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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
July 31, 2013

Excellent charts. Home equity is the final target of the Ravenously Greedy too-big-to-fail banks.

The One Percenters and their agents/corporate lackeys have stripped the American work force of fairly paid, full-time employment with traditional benefits (sick time, health insurance, vacation days); continue to layoff workers every year to keep increasing their profit margins, by forcing the remaining employees to work longer hours with no overtime. What's left to legally embezzle? Home equity!

Home ownership, building up of equity, and the gradual rise in the value of said homes, formed the bedrock of financial security for Americans as they reached retirement age. To the bankers/hedge fund traders It's like waving a red flag at a bull - how can WE (bankers/traders) be the ones to enjoy the equity of residential properties/single family homes? Just foreclose and purchase on the cheap, rent on the high side.

In Florida, for example, homeowners driven into bankruptcy, learned that their homes could be purchased at sheriff's sales for only $100. This compares to a state like Ohio, where homes to be sold at sheriff's sales had to be appraised by 3 different appraisers, and could be sold for no less than 60% of the average appraised value. My daughter bought her first home, in Ft. Myers, FL, at the height of the bubble - paid 20% down, on a $140,000 condo. A year later, just as the bubble burst, her Florida office was closed down & she had to move to another state to find employment. She carried the mortgage on her Florida house for a year as the market continued to plunge downwards, basically throwing money down the toilet, and finally consulted with a bankruptcy attorney and decided to go that route. (Her mortgage holder refused to write off any part of the mortgage so she could sell it.) Whatever banker/realtor snapped up this beautiful new condo for $100, turned around and sold it within a month for about $50,000. She lost her life savings (the down payment) plus paying mortgage/taxes/insurance for a year before finally admitting defeat.

Did y'all get that? A nearly new, $140,000 condo for ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! And THAT, boys and girls is how wealth is transferred upward in the good ole U S of A!

July 30, 2013

Have Gay Rights Groups Abandoned Bradley Manning?

Today's article from the UK Guardian discusses why mainstream LGBT rights groups like Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD have stayed quiet about Manning - charging that the silence of these groups has been deafening.


One of the interesting factors is that two of the largest and most well funded LGBT rights groups in the US have stayed quiet about Manning, his reprehensible treatment in custody and his trial. Why has Manning, whose revelations about the US Army's actions epitomize social justice in action, gotten the cold shoulder from the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)? The silence of these groups has been deafening.

First, Manning is the opposite of everything that these groups seek to portray as the image of "gay Americans". I use those quotes because the majority of LGBT Americans don't conform to these upwardly mobile, white, polished, virile male stereotypes. Manning doesn't look like CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. With his slight frame, lower-class background, questioning of his gender identity, inability to hold down a typical job, general dorkiness and dysfunctional family life, Manning does not fit the poster boy image that GLAAD or the HRC would hold up and promote. It's bizarre because Manning is actually what many, if not most, LGBT people have been at one point or another – an outsider, a loner, a person who does not fit in or conform.

Second, organizations like the HRC, which had net assets of over $32.7m at the end of last year and claims more than a millions members and supporters, happens to have the financial backing of major military industrial corporations, including Lockheed Martin, which is sponsoring the HRC's upcoming national gala in Washington DC and Booz Allen Hamilton, a corporate partner for the national event, as well as Northrop Grumman a sponsor of their Los Angeles gala.

US government contracts account for at least 85% of Lockheed Martin's work, Northrop Grumman is intricately tied to our military and Booz Allen Hamilton is wrapped up in Washington's lobbying morass – kicking into high gear now that legislators are finally considering limits on the NSA's surveillance capabilities.
July 30, 2013

"New Snowden Leak: Australia's place in US spying web"

Would VERY much appreciate your thoughts on this report out of Australia, especially since you are from Canberra, the capitol city and one of the 4 Australian centers involved in NSA's collection program.


Ex-NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden has disclosed his first set of documents outlining Australia’s role in NSA surveillance programs, picking out four facilities in the country that contribute heavily to US spying.

The locations of dozens of the US’s and associated countries signal collection sites have been revealed by Snowden, who leaked classified National Security Agency maps to US journalist Glenn Greenwald, which were then published in the Brazilian newspaper “O Globo.”

The sites all play a role in the collection of data and interception of internet traffic and telecommunications on a global level.

Australian centers involved in the NSA’s data collection program, codenamed X-Keyscore, include Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap in central Australia and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station in the country’s north, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility on the west coast, and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside the capital, Canberra
July 30, 2013

Ms. Crumble is from Canberra, Australia.

So I'd like to ask her/him, what's up with foreigners, who obviously are not Americans, let alone Democrats, posting so aggressively on DU to defend NSA and attack Snowden? Really! Seriously.

I'm sure everyone on DU would welcome your input as to what Australians and the Australian chamber of commerce think of NSA spying and Snowden's revelations of same. I would be very grateful if you posted your thoughts and opinions as an Australian on ANY of the issues discussed and debated on DU. But please honor the concept of full disclosure, (not your real name, of course) as to the perspective which informs and motivates your participation. Perhaps you HAVE posted such info in the past and I've missed it. Please include links, if possible.

July 29, 2013

Anyone proclaiming there are no paid shills posting on DU . . . . .

is de facto promulgating the conclusion that Democratic Underground is not seen by the big players/opinion manipulators as worth bothering with. That's rather insulting to DU, isn't it? So to lock threads discussing the problems with paid disruptors on DU is to say that DU is not of enough consequence in the political arena to justify paying anyone to disrupt its threads.

I personally think that DU has always been carefully monitored by all parties recently revealed to have been paying trolls to disrupt online forums. And it further seems quite clear that when we're considering what side of the political debate has supporters with cash to pay for disruption, we are NOT talking about DU-ers posting in support of the unemployed, civil rights, habeas corpus, the poor, the disenfranchised, the imprisoned, the drone victims, the spied upon, people without health care, etc. Clearly the cash sources to pay disruptors/trolls/etc., comes from Big Interests with profits at stake.

There is a lot of sophisticated technology available allowing a single individual to set up automatic 24/7 multiple responses, by multiple "persona", triggered by key words or phrases. What can/is DU doing to identify and block these cyber attacks?

July 29, 2013

Shoals of trolls and clots of bots

I've decided to follow the advice/example of several posters whom I most admire, like Catherina, and put these bots on my ignore list. Really, I've been on DU since 2002 without putting anyone on ignore. And you know what? It feels pretty darn good to put these poseurs on full ignore.

July 24, 2013

To me "bots" is short for a group of robots.

And clots of bots would refer to a group in lockstep, or, as is defined in web usage, a program that operates as an agent for a user or another program or simulates a human activity.

I would never call an Obama supporter the terms YOU posted. I have read quotes where Nazis used those terms. So basically, you're likening me to a Nazi. I believe that is against the DU rules.

Shame on you! Trying to turn policy-based political comments into "racism" by introducing those objectionable terms and trying to tie them to someone who never used them. And you DARE to prattle on about hate speech?
Pretty desperate, aren't you? Why don't you dare to get back to the subject matter of this thread and attempt a thoughtful comment?
Nobody ever tells me what to post, and I assume no one ever tells you what to post either. In which case you are not a bot, are you? So why so defensive?

Everything is not always about YOU.

July 20, 2013

"Talk is cheap, Jack. Make your play!"

I first heard Marlon Brando deliver those lines in a 1961 film, One-Eyed Jacks and have found occasion to quote them repeatedly to and about people who talk a good game, but fail to deliver.

Brando not only starred in this film, but stepped in to direct it when Stanley Kubrick backed out. It is considered Brando's masterpiece. An incredibly gripping western. Stands alone among the great westerns in its intensity and superb acting. Not received well in 1961 as it was too far ahead of its time. Dark and brilliant. It has been hailed by Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, it is the only film directed by one of the most famous actors in film history and it signaled the rise of a more violent and cynical cinema, but for some reason Marlon Brando's One Eyed Jacks has never really gotten its due. If you read a review of it, you will learn how it utilizes the symbolism of the playing card/one-eyed jack, that is people who present different sides of their "face" (self) to different audiences.

July 17, 2013

Background on Judge McGinley (voter ID law case)

His mother was Marie Rooney McGinley, which makes him part of the Rooney aristocracy (Art Rooney/Steelers) in Pittsburgh. He and his wife have four children and live in Pittsburgh. He attended Central Catholic High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from John Carroll University in Ohio in 1967, having attended Loyola University of Rome for the school year 1965-66. In 1970 he received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Unlike our pathetic governor Corbett, McGinley did not have to go to an out-of-state, 4th class law school on the Tex-Mex border to get a law degree!

He completed Basic Officer's Training at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, in 1971, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain from the U.S. Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps in 1976. I sincerely hope that his years working with the Army Medical Service Corps gave him experience in how difficult it would be for people with physical handicaps (and that includes many of Pennsylvania's high percentage of elderly voters) to get to some state drivers' license bureaus to get voter IDs. As one person just testified in this trial, when she called the bureau to ask about accommodations for handicapped, she was told to expect a FOUR HOUR WAIT!

McGinley then clerked for a well-respected judge, followed by a three year stint as an assistant district attorney, 2 years teaching law, and several years in private practice & as chairman of the County Board of Viewers before becoming a judge at the county level. After 6 years as a county judge, he was elected to the Commonwealth Court (an intermediate appellate level court) where he has since been re-elected twice - serving from 1988 to the present.

In addition to the full time elected position as an appellate judge,
on September 22, 2009 Judge McGinley was appointed to the Court of Judicial Discipline by the Supreme Court. He was elected President Judge in July 2012.

This tells me that he is extremely well-respected as an ethical person by his fellow judges.
Finally, found this interesting commentary on Judge McGinley from 2007.

Headline: Joe Paterno May Not Vote to Retain Judge Bernard McGinley, But I Will

I don't think PSU's Joe Paterno is too crazy about Bernard McGinley as a Commonwealth Court judge. Baseball fans might not like him much, either. But I'll be voting to retain this Democrat on election day.

Who is Barney McGinley?

The League of Women Voters gives us some biographical information. A Pittsburgh native, Judge McGinley got a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. After that, he served in the reserves and was an assistant DA for four years. He also spent six years as a judge before being elected to the Commonwealth Court in 1988. He has been married to the same woman since 1973, and has never personally been involved in litigation. If retained, he will reach mandatory retirement age in 2016.

His 210 reported online rulings are quite sound. In a well-reasoned decision, he struck down a "zero tolerance policy" that would have resulted in the expulsion of a straight "A" student caught with a small pen knife. He sustained an attorney's fee award against high power legal eagle John Karoly , in a dispute John had with South Whitehall Township. He wisely dissented from a ruling awarding $20,000 to a police officer who found that money in a bag during a routine traffic stop. I can't help feeling that a dirty cop will have all kinds of excuses to "find" money. McGinley also supported a strict reading of zoning law for residents who objected to a cell tower.

He's a very clear and fair-minded judge. Lawyers who practice before him seem to like him. The Pa. bar makes this observation, "He treats lawyers fairly and courteously and is held in the highest regard for his legal knowledge and analytical abilities."

July 15, 2013

Way to give Jeb Bush, via his father, a boost in his planned run for the presidency!

Ya know, burnishing up the public image of the Bush Family legacy!

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