Saturday, July 23, 2016

He left out women and the LGBT, but other than that, he hits the high points of why Trump is a dangerous fascist and authoritarian figure. No one in their right mind should give the man serious consideration.

Brexit Is Breaking the British Economy; is Recession beginning

It has been one month since the UK voted to 'Brexit', Britain exiting the European Union.

The results are not good.  The numbers reflect a severe contraction of historic proportions; the definition of a recession is two quarters of contraction.  The numbers from the first month makes it likely there will be a recession, with continuing contraction.

The UK was previously the country which had made the most economic gains after joining the EU.  Prior to joining the EU the UK economy was somewhat anemic at best.

As noted in this article from the BBC news, this is a disaster brought on the Brits entirely by their own actions.  Brexit was a stupid mistake by the same conservative crowd that ignores informed opinion in rejecting anthropogenic global warming.

Brexit causes dramatic drop in UK economy, data suggests
Britain's decision to leave the EU has led to a "dramatic deterioration" in economic activity, not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Data from IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, shows a fall to 47.7 in July, the lowest level since April in 2009. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Both manufacturing and service sectors saw a decline in output and orders.
...The report surveyed more than 650 services companies, from sectors including transport, business services, computing and restaurants.
It asked them: "Is the level of business activity at your company higher, the same or lower than one month ago?"
It also asked manufacturers whether production had gone up or down.
The PMI is the first significant set of data measuring business reaction to the result of the UK referendum.
..."The only other times we have seen this index fall to these low levels, was the global financial crisis in 2008/9, the bursting of the dot com bubble, and the 1998 Asian financial crisis," Mr Williamson told the BBC.
"The difference this time is that it is entirely home-grown, which suggest the impact could be greater on the UK economy than before.
"This is exactly what most economists were saying would happen."
'Heading for recession'
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the figures provided the "first major evidence that the UK is entering a sharp downturn".

Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said he thought the UK was "heading for a recession again", and that the data would almost certainly prompt the Bank of England to roll out further stimulus.

While IHS Markit's reading on the UK economy was worse than most analysts expected, its verdict on the wider eurozone economy was more cheery.
Although business confidence dropped to an 18-month low, the overall pace of economic growth was in line with pre-Brexit trends, and employment across the eurozone rose.

Conservative voters voted against their economic interests, including voting where their jobs were going to be lost, over the issue of hatred and fear of immigrants.  This continues to be the propaganda manipulation of conservative low-information / emotional thinking potential voters.  They vote stupidly.  Then they suffer.  Then they blame other people.

The agreement among economists about Brexit being a disaster is similar to the consensus about global warming among other scientists.

OK, let's take you up on that...

Friday, July 22, 2016

We are Munich

We are in solidarity with the city of Munich /Munchen, Germany.

It's Friday Fun Day

It doesn't get more fun than this:

Update: Stealing other people's designs, using music without permission, a Trump family problem

We know that Donald Trump used a fake identity to deal with PR issues, a character he named John Barron.  His son with Melania Trump is now named Barron William, same spelling.  I suppose it is a measure of some small impulse of originality that the son is not named Barron John.

A conspiracy theory circulated briefly that the woman who took the fall for Melania Trump was a fake, like the John Barron persona; good investigating by Snopes shows that to be incorrect.  The woman,    is real, but there is no independent verification that she was really responsible for the plagiarism, given an absence of evidence for that as a pattern of behavior.  She appears more competent than that. However the original speech, per investigation by NBC, did not include the plagiarized paragraphs. Those appear to be inserted by the campaign; McIver is not part of the campaign.  If she did contribute to the speech, as a paid corporate employee, that would be an inappropriate use of corporate resources by the campaign.  Which is to say that there may be an investigation into what she did and did not do in terms of the plagiarism at some future point.

.In the same vein, daughter Ivanka, aka Yael (the name she took upon converting to Judaism) has been sued for theft of shoe designs. (The suit is for one design, but the allegations are that she stole an entire line of shoe designs.) This is on top of the recall of 20,000 of her scarves for violating the US Federal Flammability Standard earlier this year.  No surprise that daddy dearest wants to undo regulation; they don't give a damn if the customers are burned by the products they sell.

Throughout the convention and at the opening of his campaign, Trump has been plagued by artists who are appalled at the use and abuse of their music to sell Trump, whom they appear to pretty universally despise and with whom they deeply disagree.  It began with Neil Young, and continued with the opening night use of We are the Champions by Queen and throughout the convention.  George Harrison's estate objects to Ivanka Trump using Here Comes the Sun without permission. The Harrison estate however indicated they  might have approved Beware of Darkness. Apparently there are no conservative song writers and musicians with music worth stealing / using.

It does not bode well for the GOP that they have nominated a crook, married to another dishonest person, with dishonest offspring.  But good on the so-called liberal media, like the Huff Po, that they quickly and effectively debunked a conspiracy theory about the alleged plagiarist.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP, party of failure to take responsibility, party of lies, party of hypocrisy and double standards

Melania Trump plagiarized First Lady Michele Obama.  She never owned that she copied the words of the first lady.

Melania Trump, as represented by the campaign, tried to deny that any plagiarism took place in spite of the obvious. We are left to believe that the first-lady-wannabe is either incapable of honesty or is too controlled by her husband to function in the White House. First ladies have to have a mind, one that works, not be a puppet.

Then Melania Trump and the campaign to which she belonged tried a couple of other dodgy moves; Snopes busted one, the claim that Michele Obama had been the plagiarist, from a book that does not contain the words she wrote. 

I suppose when you are either too lazy and dishonest, or too incompetent, you don't know or care about checking to see if you are stealing the intellectual property of someone else, for your own purpose.  I would classify making false claims about a dead author as an example.
Image result for twighlight sparkle, my little pony
Then there was the rubbish line that the content of Michele Obama's speech was derived from and of the same caliber and substance as My Little Pony,  -- except when the stolen words were uttered by Melania Trump. 

You have to be pretty low to try to scapegoat a cartoon pony.

Do we really want a woman who supposedly relies on a cartoon character for the content of a major speech to be in any position of responsibility? Does anyone believe that a woman who worked her way through college, including Harvard Law, rely on plagiarizing My Little Pony for the substance of her speech?  Hint -- the Michele Obama speech was made in 2008; the latest My Little Pony series, in which the words in question occurred, debuted in 2010.

Who knows what kind of person Melania Trump is when not in the shadow of her asshole husband; having married him does not reflect well on her abilities, nor does her past as a soft-core porn model, nor does her LYING at the RNC convention and elsewhere about her background.  The woman dropped out of an eastern European college of dubious quality without completing her freshman year.  But she claimed - and still apparently claims - to have a degree in Architecture and Design, from an unspecified institution of higher education.

And now the GOP and RNC are complicit in trying to lie to the American electorate, because there appears to be no lie for which the right will require accountability even for the most deliberate falsehood.  From the HuffPo:
Melania Trump’s professional biography says the wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump began modeling at age 16, but she only began working full-time after obtaining a degree. She graduated “in design and architecture at University in Slovenia,” according to the bio as of Monday night:
Also from the HuffPo, but a story carried by some right wing media as well:
Slovenian journalists Bojan Pozar and Igor Omerza wrote in their biography on the former fashion model that she “became ― and remained ― a college dropout” after leaving the University of Ljubljana’s architecture school following her freshman year.
...Later, in America, after meeting Donald Trump and officially becoming his partner, Melania Knauss told the media that she got her degree in architecture and design. This was almost certainly done in consultation with Trump and his advisors, as they were desperate to give off the impression that the Slovenian model was not just beautiful, but also smart and well-educated.
It is no accident that conservatives believe lies, lies they know to be falsehoods, but which cater to their sad, sick, disconnected world view that hates and deceives and fails. It fails because lies don't work, lies never succeed in the long run.

It is not so much that the egregious lies from Melania Trump disqualify her from the ranks of women like Michele Obama or Jackie Kennedy.  It is that there are far worse lies told and lived by Donald Trump and the Republican party, welcomed and consumed, embraced by the dishonest right wingers who endanger our country with their failed values and dishonesty, bigotry, and hypocrisy.

The right should be ashamed, but that would require honesty and morality.  They have neither, and apparently they have repudiated any semblance of intellect as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A dozen reasons why: Concealed carrying of guns is NOT like air bags

The RNC national convention is working overtime to make people feel afraid; it is some of the worst fear mongering, the most inaccurate passel of lies I have seen in a long time.  Outside of the convention it is an armed camp of paramilitary-armed people, despite the protests of Cleveland law enforcement who does not want them there because they pose a danger.

Fear mongering by the GOP sells guns for the NRA and encourages people to feel they need to carry lethal force into the public square, when there is no good reason to do so, and when doing so actually adds to the danger to people (including the gun carrier).

I recently read a discussion with someone who was intellectually dishonest, yet this person expected -- one might say DEMANDED that he be regarded with trust and confidence from the rest of us when he carries a firearm in public.

I don't have a lot of respect for the judgment or the integrity of someone who demonstrates both poor logical reasoning and intellectual dishonesty, including a willingness to engage in ad hominem attacks.  If your thinking is so flawed you think airbags are like guns, you need remedial education in how to think.

Just one of the failed arguments proffered was that there was no difference in protecting oneself and one's family from intentional or accidental injury by having airbags in one's car, and carrying a firearm to shoot someone to protect oneself and family.

Airbags make us all safer; firearms widely carried in public locations endanger us, making us all less safe, even the gun carrier, ESPECIALLY the gun carrier,  and they particularly endanger law enforcement.

Here is a partial list of reasons why that is a faulty comparison:

 1. Airbags are a passive defense against injury, triggered independently of individual choice or judgment; firearms are not.
 2. Airbags are subject to extensive study, recall, and other consumer protections, including liability suits; firearms are not.
 3. Airbags are required by law; firearms are not.
 4. Airbags don't accidentally injure innocent bystanders; firearms do.
 5. Airbags are not a means to commit suicide; firearms are.
 6. In the event of an airbag injury, nearly always there is only one victim; firearms frequently have multiple victims.
 7. No one creates anything remotely like an arsenal of airbags, while firearms are stockpiled.
 8. No one uses airbags to overthrow or attempt to overthrow government; the same is not true of airbags.
 9. Airbags only work in close proximity; the same is not true for firearms.
10.Airbags are not essential for national defense, firearms are.
11. Airbags are not mentioned anywhere, directly or indirectly, in the U.S. Constitution; Arms are.
12.  Airbags have a single use after which they are discarded; this is not true of firearms.

Please feel free to add any other ways in which airbags are NOT a legitimate comparison to firearms and personal safety.