January 28, 2015 archive

Who’da Thunk?

Trans-Pacific Partnership Contains Provison To Help Wall Street Avoid Regulations

By: DSWright, Firedog Lake

Wednesday January 28, 2015 1:00 pm

Try to hide your surprise. One of the reasons the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being kept secret is because it has unpopular and reckless policies in it such as deregulating Wall Street. Framed as an effort to harmonize rules for efficiency’s sake the TPP contains rules to prevent “localization” or domestic rules that would restrain financial firms.

Much like Dodd-Frank in the US, many countries have local regulations on how the financial industry can operate in their country. TPP seeks to eliminate such local requirements and instead promote a low and loose universal standard to allow global financial firms and financiers to come and go as they please in each country party to the TPP agreement.

What could go wrong? Surely Wall Street can be trusted to follow difficult to enforce rules that if broken could jeopardize financial markets and the global economy. When has that ever not worked out?


The reason we use drones to kill brown people at random because they have the wrong skin color and religion or associate with those who do (please, if we had actual evidence there would be no such thing as a ‘signature’ strike) is because it’s cheap and easy to do.  So cheap and easy that your average drunken government employee (not that I’m implying that all government employees are drunk, even most of the time) can buy everything they need at the local Radio Shack.

White House Drone Crash Is Tied to Drinking by Intelligence Worker


JAN. 27, 2015

It was 42 degrees, lightly raining and pitch black near the White House when an inebriated, off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency decided it was a good time to test-fly his friend’s quadcopter drone that sells for hundreds of dollars and is popular among hobbyists.

Investigators said the man had been drinking at an apartment nearby. It was not until the next morning, when he woke to his friends telling him that his drone was all over the news, that he contacted his employer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and then called the Secret Service to confess.

The geospatial-intelligence agency, with headquarters near Springfield, Va., employs satellites to gather data for the military and other agencies by using imagery to detect human activity and to map out changes in physical features on the ground. The website for the agency cites the discovery of “atrocities in Kosovo,” support for intelligence operations during the Olympics and assistance responding to Hurricane Katrina.

James R. Clapper Jr., the current director of national intelligence, became the head of the agency, then called the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, just days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

President Obama, who was traveling abroad, declined to comment on the drone episode. But in an interview with CNN broadcast on Tuesday morning, Mr. Obama said he had instructed federal agencies to examine the need for regulations on commercial drone technology.

Mr. Obama said he had told the agencies to make sure that “these things aren’t dangerous and that they’re not violating people’s privacy.” He said that commercially available drones empower individuals, but that the government needed to provide “some sort of framework that ensures that we get the good and minimize the bad.”

“There are incredibly useful functions that these drones can play in terms of farmers who are managing crops and conservationists who want to take stock of wildlife,” the president told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “There are a whole range of things we can do with it.”

But he noted that the drone that landed at the White House was the kind “you buy at Radio Shack.” And he said that the government had failed to keep up with the use of the flying devices by hobbyists and commercial enterprises.

“We don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it,” Mr. Obama said.

Umm… yeah.  That sound you hear is me slamming my head against the desk repeatedly.


The Breakfast Club (Hope Is Our Four Letter Word)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Space Shuttle Challenger explodes; Sir Francis Drake dies; Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti born; Vince Lombardi named Packers’ head coach.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Wanker of the Day

Andrew Cuomo


Stupid Shit by LaEscapee

The Texture of Your Balls

On This Day In History January 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 28 is the 28th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 337 days remaining until the end of the year (338 in leap years).

On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominates Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. After a bitterly contested confirmation, Brandeis became the first Jewish judge on the Supreme Court.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Brandeis quickly earned a reputation in Boston as the people’s attorney for taking on cases pro bono. Brandeis advocated progressive legal reform to combat the social and economic ills caused in America by industrialization. He met Woodrow Wilson, who was impressed by Brandeis’ efforts to hold business and political leaders accountable to the public, during Wilson’s 1912 campaign against Theodore Roosevelt. Brandeis’ early legal achievements included the establishment of savings-bank life insurance in Massachusetts and securing minimum wages for women workers. He also devised what became known as the Brandeis Brief, an appellate report that analyzed cases on economic and social evidence rather than relying solely on legal precedents.

Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Europe. He enrolled at Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of twenty with the highest grade average in the college’s history.

Brandeis settled in Boston where he became a recognized lawyer through his work on social causes that would benefit society. He helped develop the “right to privacy” concept by writing a Harvard Law Review article of that title, and was thereby credited by legal scholar Roscoe Pound as having accomplished “nothing less than adding a chapter to our law”. Years later, a book he published, entitled Other People’s Money, suggested ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts, which partly explains why he later fought against powerful corporations, monopolies, public corruption, and mass consumerism, all of which he felt were detrimental to American values and culture. He also became active in the Zionist movement, seeing it as a solution to the “Jewish problem” of antisemitism in Europe and Russia, while at the same time being a way to “revive the Jewish spirit.”

When his family’s finances became secure, he began devoting most of his time to public causes and was later dubbed the “People’s Lawyer.” He insisted on serving on cases without pay so that he would be free to address the wider issues involved. The Economist magazine calls him “A Robin Hood of the law.” Among his notable early cases were actions fighting railroad monopolies; defending workplace and labor laws; helping create the Federal Reserve System; and presenting ideas for the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He achieved recognition by submitting a case brief, later called the “Brandeis Brief,” which relied on expert testimony from people in other professions to support his case, thereby setting a new precedent in evidence presentation.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, his nomination was bitterly contested, partly because, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible. . . [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.” He was eventually confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22 on June 1, 1916, and became one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the high court.

Late Night Karaoke

The Daily/Nightly Show (Vaxxers)

You know, what is so dumb about the anti-vaxxers is that most of them grew up when eating lead infused paint chips was a popular pastime for toddlers.

What?  You didn’t eat paint chips?  Well, you breathed air didn’t you?  And TetraEthyl Lead was only phased out as an additive to gasoline in the early 2000s.  Feeling a little stupid and ragey now?  Join the Romans who liked lead waterpipes because it was malliable and easy to work with and sometimes lined their wine goblets with it because it imparts a sweet taste.  Like asbestos it was everywhere and Atrios (who’s an economist not a Doctor Jim) attributes the decline in its pervasiveness to our falling crime rate.

Leeches and bleeding were once the cutting edge (c’mon, get the joke) of medical practice just as they are of public policy today.

Anyway, I give you-

Pig Killing

Yup.  Animal sacrifice makes just as much sense today as it did when Abraham strapped Isaac to Mount Moriah.  Some Supreme Being you’ve hitched your metaphysical wagon to folks, but as a militant atheist I can hardly be expected to understand the sacred nature of your belief in Invisible Pink Unicorns (How do you know she’s pink?  Because she’s invisible.).

I’m too busy laughing which is going to get me burned at the stake someday.

It’s a fair cop.

Below the fold we have Julian Castro’s web exclusive extended interview (not that I think he needed it, also the real news

This week’s guests-

The Daily Show

Jill Leovy is the author of Ghettoside which I think goes too far in excusing the egregious behavior of out militarized police.  There is a reason people don’t trust cops and it’s abundantly justified.  There are three phrases to remember-

  • Am I free to leave?
  • I will not talk without my attorney.
  • I do not consent to any search.

You’ll probably get shot or tased anyway, but at least you did the right thing.