August 31, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 7:22 PM

NOW BOOST TRADE:

Iran in compliance with 2015 nuclear deal: IAEA report (Al Jazeera, 8/31/17)

Iran remains in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal made with the world powers, according to a UN atomic watchdog report.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday that Iran's stock of low-enriched uranium is used for peaceful purposes, and did not exceed the agreed limit of 300kg.

The report was the third since the January inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has vowed to "dismantle" the "disastrous" accord between Iran and six major powers curtailing Tehran's atomic activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Posted by orrinj at 6:21 PM

JUSTIFYING EMPIRE:

It's time Charles Darwin was exposed for the fraud he was : Two of his theories about evolution are wrong -- and one resulting 'science' inspired the Nazis (A.N. WILSON,  4 August 2017, Evening Standard)

Darwinism is not science as Mendelian genetics are. It is a theory whose truth is NOT universally acknowledged. But when genetics got going there was also a revival, especially in Britain, of what came to be known as neo-Darwinism, a synthesis of old Darwinian ideas with the new genetics. Why look to Darwin, who made so many mistakes, rather than to Mendel? There was a simple answer to that. Neo-Darwinism was part scientific and in part a religion, or anti-religion. Its most famous exponent alive, Richard Dawkins, said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist. You could say that the apparently impersonal processes of genetics did the same. But the neo-Darwinians could hardly, without absurdity, make Mendel their hero since he was a Roman Catholic monk. So Darwin became the figurehead for a system of thought that (childishly) thought there was one catch-all explanation for How Things Are in nature.

The great fact of evolution was an idea that had been current for at least 50 years before Darwin began his work. His own grandfather pioneered it in England, but on the continent, Goethe, Cuvier, Lamarck and many others realised that life forms evolve through myriad mutations. Darwin wanted to be the Man Who Invented Evolution, so he tried to airbrush all the predecessors out of the story. He even pretended that Erasmus Darwin, his grandfather, had had almost no influence on him. He then brought two new ideas to the evolutionary debate, both of which are false.

One is that evolution only proceeds little by little, that nature never makes leaps. The two most distinguished American palaeontologists of modern times, Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, both demonstrated 30 years ago that this is not true. Palaeontology has come up with almost no missing links of the kind Darwinians believe in. The absence of such transitional forms is, Gould once said, the "trade secret of palaeontology". Instead, the study of fossils and bones shows a series of jumps and leaps.

Hard-core Darwinians try to dispute this, and there are in fact some "missing links" -- the Thrinaxodon, which is a mammal-like reptile, and the Panderichthys, a sort of fish-amphibian. But if the Darwinian theory of natural selection were true, fossils would by now have revealed hundreds of thousands of such examples. Species adapt themselves to their environment, but there are very few transmutations. 

Darwin's second big idea was that Nature is always ruthless: that the strong push out the weak, that compassion and compromise are for cissies whom Nature throws to the wall. Darwin borrowed the phrase "survival of the fittest" from the now forgotten and much discredited philosopher Herbert Spencer. He invented a consolation myth for the selfish class to which he belonged, to persuade them that their neglect of the poor, and the colossal gulf between them and the poor, was the way Nature intended things. He thought his class would outbreed the "savages" (ie the brown peoples of the globe) and the feckless, drunken Irish. Stubbornly, the unfittest survived. Brown, Jewish and Irish people had more babies than the Darwin class. The Darwinians then had to devise the hateful pseudo-science of eugenics, which was a scheme to prevent the poor from breeding.

We all know where that led, and the uses to which the National Socialists put Darwin's dangerous ideas. 

If Napoleon had conquered Britain and the English were a subject people, Darwin would not have even proposed his theories.



Posted by orrinj at 6:54 AM

GUESS WHO'S BEING FIRED TOMORROW AFTERNOON?:

Trump touts tax reform, overlooks White House aide Cohn (James Oliphant, 8/31/17, Reuters) 

U.S. President Donald Trump made his first major tax reform speech on Wednesday, but in a long list of thank yous he did not mention Gary Cohn, the White House point man on taxes who traveled with Trump to the event.

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 AM

DONALD WHO?:

Top advisers in more displays of disagreement with Trump (Jonathan Landay and Jeff Mason, 8/31/17, Reuters) 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis openly differed with his commander in chief over North Korea on Wednesday, the latest example of a once-rare public display of disagreement by top U.S. aides that has become more frequent under President Donald Trump.

"We are never out of diplomatic solutions," Mattis told reporters, just hours after Trump said in a tweet that "talking is not the answer" to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

His public contradiction of Trump's position came a day after the Pentagon chief, a retired four-star Marine general, appeared to delay implementation of Trump's decision to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military.


Posted by orrinj at 6:40 AM

ALWAYS BET ON THE dEEP sTATE:

Robert Mueller Eliminates Trump's Trump Card (Jonathan Chait, 8/31/17, New York)

The presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes. As NBC reported last night, it is possible for state governments to press charges in some of the alleged crimes committed by Trump's cronies. "You would have to find that one of those [election] crimes occurred in New York," Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor, told NBC. Of course, some of the alleged crimes almost certainly did take place in New York. And sure enough, Josh Dawsey reports, Mueller is teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller's and Schneiderman's teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering," he notes.

Trump can pardon anybody facing charges from Mueller, but not from Schneiderman. It is probably significant that Mueller is letting this fact be known to Trump's inner circle. Trump's biggest source of leverage over Mueller just disappeared.

Posted by orrinj at 5:53 AM

IT WAS A CREDIT CRUNCH, NOT A HOUSING BUBBLE:

U.S. house prices to keep rising on supply constraints: Reuters poll (Hari Kishan, 8/31/17, Reuters) 

U.S. house prices are forecast to rise by a cumulative 10 percent over this year and next, driven by a scarcity of new homes, low interest rates and steadily-increasing demand, a Reuters poll of property market analysts showed.

We're gonna need a lot more immigrants to build the stock we need.

Posted by orrinj at 5:44 AM

THAT IS WHAT THE STATUES REPRESENT:

Georgia lawmaker: Talk of ditching Confederate statues could cause Democrat to 'go missing' (Greg Bluestein, August 30, 2017, AJC)

A Georgia Republican lawmaker warned a Democratic former colleague who criticized his support for Civil War monuments on Facebook that she won't be "met with torches but something a lot more definitive" if she continues to call for the removal of statues in south Georgia.

State Rep. Jason Spencer, a Woodbine Republican, also wrote former state Rep. LaDawn Jones that "people in South Georgia are people of action, not drama" and suggested some who don't understand that "will go missing in the Okefenokee."

"Too many necks they are red around here," he wrote. "Don't say I didn't warn you about 'em."

Posted by orrinj at 5:41 AM

ALL HIS STATEMENTS ARE KNOWINGLY FALSE:

Chances Of Trump Impeachment At High Point (Jefferson Morley, August 31, 2017, National Memo)

The question of how Trump sought to deal with Russia is at the heart of Mueller's investigation.

The proposal for a Trump Tower in Moscow was just another manifestation of Trump's long-standing desire to build in Russia. In 2013, he signed a preliminary agreement to build a hotel in Russia in partnership with Aras Agalarov, a billionaire who had financed the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013.

A representative of Agalarov's company attended a June 2016 meeting with top Trump aides and a Russian lawyer organized by Donald Trump Jr. The lawyer offered to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton collected by the Russian government. The meeting was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," according to an email made public by Don Jr.

Six days later, a person identifying himself as "Guccifer 2.0" released a Democratic National Committee file on Trump, stolen from the DNC computers. It was the first in a flood of leaks harmful to Clinton that would continue for the rest of the campaign.

According to an NBC News report Monday, Mueller's team of prosecutors are focusing on Trump's role in drafting a public statement claiming the subject of the meeting was the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

A source "familiar with Mueller's strategy" told NBC that whether or not Trump made a "knowingly false statement" is now of interest to prosecutors.



Posted by orrinj at 5:29 AM

JUST A TWEAK:

The ACA markets are a narrow problem. They should be treated that way. (Drew Altman, 8/31/17,  Kaiser Family Foundation)

[T]he non-group market is actually fairly small, covering about 18 million people, with about 10 million of them in the ACA marketplaces which have received so much attention. [...]

For context: In fact, the rest of the health system where most Americans get their coverage looks very different from the non-group market. As the chart shows:

Average premiums in the employer insurance market, where 151 million Americans get their health coverage, rose by an average of just 3% last year. And we're expecting continued moderation this year.

Likewise, per capita spending for Medicaid is projected to grow a modest 3% in 2017, with per capita Medicare spending growing by just 2 percent.

The back story: Insurers and regulators have been struggling with a unique set of issues in the non-group market, most especially a sicker than expected risk pool and the uncertainty surrounding Trump administration policies. The most important areas of uncertainty have been whether the administration will continue to pay out the $7 billion in cost sharing subsidies and enforce the individual mandate.

But even before the ACA, the non-group market was also the weak link of the insurance system, with sick people priced out or excluded from coverage altogether.

What to watch: Some think a deal on stabilizing the non-group market could be as narrow as an agreement to appropriate the $7 billion in federal cost sharing subsidies in exchange for greater flexibility for states under the ACA.