Moses
Thread made to lighten the load on Smoldering Wreckage of the American Experiment.
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Paquito
So what's going on with Bibi?
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Unregistered
Idris Elba says he has tested positive for Covid 19.
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Paquito

Israelis accuse Netanyahu of exploiting virus to keep power

His corruption trial will have to wait, apparently.

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wirthling
Paquito wrote:

Israelis accuse Netanyahu of exploiting virus to keep power

His corruption trial will have to wait, apparently.



wirthling wrote:
I feel like I keep hearing Bibi is done and he keeps not being done.
"I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything." - Charles Darwin
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MadMan
Paquito wrote:

Israelis accuse Netanyahu of exploiting virus to keep power

His corruption trial will have to wait, apparently.

That man has more lives than a cat. It's not over until it's over, I guess. 
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Ivan the Terrible
Viktor Orbán is also making his bid to rid himself of the last vestiges of democratic constraint.

Think we can expect to see a lot of authoritarian or would-be authoritarian leaders using the virus as a cover to cement their control. If there were a Doomsday Clock for democracy, and we were at 10:30 right now, it's now looking much more likely the coronavirus will push us towards 11:00 through willingness to hand control to bad people in a crisis rather than back to 10:00 through exposing the inadequacies of authoritarian governments to deal with that crisis.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
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MadMan
Democracy has been on life support for a long time. Or so it seems that it barely exists.
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Putu
Oh, shiiiiiiii...

https://au.news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-threatens-next-generation-smartphones-230612668.html
That's...not what I meant at all.
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Moses

I don't have a link in English, but it looks like we just had a (so far) bloodless coup in Brazil. 

President Jair Bolsonaro's excesses in the face of the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Brazil irritated the Armed Forces' high command, which appears to have “elected” the chief minister of the Civil House, Walter Braga Netto, as the country's new “operational president”.

LINK

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MadMan
Moses wrote:

I don't have a link in English, but it looks like we just had a (so far) bloodless coup in Brazil. 

President Jair Bolsonaro's excesses in the face of the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Brazil irritated the Armed Forces' high command, which appears to have “elected” the chief minister of the Civil House, Walter Braga Netto, as the country's new “operational president”.

LINK

Well as far as I know the US wasn't responsible for that one. At least I don't think so...
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Ivan the Terrible
Moses wrote:

I don't have a link in English, but it looks like we just had a (so far) bloodless coup in Brazil. 

President Jair Bolsonaro's excesses in the face of the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Brazil irritated the Armed Forces' high command, which appears to have “elected” the chief minister of the Civil House, Walter Braga Netto, as the country's new “operational president”.

LINK



This would be great if true, but I've been waiting for major English language sources to report on it and so far I haven't seen anything.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
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Esoteric Allusion
[image] 


Guess the NYT is doing this for international coverage too.
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Ivan the Terrible
Guess the NYT is doing this for international coverage too.


I wonder if someone could dig up a New York Times headline from 1933, saying something like "Hitler pushes for Enabling Act to protect Germany from Communist revolution. Some fear other motives."
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
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Caesar
Queen Elizabeth II gave an address yesterday. At one point she said,

"It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made in 1940, helped by my sister. We as children spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety".

It's just amazing how long she's been on the world stage.

She gave that speech on the "Children's Hour" broadcast on October 13, 1940 (fun fact: my mother was born on October 4, 1940), when Princess Elizabeth was 14 years old.

When I think about World War II, I think of folks like Chamberlain, Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Yamamota, etc. People who have been dead for a long time. Or course she was a child during the war, but she's (amazingly) still around.

My mother, who (as I mentioned) was born right before that speech, has been dead for 12 years. I'm beginning to believe that Queen Elizabeth II is going to live forever.
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Moses
As of 2 pm CST, May futures for crude oil are negative $15 per barrel. Oklahoma is screwed, sure, but imagine Russia, the Middle East, and those poor bastards inside Venezuela.
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Moses

CNN reports that Kim Jong-un is gravely ill after surgery.

So...North Korea is likely to get a woman its leader before the United States?

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whic
Moses wrote:

CNN reports that Kim Jong-un is gravely ill after surgery.

So...North Korea is likely to get a woman its leader before the United States?


I'm with her
nothing.
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MadMan
Moses wrote:

CNN reports that Kim Jong-un is gravely ill after surgery.

So...North Korea is likely to get a woman its leader before the United States?



SPOILER: 





Isn't that what happened in The Interview? Heh. 
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Caesar
Hungary prepares to end legal recognition of trans people

The bill (which was submitted on Tuesday) stipulates that gender should be defined as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”. It would also record each person's “sex at birth” in the Hungarian civil registry and thus make it impossible to change anyone’s legally recognized gender.

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Bernadett Szél, an independent MP who has opposed the law in parliament’s judicial committee, described it as “evil” and “a step back in time”. During a hearing in the committee, she tried to read out a letter from trans people explaining how harmful the law would be for them, but was shut down by the committee’s chair, who described the letter as “not relevant"

[...]

Orbán’s government has become more hostile towards the LGBTQ+ community in the past two years, moving from generic language about traditional values and the benefits of heterosexual marriage to openly discriminatory language, such as comparing homosexuality to paedophilia.

“This kind of language was not present before, and now it is no longer just discourse, it’s going to become policy,” said [Tamás Dombos, a board member of the Háttér Society, a Hungarian organisation focused on LGBTQI rights].
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kgaard
Caesar wrote:
Hungary prepares to end legal recognition of trans people

The bill (which was submitted on Tuesday) stipulates that gender should be defined as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”. It would also record each person's “sex at birth” in the Hungarian civil registry and thus make it impossible to change anyone’s legally recognized gender.



Looking forward to the EU's feckless response to this!
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Paquito
Caesar wrote:
The bill (which was submitted on Tuesday) stipulates that gender should be defined as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”. It would also record each person's “sex at birth” in the Hungarian civil registry and thus make it impossible to change anyone’s legally recognized gender.


If they're going to base it off chromosomes, they're going to need more than two genders.
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Paquito
Paquito wrote:
If they're going to base it off chromosomes, they're going to need more than two genders.


Good Radio Lab episode on this
.
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MadMan

Description

Hungary trying to out right wing the US.
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Paquito
BBC: "Netanyahu is the first standing leader to face trial in the country's history. He denies accusations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust."
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Paquito
UK considers opening citizenship 'path' for 300,000+ Hong Kong residents, if China pursues security law

I wonder if this will rattle anti-immigrant brexiters.
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Esoteric Allusion
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nuclear-particles-baltic/sensors-detect-rise-in-nuclear-particles-on-baltic-sea-global-body-says-idUSKBN23X2TN?utm_medium=Social

Sure. Why not.
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Paquito
600,000 people in Hong Kong turned out to vote in primaries for pro-democracy parties. Now China says they could have all broken the draconian new security law.

They're not even pretending anymore.
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Nim!
The more news that comes out about China's systematic attempts to just fully eliminate its Uighur population the clearer it is we are witnessing genocide in real time. China is a fascist genocidal state and we need to treat them as such.

I'm not sure what this does to the sort of underlying assumptions about globalization -- that free international commerce would naturally have a liberalizing effect on countries like China. If anything, the more we've outsourced to China, the more authoritarian impact its had on the United States. I don't know what to do with that realization, but it's true.
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Esoteric Allusion
Nim! wrote:
The more news that comes out about China's systematic attempts to just fully eliminate its Uighur population the clearer it is we are witnessing genocide in real time. China is a fascist genocidal state and we need to treat them as such.

I'm not sure what this does to the sort of underlying assumptions about globalization -- that free international commerce would naturally have a liberalizing effect on countries like China. If anything, the more we've outsourced to China, the more authoritarian impact its had on the United States. I don't know what to do with that realization, but it's true.
This isn't meant to be a dig on you, but I think that was clear years ago. I've read think pieces trying to grapple with what was wrong about the late-90's / early 2000's optimistic argument that economic liberalization brings political liberalization several years back. It's a kissing cousin to the similar belief that the liberties of the Internet would encourage political liberty in the real world when Internet connectivity has been a driving force in fueling reactionary politics that has, at least in one instance, led to a genocide. The optimism about these engines of freedom seems to have been misplaced.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for why people were so wrong and what that means.
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Esoteric Allusion

Another kind of argument I see crop up is a belief that China's economic success proves that their illiberalism is a viable, if not superior competitor to the mixed economies of liberal democracies. These arguments always seem to skirt over the fact that China's per capita GDP is still rather poor compared to Western democracies, and if China's economy was operating at the efficiency of the US it'd be 4-5 times larger than it is. Consumer economy size has a lot to do with your population size.

At the same time, I think would-be authoritarians can look at the Chinese model and think "close enough." They'd be willing to sacrifice some productivity for more societal control and ease to turn national economic engines on centrally planned goals. 

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Esoteric Allusion
Perhaps the inspiration for Nim's comment, someone managed to get drone footage of Chinese authorities loading Uighurs bound and blindfolded with shaved heads onto trains to be taken to a concentration camp. It's an old video, but is getting a lot of attention right now:

https://twitter.com/PDog119/status/1283359233866637314
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Nim!
Perhaps the inspiration for Nim's comment, someone managed to get drone footage of Chinese authorities loading Uighurs bound and blindfolded with shaved heads onto trains to be taken to a concentration camp. It's an old video, but is getting a lot of attention right now:

https://twitter.com/PDog119/status/1283359233866637314


Yeah, that video was the "oh shit" moment for me. It's one thing to hear about stuff China is doing, but you see something like this...
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Esoteric Allusion
Esoteric Allusion wrote:

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for why people were so wrong and what that means.
I think I used sketchy passive language here. I was one of the people who thought these things. I was wrong. I was wrong in a way that was part of a broad conventional wisdom, so I don't think my personal fault is deep here, but it is a time for introspection about what happened.
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MadMan
Hey China is just copying the US. 
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Ivan the Terrible
Nim! wrote:
If anything, the more we've outsourced to China, the more authoritarian impact its had on the United States. I don't know what to do with that realization, but it's true.


An especially scary trend is China's ability to outsource the enforcement of its authoritarian censorship to companies beyond its borders, through threats that the China market will be closed to those companies who don't play along. Turns out, when forced to choose between paying lip service to democracy/human rights and retaining access to a shitload of potential customers, most companies opt for the latter.
It's the lack of stabbing that makes NoCrimesVille the kind of city I'm proud to live in.
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Nim!


An especially scary trend is China's ability to outsource the enforcement of its authoritarian censorship to companies beyond its borders, through threats that the China market will be closed to those companies who don't play along. Turns out, when forced to choose between paying lip service to democracy/human rights and retaining access to a shitload of potential customers, most companies opt for the latter.


This is, in particular, what I meant, though it is certainly the case in other ways, too.
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Nim!
MadMan wrote:
Hey China is just copying the US. 


I've seen some others make this comparison, so I'm hoping this is sarcasm. No matter how execrable our immigration policies, for example, we're not committing literal genocide.
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Esoteric Allusion
I think our response to COVID can be considered adjacent to genocide, but it's not shuffling people into the camps for the expressed purpose of eliminating them as a class. It's more the negligent homicide version of genocide's intentional murder. Our immigration policies involve shuffling people into camps with marginal respect for human rights and separating children from parents to torture them to discourage others from attempting to immigrate to the US via the same means*. Incredibly bad, but not genocide.

*Or because they simply enjoy being cruel to migrants. I don't want to dismiss that as a motivation even if it might be uncouth to point out. 
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Esoteric Allusion


An especially scary trend is China's ability to outsource the enforcement of its authoritarian censorship to companies beyond its borders, through threats that the China market will be closed to those companies who don't play along. Turns out, when forced to choose between paying lip service to democracy/human rights and retaining access to a shitload of potential customers, most companies opt for the latter.


It's noteworthy that these companies justified being involved with Chinese government, sincerely in some cases I think, under the logic that they could be a liberalizing force on Chinese policy by being able to use their market sway over them. This would box out homegrown Chinese companies who might be much worse in cooperating with Chinese totalitarian control, thus making the world a better place over time. 

In actuality, hunger for Chinese market dollars made them more willing to adopt Chinese authoritarianism and be the companies they imagined they were preventing from emerging. 
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MadMan
Nim! wrote:


I've seen some others make this comparison, so I'm hoping this is sarcasm. No matter how execrable our immigration policies, for example, we're not committing literal genocide.
Past, yes. Present? No but what ICE is doing might as well qualify as war crimes. 
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Esoteric Allusion
The Ukrainian hostage situation was so bizarre I had to keep checking and re-checking sources to make sure I wasn't falling for an elaborate prank. 
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Paquito
Germany: Body Bags and Enemy Lists: How Far-Right Police Officers and Ex-Soldiers Planned for ‘Day X’

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Germany has belatedly begun dealing with far-right networks that officials now say are far more extensive than they ever understood. The reach of far-right extremists into its armed forces is particularly alarming in a country that has worked to cleanse itself of its Nazi past and the horrors of the Holocaust. In July the government disbanded an entire company infiltrated by extremists in the nation’s special forces.

But the Nordkreuz case, which only recently came to trial after being uncovered more than three years ago, shows that the problem of far-right infiltration is neither new nor confined to the KSK, or even the military.

Far-right extremism penetrated multiple layers of German society in the years when the authorities underestimated the threat or were reluctant to countenance it fully, officials and lawmakers acknowledge. Now they are struggling to uproot it.


This is certainly starting to happen in the U.S. as well
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kgaard
It looks like a huge part of East Beirut has been destroyed.
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Esoteric Allusion
kgaard wrote:
It looks like a huge part of East Beirut has been destroyed.
Initial reporting is that it was caused by a fireworks factory fire by a grain silo that spread to a huge cache of ammonium nitrate, which is almost comical in city planning mistakes.
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kgaard
Initial reporting is that it was caused by a fireworks factory fire by a grain silos that spread to a huge cache of ammonium nitrate, which is almost comical in city planning mistakes.


Yeah, I take early reports with massive amounts of salt, but it would explain what happened. It sounds somewhat similar to what I imagine the Texas City disaster was like (in that case it was a ship with ammonium nitrate cargo).
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Esoteric Allusion
I recall in in high school AP chemistry of having to write a detailed theoretical explanation followed by specific example calculations on ammonium nitrate's explosiveness. This wasn't long after the OKC bombing. The sense of "this is a weird teaching example for high school students to be focusing on" has stayed with me. 
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Jinnistan
Paquito wrote:
This is certainly starting to happen in the U.S. as well

Here's one relevant example.
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Paquito

Indian politics is wild

 

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In November, India’s Supreme Court greenlighted the construction of a Hindu temple on the site where the mosque had stood before Hindu devotees destroyed it in 1992 with sledgehammers and their bare hands...

...Many Hindus believe that the disputed site was the birthplace of their revered god Ram and that an earlier temple for Ram was demolished during Mughal rule to build the mosque. The case had been tossing and turning in Indian courts since the 1950s.

After Hindu supremacists destroyed the Babri Mosque in 1992, it set off riots across the country that killed around 2,000 people. The Ayodhya shock waves continued for years; the widespread religious massacres in Gujarat in 2002 were connected to Ayodhya as well.

In place of the mosque, Hindus erected a tent resembling a temple, and before the coronavirus hit, countless tourists visited it. When the case reached the Supreme Court in 2010, the deity Ram was given legal standing, awkwardly pitting the god Hindus revere most against the Muslim parties in the suit.

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Jinnistan
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"Any external factors could have triggered a sudden deterioration. Even a simple lack of breakfast," said Alexander Sabayev, chief toxicologist for the Omsk region.
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