Tuesday, May 31, 2016

For the Love of Pete

Do they want to quit using numbers, too?  At XV minutes past IX o'clock in the morning, there was a dust storm in Lubbock.

Thank you for shopping at Walmart.  That will be XX dollars and XCV cents, please.

They are really going to have a cow when they learn they can't say alcohol and arsenal.

List of English words of Arabic origin.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Yeah, I Never Heard of Him, Either

Neocon political "analyst and commentator", William Kristol, has been teasing since Sunday about a political bombshell sure to drive Donald Trump to distraction.


French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children.


According to one person deeply involved in the efforts to recruit an independent challenger, the search has focused on individuals who have one or more of the following three traits seen as vital for credibly launching such a bid: fame, vast wealth, and elective experience.

And French doesn't fit any of those.

Bill Kristol's father is rolling in his grave.  His 93-year-old mother still thinks he's the second coming.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

You Betcha

Like Hillary says, America is already great.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Meanwhile in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO — The anticorruption minister of Brazil’s interim president, Michel Temer, resigned Monday night after a secret recording seemed to show that he tried to stymie the sweeping corruption investigation revolving around Petrobras, the national oil company.

That's a page right out of American national governance: appoint the person most disqualifiable for the position. Appoint the guy involved in the corruption to oversee the anti-corruption department. Priceless. 's actual title was: minister of transparency.

In an increasingly paranoid atmosphere in the capital, Brasília, members of the country’s political and business elite are secretly recording one another with the aim of reaching plea deals. Sergio Machado, a politician who was the chief executive of a Petrobras transportation unit for more than a decade, has turned over a trove of recordings to investigators.

In doing so, Mr. Machado, who has been accused of helping to orchestrate the Petrobras bribery scheme, is betraying various senior political figures whom he recorded.
So we can probably expect more revelations.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Uh-Oh, Eric

Just the admission has the likes of Mitch McConnell in apoplexy.   (Not to mention pretty much all reports leading with that admission as if it's something new and shocking.)

To be sure, Holder did not say Snowden shouldn't be tried. He pretty much said Snowden harmed our country and should face legal consequences, indicating the assumption of a guilty verdict that would lead to sentencing.
"I know there are ways in which certain of our agents were put at risk, relationships with other countries were harmed, our ability to keep the American people safe was compromised.”


“He's broken the law in my view. He needs to get lawyers, come on back, and decide, see what he wants to do: Go to trial, try to cut a deal. I think there has to be a consequence for what he has done,” Holder continued. "I think in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, I think a judge could take into account the usefulness of having had that national debate."

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.


I missed the anniversary (yesterday) of the Brooklyn Bridge Stampede.

San Diego Police Ready for November

This is a photo (taken by Ashi Fachler) of a police officer in San Diego at a recent Trump rally.

This is not a good look for the Land of the Free.

Welcome to New America.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Fachler photos from the rally.

Power in a Union - Follow-Up

The Verizon agreement:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Mass Surveillance

But then, that's not the real purpose of mass surveillance, is it?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

There Can Be Only One

Yep, if president, he'll have to be his own cabinet.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

As drawn by Tom Toles:

"Lost" It's Chance

In a Word: No

Hillary Clinton is making a Trump presidency more likely.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

There Is Power in a Union

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced that Verizon and the unions have reached an "agreement in principle" on a four-year contract. He said he expects Verizon's (VZ, Tech30) striking workers to be "back on the job next week."


After working without a contract since August, Verizon union workers walked off the job on April 13. The main sticking points were complaints about poor working conditions, pensions being capped at 30 years of service and jobs getting shipped overseas.

Details of the agreement are yet to come.


Who Are You Going to Believe? Me or Your Lying Eyes?

The Pentagon denied U.S. special forces are on the front lines with Kurdish soldiers fighting the Islamic State group after photographs surfaced Thursday of American troops in Syria on the ground advancing toward Raqqa.


The Pentagon has also repeatedly said U.S. forces are operating in a dangerous place, though troops are not on the front lines. Instead, they are only advising and assisting behind the forward line of Syrian troops.


Agence France-Presse reported and took photographs of the U.S. special operators manning gun trucks alongside members of the Syrian Democratic Forces.


Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Thursday would not discuss the content of the photographs or the story, citing operational security. But he did say, despite what the photos seemed to capture, [...] “They are not on the forward line.”


In some of the Agence France-Presse photos, the U.S. operators are wearing the patch of the People’s Protection Units, or YPG as they are commonly known, one of the Kurdish militias participating in the wider umbrella group called Syrian Democratic Forces. After the photos surfaced, Col. Steve Warren, the Baghdad-based spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said via Twitter that U.S. forces will often wear the patches of the forces that they are partnered with as a sign of solidarity.

  Stars and Stripes
Or to try to fool people with cameras.

Yes, that's right. This was published by Stars and Stripes.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

They Hate Us for Our Freedoms

In San Diego, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be out past 10pm. [...] The city runs ["curfew sweep"] details roughly once a month in each of its nine districts, sometimes arresting dozens of kids a night.


Conceived as a crime-reduction tactic, curfews were promoted during the “tough on crime” era of the 1990s. In 1996, President Bill Clinton flew out to Monrovia, California – among the first cities to claim curfew success – to publicly endorse the idea at the local high school. From there, they spread like wildfire and remain in place decades later.

From Baltimore, which has one of the strictest curfews in the country, to Denver, where curfew enforcement ramps up every summer, the laws are on the books in hundreds of cities across the US. According to available FBI data, there were 2.6m curfew arrests from 1994 and 2012; that’s an average of roughly 139,000 annually.

Another fine Clinton innovation.
An American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) case study of Minneapolis found the city’s curfew to be racially biased.
Oh, what a surprise.
[W]ith 56% of curfew charges coming against black youth compared with 17% for their white counterparts, despite the city being majority white [ACLU researcher Mike Males] says that he’s found a similar pattern nationally. “They’re always racially discriminatory,” he said. “We have not found a single exception to that.”
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Sanders Team on a Roll

Surely this demand will be rebuffed.

New Democrats (perhaps that should be the name of their party) positions.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Trump-Sanders Debate?

It was NEVER going to happen. And if this is an actual statement from Donald Trump, in his own words, I think we have a literacy match for George W Bush.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Obama Visits Japan

Dropping the atomic bomb was "an inflection point in modern history," Obama told reporters Thursday.

The destruction of two huge cities and instantaneous incineration/evaporation of millions of people - and those were the lucky ones - in Newspeak is "an inflection point." I did not think I could become more disgusted with this president.
He said he is choosing to pay tribute at the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial to "underscore the very real risks" still out there "and the sense of urgency that we all should have" toward nuclear disarmament.
Which is why we are going to build our nuclear arsenal even bigger.
"It's not only a reminder of the terrible toll of World War II and the death of innocents across continents but it's also to remind ourselves that the job's not done," he said.
Well, that part's true. There are still some countries we have not bombed, and there are still non-Christians inhabiting countries all over the globe.
Obama noted that "in some ways we've seen real progress" in the past few years, pointing to the Iran nuclear deal.

"Without firing a shot" a country was persuaded not to pursue nuclear weapons, he said.

However, North Korea is a "big worry for us," Obama added.
And Russia.

I don't imagine they were, but if the Japanese were looking for any kind of acknowledgement that the terror which the US rained down on their citizenry was abominable, inhuman, or even just wrong, it was in vain.

After all, dropping the bomb on them, really, was simply "an inflection point in history."
For nearly seven decades, the American public has accepted one version of the events that led to Japan’s surrender [in WWII].


On Aug. 6, the United States marks the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing’s mixed legacy. The leader of our democracy purposefully executed civilians on a mass scale. Yet the bombing also ended the deadliest conflict in human history.

In recent years, however, a new interpretation of events has emerged. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara - has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan’s surrender. [...] His interpretation [...] raises provocative questions about nuclear deterrence, a foundation stone of military strategy in the postwar period.


[I]n the 1960s, a “revisionist school” of historians suggested that Japan was in fact close to surrendering before Hiroshima - that the bombing was not necessary, and that Truman gave the go-ahead primarily to intimidate the Soviet Union with our new power.

  Boston Globe
United States intelligence broke the Japanese code early in the war. Truman's diary also confirms that he knew Japan was trying desperately to get out of the war by opening a negotiating channel through Moscow.


Truman was advised not to use the atomic bombs by such figures as Adm. William D. Leahy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. We know from Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson's diaries and other documents that the rush to use atomic bombs quickly, rather than follow other available courses, was intimately connected with the desire to end the conflict before the Soviet Union entered it on Aug. 15, 1945, and with the hope that the bomb would help in disputed European negotiations.


No, Barry, it's not "an inflection point." What it is, is the biggest terrorist attack and war crime in modern history.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

THIS Time Around, THEY'll Make US Bankrupt Ourselves Via Military Spending

Early in his presidency, Obama was an outspoken advocate of nuclear disarmament. In April 2009, he pledged his commitment “to achieving a nuclear free world,” together with former Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. Later that month, Obama delivered a celebrated speech in Prague, saying he sought “the security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

  The Intercept
Mais oui. He was already the Nobel Peace Prize Prez.
The [Obama] administration has pointed to aging missile silos, 1950s-era bombers, and other outdated technologyto justify [its massive $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program] spending, describing the steps as intended to maintain present capabilities going forward — not bulking up to prepare for a future confrontation.

Last year, speaking to NATO allies, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter insisted that “the Cold War playbook … is not suitable for the 21st century.”
That was soooooo last year.
The budget request explicitly cites Russian aggression, saying, “We are countering Russia’s aggressive policies through investments in a broad range of capabilities … [including] our nuclear arsenal.”


The public acknowledgement that Russia is the impetus for U.S. modernization has critics concerned the Cold War-era superpowers are now engaged in a “modernization” arms race.


In December, Brian McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, testified before Congress: “We are investing in the technologies that are most relevant to Russia’s provocations … to both deter nuclear attacks and reassure our allies.”
Actually, I don't believe the Obama administration is doing it because of Russia. They're doing it because they are intimately connected to the defense contractors who will be getting even richer. They just word it that way because they know a lot of Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress still think Russia is the big bad boogie man.
In a 2014 interview with the New York Times, Gary Samore, one of Obama’s top first-term nuclear advisers, said, “The most fundamental game changer is Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible.”
Tell me again. What made Russia "invade" Ukraine?

But. Wait a minute.
President Barack Obama said Thursday his visit to Hiroshima will "underscore" the sense of urgency in reducing the threat of nuclear warfare today.


...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

What's a Libertarian?

Here's an amusing, and mostly apt, description:


By All Means - "More Sinister"

We've become all too jaded by headlines of terrorism. They just don't grab us.
No terror groups have attempted to take credit for the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804, on the fifth day after the plane and 66 people on board disappeared over the Mediterranean. That may mean that something besides terrorists caused the tragedy; it could also mean something more sinister.

Oh, yes. Now we're hooked.
[T]here's a possibility — and historical precedent for the idea — that no terror group has claimed the destruction of the flight from Paris to Cairo because it either wants to protect operatives it has established inside transportation networks, or it has developed new techniques that it wants to replicate to more devastating effect later.

It's happened before.
Isn't that what "historical precedent" means? And, future terrorism being more sinister than current terrorism doesn't really work.

CNBC, get an editor on this now.
It's important to note that it's still very early going with the EgyptAir investigation, and a search for answers could take years. It will take at least a month for Egypt to deliver its preliminary report on the crash, the head of the investigation team told that country's Al-Ahram newspaper.

Speculation almost inevitably will try to fill in the gaps in the meantime.
You mean like you've just been doing?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Free Campaign Ad

This should save both Sanders and Trump a bucket of money on campaign ads:

The Homeowner Society

This is interesting and understandable. Homeowners tend to be wealthier (or is that just conventional wisdom?) and more dependent on the status quo. It caught my eye because of a discussion I heard on the radio yesterday about homeownership.
Home ownership is believed to be a solid financial investment and is seen as a way to make people better citizens who are active in their communities. In his book, “No Place Like Home: Wealth, Community & Politics of Home Ownership,” Brian McCabe finds that our belief about home ownership as a way to improve civic life doesn’t necessarily pan out.

  Here & Now
Author McCabe follows the country's obsession with homeownership through the 2008 financial crisis and to date from the thirties and president Hoover's creation of a commission to determine ways to make all Americans homeowners. McCabe argues that, rather than creating citizens who came together to improve and strengthen the American society as hoped, the creation of a nation of homeowners promoted economic self interest and political divide. He argues that non-owners tend to engage in community politics to address social and community issues, while homeowners engage in politics where the issues protect their property values. That seems like it would have been an obvious outcome to the Hoover committee. And maybe it was.

In the short term,  [...] stimulating home construction would help to provide employment opportunities for millions of unemployed workers in the building and construction trades - one of the industries hit hardest by the economic collapse [of the thirties]. Their efforts to lower the barriers to homeownership would contribute to resolving the crisis of unemployment and lifting the nation from the depths of the Great Depression.


Beyond the immediate benefits of promoting homeownerhip, the president underscored the importance of building a nation of homeowners to America's long-term viability and health. Homeownership made for better family life, greater social stability, and improved citizenship, [Hoover] reminded the delegates. It would recommit citizens to the promise of democracy and serve as the foundation of American patriotism. [...] '[Homeownership] makes for happier married life, it makes for better children, it makes for confidence and security, it makes for courage to meet the battle of life, it makes for better citizenship. There can be no fear for a democracy or self-government or for liberty or freedom from home owners no matter how humble they may be."


"You are enlisted for further service which will not stop until every American home is clean, convenient, wholesome, sanitary, and a fit place for a mother and father to bring to maturity young citizens who will keep our Nation strong, vigorous and worthy."


While the campaigns worked to solidify owner-occupied housing as the preference of the majority of Americans, promoting homeownership as the choice of the true patriot and the upstanding citizen, fewer than half of American households were able to live in homes they owned.


One of the legacies of these programs would be the enduring patterns of segregation and social exclusion that persisted as a result of federal policies to build a nation of homeowners.
And to vote conservative.

Puts a new light on George W Bush's push for Americans' homeownership, whether they could afford it or not.

[F]ar from buying new homes, millennials increasingly aren’t even renting. The proportion of this demographic – aged around 18 to 35 – who end up living with their parents has been on the rise steadily since the Great Recession, peaking at about 36%, according to the Pew Research Center.

Now, for the first time in 130 years, living with your parents has become the most common living arrangement for young men and women aged 18 to 34, Pew reported this week.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not Only Are They Brown, They're Not Christian

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Yes, There Is a Better Way

That is, if you are serious about being a democracy.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Regarding Venezuela

Yes, and that's definitely intentional. Venezuela, years ago, along with a few other Latin American countries, realized that taking money from the IMF was the fast road to never, ever getting their heads above water, and cut ties.

And, seriously, are we gonna talk about being indebted to China? Because we CAN.
Foreign governments hold about 46 percent of all U.S. debt held by the public, more than $4.5 trillion. The largest foreign holder of U.S. debt is China, which owns more about $1.2 trillion in bills, notes and bonds, according to the Treasury.

In total, China owns about 8 percent of publicly held U.S. debt. Of all the holders of U.S. debt China is the third-largest, behind only the Social Security Trust Fund's holdings of nearly $3 trillion and the Federal Reserve's nearly $2 trillion holdings in Treasury investments

  US Govt Info

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

So What Happens at the Democratic National Convention?

Anything the party "leaders" want.
Democratic Party cowardice on Israel is nothing new. In 2003, the pre-lobbyist-money-infected Howard Dean was publicly mauled by top Democrats – led by Nancy Pelosi – for the crime of saying the U.S. should be “even-handed” in its attempts to forge a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. Even worse was the disgraceful scene from their 2012 Convention: the Platform Committee had omitted any reference to “God” and, worse, had decide not to say that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel. Obama campaign officials were eager to rectify this blasphemy, so arranged for an “amendment” to the Platform to be introduced to the full Convention, which required 2/3 approval from the delegates. When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came to the podium to ask delegates to vote, it was obvious that the majority was opposed. Confused and bewildered at the refusal of delegates to obey the script of party leaders, he asked for a vote three separate times, and on the third time, even when it was clear that they did not have the votes, he simply lied and proclaimed the pro-Israel and pro-God amendment passed with 2/3 approval.


That is the level of Orwellian distortion needed to maintain the blatantly false narratives about Israel that have prevailed for so long as bipartisan U.S. orthodoxy. As today’s article demonstrates, the New York Times not only submits to that propagandistic orthodoxy but plays a leading role in sustaining it.

  Glenn Grennwald
See for yourself:

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.