Scott Walker

This Was The Week That Was In Doom July 29, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 29, 2013

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Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

 

  ~Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”

 

Like Whitman’s “learned astronomer,” we hear “experts” way in on both sides of the debate, wherever a  debate can be found or manufactured. Peak oil? Climate change? The age of the earth? Many of those unimpressed by modernism, and especially those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, urge their hirelings to “teach the controversy.” In other words, manufacture a controversy where none exists, in the face of a mountain of available evidence to the contrary. Thus do we have petroleum industry shills bleating mightily about subsidies for windmills at a time when carbon dioxide had reached 400 ppm in the atmosphere, a level said to herald a threshold of impending doom.  At a time when we’re burning everything we can get our hands on, we’re also destroying the last great aboriginal rain forest in Brazil, ripping out the earth’s lungs one forest at a time. All in the name of the only religion worth mentioning, certainly the only one  practiced in this nominally Christian country, the worship of money. In spite of the evidence, the proofs, the theorems, we are unable to rouse ourselves to do anything about getting off the petroleum crack pipe; about ending domestic spying; about economic justice; about saving a once great city, mostly because poor people live there.  Little wonder, then, that so many of us simply want to wander off by ourselves, and consider the perfect silence of the firmament. Perhaps the answer lies there? We doubt it: as another poet, William Shakespeare, once said, “the answer lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

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A onetime friend of mine Posted this on my Facebook wall. It purported to be from an organization called the Institute for energy research. A posted an article included the following:

 

One of the largest wind facilities in the world is benefiting from millions of dollars in state tax credits it is not qualified for and does not need, according to a recent series of investigative reports in The Oregonian.

The 845 megawatt Shepherds Flat wind facility that opened in 2012 received final approval last month from the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) for three separate tax credits totaling $30 million. Caithness Energy, owner of Shepherds Flat, was able to secure the credits by defining the project as three separate wind facilities. But as the new reports reveal, Shepherds Flat likely qualifies for just one out of three Business Energy Tax Credits under explicit ODOE rules that determine what constitutes a “separate and distinct” facility.

Now there may be merits in the report, as far as the operations of the business and the qualification for certain tax credits, especially as the story originated with a newspaper.  yet what interested me was this “Institute for energy research.” Wouldn’t an organization interested in energy research  be interested in alternative energy sources, including more efficient turbine generation for windmills? So I looked under the hood. It didn’t take long to find a dead cat on the engine. Here is what you need to know about IER:

The Institute for Energy Research (IER), is a Washington, DC-based non-profit corporation that conducts “research and analysis” on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.

[quote]The Institute’s CEO, Robert L. Bradley, Jr., was formerly a director of policy analysis at Enron, where he wrote speeches for Kenneth Lay. He has written seven books, including Capitalism at Work and Edison to Enron,[5] and he maintains the website Political Capitalism. He is also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

Robert L. Bradley, Jr., President of the Institute for Energy Research, wrote an article published by Competitive Enterprise Institute, entitled “Heated Debate”[8] to respond to a negative review by Harvard Professor John P. Holdren of the 2001 international best seller The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg. Lomberg was inspired to write his book after he read an article entitled “The Doomslayer”[9] profiling Julian L. Simon. Lomberg was honored in 2003 with the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Julian L. Simon award. The award was given to Robert L. Bradley in 2002 and more recently in 2012 to Matt Ridley, who is also skeptical about climate change.

Once again, we see the long arm of the Koch brothers at work.  Rust never sleeps.  It gets better:

The Institute for Energy Research has a political arm, the American Energy Alliance, which is responsible for multi-million dollar television advertising campaigns that have attacked energy policy, ideas and positions of the Obama Administration that are contrary to the those held by IER. The American Energy Alliance is run by Thomas (Tom) Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. According the its website, the Alliance engages in “grassroots public policy advocacy and debate” regarding energy.

Both IER and the American Energy Alliance are partly funded by the Koch Brothers and their donor network, according to Politico’s research, sources – and to reports by Koch-controlled charitable foundations themselves. The American Energy Alliance, as a matter of policy, does not disclose the names of its donors.

American Energy Alliance provide an online petition to U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the US federal government administration’s approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline extension. American Energy Alliance compare the extended time for the application approval to the time it took for the Allies “to win World War II.”[11]
Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC)

Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for American Energy Alliance told Politico in October 2012 that, “Our [American Energy Alliance] goal is to make the United States Wind Energy Policy#Wind Production Tax Credit so toxic that it makes it impossible for John Boehner to sit at a table with Harry Reid and say, ‘Yeah, I can bend on this one.’”

By their deeds shall we know them. Their work certainly speaks for itself.

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Congress affirms NSA spying

Or maybe this should be filed under, “You’re Shitting Me, Right?

A vote vote in the House this past week on an amendment to  curtail domestic spying failed, in a result that was much closer than either side realized. It also smoked out those members of the so-called “liberal” party that think it’s a really good idea that the NSA sniff your crotch.

“There is a real division within each party on this issue,” Norman J. Ornstein, a renowned expert on U.S. politics, said.

This was evident in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, when a vote to curtail domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) sundered the Democratic and Republican parties alike.

The vote was the first of its kind to take place since the revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden which, when published by The Guardian newspaper, exposed a degree of domestic surveillance far greater in scale and scope than was previously understood by the public.

The 217-205 decision to reject an amendment blocking spending on NSA domestic spying was so close that one political commentator called it a “nail biter”. Of the 205 votes in favour, 111 were from Democrats and 94 from Republicans, and of the 217 votes opposed, 83 were from Democrats votes and 134 from Republicans.

“You’re not going to see many votes like this,” says Ornstein.

The divisions mirror popular opinion in the country. I myself am the wrong one to ask with the mood of the people is, as I was gobsmacked when Reagan beat Carter in 1979. So the fact that the Pew Research Center says that 57% of Democrats approve of government spying along with 44% of Republicans, all I can do is shake my head, go outside, and stare at the stars.

As noted above, the vote did result in “the outing of the shills.” As this vote illustrates, both sides of the aisle are equally corrupt and controlled.  One could be impressed by the fact that Debbie Wasserman Shultz voted the same way as John Boehner.  Strange bedfellows, indeed. Although perhaps not so strange, if you follow the money.

Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash. The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the house voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA’s phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters.

Overall, political action committees and employees from defense and intelligence firms such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies, Honeywell International, and others ponied up $12.97 million in donations for a two-year period ending December 31, 2012, according to the analysis, which MapLight performed with financing data from OpenSecrets. Lawmakers who voted to continue the NSA dragnet-surveillance program averaged $41,635 from the pot, whereas House members who voted to repeal authority averaged $18,765.

Res ipsa loquitor.

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The Snowden Effect

Not surprisingly, Charlie Pierce observed this entire trail of tears and had a few trenchant observations of his own:

With defunding stuff all the rage among Washington Republicans these days, you could have missed Rep. Justin Amash’s long-bomb attempt to defund the National Security Agency’s secret attempts to Hoover up cellphone records from millions of Americans.Some Democrats in the House have signed aboard, which apparently has given the administration sufficient agita as to cause a sudden lapse into illogic and incoherence. This is the argument that the White House is making to try and get Democrats not to support Amash’s Hail Mary.

“In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens… However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.”    
The hell you say.
A bill is being proposed and debated in a public session of the national legislature and that’s not an “informed, open, or deliberative process.” As opposed to what, a secret program, validated on the basis of secret evidence, by a secret court?  Hell, the Amash bill is the only informed, open and deliberative thing about this whole mess. If you’re welcoming a debate, then welcome the debate. If you don’t, then don’t. But don’t throw out laughable statements like this one. You sound like a bunch of East Germans.
And, once again, his mad international PR skillz aside, if Edward Snowden had not done what he did, the debate is not happening.
 Interestingly, Bill Maher  made very same point at the end of this program on Friday night. Clearly either Maher or his writers read Pierce.  No matter: it’s the truth.

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Woman Wants Possessions Back After Bank Tried To Repossess Wrong House

 

You think it would be straightforward. The bank tried to repossess the wrong house. The wrong woman would like her belongings back. No, this is the FSA, were banks can do no wrong, and if you’re a citizen and run afoul of one, well, it sucks to be you.

Katie Barnett says that the First National Bank in Wellston foreclosed on her house, even though it was not her bank.

“They repossessed my house on accident, thinking it was the house across the street,” Barnett said.

Barnett, who had been away from the house for about two weeks, said she had to crawl through the window of her own house in order to get in after she used her own key that did not work. 

Some of the items in her house had been hauled away, others were sold, given away and trashed.

It turns out the bank sent someone to repossess the house located across the street from Barnett’s house, but by mistake broke into hers instead.

“They told me that the GPS led them to my house,” Barnett said. “My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.”

She called the McArthur Police about the incident, but weeks later, the chief announced the case was closed.

Barnett said that according to the bank president, this was the first time something like this has happened.

She presented him with an $18,000 estimate to replace the losses, but the president refused to pay.

 “He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is,’” Barnett said. “I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer. They took my stuff and I want it back.”

An update to this story shows the bank has responded in its most bankly way: they apologized on their website, while telling Ms. Barnett to go fuck herself.. They asked Ms. Barnett to produce receipts for her belongings, but any receipts that she may have had were probably with the belongings that the bank looted and confiscated, then disposed of. But don’t think that the First National Bank of Wellstone doesn’t have Barnett’s best interest at heart: they offered to replace her missing bow flex machine with a bow flex they found on the side of the road. In a just world the story would be getting serious play, and the bankers made to suffer the kind of public humiliation generally reserved for pederasts and men who have sex with livestock.  But the good bankers will probably show up at the next Chamber of Commerce breakfast, backslapping their buddies, and gloating over this quarter’s results.  And probably sitting next to the chief of police.  And Katie Barnett? All she wants is her stuff back. Her, and the rest of the country. . .

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No Singing Zone

The state rotunda in Madison Wisconsin is now declared a no singing zone.

Capital police last week arrested protesters of Gov. Scott Walker on the charges of violating state permanent rules by singing in the Statehouse rotunda. According to the Journal-Sentinel,

Twenty-two of the roughly 60 protesters — including a pair of Madison talk radio hosts — were led away in flex-tie restraints as dozens of legislative aides and journalists looked on from a few steps away and from higher floors.

Demonstrators have continued to gather in the Capitol for their near-dailysinging protest despite a recent federal judge’s ruling partially backing the Walker administration’s stance and repeated declarations by police that it was an “unlawful event.”

Police once again warned demonstrators early in Wednesday’s singalong, both by loudspeaker and by a handwritten sign in the Capitol rotunda, to leave or be “subject to arrest.” But many kept on singing.

 

 

The Capitol police  have already issued hundreds of citations over the past several years for the crime of assembling in the peoples’ House.  Not surprisingly, Pierce had a take on this.

 

Ever since Walker began his campaign to turn Wisconsin into a client state for various corporations, which is to say, practically since he was elected in 2010, and certainly since he was reaffirmed in office a year later, people who don’t necessarily enjoy being residents of a corporate client state have been gathering in the rotunda of the capitol building to sing various songs of opposition and resistance. They call themselves the Solidarity Singers, and they apparently have  into the Gulf of Mexico something of an annoyance to Scott Walker, probably because none of them own a mining company, so, this week, his pals in the legislature sic’ced his capitol police on the singers, busting the lot of them, including elderly men and women, and the odd journalist …

This being Wisconsin, where most of the progressive notions of the 20th century were born, which is why Walker and his various sugar-daddies are trying to roll them back in the 21st, there are old rules and traditions that were put in place to make sure the state capitol was not garrisoned against the people and their right, however musically they exercise it, to petition their government for a redress of grievances. The ACLU of Wisconsin, which won an injunction against the capitol police in response to an earlier spate of arrests, considers this latest action a question of fat men with clubs squeezing through a loophole.

Under the new permitting policy, groups as small as four were forced to obtain prior permission from the government before they engaged in expression “for the purpose of actively promoting any cause.” The new rules also prohibited people from gathering in the Capitol for any performance, ceremony, presentation, meeting or rally without a permit. In his 47-page decision, Judge Conley wrote that the Capitol’s “design was intended to embody… the pursuit of fair and open government informed by an educated, politically involved citizenry and the ‘Wisconsin idea.'”

This has nothing to do with public safety. I’ve been in that rotunda. It’s huge. You could bring in Up With People, and there’d still be room for the daily business of selling Wisconsin off wholesale to get done around them. This is about inconveniencing a guy who wants to run for president based on his record of selling Wisconsin off wholesale. This is about video he doesn’t like and people who harsh his mellow. Which happens to be what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Article I of the constitution of what once was the state of Wisconsin, are all about, too.

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Halliburton: “What, Me Worry?”

Deepwater_horizon_platform_sinking

I know we are a people who have no memory, but does anybody else remember that BP fiasco? You know, the one where millions of gallons of crude oil went  gushing into the Gulf of Mexico? That deepwater Horizon thingy? You might think that if there were a functioning rule of law anywhere in this country,  that if the Corporation admitted destroying evidence that led to to spoil and a significant natural resource and fishery, they might face a fine greater than $200,000. But I answer myself. The rule of law functions just fine in this country thank you very much, in accordance with the operating principles of those who purchased the legislators:

Halliburton has admitted destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and will plead guilty to a criminal charge, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Under the plea agreement, which requires court approval, Houston-based Halliburton will also face three years’ probation, pay the maximum fine of $200,000 and continue to cooperate in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the April 2010 explosion and fire on the drilling platform, which killed 11 rig workers off Louisiana.

The Justice Department said it would not pursue further criminal charges against Halliburton or its subsidiaries.

Separately, Halliburton made a $55 million “voluntary contribution” to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

In a statement Thursday night, Halliburton noted that the Justice Department “acknowledged the company’s significant and valuable cooperation during the course of its investigation, and the company has agreed to continue to cooperate … in any ongoing investigation related to or arising from the incident.”

The spill was the largest in U.S. history: Nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil poured into the Gulf before the sea-floor gusher was capped three months later.

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Michael Hastings Watch: $25 gadget lets hackers seize control of a car

 

After journalist Michael Hastings’s death, there were rumours that his car had been hacked. Now two researchers say they can do it for real

IN THE early hours of 18 June, a Mercedes coupé travelling at extremely high speed along a Los Angeles street smashed into a palm tree. It exploded into flames, killing the driver; the impact ejected the engine 50 metres clear of the car. Was it an accident? Or was the car hacked, allowing it to be driven off the road by remote control?

The very idea might sound crazy – but it’s one that Richard Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser to the US National Security Council, has raised after the driver was identified as Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings. Known for his revealing articles on the US military and its intelligence agencies, Hastings had emailed colleagues the day before he died to say that he was going “off the radar for a bit” to chase down a “big story”.

“What evidence is available publicly is consistent with a car cyberattack,” says Clarke in a Huffington Post interview. Intelligence agencies, he says, can remotely seize control of a car to make it accelerate wildly or brake suddenly, for instance.

Clarke cited research, carried out for the US National Academy of Sciences, showing that “connected cars” – equipped with built-in cellular technologyused by dashboard apps and engine-monitoring software – can be hacked remotely. But proof that it could be done in practice has been lacking.

That looks set to change on 27 July, when Spanish engineers Javier Vázquez Vidal and Alberto Garcia Illera will give a demonstration at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. They have built a $25 device that lets them bypass security in a car’s electronic control unit.

The brains of a modern car, the ECU is a computer that controls engine power, transmission and braking. Mechanics can diagnose faults by plugging a laptop into it via standard wired connectors such as the CAN bus.

Alternatively, remote diagnostics and software updates can take place over a cellular network, as happens with services such as General Motors’ OnStarand Mercedes-Benz’s Mbrace.

Vázquez Vidal and Garcia Illera will show how their device – which they claim uses a $1 chip to break encryption – can read from and write data to the flash memory of commonly used ECUs, made by Bosch of Germany.

Whatever the causes of Michael Hastings’s crash, the need to make cars secure against hacking will only become more acute. The next version of Vázquez Vidal and Garcia Illera’s device won’t even need plugging in to the target car. “I am already working on a wireless version,” Vázquez Vidal says.

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Add Hacking news:

Hacker Barnaby Jack dies in San Francisco aged 35


Barnaby Jack, who became famous after demonstrating an ATM hack, died on Thursday – but coroners did not give details. He was 36.A prominent professional hacker who discovered a way to have ATMs spit out cash, Mr. Jack died Thursday, authorities and his employer said. The cause of death is under investigation, San Francisco Deputy Coroner Kris Barbrich said.Craig Brophy, a spokesman for computer security firm IOActive, where Mr. Jack was director of embedded device security, confirmed his death and said the company would be issuing a statement.Mr. Jack was scheduled to speak Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. The title of his talk was “Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans,” according to the Black Hat conference website.Mr. Jack planned to reveal software that uses a common transmitter to scan for and “interrogate” individual medical implants, the website said.
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Jackals circle Detroit

Department of first things first:

Even as the city of Detroit goes bankrupt, Michigan’s state legislature approved Wednesday a $450 million bond offering that would form the public backbone of a new stadium for the Detroit Red Wings.  The bonds will be floated by the Michigan Strategic Fund, which handles all of the state’s private development funds. The public, $283 million portion of the bonds will come from the Downtown Development Authority, which earmarks a slice of downtown Detroit property taxes for reinvestment there.

In the US of A, billionaire sports owners are not to be held responsible for building their own stadiums, that is the public’s job.  Their job is to rake in the profits.  Meanwhile, the city itself will not be allowed to collect these earmarked downtown property taxes for such things as schools, police, infrastructure rebuilding and the like, or for retirement obligations to its workers, who might just have to find a cheaper grade of cat food.

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Add Detroit

No need for annotation here. An inspired rant from Firedoglake:

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” that one option not on the table is a federal bailout. “I think it’s very difficult right now to ask directly for support,” he said.

Well yeah. It is difficult to ask directly for support. It’s not like you’re a financial institution, after all.

It’s not like you spent the past 15 years putting the entire national economy on red in Vegas.

It’s not like you bet against your own customers and then sold them out without telling them.

It’s not like you took your federal bailouts and then backed a greedy fuck in the next election whose campaign did nothing but bash the entire CONCEPT of federal government.

It’s not like you reacted to the slightest attempt to regulate your business like someone who just watched his puppy gunned down in the street, and then demanded the rest of the world treat your feelings like a national emergency.

If you were one of those guys, hey, no problem. The free money pile is that way. Here’s a wheelbarrow. May we push it for you? Wouldn’t want you to strain your back.

Now come vulturous fucks Kevyn Orr and Rick Snyder to tell other people it’s time to get “real,” because apparently losing your house and a retirement income YOU WERE PROMISED and facing the possibility of living in your car as a reward for working your whole life for the public isn’t “real.”

Now come Kevyn Orr and Rick Snyder, scraping their beaks on the bones of the wounded, to explain how they have no choice but to take everything away from people who have nothing, because sometime in the past somebody had the stupid idea that we should take responsibility for the people who take responsibility for us.

Kevyn Orr, by the way, is getting paid $275,000 to tell people who made $35,000 a year their whole lives to get real. Just in case your irony meter wasn’t already buried in the red zone. The public has no choice but to pay him, I assume, the same way it has no choice but to act like people who retired because they had every expectation of being able to retire because they had done literally everything in their lives right at this point are the anchor dragging Detroit down.

If only they’d crashed the entire trading floor, left the housing market in ruins, and bitched to the WSJ’s editorial board about how mean everybody was. Then they could belly up to the federal bar and order a double of whatever the banks are having.

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You’re Shitting Me, right?

Another installment of those stories that moved that you can’t even believe are true, as if writers for The Onion were generating headlines. We live in times that sorely test one’s capacity for satire, and herin is the proof:

Remember the geniuses that gave us this a couple of weeks ago?

KTVU, the Oakland Fox affiliate station that reported four fake, racially insensitive names for pilots of Asiana flight 214 on a July 12 broadcast, has responded to the embarrassing gaffe by firing three veteran producers after an in-house investigation.

Amid the fiasco, ousted producer Roland De Wolk attempted to defend his reputation to The Wrap when reached via email. Unfortunately for him, his defense was undermined by misspellings that TheWrap presumed “unintentional”:

“My hard-earned reputation is intack. There are lawyers, so eager as I am to anser all questions, I must refrain.”

More damaging for De Wolk, though, is a report from SF Weekly that challenged the supposed “intackness” of De Wolk’s reputation, instead calling it “somewhat checkered.”

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#NoNeedToSatirize: McCain promises strippers that $1 coins means bigger tips

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says he’s got a stimulus package for the strippers of America.

The former Republican presidential nominee is one of several senators supporting the COINS Act to replace the dollar bill with a dollar coin. They argue that the the move would save billions in printing costs.

But Daniel Harris, the owner of Archibald’s Gentleman’s Club in Washington, D.C., told The Hill in 2011 that he couldn’t sign on to the plan because his dancers relied on paper dollars.

“You can’t put a coin in a garter belt,” Harris said. “I think it would be very awkward for everyone involved. How much more would a coin weigh than a dollar bill? It would be very hard.”

On Thursday, The Hill asked McCain to think of the strippers.

“Then I hope that they could obtain larger denominations,” the senator quipped. “Fives, tens, one hundreds!”

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Open Season on Minorities, post-Martin verdict

#NoNeedToSatirize: National Review: Stay Away from Black Men (Again)

The National Review has warned its readers to stay away from black men.

In a column titled “Facing Facts About Race,” National Review writer and military historian Victor Davis Hanson explained how racism is passed from generation to generation of men in his family.

He begins by sharing his father’s warnings about “black youths” before claiming, “the advice was not about race per se, but instead about the tendency of males of one particular age and race to commit an inordinate amount of violent crime.”

Next, he let readers in on his own racist child rearing. “It was after some first-hand episodes with young African-American males that I offered a similar lecture to my own son. The advice was born out of experience rather than subjective stereotyping.”

Finally, Hanson laments, “I expect that my son already has his own warnings prepared to pass on to his own future children.”

***

#NoNeedToSatirize: GOP chairman: I don’t really care for the word tolerance 

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus assured social conservatives on Monday that the GOP was not going to embrace “tolerance” as part of its rebranding efforts.

“I don’t know if I’ve used the word ‘tolerance,’ I don’t really care for that word myself,” he told theChristian Broadcasting Network. “I don’t have a problem with it, I just think it has another meaning politically that can go the other direction.”

Priebus said Republicans would continue to oppose same-sex marriage and seek to ban abortion in the United States. He described both as “foundational issues,” but said Republicans needed to adopted a more tolerant tone.

“If you’re looking at the evidence, what you will see is a party that embraces life, a party that embraces marriage and a chairman that understands that there’s only one sovereign God and that we ultimately aren’t dependent on what happens in politics,” Priebus explained. “What ultimately matters in our lives is that we’re salt and light in the world and that we’re honoring God in the things that we do every day. I get that. I think our party gets that and there’s never been a movement away from that.”

 

***

Add Tolerance

#NoNeedToSatirize: Gohmert likens minorities to prairie chickens and ‘various lizards’

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Wednesday mocked an effort by Democrats to protect the rights of African-Americans by saying their amendment was actually meant for “the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouse and so many other insects.”

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Sunshine for the Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, a Republican-sponsored bill that Democrats say is unnecessary and is written so broadly that it could block individual discrimination lawsuits brought forth by federal employees.

Think Progress obtained video of Gohmert objecting to an amendment offered by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) that would have stopped third parties from blocking regulatory actions that were intended to prevent discrimination based on sex, race or national origin.

The Texas Republican argued that the amendment was more about protecting wildlife than minorities and other groups.

“There is nobody in this chamber who is more appreciative than I am for the gentleman from Tennessee and my friend from Michigan standing up for the rights of race, religion, national religion of the Delta Smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouse and so many other insects who would want someone standing for their religion, their race, their national origin and I think that’s wonderful,” Gohmert quipped.

He added that the original Republican bill would actually “protect interests” of minorities because it provided for greater transparency.

“It will not allow for some conservative or radical right-wing administration or group in the fish and wildlife to cut a deal with some right-wing radical group and we never know about it so nobody can intervene and stop it,” Gohmert insisted. “So you don’t have some group that is directly aligned with somebody in the administration at that point coming together, cutting a sweetheart deal between themselves, to the determent of the race, religion and national religion of snail darters and other animals and fish and wildlife.”

“I’ve got to express umbrage at the idea that African-Americans and Jews are like snail darters,” Cohen replied.

“The gentlemen will take note what this bill is about!” Gohmert shouted. “It’s not about race, it’s about endangered species.”

“The amendment is about civil rights!” Cohen shot back.

“If the gentlemen can point to an endangered species in this country that is a human being, I am with him 100 percent!” Gohmert exclaimed

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told Think Progress that Gohmert’s claim that the amendment was about wildlife was ridiculous.

“This is not a snail darter’s amendment, it is not an environmental amendment, it is a civil rights amendment, and we’re talking about the civil rights of people — the civil rights of people that have been violated egregiously for generations in this country,” Nadler explained.

In the end, Cohen’s amendment was defeated along party lines in a 13 to 16 vote.

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California Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Students Claims Psychiatric Damage

John Pike became, through his brutality and stupidity, an iconic image. Now he is playing the well practiced victim card often employed by the right.

A former University of California, Davis police officer who was fired after pepper spraying a group of students staging a protest in 2011, and whose actions went viral on the internet, is seeking workers’ compensation settlement, claiming the incident left him psychologically injured.

John Pike was fired in July 2012, following an internal affairs investigation regarding his actions at a November protest on the campus.  In a video that spread across the Internet, Pike can be seen aiming pepper spray in the faces of students sitting passively protesting tuition increases and in solidarity with the Occupy movement.

Pike has a settlement hearing scheduled for Aug. 13, according to the Department of Industrial Relations website.

His claim pertains to a “nervous system – psychiatric” injury according to department documents published online.

UC Davis officials confirmed Pike had filed a claim. “The university is required to follow the worker’s compensation process. We are not in agreement with the benefits being claimed,” said Andy Fell, a university spokesman.

Also here: http://www.businessinsider.com#ixzz2aL7uCCfm

 

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And perhaps the piece-de-resistance for the week

Pennsylvania police chief: F*ck all you libtards out there, you take it in the a**

The mayor of Gilberton, Pennsylvania is standing by her city’s police chief despite a series of profanity-laced and threatening videos.

In a video that has received wide attention, police chief Mark Kessler repeatedly tells those upset by his use of profanity to “go f*ck yourself” as he fires various automatic weapons.

Mayor Mary Lou Hannon told The Morning Call that Kessler had the right to express himself. The city would “not take action to quash free speech, whether or not each member of council or any member of council agrees with it.”

Kessler has uploaded several profanity-laced videos to YouTube. In one video, Kessler berates “libtards” and warns of an armed rebellion against the government.

“F*ck all you libtards out there, as a matter of fact, read my shirt,” he says, turning around to show a message on his back which read, “Liberals take it in the a**.”

“You take it in the ass and I don’t give a f*ck what you say so you can all just go f*ck yourselves. Period. I wont be going to D.C. and I don’t give a f*ck. If you f*cking maniacs want to turn this into an armed revolt, knock yourselves out. I’m not about that, so see you on the other side.”

In a video on basic pistol defense, Kessler repeatedly shoots a picture of a scary clown, which he says is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He calls Secretary of State John Kerry a “c*cksucker” in another video before firing off an automatic weapon.

Tuesday on his Facebook page, Kessler called for a massive rally to “show these tyrants we will not stand for any more violations on our constitution or our freedoms.”

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That’s it for this week’s lesson in lack of faith in humanity. We’ll try it again next week!

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.”

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#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.”

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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.

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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.

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  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.
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