Archive for U.S. government

Score one for oil drilling opponents!

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that's oil folks smaller

I rail all the time about Big Oil drilling into every pristine and not-so pristine corner of the world, fracking, and the usual gluttons' utter disdain for keeping our precious earth and its inhabitants safe, healthy, and beautiful.

Writing about it for years on end is exhausting and is taking a toll. That is one of the main reasons I have outrage overload (and have been ordered to cut back for health reasons). It's not easy to rant endlessly, yet feel as if you're having no impact.

Thankfully, there are people with big, effective voices who are being heard:

environment erin brockovich tweet CA, West VirginiaLink

But today is different. Today I am the bearer of good news, or rather, the Los Angeles Times is:

The U.S. government violated the law when it opened millions of acres of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, possibly delaying plans by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell to drill off the northwest coast of Alaska in the near future.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate the impact of oil development in the Chukchi Sea when it sold more than $2.6 billion in development leases in the environmentally sensitive area in 2008.

A coalition of environmental advocacy groups and Alaska Native organizations sued the federal government, arguing that the U.S. had offered an estimated 30 million acres of oil leases for sale without sufficient scientific information or analysis of potential effects on the region.

bam

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NSA Watch: "We’ve all become inadvertent assets in governmental spy operations."

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internet spying

Another guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:

ENCHANT A GOBLIN PRIEST

Think we can all agree these are pretty exciting times. Matter of fact, might be more exciting than we had any inkling. Recent revelations indicate we’ve all become inadvertent assets in governmental spy operations. You may have thought the NSA was everywhere, but you didn’t know the half of it. And no, there shouldn’t be a humming red LED under your bed.

The New York Times says our friends at the Black Chamber are not only opening our mail and listening to our phone calls but are now lurking in and monitoring on- line game rooms like World of Warcraft and Second Life. Are those trolls or undercover spooks? Or both? Not just an operations chief but a night elf- hunter guild leader as well. James Bond’s new assignment- to enchant a goblin priest. Zelda- a princess, sure, but where does she go at night?

The professional eavesdroppers out of Fort Meade claim their only goal is to thwart terrorism but that’s pretty much their answer to everything these days, including lunch at Quizno’s. “Why do you always get the Italian combo?” “National Security.” “Please clean up the broken glass resulting from your idiot friends’ juvenile beer tossing antics.” “Can’t. National Security.” “What happened to your toe?” “National F%*$!#G Security.”

Who knows why they’re really creeping around? Could be checking out skill sets. Filling emergency requests from division commanders. “Major! Wander around Call of Duty: Black Ops II. We need an infantryman who can go to his left. If he could take out multiple drones with a single RPG, that wouldn’t hurt. Then check Grand Theft Auto for someone who can steer with his knees while switching magazines on an Uzi. And requisition more mushrooms from Mario.”

These data mining epiphanies do us the double dirt of giving gamers a too convenient excuse as well. “Mother, pleeeease get off my back. I will have you know I am not wasting time. I am gathering extremely critical counter- intelligence.” Nerds are the future of war. The elite soldiers of tomorrow can be found climbing ladders and throwing beer kegs at gorillas today.

And we know the NSA is cheating. Think of the secret backdoor codes they can uncover using their megawatt super computers. Orcish hordes evaporating. And knowing gamers, being under constant surveillance probably acts as an added attraction. Having the NSA watch every foray into gem collection only adds layers. Leading to subterfugal feints and the dropping of phony bread crumbs. If you can’t execute a quadruple cross, don’t bother.

Seems like we got this all turned around. Its we people who should have the privacy with the government being transparent. Not to mention, the spectacle of federal employees spending whole days playing video games makes a man proud to pay his taxes, don’t it? If they were smart, they’d give each of us a free PlayStation 4. If they were smart.

Get used to it people. There are no safe houses anymore. The new X Box has a camera and microphone that retain function while pointing at your couch even when the game is off. Someone is watching us watch television, and you know somebody else is watching them. We’re all going to end up like Gene Hackman at the end of The Conversation. “Coming This Winter. Paranoia: The Gathering. Don’t just play the game. Be the game.”

This Tuesday. Will Durst’s last performance of his one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG” at the Marsh. San Francisco. themarsh.org. Go to willdurst.com to find appearances near you including Tahoe Improv, Dec 18- 22.
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Something Stinks -- Oh Yeah, it's Congress

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yer out

Today’s guest post is by our pal and regular TPC contributor, David Garber.

Something Stinks -- Oh Yeah, it's Congress

Sequestration. The big afterthought proposed as nothing more than a gimmick a few years back and now the Republican House governance is trying to enforce it. It's kind of like making a bet, then welshing on it and asking a court to rule in your favor. Gambling debts are unenforceable. And isn't that really what this latest game called sequestration is all about -- a lost bet? Kind of "Kick the Can" which became kick and miss and finally kick my ass.

So why not stop playing games, stop all the nonsense and go back to work? If this whole charade was meant to be taken seriously, then why is it the Budget Control Act of 2011 so filled with gimmicks. And now these same party leaders who put this BS into effect are trying to play more games with it. Don't they know that playing with feces makes you stink?

And here's the irony: one of the few exemptions from sequestration is Congressional salaries... Did you know that? Their pay is sacrosanct. It can't be touched -- but hundreds of thousands of tax payers may lose their jobs or be work furloughed with no such protections. Which elected official wants to handle the question of how that got written into the budget control act?

Maybe the stench of Congress will finally get the Fabreeze treatment and go away peacefully -- but if not, the people who will be paying off the Republican and Democrats lost bet with their jobs and social safety nets will remember this come 2014 -- when we band together to "Dump the Chump" and start with a clean slate of legislators. Crap on me once, shame on you. Crap on me twice and ... well, leave it to "Dump the Chump." As the umpire in a ball game would say on a player's ejection, "You're outta here!"

elephant pooping

For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”

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"Imagine you're dying and doctors take a 10 day break... That's what Congress is doing right now with sequestration carcinoma."

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surgery doctors

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow:

"Everybody hates this upcoming made-up crisis, which is good, because there is a seriously simple solution to this universally reviled, universally acknowledged as dumb, thing. We could... not do it. Crazy, right? Congress has the ability to just not do it. Just turn the darn thing off. It's very simple. And it is one very clear thought that is missing from this debate. It is the elephant-slash-donkey in the room. Am i missing something here? If we all think it would be bad for the country, why don't we not do it?"

Today’s guest post is by our pal and regular TPC contributor, David Garber.

Dump the Chump

Cancer. Malignancy. Tumors. It's all a horrible thought; a nightmare for those who've gone through it. And a fear for those who have not.

Fortunately medicine has provided some miracles and scores of individuals have been cured. Today America sadly has been diagnosed with a tumor and we won't know if it's malignant or benign until it's removed. But it must be removed if we're going to survive. This has to be done before the medicos announce it's become inoperable. The procedure is painless. In the O.R. t's called "Dump the Chump" and it's not done with lasers or radiation. And fortunately for anyone afraid of needles, none are needed. It's done painlessly with our vote.

Just like with any cancer removal, some healthy tissue will be lost to make sure we've removed ALL of the dangerous and diseased matter. The recovery time will be quick though and afterwards, pathology can examine carefully the removed tumor and perhaps, if there is some health tissue, it can be kept and returned when the patient is healed. But until then, it's collateral damage.

The longer we wait to perform this surgery, the more dangerous the procedure and the riskier the operation. And if we wait too long, out plight becomes that of victims, too far gone to recover. Then we're left to languish like the tuna pulled aboard a fishing boat, caught in the harvesters' net, flopping around, gasping for a breath, until we die.

Fortunately there is a hole in the net that's caught us. Our illness is still curable but requires everyone pulling together. The cancer is our Congress. They're dysfunctional and malignant. They are acting out of petty self interest, not the well being of the patient (The United States). The results of the test are in -- doctors call it sequestration carcinoma.

So now the cure. It's a movement. It's called "Dump the Chump!"

Surgery is necessary and the scalpel is our vote. But just like with that malignant tumor, we may have to lose some healthy cells along with the damaged. We must vote out EVERY INCUMBENT. Dump the chump. They all go -- the good with the bad because selective surgery has been tried and it's sadly not worked. Who we replace them with is up to us -- a Republican with another Republican, or Republican with a Democrat -- it doesn't matter. It doesn't mean voting for the other party. It means voting out EVERYONE because they cannot function together and the patient is paying the price.

We all blame someone else's representative -- rarely our own. "Oh, that's the crazy guy from Kentucky, or that radical from New York or he/she's just like the rest of them in Missouri or California." But let's stop kidding ourselves... It's all of them. What feeds this cancer? Power and the disease's confidence that "We, the people" aren't strong enough to wrest it from them. Imagine you're potentially dying and the doctors all take a 10 day break before operating, allowing the patient to suffer? That's what our Congress is doing right now with our sequestration carcinoma. They're on break while we the patient are flopping helplessly on the tuna boat deck.

2014 is the next big election -- the next opening in the operating theater. So let's do what we can do. Vote. And for whom? Anyone NOT already part of the malignancy.

Want to get healthy again? We can! Dump the Chump. If enough people chant along, "Dump the Chump", you'll see a lot more positive action while we ride this out. But the most important thing is we rid ourselves of the tumor. Let's get healthy. Let's Dump the Chump.

I then asked David this:

"EVERY incumbent? I love Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson, for example."

Then, just to be sure, I asked if he meant his "EVERY INCUMBENT" line literally, or if he wanted me to edit.

David's response:

As I said, this situation is a malignancy -- some healthy tissue would be cut if nothing more than a precaution to make sure all of the bad had been excised. But like I also said, after removal, some can be replanted. You mention two wonderful representatives, well senator and a representative, but sadly, without a clean sweep -- the point of my meme -- there's never going to be a meaningful change. All the voters will pick their favorites and we'll end up returning all the crazies along with those few who serve us so well. Look, we lived without Alan G for a term -- and he's back. Hopefully Florida will return him again, someday.

Reality -- this movement I propose won't catch on. But if the threat and rumor do, then you never know. Many successful movements began with one person -- in this case me. And I'll promote Dump the Chump every chance I get so that maybe some day the fear will get into our Congress that election doesn't mean you stop working for the people, it means you FINALLY START working for the people... and party be damned.

They must do what's right -- not what morons like, McConnell and Boehner and Cantor tell them to do. Look, the Dems have their black sheep as well. But when you listen to Rachel Maddow, as she pointed out last night, there's nothing stopping both parties from just dropping the sequester with a simple vote. They all think it's wrong -- or a majority do -- and yet they do nothing but use this and the threat of harm to we citizens as a ploy.

We need legislators -- not clones or robots... I'm not a chip. I'm a person. And these officials could do something about it besides taking a break. Hell, they just started work last month and already recessed for a week before this one. The Dems even proposed passing up the break (of course they knew the Republicans would not accept that offer) but one could argue they were willing to stay and face the work they were elected to do.

I think the point is unless everyone's vulnerable, or else no one really is.

For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”

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VIDEO: Republicans are "using in this country the same old cold war CIA tactics to destabilize our own country."

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chris matthews let me finish

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I sometimes want to mute the Tee Vee Machine when Chris Matthews interviews certain guests, but I also think he's a likable man with a lot of good things to say. In fact, Matthews is a hoot when he's a guest himself, especially on Real Time with Bill Maher.

His "Let Me Finish" segments are most often the best part of Hardball, and this one in particular is worth sharing. A lot.

"Let me finish tonight with this. I think the difference between the Democrats and Republicans is getting as wide as the Grand Canyon. Watch how they do it. President Obama wants to keep the government going. Pretty simple, huh? Republicans threaten to stop it. It's relentless. The fiscal abyss, the debt ceiling the sequester, the end to the continuing resolution. Different words, different deadlines all detonate the same explosion.

"They threaten to crash the government if they don't like the way it's doing something, if they don't like who the American people have elected as president. Isn't that what the Republicans did back in the old days? If they didn't like a government somewhere, Guatemala, Iran, the Dominican Republic, Chile, they just brought it down.

"Guess what: Republicans are now using the same tactic here at home. If they don't like who we've elected president, they find some way to undermine the government, discredit its leaders, whatever to destroy it. We are using in this country the same old cold war CIA tactics to destabilize our own country.

"Look at the impact the constant threats to shut down the government have been having on public confidence. It's all in the ratings. It's undermining it, making people forever nervous about the basic ability of America to even have a running government. Is that patriotic? I don't think so."

 Again, this is one of those commentaries that should not be ignored.

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Cartoons of the Day- Chinese Cyberhacking

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hackchina

hackchina1

Year of the Snake

Via.

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Chart: Ruh-roh! Red state socialism alert!

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Via

There it is, in black and white, red and blue. Takers and makers, moochers and givers, socialists and ...

Wait. Just. A minute.

Oh my GOD! Look at that chart! What's become of this country of ours?!  The Red State Socialists are winning! The Takers are Taking! Taking OVER, that is! Hide the kids! Everybody panic!

Or.

Or, just get a grip and realize that the government is there to represent us (aka elections), protect us, keep us safe, help us, and even provide opportunity. It's about time those on takers the right accept reality, take a hard look at facts, breathe deeply, and reset.

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