Ann Coulter is right

January 29, 2013

Ann Coulter went thru a crazy period during the Bush years saying outlandish things.  I believe that it was an attempt to get attention and stoke the base.  Now she seems to be in a more sane phase.  She is still plenty partisan but is making more sense.  What she is saying about gun control is logical, or at least is more logical than the anti-gun hysteria on the other side.


Who is right in this case?

January 29, 2013

The following video is interesting, and I am wonder what people think about whether Citibank was right to fire her or not.

Normally I am fairly sympathetic to the idea that employers should have the right to fire employees if they want to, but in this case I find myself unsympathetic towards Citibank for the following reasons:

-Clearly this was a case of mismanagement.  If they were so uncomfortable with a woman who has a good body, they should never have hired her in the first place.  To hire someone and then fire her just because they have a hang up with her body if unfair.  It is not as if she were wearing anything especially provocative: no low cut blouses showing off cleavage, no microskirts and no semi transparent clothing.  Instead she is wearing fitted business wear which is typical of young women.  The problem for management is that she did not go sufficiently our of her way to hide or disguise her body, but why should she?  Is there now a burka requirement?  If she wore clothing that was untypically provocative, they would have had a stronger case, but she wore attire typical for a young woman in an office environment.  On top of that it appears that they tried to get back at her complaint by giving her impossible assignments, which is sleazy.

In sum I see this as just another chapter in incompetent management at Citibank.  If they are so hung up on her body, they should never have hired her.  Instead they did, then they fired her for looking good, and now they are facing a lawsuit.  Good going Citibank.

A while ago two representatives of Citibank came unsolicited to my house and tried to convince me to get their credit card.  I agreed, and then weeks later was rejected.  I contacted the seller who assured me it was a paperwork glitch.  They came back to my house to convince me to sign on. Then a few weeks later Citibank rejected my application again.  Why go thru the whole song and dance routine twice if they are not interested in having me as a customer?  Typical Citibank incompetence.  Maybe that is why we had to bail them out.


Media Polarization

January 28, 2013

It is too bad that our media is so polarized and tribalized.  I think that directors of news programs have decided that money can be made by appealing to the tribalistic prejudices of one political side or the other.

On one hand we have MSNBC which appeals to the leftist/Democratic faithful.  The programming is full of wonderful examples highlighting why those on the right and Republicans are brain dead evil people who should be mocked and scorned.  Rachel Maddow seems to be a nice and smart person who night after night delights in exposing Republican hypocrisies and scandals with impressive and exhaustive documentary detail and even glee.  And she is generally has a point.  Unfortunately she is much less eager to shine her spotlight of human folly on the Democrats.  The vast majority of her bullets shoot to the right.  And looking at the comments by viewers of Rachel Maddow on youtube exposes the common opinion that Republicans are so depraved that they are not even human.  The acrid hatred is palpable.  As much as one may disagree with the Republicans, viewing them all as odious sub humans is not reasonable nor mature.

On the other hand we have people like Hannity or O´Reiley who are pretty much the mirror opposite of Rachel Maddow-smart people who usually make good points, but are generally blind to the defects of their own tribe and party, while spending the vast majority of their time delighting in slamming the other side, making them look stupid or worse.  All this served up to an audience that want a regular diet of attacks against the other side, and a self righteous feeling of superiority against the fools over there.

I wish that we could have a Rachel Maddow who relentlessly dug up dirt on both Republicans and Democrats and did this muckraking in a non partisan impartial way.  How about some scathing reports on the Fed, the dangers of vaccines, government corruption, the sickcare mafia, etc?  But that will never happen because that would step on too many powerful toes.  Instead the networks can spend their time always criticizing the other side.  And it fits conveniently into the agenda of the powers that be, by having both sides fight each other to a standstill, while allowing corruption and influence peddling to go forward unimpeded.  It is called divide and conquer, and it is working splendidly at preventing any real reform.

Here are some typical videos from both sides.

Both of these videos are generally right, but their modus operandi is to cherry pick (generally true) facts which confirm their tribalistic prejudices, and those of their viewers.  People can make very convincing arguments that are not lies, but also give very false impressions due to a selective presentation of the facts which mislead.


Government Bullying

January 28, 2013

One of recent tragedies is the death of Aaron Swartz who was pushed to death by federal bullying.  This is just the latest chapter of the government being used to go after those who threaten those in power, and want to replace cartels with more freedom and competition.  This from NaturalNews.

Enter Aaron Swartz, the brilliant tech-savvy Internet activist and co-founder of a company that would eventually grow into social media site Reddit. Potentially facing 50 years behind bars for allegedly downloading more than four million academic journals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Swartz hung himself in his apartment ahead of a pending court date. Now, we will never know of his guilt, his alleged motivations or what good he may have accomplished over the course of his life.

In the wake of his death, Swartz’s family and friends are now blaming federal prosecutors, for being overly aggressive, and MIT, for failing to vouch for Swartz. In a statement to the media, they claim the U.S. attorney’s office was pursuing an “exceptionally harsh array of charges” for an alleged crime that had no victims, while skewering MIT for abandoning Swartz and the school’s own “cherished principles.”

‘Boy genius’ bullied by feds

“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy,” wrote the family and his 26-year-old partner, Taren Stinebricker-Kaufman. “It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and MIT contributed to his death.”

In addition they wrote:

Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge. He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place. His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.

Larry Lesig, a Harvard University professor, Internet law expert and friend of Swartz’s, also blamed the federal prosecutor, calling him a “bully” on his blog and writing that Swartz, who hinted previously at having a history of depression, had been “driven to the edge” by the government’s disproportionate and overly aggressive handling of his case.

50 years for hacking?

“Our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed,” wrote Lessig.

“A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you,” he said.

Swartz, a gifted programmer, helped develop the RSS at age 14, and went on to help found Demand Progress [http://demandprogress.org/], a political action organization that campaigns against Internet censorship, reported Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.

The Reddit co-founder was arrested in 2011 for allegedly downloading the academic journals from the JSTOR online journal archive, with the intent of distributing them free of charge via file-sharing sites. He was charged with 13 counts of felony hacking in September 2012.

Lessig and others were especially outraged by the amount of jail time prosecutors were seeking.

“50 years in jail, charges our government. Somehow, we need to get beyond the ‘I’m right so I’m right to nuke you’ ethics that dominates our time. That begins with one word: shame,” he wrote in his blog.

Like Grace, who adopted the mindset that guilt makes it okay to cajole and bully suspects, the prosecutor in Swartz’s case obviously felt the same way. It became not a matter of right or wrong, per se, or pursuing the government’s interest in this case, but seemed to become more about getting even with some activist with whom the government disagreed.

The real crime may be what led Swartz to take his own life

If the allegations against him were true, writes Peter Eckersley at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a day after Swartz’s death:

[T]he situation Aaron found himself in highlights the injustice of U.S. computer crime laws, and particularly their punishment regimes. Aaron’s act was undoubtedly political activism, and taking such an act in the physical world would, at most, have meant he faced light penalties akin to trespassing as part of a political protest. Because he used a computer, he instead faced long-term incarceration. This is a disparity that EFF has fought against for years. Yesterday, it had tragic consequences.

Zach Carter, Ryan Grimm, and Ryan J. Reilly provided even more insight into what appears to be a clear case of prosecutorial bullying. From the Huffington Post:

Swartz spent the last two years fighting federal hacking charges. In July 2011, prosecutor Scott Garland working under U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, a politician with her eye on the governor’s mansion, charged Swartz with four counts of felony misconduct – charges that were deemed outrageous by internet experts who understood the case, and wholly unnecessary by the parties Swartz was accused of wronging. Swartz repeatedly sought to reduce the charges to a level below felony status, but prosecutors pressed on, adding additional charges so that by September 2012 Swartz faced 13 felony counts and up to half a century in prison.

In the end, federal prosecutors’ zealous pursuit of Swartz and unwillingness to negotiate on charges undoubtedly led him to choose death. They may not have physically strung him up by his neck, but they cannot credibly claim they had no role whatsoever in his death.

While government prosecutors go after minor law breakers with unfettered zeal, the big fish, that continually and knowingly and on a grand scale break the law are ignored by the Department of “Justice”, which seems to be an agency increasingly used to pursue political opponents and look the other way when friends of the powerful flagrantly break the law.  This from Care2, which even as a leftist/Democratic organization can see the glaring hypocrisy in government policy.

Did the White House Even Try to Prosecute Wall Street Execs?

Did the White House Even Try to Prosecute Wall Street Execs?

Five years after the collapse of our economy, zero Wall Street power players have gone to jail. When everyone seems to know who to point the fingers at for this financial disaster, why is it that not one of these bigwigs have so much as been arrested or stood trial?

This is the question PBS’s Frontline decided to explore in a report this past Tuesday, which you can watch in full here. Speaking to a number of experts and insiders, the show found that the Department of Justice made minimal effort to bring those responsible for Wall Street’s fraudulent activity to justice.

The longstanding excuse from the White House is that there is not enough evidence to secure convictions against these executives. Although DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer claims the Obama administration would love to bring cases against those who committed such felonies, he insists he simply must back off without having a winning case.

While it seems fair to avoid losing trials, what is preposterous is the notion that out of hundreds of such potential cases against Wall Street heads, not a single one was deemed to have sufficient evidence. This excuse is proven even more ludicrous when Frontline interviews reporters who found employees who were willing to whistleblow to prove criminal intent, as well as people who worked for the DOJ who saw specific Wall Street cases with more than adequate evidence that were not pursued anyway.

Furthermore, it’s not as if the Department of Justice has a pristine reputation for only pursuing the most clear cut of cases. As Forbes points out, just last year, the DOJ prosecutors moved forward on a weak case against baseball pitcher Roger Clemens that resulted in a not guilty verdict. “The loss should be a wake-up call for the Department of Justice, which has failed at times to use prosecutorial discretion and good judgment in high-profile cases in recent years,” said the Forbes article, which outlines a whole series of DOJ misfires.

In other words, it is a joke for the White House to pretend it only pursues cases it can win. Skipping over all Wall Street felonies shows a disturbing bias. The DOJ can tell Frontline that it is merely a “professional decision”, but it is remarkable that it is choosing to exercise unprecedented “professionalism” in the face of Wall Street tossing aside ethics for the sake of profits.

Perhaps most telling was a speech Breuer gave saying he lost sleep at night contemplating the possible ramifications that prosecuting a large financial institution could have on the overall economy. When Frontline asked whether he should be taking into account outside factors when deciding cases to prosecute, Breuer replied affirmatively, citing a “responsibility” to bring negative consequences on those who had nothing to do with the banks’ mistakes.

However, the job of a federal prosecutor is to prosecute criminal activity, not worry about the fate of the banks. Besides, if Breuer is primarily concerned with the welfare of the general population as he suggests, it leaves the question why is he valuing a potential harm to Americans over the certain suffering that occurred because of bank fraud? Why let that go unpunished?

When no steps are taken to punish this criminal behavior, it sends a clear message to the elite: you are immune from prosecution and the rules do not apply to you.

For what it’s worth, the Justice Department has said that it does not like its portrayal on the Frontline story and refuses to cooperate with the show in the future. One would assume that it would continue to cooperate with the bankers, however.

Also, since the airing of Frontline’s report, it has been announced that Breuer will step down from his role with the Department of Justice. Maybe he can get a cushy Wall Street job as a thank you for his lack of vigilance like so many politicians before him!

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/did-the-white-house-even-try-to-prosecute-wall-street-execs.html#ixzz2JJPxTmS0

A pattern has emerged.  Bankers ruin the economy with fraud on a massive and intentional scale, and no one goes to prison.  Instead they are rewarded with bailouts and other supports.  Meanwhile Martha Stewart, who possibly may have heard a stock tip form her broker, goes to jail for months for alleged insider trading.  The Obama “Justice” Department wants to extradite a British national to the US for just linking to a copyrighted web site.  A man goes to jail for 8 years for putting lobsters in plastic bags, thus violating some arcane rule that no one cares about, or even should care about…except for overzealous prosecutors who have turned into judge, jury and executioner.
Something is very wrong with our Federal judicial system.  It has become blatantly politicized, and prosecutors are allowed to run rampant, all so they can get anther notch in their career resume, and ruin innocent lives along the way.  And they conveniently forget to go after the real criminals.
Bush was probably worse than Obama, but Obama is plenty corrupt as well (see above).  All those Obama lovers must be blind to this reality.  They love to blame all the shortcomings of the Obama Admin, on the nasty horrible republicans, but even if this were true, Obama must be judged on the discretionary decisions that he controls.  He may have limited power to create legislation, but he runs the government, and appoints is directors.  He also has executive orders and signing statements, which is a form of legislative power.  If the TSA is a corrupt mess, Obama is responsible.  If the “Justice” Department is corrupt and politicized, Obama is responsible.  If our regulatory agencies (FDA, USDA, etc.) are corrupt and not doing their jobs, it is Obama´s responsibility.  He appoints the people who run these agencies, and they answer to him.  This is especially true after more than 4 years in office.  Yes, he inherited a mess, and he has been happy to continue with that mess.  Obama worshipers need to understand that they cannot blame everything on the nasty Republicans.  Obama is responsible for a great deal of what is wrong with our government.  He is our president after all.

Cute Wolf and Bear Playing

January 27, 2013

Here is a video more light and entertaining than my usual fare.  I found these two animals very cute, and I have never really seen a baby bear before.  It just goes to show that most youngsters (including humans) have lots of energy and generally want to spend their time running around and playing.  Enjoy.


George Carlin-the prophet

January 25, 2013

When I first heard George Carlin do his monologue about a year ago, I agreed with some of what he was saying, but much of it seemed simply too negative, to leftist and too vulgar.  Now after going back and listening to it he is appearing to me to be more and more like a prophet ahead of his time.  There is little I can truly disagree with him on.  The system is corrupt and rigged and phony too.  Powerful moneyed interests buy the politicians (of both parties) and bend legislation and policy to favor their own special interests…and at the expense of everyone else.

Listen to the following dialogue with care.  And don´t let the vulgarity side track you.  The message is the most important thing.

As a perfect example of this I got a message from AlterNet exposing how states are passing laws which make it a “terrorist Crime” to expose unsanitary conditions and abuse of animals on farms.  This is just an example of how corporations are able to take over government and law enforcement and use it to stifle anything that gets in their way of unlimited profits.

Shocking: Reporting Factory Farms Abuses to be Considered “Act of Terrorism” If New Laws Pass

Three states are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws and lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012.

Photo Credit: © schankz/ Shutterstock.com

January 24, 2013  |

This article was published in partnership with  GlobalPossibilities.org.

How do you keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an “act of terrorism” for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products.

And who better to write the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, designed to protect Big Ag and Big Energy, than the lawyers on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at the corporate-funded and infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. Lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012.  The laws passed in three of those states: Missouri, Iowa and Utah.  But consumer and animal-welfare activists prevented the laws from passing in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.

In all, six states now have Ag-Gag laws, including North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, all of which passed the laws in 1990-1991, before the term “Ag-Gag” was coined.

Ag-Gag laws passed 20 years ago were focused more on deterring people from destroying property, or from either stealing animals or setting them free. Today’s ALEC-inspired bills take direct aim at anyone who tries to expose horrific acts of animal cruelty, dangerous animal-handling practices that might lead to food safety issues, or blatant disregard for environmental laws designed to protect waterways from animal waste runoff. In the past, most of those exposes have resulted from undercover investigations of exactly the type Big Ag wants to make illegal.

Wyoming’s HB 0126 is the perfect example of a direct link between an undercover investigation of a factory farm and the introduction of an Ag-Gag law. The bill was introduced mere weeks after nine factory workers at Wheatland, WY-based Wyoming Premium Farms, a supplier to Tyson Foods, were charged with animal cruelty following an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS activists videotaped workers kicking live piglets, swinging them by their hind legs and beating and kicking mother pigs. Charges were filed in late December. In January, State Rep. Sue Wallis and Senator Ogden Driskill introduced Wyoming’s Ag-Gag bill which would make it a criminal act to carry out investigations such as the one that exposed the cruelty at Wyoming Premium Farms.

Wallis and Driskill both have ties to Big Ag. Wallis was the subject of a conflict-of-interest complaint filed in 2010 by animal welfare groups. The groups accused her of improper and fraudulent abuse of her position as a legislator after she introduced a bill allowing the Wyoming Livestock Board to send stray horses to slaughter. At the time she introduced the bill, Wallis also was planning to develop a family-owned horse slaughter plant in the state. Both Wallis and Driskill are members of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association. Driskill has accepted political contributions from the livestock industry and Exxon Mobil, a member of ALEC.

Most of the Ag-Gag laws introduced since 2011 borrow the premise, if not the exact language, from model legislation designed by ALEC. ALEC’s sole purpose is to write model legislation that protects corporate profits. Industry then pushes state legislators to adapt the bills for their states and push them through. The idea behind the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act is to make it illegal to “enter an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner.”

In a real democracy people have the right to “defame” one anther.  It is called freedom of speech and is the basis upon which a democratic society is based.


The Corrupt Cancer Mafia

January 25, 2013

For those who do not know just how corrupt the Cancer mafia is they should acquaint themselves with the Berzinsky case, in which the Medical Board of Texas (at the urging of the FDA) tried to remove his license and even put him in jail.  The last thing that the Cancer industry (including the charities “looking for a cure”) want is for someone to actually find a cure.  Therefore all the stops must be pulled out to sideline and silence anyone who offers an alternative to conventional and ineffective chemotherapy.