Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next four years

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  • linger, in reply to linger,

    Another episode of Rich Hall's irregular updates on Trump has just become available for download (this one looking back at his first year in office).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1790 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Now that Trump has allowed the US Government to grind to a halt , does that mean we will have another truncated Summer Research Season in Antarctica?
    Reliant as we are on military supply flights from the US's military base at Chchch Airport...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7630 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Essential staff are being kept on by NASA to support the international space station, according to what I read on the Daily Galaxy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    There are two main types of criticisms of witchcraft and the occult: those associated with the view that it’s a kind of fantasy or fraud (it often is) and those associated with the view that it’s capable of generating real effects.

    Staying safe means considering the possible downsides of using magic before getting involved. It’s important to bear in mind that simply taking what you want by force can adversely affect other people in ways that violate their basic human rights.

    To use a familiar example, using a love spell to cause a person to have romantic feelings without their consent is a particularly revolting form of abuse. There are good reasons to doubt the validity of consent to sexual contact obtained by such means, a fact that could have ongoing relevance in the #MeToo era. If you were to ever get caught really doing that, you could rightly expect a lengthy prison sentence.

    If you’re going to get involved – or are already involved – be careful about what you wish for and who you collaborate with. You may wish to familiarise yourselves with the rules of party liability and attempts codified into s.66 and s.72 of the Crimes Act 1961. Don’t dial up random spirits with a ouija board hoping to find a nice one.

    Lastly, in the spirit of staying safe, remember that a force that carries out instructions that disregard other people’s rights can’t possibly respect your own. Others will have their own enduringly negative opinions about attempts to bring about hardship and suffering.

    Don’t get involved in the occult. It’s neither harmless experimentation nor the kind of artistic novelty you should prostitute for fame. It’s incredibly dangerous and more common than you might think.

    Since Nov 2006 • 752 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    NASA owes its Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Thelemite and Crowleyite Jack Parsons back in 1943.
    Famously shafted by L. Ron Hubbard
    He blew himself up in ’52. (aged 37)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7630 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Man at work...
    Reading this: https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/100788520/trump-working-hard-or-hardly-working-during-shutdown I'm beginning to wonder if any day now it will be revealed that Trump (and all that that envelops) is really a time expansive private conceptual art project of Gilbert and Georgian-conceit - or maybe an amalgam of Jeff Koons/Damien Hirst and Billy Apple/Andy Warhol.
    Maybe a post-Dadaist/Situationist riff on High Office for the BBQ ribs set.
    Cutting edge stuff.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7630 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I'm beginning to wonder if any day now it will be revealed that Trump (and all that that envelops) is really a time expansive private conceptual art project of Gilbert and Georgian-conceit...

    Something's got to give. Trump's screaming shabbiness evokes the Jorge Luis Borges dream-story Ragnarök , where the ancient gods - Janus, Thoth, etc. - appear before a select invited audience to proclaim the reassertion of their old powers. The exultant mood suddenly shifts when it's revealed that in their years of exile they've degenerated into a kind of imbecility:

    Suddenly, we felt that they were playing their last trump, that they were cunning, ignorant, and cruel, like aged predators, and that if we allowed ourselves to be swayed by fear or pity, they would wind up destroying us.
    We drew our heavy revolvers (suddenly in the dream there were revolvers) and exultantly killed the gods.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4569 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    NASA owes its Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Thelemite and Crowleyite Jack Parsons back in 1943.

    Paul Callahan once told me that he didn’t think science created better music than religion did. But the situation of that conversation was interesting anyhow.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    military supply flights

    Military personnel will apparently be expected to continue to serve without being paid.

    I'm sure that that will end well, if this drags on.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2723 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Twitter is blogging about how it/they are: ” committed to providing a platform that fosters healthy civic discourse and democratic debate.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump, President of the United States of America is twittering unmoderated, about going 51% (nuclear option) amoung billions of other fragmented bits of bullshit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to steven crawford,

    Attachment

    Posted yesterday by Gary Huck, Baltimore MD.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4569 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Attachment

    .

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2723 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Twitter says Russian bots retweeted Donald Trump 470,000 times

    I imagine there will be lots of tweeting and retweeting happening at Twitter about that submission to Congress, by Twitter.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    And Jim Carrey has tweeted :

    "I’m dumping my @facebook stock and deleting my page because @facebook profited from Russian interference in our elections and they’re still not doing enough to stop it”, 56-year-old Carrey tweeted.

    Big news about what someone said on twitter.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Since Nov 2006 • 752 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    This is a clip from When We Were Kings, a film that recounts the story of The Rumble in the Jungle – the fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Kinshasa in 1974.

    George Plimpton at 1m38s:

    I was very interested in people called “féticheurs”. They are witches, soothsayers, and in Western Africa almost everybody has one. It’s like a witch doctor and you go to a witch doctor the way we would go to a dentist. Muhammad Ali had been to Mobutu Sese Seko’s féticheur.

    And he had said that the féticheur had said that a woman with trembling hands would somehow get to [the heavily favoured] Foreman. A succubus. And that impressed me enormously.

    Plimpton at 13m47s:

    Ali came off the ropes and hit [Foreman] with a right and you can see the sweat pour off like a fountain from Foreman’s face and you suddenly realised there was design in this madness.

    So I turned to Norman, I remember – he must have been somewhat puzzled, but I said, “The succubus has got him!”, referring to this woman with the trembling hands that the witch doctors had said would touch Foreman and destroy him.

    It’s worth watching the whole film if you haven’t already seen it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 752 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I was just watching a White House Press Conference - with some Trump mouthpiece spruiking up the economy - and he said "...as we are approaching the 21st century" !!!
    That explains a lot...
    (I'm just not sure which century they think they are in)

    I'm also guessing Trump's solution for Church Shootings will be to arm the clergy.

    Personally I think if they want to keep their 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms, they should have an amnesty where everyone has to trade in their military and automatic or assault weapons for single load muskets and flintlock pistols.
    That might make them engage in dialogue before shooting first...

    ...and address their anger problems.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7630 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The other shoe just dropped for me - when I read that Trump's unqualified head of Education - Betsy DeVos, was at one of the public meetings - as Erik "Blackwater' Prince's sister she'll probably suggest private security firms for 'defense of schools' - Prince sold Blackwater a while ago but still seems to be in the security business and is a big Trump supporter - He does love family businesses our Donald....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7630 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Given "private security firms" and their "close links" to certain figures in the US govt (not to mention the winking and nodding relationship with US security and intelligence forces), I start to feel the slightest glimmerings of sympathy for the insistence of certain sectors of US society on their 2nd Amendment "rights" (in which, let us not forget, the militia bit was freely interpreted by Scalia et al to pretty much comprise a militia of one person).

    Not that any normal civilian would have any hope of firing back at a team of Blackwater operatives contracted to do roundups on behalf of ICE, as a fanciful example, but I can start to see why they'd want the illusion of being able to do so.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 696 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Jack Dorsey Puts His Foot Down: Twitter Will Never Ban Trump

    The company explicitly articulates its “world leaders” exception, which makes clear just how beholden Twitter is to the president.

    Maya Kosoff January 5, 2018 6:39 pm

    On Tuesday, Donald Trump tweeted more than a dozen times, and one of those tweets just happened to involve an ongoing game of rhetorical chicken with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the topic of nuclear war. “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,’” the president wrote. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

    Among those with a reasonable fear of nuclear annihilation, the response was swift. Thousands called for the president’s account to be suspended, claiming that he was breaking Twitter’s own rules against threatening violence. But when a handful of users attempted to report the tweet, Twitter informed them there was no issue. Others, such as Slate’s Will Oremus, made the case that trying to kick Trump off of Twitter was a pointless fantasy, and that banning him from the platform would be counterproductive. Instead, the argument goes, liberals should let Trump tweet to his heart’s content; surely his erratic and often impulsive missives are the best way to put an early end to his presidency.

    It was this article, which is headlined: “Banning Donald Trump From Twitter Is a Misguided Liberal Fantasy,” that Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey tweeted out on Friday. He also shared a link to an entry posted to Twitter’s blog. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” the post read. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.” (Though it doesn’t mention Trump by name, the post also addresses the theory that it allows Trump to stay on its platform due to the popularity of his account: “No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions,” it reads.)

    Days after the issue at hand (a.k.a. eons in Twitter Time), it seems the tech giant has again changed course. Twitter had previously defended its decision to let the president tweet; in the fall, after another North Korea-related incident, the company said that the “newsworthiness” and “public interest” value of the tweets meant Trump’s account would remain intact. Now, it appears to be saying that world leaders and their tweets—or at least Trump and his—are judged on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of whether its justification is sound, the fact remains that Twitter is beholden to Trump, and it will continue to make up rules that
    accommodate his erratic behavior.

    This article is interesting. It’s critical of how the Twitter platform supports Donald Trump’s behaviour. Including the nuclear war rhetoric! But the author is promoting there own twitter profile on the very same page. It’s getting harder to take some of these journalists seriously. Or less, polititions who think letting the world know when they are having a glass of wine with there middle class children, on the same platform as Donald Trump.

    Maybe I see the world differently.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Another big news agency with concerns about world leaders twittering foolishly And again, Twitter and Facebook portals plastered all over the same page.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Good news, our Prime minister uses social media moderately. And seems to understand it’s like going on commercial radio, and drinking alco-pops.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3995 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    So… Rex Tillerson has been fired just as Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un to discuss the future of the Korean peninsula… I call on Trump to resign the presidency and to thereby end this humiliating farce.

    The Arab Weekly has an interesting article on witchcraft in Iraq:

    The phenomena of magic, superstition and belief in supernatural creatures — jinns — have become widespread and popular amid the lawlessness of post-2003 Iraq. The practitioners of the dark arts prey on people who have family, social or financial troubles with the promise of quick solutions.

    “Oum Aya” claims to be a certified astrologist from a specialised Egyptian institute. She does not hide her activities, practising them at her luxurious home in Baghdad’s posh al-Waziriya neighbourhood. Her clients are from all different socio-economic backgrounds and include politicians and government officials.

    “They (politicians) are mostly interested in preserving their posts and seek (magic) assistance to stay in their (lucrative) functions as much as possible,” she said, noting that she was most solicited during election time with candidates visiting her to increase their chances to win parliamentary seats.

    This is an interesting article about Ne Win, the Burmese dictator who deposed Prime Minister U Nu in 1962 by coup d’etat having decided that “parliamentary democracy was not suitable for Burma”:

    Devoted to numerology, astrology and yadaya – a form of Burmese ritual magic that draws heavily on those two disciplines – Ne Win’s decisions were guided not only by politicians, generals and civil servants, but by soothsayers. […]

    Writing in Perfect Hostage: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Prisoner of Conscience, Justin Wintle recalls that when a soothsayer warned the dictator that he risked assassination, Ne Win would stand in front of a mirror and shoot his image with the revolver he kept at his side. When warned of a bloodbath, he was advised stand in front of the mirror and trample on dog entrails or in a bowl of pig’s blood to simulate the carnage.

    The use of dog entrails was no coincidence either, whenever he travelled the country (whether in a fleet of helicopter or vast armoured motorcade of jeeps and limos) he would have all the stray dogs in the location slaughtered by his men prior to his arrival. His soothsayer had told him to steer clear of dogs, especially ones with crooked tails.

    Other stories recounted by visitors to the country include Ne Win ordering a pilot to circle around his birthplace while he sat in the plane on a wooden horse, stepping backwards onto bridges or walking around the streets of Burma’s capital Rangoon at night dressed as a king.

    Perhaps the most bizarre, evocative and downright ghoulish story surrounding the dictator is that he bathed in the blood of dolphins which he believed would keep him young, like some surreal Burmese answer to Countess Bathory.

    Witchcraft is more prevalent and more dangerous than you think it is. Don’t get involved in the occult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 752 posts Report Reply

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