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Official fake news

Let me clear my throat.

So it seems that this is what actually went down during the encounter of heroic native-American hero and evil MAGA kids (write-up here – take it with a grain of salt, it’s
This is not at all what I’ve seen and read during the last two days.
In fact, what I have seen is basically mainstream fake news, one more in a series of them. Contrary to what has been proclaimed since 2016, “fake news” aren’t new – they’ve just been called propaganda before. And contrary to what we’ve been told since 2016, “fake news” aren’t a big problem – people tend to consume those incorrect stories that support their confirmation bias. Which is exactly what happened with the recent mainstream fake news.
What is a problem, however, is the campaign that proclaim certain fake news, those of the mainstream, should be swallowed, whereas certain true news, those of sources opposing the mainstream, should be suppressed. In fact, a lot of what Russian operators were accused of was that they spread “divisive” information – not untrue, just terribly inconvenient to a picture of a US and a Europe where is everything is fine.

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The French “Iron Heel”

So, during this weekend’s confrontations between police and protesters in Paris, an assault rifle was stolen from a police car! WTF did police assigned to this demonstration do with an assault rifle?

Unless we forget, this is the third time in the last 2 1/2 years that the government has deployed armed and armored police to break up demonstrations against its anti-social policies. This has led time and again to unjustified (and unpunished) police violence:

going as far as police pulling their sidearm on unarmed protesters:

This weekend, 110 people were hurt in Paris, of which only 20 were police.

And make no mistake, the police has clearly chosen sides. As the policeman in the first video says at 4:47:

On a des ordres, on les suit. (We have our orders that we follow.)

and when public servants demonstrated in May against the Macronian austerity, everyone was there: teachers, medical personnel, university personnel, fire fighters – the police wasn’t. They turn into Jack London’s Iron Heel.

And those people are given assault rifles when they’re deployed against protesters?

Macron has announced that he’ll help the affected businesses as quickly as possible. Most of the damage was done on the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Kléber, two of the most expensive addresses in the world! So once again, the president of the rich comes through for his constituency.

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The “deep” or “steady” or “state within the” state

The New York Times today published an opinion piece from an allegedly anonymous public servant in the Trump administration, sub-headed “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” In it, he writes things such as:

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.


Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.


This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

That last sentence is revealing because whether one calls it “deep state”, “state within a state“, or steady-state, as the author prefers, the result is the same. It’s non-elected individuals deciding to subvert the decisions of someone elected under the rules of their country’s political system. One can think of the Trump presidency however one wants but this is only marginally different from the Turkish deep state deciding that the Communists shouldn’t come to power, or from the Egyptian deep state that the Muslim brotherhood in power was unaccetable, or from German intelligence services deciding that right-wing terrorism shouldn’t be investigated.

It’s unelected individuals deciding that they know better than elected politicians, and by implication voters, what’s best for the country. It is notable that the unnamed public servant is in favor of certain policies of the Trump administration, e.g. deregulation, tax cuts, and militarization, so he’d probably be as opposed to a left-wing president and do everything to “thwart parts of his agenda”.

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So some guy rams his car into the barriers in front of parliament, no weapons or explosives are found, yet the thing is designated a “terrorist act”.

Maybe because according to the NYT:

Declaring the episode a “terrorist incident” allows the police to detain the driver for up to 28 days without charging him, rather than the usual limit of three days. Under some circumstances, the designation can also allow the police to restrict the man’s access to legal advice.

CNews spent most of the more than an hour that I spent today reporting only on that, and reporting essentially nothing.

The fact that a highway bridge collapsed in Italy, though, killing dozens, only got a passing mention sliding across the footer.

I can’t shake the impression that media get their priorities completely wrong, and I do keep wondering who/what gets served by that.

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Potential Democratic presidential candidates in 2020

In the Democratic Party, there are currently three people of color that are being hyped as potential contenders as presidential candidates in 2020: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Neera Tanden. Those members of the party who supported Bernie Sanders are apparently opposed to those candidates, claiming that they are not actually left-wing politicians. The mainstream of the party (and of the media) claims that the opposition is in fact racist. 538 in a recent podcast claimed that those politicians were indeed of the left.

To figure this out, I did a Google search for the political positions of those politicians, trying to get the most information possible.
Continue reading

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Ars Technica has a series on the history of the Amiga right now, and part 3 contained this:

Why was everybody willing to work so hard, to put in tons of late (and sometimes sleepless) nights just to build a new computer? The above and beyond dedication of high-tech workers has been a constant ever since Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley. Companies have often reaped the rewards from workers who were willing to put in hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime each month. Managers in other industries must look at these computer companies and wonder why they can’t get their workers to put in that kind of effort.

Part of the answer lies with the extreme, nearly autistic levels of concentration that are achieved by hardware and software engineers when they are working at peak efficiency. Everyday concerns like eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene often fade into the background when an engineer is in “the zone.” However, I think it goes beyond that simple explanation. Employees at small computer companies have a special position that even other engineers can’t hope to achieve. They get to make important technical decisions that have far-reaching effects on the entire industry. Often, they invent new techniques or ideas that significantly change the way people interact with their computers. Giving this kind of power and authority to ordinary employees is intoxicating; it makes people excited about the work that they do, and this excitement then propels them to achieve more and work faster than they ever thought they could.

The reason this works (and the reason why you also have those tendencies in what is often referred to as “creative” jobs) is simply that the worker is not (or at least less) alienated from their work:

The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realized human being, as an economic entity, this worker is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value, in the course of business competition among industrialists.

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