One of the crime scenes

Monday, August 26, 2013

US Soil
Crazy is the Family Business

ReThuglicans and your run of the mill Ayn Rand worshiping  mentally constipated conservative doesn't have much problem with logic. No, they simply deny its existence, just like evolution and climate change. Maybe logic classes in philosophy departments will be the next target of RePuke governors within their state colleges, once they rid the campuses of Zinn's "People's History."

Lack of logic seems to lead to a lack of constistency and the constantly re-emerging "birther" controversy is a great example of this. Years ago Mitt the Twit's father, George Romney (a much better Romney than the Misttster, btw) was a perennial competitor for the Republican nomination for preznit of the USA. I was young, and not particularly politically engaged in those days, but I don't recall people making an issue out of the fact George had been born in Mexico. George wasn't born in Mexico in a similar manner as John McShame had been born in Panama, to parents on military assignment abroad. No, George was descended from fugitives from justice who had fled Utah in order to continue to pursue polygamy.

Now that unsurprisingly the two craziest US Senators are the favored nominees for preznit in 2016, Ayn Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Cruz supporters who were 110% convinced Obama didn't qualify as a natural born American, are convinced that Ted Cruz, born in Calgary, Alberta does meet the bar to be presidunce of the USA. One could debate the appropriateness of this requirement as the callow Dylan Matthews does inTed Cruz is a Canadian. That’s a terrible reason to prevent him from being president

I had to laugh when I read the part of Dylan's piece, which suggested that  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor didn't meet the bar, having been born in territories that weren't states yet either when the Constitution was ratified, or when they were born. Of course Mr. Matthews' lack of logic doesn't allow for the fact that at the time of ratification, it would be forty years before an American born president would be possible, and new borns, not being forty yet were hardly eligible to be Commander-in-Chief.  But the truly ludicrous part was.....
 A good first step when evaluating a policy like the natural-born citizenship clause is to see if other countries do it too, and if not, if they’ve suffered any consequences from that failure. And sure enough, very few other developed countries have requirements at all like this one:
 I guess Mr. Matthews forgot about the vaunted US exceptionalism. - you know the only country to drop nuclear bombs on people, or developed country to NOT have universal health care or to have over a quarter of the planets imprisoned population out of five percent of the world's population and so forth and so on. 

But Ted Cruz supporter manages to disqualify Barack Obama and allow Ted Cruz to run for the office with this leap of logic, to which some Canadians (not counting Spiteful Steve) might take issue! According to the Texas Tribune:
 KINGWOOD, Texas — When Democrat Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, Republican voter Christina Katok of Walden said she believed he was ineligible for the job.

She reasoned that he was born in Kenya and therefore wasn’t a “natural born” American — one of a handful of constitutional requirements for the job. (Obama's birth certificate shows that he was born in Hawaii, but some critics do not accept that as fact.)

Fast forward six years and another freshman U.S. senator, Canadian-born Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz of Texas, is being mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. But Katok, who would vote for Cruz in a heartbeat, doesn’t have any concerns about his eligibility.

“As far as I’m concerned, Canada is not really foreign soil,” she said. Katok said she was more disturbed by Obama's "strong ties to Kenya," the African country where his father was born. She also said she didn’t like the fact that Obama did not release his long-form birth certificate during the 2008 race
 For anyone whose stomach and brain can take the abuse, for some more delightful discussion of the Texas Tsar of Crazy, whose father fought with Fidel Castro back in the day, check out  For Ted Cruz, Crazy is a family business in Salon.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Railroad Safety,
an Oxymoron?

Could this be Cranbrook or Trail, next year? (Lac Megantic)
 Unfortunately for the giant corporations that run the railroads, they cannot replace their workers with cheap offshore labor - at least until they get remote operation of locomotives developed farther than when the CN almost took out part of Prince George a few years ago. So instead of replacing crews with cheap Chinese or East Indians, they just get rid of them, without any replacements. Neglecting infrastructure like trackage and bridges also helps cut costs also and running prairie grade equipment in the mountains of British Columbia, as CN did once it had stolen BC Rail from the people of BC with the assistance of Gordo "Capo" Campbell also helps to cut costs, and hell, what is the life of a crew man or two, as long as the profits flow ever more into the pockets of the greed bags who apparently run the world for their own gain.

For the first two or three years after CN began operating the old BC Rail line, there was an average of one derailment every three days, and I don't know if that has improved as I haven't seen any recent statistics. One at the north end of the Fraser Canyon cost two trainmen their lives and another (as a train was operated remotely between two yards in Prince George) necessitated the use of water bombers to save the city and dumped petroleum and god knows what else into the river. 

Everyone remembers the recent loss of the downtown of Lac Megantic in Quebec and the 47 people who paid with their lives thanks to a 72 tanker train left unattended on a grade, that was virtually unattended with only one crew member even when underway. But what is a death or two here and there, as Hunter Harrison the new CEO of Canadian Pacific said recently when confronted about the reduction of up to a third of the jobs at CP, at a time when the railway was doubling its amount of dangerous petroleum products carried on longer trains at higher speeds......
Mr. Harrison said he believed, despite the job losses, CP’s workforce has embraced the rapid changes implemented at the railway in recent months.
“There has been a lot accomplished, but there’s a lot more to do,” he said, adding that someone asked him the other day how long it takes to change a corporate culture.
“I’ll just tell you what Margaret Mead said. She said you do it one funeral at a time, and hopefully we can beat that pace a little bit,” he added.(my bolding)
But hey, bidness is bidness and last December when Mr. Harrison announced the eliminatiion of 4,000 jobs (it is now projected to be maybe more than 6,000), CP stock rose to an 52 week high, overnight.
Shares in Calgary-based Canadian Pacific hit a new 52-week high today, in the first trading after the railway announced it would cut 4,500 positions — a 23-per-cent reduction in the railway's 19,500-member workforce — by 2016.
The stock hit $98.04 before falling back to close at $96.82, a gain of $3.82, or 4.11 per cent, Wednesday in Toronto.
This came to my attention this morning when I heard on the CBC Radio News that 4 out of 7 safety inspectors in Cranbrook had been issued layoff notices. 
Just six weeks after a devastating train derailment and explosion in Quebec, one of Canada's major rail line operators is cutting more than half its safety inspectors in one B.C. Interior city.
Four of seven Canadian Pacific Railway inspectors, or 'Carmen', based in Cranbrook have been given layoff notices, and union official Bob Fitzgerald says that is a major safety concern — especially given what happened in Quebec on July 6.
"The quality of inspections and the frequency have got to decline," he said. "CP would be wise to take heed: what happened there — clearly, it can happen anywhere. They should think about that."
If one might think that the Lac Megantic tragedy was just a unfortunate rare occurance, without much research one can come up with.....
In May, a freight train jumped the tracks near Jansen, Sask., spilling 91,000 litres of oil. About 114,000 litres of oil spilled in March near Parkers Prairie, Minn., when 14 cars derailed.
A derailment of 22 cars west of White River, Ont., caused the spill of 110,000 litres of light crude oil and 22,500 litres of canola oil. A broken train wheel and broken track were recovered from the scene. Later in April, 17 cars carrying potash derailed near Provost, Alta.
Then there was the CP train coming down the steep grade into Trail a few years back that might have wound up at the main downtown intersection in Trail except for the heroic engineer who after telling the crew to jump off, guided the train to a safe crash spot, at the cost of his own life. Then there was the bridge that almost failed in Calgary during the flood.

Just think how profitable these companies could be if they maintained jobs and safety, but cut back on the shamefully outrageous compensation for executives, who would still be rich if their compensation was reduced by two thirds, which would in the case of each CEO would be savings equivalent to at least 200 jobs. What am I thinking though, cause greed trumps jobs for real people and even safety and life itself.  Besides, CP better be putting some bucks aside for the lawsuits most likely in their future, or maybe they will take the MM&A route of bankruptcy or go hat in hand to their buddies Slimey Steve and Flaherty.
Last week, the province of Quebec added CP to a list of defendants that it says are responsible for paying for the cleanup of the disaster area in Lac-Mégantic, Que., and lawyers representing victims of the disaster named Canadian Pacific in a class-action suit.
Both suits allege CP bears some of the responsibility for the deadly derailment, as it was the main contractor that handed over responsibility for the crude oil tankers to the smaller Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd., which then operated the tanker train that jumped the tracks in Lac-Mégantic on July 6.
Of course according to the overpaid masters of the universe, there will be no reduction in safety.
 Operating safely has been and always will be a No. 1 priority at CP and that focus is not going to change," said spokesman Ed Greenberg
Of course Mr. Harrison seems proud of his manly approach to business and he was quoted as saying....
 “I kind of went through Canada maybe like Sherman went through Atlanta,
Hunter Harrison - How much money does it take to make him smile?

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Staying on
Extended Vacation

This one is too big for my junk! Can I exchange it?

Spiteful Stevie Harper is where he prefers to spend the majority of his time, far, far away from Parliament Hill. Currently he is enjoying his annual summer trip to the north, and of course once again pretending that he gives a shit about the north and the folks that live there. Actually, it is a good way to get away from the odious trio of Brazeau, Wallin and the Duff Man and embarrassing questions about his judgement in appointing them to the Senate in the first place.  Oh yeah, and while he is 4000+ kilometers from Ottawa, he thought it would be a good time to announce that he and his cock-us needs yet more vacation (or time to write up mega omnibus bills) so he will ask the GG to prorogue the senior House of Infamy, yet again as is his recurring desire.

That's cute, he is gonna "ask" the Governor General for permission, for which I guess he will have to pull Mr. Johnston out of his pocket.  I still am flummoxed with wondering why Ms. Jean allowed him to proroque the first time, but never wonder about Mr. Johnston, who does Stevie's bidding be it to close the house or engineer a cover-up for Lyin' Brian Mulroney.

As the inimitable Dr Dawg points out, in spite of the fact that:
 ...his government may have killed training for Land Claims Groups, slashed funding for Inuit health research, decimated the national Inuit organizations, thrown Nunavut fisheries quotas out the window in favour of ridings with more votes, ignored the tragic spike in Inuit suicide, refused to honour its Land Claims commitments, slashed education funding for Inuit youth, repudiated its obligations under the Inuit Language Act, mocked Arctic environmental concerns, failed to meet its Inuit hiring and training agreements, and reneged on its northern housing commitments.
Not to mention that his much heralded ice breakers just might be launched by 2050, and he wants to spend billions on planes (the JSF-35) that will be useless in patrolling the frozen north and protecting the Canadian sovereignty he claims to cherish he has made the commitment to:
   spend more than half a million dollars on a Stealth Snowmobile to…ummm….that will…uhhh….
It should come as no surprise that as soon as Stevie was on the ground and opened his mouth, he started spouted highly partisan attack style rhetoric such as congratulating the voters for electing him to "care for the country." In spite of the fact that he is on a tax payer funded junket, it is difficult to not interpret this "vacation" as a pre-election campaign swing through the vast northern lands. According to PM Harper rips opposition on 1st stop of North tour :
In a highly partisan speech to supporters, delivered against the backdrop of a summer of eye-popping revelations of Senate misspending, Harper took aim at both of his opponents.

"What I am telling you is that with the NDP and Liberals, what you see is what you get; dangerous ideas and vacuous thinking that would reverse all of the progress we have made," he said, ticking off bread and butter Conservative themes such as the economy, and law and order.

It was a direct appeal to the party's base, which has been badly shaken by the spending scandal, which has cost the Conservatives three senators, launched multiple police investigations and shows no sign of abating anytime soon.
Warned of economic calamity

He warned of economic calamity should the Conservatives be defeated in 2015, claiming the Opposition had "tax and spend proposals so extreme they would make the worst European budget look solid in comparison."
It is an embarrassment to Canadians that this corpulent corporate puppet represents us in the north and anywhere else on the planet he is so dedicated to destroying for the greed of his masters on Wall, Bay and Howe streets!

News of Other Autocrats, in the Stevie Mode

The recently deceased father of the current leader of North Korea Kim-Jong un, Kim-Jong  il was apparently a very good golfer - though he only played once. According to a story, in the Telegraph, about the son announcing a new ski resort for the country that can't even feed its people. 
 Kim Jong-il first picked up a golf club in 1994, at North Korea’s only golf course, and shot a 38-under par round that included no fewer than 11 holes in one.

Satisfied with his performance, he reportedly immediately declared his retirement from the sport

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Got Lemons?
Make Lemonade!

Raytheon knows what to do with lemons.

Some business folk are starting to consider climate change as it affects and will more greatly affect their business. Insurance corporations are starting to notice that they are on the hook for pay outs for damages caused by once in a hundred year disasters that seem to be approaching semi-annual occurances and the costs from wildfires which seem to have a season that starts earlier and ends later every year. Sometimes it seems that if it ain't on fire, it's underwater these days. Unlike Big Oil, Big Clean (sic) Coal and the Fracking Freaks, Raytheon, rather than denying climate change is planning how to role with it and perhaps even increase their profits, even though humanity as a whole will lose big time.

Raytheon: Climate Change Could Create "Business Opportunities"

 Of all the business opportunities presented by global warming, Raytheon Company may have found one of the most alarming. The Massachusetts-based defense contractor — which makes everything from communications systems to Tomahawk missiles — thinks that future "security concerns" caused by climate change could mean expanded sales of its military products.
Not only is Raytheon not a company/corporation that doesn't just try to deny global warming, but indeed compared to the really bad boys of pollution is recognized for its efforts in mitigation by the EPA.
 Raytheon, it should be noted, isn't exactly gunning for catastrophic global warming. Quite the opposite, in fact: In February, the company received a "Climate Leadership Award" from the EPA for publicly reporting and aggressively reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. It's working on renewable energy technologies. And it has publicly warned of significant climate change-related risks to its business — from things like hurricanes, floods, droughts, and forest fires.
Of course Raytheon can\t turn around global warming by themselves and they are a major defense contractor whose products include the Tomahawk Missle. So if climate change leads to mass migrations and increased conflict as people without water or arable land move in on those who still have both, just think of lemons and lemonade and crank up the weapons production.   
......Raytheon wrote [registration required] last year that "expanded business opportunities are likely to arise as consumer behaviour and needs change in response to climate change."
What kind of business opportunities? Raytheon cites its renewable energy technologies, weather-prediction products, and emergency response equipment for natural disasters. But the company also expects to see "demand for its military products and services as security concerns may arise as results of droughts, floods, and storm events occur as a result of climate change."
The document says that these extreme weather conditions could have "destabilizing effects" and that on an international level, "climate change may cause humanitarian disasters, contribute to political violence, and undermine weak governments":
 So if all else fails crank up the missle production....................... and keep to the high ground!

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Spy versus

Updated @5:19pm

from Alternet: Be Careful What You Google

Yeah General Hayden, I believe you, nobody is watching us..........................end UPDATE
Richard Nixon must be looking up from his extremely warm location in Hell and feeling a sense of frustration as he watches folks he would have considered amateurs get away with crap he wouldn't have dreamed of even attempting in his day of trying to establish executive control over Amerika and the world. He was highly cheesed at Daniel Ellsberg, who had the temerity to expose the lies behind the Vietnam Scam from his position as an employee of the Rand Corporation, a position similar to Edward Snowden today, with access to documents that put the lie to the "official" government position. Of course back in those days the so-called system of checks and balances still functioned to a degree and the court was appalled at the lengths that Nixon and his band of sleazebags would go to discredit and persecute Mr. Ellsberg, which led to complete exoneration for Daniel and his eventual recognition as a GOOD CITIZEN by most people with functioning brains. 

Today though, Bradley Manning finds himself looking at over 130 years in Leavenworth, or comparable digs for exposing not just lies from our government but actual war crimes by so-called men who are apparently immune to any accountability. Sometimes I wonder if the Nuremberg Trials actually happened or are a fairy tale ala the Brothers Grimm. As one wag on Twitter pointed out the other day, someone who exposes war crimes gets over a hundred years in jail, while war criminals get a library. I guess being a "good German" is the way to go now, unless you like free room and board in unpleasant accommodations or worse (execution for TREASON).

I caught a discussion with Charlie Rose and some of the usual suspect regarding Snowden and Manning yesterday and was not surprised to see that only one person included in the discussion didn't think both young "whistleblowers" were actually criminals with Messiah complexes or worse.  General Michael Hayden former head of sequentially the NSA and the CIA got 15 or 20 minutes to explain how troubled and dangerous both Snowden and Manning were and spent a fair bit of time explaining that the public, and even the Congress Critters who almost defunded the NSA programs the other day had it all wrong. He said that all the skeptics and critics mistakenly believed that the gubmint was listening to our phone calls and reading our e-mails, but that indeed no information that wasn't in the phone book was being disclosed or used. Of course anyone who has spent thirty or forty years as a big player in the Security Industrial Complex should be expected to laud the value of spooks prying into our private business.

General Hayden pretty well made everything he said irrelevant before he was done though, or just proved he was as hypocritical as it is possible to be, before he signed off. After all his denials of any kind of actual listening or reading (claiming only "meta-data" was being collected) he expressed his deep concern for his (probably) buddy General David Petraeus. Yep, General Hayden was/is concerned about the fact that the FBI could read Petraeus' emails without a warrant, which of course led to him having to resign as head of the CIA because he was committing adultery with his young biographer. In other words, General Hayden, who spent years in charge of all this bullshit spying on Americans, Europeans, anyone on earth really, couldn't care less whose privacy is violated, unless the violated person is a friend, or person of equal status/position.

Well fuck you General Hayden, and I hope someday people look at Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning the way we look at Daniel Ellsberg.

USA Number One! 

#1 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on the entire globe.

#2 According to, the United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world.

#3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.

#4 The United States is tied with the U.K. for the most hours of television watched per person each week.

#5 The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.

#6 There are more car thefts in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world by far.

#7 There are more reported rapes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#8 There are more reported murders in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#9 There are more total crimes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.

#10 The United States also has more police officers than anywhere else in the world.

#11 The United States spends much more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other nation on the face of the earth.

#12 The United States has more people on pharmaceutical drugs than any other country on the planet.

#13 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#14 Americans have more student loan debt than anyone else in the world.

#15 More pornography is created in the United States than anywhere else on the entire globe.  89 percent is made in the U.S.A. and only 11 percent is made in the rest of the world.

#16 The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world every single year.  Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the U.S. has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.

#17 The United States spends 7 times more on the military than any other nation on the planet does.  In fact, U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

#18 The United States has far more foreign military bases than any other country does.

#19 The United States has the most complicated tax system in the entire world.

#20 The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen and it is rapidly getting worse.  Right now, U.S. government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.

Data from The Economic Collapse 

(I went to this site for the list, which has been bandied about all over. I'm not too clear on where/what this site is about as the comment thread is a weird collection of anti-socialist and pro-Jesus (it's all because America forgot God) tripe)

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