AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1434778 times)

Offline RE

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Anybody who thinks sex with a robot could be anything like the real thing is not having sex.  If Brick Dollbanger had an email I'd write and tell him that but he is busy.

Having retired from that obsession some time back, perhaps my opinion doesn't count.  I'll drop it on anyhow.  ;D

It would be interesting I think to see/experience/feel how the latest generation of AI Sexbots performs.  Are they heated to body temperature?  That would take a big batt or a plug-in.  What about liquids and lube?  Is there a reservoir you need to fill up before engaging in the intercourse?  What about kissing?  Can they French with a robotic tongue?  Or are they like whores who enforce a No-Kissing rule?

Above all, how much do the top of the line models COST?  Is it less than the cost of maintaining a wife?  Or wining and dining potential conquests or paying whores?

RE
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Offline knarf

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Russia launches new nuclear-powered icebreaker in bid to open up Arctic
« Reply #12841 on: May 26, 2019, 04:55:54 PM »
Russia is overhauling ports as it readies for more traffic via Northern Sea Route due to warmer climate cycles


 Float out ceremony of the nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg.

Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious programme to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.
The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the US and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the US Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to three metres thick.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/26/russia-launches-new-nuclear-powered-icebreaker-in-bid-to-open-up-arctic
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Offline knarf

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This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general said Sunday that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit claiming that illegal marketing of its opioid painkillers contributed to a public health crisis in the state.
This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma's attorney general said Sunday that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit claiming that illegal marketing of its opioid painkillers contributed to a public health crisis in the state.

(Bloomberg) — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. agreed to pay $85 million to settle an Oklahoma lawsuit claiming that illegal marketing of its opioid painkillers contributed to a public health crisis in the state.

The deal, announced Sunday, was reached just as the case was about to go to trial next week. The state had alleged Teva and co-defendant Johnson & Johnson persuaded doctors to boost prescriptions of the powerful medications to treat ailments for which they weren’t approved, causing overdose deaths and drug addiction.

The trial against remaining defendant J&J, which the state has called the “kingpin” of the U.S. opioid crisis, is expected to start on Tuesday.

The terms of the settlement may take up to two weeks to finalize, and the money will be used to “abate the opioid crisis in Oklahoma,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said in a statement.

Oklahoma had been seeking at least $10 billion in damages and penalties. The trial will be the first test of public-nuisance laws against opioid manufacturers and distributors. At least 42 states and more than 1,600 municipalities have sued companies in the industry, demanding billions of dollars in damages.

The last-minute deal in Oklahoma means some of the focus on opioid litigation shifts to Cleveland, where a federal judge has set two test trials for October to allow juries to consider public-nuisance claims over drug-marketing campaigns.

The accord comes about two months after Purdue Pharma LP agreed to pay $270 million to resolve Oklahoma’s claims over sales pitches for its opioid-based painkiller, OxyContin. Purdue sought a deal to ease mounting liabilities that have threatened to push the company into bankruptcy. The money was earmarked for research and treatment.

Oklahoma said J&J and Teva helped create a public-health crisis from opioid abuse that killed thousands of its residents. The state, in its lawsuit, accused the companies of overstating the painkillers’ benefits and understating their risks, which created a “devastating cycle of over-prescription’’ that was “built on addiction, dependence and a market saturated with misinformation regarding the benefits and safety of those drugs.”

Teva’s settlement doesn’t establish any wrongdoing on the part of the company.

The case is State of Oklahoma v. Purdue Pharma LP, CJ-2017-816, Cleveland County, Oklahoma, District Court (Norman).

http://time.com/5596265/teva-pharmaceuticals-oklahoma-settlement/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Ftopstories+%28TIME%3A+Top+Stories%29&utm_source=reddit.com
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Offline knarf

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Van keeps bringing kids to beat mother goose in Lakewood, woman says
« Reply #12843 on: May 26, 2019, 05:13:46 PM »


LAKEWOOD — Township police and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife are investigating reports that children were brought to a goose nest to beat and harass the birds on a daily basis, perhaps to steal the eggs.

The incidents took place over the course of five days earlier this month near a retention pond on Cedar Bridge Avenue, according to a woman who says she saw the attacks and called police several times.

The woman, who asked that her name not be included in the story for fear of retaliation in the community, told New Jersey 101.5 that her office overlooks the pond where the Canada geese are nesting.

The first time the attacks took place was about 2:15 p.m. May 13 when the woman said she heard screaming outside her office. She said she "saw a group of boys (maybe 10 of them) screaming and clapping and walking towards a goose who was flapping his wings and honking."

She said she wanted to scream at them to stop, but "they could not hear me so I went to get my phone and they left."

She said she didn't think anything of the incident at the time and "thought maybe they were walking by the pond and the goose was going after them so they were trying to make it get back."

She saw a group of boys head to the pond the next day around the same time and when she looked from her second-floor office window she saw "a smaller group of boys swinging large sticks around at the goose. Again, by the time I got my phone out they were leaving."

She said that's when she called Lakewood police who "told me that since the boys were no longer there, there wasn't much that could be done but they would send someone out to check the area."

The attacks continues for a third consecutive day, she said.

"This time I saw the big sticks make contact with the goose and noticed a second goose. After I got out of work, I drove over to where the boys were and saw that there was a nest ... As my husband drove us home, I called the police again. This time I was crying and they asked me to go back and meet an officer there. I showed the officer where the nest was and the sticks that had been used."



Mother goose that has reportedly been abused by local children near a retention pond on Cedarbridge Avenue in Lakewood.

She said she did not see the boys on Thursday but they did return on Friday afternoon.

"This time I saw them stomping near the nest and saw them hit the mother goose so hard that she fell into the water," she said. "The geese were screaming and going towards the kids but when they would get close the kids would hit them.

"I yelled out the window, 'I hope you know what you are doing is illegal!' and the woman hurried the kids into the van. I was too far away to get a plate number."

She called the police again, who arrived a few minutes later.

"They also had animal control with them and said that she (the mother goose) didn't appear to be hurt," she said.

Township police confirmed the investigation on Thursday and urged anyone with information to call Sgt. Kenneth Burdge at 732-363-0200 or the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 609-292-2965.

https://nj1015.com/van-keeps-bringing-kids-to-beat-mother-goose-in-lakewood-woman-says/?fbclid=IwAR3thPHWbxsb8ZWJXovEUbF9D22m3Pl4VQt1qNIYhkSjXxNK7mMG3MTzvms
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Offline knarf

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According to a recent analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, U.S. weather forecasting capabilities would be set back decades if the Federal Communications Commission proceeds with its current plans for opening a 24 gigahertz spectrum band to next-generation telecommunications providers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration remains at an impasse with the Federal Communications Commission over how to protect weather satellite observations from interference by 5G telecommunications equipment.

At a House Science Committee hearing on May 16, Acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs warned that U.S. weather forecasting capabilities could be severely degraded if FCC proceeds with its current plans for opening up a 24 gigahertz spectrum band it recently auctioned. He said NOAA and NASA have concluded that the out-of-band emissions limits set by FCC are insufficient to prevent interference with weather satellites’ ability to detect water vapor. He reported that FCC has disputed this analysis, taking issue with the input parameters NOAA and NASA used when modeling the interference impacts.

Meanwhile, FCC is facing pressure from Congress to address the concerns raised by NOAA, NASA, and other parts of the scientific community. Leaders of several committees have urged FCC to reconsider its approach to opening up the 24 gigahertz band.
Interference could erase decades of progress, Jacobs warns

At last week’s hearing, Science Committee leaders from both parties asked Jacobs to detail the impacts that interference from the 24 gigahertz band could have on weather forecasts.

Jacobs explained that subject matter experts from NOAA, NASA, and FCC have been studying the issue since 2017 but have yet to reach agreement on appropriate emissions limits. Out-of-band emissions are signals that spill over from a particular frequency bandwidth but nonetheless contribute to the quality of the transmission. Jacobs said that NOAA and NASA have concluded the limit advanced by FCC, -20 decibel watts per 200 megahertz, would result in about 77% data loss from passive microwave sounders that weather satellites use to detect water vapor.

Describing the impacts of such a loss, Jacobs continued,

    This would degrade the forecast skill by up to 30%. If you look back in time to see when our forecast skill was roughly 30% less than it was today, it's somewhere around 1980. This would result in the reduction of hurricane track forecasts’ lead time by roughly two to three days.

    A good example of this is a data denial study that the European Center [for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts] did where they withheld the microwave sounder data during the forecast for Superstorm Sandy and the model, which is the most accurate model in the world right now, kept the storm out to sea.

If a data loss of 2% or more were projected, Jacobs said it is “highly likely” that NOAA would halt its current multi-billion dollar acquisition program for next-generation polar-orbiting satellites because they could no longer meet their mission requirements. He said NOAA and NASA believe a limit near -50 decibel watts would “result in roughly zero data loss.” Because the decibel scale is logarithmic, that limit would permit roughly three orders of magnitude less noise than the FCC level.
Issue remains on Congress' radar

After undertaking a multi-year public rulemaking process, FCC auctioned the 24 GHz spectrum band in March over the objections of NOAA and NASA, receiving nearly $2 billion in bids.

Just prior to the auction, the leaders of the House Science Committee and the chairs of three appropriations subcommittees called on FCC to delay it due to the agencies’ concerns about impacts on earth observation satellites. Responding to the Science Committee letter, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai justified his decision to carry out the auction, writing,

    The commission’s decisions with respect to spectrum have been and will continue to be based on sound engineering rather than exaggerated and unverified last-minute assertions.

Congressional leaders are continuing to press FCC on the subject. A letter sent earlier this month by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the ranking members of the Senate Finance and Commerce Committees, urges the commission not to award final licenses to the auction winners unless they adopt an emission limit that NOAA and NASA agree to. They also cite an internal Navy report that raises concerns about the impact of spectrum interference on naval operations and proposes a -57 decibel emissions limit.

In the letter, Wyden and Cantwell ask FCC to describe its cost-benefit analyses of the impacts of spectrum interference on activities that rely on weather data. They also request FCC to outline steps it will take if its emissions limit is not accepted by the International Telecommunications Union, which is meeting this fall to consider changes to international standards for spectrum use.

“Leadership in 5G networks and devices is undoubtedly critical to our economic and national security. However, it does not enhance America’s place in this global race for 5G leadership to advocate for standards that do not pass scientific scrutiny in international forums,” they conclude.

https://www.aip.org/fyi/2019/noaa-warns-5g-spectrum-interference-presents-major-threat-weather-forecasts
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Offline Surly1

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SEX robots powered by high-speed internet including 5G will make them “indistinguishable” from humans, an expert has claimed.

AI doll manufacturer Realbotix has recently fitted new models with Wi-Fi, enabling high-speed synchronising for voice and animation.

They also stand to benefit from 5G, which is poised to give us vastly superior mobile internet data.

This means sex robots will be able to connect and update without needing to be near an internet router.

But sex doll collector, Brick Dollbanger, believes this technology will make them so realistic, we won’t be able to tell them apart from humans.

Brick, who has close ties with Realbotix, told Daily Star Online: "Anytime you can get a steadier flow of information from software to hardware activation, you are going to get better syncronisation and smoother more lifelike movement from your hardware.

"That’s the key to synthetic evolution. Not just movement, but humanlike movement to the point of being indistinguishable from actual humans."



https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/781127/sex-robots-5g-upgrade-harmony-latest-news-technology

Anybody who thinks sex with a robot could be anything like the real thing is not having sex.  If Brick Dollbanger had an email I'd write and tell him that but he is busy.

Amen. But a neat solution to the "incel" problem.

And I'd be interested in how ne becomes an "expert" on AI girlfriends. Hang out a shingle? Or just say so?
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Gerard, I remember hearing you tell him in the middle of the night that spending $20 dollars to buy a used pair of panties from a woman on the internet was nuts when you could go to K-Mart and get 3 pair of womens' panties for $3.95.  I remember thinking to myself.  How does he know how much panties cost at K-Mart?

Bahahahahaha...

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Re: Van keeps bringing kids to beat mother goose in Lakewood, woman says
« Reply #12847 on: May 26, 2019, 06:37:49 PM »


LAKEWOOD — Township police and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife are investigating reports that children were brought to a goose nest to beat and harass the birds on a daily basis, perhaps to steal the eggs.

The incidents took place over the course of five days earlier this month near a retention pond on Cedar Bridge Avenue, according to a woman who says she saw the attacks and called police several times.

Jesus.

I'd ask what is wrong with people, but I no longer want to know.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Re: Corporate America Wants Trump's Fascism
« Reply #12848 on: May 26, 2019, 06:53:46 PM »
Don’t be fooled or distracted by social issues.  Gay marriage.  Abortion.  LGBTQ rights.  Equal pay.  Even prison reform.  All of these issues that “mainstream” American companies purport to support — they only care because you care, because you won’t buy their products if they don’t come out in favor of these issues.  But make sure you understand — THEY DON’T CARE.

They are the owners of media, including major websites and the producers in silicon valley.   They would be more than happy to have Trump re-elected, decry the harm to these issues, while the exploit and enjoy the fruits of fascism.

Fascism is a merging of the government and the corporate state.  You don’t think the Apples aren’t salivating at the idea that we have weakened privacy protections and expectations?  You don’t think that most companies are excited to perhaps rid us of the ability to sue instead of go to arbitration?  And they would love to pay a just-in-time gig economy workforce.

I don’t care what you hear from big corporations… they don’t care.  And they are NOT going to help us. In fact, they will probably work against us, secretly.  Just remember what we are up against.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/25/1860399/-Corporate-America-Wants-Trump-s-Fascism

Consider every expression of "concern" for corporate interests a carefully-calibrated expression of marketing-speak, fully tested and focus-grouped before release. Corporate morality extends to the spreadsheet, and concerns itself with the value of the cell in the lower right hand corner. No other values matter, but companies spend a great deal in "positioning" these values for their employees and customers.

Marketing-speak for "values" that don't exist, aside from how said values can be monetized. Pategonia may be an exception.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline knarf

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Qualcomm Ruled a Monopoly, Found in Violation of US Antitrust Law
« Reply #12849 on: May 27, 2019, 05:32:23 AM »
Apple and Qualcomm may have dropped their worldwide lawsuit war against each other, but that wasn’t the only battle Qualcomm faced. The FTC also brought a case against Qualcomm, alleging antitrust abuses and illegal behavior. In a ruling May 21, US District Court Judge Lucy Koh found that Qualcomm had violated the Federal Trade Commission Act. Qualcomm has pledged to immediately appeal the ruling, which has significant implications for its business structure and earnings.

“We strongly disagree with the judge’s conclusions, her interpretation of the facts and her application of the law,” Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement Wednesday.



Judge Koh largely sided with the FTC’s findings and arguments and has hit Qualcomm with multiple requirements. One of the major findings is that Qualcomm is not allowed to use its “no license, no chips” strategy that required customers to license Qualcomm patents in order to purchase its microprocessors. The company is also prohibited from striking exclusivity deals with companies like Apple, and from refusing to license its patents according to FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) terms.

“Qualcomm’s licensing practices have strangled competition in the CDMA and premium LTE modem chip markets for years, and harmed rivals, OEMs, and end consumers in the process,” Koh writes.

Qualcomm is specifically required to meet the following obligations:

    Qualcomm must not condition the supply of modem chips on a customer’s patent license status and Qualcomm must negotiate or renegotiate license terms with customers in good faith under conditions free from the threat of lack of access to or discriminatory provision of modem chip supply or associated technical support or access to software.

    Qualcomm must make exhaustive SEP licenses available to modem-chip suppliers on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms and to submit, as necessary, to arbitral or judicial dispute resolution to determine such terms.

    Qualcomm may not enter express or de facto exclusive dealing agreements for the supply of modem chips.

    Qualcomm may not interfere with the ability of any customer to communicate with a government agency about a potential law enforcement or regulatory matter.

    In order to ensure Qualcomm’s compliance with the above remedies, the Court orders Qualcomm to submit to compliance and monitoring procedures for a period of seven (7) years. Specifically, Qualcomm shall report to the FTC on an annual basis Qualcomm’s compliance with the above remedies ordered by the Court.

Qualcomm was found to have made exclusivity deals with Apple, Blackberry, LGE, Samsung, and Vivo. It interfered with regulator investigations when it paid Samsung $100M to shut that company up over supposed antitrust violations. Koh noted that Qualcomm has a history of misbehavior, noting: “Qualcomm’s failure to alter its unlawful licensing practices despite years of foreign government investigations, findings, and fines suggests an obstinance that a monitoring provision may address.”

Finally, Qualcomm is prohibited from charging its customers higher royalty rates if they opt to use a competitor’s chips. Judge Koh ruled there was evidence Qualcomm engaged in this practice. This is similar to the kinds of behavior Intel allegedly engaged in against AMD during the antitrust battle between those two companies. Microsoft also engaged in similar tactics years ago, charging OEMs for a Windows license regardless of whether they shipped specific PCs with Windows or a different OS. Courts have often taken a dim view of these requirements, though the details vary depending on the specifics of the market and the case (AMD versus Intel never went to trial in the US, and the FTC settled its own investigation several years later).

Qualcomm has already announced it will appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit and request a stay of the ruling pending appeal. The 5G modem market is already shrinking rapidly; Intel pulled out altogether following the collapse of its plans to provide 5G service to Apple. Huawei silicon is unlikely to be welcome in the United States, at least. That leaves just Samsung and MediaTek as potential top-tier competitors for 5G modem designs, which means Qualcomm could end up with a majority of 5G modem wins, just as they did in the LTE era, regardless of whether the FTC decision is ultimately upheld.

https://www.extremetech.com/computing/291851-qualcomm-ruled-a-monopoly-found-in-violation-of-us-antitrust-law
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Offline knarf

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Beware of Arab anger
« Reply #12850 on: May 27, 2019, 05:40:29 AM »
The Arab streets will not accept the 'deal of the century' and any attempts to impose it will end in disaster.


Algerian demonstrators march during a protest in Algiers on March 29, 2019

As the announcement of the deal of the century approaches, the Arab world is growing increasingly tense. Widespread rumours about the contents of the proposal have fuelled public outrage across the region.

By now, it is perfectly clear that the deal of the century is not a peace plan, nor was it ever intended to be, despite what its chief architect and White House adviser Jared Kushner has been claiming. It is yet another American imperial undertaking that is driven by the misguided notion that it is in the best interest of the American people that Israel remains the regional hegemon and is enabled to swallow the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.

It is a new Sykes-Picot that aims to divide and weaken the Arabs once more so that Israel may reign supreme a while longer. But just as British-French colonial designs were rejected, so will Kushner's deal. In its failure, however, it will likely fuel popular anger and endanger the survival of Arab regimes.

Palestine: The Arab cause

Since the early decades of the 20th century, Palestine has served as a meeting point for all Arabs, a just cause for their collective fight and a rallying cry against western colonialism and its offshoot, the Zionist movement.

Unlike most Arab countries which gained their independence in the mid-20th century, Palestine remains captive to the very colonial forces that had subjugated Arabs for decades. The suffering of Palestinians under Zionist colonialism and occupation remains a bleeding Arab wound and a painful reminder of the collective failure to do away with western domination of the region. Freedom from western colonialism will never truly be achieved as long as the Palestinians continue to endure daily violence, a protracted siege and military occupation.

Although the majority of Arabs today have no recollection of the 1967 war and occupation, let alone the war of 1948 and the subsequent Nakba, they have remained highly conscious of and sensitive about the suffering of Palestinians for two reasons. One, "tahrir falasteen" - the liberation of Palestine - has become a core element of the modern Arab political identity and aspirations; and, two, because the ongoing Israeli injustices, the unrelenting Palestinian shatat - diaspora - and a determined Palestinian resistance have kept Palestine at the centre of collective Arab political consciousness.

Cognizant of the importance of the Palestine cause to Arab masses, Arab rulers have used and misused the Palestinian struggle to achieve a degree of political validation, as their regimes have lacked any democratic legitimacy. Thus, since Israel was established on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland in 1948, freeing Palestine became a common official Arab mantra, widely used by Arab regimes even as they conspired with the colonial powers against the Palestinians.

But while Arab rulers, one by one, started accepting the status quo of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and gladly accepted western "rewards" for their "good behaviour", the Arab streets never followed suit.

According to a 2017 study of public attitudes in 11 Arab countries, 77 percent of respondents believe the fate of Palestinians concerns all Arabs. Interestingly enough, Arab nations whose regimes have official relations or are pushing for normalisation with Israel are most adamant about the issue: 90 percent of Jordanians, 85 percent of Egyptians and 80 percent of Saudis are convinced the Palestinian cause is a pan-Arab one.

At the same time, 90 percent of all respondents indicate that they still see Israel as the greatest threat to the security of their home countries and 87 percent oppose recognition of the Zionist state.

The fact that Arab leaders have been going against the will of their people and engaging with Israel has diminished their legitimacy and fuelled popular anger. In 2011, these sentiments finally boiled over, as popular uprisings swept through the region. That the neglect of the Palestinian issue was very much part of people's grievances was made evident by the fact that Palestinian flags were raised at protests across the region - in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

As the uprisings brought short-lived political liberalisation, Arab activists rushed to show solidarity with their Palestinian brothers and sisters and organised aid convoys to Gaza. Meanwhile, in Egypt, angry crowds attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, causing all its staff to be evacuated.

Today, Algeria has picked up where other Arab countries left off after a counter-revolution swept through the region. Not a single demonstration has been held in Algiers without the Palestinian flags waved high and proud. After all, these are the same people who in 2016 cheered for the Palestinian national team against their own in a friendly football match.

The rest of the Arab world might be silent, plagued by conflict and violent repression, but anger is simmering beneath the surface.

As Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others are pushing for normalisation with Israel without the issue of Palestinian statehood being resolved, the Arab people outright reject any such concessions.

Arab anger

Just as Britain and France used the moment of chaos the collapse of the Ottoman Empire caused in the early 20th century to enforce their imperial designs on the Arabs, the United States and Israel are using the post-Arab Spring instability to impose a new reality on the region.

Using money, military force and political pressure, they wish to remap the Arab region to advance American-Israeli colonial interests and cement the forceful eviction of Palestinians from their land.

All of this will fuel the growing anger and sense of betrayal that Arab nations feel towards their self-serving governments, who are playing into American and Israeli hands to ensure their own survival. However, the Arab peoples should not be so easily dismissed and discounted, for humiliation can have many unintended consequences.

What the deal of the century will ultimately do is erase what little legitimacy Arab leaders have left and undermine their corrupt regimes. And just like in 2011, sooner or later, Arab anger will boil over and sweep through the region in yet another wave of uprisings which neither Israel, nor its western and regional allies will be able to control.

Just as decades of US-sponsored "peace process", political pressure and economic bribery failed to bring a just solution to the Palestinian cause and stability to the region, so will Kushner's "deal of the century" fail. This is because just like previous US initiatives, it is completely tone deaf about the state of affairs in the Arab world and the will of its people.

Tel Aviv and certain Arab capitals probably think that whatever upheaval the deal causes, it could be managed through mass repression, censorship and social control. But over the past decades, Palestinians and their Arab brothers and sisters have repeatedly demonstrated that they will not bow their heads down to brutal and violent masters.

What Kushner et al have to understand is that a major process of change is currently under way in the Arab world driven by Arab people's yearning for freedom and dignity and Palestine is at the very centre of it. This massive popular current ebbs and flows but ultimately, it cannot be stopped.
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Offline knarf

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Former Colorado Governor And 2020 Candidate Urges Distance From 'Socialism'
« Reply #12851 on: May 27, 2019, 05:47:09 AM »

Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says Democrats need to focus on "kitchen table issues" like jobs in order to beat President Trump in 2020.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper warned his party of straying too far to the left as it selects a nominee to face President Trump in next year's election.

Hickenlooper, one of the 23 candidates running for the Democratic Party's nomination, told NPR why he doesn't believe in some of the party's major policy proposals, such as the Green New Deal and "Medicare for All."

"If we don't stand up and say that we Democrats don't stand for socialism, we're going to end up reelecting the worst president this country's ever had," Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper spoke with Morning Edition as part of the show's Opening Arguments conversations, exploring the presidential candidates' core messages.

Interview Highlights

On the leftward shift in the Democratic Party

I don't think we're going to address climate change by guaranteeing every American a federal job, which is what part of the Green New Deal was. I don't think we're going to address the spiraling inflation in health care by forcibly telling 150 million people that we're going to take away their private insurance. These are what a lot of Americans look at as facets or aspects of socialism.

On focusing on economic issues instead of social policies

Certainly we want to address income inequality. Right. Absolutely we want to make sure that women have a right to choose, that civil rights and social justice are addressed aggressively.

But we've also got to recognize to win in Ohio and Michigan and North Carolina and Wisconsin, we're going to have to get more to those kitchen table issues that have to do with somebody's job, or how many jobs they're having to work just to balance a household budget.

On the identity fight within the Democratic Party

One of the things I've always loved about the Democratic Party is that it is a big-tent party, and it embraces opportunity for all people. I'm running for president because I think my life experience can address this. This Trump-fueled national crisis of division has been moving us backward.

I look at my experience of bringing people together — businesses and nonprofits, and Republicans and Democrats — and to really get things done; to get to near-universal health care, to have the No. 1 economy in the country for three consecutive years, I think that record stands for itself. ... I think in some [ways] I'm the only person running who has actually accomplished what everyone else is talking about.

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/27/726330329/former-colorado-governor-and-2020-candidate-urges-distance-from-socialism
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European elections: far right 'surge' ends in a ripple
« Reply #12852 on: May 27, 2019, 05:56:16 AM »
More nationalists in parliament than ever before but egos and policy differences will hamper formation of coherent bloc

After months of boasts, bluster and apocalyptic rhetoric, Europe’s far right had a modest night at the polls in the European elections, making striking gains in some countries but losses in others. In the end, a promised populist surge turned out to be more of a ripple.

There were expected strong showings for leading figures of the European far right, such as Hungary’s anti-immigration prime minister, Viktor Orbán, whose Fidesz party took more than half the vote, and Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, whose Lega was the biggest party. Marine le Pen’s National Rally also narrowly topped the polls in France.

But while there were losses for traditional big parties in many countries, far from all of those votes went to far-right or populist parties, with greens and other pro-European forces also doing well.

“I see a bit of a shift to the right but it’s not something that will endanger the operation of the EU,” said Péter Krekó, who runs the Political Capital thinktank in Budapest. “Pro-European forces were also mobilised in these elections.”

Nationalist and far-right parties will certainly have more representation in this European parliament than in any previous one, and Salvini had attempted to capitalise on the mood, launching what he hoped would become a grand coalition prior to the vote, to bring all the anti-immigrant far-right parties under one umbrella.

But a combination of egos, policy differences on issues such as cooperation with Russia, and the existing network of European alliances means that even those far-right parties that have done well may struggle to build a coherent bloc in the new parliament.

“I don’t see one strong far-right group emerging soon,” said Cas Mudde, an expert on populism and professor at the University of Georgia.

The electoral picture for far-right parties varied from country to country: in Slovenia, an anti-immigration party got the most number of votes, while in Slovakia, a progressive coalition that had stood on a pro-European platform of tolerance came in first place.

In Belgium the far-right Vlaams Belang party was on course to win two MEP seats, while in Holland the anti-Islam Freedom party was set to lose all four of its seats, including that of its leader, Geert Wilders. Thierry Baudet, the new Dutch populist leader who has been taking votes from Wilders, was set to win three seats, but this was less than opinion polls had suggested.

The Danish People’s party, which had enthusiastically signed up to Salvini’s new coalition, was decimated at the polls and on course to lose three of its four existing seats. Germany’s AfD came fourth in the polls, winning a projected 11 seats.

Declaring victory outside the campaign headquarters of Fidesz, on the banks of the Danube in central Budapest, Orbán claimed the elections had given him a refreshed mandate to help build a different kind of Europe. Fidesz took 52% of the votes and 13 of Hungary’s 21 seats.

“We are small but we want to change Europe,” he said, describing the elections as “the beginning of a new era against migration”.

Fidesz is still hanging onto its membership of the centre-right European People’s party grouping by a thread, but Orbán has called Salvini a “hero” and hinted in recent months he may want to join forces with Salvini’s new bloc after these elections.

Inside Fidesz campaign HQ, Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, said “the status quo is over” in the European parliament. “Until now, after European elections, the puzzle was quite simple, the EPP and the socialists came together, counted the votes and there was a comfortable majority … Now nobody is able to say what the final composition of the majority will look like.”

That much is true, and the new European parliament will have a different feel to the old one, as the grip of traditional, old parties is further weakened.

“The fragmentation of Europe’s party systems is yet again the big story, as it already was, or should have been, in 2014,” said Mudde. “There are fewer big parties, mainstream parties are now medium-sized, and some even small, while they are replaced by more and more medium-sized anti-establishment and new parties.”

Among the far-right and anti-immigration parties, there are fissures on various issues, with Polish and Scandinavian parties deeply sceptical of Salvini and Le Pen’s admiration for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Even if the far-right parties do vote together on certain issues, they will not necessarily be able to dominate the agenda.

Krekó said that even aggregating all the populist and anti-establishment parties from across the spectrum, they will not total more than one-third of all the seats in the new parliament. “Because most decisions only need a simple majority, all the talk of a blocking minority doesn’t make much sense,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/27/european-elections-far-right-surge-ends-in-a-ripple
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Stunning Satirical Sand Sculpture Wins Texas Competition
« Reply #12853 on: May 27, 2019, 12:51:51 PM »

"Liberty is Crumbling" by Damon Langlois

Damon Langlois’ modern take on a historic memorial earned him first place at the 2019 Texas SandFest.

The annual event—recognized as the country’s largest—drew 35,000 people to Port Aransas last month for three days of music, food, sun, and, most importantly, sand sculptures.

It’s amazing what people can do with ground-up rock and mineral particles.

Langlois topped the master solo competition with “Liberty Crumbling,” his update on the nearly 100-year-old Lincoln Memorial, built in the 1920s to honor our 16th president.

One of several D.C.-based monuments, the 19-foot-tall original depicts Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation.

Langlois’ clever reinterpretation—Honest Abe facepalming on a collapsing throne—provides a social commentary on the current state of not only the US, but the entire world.

“First place and a great time,” the Canadian sculptor and CEO of Codetta Product Design, wrote on his website.

“Yes, it’s just sand from the beach,” he confirmed, highlighting photos of his progress throughout the April event.

His secret weapon: “Lots of water.”

Langlois and Lincoln are among good company, based on images of the other competitors’ stunningly detailed work—including a larger-than-life sea turtle, melting-ice-cream-cone globe, and a Texas rendition of Hindu god Ganesha.

Check out all of the impressive entries online. And watch as Langlois’ statue comes to life in the slideshow below.

Texas SandFest gives more to the community than unique artwork: It also raises funds for local charities and scholarships.

Earlier this month, the group presented $355,000 in donations to area nonprofit organizations and college-bound students. That brings its eight-year total to a whopping $1,261,750.

Langlois, meanwhile, is hoping to earn some extra cash (and notoriety) from this year’s win: He’s set up an online store to sell images of his sculpture on stickers, mugs, T-shirts, playing cards, magnets, and jigsaw puzzles.

https://www.geek.com/culture/stunning-satirical-sand-sculpture-wins-texas-competition-1788892/
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Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science
« Reply #12854 on: May 27, 2019, 03:46:40 PM »
WASHINGTON — President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.

Now, after two years spent unraveling the policies of his predecessors, Mr. Trump and his political appointees are launching a new assault.

In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.

And, in what could be Mr. Trump’s most consequential action yet, his administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests.

Mr. Trump is less an ideologue than an armchair naysayer about climate change, according to people who know him. He came into office viewing agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency as bastions of what he calls the “deep state,” and his contempt for their past work on the issue is an animating factor in trying to force them to abandon key aspects of the methodology they use to try to understand the causes and consequences of a dangerously warming planet.

As a result, parts of the federal government will no longer fulfill what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.

The attack on science is underway throughout the government. In the most recent example, the White House-appointed director of the United States Geological Survey, James Reilly, a former astronaut and petroleum geologist, has ordered that scientific assessments produced by that office use only computer-generated climate models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century, as had been done previously.

Scientists say that would give a misleading picture because the biggest effects of current emissions will be felt after 2040. Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions.

The administration’s prime target has been the National Climate Assessment, produced by an interagency task force roughly every four years since 2000. Government scientists used computer-generated models in their most recent report to project that if fossil fuel emissions continue unchecked, the earth’s atmosphere could warm by as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That would lead to drastically higher sea levels, more devastating storms and droughts, crop failures, food losses and severe health consequences.

Work on the next report, which is expected to be released in 2021 or 2022, has already begun. But from now on, officials said, such worst-case scenario projections will not automatically be included in the National Climate Assessment or in some other scientific reports produced by the government.

“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” said Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment. “It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”

In an email, James Hewitt, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency, defended the proposed changes.

“The previous use of inaccurate modeling that focuses on worst-case emissions scenarios, that does not reflect real-world conditions, needs to be thoroughly re-examined and tested if such information is going to serve as the scientific foundation of nationwide decision-making now and in the future,” Mr. Hewitt said.

However, the goal of political appointees in the Trump administration is not just to change the climate assessment’s methodology, which has broad scientific consensus, but also to question its conclusions by creating a new climate review panel. That effort is led by a 79-year-old physicist who had a respected career at Princeton but has become better known in recent years for attacking the science of man-made climate change and for defending the virtues of carbon dioxide — sometimes to an awkward degree.

“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” said the physicist, William Happer, who serves on the National Security Council as the president’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies.

Mr. Happer’s proposed panel is backed by John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, who brought Mr. Happer into the N.S.C. after an earlier effort to recruit him during the transition.

Mr. Happer and Mr. Bolton are both beneficiaries of Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the far-right billionaire and his daughter who have funded efforts to debunk climate science. The Mercers gave money to a super PAC affiliated with Mr. Bolton before he entered government and to an advocacy group headed by Mr. Happer.

Climate scientists are dismissive of Mr. Happer; his former colleagues at Princeton are chagrined. And several White House officials — including Larry Kudlow, the president’s chief economic adviser — have urged Mr. Trump not to adopt Mr. Happer’s proposal, on the grounds that it would be perceived as a White House attack on science.

Even Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House strategist who views Mr. Happer as “the climate hustler’s worst nightmare — a world-class physicist from the nation’s leading institution of advanced learning, who does not suffer fools gladly,” is apprehensive about what Mr. Happer is trying to do.

“The very idea will start a holy war on cable before 2020,” he said. “Better to win now and introduce the study in the second inaugural address.”

But at a White House meeting on May 1, at which the skeptical advisers made their case, Mr. Trump appeared unpersuaded, people familiar with the meeting said. Mr. Happer, they said, is optimistic that the panel will go forward.

The concept is not new. Mr. Trump has pushed to resurrect the idea of a series of military-style exercises, known as “red team, blue team” debates, on the validity of climate science first promoted by Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator who was forced to resign last year amid multiple scandals.

At the time, the idea was shot down by John F. Kelly, then the White House chief of staff. But since Mr. Kelly’s departure, Mr. Trump has talked about using Mr. Happer’s proposed panel as a forum for it.

For Mr. Trump, climate change is often the subject of mockery. “Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!” he posted on Twitter in January when a snowstorm was freezing much of the country.

His views are influenced mainly by friends and donors like Carl Icahn, the New York investor who owns oil refineries, and the oil-and-gas billionaire Harold Hamm — both of whom pushed Mr. Trump to deregulate the energy industry.

Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka made a well-publicized effort to talk him out of leaving the Paris accord in 2017. But after being vanquished by officials including Mr. Bannon, Mr. Pruitt, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, there is little evidence she has resisted his approach since then.

The president’s advisers amplify his disregard. At the meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismayed fellow diplomats by describing the rapidly warming region as a land of “opportunity and abundance” because of its untapped reserves of oil, gas, uranium, gold, fish and rare-earth minerals. The melting sea ice, he said, was opening up new shipping routes.

“That is one of the most crude messages one could deliver,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who served as the NATO ambassador under George W. Bush.

At the National Security Council, under Mr. Bolton, officials said they had been instructed to strip references to global warming from speeches and other formal statements. But such political edicts pale in significance to the changes in the methodology of scientific reports.

Mr. Reilly, the head of the Geological Survey, who does not have a background in climate change science, characterized the changes as an attempt to prepare more careful, accurate reports. “We’re looking for answers with our partners and to get statistical significance from what we understand,” he said.

Yet scientists said that by eliminating the projected effects of increased carbon dioxide pollution after 2040, the Geological Survey reports would present an incomplete and falsely optimistic picture of the impact of continuing to burn unlimited amounts of coal, oil and gasoline.

“The scenarios in these reports that show different outcomes are like going to the doctor, who tells you, ‘If you don’t change your bad eating habits, and you don’t start to exercise, you’ll need a quadruple bypass, but if you do change your lifestyle, you’ll have a different outcome,’” said Katharine Hayhoe, the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University and an author of the National Climate Assessment.

Not all government science agencies are planning such changes. A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, asked if its scientists would limit the use of climate models, wrote in an email, “No changes are being considered at this time.”

The push to alter the results of at least some climate science reports, several officials said, came after November’s release of the second volume of the National Climate Assessment.

While the Trump administration did not try to rewrite the scientific conclusions of the report, officials sought to play it down — releasing it the day after Thanksgiving — and discredit it, with a White House statement calling it “largely based on the most extreme scenario.”

Still, the report could create legal problems for Mr. Trump’s agenda of abolishing regulations. This summer, the E.P.A. is expected to finalize the legal rollback of two of President Barack Obama’s most consequential policies: federal regulations to curb planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks.

Opponents say that when they challenge the moves in court, they intend to point to the climate assessment, asking how the government can justify the reversals when its own agencies have concluded that the pollution will be so harmful.

That is why officials are now discussing how to influence the conclusions of the next National Climate Assessment.

“They’ve started talking about how they can produce a report that doesn’t lead to some silly alarmist predictions about the future,” said Myron Ebell, who heads the energy program at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded research organization, and who led the administration’s transition at the E.P.A.

A key change, he said, would be to emphasize historic temperatures rather than models of future atmospheric temperatures, and to eliminate the “worst-case scenarios” of the effect of increased carbon dioxide pollution — sometimes referred to as “business as usual” scenarios because they imply no efforts to curb emissions.

Scientists said that eliminating the worst-case scenario would give a falsely optimistic picture. “Nobody in the world does climate science like that,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton. “It would be like designing cars without seatbelts or airbags.”

Outside the United States, climate scientists had long given up on the White House being anything but on outlier in policy. But they worry about the loss of the government as a source for reliable climate research.

“It is very unfortunate and potentially even quite damaging that the Trump administration behaves this way,” said Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “There is this arrogance and disrespect for scientific advancement — this very demoralizing lack of respect for your own experts and agencies.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/us/politics/trump-climate-science.html
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