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Truth To Power

the strong do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must

Archive for August, 2010

It’s legal to snicker at Brazilian candidates again

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Permission to laugh at election — for now

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s election is a laughing matter again, at least for now.

Carlos Ayres Britto, vice president of the country’s Supreme Court, late Thursday suspended a rule banning TV and radio programs from poking fun at candidates in the country’s October 3 elections.

The ban hurts constitutional principles of free expression and creates programing restraints, Britto said. His ruling, which came in response to a complaint by an association of TV and radio broadcasters, will be deliberated by a full session of the court most likely next week.

I have a hunch Sarah Palin is probably very interested in this ruling…

Katrina money going to oil companies, whatta surprise

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The GO Zone program’s largesse included $323 million in tax credits for affordable-housing construction, significant tax deductions for real-estate investors, and billions in tax-free bonds for private development. Louisiana, which had suffered the most damage, received the lion’s share of the bonds: $7.9 billion out of an available $14.9 billion.

For battered and broke New Orleans, the untaxed borrowing was to be the cash infusion needed to attract developers facing sky-high insurance costs and a risky, uncertain market. “This was the money that was supposed to get people rebuilding our housing, our hotels, our stores,” said Jimmie Thorns, a New Orleans real-estate appraiser who, until 2008, headed the city-appointed board responsible for approving all local bond allocations.

But five years after Congress passed the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, more of the tax-free benefits have gone to the state’s powerful oil industry than to development in hard-hit areas. New Orleans has so far received a total of $55 million in bonds shared between eight projects—or less than 1 percent of the more than $5.9 billion issued statewide. None of the bonds issued for New Orleans projects went to development in hard-hit and still-struggling areas like the Lower Ninth Ward.

Guess I find it comforting that I still manage to get appalled at such stories. Appalled, but no longer surprised. Our government is simply a wealth distribution system gamed toward those who already have, and fuck everybody else.

How many “yous” exist?

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Infinite doppelgängers may explain quantum probabilities

AN IDENTICAL copy of you is also reading this story. This twin is the same in every way, living on an Earth and in a universe that looks exactly like our own. And there may be an infinite number of them. Such doppelgängers could be a natural consequence of our present conception of the universe. Now, some physicists say they could pose a serious problem for quantum mechanics. But a possible fix may also be in sight, and it could help tie abstract quantum concepts to concrete physical causes.

Now, I struggled with algebra in school, so this stuff is way over my head, but whew. Multiple mes? Yikes!

The mosque and sanctions

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Iraq Sanctions and the NYC Imam

The controversy over the mosque/cultural center in New York City is performing at least one valuable function, one that no one could have ever predicted: causing Americans to confront the wrongdoing of their own government and reflect on how such wrongdoing has contributed to the terrorist woes that now besiege our nation.

U.S. interventionists are up in arms over the fact that the imam who is at the center of the mosque/cultural center controversy, Feisel Abdul Rauf, several years ago told an audience that Americans are reluctant to confront the fact that their government killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children with the sanctions and the role that such deaths played in anger and hatred toward the United States among Arabs and Muslims, especially leading up to the 9/11 attacks.

Why are American interventionists up in arms over what the imam stated?

Because they believe in the odious concept of “American Exceptionalism”, the free pass that self-proclaimed “real Americans” use whenever our countries atrocities are mentioned. “We liberated more people than any other nation in the history of the world!” Yeah, perhaps…but we’ve killed, maimed and otherwise savaged far more than anyone else as well. And getting worse all the time.

Oh this is comforting

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Canada Revenue Agency decides your privacy isn’t important

The largest data breach in the history of the Canada Revenue Agency (our version of the IRS) recently occurred here in Vancouver, but you probably didn’t hear about it. Why? The CRA decided that you don’t need to know.

According to SC Magazine, a tax inspector in Vancouver, British Columbia is accused of looking at hundreds of taxpayers’ records in an apparent attempt to drum up business for a operation she was running on the side. She targeted individuals with a high net worth and leveraged the wealth of information she could extract from the CRA’s computer systems.

The CRA discovered the breach nearly 2 years ago and upon investigation found 407 social insurance numbers (like Social Security numbers in the US) written on scraps of paper at the inspector’s workstation. She had accessed the tax records for most of these accounts, but was not working on cases related to them.

The CRA said it would not be contacting the taxpayers as there was no threat to their tax details. What?? Someone accessed details of my income, job, address and more than enough information to steal my identity, but I don’t need to know? I suppose I don’t need to worry as I am not a “high net-worth individual,” but something about this whole incident stinks.

Yikes!

Ken Mehlman: When you love power more than you love yourself

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Bush-Cheney campaign manager, ex-chairman of Republican Party comes out as gay

Ken Mehlman, the erstwhile chairman of the Republican National Committee and campaign manager for George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection effort, has come out of the closet as gay in a column published in The Atlantic.

Mehlman, 44, spearheaded the Bush re-election campaign. The campaign used aggressively anti-gay tactics, including the mailing of a flyer in some states which suggested liberals would allow gay marriage and ban the Bible. Some believe Bush’s support for anti-gay marriage measures carried him to victory, particularly in Ohio, which had a gay marriage measure on the ballot.

According to the Atlantic’s Ambinder, “Mehlman arrived at this conclusion about his identity fairly recently, he said in an interview. He agreed to answer a reporter’s questions, he said, because, now in private life, he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that questions would be asked about his participation in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California’s ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8.”

What level of self-loathing does a person have to have to actively, passionately work at hating who you are? How little self respect are we dealing with in a person such as Ken Mehlman? Does he hate the gay aspect of his makeup so much that he champions people and causes that actively seem to loathe him and others like him? Did he mind drawing a paycheck based in large part on denying human and civil rights to an oppressed minority…of which he was a part?

How fucked up is that?

It’s GOP fucked up, that’s how much. Because to the GOP, nothing matters but raw power. And I sadly ain’t talking Iggy and the Stooges. They care nothing for leading, or governing, only in amassing power. Power they use to craft laws that make them and their buddies rich, to starve the state by reduced revenues, and to further an agenda of hate and separation that keeps our country divided and full of anger.

And while they gin up all this nonsense (“Ground Zero Mosque”, anyone?) in order to keep the rabble voting and donating, they really don’t give a shit about gays, or Muslims, or mexicans. Their leaders are gay, Fox is co-owned by a Muslim, and without the slave labor of the illegals they constantly harp on, a lot of the big cheese donors would watch their bottom line go to hell if forced to pay actual wages and benefits. Nope, the GOP stands for nothing, nothing at all but sheer power. It’s “America, FUCK YEAH!”. It’s “Support Our Troops” ribbons on the cars, but shafting vets once they come home, many with injuries that could have been prevented had you not contracted out our security to your buddies in the mercenary business for a kick back.

But there are millions of gay people walking around in a nation of hatred- hatred that scum like Ken Mehlman was hired to carefully craft and wield. It’s repulsive, shameful, and sadly, not a surprise at all. It’s all a big game, a game played out on the backs of ordinary people, crippled and brutalized so that some closeted fuckwad like Mehlman can get amoral degenerate warmongers like George Bush elected.

If you have conservative friends on Facebook or wherever, read what they post when you’re not looking. A common theme will be how “mean”, “rude” and hateful “the left” is. Yeah, I suppose hoping the Cheney’s heart blows out his chest and he dies gasping on the floor while an Iraqi immigrant orderly pisses on his face is hateful.

But not nearly as hateful as jacking a guy off with one hand, while shooting him the bird with the other. Fuck off and die, Ken Mehlman, you self-hating sack of shit. Fuck off and die.

This I like: Turn Off Fox

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Now, I generally find petitioning to be silly, and all it seems to do is add to the mass of junk email I get, but since this one is going to businesses, who are more apt to take these things seriously since it means a loss of revenue, I’ll give it a try.

The petition we’ll present to businesses (with fact sheets and other documents):

“I won’t play Fox News in my home, and I’m calling on businesses and other public establishments to stop playing Fox. I don’t want Fox spreading hate, lies, and division in my community, and I want to support businesses that are Fox-free”

And you get a nifty sticker for doing so:

logo

Me, I plan on getting 50 or so and sticking them anywhere that vile hate speech is being spewed in public. It’s the least I can do to attempt to raise the IQ of the American people.

Did the CIA dose Pont-Saint-Esprit?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Not cool dude, not cool:

Pont-Saint-Esprit poisoning: Did the CIA spread LSD?

Nearly 60 years ago, a French town was hit by a sudden outbreak of hallucinations, which left five people dead and many seriously ill. For years it was blamed on bread contaminated with a psychedelic fungus – but that theory is now being challenged.

On 16 August 1951, postman Leon Armunier was doing his rounds in the southern French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit when he was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea and wild hallucinations.

Over the coming days, dozens of other people in the town fell prey to similar symptoms.

Doctors at the time concluded that bread at one of the town’s bakeries had become contaminated by ergot, a poisonous fungus that occurs naturally on rye.

That view remained largely unchallenged until 2009, when an American investigative journalist, Hank Albarelli, revealed a CIA document labelled: “Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F.Olson Files. SO Span/France Operation file, inclusive Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Belin – tell him to see to it that these are buried.”

F. Olson is Frank Olson, a CIA scientist who, at the time of the Pont St Esprit incident, led research for the agency into the drug LSD.

Albarelli believes the Pont-Saint-Esprit and F. Olson Files, mentioned in the document, would show – if they had not been “buried” – that the CIA was experimenting on the townspeople, by dosing them with LSD.

A letter of outrage

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Now, your infrastructure is falling to pieces under your feet, and as citizens you are responsible for crudities like closing parks, and inhumanities like closing battered women’s shelters. It’s outrageous, inexcusable, that you can’t get into the courses you need, but much worse that Oakland police have stopped taking 911 calls for burglaries and runaway children. If you read what your elected officials say about the state today, you’ll see things like “California can’t afford” this or that basic government function, and that “we need to make hard choices” to shut down one or another public service, or starve it even more (like your university). Can’t afford? The budget deficit that’s paralyzing Sacramento is about $500 per person; add another $500 to get back to a public sector we don’t have to be ashamed of, and our average income is almost forty times that. Of course we can afford a government that actually works: the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it.

But of course Palin defends homophobic Dr. Laura- theocrats stick together

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Palin defends Dr. Laura over N-word rant: ‘Be thankful for her voice, America’

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Wednesday defended Laura Schlessinger, the radio host whose recent racially-charged remarks to a black caller led her to announce the end of her program.

“Dr. Laura,” as she is best-known, created an uproar after using the N-word eleven times during a conversation with a caller. She announced Tuesday that she will end the show this year, lamenting her inability to speak freely without being attacked.

In two separate Twitter postings Wednesday night, a bullish Palin implored Americans to be “thankful” for Dr. Laura’s voice and blamed her departure on “Constitutional obstructionists” who trampled her First Amendment rights.

As for Schlessinger, Palin urged her to “reload” and not “retreat,” declaring that she’d be “even more powerful” and “effective” without “the shackles.”

Of course Dr. Laura’s choice- her choice- to flee from the public rebuke of her talking like an idiot has nothing what so ever to do with the First Amendment. No one banned her or censored her in any way. For decades she’s been able to belch out her moralistic (her morals only, of course) tripe over the airwaves, spewing homophobic invective that would make any Iranian imam proud. She, like Palin and the rest of our national pity partiers, seem to think the first amendment is some sort of cloak of invisibility from reaction to moronic utterings. No, all it says is that you the right to say whatever you wish- but so does everyone else. And everyone else in this case has decided that they are finally, finally tired of your theocratic, homo bashing, racist, anti-woman, pro war bullshit. So, retreat to the cozy confines of Fox and Facebook, just like Palin…but realize, that is a very, very small segment of America- and the rest of the country?

We loathe you. We tolerate you as we do any other human…but make no mistake, your time is over, your only saving grace- your demographic- will soon be gone from their recliners to their great reward, and Dr. Laura, and Palin, and hell, throw that loathsome fraud Newt in there too…they will soon enough fade away into well deserved obscurity.

One day gays will marry, we’ll smoke weed at baseball games, and Fox news will be hosting topless cooking shows in a vain attempt for ad dollars. Because the future is the children…and they have no time for hate and intolerance. Or you. Now, feel free to fuck off sooner, we’d appreciate it, but make no mistake- your time is done.