News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bombs)

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:11 pm

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context
Spoiler:
‘First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it.’ That was how Colin Powell described the battle plan he and his generals came up with for the war they were about to wage against Saddam Hussein’s army in 1991, and that is, more or less, what happened. ​
After the US A-10 tank-buster bombers known as Warthogs had finished off the Iraqi armoured brigades on the Basra Road, Harold Pinter, disgusted by the gratuitous carnage, wrote a poem called ‘American Football’. He sent it to several publications, including the London Review of Books, where I then worked. He had it faxed to the paper’s office on Tavistock Square. None of the editors much liked the poem, but because it was by Pinter there was some further deliberation, and as the afternoon ended we thought we’d defer the decision to the following morning.

I was invariably the first person to get to the office, and soon after I arrived the next day the phone rang. It was Pinter’s secretary, Angela. He wanted to know there and then whether the paper would publish the poem: he was heading out to Heathrow to fly to New York. I stalled: I said I’d let her know once I’d talked to colleagues, only no colleagues had arrived. The situation was made more complex because I’d known Harold since I was a boy; I played for his cricket team, the Gaieties. I rang Karl Miller’s office at the UCL English Department.

Karl said I should write a careful letter saying why the paper would not be publishing ‘American Football’. My letter wasn’t careful enough: after I faxed it to Harold, I got an explosive reply.

I didn’t hear from him for a while but then with the cricket season about to begin, I got a call from Angela: he wanted to know if I could play in the first match, the Gaieties v. the Honourable Artillery Company, a reserve regiment incorporated by Henry VIII. The company’s headquarters and cricket ground is in the City of London, next to Bunhill Cemetery, where Blake is buried. Cricket was played on the Artillery Garden before Blake was born. It’s one of the oldest cricket grounds in the country, and has an atmosphere unlike any other. Nothing has ever been built on it, and the large expanse of well-cut grass is surrounded by the office blocks of the City. During the Cold War, and immediately afterwards, armoured vehicles and light tanks were often stationed round the boundary ropes. The presence of all that hardware got to Harold and to his vociferous pacifism. He may have played infrequently after he turned 60 in 1990, but he ran the club very seriously and wanted the Gaieties to win.

That day at the Artillery Garden, Harold arrived in his black Mercedes coupé – the Mercedes he’d bought in the late 1960s had been stolen a few years earlier. (That car was known among the cricketers as Myrtle, after the wife of the garage owner in The Great Gatsby who is run over by her lover, Tom Buchanan, driving Gatsby’s car.) Harold got out of his car: he was dressed, as he so often was, in black. The car and Harold, black on black; the cricketers all white. The match was about to begin, and I was bowling to one of the Gaieties’ opening batsmen on the outfield close to the car park — a bit of practice. I bowled another ball, it hit something in the ground, and shot over the batsman’s head and I looked on as the ball then crashed into the chrome radiator of Harold’s car. We hadn’t spoken since that fax months earlier. He exploded, but then gave me a wink: he was having me on. We never talked about ‘American Football’.

‘American Football’ is a rough poem, but in the era of Trump it seems to say something that it didn’t when I read it on Tavistock Square all those years ago.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:01 pm

i'm not sure i was prepared for it to be this bad only a few days in
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby swampblood » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:50 pm

Welp this has been an incredibly demoralizing couple of weeks to start working on the Hill. I've been trying to work through empathizing with some Trump voters while not showing solidarity with the man or his policies, but in all honesty this first couple of days just has me seething. The gag order placed on the EPA & National Park Service staff is particularly egregious. Our phones literally haven't stop ringing as these confirmations happen, still holding out hope that DeVos doesn't make it through but I'm really not sure.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby CheerUpBrokeBoy » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:57 pm

trump's a repulsive pig but obama deliberately killed a 16-year-old american citizen with a drone strike so are things really gonna get worse or is the shit just more transparently shitty now
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby odradek » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:03 pm

things are actually worse.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby swampblood » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:40 pm

CheerUpBrokeBoy wrote:trump's a repulsive pig but obama deliberately killed a 16-year-old american citizen with a drone strike so are things really gonna get worse or is the shit just more transparently shitty now


Now just imagine Trump empowered w/ a Drone kill list. The politics of empire & neo-liberalism has long been the status quo w/ US foreign policy, but Trump can (and by the looks of it already has) lower the bar farther than most people could've imagine. Domestically things can get much worse, very quickly.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:22 am

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hehehe
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:57 am

seems like flynn and bannon are running the WH

also



when [Trump] first announced it, he said, "Muslim ban." He called me up. He said, "Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally." I put a commission together with Judge Mukasey, with Congressman McCaul, Pete King; whole group of very expert lawyers on this. And what we did was, we focused on - instead of religion, danger.


did he just admit discriminatory intent?

why are two people that seemingly agree on everything shouting at each other like this?
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rjbman » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:51 pm

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby Ques » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:41 pm

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rjbman » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:27 pm

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby CheerUpBrokeBoy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:11 pm

CheerUpBrokeBoy wrote:trump's a repulsive pig but obama deliberately killed a 16-year-old american citizen with a drone strike so are things really gonna get worse or is the shit just more transparently shitty now

trump just killed an 8-year-old in yemen so my point is completely invalid and i was wrong

i don't think there's any timeline darker than this one
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby BobbyZamora » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:59 am

Just dropping in to mention the fact that the guy who shot up a Mosque here in Canada, killing 6 people and wounding 8, was a trump supporter who frequented alt-right forums on the internet.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:30 pm

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:53 pm

The Jacksonian Revolt - Foreign Affairs

The distinctively American populism Trump espouses is rooted in the thought and culture of the country’s first populist president, Andrew Jackson. For Jacksonians—who formed the core of Trump’s passionately supportive base—the United States is not a political entity created and defined by a set of intellectual propositions rooted in the Enlightenment and oriented toward the fulfillment of a universal mission. Rather, it is the nation-state of the American people, and its chief business lies at home. Jacksonians see American exceptionalism not as a function of the universal appeal of American ideas, or even as a function of a unique American vocation to transform the world, but rather as rooted in the country’s singular commitment to the equality and dignity of individual American citizens. The role of the U.S. government, Jacksonians believe, is to fulfill the country’s destiny by looking after the physical security and economic well-being of the American people in their national home—and to do that while interfering as little as possible with the individual freedom that makes the country unique.


Spoiler:
For the first time in 70 years, the American people have elected a president who disparages the policies, ideas, and institutions at the heart of postwar U.S. foreign policy. No one knows how the foreign policy of the Trump administration will take shape, or how the new president’s priorities and preferences will shift as he encounters the torrent of events and crises ahead. But not since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration has U.S. foreign policy witnessed debates this fundamental.

Since World War II, U.S. grand strategy has been shaped by two major schools of thought, both focused on achieving a stable international system with the United States at the center. Hamiltonians believed that it was in the American interest for the United States to replace the United Kingdom as “the gyroscope of world order,” in the words of President Woodrow Wilson’s adviser Edward House during World War I, putting the financial and security architecture in place for a reviving global economy after World War II—something that would both contain the Soviet Union and advance U.S. interests. When the Soviet Union fell, Hamiltonians responded by doubling down on the creation of a global liberal order, understood primarily in economic terms.

Wilsonians, meanwhile, also believed that the creation of a global liberal order was a vital U.S. interest, but they conceived of it in terms of values rather than economics. Seeing corrupt and authoritarian regimes abroad as a leading cause of conflict and violence, Wilsonians sought peace through the promotion of human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law. In the later stages of the Cold War, one branch of this camp, liberal institutionalists, focused on the promotion of international institutions and ever-closer global integration, while another branch, neoconservatives, believed that a liberal agenda could best be advanced through Washington’s unilateral efforts (or in voluntary conjunction with like-minded partners).

The disputes between and among these factions were intense and consequential, but they took place within a common commitment to a common project of global order. As that project came under increasing strain in recent decades, however, the unquestioned grip of the globalists on U.S. foreign policy thinking began to loosen. More nationalist, less globally minded voices began to be heard, and a public increasingly disenchanted with what it saw as the costly failures the global order-building project began to challenge what the foreign policy establishment was preaching. The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian schools of thought, prominent before World War II but out of favor during the heyday of the liberal order, have come back with a vengeance.

Jeffersonians, including today’s so-called realists, argue that reducing the United States’ global profile would reduce the costs and risks of foreign policy. They seek to define U.S. interests narrowly and advance them in the safest and most economical ways. Libertarians take this proposition to its limits and find allies among many on the left who oppose interventionism, want to cut military spending, and favor redeploying the government’s efforts and resources at home. Both Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seemed to think that they could surf the rising tide of Jeffersonian thinking during the Republican presidential primary. But Donald Trump sensed something that his political rivals failed to grasp: that the truly surging force in American politics wasn’t Jeffersonian minimalism. It was Jacksonian populist nationalism.

IDENTITY POLITICS BITE BACK

The distinctively American populism Trump espouses is rooted in the thought and culture of the country’s first populist president, Andrew Jackson. For Jacksonians—who formed the core of Trump’s passionately supportive base—the United States is not a political entity created and defined by a set of intellectual propositions rooted in the Enlightenment and oriented toward the fulfillment of a universal mission. Rather, it is the nation-state of the American people, and its chief business lies at home. Jacksonians see American exceptionalism not as a function of the universal appeal of American ideas, or even as a function of a unique American vocation to transform the world, but rather as rooted in the country’s singular commitment to the equality and dignity of individual American citizens. The role of the U.S. government, Jacksonians believe, is to fulfill the country’s destiny by looking after the physical security and economic well-being of the American people in their national home—and to do that while interfering as little as possible with the individual freedom that makes the country unique.

Jacksonian populism is only intermittently concerned with foreign policy, and indeed it is only intermittently engaged with politics more generally. It took a particular combination of forces and trends to mobilize it this election cycle, and most of those were domestically focused. In seeking to explain the Jacksonian surge, commentators have looked to factors such as wage stagnation, the loss of good jobs for unskilled workers, the hollowing out of civic life, a rise in drug use—conditions many associate with life in blighted inner cities that have spread across much of the country. But this is a partial and incomplete view. Identity and culture have historically played a major role in American politics, and 2016 was no exception. Jacksonian America felt itself to be under siege, with its values under attack and its future under threat. Trump—flawed as many Jacksonians themselves believed him to be—seemed the only candidate willing to help fight for its survival.

For Jacksonian America, certain events galvanize intense interest and political engagement, however brief. One of these is war; when an enemy attacks, Jacksonians spring to the country’s defense. The most powerful driver of Jacksonian political engagement in domestic politics, similarly, is the perception that Jacksonians are being attacked by internal enemies, such as an elite cabal or immigrants from different backgrounds. Jacksonians worry about the U.S. government being taken over by malevolent forces bent on transforming the United States’ essential character. They are not obsessed with corruption, seeing it as an ineradicable part of politics. But they care deeply about what they see as perversion—when politicians try to use the government to oppress the people rather than protect them. And that is what many Jacksonians came to feel was happening in recent years, with powerful forces in the American elite, including the political establishments of both major parties, in cahoots against them.

Many Jacksonians came to believe that the American establishment was no longer reliably patriotic, with “patriotism” defined as an instinctive loyalty to the well-being and values of Jacksonian America. And they were not wholly wrong, by their lights. Many Americans with cosmopolitan sympathies see their main ethical imperative as working for the betterment of humanity in general. Jacksonians locate their moral community closer to home, in fellow citizens who share a common national bond. If the cosmopolitans see Jacksonians as backward and chauvinistic, Jacksonians return the favor by seeing the cosmopolitan elite as near treasonous—people who think it is morally questionable to put their own country, and its citizens, first.

Jacksonian distrust of elite patriotism has been increased by the country’s selective embrace of identity politics in recent decades. The contemporary American scene is filled with civic, political, and academic movements celebrating various ethnic, racial, gender, and religious identities. Elites have gradually welcomed demands for cultural recognition by African Americans, Hispanics, women, the LGBTQ community, Native Americans, Muslim Americans. Yet the situation is more complex for most Jacksonians, who don’t see themselves as fitting neatly into any of those categories.

Whites who organize around their specific European ethnic roots can do so with little pushback; Italian Americans and Irish Americans, for example, have long and storied traditions in the parade of American identity groups. But increasingly, those older ethnic identities have faded, and there are taboos against claiming a generic European American or white identity. Many white Americans thus find themselves in a society that talks constantly about the importance of identity, that values ethnic authenticity, that offers economic benefits and social advantages based on identity—for everybody but them. For Americans of mixed European background or for the millions who think of themselves simply as American, there are few acceptable ways to celebrate or even connect with one’s heritage.

There are many reasons for this, rooted in a complex process of intellectual reflection over U.S. history, but the reasons don’t necessarily make intuitive sense to unemployed former factory workers and their families. The growing resistance among many white voters to what they call “political correctness” and a growing willingness to articulate their own sense of group identity can sometimes reflect racism, but they need not always do so. People constantly told that they are racist for thinking in positive terms about what they see as their identity, however, may decide that racist is what they are, and that they might as well make the best of it. The rise of the so-called alt-right is at least partly rooted in this dynamic.

The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the scattered, sometimes violent expressions of anti-police sentiment displayed in recent years compounded the Jacksonians’ sense of cultural alienation, and again, not simply because of race. Jacksonians instinctively support the police, just as they instinctively support the military. Those on the frontlines protecting society sometimes make mistakes, in this view, but mistakes are inevitable in the heat of combat, or in the face of crime. It is unfair and even immoral, many Jacksonians believe, to ask soldiers or police officers to put their lives on the line and face great risks and stress, only to have their choices second-guessed by armchair critics. Protests that many Americans saw as a quest for justice, therefore, often struck Jacksonians as attacks on law enforcement and public order.

Gun control and immigration were two other issues that crystallized the perception among many voters that the political establishments of both parties had grown hostile to core national values. Non-Jacksonians often find it difficult to grasp the depth of the feelings these issues stir up and how proposals for gun control and immigration reform reinforce suspicions about elite control and cosmopolitanism.

The right to bear arms plays a unique and hallowed role in Jacksonian political culture, and many Jacksonians consider the Second Amendment to be the most important in the Constitution. These Americans see the right of revolution, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, as the last resort of a free people to defend themselves against tyranny—and see that right as unenforceable without the possibility of bearing arms. They regard a family’s right to protect itself without reliance on the state, meanwhile, as not just a hypothetical ideal but a potential practical necessity—and something that elites don’t care about or even actively oppose. (Jacksonians have become increasingly concerned that Democrats and centrist Republicans will try to disarm them, which is one reason why mass shootings and subsequent calls for gun control spur spikes in gun sales, even as crime more generally has fallen.)

As for immigration, here, too, most non-Jacksonians misread the source and nature of Jacksonian concern. There has been much discussion about the impact of immigration on the wages of low-skilled workers and some talk about xenophobia and Islamophobia. But Jacksonians in 2016 saw immigration as part of a deliberate and conscious attempt to marginalize them in their own country. Hopeful talk among Democrats about an “emerging Democratic majority” based on a secular decline in the percentage of the voting population that is white was heard in Jacksonian America as support for a deliberate transformation of American demographics. When Jacksonians hear elites’ strong support for high levels of immigration and their seeming lack of concern about illegal immigration, they do not immediately think of their pocketbooks. They see an elite out to banish them from power—politically, culturally, demographically. The recent spate of dramatic random terrorist attacks, finally, fused the immigration and personal security issues into a single toxic whole.

In short, in November, many Americans voted their lack of confidence—not in a particular party but in the governing classes more generally and their associated global cosmopolitan ideology. Many Trump voters were less concerned with pushing a specific program than with stopping what appeared to be the inexorable movement of their country toward catastrophe.

THE ROAD AHEAD

What all of this means for U.S. foreign policy remains to be seen. Many previous presidents have had to revise their ideas substantially after reaching the Oval Office; Trump may be no exception. Nor is it clear just what the results would be of trying to put his unorthodox policies into practice. (Jacksonians can become disappointed with failure and turn away from even former heroes they once embraced; this happened to President George W. Bush, and it could happen to Trump, too.)

At the moment, Jacksonians are skeptical about the United States’ policy of global engagement and liberal order building—but more from a lack of trust in the people shaping foreign policy than from a desire for a specific alternative vision. They oppose recent trade agreements not because they understand the details and consequences of those extremely complex agreements’ terms but because they have come to believe that the negotiators of those agreements did not necessarily have the United States’ interests at heart. Most Jacksonians are not foreign policy experts and do not ever expect to become experts. For them, leadership is necessarily a matter of trust. If they believe in a leader or a political movement, they are prepared to accept policies that seem counter-intuitive and difficult.

They no longer have such trust in the American establishment, and unless and until it can be restored, they will keep Washington on a short leash. To paraphrase what the neoconservative intellectual Irving Kristol wrote about Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1952, there is one thing that Jacksonians know about Trump—that he is unequivocally on their side. About their country’s elites, they feel they know no such thing. And their concerns are not all illegitimate, for the United States’ global order-building project is hardly flourishing.

Over the past quarter century, Western policymakers became infatuated with some dangerously oversimplified ideas. They believed capitalism had been tamed and would no longer generate economic, social, or political upheavals. They felt that illiberal ideologies and political emotions had been left in the historical dustbin and were believed only by “bitter” losers—people who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations,” as Barack Obama famously put it in 2008. Time and the normal processes of history would solve the problem; constructing a liberal world order was simply a matter of working out the details.

Given such views, many recent developments—from the 9/11 attacks and the war on terrorism to the financial crisis to the recent surge of angry nationalist populism on both sides of the Atlantic—came as a rude surprise. It is increasingly clear that globalization and automation have helped break up the socioeconomic model that undergirded postwar prosperity and domestic social peace, and that the next stage of capitalist development will challenge the very foundations of both the global liberal order and many of its national pillars.

In this new world disorder, the power of identity politics can no longer be denied. Western elites believed that in the twenty-first century, cosmopolitanism and globalism would triumph over atavism and tribal loyalties. They failed to understand the deep roots of identity politics in the human psyche and the necessity for those roots to find political expression in both foreign and domestic policy arenas. And they failed to understand that the very forces of economic and social development that cosmopolitanism and globalization fostered would generate turbulence and eventually resistance, as Gemeinschaft (community) fought back against the onrushing Gesellschaft (market society), in the classic terms sociologists favored a century ago.

The challenge for international politics in the days ahead is therefore less to complete the task of liberal world order building along conventional lines than to find a way to stop the liberal order’s erosion and reground the global system on a more sustainable basis. International order needs to rest not just on elite consensus and balances of power and policy but also on the free choices of national communities—communities that need to feel protected from the outside world as much as they want to benefit from engaging with it.

fwiw i think there are plenty of ways for 'Americans of mixed European background' to celebrate and connect with their heritage that doesn't involve this narrative (many have celebrated it every day, out on the street marching since inauguration). but the article is still pretty interesting and, at least for me, helps with more of an insight into sections of the pop that voted for trump
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby ramseames » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:51 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... are_btn_tw

A former prime minister of Norway has spoken of his shock after he was held and questioned at Washington Dulles airport because of a visit to Iran three years ago.

Kjell Magne Bondevik, who served as prime minister of Norway from 1997-2000 and 2001-05, flew into the US from Europe on Tuesday afternoon to attend this week’s National Prayer Breakfast.

He was held for an hour after customs agents saw in his diplomatic passport that he had been to Iran in 2014. Bondevik said his passport also clearly indicated that he was the former PM of Norway.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby BobbyZamora » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:01 am

I haven't heard anyone here mention the fact that Trump is reviving the Dakota Access pipeline

So as a reminder, this is what happens when militarized police throw a flashbang at your arm while you are protesting the pipeline:

Spoiler:
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby pirxthepilot » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 am

pwc lols @ bela's 10 year uncertainty and goes full futurologist. srsly if we are ever going to make money out of report on teen consumption patterns in 2050 the time is now

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... -brexit-us
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby bels » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:53 am

I thought you said pwvc and thought there was a futurist ventile collection in boring colours incoming
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:11 am

i'm ready

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby vgtbls » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:16 am

The teen consumption patterns I'm most interested in are the inevitable rise of drug-resistant juvenile tuberculosis
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rjbman » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:32 pm

Jerry Sandusky's son arrested for child sexual abuse - something fucked up going on with the Sandusky clan. Either they're both just horrific deviants or Jerry Sandusky abused his son.

Spoiler:
Joe Paterno's son denied any knowledge.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby wolflarsen » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:58 am

Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser. Flynn sets a record when it comes to shortest tenure here, but will this be some sort of major defeat/hurdle for the administration? From what the last two years have shown, probably not. Maybe another think piece will do the job though?

When it comes to neoliberal democracy, institutions trump (no pun intended) individuals. The current US administration is heralded as the death knell for the neoliberal age, but it was granted power/is shielded by that same political philosophy.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:45 pm

trump's national security apparatus is a disaster. i think we need wait for the rest of the investigations re russia and the new administration to run their course. flynn will be the short term fall guy for a potentially compromised administration. with his IC history / record, i still can't get over how stupid he was to have made that phone call - he would have know it would be recorded. presumedly trump knew about it. peskov is giving a 'no comment' to all questions flynn related. i'm surprised by the level of discomfort in the kremlin / state media over the resignation.

btw, most criticism i've read of trump has been less chomsky dialect / ' end of neoliberal age' (???), and more centred around his attacks on the independent media and judiciary, his disregard for checks and balances, his nativist agenda smuggled in under the guise of 'law and order' and his general apathy towards the US role of 'balancing' (europe, east asia etc). i'd imagine everyone would be concerned about those
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:06 pm

(cross post with long read thread)

Russian hacking group's 'last member at liberty' comes out of the shadows - Guardian

To make sure Anikeyev really was at liberty, Alexander told him to go to a branch of Jean-Jacques, a chain of French cafes in Moscow, and take a selfie, and a photograph of the receipt. Two hours later, Anikeyev sent the photos. Later, Alexander called the cafe, and asked the waitress how many people had been sitting at table five, mentioned on the receipt. Only one person, she replied.

After that, Anikeyev would appear online for a couple of hours a day. Two other members of the group travelled to Moscow, but Alexander was not convinced. “Somehow, the whole story smelled like rotten fish. I told him I wouldn’t come to Moscow, and that I quit.”

Both of the other men are now apparently under arrest, and in December, Anikeyev went completely dark and the Shaltai-Boltai accounts stopped functioning. Alexander found himself locked out. At the end of January, news broke of the arrests.


There will be no President Le Pen - Guardian @bels

Le Pen’s second big obstacle is that she is no longer the outsider. Socialist Benoît Hamon is gathering steam while Macron, a former finance minister and the polls’ favourite, is emerging as the progressive alternative to Le Pen. They’re the “fresh faces”. If anything, Le Pen is starting to look like an old hand.

The fact that there are alternatives – even liberal ones – is a novelty in France. Of course, this is partly an optical illusion. But the FN no longer has a monopoly in the marketplace of renewal.


Ukraine’s leaders may be giving up on reuniting the country - Economist

Russia, too, has been building. It has created a force estimated at 40,000 men in the separatist territories, including, covertly, about 5,000 Russian soldiers. It has rebuilt the local administration, repaired road infrastructure and eliminated some of the unrulier rebel commanders. (One such commander, Mikhail Tolstykh, better known as “Givi”, was blown up with a grenade launcher on February 8th.) Mr Putin now hopes to use the Minsk process to incorporate this separatist administration into Ukraine. Yulia Mostovaya, the editor of Zerkalo Nedeli, an independent weekly, says this would be like implanting a cancerous cell into Ukraine’s body. It would give Russia control over a portion of the electorate and could lead to further disintegration of the country. Many in Kiev would prefer to preserve the status quo.


The Bard of Eastern Ukraine, Where Things Are Falling Apart - New Yorker

absorbing piece from november by marci shore on ukrainian writer zhadan. a few days ago while visiting minsk "police and Belarusian KGB agents entered his hotel room while he was sleeping at about 2 a.m and took him into custody.". he was then ordered to leave the country

Located deep in southeastern Ukraine along the Russian border, the Donbas is a post-industrial mining region known for its territorial allegiance. The dominant language is Russian, although Ukrainian is also common, as is surzhyk, the name for fusions of the two. In the early modern period, the Donbas was already a kind of Wild West: the untamed steppe served as a refuge for Cossacks fleeing Polish oppression; later, it beckoned to persecuted Jews, religious minorities, dekulakized peasants, criminals, gold-seekers—fugitives of all kinds. By the twentieth century, it was a “politically unmanageable . . . frontier land, where inner yearnings for freedom, wild exploitation, and everyday violence have competed for domination,” as the historian Hiroaki Kuromiya describes it, in his book “Freedom and Terror in the Donbas.” Under Stalin, the Donbas became the setting for the Stakhanovite movement, the forging of super-workers who could fulfill the Five-Year Plan in four years. This acceleration of time had a dark side: even by Stalinist standards, Kuromiya writes, “the terror of the 1930s in the Donbas was extraordinary.”


'I thought I was smarter than almost everybody': my double life as a KGB agent - Guardian (this is a long read but really worth it)

On a chilly morning in December 1988, computer analyst Jack Barsky embarked on his usual morning commute to his office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, leaving his wife and baby daughter at home in Queens. As he entered the subway, he caught sight of something startling: a daub of red paint on a metal beam. Barsky had looked for it every morning for years; it meant he had a life-changing decision to make, and fast.

Barsky knew the drill. The red paint was a warning that he was in immediate danger, that he should hurry to collect cash and emergency documents from a prearranged drop site. From there, he would cross the border into Canada and contact the Soviet consulate in fake canada. Arrangements would be made for him to leave the country. He would cease to be Jack Barsky. The American identity he had inhabited for a decade would evaporate and he would return to his former life: that of Albrecht Dittrich, a chemist and KGB agent, with a wife and seven-year-old son waiting patiently for him in East Germany.


Frauke Petry, the New Face of Germany’s Anti-Immigrant Right - Tablet

very interesting interview with AfD leader frauke petry. it feels candid but she's slick af (same can't be said for a lot of her party)

Frauke Petry has been the leader of the AfD since 2015. Under her stewardship, the party now holds seats in 10 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, up from five a year ago. Federal elections will be held in September, and the latest polls predict that this time the party will have no trouble entering the Bundestag, Germany’s national parliament. If polls are to be trusted, the party will win 12 percent to 15 percent of the vote, which will make it the third largest political party in Germany—and the first overtly nationalist party in the German government since the Third Reich.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby deadirishwriters » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:35 pm

rublev wrote:(cross post with long read thread)

'I thought I was smarter than almost everybody': my double life as a KGB agent - Guardian (this is a long read but really worth it)

On a chilly morning in December 1988, computer analyst Jack Barsky embarked on his usual morning commute to his office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, leaving his wife and baby daughter at home in Queens. As he entered the subway, he caught sight of something startling: a daub of red paint on a metal beam. Barsky had looked for it every morning for years; it meant he had a life-changing decision to make, and fast.

Barsky knew the drill. The red paint was a warning that he was in immediate danger, that he should hurry to collect cash and emergency documents from a prearranged drop site. From there, he would cross the border into Canada and contact the Soviet consulate in fake canada. Arrangements would be made for him to leave the country. He would cease to be Jack Barsky. The American identity he had inhabited for a decade would evaporate and he would return to his former life: that of Albrecht Dittrich, a chemist and KGB agent, with a wife and seven-year-old son waiting patiently for him in East Germany.


Wow, straight out of The Americans. Crazy to think that kind of thing actually happened.
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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rjbman » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:16 pm

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:24 pm

3 years ago today russia's little green men began to seize crimea

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it's quite interesting to watch these BBC reports from 2014 again

also worth binge watching simon ostrovsky's vice news dispatches from on the ground which really were A+ (and addictive)

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Re: News/Current Events, discussion (Bullets, Ballots & Bomb

Postby rublev » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:51 pm

Image

what a correction

article
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