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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, December 16, 2015

The Daily Drift

Welcome to Today's Edition of Carolina Naturally.
Our sixteenth Xmas Tree of the month ...!
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Today in History

1431 Henry VI of England is crowned King of France.
1653 Oliver Cromwell takes on dictatorial powers with the title of "Lord Protector."
1773 To protest the tax on tea from England, a group of young Americans, disguised as Indians, throw chests of tea from British ships in Boston Harbor.
1835 A fire in New York City destroys property estimated to be worth $20,000,000. It lasts two days, ravages 17 blocks, and destroys 674 buildings including the Stock Exchange, Merchants’ Exchange, Post Office, and the South Dutch Church.
1863 Confederate General Joseph Johnston takes command of the Army of Tennessee.
1864 Union forces under General George H. Thomas win the battle at Nashville, smashing an entire Confederate army.
1930 In Spain, a general strike is called in support of the revolution.
1939 The National Women’s Party urges immediate congressional action on equal rights.
1940 British troops carry out an air raid on Italian Somalia.
1944 Germany mounts a major offensive in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium. As the center of the Allied line falls back, it creates a bulge, leading to the name–the Battle of the Bulge.
1949 Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung is received at the Kremlin in Moscow.
1950 President Harry Truman declares a state of National Emergency as Chinese communists invade deeper into South Korea.
1976 President Jimmy Carter appoints Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations.
1978 Cleveland becomes the first U.S. city to default since the depression.
1998 The United States launches a missile attack on Iraq for failing to comply with United Nations weapons inspectors.
2003 The shrub signs the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which establishes the United States’ first national standards regarding email and gives the Federal Trade Commission authority to enforce the act.

The World War II Meme That Circled the World

My father taught me to draw Kilroy when I was very young, which was another reason my peers thought I was weird. I mean, even my father was too young for World War II, but we thought it was funny. You may be more familiar with the idea from the 1983 Styx concept album Kilroy Was Here, or maybe the video game Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway.
Vox tells the story of the big-nosed fellow that became a staple of graffiti, and was arguably a “meme” during the war. 

New Nasal Spray Is Simple Treatment For Overdoses, Could Save Thousands

New Nasal Spray Is Simple Treatment For Overdoses, Could Save Thousands

Six People (or Entities) You May Never Have Heard Of Who Secretly Rule the World

So much of the world's business and governmental inner workings are not what they seem. Largely powerless figureheads abound, and they front others in power, both individuals and groups. The linked article highlights six cases in which important rulers and decision makers are not widely known to exist. One example is the following:
"#5. The NSA Is Run By A Special Court Full Of Secretly Appointed Judges Who Don't Answer To Anyone

The NSA is one of the most controversial government organizations in existence. This is because, among other things, their surveillance tactics have been ruled unconstitutional, but they get to continue doing whatever they want, because terrorism. You see, despite what some knee-knocking appeals court says, every bit of electronic surveillance the NSA conducts on private citizens is totally legal in the name of protecting this great nation from secret threats. Just ask their bosses at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, if you can find them. And trust us: You can't.

The FISC was founded in 1978 to combat the rash of illegal Russian spies who were making it hard for illegal American spies to do their job properly. But after 9/11 made suspected terrorists of us all, the FISC quickly became the most powerful organization you've never heard of. It operates from a small office -- there are 11 judges, and their terms of service in the FISC last for seven years. And each one of them is appointed to their position by no less than the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He hires these judges all on his own, without any supervision or fellow justices getting in the way to ensure he doesn't accidentally appoint a violent sadist.The main job of the FISC is to hear requests from the government for permission to wiretap, monitor, bug, or otherwise snoop on whatever target they deem sufficiently shady. So if anyone's going to stop the NSA from pilfering through your DMs, it's them. Except they probably won't -- out of the 33,900 requests to spy that the FISC received from 1979 (the year of its inception) to 2012, they rejected 11 of them... It is equally important to note that there have not been 33,889 cases of espionage and organized terrorism in the past 30 years, so either the net they are casting is far too wide or they've successfully prevented 33,889 9/11s.
Read more about the FISC and about other individuals or entities who secretly control things from the world's pornography supply to the country of Mexico at Cracked. (Their usual, sporadic use of profanity in their pieces is present.)

4 CEOs Reveal How to Keep Getting Promoted

Corporate ladder
4 CEOs Reveal How to Keep Getting Promoted
Learn how to climb to the top from the people who are already there

Copyfraud: Disney's bogus complaint over toy photo gets a fan kicked off Facebook

Justin Kozisek, a staffer for the Star Wars Action News podcast, bought a $6.94 Rey toy at Walmart and posted a photo of it to Facebook, and he and his SWAN colleagues were surprised to get a DMCA notice from Disney/Lucasfilm claiming that they had infringed copyright by posting a photo of their toy.
The toy had apparently been offered for sale ahead of the release date, and the packaging includes elements that some may consider to be a spoiler.
Disney sent takedowns to Facebook for SWAN's photo, as well as all the individuals who reposted it. When SWAN's proprietor Marjorie Carvalho sent Disney a polite letter disputing the claim, she received a notice from Facebook stating that "The Walt Disney Company has retracted their intellectual property report."
However, Disney sent a new, identical complaint to Facebook later the same day, triggering Facebook's repeat-offender copyright punishment system, resulting in Kozisek's Facebook account being suspended for three days.
Lucasfilm was legendarily tolerant of fan activity prior to the Disney acquisition; Disney itself has a reputation for heavy-handed enforcement. Since the acquisition, fans and academics have been waiting to see whether Lucas's congenial relationship with its fans would persist. This kind of incoherent, bullying activity is not a good sign. Disney owes Kozisek, SWAN, and the fans it targeted an apology.
What's more, since the Universal v Lenz decision, companies that abuse the DMCA process run the risk of having to pay their victims' legal fees if they are successfully sued. If SWAN wanted to, they could cost Disney a lot of money at this point.
Facebook, too, should be ashamed of itself, for not ignoring Disney's complaint, which is so invalid on its face.
Disney and Lucasfilm own the copyright to Star Wars action figures, and the companies may own rights to some photos taken of those figures. But a photo on a fan blog of a legally purchased product has an extremely strong claim to being “fair use,” according to EFF attorney Mitch Stolz.
So what’s going on here? One possibility is that at least someone at Disney was open-minded about Carvalho’s thoughtful response, but the organization has a software-enabled copyright enforcement regime in place that they simply can’t stop. For fans dealing with images the company doesn’t like, the rule seems to be guilty until proven innocent.
Lucasfilm didn't respond to requests for comment yesterday. We've reached out to Disney and will update the story with any response we get.
(Image pixelated for spoilers, unblurred version here)

All 1300 Employees Get $100,000 Holiday Bonus From U.S. Boss

Here Comes The Next Big Attack On The Incomes Of Ordinary Americans

Here Comes The Next Big Attack On The Incomes Of Ordinary Americans

This Is How It’s Done, America: Canadian Prime Minister Personally Welcomes Syrian Refugees

This Is How It’s Done, America: Canadian Prime Minister Personally Welcomes Syrian RefugeesPrime Minister Justin Trudeau just made a powerful statement to the refugees coming into his country – and shamed American wingnuts in the process.

Gun linked to Paris attacks traced back to Florida arms dealer implicated in Iran-Contra scandal

The serial number for a M92 semi-automatic pistol linked to the deadly Nov. 13 terrorist attacks matched one for a weapon delivered by the Zastava arms factory in May 2013 to Century International Arms in Delray Beach.

South Dakota man blames Obama after nephew is busted for illegally-modified guns and bomb materials

A South Dakota man was arrested on Thursday after police found 114 guns as well as bomb-making materials inside his home, but at least one relative insisted to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that he was victimized.

Radicalized Muslims? It’s Time to Speak of the Radicalization of Christians

They say you can take the measure of a man by who his enemies are. It is at least as accurate to say you can judge them by their supporters. And Trump’s supporters represent an embarrassment of riches of America’s misinformed and ignorant. For Republicans it’s “us vs. them” but it’s a lot more complex than that.
These are people who decry the radicalization of Muslims but here in America, we’re pointing a finger at the wrong people. Trump, for example, has been very good for business at white supremacist site Stormfront.
The people we should be pointing a finger at include Coulter, and – predictably – Bachmann, are praising Trump’s stance on Muslim immigrants. Coulter was the most exuberant and over the top, calling Trump’s statement her “best birthday gift ever!”
So Muslims are no more worthy, in Trump’s eyes, of American citizenship than Mexicans? What Coulter is so ecstatic about is, in Stephen Colbert’s words, Trump’s willingness “to offend every group in America except white people.”
Colbert mocked the impossibility of Trump’s proposed plan, but Coulter has (she thinks) an answer to this: the same people who said banning Muslim immigrants is impossible are “the same people who said the exact same thing about building a wall” (which, for the record, has yet to be built and is therefore not a worthy cornerstone upon which to build an argument). But Coulter is a McCarthy fan and bluster will always mean more than facts.
Bachmann was, surprisingly, lower key if betraying just as great a level of radicalization as Coulter:
“Trump is right. Obama’s insane open-door immigration policies are getting innocent Americans killed.”
Not the wide availability of assault weapons or the Republican cabal’s refusal to ban sales of such weapons to terrorists. She went on to claim,
“No one has a right to enter the United States. Until we can set up a working, fail-safe vetting system, Trump’s idea is the only one that ensures the innocence, safety and security of all Americans, Muslims included.”
Oh, so we’re protecting Muslims from themselves. That’s nice.
In general, Republicans went ga-ga for Trump’s fascist pronouncement, not just the base but the shrieking heads as well, including Gaffney,  Starnes, Brody, and the un-American anti-Family Asshats’ Fischer (who doesn’t think much of Jews either), if only to trumpet via Twitter that he went there first:
My call to suspend Islamic immigration came 4 1/2 years before Cruz, Paul, and Trump. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/afas-fischer-calls-end-muslim-immigration-and-deportation-all-muslims-us 

Fellow AFA puke inducer Sandy “Gays Make Amtrak Crash” Rios said Trump’s plan is a “great idea.” So what if it’s unworkable!
“If that’s deeply bigoted, I guess I sign up because I think that’s a great idea myself. I’m not sure how we’ll do it but I think it’s common sense. That’s my position on it and I’m not ashamed to say that.”
Imagine racist bigots not feeling shame. I know that’s a new one.
Wingnut hack West called Trump’s plan “perfect,” and as Right Wing Watch observed, Breitbart’s Nolte “offered a more unusual defense” with this tweet:
Left/Media pretend to care about religious liberty for Muslims. 'Christians' will be forced to buy rubbers & participate in gay marriages.
If you are familiar with Nolte’s Twitter screed, this won’t surprise you. It also won’t explain it. But then, Nolte “gets that a lot.”
Graham, that lesser son of a religio-wingnut huckster, also says Trump is right, but here again misinformation and ignorance rear their ugly head, as Graham basis his argument on a false premise:
“For some time I have been saying that Muslim immigration into the United States should be stopped until we can properly vet them or until the war with Islam is over.”
Of course, we are not at war with Islam. Even the shrub was quick to point that out, and repeated the point over and over. Yet for Graham, “Politicians in Washington seem to be totally disconnected with reality.” While that is probably true in a great many cases, it does not mean that Graham himself is any better connected with reality.
Heidi Beirich, Director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, spoke, in a statement on December 8, of “a well-funded effort to vilify Muslims in the United States” and of the “mainstreaming of hate and extremism.” Bachmann is wrong. It is not Muslim immigrants who are a threat to Muslims, but as Beirich said, demonizing rhetoric. That rhetoric comes from people who call themselves 'christians'.
None of this will have any effect on Trump or his fellow racists. Obviously, to be great again, America must, like Germany in the 1930s, be for only one group, and that one group is increasingly identified as “white 'christian' Republicans.” The last two are sort of synonymous at this point, with Reince Priebus of the RNC having already identified the Republican cabal as a religion, while the white thing goes without saying, as big a no-brainer as those who preach it’s gospel.
At Stormfront, a forum member who’s signature is “nothing surprises me anymore” posts that Buzzfeed Bans Pro-Trump Opinions from Site – Breitbart
“The Jew machine is operating on full-blast,” he says by way of conclusion. Anti-Islam? Don’t forget Anti-Semite. These are the rank and file of the Trump cult. This is the end result of radicalization here in America.
We look at various causes of radicalization and in looking at these right wing figures we see not only the reason for the radicalization of the Republican cabal, but the causes of Trump’s radicalization. Trump is abetting the process through his own rhetoric, and so it continues. the shrub said we are at war against evil, not Islam, and he was, for once, correct, and many of those evil people are right here, at home.
The war on terror is not a simple matter of “us” versus “them” (radicalized Muslims) when so many of “us” are radicalized 'christians'.

Michigan mom freaks out: Prayer room for Muslims at catholic school ‘undermines’ my child’s delusion

Brother Rice High School President John Birney -- (WXYZ screengrab)
Michigan mom freaks out: Prayer room for Muslims at catholic school ‘undermines’ my child’s delusion

Muslim woman shot at and another nearly run off the road in Tampa after leaving mosques

Muslim woman wearing a headscarf looks out a window (Shutterstock)Muslim woman shot at and another nearly run off the road in Tampa after leaving mosques

California mosque leaders say blaze inside building was caused by ‘fire-bombing’

"We didn't do anything," said said Mohammed Aowishah, who attends services at the mosque. "We are innocent people."

Georgia school says teacher had no ‘ill intent’ asking Muslim student if she had a bomb in her backpack

“I was upset,” explained the girl’s father, Abdirazik Aden, who owns a business in the area. “I was going to take my daughter out (of that school). “

Chris Hayes Rips Wingnut Media Over Their Smear Of Muslim Veteran

Chris Hayes Rips Right Wing Media Over Their Smear Of Muslim Veteran

6 Barnyard Animals and How They Came to Be

Have you ever wondered why we ended up with the livestock animals we have? Someone, somewhere, selected which creatures we were going to raise for our own purposes.
Nearly 10,000 years ago, roosters and hens were creatures to be feared. Wild junglefowl prowled the bamboo forests of Southeast Asia, and the birds were anything but chicken. They fought pythons, attacked wildcats and nested in canopies high above the ground. Then, around 5000 BCE, bored humans started nabbing the birds and brought them to villages for entertainment. The aves weren’t for eating, but instead for cockfighting and fortune-telling. (Cambodia’s Khmer people still use chickens as oracles today.) Over time, selective breeding fattened the birds and made them complacent, while a gene mutation caused them to start laying eggs all year long.
Every single one of the 1.5 billion cows on the planet descended from a small herd domesticated in Iran 10,500 years ago. Those 80 Iranian cows were no ordinary livestock: They were aurochs, giant now-extinct cattle that ruled the continent for 2 million years. At nearly 7 feet tall, aurochs dwarfed today’s dairy cows. And they were incredibly aggressive. Every attempt to tame them failed until nomadic societies in the Levant settled down and somehow managed to get the beasts to help till the land. The last aurochs went extinct in the 1620s, but scientists from the Third Reich tried unsuccessfully to bring them back in the 1930s. (This was before people had learned the lessons of Jurassic Park 1–3).
Have you ever milked a horse? Your ancestors did. When horses were first being domesticated in the Eurasian Steppe 6,000 years ago, they were treated more like cattle—as a source of meat and milk. In Mongolia, fermented mare’s milk—called airag or kumis—is still a delicacy.
All it took to woo the Euroasian wild boar was the promise of leftovers. About 9,000 years ago in Iraq, villagers realized swine could be lured and then corralled by the scent of garbage. This proved much easier than hunting them in the wild. The four-legged trash cans cleaned up the community and provided meat in return. Not every culture was so enamored of bacon, though. In parts of India and China, domestic pigs were given the less glamorous job of cleaning up under latrines.
Ten thousand years ago, people in what is now Iran stopped hunting the bezoar ibex and started breeding it. Just like that, goats became the Swiss Army Knife of domestic animals. They were a regular source of meat and milk, their dung made excellent fuel, their sinews were handy for sewing, their hide was later stretched into parchment, and their bones were fitted into tools. Notably, the bezoar was also domesticated for its mystical qualities: the hard mass found in its stomach was supposedly an antidote for toxins (In Farsi, “bezoar” means “protect from poison.”) The ibex still exists, distinguishable from a regular goat by its super-long horns.
Humans kept sheep for nearly three millennia before anyone had the brilliant idea to use their wool. Nearly 11,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, they were bred from three different subspecies of the ramlike mouflon, but were only used for milk and mutton. Today, thanks to centuries of selective breeding, domestic sheep don’t shed annually like their wild cousins did. If they’re not sheared by a human, their fleece will grow forever. In fact, a New Zealand sheep named Shrek avoided shearing for six years by hiding in caves. When the walking marshmallow was finally trimmed, he produced enough wool to make 20 suits!

Animal Pictures