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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: fly over country
Home country: USA
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2005, 07:23 AM
Number of posts: 491

Journal Archives


Sometimes justice gets done, even in Texas. What is really interesting are some of the comments made by the police department about the jury.


Warming Earth Thaws Diseases Dormant within Frozen Permafrost

Most people in this country think of "global warming" as a mainly linear event, an uphill ride at roughly the same pace to a cliff's edge far enough in the future to be not a present concern. Most people also don't have much of a picture of what the problems will be when we get nearer that cliff's edge. They do see sea level rise, of course, but a slow one, and a slow loss of farm land — or in the U.S. case, farm land that leaves this country and moves north, as it were, into Canada.

Many people imagine there will be wars over resources — though on other "less civilized" continents — but nothing that really threatens us. It's likely true that Americans don't yet picture social and political chaos that "comes home" in the form of violent retribution, nor do they imagine social dislocations on our soil that end in bloodshed.

And they certainly don't imagine the ravages of plague and epidemic — of diseases that can start anywhere in the world and travel as far and as fast as humans can carry them — of diseases so old and dormant that humans have no natural immunity to them, or medicines to treat them with.


The Death of the Two-State Solution

Another reason to claw-back the Nobel Peace Prize?

Washington has finally thrown in the towel on its long, tortured efforts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You won’t find any acknowledgement of this in the official record. Formally, the U.S. still supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But the Obama administration’s recent 10-year, $38-billion pledge to renew Israel’s arsenal of weaponry, while still ostensibly pursuing “peace,” makes clear just how bankrupt that policy is.

For two decades, Israeli leaders and their neoconservative backers in this country, hell-bent on building and expanding settlements on Palestinian land, have worked to undermine America’s stated efforts — and paid no price. Now, with that record weapons package, the U.S. has made it all too clear that they won’t have to. Ever.


An ‘Epidemic of Graft’ – Anti-Corruption Efforts in Afghanistan Fail Hard

This is a bipartisan effort and not only a total waste of money but also doing damage to our reputation and efforts to marginalize and reduce the effects of terrorist organizations.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assessed corruption in Afghanistan “has become pervasive, entrenched, systemic, and by all accounts now unprecedented in scale and reach.” The U.S. Department of Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote, “corruption alienates key elements of the population, discredits the government and security forces, undermines international support, subverts state functions and rule of law, robs the state of revenue, and creates barriers to economic growth.”

Of course USAID and the Department of Defense are who spends that $5 billion a year in Afghanistan that drives the corruption


The Wells Fargo Scandal Was by Design

The stockholders take the hit and the executives keep their bonuses. What deal!

Everyone who makes decisions at Wells Fargo, in other words, benefited from the scam. The only people punished were junior employees who, while complicit, I guarantee were doing what management wanted them to do, and who would have been fired before this if they hadn’t been willing to play along.

Financial fraud of this sort always follows this pattern: Executives get rich doing it, the company takes a hit–but not the executives–and the executives have no reason not to go on to their next fraud or even go back to what they were doing (sub-prime loans are a thing again, and we’ll find out many of them were based on fraud, again.)

Social Security Is NOT a Main Driver of the Country's Long-term Budget Problem!

The NYT ran a short AP piece on Social Security and "why it matters." The piece wrongly told readers that Social Security is "a main driver of the government's long-term budget problems." This is not true. Under the law, Social Security can only spend money that is in its trust fund. If the trust fund is depleted then full benefits cannot be paid. The law would have to be changed to allow Social Security to spend money other than the funds designated for the program and in that way contribute to the deficit.


The Jude Cause And The Ferguson Effect

We have all heard that police are likely to be less effective when under observation. This blog post explores the idea that there may be other causes for the spike in violence and crime in some areas then monitoring police behavior.

In two apparently unintentionally competing op-eds, social science revealed some problems in dealing with the concepts of cause and effect in its effort to “explain” a rise in violent crime in a few cities. Neil Gross writes about the Ferguson Effect, noting two studies that show that it’s nonsense, except when it’s not.

One, there is now some evidence that when all eyes are on police misconduct, crime may edge up. Progressives should acknowledge that this idea isn’t far-fetched.

Far-fetched? Nobody said it was far-fetched, but correlation doesn’t prove causation.


The (Bill) Clinton Team’s Secret Meeting on CEO Compensation

This piece seems to support the premise of the book "Listen Liberal" about who the democratic party represents.

Naked Capitalism readers are familiar with the fact that CEO compensation exploded starting in the 90s, and that this explosion was related to a shift towards companies providing compensation in the form of stock options. A major cause of the shift was Bill Clinton’s 1993 move to make executive comp deductible from corporate income taxes only when given as stock options.


The WTO and free trade

What this shows is that free trade comes at a big cost. Right now the US is in WTO Arbitration with a cost on 1.5 billion dollars over the cancellation of the trans Canadian pipe line.


There is more then one way to skin Second Amendment cat

Don’t Bank On It

There are a number of perfectly lawful businesses that sit at the edge of political acceptability. The most obvious is the marijuana biz, in states where it’s lawful. But try to use that cool credit card with the magic chip and you might get a shock. You see, the feds, who hate cash because only criminals use cash (and they can’t track your every purchase), won’t let banks maintain accounts for weed sellers and have a program, a quiet program, to prevent credit card companies from processing payments.

But marijuana is a Schedule I drug, so why should they? Fair enough. What about knives?

A major knives manufacturer from central California says his company was denied access to an internet payment processing service because they sell weapons online, raising questions about whether an anti-fraud program called Operation Choke Point is continuing to block legal businesses in the firearms and weapons industries from accessing basic banking services.

“It was pretty simple and straightforward,” Aaron Hogue, co-owner of Hogue Inc., said of the situation he faced with Wells Fargo bank. “They called my controller, and said, ‘Sorry, but we’re not going to be able to process any credit card transactions for the sale of weapons online.’”

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