Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Emmylou gets more of an assist on this one. That's OK. I've been a Linda fan even longer.

Thanks to Larry Privat.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"I wish I had another fifty years in me."

Robert Reich

A few days ago I had breakfast with a man who had been one of my mentors in college, who participated in the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s and has devoted much of the rest of his life in pursuit of equal opportunity for minorities, the poor, women, gays, immigrants — and also for average hard-working people who have been beaten down by the economy. Now in his mid-80s, he's still active.

I asked him if he thought America would ever achieve true equality of opportunity.

"Not without a fight," he said. "Those who have wealth and power and privilege don't want equal opportunity. It's too threatening to them.They'll pretend equal opportunity already exists, and that anyone who doesn't make it in America must be lazy or stupid or otherwise undeserving."

But have we really made progress? Inequality is widening. The middle class and the poor are in many ways worse off than they were decades ago."

"Yes, and they're starting to understand that," he said. "And beginning to see that the distinction between the middle class and poor is disappearing. Many who were in the middle have fallen into poverty; many more will do so."

"And, so?"

He smiled. "For decades, those at the top have tried to convince the middle class that their economic enemies are minorities and the poor. But that old divide-and-conquer strategy is starting to fail. And as it fails, it will be possible to create a political coalition of the poor and the middle class. It will be a powerful coalition! Remember, demographics are shifting. Soon America will be a majority of minorities. And women are gaining more and more economic power."

"But the 400 richest Americans are now wealthier than the bottom 150 million Americans put together — and have more political influence than ever."

"Just you wait," he laughed. "I wish I had another fifty years in me."
Me too, and even that may not be long enough. Dammit.

Old men try to turn back clock

This is specific to North Carolina but applies across the U.S.

Asheville Citizen-Times

What we’ve been witnessing at the General Assembly in Raleigh the past few months is the futile attempt by fearful, old, white men to hang onto the power and control to which they assume they’re entitled. These extremists imagine that if they can push women, gays, blacks and Latinos back to the status these groups held before the mid-20th century, they can hang onto their perch at the top of the pecking order.

Now don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against old white men. In fact, I am one. But I do take issue with any group, regardless of skin color, sex or age, that abuses its power in a deceitful and un-American attempt to keep others from experiencing the fruits of liberty — equal rights for all, the unfettered opportunity to vote, a quality education for all our children, clean air and water for every citizen. ...

I could go on.

If you look at the data, it’s clear that the demographic shift taking place in our nation will be the death knell of this Caucasian paternalism. [...]
Soon, please.

Thus, no matter how forcefully the Tea Party (née GOP) shamefully endeavors to suppress the vote, strip women of their rights, push people of color to the back of the bus and keep our children from developing the skills they need in the 21st century, the appalling efforts of our state legislators are doomed to failure in the long run.

I'm hoping it's the last gasp of the throwback mentality but I know it isn't.

It’s obvious from their strident protestations that most of these right-wing zealots imagine they are doing God’s work (though it’s quite clear they are actually following the marching orders of ALEC, the Koch Brothers and Art Pope).

So we North Carolinians who are deeply concerned about our state’s current backward direction have choices to make: We can sit around for a decade or two while the old guys pass from the scene; or we can stand up for our values and vote the instigators of the most abhorrent state legislation in the nation out of office.
I wish there was a faster way, but that's how we do it, people.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Adelson Pays Out to the U.S. Government

The Daily Beast

Adelson’s casino company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., cut its losses this week when it agreed to pay $47 million to the U.S. government to settle a federal money-laundering investigation with ties to a Mexican methamphetamine cartel. In exchange, Obama’s Department of Justice agreed not to prosecute the company for failing to report suspicious activity on the part of Zhenli Ye Gon, a high-rolling customer whose shady money transfers ought to have alarmed casino compliance officials and been reported to authorities.

Known as “Mr. Ye” on the Strip, the Chinese businessman gambled at least $126 million from 2006 to early 2007—most of that at the Sands’s Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip—prior to his arrest by Drug Enforcement Administration agents. A suspected money launderer with alleged ties to the violent Sinaloa cartel, Ye Gon currently faces potential drug-trafficking charges in Mexico. (Similar charges in the U.S. were dismissed.)

When Ye Gon’s home near Mexico City was raided in 2008, agents found approximately $207 million in U.S. currency. Some of the fat stacks of $100s were held in place by Venetian casino wrappers. In the non-prosecution memo in the case, Adelson’s company admits Ye Gon was “the largest all-cash, up-front gambler the Venetian-Palazzo had ever had to that point.”

For his part, the usually loquacious Adelson is so far uncharacteristically quiet. The mercurial and litigious casino baron, whose profits from casinos in Triad-infested Macau have helped drive his personal net worth above $25 billion according to published reports, is suspiciously silent.

When he was busy trying to pave Mitt Romney’s path to the White House last year, Adelson was a veritable quote machine. Perhaps he figured sometimes it’s better to shut up and cut the check.
$47mil is about half of what Adelson flushed down the shitter to try to get Willard elected, or at least someone who could stop the investigation. It's a drop in the bucket but at least he's STFU.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Doom, gloom, shut up and smile

If it's Wednesday it must be Morford on climate change.

Good news is, climate change is an equal opportunity offender: you will be affected no matter if you’re a vegan libertarian, shrugging nihilist, Wall Street millionaire or a Tea Party dingbat who believes that thousands of the world’s most distinguished scientists, climate researchers and Nobel Prize winners are no match for your skeptical 5th-grade home-schooled right-wing dumbed-down Christian mal-education.

Elsewhere and not long ago, for a sexy but little seen publication, I wrote the following:

Some Hindu scholars believe we are in the midst of what’s called the Kali Yuga, the fourth and final, darkest stage of grand cycle of humanity marked by vice and greed, violence and superstition. The Kali Yuga is the most intense, nonspiritual period when man is most divorced from his higher self, deceit and duplicity run rampant, and our natural storehouse of wisdom and virtue is nearly empty, soon dwindling to zilch until Shiva cracks his third eye and it all starts over again.

Or maybe not
. [...]

All will be revealed. Go...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just sayin'...

If I were Emperor (EOTUS) and be glad I'm not, and it was up to me to retaliate against Syria, here's what I would do:

The chemical rockets were apparently fired from four military bases. I would send FIVE strikes. The four bases and Assad's Palace or White House or whatever it's called. Then five more just to make the rubble bounce because I could.

Then, after a decent interval to allow people's ears to stop ringing and let government agents swarm these places looking for survivors or whatever, five more strikes with chemical weapons, mustard gas, tear gas, shit plant residue, whatfuckinever, to render them uninhabitable for a long fucking time.

Then, just for shits and giggles, I'd find a very remote spot in Syria and blow off a nuke right in the middle of it. Sort of a "knock off the cheap shit" message.

Without too much provocation, I'd do the same thing in the more egregious red states too.

And I'm supposed to be a pussy peace/love/dope Liberal. Heh.

I know I'm gonna get suggestions. Let 'er rip!

Quote of the Day

From El Rude-o on the CIA's admission that the U.S. was complicit in Saddam's use of chemical weapons.

We are a nation that has been led by war criminals. Hell, they even worried a little bit about that in those CIA files.

Once again, once again, we're in the position of now Knowing For Sure what we knew but didn't have confirmed.
I think it was pretty well confirmed years ago but it's never for sure until the lawyers say it's OK to say it on TV.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Da Jesus Book

Dis is jus' too good! Via my Facebook and actual frien' Jeff Apaka.

Dis, da Hawai`i Pidgin New Testament (Da Jesus Book) wit 39% a da Ol Testament (Da Befo Jesus Book) dat stay ready fo use. You can find any chapta an verse. Fo any word, you can find all da places wea get dat word. Make um easy fo read an study da Bible.

On da firs' day, Godfella him go surfin'...

Former U.S. Attorney Reads Breitbart's Butt Boy The Riot Act

Via TPM.

The conservative video maker James O'Keefe has turned his cameras on the former federal prosecutor whose office brought charges against him and his accomplices in the phone-tampering of a Democratic U.S. senator.

In a video released by O'Keefe's Project Veritas on Monday, former U.S. Attorney James Letten can be seen shouting at O'Keefe and his colleagues. Letten can also be seen filming O'Keefe with his own smart phone.

"You went to my house, you terrorized my wife, you're violating federal law, you're trespassing, you're a nasty little cowardly spud," Letten says in the video. "All of you, you're hobbits. You are less than I can ever tell you. You are scum. Do you understand?"
That ain't the half of it! Not sure that "hobbits" is the correct choice of words, but they probably won't be offended since they don't exist.

This is an O'Keefe video, so the usual caveats and grains of salt apply.
Just turn it off when the shit starts getting deep.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Solar Panels Re-Installed At White House
First installed by Carter, then removed by Reagan, they'll remain until next Republican president removes them.

29% of Louisiana Republicans Blame Obama for Poor Katrina Response
42% blame Carter for Watergate.
Geez, Carter got two mentions already today!

Review of 63 Scientific Studies: Atheists Smarter Than Believers
But, believers say, according to The Bible, they're smarter.
Heh. Keep telling yourselves that, believers. It's what you want to hear.

GOP Congressman: Businesses Can't Find Enough “Sober,” “Drug-Free” Workers
And when they do, they turn out to be humorless party poopers.
Who won't work for minimum wage. Dope 'n booze cost money, you know!

The Nor Cal Tea Party and Fracking

An entertaining read at YubaNet. Shorter: the frackers know exactly where to go to find people who will fall for their snake oil.

The Nor Cal Tea Party Patriots were sponsoring a discussion on "fracking" by an "energy expert". This energy expert was a person my wife had tried to hear at an industry summit, but she was turned away at the door for being on a "Do Not Admit" list. No Enviros Allowed.

This was a "two for one" in my twisted mind: an industry apologist and a meeting of right wing extremists. [...]

John McDonald is part of the Industry Front group: the Coalition of Energy Users. Their sole purpose is to create the political and intellectual space for large scale Fracking operations to begin in California.

"Low cost energy is freedom" McDonald said, "High cost energy leads to the Obama Plantation" Yes, he actually said that. John started out with economic and social advantages with the new fracking revolution that has increased gas and oil production in the United States, disproving Hubberts peak. "If you care about the poor, you want low cost energy". McDonald swooned.

This led McDonald into talking about the wonders of Texas. "Texas is amazing" stating that if Texas was its own country, they would go from being 12th in the world in oil production to 9th, this year alone. Texas is currently pumping 3 million barrels a day, because of fracking. All of it on private land. And with oil production comes money to the Texas coffers: Texas will bring in "900 million dollars in revenue due to oil".

But is it safe? "All my life, when I look at what Environmentalists really state, I find lies", adding: "They lie every time". In a more hopeful tone, swarming to the enraptured crowd of Social Security pensioners, "You can combat the lies".
I guess I should have given you a "liquid alert". Sorry 'bout that...

On to the business of oil: "You can't get around the laws of business". We shouldn't "demonize things that are precious and beautiful. It is wrong to criticize oil companies". "We need to be kind and loving to our oil companies". We need to tell these companies we love them".

Yes, he said that. All of it.

The crowd was pretty excited about all the money that awaits us because California has 2/3rds of the recoverable oil and gas in the United States. We just need to stop the nasty Liberals and Environmentalists from getting in the way of the prosperity that is our birthright.

Most of the attendees at this snake oil commercial won't be around when their grandchildren enjoy the "prosperity" of having to buy "safe" drinking water from Nestle et al because of the fracking.