May 2017 Archives

Not a Book for Children

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The Spurious Scandal of 'Communism for Kids'

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Jacob Blumenfeld

To the dismay of parents everywhere, the MIT Press recently published a little red and white book titled "Communism for Kids." It teaches children how to run gulags, imitate genocidal dictators, praise Satan and pretty much destroy Western civilization -- all for a reasonable price of $12.95. The author proudly endorses Barack Obama, Joseph Stalin, Bernie Sanders, Mao, Fidel Castro and millions of other communists who murdered 80 billion people, all the while surreptitiously spreading Jewish, queer and anti-American values to the next generation of freedom-seeking youngsters. At least, that's more or less the story according to Breitbart, National Review, American Conservative, The Daily Beast, The Daily Signal, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder, The Blaze, Pamela Geller, The Christian Truther, The Washington Free Beacon and Fox News.

Not to mention the tens of thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and Amazon reviews that virulently concur.

There's only one small problem: None of it is true.

Dark Matter Hunt

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World's Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Gives Its First Results

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by Ian O'Neill

After three years of construction, the world's most sensitive dark matter experiment is online, and scientists report that the detector is operating as designed.

The XENON1T detector hasn't found any dark matter particles yet, but it has carried out a 30-day science run, and project scientists are optimistic about the future.

"The best result on dark matter so far! ... and we have just started!" the XENON1T team said in a statement.

The XENON1T experiment is located deep beneath a mountain at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy (known by its Italian acronym, LNGS) so it can be shielded from interference caused by cosmic rays and other radiation sources on Earth's surface.

XENON1T is looking for the microscopic fireworks created by weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) crashing into xenon atoms. WIMPs are hypothetical particles that many scientists think are a primary component of dark matter.

Astronomical observations have confirmed that only about 15 percent of the material universe is composed of "ordinary" (or "baryonic") matter; nearly 85 percent is mysterious dark matter, which cannot be observed directly by telescopes. But dark matter's gravity can be measured indirectly via its effects on galaxy clusters and the rotation rates of galaxies, so we know it's out there.

Because WIMPs are so "weakly interacting" -- that is, they cannot interact with normal matter via the electromagnetic, strong or weak forces -- XENON1T can detect them only by looking out for lucky collisions between WIMPs and atoms in a chamber filled with pure liquid xenon cooled to minus 139 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 95 degrees Celsius).

NOAA 2017

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Honesty

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

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Random

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So instead of halting the production of plastic, experts argue we need to attack the problem at its weakest points. And that varies throughout the world. Take the U.S. and China. Although America generates nearly twice as much waste per person per day as China does, China tops the list of polluters.

That's because the U.S. has the proper infrastructure to get rid of waste (not that it's perfect), whereas in rural China, there's simply no trash collection at all.

Newsweek on Trump's Business Failures

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Donald Trump's Many Business Failures, Explained

Trump's big line is he should be president because he is a successful businessman. After reading this devastating Newsweek story, no Trump apologist can ever say that again.

The story goes through the bankruptcies of course, but there are defaults, people ripped off, and lie upon lie upon lie upon lie.

Favorite stuff from the article:


Trump lied to Congress.
Trump was publicly insulting Native Americans while other real business people were making deals to help manage their casinos.
Trump signed a deal with one Native American casino, and they paid him $6 million to go away.
Trump punched his second grade teacher
Trump lied in his books, then blamed the same woman he blamed for Melania Trump's plagiarized speech.
Trump lied in a filing with a bank where he was trying to get a loan about how much he was worth.
Trump lied about how much money he got from his dad.
Trump's dad gave him illegal loans by taking cash to his casino, turning it over at a craps table, loading up a suitcase with $5,000 chips, and leaving.
Trump's earliest deals all lost money and he only did well when his dad guaranteed loans.
Trump spent $1 million per plane to turn a shuttle into a luxury trip that no one wanted to take. The planes were only worth $4 million each.

Stupid Watergate

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Moral Realism

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The Alienated Mind


by David Brooks

The campaign of 2016 was an education in the deep problems facing the country. Angry voters made a few things abundantly clear: that modern democratic capitalism is not working for them; that basic institutions like the family and communities are falling apart; that we have a college educated elite that has found ingenious ways to make everybody else feel invisible, that has managed to transfer wealth upward to itself, that crashes the hammer of political correctness down on anybody who does not have faculty lounge views.

As Robert W. Merry put it recently in The American Conservative, "When a man as uncouth and reckless as Trump becomes president by running against the nation's elites, it's a strong signal that the elites are the problem."

The last four months, on the other hand, have been an education in the shortcomings in populism. It's not only that Donald Trump is a bad president. It's that movements fueled by alienation are bound to fail.

Alienation, the sociologist Robert Nisbet wrote, is a "state of mind that can find a social order remote, incomprehensible or fraudulent; beyond real hope or desire; inviting apathy, boredom, or even hostility."

The alienated long for something that will smash the system or change their situation, but they have no actual plan or any means to deliver it. The alienated are a hodgepodge of disparate groups. They have no positive agenda beyond the sort of fake shiny objects Trump ran on (Build a Wall!). They offer up no governing class competent enough to get things done.

As Yuval Levin argues in a brilliant essay in Modern Age, "Alienation can sometimes make for a powerful organizing principle for an electoral coalition. ... But it does not make for a natural organizing principle for a governing coalition."

Worse, alienation breeds a distrust that corrodes any collective effort. To be "woke" in the alienated culture is to embrace the most cynical interpretation of every situation, to assume bad intent in every actor, to imagine the conspiratorial malevolence of your foes.

Alienation breeds a hysterical public conversation. Its public intellectuals are addicted to overstatement, sloppiness, pessimism, and despair. They are self-indulgent and self-lionizing prophets of doom who use formulations like "the Flight 93 election" -- who speak of every problem as if it were the apocalypse.

True Dat

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When You're Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression

Well-Known South African Game Hunter Dies After Elephant Falls On Him

by Safia Samee Ali

A South African game hunter died after an elephant ravaged by gunshots collapsed on him at a Zimbabwe animal reserve on Friday, according to local authorities.

botha-hunter.jpgWhile on a 10-day hunting expedition with several clients, 51-year-old big game hunter Theunis Botha "unknowingly" came across a herd of breeding elephants near the Hwange National Park, park spokesman Simukai Nyasha told the Associated Press.

Botha's group spooked the herd and three elephant cows immediately charged at them -- prompting Botha to open fire on the animals, according to South Africa's News24.

A fourth cow stormed at the group from the side, lifting Botha up with its trunk. One of the members of the group fired shots at the elephant causing the animal to collapse on Botha, crushing him to death.

The Privatization Scam

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A similar argument was advanced by Noam Chomsky in a 2011 lecture titled "The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival". He said:

[T]here is a standard technique of privatization, namely defund what you want to privatize. Like when Thatcher wanted to [privatize] the railroads, first thing to do is defund them, then they don't work and people get angry and they want a change. You say okay, privatize them . . . .

Privatization (or "asset relocation" as it is sometimes euphemistically called) means selling public utilities to private equity investors, who them rent them back to the public, squeezing their profits from high user fees and tolls. Private equity investment now generates an average return of about 11.8 percent annually on a ten-year basis. That puts the cost to the public of financing $1 trillion in infrastructure projects over 10 years at around $1.18 trillion, more than doubling the cost. Moving assets off the government's balance sheet by privatizing them looks attractive to politicians concerned with this year's bottom line, but it's a bad deal for the public. Decades from now, people will still be paying higher tolls for the sake of Wall Street profits on an asset that could have belonged to them all along.

Daily KOS Appeal

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MIchael, next week is Daily Kos' 15-year anniversary.

I started Daily Kos back in 2002 as a voice of resistance to a dangerous, dishonest, oligarchical, war-crazed administration. But the Bush years look like the good ol' days now.

Donald Trump is not just unfit for the presidency--he's a direct threat to the country itself. He's appointed white supremacists to key White House positions, made crackpot claims about being wiretapped, and obstructed justice by firing James Comey in the middle of an investigation into Trump's campaign. And through it all, his dangerous abuses of power, his tinfoil hat Twitter rants, and wild conflicts of interest have been ignored and accepted by Republicans in Congress who are more interested in tax cuts for rich people than protecting and defending the Constitution.

America needs activist, liberal media outlets now more than ever. Daily Kos is prepared to resist Trump every single day until we beat his ass in 2020 or impeach and remove him from office.

Can you chip in $5 a month to help Daily Kos keep fighting?

Can't contribute monthy? Click here to chip in $5 one time.

Keep fighting,

Markos Moulitsas

Founder and Publisher, Daily Kos
Daily Kos, PO Box 70036, Oakland, CA, 94612.


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