Sep 282014
 

Go ahead, take a big whiff.  You can smell the criminal greed all the way from Drill Baby Dingbat’s front porch.  The entire oil industry has proven over and over again that they are ill prepared to deal with the effects of their negligent incompetence, so what do they do?  They are lobbying hard for permission to be even more negligent.

0928ShellOil companies hoping to find crude under Arctic waters north of Alaska are imploring the Obama administration to ensure new rules governing drilling in the region don’t force them to stash emergency equipment nearby or block them from using chemical dispersants to clean up any spills.

The pleas for flexibility were delivered by Shell Oil Co. and ConocoPhillips in private meetings earlier this month with the Office of Management and Budget, which is reviewing an Interior Department proposal that would set standards governing oil development in the remote Arctic frontier.

The actual proposal is under wraps during the government’s interagency review, but regulators have signaled their desire for companies operating in the region to have equipment on hand to combat a blown-out well, possibly including containment systems, cap-and-flow devices that provide a path for crude out of a damaged well in a destabilized formation and rigs that can drill a relief well.

But according to just-released documents from separate Sept. 10 and Sept. 18 meetings with OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, both Shell and ConocoPhillips want more freedom to respond to emergencies… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alaska Dispatch News>

What they actually want is not more freedom to respond to emergencies.  They want more freedom NOT to respond to emergencies.  This becomes both more apparent and more horrific in light of the background information provided by Rachel Maddow.

Readers, who cannot watch clips from MSNBC, can see this on YouTube.

What do you think?  When you smell Shell, does it stink?

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Jun 242014
 

Since many of our readers are animal rights activists, I trust they will know a lot more about this subject than I do and provide us with additional info.  I’ve been a meat lover for too many years to go vegetarian, and attempts to do so in the past have led to wet dreams about hamburger and fried chicken fantasies.  However, I do believe that food animals have a right to be treated humanely, and when they are not, the public has a right to know.  However Republican legislatures in many states are making it a crime to blow the whistle on the meat industry.  They are called ag-gag laws.

0624AgGag

In 2008, the Humane Society  released a shocking video taken in a Southern California slaughterhouse. The footage depicted workers using chains and forklifts to drag cows that were too sick to stand across the floor. The abuse was appalling; the cows’ condition, which indicated a food safety risk, led the USDA to order a recall of 143 million pounds of beef. It was the largest meat recall in U.S. history — and it was all brought about by the work of an undercover whistleblower.

Since then, Big Ag has been hard at work preventing this sort of thing from happening again, but not by actually working to stop abuse — at least, not completely. Instead, the industry’s been pushing states to implement laws, known collectively as “ag-gag,” aimed at silencing activists.

Nine states  currently have ag-gag laws on the books, the most recent of which, in Idaho, takes anti-whistleblower legislation to a worrisome new extreme.  Under the law, signed by Gov. C . L. “Butch” Otter, it is illegal for anyone not employed on the farms — and undercover activists don’t count — to make recordings of what goes on there without the owner’s explicit consent. In practice, that means videos taken of factory farms’ illegal practices — like  this one, which depicts three workers at an Idaho dairy farm beating cattle with a cane, kicking and stomping on them once they’ve fallen and dragging one cow across the floor via a chain around its neck — can no longer legally be made public.

But that these laws effectively allow animal cruelty to go undetected and unreported only scratches the surface of why critics find them so appalling. In the interest of protecting the agriculture industry, ag-gag laws criminalize whistleblowers and, ultimately, ensure consumers remain in the dark… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

Photo credit: Mother Jones (the graphic there is interactive.  Click through.)

In my younger days, I hunted for meat, not sport.  I considered it an obligation to have sufficient respect for the animal I hunted to send it to my table without suffering.  I passed up shots, because I was not fully confident in a clean kill.  I consider torturing food animals criminal.

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Jun 012014
 

There are companies out there that routinely steal money from their workers.  The practice is called wage-theft, and it’s a lot more common than you might think.  There should no question that companies who steal money from their employees should not be rewarded by our government, but Republicans just voted that they should.

0601wage-theftOnce again House Republicans prove that they have absolutely no interest in even pretending that they’re interested in looking out for the working class as opposed to the 1 percent that are lining their campaign coffers.

House GOP Votes Down Measure Aimed At Curbing Wage Theft:

Early Friday morning, House Republicans voted down a measure that would have discouraged the government from giving contracts to companies that have committed wage theft.

The Democratic-sponsored amendment to a funding bill would have denied taxpayer money to firms with documented wage violations while under government contract. The idea, championed by members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was to make sure public dollars don’t go to companies with low-road labor practices…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

Photo credit: The Stand

Keith Ellison explained the problem.

Because Republicans support rewarding government contractors, who steal money from their employees, while on government contract, with even more government contracts, your tax dollars will continue to fund wage theft.  There is only one right way to reward Republicans for doing that.  On November 4, pull the lever, just like you do when you flush.

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Jun 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, the beginning of a new and busy month.  I’m feeling quite tired and have pain in my back, leg and shoulder.  It took physical therapy to get all three going at once.  ARGH!  Day 41.

Late Update:

I missed an entire sleep cycle tonight.  I did not attend the Starlight Parade.  It attended me.  From my window: (Inside to outside at night gives horrid quality).

0601P2

0601P1

Parades tend to be a bit noisy.  I never knew that above a parade is much louder than at it.  The people got noisy with fireworks and air horns before 6:00 PM.  It started at 8:30.  It lasted until after 11:00.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:03 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: After a report from the Yale Center on Climate Change Communication showed that the term “climate change” elicits relatively little concern from the American public, leading scientists are recommending replacing it with a new term: “You will be burnt to a crisp and die.”

Other terms under consideration by the scientists include “your cities will be ravaged by tsunamis and floods” and “earth will be a fiery hellhole incapable of supporting human life.”

Scientists were generally supportive of the suggestions, with many favoring the term “your future will involve rowing a boat down a river of rotting corpses.”

Has Andy understated what it will take for Republicans to give up their Koch-sucking denial?

From Daily Kos: On May 22, The Campaign for America’s Future gave a conference on The New Populist Majority. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Warren. The conference confronted the meme that the US is a "center-right" country.

Most interesting to me was the fact that they obtained poll results from "the 1%."

0601OnePercent

If you didn’t think Republicans are waging class warfare, think again.

From Alternet: This week, Bill [Moyers] speaks to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, who argues that we must reform the tax code and stop subsidizing tax dodgers. A recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness suggests that corporate taxes are near a 60-year low — and that’s partially because corporations have become adept at not paying their share.

Here’s a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report.

Bank of America runs its business through more than 300 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries. It reported $17.2 billion in accumulated offshore profits in 2012. It would owe $4.3 billion in U.S. taxes if these funds were brought back to the U.S.

Citigroup had $42.6 billion in foreign profits parked offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. It reported that it would owe $11.5 billion if it brings these funds back to the U.S. A significant chunk is being held in tax-haven countries.

ExxonMobil had a three-year federal income tax rate of just 15 percent. This gave the company a tax subsidy worth $6.2 billion from 2010-2012. It had $43 billion in offshore profits at the end of 2012, on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

I just gave you the top three corporate criminals. Click through for the other seven.

Cartoon:

0601Cartoon

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May 312014
 

One of the biggest reasons that Katrina devastated New Orleans so completely is that the wetlands that have served as a storm buffer from the Gulf of Mexico in the past are mostly gone.  To a great extent, the oil industry destroyed them to facilitate extraction and transport.  The voters of Louisiana have made it crystal clear that they want the companies that did the damage to repair it.  But thanks to Bobby Jindal and the Republican Party, the voters have been drilled, baby, drilled!

GOP-OilThe oil and gas industry won a significant victory Friday in the Louisiana Legislature, receiving final passage of a bill that seeks to kill a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans area levee board against nearly 100 oil and gas companies.

The lawsuit by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East alleges the companies’ drilling activities damaged Louisiana’s coast and vulnerable wetlands.

Senators voted 25-11 for the measure by Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, that is aimed at retroactively voiding the lawsuit.

The vote sent Allain’s bill to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to sign it into law. The Republican governor opposed the lawsuit and pushed for the measure’s passage…

Inserted from <NOLA.com>

Effectively, no local government entities in LA will have the right to sue corporations without going through the Republican-controlled state government and any ongoing lawsuits pending, like this one, are now moot.

Rachel Maddow explained this issue in much greater detail.

This is how corporate criminals externalize costs.  They make everyone pay part of their production costs, like the 2,000 people that died, and either the people that pay to repair the wetlands or the people who will lose life, limb and property, if the wetlands are not repaired.  When Republicans own the government, so does Big Oil.

With Republicans in charge, what the voters want does not matter, and Big Oil will continue to pocket obscene profits, because the rest of us are paying the cost of the destruction they leave in their greedy wake and even subsidizing them with our tax dollars.

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May 082014
 

The mainstream media if finally catching up to the blogosphere on the importance of the UN assessment of global climate change.  Although, the Koch Brothers, other fossil fuel producers, their bought Republican (and a few Democratic) lackeys, and their media echo chamber continue to deny it, their lies are getting harder to sell, because the effects are now hitting people where they live.

0508ClimateChange

The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.

Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the scientists declared in a major new report assessing the situation in the United States.

“Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced,” the report continued. “Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours. People are seeing changes in the length and severity of seasonal allergies, the plant varieties that thrive in their gardens, and the kinds of birds they see in any particular month in their neighborhoods.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

 

Click through for much more information.

The effects I have noticed personally here in Oregon is that summers have gotten hotter and winters have grown both shorter and colder in the time I have loved here, and this is one of the places where the effects have been rather moderate compared to other places.

At the very minimum, the US government must end all tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel producers.

I would also assess every Republican and DINO politician a Methane Tax equal to the amount of the contributions, perquisites, and third party advertising they get from fossil fuel polluters to cover the cost of their BS.

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Apr 262014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling quite tired after my volunteer day.  The trip down was a little stressful, because the friend with whom I went forgot her ID and had to return home to get it.  She drove fast.  I prayed faster.  We barely made it and were the last two permitted in.  I attended the first half of my guys’ annual banquet, an event held in the visiting room with my guys, their families, and their guests.  They cater a meal, pay for it themselves, and refuse to accept my contributions.  There are so many in the group that they have to split it into two sessions.  The second half will be next month.  While it’s primarily a social occasion, I used it to talk to the families of some of the men I work with.  Hearing how hard their prisoner is working, how much he is learning, and how much he deserves their pride in him is a great reassurance for them and serves to reaffirm his commitment to do whatever it takes to change.  Day 5.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:33 (average 4:04).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Generations of small business owners, workers, and residents of the fishing village of Pointe à la Hache in Louisiana can tell you the effects of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 have eliminated many small businesses and incomes as well as their entire way of life. And yet, who will pay?

 

Why doesn’t BP Pay? The GOBP is protecting them.

From YouTube: Jon Stewart Exposes Sean Hannity’s Moron-Hypocrisy on Cliven Bundy

 

Hannity knew full well that Bundy, like Hannity himself, was a racist. The only difference between the two is that Bundy is up front about it. But the bottom line is not what wing-nuts say. It’s that Republican policies are racist.

From The New Yorker: Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.

“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’ ” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “There is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the ones Cliven Bundy made when there are so many subtler ways of making the exact same point.”

Fox News also blasted the rancher.

I could not have described this more accurately than Andy’s satire does.

Cartoon:

0426Cartoon

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