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Demeter

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 01:04 PM
Number of posts: 85,373

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Weekend Economists Get Syri-ous August 30-September 2, 2013

We watch the unfolding events in Syria, and wonder: what will this do to our world?

A nation self-destructing before our eyes can spread destruction beyond its borders. That is one of the problems with Globalism as a goal: cross-contamination. Pollution recognizes no borders, nor do refugees.





As a result of the ongoing Syrian civil war, there are currently two governments claiming to be the de jure government of Syria using different flags to represent the state. The incumbent government, led by Bashar al-Assad and the Ba'ath Party is using the red-white-black United Arab Republic flag in use since 1980 while the Syrian Interim Government, led by the Syrian National Coalition – seeking to overthrow the Assad government – readopted the green-white-black Independence flag in 2012.

History of Syria

The Syrian Arab Republic is a country in the Middle East, bordering Lebanon to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq (with Kurdistan) to the east, and Turkey to the north. The modern state of Syria attained independence from the French mandate of Syria in 1936, but can trace its historical roots to the fourth millennium BC; its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mameluke Empire.--http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Atlas_of_Syria

MORE FOLLOWS, BUT FIRST, A RESPITE IN THE POOL....

Obama administration covers up missile theft

Source: Pittsburg Post-Gazette

The Obama administration is covering up the theft of 400 surface to air missiles by "some very ugly people," the lawyer for a Benghazi whistleblower told WMAL Radio in Washington D.C. last week. Joe DiGenova, a former U.S. attorney, represents Mark Thompson, who was Deputy Coordinator for Operations in the State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism.

He was referring to MANPADS (man portable air defense systems) such as the American Stinger or the Russian SA-24. They're now in the hands of al Qaida, Mr. DiGenova said. The theft was the reason why the administration shut down 22 diplomatic missions, he said.

"They were afraid that there was going to be a missile attack on one of the embassies," Mr. DiGenova said.

Fear that U.S. troops coming to the rescue might be shot down may also be why no help was sent during the seven hour siege of our consulate in Benghazi and its annex on 9/11/2012, he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/jack-kelly/obama-administration-covers-up-missile-theft-700500/



The first plausible explanation for that Security Fire Drill we were treated to this month...from another whistleblower, you will note.

Peter Van Buren: Bradley Manning, Surveillance State Creep, Emergence of Post-Constitutional America

ALL THE KING'S HORSES AND ALL THE KING'S MEN


http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/peter-van-buren-bradley-manning-and-the-profile-of-post-constitutional-america.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

MUST BE READ IN ITS ENTIRETY...SUMMATION OF THE STATE OF THE STATE.

Archaeology: The milk revolution BY Andrew Curry

http://www.nature.com/news/archaeology-the-milk-revolution-1.13471

When a single genetic mutation first let ancient Europeans drink milk, it set the stage for a continental upheaval...

...The mystery potsherds sat in storage until 2011, when Mélanie Roffet-Salque pulled them out and analysed fatty residues preserved in the clay. Roffet-Salque, a geochemist at the University of Bristol, UK, found signatures of abundant milk fats — evidence that the early farmers had used the pottery as sieves to separate fatty milk solids from liquid whey. That makes the Polish relics the oldest known evidence of cheese-making in the world...

Weekend Economists Sit on a Wall August 23-25, 2013

You remember the old Humpty Dumpty poem

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses, And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!

There are Alternative Words...

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more,
Could not place Humpty as he was before.

http://www.rhymes.org.uk/humpty_dumpty.htm


Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice books, gave us this image:



But according to the UK link above, Humpty Dumpty actually looked like this:

&feature=player_embedded

The imagery of Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty was a colloquial term used in fifteenth century England describing someone who was obese. This has given rise to various, but inaccurate, theories surrounding the identity of Humpty Dumpty. The image of Humpty Dumpty was made famous by the illustrations included in the 'Alice through the looking glass' novel by Lewis Carroll. However, Humpty Dumpty was not a person pilloried in the famous rhyme!

The History and Origins of the Rhyme

Humpty Dumpty was in fact believed to be a large cannon! It was used during the English Civil War (1642 - 1649) in the Siege of Colchester (13 Jun 1648 - 27 Aug 1648). Colchester was strongly fortified by the Royalists and was laid to siege by the Parliamentarians (Roundheads). In 1648 the town of Colchester was a walled town with a castle and several churches and was protected by the city wall. Standing immediately adjacent the city wall, was St Mary's Church. A huge cannon, colloquially called Humpty Dumpty, was strategically placed on the wall next to St Mary's Church. The historical events detailing the siege of Colchester are well documented - references to the cannon (Humpty Dumpty) are as follows:

June 15th 1648 - St Mary's Church is fortified and a large cannon is placed on the roof which was fired by ‘One-Eyed Jack Thompson'

July 14th / July 15th 1648 - The Royalist fort within the walls at St Mary's church is blown to pieces and their main cannon battery ( Humpty Dumpty) is destroyed.

August 28th 1648 - The Royalists lay down their arms, open the gates of Colchester and surrender to the Parliamentarians

A shot from a Parliamentary cannon succeeded in damaging the wall beneath Humpty Dumpty which caused the cannon to tumble to the ground. The Royalists, or Cavaliers, 'all the King's men' attempted to raise Humpty Dumpty on to another part of the wall. However, because the cannon , or Humpty Dumpty, was so heavy ' All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again!' This had a drastic consequence for the Royalists as the strategically important town of Colchester fell to the Parliamentarians after a siege lasting eleven weeks. Earliest traceable publication 1810.

A Roundhead (Parliamentarian) was so called from the close-cropped hair of the Puritans

The word Cavalier is derived from the French word Chevalier meaning a military man serving on horseback - a knight.

All of which serves to remind us that it took England 500 years to resolve feudalism, monarchy, representative government, and religious conflicts, at least within the borders of the main island. We in the US will probably need another 250 to clean up our government, too. And as the UK reveals today, cleaning up after Empire, and defeating institutional Fascism, will take even longer.

So, let's get started, shall we? First: political economics lessons!

D'oh! Such laws shouldn't exist in the first place.

If 2000+ years of legal jurisprudence couldn't handle it, then I'd worry. But there was plenty of law to deal with "terrorism" without destroying the body of law humanity has built laboriously and painfully over generations.

This law wasn't "law". It was naked aggression of the State, prettied up in sheep's clothing.

And so is the Patriot Act.

How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/mesh-internet-privacy-nsa-isp

JOSEPH BONICIOLI mostly uses the same internet you and I do. He pays a service provider a monthly fee to get him online. But to talk to his friends and neighbors in Athens, Greece, he's also got something much weirder and more interesting: a private, parallel internet.

He and his fellow Athenians built it. They did so by linking up a set of rooftop wifi antennas to create a "mesh," a sort of bucket brigade that can pass along data and signals. It's actually faster than the Net we pay for: Data travels through the mesh at no less than 14 megabits a second, and up to 150 Mbs a second, about 30 times faster than the commercial pipeline I get at home. Bonicioli and the others can send messages, video chat, and trade huge files without ever appearing on the regular internet. And it's a pretty big group of people: Their Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network has more than 1,000 members, from Athens proper to nearby islands. Anyone can join for free by installing some equipment. "It's like a whole other web," Bonicioli told me recently. "It's our network, but it's also a playground."

Indeed, the mesh has become a major social hub. There are blogs, discussion forums, a Craigslist knockoff; they've held movie nights where one member streams a flick and hundreds tune in to watch. There's so much local culture that they even programmed their own mini-Google to help meshers find stuff. "It changes attitudes," Bonicioli says. "People start sharing a lot. They start getting to know someone next door—they find the same interests; they find someone to go out and talk with." People have fallen in love after meeting on the mesh.

The Athenians aren't alone. Scores of communities worldwide have been building these roll-your-own networks—often because a mesh can also be used as a cheap way to access the regular internet. But along the way people are discovering an intriguing upside: Their new digital spaces are autonomous and relatively safe from outside meddling. In an era when governments and corporations are increasingly tracking our online movements, the user-controlled networks are emerging as an almost subversive concept. "When you run your own network," Bonicioli explains, "nobody can shut it down."

MORE AT LINK

What If What You ’Survived’ Wasn’t Cancer?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-18/what-if-what-you-survived-wasn-t-cancer-.html

You’re feeling fine when you go for your annual physical. But your mammogram looks a little funny, or your PSA test is a little high, or you get a CT lung scan and a nodule shows up. You get a biopsy, and the doctor delivers the bad news: You have cancer. Because you don’t want to die, you agree to be sliced up and irradiated. Then, fortunately, you’re pronounced a “cancer survivor.” You’re glad they caught it early.

But maybe you went through all that pain for nothing.

For decades, the reigning theory has been that the earlier a cancer is spotted and treated, the less likely it is to be lethal, because it won’t have time to grow and spread. Yet this theory infers causality from correlation. It implicitly assumes that cancer is cancer is cancer, even though we now know that even in the same part of the body, cancer is many different diseases -- some aggressive, some not. Perhaps people survive early-stage cancers not because they’re treated in time, but because their disease never would have become life-threatening at all.

This isn’t just logical nit-picking. Thanks to widespread screening, the number of early-stage cancers identified has skyrocketed. In many instances -- including types of breast, prostate, thyroid and lung cancers -- more early diagnoses haven’t led to proportionate decreases in mortality. (New drugs, not early detection, account for at least two-thirds of the reduction in breast-cancer mortality.) The cancers the tests pick up aren’t necessarily life-threatening. They’re just really common. So more sensitive tests and more frequent screening mean more cancer, more cancer treatment and more cancer survivors...In a well-intended effort to save lives, the emphasis on early detection is essentially looking under the lamp post: Putting many patients who don’t have life-threatening diseases through traumatic treatments while distracting doctors from the bigger challenge of developing ways to identify and treat the really dangerous fast-growing cancers.

“Physicians, patients, and the general public must recognize that overdiagnosis is common and occurs more frequently with cancer screening,” argues a recent JAMA article by the oncologists Laura J. Esserman (a surgeon and breast-cancer specialist), Ian M. Thompson Jr. (a urologist) and Brian Reid (a specialist in esophageal cancer). They argue for limiting the term “cancer” to conditions likely to be life-threatening if left untreated.

MORE

“Privilege” and the rhetoric of austerity by Adam Kotsko

http://itself.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/privilege-and-the-rhetoric-of-austerity/

In an individualistic culture, it can be difficult to get people to recognize structural inequality without making them feel as though they are being accused of personal wrongdoing. Privilege discourse is one of the most widespread methods for bridging that gap. It does this by pointing out the ways that certain people’s everyday experience is not natural, but is undergirded by a social structure that benefits some and hurts others. These goals are laudable, if limited, because making people aware of a problem is of course only the first step. It’s also been pointed out that certain privileged people view privilege discourse as a new form of political correctness, a way of policing their speech — so that they respond to this attempt to break out of the cycle of personal accusation as though it were a personal accusation.

For me, though, the biggest problem is that little word “privilege.” Why should precisely that be the key term? A privilege is something extra — and from a very young age, I knew that when something was referred to as a privilege, I was in danger of losing it. How does that make sense, for instance, with something like being free from fear of police harrassment? Undoubtedly, that is part of my privilege as a white, straight, cis, well-dressed man. But when it is called a “privilege,” my initial thought is that it is something unjustified that should be taken away — i.e., we should all have to be stopped and frisked. Something similar came up in my post about how I had some degree of autonomy and dignity in my work — do we really want to say that that’s a “privilege”? In both cases, aren’t we dealing with something more like a right that’s been denied to a great many people?

There are admittedly some cases where those implications of the term “privilege” very precisely describe the phenomenon in question. No one should be able to assume that their experience is the norm for everyone. No one should be taken more seriously simply because they belong to a particular demographic group. Yet there is no way to limit the term to those cases, and even here, perhaps a meme along the lines of “yet another oblivious white dude” would be more helpful.

More alarming to me, though, is the way that the term “privilege” plays into the rhetoric of austerity. We’ve all seen the dynamic at work, for instance when people talk about how teachers have summers off and a good retirement plan, etc. The response is always to say, “That’s unfair, that should be taken away” — never “my job should be like that too!” Deprivation is taken as the baseline assumption, and anything above that is an unfair imposition. There’s no hope that my situation will get better, and my only source of satisfaction is to tear others down. The language of privilege resonates a bit too closely with this embittered hopelessness, fits in a little too neatly with the ideology of permanent austerity...

SEE ALSO THOUGHTFUL COMMENTS AT LINK, SUCH AS:

Larry Garfield Says:
Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Thank you! The term “privilege” pisses me off, too, although I didn’t quite get why until your post. “You have X and I don’t, so give it up” is going to make a lot more enemies and a lot fewer allies than “You have X and I don’t, I should have X too”.

And that leads directly to ripping out public employee pensions, rather than restoring and properly funding private employee pensions. Exactly the sort of “austerity politics” you’re talking about.

“He who must tear another down in order to lift himself up is the lowest of men.”

I've JUST Had a Revelation!

I haven't been called to serve on a jury in quite some time. Months, even.

I can only conclude that the kind of people who would get called on their abusive posts have put me on their jury blacklist. Hence, I don't get asked.

The only other explanation is that people are behaving themselves, which by my own growing Ignore list, is patently false.

The DU world is being split into two camps by its own self-regulating mechanisms. It is a fascinating sociology project! Too bad I'm not outside the box, looking down to watch what is going on.

To claim that either camp represents the Party would be presumptuous.

To claim that DU serves as a forum for discussion is becoming ridiculous.

But more than ever, I am grateful for this Forum, a haven for people who are interested in facts, analysis, and thinking, not ass-kissing, propaganda and spin.
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