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World Ski Championships 2017: Dave Ryding in contention after opening run

BBC UK Ed. - 16 hours 35 min ago
British skier Dave Ryding puts himself in contention for a medal with a strong opening run in the men's slalom at the Alpine World Championships.
Categories: MediaTorrent

Boy with Hand Grenade: Our Social Media Roundup

BAGNewsNotes - 16 hours 42 min ago

With all the cha0s in Washington, it’s no surprise our Twitter and Instagram feeds have been dominated by the divisive one. One month into the Trump administration, it seems the forecast is for more explosiveness. Regarding a couple of Instagrams, does it seem like that Obama valentine was also a Trump parting shot? Finally, how telling was that protest sign of Trump as Arbus’s famously vexed boy with the hand grenade?

Why is Trump & wind such photo, illustrator candy? Because human tempest can’t tolerate even 1 hair out of place. #faceofdenial @bzelizer https://t.co/sHKFc7BQNM

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 16, 2017


#Pence out of loop?? Wonder what larger photo study in critical 1/26-2/9 period would suggest. Here in center of 1/28 Putin call. @Reuters pic.twitter.com/qTwBUCKSMp

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 16, 2017


Aesthetics wins out over sledge hammers, we’re afraid.#normalizing #obamacare #aca @nytmag @craigcutlerstudio via @coverjunkie pic.twitter.com/IPRlZbAuVC

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 14, 2017


Repackages subversion of truth and bad faith as expression of individuality. @CNN said no, @wpmagazine should have also. #normalizing pic.twitter.com/UmGwWhos5C

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 9, 2017


Still love Damon Winter’s pic from #Flynn RNC screed. Like troubled mind not obvious! #kryptonite #trumpfav #flynnresignation @nytimesphoto pic.twitter.com/racHZLxWqe

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 14, 2017


To extent @whitehouse target also American #Muslims, @Lucas_Jackson_ photo is a bull’s-eye. @reuterspictures #Yemeniprotest #nyc pic.twitter.com/LjJfZ41dTg

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 4, 2017


Hard to know where to start w @alexwongcw shot of #Spicer and WH briefing room. Fishiness?Hallucination? Rabbit hole? pic.twitter.com/ELok580TYE

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 16, 2017


Tho #Trudeau trip was warm to pt of patronizing, this (w DJT & Winston) has been getting wide play. It’s the larger symbolism. @reuters pic.twitter.com/XNZfDFLJMe

— Reading The Pictures (@ReadingThePix) February 14, 2017


Anticipating #Trump era changes to education policy?

Mosul: 'Lining up and ready for battle'

BBC UK Ed. - 17 hours 4 min ago
The BBC's Quentin Sommerville is embedded with Iraqi troops as they intensify their offensive in Mosul.
Categories: MediaTorrent

Trump invents Sweden Terror Attack, Lies about Immigrant Crime

Informed Comment - 17 hours 43 min ago

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Trump made up another alleged terrorist attack at his rally on Saturday, this one about a figment of his imagination that did not actually take place in Sweden on Friday night.

It is clear that Trump and his white supremacist mafia (Steve Bannon et al.) despise Sweden and Germany for having taken in more than their fair of refugees since the crisis began. Trump and his henchmen see refugees and immigrants as inherently dangerous.

This allegation is not true. In fact, in some places immigrants appear actually to cause the local crime rate to fall! A scientific study of crime and immigration in Canada found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native-born. Haimin Zhang of the University of British Columbia writes,

not only do immigrants themselves commit less crimes, they can reduce the crime rates in the long run through channels such as changing the neighbourhood characteristics or impacting the behaviour of natives.”

The same effect can be seen in the United States. Walter Ewing and his colleagues point out,

“Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population grew from 7.9 percent to 13.1 percent and the number of unauthorized immigrants more than tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. During the same period, FBI data indicate that the violent crime rate declined 48 percent -—which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. Likewise, the property crime rate fell 41 percent, including declining rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary. According to an original analysis of data from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the authors of this report, roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males age 18-39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born. This disparity in incarceration rates has existed for decades.”

In countries where this effect cannot be seen, i.e. where immigrants do not reduce the crime rate, it is because of the class of immigrants admitted. The US mostly lets in fairly high-skilled immigrants. As for the undocumented, who tend to do menial labor, they are careful not to commit crimes on the whole because they don’t want to be sent back. A tiny number of gang members who are confident that their gang will bring them back if they are deported casts a shadow over millions of people. But only because we let the far right dominate this discourse.

Ironically, it is precisely people like Donald Trump’s grandfather Frederick who are responsible for some minor problems in Sweden. Frederick at least allowed prostitution in his gold rush hotels, and indeed the prospect of a crackdown on that trade along with other law enforcement actions caused him to try to go back to Germany (the German government did not want him).

Moreover, it should be noted that a lot of the refugees taken in by Sweden are from Afghanistan and Iraq. That is, they are fleeing conditions created by the United States in their countries. So actually it should have been the US who took them, not Sweden. The United States is responsible for the displacement of 4 million Iraqis out of 32 million, or over 12% of the population. The US did not displace all of them directly, but its invasion, overthrow of the government, and abolition of the army did lead to these millions losing their homes and being forced to try to find some other place to live. This would be like 40 million Americans being made homeless, a little more than the combined population of Texas and Georgia.

As for Europe, since all human populations have a certain crime rate, if you let in more people, you are letting in more crime. But the real question is relative. Compared to how many people you let in, is the crime rate out of the ordinary? We have seen that in Canada and the US, it is lower than ordinary.

In Germany, Heather Horn of The Atlantic points out, “Although the number of refugees in the country increased by 440 percent between 2014 and 2015, the number of crimes committed by refugees only increased by 79 percent. (The number of crimes against refugees increased as well.)” Sexual offenses are less than 1%, despite the wild allegations of the far right.

As for refugee rape in Sweden, Doug Saunders at the Globe and Mail quoted an actual academic who actually studies these things: ““What we’re hearing is a very, very extreme exaggeration based on a few isolated events, and the claim that it’s related to immigration is more or less not true at all,” says Jerzy Sarnecki, a criminologist at Stockholm University who has devoted his career to the study of criminality, ethnicity and age.”

Swedes are extremely feminist and define all sorts of things as rape (taking off a condom during sex without informing one’s partner e.g.) as rape that would not be considered rape in other countries.

To any extent that refugees in Sweden commit petty crime, they do so at the same rate as other people of their social class. A study cited by Saunders shows that 75% of the difference between native and foreign-born crime rates is accounted for by where people live and how much they make. He adds, “Among the Swedish-born children of immigrants, the crime rate falls in half (and is almost entirely concentrated in lesser property crimes) and is 100-per-cent attributable to class – they are no more likely to commit crimes, including rape, than ethnic Swedes of the same family income.” Saunders also points out that where rapes do occur, the victims also tend to be immigrants, so the lurid picture painted by Neonazis and Islamophobes of white women assaulted by brown men is a fiction.

In fact, a widely reported, premeditated gang rape in Germany attributed to Muslim immigrants never happened. I wrote Friday, ” There was, for instance, the fake news about the alleged Muslim immigrant mass rapes in Cologne a little over a year ago. Breitbart beat the drums for it, but the the story was not true. Or then there was the phony story about Muslims burning a church in Germany, also played up by Breitbart and also not true. Trump is deeply influenced by Bannon’s insane conspiracy theories; if you want to know why he keeps saying false and/or unbalanced things, consider that he gets his news from alt-Neonazi toilet paper like Breitbart.”

Categories: IraqWire, Leftward Blogs

California 'bombogenesis' storm pushes north

BBC UK Ed. - 17 hours 54 min ago
US forecasters say more heavy rain is on the way in north California, after southern storms killed five.
Categories: MediaTorrent

South China Sea: US carrier group begins 'routine' patrols

BBC UK Ed. - 17 hours 58 min ago
China's foreign ministry has warned Washington against challenging Beijing's sovereignty.
Categories: MediaTorrent

PS day

MN Flickr - 18 hours 22 min ago

Ben Lakson posted a photo:

Categories: Minnesnota

PS day

MN Flickr - 18 hours 22 min ago

Ben Lakson posted a photo:

Categories: Minnesnota

PS day

MN Flickr - 18 hours 22 min ago

Ben Lakson posted a photo:

Categories: Minnesnota

Duluth (2 of 3)

Minnesota Flickr - 18 hours 26 min ago

GLEN A JOHNSON posted a photo:

Erie Mining Company

Categories: Minnesnota

Duluth (1 of 3)

Minnesota Flickr - 18 hours 26 min ago

GLEN A JOHNSON posted a photo:

DMIR W 809

Categories: Minnesnota

Duluth (3 of 3)

Minnesota Flickr - 18 hours 26 min ago

GLEN A JOHNSON posted a photo:

Canadian Pacific tank car cp607892

Categories: Minnesnota

Donald Trump savages media at Florida rally

BBC UK Ed. - 18 hours 29 min ago
The event, unusual for a sitting president, echoes those held during Mr Trump's successful campaign.
Categories: MediaTorrent

Welsh council staff 'should check pets for microchips'

BBC UK Ed. - Sun, 2017-02-19 01:52
Animal lovers hope to make it mandatory for pets found by council workers to be checked for microchips.
Categories: MediaTorrent

Garden Party, 1640: Iranian Lady entertains European Gentleman

Informed Comment - Sun, 2017-02-19 01:40

Metropolitian Museum of Art | Isfahan Tile | – –

“At the center of this scene, a lady leans on a bolster pillow and languidly holds out a filled cup. Making somewhat immodest eye contact with the viewer, she displays burn marks, associated with mystics and lovers, on her lower arms. A male figure in European dress and hat, perhaps a merchant, kneels before her. The other figures offer refreshments and conversation.”


Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Garden Gathering”

Object Name: Tile panel

Date: 1640–50

Geography: Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan

Medium: Stonepaste; painted and polychrome glazed (cuerda seca technique)

Categories: IraqWire, Leftward Blogs

Are Republicans Shielding Trump from Special Prosecutor and Russia Inquiry?

Informed Comment - Sun, 2017-02-19 01:26

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer |

Meanwhile, some experts say there is a case for appointing a special prosecutor.

Republicans are dismissing the mounting call to thoroughly investigate the Trump campaign’s connection with Russian intelligence, and party leadership is seemingly pushing for members to fall in line behind the president amid growing outrage.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Wednesday accused Democrats of “politicizing” the issue and told Politico he would not alter the panel’s ongoing Russian probe.

“The Democrats can play their politics all they want; they’re welcome to do that, this is Washington,” Nunes said. “But as far as I’m concerned, we will continue to investigate the Russian activity like we’ve done for many years.”

Nunes and ranking committee Democrat Adam Schiff, also of California, announced plans in January to investigate Russia’s alleged influence on the 2016 election—but that was before President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn stepped down over reports that he had secretly been in touch with Russian diplomats.

Now, Nunes says he will not form a select committee to look into the allegations specifically, despite a growing demand, telling Politico, “There is not going to be one; I can tell you there is absolutely not going to be one. And I am not going to be lectured by people who are speaking out of both sides of their mouths.”

According to reporters John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade, “several senior House Republicans and GOP sources privately echoed those comments,” even as some party leaders, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have publicly stated plans to look into alleged Russian involvement in Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Brenahan and Bade write:

Another senior House Republican who did not wish to be named downplayed the need for further action in the House to investigate the matter. While the source said “there is great angst and concern about this amongst members,” he added that “there’s already an active investigation [of] the campaign in the intelligence community.”

Indeed, inoculating President Donald Trump from criticism and softening the severity of the accusations seems to be a central prescription in the House of Representatives. The source continued, “We support the president and we’re not flinching on this one.”

“[It’s] not a story playing back home. Our focus is on other issues; we have big agenda items we want to accomplish,” he said.

But the GOP’s tone has not sat well with progressives and advocacy organizations. The Los Angeles-based Courage Campaign on Wednesday called on Nunes to resign as chair, stating, “National security and the intelligence that protects the American people should never be subject to political partisanship. Nunes’ failure to take the allegations against Flynn seriously is proof positive that Nunes is either incapable or unwilling to do his job—and that is unacceptable.”

“With so much at stake, we need a Congress that will hold the members of the Trump administration accountable when they undermine and risk the security of the American people,” said Courage Campaign executive director Eddie Kurtz. “Nunes has proven that he is not up to the task.”

The House investigation is just one of several inquiries into what Trump knew about Flynn’s contact with Russian officials. Similar probes are underway in the Senate and among intelligence agencies.

However, as Ken Gude and Kate Martin write at Just Security, “the existence of such investigations is not sufficient grounds to determine that no special counsel is needed because questions have also been raised about the impartiality of the FBI Director and the Bureau which suggest the existence of a conflict.”

There is a case for a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s ties with Russia, they write, outlining numerous conflicts of interest that range from newly-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ key role in the president’s campaign—the U.S. Department of Justice is charged with investigating members of the administration—to moves by the FBI that seem “calculated to be helpful to the Trump campaign and transition.”

“In sum, it is hard to imagine a case for concluding that these circumstances do not present both a conflict of interest and extraordinary circumstances,” Gude and Martin write. “These questions about the Trump administration also undermine public trust in the legitimacy of the government and democratic institutions and thus the public interest would be served by an outside independent and impartial Special Counsel conducting the investigation.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License< Via Commondreams.org


Related video added by Juan Cole:

WISN 12 News: “Baldwin calls for Trump, Russia investigation”

Categories: IraqWire, Leftward Blogs
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