Wake Up America

From a study that reveals increased risk of death for young coffee drinkers who have 4 cups a day or more, to a man who woke up America to the deadly automobile industry’s greed, we’ve got a full morning of reading for you, here at Abandoned Stuff.

Or that’s what I would say if I was going to write any more to fill out those blurbs.

When details of GM’s investigation of Nader became public, Senator Ribicoff and others on Capitol Hill were outraged. Ribicoff, for one, announced that his subcommittee would hold hearings into the incident and that he expected “a public explanation of the alleged harassment of a Senate Committee witness…”

Ribicoff and Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin also called for a Justice Department investigation into the harassment. “No citizen of this country should be focused to endure the kind of clumsy harassment to which Mr. Nader has apparently been subjected since the publication of his book,” said Ribicoff (1966). “Anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night have no place in a free society.” Senator Gaylord Nelson had also made remarks about GM’s investigation of Nader: “This raises grave and serious questions of national significance. What are we coming to when a great and powerful corporation will engage in such unethical and scandalous activity in an effort to discredit a citizen who is a witness before a Congressional committee. If great corporations can engage in this kind of intimidation, it is an assault upon freedom in America.” Ribicoff, meanwhile, had summoned the president of General Motors to appear at the hearings, making for a dramatic showdown in the U.S. Senate.


Also check out Canadian Killer Coffee for a [tiny] bit of a laugh.

Wealth in the USA Graphed Nicely

You can see what Americans desire as wealth distribution, vs. what they think the unfair situation is vs. reality. It’s off the charts, literally, how much money the 1% makes in comparison to what sort of uneven system Americans accept they experience.

It really displays the absurdity of even well-off Americans making $100,000/year defending the criminal banks on Wall St.

It’s really bad, because everything is rigged to favour the rich. Useful idiots saying the rich are entitled to rig the system, don’t do themselves any favours.

The States are Too Crooked To Fail; meaning that the super-rich have rigged the system to collapse entirely if they start to lose even some of their obscene wealth.

Harper Understood

Here’s Stephen Harper giving a description of the Canadian federal political system. It’s obvious that his blubbering since about not understanding something about how the Prime Minister has unchecked power, is a charade. His “coup” talk during the coalition agreement of 2008, was bogus, he knows Parliament selects the Prime Minister, not citizen voters.

Now he’s ordering unpaid checks, and is a political imbalance.

Do you think he knew about Wright’s cheque to Duffy, the Senator “buddy” and “fundraiser” he appointed?

On the surface, you can make a comparison between our political system and yours [America]. We have an executive, we have two legislative houses, and we have a Supreme Court.

However, our executive is the Queen, who doesn’t live here. Her representative is the Governor General, who is an appointed buddy of the Prime Minister.

Of our two legislative houses, the Senate, our upper house, is appointed, also by the Prime Minister, where he puts buddies, fundraisers and the like. So the Senate also is not very important in our political system.

And we have a Supreme Court, like yours, which, since we put a charter of rights in our constitution in 1982, is becoming increasingly arbitrary and important. It is also appointed by the Prime Minister. Unlike your Supreme Court, we have no ratification process.

So if you sort of remove three of the four elements, what you see is a system of checks and balances which quickly becomes a system that’s described as unpaid checks and political imbalances.

What we have is the House of Commons. The House of Commons, the bastion of the Prime Minister’s power, the body that selects the Prime Minister, is an elected body. I really emphasize this to you as an American group: It’s not like your House of Representatives. Don’t make that comparison.

What the House of Commons is really like is the United States electoral college. Imagine if the electoral college which selects your president once every four years were to continue sitting in Washington for the next four years. And imagine its having the same vote on every issue. That is how our political system operates.

In our election last Monday, the Liberal party won a majority of seats. The four opposition parties divided up the rest, with some very, very rough parity.

But the important thing to know is that this is how it will be until the Prime Minister calls the next election. The same majority vote on every issue. So if you ask me, “What’s the vote going to be on gun control?” or on the budget, we know already.

If any member of these political parties votes differently from his party on a particular issue, well, that will be national headline news. It’s really hard to believe. If any one member votes differently, it will be national headline news. I voted differently at least once from my party, and it was national headline news.

Harper also famously said the following, perhaps partly in jest. Probably he was serious, and hamming it up for the friendly crowd he was trying to flatter.

Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours [America], a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.

ADDED:

ReThink Meat

Meat fraud is taking place all around us. Most people probably can’t tell the difference between similar looking meats sold in stores, were it not for the labeling.

Fish fraud is apparently common in the USA.

Safeway recalled big and juicy E.coli burgers. “Must be cooked” is right on the box, and they weren’t kidding, were they?

I’m not above eating horse meat. I’ve never done it, however. At least, I don’t think I have. Many French and Italians didn’t have a choice if they bought from a mega-meat distributor who decided for them.

What all this brings to our attention, is how vital it is to cut down on overall meat consumption. You don’t have to eliminate meat from your diet to make a huge difference. Have it at half as many meals as you typically do today if you’ve not made a previous effort to cut back.

“Unless action is taken, increases in pollution and per capita consumption of energy and animal products will exacerbate nutrient losses, pollution levels and land degradation, further threatening the quality of our water, air and soils, affecting climate and biodiversity.”

Over consumption of meat, leading to higher than optimal demand in the food supply chain, leads to suffering in even rich countries:

Suzanne Salami, a single mother of three, subsists on just £30 a week and is angered by the way the horsemeat scandal is hitting the poorest hardest. “When you can’t afford to buy anything to eat, [or] ask where meat comes from and if it’s sustainable, it is not fair,” she said. “I am being made to eat stuff I don’t know about and I am being let down. It’s like we’re being told to eat and shut up.” She was particularly worried about the potential health impacts of traces of equine painkillers found in horsemeat in the food chain by the Food Standards Agency this week.

When I buy meat, I prefer it come from a source I know, such as a farmer near Wood Mountain or Ormiston; if I’m in the city, then a local meat shop like Fellinger’s. I’ll still take chances and buy meat from elsewhere, but I don’t feel comfortable with doing that.

US #election2012

It bothers me how little regard professional media pays to math when “projecting” results. They have computers that can tell us if the race is clinched or not, just as they do for sports playoff spots. It’s a disgrace that it’s easier to know if a sports team has a mathematical chance of attaining a playoff spot, than to know from election results reported on election night actually predict a sure victory in a state or country.

Some notes from the night so far:
Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent has won, which is great.
Warren may have won also.
Another independent senator has won, and may caucus with the Democrats.
It doesn’t appear Johnson or Stein reached 5% of the popular vote, which I’m not surprised about, just disappointed.
I’m sad that Obama is doing so badly so far in results too.
A CNN ad for “Clean Coal” just pissed me off. They are claiming it’s already benefiting the environment. Well, it’s not in production, and they are flat out lying, and ought to be sued for false advertising. FCC, are you listening?

I’m watching DemocracyNow.org coverage and CNN at the same time, along with Twitter of course.
More to come probably close to being live blogging.

ADDED:
Didn’t live blog, computer wasn’t co-operating, and I was keeping up on Twitter instead.

Chris Hedges Promotes Book at UofR

I attended Hedges lecture at the UofR on Thursday night, and I think most of the crowd was impressed as was I. He did get a standing ovation when done. Then he took questions. Here is some of what went on in Tweet form (reverse chronology):

A south Sudanese woman who studies at #UofR is thanking #Hedges for his coverage. He tells a story of being there, for a bull slaughter, a big honour. The Sudanese he visited with were gossiping negatively about short people. Then they realized #Hedges was short, and they felt so bad. The next day they went and found a Sudanese pigmy and insisted he get a photo with him so #Hedges would feel tall.

Paul, a student, asks about Tom Mulcair and the NDP. Crowd laughs. Also mentioned Lang and O’Leary video which crowd applauded. #Hedges

Goldman Sachs has bailed out every penny on the dollars and done 0% interest loans; it’s not capitalism. #Hedges doesn’t know what it is.

Government under-funds what they want to destroy. #Hedges says humanities in university are withering. Question and think. #uofr

China looking to buy a Canadian oil company. #Hedges notes iPhones are constructed using slave (“prison”) labour (making 22 cents an hour in some jobs).
$2.5B spent on US campaigns of Obama and Romney collectively when it’s done in November.

#Hedges lives in Princeton with his Canadian wife. He doesn’t have a TV. (I spoke with him after to mention The Real News because he’d not listed it when asked for good independent media, and he said he’s doing something with them again soon. He also doesn’t use Twitter (and seems to have a low opinion of social media as a whole, causing distraction and benefiting the surveillance state which takes a dim view of those who don’t toe the corporate line).

#Hedges at #UofR is saying #NDAA must be already used for illegal detention. Otherwise they are planning on using it, probably to arrest and hide away some dual citizens. It’s logical conclusion of recent appeal outcome. @d_seaman

“End of growth” is here and unstoppable. #Hedges US is an advanced surveillance state. Preparing for collapse, tightening control.

American Fascists speaking in the language of violence are legitimizing violence. He’s seen it happen. #Hedges

#Hedges explaining slavery in produce fields and trucks and trailers. Workers’ families threatened if they report conditions.

Headed to be one vast Reservation. #Hedges brings up Bill McKibben of @350 arrested fighting XL pipeline.

Commodified human beings is the last step on the way to destruction of society. #Hedges unfettered corporate capitalism #PineRidge

Footnotes in Gaza” is worth checking out. #Hedges #SacrificeZones unregulated capitalism

“Power has been utterly wrested” from the public. Either Obama or Romney are the Goldman Sachs vote. #Hedges

#Hedges admires he can get on CBC and his books are reviewed in the mainstream here. Not in US.

“We do everything wrong and then five years later you copy us.” #Hedges on USA and Canada #FCC

Global corporate capitalism is transforming the world into a neo-feudal state. #Hedges

San Diego’s Big Bay Bust

I’ve witnessed two big American 4th of July fireworks shows, in New York ’02 and San Diego ’10. The San Diego show two years ago lasted at least 20 minutes, and we watched it from a hill near PB. While there we also heard people talk about ice blocking down the hill, one story resulted in someone bailing out and the ice block hitting a car. Charges ensued for that failed sledder.
San Diego Fireworks 2010
– It should look like this

Last night’s show in San Diego was a spectacular failure, with a computer program accidentally setting off every firework at once, instead of spaced out among twenty minutes. I’m surprised the amplified explosion didn’t cause any reported damage (other than to egos and expectations).

FIRE ALL THE FIREWORKS!

TAKE ALL THE PICTURES!

What’s better, just another fireworks show, or the #EpicFail show, famous around the world?

Software testing is something moderately important for a big show. What glitches will we see during the Olympic Games this year?