Monday Reads: It’s always the same Nonsense!Posted: April 25, 2022 Filed under: Crimes against Children, Psychopaths in charge, public education, Putin’s War, religion, Republican Code Words and Concepts, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics, Russia, Russia-Ukraine War, Stock Market, Ukraine | Tags: Kellyanne Conway 20 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
BB is the authority on this, but I’d just like to say if you want any of the best examples of projection as an ego defense mechanism, choose any Republican. The Encyclopedia of Britannica sums it up nicely. “Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world.” From the existence of Pedophiles to Cancel Culture, Republican sloganeering puts a target on something “liberal” and then focuses on getting the attention off the incredible number of instances of it that appear in the Republican Party domain.
A few days ago, I put this Newsweek article up down the thread. “GOP Senator Ray Holmberg Resigns Chair After Texts to Child Porn Suspect.” The details of anything other than the texts aren’t known right now, but it sure seems a lot of Republicans are overly intrigued with pedophiles these days. Of course, we know of many recent Republican officeholders–most notably Denny Hastert, the former Speaker of the House– that were actual pedophiles. A judge referred to him as a “serial child molester” after determining he had been molesting boys he coached over decades. We also have the examples of MagaRats Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan. There’s an awful lot of deflecting and projecting dealing with that horrid behavior.
And who could forget this one from a few weeks ago? From Vanity Fair: “TED CRUZ WARNS DISNEY PROGRAMMING WILL SOON DEPICT MICKEY AND PLUTO F–KING.”
In an extremely weird set of remarks, even for him, the Texas lawmaker opined at a live recording of his podcast, Verdict With Ted Cruz: “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that. Like, why do you have—it used to be, look, I’m a dad. You used to be able to put your kids on the Disney Channel and be like, alright, something innocuous will happen.”
And then there’s this: “Kellyanne Conway Knew Of ‘Sexual Allegations’ Against Nebraska Candidate Months Ago. The former White House adviser and Donald Trump are working for Charles Herbster’s election as governor despite allegations he groped eight women.” This is from HuffPo, as reported by Mary Papenfuss.
Former Trump administration White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she heard last year about “some kind of sexual allegations” against GOP Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster — but she’s working to get him elected anyway.
Conway alleged on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast that groping allegations raised by eight women, including a Republican state senator, were somehow cooked up by current Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who does not support Herbster, a corporate CEO who has never held office.
Ricketts “got in my face” 10 months ago vowing to “destroy Charles Herbster,” said Conway. She offered nothing else in the way of proof that Ricketts is behind the assault accusations.
A key accuser is GOP state Sen. Julie Slama. She said in an emotional radio interview earlier this month that she was “in shock” at what she called an “assault” by Herbster at a Republican dinner in 2019.
As I was … walking to my table, I felt a hand reach up my skirt, up my dress and the hand was Charles Herbster’s,” Slama said, her voice shaking, in an interview on News Radio KFAB in Omaha. “I was in shock. I was mortified. It’s one of the most traumatizing things I’ve ever been through.”
Slama added: “I watched as five minutes later he grabbed the buttocks of another young woman. … This was witnessed by several people at the event.”
You may read more about the allegations at the link. And here’s my cartooning friend from Nebraska on the Pornhusker candidate. By the way, Ricketts also graduated from our High School! ICK!!!!
We have more on the orange snot blob and his crime syndicate family as I’m writing this. This is fresh off the virtual presses from the New York Times. “Judge Holds Trump in Contempt Over Documents in New York A.G.’s Inquiry. Former President Donald J. Trump was ordered to turn over materials sought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, and will be fined $10,000 per day until he does so.”
A New York judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president.
The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to comply with a subpoena seeking records and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements. In essence, the judge concluded that Mr. Trump had failed to cooperate with the attorney general, Letitia James, and follow the court’s orders.
“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” remarked Justice Engoron of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, before he held Mr. Trump in contempt and banged his gavel.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said she intended to appeal the judge’s ruling.
Still, the ruling represents a significant victory for Ms. James, whose office is conducting a civil investigation into whether Mr. Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets in annual financial statements.
So a few more stories about other thuggish clowns. Wherever you see a thuggish clown, there will be a thuggish religious figure to give him a messianic complex. This is by Tom Nichols, writing for The Atlantic. “Putin’s Unholy War. Putin, the Patriarch, and the corruption of Orthodox Christianity.”
For most of the Christian world, Easter is over. For Orthodox Christians, however, Easter week has just begun—and Russia, the largest Orthodox country in the world, is still relentlessly pursuing the invasion and barbaric destruction of its mostly Orthodox neighbor, Ukraine. In fact, the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbas, replete with day and night bombardment of mostly Orthodox, mostly Russian-speaking areas in eastern Ukraine, began just after Russians and Ukrainians observed Palm Sunday.
I note this because I, too, am an Orthodox Christian, and I am watching one nominally Orthodox nation try to slaughter another.
In most of my comments on the Russian war against Ukraine, I’ve tried, as best I can, to provide you with dispassionate analysis. But I hope this week you’ll allow me a few personal observations as I head toward Easter. I realize that sometimes the cold equations of political analysis can seem far removed from our emotions, and so I thought I would share with you some of my own.
Although my career was mostly spent as a scholar and Russia expert, it is difficult for any area specialist to be completely objective about the countries they study, because our lives end up unavoidably connected to the subject of our profession.
Nonetheless, whether friend or enemy, I have spent my life trying to understand Russia and its people. Now, like everyone, I am disgusted by Russian savagery. Fury grows in me each time I see the mutilated corpses and leveled homes—not only because of the sadistic violence, but also because I know that the Russian regime, in trying to destroy the Ukrainian nation, has destroyed a chance, at least for some years to come, for a better world.
And for what?
For the messianic dreams of a small man, a frightened and delusional thug leading a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government, who believes that he is doing God’s will.
You might be surprised at the last sentence, but Vladimir Putin really believes this. He thinks he’s on a mission. I’ll come back to this in a moment, but it’s a reality that too many in the West have either overlooked or chosen to ignore. And as much as I’d like to lay all of this mayhem on Putin’s shoulders alone, we now have to accept that his butchery of innocent people is either tacitly or openly supported by millions of Russians. Yes, there are brave Russians who have risked their lives to protest this war, but there is no way, any longer, to deny that Putin enjoys more support than any decent nation should give to such horror.
And so I grieve not only for Ukraine, but for the knowledge that no matter how this war ends, the era of hope that began in 1989 is over. Ukraine is now the scene of the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. NATO and Russia are openly enemies again. Nuclear war, for a time a forgotten abstraction, is a real danger.
Putin’s messianic madness is magnified by the blessings of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church leader for the invasion of Ukraine. This has split the church. (Via WAPO) This so reminds me of all the evangelicals who see Trump as some kind of messiah. White Patriarchal Nationalism is just a potent poison wherever it manifests itself.
Whether warning about the “external enemies” attempting to divide the “united people” of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war’s most prominent backers. His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians.
“Let this image inspire young soldiers who take the oath, who embark on the path of defending the fatherland,” Kirill intoned as he gave a gilded icon to Gen. Viktor Zolotov during a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in mid-March. The precious gift, the general responded, would protect the troops in their battles against Ukrainian “Nazis.”
One more clown to send in today.
If you haven’t gotten the idea that my post today is all about the clowns who want money and power and will do any schtick to get it, well, you know now. Now, this has nothing to do with Musk’s diagnosis of having Autism Spectrum Disorder but I think we can see more than a bit of Narcissism in all the folks we read about today. I will leave Twitter if the Orange Cheeto and his hateful cult are allowed back on. Free speech isn’t about lying or harassing people and calling them ugly names. I use my block and report button continually because I prefer not to see hateful people try to take over a discussion.
Twitter is said to be nearing a deal to sell itself to Elon Musk, according to The New York Times and other outlets, 11 days after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO shocked the industry by offering to buy the company in a deal valuing it at more than $41 billion.
A deal could be finalized as soon as Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitter declined to comment on the reports.
Reports that a deal is imminent come after Musk revealed last week he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to acquire the company. Twitter’s board met Sunday to evaluate Musk’s offer to buy all the shares of the company he does not currently own for $54.20 a piece, a source familiar with the deal confirmed to CNN. The source said that discussions about Musk’s bid have turned serious.
Musk appeared to hint at the completion of a deal on Twitter on Monday when he tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
The potential sale agreement caps off a whirlwind news cycle that began less than a month ago, when Musk revealed he had taken a more than 9% stake in the company and ramped up calls for changes to the social media platform.
I just want quick access to breaking news as reported by the reporters. Oh, well. To me, there are critics and then there are damn liars with a mean ax to grind. I want none of the latter.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Part two: Cartoons and more…CartoonsPosted: October 5, 2012 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, Austerity, Barack Obama, corporate greed, corporate money, corporatism, corruption, Elizabeth Warren Campaign, Foreign Affairs, fundamentalist Christians, Political and Editorial Cartoons, religious extremists, right wing hate grouups, Scott Brown, Spain, Stock Market | Tags: Blairsville GA, KKK Rally 17 Comments
And away we go…
This first cartoon made me think of Harvey. Cagle Post » GOP Real Election Fraud
Some of these cartoons were from early in the week, this one is from Sept. 26th:
Mitt Mouthed – Political Cartoon by Steve Artley, Artleytoons – 09/26/2012
I wonder if you all get this one: Cagle Post » An Honest Man
Of course you would…just like many of you would get the Harvey connection up top.
Cagle Post » Trevor in the Middle of Nowhere
I think that there should be a large group of elephants trampling Trevor down…then a single donkey comes along and shits on him. Seems like it would fit, don’t ya think? All these damn GOP nuts running us over with there right wing christian jesus freak beliefs…and all the Dems do is sit there and pile on more bullshit responses.
This next one is for BB: Replacement Refs – Political Cartoon by Don Landgren Jr., TelegramTowns – 10/05/2012
AAEC – Political Cartoon by Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal – 10/05/2012
One on the Spain situation, coming up: AAEC – Political Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez, El Nuevo Herald – 09/30/2012
Hey, with such a big bull, I think he needs a set of bigger balls! Don’t you?
And, for the last funny: AAEC – Political Cartoon by Charlie Daniel, Knoxville News Sentinel – 09/30/2012
Okay, that is all folks….tomorrow is the big ass KKK rally here in Banjoville. I will not be going downtown to see these assholes parade around in their white sheets. As it is, the sheriff office has an additional 35 Georgia state troopers coming in to keep the peace.
KKK will rally Saturday in Blairsville
I will be sure to post links to this crap in my Sunday post. Honestly, I would be afraid to go see who supports this Hate Group, something tells me many of our local friends may be hiding under those hoods.
The Cantor Cartwheel On Insider TradingPosted: February 11, 2012 Filed under: Congress, corporate money, corruption, Democratic Politics, ethics, legislation, Politics as Usual, Republican politics, Senate, Stock Market, U.S. Politics, We are so F'd 22 Comments
While our eyes and fury were directed on the birth-control-is-evil crowd and the ludicrous threats of the National Razor coming to a town near
you, the insider trading bill wended its merry way through Congress. Only a provision in the Senate version of STOCK [Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act] was stripped from the House version. The bill will return to the Senate, and then most likely go into conference committee to iron out differences.
The deletion of the provision is curious since it would have required Washington insiders, those who sell political intelligence to corporate America [financial institutions], to register in advance like any lobbyist, thereby making their identities and purpose transparent.
One senator reacted to the provision’s removal this way:
It’s astonishing and extremely disappointing that the House would fulfill Wall Street’s wishes by killing this provision. The Senate clearly voted to try to shed light on an industry that’s behind the scenes. If the Senate language is too broad, as opponents say, why not propose a solution instead of scrapping the provision altogether? I hope to see a vehicle for meaningful transparency through a House-Senate conference or other means. If Congress delays action, the political intelligence industry will stay in the shadows, just the way Wall Street likes it.
That would be a Democrat complaining, right?
That would be Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa protesting House member Eric Cantor for removing the provision [Grassley’s add on], ultimately making the bill substantially weaker than it could have been.
And ‘political intelligence industry?’ Sounds like something straight out of an Ian Fleming novel. Turns out this shadowy practice is a $100 million industry, employing 2000 people who sneak around Congress to pick up investment tips for Wall Street.
You cannot make this stuff up!
In any case, it was Eric Cantor who tabled the original effort to suspend insider trading back in December. Also removed was a bipartisan amendment by Senators Patrick Leahy [D VT] and John Cornyn [R TX] made to crack down on officials ‘self-dealing,’ that is, enriching themselves through their positions.
The question is: why the not-so-clever foot dragging on this bill, something that makes perfect sense to the American public? Why ditch Grassley’s provision or the Leahy/Cronyn amendment, which would have added additional teeth?
As in, make it better.
According to initial comments, Cantor claimed the language too broad and the additional provisions ‘needed more study.’ Seems to me the study-until-we-drop reason was cited back in December.
But Cantor did add a touch of his own that would restrict legislators from participating or benefiting from IPOs. This addition quickly became tagged the ‘Pelosi provision,’ inspired by the suggestion that Pelosi’s husband had taken advantage of insider information when he bought into a VISA public offering, making a tidy profit [230% increase, by some accounts]. Pelosi has denied this accusation, insisting that her husband’s buys were directed by a traditional Wells Fargo broker.
Wish my broker was that good!
Cheap political tricks and posturing happen all too frequently but why would Cantor be so adamant in weakening a bill the public and a surprising number of Congressional members favor?
Republic Report suggests we look at Cantor’s history, specifically the issue of mortgage cram down in 2009.
Eric Cantor led the Republican refusal to consider the mortgage cramdown proposals in 2009, a measure that would have permitted homeowners to negotiate lower interest rates and avoid foreclosure. However, what was not common knowledge [see Open Secrets. org] was that Cantor’s personal wealth was heavily involved in the mortgage industry itself. From RR:
Cantor invested in several mortgage banks, and owned a portion of a Cantor-family run mortgage company. According to Cantor’s 2009 personal disclosure, Cantor owned up to a $500,000 share of a mortgage company called TrustMor run by his brother.
While Cantor blocked a fix to the foreclosure crisis, his wife Diane Cantor served as the managing director of a bank with a high foreclosure rate. Diane Cantor at the time worked as a managing director to New York Private Bank & Trust, a major mortgage bank and TARP recipient. SNL Financial reported that Cantor’s bank was among the top three banks in the mortgage business “with thegreatest percentage of family loans in the foreclosure process.
There was also the dustup during the debt ceiling debate last year when a revealed fund Cantor was invested in, stood to make a sizeable profit if the US actually defaulted on its debt. If the country tanked, Cantor stood to win.
Personally, I liked Cantor’s chest thumping after wicked storms savaged the South and East Coast last spring [my house and property suffered nearly $20,000 in damages with 1600+lbs of debris dragged from the front and back yard]. For his Tea Party audience, Cantor tried bucking disaster relief until expenses [like unemployment checks and food stamps] were cut elsewhere. But then amazingly, Cantor made a sharp pivot and complained FEMA was far too slow in addressing damage relief in his own Virginia district.
Consistency is a beautiful thing!
So, we have the Pelosi Provision and the Cantor Cartwheel, anything to stall a DC scrub down, the disinfectant treatment that the American public demands [at the very minimum] from their representatives–abiding by the laws, standards and a sense of ‘doing the right thing.’ You know, those principles that presumably apply to everyone.
BTW, the Sunlight Foundation has provided the House/Cantor Version of the STOCK bill with edits [strikeouts] included. Most instructive!
Don’t you love the Internet??? Bet Cartwheel Cantor doesn’t.
And though I would have nominated Eric Cantor for Sellout of the Week, Republic Report has chosen President Obama, primarily based on his recent decision to embrace Super PAC money [though I suspect we could all come up with other examples]. However, the President opened himself up to this chastising because he warned about unlimited campaign spending in 2008:
Let me be clear — this isn’t just about ending the failed policies of the Bush years; it’s about ending the failed system in Washington that produces those policies. For far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, Washington has allowed Wall Street to use lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system and get its way, no matter what it costs ordinary Americans.
That was then, this is now.
Did you know that one of the collective nouns used to describe a group of weasels is . . . SNEAK. How perfect is that?
Saturday Reads: Taking Aim and Hitting the TargetPosted: November 26, 2011 Filed under: Congress, cyber security, Egypt, Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, legislation, morning reads, religious extremists, Stock Market, the internet, Violence against women, Women's Rights, worker rights | Tags: Black Friday, Facebook, Gov. Brownback, Kamal el-Ganzouri, police brutality, slavery, Slavery Footprint, Twitter 51 Comments
I have some juicy links for you this morning…so go get your cup of coffee, cause it’s gonna be a long post.
There is a lot going on in Egypt…Egypt new PM claims more powers than predecessor – Yahoo! News
Egypt‘s military rulers picked a prime minister from ousted leader Hosni Mubarak‘s era to head the next government in a move quickly rejected by tens of thousands of protesters, while the United States ratcheted up pressure on the generals to quickly transfer power to a civilian leadership.
Kamal el-Ganzouri, 78, served as prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and was deputy prime minister and planning minister before that. He also was a provincial governor under the late President Anwar Sadat.
In a televised statement, he said the military has given him greater powers than his predecessor and he wouldn’t have accepted the job if he believed military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi had any intention of staying in power.
“The powers given to me exceed any similar mandates,” he said, looking uncomfortable, grasping for words and repeatedly pausing as he spoke. “I will take full authority so I’m able to serve my country.”
He also spoke about not being able to form a government in time for elections that were scheduled for Monday. The US issued a statement:
“We believe that Egypt’s transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation,” The White House said in a statement. “Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible.”
The stance is significant because the Egyptian military has over the past 30 years forged close relations with successive U.S. administrations, receiving $1.3 billion annually in aid.
El-Ganzouri’s appointment was announced by state TV following a meeting late Thursday between him and Tantawi. Tantawi was Mubarak’s defense minister of 20 years and served in el-Ganzouri’s earlier government.
Almost forty people have been killed in the last five days as protest turned violent against the military’s actions regarding a formation of a government. The generals apologized for the deaths, but their choice of prime minister angered the Egyptian people whose uprising earlier in the year brought about the ouster of dictator Hosni Muburak. Many believe that Egypt’s military has hijacked the revolution…by placing a member of Mubarak’s regime in control. Protestors have vowed not to leave Tahrir Square until the military resigns and is replaced by a civilian presidential council.
But not all of Egypt is angry at the military, it seems a bit like perfect timing. Egypt’s military leaders are bringing their own show of support. Egypt Military Tries to Woo Wider Public Beyond Protesters – NYTimes.com
Some call it the silent majority. In Egypt these days, the preferred term is the Party of the Couch. And in that ill-defined constituency, sometimes more myth than reality, Egypt’s ruling military has staked its credibility as it seeks to fend off the greatest challenge yet from protesters seeking to force it from power.
Drawing on sentiments pronounced Friday in the grittier parts of Cairo, even just a few blocks from the protests in Tahrir Square, and in a defiantly nationalist rally near the Defense Ministry, the military is offering either a canny read of Egypt’s mood or yet another delusional estimation of its popularity, a mistake that has bedeviled so many autocrats. With a mix of bravado and disdain, it has hewed to a narrative first pronounced after it seized power from President Hosni Mubarak in February: It bears the mantle of Egypt’s revolution.
“Egypt is not Tahrir Square,” Maj. Gen. Mukhtar el-Mallah, a member of the 20-member military council ruling since February, said in a news conference this week. “If you take a walk on other streets in Egypt, you will find that everything is very normal.”
In much of Cairo, and elsewhere in Egypt, the military has found a receptive audience for that message in a country buckling under a stagnating economy and a lurking insecurity. Even as it promises to surrender power by June, it has deployed all the platitudes of authoritarian Arab governments: fear of foreign intervention, fear of chaos, and fear of the rabble. One doctor quipped Friday that the sole change since the revolution was an extra digit added this year to cellphone numbers.
The concern seems to fall on who will lead Egypt’s government, if not the military…then who will it be.
“They think they can fill up a square?” asked Marwan Helmy, a 65-year-old high school teacher at a boisterous pro-military rally that convened Friday in Abassiya, a few miles from the far bigger antimilitary demonstration in Tahrir Square. “We will fill all the streets of Egypt and support the military. We can’t be silent any longer, the country is unraveling. Who gave them the right to represent us? Tahrir is not Egypt!”
Thousands turned out for the Abassiya rally, waving flags, chanting slogans more visceral than meditated and crowding overpasses and the square below. In its ardor, it seemed to manifest a militant nationalism that added a new wrinkle to all the divides in Egypt pitting Islamist against secular, rich against poor, and city against countryside.
It is going to get more contentious in the coming weeks. When Mona Eltahawy writes up her experiences being arrested and assaulted by the police and Ministry of the Interior…I am sure the truth will eventually come out.
Next up are some articles about present day slavery. First is a link to an Al Jazeera video report: The Al Jazeera slavery debate – Slavery: A 21st Century Evil – Al Jazeera English
Why, hundreds of years after it was legally abolished, does slavery persist? The last episode of Slavery: A 21st Century Evil is a televised debate in which this question, among others, was posed to a panel of those who direct or seek to influence government policies on slavery across the world.
The debate was held at Decatur House on Washington’s Lafayette Square – the site of the only remaining physical evidence that African Americans were once held in bondage within sight of the White House – as an iconic venue for the debate on a trade that refuses to die.
Moderator Rageh Omaar was joined by: Luis C d’Baca from the US State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; Kevin Bales, the president of Free the Slaves; David Batstone, the president of Not for Sale; and Joy Ezeilo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons.
This next link is to the State Department Blog, as it connects us to modern day slavery in a very personal way. One Million Footprints on the Path to Freedom | U.S. Department of State Blog
Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Two months ago, the Fairtrade Fund launched Slavery Footprint, a web- and mobile-based application that allows users to understand how their lives intersect with modern slavery. Through a grant from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, the Fairtrade Fund developed this tool to help more people understand the way their lifestyles and consumption habits fuel the demand for forced labor and sex trafficking.
The app works by asking users to complete a quick survey about where they live and what they buy and eat. That information is processed in an algorithm that analyzes the 400 most common consumer items and determines the likelihood that those items were tainted by modern slavery somewhere along the supply chain.
The goal announced at the time of the launch was to register 150,000 people having taken the survey by September 22, 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Twelve months to get 150,000 people engaged. What’s been revealed instead in the last two months is that people care about this issue, and aren’t going to wait on our timetable to join the modern abolitionist movement. On November 11 , only six weeks after the site launched, the millionth Slavery Footprint survey was completed. And it’s not just Americans — people from a hundred different countries have taken the quiz.
By taking the survey, they have learned that human trafficking doesn’t just affect people in faraway parts of the world. We touch this crime in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the technology upon which we rely — and we can do something about it. Slavery Footprint and its partners like MTV have made it possible to take action by letting companies and universities know that you care about modern slavery and that you hope they do as well.
The road to freedom is long and hard, but there are now millions of footprints on that path. I encourage you to visit www.slaveryfootprint.org, take the survey yourself, and join us as we seek to deliver on the promise of Emancipation.
I took the survey and here was my results:
That figure is shocking, my numbers were higher than an average single person because I included my two kids in the survey. This really puts the issue of slavery directly on me, and how my family is connected to the modern slave trade. I urge you to take the survey, it will make you think about things from a different perspective.
Moving on from slavery to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Here is Hillary Clinton on the importance of eliminating violence against women.
Press StatementHillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateWashington, DC
November 25, 2011
Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are reminded of the horrific acts of violence against women that take place every day around the world and pledge to recommit ourselves to changing attitudes and ending all forms of violence against women and girls.
Gender-based violence is a global pandemic that cuts across all borders and impacts all peoples and societies – regardless of ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, or religion. One in three women around the world will experience some form of gender-based violence in her lifetime. The medical, security, and legal costs to countries are incalculable. It dampens economic development and tears at the fabric of societies. The health costs to women includes not only the detrimental impact on their physical well-being, such as increased susceptibility to HIV infection, but also mental health costs for both women and their children.
We need to improve our efforts to prevent and respond to this crisis. When women are afforded their rights and given the chance to pursue education, employment, and political participation, they drive social and economic progress. They lift up themselves, their families, communities, and their nations. But to build this future girls must be able to learn without fear and women must be able to make decisions about their own lives and the future of their families.
Prevention, protection and prosecution are essential to combating this violence. But we must add a fourth “P” as well – Priority. Empowering women and girls is already a priority of the United States, but we need more countries to step up and take on this challenge. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 days Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence is an opportunity to renew the commitment to free women and girls from the nightmare of violence, because the future safety and security of our world depends on it.
Geez, I can’t help but think just how much better off we would all be if she was in the White House.
You probably have to go get another cup of coffee, so go ahead…there is more after the jump.
Sunday Reads: Cleaning up and being taken to the cleaners…Posted: November 6, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, Banksters, commercial banking, Cuba, Economy, Environment, financial institutions, Gulf Oil Spill, jobs, Media, morning reads, Stock Market, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Auto Repo, birds, BP, Macondo Well, sheep, Spiders 29 Comments
Good Sunday Morning!
Well…did you enjoy your extra hour of sleep this morning? I love when we fall behind, springing ahead is just to difficult for night owls like myself.
BP is in the news again…trying to clean up their greasy image, and it looks like they aren’t doing a good job of it. BP’s bid to clean up its act dealt blow by revelations in Russia case | Business | The Observer
BP‘s attempt to rebuild its public image after the worst oil spill in US history has been dealt a blow by court documents showing it was willing to do a major deal with Russian billionaires whom it regarded as “crooks and thugs” to gain access to the country’s vast oil wealth.
The damaging allegations have come to light at a critical time for BP, which faces a criminal investigation by the US justice department while preparing to fight a massive legal case in New Orleans over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
North American rival Norex Petroleum is seeking $1bn damages in its case at the New York supreme court as it argues that BP and its Russian business partner, TNK, have benefited from oil assets that were seized in the late 1990s. Russia is important to BP – its joint-venture, TNK-BP, produces a quarter of its oil. At the heart of the dispute is the alleged misappropriation of the Yugraneft oilfield in Siberia, which Norex claims has generated $1bn in oil revenues in the past decade.
BP had a deal with Tyumen Oil (TNK), which was funded by a consortium, Alpha Access Renova (AAR), made up of the four richest businessmen in Russia.
A BP internal briefing, obtained by Norex and published through the New York court procedure, says: “Sources close to TNK believe [that the] local oil industry [has] been infested with criminal elements long before Alfa took over TNK.”
Some kind of organized criminal activity behind all this? Nah…/snark.
When BP formally teamed up with TNK, it asked for a clause to be written into the contract that would remove it from any liability in the event of a successful action by Norex. The Canadian company believes this is a “smoking gun”, as it says it shows BP realised that the Yugraneft field could resurface as an issue. Norex’s chairman, Alex Rotzang, said BP made a “deal with the devil” by striking the TNK deal in 2003.
An official spokesman for AAR declined to comment on the affair, while BP argued that there was “no merit” in the Norex suit and said it had moved to have it dismissed.
“The allegations made by Norex all involve conduct that predates the formation of TNK-BP and had nothing to do with BP,” said a spokesman from the oil company’s London head office. He went on to rubbish the idea of a “smoking gun” and said that the special clause was “to protect itself against exactly the kind of meritless claims Norex is bringing”.
The article ends by discussing the difficult time BP has had in cleaning up its reputation since the Gulf Macondo disaster. (Of course, as Dakinikat has posted time and time again, they haven’t done a good job of cleaning up the spill either.) Even with the Macondo well still leaking in the Gulf, BP has been approved by the Obama Administration for another deep water well in the Gulf of Mexico.
As if the main stream media not reporting the real story on the various Occupy protest throughout the nation was bad enough, now we have yet another rich luxury car running down Occupy protesters. This time in DC: Exclusive Video: #OccupyDC Protesters Hit by Driver…Who Police Let Go | Crooks and Liars
…the Occupiers chanted and “occupied” most exits while some of the attendees were at pre-scheduled free screening of Atlas Shugged. (No joke, inside they have a booth set up where you can literally put on a Reagan mask and have your picture taken. If this isn’t a metaphor for how the Right’s odd relationship with a President who tripled the national debt and yet still raised taxes almost every year he was in office – I don’t know what is.)
The worst thing to happen to the Koch-funded event attendees last night was that they had to get chanted at while walking a block to catch a cab or use the Metro inside the convention center. “If we made some rich guys use the Metro tonight – we won!” I overheard an Occupier say.
The opposite corner from where I was standing – a full block away – a silver Lexus sedan hit three protesters in the street. The reports were that he actually sped up “like he was playing chicken” according to eye witnesses. The video above is when the police let the driver go. Then the crowd became angry at the police. You can hear an Officer Walsh on the tape saying, “They shouldn’t have been in the street.” The Metro Police have said they released the driver because he had a green light. This contradicts the report or tweet from DC Councilman Tommy Wells who claimed the driver was apprehended blocks away and was in custody.
Okay, so there are some discrepancies in the story when it comes to whether the driver was in police custody…but remember, this is the second time a car, and let’s be honest…a luxury car, has run over protesters. The incident in Oakland involved a Mercedes…and that driver was also let go by the police, even when he tried to “drive away” from the scene of the “accident. “As far as the OccupyDC plow down…
The injuries are described by the Washington Post as “non-life threatening” but they were still taken away by ambulances. I’m not familiar with DC laws – but I’ve always been under the impression that when pedestrians are in the street they automatically have the right-of-way. I can understand the frustration of the demonstrators which led to at least two arrests last night.
Yeah, interesting…pedestrians vs. two tons of metallic 1% on wheels…guess we see just what percent matters to the cops.
Let’s move on to a new Wall Street investing trend that may be a mini follow-up to all those crappy bundled mortgages that hit the fan back in 2008. ‘Buy Here Pay Here’ Auto Companies Assault Working Poor; Setting Up Another Economic Crisis | Crooks and Liars
Okay, here is the story, a reader sent an email to Kenneth Quinnell, one of the writers at C&L, describing a horrible experience with a vehicle repossession…that never should have happened in the first place. You can read the letter at that link above. Then Quinnell did some digging and found out the old “Buy Here Pay Here” car lots are getting lots of new investors…we are talking big banks, Toronto Dominion big…Check it out:
The details are even more disturbing. The wife’s illness included a brain tumor and the purpose of the extension was to deal with the illness, not out of any irresponsibility. On top of that, the account was not in default and the repo man was belligerent and entered locked and gated property without permission. Luckily — and no thanks to Chrysler — the reader’s wife is still alive and still fighting her illness
Others report similar experiences with cars financed through Chrysler Financial. Chrysler Financial was a recipient of a $1.5 billion bailout via the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2009. In 2010, Chrysler Financial was bought out and their name was changed to TD Auto Finance. It isn’t clear if Chrysler Financial/TD Auto Finance is what is known as a “Buy Here Pay Here” company, but their repossession practices are in line with that emerging industry.
He goes on to cite a series of articles at the LA Times that are looking into the fast growing scheme. (Scheme is my word for this crap.)
Wall Street is investing heavily in the profitable industry:
Investor money is pouring into the industry from several sources, helping Buy Here Pay Here dealers expand their reach and raise their profile.
In addition to private equity firms such as Altamont, several payday lending chains are moving into Buy Here Pay Here and have acquired dealerships.
Stock investors are snatching up shares in Buy Here Pay Here chains and other publicly traded companies in the business. Two of the biggest, America’s Car-Mart Inc. and Credit Acceptance Corp., have seen big gains in their share prices this year, outpacing the market.
Buy Here Pay Here is also being boosted by one of the sophisticated financial strategies that drove the nation’s recent housing boom and bust: securitization.
Loans on decade-old clunkers are being bundled into securities, just as subprime mortgages were a few years ago. In the last two years, investors have bought more than $15 billion in subprime auto securities.
Although they’re backed mainly by installment contracts signed by people who can’t even qualify for a credit card, most of these bonds have been rated investment grade. Many have received the highest rating: AAA.
That’s because rating firms believe that with tens of thousands of loans lumped together, the securities are safe even if some of the loans prove worthless.
Some analysts worry that the rush to securitization could lead to careless lending by dealers eager to sell more loans, as happened with many mortgage-backed bonds.
“We think that investing in such companies is a ticking time bomb,” said Joe Keefe, chief executive of Pax World Management, which steers its investments into businesses it deems socially and environmentally responsible. “It has ethical as well as systemic risk implications.”
Wow, you know, Toronto Dominion, or TDBank is the largest bank in Canada… TD Auto Finance is one of their many companies, or divisions. My husband used to work for TDWaterhouse before it became TDAmeritrade…they seem to have their fingers in all sorts of pies.
I just find it interesting that when it comes to the greedy Banksters, taking people’s homes illegally just wasn’t enough for them.
Yet another reason for the Occupy movement to press on and fight for the 99%.
Just a few more links for you all this morning, Cuba is now prepared to Allow Buying and Selling of Property (Uh…with a few restrictions.)
Cuba announced a new property law Thursday that promises to allow citizens and permanent residents to buy and sell real estate — the most significant market-oriented change yet approved by the government of Raúl Castro, and one that will probably reshape Cuba’s cities and conceptions of class.
The new rules go into effect on Nov. 10, according to Cuba’s state-run newspaper, and while some of the fine print is still being written, the law published on Thursday amounts to a major break from decades of socialist housing. For the first time since the early days of the revolution, buyers and sellers will be allowed to set home prices and move when they want. Transactions of various kinds, including sales, trades and gifts to relatives by Cubans who are emigrating, will no longer be subject to government approval, the new law says.
“To say that it’s huge is an understatement,” said Pedro Freyre, an expert in Cuban-American legal relations who teaches at Columbia Law School. “This is the foundation, this is how you build capitalism, by allowing the free trade of property.”
Cuban officials would disagree; they argue that they are carefully protecting socialism as they move toward economic reform, and the new law includes some provisions that seem aimed at controlling both speculation and the concentration of wealth. Owners will be limited to two homes (a residence and a vacation property) and financing must go through Cuba’s Central Bank, which will charge fees, which have not been determined. And a tax of 8 percent will be split by the buyer and seller.
Cuban Economist are hoping this new property law will jumpstart the island’s economy. Spurring renovations and in turn…jobs. Many Cubans are leery about the new law, and are worried it may leave them homeless.
Yet on the other hand, there are also significant social concerns. Mario Coyula, Havana’s director of urbanism and architecture in the 1970s and ’80s, said that wide-scale buying and selling would lead to a “huge rearrangement” in Havana and other cities as the wealthy move to better areas. He and others said it would inevitably exacerbate class conflict.
And because the island has a shortage of housing — with many families and even divorced couples continuing to live together for lack of a better option — critics say that any displacement could raise the prospect of homelessness. For example, if two families are sharing a home and one holds what currently amounts to Cuban title with limited rights, the new law says that the titleholder can sell and the tenant family will eventually have to move.
There are a lot of unknowns that come with property ownership in Cuba, it is going to be something to watch as the laws take hold. I’ll keep you posted on this.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: Many of you know that I am a fiber artist, being a weaver and a spinner gives me a “connection” to a group of insects that also spin and weave…the spider. Here is one little spider that spins up a huge web, it is so cool: Tiny Spider Spins World’s Largest Spider Web | Geekosystem
While it may not be the biggest spider in the forests of Madagascar, the Darwin’s bark spider — so named as it was described 150 years after the publication of The Origins of Species — has a pretty big claim to fame. According to researchers, the 18mm spiders not only have the toughest thread, but use it to spin webs some 75 feet wide. This quite easily makes them the creators of the largest spider webs in the world. The process by which the tiny weavers go about their work is surprisingly straightforward.
The spider finds itself a river, and then a branch or a bush on the river’s bank. From there, it lets out a line of thread that is blown in the wind — hopefully across the river. Once it lands an anchor on the opposite bank, the spider reinforces this lengthy line of thread and begins spinning an orb web over the river itself.
Though scientists have now cracked how the webs are built, they still aren’t sure why the webs are built. During their observations, scientists wondered if perhaps the massive webs were for the catching of massive prey. But when nothing larger than a beetle or dragonfly materialized in the web, they decided to employ some experimental biology and simply threw larger prey at the web to see what would happen. Despite their highly scientific chucking, frogs and larger insects escaped the web unscathed.
I keep telling myself that my next tattoo is going to be a spider, spinning up a little nest of eggs…a mama spider.
Okay, I’m getting a bit loopy, let’s take a look at the last two links for you today.
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: If anyone has ever watched wild birds hunt or work together to get food, you know that these birds are really clever creatures. BBC Nature – Clever Eurasian jays plan for the future
Experiments with Eurasian jays have shown that the birds store food that they will want in the future – “planning” for their impending needs.
The study revealed that birds would stash more of the foods that they knew would be unavailable to them on forthcoming foraging trips.
Jays are not the first birds to show that they might have the capacity for what is known as “mental time travel”.
But previous claims that birds “plan” in this way have been controversial.
The findings are published in the journal Biology Letters.
To find out if the jays thought about the future, the scientists exploited the birds’ habit of hiding or “caching” food for later.
The article details the studies results, fascinating.
Lastly, this article from the NY Times. I love this story about the sheep…check it out.
Sheep Lawn Mowers, and Other Go-Getters – NYTimes.com
Randy Harris for The New York Times
So Miller ties his sheep up in someone’s yard and they eat the grass and weeds.
IN this verdant lawn-filled college town, most people keep their lawn mowers tuned up by oiling the motor and sharpening the blades. Eddie Miller keeps his in shape with salt licks and shearing scissors.
Mr. Miller, 23, is the founder of Heritage Lawn Mowing, a company that rents out sheep — yes, sheep — as a landscaping aid. For a small fee, Mr. Miller, whose official job title is “shepherd,” brings his ovine squad to the yards of area homeowners, where the sheep spend anywhere from three hours to several days grazing on grass, weeds and dandelions.
The results, he said, are a win-win: the sheep eat free, saving him hundreds of dollars a month in food costs, and his clients get a freshly cut lawn, with none of the carbon emissions of a conventional gas-powered mower. (There are, of course, other emissions, which Mr. Miller said make for “all-natural fertilizer.”)
That just makes me smile…gotta love the sheep!
Well, I hope you enjoyed the reads this morning. For the next two weeks the SDB Evening News Reads will be posted between 6:30pm and 7:30pm EST. I’ll be busy painting and getting our new hovel in shape during the day, so its easier to post later in the day.
What are you all doing today? Catch ya later in the comments.