Yesterday evening Time Magazine broke a news story about Carter Page. Carter Page Touted Russia Contacts in 2013 Letter | Time
Apparently Page had written a book on his “academic” views of Russia, and in trying to get the book published…actually bragged about being a spy. However, in the last paragraph of the article, the editor who has remained anonymous summed up his opinion of Carter in very much the same way that most people view Carter:
“I just came to see him as a kook”
Yeah, I think that we all can agree about that…
From the link above:
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page bragged that he was an adviser to the Kremlin in a letter obtained by TIME that raises new questions about the extent of Page’s contacts with the Russian government over the years.
The letter, dated Aug. 25, 2013, was sent by Page to an academic press during a dispute over edits to an unpublished manuscript he had submitted for publication, according to an editor who worked with Page.
“Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,” the letter reads.
As anyone reading or watching the goings on with Page, it doesn’t take much to see how bumbling a fool he was…maybe that was the main attraction for the Russians? (That is my own question to ponder, as you know Putin wants to create chaos.)
As this excerpt from the book COLLUSION by Luke Harding in Politico describes…the two Russian spies who recruited Page described him as an “idiot”:
As FBI wiretaps showed, the techniques for meeting with Buryakov were distinctly old-school. Typically, Sporyshev would ring Buryakov and tell him he had to give him “something”—a ticket, a book, a hat, an umbrella. The two would meet outdoors. This sometimes happened outside Buryakov’s bank office on Third Avenue—an inconspicuous brown tower with a 1960s abstract sculpture at street level opposite the foyer. They would exchange documents.
Sporyshev’s biggest headache was finding Americans willing to become intelligence sources for Russia. This was tough. He had approached two young women working in financial consultancy who had recently graduated from a New York university. Sporyshev told Podobnyy he was skeptical anything would come of it. Or, as he put it in chauvinist terms: “In order to be close you need to either fuck them or use other levers to execute my requests.”
The Russian spies, however, had one promising lead. This was a guy—an energy consultant based in New York City. Unlike the women, he was eager to help. And, it appeared, keen to make money in Moscow. There was a drawback: The source—whom the FBI called “Male-1”—was something of a dimwit.
The FBI intercepts record:
PODOBNYY: [Male-1] wrote that he is sorry, he went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back. I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am. Plus he writes to me in Russian [to] practise the language. He flies to Moscow more often than I do. He got hooked on [the Russian state energy company] Gazprom, thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up. Maybe he can. I don’t know, but it’s obvious he wants to earn loads of money.
SPORYSHEV: Without a doubt.
On a little more about Page:
In a blog post for Global Policy, an online journal, he wrote that Putin wasn’t to blame for the 2014 Ukraine conflict. The White House’s superior “smack-down” approach had “started the crisis in the first place,” he wrote.
Page’s rampant pro-Moscow views were at odds with the US State Department under Clinton and with almost all American scholars of Russia. After all, it was Putin who had smuggled tanks across the border into eastern Ukraine. Not that Page’s opinions counted for much. Global Policy had a small circulation. It was edited out of Durham University in the north of England.
His relationship with the journal fizzled out when he wrote an opinion piece lavishly praising a pro-Russian candidate ahead of the U.S. presidential election—Trump.
And then something odd happened.
In March 2016 candidate Trump met with the Washington Post’s editorial board. At this point it seemed likely that Trump would clinch the Republican nomination. Foreign affairs came up. Who were the candidate’s foreign policy advisers? Trump read five names. The second was “Carter Page, PhD.” Given Trump’s obvious lack of experience of world affairs, this was a pivotal job.
One former Eurasia Group colleague said he was stunned when he discovered Page had mysteriously become one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers. “I nearly dropped my coffee,” he told me. The colleague added: “We had wanted people who could engage in critical analysis of what’s going on. This is a guy who has no critical insight into the situation. He wasn’t a smart person.”
Read more at the link…some insight as to what Page spoke of while he was in Russia, and how
Page’s loyalty to the SVR was breathtaking. Podobnyy wasn’t an “imagined bogeyman” but a career operative working against the interests of the United States. And, moreover, one who had bad-mouthed Page behind his back, calling him “a bit of an idiot”.
Whatever Page’s motives were for helping Russian intelligence—greed, naivety, stupidity—his actions surely justified the FBI’s interest in him. There was a simple way of avoiding U.S. surveillance and a FISA court warrant. It could be summed up like this: Don’t hang out with Russian spies.
All this talk of Russia, it may be a good time to watch Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Dr. Strangelove….
The Trump administration released a report on the state of America’s nuclear weaponry on Friday. The assessment, known as a Nuclear Posture Review, mainly concerns U.S. nukes and missiles.
But buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.” On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device. The report refers to it as “a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”
“The radius of total or near-total destruction is the size of a pretty large metropolitan area, actually,” says Edward Geist, a Russia specialist at the Rand Corp. who has spent time looking at the weapon. “It’s difficult to imagine in normal terms.”
If it sounds somewhat familiar…the Status-6 has made an appearance before…
Status-6 made its first public appearance in 2015, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting with his generals in the city of Sochi.
Russia state television reported on the visit. The camera shows Putin seated at a long table. Then it cuts to a shot over one of the general’s shoulders. He is looking at what appears to be a drawing of a new nuclear weapon called the Oceanic Multipurpose System Status-6.
Here is the main point:
Status-6 would launch from beneath a Russian submarine. It would shoot at a depth too deep to be intercepted and travel for thousands of miles. Upon reaching its target along the U.S. coastline, it would detonate, swallowing up whatever city happened to be nearby.
“The only possible U.S. targets are large port cities,” says Mark Schneider, a senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy, wrote in an e-mail. “The detonation of Status-6 in any of them would essentially wipe out their population into the far suburbs.”
“The detonation would cause a very large amount of radioactive fallout,” adds Pavel Podvig, an arms control expert who runs a blog called Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Podvig believes the weapon could potentially bathe the entire Northeast Corridor in radioactive soot.
Status-6 would probably be used as a “third-strike” weapon of last resort. If Russia fell under attack from the U.S. and couldn’t retaliate with its missiles, it might trigger Status-6: a doomsday machine. Or at least a doomsday-ish machine.
Did you all see the tweet from Paul Ryan before he deleted it yesterday?
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan deleted a tweet on Saturday cheering a $1.50 increase to a Pennsylvania school secretary’s weekly pay because of a $1.5 trillion tax cut after it drew criticism that he was out of touch with ordinary Americans.
Ha, no shit!
The Trump administration and Republicans have cast the massive tax cuts, which came into effect in January as creating jobs and boosting economic growth. But critics have argued that they benefited the rich and would blow up the national debt.
Some social media users accused Ryan of being out of touch, with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom posting on Twitter that “Guess someone told Paul Ryan you shouldn’t go around praising yourself for giving a working person an extra $1.50 a week — because he deleted this tweet.”
On Saturday, Ryan tweeted a link to an Associated Press story with a summary that said, “A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.”
Immediately after Ryan tweeted the story, many left-of-center critics pounced on the speaker for praising the minuscule raise — given that annual Costco membership are only $60 — while many corporate higher-ups have gained a much more substantial amount from the GOP tax bill. The Wisconsin Republican was then pressured to delete the tweet.
Specifically, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed Ryan for the tweet. “Paul Ryan deleted his embarrassing tweet of a blatant admission because he and Republicans don’t want you to know the truth: the #GOPTaxScam is a gift to corporate America and the top 1% at your expense.
He also doesn’t want you to know he got $500.000.00 from the Koch family,” tweeted Pelosi.
There was a horrible racist attack in Italy: At least 6 people injured by far-right shooter in Italy – Axios
It comes as more ultra-right only white political parties become more popular in Europe.
And for the last of today’s post, updates on the latest train wreck:
CBS News is reporting that the Amtrak train was on the wrong tracks….
At least two people were killed and 116 others injured when a train traveling from New York to Miami struck a freight train Sunday morning, authorities said. The crash left thousands of gallons of oil spilled at the scene near Columbia, South Carolina.
The collision occurred in Cayce around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, Lexington County spokesperson Harrison Cahill said. He said the injuries ranged from scratches to broken bones.
The two people killed were later identified as Amtrak personnel, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in a news conference Sunday. McMaster said the CSX freight train was on the right loading side track “where it was supposed to be” before the collision and the Amtrak train was “on the wrong side.” He did not elaborate.
There were approximately 148 people aboard the train, including 139 passengers and 8 personnel.
The CSX train was stationary, Mr. McMaster said, and appeared to be on the correct track. “It appears that Amtrak was on the wrong track,” he said.
The first engine of the freight train was torn up, he said, and the engine of the Amtrak train, Train 91, was “barely recognizable.”
“It’s a horrible thing to see — to understand the force that this involved,” Mr. McMaster said.
In a statement earlier Sunday morning, Amtrak said the lead engine and some of the passenger cars had derailed.
It was the second major crash involving an Amtrak train in less than a week. On Wednesday, a train carrying Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing a passenger in the truck.
More updates on the train crash in the comments below…this is an open thread.
Anyone know exactly what “multicultural affinity” means?
In advertising terms it is:
used to descibe the quality of people who are interested in and likely to respond well to multicultural content. referring to their affinity to the cultures they are interested in. based on affinity, not ethnicity.
According to my Facebook categories, I have African-American multicultural affinities.
They also say I’m “very liberal” …I wonder what gives them that idea?
The reason I came about this discovery was an article about Facebook ads targeting your political affiliation:
Unless you’ve managed to avoid your Facebook feed for the last year and half, no doubt you’ve learned a whole lot more about your friends’ and family’s political views than you ever cared to. And even if you’ve personally made a conscious effort to stay neutral or discreet about your leanings in the midst of the madness, the reality is that Facebook has a pretty good idea of your political preferences anyway.
That’s because included amongst the hordes of data Zuckerberg and Co. are constantly collecting about you in order to better serve up ads is an inference about how liberal, moderate, or conservative you might be. Here’s how to find out what you’ve been categorized as, and how to change it.
What I find interesting…is that on that political front, facebook does not have any sample ads for my “very liberal” political leanings:
But what is really funny….is that they have samples of ads for my African-American “multicultural affinity”:
Hmmmm, credit problems and burner phones? Okay….
But what is interesting is that Facebook has me “categorized” as a US soccer kind of person…not one who has an American Football affinity:
Damn, no sample ads for that either….but keep that tidbit of info handy because we will come back to it shortly.
Why does all this shit matter you may say?
(Date on this link is from 12/2015)
The 2010 U.S. Census reported that Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans make up one-third of the U.S. population, and that number is growing rapidly. Reaching and personalizing to these audiences is an essential part of any brand’s marketing strategy. As such, Facebook recognized a need for more multicultural targeting across Facebook and Instagram.
According to Facebook, Multicultural Affinity is “the quality of people who are interested in and likely to respond well to multicultural content.” This new targeting solution enables advertisers to more effectively reach and engage people of varying traditions, beliefs, aesthetics, languages and musical tastes. The targeting is based on affinity, not ethnicity. Affinity can be described as “a relationship, like a marriage, as a natural liking, and as a similarity of characteristics.” This means that ads can be targeted to people with multicultural interests.
Three audiences have been broken out in Multicultural Affinity: Hispanic, African American and Asian American affinities:
You can go to the link to read about the three audiences, the point to this should be highlighted here, cough…cough:
This targeting is very concentrated and it may not be the best solution for every advertiser or every campaign. To drive the best results, this targeting should only be used with a specific goal to reach a specific audience. Conduct a test to see how Multicultural Affinity targeting performs against existing targeting to determine its effectiveness.
However when you look more into the real reason for the breakdown, you can see what the real target is used for:
Oh, look at the date on this, Oct. 28th, 2016
Facebook’s system allows advertisers to exclude black, Hispanic, and other “ethnic affinities” from seeing ads.
Imagine if, during the Jim Crow era, a newspaper offered advertisers the option of placing ads only in copies that went to white readers.
That’s basically what Facebook is doing nowadays.
The ubiquitous social network not only allows advertisers to target users by their interests or background, it also gives advertisers the ability to exclude specific groups it calls “Ethnic Affinities.” Ads that exclude people based on race, gender and other sensitive factors are prohibited by federal law in housing and employment.
You can see the actual name of this feature was called “Ethnic Affinity”:
The ad we purchased was targeted to Facebook members who were house hunting and excluded anyone with an “affinity” for African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic people. (Here’s the ad itself.)
When we showed Facebook’s racial exclusion options to a prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he gasped and said, “This is horrifying. This is massively illegal. This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find.”
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal “to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits the “printing or publication of notices or advertisements indicating prohibited preference, limitation, specification or discrimination” in employment recruitment.
Facebook’s business model is based on allowing advertisers to target specific groups — or, apparently to exclude specific groups — using huge reams of personal data the company has collected about its users. Facebook’s microtargeting is particularly helpful for advertisers looking to reach niche audiences, such as swing-state voters concerned about climate change. ProPublica recently offered a tool allowing users to see how Facebook is categorizing them. We found nearly 50,000 unique categories in which Facebook places its users.
Oh boy…go and read the whole thing, and then see the follow-up here:
Yeah, the date here is Nov. 21st, 2017
After ProPublica revealed last year that Facebook advertisers could target housing ads to whites only, the company announced it had built a system to spot and reject discriminatory ads. We retested and found major omissions.
In February, Facebook said it would step up enforcementof its prohibition against discrimination in advertising for housing, employment or credit.
But our tests showed a significant lapse in the company’s monitoring of the rental market.
Last week, ProPublica bought dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook, but asked that they not be shown to certain categories of users, such as African Americans, mothers of high school kids,people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina and Spanish speakers.
All of these groups are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to publish any advertisement “with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Every single ad was approved within minutes.
The only ad that took longer than three minutes to be approved by Facebook sought to exclude potential renters “interested in Islam, Sunni Islam and Shia Islam.” It was approved after 22 minutes.
Under its own policies, Facebook should have flagged these ads, and prevented the posting of some of them. Its failure to do so revives questions about whether the company is in compliance with federal fair housing rules, as well as about its ability and commitment to police discriminatory advertising on the world’s largest social network.
Damn…that is surprising…ain’t it? (Snark is heavily insinuated here.)
Based on Facebook’s announcement, the ads purchased by ProPublica that were aimed at racial categories should have been rejected. The others should have prompted a screen to pop up asking for self-certification. We never encountered a self-certification screen, and none of our ads were rejected by Facebook.
“This was a failure in our enforcement and we’re disappointed that we fell short of our commitments,” Ami Vora, vice president of product management at Facebook, said in an emailed statement. “The rental housing ads purchased by ProPublica should have but did not trigger the extra review and certifications we put in place due to a technical failure.”
Vora added that Facebook’s anti-discrimination system had “successfully flagged millions of ads” in the credit, employment and housing categories and that Facebook will now begin requiring self-certification for ads in all categories that choose to exclude an audience segment. “Our systems continue to improve but we can do better,” Vora said.
About 37 percent of U.S. households rented in 2016, representing a 50-year high, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. On average, renters earn about half as much as homeowners, and the percentage of families with children that rent rather than buy has increased sharply in the past decade, the study said. Minority renters have long faced pervasive housing discrimination. A 2013 study by HUD found that real estate agents show more units to whites than to African Americans, Asians and Latinos.
Gee…innit that the three categories of multicultural affinity?
Facebook has been under fire for other aspects of its automated ad buying system as well. Two months ago, the company disclosed that it had discovered $100,000 worth of divisive political ads placed by “inauthentic” Russian accounts. And in September, ProPublica reported that Facebook’s ad targeting system allowed buyers to reach people who identified themselves as “Jew haters” and other anti-Semitic categories. Facebook pledged to remove the offending categories and to hire thousands more employees to enforce its ad policies.
“We’re adding additional layers of review where people use potentially sensitive categories for targeting,” Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said during Senate testimony earlier this month.
After Stretch’s public statement, we wondered whether the ability to buy discriminatory housing ads had really been addressed. So we set out to buy an advertisement with the exact same targeting parameters as the ad we bought last year. The ad promoted a fictional apartment for rent and was targeted at people living in New York, ages 18–65, who were house hunting and likely to move. We asked Facebook not to show the ad to people categorized under the “multicultural affinity” of Hispanic, African American or Asian American.
(ProPublica generally forbids impersonation in news gathering. We felt in this instance that the public interest in Facebook’s ad system justified the brief posting of a fake ad for non-existent housing. We deleted each ad as soon as it was approved.)
The only changes from last year that we could identify in Facebook’s ad buying system was that the category called “Ethnic Affinity” had been renamed “Multicultural Affinity” and was no longer part of “Demographics.” It is now designated as part of “Behaviors.”
Go…yeah, go and see the actual screenshots of the ad placements. Remember that thing I mentioned up top about the soccer affinity?
Then we decided to test whether we could purchase housing ads that discriminated against other protected categories of people under the Fair Housing Act.
We placed ads that sought to exclude members of as many of the protected categories as we could find in Facebook’s self-service advertising portal. In addition to those mentioned above, we bought ads that were blocked from being shown to “soccer moms,” people interested in American sign language, gay menand Christians.
Just read the rest of the thread at the link, but wait there is more:
According to ProPublica, Facebook to Temporarily Block Advertisers From Excluding… — ProPublica
Uh…the date on this is Nov. 29th, 2017
The social network’s actions come after a ProPublica investigation revealed that Facebook failed to keep its promise to reject discriminatory housing ads.
Facebook said it would temporarily stop advertisers from being able to exclude viewers by race while it studies the use of its ad targeting system.
“Until we can better ensure that our tools will not be used inappropriately, we are disabling the option that permits advertisers to exclude multicultural affinity segments from the audience for their ads,” Facebook Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus.
ProPublica disclosed last week that Facebook was still allowing advertisers to buy housing ads that excluded audiences by race, despite its promises earlier this year to reject such ads. ProPublica also found that Facebook was not asking housing advertisers that blocked other sensitive audience categories — by religion, gender, or disability — to “self-certify” that their ads were compliant with anti-discrimination laws.
In her letter, Sandberg said the company will examine how advertisers are using its exclusion tool — “focusing particularly on potentially sensitive segments” such as ads that exclude LGBTQ communities or people with disabilities. “During this review, no advertisers will be able to create ads that exclude multicultural affinity groups,” Facebook Vice President Rob Goldman said in an emailed statement.
Goldman said the results of the audit would be shared with “groups focused on discrimination in ads,” and that Facebook would work with them to identify further improvements and publish the steps it will take.
Here are a few other articles on the matter:
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a letter today to Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond that it is disabling a tool that allows advertisers to exclude “multicultural affinity” segments from their audiences. She also declared that Facebook is “determined to do better” on multicultural marketing.
Why it matters: Rep. Robin Kelly said in a press release earlier this month that Facebook’s “Ethnic Affinity” advertising option makes Facebook “complicit in promoting restrictive housing practices.” Sandberg said in her letter that Facebook would strengthen policies to prohibit discriminatory advertising, and that until Facebook can “better ensure that our tools will not be used inappropriately,” the tool is being disabled.Show less
Sandberg said in the letter that advertisers who use Facebook’s targeting options to include certain races for ads about housing, employment or credit will have to certify to Facebook that they are complying with Facebook’s anti-discrimination policy and with applicable law.
Sandberg defended race- and culture-based marketing in general, saying it was a common and legitimate practice in the ad industry to try to reach specific communities.
I take it, those ads for burner phones and credit problems are legitimate practices…reaching a specific community…the multicultural African-American affinity community.
Alright…now for the fucking funnies!
By the way…if Mueller is fired…protest marches are already planned. To find the closest one in your area, text Mueller to Resistbot at 50409…the location of the nearest immediate protest march will appear with all pertinent information.
And now the cartoons:
And that’s all folks!
This is an open thread…
What a sunny way to start a Sunday post….a sun on skis. So, the images of today’s thread are from artist Celestino Piatti. You can see a bunch of his work here and read more about the artist here, Celestino Piatti – Swiss Graphic Design Foundation.
Why don’t we start of with a few tweets:
This tweet from @eaglewoman4 seems like a brilliant idea…if it could work:
Read some of the comments. Some claim that there could be precedent for this exact protection, as some tribes afforded protection to citizens during WW2 who faced being placed in internment camps. (I looked online and could not find any information on this…but it was not a very thorough search.) Still, it does seem like an idea to flesh out.
Meanwhile, it appears John Lewis isn’t the only one boycotting the SOTU:
I don’t think we will get anything together unless we go back to using paper ballots:
Over here tRump has been overly suggesting prison for his former opponent Hillary Clinton, in Russia…tRump’s puppet master has done just that:
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested Sunday during anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow as rallies continue nationwide.“I’ve been detained. This doesn’t matter. Come to Tverskaya (Street). You are not going there for me, it’s for you and your future,” Navalny tweeted after his arrest.Within minutes of arriving at Pushkinskaya Square, where hundreds of protesters had gathered, Navalny was wrestled into a patrol van by police, in dramatic footage posted on Youtube.Moscow Police said Navalny was taken to a police station for arraignment and to be charged for illegally organizing a protest. If found guilty, he faces 30 days in detention and a fine.
Tweets from Navalny:
Translation: The detention of one person loses any sense if there are many of us. Someone come and replace me
This weekend marks another Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,
There is a key word here…which I think you may miss without knowing it.
It begins with the letter M.
I will leave with this latest breaking news:
Five people were killed and another was wounded Sunday in a shooting rampage in a small town 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State Police said.
Police said four people died at the scene and one died after being rushed to a hospital. The shootings took place at a car wash in Melcroft at about 3 a.m. ET. The facts were still being sorted out, but it was possible the shooter was among the victims, police said.
“There is no threat to the community, no imminent danger,” police said in a statement to USA TODAY. The identity of the victims, three men and two women, were not immediately available, police said.
11:10 a.m. – A source at the scene told a KDKA reporter that the suspected shooter used a semi-automatic rifle. Police have not confirmed the weapon that was used.
This is an open thread.
The quick storyline of the film which this poster above is portraying is spectacular:
A superstitious middle-aged woman falls in love with a taxi driver, while trying to learn the identity of the unseen person tossing eggs at her.
Honestly the plot to, Too Afraid of Life or Splat, seems to make more sense than the reality we are experiencing now…
Tabio’s screwball soap opera takes us into the lives and loves of a family in the middle-class suburbs of Havana. It’s tacky, it’s wacky, it’s, well, serious too. Widowed Concha (Granados) distrusts the alliance of brawn and brain when her beloved baseball-player son marries a girl engineer with her own ideas (about bureaucratic impedimenta, the role of women, and Concha). Concha has problems enough: made wary of men by the philandering of her dear departed, she distrusts the charms of taxi-driver Tomas, so is forced to take comfort in the spells of a Santeria-cult priestess. When the young marrieds move in, splat! – eggs start to fly. Tabio leaves no doubt that this is farce, not so much admitting the presence of the camera as flaunting it. Every mirror reveals the camera crew, props are thrown onto the set, the film cranks to a halt for apologies about missing scenes. The sight gags, absurd histrionics and hyperbolic use of sound communicate an infectious sense of fun, but the film can’t quite hide a deathly conventional morality which, sadly, hauls it back into sanity and nauseating good faith.
If only there was a mirror to reveal the true farce behind the facade…meaning that this past year is all just some crazy ass twisted fraud of a disaster film that has been in production…simply to run out of money.
Now we are at an end, with the reality finally at hand; that it is over…sorry about the missing scenes, especially the last act that included the impeachment.
(Honestly, I still thing the asshole will get away with it.)
But, on with the cartoons:
Oh, and please…why hasn’t it happened yet!
Again, many of these cartoons above are foreign press.
The following is exactly what the GOP wants you to believe:
I had to end it with Luckovich…fucking awesome.
This is an open thread!
An estimated 5 million people (5 crore) came together to create a #BiharHumanChain2018 in the Indian State of Bihar to bring awareness against child marriage and dowry.
Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, on Sunday thanked the people of Bihar for participating and forming the largest human chain against child marriage and dowry practices.
Earlier in the day, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shared a message on Twitter, saying that collective effort is required to eliminate practices of dowry and child marriage in the country and a human chain event will be organised to to show our commitment towards the cause.
Millions of people from all walks of life, age groups and professions joined hands on the streets across Bihar on Sunday to form what officials claimed was the world’s longest human chain against dowry and child marriages — the twin social evils gripping Indian society.
Authorities said more than 40 million people came out on the streets in the bone-chilling cold and stood in queues for about 30 minutes Sunday to demonstrate their resolve against the two social evils. The participants included schoolchildren, college students, teachers, officials, social activists, common men and politicians.
However, two main opposition parties in the state, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, boycotted the initiative, claiming the programme was simply a ploy to help chief minister Nitish Kumar boost his image. They said they could not show solidarity with a man who had brutally “misused the people’s mandate” by going back to partner the BJP and form a new government with its support, while the mandate was given to the erstwhile ruling Grand Alliance comprising the RJD, Congress and the Janata Dal United (JD-U) headed by Nitish Kumar.
Kumar who was the man behind the idea refused to comment on the boycott by the main opposition parties, but said the programme was against social evils in which participation of everyone was solicited. “There are already laws in place yet the twin evils continue and our purpose is to make the people aware about them,” the chief minister told the media on Sunday.
Just a few more links on this human chain…
Bihar set a record of sorts when around five crore people joined hands to form a 13,668-km long human chain in here on Sunday.
The human chain, in which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi also participated, was formed to spread awareness about two social evils – child marriage and dowry.
Apart from ruling party legislators and bureaucrats, lakhs of school and college students, teachers, lawyers and academicians took to the streets, where they lined up forming a human chain from 12 noon to 12.30 pm.
The entire event was captured by 40 drone cameras. A documentary film about the human chain will be shown in 127 cinema halls across Bihar.
This human chain has broken the record set in January 2017, when a human chain of 12,417 km was formed by around four crore people in support of the prohibition implemented by the Nitish regime.
RJD, Cong absent
The only stark difference this year was the absence of RJD and Congress leaders from the event. Only one leader from the parties – Congress MLC Ram Chandra Bharti – attended the event, making Nitish’s former partners in the Grand Alliance conspicuous by their absence.
“Nitish is one chief minister who spends crores in image-branding,” said RJD vice president Shivanand Tiwary.
Congress spokesperson Prem Chandra Mishra demanded a white paper on the exorbitant expenses incurred in organising such an event.
This year, the main function was organised at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, where Nitish flagged off the event.
Similar human chains were formed in the 38 districts of the state.
Bihar’s two main opposition parties -RJD and Congress – on Sunday said that the state government’s much-trumpeted human chainagainst dowry system and child marriage turned out to be “super flop” as participation of common people could not be seen anywhere across the state.
“Only school children who were called by opening their institutions despite being Sunday, their teachers and a section of state government employees were seen standing in the human chain that remained broken here and there. Common people didn’t turn up anywhere to participate in the chain. Participation of common villagers could not be seen anywhere,” RJD’s state president Ram Chandra Purbey said, adding, “The non-participation of common people shows that CM Nitish Kumar has lost peoples’ faith.”
Last year, the same chain was formed in awareness of the campaign to ban alcohol. Only there was cooperation from among all sides of government. I have not followed the situation enough to fully grasp the entire nuance of the political climate…but I wonder just how much the actual subject of this year’s campaign…being tied to an issue like child marriage and dowry, could be a reason for the lack of full support.
Bihar has it’s problems with child marriage. Human Chain 2.0: After Battling Liquor, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Sets His Sights on Dowry – The Wire
A look at the statistics from Bihar prove just how serious and deep-rooted these issues are. According to the 2011 Census, around 3% of girls get married before the age of 14. Figures for under-age marriages from the National Family Health Survey 4 say that 39% of girls become child brides. When it comes to atrocities against women, the state ranks 26th in India, but is no. 2 in dowry-related crimes.
Between 2000 and 2015, out of total 1,15,374 dowry death cases registered in India, 17,257 cases were registered in Bihar. Beyond just cases that pertained to deaths, 18,462 cases were registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act during the same period.
The root of the problem
A complex relationship between child marriage and dowry exists in the state. Among well-to-do families, there is a growing emphasis on educating girls and letting them work. As awareness of social ills continues to grow in these circles, cases of child marriage have dropped drastically, but dowry continues to be a problem. In fact, not only is it still followed, the sums exchanging hands are astronomical at times.
Among financially weaker sections, instead of investing to educate girls, families save to pay dowry. Then, in order to not pay a heavy dowry, they opt to marry off their girls early. There is an added problem that arises from this practice: if underage brides become pregnant, there’s a heavy risk of death during the delivery of both mother and child.
More than that, there is also a market opportunity here. Every year, when the wedding season swings around, advertisements spring up everywhere indirectly indicating what would make for a good dowry present. In fact, as Geetanjali Mukherjee wrote in her book Dowry Death in India, published in 1999, advertisements even advise families on how to save on dowry. The book noted that “until recently, billboard advertisements in Bombay, for instance, made an unabashed appeal to pregnant women to take the expensive and somewhat risky amniocentesis test. It importuned them to spend 500 rupees now on the test in order to save 50,000 rupees in future on a daughter’s dowry”.
In contrast to Nitish’s earlier campaign against liquor where the administrative and legal measures worked quite well, in the case of dowry, there is not much space for the police to act proactively. Data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) tells us that approximately 60% of the dowry-related cases which reach the police are those where there has been a death. This means that most victims avoid going to the authorities, which is why despite strict laws against this practice, dowry-related crimes continue unabated, be it in Bihar or India. The number of cases of dowry deaths in India stood at 6,851 in 2001. That figure jumped to 7,634 in 2015. The same trend was observed in Bihar. During the same period, cases in Bihar increased from 859 in 2001 to 1,154 in 2015.
According to the article in The Wire, unlike the banning of alcohol…the issue of ending child marriage must deal with changing the mindset of people…
More than a law, what is required is changing personal opinions.
Nitish appears to have understood that this is the battle that matters. His campaign against dowry and child marriage will see him act more like a reformer working to swing a big changes in the opinion of the masses more than a chief minister taking the administrative route to fix the state of affairs. This is why he is personally visiting the homes of those who are getting married without the dowry angle. Along with Nitish Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi, the deputy chief minister, used the marriage of his eldest son to set an example of a dowry-free marriage.
Nitish has undoubtedly taken on a herculean task, but there are certain doubts in the minds of the public. Is this another tactic to keep cadres busy, much like the plantation drive?
With assembly elections just a year away, there is little scope that the anti-dowry campaign will bear any electoral fruits. But if Nitish’s latest battle bears even some fruit, it’s still a step ahead in the fight for gender justice.
All the same, I feel that bringing awareness to the crisis of child marriage goes far in helping create a dialogue about an issue that will not go away any time soon.
Here are some tweets with images of the day, #BiharHumanChain2018 :
Last week Human Rights Watch came out with their World Report 2018: Fighting for Rights Succeeds | Human Rights Watch
Abdul Kareem, a Rohingya Muslim, carries his mother, Alima Khatoon, to a refugee camp after crossing from Burma into Bangladesh on Sept. 16, 2017.
© 2017 Dar Yasin/AP
In the 643-page World Report, its 28th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that when leaders push back strongly against politicians who demonize minorities, attack human rights, and undermine democratic institutions, they can limit the advance of populists. But where mainstream politicians capitulate to a message of hate and exclusion, the authoritarian populists flourish.
“The past year showed the importance of pushing back against the threat posed by demagogues and their abusive policies,” Roth said. “As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018, the best way to honor its principles is to vigorously defend them against those leaders who seek political advantage by depriving marginalized groups of the rights guaranteed for all.”
Please go to this link World Report 2018 | Status of Human Rights Around the World to read more and to look up how each of the 90 countries square up…
You may find the United States quite interesting:
The strong civil society and democratic institutions of the United States were tested in the first year of the administration of President Donald Trump. Across a range of issues in 2017, the US moved backward on human rights at home and abroad.
Trump has targeted refugees and immigrants, calling them criminals and security threats; emboldened racist politics by equivocating on white nationalism; and consistently championed anti-Muslim ideas and policies. His administration has embraced policies that will roll back access to reproductive health care for women; championed health insurance changes that would leave many more Americans without access to affordable health care; and undermined police accountability for abuse. Trump has also expressed disdain for independent media and for federal courts that have blocked some of his actions. And he has repeatedly coddled autocratic leaders and showed little interest or leadership in pressing for the respect of human rights abroad.
The individuals most likely to suffer abuse in the United States—including members of racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, children, the poor, and prisoners—are often least able to defend their rights in court or via the political process. Many vulnerable groups endured renewed attacks on their rights during the year. Other longstanding US laws and practices—particularly related to criminal and juvenile justice, immigration, and national security—continued to violate internationally recognized human rights.
Lots and lots more at the link…reading it is like going through an abbreviated list of shithole actions taken by a shithole president.
Before I end with pictures and tweets from yesterday’s marches…
One year ago Sunday, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history took place. The Women’s March, which followed the inauguration of Donald Trump, consisted of over 650 marches of roughly five million participants. The organizers were women, most protesters were women, and the targets were the misogynists of the Trump administration and their repressive policies. Protesters warned of the new government’s autocratic tendencies and planned persecution of the marginalized. Their warnings were not heeded by pundits clinging to the illusion of “checks and balances” or the “presidential pivot,” but they were right.
One year later, women remain the backbone of the opposition to President Trump, and those opposing him comprise the majority of the electorate. You would not know this from reading many U.S. media outlets, which focus disproportionately on Trump voters, with papers like the New York Times even surrendering an op-ed page to them. On Saturday, an enormously popular second women’s march caught the country by surprise, as there was little media attention to it paid beforehand despite the massive amount of preparation and participants involved.
I wanted to show you this little bit of the anti-women’s march protest going around today:
Heimbach’s Nazis are returning to Tennessee to protest the Women’s March taking place in Knoxville on Sunday. The Nazis plan to attach themselves to a competing anti-abortion “March for Life” rally. How this will pan out for the fascists is anyone’s guess, but back in October, things didn’t go well for them in the Volunteer State. Heimbach’s crew started a fight with a biracial couple in a Brentwood pub. And their two rallies only put a spotlight on the weakness of their movement and the strength of their opposition. The second event, in Murfreesboro, was a total flop. Heimbach’s Nazis bailed, scared off by hundreds of counter-demonstrators who descended on Murfreesboro’s main square.
It makes me sick.
This is an open thread…what are you reading about today?
The Orange Turd was at it again…
*Edited to add the first tweet…
Okay, the heel part is bad…and that is what most people seem to be focusing on, but what pissed me off more was the asshole is still condoning the white supremacist. Right?
I wanted to share this artwork with you, by cecile.dormeau . When I saw it, I immediately identified with the drawing. Many of you may also see yourselves…I tell myself daily, I don’t give a shit about the horrors around me, talking bout this jackass twit above. I avoid the news as much as possible, for the sake of my sanity…and still, I lie awake at night, unable to sleep because…
Here is the image if the Instagram does not load properly:
I just love Dormeau…follow her, she is fantastic.
Just a few more Tweets:
Enough of that shit…on to something in historic news:
In the 72 years since the Indianapolis, a United States Navy cruiser, sank about 12 minutes after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the disaster has inspired controversy, dozens of books, a play and a famous scene in “Jaws.”
But the resting place of the Indianapolis had remained a mystery.
That was until Saturday, when a team led by Paul G. Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, announced that it had found unmistakable wreckage of the Indianapolis18,000 feet deep in the Philippine Sea, rekindling memories of the Navy’s worst disaster at sea.
“While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming,” Mr. Allen said in a statement on his website.
Mr. Allen’s search expedition released pictures of wreckage on the sea floor, including a telltale piece of hull bearing the number 35 — evidence to the 22 still-living survivors that the ship they frantically escaped in the early hours of July 30, 1945, had finally been found.
The discovery promises to revive interest in the loss of the Indianapolis, the ordeal of the survivors and the controversial court-martial of the ship’s captain, Charles Butler McVay III. Roughly 400 of the 1,196 sailors and Marines onboard died in the initial attack, but those who escaped spent five days floating in shark-infested waters before they were rescued.
Only 316 men were saved after an aviator spotted them by chance.
I associate this wreck with the monologue from the film Jaws…
More on the find:
CreditPaul G. Allen
There is a lot more at the link, so please go and read the rest, plus watch the video about the underwater archaeology expedition.
Sad to see this come across my news feed last night:
The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.
“A Southern liberal?” he once said. “That’s a guy that’ll lynch you from a low tree.” Another: “When I get drunk, I think I’m Polish. One night I got so drunk I moved out of my own neighborhood.” On segregation: “I know the South very well. I spent 20 years there one night.”
Mr. Gregory, 84, died Aug. 19 in Washington. His son, Christian Gregory, announced the death on Mr. Gregory’s official social media accounts. The cause was not reported.
His expert timing and bold humor — often pulled from the day’s headlines — inspired the careers of comedians such as Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.
Mel Watkins, a journalist and scholar whose books include “On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy,” said that Mr. Gregory broke the mold among black comedians by employing political satire at a time when audiences expected black performers to do minstrel skits in baggy pants and outsize shoes and use slapstick humor.
“He was the comic that made white America aware of the fact that African American comedians were perfectly capable of satire,” Watkins said. “He was sharp. He was urbane. He smoked a cigarette on stage. He was very calm in demeanor but very outspoken in what he said. … He brought in current political and social issues into his comedy — which was astounding to most white Americans at that time. It was during a time when blacks were considered incapable of doing this.”
Read the rest of that obituary by T. Rees Shapiro, it is a very good article.
More on Dick Gregory:
Just a few more links for you, in dump fashion:
One last visual feast before we go…there are some marvelous photographs here:
Girl wearing a white chemisette, holding long watch on chain, 1845
That is only one image for you…please go click on the link to see the others.
One day more:
My daughter sent me this tweet that is making the rounds…it is from a newscast in 1979. A reporter is discussing the next solar eclipse, on August 21, 2017…where he hopes to find…a world in which:
“May the shadow of the moon fall on a world at peace.”
Don’t know whether to laugh or cry…
I think I will cry.
This is an open thread.
Image above from tweet Queen Arya @ZeeNTheCity
Remember…about those statues: Robert E. Lee opposed Confederate monuments | PBS NewsHour
“I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”
Now, about the Orange Asshole…
There is absolutely nothing I can say that would add to the discussion over yesterday’s White Supremacist in Chief press conference…everyone of us who voted for Hillary knew exactly what that asshole stood for…and where this country was going if he was elected. Fucking hell, did she not predict word for word…this shit a year ago?
*Video from Occupied Democrats…but it is the one place to see it edited succinctly.
And…I am so fucking sick of the phrase Alt-Right…
President Trump angrily denounced the so-called alt-left at a news conference on Tuesday, claiming that the group attacked followers of the so-called alt-right at a white supremacist rally that exploded into deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he asked. There was “blame on both sides,” he said. “I have no doubt about it.”
Both phrases are part of a broad lexicon of far-right terminology that has become important to understanding American politics during the Trump administration. Many of these terms have their roots in movements that are racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.
Here is a brief guide to the meaning of those expressions and others used by white supremacists and far-right extremists.
Look, even the creator of Godwin’s Law is calling it what it is…
Check out this Facebook post from the Alt National Park Service…and see the comment about calling the Alt-Right out for who they are:
So Fuck the “Alt-Right” and call them what they are…Alt-Right=White Supremacists!
Okay, real quick, before we get to the cartoons…Banjoville is in the news again. This time it is for a teacher and sexual assault…which happened to a student back when my daughter was in Middle school. Both she and my son know the victim and from what I understand…this arrest did not come as a surprise to them.
What makes me so disgusted, is how FoxNews presented the case:
“Sex Romp.” Oh give me a break…this is a predator…committing a crime against a child.
What also is disgusting is the amount of people in the community who are actually supporting the alleged criminal in this situation. The prayers being called for this teacher…how she just made a mistake. Reading them is just as gross as the comments on that FoxNews thread. Yes, you can imagine the remarks.
A couple more links for you:
Here’s the full list of members on the new manufacturing council:
- Andrew Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company
- Bill Brown, Harris Corporation
- Michael Dell, Dell Technologies
- John Ferriola, Nucor Corporation
- Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corporation
- Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company
- Ken Frazier, Merck & Co., Inc.
- Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson
- Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp.
- Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Jeff Immelt, General Electric
- Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc.
- Klaus Kleinfleld, Arconic
- Brian Krzanich, Intel Corporation
- Rich Kyle, The Timken Company
- Thea Lee, AFL-CIO
- Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel
- Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company
- Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing
- Elon Musk, Tesla
- Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar
- Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing
- Kevin Plank, Under Armour
- Michael Polk, Newell Brands
- Mark Sutton, International Paper
- Inge Thulin, 3M
- Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO
- Wendel Weeks, Corning
Now for the cartoons:
Oh yeah…forgot about that?
And on that cartoon, let’s end this post…open thread of course!