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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1542   Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, is beheaded for adultery.  
1689   British Parliament adopts the Bill of Rights.  
1692   In the Glen Coe highlands of Scotland, thirty-eight members of the MacDonald clan are murdered by soldiers of the neighboring Campbell clan for not pledging allegiance to William of Orange. Ironically the pledge had been made but not communicated to the clans. The event is remembered as the Massacre of Glencoe.  
1862   The four day Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, begins.  
1865   The Confederacy approves the recruitment of slaves as soldiers, as long as the approval of their owners is gained.  
1866   Jesse James holds up his first bank.
1914   The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is founded.  
1936   First social security checks are put in the mail.  
1945   The Royal Air Force Bomber Command devastates the German city of Dresden with night raids by 873 heavy bombers. The attacks are joined by 521 American heavy bombers flying daylight raids.  
1949   A mob burns a radio station in Ecuador after the broadcast of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."  
1951   At the Battle of Chipyong-ni, in Korea, U.N. troops contain the Chinese forces' offensive in a two-day battle.  
1953   The Pope asks the United States to grant clemency to convicted spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.  
1968   The United States sends 10,500 more combat troops to Vietnam.
1970   General Motors is reportedly redesigning automobiles to run on unleaded fuel.
1972   Enemy attacks in Vietnam decline for the third day as the United States continues its intensive bombing strategy.  
1984  Konstantin Chernenko is selected to succeed Yuri Andropov as Party General Secretary in the Soviet Union.

Bernie Sanders Exposes How repugicans Created A Phony Crisis To Cut Social Security Disability

Ranking Senate Budget Committee member Senator Bernie Sanders has released new report that details how repugicans are manufacturing a phony crisis in order to cut Social Security benefits for millions of disabled Americans.
The Sanders report explained how and why repugicans have created a fake crisis in order to cut disability benefits:
On the very first day of the new Congress, house repugicans passed a rule, later adopted by the full House, which would prevent the common practice of rebalancing funds. What this does is lay the groundwork for a 19% cut in disability benefits.
That’s a horribly devastating cut for individuals – most of whom are in their 50’s and in poor health – to absorb beginning next year. In fact, since most disability recipients receive barely $1,200 a month, a cut of nearly 20 percent could mean the difference between affording food, medicine, clothing or paying bills. It is an unspeakable option and one that we are determined to
Earlier this month, President Obama suggested a budget that would do exactly what has been done 11 times in the past and that is to rebalance funds between the two programs. The response by the House to block that is merely an attempt to manufacture a crisis where none exists.
What is really happening here is a cynical attempt to divide the senior population from the disability community. And, in the process, they are making untruthful and unfair statements about the Social Security trust funds by insisting that reallocating money into the disability fund takes money away from the retirement fund. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Senator Sanders (I-VT) added, “repugicans are manufacturing a phony crisis in Social Security in order to cut the earned benefits of millions of the most vulnerable people in this country. The American people won’t let them get away with it. At a time when millions of Americans with disabilities and senior citizens are struggling to pay for food, medicine and heat, we should expand, not cut, Social Security,”
The repugicans plan to cut benefits for 2 million disabled children who are among the 11 million Americans who receive Social Security Disability. The repugican scheme is typical of the cynical and divisive politics that the majority in the current Congress has fully embraced. Congressional repugicans specialize in manufacturing crisis for political gain.
The American people love Social Security, and they aren’t going to let repugicans get away with conning millions of people who paid into the system out of their benefits. The attack on the disabled is a new twist to the same old repugican plan to kill Social Security. It is once again time for the American people to stand up and tell repugicans no.

Bernie Sanders Goes On CNN and Destroys Boehner and Netanyahu For Undermining Obama

bernie sanders to skip netanyahu speech
During an appearance on CNN, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) destroyed Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for conspiring to undermine President Obama foreign policy.
Senator. Sanders said:
A President Of The United States, whether that person is a Democrat or a repugican leads us in foreign policy, and when you have a situation in the Middle East where the politics and the dangers are so volatile, the idea that the Speaker of the House would invite Mr. Netanyahu to Congress without consulting President Obama is I think a very very bad idea.
The second point, and I think President Obama made this point is that it is wrong to give any politician, not just Netanyahu, the stage of a speech before a joint session of Congress as part of his reelection campaign. That’s wrong for politics in Israel. That’s wrong for politics anywhere in the world.
And the last point that I would make, Mr. Netanyahu has every right in the world to disagree with President Obama or any of us about our relationship and we proceed with Iran in terms of how we prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. He has every right, but he doesn’t have the right in my view to inject himself into an American political discussion by being the speaker before a joint session of Congress to criticize the President Of The United States. There are all kinds of avenues open to him to speak to members of Congress, and that’s fine. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a foreign leader coming before Congress to rip apart the President Of The United States.
The CNN anchors tried to compare Netanyahu’s speech to Congress to President Obama’s Berlin speech months before the 2008 election, but Senator Sanders was having none of that, “Several months is different than several weeks…And by the what Obama and our allies are trying to do is what the American people want I believe is prevent a war with Iran. Now, I understand there are differences of opinion, but I think it is bad precedent to invite the leader of a foreign country to come before a joint session of Congress to attack the president’s position on a very sensitive issue.”
Sanders said that his constituents want to see foreign policy done in a non-partisan way, “I think what Boehner has done is very much politicized the situation in a way that is unprecedented….The point is the President Of The United States, and again it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a Democrat or a repugican, leads foreign policy, and to invite that Prime Minister, that foreign leader, without consulting the president is a horrible move.”
Senator Sanders summed up the entire opposition to Netanyahu’s speech very effectively. It was wrong for Boehner and Netanyahu to politicize this process. None of this should sit well with the American people. The fact that Boehner and Netanyahu are conspiring to undermine a sitting president on foreign policy, and the fact that a foreign leader is trying to influence American foreign policy are very troubling aspects of what Boehner and Netanyahu are doing.
What repugicans are doing is disloyal to their country, and Bernie Sanders called callous partisan politics on national television. The opposition to Netanyahu’s speech is growing louder, and the conservative conspiracy to undermine Obama is beginning to crumble.

Three students killed in North Carolina shooting

A North Carolina man espousing anti-religious views has been charged with the murders of three muslim students, including a husband and wife, who were shot to death in the university town of Chapel Hill, police said Wednesday. The shooter, identified as 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, was being…
Police investigating the murders of three muslim students in the United States said they were studying whether the fatal shootings were religiously motivated, as calls mounted for the killings to be treated as a hate crime.
Craig Stephen Hicks sits in the Durham County courtroom …
Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder after Tuesday's slayings in the North Carolina university town of Chapel Hill which sparked outrage amongst Muslims worldwide.
Police emphasized that initial investigations indicated a dispute between Hicks and his victims over parking spaces may have been the catalyst for a shooting spree which claimed the lives of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
However, police said they had not ruled out the possibility that hatred of muslims had motivated Hicks.
"We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case," Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said.
The cautious wording of the police statement contrasted sharply with the anguished reaction amongst many Muslims, with the father of two of the students demanding investigators treat the killing as a "hate crime."
"This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime," said Mohammad Abu-Salha, the psychiatrist father of the two women shot dead.
"This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt."
Abu-Salha told the local News & Observer newspaper his daughter had voiced fears about Hicks last week.
"Honest to dog, she said, 'He hates us for what we are and how we look,'" Abu-Salha was quoted as saying.
The sister of slain Deah Shaddy Barakat echoed the demands.
"We are still in a state of shock as we will never be able to make sense of this horrendous tragedy," Suzanne Barakat said.
We ask that the authorities investigate these senseless and horrendous murders as a hate crime."
- 'Religion not a factor' -
This image provided by the Durham County Sheriff's …But Hicks's wife remained adamant that religion was not behind the slayings.
"I can say with my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or victims' faith," Karen Hicks told a press conference, maintaining that a "long-standing parking dispute" was to blame.
Muslims across the globe were quick to latch onto a viral campaign which asserted that the killings had been under-reported by the US mainstream media because of the religion of the victims.
The hashtags #ChapelHillShooting and #muslimLivesMatter were trending on Twitter, with many claiming the crimes would have garnered more attention had the gunman been a muslim and the victims white.
"muslims only newsworthy when behind a gun. Not in front (of) it," read one post which reflected the sentiments of many on Twitter.
By early Wednesday, however, the story was among the top headlines on national news networks in the United States, with lengthy reports also featuring prominently on the websites of major newspapers including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
Investigators were piecing together a picture of the alleged gunman, who turned himself into police shortly after the shooting on Tuesday.
- 'It's horrendous' -
A Facebook page believed to belong to Hicks showed dozens of anti-religious posts, including one calling himself an "anti-theist," saying he has a "conscientious objection to religion," and other memes denouncing christianity, mormonism and islam.
One post read: "I'm not an atheist because I'm ignorant of the reality of religious scripture. I'm an atheist because religious scripture is ignorant of reality."
Photos of the three victims circulated on social media, including recent wedding pictures of Barakat and his wife.
Barakat was a second-year student in dentistry at the University of North Carolina while his wife was planning to begin her dental studies in the fall.
Abu-Salha was a student at North Carolina State University, according to the UNC university newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel.
Neighbors of the victims struggled to come to terms with the killings, which shattered the peace of the normally tranquil neighborhood.
"No one ever expected that to happen here of all places and it's certainly kind of stunning for most of the people," Robert Brown, 25, said.
"It's horrendous."

Kansas repugican Wants to Jail Teachers for Exposing Students to 'Harmful Material'

Examples of harmful material, include nudity and sex.
by Deb Hipp
Public schoolteachers in Kansas could be jailed for teaching "harmful material," and university professors would be banned from signing op-ed letters with their titles when writing about public officials, if two new bills become law. Senate Bill 56 , introduced on Jan. 22 by Mary Pilcher-Cook, r-Shawnee, would amend Kansas' public morals statute by deleting an exemption that protects K-12 public, private and parochial schoolteachers from being prosecuted for presenting material deemed harmful to minors.
According to the bill, "harmful material" includes depictions of nudity, sexual conduct, homosexuality, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse "in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community with respect to what is suitable for minors."
Teachers could be charged with a class B misdemeanor and face up to six months in jail if teaching materials contain depictions that a "reasonable person" would find to lack "serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value for minors."
Pilcher-Cook said she sponsored S.B. 56 in response to parental outrage over a poster affixed to a Shawnee Mission middle school door last year that asked the question: "How do people express their sexual feelings?" and listed answers such as "hugging, kissing, saying 'I like you' and talking" along with other possibilities: "oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, vaginal intercourse, grinding, and touching each other's genitals."
"Pornography and obscene materials are becoming more and more prevalent in our society, and it is all too common to hear of cases where children are not being protected from the harm it inflicts," Pilcher-Cook told the Topeka Capital Journal.
Opponents of the bill say it is unconstitutionally broad and could be misused.
 "Senate Bill 56 could criminalize teachers simply for distributing handouts, displaying posters or sharing educational information," Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Kansas, told the Kansas City Star.
 "If a teacher is afraid that they're going to be charged and convicted of a misdemeanor just for doing their job, they're going to be a lot less likely to share any information that someone somewhere might object to," Kubic told KMBC-9 News.
The other bill, House Bill 2234 , introduced Feb. 4, would bar professors and university employees from using their official titles when they submit letters to newspaper opinion pages.
The bill targets newspaper opinion pieces specifically, and only when the writer's opinion concerns an elected official, a candidate for office or any matter pending before the Legislature.
The bill would require community colleges, municipal universities and technical colleges to have a policy that prohibits an employee from "providing or using such employee's official title when authoring or contributing to a newspaper opinion column."
"It's silly is what it is," said Dr. Chapman Rackaway, professor of political science at Fort Hays State University.
 Rackaway said the bill was drafted in response to columns regularly published by Insight Kansas, to which he belongs, a blog run by a group of university professors who analyze Kansas politics in letters to newspapers.
Calls from television and newspaper reporters to Insight Kansas for opinions poured in to "near-saturation points" during the November 2014 Kansas elections, Rackaway said. In those elections, governor Sam Brownback, a repugican, stole a second term, and repugicans stole control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.
Both bills intend to severely restrict speech "that is simply uncomfortable to some people," said Rackaway. "When you can't be critical of public officials, even when you have facts, you can't say that we live in a democracy," he said.
 "The bill wouldn't be in place if people didn't want to somehow squelch us," Rackaway said. "It has a chilling effect. It's meant as a threat."

Netanyahu Lied About Iraq’s WMDs, Now He’s Saying the Same Things About Iran

The republicans are trying to place Netanyahu in charge of U.S. foreign policy with Iran, which is the foreign policy equivalent of making the shrub the pretender again. …
NetanhayuNetanyahu has been saying the same things about Iran that he incorrectly said about Iraq in 2002 as he sold the Iraq war to the U.S. Congress. The repugicans are trying to place Netanyahu in charge of U.S. foreign policy with Iran, which is the foreign policy equivalent of making the shrub the pretender again.
In 2012, Juan Cole went back to 2002 to point out that Netanyahu was saying the same inaccurate fear-mongering stuff about Iran that he said about Iraq.
Here’s what Netanyahu was saying then:
“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam was seeking nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, misleading Congress in 2002. He claimed Iraq had Centrifuges “the size of washing machines” to produce the A-bomb. And as Cole wrote, “He said that Israeli intelligence reported to him that Russian scientists and North Korea were on site and actively aiding this phantom nuclear weapons program.”
Sound familiar? Yeah, more deliberately distorted intelligence and rumor mongering and building a media case based on bread crumbs left by the frightened and the disingenuous.
A little fact checking from Juan Cole (who gave a h/t to Washington Blog):
There was no Iraqi nuclear weapons program in 2002; it was dismantled in the early 1990s by United Nations inspectors. There were none of the chemical or biological weapons Netanyahu spoke of. No Russians. No North Koreans. Bupkes.
Netanyahu also warned that Iraq would give nuclear warheads (which it did not have) to “terrorist groups.”
He also argued that no inspections could possibly find “mobile weapons sites” (which are impossible), implying that invasion and occupation was the only course open.
Netanyahu proved that neither he nor the Israeli intelligence organization, Mossad, had the slightest actual intelligence on Iraq, and that neither should be trusted to provide such intelligence to the US. Clearly, some right wing Israeli leaders always want the US entangled in regional wars in the Middle East, insofar as they are seeking US support in a hostile region. They therefore habitually exaggerate the dangers, and are little more than bullsh*t artists.
The repugicans in Congress are trying to equate PM Benjamin Netanyahu with Israel, but that is like saying that the shrub is the United States. So if you disagree with the shrub, you disagree with America. Well, that’s just it. repugicans often maintain the position that to disagree with them is to hate an entire country. But they do not own the U.S. and they do not own Israel.
Netanyahu is no more Israel than shrub is the United States. In fact, the shrub and Netanyahu are the same slice of the pie in these two separate countries.
And that’s exactly why repugicans went around the Democratic President in order to invite Netanyahu to sell his fear-mongering foreign policy to Congress while the President is trying to negotiate nuclear disarming with Iran. This is like the shrub being in charge of our foreign policy again.
The repugicans are calling Democrats “anti-patriotic” because some of them are threatening not to attend Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. In other words, repugicans think that refusing to listen to someone who has a history of lying and distorting the facts means Democrats don’t love this country. LOL. The repugicans would like Dick Cheney to speak to Congress about Iran, but that can’t be done, so they have invited Israel’s shrub/Cheney to push U.S. foreign policy into shrub/Cheney WMD lies based violence.
Netanyahu is not Israel. He is the shrub/Cheney arm of Israel. He does not represent even the best interests of Israel, much as shrub/Cheney did not represent the best interests of the average American.
Netanyahu was full of WMD lies in 2002 and he is still full of them now. He is not a credible witness or expert. He has been discredited. This is like inviting Brian Williams to lecture about journalistic integrity, only the entire world will be impacted by his speech.
Netanyahu can’t be trusted as a source of information, so what is the point of having him speak to Congress? The point is to humiliate the U.S. president and to hijack U.S. foreign policy from the executive office into the halls of Congress now that repugicans mislead Congress.
The repugicans listened to Netanyahu in 2002 and that’s how we ended up invading Iraq on a lie. Now they want to hand the reins over to him again, subverting the will of the people and two national elections with no hanging chads.

Koch Brothers cabal Shouted Down By Irate Citizens During Montana Town Hall Meeting

The Koch Brothers probably thought opposition to Obamacare would be an easy sell in Kalispell, but their town hall meeting backfired.…
koch-brothers-featA “Healthcare Town Hall” set up by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (AFP) cabal, in Kalispell, Montana, turned raucous on Thursday night. Americans for Prosperity has been crisscrossing the state of Montana, in an attempt to pressure 'moderate' repugicans into signing a pledge to block Medicaid expansion. On Thursday, they brought their traveling joke show to Kalispell. However, the residents of the small Northwestern Montana town were unpersuaded by the Koch-funded cabal.
The AFP chose to set a meeting in Kalispell because the district is represented by Frank Garner, a repugican who has declined to sign a pledge opposing Medicaid expansion in Montana. AFP targeted Garner along with fellow representatives, Jeff Welborn (r-Dillon) and Tom Berry (r-Roundup), for not bowing to the Koch Brothers’ edict to block Medicaid expansion.
The expansion would extend affordable health care access to 70,000 low-income residents in the Big Sky state. Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock (D) has vowed to support the expansion, but he faces an uncooperative Republican-controlled legislature. However, some repugicans, including Garner, have indicated a desire to compromise with the Governor so that more Montanans can get inexpensive health care coverage. That willingness to cooperate with Democrats has made Garner a target for the Koch brothers.
Americans for Prosperity sent out flyers with Garner’s face superimposed over Barack Obama’s, to tie the repugican to the President. The mailers urged constituents to “Tell Frank Garner to stand with us and vote no on ObamaCare’s expansion in Montana”. Garner claims he was not extended an invitation to the meeting. He found out about the event from a reporter on the House floor, in the Capitol building, in Helena.
The Koch brothers may have been expecting an easy propaganda victory in the small Montana town of 20,000. However, the plan backfired, as around a hundred local residents, and Representative Garner, gave them an earful, instead. The AFP hack was frequently interrupted by boos, shouts, and derisive laughter. Feeding on the crowd’s boisterous energy, Representative Garner blasted the Koch Brothers’ organization, declaring:
I promised the people here when I ran that I would listen to you and not out-of-town special interests. If every time they want me to sign a pledge card and I don’t do it they are going to rent a room and have a meeting, then this is going to get real expensive. Cause I’m not signing the pledge card.
Thunderous applause followed.
Local residents were incensed by the outside group trying to intimidate their representative. An audience member, Nathan Kosted, confronted the AFP hack and said:
Why did you call this a town hall meeting? I didn’t get an invite. I wish I’d been invited, because I want to know how we get the Koch Brothers out of politics. I want to know how we get you out of politics.
Another person in attendance was even more blunt. The man stated:
You have pissed me off. Character assassination does not go down well in Montana. If he (Garner) has to take a pledge then I want it to be the Pledge of Allegiance, because they don’t represent you, they represent me.
The Koch Brothers probably thought opposition to Obamacare would be an easy sell in small town Montana, but their town hall meeting backfired in epic fashion. Much to their chagrin, there are still some Republican lawmakers in Montana who can’t be bought off, and some voters who won’t fall in line, no matter how many millions the Koch Brothers’ decide to spend.

Kobach voter-fraud allegations exposed as fraudulent

by Steve Benen
Kris KobachWhen it comes to the so-called “repugican war on voting,” few figures are quite as notorious as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (r). The lunatic fringe wingnut official’s antics during last fall’s U.S. Senate race in Kansas were themselves remarkable, but even before then, Kobach has earned a reputation as a pioneer in voter-suppression tactics.
Not surprisingly, frequent claims about “voter fraud” – a phenomenon that lxists in the imagination of lunatic fringe wingnut agitators – have become a Kobach staple, though one particular incident is proving to be a real problem.
During last year’s election, the Kansas Secretary of State chastised U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, complaining to the media that Kobach’s office had referred examples of voter fraud to the Kansas-based federal prosecutor, but Grissom has refused to prosecute. Worse, Kobach said the U.S. Attorney didn’t “know what he’s talking about” when Grissom said voter fraud doesn’t exist in Kansas.
The AP reports today that when Kobach made these claims, he appears to have been brazenly lying (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).
[I]n a Nov. 6 letter sent from Grissom to Kobach and obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, the prosecutor responded that his office received no such referrals from Kobach, and chided the secretary of state for his statements.
“Going forward, if your office determines there has been an act of voter fraud please forward the matter to me for investigation and prosecution,” Grissom wrote. “Until then, so we can avoid misstatements of facts for the future, for the record, we have received no voter fraud cases from your office in over four and a half years. And, I can assure you, I do know what I’m talking about.”
Wait, it gets worse.
Kobach now concedes that when he said he’d referred voter-fraud cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office, he had not, in reality, referred voter-fraud cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office. But, the right-wing official told the AP, Kobach’s predecessor had alerted the federal prosecutor to two relevant cases and Grissom ignored those referrals.
It turns out, that’s not true, either: federal investigators looked into those 2011 allegations and, as the AP report noted, they concluded they were not voter fraud.
Why in the world would Kobach make such demonstrably false allegations? Because he wants Kansas’ legislature to empower his office directly to go after voter-fraud cases – which, remember, are largely imaginary.
Last year, though there was some statewide polling that suggested Kansans were getting tired of Kobach’s ridiculous stunts, the far-right Secretary of State was nevertheless re-elected in November in a landslide.

Faux News hack: FEMA is unnecessary because Walmart will ‘spontaneously’ save us all in a disaster

Faux Business hack John Stossel on Sunday asserted that most government was unnecessary because companies like Walmart would spontaneously provide assistance to disaster victims “in many more ways” than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could.
“Ever feel like government makes too many plans that come to naught?” Faux News hack Tucker Carlson told Stossel during a segment on Faux & Friends. “It’s kind of a bold idea. You’re saying that not every human activity needs to be planned from above. Some things spontaneously work themselves out pretty well.”
According to Stossel, Americans would be better off with less government and more “spontaneous order,” a term coined by economist Friedrich Hayek which states that order will naturally emerge from chaos.
“If you hadn’t seen a skating rink, you would say, ‘No, you need skating police, people go in this direction,’” Stossel observed. “Think of how much of life is spontaneous… Jazz, there’s no direction. So much of life is spontaneous, but our instinct is to say, ‘Government, give us a plan.’”
The Faux Business hack said that one example of government over-planning was natural disasters.
“After Katrina, Walmart and private charities helped people in many more ways than FEMA did,” Stossel opined. “Because FEMA is incompetent because government tends to be. But also Walmart everyday needs to know what people need, and they were ready. They had more weather forecasters than some of the local governments do.”
“You’re challenging the very idea of Washington, D.C.,” Carlson pointed out. “Good for you.”
“Well, we need some government,” Stossel admitted. “But not much.”
The Week’s Damon Linker argued last year that “spontaneous order” was the “silliest and most harmful of all” libertarian ideas.
Linker said that the United States had conducted two experiments in “spontaneous order” in recent years by overthrowing governments in Iraq and Libya.
“In both cases, spontaneity brought the opposite of order. It produced anarchy and civil war, mass death and human suffering,” he wrote. “Order doesn’t just happen, and it isn’t the product of individual freedom.”
“The libertarian prophets of ‘spontaneous order’ get things exactly backward, sometimes with catastrophic real-world consequences. Which is why it’s a particularly bad idea,” Linker concluded.
As for Walmart, the company was praised for its response to Hurricane Katrina, but experts pointed out that FEMA had many more responsibilities.
“FEMA has to prioritize search and rescue, and moving equipment, moving people, moving medical supplies,” ABC News homeland security expert observed in 2005. “Wal-Mart just has to deliver supplies.”

Duke Energy Caught Intentionally Dumping 61 Million Gallons Of Coal Waste Into North Carolina Water

Photographs show Duke personnel using a portable water pump to empty its 1978 coal ash pond. The plant's Clean Water Act permit only authorizes discharges when the pond level overtops the vertical discharge pipe visible in the photo, in order to reduce discharges of toxic solids in the effluent.

Random Celebrity Photos

vintagegal:Yvonne De Carlo photographed by Ray Jones c. 1940s
Yvonne De Carlo photographed by Ray Jones c. 1940s 

French baker fell foul of the law for opening his boulangerie too often

A French baker fell foul of the law for keeping his boulangerie open seven days a week - one day too many according to the rules.
Baker Stéphane Cazenave, who has a boulangerie in the town of Saint-Paul-les-Dax, south-western France, holds the 2014 title of "best baguette in France". But local residents won't be tasting his baked treats on Mondays anymore after officials stepped in.
This is because the bakery was twice found to have been open for seven days in a row without a break of at least 24 hours - which according to French law isn't allowed for any shop that sells bread.
Cazenave said that having to shut up shop for one day a week would mean a loss of €250,000, which would see his 22 employees hit hardest. He has said that he won't be able to keep all of them on the payroll. "People see me like a thug just because I asked to work," he added. "Working shouldn't be a crime in France."

Man charged with assault over flicking of three baked beans

A man was charged with assault after flicking three baked beans at a detention officer. Anthony Raynor was annoyed because he believed it had taken cell staff too long to provide him with a drink of water, so he threw the beans through his cell hatch and they landed on the officer’s shirt.
Raynor, 35, of South Shore, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to assaulting civilian detention officer Kevin Fields and being drunk and disorderly. He was fined £75 and ordered to pay £20 victims’ surcharge, but he could not pay immediately so Blackpool magistrates sentenced him to remain in the confines of the court until lunchtime instead of paying the financial penalty.
Pam Smith, prosecuting, said that on Sunday, at 4.30am, Raynor was arrested after shouting abuse and interfering as police officers dealt with a woman who was unconscious on the ground in the resort’s Queen Street. He was put in a cell at Blackpool Police station. At about 9am asked for a drink of water. He became abusive and threw the remains of his breakfast over the civilian detention officer.
The officer had to change some clothing. Raynor later claimed it took an hour-and-a-half for him to get his water, but CCTV showed it was three minutes. Howard Green, defending, said his client had still been befuddled with drink when he asked for the water. Mr Green added: “He flicked three baked beans from his breakfast through the hatch and they landed on the officer’s shirt. This was not a serious act of violence, but one of stupidity.”

Elderly lady arrested on suspicion of carrying out spate of booze-fueled underwear thefts

A 74-year-old woman from Leoben in Upper Austria has been charged on suspicion of having carried out 33 robberies over the past two years - stealing mainly underwear and booze.
State police said on Monday that they found stolen underwear worth around €1,100 in her apartment. She is believed to have been drunk when she committed the majority of her crimes. Employees of a clothing shop in Leoben contacted police after noticing that underwear was constantly going missing from the shop.
The pensioner was caught stealing a bottle of alcohol from a local shop shortly after police started their investigation and after obtaining a search warrant they found piles of stolen goods in her home. “There seem to have been different reasons behind the thefts - and we can’t rule out some kind of illness such as kleptomania,” local police chief Franz Moisi said.
When questioned by police she admitted to multiple thefts, and said she tended to shoplift when she was drunk. “Even when we searched her house it was obvious that she was under the influence of alcohol,” Moisi added.

Man's not so cunning plan to get his wife to buy him a new set of golf clubs ended with his arrest

A Florida man who reported that his golf clubs were stolen from his vehicle while at the golf course, apparently in hopes that his wife would buy him a new set, was arrested for filing a false report of a crime.
Joseph Louis Ioime, 64, met with Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Jenkins at Baseline Golf Course in Ocala and told the official that his golf bag and golf clubs, which cost $2,030, had been removed from his vehicle while it was in the parking lot.
While processing the vehicle, the deputy found a golf bag and clubs that matched the description given to him in the trunk. Ioime told the deputy that the trunk was broken; however, the deputy was able to open it. Asked about the golf clubs in the trunk, Ioime said they were a practice set and it was identical to the ones stolen.
After further questioning by the deputy about the golf bag and clubs found in the trunk, Ioime said he lied to him because he wanted to convince his wife to buy him a new set of clubs. Ioime was arrested, and taken to the Marion County Jail.

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A Guide To The Not-So-Secret Spy Palaces Of The World

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Photographer punched by ‘drunk’ gorilla

Christophe Courteau's harrowing encounter occurs in a Rwanda rainforest, where mountain gorillas often get drunk on fermented bamboo; 'Like being hit by a train'
by Pete Thomas
photographer punched by gorilla
Not what you want to see in your camera lens
From Christophe Courteau’s point of view, when the large mountain gorilla cocked its arm and clenched its fist and gave him the most ominous kind of look, it must have seemed as though the lights would be going out very quickly.
Making matters worse was that the alpha-male gorilla, normally timid in the presence of humans, was drunk on fermented bamboo stems–and ornery.
Christophe Courteau at the moment of impact
But the 46-year-old wildlife photographer, who captured the moments before physical contact was made, somehow emerged from the fracas with only a cut to his forehead.
The harrowing scene played out on the forested slopes of the Virunga Mountains, within Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Caters News reports that Courteau, 46, was with clients photographing the well-known Kwitonda Group of silverback gorillas, including the alpha male, Akarevuro.
Akarevuro, a 550-pound alpha male, is an imposing specimen
“All the members of this family were quite excited on this day, probably due to the consumption of the bamboo stems, which cause the gorillas to become extremely drunk and excitable,” Courteau said. “Suddenly, Akarevuro, who was [standing] close to us, just ran at me, but I could not move away as I was taking photos on my knees.
“In less than a second, he was on me, and strongly hit me like a rugby player.”
Akarevuro weighs about 550 pounds, so this was a potentially deadly encounter.
Christophe Courteau before his harrowing encounter
But it turned out that the gorilla was not after Courteau, but a nearby male gorilla that that expressed interest in one of the Akarevuro’s females.
“He did not care about me, and pushed me out of the way with his left hand as though I was not there,” the photographer recalled. “Then he dashed through the vegetation to chase away a black-back male behind us.”
Mountain gorilla sometimes get drunk from fermented bamboo
This incident occurred at a time when mountain gorillas graze voraciously on bamboo shoots. The fermenting process occurs after the primates have ingested the woody grass.
The result is a state of drunkenness for gorillas that consume too much, followed by bouts of aggression or excitability.
Said Courteau: “I was not seriously injured in the altercation; I just got a souvenir scar on my forehead. But I will remember this instant all my life long. It was like being hit by a train.”

Intrepid bear cub turned up on snowy Spanish doorstep

An adventurous bear cub turned up on a snowy doorstep in a small mountain village in Spain. Óscar Montero, 26, who lives in the village of Prioro in the Picos de Europa mountains, was surprised when he looked out of the window last Saturday to discover the bear cub, making its way onto his snow-covered front step.
"My first impulse was to touch him, but I didn’t because I thought the mother could be close," Montero said. At over 1,000m above sea level, Prioro, home to only around 400 residents, had been cut off from the outside world after recent heavy snowfall. It is thought the bear had made its way down from the mountains to find food.
The recent bad weather had forced a number of animals to abandon their natural mountain habitats and head into villages in search of food. "We’ve seen wild boar, deer but never a bear," said Montero. After he had taken a photo, but before he had a chance to take a video of the cub, it darted off back to its natural habitat in the mountains surrounding the village.
Estimates put the number of Cantabrian brown bears currently in Spain at a meager 130. The bear is on the Spanish list of endangered species as 'in danger of extinction'. In Spain there is maximum fine of €300,000 for killing a bear, after a ban on hunting the animal was introduced in 1973.

Dog ran away from home to find and visit her hospitalized owner

Sissy the Miniature Schnauzer ran away from her home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday morning in a quest to find her owner.
Nancy Franck had been in the hospital for the past week due to complications of a cancer-related surgery.
Sissy took it upon herself to walk the twenty blocks to Mercy Medical Center and entered the lobby. Sissy was briefly reunited with Nancy before Nancy’s daughter, Sara Wood, went to get her and take her home.
“We could only stay a few minutes but I’m sure she enjoyed every second of that few minutes," says Sara. The family told their story on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa.

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