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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 47,653

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Noam Chomsky: U.S. used to have people killed for practicing what Pope Francis preaches

“There is a reason why Christians were persecuted the first three centuries,” Chomsky said. “The Gospels are radical – it’s a radical text – that’s a basically radical pacifism with its preferential option for the poor.”

He said liberation theology’s practitioners were systematically martyred over more than 20 years by U.S.-backed forces to prevent Latin American nations from installing socialist governments to benefit their own people, rather than American interests.

“The U.S. went to war (and) fought a bitter, brutal, violent war against the church,” Chomsky said. “If we had a free press that’s the way they’d present it.”

He said the U.S. supported the “overthrow of governments and institution of neo-Nazi-style dictatorships” as part of a war that finally ended in 1989 with the murder of six Jesuits and two women at the University of Central America by Salvadoran troops.


Looks like Boehner had a little too much Merlot.

billmon @billmon1
Looks like Boehner had a little too much Merlot. He's mouthing off to "Anthony": http://bit.ly/JeJVmg Remember John: "It's a GOOD life."
9:17 AM - 11 Dec 2013


John Boehner: Conservative Groups' Reaction to Budget Deal Is...
House Speaker John Boehner went off on outside conservative groups Wednesday morning for pushing against the new budget deal.From Matt Berman’s article:

House Speaker John Boehner went off on outside conservative groups Wednesday morning for pushing against the new budget deal.

“They’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals,” he said. “This is ridiculous.”

Several key conservative groups are against the sequester relief within the new budget deal.

“Though conservatives support more spending restraint, the discretionary spending limits defined in the Budget Control Act represent a promise to the American people to marginally slow the growth of government,” reads a letter signed by the heads of Heritage Action, the Family Research Council, and the American Conservative Union. Heritage Action’s Michael Needham penned an op-ed in USA Today on Tuesday calling the deal “a step backward.” The Cato Institute called the deal a “huge Republican cave-in.”…



Spot-On - Rachel Maddow : How George W. Bush failed the GOP

"Unlike the Reagan administration, the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration, the George W. Bush presidency elevated precisely no one to the ranks of national leadership who wasn’t there before. The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were like some odd eight-year cicada hatch in which the candidates went underground in 2000 and then birthed themselves after Bush and Cheney were gone, as if the intervening years had never happened."

The unpopular presidency of George W. Bush has proved to be a blackball on the résumés of a generation of Republican leaders. Maybe Cheney’s daughter Liz will break the pattern next year with a successful Senate bid in Wyoming, but if you made it through that sentence without spitting coffee out your nose, you’re in rare company.

The fascinating turmoil in the Republican Party since 2008 is not just a personnel problem — it’s also ideological. If you were putting together a legacy to inspire the next generation of conservatives, you wouldn’t pick the Bush administration’s trailing ends of land wars, budget deficits, torture, a crusade against gay rights and a financial collapse to rival the Great Depression. The isolationism and libertarian iconography of the Ron Paul wing of the party really does appeal to young people more than Bush-Cheney Republicanism. Social conservatives really do feel backed into a corner and ready to fight against a country that is turning against them faster than most pollsters can keep up. There really is something ripe for renewal in Republicans’ self-conception as fiscal conservatives, when the clear pattern is that budget deficits grow under Republicans and shrink under Democrats. The Republican Party is a churning swirl of conflicting ideological currents, and that’s going to take some time to work out.


The collapse of national leadership prospects for the Republican Party is one of the greatest political failures and most important legacies of George W. Bush. Barack Obama looks less likely to repeat that fate, but it depends on a strong grove of nationally viable Democrats starting to grow now. The crescendo of attention to Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a healthy part of that process, as is the growing national interest in such diverse Democrats as Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill, Cory Booker, Wendy Davis, Martin O’Malley, Deval Patrick, Andrew Cuomo and Amy Klobuchar.


Wow!!! What a tribute!! So sad we had to lose that many!!!

posted from my FB


Pretty ACA pics

Just about 1.2 million people have gained health coverage through Obamacare, according to new federal data released Wednesday morning. Approximately 365,000 of those people have purchased private insurance and 803,000 have been determined to be eligible for the public Medicaid program. These numbers count data from both October and November, and show an especially quick growth in HealthCare.gov enrollment.

My best guess is that signups for private insurance through the federally-run Affordable Care Act exchanges are rising very sharply: About 69,000 during the week ending Dec. 2, up from only about 2,000 in the program's first week, ending Oct. 7.

That means the signup pace is nearly doubling, week-to-week.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-obamacare-enrollment-numbers-november-2013-12#ixzz2nCxxzSVX


Remarkable Study/Graph: Americans Have NO Idea That Wealth Distribution Is As Concentrated As It Is

Do Americans know their country's wealth distribution?
(From: Wealth, Income, and Power
by G. William Domhoff)

A remarkable study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) reveals that Americans have no idea that the wealth distribution (defined for them in terms of "net worth") is as concentrated as it is. When shown three pie charts representing possible wealth distributions, 90% or more of the 5,522 respondents -- whatever their gender, age, income level, or party affiliation -- thought that the American wealth distribution most resembled one in which the top 20% has about 60% of the wealth. In fact, of course, the top 20% control about 85% of the wealth (refer back to Table 2 and Figure 1 in this document for a more detailed breakdown of the numbers).

Even more striking, they did not come close on the amount of wealth held by the bottom 40% of the population. It's a number I haven't even mentioned so far, and it's shocking: the lowest two quintiles hold just 0.3% of the wealth in the United States. Most people in the survey guessed the figure to be between 8% and 10%, and two dozen academic economists got it wrong too, by guessing about 2% -- seven times too high. Those surveyed did have it about right for what the 20% in the middle have; it's at the top and the bottom that they don't have any idea of what's going on.

Americans from all walks of life were also united in their vision of what the "ideal" wealth distribution would be, which may come as an even bigger surprise than their shared misinformation on the actual wealth distribution. They said that the ideal wealth distribution would be one in which the top 20% owned between 30 and 40 percent of the privately held wealth, which is a far cry from the 85 percent that the top 20% actually own. They also said that the bottom 40% -- that's 120 million Americans -- should have between 25% and 30%, not the mere 8% to 10% they thought this group had, and far above the 0.3% they actually had. In fact, there's no country in the world that has a wealth distribution close to what Americans think is ideal when it comes to fairness. So maybe Americans are much more egalitarian than most of them realize about each other, at least in principle and before the rat race begins.

(Figure 4, reproduced with permission from Norton & Ariely's article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, shows the actual wealth distribution, along with the survey respondents' estimated and ideal distributions, in graphic form.)

Figure 4: The actual United States wealth distribution plotted against the estimated and ideal distributions

Much more, lots of amazing graphs, wish I could post ALL:

"Affluenza": Judge Lets Teen Who Killed Four People Get Off On Probation Because He's Rich

Teen Who Killed Four People Got Off On Probation Because He's Rich

A 16-year-old boy who drunkenly killed four people got probation this week because the judge — with no apparent irony — agreed with the boy's defense that he was a victim of "affluenza," whose parents taught him wealth and privilege shield consequences. The teen had faced up to twenty years in prison.

Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch admitted to four counts of manslaughter after he and seven other boys stole alcohol from Walmart, piled into his car and struck and killed four pedestrians while going 70 miles per hour in a 40 zone. One of his passengers remains in the hospital with severe brain damage, and nine other bystanders were also injured.

Couch's BAC was a .24 and he also had Valium in his system. According to reports, he was belligerent at the scene, at one point saying, "I'm outta here." Prosecutors were hoping to get up to 20 years.

Couch's defense was that he was a victim of his parents' wealth and privilege; in that he never had to face consequences, which an expert summarized prior to sentencing.

He said Couch got whatever he wanted. As an example, Miller said Couch's parents gave no punishment after police ticketed the then-15-year-old when he was found in a parked pickup with a passed out, undressed 14-year-old girl.

Miller also pointed out that Couch was allowed to drive at 13. He said the teen was emotionally flat and needed years of therapy. At the time of the fatal wreck, Couch had a blood alcohol content of .24, said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson. It is illegal for a minor to drive with any amount of alcohol in his or her system.


Millennials prepare to destroy GOP

Millennials are the leftiest generation since FDR

There are a lot of interesting nuggets in the Pew breakdown of generational voting patterns above, but the one that’s most striking to me is the sharp division between Nixon-era Boomers and Ford/Carter-era Boomers. The former are more Democratic-leaning than the public average, whereas the younger cohort leaned right, 2006 excepted. But the finding of most significance going forward is that both Millennials and younger Gen X-ers are turning out to be pretty reliable Democrats, the most reliable since the “Greatest Generation” that came of age under FDR. If that sticks, it could have big ramifications going forward.


Puzzle-maker slips 'Murdoch Is Evil' into Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Telegraph


The "Murdoch Is Evil" word search in the Sunday Telegraph. (Screenshot via Twitter)

Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A message hidden in a word search in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph seemed to indicate the puzzle-maker wasn’t a big fan of the man signing their checks.

Harry the Dog’s weekly kids’ word search contained the message LIVESIHCODRUM, which, when read backwards, could be interpreted as Murdoch Is Evil.

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch owns the Telegraph.

The 'Murdoch Is Evil' puzzle barb is even better with Harry The Newshound completely missing the big story

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/Blog/2013/12/10/Puzzle-maker-slips-Murdoch-Is-Evil-into-Rupert-Murdochs-Sunday-Telegraph/6711386685821/#ixzz2nBSJfU1G

"If you haven’t been in a hen plant, you don’t know what hell is”

If you haven’t been in a hen plant, you don’t know what hell is,” he says. My late father was a veteran of both theaters in WWII and a butcher for decades before he became a business rep and organizer for the Meat Cutters Union. When he returned from an organizing trip to chicken processing plants in SW Va while I was in HS he was literally pale and just shook his head in disbelief... wouldn't describe it in anything but the vaguest terms./blockquote]


Sarah – let’s call her that for this story, though it’s neither the name her parents gave her nor the one she currently uses undercover – is a tall, fair woman in her midtwenties who’s pretty in a stock, anonymous way, as if she’d purposely scrubbed her face and frame of distinguishing characteristics. Like anyone who’s spent much time working farms, she’s functionally built through the thighs and trunk, herding pregnant hogs who weigh triple what she does into chutes to birth their litters and hefting buckets of dead piglets down quarter-mile alleys to where they’re later processed. It’s backbreaking labor, nine-hour days in stifling barns in Wyoming, and no training could prepare her for the sensory assault of 10,000 pigs in close quarters: the stench of their shit, piled three feet high in the slanted trenches below; the blood on sows’ snouts cut by cages so tight they can’t turn around or lie sideways; the racking cries of broken-legged pigs, hauled into alleys by dead-eyed workers and left there to die of exposure. It’s the worst job she or anyone else has had, but Sarah isn’t grousing about the conditions. She’s too busy waging war on the hogs’ behalf.

We’re sitting across the couch from a second undercover, a former military serviceman we’ll call Juan, in the open-plan parlor of an A-frame cottage just north of the Vermont-New York border. The house belongs to their boss, Mary Beth Sweetland, who is the investigative director for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and who has brought them here, first, to tell their stories, then to investigate a nearby calf auction site. Sweetland trains and runs the dozen or so people engaged in the parlous business of infiltrating farms and documenting the abuse done to livestock herds by the country’s agri-giants, as well as slaughterhouses and livestock auctions. Given the scale of the business – each year, an estimated 9 billion broiler chickens, 113 million pigs, 33 million cows and 250 million turkeys are raised for our consumption in dark, filthy, pestilent barns – it’s unfair to call this a guerrilla operation, for fear of offending outgunned guerrillas. But what Juan and Sarah do with their hidden cams and body mics is deliver knockdown blows to the Big Meat cabal, showing videos of the animals’ living conditions to packed rooms of reporters and film crews. In many cases, these findings trigger arrests and/or shutdowns of processing plants, though the real heat put to the offending firms is the demand for change from their scandalized clients – fast-food giants and big-box retailers. “We’ve had a major impact in the five or six years we’ve been doing these operations,” says Sarah.


In its scrutiny of Big Meat – a cartel of corporations that have swallowed family farms, moved the animals indoors to prison-style plants in the middle of rural nowhere, far from the gaze of nervous consumers, and bred their livestock to and past exhaustion – the Humane Society (and outfits like PETA and Mercy for Animals) is performing a service that the federal government can’t, or won’t, render: keeping an eye on the way American meat is grown. That’s rightfully the job of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the agency is so short-staffed that it typically only sends inspectors out to slaughterhouses, where they check a small sample of pigs, cows and sheep before they’re put to death. That hour before her end is usually the only time a pig sees a government rep; from the moment she’s born, she’s on her own, spending four or five years in a tiny crate and kept perpetually pregnant and made sick from breathing in her own waste while fed food packed with growth-promoting drugs, and sometimes even garbage. (The word “garbage” isn’t proverbial: Mixed in with the grain can be an assortment of trash, including ground glass from light bulbs, used syringes and the crushed testicles of their young. Very little on a factory farm is ever discarded.) Save the occasional staffer who becomes disgruntled and uploads pictures of factory crimes on Facebook, undercover activists like Juan and Sarah are our only lens into what goes on in those plants – and soon, if Big Meat has its way, we’ll not have even them to set us straight. A wave of new laws, almost entirely drafted by lawmakers and lobbyists and referred to as “Ag-Gag” bills, are making it illegal to take a farm job undercover; apply for a farm job without disclosing a background as a journalist or animal-rights activist; and hold evidence of animal abuse past 24 to 48 hours before turning it over to authorities. Since it takes weeks or sometimes months to develop a case – and since groups like HSUS have pledged not to break the law – these bills are stopping watchdogs in their tracks and giving factory farmers free rein behind their walls.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists#ixzz2nBJwBLoQ
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

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