Cliven Bundy, the BLM, and the right-wing nuts hypocrisy


If you watch or read more normal news sources you may have seen some limited coverage of this developing story in Nevada. If you check the “news” sources of the right wing(nuts) you most certainly have.

Clive Bundy is a rancher in Clark County, NV, who grazes his nearly 1,000 head herd of cattle on BLM (public) lands. A common enough thing in the west- where like so many other destructive industries the federal government gives away land at “fees” far, far below the going commercial rate (often at what amounts to a loss).

But of course Mr. Bundy believes he has some god given right to the land, and has refused to pay even the below cost fee of  $1.35 per head per month for 20 years. So after many, many years of legal battles, and issues more recently including protections of the endangered desert tortoise, the Feds have moved in to seize the cattle and forcibly remove them from public lands. With claims that Bundy owes taxpayers somewhere between $300K and $1 million in back fees.

And of course the articles and reader comments on the right wing nut “news” sources are calling- whether thinly veiled or openly, for confrontation and violence.

Anyone who is paying attention already knows that the red states whine and moan about “government handouts” such as social safety net programs. And know that hypocritically the red states already take far more from the federal government then they put in.

And here again we have a shining example of hypocrisy. Someone who is offered an unfair business advantage, a handout from the federal government/taxpayers to be able to graze their cattle at rates far below market fees. Someone who refuses to pay even these heavily taxpayer subsidized fees insisting they have some sole right to the lands held in trust for ALL americans. (and let us not forget- for generations the federal government, ie, us taxpayers have been giving these handouts to traditionally republican industries- lumber, mining, oil and gax extraction, cattle ranching, agriculture).

I am not sure which is more disturbing here- the general hypocrisy at the root of all this, or the calls for militias and armed violence in this case. Time will tell how this plays out.

 

Posted in environment, fracking, gun rights, obama, politics, rand paul, ron paul, social, taxes, tea party | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

UN Court Bans Japanese Whaling in the Antarctic! The Whales Win!


Oh Happy Days! The UN International Court of Justice in a 12-4 Decision has ruled that Japans annual whale slaughter in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes as they claim, and thus violates international law and must be stopped.

Japan has apparently agreed to abide by the ruling despite disagreeing with it.

I’ll admit- I’ll miss “Whale Wars”, the program on the Sea Shepherd’s annual attempts to stop the antarctic whale hunt, but I must say this is the most spectacular way possible for a tv show to have to end.

 

Brief article at the BBC here

The decision by the ICOJ here

The Sea Shepherds story here

 

 

 

Posted in environment, paul watson, politics, sea shepherd, sea shepherds, social, whale wars, whaling | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Major Leauge Baseball TV Blackout Policies


An odd post for me to be writing. I’m not a huge baseball fan. And I’ve probably spent far more hours listening to games then watching them.

But recently I was looking into the MLB supscription available on the Apple TV. I live in an area where I get no channels whatsoever “over the air”, and I have not had cable or sattelite service in over a decade. I don’t watch much tv- and I’d rather buy, rent, stream or watch for “free” the few programs I enjoy through either my Roku or my Apple TV box. But back to the point- I ended up playing around with zipcodes to see what games would be subject to blackouts on the MLB subscription. And I was shocked.

I feel like when I was growing up (admittedly- largely before cable became widespread, and when sattelite dishes wew 10ft diameter or more) that games were ONLY blacked out if the game was not sold out, and you lived in the very narrow area served by the local over the air station (essentially living in an area where you could drive to the ballpark within an hr or so). So I was rather shocked when I checked areas where you had no chance of driving to a game. Eugene OR- no pro teams in oregon period. Yet everone from the Seattle Mariners to the Oakland A’s and SF Giants were blocked out. Similar results in Laramie WY, Salt Lake City, UT, Bozeman MT.

Now, I could understand blackouts when I was a kid. Attending a baseball game was still affordable for most people. And if you were blacked out,  you pretty much had to live somewhere would you could, realistically, make it to some games. It at least felt like it made some sense, helping to fill the ballparks when baseball wasn’t such a multi-billion dollar industry.

But now…it just feels dirty. With individual players making more in a season then an entire team used to. With massive new stadiums being subsidized by local and even statewide taxpayers. With exclusive broadcast contracts being sold for huge sums to the likes of Fox and Comcast (the days of the local over the air broadcaster or even a regional cable network having rights is long gone).

Maybe some of you remember the old Chevy ad from the mid 70′s- “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”.  I find it both sad and telling that we have corrupted something was once such an integral part of our society. Sadly not new or unique…but troubling to my mind just the same.

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Profits First – NPPCR vs Apple


I found this little tidbit from Apples annual shareholder meeting quite interesting.

It would seem that a conservative think tank, NCPPR (National Center for Public Policy Research had a heated run in with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

You may know NCPPR because it’s president is Amy Ridenour, who you may know from her syndicated op-ed piece, and frequent radio and tv appearances. And some of her infamous pro-Tobacco and anti environment positions.

Also because of discraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff – who was on their board of directors and who with the help of Amy Ridenour famously illegally laundered $1 million from a native american tribe into the hands of lobbyists.

Anyway- at the Apple metting NCPPR demanded a “Profits First” position for the company. Demanding that Apple reveal the costs of it’s substantial green energy programs and presumably the costs of other iniatives such as being committed to using only rare earth minerals from conflict free regions. And demanding that Apple institute a corporate policy to do nothing not explicitly driven by profit.

CEO Tim Cook did not take kindly to this saying:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.”

And he eventually told them if you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

The NCPPR responded by posting a letter on their site condemning apple for spending money to combat climate change.

This is very telling to me. Conservatives- and let’s be blunt- ones who have nothing to do with making anything. People just using money to make money while contributing nothing to the world, demanding that the only point of a corporation is to make maximum profits- no matter the cost to others. And let’s be clear- these are the same people who insist on corporate personhood- so by extension it is fair to argue that on all levels they believe ones only responsibility is to ones own self interest.

 

More on this at Macrumors , the Mac Observer, Business Insider or just use your favorite search engine.

Posted in 1%, christian values, environment, global warming, obama, politics, romney, social | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Would Jesus own a gun?


First, to be clear- I do not consider myself a christian. And my beliefs are too complicated to address here. I suppose long story short- I tend to believe Jesus may have been a real person- a great man of his time and place- but no more the “son of god” then anyone else.

But he is among the top of the people that may have existed that I would love to have been able to meet. Now- let’s remember for a moment that the bible as we know it- is the words of men. Some contemporaries who were in his presence. Others, likely not and retelling the retelling of stories. And let’s be clear- even in this age we frequently have millions who believe someone said or did something regardless of the fact that evidence exists otherwise.

Now- I would argue that it is quite clear from the bible Jesus was a man of peace. One who seemed to prefer to spend time with the poor, with prostitutes, the sick, and who had no respect for the rich, the powerbrokers. He cared more for people then anything. And despite his followinbg  and the power that came with saw the lowestly in society as his equals.

 

So- back to the title- I can not in my wildest imagination believe Jesus would ever carry a gun. Nor respect anyone who did. Nor can I see him respecting a business owner who pays an employee a non-living wage. Nor respecting anyone opposed to taking care of the sick, the poor, the disadvantaged in our society. Nor that he would respect anyone who insists that someone seeking a better life for themselves should be imrisoned or sent back because they are violating some law and border made by men. Nor that he would ever think to judge a person based on the color of their skin (and let’s face it- Jesus- if he existed, was certainly NOT white)

I guess I just can’t wrap my head around how the majority on the right can wrap themselves in religion and Jesus’s name while violating almost everything the bible tells us his life was about.

I don’t know. Maybe it all boils down to a combination of ignorance and the huge dichotomy in the bible. God the father- a vengeful and hateful god (and the section of the bible that is most clearly mythology- with crucial elements repeated in different forms in societies and religions around the world, vs the stories of Jesus, possible a very real man and reformer who was elevated to a mythological status.

It seems to me many pay Jesus lip service, wrap themselves in his name…while truly either respecting or living in fear of the mythological violent father.

Posted in catholic church, catholics, christian values, gun rights, obama, politics, rand paul, religion, romney, ron paul, social, tea party | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Ice storm paradox: It’s colder because the Earth is warmer


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Another gem from Pulitzer Prize winning politicalcartoonist and commentator David Horsey.

 

 

With the American South locked in a deep freeze, you can be sure that plenty of the folks suffering through the snow and ice storms are interpreting the big chill as more proof that global warming is a hoax. “Warming?” they scoff. “How can the planet be warming when it’s so darn cold?”

People in other parts of the world seem to have no great difficulty understanding the science but, in the good old USA where quite a few people consider science just another political opinion, it is going to take a lot longer to get most people to accept the cold facts about a warmer world.

Put very simply, here is what the predominant science says: Average global temperatures have been rising in recent decades. Some of the warming could be part of a natural cycle but, almost certainly, increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels are a pivotal factor in intensifying the phenomenon. The starkest evidence of the temperature jump is the rapid melting of the polar ice caps and the disappearance of the world’s glaciers.

Climate scientists have said another key signal to watch for is a dramatic shift in weather patterns. It is close to impossible to attribute any single weather event – a snowstorm, a tornado, a hurricane – to temperature rise, but, once extreme weather becomes normal and what has been normal is no longer the norm, we will know we are in the throes of change that is likely irreversible.

It sure looks like that could be where we are now. In just the last couple of years, Americans have experienced epic tornados in the center of the country, a monster storm that flooded Manhattan and ravaged New Jersey, extended drought in the West that threatens agriculture and water supplies, and an unprecedented number of wildfires in forests dried to the flammability of kindling. This winter, frigid polar air has slipped south, freezing much of the country, while in Alaska the season has been unusually warm. There are piles of snow in Atlanta, but a dearth of snow in the Sierra.

Extreme and unusual weather has been rolling in with more frequency all over the world.  Governments in most major countries have moved beyond debate about whether global warming is real. They are now busy making plans to deal with the costly disruptions and lethal disasters that climate change has already begun to bring.

Not in this major country, however. Though the Republican nominee for president in 2008, Sen. John McCain, declared that all the things that need to be done to cope with and combat climate change would be worth doing even if warming was not happening, the dominant voices in the party sharply disagree. They seem fixated on loony conspiracy theories that imply that the scientists of the world are spinning lies in order to destroy American capitalism.

This week’s ice and snow will eventually melt and spring will come to the South, but too many American minds will remain in a deep freeze of denial. And because so many of the deniers hold seats in Congress, climate change will stay on the growing list of daunting problems that our political system is unable to address.

Posted in climate change, environment, global warming, obama, politics, rand paul, romney, ron paul, social, tea party | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Saving Sochi’s Strays


Finally, a feel good story from the Olympics.

The Washington Post has an excellent story today on the volunteers smuggling stray dogs out of the Sochi Olympics before they can be killed by government contractors.

Far worse then the corruption and graft, the unfinished hotels, faulty plumbing and other problems that often come with major international sporting events such as the Olympics or the World Cup, are countries/cities desperate attempts to present a false facade. The poor, the homeless, the strays- animals and human likes are often forced out or worse to present a false picture of happiness and prosperity to the world.

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