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Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Thanks WI65, for opening up today. Regarding Trumps blow out of the Iowa Primary, check out John Nichols response on DemocracyNow today.

Despite Trump’s Triumph in Iowa, Many GOP Voters Say Legal Troubles Could Make Him Unfit for Office

orlbucfan

Nichols has always been great. tRump’s bad makeup gets worse.

Benny

+270

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

At DWT today, Thomas Neuberger pens an interesting piece that starts out with this interesting title and analogy –

Predators and Prey: Subverting Liberal and Populist Institutions

“A single egg is laid on the abdomen of the spider. … The egg hatches and the larva feeds on the spider. As the larva feeds on its host, it saves the vital organs, such as the heart and central nervous system, for last. By waiting until the final larval instar, it ensures the spider will not decompose before the larva has fully developed.”
—Wikipedia on the spider wasp

Subverting Academia

The seed for this piece is an article published at Juan Cole’s site, Informed Comment, and written by Ted Swedenburg. But the trees made from that seed are everywhere.

The article’s title is “Setting the Record Straight: Weaponizing Antisemitism to Cancel Academic Free Speech”.
It starts:
As someone who believes deeply in human rights for all, who has spent a great deal of time in Palestine and Israel and cares a great deal about the people there, and who is very concerned and grieved about the loss of life in Israel on Oct. 7 and the subsequent massive deaths since that date in Gaza, I was very excited about the opportunity to participate in a forum on the Gaza conflict, sponsored by the University of Arkansas Honors College, that was to be held on Nov. 8. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled after charges of antisemitism were leveled against me and the other scheduled speaker, Professor Joel Gordon. Subsequently, due to the atmosphere created by such claims, not a single public event dealing with the Gaza Strip violence took place at the state’s flagship university in fall semester 2023.
On one level, this is about the all-too-common assaults on critics of Israeli genocide disguised as protection of liberal values and minority rights. There have been many such assaults.

But consider this:
The charge against us was made by Jay Greene, a former University of Arkansas professor now at the Heritage Foundation, with Fayetteville-based Conduit News. Greene’s accusations played a major role in the decision to cancel the event.
And this:
Investigative journalist James Bamford describes in The Nation the efforts of one of the most important organizations involved in this campaign, the well-funded Canary Mission. This organization, Bamford shows, is “a massive blacklisting and doxing operation directed from Israel that targets students and professors critical of Israeli policies, and then launches slanderous charges against them — charges designed to embarrass and humiliate them and damage their future employability.”
So broadly, this is an op (I’m deliberately using NatSec State language) run by and through the Heritage Foundation and the Israeli-funded and directed Canary Mission.

These organizations act like parasites. Their host in this case is the University itself, whose political discourse they invade. What they kill are those parts of the university community that are friends of the University’s mission but enemies of their own — protection of Israel at all costs.

He continues with
Subverting the Southern Baptist Convention

and
Subverting Liberal Churches

And ending with his predator analogy,
Predators and Prey

What’s common in all of these examples, is the takeover of institutions by a disciplined, well-funded outside group, with the goal of subverting its power for non-institutional purposes.

The spider wasp lays eggs in spiders and uses them as host and food for its larvae. These groups do the same. The connection to religion is purely coincidental, as the first example shows.

This is how PBS was subverted through the Reagan era — by the time Bush II became president, they happy to sell his war. This is how the DLC subverted the Democratic Party to work against worker interests and rights. Note the hand of the rich in all these stories.

Examples are everywhere. In essence, these are military ops using spook state tactics. These ops are why much of the world is the way it is.

But the tactic is often invisible, designed to be hidden. Which is why I wanted to bring it to your attention. What the Israeli government is doing here is a well-trod path.

Check out the entire article at
https://www.downwithtyranny.com/post/predators-and-prey-subverting-liberal-and-populist-institutions?postId=2b791c2d-6c43-4f5a-97ff-af9bbd631dfb&utm_campaign=92229af9-25cf-4b95-a915-219a8a06c02d&utm_source=so&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=9e804b30-a352-4274-9d61-73fe6517f674&cid=bb23cea9-cd29-4fea-85c0-ca002ba5cb6a

Wasp.jpg
orlbucfan

Arkansas makes the Sandbar Peninsula look civilized. More religious fanaticism there which helps out the FRight Zionists. Spider Wasps are part of nature. Canary Mission garbage is not.

jcitybone

Most of the Dem senators are just fine with Israel’s actions in Gaza.

https://www.businessinsider.com/which-senators-voted-bernie-sanders-resolution-israel-human-rights-violations-2024-1?amp

Here are the 11 senators who backed Sanders’s resolution:

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky

Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts

Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler of California

Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii

Democratic Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

jcitybone

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Wow! My girl didn’t hold back.

jcitybone

orlbucfan

Keep it up, Byedone. On a local note, a Dem won a FL House seat here in a Special Election. The local grassroots, etc. helped the Party flip the seat. There is a lot of discontent here. Abortion was one of the issues.

Paul ADK

Yup. If it were any other nation on Earth, committing these atrocities? They’d have been roundly condemned by now, within and outside the UN, and well on their way to being a pariah state. But it’s Israel, so they get a pass. I wonder how long this is going to go on.

jcitybone

orlbucfan

I noticed those numbers. AIPAC and other related garbage dumps have had American Congress members in their $$pockets for years.

jcitybone

Hopefully more to come

Benny

orlbucfan

Haaretz is read by a lot of Jews.

Benny

I was looking at a financial database’s news, which covers Reuters, IFC and a few others. Ukraine Crisis (not war) was one of the hot topics. Nothing about Israel or Gaza crisis.

Paul ADK

I don’t watch the corporate news much, but whenever I do there is understated reporting of the Israeli atrocities in Gaza, and then an immediate pivot to the family of a hostage. At least we can hope that by the time the GOP is through equating imprisoned insurrectionists with hostages, that word will have lost some of its emotional gut punch impact.

jcitybone

LOL

orlbucfan

Well, I’ll be da##ed. s/

orlbucfan

T and R x 7, wi65!! 🙂 Hubster said if you do the numbers, Maggotbrains didn’t do that well. I agree.

Benny

Companies that use AI to replace workers will ultimately lose, Stanford University professor says

Companies are racing to deploy AI in the workplace but one Stanford University professor said the technology should be used to “complement people” rather than replace them altogether.

Erik Brynjolfsson, a director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab and a professor, spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday during a session called “The World in Numbers: Jobs.” Brynjolfsson also co-authored the 20111 book “Race Against the Machine.”

Brynjolfsson explained that savvy companies will use AI in conjunction with workers because some tasks are better completed by humans and others by machines.

“It can happen through augmentation and that means you don’t try to replace the entire task or the entire occupation, you use the tool to augment it,” Brynjolfsson said giving the example of a study carried out in a call center.

“We studied how you could use generative AI to help the call center operators do a better job and within three to four months, they were already on average about 14% more productive — more calls per hour,” he said.

“They also had higher customer satisfaction, they also had less employee turnover. So stockholders, customers, workers all were better off,” he added.

He added that the company was successful in implementing AI in that way because “they let the humans do what they were good at and the machines do what they’re good at.”

Some companies have been laying off workers as they implement AI.

Duolingo recently cut 10% of its contractors. A spokesperson said that the job cuts weren’t a “straight replacement” of workers with AI but that it could be partly attributed to the new technology.

Other companies are using AI to boost their existing workforce. Deloitte, for example, previously said it was using AI to prevent layoffs by having it assess employees’ skills and figure out how to move them into more in-demand roles.

“You can use technologies as competitors and try to replace people and you’re going to lose that race or you can use it to complement people,” Brynjolfsson said.

“We’re not going to have a place where everything gets automated. We’re far from that kind of a world.

“Instead we’re seeing a world where some tasks are automated, some are augmented, and humans are still important. So there’s a new set of combinations that are needed. The companies that do that effectively are going to harvest the greatest productivity gains,” he added.

Some workers are naturally concerned about whether AI is coming for their jobs as the hype around the technology continues.

Two CEOs working on new robotic technologies echoed Brynjolfsson’s point, telling Business Insider that workers don’t need to fear that AI will replace them.

Instead, the technology will take on more dangerous, mundane, or repetitive tasks, leaving humans to focus on more creative, meaningful, and interpersonal work, they said.

orlbucfan

There is no way AI will replace an evolving human brain. I strongly disagree with a lot of brilliant scientific minds on this one. Sure, an AI ‘brain’ will evolve. So, will the human one. Check out the hackers. They’re human, not AI.

Paul ADK

Wow, imagine that. Just what we need, AI hackers.

Benny

Time for Biden to Break With Netanyahu

President Biden’s failure to demand that Prime Minister Netanyahu end Israel’s policy of destroying civilian Gaza could cost Biden the 2024 election by alienating young voters and voters of color, and cost Israel the few friends it has left. After three months of White House assurances that Biden is asking Netanyahu to go a little easier on the Gazans, requests that Netanyahu cynically ignores, Biden looks not only complicit but pathetically weak. Most of Gaza has already been destroyed.

Instead, Biden has settled for totally inadequate token gestures, such as temporary pauses to allow Gazans to travel (to no safe location) or to allow in medical supplies. Netanyahu is playing Biden for a fool, and the whole world is watching. Axios recently quoted Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD): “At every juncture, Netanyahu has given Biden the finger.”

However, Israel’s government has now given Biden the red line that he needs to condition U.S. aid on radical changes in Israel’s policy. The two most extreme members of the Cabinet, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, have said in so many words that the real plan is to depopulate Gaza of Palestinians and open it to Jewish settlement.

To add insult to injury, Netanyahu’s own statements have become more openly defiant of world opinion and of Biden, his paymaster. Axios also reported that Biden and Netanyahu have not spoken in weeks.

Elite opinion has lagged public opinion on the Gaza issue. Yesterday, Bernie Sanders’s resolution calling for a State Department report on human rights violations in Gaza got only 11 votes in the Senate, but polls show that support for a cease-fire and conditioned aid is steadily rising.

Private warnings and pleas have done nothing. It’s time for a Biden speech that goes something like this:

As Prime Minister Netanyahu knows, the United States, Israel’s staunchest ally, has repeatedly called on Israel to minimize loss of civilian life and property in Gaza. These calls have been ignored.

Now, key members of his Cabinet have said that the real goal is not just to eliminate Hamas as a military force but to depopulate Gaza of Palestinians and open it to settlement by Israelis. The same Cabinet members have encouraged settlements and the violent taking of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.

The United States cannot support these policies. It is painful to issue an ultimatum to a good friend, but our friendship is with the State of Israel and the Jewish people, not with the current government and its extremist policies.

Therefore, we request that Prime Minister Netanyahu do the following, by February 1:

  • First, disavow any intent to depopulate Gaza or open it to settlement by Israelis.
  • Second, enforce Israel’s own laws against illegal incursion into Palestinian lands in the West Bank.
  • Third, eject from his Cabinet all members who espouse such policies.
  • Fourth, initiate a cease-fire so that a regional peace conference can begin.

If the Israeli government does not agree to these terms, all U.S. aid will cease as of February 1.

This speech would put Biden back on the side of human decency. It would demonstrate real leadership. It would likely accelerate Netanyahu’s fall from power, something that most Israelis would welcome. Netanyahu’s suicidal policies, which conflate his own political survival with Israel’s survival, are unifying Israel’s enemies, isolating Israel from world public opinion, and making Israel less secure.

Will Biden give such a speech? I am far from optimistic. But if he doesn’t, the needless carnage in Gaza and in Biden’s presidential prospects will continue.

orlbucfan

+270! Preaching to the choir with me. I didn’t vote for Byedone 4 years ago, and I sure won’t now. Even my Yellow Dawg Democrat Hubster is getting fed up.

Benny

Benny

The Shame of the Senate

Senator Bernie Sanders made a simple request of the United States Senate on Tuesday. In the face of Israel’s overwhelming military assault on Gaza, which has left more than 24,000 people dead, severely injured tens of thousands more, and displaced almost 2 million men, women, and children, Sanders asked his colleagues: “Do you support asking the State Department whether human rights violations may have occurred using U.S. equipment or assistance in this war?”

“This is information Congress should have and, whatever your views on this war, this resolution should be something you can support,” Sanders told the Senate. “If you believe that the campaign has been indiscriminate, as I do, then we have a responsibility to ask this question. If you believe Israel has done nothing wrong, then this information should support that belief.”

By this logic, the vote should have been 100-0. After all, the US Constitution, which senators swear to uphold, outlines oversight responsibilities that, at a bare minimum, require legislators to know what is being done with the weapons that this country supplies to a foreign state. Additionally, as Sanders reminded the Senate, there is an urgent need for congressional intervention:

“First, it is necessary because of the scale of the destruction in Gaza, the indiscriminate nature of the military campaign, the humanitarian catastrophe that is now occurring and the limits on humanitarian access—food, water, medical equipment and fuel. Second, because of the extensive use of US weapons in attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. Much of the destruction that has taken place in Gaza has been done with US weapons.”

But logic did not prevail.

The Sanders resolution, which would have begun a process that could have led to a freezing of military aid to Israel under the dictates of the Foreign Assistance Act, was overwhelmingly rejected —on a 72-11 vote—as a majority of senators chose neglect and ignorance over constitutional duty and informed engagement.

The progressive group Justice Democrats summed things up succinctly when it observed that, on a basic question of transparency, Congress “spectacularly failed.”

The failure—the shame—was bipartisan. Of the 72 votes to shut down debate on the issue, the clear majority of them—37—came from Democrats, including that of majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and even that of Senate whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who, unlike Sanders and most of the senators who voted for the resolution, had previously spoken out in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza. Two independents who caucus with the Democrats (Angus King of Maine and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona) also voted to table the resolution, as did 33 Republicans, including minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Seventeen senators—an uncommonly high number—failed to vote, including two Democrats: Chris Coons of Delaware, a close ally of President Biden, and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. (In a statement following the vote, Schatz said that he would have supported the resolution had he been in attendance. He described the resolution as “so far the only available avenue to register our concerns with both the Israeli government’s conduct of the war—which has resulted in over 24,000 civilian casualties—and the undermining of civilian oversight over arms transfers.”)

Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with Senate Democrats, was joined by one Republican, Kentuckian Rand Paul, in his fight to open a debate on the oversight issues. Nine Democrats also supported the effort: Laphonza Butler of California, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Mazie Hirano of Hawaii, Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Peter Welch of Vermont.

Those “yes” votes form a “profile in courage” honor roll of senators who have decried the brutal October 7 attack by Hamas on Gaza but who also recognize that Israel can and should be held to account for its disproportionate response to that attack.

Unfortunately, the honor roll is far too short.

“By voting to halt debate on Senator Sanders’ 502B resolution, S.Res.504, the Senate ducked its responsibility to ensure that respect for human rights and protection of people caught up in conflict remains at the center of U.S. foreign policy,” explained Stephen Miles, the president of the group Win Without War. Miles continued:

“Passing S.Res.504, which invokes a little-known section of the Foreign Assistance Act to request a simple human rights report over the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank, was a no-brainer. It would have compelled the administration to do what it has publicly dodged so far: formally assess whether the Israeli government is violating human rights, which it is already legally obligated to do as it rushes weapons into the conflict. With the deepening of a humanitarian catastrophe and regional crisis that will impact U.S. global standing for years to come, this push for oversight was both necessary and the bare minimum Congress could take up at the moment.”

Miles argued, correctly, that the debate is far from finished: “[The] scale of destruction in Gaza, in addition to the thousands on the street calling for an end to the war, will force this debate back into the Senate’s agenda sooner or later. In the not-too-distant future, even those who opposed this resolution today will act confused at how a majority of the Senate failed to pass such a straightforward request for information.”

Miles is right. This issue is not going away. The senators who voted for the resolution are a base that can be built upon—along with the roughly 60 House members who have endorsed a cease-fire. History reminds us that this is a bigger base than foes of the Vietnam War had in 1964, when only Senators Wayne Morse (D-Ore.) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska) cast lonely votes against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

That’s not a reason to celebrate. That’s a reason to redouble efforts, in the streets and in the Congress, to stop the killing in Gaza—killing for which the United States bears substantial responsibility, as a source of weapons and diplomatic cover for the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “This is a tragedy in which we, the United States of America, are complicit,” Sanders told the Senate on Tuesday. “Much of what is happening right now is being done with US arms and equipment. In other words, whether we like it or not, the US is complicit in the nightmare that millions of Palestinians are now experiencing.”

orlbucfan

They want to see some serious anti-semiticism here! This country has no gun control to boot. The majority of Americans peacefully oppose this genocide, but the gun nuts will be coming out from under their rocks.

Benny

‘Huge Win’: Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against Texas Book Ban

Texas bookstores, national trade associations, and other critics of book bans celebrated on Wednesday after a panel from an ultraconservative U.S. appeals court affirmed a decision to temporarily block part of a new state law intended to restrict what’s allowed in public school libraries.

House Bill 900, or the Restricting Explicit and Adult-Designated Educational Resources (READER) Act, was signed last June by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. This case focuses on the section of the law requiring book vendors that sell to schools to submit ratings about sexual content to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and provide annual updates.

The contested law requires booksellers to label all material as “sexually explicit,” “sexually relevant,” or “no rating.” Sexually explicit books must be removed from school library shelves and cannot be sold to districts, while sexually relevant material cannot be checked out without parental consent. The TEA can make changes to vendors’ ratings.

“Our kids deserve the freedom to read, and their local schools and libraries are no place for censorious adults to push their religious and political agendas.”

A pair of bookstores—Houston’s Blue Willow and BookPeople in Austin—joined with the Association of American Publishers, American Booksellers Association, Authors Guild, and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to challenge the law, arguing that it violates free speech rights and would subject plaintiffs to “irreparable personal and economic injury.”

Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, an appointee of GOP former President Donald Trump, temporarily blocked the book-rating policy in September. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously agreed in a Wednesday opinion penned by Trump-appointed Judge Don Willett.

“The question presented is narrow: Are plaintiffs likely to succeed on their claims that READER violates their First Amendment rights? Controlling precedent suggests the answer is yes,” wrote Willett, joined by Judges Jacques Wiener and Dana Douglas, appointees of former President George H.W. Bush and President Joe Biden, respectively.

While welcoming that the opinion does not apply to newly adopted standards for school library collection development, Texas Rep. Jared Patterson (R-106), who authored H.B. 900, expressed disappointment with the decision and urged Republican state Attorney General Ken Paxton to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Unless Paxton appeals to the high court, the case will return to the district level for full arguments. While there is still a fight ahead, plaintiffs in the case and other critics of the law still celebrated on Wednesday.

“We are grateful for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decisive action in striking down this unconstitutional law,” the plaintiffs said in joint a statement. “With this historic decision the court has moved decisively to ensure the constitutionally protected speech of authors, booksellers, publishers, and readers, and prevent the state government from unlawfully compelling speech on the part of private citizens.”

“The court’s decision also shields Texas businesses from the imposition of impossibly onerous conditions, protects the basic constitutional rights of the plaintiffs, and lets Texas parents make decisions for their own children without government interference or control,” they added. “This is a good day for bookstores, readers, and free expression.”

As the Austin-American Statesman reported:

The decision was great news for Charley Rejsek, CEO of BookPeople.

“They recognized that this law as it’s written would force us to divert time and effort away from our regular business,” Rejsek said. “This was not good for any business.”

Rejsek added that rating books by the April 1 deadline “was completely impossible to do.”
Texas Republicans are among GOP policymakers across the country who have embraced right-wing efforts to ban books at the state and local levels in recent years, initiatives that have often focused on content related to sex, gender identity, and race.

During the 2022-23 school year, PEN America tracked 3,362 instances of book bans in U.S. public school classrooms and libraries cutting off students from 1,557 unique titles. The group noted that this represented a significant increase from figures the previous year and targeted authors were “most frequently female, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+ individuals.”

Texas Freedom Network organizing director Seneca Savoie said in a statement Wednesday that “the courts should exist to protect and defend the rights of everyone in our communities, including our children. We applaud the 5th Circuit for upholding Judge Albright’s initial ruling, rather than aiding our state’s leaders in their endless culture wars and attacks on LGBTQIA+ Texans and our basic freedoms.”

“Our kids deserve the freedom to read, and their local schools and libraries are no place for censorious adults to push their religious and political agendas,” Savoie added. “While we were deeply disheartened that the 5th Circuit previously allowed this unconstitutional law to go into effect knowing that it violates the rights of Texas kids and their families, justice has finally been served.”

As Willett noted in the Wednesday opinion, previously, “a different panel of this court granted the administrative stay.”

orlbucfan

Just wait until the Dictionary ban here gets through to the populace. Gov. Bad Joke is getting killed in the Repuke Primaries. He’ll have to eventually come back and face the music. That Special Election was a loud warning.

polarbear4
polarbear4

thanks for allowing me to drop and run sometimes. here’s brian berletic on us and iran. sources are all linked below the vid. an ex-marine w/a family in thailand now.