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Wed, 03 Mar 2021
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The War of Ideas in the Middle East

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© Unknown
Ad calling for end to u.s. aid to israel on a san Francisco cable car
Campaign to end US aid to Israel expands to San Francisco cable cars

A new series of ads calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel now greets commuters, tourists, students, and shoppers traveling on the San Francisco Bay Area's public transit systems.

The ads, part of a growing national campaign, went up this week on the Powell Street cable car, a popular tourist attraction in downtown San Francisco; in three of the busiest stations on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) - San Francisco's Civic Center, 12th St. Oakland, and Downtown Berkeley; and on the Muni level of the Embarcadero station in San Francisco. Next week the same ad will be posted in the 16th St./ Mission station in San Francisco.

Footprints

Children Defy Police in Washington, Purchase Lemonade at Capitol

In response to a recent wave of lemonade stand shut downs and harassment of children over such petty regulations as are used to shut them down, several activists gathered at the west lawn of the capitol in Washington, DC to sell lemonade and were arrested.


Attention

Dine-and-Dash Epidemic Hits New Zealand: Is Food Inflation to Blame?

The price of food in New Zealand has gone up 46.4% over the past 10 years:

Food Inflation
© Minyanville
The Wairarapa Times-Age (has your subscription lapsed, too?) has details of year-over-year inflation.

Biggest increases:
  • Broccoli up 66.6 per cent
  • Tomatoes up 34 per cent
  • Lettuce up 20.7 per cent
  • Cabbage up 19.6 per cent
  • Peaches up 13.5 per cent
  • Yoghurt up 14.7 per cent
  • Breakfast cereal biscuits up 8.2 per cent
  • Lamb chops up 6.9 per cent
  • Chocolate biscuits up 6.6 per cent
  • Sausages up 4.4 per cent

Chess

JPMorgan Is Foreclosing On The U.S. Treasury!

I am not making this up. Hat tip reader Deontos.

Here is the high level story: JP Morgan Chase and Northwest Trust foreclosed on a property in Hillsboro, Oregon. Treasury (more accurately, the IRS) has a tax lien on the property.

So this is pretty cheeky. The plaintiffs didn't notify the IRS, who they claim was an existing junior lien holder, of the "sale". Query what the IRS's status is given the failure to give notice. So does JP Morgan want to own up to its error and pay the lien? Noooooo. They want to foreclose on the US government. They are asking for the IRS to act in 30 days or go bye bye.

The compliant is silent on how the tax lien came about, but I thought as a general rule that tax liens were senior to mortgages. Reader input welcome.

JP Morgan Chase v Treasury

Newspaper

5 things the media isn't telling you about human activity and earthquakes

police tape
© John Murden

Shortly before midnight Mountain Time on August 23, the largest earthquake in Colorado in more than a century, with a magnitude of 5.3, sent tremors as far away as Kansas. Some twelve hours later, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Northern Virginia sent shock waves as far away as Toronto. The local damage in each event did not appear extensive, though structural effects, on bridges, tunnels, nuclear power plants and more are yet to be determined.

Through the afternoon and evening of August 23rd, the national media uncovered the big story of the East Coast quake: where their colleagues posted in New York or Washington were and what they thought when they felt a bump, sway, rumble or funny feeling. But with no national correspondents already on site, the Colorado quake was left to the locals. But both quakes were profound, rippling with far-reaching lessons about our outdated and unsafe energy practices that we ignore at great peril.

Mr. Potato

US: Olbermann: 'How stupid is Eric Cantor?'

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After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) used Hurricane Irene as an excuse for spending cuts, Current TV's Keith Olbermann had just one question: How stupid is he?

"It is one thing to treat the citizens of the United States as if they were your idiot cousins, loafing around your house waiting for you to pay them their meth bills," Olbermann began Thursday. "In a twisted part of this country, that has worked for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, but in our third story on the countdown, 99 percent of those people cannot vote for him. When he treats the folks inside his on congressional district that way, he evolves from Scrooge-like to potentially self-destructive."

"The inhumanity, I get. The political self destruction, I do not get. Every politician is seemingly smart enough to protect those limited number of people in his own constituency. Why doesn't Cantor?" Olbermann asked Democratic strategist Karl Frisch.

Mail

Amnesty International sets up Twitter account mocking Dick Cheney

Dick cheney

The human rights organization Amnesty International has set up a Twitter account named "Cheney's Conscience" that mocks the former vice president and links to a petition calling on U.S. Attorney General Holder to open a torture investigation.

"Is it Friday yet?! Who knew whitewashing #torture would be this hard?" a tweet from August 23 said.

"Look, of course waterboarding isn't torture. The lawyers I instructed to tell me it wasn't torture said so!" said another from August 19.

Book

John Dean Rips Cheney's Memoir: It Displays His 'Authoritarian Personality'

cheney,powell
© snip

John Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel and author, blasted former Vice President Dick Cheney's memoir In My Time on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

"He is a classic authoritarian personality," he told Olbermann on Thursday night. "We are seeing it in his book. He certainly demonstrated it as vice president."

"And while he can set rules for others, he has his own rules, and he can't see any hypocrisy in what he is doing."

In his book, Cheney reportedly attacks former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Cell Phone

Wave of 40,000 tweets followed U.S. earthquake

Earthquake tweets
© Reuters/Yuri Gripas
People stand outside the World Bank headquarters building in Washington as they evacuated after an earthquake which struck the east coast of the United States August 23, 2011.
Just one minute after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the state of Virginia on Tuesday and shook much of the U.S. eastern seaboard, an online aftershock of 40,000 tweets hit the internet.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center got an additional 15,000 "likes" on Facebook ahead of Hurricane Irene's advance.

Social networking sites are increasingly critical to reporting and responding to such disasters, the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Red Cross, and the U.S. National Weather Service said in a Facebook Live event.

Surveys have shown that a majority of Americans believe response agencies should be monitoring social media, Director of Disaster Services at the American Red Cross Trevor Riggen said in the videoconference.

Dollar

Iceland's On-going Revolution

Iceland protestors
© Unknown
Iceland protestors
An Italian radio program's story about Iceland's on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here's why:

Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country's banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks' foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland's debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. But only after much pain.