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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Daily Drift

America finally went insane ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   
For our British readers ... !
Today is  - Guy Fawkes Day
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Today in History

1219 The port of Damietta falls to the Crusaders after a siege.
1556 The Emperor Akbar defeats the Hindus at Panipat and secures control of the Mogul Empire.
1605 Guy Fawkes is betrayed and arrested in an attempt to blow up the British Parliament in the "Gunpowder Plot." Ever since, England has celebrated Guy Fawkes Day.
1653 The Iroquois League signs a peace treaty with the French, vowing not to wage war with other tribes under French protection.
1757 Frederick II of Prussia defeats the French at Rosbach in the Seven Years War.
1768 William Johnson, the northern Indian Commissioner, signs a treaty with the Iroquois Indians to acquire much of the land between the Tennessee and Ohio rivers for future settlement.
1814 Having decided to abandon the Niagara frontier, the American army blows up Fort Erie.
1840 Afghanistan surrenders to the British army.
1854 British and French defeat the Russians at Inkerman, Crimea.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln relieves General George McClellan of command of the Union armies and names Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside commander of the Army of the Potomac.
1872 Susan B. Anthony is arrested for trying to vote.
1911 Calbraith P. Rodgers ends first transcontinental flight–49 days from New York to Pasadena, Calif.
1912 Woodrow Wilson is elected 28th president of the United States.
1914 France and Great Britain declare war on Turkey.
1917 General John Pershing leads U.S. troops into the first American action against German forces.
1930 Sinclair Lewis becomes the first American to win a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel Babbit.
1935 Parker Brothers company launches "Monopoly," a game of real estate and capitalism.
1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt is re-elected for third term.
1968 Richard Nixon is elected 37th president of the United States.
1968 Shirley Chisholm of Brooklyn, New York, becomes the first elected African American woman to serve in the House of Representatives.
1995 Andre Dallaire's attempt to assassinate Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is foiled when the minister's wife locks the door.
2003 Gary Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer, pleads guilty to 48 counts of murder.
2006 Former president of Iraq Saddam Hussein, along with Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, is sentenced to death for the massacre of 148 Shi'a Muslims in 1982.
2007 Chang'e 1, China's first lunar satellite, begins its orbit of the moon.
2009 The deadliest mass shooting at a US military installation occurs at Fort Hood, Texas, when US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 and wounds 29.

Did you know ...

That the restaurant industry is rife with racism
That the tech industry is rife with sexism
And will the repugican cabal sweep?  Maybe, maybe not:  why polls tend to under-count Democrats
And even if there is, here's why a repugican senate may be short-lived
And it's time to rethink the war on terror
And the big bank backlash begins
And don't ask the pentagon where the money goes
Here's the true history of blowback in one (really long) sentence
That public transportation can spread diseases -- just not Ebola
That the earth just had its warmest twelve months in recorded history
And can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
And why Faux News viewers are the most mis-informed - it's science
Just how billionaires are  becoming their own political cabal
That the Sarah Palin's PAC spends most of its money on Sarah Palin
Just how much of your think pink breast cancer donation actually goes to research?
That the FBI and police jointly track "outside agitators"
And did austerity cause the Ebola crisis?
That Janet Yellen thinks income inequality is a danger that must be addressed
That both parties ignore the public
About wage theft, billionaires, and the rest of us
About touch screen voting machines flipping r to D, D to r, yes to no
That the rate of mass shootings has tripled since 2011
That White high school drop outs make more money than Black or Latino college graduates

42 rich white people account for 1/3 of Super PAC spending

35 of them are old white men, the rest are women. 
The unfettering of big money also makes it harder to elect minority candidates. “Why is it that the Congress we have right now doesn’t look anything like the rest of the country? A lot of it has to do with our campaign-finance laws and the fact that there’s so much money in the system and you need so much money to run for office,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program and the Brennan Center for Justice. “There’s no question that it makes it more difficult for people who aren’t connected to these very wealthy donors to run for office.”
Candidates raise money from people they know, Norden explained, and American social circles are deeply segregated. Three-quarters of white Americans, for example, don’t have any non-white friends. Neighborhoods remain segregated by race and class. “If you don’t have a lot of money to begin with, you’re not interacting with the people who can provide that money,” said Norden.

Watch this ABC News segment for classic illustration of media repugican bias

by Egberto Willies
Media silence just as bad as lying to Americans
This ABC News segment is a classic case of the traditional media’s repugican bias. The segment used the Iowa senatorial race between Bruce Braley (D-IA) and Joni Ernst (r-IA) as their weather-vane.
The media setup of how election is to be won
Voters in play for the 2014 election in these close races are the Walmart moms. Who are the Walmart moms? They are women with kids under eighteen who shop at Walmart at least once a month.
The interviews with the voters
ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega then interviews three potential voters, Walmart moms. She asked for the top three issues that concerned them most about the country. The answers are not astonishing. They are the economy (growth/unemployment), the price of gas and food (inflation), and healthcare.
The media biased narrative and journalistic fail
It would seem like an immediate follow up for those questions would be to ask them if they knew any of the following factual realities relative to their concerns. Comedian/satirist Bill Maher had no problem giving reality based information in less than a minute.
Cecilia Vega did not ask the question in the above context nor did she follow up with the facts. This should not be of any surprise however. It was NBC’s Chuck Todd who said rather nonchalantly basically insinuated that it was not the media’s responsibility to get truth out.
When one watches a news segment like this the subliminal messages carried are much more important because without overtly lying, they divert tremendously from reality. In doing so they allow the metastasis of bad information in the psyche of Americans. In doing so they allow those that do not have the interests of poor and middle class working America to vote against their own interests.
It is important that the media be discounted for the negative effect they have on the body politic. A large part of the media is simply a tool of the plutocracy. A narrative is defined and they ensure that it is reported as fulfilled.

Florida’s Fraudulent Voting Witch Hunt Produces a “Shocking” Number of Cases — All repugican

by Allen Clifton
The issue of voter fraud and new restrictive voter ID laws has taken this country by storm the last couple of years.  The repugican legislatures all across the country have taken “a stand against voter fraud” and passed highly restrictive new laws which they claim will reduce the possibility of fraudulent voting.
It just so happens that Florida, with their repugican Governor Rick Scott, is one of these states claiming strict voter ID laws are needed to prevent the possibility of rampant voter fraud.
Well, an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has concluded, and their findings are absolutely stunning.
Upon concluding their investigation, they reported a staggering—two cases of voter registration fraud.
Yes, after several months of investigation following the 2012 elections, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found a whopping two cases of actual voter registration fraud.
Oh, and the kicker?  The two cases consisted of two voter registration forms fraudulently filled out by a man who worked for the repugican cabal.  He admitted to stealing the identity of his former girlfriend’s ex-husband and filling out the two forms.
Well, the number of cases might increase considering two more cases do remain open, though it’s clear Governor Scott has moved on from this investigation.
I guess that’s what happens when you try to invent a problem that has never existed.
And this pattern of not finding “rampant” evidence of voter fraud isn’t just in Florida — repugicans all across the country are having trouble finding evidence that fraudulent voting is a threat to our election process.
But repugicans haven’t let these kinds of facts stand in their way of passing highly restrictive new voting laws in numerous repugican-controlled states which they claim will reduce the number of cases where people have tried to vote or register to vote illegally.
Though, let’s be honest.  Anyone with even a shred of common sense is well aware that these laws have nothing to do with “voter fraud” and everything to do with keeping people who often don’t vote for repugicans from being able to vote at all.
Because even if there are a handful of cases each election cycle where some sort of voting fraud is found, it pales in comparison to the tens of thousands (if not millions) of Americans who will be disenfranchised due to these highly restrictive voter ID laws.
So while repugicans claim they’re trying to solve one problem, which we all know is a blatant lie, they’re actually creating a problem in their efforts to keep those they wished wouldn’t vote from actually voting.
Because wingnuts know that their best chance at “winning” isn’t having better policies than Democrats — it’s simply doing all they can to keep Democrats from being able to vote.

‘Push their heads under the water … until they cannot breathe’

by Steve Benen
As the end of an election cycle nears, it’s not uncommon for emotions to run high among those in the political arena. The combination of excitement and anxiety leads to frayed nerves and occasional lapses in judgment.
The result is predictable: wingnuts who use language they probably shouldn’t. Take this report, for example, published Monday morning by New Hampshire Public Radio.
If you are seeking nuance or restraint, you won’t find it at a get-out-the-vote rally on the Sunday before a tight election.
Here’s State repugican cabal chairwimp Jennifer Horn other night in Manchester:
“This is our time. We need to crush it. We need to grab it, run with it, push their heads under over and over again until they cannot breathe anymore, until the elections are over Tuesday night.”
How charming.
Now, before anyone sends me angry emails, I realize that the chair of the New Hampshire repugican cabal was not literally (or is she) calling for the murder of local Democrats.
But can reasonable people agree that it’s more than a little over the top when a state cabal chair calls for pushing rivals’ heading “under the water over and over again until they cannot breathe anymore”? Maybe there’s some other, less-homicidal metaphor wingnuts can use?
A Democratic source provided this first look at this YouTube clip of Horn’s comments from the other day. Note, the repugican crowd applauded the rhetoric. (The footage was originally captured by Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux),

The Truth Be Told

Big ISPs' efforts to squeeze Netflix lead to slow connectivity for you

What started out as suspicion is now fully documented, in a study that has just been released by a nonprofit research consortium called M-Lab. M-Lab’s data suggests the logical conclusion that Verizon and Comcast, as well as Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and AT&T, are intentionally squeezing data coming from some incoming networks — in particular, networks associated with Netflix, which competes with these companies in video entertainment. Customers of these eyeball networks are getting degraded service that cannot be explained by anything other than business decisions. And these eyeball networks are acting with an apparent disregard for users not affiliated with Netflix, affecting all kinds of traffic and all kinds of users. By tacitly allowing network traffic jams — affecting only the highways of fiber that Netflix was using to send its bits — everyone else using those routes was getting stuck.

Television. Watching.

A columnist at Salon has trepidations about the newest video technology:
I am now the owner of a new “smart” TV, which promises to deliver streaming multimedia content, games, apps, social media and Internet browsing... The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy...

More troubling is the microphone. The TV boasts a “voice recognition” feature that allows viewers to control the screen with voice commands. But the service comes with a rather ominous warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”..

According to retired Gen. David Petraeus, former head of the CIA, Internet-enabled “smart” devices can be exploited to reveal a wealth of personal data. “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvester,” he reportedly told a venture capital firm in 2012...

Of course, there is always the “dumb” option. Users may have the ability to disable data collection, but it comes at a cost. The device will not function properly or allow the use of its high-tech features.
Big Brother IS Watching

FBI secretly seeking legal power to hack any computer, anywhere

The Bureau is seeking a rule-change from the Administrative Office of the US Courts that would give it the power to distribute malware, hack, and trick any computer, anywhere in the world, in the course of investigations; it's the biggest expansion of FBI spying power in its history and they're hoping to grab it without an act of Congress or any public scrutiny or debate.
But under the proposed amendment, a judge can issue a warrant that would allow the FBI to hack into any computer, no matter where it is located. The change is designed specifically to help federal investigators carry out surveillance on computers that have been “anonymized” – that is, their location has been hidden using tools such as Tor.
The amendment inserts a clause that would allow a judge to issue warrants to gain “remote access” to computers “located within or outside that district” (emphasis added) in cases in which the “district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means”. The expanded powers to stray across district boundaries would apply to any criminal investigation, not just to terrorist cases as at present.
Were the amendment to be granted by the regulatory committee, the FBI would have the green light to unleash its capabilities – known as “network investigative techniques” – on computers across America and beyond. The techniques involve clandestinely installing malicious software, or malware, onto a computer that in turn allows federal agents effectively to control the machine, downloading all its digital contents, switching its camera or microphone on or off, and even taking over other computers in its network

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Iranian-British woman gets year in prison

This 2012 photo provided by the Free Ghoncheh Campaign, shows Iranian-British Ghoncheh Ghavami posing for a photograph in London, England. Ghavami detained while trying to attend a men's volleyball game has been sentenced to one year in prison, her lawyer said Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei told The Associated Press that a court found Ghavami, 25, guilty of "propagating against the ruling system." (AP Photo/Free Ghoncheh Campaign)
An Iranian-British woman detained while trying to attend a men's volleyball game in Iran has been found guilty of spreading propaganda against the ruling system and sentenced to a year in prison, her lawyer said Sunday.
Britain immediately raised concerns about Ghoncheh Ghavami's trial. The case highlighted the limits to free expression inside Iran and efforts by authorities to enforce strict interpretations of Islamic norms despite a policy of greater openness being pursued by moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
The 25-year-old woman's brother, Iman Ghavami, said the family had been hoping she would be set free based on time already served since her June arrest. They are still trying to get official details of the verdict, he said.
"We're disappointed and kind of shocked. We really hoped she'd be released," he told The Associated Press.
Ghavami's lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, said in an interview that a court found her guilty of "propagating against the ruling system." Tabatabaei said he was shown the text of the verdict but is still waiting to receive it officially.
"I was told at the court today that my client's case has been referred back to the prosecutor because Ghavami is facing new charges. So, the verdict was not given to me," he said.
Tabatabaei didn't elaborate what the new charges are or why fresh charges have been raised against his client now.
Ghavami was detained in June at Tehran's Freedom Stadium after trying to attend a men's volleyball match between Iran and Italy.
She is a graduate of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies and had been volunteering to help street kids in Iran for a few months, her brother said.
Women are banned from attending male-only matches in Iran. Ghavami tried to enter the stadium with other women to protest the ban, according to Amnesty International. Female photographers inside the complex were also ordered to leave, though none was arrested.
Ghavami was held along with the other protesters for a few hours before being released. She was detained again a few days later and stood trial last month. Her brother said she had no access to her lawyer until it came time for her court hearing.
"This whole case has been full of abnormalities," Iman Ghavami said.
Ghavami has been held in solitary confinement for much of her time at Tehran's Evin prison, according to Amnesty. She went on hunger strike at one point last month to protest her detention.
The rights group sharply criticized Sunday's verdict and called Ghavami a prisoner of conscience.
"It's an outrage that a young woman is being locked up simply for peacefully having her say about how women are discriminated against in Iran," Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said.
Iman Ghavami said he believes authorities singled out his sister from the other female protesters because she holds both British and Iranian citizenship. Iranian authorities do not recognize dual nationalities for its citizens and treats them as Iranians under law.
The British Foreign Office expressed doubts about the sentence Sunday.
"We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial and Miss Ghavami's treatment whilst in custody," it said in a statement.
Iran's moderate President Rouhani has faced resistance from hard-liners who feel he is too soft on those who challenge strict interpretations of Islam.
In one case earlier this year, six young Iranian men and women who shot a video of themselves dancing together and unveiled to Pharrell Williams' "Happy" were arrested along with the film's director for allegedly breaching Islamic norms. They received suspended sentences of jail terms and lashes in September.
Iran's judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, has criticized reports linking Ghavami's arrest to volleyball, saying last month: "Her case has nothing to do with sports."

Dachau's notorious 'Arbeit Macht Frei' gate stolen

Jourhouse gate @ dachau photo: Jason Weisberger
Someone has stolen the entry gate from the German concentration camp at Dachau. Prisoners were famously welcomed through a gate marked "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Work will set you free."
Security officials noticed early Sunday morning that the gate measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches) — set into a larger iron gate — was missing, police said in a statement. Whoever stole it during the night would have had to climb over another gate to reach it, they added. Police said they found nothing in the immediate vicinity of the camp and appealed for anyone who noticed any suspicious people or vehicles to come forward.

Retro Photos

Siberian Rock Art

Archaeologists in Siberia have begun uncovering an extraordinary alfresco gallery of prehistoric art high in the 4,506-metre tall Altai Mountains.
While the region is famed for petroglyphs (rock engravings), new finds are being made in the hidden and rarely-visited Saldyar valley, close to the fast-flowing Katun River.
Here beneath the densely-wooded slopes they are discovering remarkable rock pictures dating back 5,000 years, close to Russia's border with China and Mongolia. 

Aerial images shed light on mysterious Middle East stone circles

Archaeologists begin to unravel the mysteries of the ancient 'Big Circles'  
New aerial images are beginning to shed some light on the mystery surrounding large stone circles in the Middle East that have confounded archaeologists for decades.

The pictures, taken by the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME), show 11 ancient “Big Circles” each up to 400m in diameter in the desert landscape of Jordan.
Although they were first spotted by aircraft early last century, there has been very little focused research on the structures believed to date back at least 2,000 years.
Speaking to Live Science, researcher David Kennedy said their similarity was “too close to be a coincidence” however they’re actual purpose remains unknown.
It is hoped analysis of these new images, released on Friday, could help to reveal the reason behind their design and creation.
Each circle was built with a low stone wall just a few feet high. They originally contained no openings so people would have had to jump the wall to enter inside.
Archaeologists have already ruled out their use as a corral to fence in herds of animals because of their low walls.
“The circles would not have been hard to build,” according to Mr Kennedy, co-director of APAAME. “They were constructed mainly with local rocks, and a dozen people working hard could potentially complete a big circle in a week.”
He said the larger ones would have required at least one “architect” who might have tied a long rope to a post and walked in a circle, marking the ground as they went.
This method, he added, would explain the glitches in the circles where the land was uneven.
Although analysis of the aerial images will help archaeologists to better understand the Big Circles, Mr Kennedy said on-site excavations were needed in order to finally solve the mystery.

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Grieving jumbos wreaked havoc in village after member of herd was electrocuted

An angry herd of elephants kept on trumpeting and roaring for hours together scaring away people living in nearby hamlets in the forest area of Ramakuppam in Chittoor district, India, on Friday after one of its members died due to an electric shock.
The herd consisting of 13 pachyderms was crossing the agricultural fields at Ramapuram tanda of Nakkalgutta in the forest area of Ramakuppam when an elephant came in contact with a live electric wire set up by poachers to trap wild boars and deer. As the elephant lay dead, the other members in the herd surrounded it and started trumpeting loudly. The wails echoed in the forests causing panic among people living in neighboring villages. Some of the villagers ran for safety.
A team of forest officials visited the spot and advised people against venturing near the angry pachyderms. The trumpeting continued for hours. Even forest officials did not go near the herd. Later, senior forest officials conducted panchanama and sent the dead elephant for post mortem examination. A case has been registered. About 30 elephants have been camping in the forest area in Chittoor district for the last 25 days.

Incidents of poachers and farmers setting up electric fencing in areas abutting the forests have been increasing with authorities turning a blind eye to the menace. Kuppam and Ramakuppam areas fall in the junction of two major national parks in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and elephants of late prefer staying in Chittoor district for a few days while crossing between the two neighboring states. Forest officials point out that elephants have started liking juicy tomatoes that are grown in the border areas of Chittoor district, which otherwise is not a traditional habitat of the pachyderms.

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