Author Archive | majestic

Inequality and the USA: A Nation in Denial?

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Photo: Alex Proimos (CC)

Sam Pizzigati of Inequality.org writes at PressTV that “the United States… doesn’t just have the world’s most unequal major developed economy… [it] has the most people in denial about the inequality they live amid”:

Every August, for most of the last four decades, top central bankers from around the world have been making their way to the Wyoming mountain resort of Jackson Hole for an invitation-only blue-ribbon economic symposium.

This year’s Jackson Hole hobnob, once again hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, last week attracted the usual assortment of central bankers, finance ministers, and influential business journalists. But this year’s gathering also attracted something else: protesters.

For the first time ever, activists converged on Jackson Hole — to let the Fed’s central bankers know, as protest organizers put it, that “it’s not just the rich who are watching them.”

Over 70 groups and unions backed the protest and signed onto an open letter that calls on America’s central bankers to start nurturing an economy that works for workers.

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Threats to a Free Press, from Ferguson to the White House

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A strong appeal for the importance of the beleaguered Fourth Estate from a key member, Katrina vanden Heuvel, in the Washington Post:

This is a terrible time for journalists.

Just last week, the world watched in horror as James Foley, a freelance photojournalist for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, was beheaded by a jihadist from the Islamic State. The disturbing video suggests that the perpetrators intend to target more journalists if their demands are not met.

There is something particularly chilling about murdering those seeking only to inform, about reporters around the world having to fear for their lives. But right here at home, we’re seeing a less lethal, yet still deeply troubling threat to journalism.

In recent days, all eyes have been on Ferguson, Mo., where the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9 touched off citywide protests and a national debate over racism, equal justice and police brutality.

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Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

NWO“Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order” is the actual headline of this op-ed by Kissinger himself in the Wall Street Journal. You can’t say he isn’t out front and center!

Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan’s young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.

The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S.

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Police Officer Will Not Be Charged For Killing Napster Exec While Texting While Driving — Because It’s Apparently OK For Police To Do That

napster cooThe title of this post at Business Insider pretty much says it all!

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Wood will not be charged for fatally running over former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in his patrol car while the officer was typing a message into his computer.

We first saw the news on Valleywag, but there is good coverage in the Daily News and LAist.

The instance exposes the different way that law enforcement officials are treated versus civilians in cases where a person is killed because of texting while driving.

It’s illegal to text and drive in California; the state has a specific law against it. Civilians caught doing it can expect to face charges. But a report from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office shows that the rules may be applied differently to cops…

[continues at at Business Insider]

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UFO Over Pennsylvania?

Is this really a UFO spotted this week by a woman in Pennsylvania? (Probably not per Accuweather.) From ABC News:

A Pennsylvania woman who captured what she insists was an unidentified flying object on her cell phone camera says she is “scared to death now.”

A couple police officers also say they saw the UFO that night.


Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

Stephanie Wilkerson says she was relaxing on her porch in Lower Paxton Township, Pa., Monday night when she spotted an object in the night sky.

“I thought it was a plane until I realized it wasn’t moving,” Wilkerson told ABC News. “I watched it for about 20 minutes and I started noticing it changing colors.”

Wilkerson grabbed her cell phone to record the mysterious object and also called her neighbor over to verify what she was seeing.

“He went and got his binoculars because he first thought it was a planet,” Wilkerson said.

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What the Hell Is a Little Girl Doing With an Uzi?

OK Second Amendment defenders, what do you say to this question (posed by Cliff Schecter at Daily Beast) in the wake of the now notorious gun range death of a 9-year-old girl’s instructor: “What the Hell Is a Little Girl Doing With an Uzi?”

Yesterday afternoon, the “NRA Women” Twitter account sent out a simple and yet ghoulish message to its followers. With an embedded link to an article on their website, it reminded its adherents of “7 ways children can have fun at the shooting range.”

No matter that merely two days earlier, at the Bullets & Burgers Gun Range in the Las Vegas area, a 9-year old girl had been handed an Uzi, lost control while firing it in fully automatic mode, and accidentally shot the instructor standing next to her in the head (he later died after being airlifted to hospital).

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Photo by Uziel Galishto (CC)

Hell, the gun range didn’t even shut down.

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Mark Bittman’s ‘Drinker’s Manifesto’

The conclusion of Mark Bittman’s “Drinker’s Manifesto” (in the New York Times) is really the best part: “…when it comes to public health we fail to prioritize correctly. The C.D.C. says that excessive alcohol consumption causes 88,000 deaths a year and ‘costs the economy about $224 billion.’ Obesity-related illnesses cause somewhere around 112,000 deaths, and cost maybe a trillion dollars. You don’t see the C.D.C. saying that people under 21 years of age ‘drink too much’ if they consume a can of soda. But it should.” Bittman has a pretty good rationalization for boozing:

Across my desk recently came a reissue of the 1964 classic “The Drinking Man’s Diet,” a cute little volume that maintains that if you drink a bit you’ll lose weight. Counterintuitive, since one of the things we think we know about alcohol is that it provides truly empty calories, which generally speaking cause weight gain (see, for example, soda).

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The NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

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“BillGates2012″ by World Economic Forum – Flickr )CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Cliff Schecter reports that Bill Gates is donating $1 million for universal background checks for putative gun buyers, at Daily Beast:

Somewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.

It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

Gates is only the latest Washington billionaire to give to the effort, with original Amazon investor Nick Hanauer providing crucial early funding, and more recently upping his overall donation to $1.4 million. Additionally, Gates’s Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has provided $500,000 for the cause.

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World Health Org Wants Ban On Electronic Cigarettes Indoors

Jessica Nyx Smoking - 2013 AVN Expo Photos Las Vegas (8413506464)I recently was seated on a full airplane next to a nervous man chain-smoking an e-cig (electronic cigarette). Sunlight streaming through the window easily showed the vapor emission, and I could just as easily smell its sickly sweet odor. To say that I wasn’t thrilled to be inhaling his second hand e-cig “smoke” would be an understatement. The World Health Organization (WHO) now confirms my suspicion that you really don’t want to breathe in this stuff, reports BBC News:

The World Health Organization says there should be a ban on the use of e-cigarettes indoors and that sales to children should stop.

In a report the health body says there must be no more claims that the devices can help smokers quit – until there is firm evidence to support this.

WHO experts warn the products might pose a threat to adolescents and the foetuses of pregnant women.

But campaigners say regulations must be proportionate.

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Net Neutrality Is ‘Marxist,’ According to This Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

Why do the notorious Koch Brothers want to end so-called “Net Neutrality” (i.e., the rule that everyone should have equal access with equal speed to the Internet)? Jason Koebler investigates for Motherboard:

A mysterious conservative group with strong ties to the Koch brothers has been bombarding inboxes with emails filled with disinformation and fearmongering in an attempt to start a “grassroots” campaign to kill net neutrality—at one point suggesting that “Marxists” think that preserving net neutrality is a good idea.

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The emails, which come with subject lines like “Stop Obama’s federal Internet takeover,” come from American Commitment, an organization that is nonprofit in name only and has been called out time and time again by journalists and transparency organizations for obscuring where it gets its funding.

In an email I received, American Commitment president Phil Kerpen suggests that reclassifying the internet as a public utility is the “first step in the fight to destroy American capitalism altogether” and says that the FCC is plotting a “federal Internet takeover,” a move that “sounds more like a story coming out of China or Russia.”

The email, sent as an ad to people who have registered to read the Washington Times, asks readers to sign a petition asking FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to acknowledge that reclassifying the internet as a Title II utility is a “lawless Obama administration power grab.”

KERPEN SUGGESTS THAT RECLASSIFYING THE INTERNET AS A PUBLIC UTILITY IS THE ‘FIRST STEP IN THE FIGHT TO DESTROY AMERICAN CAPITALISM ALTOGETHER’

“Americans have been getting faster and faster Internet speeds because of competition in the free economy, not because of anything the government has done,” the petition reads.

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