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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 4, 2018

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

 ― Mark Twain  


As we celebrate the nation's Independence, a virtual pallor seems to hang over the proceedings like a shitmist. There will be parades, fireworks, cookouts and picnics, and the attendant mindlessness of a hot summer day. There will be 21-gun salutes with appropriate solemnity. But in many ways, it's almost as if it's "Bizarro- Fourth of July–" similar, but a bit off. As if our hearts are not fully in it. Given that hundreds of thousands attended over 800 rallies demonstrating against government-sanctioned kidnapping of children and separation of immigrant families, they may not be. Now comes proof we're just not as patriotic as we used to be.


New Low of 52% "Extremely Proud" to Be Americans- Gallup

For the first time in 18 years, a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of US adults are not "extremely proud” to be Americans. That's an average across political ideologies, with the sort of steep differences on either side of the political aisle you might expect.

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, 52% of U.S. adults say they are "extremely proud" to be Americans, a new low in Gallup's 16-year trend. Americans' patriotism spiked after 9/11, peaking at 70% in 2003, but has declined since, including an eight-percentage-point drop in early 2005 and a five-point drop since 2013.

                                Trend: How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud or not at all proud?

From a peak of 70 percent in 2003, the proportion of those "extremely proud to be Americans" has eroded consistently, leveling during the final years of the Cheney-Bush regime and most of former Obama. A slide started in 2015 and continues.

No surprise the numbers split along age and political affiliation. Young adults today are significantly less patriotic than in 2001. Also no surprise that liberals (36%) join young adults as the least patriotic major subgroup. Independents, Democrats, non-whites and college graduates are also slow to salute. In contrast are those major subgroups most likely to wave the flag:  Republicans (68%), conservatives (61%) and those 50-64 (64%).

The 23-point gap in patriotism between Rs and Ds is now roughly double what it was in January 2001.

What's it all mean? Gallup suggests that Americans' continued frustration with national conditions — likely tied to their concern about the economy and lack of faith in public institutions — are reasons patriotism is at an ebb. Not surprisingly, I can offer some other thoughts.

How about the erosion of the middle class? For years, we've read the headlines: the middle class in the United States has been in decline.

CNN May 18, 2018: “Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food”
Marketwatch June 2, 2018: “50 million American households can’t even afford basic living expenses”
Wall Street Journal February 13, 2018 : “US households shoulder record $13.15 trillion debt”

In Asia, government policies favor the emergence of a prosperous middle class. In China in 2000, according to McKinsey, just 4% of the population was middle class. By 2012, it had exploded to 68% of the population. 

Meanwhile in the US, The Orange Lout has instituted tariffs against our friends, which will have the net effect of raising prices.  When prices rise faster than wages, the middle class struggles. And that’s what’s been happening. The coming round of price gouges will worsen the buying power of the dollar. Powerless workers will demand wage increases, which will further erode the dollar's worth, producing the inflation which the Fed has so dearly wanted to create. The only ones who will suffer are the wage slaves and retirees. Happy days are here again for the swells and grandees. 

Housing is a powerful example. Simon Black points out:

In late 2011, the average home cost around 3.56 times the average salary in the US, according to data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. By the end of 2017, the average home cost 4.73 times the average salary, even though mortgage rates were essentially unchanged.

In other words, even when you adjust for the fact that people are earning more, housing became 33% more expensive in just six years– and that doesn’t account for increases in property taxes, home owners association dues, insurance premiums, etc.

And of course, rents follow. So even though people are technically earning more dollars, those increasingly-worthless dollars purchase less and less house. And everything else. And we haven't even addressed the medical-industrial wealth-extraction conduit scheme. Such long term inflation and value extraction is simply theft baked in to the system. 

How about security? Consider that the postwar Marshall plan to rebuild Europe and institute a consensus of mutual trade and defense endured for 70 years. We're busily thumbing our allies in the eye over trade, and toying with the notion of leaving NATO, the better to get those Eurochiselers to pay Their Fair Share.  While Trumpsuckers cheer, "America! Fuck, Yeah!" they ignore the fact that the nuclear-tipped arsenal purchases their standard of living, thus enabling them to have that chrome-plated eight burner Weber grill on the deck of their double-wide.

Reflecting on recent history,  Watergate shocked the system as we were exposed to our first criminal President. Then Reagan, and Iran-Contra, and Ollie North, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and then Fox News. Plus we elected two Republican Presidents that lost the popular vote, and two Democrats that governed as centrist Republicans. A useless war, a PATRIOT Act, Citizen's United, and the theft of a SCOTUS seat all reinforced by lawmakers who gerrymandered their own voters.

Yet another President-without-a-plurality institutes policies at clear variance with our stated "values" and which flout both international law and human decency, such that hundreds of thousands are moved to take to the streets in sweltering summer heat. Little wonder the 'proud to be a 'Murkin'" contingent continues to shrink.

How about the fact that public sentiment and voting seems to have almost no effect on national policies? A 2015 study shows the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. As the authors put it, 

"Economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence."

Who does? Major donors and lobbyists. Your cynicism is well placed. 

Never forget that Grover Norquist's avowed goal was to shrink government to the point that he "could drown it in the bathtub." A good way to do that is to vitiate support for government, especially among its natural constituency. As well as to demoralize the general populace, the better to depress voter turnout. 

The current adminstration's policies are designed to immiserate and outrage. Border atrocities done in our names, attacks on the rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about turning American exceptionalism on its head even as our "President" brays the words.  The so-called "leadership of the free world" is something we are gleefully throwing away. For what? And who benefits?

When Trump declares war on Mars, where are the young people whose patriotic ranks will swell the all-volunteer Space Force?


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


 

This Was The Week In Doom July 14, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 14, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

“The first change that takes place is in your mind.You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. So when we said that ‘the revolution would not be televised,’ we were saying that the thing that’s going to change people is something that nobody will ever be able to capture on film.

It’ll just be something that you see, and then all of a sudden you realize ‘I’m on the wrong page.'”

  ~Gil Scott Heron

 

There comes a time in nearly everyone’s life when, either as the result of the catharsis or of a life-changing event, the idols you have erected for yourself fall: you realize that much that you have done, seen or own no longer serves you.  Suddenly you realize, “I’m on the wrong page.” Those of us old enough to remember a government that appeared, at least to advocate for the rights of ordinary people  in balance with those of corporate persons, that attempted to protect the public health and promote some level of general welfare, that even became an advocate for civil rights for the oppressed, who remember a republic that was at least functional,  able to enact policy via political compromise as opposed being captive to the economic terrorism of an entrenched and implacable minority, will know what I mean.  Much of the discussion in the pages of the Diner Forum centers around “fast collapse” versus “slow collapse.” Our current world of escalating cruelty and absurdity, in which the thoughtful are mocked while the basest and most ludicrous are elevated to celebrity status, shocks the senses. This week’s summary provides a luxury box with a panoramic view of what collapse looks like, with each detailed writ large– but when considered from a view high enough and far enough away, the pattern resolves a pointillist image of impending doom.

 

Zimmerman Acquitted

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Late Saturday evening, the Florida jury deliberating on the charges against George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin
acquitted  Zimmerman of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter  in a case that alternately fascinated and appalled large segments of a spellbound nation. As the judge confirmed the verdict with jurors, one of the six women in the jury sat with a face flushed with emotion.

It did not take long for reaction to coalesce. as waiting demonstrators in Sanford Florida learned of the verdict, a chant arose that, “the system has failed!” As of this writing, it appears that people are even yet catching up with this verdict, and is difficult to know what will happen next. Needless to say, there is plenty of outrage to go around.

On July 10, Charlie Pierce uttered the stuff of prophecy:

‘A general consensus seems to be forming around the fact that George Zimmerman, who shot down an unarmed teenager for the crime of being in a place where Zimmerman thought the teenager did not belong, may well skate in his trial down in Florida. This will happen, it is said, for a variety of reasons. The state overcharged him. The jury will buy the notion that he was having a near-death experience. Florida’s preposterous stand-your-ground law was badly drawn and gave Zimmerman a loophole through which he was able to dive.  (An acquittal in this case is a virtual hunting license for every gun-totin’ wannabe in the state. The cops must be thrilled.)

But the simple fact underlying all of these explanation is that, if the races of the shooter and his victim were reversed, Trayvon Martin already would be on his way to Raiford. (We would like this other case marked as Exhibit A in support of our argument.) This has more than dawned on many people in Florida, and local law enforcement is already nervous.’

Anyone with any sense hopes this doesn’t happen. Which leaves out the nest of otherwise unemployables working at Breitbart’s Mausoleum, who are fairly slavering for a race war to break out after the verdict. Whatever you do, stay the hell out of the comments section. It will make you despair of being a human being. Said it before, will say it again. Nothing good will come of this case. Nothing.’

 

dexterrrrr

The lessons of history are pretty unmistakable about what happens when people are systematically denied justice.

Whatever the merits or faults of the prosecutions case against Zimmerman, the feeling on the street is that justice has been denied.  Even those who hung on every word of the proceedings, the thousands of de facto volunteer jurors in the case,  come to different conclusions based on what they heard.

And for those convinced that justice has been served, there is the story of how a Black woman fired a warning shot and gets 20 Years , whereas a white man shoots his wife’s lover and walks free.

Zimmerman’s adoptive godfather, Sean Hannity, was not available for comment.

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Radioactive Tritium At Record High Levels In Fukushima Ground- And Sea-Water

With the Western (and Japanese) media focused almost entirely on the actions of their central-planners-in-chief and how effective they are, it seems human’s omnipotence over complex systems is being greatly challenged by the ongoing Fukushima disaster.  Earlier this week, The Japan Times reported that TEPCO said that 600,000 becquerels per liter of tritium has been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant – 18% higher than levels a week earlier.

In a story Joe P. posted last night, a report by William Boardman pointed out even more grim news:

As with all nuclear reporting, precise and reliable details are hard to come by, but the current picture as of July 10 seems to be something like this: 

”   On July 5, radiation levels at Fukushima were what passes for “normal,” which means elevated and dangerous, but stable, according to measurements by the owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). 

”   On July 8, radiation levels had jumped about 90 times higher, as typically reported.  TEPCO had no explanation for the increase. 

”   On July 9, radiation levels were up again from the previous day, but at a slower rate, about 22 per cent.  TEPCO still had no explanation. 

”   On July 10, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) issued a statement saying that the NRA strongly suspects the radioactive water is coming from Fukushima’s Reactor #1 and is going into the Pacific. 

Furthermore, the utility also said it had measured a seawater tritium level of 2,300 becquerels per liter – the highest so far – near the water intakes of reactors 1 to 4. So it is that in a nation already suffering from a dreadfully declining demographic dilemma, the citizens are being exposed to highly cancerous substances still.

Let’s put this in perspective.  Here is a list of the purportedly “safe”  levels  of radiation in water.

”   10 becquerels per liter — The officially “safe” level for radioactivity in drinking water, as set by the NRA. 

A becquerel is a standard scientific measure of radioactivity, similar in some ways to a rad or a rem or a roentgen, but not equivalent to any of them.  But one need not understand the nuances of nuclear physics to get a layman’s idea of what’s going on in Fukushima.  Just keep the measure of that safe drinking water in mind, that liter of water, less than a quart, with 10 becquerels of radioactivity.

”  60 becquerels per liter — For nuclear power plants, the safety limit for drinking water is 60 becquerels, as set by the NRA, with less concern for nuclear plant workers than ordinary civilians. 

”   60-90 becquerels per liter — For waste water at nuclear power plants, the NRA sets a maximum standard of 90 becquerels per liter for Cesium-137 and 60 becquerels per liter of Cesium-134.

 so here is the current status what’s going on at Fukushima:

At some of Fukushima’s monitoring wells, radiation levels were in fractions of a becquerel on July 8 and 9. At the well (or wells) that are proving problematical, TEPCO has provided no baseline readings. 

”  9,000 becquerels per liter — On July 8, according to TEPCO, the company measured radioactive Cesium-134 at 9,000 becquerels per liter.  Since TEPCO characterized this as 90 times higher than on July 5, the implication is that the earlier reading (about 100) was less than twice as toxic as the allowable limit and only 10 times more toxic than drinking water for civilians. 

”   11,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO’s measurement of Cesium-134 on July 9.    

”    18,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO measurement of  Cesium-137 on July 8.

”    22,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO’s measurement of Cesium-137 on July 9. 

”    900,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO’s measurement of the total radioactivity in the water leaking from Reactor #1.  This radiation load includes both Cesium isotopes, as well as Tritium, Strontium and other beta emitters.  There are more that 60 radioactive substances that have been identified at the Fukushima site. 

This may well be too much statistical argle-bargle (geez, I actually quoted Nino Scalia) for most readers,  but suffice it to say that a situation that was already bad is getting much, much worse. And nobody can or will say why.  Water continues to flow through the Fukushima  accident site, both from groundwater and water pumped in from the ocean to contain other potential meltdowns. It is unclear what can be done, which is troubling. Even more troubling is the fact that radiation, like the weather, moves from West to East.

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 Add Hastings: LAPD Gag Order on Hastings Death Indicates Murder Cover-Up?

We typically disregard stories published on this site as the work of rightist conspiracy types with a Bircher bent.  Yet evidence persists that the death of Michael Hastings was most unusual, and witnesses continue to emerge with stories that a reasonable person might think would warrant further investigation. That is, if one were really interested in finding out exactly what happened, which is to say, more reasonable than the LAPD. So forgive us if we smell a cover up.

Michael Hastings

 

The Michael Hastings Car Crash: No Skids Marks, a Flying Engine and “Boston Brakes”

In cases such as the highly suspicious and tragic car crash/explosion that killed celebrated investigative journalist Michael Hastings, I try to reserve commentary for a little bit to let facts emerge following the initial speculative flurry. Particularly when it involves a journalist with whom I am only slightly familiar.  I think we can all agree at this point that based on what has come forward in the past several weeks it is more than likely Mr. Hastings was murdered. The following report from San Diego News 6 provides an excellent summary of what we know, and what we don’t know.  The LAPD doesn’t seem to care much about the latter.  From San Diego 6:

An eyewitness at the scene, Jose, employed at nearby business ALSCO Inc said, the car was traveling very fast and he heard a couple explosions shortly before the car crashed. In fact, the explosion was so intense that it took the LA County assistant corner, Ed Winter, two days to identify the burned-beyond recognition body of Hastings.

As news of the journalist’s death reached family and work colleagues another story emerged, one that would seemingly contradict the LAPD’s verdict. It quickly surfaced that Hastings reached out to Wikileaks attorney Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before his death claiming the FBI was investigating him.

One particular passage in Hastings book, “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” revealed that a former McChrystal staff member made a death threat. “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write,” the unnamed staffer said. Hastings coolly retorted: “Well, I get death threats like that about once a year, so no worries.”

He later wrote; “I wasn’t disturbed by the claim. Whenever I’d been reporting around groups of dudes whose job it was to kill people, one of them would usually mention that they were going to kill me.”

But the most significant missing evidence was the absence of any skid marks—even though the car made a 60-degree turn into a palm tree.

Research of this topic reveals a new angle to this story, namely —Boston Brakes.

This theory was explained by a former Marine Gordon Duff who refers to the “Boston Brakes” technique, in which “drive by wire” cars, specifically a Mercedes Benz, can be manipulated remotely to simulate an out-of-control accident, according to his Veterans Today story (The 2010 story is a must read). The story details are eerily similar to Hastings fiery accident scene as there were no skid marks.

Adding credence to the possible car-hacking scenario is former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke. After news broke on the Hastings car accident, he confirmed the “drive by wire” concept.

Clarke told The Huffington Post that a single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack. There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.”

Another significant detail pointed out by some members of law enforcement, is the intensity of the fire inside the car. It’s highly unusual since gasoline generally doesn’t burn that hot. Reviewing video footage from the scene, the intensity of the fire resembles a “thermite” burn.

Despite the LAPD’s categorization of the Hasting fatal accident as a “no (evidence of) foul play” accident, LAPD refuses to release the accident and toxicology reports, or make the Mercedes available for inspection which only fuels speculation.

Until such time as that vehicle and the reports are available for public inspection, the speculation is likely to continue.

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Wisconsin Paramilitaries

Once upon a time this might have been made the “unbelieveable” file,  but comes to us from Wisconsin, that living laboratory for what the Koch brothers have in mind for the rest of us once they get to fill statehouses with governors of their choice. Their hand-picked suzerain in Madison, Scott Walker, who Pierce describes as “the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage its midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin,”  is in the process of selling off the state piece by piece. This latest datum represents what is happening as Walker transfers public land to a massive iron ore mining operation.

In response to the protestations of some who actually find this transfer objectionable and have demonstrated that point in public, the money concerned has now mounted a private army to patrol said public land to protect their purported interests.

Imagine walking through the Wisconsin woods with your children only to suddenly encounter the fellow pictured above? We’re talking here about land that is actually *open to the public*, and the Private Sector militarized mercenaries do not even have the legal right in Wisconsin to actually  employ the weaponry that they are openly carrying around for the purpose of protecting property.

A company proposing a $1.5 billion open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin is drawing fire for hiring heavily armed security guards to protect the project site. State Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and State Rep. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) Monday called on Gogebic Taconite to immediately remove the “masked commando security unit” hired to protect the company’s property in the Penokee Hills in Ashland and Iron counties. Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz told the Duluth News Tribune on Monday that the company hired the Arizona-based Bulletproof Securities Force after teams of mining opponents “dressed in black and wearing masks violently attacked our drill site” in June.

More scathing commentary here, along with a VIDEO from a local NEWS station:

“MASKED, HEAVILY-ARMED PARAMILITARY RENT-A-COPS ARE FREAKING OUT WISCONSIN”
A brief taste:

But now Wisconsinites are getting a bite from a brand new flavor of shit sandwich that results from having a Republican-controlled legislature: Masked mercenaries with semi-automatic weapons are guarding the site of a controversial mining project that is being established near Lake Superior and understandably, people are freaking out about it.

Although there were serious environmental concerns about the mine, in March the GOP legislature pushed it through anyway. Since then there have been steady events protesting the mine, which will be owned and operated by a company called Gogebic Taconite. Over the July 4th weekend, however, masked security guards wearing camouflaged uniforms and carrying multiple semi-automatic weapons started patrolling the future mine’s site. Forget about the firepower for a moment, why do these dudes require masks to do their jobs???

Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall did a little digging into the background of Bulletproof Securities the rent-a-cop on steroids firm—or as they put it, the “No Compromise Security Force”—that is minding the mine:

Here’s the Bulletproof website which lists all sorts of security/paramilitary type services. They even have their own ‘border security force’, which is something I thought the federal government took care of. But apparently not without occasional help from Bulletproof.

Indeed, as the site notes, “BPS has at its disposal the latest cache of specialized equipment for border security operations, not typically found in the private sector. As example, BPS owns heavily armored Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV’s), Tactical All Terrain Vehicles (T-ATV’s), FLIR (mobile thermal systems), mast equipment (eye in the sky), and many other state-of-the-art assets … The presence of BPS will prevent criminal organizations from posing a threat to your personnel or your mission.”

If your needs are different, Bulletproof can also provide “a QRF (quick reaction force) tactical unit to secure a manufacturing plant during a heated worker strike.”

It turns out that the company providing the paramilitaries is an Arizona company, owned by a real estate developer. Said developer clearly is in the business of providing armed assurance to the 1% who clearly don’t feel that the federal government is doing a good enough job of protecting the AZ border. Also interesting to note is that in the rush to convey this public land to the iron mining concern, the Republicans who votes pushes through promised that they would be creating local jobs. The first thing the iron mine did was import their paramilitaries from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the land is actually open to the public, and that Bulletproof’s armed mercenaries do not even have the legal right in Wisconsin to actually use the weaponry that they are carrying for the purposes of “protecting property.” And yeah, why the masks, anyhow?

The question answers itself. It’s not about “protection,” it’s about intimidation. If this doesn’t look like a symptom of “fast collapse” to you, I would submit you are not paying attention.

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Poison-proof mosquitoes might trigger a deadly crisis for thousands

And just when you thought it was safe to go outside comes this news from the World Health Organization.

 

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited insecticide resistance as a growing threat to malaria control campaigns in Africa, saying “urgent action” is needed to stem the spread. Globally, malaria kills an estimated 650,000 people every year, most of whom are young children. In Africa alone, pesticide failure could result in an additional 259,000 child deaths every year, according to the WHO’s projections.

In its report, the WHO called upon governments to implement tighter monitoring policies and to report cases of insecticide resistance with more diligence, underscoring a critical problem: data remains sparse, inconsistent, and, until recently, scattered across disparate sources.

A DEADLY CRISIS MAY LOOM ON THE HORIZON

Globally, malaria kills an estimated 650,000 people every year, most ly young children. In Africa alone, pesticide failure could result in an additional 259,000 child deaths every year, according to the WHO’s projections.In response, they’re developing a tool called IR Mapper. The website, which launched in April, collects data on confirmed and possible insecticide resistance from more than 50 countries  and displays them on an interactive map. Users can filter the data by type of pesticide and mosquito species, and can trace the spread of resistance from 1950 to the present.Ir_mapper_2

IR Mapper collects data on insecticide resistance and displays them in a single map interface.

The idea is to bring country-level data from various studies and publications into a single platform, allowing policy makers and experts to see where pesticide resistance is most prevalent, and act accordingly.

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Virginia Follies

Grifters delight…
Virginia is self-described as the “cradle of presidents,” as a disproportionate number of US chief Executives have come from the Old Dominion. Not to be outdone in the news cycles by the newly-insane  state of North Carolina, Virginia has its own home grown crop o’ craziness coming in full. The first issue is the trail of slime left by the revelations of financial impropriety by our esteemed Governor,  who had previously made certain choices and bleatings  about wanting to be the NEXT President from Virginia, a prospect receding further with each passing day.

For a while, the revelations of Gov. Transvaginal Ultrasound’s financial non-disclosures were like the constant drip of a leaking faucet. That spigot was opened full bore with the revelation of the $6,500 Rolex watch and a paid for Final Four trip. This past week’s bombshell Washington Post report, carried in both The Virginian-Pilot and The Richmond Times-Dispatch, blew the spigot completely up, along with the glass house occupied by the Guv and his family,  who, incidentally, stand revealed as a set of grifters rivaling Alaska’s Palin family. The trickle of revelations has become a flood, and buried somewhere in the mud are the tatters of  Gov. T.U.’s reputation and future political ambitions. On the other hand, they resuscitated Nixon….

A prominent political donor gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his sister last year, and the governor did not disclose the money as a gift or loan, according to people with knowledge of the payments.

The donor, wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., also gave a previously unknown $50,000 check to the governor’s wife, Maureen, in 2011, the people said.

The money to the corporation and Maureen McDonnell brings to $145,000 the amount Williams gave to assist the McDonnell family in 2011 and 2012.

 

This interview of McDonnell was broadcast earlier in the week, before the Post article broke. One wonders what he knew in advance about it when one is not busy feeding his secret hunchback. Schaudenfreude, indeed.

McDonnell has asserted that he has complied with Virginia’s loose campaign disclosure laws. It appears now that  statement may be, in the famous words of one Patrick Buchanan, “inoperable.” Also, my hunchback wonders what other shoes are left to drop?  Our Guv has garnered the attention of the Feds, and if it were only Virginia laws in question, one wonders why?

This reflects poorly on Virginia,  But then so has the entirety of the  McDonnell administration. This is a governor who, one will recall, who ran neck and neck with Scotty Walker to transfer public assets into private hands at breakneck speed, and with scant regard for existing law.  And his execrable war on women, led by his personal Iago, Ken Cucinelli, leaves an enduring stain on the reputation of the Commonwealth.

 And speaking of that current blight upon the body politic in Virginia,  otherwise known as the current attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate, there is this.

WASHINGTON — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP’s 2013 gubernatorial candidate, filed a petition Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to uphold Virginia’s anti-sodomy law.

Cuccinelli wants the court to reconsider a March 2013 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit striking down the state’s “crimes against nature” statute. The 4th Circuit ruled that the law did not pass muster in light of the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which struck down the latter state’s anti-sodomy law as an unconstitutional criminalization of Americans’ sexual conduct. The Virginia law, however, remained on the books.

in Virginia, the hits just keep on coming.  And nothing this week from EW Jackson, Virginia’s firebrand Republican Lieut. Gov. candidate. Rumors that the Cucinelli campaign had trussed Jackson securely in a straitjacket, gagged and secured him in the basement of the governor’s mansion in Richmond could not be confirmed at publication time.

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TV Is Americans’ Main Source of News

This next item will come as no surprise to anybody who said, transfixed or no, while CNN provided 24–7 coverage of the Zimmerman trial. Had Martians landed in Washington, or nuclear war broke out in the Middle East, you can be sure that CNN would’ve remained all trade bond all the time.

 

The ubiquity of the idiot box makes the result of this Gallup poll somewhat dispurposeful. But if you’re the sort of evidence-based literalist who likes to actually see the data before making wide, sweeping generalizations about it to prove a point (for example, the way we do things here at TWTWID), then here you are.

 

Preferred news source varies by age, education, and politics, among other factors

PRINCETON, NJ — Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%..

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Don’t Drink The Water

FrackMapUS

A tip o’ the Surly crown of thorns to haniel for this next item: On this map you can retrieve two types of information:  US rivers in blue and the fracking areas superimposed in red, from the documentary Gasland.

There is just one thing to be said regarding this sobering and terrifying map: Be careful if you live in a red area, your tap water may be contaminated and poisoned by the chemicals and other toxic substances used for fracking and described in the following report: Chemicals Used In Hydraulic Fracturing.

An important point of clarification: NOT ALL OF THESE RED AREAS ARE CONTAMINATED, but they have a higher risk of contamination due to a substantial concentration of fracking activity. The impact that fracking has on water is already firmly established.

I remember, as a child, how the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire and burned, in those days before the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. After nearly 40 years of class war and industry capture of regulatory agencies (remember Anne Burford Gorsuch?) we have largely returned to those unregulated times.  By no means will all people who live in a red area on this map  jeopardize their health if they drink their tap water, but if I did, I would be concerned.  Test your water yourself.

  ______________________________________________

Which will do it for this week’s edition of TWTWID.  This space will be vacant next week due to previous travel commitments and,  judging from the near complete absence of comments in the Forum. will not be much missed. Rest assured that while the reportage may be absent, that doom, in its various factors, will keep marching on. Because doom, like rust, never sleeps.

Let’s close with our brand new franchise, “You’re Shitting Me, Right?”

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You’re Shitting Me, right?

Sometimes there are just no words.  Times like this.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson came to the conclusion on Sunday that low student loan rates were to blame for long-term joblessness.

In an interview on Sunday, conservative economics professor Peter Morici explained that President Barack Obama’s health care reform law had caused a “disaster” because only 47 percent of the population was employed.

“So here’s the part I can’t get past, 47 percent of the population works full time,” Carlson said. “That means the other 53 percent is being supported by that 47 percent. That’s not a good ratio.”

“Absolutely not,” Morici replied. “Look what’s happening with young people, my students, many of them are getting into these part-time jobs, some of them not very meaningful. You know, you got a guy with a masters degree working at Starbucks so he lives with his parents.”

“What’s going to happen to these young people and all their big student loans? The answer is very bad things,” he added. “The president has been buying lower unemployment rates by essentially providing very cheap student loans and keeping people out of the labor market.”

“Exactly,” Carlson agreed. “So, cheap student loans keep people out of the labor market. This is a dangerous spiral.”

 ______________________________________________

#NoNeedToSatirize: Gohmert repeatedly shouts ‘Objection!’ to silence critics 

Gohmert repeatedly shouts ‘Objection!’ to silence claims food stamp cuts hurt hungry families

By David Edwards

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday objected over and over again in order to keep statements out of the congressional record that accused Republicans of hurting working families by taking food stamps out of the farm bill.

Before a vote could be taken on the Republican farm bill that drops the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — Democrats attempted to voice their unhappiness by inserting statements into the record.

“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it will increase hunger in America,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said.

Although requests to “revise and extend” remarks are routine, Gohmert immediate shouted, “Objection!”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-IL) next asked permission to “revise and extend” his remarks in opposition to the farm bill “because it takes food nutrition away from working families.”

“Objection!” Gohmert yelled.

“What he is doing is he is not even giving members on our side the courtesy inserting their statement in the record?” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) asked.

As several more Democratic representatives attempted to insert remarks that the bill “hurts the working poor” and “increases hunger and poverty,” Gohmert repeatedly objected.

“I think it is extremely unfortunate that that members on the other side of the aisle would deny members on this side of the aisle the ability to insert written materials in the record,” McGovern noted. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen such uncourteous gesture.”

 ______________________________________________

When you make a promise to your god, your late father, and your wife to quit smoking, you should actually quit this time.

Turkish man Ibrahim Yucel wanted to keep his promise so badly that he crafted a medieval-style cage to wear on his head so he couldn’t smoke. Every morning, he locks his head in the cage and gives the key to his wife so he won’t give in to his addiction at work.

 ______________________________________________

The sinkhole, discovered Aug. 3, resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of the swampland liquefied into muck, the community’s 350 residents were advised to evacuate.

Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits filed against the company. Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch said 92 buyout offers have been made, with 44 accepted so far.

______________________________________________
  And here is an article custom made for”You’re Shitting Me, Right?”I came across an article this week in which the Atlantic, God love them, investigated whether it is really possible to meet your maker by peeing on the 3rd rail.

Last night a man reportedly was killed while peeing on the third rail of the G train in Brooklyn, leading to a renewed debate over the myth that one can actually kill oneself by taking a leak on the super electrified subway track. The report from the New York Post suggests that the man indeed died because his pee came in contact with the deadly rail. “A drunken man was electrocuted and killed relieving himself on the third rail in Brooklyn this morning, sources said,” reads the report. But, both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and law enforcement officials have denied a “whiz-3rd rail connection” to the Wall Street Journal’s transportation reporter Tedd Man. So, it sounds more like the man fell while peeing onto the third rail and then got electrocuted and died. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to die in such a manner. We investigate.

The idea behind the myth makes scientific sense: an electrical current could travel up the stream of urine through one’s penis, thus causing a jolt. Or, as a couple of New York City kids put it to a homeless man on the verge of peeing to his death: “Your dick will get blasted, bro.” A Yahoo answers commenter also insists the risk is serious, real, and terrifying: “Electricity can arc across gaps in your pee and zap you right in the nuts. Penile electrocution is very painful. And if the electrical current is sustained, your testicles will explode.”

 And it week of consummate weirdness, you can read the rest of the article here.
______________________________________________

That Was The Week That Was in Doom June 23, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 23, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

This edition caps a week full of nonsense, proving nothing so much as that rust never sleeps. We were shocked… shocked to learn that Bank of America issued performance bonus for employees managing to force homeowners into foreclosure.  Negotiators firmly set upon enacting a treason against the American people continued busily negotiating the Trans-Pacfic Partnership under circumstances so secret they may well as be hermetically sealed,  lest the proles get wind of the scale of the planned sellout. In other surprises, Congress’ poll rating is the lowest EVAH, Klansmen attempted to build a radiation weapon to use on Muslims, Louie Gohmert sees king crab legs in the shopping carts of SNAP card recipients, reporter Michael Hastings perished in a vehicle fire in a vehicle that, being among the safest on the planet, should never have caught fire, and an entrepreneur is planning a megadoomstead in underground limestone caves, in a facility formerly used for government storage. I know there is meaning in these entrails, so grab a stick and let’s start rooting around for signs, shall we?

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Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

As an Occupier, special opprobrium was reserved for the Bank of America. Located close enough to the Occupy Norfolk encampment to cast a shadow in late afternoon, B of A seemed to embody the very incarnation of everything wrong with banking.

The popular “Move Your Money” campaign shifted around a few millions, and quoted bank execs shrugged it off, but one sensed they were at least a bit concerned.

Then we find out this, courtesy of ProPublica:

Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees.

The employee statements were filed late last week in federal court in Boston as part of a multi-state class action suit brought on behalf of homeowners who sought to avoid foreclosure through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) but say they had their cases botched by Bank of America.

In a statement, a Bank of America spokesman said that each of the former employees’ statements is “rife with factual inaccuracies” and that the bank will respond more fully in court next month. He said that Bank of America had modified more loans than any other bank and continues to “demonstrate our commitment to assisting customers who are at risk of foreclosure.”

Six of the former employees worked for the bank, while one worked for a contractor. They range from former managers to front-line employees, and all dealt with homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure through the government’s program.

And Paul Kiel’s reporting even gets better. The Squid itself is involved, through a subsidiary:

Sometimes, homeowners were simply denied en masse in a procedure called a “blitz,” said William Wilson, Jr., who worked as an underwriter and manager from 2010 until 2012. As part of the modification applications, homeowners were required to send in documents with their financial information. About twice a month, Wilson said, the bank ordered that all files with documentation 60 or more days old simply be denied. “During a blitz, a single team would decline between 600 and 1,500 modification files at a time,” he said in the sworn declaration. To justify the denials, employees produced fictitious reasons, for instance saying the homeowner had not sent in the required documents, when in actuality, they had.

Such mass denials may have occurred at other mortgage servicers. Chris Wyatt, a former employee of Goldman Sachs subsidiary Litton Loan Servicing, told ProPublica in 2012 that the company periodically conducted “denial sweeps” to reduce the backlog of homeowners. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs said at the time that the company disagreed with Wyatt’s account but offered no specifics.

Five of the former Bank of America employees stated that they were encouraged to mislead customers. “We were told to lie to customers and claim that Bank of America had not received documents it had requested,” said Simone Gordon, who worked at the bank from 2007 until early 2012 as a senior collector. “We were told that admitting that the Bank received documents ‘would open a can of worms,’” she said, since the bank was required to underwrite applications within 30 days of receiving documents and didn’t have adequate staff.

Your refinance dollars at work. The HAMP program was an apparent clusterfk for banks from inception, as they never had any intention of hiring sufficient staff in order to process the paperwork needed to fully implement it. ProPublica began detailing its failures  from its inception in 2009. HAMP turned out to be a perfect storm created by banks that refused to adequately fund their mortgage servicing operations and lax government oversight.

Bank of America was far slower to modify loans than other servicers, as other analyses ProPublica has cited have shown. A study last year found that about 800,000 homeowners would have qualified for HAMP had Bank of America, Wells and the other largest servicers  done an adequate job of handling applications and paperwork. And we’ll not event mention the outright fraud of robosigning. Yet.

Add B of A

This in, from firedoglake.

 

The latest story is courtesy of one of those much maligned whistle-blowers who saw something and said something. In this case the whistle-blower disclosed that the Too Big To Fail/Jail bank had a bonus system setup encouraging foreclosure on desperate homeowners.

Bank of America (BAC) rewarded staff with cash bonuses and gift cards for meeting quotas tied to sending distressed homeowners into foreclosure, former employees said in court documents.

Mortgage workers falsified records and were told to delay U.S. loan-assistance applications by requesting paperwork that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had already received, according to statements from ex-employees filed last week in federal court in Boston.

The affidavit details a litany of abuse including widespread fraud.

I witnessed employees and managers change and falsify information in the systems of record, and remove documents from homeowners’ files to make the account appear ineligible for a loan modification,” said Terrelonge, a loan servicing representative. This allowed managers to meet quotas for closed cases, she said.

Bank of America instructed employees to delay applications and mislead customers “as part of a deliberate practice of stringing homeowners along,” lawyers said in a June 7 filing.

Salon published a very fine article by David Dayen that included this morsel:

And they would have very specific targets: the ex-employees listed specific executives by name who authorized and directed the fraudulent process. “The delay and rejection programs were methodically carried out under the overall direction of Patrick Kerry, a Vice President who oversaw the entire eastern region’s loan modification process,” wrote William Wilson. Other executives mentioned by name include John Berens, Patricia Feltch and Rebecca Mairone (now at JPMorgan Chase, and already named in a separate financial fraud case). These are senior executives who, if this alleged conduct is true, should face criminal liability.

Bankers facing criminal liability. Here in the FSA. That’s pretty funny.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

More on the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”

Last week we kicked the tires of the Trans-Pacific partnership, a piece of secret legislation being secretly negotiated by the White House, with the help of more than 600 corporate advisers and representative from Pacific Rim nations. Described as a “trade agreement,” the US already has trade agreements covering 90 percent of the GDP of the countries involved in the talks. Instead, the TPP is a major power grab by large corporations, conducted under cover in much the same way that NAFTA was foisted upon the American middle class. The deal will reportedly give multinational corporations a favorable economic and legal status vis a vis sovereign nations, and the ability to challenge legislation in each nation unfavorable to the corporation’s interests.

Why so secretive?

As Margaret Flowers reports in an article, if people knew what was in the bill, the groundswell of opposition would be such as to make it impossible to sign.

The text of the TPP includes 29 chapters, only five of which are about trade. The remaining chapters are focused on changes that multinational corporations have not been able to pass in Congress such as restrictions on internet privacy, increased patent protections, greater access to litigation and further financial deregulation.

So far, all that is known about the contents of the TPP is from documents that have been leaked and reports from NGOs and industry meetings. Unlike other trade deals, the White House refuses to make the text available to the public. In fact, the negotiators refuse to publish the text until four years after it is signed into law. Why are they being so secretive? Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he opposed making the text public because doing so would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.

From the information available, one thing is clear about the impacts of the TPP on health care: the intention of the TPP is to enhance and protect the profits of medical and pharmaceutical corporations without considering the harmful effects their policies will have on human health.

recession-2

No reader will be surprised to learn that the net impact of this pernicious bit of treason is to maximize corporate profits. The TPP agreement takes particular loving care of Big Pharma, and attempts to limit the capacities of state owned public health enterprises to care for its own citizenry.

Text from a section of the TPP called “Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Healthcare Technologies” was leaked in June 2011. It reveals this conflict between medical industries that have strictly commercial interests and public health systems that are concerned about the health of the population. Medical industries are pushing on all fronts to keep their prices high while public health systems must negotiate to keep prices affordable and maximise what they can cover within their budgets.

To the medical industries, such price negotiation is one of the “unfair advantages” of public health systems. When a public health system negotiates a lower price, it is said to be exerting its market power. On the flip side, when a government extends patent protections to medical industries to keep prices high, this is not considered to be an unfair advantage granted by the government.

Medical industries are pushing for other concessions within the TPP to “level the playing field”, also known as forcing public entities to operate as market-based entities, such as factoring the cost of not just research, development and production of drugs and medical devices, but also the cost of marketing them into what is considered to be a fair market price. And they only view prices negotiated without any government influence as fair.

As always, Mammon remains hungry.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Americans’ Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record

Congress ranks last on list of 16 institutions; military earns top spot again

To the surprise of almost nobody, the results are in: virtually no one trusts the scripted mainstream media and even fewer trust Congress. We’ve known it for years, but a new Gallup poll shows that a whopping 77% of Americans distrust mainstream media television and nobody likes Congress who is willing to give their name to an interviewer. . .

Only a bit more ‘trustworthy’ than Congress, which scored in at a record low of 90% saying they do not trust the government body, the Gallup poll details that only 23% of viewers actually trust the mainstream media television news. A reality that has been clear as day in light of blatant mainstream media blackouts on key events like the outrageous DHS Fourth Amendment free zones that stretch up to 100 miles out from every single border of the US, to the blackout over eyewitness reports at the Boston Marathon.

Gallup sez:

Americans’ confidence in Congress is not only at its lowest point on record, but also is the worst Gallup has ever found for any institution it has measured since 1973. This low level of confidence is in line with Americans’ low job approval of Congress, which has also been stuck below 30% for years.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

 

Gohmert: Cutting food stamps not evil because poor people buy king crab legs

 

Going out on a limb here, but just perhaps– perhaps– the low approval rating of Congress stems in large measure from antics like these. Raw Story moved this item in the wake of the defeated Farm Bill this week, which illustrated a new level of political incompetence in Washington unseen in at least one observer’s lifetime.

Congressional comedian Louis Gohmert

complained that Democrats had portrayed Republicans as evil because they supported a measure to cut nearly 2 million low-income people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which would mainly impact working families with children.

On the other hand, Gohmert said, poor people were using food stamps to buy food that other Americans could not afford. He claimed his “broken-hearted” constituents had repeatedly told him they had seen people use food stamps to buy king crab legs.

“Because he does pay income tax, he doesn’t get more back than he pays in, he is actually helping pay for king crab legs when he can’t pay for them for himself,” Gohmert explained.

“How can you begrudge somebody who feels that way,” he added. “How can you begrudge anyone who steps up on behalf of constituents who feel that way. We don’t want anyone to go hungry, and from the amount of obesity in this country by people who we’re told do not have enough to eat, it does seem like we could have a debate about this issue without allegations about wanting to slap down or starve children.”

The average monthly SNAP benefit for one person is $133.44.

Reports have circulated that the king crab leg purchaser was wearing purple wings and riding an ebony unicorn when sighted making the crab leg purchase.

___________________________________________________________

Klansman and accomplice charged for building radiation gun

The men allegedly intended for their “Hiroshima on a light switch” to be used on the Muslim community

We are all familiar with elements of the ignorant , violent nativist right in this country, which is much like the ignorant violent and nativist right in every country. But these folks have set a new by attempting to apply technology with a lethal, deadly twist.

 

Two men, one of them a member of the Ku Klux Klan, were arraigned today in Albany, N.Y., on federal charges of plotting to build a mobile radiation gun intended to kill Muslims – or “medical waste,” as the plotters called their intended targets.

Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, a Klan member from Galway, N.Y., and Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, are both charged with conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism in the use of a weapon of mass destruction.

The case has been under investigation by a Joint Terrorism Task Force since at least April 2012, when Crawford allegedly reached out to Jewish organizations, asking if Israel would be interested in such a weapon to kill its enemies.

“The essence of Crawford’s scheme is the creation of a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device capable of killing human targets silently and from a distance with lethal doses of radiation,” says a 67-page criminal complaint filed by the FBI.

It might sound far-fetched, but experts told investigators that the design would work, producing a “a lethal, and functioning, remotely controlled radiation-emitting device,” the complaint says

A “central feature of the weaponized radiation device is that the target(s) and those around them would not immediately be aware they had absorbed lethal doses of radiation and the harmful effects of that radiation would not become apparent until days after the exposure,” the complaint says.

At one point, Crawford described his planned device as “Hiroshima on a light switch,” the complaint says.

The case against this pair appears built around extensive recordings of their conversations and e-mails. Within six weeks of Crawford’s attempts to solicit financing from two Jewish organizations, the FBI was monitoring and recording much of his activity and had recruited an snitch In.

Last August, Crawford traveled by car from his home in Albany to North Carolina to meet and solicit funding from an unidentified  “ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan,” who cooperated when contacted by FBI agents. In early October, he traveled to Greensboro, N.C., to meet with a cooperating witness and two undercover FBI agents who posed as “Southern businessmen of means who were associated with the KKK.”

Reminds me of the descriptions we often hear about serial killers. “He was a nice boy. Quiet. Shy. He didn’t have much to say.”  Keep this in mind when you’re tricorn hat-wearing neighbor seems to be spending the too many late nights in his garage, tinkering on his neighborhood death ray.

___________________________________________________________

Michael Hastings, RIP.

As you know, reporter Michael Hastings died in a fiery car crash earlier this week. There’s a great deal loves that chelation about the causes of the crash, and especially the resultant fireball that supposedly consumed is vehicle. Reader Supported News moved an article earlier in the week, and I can do no better than to run it in toto:

The death of reporter Michael Hastings, best remembered for taking on General Stanley McChrystal and other powerful people, has been met with shock and grief in the journalistic community, especially from those fortunate enough to work alongside him. But one layer below the fond remembrances are a host of vague questions and inferences about the circumstances surrounding the 33-year-old BuzzFeed reporter’s fiery solo car crash early Tuesday in Los Angeles. Bringing those suspicions to the forefront last night was WikiLeaks, never reticent to insert itself into a story, which teased, “Michael Hastings death has a very serious non-public complication. We will have more details later.” And after three hours tweeted: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”

“Yeah,” BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith confirmed to Daily Intelligencer. “Before his death, Michael told a number of his friends and colleagues that he was concerned that he was under investigation.”

But other, less reputable sources have taken the speculation much further. “Vince Foster-like murder plot emerging in Los Angeles? Did the Obama administration knock off a star reporter?” asked one blog early on Wednesday, adding to existing conspiratorialTwitterchatter. Another wrote, “Admit it, Michael Hastings’ Death is Weird and Scary.” Hours before revelations about a potential FBI investigation, InfoWars, the Alex Jones website that serves as a catch-all conspiracy-theory clearing house, mentioned Hastings’s death with an editor’s note: “Journalists who mess with government and military power often die under mysterious circumstances.” None had more than conjecture.

The circumstances are these: “Police said a vehicle was southbound on Highland about 4:20 a.m. when it lost control south of Melrose and smashed into a tree,” the L.A. Times reported. Videopurports to show Hastings’s Mercedes-Benz running a red light at a high speed minutes before the crash. “It sounded like a bomb went off in the middle of the night,” a witness told the local news. “I couldn’t have written a scene like this for a movie, where the engine flies from the car.” Photos and video from the aftermath show extreme wreckage, and as of yesterday, the coroner had not officially identified the body because it was too badly burned.

But an automotive writer also fed the doubters:

I’m here to state that I’ve seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero. Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category. Nor is the C-Class known for sudden veering out of control into trees and whatnot.The crash is under investigation and there will be an official accident report (a toxicology report could take weeks). Whatever its findings, they can likely coexist with Hastings’s mind-set at the time and a potential government investigation without representing something more sinister.

“He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,” said Hastings’s friend and Current TV host Cenk Uygur. “I don’t know what his state of mind was at 4:30 in the morning, but I do know what his state of mind was in general, and it was a nervous wreck.” But Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery put it plainly: “Ugh, the people posting Vince Foster style comments re Hastings death do a disservice to his no BS truth telling.” Let’s wait for the facts.

Update: The L.A. Times reports that Hastings, prior to his death, “was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by the Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.” The paper also notes, “Since Hastings’s death early Tuesday, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet implying that he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him.”

 ___________________________________________________________

Limestone Doomstead

 We’ve entertained a lot of discussion about doomsteads on the Doomsday Diner, and discussed many of the preparations and planning that would be necessary to create such a place. It appears that one man is planning on an extinction level event, and is acquired a former government facility in which to plan a doomstead with a few of his friends.

After most of the world’s population is wiped off the map by a wayward meteorite or hail of nuclear missiles, the survival of the human race might just depend on a few thousand people huddled in recreational vehicles deep in the bowels of an eastern Kansas mine. 

That’s the vision of a California man who is creating what he calls the world’s largest private underground survivor shelter, using a complex of limestone caves dug more than 100 years ago beneath gently rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River.

‘I do believe I am on a mission and doing a spiritual thing,’ said Robert Vicino, who has purchased a large portion of the former U.S. Army storage facility on the southeast edge of Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City. ‘We will certainly be part of the genesis.’



Before it comes time to ride out Armageddon or a deadly global pandemic, though, Vicino says the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort will be a fun place for members to take vacations and learn assorted survival skills to prepare them for whatever world-changing catastrophe awaits.

Jacque Pregont, president of the Atchison Chamber of Commerce, said some people think the shelter plan sounds creepy or that Vicino has ‘lost his mind,’ while others are excited because they will finally get a chance to tour the property.

Atchison is known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart and one of the most haunted towns in Kansas, Pregont said, so the survival shelter is likely to add to the town’s tourism draw.

Here is a scale model of the facility:
Apparently according to the current pricing structure, a person who plans to park a 30-foot vehicle in the shelter with four people inside will pay $30,000 for the space and $6,000 for food.  Actual sales won’t begin until a ‘critical mass’ of reservations are received and processed, Vicino said, which hasn’t happened yet at the Kansas shelter. Vivos also owns a shelter in Indiana with room for 80 people to live comfortably for up to a year.There, members pay $50,000 per adult and $35,000 per child, so a family with two adults and two children would have to come up with $170,000 to be part of the “new beginnings” generation. So it appears that the 1% will at least be safe in their year-round, 70°, temperature regulated chambers.
In closing, I am moved to wonder why the government sold this facility. Where have they moved whatever was stored here? Why did they sell it, and so cheaply?
Just wondering.
I’m sure the answer lies in the entrails of the next sheep.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

So who picks? And if Sessions picks, does he pick [...]

Quote from: Eddie on September 24, 2018, 07:55:59 [...]

Who picks the successor? The AG, I presume. I wond [...]

Russian Central Bank Adds 1,000,000 Ounces Of Gold [...]

In lieu of the festivities on RE's shiny new [...]

Quote from: azozeo on September 19, 2018, 10:07:52 [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on September 19, 2018, 08:44:17 [...]

Of all the people to wonder.Az, you just got a new [...]

Quote from: RE on September 18, 2018, 05:00:56 PMQ [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • Error

  (Edit: I've tried to write on this subject for a while now and failed, realizing I would not, [...]

Mother Nature Shows Off Her Stuff By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog and I live on the edge of the [...]

Control the Narrative and You Control the People By Cognitive Dissonance   It is extremely difficult [...]

Impotence and Denial: The Desperate Virtue Signaling Voices By Cognitive Dissonance     Regardless o [...]

A Near Death Experience: Back from the Brink By Cognitive Dissonance   In an odd sort of way I am fa [...]

Event Update For 2018-09-22http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-09-21http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-09-20http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-09-19http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-09-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

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Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Somewhere, a Tiger Yawns"Simple, scalable, and shovel ready. China is moving negative emissions from laboratory to fiel [...]

Cherry Blossom Soap"China’s real wealth is not yuan but cherry blossoms."No longer having a television at hom [...]

Sustainablin…"Guided by an unquenchable passion for meaning and impact."We are participating in a 4 wee [...]

Eco-Civ 101"We are the people who are eating the first crabs."I have never been terribly fond of citi [...]

Angels in Carbon Paradise"Being co-evolutionary, Gaia tried to keep pace with our evolution but lately has given that up [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Mexico is indeed a concern. I expect that the reason that Trump wanted the wall was concern about th [...]

“In a provocatively titled video, “Will one phone call drop home prices by 80 per cent?”, Digital Fi [...]

“The $37 billion in new supply of 2-year Treasury notes on Monday were sold at the highest yield at [...]

Modern nation survive through debt. Credit issuers that issue credit backed by oil seem to do the be [...]

Why fetishize debt/GDP? Because it is a trend that never ends. It is chronic, not some temporary flu [...]

Charles Hugh Smith is saying that since 2008 the central banks of the world have been buying up zill [...]

Steve, have you read this author? http://michael-hudson.com/2007/08/why-the-miracle-of-compound-inte [...]

Absolutely true. I am waiting for someone to say that debt can increase faster than income forever. [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

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