Monday, October 31, 2011
Nah, it's the night when kids get dressed up and go around asking for candy and adults make their houses all scary. I love this night, it's fun. And when you take it in the historical context of the sabbat Samhain, it gets even better. It's a fun night of sweets and candy and scares and good times and it can also be a time of remembrance for those who aren't with us anymore. That can be almost as important as anything else on this night.
Happy Halloween, everyone. And a merry Samhain for those of that belief.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
I had to reflect on the validity of that statement for a little while. I've been out of school for a long time now and the History Channel is more interested in informing me about UFOs in the Mona Lisa and how Hitler really worshiped the occult to spend any real time on it. I haven't been to a public school since my mid-teens, so my knowledge of the events at Valley Forge are fuzzy at best.
On the US East Coast, many of those taking part in Occupy protests are preparing for an unseasonally cold storm due to hit this weekend.
As much as 10in (25cm) of snow is expected in some areas on Saturday, with between two and four inches forecast for New York City.
Protesters are raising money and floating ideas for how to cope as the temperature drops.
Suggestions reportedly include stockpiling donated coats and blankets, trying to find more secure tents and turning to possible indoor locations.
"Everyone's been calling it our Valley Forge moment," Michael McCarthy, a former Navy medic in Providence, Rhode Island, told the Associated Press news agency, referring to a harsh winter during the American War of Independence.
But there are a few things I do remember. I remember hearing about how that winter was a badly wet one and how the constant freezing and thawing of ice and snow made it hard to stay dry. I remember hearing about how the soldiers had to hurry to construct log cabins to keep from freezing to death and how frost bite was a problem even with shelter. Food was scarce and came at irregular intervals for both soldiers and their horses. I remember hearing about how disease was rampant in the camp from the close quarters and found a nice breeding ground in the soldier's dirty uniforms. They shivered and starved all through the while continuing to fight the British. These were soldiers who had so much that was asked of them that a risk of mutiny was a very real possibility. In a letter to the President of Congress, George Washington wrote in part:
"Sir: Full as I was in my representation of matters in the Commys. departmt. yesterday, fresh, and more powerful reasons oblige me to add, that I am now convinced, beyond a doubt that unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place in that line, this Army must inevitably be reduced to one or other of these three things. Starve, dissolve, or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can; rest assured Sir this is not an exaggerated picture,"
Washington managed to hold his army together and with better training from Major General Baron von Steuben and better food provided by Baker General Christopher Ludwick, he was able to not only keep his army together through the winter but was able to turn back the British and win a major victory.
The problems that face the Occupy Wall Street protestors are different, but no less real and these are problems of both civilization as well as the elements. It's going to be a cold winter for them, but that is not the worst thing they face. The enemy they face is the status quo, and the operatives of the status quo won't attack them with muskets and ambushes, they're more insidious. As reported by the LATimes;
It's also clear they don't want the demonstrators to get too comfortable.
City fire and police officials on Friday confiscated gas tanks and half a dozen generators being used for electricity in the makeshift kitchen and for media equipment. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had declared them a safety hazard. Organizers were baffled; they said fire marshals had inspected the park the day before and hadn't mentioned any violations.
"It's strange that this happens on the first really cold morning," said Bill Dobbs, a volunteer with the press operation. But rather than prompt calls for further rebellion — plans already were underway Friday for an action targeting Midtown banks — organizers said they would ask for the generators back. Several protesters said cooperating with the city at this point in the season seemed important.
OWS is facing a different war with different rules; rules set up to put the advantage to those who hold power and the only people who can hold power are those who either are members of the 1% or people who are supported by the 1%. Unlike the officials in Oakland, a lot of cities have decided to leave the protestors alone because, as the SeattlePI points out;
But other cities have rejected aggressive tactics, at least so far, some of them because they want to avoid the violence seen in Oakland or, as some have speculated, because they are expecting the protests to wither anyway with the onset of cold weather.
They know that society today is very, very different than the society that bred the soldiers who suffered through the events at Valley Forge 234 - 233 years ago. We're a society that can find relative warmth during the bitter cold and we're not used to the hardships that were so common among the American colonies. The type of common work has shifted from very labor intensive to fairly automated and repetitive. The people who have the best chance at a long campaign are the soldiers and veterans who've been trained to have the discipline needed to see themselves through the extreme weather. And, to top it off, OWS doesn't have a George Washington, Friedrich von Steuben or Christopher Ludwick to help see them through and boost their morale.
Occupy Wall Street is, indeed, facing their own Valley Forge moment; and with the absence of an inspiring figurehead the only thing the protestors can rely on to see them through is how badly they want things to change and how badly they want the status quo to fall.
But what the protestors will need to keep in mind is that, while the Continental Army had George Washington to lead them; during Valley Forge they were poorly trained to the point of being little better than the militias that supplemented them. They were citizens with muskets, but they suffered, fought and stood their ground because they believed in what they were doing.
Occupy Wall Street can do the same thing just as well.
I've played it four times so far, only ran out of money once and the other three times I've ended the month with triple digit funds. Even though I'd be able to make it through the month three times out of four, it's enough to give you an insight into what it is like to try and make it not just month-to-month, but paycheck-to-paycheck.
People go a long time without needed medical treatment, proper food or housing and basic necessities. Back in the '50's, the idolized time for Republicans, there was a 90% tax rate on the top earners and people lived.
These days, there's a 34% tax rate on the top earners and people can't even survive.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and a part of the Bill of Rights. You'll hear a lot of idiots screaming Freedom of Speech and citing the First Amendment in arguments that don't call for it and I am convinced that a lot of people can't be assed to read more than that when the Bill of Rights is taught in school. And it seems often, people think the First Amendment only covers the freedom of speech. There is more to it than just freedom of speech. It also gives you the right to print what you want without fear of government retribution. It allows you to gather in large groups to give a united voice to actions you disagree with. It allows you to demand that your government put right an injustice to yourself or to others.
These are things often forgotten but which must be remembered.
In Atlanta, GA a while back, Mayor Reed gave the Occupy Wall Street protestors until November 7th before they'd need to leave. Then he reneged on that and sent the police to clear the protestors out.
Over in Oakland, CA they ended up launching tear gas, flash/bang grenades, rubber bullets and 12-gauge beanbag rounds at the protestors. The reason sited? "Health and sanitation issues." So for those reasons, this is how they deal with it.
And the part that shows us the cops either think people are too stupid to think or that they just have more ignorance than is justified for police officers; when asked about the use of flashbangs during the protests, the was;
No, the loud noised that were heard originated from M-80 explosives thrown at Police by protesters.
Boy, people will fall for a lot; the world is flat, rabbits chew their cud, Piltdown Man shows science is wrong, Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. But when the video evidence is right in front of you and available for everyone to see?
Man, that's just fucking stupid to expect us to buy that.
Other mayors have tried to get OWS protests disbanded by saying that camping in city parks was illegal. This is where we need to remember that the Bill of Rights guarantees us the right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for a redress of our grievances.
It does not set a time limit on how long those assemblies can last.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Robert and Diane Maresca of Long Island are seeking trademark protection for the phrase “Occupy Wall Street,” with the intention of placing it on products, according to a report on The Smoking Gun website, which recently obtained a copy of the couple’s application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Robert Maresca said the OWS slogan is “important,” and expressed interest in having the supporters of the movement get the benefit of the trademarked brand, going so far as to say it is his hope to transfer ownership of the trademark to OWS, “if it’s feasible,” CNN reported.
They know damn well that it isn't feasible. OWS doesn't have a central leadership or anything resembling a hierarchy, so there's no entity to transfer the trademark to. This is such a transparent money grab I can't even laugh about it. As reported by CNN.com;
"The goal of OWS is not to become a profitable business," said Tyler Combelic, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman. "Anything that misconstrues it as such, such as trademarking for the sake of profiting, is missing the point of protest."
This seems to be a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. And maybe this guy has all the best intentions of trying to protect OWS (doubtful, considering he wants to put it on T-shirts and bumper stickers and all sorts of shit to sell), but how can one not see the mind-boggling money grab behind this?
He's trying to profit off of people who are protesting income inequality.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the measure into law on May 31, touted it as a way to ensure taxpayer money isn’t “wasted” on those who use drugs. “Hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs,” he said then.
But, in her order, Scriven issued a scathing assessment of the state’s argument in favor of the drug tests, saying the state failed to prove “special needs” as to why it should conduct such searches without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, as the law requires.
“If invoking an interest in preventing public funds from potentially being used to fund drug use were the only requirement to establish a special need,” Scriven wrote, “the state could impose drug testing as an eligibility requirement for every beneficiary of every government program. Such blanket intrusions cannot be countenanced under the Fourth Amendment.”
This is one of those things you'd expect the people who crafted the law to maybe give some thought to before drafting and passing it. Maybe, just maybe, being poor isn't reason enough to force needy people to piss into a cup.
But then again, that is the kind of mentality that views being impoverished as a crime. This is what they spend your tax dollars on.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
This conclusion is drawn from the history of the Wobblies, better known as the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW was most active around the Industrial Revolution though they are still an organized active union. The way that the Wobblies got the right to strike was by busing around to protest sites and giving so many numbers to the protests there that the cops couldn't jail them all. Without dedication and sacrifice like that, the article says, OWS is going to fail. Unless all the protestors support the main OWS body in New York by donating time, money or more protestors and not being so spread out over the USA that the numbers are easily dealt with, OWS will fail. That is the part I disagree with.
The protests over in Greece started around the 5th of May in 2010 for many of the same reasons that OWS has sprung up and, to my surprise, they're still going on, over a year later. When I first heard about the riots, I supported them in their cause but beyond that, it was just something going on far, far away. When I hear about protests going on in New York, be it OWS or the various antiwar protests from Bush's era, I'd support them too, but it was still this far removed thing so none of it was actually real to me. Even when OWS protests sprung up in Boston and Philly, I was surprised, but it was still this thing happening in distant lands.
What changed that was when I found out that OWS had finally reached the bastion of conservative ideology known as Oklahoma City. Suddenly, the protests weren't some far removed thing in distant lands; they had landed right into my backyard. I got to see people so disgruntled, so upset with the status quo that they were going to camp out in protest through bitter cold nights, rain, hail and a very near miss with a Tornado cell-cloud. They want change that badly.
Something that wasn't around back in the days of the Industrial Revolution was, obviously, the internet. The internet is a wonderful thing and something we largely take for granted, as evidenced by the article Infamous Brad wrote. The internet makes instant, wireless communication possible; not just text and voice communication, but also images and video. Ever see a movie set in the '40's or '50's, a big news story would break and you'd see reporters beating each other with severed limbs to be the first into the row of phone booths to call their editor?
It's funny, but transported to the 2000's and those same reporters won't be clawing their way to the phone booths; they'll be on their laptops, iPhones or Blackberries to let their editor know the scoop, the only determining factor in how fast the story gets out is by who has the quickest fingers. But with the advent of social networking, such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Skype and whatever else you can think up, you won't even need reporters anymore. Anyone with a camera phone can break a story happening anywhere in the world. We now have phones with 12-megapixel digital cameras built into them. It is now within the power of every John Q out there to be the first to report a revolutionary protest or post topless photos of himself on Craigslist so his can cheat on his wife.
One of the ideas behind the Wobblies' strategy was to gain public awareness for their cause to bring about change. But while they had to rely on the good graces of the Old Media to get their message out to the masses, we now have the internet.
So far, instead of dwindling, we've seen OWS spread to Europe, the Tundra and Antarctica. There are stirs being felt in India and Putin has Russia scrambling to stave off protests there while China has put a gag order on it's media regarding OWS content.
I'm not sure how far OWS will go when all is said and done, but even if it does fade out, it will have made people and governments take notice that the status quo is on shaky ground. It has spread to levels the IWW of the Industrial Revolution could have only dreamed of and over a third of America supports them.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Well, Obama did sign three Free Trade deals. Maybe that's what Camping meant when he said the world would end?
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Haha, you silly goose! That would require logical thought and an acceptance that one cannot predict the future based on the writings of people over 2,000 years ago who wanted a set of rules to get their people to straighten up and fly right.
No, rather than reexamine his faith, or instead of rereading his book and finding that irritating little passage of Matthew 24:36 quoted above and just accepting that what will be will be, he went back and yanked a new date for the end of the world out of his ass.
Yeah, kids. Seems Camping is back with a new date and not surprisingly, it is in the near future: October 21st. Tomorrow.
I think I've gained an insight into the mind of this man. He isn't really looking forward to the end of the world, Rapture or paradise. He is very old and doesn't want to accept his own mortality. It is something I pity.
An idea I've had in my head for a while now is to put the United States' Reserve Fleets to this use. Instead of maintaining these inactive ships to be recalled to active duty (unlikely, considering the age of some of these ships), why not convert them to be used as cheap or free housing for the nation's homeless? Here, I'll give you examples as to why this would be a good idea:
In the James River Reserve Fleet there are about 60 ships laid up. In the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, there are around 80 ships just sitting around.
- Four Forrestal-class aircraft carriers were built, each one with a crew compliment of 4,378.
- Four Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers were built, each one with around 5,624 crew members.
- The USS Enterprise is nearing the end of her service life, and her compliment is around 5,828
Nine ships that the Navy doesn't want anymore could put a roof over the heads of 45,836 people who would otherwise be living on the street.
Now, if we still had all of the Midway-class aircraft carriers, that would have been three more ships that could carry a total of 12,312 people.
The battleship USS Iowa embarked with a crew of 2788 people.
There are 4 Ticonderoga-class cruisers laid up currently, each with a compliment of around 400 crew.
I have just listed 17 ships that are sitting and rusting when they could be used to keep 62,536 people off of the streets and alleyways, could give them a roof, warmth, shower and food facilities and, most importantly, mailing addresses for employment and getting themselves a chance for a better opportunity. The homeless problem is easy to solve.
I just listed what we could have done with 17 ships, had a number of them not been scrapped or sunk and with no modifications to them at all.
What could we do with the 140 ships laid up in those two reserve fleets I just mentioned? How many people could we get off the streets and give a chance to find employment if we used all of our reserve fleets?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which led to the formation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has been around for 41 years now and it was tasked with a simple premise; ensure health and safety rules are followed in the workplace. If businesses don't follow these rules, OSHA can seek criminal penalties against the CEO's. So how has this worked out? Frankly, it's laughable.
OSHA has come under considerable criticism for the ineffectiveness of its penalties, particularly its criminal penalties. OSHA is only able to pursue a criminal penalty when a willful violation of an OSHA standard results in the death of a worker. The maximum penalty is a misdemeanor with a maximum of 6-months in jail. In response to the criticism, OSHA, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, has pursued several high-profile criminal prosecutions for violations under the Act, and has announced a joint enforcement initiative between OSHA and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which has the ability to issue much higher fines than OSHA. Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats, labor unions and community safety and health advocates are attempting to revise the OSH Act to make it a felony with much higher penalties to commit a willful violation that results in the death of a worker. Some local prosecutors are charging company executives with manslaughter and other felonies when criminal negligence leads to the death of a worker.
During its more than 30 years of existence, OSHA has secured only 12 criminal convictions.
Some people believe that OSHA's all we need to protect worker rights. Those people are dead wrong. Others think that Unions had a place back during the Industrial Revolution, but those times are behind us so Unions are obsolete/outdated. Those people aren't just wrong, they're dangerously wrong.
Corporations are not people; they do not learn from their mistakes or feel empathy for those they wronged. They are entities with one goal: Make More Money. That is it, all things are second to the pursuit of the Almighty Dollar and they are very often run by psychopaths. If you think Unions aren't needed and that corporations have empathy then ask yourself why Dead Peasant Insurance Policies exist.
In the corporate practice dubbed "Dead Peasants" life insurance, companies wager on employees' lives, expecting to make money when they die.
And it's pervasive, said Mike Myers, an attorney who has uncovered many of these cases and helped angry relatives sue.
"Life insurance is traditionally used to guard against the death of breadwinners. This is an investment scheme," he said.
Dozens of blue chip companies have these policies, according to Myers. But only banks are forced to reveal them, and several have billions of dollars worth of policies.
"The driving force behind it is the tax deductions," he said.
In the corporate practice dubbed "Dead Peasants" life insurance, companies wager on employees' lives, expecting to make money when they die.
The life insurance policies were designed to allow companies to insure a few crucial executives. Savvy companies then realized they could also get a tax break by insuring many lower-level employees.
The financial scheme doesn't actually cost the employees anything, except, some say, their trust.
Still don't think Unions are needed in this day and age? What is the differences between these photos:
And these pictures:
Any ideas? If you said "Time and distance" then you're right. If you said "The fact that we'd NEVER let that happen here in THIS day and age like it does overseas!" then congratulations; you're dangerously wrong.
Republicans are working to weaken or abolish child labor laws in at least two states, one of which is Missouri.
Cunningham views Missouri’s laws, which limit the number of hours young people can work and ban them from working past 9 p.m., as an intrusion on parent’s rights.
Actually, they are a help to parents. Without those restrictions, you have a scenario in which Susie, 13, is working at a sub shop. She has homework and she’s supposed to get off at 8 p.m., but the shift manager needs her to stay and close up because Fred didn’t show up for work. Susie calls her mom, who protests, but the boss is adamant and Susie really wants to keep her job so mom agrees, just this once. And pretty soon “just this once” becomes the routine.
I have watched this happen with a 16-year-old, and only the labor laws keep employers from demanding unreasonable service from the under-16 workforce.
Oh, but that Missouri loony's bill is just an isolated incident, isn't it? Haha, no.
Maine State Rep. David Burns is the latest of many Republican lawmakers concerned that employers aren’t allowed to do enough to exploit child workers:
LD 1346 suggests several significant changes to Maine’s child labor law, most notably a 180-day period during which workers under age 20 would earn $5.25 an hour.
The state’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.
Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also would eliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days.
Burns’ bill is particularly insidious, because it directly encourages employers to hire children or teenagers instead of adult workers. Because workers under 20 could be paid less than adults under this GOP proposal, minimum wage workers throughout Maine would likely receive a pink slip as their twentieth birthday present so that their boss could replace them with someone younger and cheaper.
And Burns is just one of many prominent Republicans who believe that America’s robust protections against the exploitation of children are wrongheaded:
- Maine State Sen. Debra Plowman (R) introduced a separate bill that would extend the number of hours employers can require a minor to work. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) backs this proposal.
- Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered a lengthy lecture where he claimed that federal child labor laws violate the Constitution. His Republican colleagues in the Senate rewarded him with a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee — the committee with jurisdiction over constitutional questions.
- Missouri State Sen. Jane Cunningham (R) introduced a bill which would “eliminate the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed.”
- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s (R) most recent brief attacking the Affordable Care Act relies heavily on a discredited Supreme Court decision striking down a federal child labor law that was overruled decades ago.
- Judges Roger Vinson and Henry Hudson, the two outlier judges who struck down the ACA, also relied heavily on this discredited anti-child labor decision in their decisions.
The only reason why these things are (mostly) in the past for the USA is because of strong Labor Unions fighting for better pay and conditions. You want to eliminate Unions? Don't be surprised to see rows of 12 year old kids working for below minimum wage in abhorrent environments.
Don't think it can happen in the USA? It can and it will without Unions.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
If you've been following Occupy Wall Street then you've probably seen this girl; the 13-year old girl who's telling the dirty hippies they should have gotten a "useful degree" (even though many of them did) and to get a job at McDonald's and to live beneath their means. I'd rather not post a picture of her just because I don't want it on my blog; click the link if you want to see but I've pretty much summed it up.
At any rate, it seems she's back and bitching once again. It seems now she's pissed off at all of us unwashed liberals for daring to criticize her (and to be fair, if people were making violent threats: not cool, people, not cool) and she's also telling all of us poor ignorant folks that if we have time to trespass in a private park (that was created through negations with the city and is, in fact, a publicly accessible park) then we obviously have time to work. And she seems to wants to "take this country back!" Gee, how far back do you think she wants to take the USA?
Do you think she knows that people are protesting in pretty much all 50 states? And that the reason they have time to protest is because they can't find a fucking job? Do you think she knows that on average there are 6.3 applicants for every job opening? Do you think she cares, or do you think she's enjoying being a republican shill?
Also, she seems to have a real hate-on for Apple products. I'm a PC guy myself, but seriously, what gives? I can find all sorts of apple stuff on Craig's List for around $125 to $400 bucks; a lot of people can afford that.
I know that at the age of 13 a lot of people are forming their own opinions, but I can't help but think she's just parroting her conservative parents' talking points.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
[Click to enlarge]
Keep this in mind, boys and girls. This is known as the Wealth Gap. Notice how the average wages started stagnating around 1980 as productivity rose sharply? Hmm...what else happened in 1980...ahh well, not important. What is important is what's happened to the richest fucks in the country.
[Click to enlarge]
See that, everyone? Notice how their income's shot up to around 23%? Why, there must be a shit-tonne of them, right?!
Hahaha, if you think that, you're an idiot.
[Click to enlarge]
See kids? In 2007, 1% of people controlled 42% is all financial wealth in the nation. And the bottom 80%? They collectively controlled 7% of the financial wealth in the country. Maybe now it'll be a little more clear as to why people are protesting on the streets. Clear to us collective 80%ers, maybe, but obviously not to that 1%. As reported in an article by the New York Times;
Publicly, bankers say they understand the anger at Wall Street — but believe they are misunderstood by the protesters camped on their doorstep.
But when they speak privately, it is often a different story.
“Most people view it as a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” said one top hedge fund manager.
“It’s not a middle-class uprising,” adds another veteran bank executive. “It’s fringe groups. It’s people who have the time to do this.”
Could it be that they have time to protest because they can't find a fucking job, you fuck?
If anything, they say, people should show some gratitude.
“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”
Gratitude? Okay, how's this: Thank you for making so many bad choices that you were on the verge of destroying the NATION'S ECONOMY so we, us lowly taxpayers, had to bail your asses out so that, in addition to not destroying America's economy (too big to fail, remember that?) you could start using that money to make proper loans again but instead used it to pad your CEO's wallets for doing such a "good job." Thank you, you ignorant, out-of-touch douchebags. Thank you so fucking much.
He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
Hmm...yes...who is their constituency? 1% of the voting public, or the other 99% of the voting public?
Remember that, everyone. These people may be off in their own little world where money is dispensed on toilet paper rolls and the rivers run yellow from liquid gold; and while they have control of 42% of the wealth, they control only 1% of the vote.
Protests reveal US 'messy house'
Xinhua said they showed "a clear need for Washington, which habitually rushes to demand other governments to change when there are popular protests in their countries, to put its own house in order."
Gorbachev calls Wall Street protests just; Flaherty says they have a pointStop and give thought to the dawn of the Arab Spring. Remember when we first started hearing about the uprisings in Iran? The USA told them to listen to the people. Same then happened with Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. When the people there started taking to the streets and demanding a change to their systems, the USA was behind them every step of the way whether they wanted it or not. And now our own people are rising up, demanding change and equality and economic security so loudly and so passionately that the fires of anger we've started have spread to every state in the USA and has kindled on the other side of the Atlantic to spread through Europe...
The Americans, he [Gorbachev] said, need to ensure that everything is right in their own country "before trying to put the house in order in other countries."
In Ottawa, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the American protesters decrying the income gap between rich and poor have a point.
...and the American government is turning a blind eye to the suffering and demands of it's own people.
Friday, October 14, 2011
The tea party isn’t about to make room for the new protesters on the block.
Big tea party groups have launched an attack against the Occupy Wall Street protests, challenging the line that the anti-corporate uprising is the “the tea party of the left.”
Tea partiers and their allies are looking to de-legitimize the protests circulating in the anti-Wall Street crowds, hunting for evidence of union ties, fringe rhetoric and bad behavior — ranging from news of arrests, to recordings of incendiary speeches, to tales of littering, drug use and debauchery.
They’re posting what they find online, like a photograph of a demonstrator apparently defecating on a cop car that has circulated widely, and are accusing the mainstream media of ignoring extremist elements.
This actually makes me chuckle a little. The idea of such an astroturfed movement getting a bug up their asses over another movement is hilarious in its own right, but what is just rib ticklingly funny is what one commenter pointed out;
"Nothing legitimizes a protest movement nearly as much as it's opposite number attacking it. True believers are terrified by the sight of their opposite pole."
Rarely do I find myself in agreement with a comment on Yahoo News. as I said before, the Yahoo News comments section seems to be a bastion of conservative knuckle draggers. However, this seems to be one of those rare comments that cuts right to the truth of the matter. What happened when the Arab Spring started sweeping the Middle East? They were largely written off until people started to actively attempt to discredit them or put down the movement through force. So guess what Mayor Bloomburg tried to do.
"If Bloomberg really cared about sanitation here he wouldn't have blocked portapotties and dumpsters."
On Thursday afternoon Occupy Wall Street called an emergency General Assembly down at Liberty Plaza to deal with the announcement that Friday will see a cleanup of the park by the City, starting at 7 am. Representatives of Brookfield, the company that owns the park, said in the clean-up notice that everything left behind will be thrown away. On Thursday it was also revealed that Brookfield had sent a letter to police commissioner Ray Kelly asking the NYPD help clear out the protestors. A group of New York civil liberties lawyers warned the CEO of Brookfield that forcing protestors from the park violates their first amendment rights, stating, "Under the guise of cleaning the Park you are threatening fundamental constitutional rights. There is no basis in the law for your request for police intervention, nor have you cited any. Such police action without a prior court order would be unconstitutional."
And guess what he failed to do?
So thank you, Teabaggers, 1%ers, and righties of all stripes. You've done more to validate OWS than anything the left ever could have done.
A planned cleanup of the Lower Manhattan park that has been home to the Occupy Wall Street movement since September 17 was delayed just hours before it was due to begin by Brookfield Office Properties, which manages the publicly accessible park.
The move averted a possible showdown between police and protesters who viewed the cleanup as a ploy to evict them. Protesters loudly cheered the decision, and several hundred set off marching toward the city's financial district.
Police arrested 14 people, but there were no widespread disruptions.
"This development has emboldened the movement and sent a clear message that the power of the people has prevailed against Wall Street," Occupy Wall Street said in a statement, estimating more than 3,000 people had gathered in the park.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his weekly radio address on Friday, said his office was not involved in the decision to postpone the cleanup.
"My understanding is that Brookfield got lots of calls from many elected officials threatening them and saying, 'If you don't stop this, we'll make your life much more difficult,'" said Bloomberg, who added that he did not know which officials had called the company.
Monday, October 10, 2011
In my own mind, it's not a contradiction to be a progressive and also pro-gun ownership. I'm a believer in responsible, legal firearms ownership provided a person can be safely trusted with a firearm through appropriate background checks as described in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. I'm not going to trot out the old "Hiter was pro-gun control" nor am I one of those people who'll be able to keep a straight face when told it's an obsolete Amendment because we don't have to worry about the Redcoats anymore. I don't expect to ever need to take up arms in a civil war in the same way I don't believe I'll need them to fight back against commies or terrorists; but I do believe it is my right to be able to own a firearm should I need one in a worst case scenario. In this case, I'm thinking along the lines of a mugger or home invasion or stalker or any number of far more realistic threats we face every day in the USA.
Also, what do you expect me to use for the zombie apocalypse? A butter knife?
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Now for the problem: In the lowest paid non-agricultural field of work, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the "Leisure and Hospitality" industry. The average weekly worker pay there in September 2011 was $343.95 dollars. Using the table above, what is the average weekly pay for a CEO in the Leisure and Hospitality industry?
If you said $163,376.25 a week, you get an A+ and a feeling of seething anger at the inequality (assuming you're not a deluded conservative). But, okay, let's say that is a worst case scenario. Let me switch charts:
Now, let's try this problem using the same $343.95 dollar base, shall we? If your second answer is $117,974.85 a week for the CEO, you get another A+, a gold star and a handful of Goldfish crackers that you're probably too poor to afford.
A while back I heard someone asking in confusion about the general attitudes of the common person during the Wisconsin protests; "Why" they asked, "is it that when they hear about union and government employees making X amount of money an hour and get Y days off and Z benefits that instead of demanding equal treatment by their own private sector employers they instead demand union and government employees to take cuts?"
It was a question that I couldn't answer. I puzzled over it for a long while and honestly, I could never find any answer that didn't sound like some variation of "Fuck the right wing." I didn't want another outlet for my contempt of most things conservative, I wanted a real damn answer. Eventually I gave up and put it out of my mind. Until today.
When reading the Associated Press article linked to above, I made the mistake of looking at the comments. I'd almost forgotten that YahooNews has become a bastion of right-wing knuckle draggers. As I was reading, quite a few of the comments were, surprisingly, agreeable. And then I found one from the user 1Spirit;
The point I am trying to make in my post is that we, the unemployed, are trying to hit a mercurial moving target in regards to jobs in our respective ares of expertise. Yes, we canThis actually strikes me as quite a reasonable post. Why should we, the majority of America, have to sacrifice our standard of living so the richest fuckers out there can keep hoarding their cash? And why should we be excluded from employment because we can't find work in an economy where 65 year-old's are still working full time and unemployment is still hovering around 9%? And then I find some oh-so intelligent [/sarcasm] replies to this post.
accept a jobs below our personal income requirements but, this only slows the ratcheting down of our standards of living. The probability of losing our homes, our marriages are only minimally diminished. Many, if not most of us, will still have thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for to which have no effective value. Collectively, this affects us all through the cascade effect.
Your standard of living? Are you kidding me. You are worried about the pride of losing your standard of living.Get out there and get a job and take care of your family. If they don't have a job in your area, move. You do what you have to to take care of your family you idiot. You lazy moron, get out there and go to work. Do anything you can. Businesses hire people that are willing to do what ever it takes. I delivered pizzas when I had to. My son told me the other day, Dad, you taught me a valuable lesson with that. The pride is in taking care of your family. You can't accept a job that is below your personal income requirements. You lazy sot. And your spouse buys that crap? I paid every dime of my son's tuition and housing because I worked second jobs. I had yard sales, I did what it took because that is who I am. You are part of what is wrong with this nation now, it does not meet your personal income requirements and ratchets down your standard of living. You moron. You voted for Obama didn't you.
Took a job that pays less than 1/2 of what I was used to being paid.... it is a regular paycheck.
I then cut out completely ANY AND ALL entertainment expense. I no longer have steak for Dinner (maybe 1 X /month). There is about 50X of ground beef in the feezer, and some chicken breast.
Before I lost my job and took the new one, I hadn't had a hamburger at home in ayear.... Now it is on the table 3 of 5 nights, disguised as manwich or salsbury steak..... or tacos or what have you.
SO I stepped down on all of my standards of living to be able to SUPPORT MY FAMILY!
I have "NO" sympathy for any of you that will not take something less to delay to lowering of the standard of living. GROW UP..... HAVE PRIDE.... ANS SUPPORT YOURSELF. We went from a 4 BR 3BA home that had 4.5 acres of land to a 3 BR 2 BA home that looks like a shack.... and well... it protects us from the elements. BUT WE DID IT!
BTW; I have TWO DEGREES.... and I am working in a field that only mildly corresponds to one of them..... BUT I AM WORKING!!!!! Adapt and overcome- stop being a poor pitiful pearl that expects others to supply your life's needs. YOU ARE AN AMERICAN.... You have the opportunity to succeed and fail.... now that you have had the failure, pull up your pants get on your shoes, and get back up on that first rung and begin moving back up...... IT CAN BE DONE BY EVERYONE BUT THE ENTITLED!
Stop hating those who have made it (RIch)- Stop demanding that they pay more so that you can continue to work less....... GET UP AND REACH FOR IT.... expect many steps, expect to have to give things up, expect to have to struggle.... expect to wonder what is happening next week...... but above all do not allow the government to take away that freedom!
I gotta cut my standard of living! Oh noes! Really? Well here's a dose of reality for you, sometimes when times get rough you have to cut out things that aren't necessary so you make ends meet until you can afford the luxuries. That's the problem with Americans today, they can't make cuts themselves and survive without nanny government to look out for them.
The good jobs are long gone sorry that is the reality right now, get off your high horse and work a crappy job like most everyone else does before they all disappear too. maybe good jobs will return maybe not, whining won't help
I read these and went off to get dinner started. As I was heading to the kitchen I has a eureka moment. People don't want to admit that they are being taken advantage of. To see others who are fairly well off but not in the top 5% of income earners seems to gall them. Another person who is doing fairly well off but by no means rich seems to be an insult to those who're pissed off at their crappy job but can't seem to grow the stones needed to demand better conditions.
This is the sort of thing I find to be not only really sad, but is also an insight into why people will actively vote against their own interests by, among other things, supporting union busting legislation.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
After thawing out two chicken breasts...well...one, but the fucker's large enough that it looks like it ate one of the others so I cut it in half, I decided to marinate it. So, I looked in my pantry and decided to pull a marinade out of thin air and ended up mixing in a small bowl;
- Dry Sherry
- White Vinegar
- Sweet basil leaves
- Minced garlic
- Italian seasoning
- A pinch of salt
Mix well and marinade in a medium sized ziplock bag or a large bowl.
No, I don't have measurements because I didn't measure. I just eyeballed it, but it's a cheap enough marinade that you can season to taste. The most expensive part is the Sherry. I'll update this later tonight with a result of how it turns out.
It turns out that it is a good recipe. If you do it right you'll get a sharp taste of Sherry that's complimented by the herbs. I had the chicken with potatoes au gratin and fresh green beans boiled and seasoned with chopped onion, minced garlic and a pat of butter. Boil the water for the green beans and add the garlic, butter and onion to it and let it boil for a while to let the flavors mix before adding the green beans, if you care to try it.
I understand that people are desperate and will take anything if it means having maybe enough money to feed their kids and themselves and keep a roof over their heads, I want it to be known that I understand it. But what I can't understand is why anyone would be grateful to be taken advantage of? Long hours, low pay, no medical, and not enough pay to keep yourself fed and still keep your debt from growing seems to be the order of the day for these grateful people. Consider yourself lucky, yes, but don't feel grateful to be exploited, underpaid and overworked.
I guess I'm still just reeling over how bad things have gotten for people these days...though I shouldn't really be surprised. Things have been horrible for years now, but out of control poverty isn't dramatic enough to warrant media attention until it gets bad enough that people start marching in the streets, and even then it gets very little coverage.
I think my surprise rests mostly with how ignorant I've been of these things until now.
Friday, October 7, 2011
We are living in an era where the vast majority of wealth in the USA is controlled by an insultingly small number of people. Over 95% of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, many aren't. People are going to college, coming out with crushing debt and finding out that if they're lucky enough to find a job it won't likely be much better than minimum wage. And gods help them if they have to use a credit card to buy anything. In many cases people are only able to pay the minimum, but often the monthly minimum is less than the fees and interest rates so even though they're paying, they're finding their owed balance growing. But while people are being bled dry of everything they own, the banks aren't exactly crying in their beer knowing that some poor (literally) sap out there will be paying them off for the rest of their lives.
How bad does it have to get when you have lawyers telling you to just stop paying credit card companies?
The way the fees are now imposed, "people would be better off if they stopped paying" once they get in over their heads, said T. Bentley Leonard, a North Carolina bankruptcy attorney . Once you stop paying, creditors write off the debt and sell it to a debt collector. "They may harass you, but your balance doesn't keep rising. That's the irony."
Now we have an influx of people getting out of college and can only buy food on credit and they're quickly finding out they're likely worse off than if they're just stuck with a high school education; by and large the only jobs out there are low-level minimum wage jobs which they can't get hired for because they're "overqualified" and it's hard to find work in their field because they don't have enough experience. They're caught in an endless cycle of You're-Fucked.
Now add insult to injury; the wealthiest people in the country are sitting on trillions of dollars and a rich republican congressmen is whining that he only has $400K ($400,000) a year left to live on after taxes and expenses. Cry me a motherfucking river, he's got it so hard, doesn't he?
Contrast that with 13 year old Allison who's parents can't afford for her to see a doctor after showing signs of Schizophrenia and whom has been hiding her need for sleeping pills and going without enough food because she knows just how poor her family is. No kid should ever have to face that kind of reality, much less before they've finished middle school.
This is supposed to be the greatest, richest country on earth so how can we allow our kids to go hungry and without medical care?
So what is the One Demand from Occupy Wall Street? They'll release lists of their demands, but whatever it is, it will be variations on the same thing; we want economic security.
I never believed in the American Dream, but it is still shocking to see that people are perusing it overseas. In a first world nation like America, nobody should ever have to work two jobs and still have to resort to prostitution to make ends meet. No one should ever have to work 80 and 90 hours a week just to pay for their own chemotherapy.
That is the One Demand; we want this injustice to stop. How can any government leader or millionaire look at themselves in the mirror and not be horrified by what they see when things are allowed to become this bad?
In case you're wondering, the reason there is a flaming P.I. up there is not because I am a Private Investigator (I'm not). It is because "Progressively Irritated" was one of my final two choices for the title of my blog, which I ended up using as a web address. And yes, flames because I am that hot headed at times.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
I'm looking at you; Men-can't-be-raped troglodytes.
The story I was linked to is about a young man now 23, who was raped when he was 17 by his then 18 year old girlfriend. That alone would be bad enough, but things seemed to take a turn for the truly bizarre.
On Jan. 6, 2006, when he was still 17 and she was 18, they had sex in the back seat of a car and made a baby she named Joshua.
A paternity test confirmed Kris was the father.
Kris was not present at Joshua's birth.
He did not contribute anything — not time, not money — to Joshua's care.
Jessica never asked Kris for help.
In March 2009, Kris got a letter from the state of Michigan. Jessica had moved there and gone on welfare and Michigan wanted Kris to start paying child support.
Kris hired a lawyer. He said he shouldn't have to pay child support because he never wanted the baby.
Jessica, he said, raped him.
Stop and try to picture this for a moment or three. You're going about your business, doing your best to put that time of your life behind you, wanting little more than to forget The Night when you find a piece of mail in the box addressed to you from the government of another state. They're wanting you to pay your attacker. Wow. Honestly, I can't imagine anything more surreal than that.
Well, no...there is something more, also from the same article.
Around the country there are plenty of cases of underage boys who got a woman pregnant and then tried to avoid paying child support. The 15-year-old in California who was seduced by the 34-year-old mom next door. The 13-year-old boy in Kansas who had sex with his 17-year-old babysitter. The 15-year-old boy in Florida who impregnated a 20-year-old.
It baffles me that the courts would actually order minors to pay child support. I'm sure the 13-year-old's school lunch money will pay for a few bottle of apple sauce.
But that aside, let's go back to the issue at hand. Let's reverse the genders, shall we? If this was a man who was fingered as the aggressor and it was a woman who was being coerced, would we even be debating whether or not it was even rape? No, of course not. But, you see, men suffer from a mind-boggling double-standard. See, because a male has Tab A to insert into Slot B, somehow that means that only we can insert Tab A into Slot B but never, ever can Slot B be wrapped around Tab A without Tab A's permission. That's just for guys in general, but what about this kid? While the public at large may dismiss his claims, surely his parents would support him or at least give him the benefit of the doubt...right?
In February 2006, Kris said, he and Jessica sat down on the soft brown couch in the living room of his parents' home in Brooksville.
They told his parents that Jessica was pregnant.
How did this happen? his mother asked. The doctor had told them to be careful. They had agreed to refrain from sex.
Kris, his mother and his father all say that at that moment, Jessica admitted that she forced Kris to have sex against his will.
"I made him," Connie Bucher recalls her saying.
Kris' dad, Steve Bucher, was initially skeptical, but he didn't say anything.
"How does a girl rape a guy? I just couldn't see that," he said in a recent interview.
Well...hmm...you know, that's a good point dad. Let's see...how could a woman rape a teenage male? I must be a freak of nature, but I could remember back then it would seem to come up on it's own. I mean, I didn't look at those old National Geographic pictures of the Honkin' Hooter Tribe of East Africa and think "Wow, look at those cans!" in fact, I wasn't ever really attracted by those pics but I'll be damned if pinky didn't pop up anyway for a look. Surely it must be a purely voluntary thing, right? Here's let's preform an experiment;
...huh, nothing. Odd. Let's try something else.
"GO, GO, GADGET GIGGLE STICK!"
Well I'll be damned...nothing. Okay, one more.
"PENOR! I CHOOSE YOU!"
Well shit...maybe it's not voice activated. Maybe it's touch activated. Let's see, they call it a Belly Button, maybe if I press it I can trigger the Cock Up ability...surely that's the key. Hmm...no, nothing. Well, I kinda gotta pee now. Oh, wait, what's this?
Experts say it is physically possible for a man to be raped by a woman, or, put another way, to get an erection without wanting to have sex.
"Teenagers, in particular, often have an uncontrollable genital response," says Debby Herbenick, a research scientist in sexual health at Indiana University and author of Because It Feels Good.
"Many men, for example, recall getting erections when they felt scared, angry, or even nervous — like having to go up to the chalkboard to write out a math problem," she said. "And certainly seeing someone naked could lead them to get an erection."
Well, fuck me sideways. You mean a cock coming up isn't always within the man's ability to control? Why, shocking! Scandalous! Unheard of! That time I got hard looking at the tile in the bathroom wasn't because of some involuntary bodily function that just happened to strike when I was washing my hands, it was because that tile was trying to seduce me! It's nothing but a white hexagonal hussy, I tell you! Or, maybe, just maybe, guys get hard for no fucking reason, so it's not a stretch to see a guy can get it up when someone's pawing at his crotch, even if he doesn't really want to. Still want to debate it? Let's see the fucking definition of rape:
1 [reyp] IPA noun, verb, raped, rap·ing.
1. the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.
3. statutory rape.
4. an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.
5. Archaic . the act of seizing and carrying off by force.
verb (used with object)
6. to force to have sexual intercourse.
7. to plunder (a place); despoil.
8. to seize, take, or carry off by force.
verb (used without object)
9. to commit rape.
1250–1300; (v.) Middle English rapen < Anglo-French raper < Latin rapere to seize, carry off by force, plunder; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French ra ( a ) p ( e ), derivative of raper
Okay, okay, so, why didn't he fight back? Well...
What happened in the weeks after the miscarriage, and specifically on the night of Jan. 6, 2006, is where the couple's stories begin to diverge. Kris told his version at a child support hearing in Brooksville in 2010. Jessica was not present.
Kris testified he wasn't ready to be a father. And the doctor told them Jessica would now be particularly fertile, so they decided to avoid sex.
On Jan. 6, 2006, Jessica and Kris fought and she broke up with him again. He was in love, he said, and he begged her not to leave him. So she invited him to her church youth group meeting that night.
Their friends drove, but the church was closed, so they headed to Hudson Beach in Pasco County. The other couple went for a walk.
Kris and Jessica sat in the back seat. He said he was looking out the window at the smooth water when she got on top of him and said: "You know you want me."
The passenger seat in front of him was tilted back at a 45-degree angle. She used one arm to pin him down, he said, the other to unzip his pants. At the time, he said, he was 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds and she was heavier.
"At any time do you make a statement to her about you will not have sexual intercourse with her?" asked his lawyer, Kerry O'Connor, at the hearing.
"I told her, 'No, I do not want this.' And that's when she said, 'It's going to happen.' "
"And did you specifically use the word 'no'? "
"Absolutely . . . several times."
He said he tried to push Jessica off. He said he tried to pull the door handle to open the car door. He said she slammed her hand over the lock. He said it was over pretty fast.
He got out of the car, sat on the tailgate with his head in his hands. Their friends returned and he said nothing. They dropped him at his house.
Okay, sure, but why didn't he go to the cops? Well...
Did you go to the police immediately? his lawyer asked.
"No, I did not," he responded. Kris said he called the Sheriff's Office a few weeks later and spoke to a deputy. The deputy seemed to doubt him but said he would follow up. He never did and neither did Kris.
"At this point, I was a senior in high school. I didn't want to lose respect amongst friends. I was in a respected position in JROTC. I didn't want to lose that. I didn't want any kind of unwanted attention drawn to me."
Now, I feel I must provide a little background as to the effects of rape on men. I could paraphrase an articlefrom the National Center for Victims of Crime, but for fear of botching it up, I'll simply quote it;
It is not uncommon for a male rape victim to blame himself for the rape, believing that he in some way gave permission to the rapist (Brochman, 1991). Male rape victims suffer a similar fear that female rape victims face -- that people will believe the myth that they may have enjoyed being raped. Some men may believe they were not raped or that they gave consent because they became sexually aroused, had an erection, or ejaculated during the sexual assault. These are normal, involuntary physiological reactions. It does not mean that the victim wanted to be raped or sexually assaulted, or that the survivor enjoyed the traumatic experience. Sexual arousal does not necessarily mean there was consent.
According to Groth, some assailants may try to get their victim to ejaculate because for the rapist, it symbolizes their complete sexual control over their victim's body. Since ejaculation is not always within conscious control but rather an involuntary physiological reaction, rapists frequently succeed at getting their male victims to ejaculate. As Groth and Burgess have found in their research, this aspect of the attack is extremely stressful and confusing to the victim. In misidentifying ejaculation with orgasm, the victim may be bewildered by his physiological response during the sexual assault and, therefore, may be discouraged from reporting the assault for fear his sexuality may become suspect (Groth & Burgess, 1980).
Another major concern facing male rape victims is society's belief that men should be able to protect themselves and, therefore, it is somehow their fault that they were raped. The experience of a rape may affect gay and heterosexual men differently. Most rape counselors point out that gay men have difficulties in their sexual and emotional relationships with other men and think that the assault occurred because they are gay, whereas straight men often begin to question their sexual identity and are more disturbed by the sexual aspect of the assault than the violence involved (Brochman, 1991).
To say it simply, there are many factors as to why this wasn't investigated; not the least of which was being met with disbelief by the fucking authorities. There's also the very real feeling that he not only wouldn't be taken seriously by others (as was evidenced by the sheriff and his own fucking father) but the real chance of facing ridicule from his peers, a possible own engrained belief of his own in the old Men-Can't-Be-Raped bullshit among other things. To be honest, after all this, I find it amazing that not only could he move on, but have gotten married to a woman with two kids of her own. And he's trying to support them on about $21K a year.
And now he's being hit with an order from another state to pay child support to his attacker.