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It's Tuesday, November 25th, 2014.  Ferguson, Missouri is burning.

I live several states east of there, but I've sat up all night watching live streaming feeds of the rioting in Ferguson and St. Louis, MO. The grand jury's decision to whitewash and stonewall the murder of Michael Brown came out at 9 PM hereabouts. I think the first police car on fire came an hour later, and the night devolved into one store after another being looted and burned.

It's quite something to watch image after image of flaming stores come rolling up on the screen. For the amount of property destruction going on, the police are being remarkably restrained. They have the weapons to put this situation down real damn fast if that was their goal, but it isn't. They say they haven't fired a shot, which is a remarkable change of pace from the full clip execution of Michael Brown back on August 9.

If they were to shoot anyone in the current riots then they'd be the bad guys in today's news cycle, and that's where they plan to win this thing. They actually want riots, and they want to look like decent guys for a change, all for today's news. Behaving themselves puts all the criminal color onto the black community for carrying on the way they do.

These riots will be covered in the media as yet one more historical example of black people getting mad and burning down their own neighborhood, just like in Watts and Detroit in the Sixties. Black residents burned down the very places they work at every day, shop at every day, just senselessly wrecking the small businesses of their very own community.

And there it is, that stupidest of questions, that rhetorical question most white Americans will ask one another this morning, "But why do they burn down their own neighborhood?"

And their only answer will be, as always, to shake their heads and shrug their shoulders and never, ever understand. They just can't come up with an answer. And with no answer, there is no need, no way to seek a solution. So they don't.

Follow me below the squiggle and hear the answer.

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In a display of religious tolerance that is an example to the whole world, the Oklahoma legislature recently approved the establishment of a Lord Hanuman temple on the state Capitol grounds. Oh, they don't have any idea that they did this, but they may be admired for their accomplishment just the same. Sometimes wonderful things arise from stupidity, like flowers blossoming from a big pile of manure under Oklahoma's endless blue skies.

Once erected, the Lord Hanuman shrine will become a place of pilgrimage and worship for Hindus everywhere, and is expected to grow into a major architectural project within a very short time. It isn't at all certain that the Capitol grounds are spacious enough to accommodate what's coming.

This gift from the GOP-dominated Oklahoma legislature came about very quietly, with the erecting of a monument listing the Ten Commandments of the Christian religion on a granite slab, right on the Capitol grounds. Then came word that a local group of Satanists also wanted a monument to their religion added to the scene. There were some national headlines about that. But the arrival of Lord Hanuman on the scene is going to become lasting national news in more ways than anyone in the state's government even begins to suspect.

Follow on over the squiggle and hear the four very Hindu problems that are about to be of intense concern for Oklahoma, and our nation.


How do you plan to practice your religion on the Oklahoma capitol's grounds?

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Republican House leadership had to cancel a test vote on Tuesday intended to show support for NOT shutting down the Federal government in October. Ooops. There weren't enough Aye votes to keep government going.

The debt ceiling must be raised by midnight on 9/30, but many conservatives in the House GOP refuse to condone it unless Obamacare is defunded first. Many also want deep cuts in long term spending, especially Medicare and Social Security. Some are demanding that the Paul Ryan budget must be accepted as written or they won't fund the government.

These are extreme positions, and extremely stubborn Right Honorable Gentlemen, so a showdown followed by a shutdown looks likely right now. It's the default outcome at this point, if no bottoms can be budged from their principled positions.

The split in the GOP is over how best to defund Obamacare. Some say closing down the government later this month is the only way to force the issue, ever. But House leadership wants to defund Obamacare by some other means to be discussed after passing a clean temporary funding bill. They fear the public blowback if they shut down the government.

So the GOP is in disarray at the moment, but relax. On the primary goal of defunding and preventing Obamacare from ever happening, the Grand Old Party is united. They're just discussing how.


Will our Federal government be funded on October 1st?

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Corn farmers in the lush fields surrounding Peoria are facing a terrifying new problem after Monsanto offered them a rush solution for a recent plague of rootworms.

In a hurried effort to deal with the failure of its GMO corn to either produce the bumper crops promised or to kill the rootworms that have been the constant enemy of monocultured corn, Monsanto offered farmers in this region a genetic treatment for their crops guaranteed to solve both problems.

That guarantee has turned into a living nightmare, as farmers have had to turn to homemade napalm and Molotov cocktails to protect their families from their own crops.

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Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 10:45 AM PDT

"I have promises to keep."

by antifa

I am Benjamin Natanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, and I have promises to keep. I will never permit any other nation in the Middle East to acquire nuclear weapons or even to enrich uranium on an ongoing basis. Israel cannot survive except as the sole nuclear power in the region. Only nuclear weapons can deter attacks from the Muslim populations surrounding our tiny nation. Iran has crossed the red line, and must be brought low, and soon. This is not negotiable.

I am Prince Bandar of the House of Saud, and I have promises to keep. As a true believer and defender of the faith, I cannot permit the depredations of the infidels, idol worshipers and heathens who call themselves Shiites to spread. Iran is intent on spreading the influence of this false religion throughout the Middle East, and is challenging the standing trade alliances of more civilized nations both with the West and with one another. Iran must be brought low, and soon. This is not negotiable.

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Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 10:19 AM PDT

Hell Is Coming To Breakfast

by antifa

We're going to attack Syria, whether our Congress can be bullied and bribed into approving the plan or not.  Congress doesn't matter.

Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, says our President has the "right" to make war when he will.

Hmmmm.  Some people were dropped on their heads as babies. Others were clearly thrown up in the air, hit the ceiling fan, bounced off the bedpost and the dresser, then fell out the window and left a dent in the sidewalk.

He has the "right" to make war?  Our Constitution grants "rights" only to we, the people. American Presidents have duties and responsibilities, and a good salary. That's it.  No special rights, privileges or royal prerogatives. Their job, and it is just a job, is to see that the laws of the land are carried out, and to oversee defense of our country. Only our Congress has the onerous duty of deciding collectively if and where and when we go to war, not our Presidents.

But try telling that to the neoliberal multi-millionaires living in sealed bubbles within the confines of that giant asylum on the Potomac, Washington, DC. Our collective representatives are not only off the reservation, they're unaware that there is a reservation, or a Constitution either.

So the facts of life are plain: Obama will have his splendid little war, no matter what, all on the basis of, "Who's going to stop me?"

Well, sir, if you must know . . .

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Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 12:14 PM PDT

The 1% have no wealth.

by antifa

So much of every discussion of our looted economy is still talking about the 1% within their paradigm.

Let’s change that right now:

1. The 1% have no wealth. They have our wealth.

The current paradigm funnels far more of the profits on produced goods to the 1% than is their ethical share. On this hungry planet, with fewer resources every day to go around, what individual needs or deserves 7 houses, a couple of yachts, and hundreds of millions of dollars hidden in offshore accounts — more stolen money than they can spend in twenty lifetimes?

That was and is our money.

Solution: All personal wealth over $10M is taxed at 100% and used for free education, infrastructure, healthcare, housing and a base income for every citizen.

In a more and more automated world, it is already clear that not everyone has to work 40 or more hours a week. It is also clear that our species needs to live more gently on this planet, more like caretakers than gang rapers.

Removing the mad struggle for money and subsistence from the 99% through ethical sharing of the profits of production will go a long way to accomplish this. When no one can live above a certain level of wealth, distinction as an individual will come not from excess but from personal accomplishment. That’s a much more human measure of your humanity.

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New drug mimics the beneficial effects of exercise

A drug known as SR9009, which is currently under development at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), increases the level of metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice. Treated mice become lean, develop larger muscles and can run much longer distances simply by taking SR9009, which mimics the effects of aerobic exercise. If similar effects can be obtained in people, the reversal of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps Type-II diabetes might be the very welcome result.
The article explains that mice in one group were kept from getting any exercise at all, fed a normal diet, yet developed athletic physiques and demonstrated a 50 percent increase in stamina.

All sounds pretty wonderful, doesn't it?

Not so fast . . .


Will you be taking this new medicine when it comes out?

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Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:58 PM PDT

Religious Corporations?

by antifa

There are about 60 large corporations suing the Federal Government for the right to NOT follow Obamacare's requirement to provide abortion and birth control in their company insurance plans.

The basis of all these suits is that such coverage violates these corporations' individual freedom of religious expression, which our Constitution guarantees to all persons.

The question these various Federal District courts are facing is whether a corporation can have religious faith and beliefs, and practice them. You know, like a real person can. Is a corporation a really real person?

This used to be a silly question. Until Citizens United was handed down by the Supreme Court, making money free speech and free speech a natural right of corporations as individual entities. One slippery step toward corporate personhood . . .

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Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 11:23 AM PDT

Detroit on its knees

by antifa

Detroit is just one of many cities and states going down the tubes, compliments of a thoroughly rigged economy and criminal bankers and politicians.

It's vital to see the neoliberal/neoconservative experiment in context. American history (especially since WWII) has been increasingly a reach for more and more international dominance, leading finally to the modern "neo" movement since 1980, which seeks permanent Americanization and globalization of the world's economy. Why? Because we can. Because our wealthiest citizens profit from it. Because we have had the resources and manpower to go a viking, so we did.

The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 is the great grandfather of the Cheney 1% Doctrine of 2001 -- preemptive war on any nation that even hints at challenging our empire.

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Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT

Snowden has everything. Everything.

by antifa

(Edits: Snowden's actual salary has been corrected to $120K, the title of the diary has changed, and it is here specifically stated by the author that any and all of this essay may be quoted and freely distributed as desired. It is a public document.)

Pardon, but we need to clear up something in everyone's discussions of Edward Snowden.

Snowden's actual job title was "infrastructure analyst." Booz Allen was openly recruiting for the position, which Snowden took a pay cut to accept. Most likely everyone figured it was because he and his girlfriend wanted to live in Hawaii. It was actually because Edward wanted to be in a role where he could freely access top security clearance data proving the NSA's nasty habit of data vacuuming on every living soul within reach, everywhere in the world.

What does an infrastructure analyst do? Well, at an ordinary company that manufactures widgets or can openers, an infrastructure analyst is one of a team of guys who have their hands on the very heart of the company network 24/7. Between them they keep it up and running, back it up, fix problems and disasters as they happen, and implement upgrades and new rollouts of software.

They see to the implementation of network policies across the board, flag violations or intrusions from within or without, set up new systems when the need arises, and if they're any good they test the system for flaws and weak points.

They often do a bit of coding to improve server performance or to trace leaks, or to test network security. Some are better at this kind of testing than others. Snowden was not just good on the keyboard, he was amazing and gifted, by all reports. Which is where and how all the trouble started.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT

Shanghaied Cicadas

by antifa

With the emergence of the 17-year Cicada swarms imminent on America's East Coast, gourmets from Martha's Vineyard right on down to Cape Hatteras are preparing assiduously for the feast. Yes, everyone who's anyone knows Cicadas are crunchy and delicious, and nothing sharpens the appetite like waiting 17 long winters for another taste of succulent insects superbly prepared and presented to table.

These two-inch long, noisy, bug-eyed locusts will be crawling all over everything in sight for the next two months, veritable manna from heaven for true aficionados of haute cuisine. But it's so hard to find an American restaurant with a decent 17-year Cicada chef, the work being so seasonal.

No, the fine art of creating a locust luau remains an Oriental art, in my humble opinion. Fortunately, I have in hand the personal journal of our dear, departed family chef, Wong Wok Son, to guide me as I venture for the first time this year into preparing his famous dish, Shanghai Cicadas, all by myself.

Since only freshly emerged Cicadas will do for his grand dish, it means a lot of careful poking and picking at the nearby city park to find five dozen virgin locusts -- a stern task for someone of my silvered age. Fear not. I will take an hour or so to fortify myself with brandy and schnapps here at home beforehand, since they allow no imbibing of spirits in that public space. Join me over the fold when I'm all fortified, and see what adventures unfold.

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