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Truthout Daily Digest February 17, 2014

Lawrence Lessig’s March to End Corruption

Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company: In the footsteps of Doris “Granny D” Haddock, activist Lawrence Lessig led a two-week, 185-mile trek through the winter cold in New Hampshire to raise awareness of corruption in American politics.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

The 2014 Elections Have Already Happened

Joseph Natoli, Truthout: When all the memories that persist are about possession and not sharing, no one attacks the fundamental principles of market rule because everyone is too deeply tied to the allure of those dark instincts to which neoliberals openly appeal: our memories of the future are already fixed.

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Time to Restore the Power of the National Labor Relations Act

Ellen Dannin, Truthout: Many believe high union membership is necessary to balance employer power with worker power. To achieve that result, union organizing and fair National Labor Relations Board elections in the private sector are required.

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Dean Baker | Corporate Cronyism: The Secret to Overpaid CEOs

Dean Baker, Truthout: The corporate directors who are supposed to be holding down CEO pay for the benefit of the shareholders are generally buddies of the CEOs, and friends don’t try to save money by cutting their friends’ pay.

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Are We Going to Be the Flintstones or the Jetsons?

The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program: Even though productivity has increased 400 percent since 1950, Americans are working, on average, just two hours per week less, and are paid the same or in many cases even less than they were paid in 1950.

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AOL’s CEO Proves Women and Children Make Easy Scapegoats in the Workplace

Andrea Flynn, Next New Deal: AOL CEO Tim Armstrong recently ignited a firestorm of criticism when he announced the company would be restructuring its retirement benefits. Armstrong explained that the financial burden of Obamacare and the deliveries of two “distressed babies,” which cost the company $1 million each, had forced the company to reduce 401(k) matching contributions.

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Impunity in West Virginia as Criminal Law-Breaking Polluters Still Walk Free

Carl Gibson, Occupy.com: Recent spills have shown that Patriot Coal and Freedom Industries have both shown a pattern of acting with impunity. The Department of Justice has already begun criminal proceedings against Freedom Industries in connection with the Elk River spill, and more federal action may be pending.

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The Chicago Tribune’s War on Dissent

Christine Geovanis, CounterPunch: The Chicago Tribune threw down the gauntlet this week in the war on dissent — and came in solidly on the side of the billy club and the black-masked police provocateur. In its February 10 op ed piece, the paper’s apparatchiks undertake what all good instruments of the jack-boot state do – they reinvented history.

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Debate: Was Snowden Justified? Former NSA Counsel Stewart Baker Vs. Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!: Former National Security Agency lawyer Stewart Baker and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg join Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez for a debate on Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the NSA’s massive spying apparatus in the United States and across the globe.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Workers at a Volkswagen Plant in Tennessee Voted Against Joining a Union, and More

In today‘s On the News segment: It’s illegal for an employer to intimidate workers trying to form a union, but apparently it’s just fine when a lawmaker does it; there is much more methane leaking into our atmosphere than EPA estimates have indicated; the science is in – background checks save lives; and more.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

How Obamacare Raids the Assets of Low-Income Older Americans

Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism: One feature of Obamacare is that individuals over 55 who are enrolled in Medicaid are subject to having expenses like being in a long-term care facility, home services, and related drugs and prescriptions clawed back from their estates. The pilfering of assets of low-income Americans results from the interaction of several of these nasty features.

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Untold History: More Than a Quarter of US Presidents Were Involved in Slavery, Human Trafficking

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: As the country marks Presidents’ Day, Amy Goodman looks at an aspect of US history that is often missed: the complicity of American presidents with slavery.

Watch the Video and Read the Transcript


The Buzzflash commentary for Truthout will return soon.

How Privatization Perverts Education

Read the Article at BuzzFlash

How Big Banks Are Cashing In on Food Stamps

Read the Article at The American Prospect

Ted Cruz Just Doomed the GOP — But Not in the Way You Think

Read the Article at Salon

Pentagon to Trim Plans for F-35 Jet Order

Read the Article at The Washington Post

Bridge Scandal Spotlight Turns to Port Authority Police

Read the Article at Talking Points Memo

Drone Killing the Fifth Amendment: How to Build a Post-Constitutional America One Death at a Time

Read the Article at TomDispatch

Excessive Radiation Levels Detected at New Mexico Waste Site

Read the Article at Reuters

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The Oracle Report | Monday, February 17, 2014

  • monkeys

Full Moon Phase: realization, fulfillment, illumination, experience

Moon: Virgo/Libra

Ruling Mahavidya: Matangi

As Mars continues to come to a standstill before going retrograde on March 2, 2014, the pressure of the standstill arches over all things. Situations and people are under stress and tensions are tight. One of the key themes of Mars is movement. It likes to burst into action. But when it is preparing to retrograde, it cannot move. The process of stationing retrograde (going backwards) is contrary to Mars’ nature because it likes to launch forward. Being in relative “stasis” is an uncomfortable feeling for us, even when we are wise to the directive for the lunar month that tells us to stand in place.

The pressure this can put on people is immense. But other energetics are also in effect today to confuse the mix. The energies include the tendency to overtax, overwhelm, or overburden. The tendency to do too much is at odds with the feeling of not being able or capable of doing anything. So we do not want to engage that loop today. We want to keep things smooth and light.

Be mindful that it is easy to overwhelm the mind today (our own and other’s mind), especially through communication. Important communication should be simple, clear, and easy. Deliver information at a lower level so it is easier for people to understand and do it slowly.

As we are standing in our place on the vast staircase that graduates into the cosmos, many things are happening to us internally. Power is building. New ribbons of potentialities and possibilities are unfolding inside us. It’s a lovely scene. If and when you feel the pressure of the Mars retrograde energy today, remember that you are in the stance of the spiritual warrior and the pose can be whatever you like. As in yoga and tai chi, the poses change. Just because we aren’t moving off our stair, or our yoga mat, so to speak, we can take and hold different positions. In fact, doing so enables the internal power-build to grow within the body in a much more efficient way. With this, we also want to give others space to spread out in their own way.

Much of this internal power build involves inner balancing of the sacred feminine and sacred masculine. The integration strengthens our core. There is purpose to all of this. We are developing needed inner strength, fortitude, and resilience.

Although things may feel static, there is an internal dynamo in action. Maintaining firm footing prevents self-combustion. Take in the views from the grand staircase as you hold and change postures. There is much to take in from different perspectives.


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Steampunk Hands Around the World

Thank for posting this! Having recently read a post on the ArchDruid Report referencing steampunk re our post peak oil descent and retooling I became more curious about it. I have read various steaming stories and such but this other aspect attracts my interest much more-but I wasn’t sure how to pursue it. I love the way the Universe answers prayers I wasn’t even clear minded enough to articulate!
I really appreciate your breakdown of the issues of race and rootedness we all face. As a mixed race person who grew up in a very “Southern” (ie KKK, racist etc) small town with fragments of family traditions of spirituality from multiple nations I’ve been trying to sort that out my whole life. For me I’ve found that if people are rooted in and starting from respect and caring for one another it all works out well.
Musicians have always gotten together and shared across cultures and they are usually having a great time with one another-that is my ideal:-)

Druid Life

If you follow me on twitter (@Nimue_B) you’ll have seen me using  #steampunkhands  in the last few weeks and sharing content from international Steampunks.  There’s a facebook group here  with more information. Steampunk Hands Around the World, is pretty much as it sounds, a month of sharing content, ideas and creativity with a view to reaching out around the globe and making connections. Lots of information on this website, too. http://airshipambassador.wordpress.com/

Steampunk is all too often accused of being some covert program for racism and colonialism. One of the things Steampunk Hands is demonstrating, is that Steampunks are everywhere, in all kinds of cultures and drawing on an incredible diversity of history and imagery. Once you get into Steampunk, it becomes apparent that there is much more subversion going on that re-enactment. We owe more to the many subcultures of the period than to mainstream Victorian era colonialism, patriarchy, oppression…

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Venezuelan students fight police, ‘Chavistas’ rally

Does anyone know any more about what is going on in Venezuela? I know US embargo and pressure created difficult economic conditions in Cuba for decades so Maduro’s assertions sound reasonable to me. With corruption and hidden insanity endemic to most governments on Earth these days I would love to hear from Venezuelan people about the situation there.

From my limited knowledge in tbe US, I have long felt very inspired by the Bolivarian movement in South America. Evo Morales election in Bolivia and Chavez work to elevate the situation of indigenous peoples in Venezuela felt like the first steps of the new world to me.

Seeing what Western imperialism is still capable of in Libya and Syria is chilling when thinking of South America. 😦

Venezuelan students fight police, ‘Chavistas’ rally

By Andrew Cawthorne and Girish Gupta

CARACAS | Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:25pm EST

By Andrew Cawthorne and Girish Gupta

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan police fired teargas and turned water cannons on stone-throwing protesters on Saturday to stop them blocking a Caracas highway in a fourth day of sporadic unrest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The latest trouble flared as night fell, after thousands of Maduro supporters had earlier flooded the center of the capital to call for peace and make a show of political strength after this week’s deadly violence during street protests.

Three people were shot dead on Wednesday in the worst violence since Maduro’s disputed election last year.

The 51-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez has faced two weeks of mainly small protests led by students and hardline opposition leaders complaining about Venezuela’s rampant crime, shortages of basic products, and alleged repression of political rivals.

“We’ll be here day-after-day, night-after-night, until something changes,” vowed Javier Sanchez, 20, picking up stones to hurl at police while other students shouted at him “Stop! No violence!” in the upscale Altamira district of Caracas.

After about 2,000 students had gathered peacefully in Altamira Square, debating strategy and chanting slogans in the afternoon sun, a few hundred set off to try and block a major highway. Police halted them before they could get there.

In a repeat of daily confrontations this week, the students threw objects and taunted the police, who responded with volleys of teargas and a water cannon truck, or “whale” as Venezuelans call it.

“People are asleep. It’s time for action,” said student Michael Paredes, 26, carrying vinegar and putting on a bandana to protect against teargas.

Staking his presidency on maintaining his mentor’s socialist legacy, Maduro accuses his rivals of trying to create conditions for a coup like the one 12 years ago that briefly ousted Chavez.


There are, however, no indications the current turmoil could lead to his ouster. The military, whose role swung both Chavez’s 36-hour toppling and return, appears solidly behind Maduro.

Addressing his supporters in Caracas from a pastel-colored stage displaying the slogan “People of Peace,” Maduro mocked the demands of protesters who want him to step down.

“You want to see people in the streets? We’ll give you people in the streets,” he said to cheers from thousands of supporters.

“I’m not going to give up one millimeter of the power the Venezuelan people have given me … nothing will stop me from building this revolution which commandant Chavez left us!”

Maduro said in his speech he had ordered the temporary closure of Metro station and the suspension of bus services in the east of the city, where the protests are centered.

Student leaders are vowing to stay out until Maduro falls, raising the prospect of a protracted crisis. But most rallies are attracting just a few hundred people, and the opposition’s political leaders are divided as to whether or not street demonstrations are the way forward.

The protests could, in fact, play into Maduro’s hands by helping him unite factions in the ruling Socialist Party and distract people from economic problems like shortages of goods.

He says Venezuela faces an “economic war” waged by the opposition, backed by U.S. financiers and made worse by speculators. Supporters say he is a victim of Western “imperial” propaganda and saboteurs seeking to discredit Chavez’s legacy.

“We have to celebrate the revolution, which is love and peace,” said Kaina Lovera, 16, wearing a white T-shirt emblazoned with the late Chavez’s face.


Maduro’s critics say he is wrecking the economy by sticking with failed Chavez-era policies such as currency and price controls, which many local economists blame for the shortages.

Among those critics is hardline opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whom the government calls the “face of fascism” and the intellectual author of the violence.

The 42-year-old U.S.-educated economist says peaceful marches organized by his Popular Will party have been infiltrated by provocateurs and attacked by militant pro-government gangs known locally as “colectivos.”

Lopez remains in his home in the Chacao district of eastern Caracas where he was once mayor, colleagues said, despite a judge’s arrest warrant. It was not clear why police had not acted on that, though such a move could fuel further protests.

Maduro demanded on Saturday that Lopez surrender himself.

“The opposition organize these violent groups, and then they hide and cry,” the president said. “You fugitive from justice, trembling with fear, you fascist coward! Hand yourself in!”

Of 99 people arrested nationwide since Wednesday, most have been released pending trial with 13 still behind bars, Venezuelan judicial authorities say.

While Latin American leftist allies have sent messages of solidarity to Maduro and condemned the “coup” intentions against him, Western nations have called for calm and dialogue.

The United States, whose government has constantly crossed swords with Venezuela’s socialist administration since Chavez came to power in 1999, expressed concern over the detentions and arrest warrant for Lopez.

“These actions have a chilling effect on citizens’ rights to express their grievances peacefully,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

“We call on the Venezuelan government to provide the political space necessary for meaningful dialogue with the Venezuelan people and to release detained protesters. We urge all parties to work to restore calm and refrain from violence.”

(Additional reporting by Efrain Otero, Diego Ore and Eyanir Chinea, Will Dunham)


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Eileen Meyer: What Is The Event? A Meeting With Your Maker

Thank you for sharing this!

Openhearted Rebellion

eileenmeyerAdaptingToGrace – Eileen Meyer: What Is The Event? A Meeting With Your Maker, February 15, 2014 at http://adaptingtograce.com | Thanks to Golden Age of Gaia.

Last night I awoke into a full body-mind-spirit event. It was a total immersion into Oneness, and the Wisdom that IS that ONEness in-formed me, by demonstration, for a few hours that THIS is what “the event” is. I fully expected to wake up in the morning and receive the confirmation that it did, in fact, occur for everyone. So far though, I am beginning to decipher that what I experienced was a preview for what every human being will enter into in our own timing of this intersection, or Meeting with our Maker.

I am not able to share all of the understandings that are integrating now, so I will share what simply bubbles up and out as I write this morning. Let’s be…

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Lorde’s Suppressed Grammy Award acceptance speech (Full Transcript) 26 January 2014

Thank you for sharing this!

Snoopman News

Queen Bee Sting: Grammy audience told to read more Queen Bee Sting: Grammy audience told to read more


Thankyou soo much everyone for making this song explode because this world is mental. (Laughter). Planet Earth is run by psychopaths that hide behind slick marketing, ‘freedom’ propaganda and ‘economic growth’ rhetoric,[1] while they construct a global system of corporatized totalitarianism.

As American journalist Chris Hedges has identified, a corporate totalitarian core thrives inside a fictitious democratic shell.[2] This core yields an ‘inverted’ totalitarian state that few recognize because it does not look like the Orwellian world of Nineteen Eighty-four.[3]

This corporate totalitarian core is spreading outward from America. Planet Earth is being rapidly militarized by the world’s major and significant states, including their police forces.[4] Meanwhile, state surveillance is becoming universal[5] and torture is outsourced to gulags.[6]

Can we not imagine that in past times, simple folk found it hard to work…

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Weather Extremes : Second, and Heavier, Snowstorm Hits Tokyo Area. All-time snow depth records set | Weather Underground

: Christopher C. Burt, 8:27 PM GMT on February 14, 2014 +6

Second, and Heavier, Snowstorm Hits Tokyo Area. All-time snow depth records set

As the eastern U.S. digs out of its biggest snowstorm of the season (see Jeff Masters blog on the subject) another snowstorm has hit Tokyo, Japan this Friday-Saturday (February 14-15), the 2nd big snow to hit the city in the span of just a week. Early reports say that 27 cm (10.6”) of snow has fallen in downtown Tokyo as of 2 a.m., February 15th local time. However, extraordinary snowfalls of up to 42″ have fallen in sites in the far suburbs (50 mile radius) of the city, doubling previous all-time records.


This generalized map of average January snowfall in Japan illustrates how rare it is that more than 10 cm (4”) falls anywhere south of Sendai at low elevations along the eastern shoreline of Honshu Island. Map from Teikoku’s ‘Complete Atlas of Japan’.

Snowstorm of February 8-9

Today’s 27 cm was about the same amount that was measured during the storm of February 8th last week which was 22-27 cm (there are discrepencies in the METARS for that day), which apparently may have been the heaviest snowfall in the downtown area for 45 years (since 30 cm/11.8” fell on March 12, 1969). During the February 8-9 event up to 50 cm (20”) was reported in some areas of greater Tokyo. Notable snowfalls during last week’s (February 8-9) storm included 35 cm (13.8”) at Sendai (about 200 miles north of Tokyo on the eastern coast), its heaviest snowfall since 41 cm (16.1”) on February 9, 1936, Ishinomaki (about 20 miles up the coast from Sendai) picked up 38 cm (15.0”), its deepest since 43 cm (16.9”) on February 17, 1923, and Chiba (across Tokyo Bay from Tokyo) with 33 cm (13”), its deepest fall on record but the POR only goes back to 1966 at that site.

Snowstorm of February 14-15: Greatest Snowstorm on Record for Tokyo Region

It is quite rare to have heavy snowfalls east of the mountain ranges on Honshu Island (as the map above illustrates) and in downtown Tokyo especially. The deepest snow on record for the city was 46 cm (18.1”) measured on February 8, 1883 (this is a depth record, not necessarily a single snowstorm record). So with the 27 cm (10.6”) that has fallen today, following a similar amount just six days ago, this is truly an exceptional event.


A couple stroll through a park in downtown Tokyo at the beginning of the Valentine’s Day snowstorm. Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi.

Unlike the storm of February 8-9, this latest storm has apparently broken some all-time snowfall records at other locations in the greater Tokyo region. These include 112 cm (44.0”) at Kofu City, Yamashi Prefecture (50 miles west of Tokyo) of which 106 cm (41.7”) fell in just 24 hours. This has obliterated the previous record of 49 cm (19.3”) set on January 15, 1998 (POR goes back to 1894!). Maebashi (50 miles NW of Tokyo) picked up a record 73 cm (28.7”)–71 cm of which fell in just 24 hours– surpassing the previous record of 37 cm (14.6”) set on February 26, 1945 (POR to 1896). Chichibu (30 miles NW of Tokyo) received 98 cm (38.6”)–92 cm (36.2″) in 24 hours– smashing the old record of 58 cm (22.8”) set on February 14, 1928 (POR since 1926), and Kawaguchiko (a mountainous site 50 miles west of Tokyo) ended up with an astonishing 112 cm (44.1″) cm (56.3”)–of which 102 cm (40.2″) fell in 24 hours) surpassing their former record of 89 cm (35.0”) set on January 15, 1998 (POR since 1933). Many other sites also broke their all-time records for single storm and 24-hour totals. The margins of the new record snowfalls over the previous records for the sites listed above are simply staggering.

Needless to say, the heavy snowfall in the greater Tokyo region has resulted in many flight cancellations and delays of commuter rail lines. The Nissan Motor plant in Yokohama (just south of Tokyo) asked its workers to go home early on Friday, an almost unheard of event.

The storm has wound down today (Saturday, February 15th in Japan) so the snowfall statistics are still preliminary.

KUDOS: Japanese climate expert Mr. Yusuke Uemura for the snowfall statistics for both storms.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Categories: Snow