Monday, July 22, 2013

SAR #13203

The executive branch now views every American as a potential suspect first, and as a citizen second." Rep. Rush Holt
Apples and Oranges: If Detroit were a Citi instead of a City, the government would have bailed it out long ago. What's a paltry $19 billion to Gentle Ben, who throws $85 billion into the cesspool in lower Manhattan every month?

The Sixth Degree: NAS says it doesn't spy on everyone, only those who are in contact in some way with those who are in contact in some way with those who are in contact in some way with someone who is on the terrorist watch list. The average person is in contact (in NSA's sense) with about 40 people, each of whom is in... so with over 25,000 on the terrorist watch list, times 40 and all of those times 40, and all of those times 40, Kevin Bacon's your cousin. And by reading this item, you and Hamid Karzai are bosom buddies. Or, worse, Senator McConnell and Orange John Boehner.

It's Only Money: The Navy is going forward with a $2.5 billion drone program following a successful test exercise. 'Successful' in this case meaning that exactly half the drones performed as required. Close enough for government work.

Move Along, Nothing To Be Seen Here: For at least the last six weeks there have been unstoppable oil spills from an underground oil blowout at a major oil sands operation in Alberta. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is not discussing the scope of spills at four separate sites, which are off-limits to media and the public. 
Just Say'n: The last time concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were as high as they are today (400ppm, about 5 million years ago), big chunks of the East Antarctic ice sheet melted and global sea levels rose more than 65 feet.

Hammers: If you've got a hammer, lots of things seem to need a whack. With more-or-less acknowledged wars winding down and 4,611 of Al-Qaeda's top lieutenants already vaporized, the US has a fleet of more than 400 Predators, Reapers, and Widowmakers that it needs to either mothball or find new places to terrorize. Guess which plan has the most support.

Rant: "The "automatic stay" trumps everything as to the city of Detroit. However,... bankruptcy law, being federal law, will trump state law because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Who, then, will have to cover the workers' pension benefits, given the Michigan constitution's provision that no pension can be reduced? The overwhelming number of comments on the web... are appalling in that they are virtually unanimously calling for all of these retired and soon-to-be retired workers to receive nothing, ever.
There is a cabal that is calling for all worker benefits (particularly all government worker benefits) to be completely eradicated. ... [A] chorus of voices all saying (and saying it in almost identical ways) that workers (all workers) should receive no benefits whatsoever (because, it is argued, such benefits are never affordable), ...advocating the elimination of all worker benefits in the United States with a seeming groundswell of support that drowns out other voices strikes me as some sort of PsyOps operation.
What is really alarming about this are the responses that state "these workers should have known better than to contribute to what they knew was an unsustainable retirement program, and thus they should not receive anything." These same comments continually also seek to blame these workers for "having voted for the Democrat [sic] policies."
The use of the bankruptcy code to deprive workers of the retirement benefits they were promised is an outrage. And, no, it isn't just happening to municipal workers. Private companies have been creating these "crises" for years, mostly unnoticed. One hallmark of the Republicans in national office is a hatred of workers, especially government workers, and even more particularly unionized government workers. There is most likely no upside for them to provide any relief for these workers. Therefore, I doubt there will be a favorable resolution for these disenfranchised municipal workers." OkieLawyer, from SAR #13201 comments.

Porn O'Graph: Housing starts stop.

The Parting Shot:
Spotted Touch-me-not, Impatiens Capensis.


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

this is something to be aware of:

The possibility that [recently deceased investigative reporter Michael] Hastings was assassinated is perhaps not likely, but far from impossible. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke explained how it could be done:

"What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it's relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn't want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn't want the brakes on, to launch an air bag. You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it's not hard."

Blissex said...

«that workers (all workers) should receive no benefits whatsoever»

That's the usual moronic misuse of language, something that the well paid propaganda consultants of the right never do.

As soon as you use the word "benefit" to describe the hard-earned private-property *savings* being *confiscated*, you evoke in the average taxpayer the idea that _other_ people give themselves luxurious free gifts at their expense.

OkieLawyer said...

Re: Blissex's comment

That's the usual moronic misuse of language, something that the well paid propaganda consultants of the right never do.

I don't understand what this means. How was the language misused? Instead of the word "benefit," what word would you use to describe the compensation (or consideration, in legal terms) received by public employees in exchange for their work?

hard-earned private-property *savings* being *confiscated*,

Are you advocating anarcho-capitalism's idea that all taxation is theft? If you are, this exemplifies just how far to the right the conversation has moved. In case you are not aware, radical socialism (also known as communism) has as one of his pillar ideas that all property is acquired by theft. So the idea that all taxation is theft is its mirror and polar opposite. I remember Joseph Napolitano express this idea as a basic idea of Libertarian political thought.

Re: my rant from yesterday

Mohamed A. El-Erian, who is the CEO and co-chief investment officer of PIMCO, wrote a short, balanced commentary on the Detroit bankruptcy at Fortune's website. I suggest people read it.

TulsaTime said...

I have often wondered how much better the economy would be if QE funneled money to the bottom strata instead of the top. No doubt we would have more actual inflation, and Publishers Clearing House would be out of business, but buying worthless MBS at face as a way to stimulate the economy makes no cents.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

did you know that hellen keller was a leftist? i didn't - somehow that info tends to get left out of the image one gets of her in popular culture - i could say "i wonder why" it's left out but i don't really wonder - i believe i understand why

"The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands—the ownership and control of their livelihoods—are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease."

—Helen Keller, 1911.