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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 12,232

Journal Archives

Landrieu and O'Keefe

Seeing the news about Landrieu's loss, I keep thinking back to when O'Keefe and his criminal accomplices went to her offices under false pretense and tried to directly access the communications systems there.
As I recall the whole incident was minimized, with them receiving probation and a slap on the wrist. Articles used the terms prank and caper extensively and glossed over any serious intent behind the scheme or possible effects from it. And this at a time of constant security alerts and restrictions nationwide.
There didn't seem to be any attempt made to investigate funding sources or connections for these criminals either. (And later attempts to do this, such as in New York, have been rapidly shut down).

I'm not saying this had a direct impact on this election, but I've always thought there was more to the above situation than was made public.

Conservatives in Canada have been pushing for pipelines on west coast.

Environmentalists, western First Nations and BC liberals have been fighting, with protests and now with lawsuits.

Here's a link with several articles about Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline plans and protests:

Here's some info from an article about the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline:

"In my view the NEB hearing process is a rigged game," Eliesen told The Vancouver Observer by the phone. "In the past, there was a more objective evaluation of projects that would come forward...but it's reached a stage where the NEB is not interested in the public interest, and more interested in facilitating the infrastructure for the oil and gas industry."

Eliesen criticized numerous aspects of the NEB's hearing for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Texas-based pipeline giant is applying to expand its existing 60-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline to carry 890,000 barrels of diluted bitumen from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

The controversial application has been opposed by both city councils of Burnaby and Vancouver, as well as some citizen groups, due in part to a six-fold increase of oil tankers in the Burrard Inlet that the pipeline expansion will bring.

Eliesen said he was "dismayed" to see that that the NEB has dropped oral cross-examination of proponents, which he said was a "critical" part of oil pipeline hearings in previous years. He also questioned why Kinder Morgan was not required to respond to 2,000 questions submitted by Intervenors, with the NEB rejecting 95 per cent of the queries.

This is a cross border issue:

Their nearly 60,000 people have lived along the coasts of Oregon and Washington State, and in British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years. They are united by language, culture and the Salish Sea.

And now, in addition, they are united in their opposition to oil giant Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5.4 billion expansion of its existing Trans Mountain tar sands oil pipeline, which links the Alberta oil sands fields to a shipping terminal in Burnaby, near Vancouver, B.C. The new pipeline would nearly triple the capacity of the existing pipeline from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000, increasing by sevenfold the number of tankers carrying diluted tar sands bitumen through the Salish Sea in Washington and Canada.
At the proposed coal terminal at the Puget Sound’s Cherry Point site, where herring populations have plummeted, local herring experts associated ship traffic, and the threat of invasive species tagging along with the shipping vessels as risks to the fish, Sightline Daily reported last year.

Approving the pipeline would mean a massive increase in tanker loadings that would put tribal fishers at risk, “not to mention drastically increase the chance of a catastrophic oil spill,” said Glen Gobin, a member of the Tulalip board of directors, to the NEB panel.

I'm in Seattle and the pressure to increase coal trains here is an important issue. I've posted a bit about it before. Here's one from this summer:


"Banks Can’t Get Away With Horrible Mortgage Practices Anymore, So Now They’re Doing It With Car



Subprime loans: they aren’t just for mortgages anymore. The next big bubble of ill-advised loans to borrowers who can’t pay is coming due. This time, it’s used car dealers reaping the interest and repossessing the cars.
The New York Times reports that subprime auto loans have risen over 130% in the five years since the big financial crisis hit in 2008. Over a quarter of all new auto loans issued in 2013 went to lower-credit borrowers.
The wave of questionable lending is being driven by exactly the same thing that drove the mortgage bubble, according to the NYT: Wall Street firms making a buck on trading packages of bundled loans. These complex bonds then increase the demand (from insurance companies, mutual funds, and financial companies, not from consumers) for more loans, triggering a big cycle.
The subprime loans, meanwhile, come with sky-high interest rates — up to 23%, reports the NYT. They add, “The loans were typically at least twice the size of the value of the used cars purchased, including dozens of battered vehicles with mechanical defects hidden from borrowers.”

Your post is so on point. This is tied to the latest Wall Street plundering. And it's a double hit, since many of the same people who were devastated by the early 2000's Wall Street financial debacle had their credit ratings impacted, so now are being hit by this as well. In the meantime, the same people and their buddies are still cashing on on others' misery.

And similar practices are extending into other arenas- see my post at #216 for more on that.

Looks like similar tech use is spreading - $$$ prioritized over privacy, safety and dignity


Other auto repossession technologies have raised data security concerns. In March, The Boston Globe reported that Texas-based company Digital Recognition Network installs automated readers in "spotter cars" around the country that capture images of every license plate they pass. Each picture is sent, along with the time and GPS location at which it was taken, to a database that already contains more than 1.8 billion scans.

Law enforcement has used this technique for decades, but not without its own problems. Boston police suspended their license plate scanning efforts in December 2013 in the wake of news that data on more than 69,000 license plates had been accidentally released.

Subprime borrowers have also been subjected to tracking when purchasing other products with a loan, such as personal computers. In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission charged that several rent-to-own companies had spied on consumers by remotely taking screen shots, tracking computer keystrokes and taking webcam pictures, all without consent. The software, licensed by DesignerWare, also enabled the stores to disable the computer if the renter was late on payment.

Apartments might be another area where technology will begin to play a role when consumers are behind on payments, according to Rotenberg. Electronic lock systems are beginning to be used, and renters could be remotely or automatically locked out of their apartment if they are behind on rent.

Very disturbing!

The companies say it doesn't work when car's running. Yet one paid a "confidential settlement" to

Make a case go away.


Last year, Nevada’s Legislature heard testimony from T. Candice Smith, 31, who said she thought she was going to die when her car suddenly shut down, sending her careening across a three-lane Las Vegas highway.
“PassTime has no recognition of our devices shutting off a customer while driving,” Ms. Kirkendall of PassTime said.

In her testimony, Ms. Smith, who reached a confidential settlement with C.A.G., said the device made her feel helpless.

All the companies also say they only do this when payments are missed, yet the same article notes that one person had her car turned off four times even though she had met payments each time. In her case, luckily, her car was not on the road, but one of those times was when she needed to take her daughter to the hospital.

Of course, the last thing these companies want is for any of this to be regulated in any meaningful way.

What about the extended family exposed to Ebola in Dallas?

Younger Jallah and her children were also exposed to Ebola at her mother’s apartment.

But from what I can see, they were not included in the move to quarantine and are instead isolated in their apartment with few resources.

This, after her knowledgeable and conscientious actions led to Duncan’s second visit to the hospital and subsequent diagnosis and admission. Without her actions, this all could have been much worse.

Now she is wondering how she and her husband will provide food and pay rent.

How many people could get through a 21 day unplanned period away from work with no reassurances as to food or rent being taken care of?

These questions and conditions need addressing before more problems occur and seem similar to me to the cleaning and disposal issues, in that we are still unprepared for basic logistics of helping people and keeping this contained.

Good synopsis from Dallas News of report from WAPO about initial situation:

Troh’s daughter Youngor Jallah and her family, who also live in the apartment complex, have also been ordered by county officials to remain behind closed doors until the danger has passed.
Jallah told The Washington Post Thursday she suspected Duncan had Ebola after Texas Health Presbyterian missed warning signs and sent him home last week.
She made Duncan return to the hospital despite his protests on Sunday, she said, and warned paramedics to protect themselves around him.
Jallah even tried to disinfect the apartment where Duncan stayed, she told The Post, long before a hazmat team arrived to finish the job.

Link to the detailed WAPO article referenced above. MAny more details there:

LA Times article from Oct 3rd detailing current situation. Much more info at link:

Jallah and her family have not been ordered to stay indoors, but because Jallah was with Duncan as his illness became critical, she has placed her family under voluntary confinement, hoping to avoid infecting neighbors or schoolmates.
"We don't have no diapers, and we're running out of food," Jallah, 35, said as her children fretted and whirled around the apartment.

Jallah and her husband, Aaron Yah, 43, have been told to stay home from their jobs at nursing homes. Yah said a supervisor told him, "The county already called and said you're not allowed to go to work."
The couple decided they would keep the family inside until the time period for risk of developing Ebola symptoms passed: 21 days. They're doing so out of caution — and because they're not sure what health officials want them to do. They now worry how they'll make ends meet.

"US hospitals 'unprepared' to safely handle infectious Ebola waste"

US hospitals may be unprepared to safely dispose of the infectious waste generated by any Ebola virus disease patient to arrive unannounced in the country, potentially putting the wider community at risk, biosafety experts said.

Waste management companies are refusing to haul away the soiled sheets and virus-spattered protective gear associated with treating the disease, citing federal guidelines that require Ebola-related waste to be handled in special packaging by people with hazardous materials training, infectious disease and biosafety experts told Reuters.


“At its peak, we were up to 40 bags a day of medical waste, which took a huge tax on our waste management system,” Emory’s Dr Aneesh Mehta told colleagues at a medical meeting earlier this month.

Emory sent staff to Home Depot to buy as many 32-gallon rubber waste containers with lids that they could get their hands on. Emory kept the waste in a special containment area for six days until its Atlanta neighbor, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helped broker an agreement with Stericycle.

Note: this report is from a week ago, so very recent but before the person in Dallas was diagnosed.

Home Depot run for hazardous waste containment gear?

I hope this issue gets addressed quickly as a known nationwide policy because it will be an important component of control here.

"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.
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