Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Outing the Ringers

Here's a few words from Jay Smooth, the host of New York's longest running hip hop radio show, WBAI's Underground Railroad. Jay has a great video blog, ill Doctrine, check it out!
A few thoughts on Occupy Wall Street, I've been watching it and going down there for a while now but hadn't had a chance to speak on it.

By the way when I say some news media people are "ringers," I don't necessarily mean that they deliberately obfuscate, or get orders from some shadowy figure to do so. I think they'll often just have a personal investment in the system and status quo that's being critiqued/threatened, so they'll naturally--without any need to conspire--have their perception skewed by an instinct to protect the status quo they're invested in. So though it's quite possibly not their intention to play the ringer, it's the function they wind up serving nonetheless.

"Rainbow in the Dark" instrumental provided by Das Racist

(Thanks Microdot)
Dear New Hampshire former Bachmann Staff / volunteers:

Seriously, what DID you expect? 

From the ABC News blogs:
Rep. Michele Bachmann said she was surprised to hear that her entire New Hampshire campaign staff had quit en masse today, even though they “had not been paid for a month,” one of the departing staffers told ABC News.
That Bachmann is a known nut-job, factually and judgementally 'challenged', by which I mean deficient, has been common knowledge for years.  There is no shortage of documentation about her behavior; she is as bat shit crazy as Orly Taitz.  She made her dumb statements - twice - last March in New Hampshire, which should have put you on notice.  Once is a simple, honest mis-speak; twice, from prepared material, is deliberate willful ignorance.

Shame on you all for enabling her continuing delusions, and your own. Worse are those of you who fund those delusions.
An interview with her former Chief of Staff explains what kind of an elected representative Bachmann is (the most damning material is some 13 minutes into the video) :

Michele Bachmann has now lost the staff of an entire state campaign.  Prior to that, she lost other key, senior members of her campaign.  She loses key members of her congressional staff on an unusually frequent basis.  She is temperamental and hard to work for, she is apparently chronically irresponsible.

Michele Bachmann is utterly 'unpresidential'; heck, she's not even up to the standards one would expect for any elected office, including Dog Catcher, much less Congress. She is clearly unqualified for the executive branch of government at any level.

She has a long history of losing staff, as outlined in this piece from the City Pages in Minnesota, back in July 2010, about the fifth chief of staff to leave Bachmann in four years:

But the news broke yesterday that, for the fifth time in four years, Michele Bachmann is without a chief of staff: Ron Carey is out. He lasted just five months. On top of that, fundraising guru Zandra Wolcott has also jumped ship. No explanation was given for either departure.

Carey had replaced Michelle Marston, who helped engineer Bachman's anti-health care reform protest in Washington, D.C. last year -- the one where Sean Hannity was busted by Jon Stewart for bogus video inflating the size of the crowd. The one that cost taxpayers $14,000.
After Marston's departure, one GOP congressman said Bachmann was having a hard time holding on to staff because of her notorious verbal hand grenades and fact-challenged rhetoric. "When your captain's crazy, it's time to find a new ship," the lawmaker said.
The churn started early in the congresswoman's career. Back in 2008 during her first term, Eric Black at MinnPost wrote: The only people still working for Bachmann's office who were around in the first quarter of her term are in lower-level positions, handling phones, scheduling and grants.
Then we have more recent interviews describing what it is like to work for Bachmann.

From CBS News:
The entire paid New Hampshire staff for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has resigned, in another blow to the Minnesota congresswoman's foundering campaign.
Jeff Chidester, Bachmann's former New Hampshire campaign director, confirmed the mass exodus. "The New Hampshire team has quit," he said. "We'll issue a joint statement as to our reasons why."

Chidester's confirmation, made via email and voice mail to National Journal and CBS, followed a confusing day in which Bachmann insisted that reports of the staff departures were untrue. But Chidester said he left last week and informed "people that are closest to Michele."
"I'm sorry the national team is confused," he said. "They shouldn't be."

One of the aides who quit, Caroline Gilger, Bachmann's southern state field director, is joining the rival campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, a total of four staffers have left: Chidester, Gilger, Tom Lukacz and Nicole Yurek. Uncertain was the future of staff member Matt LeDuc.

Chidester is a longtime Bachmann friend and supporter and a well-known radio talk show host. Reached by email on Friday, Chidester told CBS/NJ that the staff will be issuing a joint statement. "We are more than a team, we have all bonded over the past few months," Chidester wrote. "This is one of the finest group of people I have every had the pleasure of working with. Each one of them is smart, dedicated, and committed to each other. We have not had an opportunity to talk to each other since the story broke, but once we do, we will release a joint statement."
Typically, Bachmann initially denied this factually accurate and correct story:
In an interview with Radio Iowa, Bachmann expressed incredulity over news of the resignations, first reported by New Hampshire television station WMUR. "That is a shocking story to me," she said. "I don't know where that came from. We have called staff in New Hampshire to find out where that came from and the staff have said that isn't true, so I don't know if this is just a bad story that's being fed by a different candidate or campaign. I have no idea where this came from, but we've made calls and it's certainly not true."
However, the AP also confirms the story.  Bachmann will try to deny it for awhile, then she will try to spin it that this is really all part of her plan -- or some equally lame excuse.

And ABC news, on their blog, added this:

Five staffers, including Jeff Chidester, a longtime friend and conservative talk-radio host, have left the Minnesota congresswoman’s campaign.

The departing staff members also included Nicole Yurek, Tom Lukacz, director of operations Matt LeDuc and Southern New Hampshire Field Director Caroline Gigler, as first reported by ABC affiliate WMUR.
Among those [others] to leave were campaign manager Ed Rollins, deputy manager David Polyansky and pollster Ed Goeas. Soon after, longtime adviser Andy Parish left the campaign to return to work in Bachmann’s Washington congressional office and spokesman Doug Sachtleben quit.

How presidential is it not to know this well in advance of it hitting the press?  How presidential is it to have such chaos in your congressional office?  How presidential, how fiscally responsible is it to continue a campaign this deep in debt, and sinking fast without a hope of gaining the nomination?  And most of all, how presidential, how Republican and how Tea Party is it, to be so consistently factually deficient, so lacking in reality in favor of ideology?  I believe I recognize this photo, it is from her interview with Chris Matthews, on MSNBC, the one where she called for a witch hunt to expose the anti-American members of Congress.  This isn't so much a bad photo, as it is the real Bachmann, the crazy woman on the far religious right.

No need to call the 81st Precinct...

Here's the photographer's side of the story:
Around 4ish I decided to head to the office of the Mail Online and file my pictures. As I left the north side of the park I heard a man running to catch up with two police officers, who where walking in the opposite direction to me, yelling: “Officer, you've got do something, there's a guy taking a shit on a patrol car”. In less that 10 strides from the park facing the McDonalds was indeed what appeared to be a middle aged man emptying himself with no great haste, up against the back end of an NYPD police car.

The two Police Officers who had been dutifully informed by a member of the public simply shrugged their shoulders and walked away. I ducked into a phone box and snatched a few shots of the scene playing out before me. The defecating man, oblivious to my presence, then wiped himself accordingly and strolled into the Mcdonalds as if nothing was the matter.

I was expecting a Police response any second, but it never came.

I'll start by saying this wasn't a set up. I didn't hire some random guy to pebble dash a patrol car. This isn't a cut and paste photoshop job. This isn't staged in any way. And this isn't a right wing/Tea Party conspiracy. Seriously! The bare fact is a grown man of his own accord, really did empty his bowels on a Police car in broad day light on the peripheral of a political protest. And by sad coincidence I was there to capture it. (The time of the incident was approximately 4.30pm)

and a better copy of the picture.

Note the van does have the 718 prefix on it. Area code 718 is a New York City telephone area code (overlaid by area codes 347 and 917) in the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as the Marble Hill section of Manhattan.

I don't see any visible signs of protesters either.

Of course, the only true test is to contact the 81st Precinct.

One Picture Worth 1000 Words

Refutation of the picture on the left which explains the movement.

If you graduated from university with debt...
If you are part of the long term unemployed, or underemployed and struggling to get by...
If you have a family member who is one of the above...
If you realise that you are a layoff away from being one of the above...

Then you are part of the 99%

Thanks Fat White Man

Yes, this is funny.

And for those not in the know: Elvish is Welsh and Dwarvish is Irish. That's a great piece of trivia for you if you run low on conversation.

Those older than me were acquainted with the Tolkiens at Oxford (He taught at Merton College). His sons were the age of some of my teachers--one of whom was well acquainted with the family. The usual story is that during the 60s people would come looking for the man and leave disappointed that he wasn't an old hippie, but was a tweedy Oxford Don.

I have to admit an interest in medieval languages passed on from a teacher who was someone who studied under Tolkien, but went on to study something more "productive": PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). That might help understand where I come by some of my opinions.

Note: I should add that there was another description of PPE from an Ivy League School, but I thought that would confuse people.


This photo purports to show an Occupy Wall Street Protester taking a shit on a police car.

Note on back of the Police Car:

81 PCT

Wouldn't that be NYPD's 81st Precinct? If it is an NYPD car--since the NYPD shield is blocked from sight. Although googling 81st Precinct only turns up the one in Brooklyn.

The 81st Precinct is located in the north central area of the borough of Brooklyn. This neighborhood is known as "Bedford Stuyvesant." A small section along the southern border is referred to Stuyvesant Heights.

Zucotti Park is at 1 Liberty Plaza, New York, NY 10006, in the 1st Precinct, which Google maps estimates as being close to 6 miles away!

I'm curious as to what a car from the 81st Precinct is doing in the First?

Does this really show what it claims to show? Somebody needs to check where car # 2361 from the 81st Precinct was stationed on the day this phot was alleged to have been taken. Although, it does stink that a car from a Brooklyn Precinct (especially from a high crime area such as Bed-Stuy) would be in Manhattan.

It seems I'm not the only one to have noticed this:
Only one problem - the NYC police car is clearly marked that it's from the 81st Precinct - and the 81st Precinct is in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. Now before someone decides that the officer must have been there helping with crowd control, standard operating procedure for big city police departments like NYC, Chicago, LA, etc. is for police to be called in to that duty off-shift, and to provide their own transportation to the area - they do not take patrol cars from other parts of the city, or other boroughs, to do crowd control somewhere else - and they wouldn't be parking them on the street if they were there for a long term assignment like that. Also, notice the green post office storage box. Unless they put them back, the Post Office removed them from Wall Street and environs after 9/11 so that they couldn't be used to hide a bomb. The shoes are quite a bit out of date as well - frankly, the guy looks to be a homeless guy and not a protester. Allegedly, the police ignored people who told them some guy was defecating on their car - does that sound like any police officer you know or have heard of? It appears someone is playing fast and loose with the facts here.
See this from another New Yorker questioning that this shows what it purports to show. In fact, New Yorkers are sceptical that this show what it claims for the basic reason stated: an 81st Precinct Officer wouldn't be in Manhattan.

It should also be noted that this photo first appeared in a British Paper, The Daily Mail, with a reputation for poor journalism, rather than a paper from New York, such as the Daily News or New York Post, for which this type of story is their bread and butter.

In short, this isn't passing the smell test.

OK Teen Does Negligent Homicide / Suicide

 The local news reports on what they're calling a murder/suicide, but it doesn't sound like that.  17-year-old Jonathan Buss Jr. somehow shot two people, one of them died, and turned the gun on himself. "Witnesses said his reaction to the shooting makes them believe it was a complete accident."

But here's the classic reaction from gun-owning dad.

"When this happened, he wasn't supposed to have my gun and he knew it," Buss Sr. said
Everyone seems to agree the boy had some problems. He'd dropped out of high school and was thinking about joining the Marines, they said he'd had all the normal 17-year-old problems.  Yet the gun was accessible to him.

The dad should be arrested for failing to secure his firearms properly.  He should suffer the One-strike-you're-out penalty of permanent loss of gun rights.  It should apply to the whole family, creating in effect a gun-free zone around that home.

Is that too severe? Is that more severe than the unnecessary loss of two lives due to gun availability and stupidity?  I don't think so.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Providence Home Invasion

I know, I know, this has nothing to do with the lawful gun owners and the gun-rights movement, or does it?

For one thing the proliferation of guns among the drug dealers and home invaders in Providence is directly related to the legitimate side of gun ownership. That where the guns come from.

For another, this interesting case begs the question, was this a legitimate DGU? Just because the guy protecting his home was a criminal doesn't change that fact, does it?

And what about the neighbor who has a dog for protection? That says something about the "need" for guns, don't you think?

Please leave a comment.

Scott Beason (R-AL) is the NRA: Update

Remember when I sagely commented on this charming chap?

As I pointed out, Scott Beason was both a gunloon and a racist.  Of course, the usual NRA apologists deny gunloonery has anything to do with racism.

Well, now.  Seems a Federal Judge not only agrees with me--he's ruled Scott Beason (R-AL, Gunloon) is a racist.

A federal judge accused two state Republicans, called by federal prosecutors in amassive Alabama corruption case, of cooperating with the feds because of their “ulterior motives rooted in naked political ambition and pure racial bias.”
State Sen. Scott Beason and former Rep. Benjamin Lewis, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson wrote, “lack credibility for two reasons.”
“First, their motive for cooperating with F.B.I. investigators was not to clean up corruption but to increase Republican political fortunes by reducing African-American voter turnout. Second, they lack credibility because the record establishes their purposeful, racist intent,” Thompson wrote.

Friday, October 21, 2011

NRA Gunloon, GOPer, Male Prostitutes...

...In other words, what's new?

The photos appeared on a website started by the anonymous angry California rentboy, who claims the straight-married father of two inexplicably offered to buy him a car and then didn’t follow through on the promise. (Note to rentboy: “politician” is the top thesaurus-listed antonym for “promise keeper,” what were you expecting?)

Myers, of course, is proud to  be NRA-endorsed .

  "I am honored to have the support of hunters and sportsmen across the district - they are an important constituency, and one I will never take for granted," said Myers, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association earlier this week, while his opponent, John Adler, received an "F".  "As a Congressman, I will oppose any efforts by the government to legislate away the rights of law-abiding citizens to hunt or own a gun. 
And let's face it, wearing glasses and Superman underoos is just plain hawwwt.

Ser-hatred, October is Anti-bullying Month

Although I happen to have an objection to that kind of behavior at any time.

Serh8tred tried to post a comment here, which went to my email, that would have posted what he believed to be private information about my colleague/co-blogger and friend Laci, as well as information about MikeB and Jadegold.

I don't know very much about my colleague Jadegold, but I know a bit more about MikeB, and quite a bit about Laci, enough to know that his information was badly flawed, inaccurate, in some cases badly out of date.

What offends me here is that the publication of that data, which he boasted about having done on his own web site, is an attempt to intimidate, to invade someone's privacy, to make them vulnerable to the kinds of actions that we have seen occur to politicians after the health care reform legislation.

If it were not that the information was so distinctly inaccurate, I would have taken it to his internet provider as a complaint.  Further, whether he realizes it or not, he is in some respects leaving himself open to litigation for tortious interference.  I will leave it to Laci to expound on how that works in greater detail, as necessary, but by trying to involve his readers - or anyone who 'indexes' his blog in the personal and business activities of another party, THAT could be tortious interference.

Keeping it simple, which wikipedia does well for complex subjects:
Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships. This tort is broadly divided into two categories, one specific to contractual relationships (irrespective of whether they involve business), and the other specific to business relationships or activities (irrespective of whether they involve a contract).
Tortious interference with business relationships occurs where the tortfeasor acts to prevent the plaintiff from successfully establishing or maintaining business relationships.
But more than that, I object to ANYONE, regardless of their point of view, attempting to harass or intimidate a blogger, or a commenter, by posting private information that could leave them vulnerable to a person harming them or their family or their property, or their occupation.

And THAT was what Serrh8tred tried to do.  It was done to me,  in a different form, when I first began writing on this blog by someone else.  It has been done to my friends, including to the conservative blogger who has encouraged me to blog and who got me started doing this.  One of my co-bloggers on Penigma was not only personally threatened but also his wife and children were threatened.  I have objected strenuously in EVERY instance, regardless of agreement or disagreement, or political view point, as I do here.

So long as Serh8tred behaves in this fashion, including his attempts to intimidate or harass or interfere with people's private lives in such an unethical manner, which only serves to underline his lack of character, I am banning him from commenting here.

When and if he agrees to conduct himself differently, that will end.  Keep trying this tactic of bullying and invasion of privacy, Serh8tred, and you may be both surprised and unhappy with the consequences.  In any case, it won't work, it won't change what we do or what we write.  You lose.

No Mor' Mo'Mar

From Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, via Comedy Central:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
No'Amor Qaddafi
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

This pretty much sums up the right wingnuts effort to SPIIIINNNNNNN this good news that is a credit to the President.

Another Gun Nut, Apparently about to Commit Another Mass Shooting

Look! An excellent example of why drug testing before one is permitted to buy a firearm might be a good idea!  I would include abuse of alcohol in there with the testing for marijuana.  It doesn't require someone peeing in a cup either; a single human hair is an excellent measure of many kinds of chemicals in the body.  People lose those daily.  Or, for the follicle challenged, there are blood or urine tests.

A psychology profile or 'test' isn't a bad idea either, and is definitely a kind of test commensurate with the risk of weapons being misused by someone who is dangerously crazy.

From and the AP:

This undated photo from the Josephine County Sheriff's Office in Grants Pass, Ore., shows Rafael Enrique Amoroso, 27, of Grants Pass, Ore. Federal authorities have asked he be held without bail pending investigation of firearms charges. Police arrested him on a driving under the influence charge after leaving a high school football game. Later searches of his car and house turned up marijuana, guns, ammunition, gunpowder, and a novel about a sniper attacking a football game. (AP Photo/Josephine County Sheriff's Office)
updated 10/20/2011 9:57:42 PM ET 2011-10-21T01:57:42
A Southern Oregon man who was stopped leaving a high school football game earlier this month is back in custody after authorities say searches of his house and car turned up military rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and a novel about a sniper killing people at a football game.
Investigators don't know if Raphael Enrique Amoroso of Grants Pass was planning a sniper attack, "but we were very concerned about it," Grants Pass police Sgt. Ray Myers said Thursday. "As the case developed, it became more troubling with the information that we were receiving."
Federal authorities this week asked that Amoroso, 27, be held without bail while they investigate charges of having a gun on schools grounds and being a marijuana user in possession of a gun.
Amoroso has not been indicted, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Harper said.
He initially was released after his Oct. 7 arrest on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana after leaving a high school football game in Grants Pass.
In the car, police found an ounce and a half of marijuana, a loaded gun in the glove compartment, and 200 rounds of rifle ammunition, as well as the sniper novel, according to an affidavit filed by a federal agent.
Police went to the house Amoroso shares with his mother five days later looking for evidence of manufacturing marijuana, Myers said.
A search warrant shows items found there included military rifles from World War I, World War II and the Korean War; hundreds of rounds of ammunition; a fuse; a single-shot shotgun; a helmet, a camouflaged bulletproof vest, a .22 pistol; books; and a computer.
Myers said instructions on making a bomb, anti-government literature, military training books, and gunpowder also were found.
It was unknown if Amoroso had an attorney; a call to the federal defenders' office wasn't immediately returned.
Amoroso's criminal history includes an arrest when he was a 15-year-old honor student and member of the swimming team at Grants Pass High School, The Grants Pass Daily Courier reported. He pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for shooting a pellet gun at a jet boat filled with tourists passing by on the Rogue River.
The pellet hit a man in the cheek. Amoroso was sentenced to 90 days in juvenile custody.

Climate Skeptics Take Another Hit

From Kevin Drum's MoJo Blog

What happens when climate deniers decide to try a new methodology?

University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller criticized Al Gore in the past as an "exaggerator," has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre's famous takedown of the "hockey stick" climate graph made him "uncomfortable" with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.

SO, he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) in 2010 to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all? "Muller's views on climate have made him a darling of skeptics," said Scientific American, "and newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, who invited him to testify to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology about his preliminary results." The Koch Foundation, founded by the billionaire oil brothers who have been major funders of the climate-denial machine, gave BEST a $150,000 grant.Link

But Muller's congressional testimony last March didn't go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate: Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Yesterday, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures. (Ocean studies will come later.) Using a novel statistical methodology that incorporates more data than other climate models and requires less human judgment about how to handle it (summarized by the Economist here), the BEST team drew several conclusions:
  • The earth is indeed getting warmer. Global average land temperatures have risen 0.91 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This is "on the high end of the existing range of reconstructions."
  • The rate of increase on land is accelerating. Warming for the entire 20th century clocks in at 0.73 degrees C per century. But over the most recent 40 years, the globe has warmed at a rate of 2.76 degrees C per century.
  • Warming has not abated since 1998. The rise in average temperature over the period 1998-2010 is 2.84 degrees C per century.
  • The BEST data significantly reduces the uncertainty of the temperature reconstructions. Their estimate of the temperature increase over the past 50 years has an uncertainty of only 0.04 degrees C, compared to a reported uncertainty of 0.13 degrees C in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
  • Although many of the temperature measuring stations around the world have large individual uncertainties, taken as a whole the data is quite reliable. The difference in reported averages between stations ranked "okay" and stations ranked "poor" is very small.
  • The urban heat island effect—i.e., the theory that rising temperatures around cities might be corrupting the global data—is very small.

In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, "Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK." In other words, climate scientists know what they're doing after all.

The BEST report is purely an estimate of planetary warming, and it makes no estimate of how much this warming is due to human activity. So in one sense, its impact is limited since the smarter skeptics have already abandoned the idea that warming is a hoax and now focus their fire solely on the contention that it's man-made. (And the even smarter ones have given up on that, too, and now merely argue that it's economically pointless to try to stop it.) Still, the fact that climate scientists turned out to be careful and thorough in their basic estimates of temperature rise surely enhances their credibility in general. Climategate was always a ridiculous sideshow, and this is just one more nail in its coffin. Climate scientists got the basic data right, and they've almost certainly gotten the human causes right too.

Westchester NY Man Kills his Whole Family and Himself

on yet another multiple-murder/suicide. Interestingly, this time the guy must have felt a bullet was just too impersonal for the wife, so, as the pro-gun folks keep telling us, he just used a different weapon.

But, I contend the gun made it easier to kill the kids and himself, which means that once again, gun availability plays a part.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the State Police said, Mr. Friedlander, 50, beat his wife to death with the leg of a piece of furniture. He also fatally shot his two children, Molly, 10, and Gregory, 8, in their bedrooms, covered their bodies with their bedspreads, then went downstairs to the basement and turned the weapon, a 12-gauge Remington pump-action shotgun, on himself.
What's your opinion?  Does this illustrate the danger of having guns in the house?  I say yes it does.

I suppose people think having a shotgun available makes them safer if that very unlikely event happens in which they might need it to protect themselves.  But, the sad truth is guns in the home are more likely to be misused than to be used for self-defense. This was an extremely dramatic example of that.

Please leave a comment.

Alice Cooper - Killer

Maybe the gun-rights folks are right after all. In the original of this song, as any rock-and-roll afficianado should know, the lyrics are "someone handed me a gun, and I, I gave it everything"

By 1988, it seems they substituted an ax for the gun on stage.(that link is for Laci because I notice he spells a lot of words wrong.)

Bye Bye Quadaffi, RIP and Good Riddance
And How the Right Was Wrong

HARRIS: Congresswoman Bachmann, on the same theme, you opposed the U.S. intervention in Libya. If President Obama had taken the same view, Gadhafi would, in all likelihood, still be in power today.
Reagan Library Republican Debate,
September 2011
quote courtesy of The Political

Michele Bachmann is an embarrassment to Minnesota, because she is so damned ignorant, and so bigoted.

She will say anything, without understanding anything, much less everything that is necessary. If there were any more proof needed that this woman is not equipped to be a Congresswoman - not an effective, informed representative certainly - much less President, or even to be elected dog catcher, the following videos exemplify her failures of intelligence and education. Yet, she raised the money in the last election from the right to run a campaign that was more costly than any other member of Congress. Why is the right so willing to support stupid? Why does the right exalt ideology over substance? When will the right stop conflating idiot and ideology? The other candidates running for office on the right, especially for the nomination for the presidential race in 2012 are not much of an improvement over Bachmann.

Remember, this woman sits on the Intelligence Committee.  You'd think she would know as much as oh, the L.A. Times when they report the findings of the Intelligence community, but NO.  Maybe the Republicans had some vain hope that she would absorb some, by exposure. Apparently they were unaware of her dismal attendance record, if that was their hope. But hey! The Tea Party loves her!  She's pro-ignorance, and anti-science (apparently also anti-geography).

But it gets better.  Want to bet that Bachmann doesn't actually KNOW where Libya is?  Not that her ignorance would ever stop her from criticizing Obama or anyone else not on the far right.  There is this footage from the Republican debate-of-ignorance in Las Vegas.  The following is from the HuffPo:


The next time someone tells you the Republicans - or worse, the nut jobs in the Tea Party - are the party of ideas, point out that they aren't the party of ideas, and they certainly are not the party of FACTS.  They are, if anything, fact-aversive.

For example, on the demise of Quadaffi (which is a phonetic spelling, and therefore occurs in many variations) we have this from Michele Bachmann, from Politico:

"For more than 40 years, we lived with the Muammar al-Qaddafi regime and the atrocities he orchestrated. The world is a better place without Qaddafi. It is my hope that Qaddafi's reign of terror will be replaced with a government that respects the people of Libya and one that will be a good partner with the United States. Hopefully, today will also bring to an end our military involvement there, something I opposed from its beginning."
Michele Bachmann is a flip-flopper.  She doesn't know where key locations are, she doesn't understand the politics of these countries or movements, and she will say anything - apparently forgetting that her statements are on the record.   The web site, Political however, does a meticulous job of tracking these flip flops, and has done so with Bachmann, tracking her statements while campaigning, which can be viewed at their site, but more importantly tracking her voting record on Libya :
Voting Record Restricting Funds for Use in Libya
On June 24, 2011 the House voted on a measure to prohibit funds for the Department of Defense (DOD) from being used for U.S. Armed Forces in support of the NATA Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, except for: (1) search and rescue; (2) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; (3) aerial refueling; and (4) operational planning. The vote failed 180-238. Michele Bachmann voted against preventing funds from being used for military actions in support of the NATO mission in Libya.

Michele Bachmann voted against preventing funds from being used for military actions in support of the NATO mission in Libya.

Authorizing the limited use of US Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya

On June 24, 2011 the House voted on a resolution to authorize the President to continue the limited use of U.S. Armed Forces in Libya in support of U.S. security policy interests as part of the NATO mission to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The resolution states that Congress does not support deploying, establishing, or maintaining the presence of units and members of U.S. Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of U.S. government officials or to rescuing members of NATO forces from imminent danger. The resolution failed 123-495. Michele Bachmann voted against the resolution to limit the use of forces in Libya.

Michele Bachmann voted against the resolution to limit the use of forces in Libya.

Removing Troops from Libya

On June 3, 2011 the House voted to direct the President to remove troops from Libya. The vote was bipartisan for and against, but failed 262-148. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of forcing President Obama to remove troops from Libya.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of forcing President Obama to remove troops from Libya.

Resolution Against Troop Deployment

On June 3, 2011 the House voted on a resolution declaring that President Obama could not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya. The vote passed 266-144. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the resolution to declare that the President could not deploy troops.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the resolution to declare that the President could not deploy troops.
Clearly, President Obama in cooperation with our allies in NATO, had a clear vision of what was occurring on the ground in Libya as events unfolded.  He engaged us in a very limited involvement which lasted some eight months, and did not result in significant loss of life to the United States military, and which has been crucial in developing relationships with the new governments in Muslim countries in Africa.  Michele Bachmann doesn't give a damn about Libya; she is simply annoyed that once again, President Obama has been successful, and she has been caught being both stupid, and on the wrong side of history.

All of which qualifies her to go to work at the Faux Propaganda and Disinformation cable network after she is finished in Congress in 2012, but not for much else.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Killing Grounds

Carcasses lay on the ground at the Muskingum County Animal Farm on Wednesday in Zanesville, Ohio. Sheriff's deputies shot 48 animals, including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions, after Terry Thompson, owner of the private Muskingum County Animal Farm threw their cages open Tuesday and then committed suicide.  Photo from AP

Laissez-faire capitalism means that there should be nothing that interferes with buying and selling and making money.  Not regulation, not enforcement of any kind; everything is supposedly fixed by the invisible hand of the market place. 

Bullshit.  We need regulation and enforcement of fraud in all markets, but most of all in the dark markets that are as opposite of transparent as it is possible to be, and where there is no level playing field for the participants, and where some are predators on others.

The trade and ownership of exotic animals is another are of commerce that should be strictly regulated and only narrowly allowed, with more regard for the wellfare of the animals than greedy profits or for the supposed property rights of the irresponsible owner.  The choices of these people, of this man who SHOT HIMSELF with a firearm that was arguably originally LEGAL, endangered others, and no invisible hand of the market fixed this.  The intervention of paid union-member government employees had to fix this.

Those who claim property rights are next to godliness, those who believe government should be smaller, those who believe unions are thugs do not appreciate or acknowledge the importance of those people and the relative right of property coming second to the right for other people to be safe.

I hate to find myself anywhere near, much less on the same side, as that jerk Wayne Pacelle or the dangerous extremists of PETA.  But they are perfectly correct that the ownership of exotic animals poses an unacceptable risk to too many people, as well as not being good or healthy for the animals either.


Ohio owner of exotic animals was deep in debt

Sheriff says an animal bit the owner after he shot himself

"Surely, after this latest incident, enough blood has been shed for the state to take action," the group said in a statement.
Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.
This article contains reporting from The Associated Press, NBC News and staff.

Ayn Rand on Religion & Conservative Politics

This is really funny.

Do these people know what this woman really believed?

In America, Religion is a private matter and must not be brought into political issues.

Intellectually, to rest one’s case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one’s enemies—that one has no rational arguments to offer. The “conservatives’” claim that their case rests on faith, means that there are no rational arguments to support the American system, no rational justification for freedom, justice, property, individual rights, that these rest on a mystic revelation and can be accepted only on faith—that in reason and logic the enemy is right, but men must hold faith as superior to reason.

Holy Relic?

John Lennon's tooth is going up for auction and is expected to make £10,000!
The tooth was given to the former Beatles' house keeper Dot Jarlett when she worked for him at Kenwood mansion in Surrey in the late 1960s.

He told her to give it her daughter "as a souvenir" after he had pulled it out in the kitchen of the Weybridge property.

The tooth will be auctioned in Stockport on 5 November

I realise that George Monbiot is discussing climate change, but...

I find a lot of the topics I discuss here can have comments made along the lines of
There is one question that no one who denies manmade climate change wants to answer: what would it take to persuade you? In most cases the answer seems to be nothing. No level of evidence can shake the growing belief that climate science is a giant conspiracy codded up by boffins and governments to tax and control us. The new study by the Met Office, which paints an even grimmer picture than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will do nothing to change this view...

Perhaps we have to accept that there is no simple solution to public disbelief in science. The battle over climate change suggests that the more clearly you spell the problem out, the more you turn people away. If they don’t want to know, nothing and no one will reach them. There goes my life’s work.
George Monbiot, The Unpersuadables

It is amazing how people will see what they want to see and remain fixed in their beliefs.

Or as George also says:
Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it.
Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.

Jon Stewart on the Republican Silliness

Outdoor Gun Range Closed, But No Charges

I think this is in Michigan, but it happens everywhere.  When gun owners are at fault, the other gun owners rally around in support.

One stray bullet should result in the closure of the gun range permanently and the incarceration of the owners for felony negligence. The legal expert has the audacity to say people cannot sue for emotional pain and suffering. This is how gun ranges are protected by the law.

One strike you're out for them.

Wichita Man Who Watched Too Many Movies Shoots Himself in the Groin

Guns, drugs, stupidity, negligence and No one has been charged?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More on Ohio Wild Animal Escapees

Seems the owner of the Ohio "zoo" who set his wild animals free into the wilds of Ohio was a gunloon and NRA member.

He was also a serial animal abuser.

And a gun felon.

And a tax cheat.

Nine-Nine-Nine (999): EMERGENCY

One problem with some ideas is that you need to see if they have other negative connotations--such as calling a car "Nova" and trying to sell it in countries where they speak Romance Languages and "Nova" means "won't go".

In this case, Herman Cain's 999. That's the Emergency number in the UK and a few other countries. First introduced in the London area on 30 June 1937, the UK's 999 number is the world's oldest emergency call service.

It will be interesting if the other candidates pick up on this.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears--Oh My!

I can't help wondering how far Fat White Man is to Zanesville, Ohio right now, and if he is, whether he is enjoying some big game hunting?


Prescient Message from the 60s - Steppenwolf

Dedicated to the 50% 

Captialism explained

Actually, capital can refer to a lot of things, but I agree with Marx that it basically refers to investment. That is it is used to buy something only in order to sell it again, or to use it for production, to realize a financial profit (i.e. the difference between buying a cow for meat or to milk). For Marx capital only exists within the process of economic exchange—it is wealth that grows out of the process of circulation itself and forms the basis of the economic system of capitalism.

In other words, capital is basically money used for investment and create more money. In other words, it is Financial capital, which represents obligations, and is liquidated as money for trade, and owned by legal entities. It is in the form of capital assets, traded in financial markets. Its market value is not based on the historical accumulation of money invested but on the perception by the market of its expected revenues and of the risk entailed.

Hence, it creates an obligation, debt.

Your investment in my factory means I am indebted to you based upon your share of investment. That also applies in the case of a privately held corporation where the liability is shared, which is a major reason for incorporation.

Investment, or capital accumulation, in classical economic theory, is the production of increased capital. Investment requires that some goods be produced that are not immediately consumed, but instead used to produce other goods as a means of production. Investment is closely related to saving, though it is not the same. As Keynes pointed out, saving involves not spending all of one's income on current goods or services, while investment refers to spending on a specific type of goods, i.e., capital goods.

Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit from investment, usually in competitive markets. That is the means of production are owned for the benefit of the owner/shareholder. The system requires that there are winners and losers: debtors and creditors.

There are some who believe that Marxism would make the owner/shareholders not just the bosses, but those who work in the factory. Kind of a popular capitalism, where the investment of labour counts as much as the investment of money. Workers are given more of a voice under this system than being seen as capital in the form of labour cost.

Many religions have criticized, or opposed, specific elements of capitalism. Traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam forbid lending money at interest, although alternative methods of banking have been developed. Some Christians have criticized capitalism for its materialist aspects and its inability to account for the wellbeing of all people.

Recent criticism of Capitalism relates to the late-2000s financial crisis, as seen in the Occupy Wall Street movement in the Autumn of 2011. While the movement has not formalised its criticism of capitalism or demands for reforms, political scholars have, nevertheless, begun to identify common themes such as objections to the "ruling economic class", or "the richest 1%", having undue influence on government policies and that this situation reflects a "failure of democratic representation" for the middle and lower classes, or the "other 99%".

The real effect of the Occupy Wall Street Movement is that it is raising awareness and opening up the discussion about the economic system. How does it function and who benefits.

Violence Declines Historically

So, given the analysis regarding weapons and declining aggression, both military and civilian........doesn't this strongly argue against the reasoning of the gun nuts, pro-gunners, and outright gun lunatics who keep insisting they gotta have their guns or they are going to diiiiiiiieeeeeeeee?

The facts, once again, do not support their contentions. They want guns because it gives them an artificial sense of power to people who are inherently impotent, and who have swollen lumpy amygdalas. People who have real empowerment and competence and potency don't need guns to know they are powerful human beings who can cope with situations by their intellect and skills. They don't have problems with civil society and law enforcement that only uses lethal force as a last resort.

An interesting Web Page

Things That Are Not In the U.S. Constitution:

* The Air Force
* Congressional Districts
* The Electoral College
* Executive Order
* Executive Privilege
* Freedom of Expression
* (Absolute) Freedom of Speech and Press
* "From each according to his ability..."
* God
* Immigration
* Impeachment means removal from office
* Innocent until proven guilty
* It's a free country
* Judicial Review
* Jury of Peers
* "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"
* Marriage
* Martial Law
* No taxation without representation
* Number of Justices in the Supreme Court
* "Of the people, by the people, for the people"
* Paper Money
* Political Parties
* Primary Elections
* Qualifications for Judges
* The right to privacy
* The right to travel
* The right to vote
* The separation of church and state
* The Separation of Powers Clause
* Slavery
* "We hold these truths to be self-evident"
* Judicial Review of laws

I was looking up material on another topic, but these were particularly interesting to me.
Freedom of Expression

It is often said that one of the rights protected by the 1st Amendment is the freedom of expression. This site, in fact, uses that term in its quick description of the amendment: "Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression." But "expression" is not used in the amendment at all. This term has come to be used as a shorthand, a term of art, for three of the freedoms that are explicitly protected: speech, petition, and assembly. While the use of "freedom of expression" is ubiquitous in this area of 1st Amendment study, it is important to note exactly what "freedom of expression" refers to - let this be such a note.

(Absolute) Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution does protect the freedom of speech of every citizen, and even of non-citizens — but only from restriction by the Congress (and, by virtue of the 14th Amendment, by state legislatures, too). There are plenty of other places where you could speak but where speech can and is suppressed. For example, freedom of speech can be and often is restricted in a work place, for example: employers can restrict your right to speak in the work place about politics, about religion, about legal issues, even about Desperate Housewives. The same restrictions that apply to the government do not apply to private persons, employers, or establishments. For another example, the government could not prohibit the sale of any newspaper lest it breech the freedom of the press. No newsstand, however, must carry every paper against its owners' wishes.
See also the concept of compelled or coerced speech:

The guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them...The very essence of the liberty which they guarantee is the freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say...

Harlan Stone's dissent in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940)

It Gets Better

via Fuck Conservatives, of course this does not apply to the so-called Democrats on the Democratic Underground.

Ayn Rand on Religion

One commenter describes himself as a Randian Businessman: Does that mean he screams about government, yet is more than willing to take government handouts?

The Occupy Movement Explained

Dumb people need pictures.

If some people read and understand what they have written here, they would understand they have far more in common with the occupy movement than the Tea Party.

Many officials of the Democratic Party have either personally appeared at Zuccotti Park to express support or sent statements of support for the protesters. Likewise, a number of union leaders joined a large protest rally held in New York City’s Foley Square on October 5 to show sympathy for the protesters.

Then there are the liberal political pundits and media outlets such as the New York Times that are also trying to build bridges between the Democratic Party and the Occupy movement in an effort to channel the protesters’ energy to the party’s electoral machine. For example, New York Times’ columnist Paul Krugman recently wrote: “And there are real political opportunities here. Not, of course, for today’s Republicans. . . . But Democrats are being given what amounts to a second chance. The Obama administration squandered a lot of potential good will early on by adopting banker-friendly policies. . . . Now, however, Mr. Obama’s party has a chance for a do-over.”

On the face of it there is nothing wrong with the Democratic Party officials or union leaders expressing support for the protesters. In light of their actual economic policies, however, that support can be characterized only as hypocritical. The Democrats are as much responsible for the economic problems that have triggered the protests as their Republican counterparts. The Obama administration has played an especially destructive role in pursuing a devastating neoliberal austerity agenda in terms of bailing out the Wall Street gamblers, extending the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, expanding the US wars of choice—and then cutting vital social spending to pay for the financial resources thus usurped.

Equally blameworthy are union bureaucrats who have enabled the White House and the Congress in the implementation of such brutal austerity programs. Hollow posturing aside, the AFL-CIO has opposed neither the neoliberal austerity policies at home nor the imperialist wars of aggression abroad. Well-paid union officials have not even seriously challenged factory closures; nor have they earnestly resisted brutal cuts in workers’ wages and benefits.

In projecting sympathy for the Occupy Movement, the Democrats are essentially trying to have their cake and eat it too! Their efforts to express support for the protests can be interpreted only as opportunistic and utilitarian: to identify themselves with the rapidly spreading popular protests against the status quo, to mask the Obama administration’s neoliberal devotion to Wall Street, and to harness the energy of the protesters in order to garner their vote in the 2012 elections.

If successful, this would not be the first time the Democratic Party would have derailed and dissipated social struggles for change; it has a long record of such policies of betrayal, going back all the way to the Populist Movement of the late 19th century. Barack Obama’s promise of change in the 2008 elections in pursuit of garnering the grassroots’ vote was only the latest of the Democrats’ strategy of playing the good cop in order to contain radical energy. Two years earlier they had managed to undermine a vigorous antiwar movement by voicing the protesters’ demands to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan if they won the majority seats in the Congress. Having thus gained the control of both houses of the Congress in the mid-term election of 2006, they shamelessly backed away from their promise to antiwar voters.

One can only hope that the Occupy Movement is armed with the knowledge of the Democratic Party’s record of cooptation and betrayal of radical movements; and will therefore chart a political movement of the working people and other grassroots independent of both parties of big business.

A Guide To The Smear Campaign Against Occupy Wall Street

Media Matters has come up with A Guide To The Smear Campaign Against Occupy Wall Street. The right-wing media have engaged in a relentless smear campaign against the Occupy Wall Street movement, including calling the protesters socialists and Marxists, saying they represent the "fringe of the fringe of the fringe," and claiming they "sound like the Unabomber," among other attacks.

Media Matter analyses the criticism here.

More on Defeating HR 822

We don't allow visitors who may come from a state with a higher speed limit to ignore Illinois' speed limit. Imagine if we extended "home state" rules concerning divorce and medical marijuana to visitors to our state?

This bill should not become law. Proponents of relaxed gun laws are usually staunch supporters of states' rights. They should be consistent. Each state should have the right to demand that all visitors obey its particular laws, unless they are superseded by federal laws.
How many times have we heard those bogus, biased gun-rights boys compare Concealed Carry reciprocity to driving licenses being honored in other states than your own?

Well, Karen Wagner shut that one right down. As usual the pro gun crowd try to slip nonsensical arguments into the mix.  The proper comparison is what she pointed out that your home speed limits are not honored when you visit another state with your driver's license.

And better yet is what she pointed out about the hypocritical flip-flopping they do with regards to states' rights. 

What's your opinion?  Are we going to have any trouble defeating HR 822?

Please leave a comment.

Domestic Violence in Arizona - 18-Year-Old Girl Dead

Guns are bad news for young women too.

Eric Coulter is to blame 100%. But there's more blame than that to go around. Let's not forget the sick Arizona gun-loving society he grew up in. It's probable that dear old dad was a gun lover, I mean most men are in Arizona. And please never forget the NRA and the gun lobby and the individual gun owners who consider themselves so clean and innocent of this violence, and their part in keeping guns as available as they are.

I blame them all. Shame on all of them.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

In Gun Friendly Ohio - 2 Dead 1 Wounded

Two men were killed and a woman was hospitalized last night after a triple shooting in western Licking County.

Licking County deputies were called at 4:45 p.m. yesterday to a reported shooting. There, they discovered the bodies of Brian Scott Kolesar, 38, and Charles W. Cheadle, 75, inside a car parked on the road.

They found the Julie A. Arnold, 35, outside the car. Arnold is recovering from two gunshot wounds in the chest at Grant Medical Center in Columbus.

Witnesses told deputies that Arnold was driving west on Rt. 16, about 200 yards east of Watkins Road, when she stopped the car in the road and got out. As she was leaving the car, she was shot by one of the men in her car.

Sounds like your typical domestic violence, which it was.

Thorp said in a news release today that Arnold and Kolesar had been involved in a troubled relationship. Cheadle was Arnold's father.

Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said deputies went to the residence yesterday in response to some kind of family disturbance. They hoped to have Kolesar committed, he said.

“They were hoping to pink slip this guy but he didn’t meet the criteria. He wasn’t endangering anyone or endangering himself,” Phalen said. “We really didn’t have any reason to arrest him or commit him.”
This is where our lax gun laws and lax attitudes towards gun ownership cost lives. The guy in this story was not fit to responsibly own a gun, everyone knew it, but nothing could be done. Isn't it likely that My Solution would have screened him out? Do you think a guy that volitile could have withstood a serious background check which screens for criminal and misdemeanor violence as well as mental health problems? I doubt it.

How about drug testing for gun ownership? We've discussed this lately. Don't you think that would screen out some of the guys like this? I do.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Economics Quiz Time!

A fun little quiz to see how much of the basics of the topic of the economy some of the people posting comments here understand.
  1. How much of the money supply exists as physical currency?
  2. How exactly does Quantitative Easing work (hint--printing money is a failing answer)?
  3. What are the two types of government debt?
  4. What is a budget deficit?
  5. What is the difference between government deficit and government debt?
  6. Define in relation to each other:
    • Primary deficit,
    • total deficit
    • debt
  7. What is a Structural deficit?
  8. What are the forms of Government Indebtedness?
  9. What is fractional reserve banking?
  10. What is full reserve banking?
  11. What are some of the potential policy solutions for budget deficits and critiques of each?
  12. What is the difference between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP)?
  13. How much national debt is too much?
  14. Is inflation a bad thing for an economy?
  15. What is a commodity based monetary system?
  16. What is a share of stock?
Extra Credit--Why does Ron Paul dislike the Federal Reserve Bank?

Sort of economically related: In the the Westminster, or Parliamentary, system, the defeat of an appropriations bill (a bill that solely concerns taxation or government spending) has what result? Why does this not have the same effect under the US Constitution?

I will say that there is more than one trick question on this quiz!

I'll post my answers in a few days.

Fractional Reserve Banking Explained

This is a better explanation of why debt is integral to the current economic system for Jim.

Quick question for Jim: How much of the money supply exists as physical currency?

Watch and learn the answer.

Simple answer:

More complex answer:

If there were no debts in our monetary system, there would be no money.