Author Archives: richardbrenneman

Spicer erupts in Holocaust Day TrumpUmbrage™


President Pussygrabber grabbed a lot of attention when he omitted any mention of Hitler’s genocide in his statement issued to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Now we’ve criticized Israel for using Hitler’s mass murder of Jews as a Get Out of Jail Free card whenever justly criticized for lang grabs and bloody “incursions” across borders.

We’ve also faulted media and pundits for ignoring the genocides of Roma and Sinti peoples, homosexuals, and others, and for failing to consider other genocides, including those of Native Americans and Armenians.

But no Holocaust Remembrance Day remarks should fail to mention that awful event that sparked the creation of the day.

Omission of the mention of Hitler’s genocide did draw praise from one quarter, earnng high marks from the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi webasite that now bills itself  “The World’s Most Goal-Oriented Republican Website.”

The paper’s name is the translation of Der Stürmer, the pornographic racist rag run by whip-toting bloodthirsty Hitler henchman Julius Streicher.

This is the first time in history the President of the United States has made no mention of Jews, anti-Semitism, or the science fiction Zionist folklore about ovens and gas chambers so prominent in (((Hollywood))) narratives.

[We’ll leave it to you to doing a search for the quote; we simply don’t feel like driving traffic their way.]

Otherwise,  Agent Orange has been buried in criticism and he doesn’t like it.

From the Independent:

The White House Press Secretary has attacked the Anne Frank Center for its negative statement about President Donald Trump’s disavowal of anti-Semitism.

Asked about the Center’s statement, Sean Spicer told reporters that the President “has been very forceful with the denunciation” of people who are racist or sexist.

“The President has made clear since the day he was elected and frankly through the campaign that he seeks to unite the country. He has brought a diverse range of people into this administration,” he said.

“It’s ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this, it’s never good enough.”

He added: “I wish that they [the Anne Frank Centre] had praised the President for his leadership in this area. And I think hopefully as time continues to go by, they will recognise his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans.”

Trump a racist?

An anti-Semite?

A racist?

How ridiculous!

After all, he’s the guy who admits he “probably” said this:

“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

And sexist?

How can any man be sexist when she says things like this?

I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. . .Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

You go, Sean Spicer.

Please.

Just go.

And what did the Anne Frank Center have to say that got Spicer’s knickers so twisted?

From the statement released today by Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect:

“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.”

Map of the day: Antarctic sea ice hits a new low


We begin with two images from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

First, the extent of Antarctic sea ice as of 20 February 2017, with the yellow line indicating the average sea ice coverage in recent years:

blog-ice-map

Second, a graph showing the progression of coverage in the 2016-2017 cycle [blue line] compared to other years:

blog-ice-chartWhat make this summer’s record low even more remarkable is that it immediately follows years of record highs. And we say summer because that’s the current season in the Southern Hemisphere.

More from MercoPress:

This year the extent of summer sea ice in the Antarctic is the lowest on record. The Antarctic sea ice minimum marks the day – typically towards end of February – when sea ice reaches its smallest extent at the end of the summer melt season, before expanding again as the winter sets in. This year, sea ice extent contracted to 2.28m sq km on 13 February, according to data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

The extent is a fraction smaller than a previous low of 884,173 sq miles recorded on 27 February 1997 in satellite records dating back to 1979. Scientists, including those at British Antarctic Survey, are monitoring the data closely and trying to understand why this year is presenting a minimum.

BAS climate scientist Dr James Pope says: “At this time, so close to minimum event, it is difficult to identify what is causing the record minimum and whether anything significant has changed. Sea ice is highly variable on year-to-year time-scales and therefore the recent record maximum extent from a couple of years ago and this year’s record minimum could both be the result of short- term changes rather than longer-term trends.

“What’s interesting is that Antarctic sea ice has been steadily increasing in size, year on year from the 1970s. So what’s happening now is against the trend. And whilst it’s significant, we won’t know for a couple of years whether this is a single event or a switch away from the previously observed increase. We will now study the data with interest and look at what is causing this minimum.”

Trump’s rhetorical secret? Use “I,” keep it simple


The top ten most over-used terms for each candidate. One can see the presence of expressions related to the dialogue between candidates (‘Senator Sanders’ by Clinton, ‘Donald’ with Cruz, ‘Jeb’ under Trump). The relationship of some candidates to their origin is also represented (‘Ohio’ with Kasich, ‘Texas’ for Cruz, ‘Kentucky’ with Paul, ‘Maryland’ for O’Malley). From “Analysis of the style and the rhetoric of the 2016 US presidential primaries ,” [open access].

The top ten most over-used terms for each candidate. One can see the presence of expressions related to the dialogue between candidates (‘Senator Sanders’ by Clinton, ‘Donald’ with Cruz, ‘Jeb’ under Trump). The relationship of some candidates to their origin is also represented (‘Ohio’ with Kasich, ‘Texas’ for Cruz, ‘Kentucky’ with Paul, ‘Maryland’ for O’Malley). From “Analysis of the style and the rhetoric of the 2016 US presidential primaries ,” [open access].

A new academic study by linguist Jacques Savoy of the University of Neuchatel offers a detailed analysis of the Campaign 2016 presidential debates and reveals that the use of language by the candidates reveals deep and disturbing patterns.

Consider the ten most distinctive words used by the ultimate winner: I, very, tremendous, nobody, going, Mexico, not, Jeb, excuse, and deal.

There’s no room for complexity, no room for nuance, and no space for anyone else.

More on the research from Oxford University Press via Newswise:

A new paper published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities reveals and quantifies dramatic differences in the speaking styles of candidates in the 2016 United States presidential election. Lexical analysis indicates that President Donald Trump had a distinct communication style, and it was far more direct than any of the other candidates.

The most frequently used thematic words are very similar across politicians, with ‘people’ appearing in the top 4 for 7/9 candidates, and ‘say’ for 5/9. Trump and Hillary Clinton had 3 out of 4 most-used words the same.

Researchers here analyzed the transcripts of the TV debates involving Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Martin O’Malley, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

According to several overall stylistic indicators, candidate Trump used a simple communication style, avoiding complex formulation and vocabulary. The authors analysed lexical density – or how much actual information there was in the words spoken. Trump scored the lowest for lexical density, and he also reused the same phrases more than other candidates.

Former governors (Bush and Kasich) tend to use “we” more frequently than “I.” Usually Senators (Cruz, Paul, Clinton, and Sanders) tend to prefer using the pronoun “I.”

Donald Trump presents an atypical figure, employing short sentences, a reduced vocabulary, repeating the same arguments with simple words. He is the single candidate to have the pronoun “I” in the second rank (after the article “the”).

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Mr. Fish: Just for Kicks


From Clowncrack, his blog of pugilistic phenomenology:

blog-fish

Chart of the day: Generational media divides


For someone involved in journalism for half a century, the latest findings on American media habits prove especially disturbing.

From the Pew Research Center [click on the image to enlarge]:

blog-papers

What’s particularly worrisome is that local newspapers are the conduits to give national and international news a local focus.

Throughout much of our time working for community papers, we would look at national developments and show how they impacted local individuals, organizations, and governments.

National level papers, by definition, deal largely in abstractions,  descrying broad patterns that point to trends, while local papers deal with particulars, revealing how those generalizations would impact folks you know.

The death of the nation’s community, either through closure, merger, or takeover by corporations interested more in profit that in furthering the goals of democracy, has severed much of journalism from its roots and left us with a population more susceptible to manipulations by politicians skilled in manipulating emotion to accomplish the ends of their financial sponsors.

Ending gay marriage could increase teen suicides


As triumphant Republican lawmakers, now controlling the national legislature and the legislatures of 32 states, we can expect action of promises to end same-sex marriage,

But, if successful, will those efforts lead to a spike in teen suicides?

That’s to conclusion of a new scientific study released today.

From the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:

The implementation of state laws legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of suicide attempts among high school students—and an even greater reduction among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

The researchers, whose work was published today in JAMA Pediatrics [open access], estimate that state-level same-sex marriage policies were associated with more than 134,000 fewer adolescent suicide attempts per year. The study compared states that passed laws allowing same-sex marriage through January 2015 to states that did not enact state-level legalization. A Supreme Court decision made same-sex marriage federal law in June 2015.

The findings show the effect that social policies can have on behavior, the researchers say.

“These are high school students, so they aren’t getting married any time soon, for the most part,” says study leader Julia Raifman, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. “Still, permitting same-sex marriage reduces structural stigma associated with sexual orientation. There may be something about having equal rights—even if they have no immediate plans to take advantage of them—that makes students feel less stigmatized and more hopeful for the future.”

Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among people ages 15 to 24 in the United States, trailing only unintentional injury. U.S. suicide rates have been rising, and data indicate that rates of suicide attempts requiring medical attention among adolescents increased 47 percent between 2009 and 2015.

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students are at particular risk. In the new study, 29 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students reported attempting suicide in the previous year as compared to 6 percent of heterosexual teens.

Continue reading

The GOP’s war on the environment begins


While Republicans are preparing to gut the Endangered Species Act, Donald Trump isn’t waiting to fire the opening salvos in the GOP war on the environment.

From the Washington Post:

President Trump is preparing executive orders aimed at curtailing Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution, according to individuals briefed on the measures.

While both directives will take time to implement, they will send an unmistakable signal that the new administration is determined to promote fossil-fuel production and economic activity even when those activities collide with some environmental safeguards. Individuals familiar with the proposals asked for anonymity to describe them in advance of their announcement, which could come as soon as this week.

One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing.

A second order will instruct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to revamp a 2015 rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule, that applies to 60 percent of the water bodies in the country. That regulation was issued under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which gives the federal government authority over not only major water bodies but also the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed into them. It affects development as well as some farming operations on the grounds that these activities could pollute the smaller or intermittent bodies of water that flow into major ones.

Trump has joined many industry groups in criticizing these rules as examples of the federal government exceeding its authority and curbing economic growth. While any move to undo these policies will spark new legal battles and entail work within the agencies that could take as long as a year and a half to finalize, the orders could affect investment decisions within the utility, mining, agriculture and real estate sectors, as well as activities on the ground.