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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 9,169

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"50,000 quarantined in Liberia slum to contain spread of Ebola"


MONROVIA, Liberia — Riot police and soldiers acting on their president’s orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,350 people and counting across West Africa.

Soldiers repelled the surging crowd with live rounds, driving hundreds of men and boys back into the slum known as West Point. One in the crowd, Shakie Kamara, 15, lay on the ground near the barricade, his right leg apparently wounded by a bullet. “Help me,” pleaded Kamara, who was barefoot and wore a green Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt.

Lt. Col. Abraham Kromah, the national police’s head of operations, arrived a few minutes later. “This is messed up,” he said, looking at the teenager while complaining about the surging crowd. “They injured one of my police officers. That’s not cool. It’s a group of criminals that did this. Look at this child. God in heaven help us.” It was unclear what happened to Kamara.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the death toll is rising most quickly in Liberia, which accounts for at least 576 of the deaths. At least 2,473 people have been sickened across West Africa.

Elsewhere in the article, it notes this is the neighborhood in which an Ebola center was recently raided. It adds new context that the residents in the neighborhood had feared their area was being turned into a "dumping ground for the disease."

It also includes that at least one family of a local official was escorted out, which likely compounds people's fears of how they are being treated differently - flights to safety for those with power and an armed quarantine for those without.

There's no info in the article about how these residents or others in another area placed in quarantine will receive, water, food or health care.

They must be terrified.

edited to add photo and link to additional photos that show conditions there


Founder of law firm that sought out Hobby Lobby clerked for Alito in Reagan administration

First there's the indication that the Becket Fund was seeking out and contacting businesses to push this (and similar) lawsuits:


The Greens re-examined the company’s health insurance policy back in 2012, shortly before filing the lawsuit. A Wall Street Journal story says they looked into their plan after being approached by an attorney from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty about possible legal action over the federal government’s contraceptives requirement.

Then the fact that Hasson, the founder of Becket Fund, clerked for Alito:


But others say Hasson, who worked in the Reagan Justice Department for then-Assistant Attorney General (and now Supreme Court Justice) Samuel A. Alito Jr., and Becket are deeply part of the problem, over-hyping the threat to diverse religious practice and feeding partisan divide.

Hasson has retired, but continues to advise his hand-picked Wall Street successor:

May 12, 2011
Becket Fund President and Founder Steps Down and Announces Successor

Tonight at the sixteenth annual Canterbury Medal Dinner, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s founder, Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, announced that he is stepping down from the position of President and Chairman of the Board. Hasson will retain the honorific title of President Emeritus and will remain on the board of directors and will continue to assist and advise the Fund with regard to its litigation initiatives. William P. Mumma, President and CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities USA, will serve as the next president of the Becket Fund, and Professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard University Law School will assume the role of chair of the board.


A somewhat unlikely replacement took over: William P. Mumma, a Wall Street banker who runs the New York trading desk for Mitsubishi UFJ Securities USA.


Hasson wanted Mumma to replace him, precisely because he had the potential take Becket in this new direction, Mumma said.
"Bill is a Wall Street guy. Bill is a true believer. He wanted to raise the profile and reorganize. So we are a nonprofit that runs like a well-oiled business now," said Becket's executive director, Kristina Arriaga, who has worked for the organization since 1995. "We have gone from guerilla warriors to special forces," she said.
Arriaga said Becket has gotten more aggressive in the face of what it views as a hostility to religious freedom under the Obama administration. The fight with Obama over whether to force religious institutions to offer contraception, including the morning after pill, in health insurance plans has put this tension under a very bright spotlight.

And Mumma is a big contributor to Republican candidates:

Reagan ties, Alito ties, Republican ties.

For anyone thinking this is narrow or somehow limited to Hobby Lobby, you might want to think about what is really behind this.

"Western resentment of federal oversight tends to surge during Democratic administrations"

Western resentment of federal oversight tends to surge during Democratic administrations, says Bob Keiter, a law professor who directs the University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment.

The Sagebrush Rebellion arose during the Carter administration. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration faced the Wise Use Movement.

Amid the bickering, oil and gas developers, environmentalists, recreational businesses and county leaders have been quietly taking field trips together and identifying Utah federal lands they agree should be preserved or developed, whether for energy, timber, livestock or ATV trails.

The "grand bargain" initiative is driven primarily by Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop, a pro-development Republican.


I saw this while I was looking for more info on the connection of these 'protests' to the push behind these to get more state control of federal land by ALEC/Koch for oil and gas.

Very coincidental that the two previous 'rebellions' came during Democratic administrations and apparently died down during Republican ones.

So, if they can't legislate, they generate, push and put media focus behind the astro turf campaigns.

What Wall Street values is not what we value

Yet we take their valuation as an indicator of whether we are doing well as a nation or not.
And they revolve back and forth between government and their companies, ensuring their values are embedded in our culture.

I keep going back to the microcosm of the reasons they have so often downgraded Costco as a clear illustration of this. They have 'encouraged' Costco to cut jobs and pay rates, to pay CEOS and shareholders (the few) more on the backs of workers and customers by reducing pay and raising prices. When Costco has refused and instead kept doing what is fair, has made them successful and helps communities, Wall Street marks them down. What does that say in terms of the 'market' doing well? What benefits us more as a society?

Yet, it's the values of Wall Street that end up being promoted through them being retained as advisors and appointees at the highest levels.

More austerity coming to UK this summer? Requests for water cannon from Boris and police

While Oxfam reports that the 85 richest people in the world are as wealthy as the poorest half of the world - http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017170945 - the Association of Chief Police Officers and London's mayor are busy requesting water cannon in anticipation of summer unrest. And the police are directly linking the request to austerity measures.

Hmm - as the rich get richer, are they afraid the poor are getting the picture? Especially since austerity measures have shown a negative rather than a positive outcome (well, except for the already wealthy becoming ever wealthier).

Police to ask home secretary to approve use of water cannon across country

Chief constables are shortly to press the home secretary, Theresa May, to authorise the use of water cannon by any police force across England and Wales to deal with anticipated street protests.

The Association of Chief Police Officers says that the need to control continued protests "from ongoing and potential future austerity measures" justifies the introduction of water cannon across Britain for the first time.


The report says there is no intelligence to suggest there is an increased likelihood of serious riots within England and Wales, but states "it would be fair to assume that the ongoing and potential future austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest".

More on Boris requesting water cannon:




"Conlin concedes, Sawant becomes Seattle's first socialist council member"


Posted on November 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Updated today at 5:05 PM

Socialist Kshama Sawant is officially Seattle's next City Council member.

Longtime Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin conceded to Sawant Friday evening, after new election numbers showed her ever-widening lead of 1,640 votes.

Sawant sat down with KING 5 News on Friday. She admits she isn't entirely accustomed to the political spotlight.

"I didn't set out to do this. I wasn't thinking about holding an elective office. I just wanted to be an activist," Sawant said.

So a month after removing Director of Public Lighting, they throw the switch off on purpose?

Sounds like they're accelerating the drive to privatize using Shock Doctrine tactics.
And they don't care who they hurt in the process.


Orr spokesman Bill Nowling confirmed that lighting director Richard Tenney was booted from his job as part of Orr’s efforts to restructure city government. The lighting department is among Detroit’s most troubled operations, with as many as half of the city’s 88,000 streetlights not working, blamed on lack of money to upgrade equipment and thieves stealing copper wiring.

Tenney, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, was escorted out of his office by police, but Nowling said there was nothing untoward about his removal. “It’s not unusual when you terminate someone they’re allowed to collect their belongings and are escorted out,” Nowling said.

Gary Brown, the former Detroit City Councilman whom Orr tapped to lead his restructuring of city operations, said that Tenney, an engineer, has the option of reverting to a civil-service position in the department, and his removal as director shouldn’t reflect poorly on him. The lighting department “was underfunded and understaffed, and he was set with a Herculean task,” Brown said.

Brown said the city next week will put out a request for proposals for private companies to provide a team of experts to help run the department as it transitions to the newly created lighting authority as well as “getting the lights on in the city immediately.”

"Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop acting and start talking."

As Strikes on Syria Loom, Is U.S. Ignoring a Diplomatic Track That Could Prevent More Violence?


NERMEEN SHAIKH: Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a U.N. team investigating the alleged chemical attack must be given time to establish the facts about what happened last week when hundreds of civilians were killed on the outskirts of Damascus. Ban said, quote, "Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop acting and start talking."


PHYLLIS BENNIS: It’s certainly possible. Anything is possible. It’s certainly possible the regime used these weapons. It’s also possible that part of the rebels did. We know that some of the rebel armed forces came from defectors. We have no idea whether those defectors included some defectors that might have been involved in Syria’s long-standing chemical weapons program. We also know that some of the rebels are close to al-Qaeda organizations. The Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Nusra Front, has claimed its alliance with al-Qaeda. And the idea that al-Qaeda forces may have access to these weapons is certainly a frightening but very realistic possibility. The problem is, we don’t know. And that’s why the U.N. inspection initially is so important to determine what the weapons were, how they were used, where they were used. The next step then is to determine who used them. That remains a mystery right now. Whoever used them should be brought up on charges in the International Criminal Court and face the harshest punishments available to the international community.

The question of what is the alternative to military strikes starts with diplomacy. It starts with talking. The talks that were scheduled between the U.S. and Russia, designed to try again to create the so-called Geneva II peace conference, is more important now than ever. There have been 100,000 Syrians killed, between military and civilians. Millions have been forced from their homes. And the supporters of the two sides—because this is now clearly a civil war, a devastating civil war, that has become part of really five wars in Syria. There’s a sectarian war. There’s a regional war for power. There’s a war between the U.S. and Russia. There’s a war between the U.S. and Israel and Iran. All of these wars are being fought to the last Syrian. So what’s needed is a set of peace talks. Call it Geneva II. Call it whatever you want. Call it broccoli. Just get those talks started so that you have not only the parties, but their backers. You have the U.S. and Russia, and you have Iran and Saudi Arabia, and you have Iraq and Kuwait. You have all the forces on the two sides coming together to talk about this, rather than fighting to the last Syrian child, to resolve these wars.

I'd prefer to see this calmed down rather than ratcheted up.

Smithsonian Museum - Everybody: An Artifact History of Disability in America

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has a new on-line exhibit titled “Everybody: An Artifact History of Disability in America”. http://everybody.si.edu/


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will launch “EveryBody: An Artifact History of Disability in America” to explore themes and events related to the history of people with disabilities in the U.S. and offer a new perspective on American history. This online exhibition is a first-of-its-kind image compilation that provides access to objects and stories related to the history of disability that have been collected at the museum for more than 50 years. The information is presented in English and Spanish, and the website is designed to be accessible to all users, including those using specialized software for vision or hearing impairments. All pages on the website follow federal accessibility guidelines, which are outlined on the site’s Accessibility Statement page. The website is available at http://everybody.si.edu.

“Many stories and events related to people with disabilities never make it into the history books or shared public memories,” said Katherine Ott, curator of medical science at the museum. “Knowing this history deepens the understanding of the American experience and reveals how complicated history is.”

From one of the pages:

The way people judged a person’s appearance was different when physical injury, crooked teeth and cavities, smallpox marks, and other scarring commonly affected people. People with such bodies were fairly normal. Then in the mid-1800s, some cities began to ban certain people from public streets. These so-called Ugly Laws were directed at people with disabilities who sometimes depended on begging for a livelihood.

“Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in the City of County of San Francisco, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view.” —San Francisco “Ugly Law,” 1867

I had not heard of these laws before. Found some additional information that noted how these were used and that some of these laws were not repealed until the mid-1970s:



This Cleveland newspaper vendor lost his job around 1915 for violating the city's "unsightly" ordinance.

Consider the smiling young man in white tie and cap, whose photo appeared in a 1916 report by the "Committee on Cripples of the Welfare Federation of Cleveland." His name is not recorded, but Cleveland's ugly law, banning "diseased, maimed and deformed persons" from appearing in public, cost him his job.

Don't see the problem? Look closer -- the vendor has clubbed hands and feet.

"Although it seems rather hard," the report states, "he appreciated the meaning of it, but considered it ill-advised unless some steps went with it for providing other opportunity for work for cripples."

Susan M. Schweik, the scholar who found and published this photo for her provocative, disturbing new book, "The Ugly Law," asks this question: "What was it, exactly, that this man, in his guarded, strategic protest, is said to appreciate?"

I think the truly ugly part is that such laws were ever enacted.

So they can create plans to protect DHS $$$ from other expenditure

And siphon ever more $$$ to an already over funded system that's had to create ways to spend its ever increasing budget.
Yet social services and security keep being placed on the chopping block.

Seems like a pattern to me.

The newest: 46.3 billion border surge plan


But thanks in part to lobbying by security contractors, the Senate immigration bill that goes to the Republican-led House this week includes a computerized “biometric” exit system that could cost more than $7 billion.

The plan is part of the bill’s $46 billion “border surge” of security measures, a 10-year spending gusher that would produce a financial bonanza for some of America’s largest aerospace, technology and security companies, as well as some border states.


If the law is enacted, the Treasury Department would set aside $46.3 billion in a special trust-fund account to protect it from lawmakers who might seek to draw on or reduce the money in future budget battles.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, considers Homeland Security acquisitions programs to be at “high risk” for abuse. A GAO report in February concluded that major acquisitions “continue to cost more than expected, take longer to deploy than planned, or deliver less capability than promised.”

“It’s an irrational buildup,” said Chris Rickerd, policy counsel on immigration at the American Civil Liberties Union. “It doesn’t correspond to security needs or any reasonable approach to securing the border.”

Some previous related posts:

TSA and Border Patrol both received funding increases



As I noted then:
I'd love to see an accounting of the increased funding that has gone to all these 'security" entities as a category, some newly created such as Dept of Homeland Security and some like the Border Patrol that have been operating beyond their mission to justify the increased budget. It would also need to include areas such as wire tapping (how much to pay for the rooms created for server traffic, such as at AT&T and the salaries for those monitoring all that) and the bureaucracies put in place in the last decade.

How much better that funding would be spent on social needs and investment in areas such as infrastructure (especially updating the grid and investing in sustainable energy technology. Instead, we've had amounts that are hard to even identify or track diverted for years now.

And some examples of how this is getting used:

"Researcher detained at U.S. border, questioned about Wikileaks"


Kafkaesque ordeal: Innocent Canadian arrested at U.S. Border


Border Patrol Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Claiming Illegal Stops Based on Race



Here's some info on VIPR and on additional expansion of DHS, TSA and Border Patrol funding and roles:

Including inter city buses:


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