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January 12, 2018

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This is the most recent open thread, so:

I just saw a bald eagle floating down the Delaware River on a big chunk of ice. Wish I had a camera on me.

Wow! Lucky you hsh!

I just saw a bald eagle floating down the Delaware River on a big chunk of ice. Wish I had a camera on me.

Too far away to take a pic with your phone? I mean surely you have a phone on your person at all times these days..... ;-)

Too far away to take a pic with your phone? I mean surely you have a phone on your person at all times these days..... ;-)

Nope. Not when I'm exercising at lunch (braving the cold, winter winds off the Delaware in a very manly, George Washington kind of way).

I knew you were a manly GW kind of guy, hsh. Glad to have it confirmed.

I was never much into taking pictures until I kind of randomly acquired a little digital camera several years after they became common. Turned out I *loved* it when I could upload pics right away, make my own cards from them, keep photo diaries of a sort, etc. When Ezster Hargittai from Crooked Timber started a photo group a while back (2013?), I joined it and stayed semi-faithful for the 4 years it existed. Since it folded I've fallen off the picture-taking wagon, but I still may climb back up one of these days.

The debate I've had with myself for a while has been whether to graduate from this beloved little camera I have -- which is at this point a reconditioned copy of my original, which I broke with carelessness -- to a fancier camera with lenses etc. If I decide to get more serious, I'll need a better camera. But what I absolutely love about the one I have is that it fits in a pocket. For 6 or 7 years I carried it with me everywhere -- cargo shorts with side pockets in the summer, jacket pocket in the winter, the camera slipped into a little drawstring bag -- so that I could take any kind of spur of the moment picture that struck me, all day, every day, everywhere and anywhere. Kind of like a lot of people do with phones now, but I have a cheap phone with a crappy camera so that doesn't work for me.

I'm still not sure I would have carried it in my sweatpants pocket while jogging, though. Then again, I don't jog, so there's that.

The trade-off that I can't resolve is that with a fancy camera that doesn't fit in a pocket, I have to make a deliberate decision when I leave the house: this is a picture-taking expedition, or not; and I have to lug stuff around. With the little camera, any time is picture-taking time. I suppose I could have both...the little one still with me always, the fancy one only sometimes.

Friday afternoon escape-from-spreadsheets musings.

aside from the fixed focal length (digital zoom is a lie!), i'm very impressed with the cameras in smartphones these days.

i rarely take my big ol Nikon out of the house anymore.

digital zoom is a lie!

Assuming your eyes could focus on things no matter how close, it's like looking at part of the same damned picture with it smashed up against your face. Just effing crop it after the fact. There's no difference.

huge difference!

making pixels bigger (digital zoom) is a terrible substitute for magnification (optical zoom).

But digital zoom and cropping just make pixels bigger.

The next generation of phones have/will have two or more lenses, data from which can be combined computationally in all sorts of interesting ways, but they are not yet very cheap:
https://www.dpreview.com/articles/6292086726/2017-roundup-best-smartphone-cameras

In any event, I carry a camera with me most of the time, in a shoulder bag which also holds tablet, book, sunglasses etc (i.e. a more or less acceptable manbag).

making pixels bigger (digital zoom

Don't use phones or know much, but "making pixels bigger" since they are hardware sounds really strange

In media, I watch all kinds of resolutions on my 1920x1080, and for instance when a 480 vertical is expanded to fill the screen, my player uses software dithering, bestguessing the color pixel that should be between two pixels separated by expansion. It is not at all optimal, but the blurriness is not because the pixels are bigger. Same process is done with downscaling.

As per not wanting immigrants from shithole countries--yes, there are people who live in terrible places. Seems to me that's exactly who should be allowed to immigrate because they are the people who need to immigrate. Norwegains don't need to immigrate (and would be seriously reducing their quality of life if they came here)

Thats what struck me about the not wanting immigrants from shithole countries The term is rude but the underlying assumption is really really clueless.

We are a nation of people who came from places wath were shitholes at some point in history. And I say that as a person of French ancestry (Franco-Prussian War) married to a person of Irish ancestry(potato famine)

huge difference!

making pixels bigger (digital zoom) is a terrible substitute for magnification (optical zoom).

Right. I was agreeing with you. Digital zoom is like cropping (and resizing) afterwards. No new information is added. You’re just looking closer at part of the same image.

Don't use phones or know much, but "making pixels bigger" since they are hardware sounds really strange

the pixels on the phone's sensor never change. with a old school zoom lens in front of a digital sensor, the image gets magnified by the lens and the sensor sees the magnified image. exactly like film.

with digital zoom, the lens is fixed - doesn't zoom at all. so, what happens is that the image that comes off the sensor gets cropped, and then enlarged. so if your camera's sensor takes ex. 4000x3000 pixel images, and you digitally zoom in 2x, the camera will take the image off the sensor, crop it to 2000x1500, then enlarge that image back up to 4000x3000. that's what you'll see.

the very simplest way to do that enlargement is to take every single pixel in the 2000x1500 image and duplicate it once horizontally and once vertically. the color in the top-left pixel of the cropped image gets put into the four pixels in the top-left of the 4000x3000 image. in effect, each source pixel becomes 4x as big. it's an ugly effect (but very fast!).

in 1D it's easy.

if you have this series of five numbers:

8 16 9 7 1

and you need a series of ten numbers that looks somewhat like the original, you can just duplicate them:

8 8 16 16 9 9 7 7 1 1

that's a 2x enlargement. and that's "pixels get bigger". each pixel grew twice as big, in effect.

that's also the "mosaic" effect: just make each pixel into a big square.

there are more sophisticated ways to do enlargement. but they are all ultimately just variations of weighted a average: pick some number of adjacent pixels, do a weighted average to find the new pixel.

8 16 9 7 1

enlarge 5 to 9, doing a simple average:

8 12 16 13 9 7 8 4 1

new values are just average of adjacent pairs of old ones.

and here's the issue. by coincidence at all, a digital blur is also done with a weighted average. the only difference is that a blur has the same number of pixels in the input and output. with enlargement, you create multiple blurred pixels from each source pixel; each output pixel is a blurred version of the almost the same set of source pixels as its neighbors.


8 16 9 7 1

enlarge 5 to 12 - interpolate two pixels between each pair of source pixels:

8 10 14 16 14 12 9 8 8 7 5 3 1

the jump from 8 to 16 was a pretty big jump (for these numbers) - and jumps are actually edges, borders, fine detail, in the image. but 8, 10, 14, 16 is a nice smooth gradient - no more edge. now it's a ramp.

in case you wanted a lecture...


(did i mention that i used to do this stuff for a living and would lovelovelove to get back into it?)

Well that's it. The Federal government will shut down in an hour due to lack of approval to spend money.

Apparently even the 3 1/2 months since the fiscal year started (not to mention the previous months when the job should have been done) still weren't enough to get the Congress' most basic governing function accomplished. No wonder the public holds the Congress in such low regard.

As of 12:00, McConnell has not yet closed the vote, so we shall see.

He, Trump's brand of "government" needs to be mucked out and hosed off, let alone shut down.

--TP

First, this sucks, second, this is all on the Dems, third, that may work out for them.

I would be taking credit for it if I were them, not giving Trump credit for it.

If you are going to stand on principle and demand an immigration solution or else, then own it.

I might respect you for that.

But 45 Dem Senators and 4 Rep Senators voted tonight against a 6 year extension of CHIPS and to not fund the government for the next four weeks.

CHIPS is off the table for beating up Reps. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

this is all on the Dems

What about the Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats? Shouldn't they get some credit, too?

If you are going to stand on principle and demand an immigration solution or else, then own it.

Why? It seems like the Dems were willing to deal and they came to Trump's office and were met by Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton, two of the dullest knives in the draw and all the previous negotiation was tossed out of the window. So why should the Dems have to explain what principle(s) they are adhering to when the Donald has no principles? And it isn't the CHIPS that was the original issue, it was DACA. Frankly, it is a target rich enviroment, and I don't see why the Dems have to pick and choose. Or is this one of those things where the Dems have to behave one way, but the Repubs don't have to give a sh*t?

The Reps passed a clean extension in the House and got 51 votes in the Senate.

There was nothing in the bill to vote against.

They never passed a budget the whole time Obama was in office, so the CR is not a problem. DACA doesnt expire until March. (And that they could have had that for 18B and chain migration)

So they literally shut down the government on principle. They should own it.

even in the minority, the Dems control the government.

lol.

It seems like the Dems were willing to deal

there was a deal *in hand*. miller and cotton blew it up.

i don't really care who gets the blame or the credit for the shutdown. the problem in congress is that a minority faction of the (R)'s are able to blow up any kind of constructive action. so there is little constructive action.

they don't represent a majority of the population. they flatter themselves that they stand for "real america" but they do not. they are a reactionary bomb-throwing impediment to national self-government. they retain power by gerrymanders and deliberate suppression of the franchise for folks who are likely to vote against them.

they are also the public face of the (R) party, so outside the base of fox news addicts this mess looks bad for the (R)'s.

inside that community it looks bad for the (D)'s but inside that community Hilary Clinton runs a pedophilia ring out of a pizza joint. so, whatever.

there was a deal in hand. the wingnuts blew it up. the POTUS participated in that, because i the end he's a biddable nasty old bigot.

That's not funny, their votes did last night. Or don't you understand 60 votes?

DACA doesnt expire until March.

it's actually really complicated.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/18/16901018/daca-renewal-uscis-trump-deadline-appeal

March is when a group of current recipients will start to lose their status as they will be unable to renew their DACA permits.

There was no deal in hand, there was negotiation. The deal in hand was the bill they were voting on.

twice now Trump has worked out a deal with the Dems, only to walk it back when it came time to make it happen.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/us/politics/trump-government-shutdown.html

Less than an hour later, Mr. Schumer was meeting with Mr. Trump over cheeseburgers in the president’s study next to the Oval Office. The White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, was there, as was Mr. Schumer’s chief of staff, Mike Lynch.

As the meal progressed, an outline of an agreement was struck, according to one person familiar with the discussion: Mr. Schumer said yes to higher levels for military spending and discussed the possibility of fully funding the president’s wall on the southern border with Mexico. In exchange, the president agreed to support legalizing young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Mr. Schumer left the White House believing he had persuaded the president to support a short, three to four-day spending extension to finalize an agreement, which would also include disaster funding and health care measures.

A White House official said that Mr. Schumer raised the possibility of a one or two-day extension, but Mr. Trump told Mr. Schumer to work out the details of a short-term measure with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

A short time later Mr. Schumer called the president, the person said, but the conversation drove the pair even further apart. The immigration concessions from Democrats were not conservative enough, Mr. Trump told Mr. Schumer. The president said he needed more border security measures as well as more enforcement of illegal immigration in parts of the country far from the border.

As the evening wore on, Mr. Schumer got a call from Mr. Kelly that dashed all hopes for a Trump-Schumer deal before the shutdown deadline of midnight. Mr. Kelly, a hard-liner on immigration, the person familiar with the call said, outlined a long list of White House objections to the deal.

the Dems think they have a deal, Trump thinks he has a deal, then the little goblins whisper in Trump's ear and the deal vanishes.

how is anything supposed to get done?

but, yes, it's the Dem's fault. of course. always.

And I'm really tired of this majority of Americans bs. It doesn't have a damn thing to do with what happened last night. Besides being sour grapes that's really getting old.

People familiar? I'm also tired of arguing over one sided summaries. Schumer left the WH saying there wasn't a deal. There wasnt a deal.

how many years in a row have we watched them play this shutdown game?

all of these issues could have been sorted out in separate bills any time in the last year. but they always end up on the edge of (or over) the shutdown cliff.

at what point do we conclude that this is intentional? the parties use this as leverage, always.

Mr. Schumer said yes to higher levels for military spending and discussed the possibility of fully funding the president’s wall on the southern border with Mexico.

Trump wants the US to fund the wall.

wait?

didn't he promise something quite different?

Make America Mexico Again

oh mama, are Republicans stupid.

He "discussed the possibility", that's not a deal, or even an offer. I watched Schumer leave the WH, he said we made progress but there are still a lot of disagreements.

brilliant businessman shuts down his latest business exactly one year after taking charge, can't figure out how to get the employees to agree to keep the lights on.

Brilliant. Businessman.

oh mama, are Republicans stupid.

stupid, maybe. Dishonest, definitely.

He "discussed the possibility", that's not a deal, or even an offer.

why would Trump even "discuss the possibility" ? didn't he say, a couple times, that Mexico was going to pay for it? why was this even open for discussion?

something fishy is going on here. either Schumer lied to embarrass the honorable and honest Donald Trump, or Trump is con-man who suckered a bunch of gullible red state "conservatives" into voting for him.

The funding for the wall is clearly on the table, how Mexico will ultimately pay for it is not.

I am going to try to enjoy my Saturday, when all else fails just start throwing irrelevant red herrings at the wall.

Just once I would like to have someone here acknowledge that Democrats play politics too. This would be a good time.

There is no excusable reason go the government to be shut down today, or CHIPS funding to not be in place.

As far as a small number of Republicans controlling things, the Democrats can solve that easily. Cut a deal and not make everything in the House require their votes. Probably take 20 votes,from safe districts. The Dems empower the nutjobs on purpose.

"And I'm really tired of this majority of Americans bs."

A refreshing admission.

republican cheats drawing squiggly gerrymandering lines and making fake news accusations of election fraud against the swarthies, not to mention five Supreme Court Justices, should be so candid.

Mitch McConnell's promises back in 2009, when he led the minority, and 2013, and every republican sentiment during that 8-year period to halt all attempted governance by the commonly accepted normalized means by Barack Obama, and then when he tried to govern by sketchy but still constitutional means, for which there was commonly accepted bipartisan precedence over many decades, he was called a tyrant, come to mind.

When do I, as one of the governed, get my hearings for goddamned Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland?

When?

Jefferson Davis, John Calhoun, and indeed King George III expressed identical sentiments about the fucking majority in America.

Besides, it's always the parts of the government I've given my consent to that are shut down, while the parts I don't give my consent to stay funded.

What kind of a country shuts down the government every year?

A shithole country that deserves to have its government reduced to smoldering ruins surrounded by killing fields.

I withdraw my consent to be governed by the republican party at all levels of government.

Don't fucking even try to collect my garbage or I'll make you eat it. Or don't collect my garbage. In that case, if you are a republican
making the rules, I'll bring to to your house and make your kids eat it.

Don't govern me. Don't.

The funding for the wall is clearly on the table, how Mexico will ultimately pay for it is not.

oh Marty.

...

yes. Dems play politics. they're politicians. it's a job requirement.

Who was it who said this, and about what ... ?

"The problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top, ...The president is the leader, and he's got to get everybody in a room and he's got to lead."

Doesn't matter what mp said about the Wall (Tear Down That Wall!) in the meeting, there would have been a tweet five minutes later as Schumer climbed into his limo, directly contradicting what Schumer heard mp say in the meeting.

There is no stable ground on which to negotiate with republicans.

Purposely so.

You might as well negotiate your fate with the triple, slavering jaws of the Alien or, as an alternative choice, at the hands of a ravening pack of velociraptors.

Compromise is not in their genes. Good faith doesn't occur to the reptilian brain stem.

Nuke from space. Maybe North Korea will that capability soon.

But no, we never nuke from space in this shithole because we want yet another sequel to the contagion of conservative horseshit. And in each sequel, the Alien and the velociraptors emerge more ruthless and bloodthirsty than the last iteration.

Both sides do it. One side is bred to do it. The other doesn't do it very well and needs to kick up its game and DO IT a million times more ruthlessly and finally.

"There is no excusable reason go the government to be shut down today, or CHIPS funding to not be in place."

Yes, on October 1, 2017 for this fiscal year, of which there are only eight and half months left.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/5/16733784/senate-tax-bill-orrin-hatch-chip

https://www.vox.com/2017/12/3/16730496/orrin-hatch-chip-tax-bill

If both sides do it equally, Hatch would have had a Democrat standing next to him nodding assent to his porcine utterances.

For eight years, when republican priorities, basically killing people here and abroad by various means, were sometimes not funded, right wingers, at the urging of the republican noise machine and its cadres literally ran to the gun stores and loaded up on military weaponry and threatened violence against the majority, including against what remains of the RINOs.

Yet, 800,000 Dreamers remain unarmed and the parents of nine million kids who rely on CHIPS haven't uttered a peep about protecting themselves against conservative threats to their kids' lives since November 9, 2016.

The docility is impressive. What if the 9,800,000 converged on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, ran the federal employees off with military weaponry and proceeded to whack off to left wing radio incitement, of which there is none.

Think of the bloodthirsty response from republican murderers running the show. The Bundys, deputized by republican vermin, would be in the underbrush surrounding the refuge munching on endangered fowl species and and picking off the 9,800,000 one at a time.

Do we see what needs to fucking change?

PS: When Mexico sends the full payment to the US Treasury to finance the Wall, as mp promised, construction will proceed. Personally, I hope Mexico is sending the money to Peking and/or Russia to fund shipments of nuclear warhead-tipped missiles to be deployed along our southern border.

"Do we see what needs to fucking change?"

Today? 9 votes in the Senate 4 should be Rep

I permanently withdrew my consent to be governed by the Dems, didnt do me much good either.

Go find another shithole to live in.

This one is mine.

4 should be Rep

which Rep gets your dispensation?

I will admit that you have the decided edge in the balance of power in the refusal of your consent:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/nras-ties-to-putin-allies-go-back-years

I'm outgunned. That's as starkly simple as it gets.

Still, we could meet for a beer occasionally at a beach cabana in Barbados when we visit our respective bank safe deposit boxes.

The various international mafias the mp businesses have sold their properties to since mp became prez have laundered $35 million in receipts thru there too.

I'm done for a few days.

I'm gonna sneak on to some federal land and take a hike.

Is Marty a dupe who falls for every line of BS a fiendish GOP puts out?

Or is the GOP a hapless factotum forced to do the bidding of fiendish Real Murkins like Marty?

It has to be one or the other, barring the alternative option that Marty is Mitch McConnell. Has anybody ever actually seen them together?

(D)eferred (A)ction for (C)hildhood (A)rrivals is only a burning issue because He, Trump chose to revoke it, and the GOP has refused to legislate on it.

I don't know whether Marty himself wants to deport those Americans who entered the US as involuntarily as maternity-ward immigrants entered it, or whether McConnell convinced Marty that letting the "dreamers" get deported is how to Make America Great Again. What I do know is that McConnell, Ryan, and He, Trump his own self, draw their power from the fact that America's Martys are on their side.

--TP

Flake he is dead to me, he is just running for President now so it's grain of salt tome. The rest have reasonable concirns that should not have kept them from approving the Cr

I am going to try to enjoy my Saturday, when all else fails just start throwing irrelevant red herrings at the wall.

Well, you always had too many of them anyway.

Just once I would like to have someone here acknowledge that Democrats play politics too. This would be a good time.

They are a political party. That's what political parties are supposed to do. I do not believe anybody here has ever denied this.

There is no excusable reason go the government to be shut down today, or CHIPS funding to not be in place.

A CHIP funding bill, on its own, would pass easily. So why has the GOP leadership, you know, the ones who get to set the legislative agenda, not allowed such a bill to the floor? Could it be, gasp(!), politics? Dear me.

As far as a small number of Republicans controlling things, the Democrats can solve that easily. Cut a deal and not make everything in the House require their votes.

Sure. But there is one small problem with this fantasy. GOP leadership would never even attempt such a deal. cf trials and tribulations of Speaker Boehner.

The Dems empower the nutjobs on purpose.

Again, no. The Dems have nothing to do with this. It is a problem within the majority party. There is nothing the Dems can do about this. They are the minority. You seem to keep forgetting this.

Spare a thought for Marty's pearls, which are being squeezed so relentlessly.

All this government shutdown drama is just an appeasement to libertarians since they're always cheered by anything that makes the general public more skeptical of politics, politicians, and government. :)

Indeed....all of this could be solved so easily if the Dems would just roll over and agree to everything the GOP puts on the table. Then we would be "beyond politics" I guess.

But there would always be some assholes who just wouldn't get it.

I just about had my hiking boots on and the cheerful libertarians show up:

"All this government shutdown drama is just an appeasement to libertarians since they're always cheered by anything that makes the general public more skeptical of politics, politicians, and government. :)"

The Bolshevik Revolution, the Confederacy leading up to the American Civil War, the Maoist insurgency in 1947-48 China, Hitler's ascension to the Chancellorship in 1933, and the election of mp were cheered by anything that made the general public more skeptical of politics, politicians, and government.

The accompanying emoticons were somewhat different.

I'm off.

And as we have seen in recent years, the GOP will often not take 'yes' for an answer anyway.

Flake is dead to me as well.

He's Roy Moore minus the horse.

oh mama, are Republicans stupid.

sapient: stupid, maybe. Dishonest, definitely.

You really need to differentiate between Republican politicians (dishonest) and the people who believe their words and keep voting for them.

"The problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top, ...The president is the leader, and he's got to get everybody in a room and he's got to lead."

That would be one Donald Trump, Nigel. Of course that was when "the president" was Barack Obama, who he detests. Rather than Donald Trump, who he adores.

And then Schumer 2013 said:

The basic line is: No matter how strongly one feels about an issue, you shouldn’t hold millions of people hostage. That’s what the other side is doing. That’s wrong and we can’t give in to that,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

So that's what he's doing now.

So, wj:

What would you call "the people who believe their words and keep voting for them"?

Con-men succeed by persuading people to believe in bullshit. It's an effective technique because no matter how you persuade people, they end up, well, persuaded. I know what I think of people who get persuaded by con-men, and you're right: "dishonest" is not the right word to describe them.

--TP

And I'm really tired of this majority of Americans bs.

Not nearly as tired as the majority of Americans are.

Besides being sour grapes that's really getting old.

Actually, I bitched about the same stuff when Obama was POTUS.

The whole "sour grapes" thing is really getting old.

Schumer left the WH saying there wasn't a deal. There wasnt a deal.

Durbin and Graham had worked out a not-bad proposal. Trump was for it before he was against it. But, then he was against it. And was kind of an ass about it.

So, no deal.

Cut a deal and not make everything in the House require their votes.

See my comment immediately above.

Most people are in favor of DACA. Most people are fine with a path to citizenship for folks who are currently here but who are currently not legally here. Most people are not particularly interested in preventing people from majority Muslim nations from coming here. Especially if they already hold citizenship or legal status here. Most people think Trump is a crap POTUS and can't wait for him to get the hell out of there so that we can stop being embarrassed on a daily basis by our nominal head of state.

Most people are not having their druthers respected, because something less than most people are in the freaking way.

It's not a situation that's likely to work for very long.

A CHIP funding bill, on its own, would pass easily.

It would. So would a legislative DACA bill. But since neither bill is going to be brought to a vote on its own, we are left with attaching them to something else. And then arguing that the "something else" must be passed because they are attached -- no matter what.

I believe there is a parliamentary rule in Congress that bills in general should be about only one topic. But it's always been honored in the breach. And the level of refusal to negotiate, especially to negotiate in good faith, is striking this time.

Plus, you have to love this quote:
Mitch McConnell:
“I'm looking for something that President Trump supports, and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.” [Emphasis added]
That is, be it noted, the Majority Leader from Trump's own party. And he can't figure out what Trump will/has agreed to.

What would you call "the people who believe their words and keep voting for them"?

Come on, Tony. Was the implication really that subtle???

But since neither bill is going to be brought to a vote on its own

Now why is that?

we are left with attaching them to something else.

Who is "we" kimosabe?

wj,

Touche. But is a wink really as good as a nod to a blind man?

--TP

But since neither bill is going to be brought to a vote on its own

Now why is that?

Because Ryan (and McConnell) won't do it -- they control the flow of business. My understanding (which may be flawed) is that they won't bring anything to a vote unless it is OK with a majority of their caucus -- and maybe not even then, depending on how obstreperous the "Freedom Caucus" et al are being.

if only there was some kind of procedural loophole that could be used to pass budgets and such, which only required 50 votes.

oh, there is?

and the GOP used it to pass tax cuts for billionaires?

cool.

the Dems made them do it, i'm sure.

Because Ryan (and McConnell) won't do it -- they control the flow of business.

Well, that explains it. All the Democrats' fault, obviously.

Sadists:

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/01/19/mick-mulvaney-tells-hannity-person-who-technically-shuts-down-government-me-which-kind-cool/219119

Yet another so-called media outlet sucking dick in the republican dumper:

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2018/01/shutdown.html

Republicans are cold-blooded subhuman murderers:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-campaign-ad-calls-democrats-complicit-murders-undocumented-immigrants

It seems that the two sides are prepared to make a deal, however ignoble, but someone keeps getting in the way...

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/the-real-reasons-why-the-government-shut-down/551027/
“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” McConnell told reporters this week, in a telling sign of the GOP’s frustration with the president’s inconsistency. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.”

This seems a decent analysis of the situation:
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/how-the-shutdown-ends.html
(and notably unpartisan for Slate...)

If it is indeed about the battle of public opinion, good luck trying to explain why a President with a majority in both houses is in this situation.

60 votes, gosh that wasn't so hard

If it is indeed about the battle of public opinion, good luck trying to explain why a President with a majority in both houses is in this situation.

When he and his pals are desperate to torture innocent people in whatever way is available, it becomes easy to explain.

60 votes, gosh that wasn't so hard

The GOP shot their wad to get a tax cut for the rich, so basically they handed a club to the Democrats to beat them with.

The incompetence. It burns.

This piece points out that Democrats, for better or worse, are finally beginning to act the way Republicans have acted for years. The writer thinks this is necessary in the short run, but in the long run it might give rise to one or two centrist parties, a more parliamentary system and maybe some changes to the Constitution.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/opinion/government-shutdown-democrats.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

I meant to those not already in the tank, Marty - which is after alll where elections tend to be decided.

I'm not sure the 'whatever' approach is likely to be as successful with the floating voter...
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/20/trump-government-shutdown-2018-blame-353586

More on reconciliation.

what 60 votes?

they're back at it today,

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/government-shutdown-2018-01-21-congress-to-continue-negotiations-president-trump-live-updates/

While we wait, this article about the Senate was a pretty good read.

Good article in today's Observer by Andrew Rawnsley, subtitled Democracy is more fragile than many of us realised, but don't believe that it is doomed.

Takeaway sentence so far (not new, but well put):

The dismantling of freedom begins with attacks on what some call “the soft guard rails” of democracy: unfettered media, an independent judiciary, a basic level of respect for political opponents. Freedom is not devoured in one gulp, but in a series of bite-size chunks.

The link is here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/21/democracy-is-more-fragile-than-many-of-us-realised-but-do-not-believe-that-it-is-doomed

Sanctions as a weapon against the poor—

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economic-sanctions-north-korea-syria-hospital-supplies-a8168321.html

60 votes?

not if Trump gets his way.

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/21/politics/donald-trump-mick-mulvaney-filibuster/index.html

can't say i'd miss the legislative filibuster, tho.

i like this:">https://www.balloon-juice.com/2018/01/21/the-protection-racket/">this: the GOP's M.O. is to take something that's working, break it, and then extract concessions from the Dems in exchange for fixing it.

(that did not go well)

As is probably often the case, we find out the truth decades later.

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/01/18/the-bitter-secret-of-wormwood/

I have stopped thinking “ conspiracy theory” is an insult. You just look at things one issue at a time and often admit there is no way to know the truth.

As is probably often the case, we find out the truth decades later.

Having seen the documentary, and read the article, one of the points is that we actually still don't know the truth.

“Having seen the documentary, and read the article, one of the points is that we actually still don't know the truth.”

I haven’t seen it, but agree with your point. ( Hell had to freeze over sometime.)

Hell had to freeze over sometime.

Yes. It feels much better down here!

Rather than worrying about what the CIA was doing in 1953, maybe we should worry about the NAZI/Putin regime hanging out in DC right now.

Call your Senators and tell them some things. My Senators are standing strong, and I called and told them to do that. Hope y'all do the same, or give them a huge rash of *(&^ if they're not supporting DACA people. Just saying - that's the freaking lowest common denominator. F' anyone who can't find that much compassion.

Rather than worrying about what the CIA was doing in 1953, maybe we should worry about the NAZI/Putin regime hanging out in DC right now.

Actually, there were some points in the review of Wormword that I thought were very apropos for the current times. However, I'm not really sure about this, it's just this vague feeling in the back of my mind about this, so apologies if it is not really clear.

Later, when Morris asks Hersh what Frank Olson did to deserve execution, Hersh responds with a faint trace of that smirk: “Guess what? I probably know, but I can’t tell you.” And he probably can’t, but we’re reminded of the younger man who took pleasure in the idea of his fellow journalists’ eating crow.

Even though Morris’s documentary does eventually recount the outlines of the story Hersh has purportedly discovered—the execution of internal dissidents by the CIA’s “Office of Security”—the feeling Morris leaves us with is not the familiar satisfaction of the spy movie in which we’re finally let in on the secret, but rather a queasiness at the way in which the whole business of state secrecy is exploited in American culture.

To unpack this a bit, at least from my viewpoint, I'm reminded of how much I valued and idolized Hersh (and still do). It's not that he's been revealed to be a fraud, but the review underlines that as much as Hersh was pushed to expose things, he was also driven by that young person's desire to 'his fellow journalists’ eating crow.' and I think that there was probably a component of them being older that figured into that. "X revealed to be human" might be the headline.

I feel like we have a really dangerous dynamic in journalism where the logic is 'if someone is killing sacred cows, they have to be right'. That's why Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald were and continue to be lionized. Someone like Michael Wolff is needed because the mechanisms we have for reporting seem to not work. This TPM post gets at this.
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-wolff-and-the-secret-of-the-russia-story
This doesn't seem like a problem that didn't exist before this election, it is just that the Trump presidency has really thrown it into sharp relief.

The review also has this
In a 1949 study for the US Air Force, Yale’s Irving Janis claimed that the Soviets were using hypnosis, drugs, electroshock, and other means to extract false confessions.

This is a peculiar statement, in that 'claimed' suggests that it probably wasn't true. Yet we had Stalin's show trials, where false confessions were obviously extracted. In fact, many at the time were convinced that the confessions were true because there were no visible signs of torture and the confessions themselves were so heartfelt. This is not to justify what the CIA was going, but a lot of the narrative goes missing if we don't see that these weren't simple claims about the Soviet Union, these were actual facts.

This is not to pick a fight with sapient, but what the CIA was doing in the 50's (and how it was revealed) seems linked to problems we are having with the current regime and reportage.

At the end of the review, it says

Even so, we keep indulging the fantasy of being in on the secret, and experiencing vicariously the sense of superiority that secrets confer. Most of us are, apparently, bored by transparency and accountability, and demand very little of the elected representatives appointed to oversight committees.

I'm not sure how these statements are linked. I agree that the sense of superiority conferred by secrets is a dangerous drug, but I don't see how the the boredom with transparency is linked to that. It seems like the only way to make someone change is to show them that they were played and were, at some point in time, stupid to believe something. Yet that seems a competitive impluse--'ha, you're an idiot cause you thought that!'

This is all preliminary to a post, and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to say, but there is something here that nags at me and I'm not sure what it is.

As is probably often the case, we find out the truth decades later.

Just read the current newsstand issue of Atlantic and the cover story about Putin. Plenty in there for Donald (and me) and Sapient, too!

Is shutting down the government for the DACA's worth it? I would say yes. Congressional leadership and the mfph are lying. They will NEVER fix DACA unless brought to their knees politically.

This is a hill worth dying on.

This is a peculiar statement, in that 'claimed' suggests that it probably wasn't true. Yet we had Stalin's show trials, where false confessions were obviously extracted. In fact, many at the time were convinced that the confessions were true because there were no visible signs of torture and the confessions themselves were so heartfelt. This is not to justify what the CIA was going, but a lot of the narrative goes missing if we don't see that these weren't simple claims about the Soviet Union, these were actual facts.

This is not to pick a fight with sapient, but what the CIA was doing in the 50's (and how it was revealed) seems linked to problems we are having with the current regime and reportage.

I think all of this is important, and difficult to sort out.

I saw the documentary with other people, some of whom are younger - in their twenties. My generation took it for granted that the CIA did horrible stuff. We had very little interest in figuring out what drove the post-WWII bureaucracy - we mostly criticized it. My own parents were liberals, but not socialists or pro-Soviet people. They were in the anti-McCarthyite, but also anti-Communist, category. They were probably in the majority of folks, but we don't really read about them - they made the Great Society happen. The things that were happening in Russia and China were scary and worrisome to most people. Although "most people" weren't necessarily in favor of the excesses of the national security state at that time, they were used to secrecy (because of WWII) and were still testing out what was appropriate. Everyone I know (including me) would have condemned the excesses of the post-WWII intelligence community.

My parents were completely behind the Church Committee. They were anti-Nixon, and anti-McCarthyism. They were Democrats. I could go on. Anyway, the country was learning. WWII was a catastrophic event in human history. I've posted this numerous times. Even so, a very smart kid that I know thought that we lost more people in Vietnam than in WWII.

I think it's really hard for people who have grown up in the ascendance of the US to get their head around what was going on in the heads of the previous generation. Again, my own parents would have been way against the excesses described (or posited) in Wormwood. But navigating that world was new territory, and it was a scary time.

This is a hill worth dying on.

Agree.

Lots of us freaked out when Trumpness happened. After I got myself together, I did a bit of work for the local legal aid group. DACA people were the folks I met first. I had known a couple of kids, but I met a few more. We cannot betray them. Anyone who does is a pure and simple racist. Sorry to call people out here, and I have probably had enough for this evening, but look at yourself in the mirror, anyone, who would hurt young people who did nothing at all, even arguably, wrong.

So I'm going now, lest I get riled up in a way that offends.

I don’t want to get in fights here, so I won’t, but I think with respect to Russiagate and foreign policy we are probably being lied to by both the Trumpists and some of the mainstream who badly want a new Cold War. I go off on that more at Crooked Timber sometimes. I think we got lied to about Syria and who we supported. I think almost every bad thing you could say about Trump is basically true, but if Putin bought him you can’t tell from his foreign policy, because he is trying to start a war with Iran, Russia’s ally, and he is supplying weapon to the Ukrainians and he appears to want to stay in Syria without Assad or Putin’s approval. And when Flynn asked for a favor on behalf of Netanyahu, the Russians turned him down. Extreme narcissistic personality aside ( which is important since he could tweet his way to war with NK) , Trump looks to me like a bog standard Republican. I think some of the neocons only oppose him because they want their wars and various domestic policies run by someone who is mentally stable. The other Republicans support him because they are scared of his voters and because they figure they can still get many Republican policies passed.

We are in an exceptionally weird period and I don’t expect to know the truth about what is gong on for decades, when I will most likely be dead. That was the relevance of the link to me. It is only in the past few years that Nixon’s messing around with the peace talks in 68 has become accepted as something that happened. People still argue about the 1980 election— I have forgotten the details.

As for Hersh and Greenwald and others ( Chomsky comes to mind), I think being outside the mainstream and finding things out or writing things that upset the establishment will go to one’s head. Mainstream types find more validation in being part of the serious people as Atrios would say. We all have mixtures of good and bad motives for our political views and prejudices. In the specific case of Hersh, from what I read he never fit in too well at the NYT or other places.

“People still argue about the 1980 election”

I am referring to alleged contacts between Reagan and Iran. But my memory is vague. Here is Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Surprise_conspiracy_theory

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/how-some-democrats-dropped-their-opposition-to-trumps-border-wall

But yes, Dems are to blame.

I personally don't fault Schumer for offering to vote for wall funding in exchange for DACA, though I can understand how some (including activists) might be fed up. Still, to stand on something because it wastes money when there are lives in the balance.

What now ?
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/mitch-mcconnell-makes-democrats-an-immigration-offer-to-end-government-shutdown.html?via=recirc_recent

I can see arguments both for and against this (accepting the good faith of the Republicans not being high amongst them...).

i'd take the deal. it's a short term extension, so if the GOP doesn't follow-through, there will be another shutdown in a few weeks.

the wall has gone from an uninterrupted 30 foot high barrier that Mexico would pay for, to a mix of wall, fence, and natural barriers that you, the American taxpayer, will pay for.

it will not stop people from crossing the border. people are very creative, and you're talking about a population who are willing to put themselves at risk of robbery, assault, rape, and death to get here. a stupid wall is not going to make them decide to stay home.

it will not stop drug trafficking and related criminal enterprises because Americans really really really like to get high, and there's lots of money to be made.

the wall is political theater for people who think Mexicans with their raping robbing drug-dealing ways are streaming into the country and taking away their jobs. because they'll work for $7 an hour, instead of $10. the fact that the job that's being "stolen" only pays $10 an hour doesn't seem to strike anybody as a more important issue.

most people in this country are not interested in sending 800,000 DACA kids back to some country they have no memory of. most people in this country do not want to round up and export millions of people who live here, work here, pay taxes here, have families here, own homes and businesses here, but do not have proper documentation. because it's profoundly stupid and cruel to do so, and most people, if they can tear themselves away from the freaking shrieking heads that assault us every day on the TV radio and internet with their insane shouting, are just not that stupid or cruel.

the reason the government is shut down is because the national representation in Congress has two different views of what is best for the nation. and neither one has enough votes to prevail. so we are wedged for the moment.

one of the parties in question has a strength of representation that is not justified by the number of their constituents. my suggestion is for everyone to work on getting folks to run against them, everywhere, in every state county town and village, and then to work on getting people to get off of their behinds and get to the polling place.

and throw the reactionary jerks the hell out of government. if they hate government so much, and love the private sector so much, then let them go find honest jobs in the private sector and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

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