Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August, 2015

A deserving journalist is flogged.

Posted by Charles II on August 29, 2015

That is, a journalist who should have been flogged, was. Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s next iteration of an afactual fact checker, awarded Bernie Sanders Four Pinocchios for this:

“A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), interview in the Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2015

[Added: Historian Mark Roseman, interviewed by Deutsche Welle agrees with Sanders, saying that the Nazis were by far the largest single party.]

Kessler recites the facts that he says proves Sanders is a four Pinocchio liar:

In 1930, the Nazi party won a surprising increase in the number of seats in the Reichstag (Parliament), going from 12 to 107 seats (out of 608), making it the second-largest party.

Hitler…placed a distant second when the elections were held March 13, 1932. Hindenburg received 49.6 percent, just short of a majority to avoid a run-off, compared to 30.1 percent for Hitler.

When the run-off election (with three candidates) took place April 10, Hindenburg received 53 percent and Hitler 36.8 percent.

The new chancellor, Franz von Papen, called for a new Reichstag election in an effort to bolster his position, but the July 31 elections resulted in the Nazis winning 230 seats and 37 percent of the popular vote.

The government fell and yet more elections were held for the Reichstag on Nov. 6. This time, the Nazis lost 34 seats, ending up with 196.

But Hindenburg’s next choice for chancellor also could not form a government. Finally, on Jan. 30, 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor in an effort to break the deadlock.

Hitler then dissolved the Reichstag and called for new elections, set for March 5.

But on Feb. 27, the Reichstag building was burned, with the deep involvement of the Nazis — who then pinned the blame on their main rival, the Communists. Hitler asked Hindenburg for a decree that suspended many civil liberties and gave his government vast powers to crush his opposition. Thousands of people were arrested. Yet even so, with all the propaganda tools of the state at their disposal, the Nazis were still unable to win a majority of the vote March 5, receiving 44 percent.

Dylan Matthews of VOX reams Kessler, pointing out that Germany is a parliamentary democracy. You don’t need a majority, just enough seats to form a government:

Kessler’s argument basically boils down to the fact that when Adolf Hitler personally ran for Reichspresident in 1932, he lost to the incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. But this is obviously not what Sanders was referring to. He was referencing the fact that the Nazi Party, with Hitler as its leader, became the plurality party in the Reichstag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, in July 1932. And though the party lost seats that November, it retained its status as the largest party.

Kessler awarded four Pinocchios to Sanders. That’s the same as calling him a liar.

Lost in all of this was Sanders’ point: Elections matter. Hitler gained power largely through legal means, not by a military coup.

Just as that lover of democracy, Jeff Bezos, got control of the Washington Post through legal means, and is using it to promote an illegal war with Iran and attacks on progressives.

At any rate, Kessler’s readers called him on this. I did not see a single comment supporting him. I hope that people will write to the reader’s representative (readers@washpost.com) and reinforce the message that when a newspaper’s fact-checker has little regard for the truth, it reflects ill upon the institution.
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Added: Glenn Kessler does have a little bit of support… from the Hitler was a socialist and so is Bernie Sanders crowd:

struth
6:25 AM MST
history and facts have never been strong subjects for the left.

FYI, Sanders and Hitler were both socialist…so at least they got that in common.
LikeReplyShare

rorahl
6:14 AM MST
Angry Populists in 1932, angry populists in 2015.
1932: They say “A conspiracy of rich Jewish bankers is the cause of all our problems!”
2015: They say “A conspiracy of rich bankers (many of whom are Jewish) is the cause of all our problems!”

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

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Posted in Media machine | Comments Off on A deserving journalist is flogged.

A case for the Crown

Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2015

Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian:

The Crown Prosecution Service is considering bringing corporate charges against Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper publisher over phone hacking, it has emerged.

The Metropolitan police handed over a file of evidence on News International – now renamed News UK – to the CPS for consideration after an investigation stretching back to 2011, when the News of the World was closed at the height of the scandal.

“We have received a full file of evidence for consideration of corporate liability charges relating to the Operation Weeting phone-hacking investigation,” a spokeswoman confirmed.

Posted in crimes, Fox Noise, media, Rupert Murdoch | 1 Comment »

Stephen Cohen on Ukraine

Posted by Charles II on August 26, 2015

Stephen Cohen, 8/25 on John Batchelor Show.

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | Comments Off on Stephen Cohen on Ukraine

Stiglitz

Posted by Charles II on August 26, 2015

http://podcast.ft.com/p/2926

Posted in economy | Comments Off on Stiglitz

Using more than 10% of our brain: more thoughts on mitigating global warming

Posted by Charles II on August 24, 2015

OK, so suppose that we were to do as I suggested and bring ocean water inland to mitigate sea level rises, then evaporating it to generate power and create fresh water. This would serve the purpose of cooling the continental interior, bringing water inland to substitute for the degradation of the natural conveyor, and generate power without burning carbon.

We understand the technology, and it is not without its problems

Laurene Veale, MIT Technology Review:

[The basic issue is that there is very little freshwater]


The two main desalination processes are Multistage Flash (MSF) distillation and Reverse Osmosis (RO)

A more radical solution [than reverse osmosis] is solar-powered desalination, now being deployed in Tunisia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with Jordan and Morocco announcing their intention to desalinate water with renewable energy.

However solar or wind power will not resolve a major environmental challenge posed by desalination: brine, the highly saline slush created from the desalination process. For every litre of freshwater, a litre of brine is produced. “When desalination is done inland, far from the coastline, dealing with the brine is a problem. You cannot dump it in the sea, and the only solution it to dump in the ground, but this contributes to increasing the salinity of the groundwater, which is destructive for the environment” explains Arafat.

Discharging the brine back into the sea is harshly criticised by marine biologists, who deplore its destructive impact on the marine environment. The high salinity and the high temperature of the brine can destroy marine flora and micro-organisms which in turn affects the entire marine food chain in the area.

One of the solutions proposed by Arafat is to crystallise the brine to make salt…

Now, this isn’t the last word.

1. Reverse osmosis also can cause damage to marine systems. One solution is to distribute the high-salinity effluent over a large area.
2. It’s not impossible, as the article implies for desalination to be done far from the sea. There’s just an associated energy cost.
3. The problem for marine systems is not just with output. It’s with input as well. One doesn’t want to sweep up plants and small animals with the intake feed. And then there’s the point that effluent can alter the temperature of the effluent and damage marine systems that way.
4. The problem of contaminating groundwater is real, and has to be dealt with.

But these are not impossibilities. They are simply technical problems to be overcome. For example, one could consider using the high brine effluent to grow brine tolerant plants. Here’s an ARAMCO document by Luis Lujan Rodriguez on desalination:

Desalination discharges have been shown to represent detectable environmental effects in seagrass habitats, phytoplankton, invertebrate and fish communities in areas near the discharge sites. Some species show that an increase in salinity of only 1-2 parts per thousand (ppt) can affect highly sensitive seagrasses. Salinities of 40-45 ppt increase the mortality in exposed plants, and epifaunal mysids and echinoderms. Other marine animal species may also be affected as some species of worms have been observed to become more dominant whereas others decreased in diversity up to a distance of 400 m from a discharge point. Reductions in the abundance of plankton, sessile invertebrates, and echinoderms can also be related to the discharge of brines especially when the copper concentration was high.

In addition to diluting the salt with other wastewater, this document suggests extracting valuable (e.g. precious metal) and toxic (e.g. copper)salts from the effluent, and converting the salt using CO2 into sodium bicarbonate (which additionally sequesters carbon).

But this is far from exhaustive. One could, for example, use brine tolerant plankton (or other aquatic life) to concentrate the salt, then release the organisms back into the environment. One simple example: grow algae or seaweed, then use them as human or animal food. In the case of plankton, one could release them into the sea to help restore the damage we have already caused to the ocean.

The point is that we haven’t even really thought about the issue. When we do, we will think of solutions. But our immediate problem is that global warming will radically damage our productive industrial plant, trigger conflicts, and reduce agricultural productivity due to interior continental warming. We do need to cut carbon emissions. But that’s not going to happen overnight. We need to use all our brainpower as a species.

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Added, from Phoenix Woman’s link (Tina Casey, Clean Technica), on the recovery of valuable minerals from saline water:

Here’s how it works on the agricultural drainage water of Central Valley, which is typically discarded as an unsuable byproduct of irrigation. The salinity level for drainage water in that region can range higher than the content of seawater.

Phase 2 is where the rubber will hit the road in terms of resource recovery. Due for completion this fall, phase 2 is expected to demonstrate that resource recovery can from the brine can be managed with minimal environmental impacts, if any.

The recoverable products include gypsum and calcium compounds that are widely used in the building industry for drywall, plaster, and cement.

Also present in the brine from this particular drainage area are magnesium salts, which are used in the medical industry, selenium (a health supplement), nitrates (fertilizer), and boron, best known for its use in bleach and pyrotechnics among many other uses.

Boron is also coming into its own in high-efficiency electronics and cutting edge solar technology, and for the record, selenium is also used in electronics as well as glass making, so altogether the region could be looking at a new high-value, job-creating industry in tandem with its agriculture base.

Posted in climate change, environment, global warming | 7 Comments »

Look out below, Asia edition

Posted by Charles II on August 23, 2015

Shanghai-exchange-8-23-15

Image from CNBC

US set to open down two percentage points or more.

Posted in stock market | 1 Comment »

GOP’s E-Ghazi Committee Stored Hillary Clinton’s Emails On Unsecured Network

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 21, 2015

That popping sound you just heard was that of yet another anti-Clinton FauxGate bubble bursting, courtesy of HRC’s new press secretary Brian Fallon (NYT via DailyKos):

“Just as an aside, for the I.G. to now declare the material as classified, since it was provided by State to the House Benghazi committee earlier this year in unredacted form, presumably that means that members of the House Benghazi committee may have unwittingly handled classified material on unclassified systems within the House of Representatives,” Mr. Fallon said.

“Now, I don’t think that anybody here at the Clinton campaign is going to say that members of, say, Chairman Gowdy’s staff should have their computers confiscated for having possibly trafficked in classified material,” he said. “I don’t think we would say that. But that is, fundamentally, the same logic behind the I.G.’s referral to the State Department with respect to Mrs. Clinton’s server, since she was at worst a passive recipient of unwitting information that subsequently became deemed as classified. Let’s raise that as an aside.”

And guess what?  Fallon was right:

A spokesman for the Democrats on the committee, who make up the minority, said in an email that the documents the committee received were not marked classified, adding, “Like Secretary Clinton, Committee members and staff could not have known to treat the documents as classified when we received them, because it was not marked or easily identifiable as classified information.”

Ooooops.

Of course, the Beltway media hate the Clintons so much that they will likely wait until Monday, then try to reinflate the popped FauxGate as if this had never happened.  Because the Clinton Rules are still and always will be in effect.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on GOP’s E-Ghazi Committee Stored Hillary Clinton’s Emails On Unsecured Network

Scientists haven’t reached any definite conclusions

Posted by Charles II on August 21, 2015

Western-Wildfires-8-21-15

From ESRI

Posted in climate change, global warming | Comments Off on Scientists haven’t reached any definite conclusions

Start your day with a song

Posted by Charles II on August 21, 2015

How about Ça Ira

I was reading, in a book about the early American Republic, that this was a song favored by the democratic republicans in their opposition to the American Tories (now known as Republicans)

Also listen to La Carmagnole, written in honor of Marie Antoinette (Madame Veto):

Very peppy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Start your day with a song

A uniter, not a divider

Posted by Charles II on August 19, 2015

M. K. Bradrakumar, ATimes

From all accounts, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a highly successful visit to Moscow on Monday. The single biggest outcome of his talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov should be the signing of the contract for the delivery of upgraded S-300 missiles by Russia to Iran.

The official Russian media reported that the delivery of the missile systems will take place 30-40 days after the signing of the agreement in Moscow (which is expected to be on Aug. 25.)

There is much political symbolism here insofar as Moscow is plainly mocking at the timeline of the US Congress’s approval/disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal will be mid-September. Clearly, as far as Moscow is concerned, Iran’s integration with the world community is deemed to have happened already.

Of course, the S-300 is not covered by any sanctions, since it is categorized as a “defensive” weapon. Nonetheless, the White House has protested. And, to be sure, this time around Moscow will ignore the protest.

The American and Israeli experts have admitted that the S-300 will be a game changer in the strategic balance in the Middle East, since it is a formidable weapon that will make an air attack on Iran very prohibitively expensive.

But that is not the whole story. The fact remains that China is also waiting in the wings. A commentary in the government-owned China Daily on Monday was the latest report speculating on a deal in the pipeline for the supply by China of the J-10 multi-role fighter jet to Iran. The report suggested that not only is the J-10 a “good option for Iran … capable of performing air-to-surface strikes and anti-ship strikes” but “China is also very flexible in payment issues” and “it is highly possible that Chinese aviation industry will transfer technology used on the J-10 to buyers.”

The U.S. has certainly managed to unite all of our potential adversaries. A uniter, not a divider, as Dubya once said.

Posted in China, Russia | Comments Off on A uniter, not a divider

 
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