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Cartoon Friday Watercooler: MehWhoop!

By: Kit OConnell Friday July 25, 2014 8:11 pm


A siamese cat studies a dangling string bean

No, kitty! Don’t eat MehWhoop!

It’s Cartoon Friday, again!

Tonight’s selection is MehWhoop: The Saga of the Lost String Bean from Marty Cooper, a.k.a. Hombre McSteez.

Accidentally strewn to the supermarket floor, MehWhoop is left to navigate the world alone in search of his bean bin buddies. His exhausting search leads him to a familiar yet unexpected place.


Original Score:
William Ryan Fritch

End Credits:
Robbie Benson (Super Soul Brothers)

“Moonglow” by Podington Bear
from The Sound of Picture Production Library

We visited with McSteez just a over a month ago for his Augdemented Reality but the saga of poor lost little MehWhoop was too adorable to pass up sharing.

Bonus Friday Comic: The Man Is Taking a Nap On the Couch” from the adorable Breaking Cat News.

Seen any good cartoons lately? Or tell me about what you’re watching on TV these days.

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Someone Else’s Government

By: David Cox Friday July 25, 2014 9:11 am

Not since the Hoover administration, have the suffering of so many Americans been so ignored by their government. If you’re over 50 and looking for a job, you know this. You won’t see it on your local TV news and you won’t read about it in your local paper. Some people think that it’s something new, but its not. During the nineteen twenties and thirties, there were many owners of newspapers, but they were all owned by people with enough money to own a newspaper. Ask a billionaire how much he thinks about unemployment and they’ll say, “Not much.” Ask them what they think of higher taxes and watch them become animated.

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song? –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Herbert Hoover wasn’t really a bad fellow, a devout Quaker who couldn’t see the events in flight. They had shot an arrow and failed to understand the carelessly placed missile had caused serious injury. If they act so casually irresponsible, how will they behave in a crisis? They march with muddy boots across the white carpet of our lives asking, “Why’s everyone looking at me?” They point to the Dow Jones average and say, “See, it’s all better now.”

But it’s not better, new home sales have been revised at the top of the home buying season. New home sales are down 100,000 units, from a year ago. Existing home sales are at the same level as January of 2011. Maybe the big city editors of Hoover’s day really believed it was “Red” agitators and not hunger motivating the food rioters. Hadn’t Herbert Hoover arranged for $2 billion in loans to big business? Now, you can’t expect these things to work overnight, oh but there you go again with “My children are hungry and I can’t pay my rent” line. Be patient, Mr. Hoover’s working on it.

Food riots across the country were reported in the newspapers as whipped up by “Red” agitators. Telling a lie inside of the truth, many demonstrations were organized by the Communist Party of America. The more important factor was that thousands of Americans were turning up. Nothing sours you on Capitalism as much as being thrown to the wolves. When the arrow lands on you, archery isn’t fun anymore.

On March 7, 1932 five thousand marchers left Detroit, headed for Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant. Their demands were fanciful, winter fuel for the poor and the rehiring of laid off workers, the end of company spies and the right to form labor unions. Ford couldn’t hire anyone, he couldn’t sell the cars he’d made and why is fuel for the freezing Ford’s responsibility? To Henry Ford the world had gone mad; he whistled a happy tune, giving his son Edsel a million dollars in gold for his birthday. Henry Ford was the richest man in the world and when the marchers reached his gate, Ford did what any responsible businessman would do. The Dearborn Police and Ford’s private police force opened fire, killing five and wounding sixty.

Three days later, public funerals were held and the crowds swelled to twenty thousand. A Grand Jury report later found no police wrong doing, but the killings had changed the perception of millions. They began to understand that government really didn’t care if they were unemployed, hungry or freezing. They also understood that if they complained, they would be jailed, beaten or worse. They didn’t see the government as theirs; they saw it as someone else’s.

3.8 million Long term unemployed Americans, two million of them over 50 years old ask, whose government? A government which can come up with a $100 million for the Ukraine in less than an hour, remains dead locked by partisan politics on assistance to unemployed Americans. They also serve who do nothing, because doing nothing is still doing something. Either, it is ignoring the people in a representative democracy or there is no representative democracy. The President carefully differentiates, asking for mortgage assistance only for responsible consumers, without prosecuting irresponsible banks. The President who once campaigned for green energy is proud of our rising oil production.

The official unemployment rate stands at 6.1% but only because they say so. The U-3 unemployment rate is 6.1% the U-6 figure, which formerly was the official number is 12.4%. But if we pretend it’s so and repeat it often enough, it becomes the truth. It allows government to cut food assistance, because they claim the crisis is over. Rather than assistance, the long-term unemployed receive purposeful neglect and scorn. I suppose I could vote for the Republicans and Mr. Hoover’s giveaways to big business or I could vote for the Democrats and Mr. Hoover’s giveaways to big business.

We don’t ask you to believe in our ability to bring change, rather, we ask you to believe in yours. –Barack Obama

Do you understand? If you’re waiting for Barack Obama to do anything for the growing numbers of poor, working poor and long-term unemployed, you gotta long wait ahead of you.

President Hoover predicted today that the worst effect of the crash upon unemployment will have been passed during the next sixty days. –Washington Dispatch (March 8, 1930)

So I will ask again; whose government?

Of course, Socialism is violently denounced by the capitalist press and by all the brood of subsidized contributors to magazine literature, but this only confirms the view that the advance of Socialism is very properly recognized by the capitalist class as the one cloud upon the horizon which portends an end to the system in which they have waxed fat, insolent and despotic through the exploitation of their countless wage-working slaves. –Eugene Debs 1900


Cross posted from

Speaker Boehner Observed By International Whistle Blowers

By: Daniel Marks Friday July 25, 2014 11:50 am

A letter demanding an official tabulation of State legislature applications for a convention to propose amendments as prescribed in Article V of the Constitution just arrived at the Office of the Speaker of the House for John Boehner. As international observation may be required to determine if elections are being managed correctly, we reached out to internationally known whistle blowers, Karen HudesBirgitta JónsdóttirCarl Robert Gibson, and Hörður Torfason to observe how Congress handles their duty to call a convention once two-thirds of the states apply. After 238 years of application by State legislatures it is “arguable”, as the Congressional Research Service described, that States reached the threshold to trigger a convention call which Congress should have no authority to refuse.

In recent years, we discovered the flaw in the process was not the inaction or incorrect action of States but Congress’ ability to ignore those applications by avoiding the count.  Both houses of Congress neglected to assign the duty to track these applications to any entity in the government.  If Congress never knows the number has been reached, they are not obligated to call the convention.  It is like a race where the runners can never see the finish line. We learned from conversations with Thomas Neale of the Congressional Research Service that in the 1970s there were 22 bills submitted to create new statutes for the Article V processes, including assigning the duty to the Clerk of House, but they all failed.

On April 15th, 2013 our group, mailed an official request for a tally of these applications on record to the Clerk of House, Karen Haas after being instructed by House Parliamentarian, Tom Wickham how to submit this request for the first time in US history.  More than a year has passed since Congress received the request, although the Speaker of the House John Boehner had submitted the request to the Judiciary Committee for consideration, as you might guess, I am unaware of any plans to discuss this in the agenda in the committee anytime soon.

However Bill Walker of brought it to my attention that when the Speaker made the request for the report, it should have been directed to the Clerk of House, where we originally sent the letter, and not to a committee according to House Rule 2 (j) which specifies that,

In addition to any other reports required by the Speaker…the clerk shall report to the Committee on House Administration…

In case this was misdirected, in all fairness this would be the first time this process has ever tried to function, we needed to notify the Speaker of the House, Parliamentarian, and Clerk of House.  There is a conflict of interest when Congress considers calling a convention or merely counting these applications. It requires oversight that our domestic media has so far failed to devote any time to.

The shrinking ability of Congress to ignore these applications was exacerbated by the State of Michigan as they declared they are the 34th state and final state needed to trigger the convention and the request to the Speaker by Rep. Duncan Hunter for a tabulation of the applications Michigan acknowledged.

So what is my hurry if the pressure is building?  First, it should not take so long. If all else fails Congress can verify by inquiry with the state of origin. That would take about a few days, certainly not a year.

Secondly, this matter was never meant to be deliberated by members of Congress.  ”Congress shall have ‘no vote, debate or committee’ regarding state applications” once the proper number of states has been presented. Along with our original request we presented 42 scanned copies of the applications of 42 states (34 states would trigger a convention) which we believe are legal and still standing today.

Third, our country is begging to change this system, a long train of abuses and usurpations is reducing the People to absolute despotism. We need to revive OUR Constitution.

Lastly there are attempts to insure that states will puppet the delegates. Last month Florida became the 4th state to outlaw an election of delegates to a convention to propose amendments, and took away the right to deliberate as a delegate. “If a delegate does not follow those instructions, their vote would be voided and their appointment to the convention would be forfeited. They also could be charged with a third-degree felony.” The media failed to point out this process would cancel an election.

Wisconsin legislators are also looking at model legislation from ALEC that, “2. Prohibits Delegates from Attending a Convention for Proposing Amendments if Congress Mandates Proportional Representation.”

As a matter of fact, Congress has already mandated an election of delegates. Some legislators in Wisconsin hate the idea that the People may actually elect delegates:

(2) the term ‘election’ means—
(E) the election of delegates to a constitutional convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States or of any State; and

Unfortunately We the People cannot be magnanimous or patient about Congress’ pace to fulfill their duty under Article V.  We do not have the luxury of time when powers that be rig this process before it is called. The right to alter, or to abolish is a real thing. It belongs to We the People.  States will have final say in the ratification process.  Nothing will be amended to the Constitution without the consent of 38 or 75% of the states.  That is an action that would reflect the republican model of government in every respect because it represents an authentic act of the whole people.

The main problem with state applications specifying exact language is the objection that a convention called to consider a predetermined amendment would, in effect, become part of the ratifying process. …an attempt by the various State legislatures to force Congress to call a convention which can only act mechanically to approve or disapprove a specific amendment. The attempt is to make the convention merely an initial step in the ratifying process instead of a deliberative meeting to seek out solutions to a problem. The word ‘propose’ cannot be stretched to mean ‘ratify’. The Congress cannot properly accept and become part of any prepackaged effort to short cut the amendment process. –Senator Robert F Kennedy

Here is the text of our letter this week:

Pull Up a Chair: Blade Runner: An Examination

By: cmaukonen Friday July 25, 2014 11:06 am

Since there has been confirmation that Ridley Scott is in the first stages of making a sequel, Blade Runner 2, I thought I would do an analysis of the original dystopic science fiction Film Noir. Underrated at the time of its release, it has gained in appreciation since, with various box sets and cuts available now. It’s based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep by Philip K. Dick and set in Los Angeles circa 2019. Science fiction writers, even those of the darkest dystopian futures, tend to be overly optimistic quite often, which is the case here, having by that time assuming technologies that are yet to appear.

This, however, can be forgiven as they tread a thin line having to make the future seem advanced enough and yet still enable the reader or viewer to relate in the current time. Blade Runner is no exception, assuming that by this time we are colonizing space. But only for those who qualify physically, and one assumes mentally and financially as well.

The plot — which I will not repeat here in its entirety, but still spoiler alert — revolves around Decker, a Blade Runner, a member of the police unit to track down and execute replicants, bio-engineered slaves developed and produced by the Tyrell Corporation, which are illegal on Earth. Decker is persuaded by Bryant — head of the unit — to come out of retirement to hunt down and eliminate 4 replicants that have come back to Earth from the “Off World Colonies.”

What you are immediately hit with is this view of an urban environment that is only slightly better than completely run down. With floating blimp-like objects that contentiously blare out audio and beam video to entice you to move off Earth to the colonies. Indeed, only those “lesser humans” remain on Earth. Some by choice, but most by necessity due to not being able to qualify. It takes place in an Asian area of the city, with Asian eateries nearly everywhere. You are left to wonder if this is the norm for the whole city or planet, that one of the qualities one needs to posses to move “Off World” is to be White.

The movie gives many messages, direct and a number indirect. That the “Beautiful People” have given up on Earth and have left for the colonies. That those who are still on Earth are left to make it as best they can. That Dr. Tyrell himself is both a victim and benefactor of this, having built an industrial empire through his genus in genetic engineering by supplying replicant slaves to the colonies. That the technology needed to maintain the status quo of the little people on the streets, makes it down to the streets. That those on the street and still on Earth mostly get along, since with the immigration of the “Beautiful People” to the colonies, there is no longer any reason not to get along. Indeed the “street language” is described as “a mishmash of Japanese, Spanish, German, what have you. ” That the police are there primarily to make sure nothing and no one upsets this relationship. That the biggest corporation, both physically and financially, is the Tyrell Corporation, reaching high enough to actually get sun at the top, when in the street it’s always foggy and rainy and polluted. It’s a city left to slowly fall apart.

The view one gets of the city is not unlike that of the old Hudson your rich uncle left you when he moved to Manhattan. With rust and problems you yourself cannot fix, but it still runs well enough to get you to the store and back. Even with fading paint and the bumper tied on with bailing wire, broken radio antenna and a radio that makes buzzing sounds when played. Parked out in front of an old farm house that leans a bit more each year, it hasn’t seen paint itself for many years.

Scott does leave a number of questions unanswered. Like why use an obviously primitive method of identifying replicants? Why not use genetic identification? Unless perhaps the genetics between humans and replicants are so similar, that it has proven unreliable. Was the reason given by Tyrell for implanting memories into replicants the real reason, or is it something else? Does Tyrell have some other use for replicants where memories would be necessary? Why would he give Rachael an extended lifespan, when all others were limited to 4 years. Why did he even try to extend this in other replicants? And lastly, why just a female with these additional qualities?

Blade Runner gives a peek at a capitalist society that has left its former home to be slowly abandoned and fall into ruin; where capitalists have finally found the ideal slaves and ideal peasants.

A great movie, but not a pretty picture.

Looking forward to Blade Runner 2?

This is the Israeli Military Calling: Civilizing War Has Failed

By: David Swanson Monday June 6, 2011 5:50 pm


Probably the biggest news story of 1928 was the war-making nations of the world coming together on August 27th and legally outlawing war.  It’s a story that’s not told in our history books, but it’s not secret CIA history.  There was no CIA.  There was virtually no weapons industry as we know it.  There weren’t two political parties in the United States uniting in support of war after war.  In fact, the four biggest political parties in the United States all backed abolishing war.

Cue whining, polysyllabic screech: “But it didn’t wooooooooork!”

I wouldn’t be bothering with it if it had. In its defense, the Kellogg-Briand Pact (look it up or read my book) was used to prosecute the makers of war on the losing sides following World War II (an historic first), and — for whatever combination of reasons (nukes? enlightenment? luck?) — the armed nations of the world have not waged war on each other since, preferring to slaughter the world’s poor instead. Significant compliance following the very first prosecution is a record that almost no other law can claim.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact has two chief values, as I see it. First, it’s the law of the land in 85 nations including the United States, and it bans all war-making. For those who claim that the U.S. Constitution sanctions or requires wars regardless of treaty obligations, the Peace Pact is no more relevant than the U.N. Charter or the Geneva Conventions or the Anti-Torture Convention or any other treaty. But for those who read the laws as they are written, beginning to comply with the Kellogg-Briand Pact makes far more sense than legalizing drone murders or torture or bribery or corporate personhood or imprisonment without trial or any of the other lovely practices we’ve been “legalizing” on the flimsiest of legal arguments. I’m not against new national or international laws against war; ban it 1,000 times, by all means, if there’s the slightest chance that one of them will stick. But there is, for what it’s worth, already a law on the books if we care to acknowledge it.

Second, the movement that created the Pact of Paris grew out of a widespread mainstream international understanding that war must be abolished, as slavery and blood feuds and duelling and other institutions were being abolished. While advocates of outlawing war believed other steps would be required: a change in the culture, demilitarization, the establishment of international authorities and nonviolent forms of conflict resolution, prosecutions and targeted sanctions against war-makers; while most believed this would be the work of generations; while the forces leading toward World War II were understood and protested against for decades; the explicit and successful intention was to make a start of it by outlawing and formally renouncing and rendering illegitimate all war, not aggressive war or unsanctioned war or inappropriate war, but war.

VIDEO: How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love GITMO

By: Dennis Trainor Jr Thursday July 24, 2014 8:52 pm

Originally posted at

An interview with Jason Leopold.

There are many crimes committed in the pursuit of, or as an accessory to, the crimes of US Foreign Policy. I’m not exactly sure where to rank the operation of Guantanamo Bay on that list, but consider these numbers, compiled by the Center for Constitutional Rights:

  • 779 men and boys have been imprisoned at Guantánamo since January 2002.
  • 100% of them are Muslim.
  • Of the 149 who remain there, 78 have been cleared for release for years but are still imprisoned.
  • President Obama’s Task Force has designated 38 men for indefinite detention without charge or trial.

The longer the illegal prison remains open, the more accepting of its existence American citizens seem to be, at least according to Gallup poll conducted in the days after the release of Sgt. Bergdahl in exchange for 5 prisoners who were not on that list cleared for release. That poll revealed that 66% of Americans said the U.S. should not “close this prison and move some of the prisoners to U.S. prisons.” That is up from the 53% of Americans who said the same thing in July of 2007. Today, again, according to that latest Gallup poll, just 29% of Americans want the facility closed and the prisoners either released or transported to the U.S.

About the guest:

Jason Leopold is an investigative reporter covering Guantanamo, counterterrorism, national security, human rights, open government, and civil liberties. He’s been called a “FOIA Terrorist” by federal employees for his aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which includes successfully suing the FBI to force changes to Bureau FOIA practices.

atv Guantanomo

West Bank Marches on Night of Power

By: Siun

By now you may have heard that there was a Palestinian march and at least two people were shot last night on the West Bank. You may not know why this matters so much.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened and why last night was special.

Last night was the Laylatul Qadr, the “Night of Power” or “Night of Light” for Muslims. This night, toward the end of Ramadan, marks the night when the Quran was first revealed to Mohammed.

Just as the arrival of a child is celebrated, on its birth and then every year, as a bringer of joy and fullfilment for the family, Laylatul Qadr is celebrated as a bringer of light and guidance for mankind. Unlike the birthday which is celebrated with a feast for the senses, Laylatul Qadr includes a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.

For this night of prayer, there was a call in the West Bank for an attempt to go to the Al Aqsa Mosque to pray:

In response, according to the Jerusalem Post:

Citing anonymous threats of Arab rioting expected near Damascus Gate, National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that hundreds of officers will be on hand near the east Jerusalem entrance Friday to ensure no incidents take place…

To that end, Rosenfeld said no Arabs under 50-years-old will be permitted to enter Damascus Gate, and undercover teams and various other elite units will blanket the area to respond immediately to any violence.

Interview from Ramallah

The audio link above is an interview by the San Francisco based Arab Talk Radio with Diane Buttu from in the midst of the demonstration. It is extraordinary reporting and Diane not only explains what’s happening but does a brilliant job of providing the context for why it’s so important. It’s really essential listening.

There has been a perception that the Palestinian people are divided and Israel has depended on the West Bank remaining relatively quiet while it pours all it’s destructive might into the war on Gaza.

Last night instead, the West Bank came out in large numbers and the message of unity and support for Gaza was very clear. By most accounts, the demonstrations were the largest since the 1980s and even greater numbers are expected after Friday prayers and in the coming days. Today, Friday, is Al-Quds Day, a day set aside to remember the people of Palestine and call for an end to their oppression and that of all oppressed peoples, so it has special significance as well. (Al-Quds events are held worldwide and you can look here to find ones in your area if you would like to participate. People of all or no faiths are welcome.)

Containing these marches will prove difficult – as 972 noted:

The West Bank march quickly spread to East Jerusalem, where police were said to be clashing with protesters in the Old City, Silwan, and other neighborhoods. Protests were also reported in Nablus and Bethlehem.

As the night ended, reports of casualties included:

Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces late Thursday as over 10,000 marched from a Ramallah-area refugee camp toward Jerusalem in protest against Israel’s Gaza offensive, a Ma’an reporter at the scene said.

The slain Palestinians were identified as 19-year-old Mohammad al-Araj and 27-year-old Majd Sufyan, a Ma’an reporter at the scene said.

At least 108 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli fire during the march, at least 60 of them with live bullets.

Earlier, Palestinians marched from al-Amari refugee camp toward Qalandia checkpoint, a militarized crossing point between Ramallah and Jerusalem through Israel’s separation wall.

Soldiers shot live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets into the crowd, in addition to tear gas.

The toll in Gaza meanwhile was reported to have reached 807 dead, after one of the bloodiest days so far. As I post this early Friday morning Central time, this report appears:

Five Years with No Raise for Minimum Wage Workers

By: WI Budget Project Thursday July 24, 2014 2:00 pm

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

NYC Raise the Wage Protest sign: "Fight for a Liveable Wage!"

It’s been too long since Wisconsin raised the minimum wage.

The minimum wage has about 11% of its purchasing power due to inflation since 2009, making it harder for low-paid workers to make ends meet. (In comparison, CEO compensation rose 46% between 2009 and 2013.)

Some states have increased their own minimum wages, rather than waiting for Congress to do it. Nineteen states have set their own minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage, including our neighboring states of Illinois ($8.35) and Michigan ($7.40), where a Republican-controlled legislature approved a recent wage increase to $9.25 by 2018. In Minnesota, the minimum wage is scheduled to rise to $9.50 by 2016. In contrast, state lawmakers in Wisconsin have taken no action to increase the minimum wage.

It’s too bad that Wisconsin lawmakers have refused to raise the minimum wage, because such a move would have broad-based benefits for workers. If we increased the minimum wage to $10.10, one-fifth of all Wisconsin workers, or 587,000 people, would receive a raise. One out of six children in Wisconsin – a total of 234,000 children – would have a parent who would benefit. Some argue that teenage workers would be the biggest beneficiaries of an increase in the minimum wage, but 79% of the Wisconsin workers who would benefit from an increase to $10.10 are 20 years or older.

To highlight the difficulties of living on the minimum wage, a new challenge called “Live the Wage” urges people to walk in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on a budget of $77 for one week. That’s the amount that a full-time minimum wage worker brings home, after taxes and housing costs. By participating in Live the Wage, you can experience yourself how tough it is to put food on the table, get to work, and provide for your children while earning the minimum wage. You can share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #LivetheWage.

Five years is too long to wait to give a leg up to people working at the lowest wages. If we can’t count on Congress to raise the wage, then Wisconsin should follow the example of neighboring states and give a raise to hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers.

by Tamarine Cornelius