Damned Liberal | You do not have to be a Democrat to be a liberal. You do not have to be a Republican to be a conservative. Our two-party system is corrupt and uses propaganda to manipulate you. We need viable third parties.

Right-Wing Money-Grubbing Thieves

If you want to make money, perhaps the best place to be is in the right wing, peddling hate.

Rush Limbaugh, for example, has a multi-million-dollar mansion. Glenn Beck has raked in a pile of money. Palin’s pack rakes in the dough but has doled out only 5% to Republican politicians.

Then there are the money-grubbing teabaggers. Here’s a prime example:

When the Tea Party Patriots threw its support last month behind Matt Bevin, the underdog conservative challenger trying to unseat top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, President Jenny Beth Martin vowed the group would be “putting our money where our mouth is.”

So far, its super PAC has mustered just $56,000 worth of mailers in Kentucky on Bevin’s behalf — less than half the amount it has paid Martin in consulting fees since July.

Washington Post

“Free enterprise”, “for-profit” and “capitalism”, indeed!

Right wingnuts, Teabaggers Leave a comment

A Couple of Links (10/13/2014)

TED presentation by Glenn Greenwald regarding “Why Privacy Matters”

The New Yorker offers a closer look at Laura Poitras (documentary producer involved with Snowden disclosures and of the just-completed CitizenFour websiteCitizenFour trailer)

Miscellany Leave a comment

Citizen Four

Soon available: A documentary by Laura Poitras about her initial meetings with Edward Snowden.

Citizen Four website

Activism Leave a comment

Another Shooting In St. Louis – White Cop Shoots Black Teen

It’s reported the cop was off-duty and going to a second job as a security guard, and he attempted a “pedestrian check” when, according to the cop, an 18-year-old, Vonderrick Myers, ran away. Reportedly, the copy said the teen shot at him and fired 16 or 17 shots at the teen, killing him. Others say the teen was armed only with a sandwich.


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Activism, Police State Leave a comment

Justice Dept.: It’s Okay For Government To Establish A Fake Facebook Account & Use Your Pictures

From the “This Is Unbelievable” file:

The Justice Department is claiming, in a little-noticed court filing, that a federal agent had the right to impersonate a young woman online by creating a Facebook page in her name without her knowledge. Government lawyers also are defending the agent’s right to scour the woman’s seized cell phone and to post photographs — including racy pictures of her and even one of her young son and niece — to the phony social media account, which the agent was using to communicate with suspected criminals.


Government, Privacy, Technology Leave a comment

1 In 3 Jobs Will Be Performed By Robots Or Software By 2025

An IT company, Gartner, has said that by 2025, one in three jobs will be performed by robots or software.

Smart machines are an emerging “super class” of technologies that perform a wide variety of work, both the physical and the intellectual kind, said Sondergaard. Machines, for instance, have been grading multiple choice for years, but now they are grading essays and unstructured text.

This cognitive capability in software will extend to other areas, including financial analysis, medical diagnostics and data analytic jobs of all sorts, says Gartner

Computer World

Economy, Technology Leave a comment

The Documents the Republican Governors Association Doesn’t Want You To See

Apparently, somebody at the Republican Governors Association (RGA) screwed up and allowed some documents on its server to be publicly viewed. Well, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) did view them…and saved them (it’s reported some have now been removed from the server).

Included is a list of big-time corporate donors to the RGA. What struck me was how many health insurance companies are included on the list. After all, didn’t they get in bed with Obama to help prepare Obamacare? Yet they’re still giving hundreds of thousands (each) to the Republicans.

Read more, and view the documents, at CREW’s website

Payola, Republicans Leave a comment

Should We Eat Octopus?

Octopus intelligence is well documented: they have been known to open jars, guard their unhatched eggs for months or even years, and demonstrate personalities. Most famously, they can blast a cloud of ink to throw off predators, but even more impressive is the masterfully complex camouflage employed by several members of Cephalopoda (a class that also includes squid and cuttlefish).

The New Yorker

Animal Cruelty, Miscellany Leave a comment

Privatized Prisons: Raping The Relatives (Capitalism)

Pat’s son is in prison. She sends him money. Here’s what happens when the right-wing paradise of “privatization” takes over:

To get cash to her son, Pat used to purchase a money order at the post office for $1.25 and mail it to the prison, for a total cost of less than $2. But in March of last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections informed her that JPay Inc., a private company in Florida, would begin handling all deposits into inmates’ accounts.

Sending a money order through JPay takes too long, so Taylor started using her debit card to get him funds instead. To send Eddie $50, Taylor must pay $6.95 to JPay. Depending on how much she can afford to send, the fee can be as high as 35 percent. In other states, JPay’s fees approach 45 percent.

After the fee, the state takes out another 15 percent of her money for court fees and a mandatory savings account, which Eddie will receive upon his release in 2021, minus the interest, which goes to the Department of Corrections.

Eddie needs money to pay for basic needs like toothpaste, visits to the doctor and winter clothes. In some states families of inmates pay for toilet paper, electricity, even room and board, as governments increasingly shift the costs of imprisonment from taxpayers to the families of inmates.

“To give him $50, I have to send $70 off my card,” says Taylor, who moved to a smaller apartment on the outskirts of Johnson City in part because of the rising cost of supporting Eddie.

Public Integrity

Batshit Crazy, Big Business, Capitalism Leave a comment

From Banksy (On Killing)


Banksy on Twitter

Society Leave a comment

Loss of Sense of Smell May Indicate Death Is Forthcoming

According to new research, the sense of smell is the canary in the coalmine of human health. A study published today in the open access journal PLOS ONE, shows that losing one’s sense of smell strongly predicts death within five years, suggesting that the nose knows when death is imminent, and that smell may serve as a bellwether for the overall state of the body, or as a marker for exposure to environmental toxins.

The Guardian

Health, Miscellany Leave a comment

Marriott Fined For Blocking Wi-Fi Hotspots

Capitalism (anything to make a buck):

Marriott will cough up $600,000 in penalties after being caught blocking mobile hotspots so that guests would have to pay for its own WiFi services, the FCC has confirmed today. The fine comes after staff at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee were found to be jamming individual hotspots and then charging people up to $1,000 per device to get online.


Big Business, Capitalism, Technology Leave a comment

Kansas / Corruption / Privatization

This is what happens when politicians (i.e., Republicans) “privatize”: Somebody gets a kickback.

In Kansas, a former aide to the governor is under investigation by the FBI for taking money from insurance companies involved in Kansas’ “privatized” Medicare scam.

Months earlier the Capital-Journal reported that Kensinger was being investigated for being involved in clandestine dealmaking concerning Brownback’s push to privatize Kansas’s $3 billion Medicaid program.

The reform program, KanCare, offered contracts to a trio of for-profit insurance companies. Those companies were charged with providing Medicaid to 380,000 Kansans who were poor or disabled, according to the Capital-Journal.


Corruption, Health, Privatization Leave a comment

Cops Distributing Software Which Makes It Easier To Hack Your Computer

Hundreds of thousands of copies of ComputerCOP have been given out to families around the county, as about 245 law-enforcement agencies in more than 35 states, in addition to the U.S. Marshals, have used public funds to buy and distribute the software. But Maass said he found only one claim that the program was working as intended, in a 2012 story from Jackson County, Mo. A follow-up inquiry to that county’s police department clarified there was not enough evidence to merit a criminal investigation, Maass said.

ComputerCOP, which has been in use since the late 1990s, stores full key logs of a user’s computer, but those logs are not protected by now-common encryption measures when used on a Windows computer. The program also allows parents to set up email alerts whenever certain keywords are typed on a computer, such as “pornography.” But those email alerts, which contain full key logs, are also unprotected because they are sent via an unencrypted third-party server.

National Journal

Technology Leave a comment

Obama’s New War Could Cost $1 Billion Per Month

Obama’s War could become very costly.

Assuming a moderate level of air operations and 2,000 deployed ground forces, the costs would likely run between $200 and $320 million per month. If air operations are conducted at a higher pace and 5,000 ground forces are deployed, the costs would be between $350 and $570 million per month. If operations expand significantly to include the deployment of 25,000 U.S. troops on the ground, as some have recommended, costs would likely reach $1.1 to $1.8 billion per month.

Common Dreams

Economy, International, Military Leave a comment

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