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Member since: 2002
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This is what I was thinking.

These are pungent, loud and insulting (because so incredibly stupid).

I wish Schneiderman had made a precedent by prosecuting these companies not for gambling, but for fraudulent advertising. At no point do they mention odds, or how much gets paid in to produce the supposed weekly payout. Everyone's just making a million on a $10 bet, or whatever bullshit they're saying.

These ads are not just stupid but very clearly pitched to working the stupid (who are indispensable to the business model).

Of course, if they went after the private sector for doing this, they'd have to admit what a scam the state-run lottery is. They're running equally penetrating and stupid ads all the damn time. It's an interesting contrast, all the state/city moralistic lifestyle ads (be polite, don't eat fatty foods, be watchful for terrorism, protect yourself, avoid frottage on the subway, blah blah) combined with the Lotto ads from the same government: "Oh yeah, when you get that quarter billion you can say FUCK YOU to everyone and act like the dumbest most corrupt asshole and get away with it because money -- fuck yeah!"

No, he is not.

Jeb! is a new frontman for a very old criminal family that has done more damage to this country and to the world than any other single faction in American politics. He represents the return of recent history's worst war criminals.

Trump is a lone clown whose appeal exposes the party better than any troll campaign could manage. He is the beginning of their end. His undisguised lack of sanity is 1000 times more honest and more reflective of the actual mindset on the right than Bush's simulation of a normal politician.

Sounds about right.

I mean your estimate of 2000 CIA filth in Venezuela, not your distractionary nonsense about world control. That figure may be close for officers and directly managed agents and assets in a targeted state of that size and operations of comparable duration. But who can say? The agencies of covert warfare like to minimize potential exposure if possible and make use of independent parapolitical operators and "allies." It's all secret for a reason. We are in Bayesian territory, criminal organizations do not publish member lists, though fortunately Wikileaks sometimes does.

In any case such persons would not be "ours." Even if you choose to identify with them in the first person, I do not. They are not serving any interest that should be identified with the vast majority of US-American people. Nor are they pursuing any kind of higher good, just fucking with another foreign country where they have no business on behalf of obscure rich interests.

So what's your point?

That after 42 years with an enormous net growth in the economy and unprecedented concentration of wealth a statistical Worker No. 501 of 1000 makes a nominal six dollars more in then-dollars, even as real estate in many places has been artificially inflated? Why is it so important to you to impeach the case that the ruling class are richer and more powerful than ever, the poor at least as fucked as ever, and the "middle class" in an utter state of precarity where they happen to have about the same amount of cash (big deal)? What's your stake in the fairy tale of "economic progress" under the capitalist system that has burned the planet? I know which class I belong to and have no trouble saying it. I definitely make under the median income and most of the people I know are huddled around the same level and know that the economy is utter shit and the good news about it is mostly propaganda. What about you? Where's your position in this death system?

You have already passed judgement.

First of all, your argument that the day was important is a red herring. We all agree it was very important. It should be taught, studied and commemorated. Some of us think it should not be commemorated in the name of the failed conquistador Colon, however.

Merely in the fact that you primarily wish to identify the would-be conquistador as a mariner means you have already delivered a judgment, one in his favor. I suppose we can also call Alexander and Genghis horsemen. You seem to be attached, not to a credible history, but to the modern-day, nationalist narrative (of Spain and a number of N. and S. American countries) that exonerates a mass murderer.

It is certain that people of his time did condemn him - the only problem is you're not willing to hear their voices, since they are the ones who didn't matter to him, the indigenous peoples he "discovered." He understood what he was doing at the time very bloody well, demanding that his missions deliver more forced labor, slaves, and gold. It was the moral standard of the Spanish empire to which this Italian voluntarily chose to attach himself. Not everyone at the time would have acted as he did. (It's interesting seeing on behalf of which arguments people choose to invoke the objection of anachronism.)

It was Eratosthenes, a mathematician in Ptolemaic Egypt, who first estimated the earth's circumference. No one is judging Colon by the standards of today to point out that more than 1600 years later, he was wrong about the circumference. This is why people at the time thought he was crazy, because he was trying to sell the Spanish crown on the idea that the earth was much smaller than thought by the consensus of those who had an opinion. Quite possibly because he was a con man, since the crown would not have spent on the mission if he had not persuaded them of his smaller earth theory. He got lucky.

So yes, commemorate. October 12 should be an Indigenous Peoples Day, and for their part I can only wish Italian-Americans would choose to celebrate a holiday commemorating Galileo - someone who was far more important in constituting the modern-day civilization than Colon. Someone furthermore who displayed moral courage, not just a desire to make himself famous, rich and powerful.

That bit worked well as propaganda, didn't it?

A heavy U.S. involvement (directly and even more so indirectly through the Saudi/Turkish axis) on behalf of the worst of the "rebels" (some of whom, the ones labeled ISIS, are also being bombed by the U.S., now out of Turkey) was transformed into "five guys" by the general's incomplete testimony. So they traded reality of involvement for an incompetence narrative. No problem, "incompetence" is a great excuse, it even gets used for the Bush war of aggression on Iraq.

Problem is, what's more important about all armed sides here (except the poor Kurds), Syrian and foreign, is not that they're incompetent (they usually are) but that they're violent and crazy. Most of them don't even know what the purpose of the killing is, so what's the big difference if they're incompetent? I find it more interesting that the same Turkish military bases are being used to launch Turkish attacks on Assad's side and American attacks on ISIS. Or that the global antagonists, Russia and U.S., are both claiming to be bombing the same side.

Clinton's Decline, Clintonista Excuses

As Clinton's support continues to tank in the New Hampshire polls, one story I just saw suggests the context is that "her use of a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of state continues to dominate the headlines."

Bullshit. That noise may be dominating headlines -- along with the professional wrestling performer, Donald Trump -- but it is not remotely the reason why potential primary voters are not supporting the Democrat from Wall Street.

At this point, registered Democrats with a preference are still a relatively well-informed group with high political motivation. They don't care about the constructed e-mail scandal any more than they did about "Benghazi." It's also going to play no role in a general election, with or without Clinton as nominee. In fact, the Republican propaganda alienates people all the more that it talks up this kind of shit.

Clinton's problem against Sanders is that she offers NOTHING. Her campaign is little more than a fake, vague, pandering marketing-image masking the neoliberal legacy and loyalty to the interests of the corporations and 0.1%. After 23 years people can seen right through that shit, too.

Biden the new fantasy stalking horse for Clinton supporters

Certain Clinton supporters would have conniptions and deliver condescending lectures if Elizabeth Warren or anyone else not actually running were to be included in the opinion polls conducted by such estimable dispensers of bullshit as CNN & Co. Yet some are now posting and posting and posting these fantasy polls with Biden in them so that Sanders doesn't look that close to Clinton. (Why Biden? Why not George Clooney, or Pope Francis, since they are equally candidates?) At this point I think the Clinton suppoers do this more to reassure themselves than to fool anyone.

Clinton is no doubt the favorite. Sanders' main problem is what it's been all along. He has a small fraction of the Clinton money, little coverage, and dismissive coverage = most people still don't know he exists. Among those who do, it's already a landslide for him over the politics of fake caring and neoliberalism that Clinton (and Clintons generally) have always fought for.

"Forgive" is double talk.

The Greek people are the victims here, only they may one day be in a position to forgive what has been done to them by the Troika, the oligarchs, and the politicians of the now deposed ruling parties. It was never debt, it is plunder. It was never a bailout, except to the German and French banks who actually got the EU taxpayers' money that the Greek people were then told they "owe." Austerity was never reform, it was always a typical IMF program to break the economy, impoverish the people, and subordinate it to the desires of international capital.

(Greece) Tension with Berlin peaks over war reparation claims, jibes

Source: Kathimerini (Greek Daily)

Tensions peaked between Greece and Germany on Wednesday after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras renewed Greek demands for war reparations from Berlin for Nazi war crimes and statements by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble were perceived by authorities in Athens as offensive.


Athens was also said to be annoyed at the terse rection from the German government to new Greek demands for war reparations from Germany. In particular, Greek diplomats were said to be irked by a statement by a spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry which suggested that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias did not broach the issue of war reparations during his recent visit to Berlin. The spokesman for Greece's foreign ministry, Constantinos Koutras, said he understood that Kotzias had indeed raised the issue of war reparations during his visit to Berlin on February 10.

There was exasperation in Germany too with Bavarian conservative Hans Michelbach responding to suggestions by Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos that German assets in Greece could be seized.

"If it came to Greek violations of German property, Germany would know how to defend itself," he said.

Read more: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_12/03/2015_548129

Yesterday's story on the Greek reparations claim:


Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has said he is ready to sign an older court ruling that will enable the foreclosure of German assets in Greece in order to compensate the relatives of victims of Nazi crimes during the Second World War.

Greece's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Distomo survivors in 2000, but the decision has not been enforced. Distomo, a small village in central Greece, lost 218 lives in a Nazi massacre in 1944.


During the same debate, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed his government’s firm intention to seek war reparations from Germany, noting that Athens would show sensitivity that it hoped to see reciprocated from Berlin.

Tsipras told MPs that the matter of war reparations was “very technical and sensitive” but one he has a duty to pursue. He also seemed to indirectly connect the matter to talks between Greece and its international creditors on the country’s loan program. “The Greek government will strive to honor its commitments to the full,” he said. “But it will also strive to ensure all unfulfilled obligations toward Greece and the Greek people are fulfilled,” he added. “You cannot pick and choose on ethical issues.” Tsipras noted that Germany got support “despite the crimes of the Third Reich” chiefly thanks to the London Debt Agreement of 1953. Since reunification, German governments have used “silence, legal tricks and delays” to avoid solving the problem, he said. “We are not giving morality lessons but we will not accept morality lessons either,” Tsipras said.
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