre-war weapons of mass destruction stories often were – as we now know (and many of us knew at the time) – handouts from the hawks in the Bush administration and fundamentally wrong.


Miller appears to have worked out some kind of an accommodation with George W. Bush and others who planned and conducted what the post-World War II Nuremburg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime,” a war of aggression. She takes strong issue with what she calls “the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war.”

Does she not know, even now, that there is abundant proof that this is exactly what took place? Has she not read the Downing Street Memorandum based on what CIA Director George Tenet told the head of British Intelligence at CIA headquarters on July 20, 2002; i. e., that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” of making war for “regime change” in Iraq?

Does she not know, even at this late date, that the “intelligence” served up to “justify” attacking Iraq was NOT “mistaken,” but outright fraud, in which Bush had the full cooperation of Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin? Is she unaware that the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence at the time, Carl Ford, has said, on the record, that Tenet and McLaughlin were “not just wrong, they lied … they should have been shot” for their lies about WMD? (See Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.)

Blame Blix

Miller’s tale about Hans Blix in her WSJ article shows she has lost none of her edge for disingenuousness: “One could argue … that Hans Blix, the former chief of the international inspectors, bears some responsibility,” writes Miller. She cherry-picks what Blix said in January 2003 about “many proscribed weapons and items,” including 1,000 tons of chemical agent, were still “not accounted for.”

Yes, Blix said that on Jan. 27, 2003. But Blix also included this that same day in his written report to his UN superiors, something the New York Times, for some reason, did not include in its report:

“Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt...

“Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas day and New Years day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections.” [See “Steve M.” writing (appropriately) for “Crooks and Liars” as he corrected the record.]


When Blix retired at the end of June 2004, he politely suggested to the “prestigious” Council on Foreign Relations in New York the possibility that Baghdad had actually destroyed its weapons of mass destruction after the first Gulf War in 1991 (as Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, who had been in charge of the WMD and rocket programs assured his debriefers when he defected in 1995). Blix then allowed himself an undiplomatic jibe:

“It is sort of fascinating that you can have 100 per cent certainty about weapons of mass destruction and zero certainty of about where they are.”

We have been debating about the Armenian genocide/killings. What about Iraq? One million is a fine datum that surely allows us to announce "Genocide!... mostly probably of the Indiscriminate type," and to laud Ms. Miller with comparisons to Josef Goebbels in the Media department.

Karma is wreaking havoc among the peoples of the globe. Why not now bring the malefactors to justice? End the regime of Null-Accountability.

Let Ms. Miller's next address to us come from a glass booth:

Kyoto Sketches: Page 5

You may read the captions by enlarging the page, using "Ctrl +"  to make bigger,
"Ctrl -"  to reduce,
and "Ctrl 0" (zero)   to return to default size.

Vrooman Kyoto sketches from World War II


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Michigan's Perfidious Proposal 1

Ctrl + will increase size and make reading easier.
Ctrl 0 will return to default size.

This is a summation of the proposal for roads in Michigan.
The legislature, being Republican,  could not possibly increase taxes, 'cuz they don't believe in 'em. So they allow the roads to fall into ruins, and then let the taxpayers raise their own taxes.

All the talk of securing this money to roads and education means nothing, because they have made such promises before and they have broken those promises before. They got a state lottery in by promising the monies would be sacrosanct for the schools, but once the politicians of both parties saw how lucrative the lottery was, they broke the covenant. 
(To be fair, they re-instated the funds to education.... after an enormous public outcry.)

The mention of tax relief is similarly a politician's promise.

As far as warranty protections, competitive bidding, and performance-based systems, they had most of that all before when I was working in construction.
I mean, am I to understand that there is no competitive bidding now ???!!!!

Meaningful warranties mean higher costs to cover the probabilities of problems and litigation in the future.
Have they given us a quantified amount of what part of the new monies the warranties will eat into?

If the legislature cannot balance the budget and provide services and make tough decisions, let them return home to whatever Michigan villages they are the crones, coots, and old scourges of, and save us the burden of paying them for nothing.

A Proust For Our Time

If I had a choice between watching Dr. Phil interview Kim Richards (who apparently was a child actor and related to Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four) and reading Proust, it would be no contest.

That is essentially why we are so clueless.

I thought 50 Shades Of Gray was a bad idea whose time had come, but I always had been too much influenced by a simple interpretation of Siegfried Kracauer's thesis in From Caligari To Hitler, and the notion that literature and cinema reflects and leads society.

In the first volume of Du Côté de Chez Swann, we read of Mademoiselle Vinteuil and her female lover:

Perhaps she would not have considered evil to be so rare, so extraordinary, so estranging a state, to which it was so restful to emigrate, had she been able to discern in herself, as in everyone, that indifference to the sufferings one causes, an indifference which, whatever names one may give it, is the terrible and permanent form of cruelty.

Take your time. I had to read this four or five times to make sure I got it.

Simply put, the flowers of evil are always greener on the other side of the fence.  Les fleurs du mal sont toujours etc., etc., etc.
Since we are insensible to our own indifference and the suffering it causes, we seek extravagrant sadisms to pique our jaded interests.
The divide between the wealthy and others is increasing. Flotillas of peoples fill the Mediterranean seeking a better life, and if they do not die at sea to fill the evening news for us, they will be sent back to where they came from.

As we become indifferent to the hungry and the homeless, we are actually honing our cruel fangs of indifference. But we hide this truth from ourselves, and seek novel evils elsewhere.


Mozilla Madness

Go to Mozilla's Firefox site and try to register. I dare you.
The people who have managed to make it unanimously comment that it was very difficult to register; and if you want to ask a question or make a comment on a question, you have to sign in, and signing in requires that you have registered.

I wasted 20 minutes and gave up. There is Chrome, you know.

My problem:  four months ago I downloaded a Firefox add-on for saving files in MHT format.
My search engines were pasted with advertisements above, below and on the right side. Finally, Firefox pages were being deluged with Ads and warnings of various problems needing immediate corrective actions.

I refreshed Firefox and checked the Uninstall list of programs in Control Panel, removing obvious recent adware.


I downloaded another version of MHT format, since the refresh got rid of the old one.

Ads again.

I did this 4 times.

I got everything working fine for a month.
Then there was a Firefox update. I ignored it. I kept on ignoring every day for 2 weeks. Finally today it downloaded itself, and Firefox was updated.

Immediate Adware all over Firefox. Immediate.

On the Control Panel, the ones listed that were installed today were:

Flo Exible Shopper
Dropmark sidebar
Wow CoUppon 

and on the browser pages were "ads by dealpeak"

SO what's up, Firefox? I am not spending one more minute going in circles (you really do go in a circle trying to ask a question on Mozilla's site).