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asolpan33Let's try to summarize this astounding Scientific American article that symbolizes the tentacles of the fossil fuel industry and utility companies in perpetuating destructive climate change.

Actually, the header and sub-headline of the piece sum it up nicely: "A Solar Boom so Successful, It's Been Halted: Photovoltaics proved so successful in Hawaii that the local utility, [the Hawaiian Electric Company] (HECO), has instituted policies to block further expansion."

Hawaiian residents are investing their own money to save longterm costs and the environment.  The result is that they are producing a surplus of solar energy beyond what they can use in their homes.  This extra energy is supposed to be diverted back into the power grid to save money on HECO's reliance on oil and to reduce global warming.


awallstProviding additional evidence that the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) is protecting "banks too big to fail," Pulitzer Prize winning financial reporter David Cay Johnston has revealed that the DOJ has refused to force JPMorgan Chase to comply with an ongoing investigation into the bank's possible knowledge of Bernard Madoff's fraud scheme of a few years ago.

The information obtained might reveal that the bank chose to financially benefit from criminal activity:

Bernard Madoff’s principal bank, JPMorgan Chase, has for years obstructed federal bank examiners trying to ascertain what it knew about his gigantic Ponzi scheme, an official document obtained by Newsweek shows.

The Justice Department refused in September to back up Treasury inspector general staff who wanted a  court order to enforce a subpoena, in effect shielding JPMorgan from law enforcement, the October 8 document shows.

The Justice Department told the Treasury Inspector General “that they were denying the request for enforcement of the subpoena,” which means officials “could not undertake further actions regarding this matter,” wrote Jason J. Metrick, the inspector general special-agent-in-charge.

Johnston disclosed the latest damning indication of the DOJ shielding Wall Street banks that dominate US finanes in a Newsweek article. The DOJ pattern of not exploring potential big bank criminal activity was admitted to by Attorney General Eric Holder.


ablacksantaIt's now just one of those everyday occurences that we have become accustomed to, like reading the sports pages to see what teams won and lost.  

Only, in the United States it's about who lost their lives in the ever unfolding toll of people shot to death -- or seriously injured -- with guns. Heck, it's really just filler for the newspaper or evening news now:

A 14-year-old Colorado girl mistaken for a burglar was shot and killed by her stepfather early on Monday morning at the home they shared, police said.

Police in Colorado Springs were called to respond to a report of a burglary on the city's north side and arrived at the scene to find the girl gravely injured from a gunshot wound, according to a police statement. 

The girl was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, said police spokesman Larry Herbert.

There are countless variations: mass school shootings, domestic violence killings with guns, arguments over traffic accidents, accidental fatalities among young people, suicides, mall attacks -- and don't forget the casually reported, socially accepted decimation of minority communities by gunfire as if it was as culturally normal as buying groceries.


asnapIf you've been following forecasts of the next step in the continuing right wing arc of austerity -- including the recently passed budget in which the Democrats considered it a victory that they held off Republicans from establishing charnel houses for starving Americans to die in (an embellishment, but not far from the metaphoric truth) -- the forces of putting the poor on pitchforks and roasting them alive for being parasites are marching on.

In a December 19th New York Times op-ed, Timothy Egan takes note of the fire and brimstone hatred of the less fortunate in society by the rabid right:

As the year ends, this argument is playing out in two of the most meanspirited actions left on the table by the least-productive Congress in modern history. The House, refuge of the shrunken-heart caucus, has passed a measure to eliminate food aid for four million Americans, starting next year. Many who would remain on the old food stamp program may have to pass a drug test to get their groceries. At the same time, Congress has let unemployment benefits expire for 1.3 million people, beginning just a few days after Christmas.

Rand Paul and the Tea Party crew make Scrooge look like generosity incarnate.  Of course, Egan notes of execrable attitudes toward most of the people on the earth who haven't been able to partake of the good fortune of most of those in Congress, "Should I also mention that the median net worth for new members of the current Congress is exactly $1 million more than that of the typical American household — and that that may influence their view?"


ahunger12 22


On December 10, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 332-94 in favor of changes to the federal budget for 2014. The House vote in effect adopted the proposals of the "Joint Congressional Committee," co-chaired by Republican Tea Party House leader Paul Ryan and Senate Democrat Patty Murray. The measure excludes extending benefits for the 1.3 million long-term unemployed. 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats in the House voted for it.

What happened to the Democrats, who promote themselves as representing workers' interests? 163 House Democrats in effect voted to exclude the long-term unemployed from receiving extended benefits. Only 32 voted against the deal.

On December 18, the Senate voted 64-36 in favor of the Ryan/Murphy plan. All 5s Democrats voted “yes,” along with the independent (Bernie Sanders and Angus King). So the cruel and callous exclusion of benefits for the 1.3 million long-term unemployed is now law. The benefit will expire on December 28 for these workers.

Yes, there are promises by the politicians that the issue will be taken up when Congress reconvenes in January. But it faces an uncertain future as the Republicans will make every effort to extract their pound of flesh in order to approve extending unemployment compensation for the long-term unemployed. First, they will demand an "offset" for the $25 billion cost of the program for one year, meaning the probability of cutting other social programs to pay for it. Second, they are likely to make qualifying for the benefit more difficult and onerous. Third, they may well attempt to reduce the amount of the payments. Of course, if the Democrats had been steadfast on behalf of the affected workers during the negotiations that led to final enactment of the budget, there would have been no need for uncertainty on any of these scores, at least in the near term.

So whom else does this new budget deal benefit and whom else does it hurt?



ascalia12 16Mon Dieu!

Antonin Scalia is rumored to belong to the secretive Catholic Opus Dei Society, which is said to number about 100,000 world wide.  Its main tenets our God is an authoritarian and, therefore, Opus Dei adherents support dictatorial societies; that women stand behind men; that mass should be in Latin; and that God created a natural order of life in which the rich are rich and the poor are poor -- and the divine order of inequality shouldn't be disrupted.

In fact Opus Dei, which is so covert it won't reveal its membership, has neither denied nor confirmed if Scalia belongs to the highly conservative theological church within a church.

Nevertheless, these and other beliefs of the renegade right wing Catholic cult are basic to Scalia's rulings on the Supreme Court.

It remains to be seen whether Pope Francis is the "new Coke" of the Catholic Church or an agent of change.  But clearly, his pronouncements thus far on the potential devastation of capitalism, the needs of the poor to be attended to now, his first-ever -- although less than comprehensive amidst an institution that is still gender discriminatory on a massive scale -- words of tolerance toward gay men (The Advocate just named him "Person of the Year"); his pronouncement that some of his good friends are Marxists; his reaching out to other religions; and so on are enough -- even if only words for now -- to make Scalia apopleptic, which warms the cockles of many a heart this holiday season.


adevilduck12 19Leave it to FOX News to launch a campaign of outrage against the suspension of a reality TV "star" for his homophobic comments.

Of course, it didn't take long for Sarah Palin and other Tea Party opportunists to pile on and defend the right of anyone who claims to be Christian to spout bigoted anti-gay pronouncements and racist comments.

That's the case with the A & E program called "Duck Dynasty," whose name apparently comes from a bunch of male relatives who look like Z-Z Top, but run a duck-calling business.  Only in America, can camouflage outfitted duck-callers become a national phenomena on a highly rated show.

So, here, according to NPR, is a bit of what the patriarch, Phil Robertson, of the "Duck Dynasty" clan said to get him suspended from one of the many surreal "real life" television serial:

In his GQ interview, Robertson was asked his definition of sinful behavior.

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," such as bestiality, he said.

GQ said he then paraphrases a biblical reference: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

But if you want to get at the ground zero of where all this traducing of Jesus and the bible comes from, here is the key revelation that has been overlooked in terms of the head of the "Duck Dynasty" clans outlook:

In the interview, he also said that in his Louisiana youth he picked cotton with African-Americans and never saw "the mistreatment of any black person. Not once."


astasiHow Ironic That The STASI (Emblem Above) Set the Standard for Surveillance. It Could Happen Here.Last week, the Guardian UK reported that 500 authors, including five Noble Prize winners, signed a manifesto calling for a curtailing of the emergence of surveillance states, led by the US:

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.

What could be a more fundamental right than the ability to think and express oneself freely, without the state gathering a digital mountain of our private lives?

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It's no coincidence that the Guardian UK broke the Edward Snowden revelations about he NSA, which confirmed the worst fears about the extent to which the US government has been spying without any significant restrictions -- and casting an extremely wide net that went way beyond what might be needed for national security interests.


amcprotet12 6Fast food workers have been protesting around the nation, in a growing movement, against wages so low that many of them need to receive government safety net support.  They join an entire segment of the working population that has shifted from a living wage to a barely living exploitative pay scale.

And the corporations get subsidized by off-loading benefits to the government whenever they can.  By now, many readers are aware that McDonald's infamously advised its workers on its employee website how they could help themselves out financially by returning holiday gifts for cash.

But CNBC, of all websites, caught McDonald's in a major website advice mismatch in which a syndicated columnist offered tips to Mcexploited workers on how to tip "au pairs, personal fitness trainers and pool cleaners on its worker resource website."

Obviously, this pathetically ironic content -- sent out to people who can barely get by -- must have been meant for the McDonald's executive website.


afemlion12 5Mr. President, The Lion of Wealth Doesn't Want to Share Food With the Sheep of Need. It Wants to Eat Them.The bottom line is that as long as President Obama accepts the myth of "heroic" unfettered capitalism, he won't solve the problem of surging income inequality and increasingly stagnant social mobility.

The president came to the political forefront at the 2004 Democratic Convention with a soaring speech about a "purple" America.  As president, he has seen only a red and blue America.

There will be no purple economic equality as long as Wall Street, corporations and the 1% are calling the shots in DC and subsidizing their wealth at our expense. 

There's no purple solution to economic injustice.

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