Jan 172016
 

Here in BC, the provincial Liberal government (no relation to the federal Liberals), has hitched their wagon to the development of liquified natural gas (LNG), some of it with PetroChina and other foreign corporations.  But much of the northeast LNG fields lie on Aboriginal lands, making access "difficult" fortunately.  Some of the foreign nationals are pulling out, or at least have threatened to because they want the drilling now, not after negotiations with First Nations.

China has joined the fracking revolution to meet some of its energy needs and to try to decrease their pollution.  I remember images of pollution in Beijing prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics.  The air pollution was so thick that one could cut it with a knife.  So now China is fracking to feed the economy and deal with pollution.  Not surprisingly, the Chinese are running into the same problems as everywhere else, problems that threaten its very survival.

From Mother Jones

The US-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, sponsored by the US departments of Commerce and Energy, as well as China's National Energy Administration, has convened for the last 13 years. But the focus turned to shale gas in 2009, when President Obama and then-President Hu Jintao announced an agreement to develop China's immense resources. The partnership set the stage for companies in both countries to forge deals worth tens of billions of dollars.

Here at the 2013 conference, the first American to take the podium was Gary Locke, the US ambassador to China at the time.

 underlying all the talk of new energy was an urgency to wean China from its decades-long addiction to coal. Locke promised that shale gas would do just that: "We can make further strides to improve energy efficiency, produce cleaner energy, increase renewables, and increase supply," he asserted. "Unconventional gas, especially shale gas, is just the start."

Constituting a whopping 70 percent of China's energy supply, coal has allowed the country to become the world's second-largest economy in just a few decades. But burning coal has also caused irreparable damage to the environment and the health of China's citizens.  

Scientists wrote in the medical journal The Lancet that ambient particulate matter, generated mostly by cars and the country's 3,000 coal-fired power plantskilled 1.2 million Chinese people in 2010. In late 2013, an eight-year-old girl in Jiangsu Province was diagnosed with lung cancer; her doctor attributed it to air pollution. And earlier this year, scientists found that up to 24 percent of sulfate air pollutants—which contribute to smog and acid rain—in the western United States originated from Chinese factories manufacturing for export.  

But China's push to wean itself from coal has also triggered a rush to develop alternative power sources.  

By the time of our trip, villagers living near fracking wells had already complained about the deafening noise of drilling machinery, the smell of gas fumes, and strange substances in their water. 

The clouds faded as we climbed, revealing a quilt of farmland dotted withpingfang, or flattop houses. We drove down a road lined with new hotels, small restaurants, and hardware stores—the markings of a boomtown. Roughly the size of Minnesota, the Sichuan Basin—where many of China's experimental fracking wells are located—is home to some 100 million people, many of them farmers. It's not the only part of China with shale gas, butfracking requires a lot of water, and with a subtropical climate and proximity to the mighty Yangtze River, Sichuan has that, too, making it the nation's first fracking frontier.  

China's early fracking operations face many risks, but the incentives to keep drilling are too good to pass up. Based on early sampling, Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Liebreich estimates that China is currently extracting shale gas at roughly twice the cost of the United States. Analysts expect those costs to fall as China gains experience, but even at current levels, shale gas production has been up to 40 percent cheaper—and geopolitically more desirable—than importing gas.

"You've got this 'damn the torpedoes' development strategy that sets out all sorts of quotas, expectations, and productivity targets that are not constrained or balanced in any way by environmental protection or public participation to hold people to account," says Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch's China program. Throw in corruption, she adds, and you see a toxic mix, one that has contributed to an unprecedented level of social unrest.

Fracking may soon join that list. Protests have already stymied drilling operations in Sichuan. From 2010 to March 2013, the Wall Street Journalreported, Shell had lost 535 days of work at 19 of its shale gas wells due to villager blockades or government requests to halt operations. "There are a lot of people in China who don't want to take political risks—they have too much at stake," Osnos says. "But when it comes to something as elemental as their health, and that's what pollution really is about, then they're willing to take a risk."

The country's shale gas lies deeper underground and in more complex geologic formations than those deposits in the flatlands of Pennsylvania, North Dakota, or Texas. As a result, researchers estimated that the Chinese wells will require up to twice the amount of water used at American sites to crack open the reserves.  

In addition to his concerns about fracking's enormous appetite for water, Tian also worries about its waste: the chemical-laden water that comes back out of the rock with the natural gas. In the United States, it is typically stored in steel containers or open pits and later injected underground in oil and gas waste wells. In China's early wells, wastewater is often dumped directly into streams and rivers. If fracking—most of which takes place in China's breadbasket—contaminates water or soil, Tian argues, it could jeopardize the nation's food supply. In a seismically active area like Sichuan, leaks are a major concern: Even a small earthquake—which, emerging evidence suggests, wastewater injection could trigger—might compromise a well's anti-leak system, causing more pollution. In the past year alone, more than 30 earthquakes were recorded in the Sichuan area.  

As aJPMorgan research memo stated, "Unless the popular environmental concerns are so extreme, most countries with the resources will not ignore the [shale gas] opportunity."

As the drilling continued, Dai said, her groundwater started to run dry, and now only rain replenished it. She doubted the water was fit for drinking. "After you use it, there's a layer of white scum clinging to the pot," she said. They couldn't even use it to cook rice anymore. "You tell me if there's been an impact!".

Taken from Mother Jones, this article is from late 2014 but just as relevant.

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Jan 062016
 

Since the repeal of Glass-Steagall, Banksters have been an ongoing drain on the US economy, siphoning off what little equity Americans have left, and redistributing it to the 0.1%.  Republicans have been their active allies and supporters.  A few Democrats have also been purchased.  The remaining Democrats have tried, but have not been effective.  There is, however, a champion against the Bankster blight.

0106BernieBernie Sanders has declared war on the biggest players in Wall Street’s financial sector, saying they are overrun with “greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,” and criticizing his top rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, as being naïve about what needs to happen to create a financial system that “works for all Americans.”

“To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear,” Sanders said in a midtown Manhattan speech on Tuesday. “Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president: If you do not end your greed, we will end it for you.”

Sanders laid out a 10-point program to deeply change the nature of the financial sector, while occasionally digressing to emphasize how much more sweeping his proposals are compared to Clinton’s. As always, he started by recounting how the “20 richest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans”—and said the finance industry has spent “billions” to get Congress and federal agencies to deregulate almost all areas of the financial industry while weakening consumer protection laws.

“They spent this money in order to get the government off their backs and to show the American people what they could do with that new-won freedom,” he said. “They sure showed the American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes and their life savings.” Sanders continued, “While Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world with no strings attached, the American middle class continues to disappear, poverty is increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider.”

Here are the 10 major components to Sanders’ Wall Street reforms.

1. End too-big-to-fail.

The underlying logic of this federal policy is that the biggest banks cannot fail and shut down, even if they make terrible investments or wreak great harm to the economy, because the U.S. economy and millions of ordinary people would become financially destitute. Sanders said this “scheme…is nothing more than a free insurance policy for Wall Street.” Compared to before the crash of 2008, the biggest banks in the country are larger than ever, he said, adding, “if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

“In 2008, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because we were told they were ‘too big to fail,’” Sanders said. “Yet, today, three out of the four largest financial institutions [JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo] are nearly 80 percent bigger than before we bailed them out. Incredibly, the six largest banks in this country issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and more than 35 percent of all mortgages. They control more than 95 percent of all financial derivatives and hold more than 40 percent of all bank deposits. Their assets are equivalent to nearly 60 percent of our GDP. Enough is enough!”

Sanders concluded, “A handful of huge financial institutions simply have too much economic and political power over this country. If Teddy Roosevelt, the Republican trust-buster, were alive today, he would say, break ‘em up. And he would be right.”…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared only the introduction and the first of ten steps in Bernie’s plan.  Click through for the other mine’  His plan is worthy of your support.

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Jan 062016
 

Yesterday was a zoo.  I practiced walking (with a walker) for PT.  The RN took my vitals and checked both stumpy and my remaining foot.  I took a shower with the bath-aide.  I have soft fur and smell wonderful.  I thought I might be bashful, but necessity trumps nekkidness,  I ordered groceries.  The sheets came, and I made the bed.  It took two hours.  When my helper friend arrived, my bed making was not up to her standards, so she remade it, swept and mopped the floor, moved a couple things to make them accessible to me, and helped empty the fridge, until she couldn’t eat anymore.  Today will be lighter.  I have a grocery delivery coming.  I have a social worker coming top help me set a strategy to get a permanent bath aide, after home health services expires.  My helper-friend may come again.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From The New Yorker: Two days after their team completed a losing season for the fifteenth time in seventeen years, a consortium of Cleveland Browns fans has formally applied to relocate the N.F.L. franchise to Los Angeles.

Unlike other teams vying to move to L.A., such as the St. Louis Rams, the San Diego Chargers, and the Oakland Raiders, the Browns’ application is believed to be the only one submitted entirely by fans.

Andy may be reporting straight news again.

From Daily KosRead it and weep, Republicans. And while you’re at it, absolutely run on a rehashed version of George W. Bush’s economic policies.

0106Emp

Consider also that under Bush, the Democrats worked to boost the economy, while under Obama, the Republicans worked to sabotage it.

From FAIR.org: …Lesson One: Social Security and Medicare Are Not Unfair to the Young…

Lesson Two: The Affordable Care Act Redistributes from the Healthy to the Less Healthy, not the Young to the Old…

Lesson Three: Our Children Will Only Be Hurt by the Debt Because the Washington Post and Other Elite Types Will Use it As An Excuse to Cut Necessary Spending…

Lesson Four: We Hand Our Children a Whole Economy, Not Just Government Debt…

Lesson Five: Global Warming Threatens the Planet, but It Is the Fault of the Rich, not Older Generations… [emphasis original]

Click through for a fascinating article anout how media are trying to brainwash youth to blame seniors for the world’s ills, instead of the 0.1%.

Cartoon:

0106Cartoon

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Jan 052016
 

Robert Reich explains that economic forecasting can be dicey at best, but some satiations are so obvious, that even I can be accurate, as I was in predicting the Republican depression of 2008.  It came three months earlier than I had predicted.  Now we face the fallout that must come from continuing to use supply-side economic policies in the face of demand-side economic problems.  The Reich on the right, the Republican Reich, is wrong.  Listen to the Reich on the left, Robert Reich.

0105Robert-ReichEconomic forecasters exist to make astrologers look good, but I’ll hazard a guess. I expect the U.S. economy to sputter in 2016. That’s because the economy faces a deep structural problem: not enough demand for all the goods and services it’s capable of producing.

American consumers account for almost 70 percent of economic activity, but they won’t have enough purchasing power in 2016 to keep the economy going on more than two cylinders. Blame widening inequality.

Consider: The median wage is 4 percent below what it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. The median wage of young people, even those with college degrees, is also dropping, adjusted for inflation. That means a continued slowdown in the rate of family formation—more young people living at home and deferring marriage and children – and less demand for goods and services.

At the same time, the labor participation rate—the percentage of Americans of working age who have jobs—remains near a 40-year low.,, [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Robert Reich>

Click through for more explanation on how Republicans are feathering the rich’s nests, but sabotaging economic prosperity for the rest of us.  The Reich on the left is right again!

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Dec 262015
 

I am sure that today has been hectic for most . . . family, children running about, Christmas dinner or other festivities. I had Christmas dinner Thursday night with friends, and I contributed yams baked in olive oil and honey with generous amounts of ginger and a bit of garlic but absolutely no salt.  Today, I had a slow start but then in the afternoon headed out to see my mother.  Staff were having a potluck dinner and I was invited to share the bounty.  It was good to share a delicious meal with the people that look after my mother so well.  I hope your day was equally enjoyable.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:54). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet — Outsourcing to these 1099 workers has become the preferred method for America’s business leaders to cut costs and maximize profits. This is only the beginning; we have yet to see how these trends will affect the labor force over the next decade or so. But already we can see that the so-called “new” economy looks an awful lot like the old, pre-New Deal economy. “Jobs” amount to a series of low-paid piece work – they’re called micro-gigs today—offering little empowerment for average workers, families or communities. We’re losing decades of progress, apparently for no other reason than because these on-demand companies conduct their business over the Internet and apps, somehow that makes them “special.” Technology has been granted a privileged and indulged place where the usual rules, laws and policies often are not applied.

The work requirements were changing at the end of my career, and not necessarily for the better, moving towards this new idea.  Will this "sharing" economy continue?  I don't know but I do think it will kill the idea of the American dream which of course Republicans will continue to tout as achievable if one works hard.  The new way almost sounds like indentured servitude.

Mother Jones — Climate change will have some pretty terrifying consequences. Experts have predicted everything from deadly heat waves and devastating floods to falling crop production and even increased political instability and violence. But according to some of the world's biggest companies, these future disasters could also present lucrative business opportunities.

In a remarkable series of documents submitted to a London-based nonprofit called CDP, big-name corporations describe global warming as a chance to sell more weapons systems to the military, more air conditioners to sweltering civilians, and more medications to people afflicted by tropical diseases. CDP, which stands for "Carbon Disclosure Project," asks companies all over the world to disclose information about their greenhouse gas emissions and how the changing climate will impact their operations. Each year, thousands of companies send in responses. Below, we've compiled a list of some of the most striking—and, in some cases, disturbing—scenarios laid out by those businesses.

In my mind, climate change and global warming are huge challenges to the world as we know it.  The human need for survival is paramount.  If that survival is in doubt anywhere, people will rise up.  With economies the way they are, who will be able to afford these "fixes"?  Click through for the rest of the details.

Think Progress — A National Rifle Association lawsuit seeking to immunize gun dealers from a recently enacted tax was rejected by a state trial court on Tuesday. If Judge Palmer Robinson’s decision is ultimately upheld on appeal, the tax will fund gun safety research as well as programs seeking to prevent gun violence.

Last August, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) signed an ordinance providing for a $25 tax on each gun and a 2 to 5 cent tax on each round of ammunition sold within the city. The NRA, along with several other pro-gun groups and individuals, sued, claiming that the law violates a Washington State law preventing municipal governments from enacting any “regulation” of guns. As Judge Robinson explains in his opinion, however, the power to tax is separate from the power to regulate. Among other things, he notes, the ordinance does not “place any burden or restriction” on gun dealers beyond the obligation to pay the tax.

Personally, I hope that Judge Palmer Robinson’s decision is upheld.  It is a start.

My Universe

catmas

christmas-tree-outdoors-animals

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Dec 232015
 

When my very favorite candidate writes an Op-Ed concerning one of my least favorite centers of Republican wealth redistribution, sparks are sure to fly, and Bernie did not disappoint.  While some Republicans want to abolish the Fed, in order to give Banksters even more license to plunder the poor and middle classes, Bernie wants to reform the Fed.

1223BernieWALL STREET is still out of control. Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps a larger one this time.

To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions and which uses monetary policy to maintain price stability and full employment. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.

The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort — not to fight phantom inflation.

What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs.

These are clear conflicts of interest, the kind that would not be allowed at other agencies. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. We don’t allow the Federal Communications Commission to be dominated by Verizon executives. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions.

If I were elected president, the foxes would no longer guard the henhouse. To ensure the safety and soundness of our banking system, we need to fundamentally restructure the Fed’s governance system to eliminate conflicts of interest. Board members should be nominated by the president and chosen by the Senate. Banking industry executives must no longer be allowed to serve on the Fed’s boards and to handpick its members and staff. Board positions should instead include representatives from all walks of life — including labor, consumers, homeowners, urban residents, farmers and small businesses.

The Fed must also make sure that financial institutions are investing in the productive economy by providing affordable loans to small businesses and consumers that create good jobs. How? First, we should prohibit commercial banks from gambling with the bank deposits of the American people…[emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

In case you missed it, interpret prohibiting Bankster gambling with bank deposits as reinstate Glass-Steagall!  Amen!  Click through for the rest of Bernie’s plan.

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Dec 232015
 

Yesterday was a very hectic day, and tomorrow promises to be similar.Later this afternoon, I plan to try to give myself a whore’s bath in the sink.  I’ll probably get a shower aide next week.  I have a grocery delivery today.  Tomorrow I will be gone almost all day to an appointment with my doctor way across town, so expect only a personal update, and that may be late.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: New video details a tragic incident in which Paradise, California, police officer Patrick Feaster shot and killed an unarmed DUI suspect after a chase and fatal car crash. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Recordings show that police in Northern California initially dismissed a man’s claim he had been shot by an officer after a high-speed pursuit and rollover accident that killed another person.

Paradise, Calif., police Officer Patrick Feaster didn’t tell his commanding officer for 11 minutes at the accident scene that he had fired his gun, according to recordings obtained by the Paradise Post.

Trapped in the overturned vehicle, the man told officers twice that he had been shot, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

The shooting, which was captured by a dashboard camera, had prompted protests in Paradise, 90 miles north of Sacramento. The officer has said he accidentally shot the driver, who was paralyzed by a wound to the neck. Prosecutors concluded that there was no basis for filing criminal charges against Feaster, who remains on paid administrative leave.

 

Another Republican Ammosexual cop is getting away with attempted murder.

From Alternet: …Number of the richest people in the U.S. whose combined wealth, defined as total assets minus liabilities, exceeds that of the bottom half of the entire U.S. population: 20

Number of the richest U.S. households whose wealth exceeds that of the country’s entire 42 million African Americans: 100

Number of the richest U.S. households whose wealth exceeds that of the country’s more than 55 million Latinos: 186

The total wealth of those on the Forbes 400 list of richest people in the U.S.: $2.34 trillion

Number of those on the Forbes 400 list who are Latino: 5

Who are African-American: 2

Number of households in America’s richest 0.1 percent, whose net worth starts at $20 million:115,000

Percent of total U.S. household wealth this economic elite owned in the 1970s: 7

Percent it owns today: 20

Of the 10 states with the biggest gaps between rich and poor, number that are in the South: 6

Click through for more about how our economy has been Replicated. Take toilet paper. You’ll need it!!

From Crooks and Liars: A Wisconsin Republican state senator has been accused of inciting a "vigilante uprising" after he called on law-abiding gun owners to "clean our society of scum bags"

Rep. Bob Gannon (R) responded to a recent shooting at East Towne Mall in Madison by saying that the incident could have been stopped if more people were carrying guns. During the incident over the weekend, a teen was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

 

More armed Republican Ammosexuals = more dead innocents than perpetrators.

Cartoon:

1223Cartoon

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Nov 272015
 

Picketers playing ball outside closed mill during steel srike.  (Photo by Francis Miller//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Politico — The reason critics like Sheila Bair, Elizabeth Warren, Neil Barofsky, Simon Johnson, Paul Krugman and others (left, right and center) won the day—at least the intellectual debate and the war over public perceptions—was not that they were better communicators. It was that they had a more convincing message: There were alternative ways of rescuing the economy that were fairer and that would have resulted in a stronger economy. Instead, our politics and economics are now locked into a vicious circle: Economic inequality leads to political inequality, and this political inequality then leads to rewriting the rules to increase the level of economic inequality even further, and so on. The result? Ever greater disillusionment with our democracy.

Matters may well get worse. Recent research has uncovered a variety of other vicious cycles. Poverty traps mean those in the bottom remain there. The fortunes of a child of poor parents who does well in school are far bleaker than those of a child of rich parents who does much more poorly in school. About a quarter of U.S. college freshmen from the bottom income half finish college by age 24, compared with 90 percent of the upper quartile. And with wages of those who have only a high school diploma at 62 percent of the typical college grad’s earnings—compared with 81 percent in 1965—the prospects are they will be poorer than their parents.

Taken from Wikipedia, Joseph E Stiglitz is "…an American economist and a professor atColumbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and is a former member and chairman of the (US president's) Council of Economic Advisers.  He is known for his critical view of the management of globalizationlaissez-faire economists (whom he calls "free market fundamentalists"), and some international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  

Based on academic citations, Stiglitz is the 4th most influential economist in the world today, and in 2011 he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Stiglitz's work focuses on income distribution, asset risk management, corporate governance, and international trade. He is the author of several books, the latest being The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them (2015)."

From Alternet, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Joseph Stiglitz.

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about these candidates [Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders] and what they’re saying and what they actually do, what they support.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, I think we’re in a new moment in America, because I think we’ve had a third of a century of a—you might call, an experiment, a grand experiment, where, beginning with Reagan, we said, "Let’s lower the tax rates on the top. Let’s rip away the regulations. We’re going to free up the American economy. We’re going to incentivize it. The result will be the economy will grow so much—yes, the top will get a larger share, but everybody is going to get a bigger piece, and so everybody is going to be better off." Well, we’ve had a third of a century of this experiment, and it has failed. It has failed miserably. The fact is, the bottom 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate. Median income today is as low as it was a quarter-century ago. Talking about the minimum wage, minimum wage is the level, adjusted for inflation, it was 45, 50 years ago. You know, if an economy can’t deliver for most of its citizens, it’s a failed economy. What’s so striking is, we’ve had technological change, we’ve had globalization—all the things that were supposed the economy perform better—and in fact it’s performed worse.

Click through to read the rest of these two articles.  In the second, Stiglitz says "…I think the point is the American people have figured out that this model hasn’t worked, you know, the model that began a third of a century ago. So, they’re angry, and they want a change."  If Stiglitz's point is true, then what are the American people going to do to effect the necessary change?  It is, to my mind, imperative that the American people lead with their vote, shake up the establishment.

I also posted The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats on 31/10/2015 in which Nick Hanauer, billionaire, echoes Stiglitz.

What is the definition of insaniTEA?  Voting the same way time after time yet expecting a different and better economic outcome.

 

 

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Nov 172015
 

Well Monday is done and Tuesday is upon us.  There was no ice in the morning but the rain was vicious all day.  In West Vancouver, there was some snow, and I am sure there was some snow in the mountains above me . . . I just couldn't see it because of the thick rain clouds.  It has been raining today but rain and wind should intensify later this afternoon. After I have my hair cut this afternoon, I just might stop for a nice cup of Earl Grey tea (my favourite) and relax with a book.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:47 (average 4:56). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

            Points
Rank Team W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against
1

Monster MashersMonster Mashers

7-3-0 .700 L1 10 1,002.34 748.84
2

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers

7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22
3

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs

6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92
4+1

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies

6-4-0 .600 W1 7 948.50 844.04
5-1

MittsMagicJockMittsMagicJock

6-4-0 .600 W1 6 926.22 796.88
6+2

Purple DemonPurple Demon

5-5-0 .500 W3 5 948.16 970.96
7-1

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers

5-5-0 .500 L1 4 851.08 851.16
8-1

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet

4-6-0 .400 L3 3 824.80 953.40
9

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers

3-7-0 .300 L3 2 884.98 1,059.66
10

endthegopendthegop

1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Daily Beast — A series of interviews with Ben Carson prove once again that foreign policy isn’t brain surgery. No, seriously.

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris on Friday, Ben Carson has done a great job showing the world just how little he knows about foreign policy over and over again.

Click through for the rest of this short piece, which is apparently much longer than Carson's foreign policy knowledge.  And this is the pseudo politician that many Republican voters want in the White House?  I wonder how long it will take Carson to call this question a "gotcha question" and start railing against the "liberal press" [snark]?

Huffington Post — A video of a father explaining the Paris attacks to his son has captured our hearts.

In Friday’s aftermath, French news broadcast Le Petit Journal interviewed the unnamed child to ask if he understood what happened in his city and why the shootings happened. “Yes, because they’re really, really mean,” the boy said. “Bad guys are not very nice.”

As the boy began to worry that his family would have to move, the father stepped in. “No, don’t worry. We don’t need to move out,” the dad said. “France is our home.”

Click through for the rest of the article and a video of the boy and his father.  It is a hanky moment to be sure.  the innocence of a child juxtaposed against the carnage of bombs.

And here is something I received from Wendy Kelly @ Care2 that is very moving.

The husband of a young woman who died in the horrific Terrorist Attacks in Paris has written a heartbreaking letter to her killers.

Antoine Leiris, a journalist at France Bleu, declared that he and their baby son would not live in fear of terrorists.

In the tragic note, titled 'You will not have my hatred' he wrote: "On Friday evening you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred.

"I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill blindly made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife is a wound in his heart.

"So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. You want it, but to respond to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.

"You would like me to be scared, for me to look at my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, for me to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You have lost. The player still plays.

"I saw her this morning. At last, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell head over heels in love with her more than 12 years ago.

"Of course I am devastated with grief, I grant you this small victory, but it will be short-lived.

"I know she will be with us every day and we will find each other in heaven with free souls which you will never have.

"Us two, my son and I, we will be stronger than every army in the world. I cannot waste any more time on you as I must go back to [my son] who has just woken from his sleep.

"He is only just 17 months old, he is going to eat his snack just like every other day, then we are going to play like every other day and all his life this little boy will be happy and free.

"Because you will never have his hatred either."

These two fathers also remind me of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian medical doctor, now resident in Canada, who wrote the book I Shall Not Hate following the killing of three of his daughters by Israeli forces in Gaza some years ago.

The Atlantic — In the face of overwhelming scientific consensus, today’s Republican leaders either deny climate science outright or insist that any solution, as Marco Rubio recently claimed, “would have a devastating impact on our economy.” This has relegated the GOP to playing defense at the moment that President Obama is turning climate mitigation into a central pillar of his legacy and heading to Paris to broker a global climate agreement. Republicans have backed themselves into a losing climate position that not only reflects poor science, poor economics, and poor strategy, but also betrays enduring conservative principles.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I think the following statement from the article sums things up.  

"But what makes for good policy does not necessarily make for good politics."

Republicans are much more interested in ideology than in governing for the public good.  The Conservative government in Australia has approved the Carmichael coal mine backed by India's Adani Enterprises in central Queensland.  The COemissions alone outstripe many of the world's major cities.  And what it means to the Great Barrier Reef is past appalling.

aitgraphWhat it means to a world already facing increasing temperatures is more trouble.  2015 is set to be the hotest year on record and 2016 will likely follow.

My Universe — 

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Nov 122015
 

I’m running quite late today, because I was dealing with extreme Republicitis.  In spite of laxatives every day, I had not Republicated in over a week.  They gave me a suppository, and I had to use the bedpan twice this morning.  Fortunately the Republicans I produced were flushed quickly, because they were nasty enough to join the Clown Car.  They will be putting me in the wheelchair in about thirty minutes, and I’ll eat lunch there.  After that I’ll take a spin around the unit.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: On Tuesday night, Fox Business will host the next debate between the 2016 GOP presidential contenders. All involved are hoping to avoid a repeat of the last such event, the CNBC fiasco which left the moderators embarrassed and the campaigns whining. But while the Republicans have been fretting about the debate format, questions, opening and closing statements, bathroom breaks and even the room temperature, the GOP White House wannabees have a much bigger problem. As a spate of recent analyses once again confirmed, the U.S. economy almost always does better under Democratic presidents.

Going back to Herbert Hoover, the economy grew faster, job creation accelerated, incomes expanded and stock prices jumped higher when a Democrat sat in the Oval Office. And as the New Democrat Network documented last month, the last four presidencies are no exception…

1112dem_gop_jobs

The only people who do well under a Republican Reich are Banksters and the 1%.

From The New Yorker: In a potential stumbling block for his Presidential ambitions, a new study indicates that the average American can stand only four seconds of exposure to Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican.

The study, conducted by University of Minnesota researchers during Tuesday night’s Republican debate, required subjects to be connected to electrodes to measure their tolerance for the senator.

Within four seconds of watching Cruz, the majority of participants begged to be released from the experiment, researchers reported.

I think Andy is exaggerating. Four seconds is way too long to tolerate Uranus Inspector.

From Alternet: Fox Business hosted the fourth Republican presidential debate on Tuesday. Unlike its sister network Fox News, many are unfamiliar with the low-rated Fox Business. But Media Matters has been watching since the network’s debut in 2007.

Here are 35 of the worst things to appear on the “business” network.

1. Fox Business Promoted Obama Birth Certificate Conspiracy Theory: “Photoshopped”

Barf Bag Alert!!

  Click through, and take a truckload of barf bags with you. There are thirty four more like this.

Cartoon:

1112Cartoom

Waterboarding was one of his crimes punishable by the death penalty.

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Oct 312015
 

Happy Halloween! There are monsters in Republican sheets and hoods chasing you.  Be VERY afraid.  I’m in a bad typing position.

Short Takes:

From Crooks and LiarsThis mashup from Media Matters is so great, because it highlights all the crap they spew year round. Yes, today is Halloween, but for them, every day is Halloween.

 

Be VERY afraid!

From the New Yorker: Corrected by Squatch

In the biggest free-agency acquisition of the 2016 Presidential contest, the billionaire investor Paul Singer has acquired Florida senator Marco Rubio for a rumored eight-figure sum, pending a physical.

Just hours after the deal was inked, Rubio was flown by private jet to Singer’s training facility in East Hampton, where the senator will submit to a series of gruelling drills before the deal is finalized.

“We are making a four-year deal with Marco, with an option for another four,” an associate of Singer’s said. “We like what we’ve seen of him on tape, but we want to be sure that he has what it takes to go the distance.”

Andy forgot to tell us on what, besides deportation and welfare for billionaires, Border Buster will be tested.

From Daily Kos (classic 1/2015): Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to talk about the deficits. Yes, plural. The ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee says the next budget should address a series of deficits in investment in the American economy. Income inequality, lack of jobs and especially good jobs, poor infrastructure, bad trade deals, retirement insecurity, and a failure to invest in education—these are deficits that affect the entire American economy, dragging it down and slowing growth. That's what Sanders wants to address:

Spot-on Bernie! Click through for more.

Cartoon:

TCRepublicosis

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Sep 122015
 

It has been a long week for everybody, and the weekend is here. We can't do much more to check on the Puddy Tat until Monday, so I thought a "similar to TC's Open Thread" would keep us busy. I'd also like to thank all of you for your patience, but I would especially like to thank Nameless, JL and JD for all the behind the scenes work They have done and are doing. And lastly, but never lastly, please continue to hold Tom in your thoughts and/or prayers.

BTW, I can't seem to get the hot links to work so unfortunately, you'll have to copy/paste the links into your browser.

Fantasy Football — Don't forget to check your rosters. The games have started! . . . and you can bet that Tom's Teabag Trashers want to take the trophy home again this year.

Puzzles
Candy Fruits http://www.jigzone.com/puzzles/2015-09-10 my time 3:47 average 5:17
Yacht Ropes http://www.jigzone.com/puzzles/2015-09-11 my time 3:35 average 5:07
Key Blanks http://www.jigzone.com/puzzles/2015-09-12 my time 3:51 average 6:31
How did you do?

Short Takes

Raw Story — An Oklahoma County judge on Friday gave the state a month to remove a 6-foot-tall (1.80-meter) granite monument containing the Ten Commandments from Capitol grounds after the state’s top court said it had been erected illegally.
District Judge Thomas Prince denied a motion from Attorney General Scott Pruitt to keep in place the monument that had been on Capitol grounds since 2012 and garnered strong support from Oklahoma’s Republican leadership.
In June, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the monument must be removed because the Oklahoma Constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion.
The decision prompted Republican lawmakers to say they will look at impeachment for the justices who made the decision and legal briefs from the attorney general’s office to keep the monument in the shadow of the Statehouse.
http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/judge-gives-oklahoma-a-month-to-remove-ten-commandments-from-capitol/

Republicans like to think it is their way or the highway!

The New Yorker — Republicans, who mercilessly mocked Barack Obama’s lack of government experience before he became President, now favor Presidential candidates with no experience whatsoever, the head of the Republican National Committee has confirmed.
The R.N.C. chief, Reince Priebus, said that he sees “no contradiction at all” between Republicans’ contempt for Obama’s pre-White House résumé, which included eleven years spent in public office, and their rabid enthusiasm for G.O.P. rising stars Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, whose combined years in public office total zero.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/party-that-mocked-presidents-lack-of-experience-favors-one-with-no-experience-whatsoever

Is Andy reporting straight news again? The anachronistic Republican bubble machine is at it again!

NY Times — Visitors to Japan are often surprised by how prosperous it seems. It doesn’t look like a deeply depressed economy. And that’s because it isn’t.
Unemployment is low; overall economic growth has been slow for decades, but that’s largely because it’s an aging country with ever fewer people in their prime working years. Measured relative to the number of working-age adults, Japanese growth over the past quarter century has been almost as fast as America’s, and better than Western Europe’s.
Yet Japan is still caught in an economic trap. Persistent deflation has created a society in which people hoard cash, making it hard for policy to respond when bad things happen, which is why the businesspeople I’ve been talking to here are terrified about the possible spill over from China’s troubles.
Deflation has also created worrisome “debt dynamics”: Japan, unlike, say, the United States after World War II, can’t count on growing incomes to make past borrowing irrelevant.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/11/opinion/paul-krugman-japans-economy-crippled-by-caution.html?_r=0

Another fine article by Paul Krugman.

Now normally, TC would have a cartoon. All I can offer you is "Kim Davis' stunt demolished in one brilliant tweet".

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/04/1418315/-Kim-Davis-stunt-demolished-in-one-brilliant-tweet?detail=emailclassic

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