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February 18, 2017


Here in the U.K. what's mainly happening is depression about Brexit and panic about Donald Trump.

Also rain.

Gee, trump is a genius convincing China to import more coal from the U.S.


The weather here in NJ is actually glorious: highs in mid-60s, blue skies. I'm getting off the damned Internet until Monday. I shall read only things on paper, and spend time OUTSIDE in the yard.

And see "Allegiance" on Sunday.

Take care, all!

Here in northern California, we have already passed the normal total for annual rainfall. (Note for those living in different climates: our "annual rainfall" is taken from July thru June.) Guess the drought may finally(!) be over.

Today we are supposed to get a little sun. But by Sunday afternoon we will be back to the parade of storm after storm.

The good news for me is that we don't live down in a valley by a stream -- which would currently be overflowing. The bad news is, the old retaining walls on the back hillside are gone, but the replacements are not yet in place. Good thing we've got a lot of tree roots there....

News from NEOH is early-onset allergy season, if my state of being is anything to judge by. This has been a miserable winter/spring/winter/spring/winter/spring...

News from NEOH is early-onset allergy season, if my state of being is anything to judge by. This has been a miserable winter/spring/winter/spring/winter/spring...


The whole Russian thing seems to have been getting out of hand. Thank goodness there's someone in the White House who can talk some sense into them..............

Good news, NV - there's an effective treatment.
Bad news is that it takes three years....

I have come up with an idea** for a new product. Since I have neither the time nor the inclination to implement it myself, I toss it out here. Maybe someone else will see it and do something.

The design of men's pants has not changed materially in over a century:

  • Legs to the ankle
  • Front closure
  • 2 hip pockets
  • 2 front pockets
  • Sometimes a watch pocket -- for all that nobody carries a pocket watch any more. And if they did, jeans (the most common place for them) are not where they would.
(No, bell bottoms were not a material design change. And didn't last, thank heavens.)

These days, most people carry a cell phone. Typically, the phone gets stuffed in a hip pocket -- even though a) a flat object in a curved container is just asking for mechanical breakage, and b) when you are sitting down, getting to it is seriously inconvenient. If you stick it in a front pocket, it's even worse to get at while sitting.

But suppose you added a pocket designed for a cell phone. Stick it on the outside of the thigh - that's
a) a lot flatter than a hip pocket, and
b) readily accessible, regardless of whether you are standing or sitting.

You could, I suppose, provide an optional feature: a built-in Faraday cage. (For the non-engineers among us, a Faraday cage is basically insulation, often a wire mesh, which blocks electromagnetic radiation.) Obviously if you want incoming signals, that's not desirable. But if all you want is to make calls or send texts/tweets, it would be fine.

But even with out the optional feature, it seems like it would be a great improvement on the current situation.

** As you can guess from the optional feature, the original inspiration is Trump-related. But the inspiration is basically irrelevant to the core design idea, so I'm feeling free to put it here.

If you search for cargo pants cellphone pocket, I think you'll find someone pre-empted you I'm afraid.

Though I am entirely in sympathy with the thrust of your post, wj. I have long lamented the fact that the average shirt pocket is nowhere near deep enough safely to hold a cellphone - though it's where I invariably keep mine.

Nice day here in chilly New England. Did some errands, shoveled the last chunks of ice out of the driveway so the mailman doesn't fall and break his neck.

Tried to do some work but MS tells me my credentials are stale. I'm dead to them, at least until the IT guys get it squared away on Tuesday. So fine, be that way, I'll play some music instead.

Gonna be a big stupid work meeting on Tuesday, purely over stupid coding style wars. Full team all-hands, duke it out until we settle it. We're probably gonna burn up a man week all in, over a pissing match about dependency injection and interface segregation. There are no religious wars like coding style religious wars. What a freaking waste.

If I ruled the world, computer science courses would teach people how to build and ship useful products, rather than piss around with the latest buzzword bullcrap.

90% of coding is just not brain surgery or rocket science. It's getting usable stuff done and shipped, within reasonable time and cost constraints, in order to create value for the organizations that are paying for it. That's the gig.

It's plumbing, with electrons.

If you're good at that, you will never go hungry. Pro tip.

Anyway, that's Tuesday, today's Saturday. Not gonna let it rain on my parade. Off to dinner out and then to see Solas at a local venue with my wife and some friends. Gonna be a fun time.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

If you search for cargo pants cellphone pocket, I think you'll find someone pre-empted you I'm afraid.

Man bag for me. But then, I'm a coastal elitist, and we can get away with stuff like that.

If I ruled the world, computer science courses would teach people how to build and ship useful products, rather than piss around with the latest buzzword bullcrap.

I think you'd actually need to get to the business schools. Managers seem, at least in my experience, to be the ones who jump on the latest code design fads and insist that everybody in the company IT department take classes and start doing things that way. (Getting managers to stop jumping on the latest fads in other areas of management would be a huge step forward in efficiency as well.)

Personally, I think that once we got past spaghetti code we had gone far enough. Code should be written like prose: start with an outline of what you are going to say, and then fill in the words to say that. Gives you enough organization without all the irrelevant nonsense.

Personally, I think that once we got past spaghetti code we had gone far enough.

I think there are times and places for more sophisticated idioms. But I also think there is a hell of a lot of "solution looking for a problem" going on.

It actually wastes a lot of time and money.

Get offa my lawn, all you kids!!

Managers seem, at least in my experience, to be the ones who jump on the latest code design fads and insist that everybody in the company IT department take classes and start doing things that way.

If I *really* ruled the world, I'd require B schools to teach people how to think.

But now we're veering off into crazy talk. Thinking is for those liberal arts kiddies.

And if *I* ruled the world, B school would have a high-speed conveyor belt into the "B Ark".

But, alas, NASA has been dragging its feet. Sad.

Since I've been reading about Neil Gaiman's new book of Norse Mythology, and this is an open thread, I shall share a cartoon which for some reason has given me a lot of pleasure (I think it's the trolls):


I thought California was like the rest of the West and ran its water year from Oct 1 to Sep 30.

Great minds think alike. Going on (gack!) 47 years ago, I was planning a solitary hike on the AT in western Mass. and Vermont, and I had a friend who knew how to sew add pockets to the outsides of my jeans, and some inner pockets to a flannel shirt. This was long before cargo shorts were readily available.

Now I wear cargo shorts all summer, but I get frustrated in the winter because all I wear is jeans, and they don't have side pockets. So there *is* an opportunity here, yes?

Cautionary tale: when I first got a small flip phone, I carried it in the breast pocket of a flannel or button down shirt all the time. Then I started to get episodes of weird tingling in the body part under that pocket. I stopped carrying the phone in that pocket, and the tingling stopped occurring. Now I make sure to carry my phone in a bag or a very loose pocket next to a relatively non-sensitive body part, like the outer thigh. Call me old-fashioned, or just old -- I didn't get a smart phone until November -- but the tingling symptom makes me think it isn't the greatest idea of keep one of those gadgets close to my body all the time.

russell -- Coding fads remind me of something written by, IIRC, Jared Diamond:

Invention is the mother of necessity.

The older I get, the more I believe it.

Invention is the mother of necessity.

And technology is the mother of science.

Mothers are the necessary invention.

Invention is the mother of necessity.



Necessity will kill invented trump motherfuckers.

Snarki, Golfafrincham joke. Nice.

What Adam said, also May looks less incompetent since Trump started 'governing' which is rather scary. Not looking forward to elections in the Netherlands and France and, later in the year, Germany ... hoping the mob won't raise it's ugly head like in the US/UK.

Necessity may be the acknowledged mother of invention but I suspect that laziness is the father.

I carry my smart-ass phone in a belt holster. The phone is one of the smaller ones -- a Motorola Razor M -- and the holster is a black faux-leather thing with a flap that holds closed magnetically like a refrigerator door. There's an opening in the main pouch that lines up with the earphone jack, which is extremely convenient since I refuse to consider a Bluetooth earpiece on the principle that I don't need one more battery, radio set, or software protocol in my life. When driving, I can answer calls hands-free, and if I look like a superannuated dork with a wire running up to my ear that's fine.

For men, at least, the belt is the perfect place to attach a cellphone. Women have it tougher, I admit. Of course, if phones keep growing like tumors as they have been doing, we may all have to switch to carrying them in backpacks.


Yes, what Adam and novakant said, plus frustration that the only person voicing the anti-Brexit line with any energy and conviction is Tony Blair, the exact wrong messenger to energise the opposition. Maybe it shouldn't be so, but it is. Fuck fuck fuck, (or fnck fnck fnck as ObWi house style would, much less emphatically, have it).

Women don't have the socially acceptable option of wearing them on a belt even if they're wearing one, and much more frequently have no pockets to speak of, but carrying a bag is also not suspect like it is for men. So it's not exactly worse. Ofc, as coastal elitist russell pointed out above, deference to gender norms is the only thing making this a competition between men and women...

How did we get here? What is 4chan exactly? And how did a website about anime become the avant garde of the far right? Mixed up with fascist movements, international intrigue, and Trump iconography? How do we interpret it all?


As someone who has witnessed 4chan grow from a group of adolescent boys who could fit into a single room at my local anime convention to a worldwide coalition of right wing extremists (which is still somehow also a message board about anime), I feel I have some obligation to explain.

This essay is an attempt to untangle the threads of 4chan and the far right.


This long but informative piece was just sent to me, and seems to contain a lot of very interesting stuff. I haven't finished it yet, but may not have a chance to post later because for various reasons today is a rather crazy day for me, so I'm posting it now in the expectation that some of you may also find it interesting/informative.

GFTNC, I just read that before seeing your post. It's really interesting ... and strange. I posted it in a secret group I'm in on FB.

Secret group, eh? (says she, who is completely ignorant of Facebook and its mysterious ways). I hope that doesn't mean I shouldn't have posted it here - I thought it was really interesting too. I'm about to virtually attend a memorial for an old friend in NYC, so (somewhat apprehensively) over and out.

Necessity may be the acknowledged mother of invention but I suspect that laziness is the father.

sloth is mankind's most underappreciated virtue! It's responsible for pretty much all human progress.

Who invented the wheel? Some guy who was too lazy to carry his food home. Who invented agriculture? Some woman who didn't want to go to the effort of walking all over the countryside to gather food. For that matter, who invented the automobile? Somebody who thought caring for horses was a lot of unnecessary work.

The list goes on and on.

An explanation of the alliance between the far right white nationalists and


I think she should have said more connecting it to the IP conflict, but it is good article as far as it goes.

I was Benghazied by a colleague when discussing the current mess. I guess I should have expected it since he is a religious home schooler.

Re: women carrying cellphones.

BEST arrangement I saw was a woman wearing a hijab, with a smartphone tucked in the side, next to her ear.

That is a tech-fashion that could use some virality.

Something like that might work for Sikh men as well.... ;-)

In the winter (I mean real winter, not this current mess) you can do it with a hat and scarf fairly easily. I know I have.

Slave labor was invented by the slothful. Veritable entrepreneurs of sloth those plantation owners with whips were. The black man and woman and child as labor-saving device.

On the one hand, a little work never hurt anyone, and yet the usual f*ckers want to use work to inflict punishment.

"Get a job!" demands Wall Street as they lobby corporate America to be lean and mean, cut overhead, and fire those with jobs.

America is full of shit.

We deserve trump crawling as far up our butts as he can get.

Sweden was wiped off the map yesterday by dozens of nuclear terrorist attacks. Millions have been incinerated.

And yet crickets from the news media. Nadda. Like it never happened.

GftNC, that meshes pretty well with my disinterested-if-not-outright-disgusted-outsider's view over the years of the birth, rise, proliferation, and fermentation of channite culture online. There's a bit of oversimplification IOT create a smooth narrative, but it's oversimplification, not falsehood.

Here in Finland, the week's big news item was the cabinet's defense policy white paper, which sets the guidelines for the next five years' defense planning and procurement.

The paper, which was prepared by the government with close input by a joint parliamentary ad hoc commission, defined some pretty important doctrinal points:
*Finland considers a war, or armed crisis with Russia an actual, though unlikely possibility.
*Finland considers it impossible that she could remain outside an armed crisis taking place in the Baltic Sea region.
*Due to these points, the war-time size of the Finnish Defense Forces is increased from 230,000 men to 280,000 troops, a fighter aircraft replacement program is to be continued, the navy shall be strengthened with four corvettes.
*As a result and Finland is going to increase military spending to over 2.0 percent of GDP from the current 1,6 per cent.
*Bilateral defense cooperation with Sweden is strengthened, with no barriers for joint operative contigency planning or joint collective defense, and defense cooperation with NATO and its member states, especially US, Great Britain and Germany, is to be continued and deepened.

Thanks, Lurker.

That rather resembles my view of the situation in the Baltic area. But I realize I'm a very long way away, and don't have more than a superficial acquaintance with the details. Good to know that things look much the same up close.


if you find the issue interesting, here is the whole document:

The Government's Foreign Policy Report

For you, the chapter 2, containing the official analysis of the security environment, should be the most interesting.

Lurker, could you drop me a line (libjpn at the gmail destroyer of worlds)? Thanks.

In Vegas for weekend. From what I see, we don't belong where we are.

I suppose this belies the OP, but this was interesting to me


Don't know if it will come thru, but it is about the challenge Japanese interpreters are having trying to translate Trump

She still remembers the dread she felt as she was translating live Trump’s victory speech on Nov. 9, when the president-elect — apropos of nothing — made a reference to “Reince” and “secretariat” without spelling out who and what they are.

“When he suddenly said ‘Reince is a superstar,’ I was literally thrown off. Only after the camera zoomed in on the face of a ‘Reince’ did I realize who Trump was talking about, and I hastily added, for the sake of the audience, that it’s actually ‘Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman,’ ” Hibi said.

“The convenient thing about the Japanese language, however, is that it tends to do away with a subject in a sentence, so in this particular case, I first translated ‘superstar’ without clarifying who Trump was referring to, and carried on like this until I got a fuller picture.”

But she wasn’t so lucky with “secretariat,” which she mistakenly thought was Trump’s alternate way of referring to Reince.

“I mistranslated that one,” Hibi said. “It didn’t even occur to me that he was talking about a race horse. … It’s really hard to follow his train of thought.”

Thanks again, Lurker. That's a really fascinating document.

Finland is in what I can only call a "bad neighborhood" -- not in the sense of most of the neighboring countries being threatening, but in the sense of having a neighborhood bully which needs careful watching. And which, realistically, Finland alone could not stand against. It's main defense is that successfully invading it would be just too expensive (although its various bi-lateral defense agreements help).

P.S. I am always a bit amazed when the government of a nation which uses a language other than English nevertheless publishes a policy document in English. Especially considering some of the rather hysterical ranting that we have here when private businesses, let alone the government, choose to make materials available in a language other than English.

“I mistranslated that one,” Hibi said. “It didn’t even occur to me that he was talking about a race horse. … It’s really hard to follow his train of thought.”

LJ, I hope someone has told her that following his train of thought is challenging even for native speakers of (American) English. Just so she knows that problem isn't her.

"Train of thought" is stretching it a bit. Word salad is more like it.

CIRCUS Train of thought.

Lots of elephants. Lots of clowns.

An extraordinary perspective from Venezuela:

One area where international collaboration has increased dramatically, more or less untrammelled by politics: science -

I've gotten used to the idea that you now have a scofflaw as president, but I think I need a stronger word:

Uber is being run by and from Trump's inner circle in the White House.


I wonder what the intersectionality is (conservatives call it intersextionality) between 4chan gamer/basement masturbators, Miller and company in the White House, and Milo Yiannofacistapoulos' plans to replace his mother's washer and dryer with a rock and a paddle in a stream and a mangle with a crank to keep her tiny mind off her lady parts and a
higher career.

Although I wish Ayn Rand's cuckolded husband had stepped up and kept her barefoot and busy so we could have avoided her now fully-culted and rancid malignity, not to mention acolyte Alan Greenspan.

trump is interviewing the Unabomber today at Mar-a-lago to head up the U.S. Post Office and to make mail delivery great again for coastal elites and the enemies of the people.

First question from trump: "Hey una, tell me how we can make email explosive for these people?"

Nigel, at least as interesting (to me, since I'm in it up to my elbows) as the increasing international collaboration in science is the increasing international collaboration in technology.

One quick example. ICANN is the International Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers. Basically, they make the rules for what you can have as a domain name (e.g. obsidianwings.blogs.com) and what IP Address your various network-enabled devices, including your cell phone and laptop, get assigned to use to find each other.

Think of IETF (the Internet Engineering Task Force) as the international organization which figures out the specs for the cars that run on the internet, how wide the lanes are, etc. Whereas ICANN works out street names and house numbers so you can find and actually get to where you wanted to go.

For historical reasons (invented here), the Internet has basically run on English. But there is currently a huge project in progress to figure out how to use names from other languages.

I'm working on the sub-committee of that project that's dealing with languages based on the Latin alphabet. (FYI, there are over 180 of them! And that doesn't include other alphabets, e.g. Cyrillic or Cherokee, which use some characters which look identical.) The sub-committee is chaired by a lady in Serbia. Members include 2 from the USA (including me), 2 from Germany, and 1 each from France, Sweden, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The sub-committees dealing with other orthographies (e.g. Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew) are equally diverse. It's just the way that things get done out there in the real world. Even if you aren't manufacturing stuff which has pieces produced in dozens of countries (sorry protectionist fanatics; but not very), technology means working with people from around the world on a recurring basis.

There is absolutely nothing happening in the world that can be more than trump:


And Marty claims trump hasn't done anything yet!

Marty, this is Hillary-level misrepresentation of the facts of what trump has done in a single month.

By God, he single-handedly brought a million Swedes back to life after terrorists wiped them out late last week.

We were nearly Swedeless.

There is absolutely nothing happening in the world that can be more than trump

Today on FB a family member posted a man holding up a sign that said:

Trump, the man who gave up his billionaire lifestyle to be humiliated, ridiculed, and slandered to save the American people

To which another family member replied:

Only a man that truly loves America would do it

We live, not just in different countries, but in different universes. Totally different realities.

I don't have the tools to cross a divide that deep.

I'm tempted to say we need somebody like Martin Luther King - not the same issues, but someone who would be able to get people to look past their ingrained habits of thought and imagine what other people's lives are like.

But then I remember how things turned out for him.

I got nothing anymore. I'm plumb out of ideas. I was born in this country, have always lived here, for reasons both practical and sentimental do not plan to move away. I'm American.

But I'm just along for the ride at this point. This is the craziest shit I've seen in my whole life, and I have no idea whatsoever where it's going to land.

The Nixon years probably come the closest, but even he was kind of mainstream compared to what we got now.

Poppa's got a brand new bag.

Nixon and his people were tough guys and rats, but they knew shame, with the possible exceptions of Haldeman, Liddy, and Archie Bunker. As the rest of them went over the side of the ship, they showed a little embarrassment.

Like so many men of that American generation, Nixon never took his private Jew-hatred, for example, public at the microphone in front of the women and the children.

Because political correctness in public was once seen as common decency.

Nixon at least wept from personal embarrassment when he went down, even if he was merely feeling sorry for himself for getting caught.

These ilk today are something all together more malignly dangerous. When trump goes down, it will be a long standoff in a bunker with his chest-beating alpha acolytes along for the ride. They'll go, but some of them, probably even him, will go feet first and horizontally.

His idolators and dupes will react to his demise with savageness and violence.

It will take a long time and many casualties to restore order and make America pretty good again.

I got nothing anymore. I'm plumb out of ideas.

Keep doing what you're doing - you're one of the good guys.

wj, that's interesting.

Stuff carries on, outside of politics. Not all of it bad.

If only Cheney had thought of that excuse:


via lgm

Cheney wasn't charged, of course, because justice reigns.

Always bring weapons to protest a trump rally:


Some stuff carries on. On the other hand, there's this.

Both IETF and ICANN meet 3 times a year. Meetings move around the world, coming to North America every couple of years. At the moment, both oprganizations are seriously discussing whether the next meeting scheduled for the US needs to be moved to, for example, Canada. Simply because of concerns over whether some members could even get into the country, not to mention what might happen to them while they are here.

Those concerns may be overblown. But one of the reasons for moving the meetings around is to make it easier for people to get to (relatively) near-by events. And that would be a problem.

In my experience, getting a US company's permission to attend a conference is vastly easier if it is not out of country. Which means, we are talking about reducing US participation, and thus influence, in the groups which pretty much control the technology which drives modern economies. Especially including ours.

I think I just posted the identical message twice, and it disappeared into the ether. God knows what gives. I'm going to unpack (down south for a couple of weeks). Over and out.

wj: No clue. It doesn't show up in the spam folder, nor anywhere else on the site.
Stupid computers!

Quite, wj.
The opinion that US actions might be self defeating seems quite widespread:

Yeah, yeah, trump knows what the question is:


He even lies about golf!


Finally, something he has in common with the rest of us.

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, there wouldn't be any golf without lying.

Just over the big hill in Colorado, there lies Grand Junction, where I've spent some time.

Not exactly liberal perve territory, le me tell ya:


Republican politicians are so full of shit. But they have to live down to the full of shit 46% in America.

Bad sh1t going down:


dude, you're unhinged.

via Eschaton:


Me too.

to perhaps clarify, my reply to ugh was a reference to Marty's comments to me from election night.

gays being harassed while walking home from the store?

muslim girl being hassled for wearing a hijab at soccer practice?

some guy's car defaced with the word "nigger"?

clearly I was unhinged to find any of that alarming.

i'm still looking for my missing hinge.

josh marshall, unhinged.

First off it wasn't election night, second, I have discussed the exact scenarios you describe with a lot of people, mostly liberals I know in Boston and the majority had the same reaction that I did, are you just noticing this crap happens in Boston every day? Did you read the police blotter for the first time and just take the list and blame it on "Trump got elected"?

Yes the left is completely unhinged thrashing around for some justification from "Russia" to the 25th amendment to show it was a "mistake" that he got elected. So far it's gotten worse not better. The NY Times prints front page stories that don't include a single fact and everyone goes off the deep end saying "see"? Mother freaking Jones is being quoted as news. Even for Watergate they spent months collecting and verifying facts, they didn't take a single anonymous source and make up the rest.

And the worst part is that really sane, intelligent, thoughtful people who I have great respect for have lost their minds and any sense of perspective.

He poses a challenge for us all. His policies are a mixed bag, his bluster is dangerous at times, his choices for governmental leadership range from awful to pretty good. But the fact that he doesn't have all the government filled in is as much due to the Democrats obstruction of his appointments as any incompetence on his part. There is a difference between objecting to his policies and behavior and looking for excuses to remove him.

I seem to see lots of people supporting your right to exercise your religious beliefs by harboring fugitives. I know lots of people who see that as against the law. I see stupid FB posts on either side all day every day.

In this blog on a regular basis there are people who mock people's fee fees getting good hurt, yet it is a veritable laundry list of hurt feelings almost everyday.

If the term unhinged set wrong then take overwrought, lack of perspective, whatever you might be able to hear and understand I am an admirer of your mind and your principles. Or dont.

More .... actually less .... on Sweden.


Meanwhile, vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and similar crimes in the United States are soaring since November 9, 2016. I don't know what happened on that day that might have precipitated such a trend, but some are suggesting that lead has been slipped into some conservatives' coffee and making them loco since then, though I noticed behavioral symptoms before that.

Some conservative white Christians in what has been called flyover country are aghast that Jewish cemeteries and gay nightclubs and such are under attack because they believe THEY are the victims of violence, hate, and discrimination in this country and are feeling slighted by reality.

When is someone going to shoot up an all-white church in the South, they wonder? The state of Texas is contemplating a program to deflect violence and mayhem away from Muslim worshiping houses in its state by putting up signs on mosques that direct would-be scofflaws to the addresses of white Christian churches in nearby areas that have never been the targets of hate and discrimination and want to know "What about us?"

The current Administration Washington D.C. is working feverishly to equalize the violence across the country. For every black church or Muslim mosque vandalized, shot up, or burned to the ground, the Justice Department will distribute federal dollars to white Christian churches to upgrade their facilities.

Trump, compared to other recent presidents, seems to be more or less on schedule in filling government positions.

How Trump is doing on staffing, legislation and messaging: PBS NewsHour-YouTube

are you just noticing this crap happens in Boston every day? Did you read the police blotter for the first time and just take the list and blame it on "Trump got elected"?

I don't live in Boston. In the area I live in, no, gays are not harassed on their way home from the store, people don't have "nigger" written on their car, and little kids are not harassed for being Muslim as a normal day-to-day thing.

I wasn't reading the police blotter, I was responding to the alarm of friends expressed on email and other social media channels, in real time. They were alarmed about things that they were encountering, directly and personally, and which were not a normal part of their experience.

If you are an "admirer of my mind and my principles", then don't dismiss things I say here as being anything other than what I say they are. Don't tell me my friends suck if their kids are upset about Trump being president, don't tell me I'm unhinged if I respond with alarm to events that are disturbing and out of the norm.

You make great hay out of how liberals look down on plain old regular folks. Dismiss their concerns, belittle their beliefs and interests, don't want to hear what they have to say.

You do exactly the same thing.

My next door neighbors are Jews in their 80's. There are limbs and branches missing from their family trees. Should they be disturbed by all of the Jewish Community Centers suddenly getting bomb threats? Or cemeteries being defaced? Are they unhinged if they do so?

My wife and I have a number of married gay couples in our circle of friends. Many of them are raising children. VP Pence would be happy to see the legal recognition of their marriages go away. Should they be concerned? Are they just "flailing about" if they worry about a Trump presidency?

I live in the midst of towns and small cities with quite large immigrant populations. Larger, as a percentage of population, than in many "border state" cities. I lived for a number of years in an immigrant neighborhood. What should those folks be getting ready for? Some of the schools are already running programs for the DACA kids, explaining to them that they may need to think about how they will handle being deported or having their families split up. Because that's a tangible reality. Not fear-mongering, but basic planning for concrete reality.

I could go on at length.

A significant number of people who support Trump are racists, bigots, and in some cases outright Nazis. Many are not, many are. His primary advisor is a guy who may well be a reactionary fascist, in the correct historical use of that term. Since the election, acts of violence and harassment against women, gays, and ethnic and religious minorities have spiked up.

Should people be worried about that? Or should we all just say hey, no worries, nothing to see here? How long should we wait to see how things will "turn out"?

You seem to be committed to the idea that there is nothing unusual in a Trump presidency, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing for anyone to be concerned about above and beyond the normal play of American partisan politics.

I'm not convinced that is so.

It's fine for you to think what you think. I think it's naive, but you're entitled to your point of view.

If you're going to say you "admire and respect" my point of view, you need to extend the same courtesy. Respect and dismissal cannot occupy the same space.

If you're not worried, fine. Extend some respect to folks who are.

This is a regulation I could get behind:


I quote and cite Mother Freaking Jones as opinion and further analysis ABOUT the news. Sometimes I pull the news link out of the offending opinion piece and bring it here to get closer to the source.

"The NY Times prints front page stories that don't include a single fact ..."

Link to one of those. I'm past my monthly free internet allotment for the NYT, but I'll look it up at the library.

When you are competing with Breitbart and trump "news" conferences in a world devoid of truth, why clutter things up with facts?

"Yes the left is completely unhinged thrashing around for some justification from "Russia" to the 25th amendment to show it was a "mistake" that he got elected."

I long for the days when a guy could merely say "Benghazi" or "Vince Foster" or "emails" in a hysterical tone of voice around here and the polls would crater.

"Even for Watergate they spent months collecting and verifying facts, they didn't take a single anonymous source and make up the rest."

Think how much more efficient, cheaper, and businesslike it would have been if Nixon and company had just admitted everything upfront.

"There is a difference between objecting to his policies and behavior and looking for excuses to remove him."

Again you bring up Obama and Clinton. And you insist on using masculine pronouns in reference to Clinton.

Besides, we had a meeting the day after the election and decided to block, obfuscate, and no-walk every trump initiative and appointee for the next four years.

If you try and indict our current behavior and use that meeting as evidence, despite its being reported by every single news outlet, we'll ignore any reference to the meeting like it never happened, and if anything does get through the net, I'll personally threaten anyone here who plans to vote for anything trump or the Republican Congress brings up by finding the biggest as*holes I can to primary them the next time we have an election, which could be awhile.

I'm owed a hearing on Merrick Garland.

Speaking for my own self, I am without feeling.

I can't read this because it's behind the pay wall:


Someone else read it and let me know if it contains a dearth of facts I can ignore.

I lost my taste for facts when they started calling Iceland ... Iceland ..... and Greenland ... Greenland.

It's been Jabberwocky ever since.

Marty, I know you were addressing russell and his comments, but I just want to bring some things to your attention.

The horror that Trump is evoking is not just in liberals, in Boston or even in the USA. The Economist Intelligence Unit, before the election, put his possible victory as one of the top ten greatest threats to the world economy, and Nigel recently linked to an estimate that his protectionist policies are likely to hit the US economy harder than anywhere else. But that's "just" the economy, and you can certainly counterclaim that the jury is still out.

But in terms of financial corruption, the path of evidence seems incontrovertible already. 1. No release of tax returns, 2. No divestment of businesses, 3. Contravention of the Emoluments Clause and other terms (e.g. of leases) in hotel bookings, Mar-a-Lago membership fees etc etc.

And that is before we even come to security issues (Android phone, Mar-a-Lago situation room etc). Or possible issues of election interference or collusion between "team Trump" and Russia, without even mentioning the (I am prepared to concede unlikely) possibility that he may have personally committed treason. I know that your line on this is that none of this is known for sure, but there is enough prima facie evidence for deep unease in all the capitals of the world, and the suggestion that strong allies (e.g. the UK) have started withholding intelligence cooperation on the basis that it may thereafter be compromised.

You may say all this is conjecture, and must wait for hard evidence (which may in fact exist - see Comey/Senate committee meeting), but I suggest to you that you may be indulging in wishful thinking, and a tribal impulse to turn on "the opposition", i.e. Democrats, liberals or lefties.
You say:

Yes the left is completely unhinged thrashing around for some justification from "Russia" to the 25th amendment to show it was a "mistake" that he got elected.

but as far as I know nobody says it was a "mistake" exactly, just a potential disaster inflicted by people who, unlike you, were not sufficiently informed about all the reasons to look askance, or more than askance, at him. If these various "really sane, intelligent, thoughtful people who I have great respect for" are taking a different view, perhaps you should re-examine your assumptions. And by the way, the 25th Amendment was initially brought up by McKinney, who I assume you do not consider a liberal or lefty. I think in his last post he even said that the security situation had made him think that the time was now near for invoking it.

the left is completely unhinged thrashing around for some justification from "Russia" to the 25th amendment to show it was a "mistake" that he got elected.

There's no real question that some on the left are going off over things that would happen in any Republican administration. (And some over things that most Democratic administrations would do, too. No pleasing some people.)

But that doesn't mean that there are not multiple things that Trump is doing which suggest, even to folks like Republican US Senators, that he is a serious mistake. At this point, all the people who tried to claim that he would become more like a normal Republican once in office have been pretty much proven wrong -- he may sign some bills that Republicans like, but that's not the same thing.

Note that it's not just people on the left who are seriously concerned about Trump and Russia. Nor who are seriously concerned about the fact that he appears to have minimal to no emotional control. And no interest in information sources outside cable TV.

Plus, on fear in various ethnic, religious and LGBT communities: what russell said.


Refers to fact-less article I can't read in the ether-world.

the fact that he doesn't have all the government filled in is as much due to the Democrats obstruction of his appointments as any incompetence on his part.

Marty, I'm at a total loss as to how you figure this.

The rate of approvals going thru the Senate is about average. Hearings are lasting no longer than usual, often less. (And since Republicans control the Senate, if there are nominees for jobs who have not had hearings, it's hardly the Democrats fault. However much they might dislike the nominee in question.)

The fact is, people aren't getting nominated. Partly because Cabinet secretaries are not being allowed to pick their own subordinates; everybody has to filter thru the White House to make sure they never said anything negative about Trump during the primaries. And, it appears from a distance, partly because the folks in the White House simply don't much care whether the positions get filled or not.

It wasn't a mistake that He was elected.

Therein lies the rub.

I will only comment GftNC that the emoluments clause doesn't speak to selling his foreign businesses, there is no legal requirement to release your tax returns and it is ludicrous to expect someone who actually owns multimillion dollar businesses to sell them off to become President. I am sure Washington and Jefferson didn't sell their farms.

I am unhappy that the relationship with Mar-A-Lago doesn't seem to have been cut from a financial perspective, although I don't know it hasn't, it is the essence of the criticism I had of the Clintons that they used the office to get rich(er), even if they and he can legally deny it. So guess what, I still wouldn't vote for him. he is a con artist and provocateur. But I am not willing to bring down our government and way of life over that.

Lots of his other businesses will get some value from him being President, whether he technically sold them or not. Some have suffered from him being President.

And yes, lots of people are saying it was a "mistake" and that the people who voted for him are suffering buyers remorse blah blah. And I disagree wholeheartedly with McK. The obvious perversion of the 25th is just a coup. we would howl loudly if that were tried anywhere else in the world, unless of course we wanted it done.

And yes, the rest is unsupported, story a day bs to keep the excitement up on the left hoping it will create the very circumstances to "justify" that coup.

Count, is this what you wanted? I have tried to delete all the photo, comment stuff, but there may be some left in. Sorry it's so long!

A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page

A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.

Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

At a time when Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, and the people connected to him, are under heightened scrutiny — with investigations by American intelligence agencies, the F.B.I. and Congress — some of his associates remain willing and eager to wade into Russia-related efforts behind the scenes.

Mr. Trump has confounded Democrats and Republicans alike with his repeated praise for the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, and his desire to forge an American-Russian alliance. While there is nothing illegal about such unofficial efforts, a proposal that seems to tip toward Russian interests may set off alarms.

Donald Trump’s Connections in Ukraine

Andrii V. Artemenko
Ukrainian politician with a peace plan for Ukraine and a file alleging that its president is corrupt.

Felix H. Sater
Russian-American businessman with longstanding ties to the Trump Organization.

Michael D. Cohen
Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, under scrutiny from F.B.I. over links with Russia.

Paul Manafort
Former Trump campaign chairman with pro-Russian political ties in Ukraine, now under investigation by the F.B.I.

The amateur diplomats say their goal is simply to help settle a grueling, three-year conflict that has cost 10,000 lives. “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?” Mr. Cohen asked.

But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Mr. Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Mr. Putin.

“A lot of people will call me a Russian agent, a U.S. agent, a C.I.A. agent,” Mr. Artemenko said. “But how can you find a good solution between our countries if we do not talk?”

Mr. Cohen and Mr. Sater said they had not spoken to Mr. Trump about the proposal, and have no experience in foreign policy. Mr. Cohen is one of several Trump associates under scrutiny in an F.B.I. counterintelligence examination of links with Russia, according to law enforcement officials; he has denied any illicit connections.

The two others involved in the effort have somewhat questionable pasts: Mr. Sater, 50, a Russian-American, pleaded guilty to a role in a stock manipulation scheme decades ago that involved the Mafia. Mr. Artemenko spent two and a half years in jail in Kiev in the early 2000s on embezzlement charges, later dropped, which he said had been politically motivated.

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While it is unclear if the White House will take the proposal seriously, the diplomatic freelancing has infuriated Ukrainian officials. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, said Mr. Artemenko “is not entitled to present any alternative peace plans on behalf of Ukraine to any foreign government, including the U.S. administration.”

At a security conference in Munich on Friday, Mr. Poroshenko warned the West against “appeasement” of Russia, and some American experts say offering Russia any alternative to a two-year-old international agreement on Ukraine would be a mistake. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals about the conflict in Ukraine.

But given Mr. Trump’s praise for Mr. Putin, John Herbst, a former American ambassador to Ukraine, said he feared the new president might be too eager to mend relations with Russia at Ukraine’s expense — potentially with a plan like Mr. Artemenko’s.

It was late January when the three men associated with the proposed plan converged on the Loews Regency, a luxury hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan where business deals are made in a lobby furnished with leather couches, over martinis at the restaurant bar and in private conference rooms on upper floors.

Mr. Cohen, 50, lives two blocks up the street, in Trump Park Avenue. A lawyer who joined the Trump Organization in 2007 as special counsel, he has worked on many deals, including a Trump-branded tower in the republic of Georgia and a short-lived mixed martial arts venture starring a Russian fighter. He is considered a loyal lieutenant whom Mr. Trump trusts to fix difficult problems.


Andrii V. Artemenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker, at the Women’s March in Washington last month. He said his peace proposal had received encouragement from top aides to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.
The F.B.I. is reviewing an unverified dossier, compiled by a former British intelligence agent and funded by Mr. Trump’s political opponents, that claims Mr. Cohen met with a Russian representative in Prague during the presidential campaign to discuss Russia’s hacking of Democratic targets. But the Russian official named in the report told The New York Times that he had never met Mr. Cohen. Mr. Cohen insists that he has never visited Prague and that the dossier’s assertions are fabrications. (Mr. Manafort is also under investigation by the F.B.I. for his connections to Russia and Ukraine.)

Mr. Cohen has a personal connection to Ukraine: He is married to a Ukrainian woman and once worked with relatives there to establish an ethanol business.

Mr. Artemenko, tall and burly, arrived at the Manhattan hotel between visits to Washington. (His wife, he said, met the first lady, Melania Trump, years ago during their modeling careers, but he did not try to meet Mr. Trump.) He had attended the inauguration and visited Congress, posting on Facebook his admiration for Mr. Trump and talking up his peace plan in meetings with American lawmakers.

He entered Parliament in 2014, the year that the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled to Moscow amid protests over his economic alignment with Russia and corruption. Mr. Manafort, who had been instrumental in getting Mr. Yanukovych elected, helped shape a political bloc that sprang up to oppose the new president, Mr. Poroshenko, a wealthy businessman who has taken a far tougher stance toward Russia and accused Mr. Putin of wanting to absorb Ukraine into a new Russian Empire. Mr. Artemenko, 48, emerged from the opposition that Mr. Manafort nurtured. (The two men have never met, Mr. Artemenko said.)

Before entering politics, Mr. Artemenko had business ventures in the Middle East and real estate deals in the Miami area, and had worked as an agent representing top Ukrainian athletes. Some colleagues in Parliament describe him as corrupt, untrustworthy or simply insignificant, but he appears to have amassed considerable wealth.

He has fashioned himself in the image of Mr. Trump, presenting himself as Ukraine’s answer to a rising class of nationalist leaders in the West. He even traveled to Cleveland last summer for the Republican National Convention, seizing on the chance to meet with members of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

“It’s time for new leaders, new approaches to the governance of the country, new principles and new negotiators in international politics,” he wrote on Facebook on Jan. 27. “Our time has come!”

Mr. Artemenko said he saw in Mr. Trump an opportunity to advocate a plan for peace in Ukraine — and help advance his own political career. Essentially, his plan would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.

The Ukrainian ambassador, Mr. Chaly, rejected a lease of that kind. “It is a gross violation of the Constitution,” he said in written answers to questions from The Times. “Such ideas can be pitched or pushed through only by those openly or covertly representing Russian interests.”

The reaction suggested why Mr. Artemenko’s project also includes the dissemination of “kompromat,” or compromising material, purportedly showing that Mr. Poroshenko and his closest associates are corrupt. Only a new government, presumably one less hostile to Russia, might take up his plan.

Mr. Sater, a longtime business associate of Mr. Trump’s with connections in Russia, was willing to help Mr. Artemenko’s proposal reach the White House.

Mr. Trump has sought to distance himself from Mr. Sater in recent years. If Mr. Sater “were sitting in the room right now,” Mr. Trump said in a 2013 deposition, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.”

But Mr. Sater worked on real estate development deals with the Trump Organization on and off for at least a decade, even after his role in the stock manipulation scheme came to light.

Mr. Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union and grew up in New York, served as an executive at a firm called Bayrock Group, two floors below the Trump Organization in Trump Tower, and was later a senior adviser to Mr. Trump.

He said he had been working on a plan for a Trump Tower in Moscow with a Russian real estate developer as recently as the fall of 2015, one that he said had come to a halt because of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. (Mr. Cohen said the Trump Organization had received a letter of intent for a project in Moscow from a Russian real estate developer at that time but determined that the project was not feasible.)

Mr. Artemenko said a mutual friend had put him in touch with Mr. Sater. Helping to advance the proposal, Mr. Sater said, made sense.

“I want to stop a war, number one,” he said. “Number two, I absolutely believe that the U.S. and Russia need to be allies, not enemies. If I could achieve both in one stroke, it would be a home run.”

After speaking with Mr. Sater and Mr. Artemenko in person, Mr. Cohen said he would deliver the plan to the White House.

Mr. Cohen said he did not know who in the Russian government had offered encouragement on it, as Mr. Artemenko claims, but he understood there was a promise of proof of corruption by the Ukrainian president.

“Fraud is never good, right?” Mr. Cohen said.

He said Mr. Sater had given him the written proposal in a sealed envelope. When Mr. Cohen met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early February, he said, he left the proposal in Mr. Flynn’s office.

Mr. Cohen said he was waiting for a response when Mr. Flynn was forced from his post. Now Mr. Cohen, Mr. Sater and Mr. Artemenko are hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause. On Friday the president wrote on Twitter that he had four new candidates for the job.

Correction: February 19, 2017
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D.

the essence of the criticism I had of the Clintons that they used the office to get rich(er)

I thought that the criticism of the Clintons was that they used the fact that he had been in office, after Bill Clinton had left the Presidency, to get rich. Which, no argument, they did. If there was a suggestion that they were making money off of being in office, I must have missed it. (And I'm having trouble imagining that his doing so would have somehow been omitted from the Bill of Impeachment.)

I am sure Washington and Jefferson didn't sell their farms.

Carter did.

Every president in the modern period has divested himself of financial holdings to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

Even freaking Dick Cheney donated the profits from his Halliburton options to charity.

If you can't put yourself in the position of not having conflicts of interest, you shouldn't take the job. It's part of the gig. Always has been.

Unbelievable that this is even a topic for discussion.

Nice work, GFTNC. Thanks.

I know Marty understands the concept of conflicts of interests, even though he's acting like he doesn't. Obama made a lot of money selling books, which is okay, even while in office. The Clintons, like just about every former First Couple you can think of, made money off their names once they left office. (They just didn't deserve it because they weren't born into money like, say, GWB.)

You can pretend Trump is doing nothing different from presidents that came before him, but you necessarily will be pretending.

Like russell said, if you can't do the things necessary to be president, don't fncking run for president. No one forced this on the guy.

Here's the plan. First we overthrow the Ukrainian government through kompromat. Then we pick a new Ukrainian President (preferably one with a criminal background) who will lease Crimea to the Russians. Then we can remove economic sanctions against Russia and work together to overthrow the Iranian government.


I think you've left something important out of your plan.

Marty, I'm very well aware (as is now everyone, for the first time ever) that it is not a legal requirement to release tax returns. Plus, I'm also aware that no breach of the Emoluments Clause has yet been charged. I'm also aware, and others have touched on it, that you long reiterated assertions of HRC's "ongoing criminal career" with not one piece of evidence compared to the current prima facie case against Trump. Not happy about Mar-a-Lago, eh? After joining fees were doubled in January, when he was President-elect, and the value added was members being able to see POTUS, the premier of Japan and aides dealing with a real-life North Vietnamese missile launch situation, your tentative worry about "the Winter White House" would be adorable if it wasn't so obviously partisan. Look within, Marty, if I may presume to offer you advice.

The details of the lease agreement may be too complex for my small brain but shall include mineral rights of on and offshore deposits to Putin and friends (maybe to include President Trump Inc).

A bit more from the Atlantic yesterday on the "Peace Plan". I'm not sure if this has been linked on another thread - if so, apologies:


All fascinating:


via Rod Dreher, who finds himself between a rock and a hard place. The culture disappoints him at every turn.

The author writes, while putting Milo on a pedestal so she can look up his toga:

"Because he had been abused as a young teen-ager and would not swallow the lies.'

No, I think CPAC dis-invited him because of something else he was made to swallow as an underage minor kid, but he'd run out of things to be flamboyant about, such as bullying and threatening women on the internet (which is what the protestors at Berkeley were angry about, among other things), so he thought he'd brag about being made to eat the body of someone not named Christ, and then bragged further that HE was the aggressor and jail bait (a Way Too Young Republican), because there are books to sell and grifters and griftees to be grifted, not that there is anything wrong with any of that among consenting adults.

Regnery must have a place for him in their publishing empire.

But see, now Yiannoshutupyourpuss has accomplished the alt-Right agenda. He's gone down on both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and neither likes it, at least in public. So, Bannon, who wants to burn it all down, both sides as well, should be offering Milo a seat on the National Security Council soon.

I do admire that Milo speaks my language.


"if you can't do the things necessary to be president, don't fncking run for president. No one forced this on the guy."

Like being in the business of making and selling wedding cakes, and being FORCED to sell to Teh Geys?

I think I'm picking up a common thread here. Of derp, but still.

Now Congress just needs to pass a Religious Grifting Freedum Act to let Trump be Trump. I hear Pence has some experience in this area.

"I am sure Washington and Jefferson didn't sell their farms."

Nor their slaves.


Washington freed his slaves, but only after Martha's death, though Martha got the jump on that, it is recorded, before she died, fearing that some of her slaves might move her deadline forward to reach freedom sooner.

Yes, I realize that we shouldn't judge these figures by the standards of our enlightened times, but the next thing you know Scalia and Gorsuch and company are invoking their names to judge us, and we mayn't diverge, so fair is fair.

I take the Smithsonian stuff with a grain of salt, because the place is staffed by experts who live near an ocean.

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