Au Courant

This week’s au courant links:

And finally, Trump loves kleptocrats (duh) and financial transaction taxes:

Au Courant

Show 1 footnote

  1. No, surprisingly Dick Cheney had no hand in this.

The War on Women

A by-blow of Our Pussy-Grabber in Chief’s moral Alzheimer’s is the renewed surge in The War on Women.

From Wyoming, the Land Civilization Forgot:

CHEYENNE — Two of three bills that could restrict abortion in Wyoming have been assigned to the Senate Agriculture committee, prompting one critic to question why they aren’t going to the group of lawmakers debating health issues.
A third abortion bill is going to the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, the group of lawmakers that typically reviews such legislation.

The three bills have already passed the House.

“I have not spoken to the Senate president yet, but the clear message that seems to be resonating around the Capitol is, are women livestock?” said Aimee Van Cleave, executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party.

That’s right, livestock.

Wyoming: We Treat Cattle Right!

The War on Women

For this next item, let’s head south (of course), down Oklahoma way…

A US politician has said pregnant women are “hosts” whose bodies no longer belong to them once they are “irresponsible” enough to have sex. 

Justin Humphrey, an Oklahoma state legislator, has introduced a bill that would force women seeking an abortion to get written consent from the foetus’ father. 

Justifying the proposed law change, the Republican said one of the “breakdowns in our society” is that men are “excluded” from “these types of decisions”. 

“I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he told The Intercept. “I feel like it is a separate – what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant.

Down there in Oklahoma women don’t even rate as cattle; they’re just “hosts.”

What was it Atwood said?

“We are two-legged wombs, that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices.” ~ The Handmaid’s Tale

The War on Women

Shocked, I Tell You!

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump’s campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official said.

Oooh! Shades of the Nixon White House! And just barely over a month into what promises to be a thoroughly venal and corrupt administration. Tell me more!

The official said that Priebus’ request came as the White House sought to discredit a New York Times report about the contacts last week. As of Thursday, the FBI had not commented publicly on the report and there was no indication it planned to.

The New York Times reported that U.S. agencies had intercepted phone calls last year between Russian intelligence officials and members of Trump’s 2016 campaign team.

Wait: The New York Times? isn’t that “fake news”? Why should Reince care? 1 We thought this administration didn’t listen to “fake news”?

Priebus’ discussion with FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe sparked outrage among some Democrats, who said that the chief of staff was violating policies intended to limit communications between the law enforcement agency and the White House on pending investigations.

“The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers,” said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

…said a whole bunch of stupid Dims who apparently forgot that OMP and His Henchmen did just that throughout the entirety of his campaign.

The White House official would not comment when asked if the administration was concerned about the appropriateness of Priebus’ communications with McCabe…

Of course not, for the simple reason that ol’ Reincey’s request was not only unethical, it prolly also violates some law that disallows government officials to request other government official’s not tell, you know…the truth. Or more baldly – to ask a government official to lie.

We suspect our prediction of the OMP White House outstripping the Raygun White House for sheer criminality has already come to pass. It’s just going to be a while before it all comes to light… 2

Shocked, I Tell You!

Show 2 footnotes

  1. And, really, what sort of parents name their son “Reince”? Parents who want their son beaten up daily at school, that’s who.
  2. We expect the first (of many) “grab ’em by the pussy and tell” publications before the year is out; there will be too many dismissed & disaffected OMP minions for it not to occur. And the first of these will command top Americanos. The only question is who will spill the golden pee first: Conway? Reincey? Or someone else? We’re considering a pool…

See Something, Leak Something

Anonymous speech is firmly protected by the First Amendment and the Supreme Court, and its history in the U.S. dates to the Federalist Papers, written in 1787 and 1788 under the pseudonym Publius by three of the founding fathers.

But the technical ability for people to remain anonymous on today’s internet, where every scrap of data is meticulously tracked, is an entirely different issue. The FBI, a domestic intelligence agency that claims the power to spy on anyone based on suspicions that don’t come close to probable cause, has a long, dark history of violating the rights of Americans. And now it reports directly to President Trump, who is a petty, revenge-obsessed authoritarian with utter disrespect for the courts and the rule of law.

In this environment, how easy is it to create and maintain a Twitter account while preserving your anonymity — even from Twitter and any law enforcement agency that may request its records? I tried to find out, and documented all my steps. There are different ways to accomplish this…

See Something, Leak Something

Lees and Orts

Forbes, that staunch defender of capitalism, is sorta worried about…um…capitalism:

  • Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.
  • Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years (see Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School).
  • Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That’s 14,826,322 acres, or just less than the entire state of West Virginia (see the 2010 assessment by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN).
  • Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20% (see U.S. Census).
  • The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 (see United Nations’ projections).

How do we expect to feed that many people while we exhaust the resources that remain?

Human activities are behind the extinction crisis. Commercial agriculture, timber extraction, and infrastructure development are causing habitat loss and our reliance on fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change.

Don’t let the ReThugs hear this, else it’s the reeducation camps for Forbes!
Lees and Orts

A divided federal appeals court is ruling for the First Amendment, saying the public has a right to film the police. But the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding the bulk of a lower court’s decision against an activist who was conducting what he called a “First Amendment audit” outside a Texas police station, noted that this right is not absolute and is not applicable everywhere.

The facts of the dispute are simple. Phillip Turner was 25 in September 2015 when he decided to go outside the Fort Worth police department to test officers’ knowledge of the right to film the police. While filming, he was arrested for failing to identify himself to the police. Officers handcuffed and briefly held Turner before releasing him without charges. Turner sued, alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful arrest and detention and his First Amendment right of speech.

The 2-1 decision Thursday by Judge Jacques Wiener is among a slew of rulings on the topic, and it provides fresh legal backing for the so-called YouTube society where people are constantly using their mobile phones to film themselves and the police. The American Civil Liberties Union says, “there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.”

A dissenting appellate judge on the case—Edith Brown Clement—wrote Turner was not unlawfully arrested and that the majority opinion from the Texas-based appeals court jumped the gun to declare a First Amendment right here because one “is not clearly established.”

Previously, a federal judge had dismissed Turner’s allegations, saying the officers involved held so-called “qualified immunity” because the right to film the police was not “clearly established” at the time of the incident. And on appeal, the appellate court upheld this lower court’s position. However, the majority then went on to declare a prospective First Amendment right to film the police within the circuit’s jurisdiction, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas…

The Supreme Court still has not ruled on the issue.

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

How would repealing the Affordable Care Act affect health care and jobs in your state?

Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance. And 1.2 million jobs would be lost—not just in health care but across the board.

Link to maps showing jobs and health care losses.

Lees and Orts

the world of yesterday

Perhaps tellingly, World Cat can only find copies of the book in the Shanghai Library and the Hong Kong university system…

Lees and Orts

Food for thought in an era where OMB is expected to ease all sorts of pollution regulations…

Lees and Orts


NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 22, to present new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets. The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Details of these findings are embargoed by the journal Nature until 1 p.m.

Limited seating is available in the NASA TV studio for media who would like to attend in person at the agency’s Headquarters at 300 E Street SW in Washington. Media unable to attend in person may ask questions by telephone. To attend in person or participate by phone, media must send an email with their name, affiliation and telephone number to Dwayne Brown at by noon Feb. 22.


The Surrounding Game

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy…

The ancient game of Go is the most complex and elegant game ever discovered. Though the rules are simple enough to teach a child, the complexity that emerges has inspired millennia of study. For three thousand years, master players in East Asia have handed down the game as an art form to foster patience, creativity, and self-reflection. Today in the elite world of the pros, international tournaments offer hundred-thousand dollar prize purses, and top matches are broadcast on 24-hour “Go TV” to millions of fans in China, Korea, and Japan. But in the West, most people have never even heard of the game…until now.

The Surrounding Game

Automation and Secularization

One of the reasons The Deplorables elected OMP was his promise to make America great again; in essence, OMP vowed to bring back back-breaking labor (coal/mining), manufacturing, sales and other menial jobs that require little education, something many of The Deplorables lacked. 1

Technology will put paid to that canard:

Automation is accelerating. The software powering these robots becomes more powerful every day. We can’t stop it. But we can adapt to it.

Bill Gates recommends we tax robotic workers so that we can recapture some of the money displaced workers would have paid as income tax.

Elon Musk recommends we adopt universal basic income and give everyone a certain amount of money each year so we can keep the economy going even as millions of workers are displaced by automation.

And I recommend we take some of the taxpayer money we’re using to subsidize industries that are now mostly automated, and instead invest it in training workers for emerging engineering jobs.

Truck Driving Man

As of 2014, “Truck Driver” is the most common job in almost every state in the US.

The Deplorables, like everyone else, will have to adapt to the inevitable.

Historically, however, the problem has always been that a certain segment of society, of which The Deplorables comprise a large portion, is resistant to change; they want things “just as they are” or “the way things used to be.” Even worse, many of them combine these Luddite tendencies with a dogged effort to defy the West’s ongoing secularization. This is especially true when egged on by foaming at the mouth religious zealots.

This does not bode well for the future.

Sure, the governments of the world could initiate long range plans of re-education/training of their populaces, along with providing monetary support in an effort to minimize the impact of the coming transition. That is, at least notionally, what governments do; provide for the welfare of their people.

But history teaches that what will most likely happen is dictators/autocrats/despots(and undoubtedly OMP) will instead use the attendant rising unemployment and dissatisfaction of The Deplorables as a tool to further inflame societal gulfs, while at the same time claiming that The Other is the root cause and we must engage them in The Forever War.

In other words, plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.

Wake up, people.

Automation and Secularization

Show 1 footnote

  1. Yes fear, xenophobia, misogynism and racism all played a part, but we’re not speaking of that at the moment.

Don Lemon Rocks

Let us hope this sets the standard for dealing with propaganda. As Mr. Lemon rightly points out:

“Please stop it with that stupid talking point, that it is a fake news story,” Lemon said. “If you don’t want to participate in the news stories on this network, then don’t come on and participate. But don’t call them fake because you don’t agree with them. Go on.”

And people who just willy-nilly make outrageous claims – shut them down.

Don Lemon Rocks

Good News


Priceless stone sculptures that were smashed with hammers by Islamic State extremists in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra have been meticulously restored by Italian experts with the help of laser scans and 3D printers.

The 2nd century AD funerary busts – one of a man, the other of a woman – were vandalised by Isis terrorists after they overran the archeological site and its museum in 2015.

When the ancient desert outpost was retaken by Syrian and Russian forces, the artefacts were whisked to safety in Beirut.

They were then sent to Rome, where for the past two months experts have harnessed Italy’s formidable cultural heritage expertise to repair the damage.

Technicians used lasers to scan the shattered faces of the two figures and then sophisticated 3D printers to create resin parts that replaced the bits of stone that were lost during Isis’ rampage. The male figure was particularly badly smashed, with half its face missing.

Experts in Rome produced a “prosthetic” for the side of the face that was lost. It is removable, so that if the original stone fragment is ever found, it can be reattached. The prosthetic attaches to the stone bust with the help of six tiny magnets.

Good News