Author Archive | majestic

How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties

Anthony Kennedy official SCOTUS portrait crop.jpg

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ opinion.

Pay 2 Play politics has been the name of the electoral game in America since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Jim Rutenberg has a great essay in the New York Times Magazine showing just how bad things have become:

…Before 2002, parties could accept unlimited donations from individuals or groups (corporations, labor unions, etc.) so long as they devoted the funds — so-called “soft money” — to the amorphous act of “party building.” The McCain-Feingold law, as it came to be known, banned soft-money contributions, and it also prohibited political groups that operate outside the regulated system and its donation limits — like the Wylys and their Republicans for Clean Air — from running “issue ads” that appear to help or hurt a candidate close to an election. It implemented tough fines and even prison terms for those who illegally coordinated with the official campaigns.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Latest Intellectual Property Chapter Of TPP Agreement Leaked

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is supposed to be secret, but once again a draft has leaked, this time the Intellectual Property chapter. Mike Masnick reviews some of the copyright law provisions, writing at Techdirt:

…In the copyright section, it appears that US goes beyond existing US law in asking that “making available” be considered one of the exclusive rights protected under copyright law. Some US courts consider “making available” to be considered part of the “distribution” right, but others have disagreed (saying that the distribution right only covers works that have actually been, you know, distributed). While the legacy entertainment industry likes to pretend this is settled law and merely making available equals distribution, that’s not entirely clear. No matter, in the agreement, the US (and Japan) push to require everyone to include “making available” as an exclusive right for copyright holders.

There was great fanfare a few years ago when the USTR announced that, for the first time ever, it would include some language about fair use to appease those who were concerned about how these agreements only ratcheted up the enforcement side of copyright, and not the public’s rights.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Big Pharma Has Made Americans Into Wimps

Mail order pharmacy dispensers.jpg

Americans are wimpy hypochondriacs, says Julie Gray at Huffington Post:

…The way illness is treated in the United States is ghastly, ranging from costly, inadequate insurance to cheap, over the counter medicines for everything under the sun. It has turned us into a nation of willfully ignorant drug and convenience addicted wimps, buying treatments for symptoms that we don’t like and medications for illnesses we don’t have, padding the pockets of big pharma along the way.

We have become a nation for whom illness is anathema. We are terrified of diseases we probably won’t get; the Ebola scare is sweeping the nation. It was SARS before that. And the H1N1 flu epidemic before that — and so on. Our sense of proportionality, of the actual impact of illness, is way out of whack.

From where I live now, I am thankful that I cannot reach for a spray or lozenge that will make it go away.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Chris Bovey, Chemtrails Conspiracy Troll

Contrails.jpg

What do you make of Chris Bovey? Assuming his story is true, does his fake chemtrail spraying video prove anything more than it is possible to hoodwink ardent believers of chemtrails / geoengineering theories? Vice presents his story as a debunking, while it seems to me more akin to claiming that because some crop circles are man made, then necessarily all crop circles are hoaxes…

The chemtrails conspiracy theory has been circulating for a while among the same sorts of people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job and celebrities are being controlled by the CIA. In brief, chemtrail enthusiasts think that those white trails of vapor you see pouring out of planes are actually nasty chemical or biological agents that governments are using to geo-engineer the weather, create a vast electromagnetic super-weapon, control the population, or—well, you get the idea. There’s no science or proof whatsoever behind this, but plenty of people are still willing to entertain this vaguely supervillain-esque notion.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Mormon Church Is Building a Family Tree of the Entire Human Race

Before you decide that this is completely insane, consider that the Mormon Church already has 32 times the amount of information stored at the Library of Congress. The New Republic excerpts Christine Kenneally’s new book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures:

Mormons think as hard as, probably harder than, anyone else in the world about what it means to keep facts alive, or at least to keep them accessible to the living, and the phenomenon they have built out of granite, microfilm, machines, and software is as mind-bogglingly ambitious for our century as the flying buttresses and gargoyles of Notre Dame were in the twelfth century.

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: Cookiecaper (CC)

The Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo: Cookiecaper (CC)

Even as a large branch of American genealogy sheared off at the turn of the twentieth century into a mad eugenic scheme to reshape the human race, the Mormons got on with their mission to gather and share records.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

One More (Very Compelling) Reason Not To Shop At Walmart

This is gross, stop reading right now if you don’t like stories about stuffed animals and bodily fluids.

Walmart exteriorcropped.jpg

But if you do, the Smoking Gun reports that a Florida man took a stuffed animal off a shelf at Walmart, had his way with it, and then put the soiled beast back on the shelf to be sold. It’s just one more (very compelling) reason not to shop at Walmart!

A Florida man today took a stuffed animal off a Walmart shelf and then used the toy to masturbate before returning the ejaculate-covered item to a store shelf, police report.

The repulsive episode occurred around 3 PM at a Walmart in Brooksville, a city 50 miles north of Tampa.

According to cops, Sean Johnson, 19, walked to the store’s bedding department with a stuffed toy horse and proceeded to pleasure himself–a lewd act that was captured by surveillance cameras.

Johnson, seen in the adjacent mug shot, was then spotted returning the stuffed animal to a Walmart shelf.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

How The Media Has Helped Normalize GOP Crazy

Alison Lundergan Grimes 2011.jpg

Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo: Patrick Delahanty (CC)

Can you remember a time when Republicans didn’t act foam-at-the-mouth radio host crazy? Paul Waldman makes a good point writing at the Washington Post: GOP crazy is now the norm:

The victim of this morning’s pile-on is Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who was asked in an editorial board meeting whether she had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Grimes hemmed and hawed a bit, obviously scared to say Yes. That isn’t too surprising — when you run as a Democrat in a red state (just as when you run as a Republican in a blue state), you spend a lot of your time explaining why you aren’t like the national party and its leaders. But some people are outraged, including Chuck Todd, who said on Morning Joe (with a look of profound disgust): “Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything?…I think she disqualified herself.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Chris Brown Leads the Ebola Conspiracy Charge

It’s no surprise that there are conspiracy theories about the Ebola virus deaths and fears as they spread around the world. Accusations of intentional population control is something that we expect from the usual proponents of nefarious New World Order plans, but now there is a new and unlikely champion: Chris Brown, the R&B singer perhaps most famous for battering Rihanna’s face into an ugly mess. Here’s his tweet on the topic – note the number of retweets and favorites:

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.02.40 PM

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Holy Prepuce

Григорий Распутин (1914-1916).jpg

Grigori Rasputin

I just don’t know how to introduce an essay about Christ’s foreskin, known as the Holy Prepuce, so take it away Stassa Edwards at The New Inquiry:

Europe’s history of penis worship was cast aside when the Catholic Church decided Jesus’s foreskin was too potent to control.

Grigori Rasputin’s dick is on display at the Museum of Erotics in Saint Petersburg. Housed in a jar of formaldehyde, the member, which the museum’s owner claims he obtained from a French antiquarian, is quite sizable. Actually, it’s enormous for a human penis: Wide and meaty, it measures about a foot long. According to the museum, just gazing on the preserved member can cure a range of problems, everything from infertility to a humdrum sex life. But the specimen isn’t a human penis. It more than likely came from a horse.

It wouldn’t be the first time something inhuman was passed off as Rasputin’s dick.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Elon Musk Warns Artificial Intelligence Could Wipe Out Humanity

As one of the most celebrated of technology pioneers, Elon Musk (Tesla cars, SpaceX, etc.) knows a thing or two about where technology is headed, and he’s not at all sure there will be a positive outcome for humanity per this interview with Walter Isaacson for Vanity Fair:

Tesla and SpaceX C.E.O. Elon Musk said he was worried that people didn’t understand how fast artificial intelligence was progressing, and expressed his concern that, in a worst-case scenario, a “super-intelligent” machine might decide to destroy human life.

Musk was speaking to Walter Isaacson, the president and C.E.O. of the Aspen Institute, on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. Musk, uncharacteristically wearing a suit, detailed his fears after teasing the announcement of Tesla’s secretive project called “the D.”

“I don’t think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing. Particularly if [the machine is] involved in recursive self-improvement .

Read the rest
Continue Reading