Lees and Orts

From the couldn’t happen to more deserving folk files:

Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco — and they’re looking for ways to make their purchase pay.

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders.

Now they’re looking to cash in — maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street…

…Unsurprisingly, the residents were more than a little upset when they belatedly found out what had happened.
They didn’t learn that their street and sidewalks had been sold until they were contacted May 30 by a title search company working on behalf of Cheng and Lam, said Emblidge. The title search outfit wanted to know if the residents had any interest in buying back the property from the couple, the lawyer said.

“I was shocked to learn this could happen, and am deeply troubled that anyone would choose to take advantage of the situation and buy our street and sidewalks,” said one homeowner, who asked not to be named because of pending litigation.

“We’re shocked, shocked”, a multimillionaire who owns a home on the street is reported to have hissed, “that someone would have taken advantage of arcane tax laws to screw us that way. That’s what WE do!”
Lees and Orts
The fuckin’ CIA…

New documents reveal how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup – only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy…

…Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U.S.-Iran relations into the 21st century…

…Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil. Western firms had for decades controlled the region’s oil wealth, whether Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, or the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran. When the U.S. firm in Saudi Arabia bowed to pressure in late 1950 and agreed to share oil revenues evenly with Riyadh, the British concession in Iran came under intense pressure to follow suit. But London adamantly refused. So in early 1951, amid great popular acclaim, Mossadegh nationalized Iran’s oil industry. A fuming United Kingdom began conspiring with U.S. intelligence services to overthrow Mossadegh and restore the monarchy under the shah. (Though some in the U.S. State Department, the newly released cables show, blamed British intransigence for the tensions and sought to work with Mossadegh.)”

Lees and Orts
Shadowproof comes up with a single payer plan:

Shadowproof is proud to contribute to the national health care debate by introducing our plan to transition the United States to a single-payer health care system. Our plan, the Medical Insurance and Care for All program (MICA), is a public health insurance program based on Medicare but open to all individuals. Employers will be required to buy their employees MICA or equally good private coverage. If one does not receive employer coverage, they will automatically be enrolled in MICA and charged for it in their taxes.”

Lees and Orts

Lees and Orts

Comes now The Intercept to shine needed light on yet more industrial chicanery, aided by agencies meant to regulate such:

For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. Creaky, damp, and prowled by the occasional black bear, the listing, 80-year-old structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others that have been collected by environmental activists will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers. Together, the library contains more than 200,000 pages of information and ‘lays out a 40-year history of deceit and collusion involving the chemical industry and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be protecting human health and the environment,’ said Peter von Stackelberg, a journalist who along with the Center for Media and Democracy and the Bioscience Resource Project helped put the collection online.

Lees and Orts
Sweet Jebus H. Kee-rist! Now The WaPo is ass-licking the ReThugs:

The Washington Post has devoted enormous resources to trying to convince its readers that the federal government’s disability programs are in crisis. And it has no qualms about misrepresenting the data to make its case.

Today we got a great example in a question and answer session in reference to its latest major feature piece. In answer to the question, “what’s the problem?” it tells readers:

“The program for disabled workers, which Congress had to rescue from insolvency in 2015, is estimated to go broke again sometime over the next decade or so. The government this year is expected to spend $192 billion on disability payments — more than the combined total that will be spent on welfare, unemployment benefits, housing subsidies and food stamps.”

The assertion that the program will go broke is extremely misleading. Even if Congress never did anything it could still pay will over 90 percent of projected benefits for more than two decades into the future and even at the end of the 75-year planning period, it is still projected to be able to pay over 80 percent of scheduled benefits.

This is an important point since many politicians have advocated cutting benefits to keep the program fully funded. If the point is to ensure to prevent benefits from being cut due to a shortfall, cutting benefits to make up the gap doesn’t help.

Lees and OrtsNo wonder tech shit costs so freaking much. Below is the story of a young Silicone Valley worker facing burnout, so much so that she goes to tall her boss she’s quitting and…well, read:

“My manager and I had lots of conversations. I teetered on leaving so many times,” she said. “But this time was for real. I was going to see these projects to a healthy state and then I needed to go. I felt good about it. The next thing, he told me not to come in.”

She panicked thinking he was firing her, but he explained she wasn’t being terminated at all. “Just don’t come to work,” he told her. “You’re burned out and need a break. Just don’t talk about it, and everyone will assume you’re on someone else’s team.”…

…And that’s how this hardworking, conscientious engineer wound up joining the least secret secret club in the Valley, known as “rest and vest.”

“Resting and vesting” is when an employee, typically an engineer, has an easy workload (if any job responsibilities at all) and hangs out on the company’s payroll collecting full pay and stock. Stock is often the bigger chunk of total compensation for a senior engineer than salary.

Once she was in rest-and-vest mode, this engineer spent her time attending tech conferences, working on pet coding projects, networking with friends, and planning her next career move.

She realized that her manager let her rest and vest to keep her quiet about the problems with that acquisition, so she had time to find her next thing. Had he terminated her immediately, she would have been incensed. “Everyone knew I had a big mouth and would speak out,” she said. “He figured, ‘Hey, it costs us next to nothing keep her happy for six months.'”

Lees and Orts

The Pussy Grabber v. DPRK

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen.”

If you don’t think The Pussy-Grabber in Chief doesn’t badly want a war with North Korea (even at the risk of a nuclear conflagration), if only to distract the public from the multiple secret grand juries that will end his life in public office, then you’ve not been paying attention.

More worrisome is how the MSM has been demonizing DPRK the last few months. If you will remember, this is exactly how Shrub and The Dark Lord started prepping the country for their oil grab the Iraq “war.”

We’ve seen this play before, of course. The problem this time is that, unlike during Shrub’s presidency –where there were a few adults around– there’s no one in this administration to put the brakes to The Pussy Grabber’s rampant id. Hell, half the people he appointed are apocalyptic evangelicals, people who desire nothing so much as to bring the whole world to an end.

“Bumpy ride” doesn’t even begin to describe the possibilities…

The Pussy Grabber v. DPRK

The Witless President

Six months into the Trump era, foreign-policy officials from eight past Administrations told me they are aghast that the President is still so witless about the world. “He seems as clueless today as he was on January 20th,” Boot, who is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said. Trump’s painful public gaffes, they warn, indicate that he’s not reading, retaining, or listening to his Presidential briefings. And the newbie excuse no longer flies.

“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”

Criticism of Donald Trump among Democrats who served in senior national-security positions is predictable and rife. But Republicans—who are historically ambitious on foreign policy—are particularly pained by the President’s missteps and misstatements. So are former senior intelligence officials who have avoided publicly criticizing Presidents until now.

“The President has little understanding of the context”—of what’s happening in the world—“and even less interest in hearing the people who want to deliver it,” Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general and former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, told me. “He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” 1

“He just doesn’t have an interest in the world,” Hayden said

…“The sheer scale of his lack of knowledge is what has astounded me — and I had low expectations to begin with,” David Gordon, the director of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under Condoleezza Rice, during the Bush Administration, told me.

The Witless President

Show 1 footnote

  1. The year the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.

Confederate

So, once again: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.1

HBO’s motives aside, the plea to wait supposes that a problem of conception can be fixed in execution. We do not need to wait to observe that this supposition is, at best, dicey. For over a century, Hollywood has churned out well-executed, slickly produced epics which advanced the Lost Cause myth of the Civil War. These are true “alternative histories,” built on “alternative facts,” assembled to depict the Confederacy as a wonderland of virtuous damsels and gallant knights, instead of the sprawling kleptocratic police state it actually was. From last century’s The Birth of a Nation to this century’s Gods and Generals, Hollywood has likely done more than any other American institution to obstruct a truthful apprehension of the Civil War, and thus modern America’s very origins. So one need not wait to observe that any foray by HBO into the Civil War must be met with a spirit of pointed inquiry and a withholding of all benefit of the doubt.”

Confederate

“After all, this show’s premise proposes to create a “fictionalized” plot about the continuation of slavery, as if thousands of American farmers and corporations didn’t continue to practice slavery well into the 1940s. The show acts as if the latter half of the twentieth century didn’t see America’s prison population swell with millions of Black bodies. It pretends that today’s prisons and venerable corporations don’t exploit the 13th amendment to profit from forced prison labor. HBO’s Confederate imagines that there aren’t more people under state control today than there were in chains at the peak of American slavery.”

Confederate

Confederate, the sci-fi, alt-history drama of what the United States would look like if the North had lost the Civil War, had been announced by HBO in late July. The brainchild of Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the series is a four-part collaboration between Weiss and Benioff, who are white, and Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, a married writer and producer couple, who are black. The Spellmans are behind hit television shows The Good Wife and Empire.

The show, in early stages of development, has received major backlash. April Reign, creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, mobilized the Twittersphere on Sunday night with #NoConfederate, a joint effort between Reign and activists Rebecca Theodore, Jamie Broadnax, Shanelle Little, and Lauren Warren. And they were not alone in their concerns — earlier, critic Roxane Gay had condemned the series in the New York Times, calling it “slavery fan fiction.”

The message? Do not run this show.

Reign posits that the subject alone is reason enough to cancel the show, pointing out that the effects of slavery are still felt today. Responding to someone suggesting that the show might illustrate what living with racism is like, Reign tweeted: “You mean white people. People of color are well aware of this. We don’t need a TV show. We have, you know, our daily existence and stuff.”

Confederate

Show 1 footnote

  1. Or, if one is cynical enough, perhaps HBO knows exactly what its doing: broadening the blood thirsty audience brought in by GoT to include the drooling knuckle-dragging, paste-eating tRump supporters who would normally eschew HBO as being too “cosmopolitan.”

Au Courant

This week’s au courant links:

And finally a little hope:

Rêves Doux