Skip to main content
Log In | Register

TR Memescape


Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Testy Calibrate

1
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2017/05/post_255.html
Quote
Buried among the revenue-generating ideas in President Donald Trump's new budget proposal is a plan to sell off publicly owned transmission assets, including those operated by the Bonneville Power Administration.

For public power companies - and really all utilities in the Northwest - the proposal will ring alarm bells and resurrect a debate about the control of assets that were built with federal dollars but paid for by local ratepayers.

Bonneville operates three-quarters of the region's high-voltage transmission system, which it uses to market power from 31 hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin and wheel power around the Pacific Northwest and down to California.  The system spans 300,000 square miles, and includes more than 15,000 miles of lines and 299 substations that deliver electricity to some 12 million people. The agency provides transmission service to regional utilities, commercial customers and independent power producers, and it provides a slew of other services.

The Trump budget summary contemplates raising $4.9 billion for the U.S. Treasury by selling the BPA's transmission assets from 2018 to 2027. An estimated $1.8 billion is expected in 2019.

Bonneville, like other federal power marketing agencies, is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. The BPA's budget proposal does not include any detailed discussion of the proposal, but simply a line tacked on to its normal budget narrative: "The Budget includes a proposal to authorize the Federal government to sell the transmission assets of Bonneville."

Another reference said, "BPA is considering approaches, in addition to or in lieu of the use of its U.S. Treasury borrowing authority, to sustain funding for its infrastructure investment requirements, including a divestiture of Bonneville's transmission assets."

The BPA referred questions to the Department of Energy, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The agency did send out a news release about its overall budget proposal, but that included no mention of the asset sales.

"This budget delivers on the promise to reprioritize spending in order to carry out DOE's core functions efficiently and effectively while also being fiscally responsible and respectful to the American taxpayer," Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in the news release.

The notion of divesting BPA assets isn't new. It is a favorite proposal of conservative think tanks and lawmakers, and has surfaced periodically during the past three decades. But the region's congressional delegation has always managed to beat it back.

Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon's only Republican member of Congress, did not respond to a request for comment. But his office issued a general statement on the budget proposal, saying it "demonstrates President Trump's commitment to balancing the budget and responsibly prioritizing taxpayer dollars."

"The initiatives modernizing our energy infrastructure and promoting our nation's energy abundance would undoubtedly make positive impacts on our constituents' lives. The president's proposals show the difficult choices facing the country as we work to reduce the deficit, protect our security, and grow jobs."

Sen. Ron Wyden on Tuesday blasted the budget summary in general, calling it "Madoff Math" and "a cynical assault on the the fundamental idea that Americans should be there for one another when it counts."

The Oregon Democrat also noted the proposal to sell Bonneville assets, saying it would increase costs for tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the state.

"I successfully fought Republicans' efforts more than a decade ago to privatize Bonneville Power, and I will fight this misguided attempt," Wyden said in a news release. "Public power customers in the Pacific Northwest have paid for the system and their investment should not be put up for sale.

"I'm putting this budget where it belongs - in the trash can."

The Public Power Council, which represents many of the BPA's public utility customers, said it was opposed to the proposal for several reasons, including the loss of regional control and value; the risk of increased costs to consumers; the potential for remote areas of the system to be neglected, harming rural communities; and, impacts to reliability.

 "We'll want the details, but the effect appears to be a transfer of value from the people of the Northwest to the U.S. Treasury," said Scott Corwin, the council's executive director. "Electricity consumers in the West have paid to construct and maintain a system that would be sold off to fund the federal government."

The council said utilities in the region were already working toward the modernization of the grid and those efforts are best handled in the region.
http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/05/23/trump-budget-includes-proposal-to-privatize-bpa.html
Quote
The Trump administration is proposing privatizing transmission assets owned by the Bonneville Power Administration, an idea that has popped up periodically since the Reagan administration but gone nowhere.

The proposal to sell off BPA's transmissions assets -- about three-quarters of the high-voltage grid in the Northwest -- is included among "major savings and reforms" offered up the administration in its fiscal year 2018 budget released on Tuesday.

The administration says unloading BPA's grid would save about $4.9 billion over the course of a decade.

The proposal also includes selling off other assets of the Power Marketing Administration for a total savings of $5.5 billion.

"Ownership of transmission assets is best carried out by the private sector where there are appropriate market and regulatory incentives," the administration says in its justification for the proposal. "The budget proposal to eliminate or reduce the PMA's role in electricity transmission and increase the private sector's role would encourage a more efficient allocation of economic resources and mitigate risk to taxpayers."

President Ronald Reagan proposed privatizing the BPA during his second term. President Bill Clinton made a similar bid in the mid-'90s. And in 2005, President George W. Bush proposed forcing BPA to sell its power at market rates, widely seen as a step toward privatization.

None of the proposals found sufficient support in Congress, and President Donald Trump's came in for immediate criticism.

Oregon's senior senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, sharply attacked the proposal, which he said would increase costs for "homes and businesses."

"I successfully fought Republicans' efforts more than a decade ago to privatize Bonneville Power, and I will fight this misguided attempt," Wyden said in a news release. "Public power customers in the Pacific Northwest have paid for the system and their investment should not be put up for sale."

The Public Power Council, which represents about 100 consumer-owned utilities in the region, put out a statement opposing the proposal and listing four major concerns: "(1) loss of regional control and value; (2) risk of increased costs to consumers; (3) potential for remote areas of the system to be neglected, harming rural communities; and, (4) impacts to reliability of what is currently a complex and integrated system."

This is really scary in some fundamental institutional ways. The kind of privatization being pushed through this administration, Energy, Education, Health care, represents the largest non military tax/revenue streams there are. He is intentionally dismantling the vestiges of the public state. Bannon wasn't kidding apparently. This represents a level of fucked that is barely comprehensible if this agenda succeeds even partially. We are talking about not just aristocracy/corporatocracy, but honest to god fascism.
3
One of the really odd geniuses of the 20th century. His personal journals where he recorded every idea for theory that ever occurred to him. It's kind of incredible. It's worth scanning.

http://www.rossashby.info/journal/volume/index.html
4
Politics and Current Events / the new drug war
yeah, huffpo, but this has potential to be a really big deal.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guess-who-sessions-war-on-drugs-will-target_us_5915e1e6e4b00ccaae9ea22e
Quote
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it official. The federal government will now reboot its war on drugs. The official word came down in the form of memos from Sessions that ordered federal prosecutors to cease and desist on the soft approach former Attorney General Eric Holder took toward prosecuting petty drug offenders. Now prosecutors must demand the harshest sentence, must use the threat to harshly pile on sentence enhancements to browbeat drug offenders into copping a guilty plea, and they must itemize the drugs an offender uses to insure they are slapped with the minimum mandatory sentence.

Sessions isn't just talking about cracking down on the use of the hard stuff. He has a near paranoid obsession with pot. He has railed against its use, thinks it's one of the worst drug evils, and is convinced it is undermining the nation's morals. Sessions has long chomped at the bit to cop the title as America's number one drug warrior. He took giddy delight as a federal prosecutor and a U.S. Attorney in putting the hammer to drug offenders whenever he could. Sessions would likely scoff at the frank admission by disgraced Nixon White House advisor John Ehrlichman, in an interview in Harpers in 1994, that the war on drugs was not about law enforcement getting a handle on drug sales and use, but another weapon to lock up as many blacks as possible.

From its inception in the 1970s, the war on drugs has been a ruthless, relentless and naked war on minorities, especially African-Americans. Former President Obama and Holder got that. And they made it clear that it was time to rethink how the war was being fought and who its prime casualties have been. They pushed hard to get Congress to wipe out a good deal of the blatantly racially skewed harsh drug sentencing for crack versus powder cocaine possession and to eliminate minimum mandatory sentencing. Congress didn't finish the job and as long as Sessions is in the driver's seat at the Justice Department it won't. The Obama and Holder reforms in low level drug prosecutions did produce positive, and dramatic results. The number of minimum mandatory sentences imposed plunged, and there was much more reliance on drug counseling and diversion programs for petty offenders.

You can kiss that good-by with Sessions. Even though countless surveys have found that whites and blacks use drugs in about the same rate, more than 70 percent of those prosecuted in federal courts for drug possession and sale (mostly small amounts of crack cocaine) and given stiff mandatory sentences are blacks. Most those who deal and use crack cocaine aren't violent prone gang members, but poor, and increasingly female, young blacks. They clearly need treatment not long prison stretches. Obama and Holder understood that.

The fed war on drugs before Obama and Holder, and now reignited under Sessions, targeted blacks for a good reason. The top-heavy drug use by young whites -- and the crime and violence that go with it -- has never stirred any public outcry for mass arrests, prosecutions, and tough prison sentences for white drug dealers, many of whom deal drugs that are directly linked to serious crime and violence. Whites unlucky enough to get popped for drug possession are treated with compassion, prayer sessions, expensive psychiatric counseling, treatment and rehab programs, and drug diversion programs.

A frank admission that the laws are biased and unfair, and have not done much to combat the drug plague, would be an admission of failure. It could ignite a real soul-searching over whether all the billions of dollars that have been squandered in the failed and flawed drug war -- the lives ruined by it, and the families torn apart by the rigid and unequal enforcement of the laws -- has really accomplished anything.

This might call into question why people use and abuse drugs in the first place -- and if it is really the government's business to turn the legal screws on some drug users while turning a blind eye to others?

The greatest fallout from the nation's failed drug policy is that it has further embedded the widespread notion that the drug problem is exclusively a black problem. This makes it easy for on-the-make politicians to grab votes, garner press attention, and balloon state prison budgets to jail more black offenders, while continuing to feed the illusion that we are winning the drug war.

This means little to Sessions. In his fundamentalist, self-righteous, puritanical world, drug users are the scourge of the nation. They must be swiftly and mercilessly removed from the streets, workplaces, schools, and any other place that their presence subverts the good upstanding morals of the nation. Sessions said as much in a memo when he claimed that his tough drug crackdown will "advance public safety, and promote respect for our legal system." It will do neither. It will balloon prison building, the hiring and maintaining of waves of corrections officers, and further bloat state budgets. But worst of all it will again do what it was always intended to do and that's be a war on minorities and especially blacks.
5
Politics and Current Events / may day riots
6
Politics and Current Events / opioid epidemic
http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/24/health/opioid-deaths-cdc-report/
Quote
Over half of the deaths involving opioids in Minnesota between 2006 and 2015 had not been captured in the state's total, said Hall.
"While my research cannot speak to what percent we are underestimating, we know we are missing cases," Hall said. "It does seem like it is almost an iceberg of an epidemic."
...
"It's quite concerning, because it means that the (opioid) epidemic, which is already quite severe, could potentially be even worse," Hall said. A total of 33,000 opioid-related deaths were reported across the nation in 2015, a historic high, she said.

Like it is for most of the problems that plague america, my little corner of the liberal oasis of portland keeps me blissfully sheltered from actually experiencing them in a tangible way. I had some friends in the 80s who used heroin and overdosed and died but that was a different universe altogether. Has the recent outbreak touched any of your lives?
7
Jeeze, this could go in science as easy as politics.
Quote
"We are not creating a Terminator": Russia denies risk as Putin's 'robot army' is trained to shoot guns

Vladimir Putin's 'robot army' is being trained to shoot guns from both of its hands, it's emerged.

MirrorOnline reported last December how the android robots called FEDOR - Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research - are being developed for space exploration by Russia.
Now it's emerged that the human looking robots - with a head, two arms and two legs - have been handed guns as part of their training.
A video clip of them in action has already caused a senior government officials to issue a denial that they are creating a real-life "Terminator-style" killer.
FEDOR stands six foot tall, weighs between 106-160 kg depending on extra equipment - and can lift up to 20 kg of cargo.
Its creators claim that teaching them to shoot will help improve their motor skills and decision-making abilities.
Posting a short clip showing the armed robot in action, Russia's deputy PM Dmitryi Rogozin said: "Robot platform F.E.D.O.R. showed shooting skills with two hands.
"We are not creating a Terminator, but artificial intelligence that will be of great practical significance in various fields."

The robot was originally created with rescue missions in mind until military uses began being suggested.

FEDOR is set to travel into space in 2021 - and has been touted as a permanent replacement for cosmonauts currently maintaining the ISS in the long term.

The robot is being developed by Android Technics and the Advanced Research Fund.

They are attempting to teach it a wide variety of basic and advanced skills - from how to use a set of keys and various tools to how to screw in a light bulb and drive a car.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/we-not-creating-terminator-russia-10237755
8
Politics and Current Events / Trump's tax returns
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/04/16/after-a-day-of-marches-trump-asks-why-people-are-still-talking-about-his-taxes/
Quote
Trump asks why people are still talking about his taxes a day after protesters asked for his returns
By John Wagner April 16 at 11:42 AM

President Trump lashed out Sunday at the protesters who took part in marches across the country Saturday to demand that he release his tax returns, declaring on Twitter that "The election is over!"

Trump's comments followed a nationwide Tax March that drew thousands of people in dozens of cities on the country's traditionally recognized deadline to file taxes, April 15.

As a candidate, Trump declined to voluntarily release his tax returns -- a practice followed by other presidential hopefuls since the 1970s -- claiming he couldn't do so because he was under audit. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton hammered him on the subject.

    I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?

    -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017

    Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!

    -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017

"I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican -- easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?" Trump said in one tweet Sunday morning.

In another, he suggested that someone "should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday," adding: "The election is over!"
so, what do you all suppose is in them that he is so clearly unhappy to share?
9
Introductions / Hello new member Obadiah!
Your name sounds familiar. Hope you enjoy tr. :wave:
10
Arts and Entertainment / thor ragnarok
looks like a really great movie to see super baked. I want to see it super baked anyway.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7MGUNV8MxU
11
Science / Octopuses
http://www.popsci.com/octopuses-can-basically-tinker-with-their-own-genes-on-fly

Popsci article but it's generally well done
Quote
Home
SUBSCRIBE to the Magazine

ANIMALS
Octopuses can basically edit their own genes on the fly
Crazy levels of RNA tinkering could explain how cephalopods got so smart
By Rachel Feltman  April 6, 2017
 
octopus
CC via Flickr
To edit is divine

You're a complex organism. You socialize with family and friends, you solve puzzles and make choices. Humans may be some of the most cerebral animals on the planet, but we know we're not alone in having this sort of behavioral complexity. Crows use tools. Primates create incredible social structures. Whales congregate.
But all of these critters have one thing in common: they're vertebrates. Members of our subphylum share more than just a backbone; our common ancestor gifted us with the sort of structure and central nervous system that lends itself to behavioral complexity.
And then there are cephalopods. They can solve a shocking number of complex puzzles, suggesting a cognition that rivals those found in the vertebrate world--even though they last shared a common ancestor with us at least 500 million years ago. In the world of invertebrates, octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish stand apart.
We may finally have some idea why. According to a study published in Cell, these creatures have an uncanny ability to manipulate the instructions found within their DNA. An unprecedented panache for RNA editing may explain why cephalopods are so bright and adaptable.
You probably remember RNA from your high school biology class. DNA is like a blueprint of genetic instructions laid out for us at conception. DNA is stable and sequestered (mostly) in the nucleus, keeping genetic information safe to pass it on to the next generation, while its single-stranded sibling RNA translates those directions into marching orders. When DNA says "we should produce these proteins at this time", RNA goes out into the world of the cytoplasm and makes it happen.
But sometimes RNA rebels. Sometimes enzymes intervene, pulling out the RNA adenosine bases that code for certain proteins and replacing them with inosine bases instead. When this happens, the RNA can be 'edited' to produce a different protein than the one called for by the DNA.
"About 25 years ago, people identified the first example of RNA editing in mammals. There were a few cases where you'd see the DNA saying one thing and then see the actual protein was different," says study co-author Eli Eisenberg, a biophysicist at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Eisenberg co-lead the study with Joshua Rosenthal at the Marine Biological Laboratory, though both point to Tel Aviv's Noa Liscovitch-Brauer as the driving force behind the research.
For a couple decades, Eisenberg says, study of this phenomenon was limited to a handful of cases found by accident. But in recent years, scientists have made a more systematic approach--and found that humans occasionally use this genetic trick, too. But for us, it's a rare occurrence. We have many sites where editing could occur, but most are located on parts of the genome with 'junk' DNA that doesn't code for anything. Of the 1,000 or so coding sites where editing could take place, only a few dozen exist in places where the editing would likely have an important impact.
Squid, which have the same number of genes, have around 11,000 of these useful sites.
The new study, which tracked down the RNA editing sites in several species of cephalopod, built upon earlier research that found that octopuses use RNA editing to rapidly adapt to temperature changes, and that extensive editing occurs in squid neural tissue. In examining additional species, the researchers determined that this boon of editable RNA is almost universal among cephalopods--and the exceptions that prove the rule provide some fascinating clues.
All members of the "coleoid" subclass--squid, cuttlefish, octopuses--that the researchers examined had this boost in RNA editing. But the chambered nautilus, which is considered a primitive beast in comparison to its whip-smart cousins, had much lower levels of RNA editing. An even more distant mollusk cousin (not a cephalopod) tested for comparison had similarly low levels.
Because so much of the RNA editing occurs in brain tissue, the researchers think this correlation could indicate that the process helps give some cephalopods their smarts. Exactly how or why this process occurs is a question for future studies. But one thing is for certain: RNA editing can make a species incredibly flexible.

12
Arts and Entertainment / Rick and Morty
Why didn't anyone tell me?
13
Sports / please
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/28/521810071/footy-mcfooty-face-is-stomping-competition-in-vote-for-mls-team-name
Quote
Fans are embracing a San Diego group's effort to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city -- or at least, they're embracing the most unlikely name for the squad. With the final round of an online vote set to close Friday, Footy McFooty Face has more than twice the votes of any other potential name.

As of Monday, Footy McFooty Face led the way with nearly 7,700 votes, well ahead of San Diego Surf (2,341) and San Diego Bad Hombres (1,644) -- the only other names that have attracted more than 1,000 votes.

By tapping into the Internet's love for silly names, the episode evokes the famous "Boaty McBoatface" saga of last year, in which online voters chose that name to grace a $300 million British ocean research vessel.

That U.K. result was overruled -- and it seems likely that if MLS does expand to San Diego, its team won't be wearing Footy McFooty Face jerseys. FS Investors, the backers of San Diego's MLS bid, say they'll submit the top 10 names to the league for review.

As The San Diego Union-Tribune notes, the online vote plays into the hopes of FS Investors, as the group vies for attention and support for its plan to land an MLS team in Qualcomm Stadium, which up until January was known as the home of the San Diego Chargers.

Perhaps Footy McFooty Face will go the way of Boaty, and be given to a less imposing entity. While Boaty McBoatface is now the name of a small submersible, might San Diego someday have a sports mascot named Footy McFooty Face?

As the organizers note on their Facebook page, "a nickname or mascot can be added to traditional names."

Here's looking forward to the day we see an oversized foam foot patrolling the sidelines in Qualcomm Stadium.
https://www.facebook.com/SoccerCitySD/app/303561899745219?brandloc=DISABLE&app_data=chk-58da9e387953d
15
https://www.the74million.org/article/impact-of-weaker-unions-in-wisconsin-and-other-states-much-clearer-for-teachers-than-students

Some of these stats (well, analysis of stats) are bullshit for weird and complicated reasons (mostly the performance pay correlation with higher test scores) but over all it's an interesting read.
16
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/admiral-seven-others-charged-with-corruption-in-new-fat-leonard-indictment/2017/03/14/faf01600-08da-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html
Quote
The Justice Department unsealed a fresh indictment Tuesday charging eight Navy officials -- including an admiral -- with corruption and other crimes in the "Fat Leonard" bribery case, escalating an epic scandal that has dogged the Navy for four years.

Among those charged were Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, a senior Navy intelligence officer who recently retired from a key job at the Pentagon, as well as four retired Navy captains and a retired Marine colonel. The charges cover a period of eight years, from 2006 through 2014.

The Navy personnel are accused of taking bribes in the form of lavish gifts, prostitutes and luxury hotel stays courtesy of Leonard Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis, a Singapore-based defense contractor who has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Navy of tens of millions of dollars.

The indictment lists page after page of bribes allegedly provided to the defendants including $25,000 watches, $2,000 boxes of Cohiba cigars, $2,000 bottles of cognac and $600-per-night hotel rooms.

According to the charging documents, Francis also frequently sponsored wild sex parties for many officers assigned to the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the Navy's 7th Fleet, and other warships.
Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless (Navy)

During a port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in May 2008, for example, five of the Navy officers attended a "raging multi-day party, with a rotating carousel of prostitutes," at the Shangri-La Hotel, according to the indictment. The group allegedly drank the hotel's entire supply of Dom PĂ©rignon champagne and rang up expenses exceeding $50,000, which Francis covered in full.

On another port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in February 2007, Francis allegedly hosted a sex party for officers in the MacArthur Suite of the Manila hotel. During the party, "historical memorabilia related to General Douglas MacArthur were used by the participants in sexual acts," according to the indictment.

In exchange, according to federal prosecutors, the officials provided Francis with classified or inside information that enabled his firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, to gouge the Navy out of tens of millions of dollars.
17
Science / Pingu listen to this:
http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/519264798/decisions-decisions-decisions
Quote
Decisions Decisions Decisions

Whether you're choosing spaghetti sauce or a life partner, making decisions can be paralyzing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we make the choices we make, and how we learn to live with them.
18
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / humans suck
http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/endangered-white-rhino-shot-dead-inside-french-zoo-by-poachers-seeking-valuable-horn

Endangered white rhino shot dead inside French zoo by poachers seeking valuable horn
19
Politics and Current Events / hate crime megathread
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pair-who-led-racist-attack-boy-s-party-sentenced-years-n726421
Quote
A man and a woman were sentenced Monday to 13 and six years in prison, respectively, for joining a group of Confederate flag supporters who in 2015 drove around a small Georgia community threatening people, including a gathering of African-Americans celebrating a young boy's birthday.

The attack, prosecuted under the state's Street Gang Terrorism law, came several weeks after a white supremacist killed nine black worshipers at a South Carolina church, sparking a backlash against public displays of the Confederate battle flag.


The Georgia group called itself Respect the Flag, and prior to the attack was seen driving in a convoy of trucks flying rebel flags, shouting threats at black people, authorities said.

The two sentenced Monday, Jose Torres and Kayla Norton, who authorities said yelled racist slurs and threatened the birthday revelers with a shotgun, were the last of the group to be sentenced. They wept in a Douglas County courtroom as a judge imposed their punishments: Torres, 26, convicted of aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and a violating street-gang statute, received 13 years in prison and another seven on probation; Norton, 25, convicted of making terroristic threats and violating the gang law, will serve 6 years in prison and nine on probation.

Both were also banished from Douglas County, a racially diverse community a few miles west of Atlanta.

Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in an interview that the prosecution of the attack began with people with less serious involvement, and moved in toward those who drove it.
20
Politics and Current Events / Marine Le Pen
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4249970/Marine-Le-Pen-s-bodyguard-chief-staff-arrested.html
Quote
Two senior aides to Marine Le Pen were today taken into police custody as the fraud enquiry that could see the far-right French presidential candidate jailed for up to 10 years deepened.

Thierry Legier, who is Ms Le Pen's bodyguard, and Catherine Griset, her chief of staff, were escorted to the judicial police station in Nanterre, the Paris suburb, in the late morning.

A raid was also carried out at the home of Mr Legier, Ms Le Pen's 51-year-old bodyguard who is nicknamed 'The Gorilla'.
All of the suspects - including Ms Le Pen - now face imminent criminal charges.

Lawyers for Ms Le Pen immediately branded the arrests a media and judicial 'conspiracy' aimed at de-railing Ms Le Pen's campaign to become France's first ever female head of state in May.

The 48-year-old was on a visit to a prison in Meaux, east of Paris, today and said the enquiry was an 'empty' one, and that she and her FN colleagues were entirely innocent.

ok. SO the Daily Mail is an unreliable source iirc, but does this have legs?
22
So, I posted his maniac video over at Ratskep to remind someone that cops are gun culture. Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyrH-C6naEM

Someone scrolled the related videos and found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-RMm_nyYLM
Which is a radio interview with a right wing nutjob where he says he was working on a sting with unnamed other agencies and that video was a fraud.

I was surprised because that's smarter than cops usually are and went looking and found that he was legit fired, has been freaky since being fired, and has a scary facebook page.

I found a few sites where his "fraud" was exposed but they are all way whacked sites. Here are a couple of examples:
http://www.dcclothesline.com/2014/12/05/shocking-revelation-former-police-chief-kessler-admits-working-feds-flush-2nd-amendment-supporters/
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/12/robert-farago/former-police-chief-mark-kessler-pro-gun-videos-were-a-federal-sting-to-catch-lone-terrorists/
etc.

I listened to the Alan Colmes interview and he is super cagey, that's the second youtube video above. It doesn't seem even a little bit true. So, this sort of disinformation is kinda like AiG or something for militias to use as rebuttals? WTF?
23
Politics and Current Events / Eve of Destruction
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntLsElbW9Xo

Ok, so, the list:

Public education will collapse leading to apocalyptic dystopia.
Labor protection will fall apart leading to apocalyptic dystopia
Environmental protection will end leading to apocalyptic dystopia
Science funding will collapse leading to apocalyptic dystopia
Income inequality will spike leading to authoritarian police state leading to apocalyptic dystopia
War with China is possible leading to apocalyptic dystopia
Nukes could be used leading to apocalyptic dystopia
What did I forget?
24
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38613488
Quote
The world's eight richest individuals have as much wealth as the 3.6bn people who make up the poorest half of the world, according to Oxfam.

The charity said its figures, which critics have queried, came from improved data, and the gap between rich and poor was "far greater than feared".

Oxfam's report coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Mark Littlewood, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said Oxfam should focus instead on ways to boost growth.

"As an 'anti-poverty' charity, Oxfam seems to be strangely preoccupied with the rich," said the director-general of the free market think tank.

For those concerned with "eradicating absolute poverty completely", the focus should be on measures that encourage economic growth, he added.

Ben Southwood, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, said it was not the wealth of the world's rich that mattered, but the welfare of the world's poor, which was improving every year.

"Each year we are misled by Oxfam's wealth statistics. The data is fine - it comes from Credit Suisse - but the interpretation is not."
'Elite gathering'

The annual event in Davos, a Swiss ski resort, attracts many of the world's top political and business leaders.

Katy Wright, Oxfam's head of global external affairs, said the report helped the charity to "challenge the political and economic elites".

"We're under no illusions that Davos is anything other than a talking shop for the world's elite, but we try and use that focus," she added.
The world's eight richest billionaires

1. Bill Gates (US): co-founder of Microsoft (net worth $75bn)

2. Amancio Ortega (Spain): founder of Zara owner Inditex (net worth $67bn)

3. Warren Buffett (US): largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway (net worth $60.8bn)

4. Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico): owner of Grupo Carso (net worth $50bn)

5. Jeff Bezos (US): founder and chief executive of Amazon (net worth $45.2bn)

6. Mark Zuckerberg (US): co-founder and chief executive of Facebook (net worth $44.6bn)

7. Larry Ellison (US): co-founder and chief executive of Oracle (net worth $43.6bn)

8. Michael Bloomberg (US): owner of Bloomberg LP (net worth $40bn)

Source: Forbes billionaires' list, March 2016

UK economist Gerard Lyons said focusing on extreme wealth "does not always give the full picture" and attention should be paid to "making sure the economic cake is getting bigger".

However, he said Oxfam was right to single out companies that it believed fuelled inequality with business models that were "increasingly focused on delivering ever-higher returns to wealthy owners and top executives".

Oxfam's Ms Wright said economic inequality was fuelling a polarisation in politics, citing Donald Trump's election as US president and the Brexit vote as examples.
'Fair share'

"People are angry and calling out for alternatives. They're feeling left behind because however hard they work they can't share in their country's growth," she said.

The charity is calling for "a more human economy" and is urging governments to crack down on executive pay and tax evasion and impose higher taxes on the wealthy.

It also wants business leaders to pay a "fair share of tax" and has urged companies to pay staff the "living wage", which is higher than the government's National Living Wage.

Oxfam has produced similar reports for the past four years. In 2016 it calculated that the richest 62 people in the world had as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population.

The number had fallen to just eight this year because more accurate data was now available, Oxfam said.

It was still the case that the world's richest 1% had as much wealth as the rest of the world combined, Oxfam said.

Some of the eight richest billionaires have given away tens of billions of dollars. In 2000 Bill Gates and his wife Melinda set up a private foundation that has an endowment of more than $44bn.

In 2015 Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledged to give away 99% of their net worth in their lifetimes, which equated to about $45bn based on the value of Facebook shares at the time.

It takes cash and assets worth $71,600 to get into the top 10%, and $744,396 to be in the top 1%.

Oxfam's report is based on data from Forbes and the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth datebook, which gives the distribution of global wealth going back to 2000.

The survey uses the value of an individual's assets, mainly property and land, minus debts, to determine what he or she "owns". The data excludes wages or income.

The methodology has been criticised as it means that a student with high debts, but with high future earning potential, for example, would be considered poor under the criteria used.
25
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/betsy-dick-devos-family-amway-michigan-politics-religion-214631

Quote
How Betsy DeVos Used God and Amway to Take Over Michigan Politics

With her nomination as education secretary, a powerful political clan will bring its overtly Christian agenda to Washington.

By Zack Stanton

January 15, 2017

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google +

    Email
    Comment
    Print

On election night 2006, Dick DeVos, the bronzed, starched 51-year-old scion of Michigan's wealthiest family, paced to a lectern in the dim ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel in Lansing to deliver the speech that every candidate dreads.

The Michigan gubernatorial race that year had been a dogfight of personal attacks between DeVos, the Republican nominee, and Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm. Gloomy, bleached-out b-roll of shuttered factories in anti-Granholm ads made the governor's sunny economic promise that "You're gonna be blown away" sound less like an aspiration than a threat. Anti-DeVos ads cut closer to the bone, with one depicting a cartoon DeVos cheering a freighter hauling Michigan jobs to China. It was an unsubtle reference to DeVos' time as president of Amway, the direct-sales behemoth his family co-founded and co-owns, when he eliminated jobs in Michigan while expanding dramatically in Asia. DeVos ended up personally spending $35 million on the race--the most expensive campaign in Michigan history--and when the votes came in, lost by a crushing 14 points.

At the Lansing Sheraton, the mood was grim. "If we aren't going to be able to serve in this way, I look forward to the ways we can," DeVos told his glum supporters. Behind him on the ballroom risers stood his family; closest to him was his wife, Betsy, choking back tears.

Though dressed in a blue skirt-suit, the uniform of a first ladyship that was not to be, Betsy DeVos was never a political accessory. Anyone who understood Michigan politics knew she had long been the more political animal of the pair. It was Betsy, not Dick, who had chaired the Michigan Republican Party; Betsy, who had served as a member of the Republican National Committee; Betsy, whose name was once floated to succeed Haley Barbour as head of the RNC; Betsy, who had directed a statewide ballot campaign to legalize public funding of religious schools; Betsy, who, as a college freshman, traveled to Ohio and Indiana to volunteer for Gerald Ford's presidential campaign. She was a skilled and seasoned operator, but as her husband conceded in an overwhelming defeat, she was utterly helpless.

At the time, it seemed like a dead end for a neophyte political candidate. In reality, it was the opening of a new avenue the DeVoses followed to far greater political influence, reshaping Michigan politics and the national Republican scene. "I think that loss really solidified the idea in the DeVoses' minds that the real way to get what you want is to be behind the scenes," says Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

In the decade since that loss, the DeVos family, with Dick and Betsy at the helm, has emerged as a political force without comparison in Michigan. Their politics are profoundly Christian and conservative--"God, America, Free Enterprise," to borrow the subtitle of family patriarch Richard DeVos' 1975 book, Believe!--and their vast resources (the family's cumulative net worth is estimated at well over $5 billion) assure that they can steamroll their way to victory on issues ranging from education reform to workers' rights. "At the federal level, when GOP candidates are looking for big donors to back them, they have options," says Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. "If you don't get Sheldon Adelson, you can go to the Koch brothers, and so on. In Michigan, the DeVos family is a class of donor all by themselves."