Friday, July 3, 2015

BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT (if you can)


This is a castle in Poland. It's included on a list of the 25 most beautiful places you must visit before you die.

- Mark 

LED ZEPPELIN AT THE KENNEDY CENTER

If you're a Led Zeppelin fan, some time over the 4th of July weekend you should watch this. It's phenomenal. The Kennedy Center honors Led Zeppelin, in 2012.


- Mark 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

READING FOR THE 4th OF JULY WEEKEND (7-03-15)


Nestle CEO: Water is not a human right, should be privatized (Your News Wire).

The forgotten origins of Greece's crisis will make you think twice about who's to blame (Washington Post).

Obama mocks Republicans' 2016 field as big enough to field a 'Hunger Games' (LA Times).

A funny thing happens when drugs are legalized: Violence and crime happen a lot less (Upworthy).


STUFF THAT SHOULDN'T BE HAPPENING
11 year-old boy arrested for playing with toy gun ... oh, never mind, he was black (RT).

Drug cops took college kid's savings and now 13 police departments want a cut (Washington Post).


MARRIAGE EQUALITY
12 things conservatives have predicted would happen now that marriage equality is law (Think Progress).

19 hysterical passages from Supreme Court same-sex marriage dissenters (Think Progress).


DONALD TRUMP
Mexican billionaire, and the second richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, scraps project with Donald Trump after Mexico insults (Reuters / Daily Mail).

Donald Trump's glorious comeuppance: America's biggest buffoon is finally getting what he deserves (Salon).

Another company dumps Trump as controversy threatens to bite into his brand (LA Times).


IN THE "THESE PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS" CATEGORY
Is the "Obama crime family" blackmailing Chief Justice John Roberts (Salon)?

Erick Erickson: Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling will lead to creation of more "abused" homosexuals ... since the collapse of Christian families will lead to more abuse (Salon).

Texas Republican lawmaker wants women to carry nonviable/deceased fetuses to term (Samuel-Warde).

Rand Paul: If you believe in a right to health care, "you believe in slavery" (Think Progress).


VACCINATION NEWS
Governor Brown signs one of the nation's strictest vaccination laws (RT).

Could California's proposed vaccine law be unconstitutional (LA Times)?


MISCELLANEOUS
Labor leader joins Bernie Sanders' campaign, citing Clinton's 'silence' on Fast Track (Huffington Post).

"I think America is out of hand": The shocking numbers that reveal just how burnt out American workers are (Salon).

California officials praise Supreme Court ruling on independent redistricting commissions (LA Times).

Lawsuits over California water rights are a fight a century in the making (LA Times).

- Mark 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CREATIVE AIR CONDITIONING FOR YOUR CAR

It's going past 104 here in Bakersfield today. This is for those who might need help when their car's air-conditioner starts acting up ...


- Mark

Monday, June 29, 2015

GEORGE GALLOWAY - WHO CALLED OUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR STARTING IRAQ WAR ON "A PACK OF LIES" - IS RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF LONDON


Britain's George Galloway, a former member of the House of Commons, is running for mayor of London. Before you yawn and move to another post watch how Galloway handled a U.S. Senate committee hearing in 2005, when he was unjustly accused of profiting from the war in Iraq. It's a real smack down. 

Galloway calls out then Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) on his committee's 'oil-for-food' charges against him, referring to the claims as "The Mother of All Smokescreens." Galloway is calling out Sen. Coleman and his colleagues for going after him in an effort to distract from the fact that the GOP and the Bush administration built their case for war on a "pack of lies."



In an op-ed discussing his run for mayor Galloway promises that "a stream of the very richest ... bankers" will end up "heading for the coast – that’s [the] Cote d’Azure, of course, where most of them have salted away their millions." They'll be leaving because Galloway's chief economic advisor "Max Keiser strikes terror into the hearts of the ‘banksters’ and the cheats whose recklessness, malfeasance and even theft took Britain to the brink of national bankruptcy" in 2008-2009.

If you want to watch the entire Senate hearing with Galloway - and it's worth it - click here (the money quote from this YouTube clip begins at 20:39). 

In all cases, London's race for mayor in 2016 promises to be fun to watch.

- Mark

JOURNALISTS AS 'ENEMY COMBATANTS' ... SO, WHAT'S THE POINT OF THE MILITARY?


The Pentagon has released a 1,1776-page 'law of war' manual that says journalists can be labeled as 'unprivileged belligerents.' This is another way of saying journalists can be named as 'enemy combatants.'

Now compare this with ISIS, which demands that journalists not only "cooperate" in the territories it controls, but that media workers send all reports for pre-approval to its media office. Media workers also have to swear allegiance to ISIS.

So, yeah, in the process of rewriting the rules of war the Pentagon is effectively giving the middle finger to the U.S. Constitution - which clearly states that the freedoms of the 'the press' cannot be abridged. Go ahead, check it out.


Look, if our most basic freedoms are up for interpretation, debate and rewrites by a growing national security state and a military-industrial complex, that seems calibrated to be in a perpetual state of war, we need to ask one simple question: Just what is our military supposed to be protecting?

- Mark

NOTE: The story of former CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is instructive here. She filed a $35 million lawsuit against the Obama administration's Justice Department, claiming that she was spied on for her reports of the Obama administration's Fast and Furious program. This suggests being targeted by the government can also happen when critical reporting goes beyond the battlefields of war.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MID-WEEK READING (June 23, 2015)


U.S. confidence in police at 22-year low (RT).

'F**k U.S. imperialism': Germany's ex-finance minister slams U.S. defense secretary's visit ... calls on Europe to 'oppose U.S. aggression' (RT).

Pope Francis, in sweeping Encyclical, calls for swift action on climate change (NY Times).

Unregulated capitalism is destroying this planet (Truth Out).


LET'S TALK ABOUT GUNS ...
A guide to mass shootings in the America (Mother Jones).

Knee-deep in blood: We are all being held hostage by Wayne LePierre's children (Raw Story).

Guns in America: For every criminal killed in self-defense, 34 innocent people die (Washington Post).

Pope Francis says those in weapons industry can't call themselves Christians (The Guardian).


ALL ABOARD THE HATE TRAIN EXPRESS
NRA board member blames Charleston victim for his own death (Think Progress).

Christian church plans to avoid civil rights laws by pretending receptionists are 'ministers' (Think Progress).

Fox News host blames shootings on 'diverse cultures' living together in America (Raw Story).

Mainstream conservatives sound off on Charleston massacre, citing everything other than White Supremacy (Buzz Flash).


YES, THESE PEOPLE ARE MORONS
Louie Gohmert tells the Supreme Court: Jesus' law more important than constitutional law (Raw Story).

GOP senator John Thune shows America that he's a moron with this one dumb tweet (Raw Story).

Spain has first case of diphtheria in 28 years thanks to anti-vaxxers (IFL Science).


CORPORATE MOOCHES
'Fix the debt' corporations take at least $953 million in taxpayer subsidies (AFL-CIO).

Report finds that Walmart is hiding billions to avoid paying U.S. taxes (Politics USA).


HOW THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD HELPS US ALL
Evaporation-powered engine propels mini cars (IFL Science).

Stone tools indicate when humans started to specialize ... Oh, about 40,000 thousand years ago (IFL Science).

This robot is going to 3D-print a steel bridge (IFL Science).

Explaining the cornerstone of Game Theory: John Nash's Equilibrium (NY Times).


MISCELLANEOUS
The Fed's giant Ponzi scheme (Nation of Change).

Industry lobbies hard to snuff out Obamacare tax on medical devices, with even Democrats joining Republicans in effort (Center for Public Integrity).

The destruction of defendants' rights (The New Yorker).

The Bush family goes for number three, with the help of their banker friends (Truth Out).

- Mark

GUN FACTS, PLUS A LITTLE HUMOR ...

Interesting ... For every criminal killed in self-defense, 34 innocent people are also killed.

______________________________________
______________________________________


The following from comedian Jim Jefferies, on gun control in the United States (or the lack thereof), is spot on ... and funny.



Kudos to DG for the link to Jefferies.

- Mark 

Monday, June 22, 2015

THE STOCK MARKET vs. SOCIAL SECURITY ... JEB BUSH CAUSES US TO REVISIT THE ISSUE

Most knowledgeable and sentient Americans know that Social Security has been running surpluses, and that the federal government actually owes the the program trillions. 

Then we have Jeb Bush, who apparently didn't get the memo. 

Jeb Bush recently said that we need to raise the retirement age on Social Security in order to "lower the deficit" ... 







What Jeb is actually doing is engaging in the con game of the century. He wants people to believe that Social Security is in trouble so that he can help out his Wall Street friends (again).

Specifically, Jeb wants to start the conversation that Social Security is in trouble so that you and I start thinking that it needs to be "saved" by shoveling the programs resources into the "private sector." Put another way, he and his GOP friends want to take the trillions in Social Security funds and payments and then send them to Wall Street

While this option sounds sexy and exciting for many, all it does is create a perpetual source of cash for our bailout dependent Wall Street friends to play with.

What Jeb Bush and his Republican friends want you to ignore - or never learn - is how Social Security actually stacks up against private retirement accounts. Consider this: If you and your spouse contribute $598,000 into social security over a 40 year period and retire at 65 you can expect to collect $556,000 (i.e. if the man lives to 82 and if the women lives to 85). 

Conversely, if a married couple contributes enough into their private retirement account and build a $500,000 retirement nest egg things don't turn out quite so well. They are more than likely to end up with about $350,000 after deducting for "private" administrative and management fees.

For details you can check out my three part series on The Stock Market vs. Social Security here:

Part I: Which pays more ... Stock Market or Social Security? 
Part II: Worst case scenarios ... Stock Market vs. Social Security.
Part III: Social Security Privatization ... Bailout in Perpetuity.

So, thank you Jeb for encouraging me to bring out my Stock Market vs. Social Security series again. 

- Mark