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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift

True That ...! 
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Today in History

Today in History
991 Danes under Olaf Tryggvason kill Ealdorman Brihtnoth and defeat the Saxons at Maldon.
1492 Rodrigo Borgia is elected to the papacy as Pope Alexander VI.
1792 A revolutionary commune is formed in Paris, France.
1856 A band of rampaging settlers in California kill four Yokut Indians. The settlers had heard unproven rumors of Yokut atrocities.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln appoints Union General Henry Halleck to the position of general in chief of the Union Army.
1904 German General Lothar von Trotha defeats the Hereros tribe near Waterberg, South Africa.
1906 In France, Eugene Lauste receives the first patent for a talking film.
1908 Britain's King Edward VII meets with Kaiser Wilhelm II to protest the growth of the German navy.
1912 Moroccan Sultan Mulai Hafid abdicates his throne in the face of internal dissent.
1916 The Russia army takes Stanislau, Poland, from the Germans.
1929 Babe Ruth hits his 500th major league home run against the Cleveland Indians.
1941 Soviet bombers raid Berlin but cause little damage.
1942 The German submarine U-73 attacks a Malta-bound British convoy and sinks HMS Eagle, one of the world's first aircraft carriers.
1944 German troops abandon Florence, Italy, as Allied troops close in on the historic city.
1965 A small clash between the California Highway Patrol and two black youths sets off six days of rioting in the Watts area of Los Angeles.
1972 The last U.S. ground forces withdraw from Vietnam.
1975 US vetoes admission of North and South Vietnam to UN.
1978 Funeral of Pope Paul VI.
1984 Carl Lewis wins four Olympic gold medals, tying the record Jesse Owens set in 1936.
1988 Al Qaeda formed at a meeting in Peshawar, Pakistan.
1989 Voyager 2 discovers two partial rings around Neptune.
1990 Troops from Egypt and Morocco arrive in Saudi Arabia as part of the international operation to prevent Iraq from invading.
1999 A tornado in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, kills one person.
2003 Temperatures rise to 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius); over 140 people die in the heat wave.
2003 NATO assumes command of the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, its first major operation outside Europe.

Non Sequitur

Daily Comic Relief
The truth hurts

Did you know ...

Did You Know ...
That the LA county repugican cabal director arrested for sending sexually-explicit messages to under-age girl

That Pennsylvanian insurers want to join Obamacare exchanges

That nurses explain Obamacare in 90 seconds

All the while the big lie goes after Obamacare

Want to Annoy repugicans?

Lunatic Fringe 

Show Them This…

Every once in a while I like to use what I call “fun facts to tick off repugicans.”  Just a few facts that conservatives might argue with, yet can’t really counter without looking foolish.
I highly encourage all liberals to share this with their wingnut friends.  Then watch as they haplessly try and argue against each comment.
Here we go:
  • Nowhere in our Constitution does it say we’re a christian nation.
  • In fact, no where in our Constitution does the word “christian” appear even once.
  • Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion—it also doesn’t specify any particular religion.
  • The 2nd Amendment actually refers to a “well regulated militia.”  While it says the right for Americans to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, the phrase “well regulated” obviously infers that this right doesn’t come without regulations.
  • Our Constitution doesn’t mention anything about our nation having to be based on pure Capitalism.
  •  A corporation is an entity, not a person, and our Constitution wasn’t created to protect the rights to entities—they have none.
  • Education is more important than national defense.  What’s the point of a strong national defense if there’s nothing worth defending?
  • There are far more poor and middle class Americans than rich.  If you continue building a society based on taking from the many to benefit the few, then we’re not going to have a nation much longer.
  • Rich people didn’t become rich by giving away their money, Trickle Down Economics is the biggest con our country has ever seen.
  • Decades ago we all paid a much higher tax percentage,  and our economic policies protected the people more than businesses.  During these times our nation saw historic growth and unheard of economic prosperity.  None of that was done by basing our policies on giving more to the rich.
  • Perhaps most news seems liberally biased because your news sources refuse to report facts.
  • Being muslim doesn’t mean someone isn’t America -. islam is a religion, not a nationality.
  • The shrub actually did double our national debt, President Obama has not.
  • The shrub also inherited a balanced budget.  It was his tax cuts and unfunded wars which sent us back into budget deficits.
  • Social Security and Medicare is socialism—and millions of repugican voters benefit from, and receive, these benefits.
  • Health insurance is you paying for another person’s health care—in fact all insurance is you paying for someone else.
  • We had record oil prices under the shrub, not Obama.
  • The “Great Recession” started in 2008, while Obama took office January 20, 2009—you know, after the recession started.
  • If Obama is the cause of our economic problems, why do repugicans avoid, at all costs, being associated with the shrub?
I’ll stop there, though I really could go on for much longer—guess I’ll just have to make another one to annoy repugicans another time.
But I would encourage everyone to take this and share it around, I promise it will annoy the hell out of any conservative who reads it.
And as angry as it might make them, the fun part begins as you watch them try to invent something “factual” to respond with.

Twelve Ridiculous Anti-Woman Myths From The Dark Ages That Wingnuts STILL Believe

Lunatic Fringe
by T. Steelman 
Some of the same sexist beliefs about women have been around for thousands of years.
Have you ever been reading or watching a report about a conservative man who said something so incredibly backwards  that you swore he was living in the Dark Ages? Well, you’re not so very far from wrong. The Dark Ages were dark partly because education was discouraged and science was suspect, leading to some astoundingly silly things being taken for fact. Like, for example, that the heart was the seat of intelligence. Or that frogs spontaneously generated from mud. As fun as those sort of ideas are to explore, this article will be dealing with beliefs about that strange and inscrutable being: Woman.
Medical knowledge has become so easily obtained nowadays that it’s hard to imagine not knowing things like what the kidneys do or that penicillin kills bacteria. Heck, bacteria weren’t even known until comparatively recently. Before the 19th century, it was believed that contagious diseases spread through bad air or “seeds.” What we know today built upon discoveries of different cultures and scientists, over the growth of human civilization.
Throughout most of history, vivisection of the human body for educational purposes was at least, frowned up and, at worst, a cardinal sin. So learning about the body was a slow process. But we did learn, so there is no excuse for anyone, least of all doctors, to be so archaic in their knowledge of the human female. As we will see, these beliefs are sometimes very ancient and so very, very wrong.
Ignorance is bliss… for the Cult: The ancient world was actually doing a pretty good job of discovering how our bodies work. Eastern doctors practiced Ayurveda, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Two Alexandrian surgeons, using criminals as subjects, did the first vivisections. But all of that knowledge vanished with the advent of organized christianity, as the campaign of keeping knowledge from the people got into full swing. Keeping the masses ignorant was how the cult controlled them. One particular subject of attack were midwives: they were seen as a challenge to the authority of the cult (they were female and educated, you see) so, as much as possible, they were marginalized, even killed. With them went the only real knowledge of how women’s bodies worked. If this fear and loathing of powerful women sounds familiar, you’ve probably watched Faux News recently.
One reason wingnut men are okay with rape: As far back as the second century it was believed that a woman’s “seed” was necessary for reproduction, and that if a woman did not achieve an orgasm during sexual intercourse, there could be no “seed” produced and, hence, no pregnancy. While this had some clear advantages for women, it is demonstrably untrue and it has left a lingering belief that pregnancy cannot result from rape. This idea was put forward most recently by Todd Akin. You knew it was backward, but probably not that it was that backward!
From woman-centered to male-centered, just the way they like it: Most ancient societies were matrilineal, passing titles and properties down through the female line. Because the role of the male was not understood then, there was no other way to be certain of who you were related to save through one’s mother. In those days, women instigated relationships, married who they liked and divorced them at will. They decided when to have another child, holding it off by nursing one child for up to several years. Once men discovered that they had a hand (so to speak) in procreation, they began to flip how society worked.  In patriarchal societies, women are treated as lesser beings, their female functions – what made them women – were demonized and vilified. Just ask Lush Dimbulb.
Men became more important to the fetus: Men, it was now taught, gave the child its soul with his seed. Women were nothing more than the fertile field in which he sowed it. To this end, women were considered the gatekeepers of “morality,” and it fell to them to keep suitors at bay. Rather than making men responsible for exercising self-control, women were expected to be modest and never lead a man on. That her very presence was considered to be a seduction was her problem. We see this attitude, still, in the rape-friendly atmosphere that is so prevalent in our country. Blame the victim is still, sadly, the default setting for most wingnut men like Swill O’Really.
Women must feel an emotional connection to enjoy sex: There is a persistent myth that women – but not men – must be in an emotionally fulfilling relationship in order to enjoy sex. Even though this has been scientifically disproved with regularity, this idea that women and men are inherently different in regards to sex and love refuses to die. Part of this myth is that women are “naturally monogamous.” One has only to look back to those ancient societies to see that this is false. But wingnut men want it to be true so they cling to and keep repeating the myth, maybe hoping that if they say it enough it will suddenly be true. The idea here, is to discourage women from enjoying casual sex while freeing men to stick it wherever they want, whenever they want.
Ignorance of the female body was the norm: Until the 18th century, the process of pregnancy, including conception and childbirth, was surrounded with some pretty stupid ideas when seen through today’s lens. First of all, women were seen as inferior: in every aspect, men were naturally better. Women were “cold” whereas men were “warm,” which was viewed as the better way to be. Women were considered to be so cold that they could not extrude a penis, which would instead inverse itself to become a vagina.
Understanding of the uterus was next to nil: The uterus was believed to wander around the body, becoming quite vexed if it were not used for its proper purpose which was, of course, childbearing (but not sexual pleasure, NEVER that). It was even thought to have two (or more) chambers: cold ones where females gestated and warm ones where the males grew. Conception was known to arise from intercourse, but the mechanics of it were unknown for a relatively long time. The man’s seed, as previously mentioned, was what gave a child its soul. But it was on the woman to grow the child – if she miscarried or the child was stillborn, it was never even considered that the man might be to blame. As the Rh factor was unknown until the 20th century, there are hundreds of generations of women who were falsely blamed for these occurrences. In some circles, they still are. After all, a man that can’t conceive isn’t a “man” in our society. To be fair, this isn’t strictly a left/right problem but the right is more concerned with “manliness.”
Do modern wingnut men believe in magic?: As we learned earlier, it was believed that men gave the fetus its soul with his semen, which brings up an interesting theory about the wingnut antipathy towards abortion. Ancient men thought that anything that had been a part of him could be used to practice dark magic against him. Hair, fingernails, spittle, urine and, yes, semen, were considered to have a psychic link to their owners. Sympathetic magic used these personal items to cause harm to the owner. The current underlying fear of abortion may very well be a vestige of this primitive belief. It also has the delightful bonus feature of painting women as predatory, even on a subconscious level.
During the Dark Ages, and ever since then, women were considered property: They were defined by their relationships to men (flipping the ancient matrilineal code on its head). Their father, husband or even brother could make demands of her and she was bound to obey. Most marriages were arranged, even in the lower classes. A wife had no separate legal status apart from her being married to her husband. Women, with few exceptions, could not participate in public life, politics or the justice system (unless she was the accused). A woman was pretty much expected to stay at home, keep house and have kids. Especially the latter, as the interpretation of Genesis 3:16 (and other parts of that book) was that women were compelled to have as many children as they could, even at the cost of her or the children’s welfare. This is still the way some men feel.
Misogyny was taught by the Cult: The cult was, in fact, the source of most of the misogyny that went on until very recently – unless you’re a certain kind of conservative man, then it’s still going on. Priests told women that they should be under their husband’s foot, acquiescing to him in all matters. She could not initiate sex but she could never deny it to her husband. She could never accuse her husband of rape even if he used violence and forced her to have sex. It was believed that, because of the frequent physical abuse, a woman could never really love her husband. In a way, women were sex slaves, no matter who they were or their social status. Young, single girls and widows were the only women who were exempt from this subjugation. For most women, though, her body was not her own.
Women’s children didn’t belong to them: They were even told that their children were god’s and not really hers. Is it any wonder, then, that unwanted babies were left by the thousands at cult-run hospitals and foundling homes? And what do you think they did with those babies? They killed them. The death rates at foundling homes were as high as 90%. But that was okay – as long as it was men who were making that decision. It is still this way with wingnuts. They may not be doing the deed with their own hands, but they are certainly doing it with their policies.
Women should suffer: The cult also taught that women sinned more than men, so her suffering was deserved. She should be unhappy and bring forth children in pain. The latter was one reason Victorian and Edwardian doctors refused to give women ether or chloroform when they became available: god said that women should suffer, so no remedy for her pain was offered. Today’s wingnut men heap humiliation on the pain, forcing women to have unnecessary procedures and treating them like children who must have their decisions made for them. That’s actually how women used to be classified for legal purposes: right there with minors and idiots. And that’s how certain men still see women.
When John Adams was working with the Continental Congress on plans to govern the new nation they had created, his wife, Abigail, wrote to him:
“…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
While her husband may have considered her words, his colleagues did not. It wasn’t until 1920 that American woman were allowed to have that voice. After that, women began to make headway against the archaic and misogynistic laws and attitudes that kept us under the thumb of our opposite gender. Many men help us with our struggle. But there are some men, most of them wingnut and repugican, who still think like their ancestors did. They would love it if they could go back to controlling women: their lives, their status, their bodies. Which means we have to fight harder and remain vigilant. Returning to the Dark Ages is a terribly bad idea.

Just What Exactly Do repugicans Stand For?

Lunatic Fringe
Trying to figure out exactly what the repugican cabal stands for has been something I’ve pondered for quite a while.
If you listen to their rhetoric, the answer is easy.  However, looking at reality, it completely contradicts nearly everything they say they support.
They don’t stand for freedom, as they continue to support legislation that denies basic freedoms for homosexuals, women and people who follow religions other than christianity.
They don’t stand for small government, as they’ve recently supported constitutional amendments that define marriage and redefine what constitutes being an American citizen.  Not to mention they were the party which orchestrated one of the most intrusive piece of legislation our nation has ever seen—the Patriot Act.
They don’t stand for a fiscally conservative government, especially considering there has yet to be a single repugican president since Eisenhower, who served from 1953-1961, who has balanced the budget.  In fact, every repugican president since Eisenhower didn’t just increase our deficits— they set records for growth in our national debt.
They don’t stand for christian values, because jesus christ stood for love, hope, compassion, acceptance, helping those less fortunate than ourselves, not judging others and forgiveness—traits which the repugican Party seems to strongly oppose.
They don’t support of our military, as repugican presidents have frequently sent our military into pointless wars where hundreds of thousands have been killed, or severely wounded to the point where they will suffer from these disabilities for the rest of their lives.
They don’t stand for constitutional values, as they frequently support violating those constitutionally-upheld laws which they disagree with.
It’s really easy to come up with a nice slogan, some rhetoric or a tagline that sounds good—hell anyone can do it.   But I was always taught that actions speak louder than words.
In one breath wingnuts say they’re for a fiscally conservative small government which protects our freedoms, yet their actions completely contradict that.
So looking at those actions, I really don’t have a clue what it is these people believe in.

McCrony claims NC education budget largest in history

Lunatic Fringe 

Among other lies ...

 by Lindsay Wagner 
McCrory ed summit 
Gov. Pat McCrony unveiled his latest vision for public education this morning at the NC Chamber of Commerce’s Education Summit. The plan includes a $30 million “Education Innovation Fund” that would come from federal Race to the Top grant money and a call to reduce excessive testing.
McCrony also reiterated his belief that funding for North Carolina’s public education system was not cut in the budget he signed into law last week.
Beginning with an assertion that protestors and newspaper writers are wrong about the facts around the education budget, McCrony said that “at $7.8 billion, this is the largest K-12 budget in North Carolina’s history.”
Actually, that’s not at all an accurate representation of what the education budget looks like.
As I reported previously, North Carolina spent $7,714,429,569 on K-12 public education in the 2008 fiscal year budget — the last budget to be adopted prior to the onset of the Great Recession. But when you adjust those numbers for inflation, that amount would be $8,402,393,062 in today’s dollars.
At a total of $7,867,960,649, the 2014 fiscal year budget will spend $535 million less than the 2008 inflation-adjusted budget. And the 2014 budget fails to keep up with the needs of a growing student population. The Office of State Budget and Management estimates that $7,984,924,757 is actually needed to maintain current service levels of education.
So while the 2014 budget would spend more than the previous year’s budget in absolute dollars, the appropriation isn’t enough, even under the estimates of the Governor’s own budget office, to maintain services at FY2013 levels.
Gov. McCrony also repeated a claim he made as he signed his tax reform package into law that teachers making between $40,000 and $45,000 annually will actually get 1% of their earnings back, thanks to tax reform.
But according to tables that accompanied the tax reform bill, citizens don’t get a 1% tax break until they have a household income of $250,000.
McCrony also said that teachers are not able to get raises in this budget because of high Medicaid costs. He did not address the fact, however, that state revenue availability was reduced by $684 million over the biennium as the result of tax cut package he signed into law.
When talking about the state of teacher pay, McCrony said that North Carolina ranked “in the 40′s” in 2010, just as we do now.
Again, however, this does not comport with the facts. North Carolina actually ranked 27th in teacher pay in 2005-06 and has dropped to 46th in the nation in less than 10 years.
Governor McCrony took no questions at the conclusion of his remarks.

Texas Clarifies That It Discriminates Against Democratic Voters — Not Minorities

Lunatic Fringe 
rick perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry
The state of Texas has a pretty amusing response to Attorney General Eric Holder's claims that the state's redistricting plans discriminate against minority voters.
DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the repugican cabal’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a repugican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.
Election law expert Rick Hasen posted this paragraph from Texas' 54-page response filed in Texas federal court on his blog with the comment "Only in America."
Holder has asked the court to force Texas to get permission from the Justice Department before it makes any changes to its election laws. Texas has intentionally redrawn its Congressional districts to dilute the Hispanic vote, according to the Justice Department.
Holder's move to stop the redistricting comes after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which automatically required Texas and eight other states to get that permission.
The Supreme Court struck down Section 4, which determined the "coverage formula" that specified which states are subject to so-called pre-clearance requirements. Holder is suing under a lesser-known provision of the VRA that lets courts step in and subject a state to pre-clearance requirements if it discriminated against minority voters on purpose.
Holder's "bold move" to use that provision could backfire by angering repugicans and destroying any chance that Congress will step in to come up with a new coverage formula to give the VRA its teeth back, Hasen wrote in The National Law Journal.

Scott Walker Forced to Back Down and Not Arrest People for Watching Wisconsin Protest

Lunatic Fringe
After threatening to arrest people for watching a protest at the Wisconsin capitol, a severe public backlash has forced Gov. Scott Walker to back down.
In the video, a Wisconsin state trooper can be seen and heard walking around while the solidarity sing along takes place telling spectators that they could be arrested for watching the protest. A group of tourists from Pennsylvania were warned that they faced arrest if they continued to watch the protest. Several people responded to the troopers warning with shock and ask the question, “For watching?”
After word of Scott Walker’s latest attempt to bully his opponents got around, a backlash was triggered that caused Wisconsin officials to announce that they will not be arresting people for watching the protest.
What this crackdown is really about is bad publicity. Gov. Walker wants to run for the repugican nomination in 2016. He and his fellow repugicans thought that they could bully both the protesters and spectators into making this protest go way. After all, the last thing Walker needs when the national media come to town to profile his candidacy is a bunch of singing protesters calling attention to how terrible his agenda has been for the state.
Walker doesn’t care that arresting observers would be a gross violation of the First Amendment. He cares even less that those arrests would have resulted in a massive lawsuit, which he would have lost. The only thing Scott Walker and his repugican cronies care about is getting their college dropout governor ready for his 2016 presidential campaign.
In Scott Walker’s America, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to dissent. Gov. Walker would arrest every protester and observer and throw them in prison if he could because that’s how corporate funded Koch backed dictators like him rule. In the governor’s mind, the people only have the rights that he chooses to grant.
The most frightening thing of all is that Scott Walker is one of the biggest threats to democracy and liberty in this country, and he wants to be your next president.

The wingnuts never rest ...

Lunatic Fringe

Seven Outrageous Stories

It may be the dog days of summer, but the wingnuts never rest. Here’s seven of the most outrageous stories from just this week.

The repugican cabal LOVES government

Lunatic Fringe 

NSA captures Americans’ Internet content if it mentions overseas suspects

Nations Behaving Badly
The New York Times confirms a broad data dragnet with intel officials.
John Inglis, deputy director of the National Security Agency
According to a new report by The New York Times, the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting content—not just the previously acknowledged metadata—of Americans who simply “mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.”
The Times says that mention of this practice first appeared in Snowden documents published by The Guardian on June 20, but was “largely overlooked.”
The Times wrote:
To conduct the surveillance, the NSA is temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border. The senior intelligence official, who, like other former and current government officials, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said the NSA makes a “clone of selected communication links” to gather the communications, but declined to specify details, like the volume of the data that passes through them.
This is along the lines of what Ars has reported before: the NSA is capturing vast swaths of unencrypted HTTP traffic at sites that span the entire world. However, due to storage limitations, it seems that it can only keep that data for relatively short periods of time. As we described earlier, it would be nearly impossible for the NSA to store things for an extended period of time—one leaked slide says that for a single 30-day period in 2012, the data included “at least 41 billion total records.”
The new revelations appear to confirm that the NSA has broad surveillance parameters for “targets” that seem to include Americans, too. It also appears that intelligence officials are dancing around what the word “target” means.
In June 2013, at a House Intelligence Committee hearing, John Inglis, the deputy director of the NSA, said, “We do not target the content of US person communications without a specific warrant anywhere on the Earth.”
“There is an ambiguity in the law about what it means to ‘target’ someone,” Timothy Edgar, now a visiting fellow at Brown University, told the Times. Edgar formerly served as director of privacy and civil liberties for the White House National Security Staff and was a former national security attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“You can never intentionally target someone inside the United States," he added. "Those are the words we were looking at. We were most concerned about making sure the procedures only target communications that have one party outside the United States.”
As the Times reported:
The rule they ended up writing, which was secretly approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, says that the NSA must ensure that one of the participants in any conversation that is acquired when it is searching for conversations about a targeted foreigner must be outside the United States, so that the surveillance is technically directed at the foreign end.
Civil libertarians and privacy scholars have already begun their vocal protests.
“This is precisely the kind of generalized spying that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director, in a statement.
“The government's scrutiny of virtually every international e-mail sent by Americans will have extraordinary consequences for free expression. Americans will inevitably hesitate to discuss controversial topics, visit politically sensitive websites, or interact with foreigners with dissenting views. By injecting the NSA into virtually every cross-border interaction, the US government will forever alter what has always been an open exchange of ideas.”

DHS ‘Constitution Free’ Zones Inside US Ignored By Media

Nations Behaving Badly
policestateIn what should be front page news blasted out nationwide as a breaking news alert, the DHS has openly established extensive ‘Constitution free zones’ in which your Fourth Amendment does not exist. 

It’s not ‘conspiracy’ and it’s not fraud, the DHS has literally created an imaginary ‘border’ within the United States that engulfs 100 miles from every single end of the nation. Within this fabricated ‘border’, the DHS can search your electronic belongings for no reason. We’re talking about no suspicion, no reasonable cause, nothing. No reason whatsoever is required under their own regulations. The DHS is now above the Constitution under their own rules, and even Wired magazine authors were amazed at the level of pure tyranny going on here.
This ‘border’ even includes where the US land meets oceans in addition to legitimate borders with Mexico and Canada. As a result, you have over 197 million citizens suffocated in these 100 mile ‘border zones’ that include major cities like New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Checkout the graphic below for a visual representation, with the orange area representing the Constitution free zone as designated by the DHS:
An ACLU image showing 'Constitution free border zones'.
What’s even more amazing, is that this has been going on since 2008. That’s about 5 years of absolute unconstitutional abuse of power by the Department of Homeland Security that the media fails to even document. That’s 197 million citizens living without a Constitution as far as the DHS is concerned, and apparently the Department of Justice (DOJ) must be pretty content too. Amazingly, no one has challenged this besides the ACLU, which was contacted following the case of a man who was actually detained within the 100 mile ‘border’ area.
Not only was this man’s laptop searched for no reason, as is ‘allowed’ under DHS code now, but they ended up finding pictures designated to be linked up with ‘terrorist’ groups. In response, the man was thrown in a cell while DHS agents went through every piece of data on his entire laptop. The ACLU is now suing over this event, but there’s no telling how the case will go with such limited media exposure. The DHS is literally gutting the Constitution and declaring itself higher than the law of the land by doing this, and it spells out major trouble for the entire Bill of Rights at large.
Because if the DHS can simply ‘overrule’ the Fourth Amendment for 197 million citizens, it can also ‘overrule’ the First and Second Amendments as well. What’s stopping them? It’s highly illegal under the Constitution, but it appears they truly don’t care. And to demonstrate just how little they truly care, they have even gone and ‘reviewed’ themselves for their own actions following outcry from some legal experts.
To break it down: back in 2008 there was outrage from those who actually value the Constitution and understand how the bloated DHS entity works, so the DHS promised to prove within 120 days that what they were doing was constitutional and legal. Years later, the report came out to reveal that the DHS actually reviewed itself and determined that it was acting 100% properly. It also founds that everything it was doing was ‘constitutional’ because it was not actually removing the Constitution from United States soil, only the ‘border’.
The ‘border’ that expands 100 miles and includes 197 million people.
This news should be on the front page of every single news organization in the world, but the sad reality is that it’s not. It’s up to the alternative news, the real news, to report on this. It’s up to me to make videos about this, it’s up to the alternative news to syndicate it out, and it’s up to you to share this. It’s time to reclaim our Constitution and tell the DHS we won’t live in Constitution free zones any longer.

Fifteen things everyone would know if there were a liberal media

Did You Know ...
Prince Riebus (and apparently many others) still thinks there's a liberal media.
While I share Prince's frustration with the media, as a liberal, I'd like to go on record and state that the media isn't focusing on issues I care about. They seem to be far more focused on entertainment and making money.
Don't believe me?
 photo liberal_media_zps197d95d2.jpg
If you know anyone who still believes in a "liberal media," here's 15 things everyone would know if there really were a "liberal media" (inspired by Jeff Bezos' purchase of The Washington Post):
1. Where the jobs went.
2.  Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.
3. ALEC.
4. The number of people in prison. 
5. The number of black people in prison.
6. U.S. health care costs are the highest in the world..
7. Glass-Steagall.
8. Gerrymandering.
9. The number of bills blocked by Republicans in Congress.
10. The Citizens' United Supreme Court decision
11. Nixon’s Southern Strategy.
12. Tax cuts primarily benefit the wealthy.
13. What's happening to the bees?.
14. The impact of temporary workers on our economy.
15. Media consolidation

What to make of this
If the media were "liberal," it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.
More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government's role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.
What you’re more likely to see in the media, however, are stories designed to get you to buy their paper, or watch their show, or listen to their radio station. If it bleeds, it leads. This is why the media is concerned with scandal, celebrities, gossip, and fear.
If anything, our news consists of paid advertisements and outlets too scared of offending anyone to publish much of substance. Investigative journalism is also expensive; entertainment is cheap.
The way this corporate media behaves may not be surprising. I apologize if you feel any of this is beating you over the head.
This Buzzfeed-style list wasn't intended to introduce this idea as new (others have done a much better job), but rather to highlight the sheer absurdity of a "liberal media" for an audience who may not see it.
One way to approach the topic is to simply ask: If we have a "liberal media," where are the liberal stories?

Read here for more details on the 15 items listed above.

Eight Ways Privatization Has Failed America

Did You Know ...
by Paul Buchheit
Some of America's leading news analysts are beginning to recognize the fallacy of the "free market." Said Ted Koppel, "We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another." Fareed Zakaria admitted, "I am a big fan of the free market...But precisely because it is so powerful, in places where it doesn't work well, it can cause huge distortions." They're right. A little analysis reveals that privatization doesn't seem to work in any of the areas vital to the American public.
Health Care
Our private health care system is by far the most expensive system in the developed world. Forty-two percent of sick Americans skipped doctor's visits and/or medication purchases in 2011 because of excessive costs. The price of common surgeries is anywhere from three to ten times higher in the U.S. than in Great Britain, Canada, France, or Germany. Some of the documented tales: a $15,000 charge for lab tests for which a Medicare patient would have paid a few hundred dollars; an $8,000 special stress test for which Medicare would have paid $554; and a $60,000 gall bladder operation, which was covered for $2,000 under a private policy.
As the examples begin to make clear, Medicare is more cost-effective. According to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, Medicare administrative costs are about one-third that of private health insurance. More importantly, our ageing population has been staying healthy. While as a nation we have a shorter life expectancy than almost all other developed countries, Americans covered by Medicare INCREASED their life expectancy by 3.5 years from the 1960s to the turn of the century.
Free-market health care has been taking care of the CEOs. Ronald DePinho, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, made $1,845,000 in 2012. That's over ten times as much as the $170,000 made by the federal Medicare Administrator in 2010. Stephen J. Hemsley, the CEO of United Health Group, made three hundred times as much, with most of his $48 million coming from stock gains.
A Citigroup economist gushed, "Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals."
A 2009 analysis of water and sewer utilities by Food and Water Watch found that private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services. A more recent study confirms that privatization will generally "increase the long-term costs borne by the public." Privatization is "shortsighted, irresponsible and costly."
Numerous examples of water privatization abuses or failures have been documented in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island -- just about anywhere it's been tried. Meanwhile, corporations have been making outrageous profits on a commodity that should be almost free. Nestle buys water for about 1/100 of a penny per gallon, and sells it back for ten dollars. Their bottled water is not much different from tap water.
Worse yet, corporations profit from the very water they pollute. Dioxin-dumping Dow Chemicals is investing in water purification. Monsanto has been accused of privatizing its own pollution sites in order to sell filtered water back to the public.
Internet, TV, and Phone
It seems the whole world is leaving us behind on the Internet. According to the OECD, South Korea has Internet speeds up to 200 times faster than the average speed in the U.S., at about half the cost. Customers are charged about $30 a month in Hong Kong or Korea or parts of Europe for much faster service than in the U.S., while triple-play packages in other countries go for about half of our Comcast or AT&T charges.
Bloomberg notes that deregulators in the 1990s anticipated a market-based decline in phone and cable bills, an "invisible hand" that would steer competing companies to lower prices for all of us. Verizon and AT&T and Comcast and Time-Warner haven't let it happen.
As Republicans continue to deride public transportation as 'socialist' and 'Soviet-style,' China surges ahead with a plan to create the world's most advanced high-speed rail transport network. Government-run high-speed rail systems have been successful in numerous other countries, and England and Brazil both lament industry privatization.
As a warning to wannabe Post Office privatizers, Greyhound and Trailways once provided service to remote locations in America, but deregulation intervened. The bus companies eliminated unprofitable routes, and cutbacks and salary decreases, all in the name of optimal profits, resulted in drivers working up to 100 hours a week -- a fact to consider any time each of us ride the bus.
With privatization comes automatic rate increases. Chicago surrendered its parking meters for 75 years and almost immediately faced a doubling of parking rates. California's experiments with roadway privatization resulted in cost overruns, public outrage, and a bankruptcy; equally disastrous was the state's foray into electric power privatization. In Pennsylvania, an analysis of school busing by the Keystone Research Center concluded that "Contracting out substantially increases state spending on transportation services."
The industry is bloated with deceit and depravity. Almost all of the big names have taken part. Goldman Sachs designed mortgage packages to lose money for everyone except Goldman. Countrywide and Wells Fargo targeted Blacks and Hispanics for unaffordable subprime loans. HSBC Bank laundered money for Mexican drug cartels. GE Capital skimmed billions of dollars from its customers. Dozens of hedge fund managers have been guilty of insider trading. Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase hid billions of dollars of bonuses and losses and loans from investors. Banks fixed interest rates in the LIBOR scandal. They illegally foreclosed on millions of homeowners in the robo-signing scandal.
Matt Taibbi explained to us how financial malfeasance led to the bubbles in dot-com stocks and housing and oil prices and commodities that extract trillions of dollars away from society.
This is all the result of free-market deregulated private business. The best-known public bank, on the other hand, is the Bank of North Dakota, which remains profitable while serving small business and the public at low cost relative to the financial industry.
One would think it a worthy goal to rehabilitate prisoners and gradually empty the jails. But business is too good. With each prisoner generating up to $40,000 a year in revenue, it has apparently made economic sense to put over two million people behind bars.
The need to fill privatized prisons has contributed to mass jailings for drug offenses, with African Americans, who make up 13% of the population, accounting for 53.5 percent of all persons who entered prison because of a drug conviction. Yet marijuana usage rates are about the same for Blacks and whites.
Studies show that private prisons perform poorly in numerous ways: prevention of intra-prison violence, jail conditions, rehabilitation efforts. Investigations in Ohio and New Jersey revealed a familiar pattern of money-saving cutbacks and worsening conditions.
The notion that charter schools outperform traditional public schools is not supported by the facts. An updated 2013 Stanford University CREDO study concluded that privatized schools were slightly better in reading and slightly worse in math, with little difference overall. Charter results have shown an improvement since 2009.
An independent study by Bold Approach found that "reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from...policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment."
Just as with prisons and hospitals, cost-saving business strategies apply to the privatization of our children's education. Charter school teachers have fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate. Non-teacher positions have insufficient retirement plans and health insurance, and much lower pay.
If big money has its way, our children may become high-tech symbols and objects. Bill Gates proposes quality control for the student assembly line, with video footage from the classrooms sent to evaluators to check off teaching skills.
Consumer Protection
Warning signs about unregulated privatization are becoming clearer and more deadly. The Texas fertilizer plant, where 14 people were killed in an explosion and fire, was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over 25 years ago. The U.S. Forest Service, stunned by the Prescott, Arizona fire that killed 19, was forced by the sequester to cut 500 firefighters. The rail disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec followed deregulation of Canadian railways.
Regulation is meant to protect all of us, but anti-government activists have worked hard to turn us against our own best interests. Among recommended Republican cuts is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which rescued hundreds of people after Hurricane Sandy while serving millions more with meals and water. In another ominous note for the future, the House passed the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, which would deny the Environmental Protection Agency the right to enforce the Clean Water Act.
Deregulation not only deprives Americans of protection, but it also endangers us with the persistent threat of corporate misconduct. As late as 2004 Monsanto had insisted that Agent Orange "is not the cause of serious long-term health effects." Dow Chemical, the co-manufacturer of Agent Orange, blamed the government. Halliburton pleaded guilty to destroying evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Cleanups cost much more than the fines imposed on offending companies, as government costs can run into the billions, or even tens of billions, of dollars.
People vs. Profits
As summed up by US News, "Private industry is not going to step in and save people from drowning, or help them rebuild their homes without a solid profit." In order to stay afloat as a nation we need each other, not savvy businesspeople who presume to tell us all how to be rich. We can't all be rich. We just want to keep from drowning.

Daily Comic Relief

Daily Comic Relief
It's all a matter of perspective

Turning the Tables on the Bank

News of the positive sort
Dmitry Argarkov of Voronezh, Russia, received a credit card offer from Tinkoff Credit Systems. He didn't like the terms spelled out in the contract, so he wrote up his own contract and sent it to the bank. Like most people confronted with a lot of small print, the bank didn't bother to read the contract and accepted it.
Mr Argarkov's version of the contract contained a 0pc interest rate, no fees and no credit limit. Every time the bank failed to comply with the rules, he would fine them 3m rubles (£58,716). If Tinkoff tried to cancel the contract, it would have to pay him 6m rubles.
When Argarkov went deep into debt and the bank tried to call in its usual fees, they ended up in court because Argarkov did not consider himself liable for fees not specified in the contract. And a judge agreed -Arkarov is only liable for the outstanding balance ($578), not the banks fees ($1,369). Next, Argarkov is suing to get the bank to pay HIM the penalties stated in the contract they signed. Good luck. More

Billionaire Buys Superyacht That Can Be Controlled By An iPad

Odds and Sods
Here's the latest plaything for the super-rich - a giant three-hulled yacht that cost £15million ($23 million) to make and would fit as comfortably in outer space as it would on the open sea. The 42.5metre-long Adastra is a floating pleasure palace equipped to entertain a billionaire with even the highest of standards.

She is the the new pet of Hong Kong-based shipping magnate Anto Marden and his wife Elaine, whose uses for her may include - among other things - gliding between the two tropical islands they already own off the coast of Indonesia.

Young lead singer forced to play gig outside at over-21 venue as rest of the band played inside

Odds and Sods
A lead singer refused entry to his own gig because he was too young made sure the show went on by playing along with his band from outside.
Andy Milad, 20, was shocked to find a strict over-21 door policy on turning up at a Chicago bar with his Michigan-based "Wayne Szalinski" bandmates last weekend. But instead of cancelling the concert, they decided to make the best of a bad situation.

Milad's microphone was hooked up to the sound system inside, so his singing and guitar playing could be heard by the audience watching Andrew Adams, Kurtis Roy and Nick Galli onstage. Milad said the four-piece was unaware of the bar's entry policy beforehand.

"It was hilarious to perform to the streets of Chicago and watch the faces of confused passerby," he said. "People came from inside the bar to watch as well. All in all, it turned out to be a fun and creative solution to the problem and certainly beat going home unpaid that night."

Burglars Return Loot To Group That Helps Sex Assault Victims

News of the positive sort
The note left behind by whoever took computers and other valuables from the offices of the San Bernadino County (Calif.) Sexual Assault Services. The goods were returned.
The note left behind by whoever took computers and other valuables from the offices of the San Bernadino County (Calif.) Sexual Assault Services. The goods were returned.

Let's start our day with a feel-good story:
The burglar (or burglars) who broke into the offices of the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sexual Assault Services on July 31 and stole several computers and monitors apparently had a change of heart after finding out that the people at the agency help victims of sexual violence.
The next night, someone returned the stolen goods and also left behind a note, as the and local news outlets report. The note's message:
"We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back. We hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in peoples live. God bless."
Candy Stallings, the center's director, thinks she knows who spread the word that led to the stolen goods' return. After the burglary, police talked with homeless people in the area around the center's offices — "explaining what our facility does and the services we provide to the community," she says. Stallings believes those homeless people then told others.
Los Angeles' KABC-TV . It adds that the agency "is still out $5,000 because of damage that they will have to raise themselves." The agency is looking for help in covering those costs. Its , and its .


Daily Comic Relief
The 'Such is Life' Edition

Ten Fascinating Facts About The Samurai

Did You Know ...
Samurai are legendary warriors and perhaps the most well-known class of people in ancient Japan. They were noble fighters that fought evil (and each other) with their swords and frightening armor, following a strict moral code that governed their entire life. That's the popular idea, anyway. In reality, there's much more to the samurai.

The 11 Nerdiest Jokes on Futurama and What They Mean

Odds and Sods
(Image: Fox)
Futurama is a funny show, but there's also a lot of good science in it. The Geek Twins, Maurice and Nigel Mitchell, rounded up 11 great jokes from that show that science and technology nerds will especially enjoy. For example, the episode "The Luck of the Fryish" includes a horse racing scene with a physics reference:
The Joke:  At a racetrack, they use a "quantum finish" to declare the winner. Professor Farnsworth complains, "No fair! You changed the outcome by measuring it!"
The Meaning: The "quantum finish" is about the observer effect. The observer effect means just watching something can change what's being watched. For example, in experiments, particles will literally change how they behave, depending on whether they're being watched. Farnsworth is protesting that watching the horse race changed the winner.

Death masks of famous scientists

Scientific Minds Want To Know
This is Isaac Newton's face, frozen in plaster and wax. It's one of two death masks owned by the Royal Society. (The other preserves the face of mathematician, physicist, and early-20th-century science communicator James Hopwood Jeans.) Why take plaster casts of the faces of the dead? The tradition dates back to the pre-photography era where, if you wanted to see what a person actually looked like, a cast (whether of their face in life, or death) was the most accurate way to do it.
The Royal Society has more on the history of death masks, and pictures of the two they own.