Our man on the spot XIV – by SPE


Our man on the spot – by SPE
Translation by Nikki Carter






A union in spirit [Working Center bring back pay, rest breaks and self-respect where unions don’t]

(Steven Greenhouse, N.Y. Times, August 11, 2013)

Marriot_City-Hall_8.8.13-111-700x430“‘It makes no sense in Texas I’m required to have insurance on the cargo I haul up a construction elevator, but not on the workers in that elevator,” said Andy Anderson, owner of Linden Steel…The workers compensation pledge was an important victory [for the Austin Workers Defense Center]. The construction industry in Texas has a higher fatality rate [a death every 2.5 days!] than in most other states, but Texas is the only one that does not require building contractors to provide workers compensation to cover an injured worker’s hospital bills and disability benefits. “We like organizing here in Texas,” Ms Tzintzon (director of Workers Defense Project in Austin) said. “Things can only go up because working conditions are so awful.”‘

The housing market and weak backbone [now on the big business]

(Gretchen Morgenson, N.Y. Times – Sunday Business, August 10, 2013)

‘Even though the Trustees [of housing investment ban pools] are supposed to work for investors, these “watchdogs” are actually hired by the big banks that not only package the mortgage securities but also provide administrative services for them. So it was perhaps not surprising that the Trustees failed to make the big banks buy back loans that didn’t meet the quality standards set out when originally sold. Such buybacks could have prevented billions in losses…and the Trustees’ inaction indicated where their allegiances lay.’

(Photo): Jeffrey Sachs courtesy of Sachs Facebook.

(Photo): Jeffrey Sachs courtesy of Jeffrey Sachs Facebook.

Owners of private prisons bemoan decrease in profits if lower occupancy rates

(Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University Economist, MSNBC – Martin Pashir)

‘Amongst the obscenities of our having 2.5 million people incarcerated in this country is that the corporate owners of so called “private” prisons actually include in their prospectus to investors that a change of national or state policy to not charge so many minor infractions as crimes could lower the “occupancy rate” and fewer “beds” would mean a decrease of profit.’

To catch a creditor – why it’s so hard to fix faulty credit scores

‘…A 2012 study by the Columbus Dispatch analyzed 30,000 complaints to the F.T.C. of those 1,500 people reported that their files included someone else’s information. Nearly a third said the credit agencies did not correct the errors, despite being asked to do so… Credit bureaus are heavily dependent on lenders for both revenue and the information the bureaus package and sell…[in contrast consumers have little power over credit – reporting agencies]…For their part, lenders may benefit when credit bureaus report defaults, even incorrectly, because such reports put pressure on consumers who wish to maintain good credit ratings, to pay even disputed claims…’

…and some more thoughts about Bradley Manning NOT “leaking” to reputable outlet

(Charlie Savage, N.Y. Times/National, July 11, 2013)

‘Wikileaks may fail in the future [said Harvard professor, Yochai Benkler], because of all these vents, but the model of some form of decentralized leaking, that is secure technologically and allows for collaboration…that’s going to survive, and somebody else will build it.’

Federal judge says president has authority to address issue of force feeding Guantanamo Bay prisoners

(Charlie Savage, N.Y. Times/National/July 9, 2013)

‘Federal Judge Gladys Kessler noted that the force-feeding of detainees [forcing them to eat through a gastric tube inserted in (their) noses after restraining them in a chair] had been condemned as a violation of medical ethics and human rights violation, by groups as varied as the American Medical Association and top United Nations officials…It is perfectly clear that force feeding is a painful, humiliating and degrading process, but Mr. Obama, she wrote, does have the authority to address the issue…to directly address the issue of force feeding of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.’

Flight attendants better at job than Asiana’s pilots – San Francisco crash

(Matthew Wald, N.Y. Times/National July 9, 2013)

[Other issues in investigation] ‘One is over reliance on technology, some of which was not available…Part of the instrument landing system on Runway 28 Left here had been shut down because of construction. “In developing nations,” said Oscar S. Garcia, “there is a high reluctance to hand-fly the airplane…and Asiana 214 may have had a difficult mix. There were three captains on board and a pilot new to the aircraft.”…”You would suspect there had to be some oversight issues,” said Gregory Feith, safety consultant.’

220px-Andrea_Mitchell_MSNBC_mic_cropBomber “Americanized”

(Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC, The Morning News, August 13, 2013)

“‘The Boston Marathon bomber, besides any Jihadists leanings, was very “Americanized” by right wing hate groups that have proliferated since Obama came prominently to the political scene – such as Alex Jones on you tube with 300 million hits,” says Mark Potuk of the Southern Poverty Center. He says in the last few years it’s become “acceptable” to voice racist sentiments. Though more main stream hate hucksters like Rush Limbaugh use rarely disguised code words such as “not like the rest of us” and where ever Obama travels he will say like 47% Negro. But Potok believes this is to be expected as this is a for-real transition time in this country away from primarily white to primarily pigmented skin.’

Breast feed the brain

(Sophie Egan, N.Y. Times/Science, August 13, 2013)

“‘One of the theories why breast-fed children tent to have better cognitive development is there are nutrients in breast milk
that benefits the baby’s developing brain,” said Dr. Mandy Brown Belfort.’

Cost of a smoke [three-thousand-seventy seven – 3,077 dollars]

(N.Y. Times/Science, August 13, 2013)

‘…the largest cost, at $3,077 annually came from smoking breaks smokers took, on average, about five breaks a day, compared with the three breaks typically sanctioned for most workers.’

Once again over diagnosing

(Roni Caryn Rabin, N.Y. Times/Science, August 13, 2013)

‘…one in 10 Americans now take an anti-depressant medication: among women in their forties and fifties, the figure is one in 4…The condition is being over diagnosed on a remarkable scale.’

Our man on the spot blogs:

Our man on the spot XIV (you are here)

Our man on the spot XIII

Our man on the spot XII

Our man on the spot XI

Our man on the spot X

Our man on the spot IX

Our man on the spot VIII

Our man on the spot VII

Our man on the spot VI

Our man on the spot V

Our man on the spot IV

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Our man on the spot XIII – by SPE


Our man on the spot – by SPE

Translation by Nikki Carter






(Photo): Bradley Manning, US Army, courtesy of Wikipedia.

(Photo): Bradley Manning, US Army, courtesy of Wikipedia.

(Jon Carroll, S.F. Chronicle, August 2, 2013)

‘Seymour Hersh wrote the article that led to the unraveling of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. He did what Bradley Manning did, as far as exposing secrets, he brought journalistic rigor to the enterprise, but the offense was the same. Hersh was never arrested, never charged – and Manning is looking at life. Hardly seems fair, does it?’


(Benjamin Weiser, N.Y. Times, August 7, 2013)

‘Kristin Davis, 38, is a former madam who spent several months at Rikers Island. In 2008 for running a prostitution ring – she also said that she supplied escorts to Eliot Spitzer who resigned as governor that year after admitting that he had patronized a prostitution ring [but not that ring he contends]. Mr. Spitzer is also running for comptroller…’


(David Brooks, N.Y. Times, Op-Ed, August 6, 2013)

‘I think of this (the perils of A-Rod), because of the news on Monday about Alex Rodriguez’s suspension from baseball through the 2014 season. Judging from the outside, the rest of us are pikers of self-preoccupation next to A-Rod. When you see him standing on deck or running off the field at the end of an inning, you see a man who seems to be manufacturing his own persona, ingenuously crafting a series for behaviors designed to look right…but someone at the park said the Yankees don’t care as long as he continues to fill the seats for their slumping team.’


(Nelsen D. Schwartz, N.Y. Times, Business, August 6, 2013)

‘Magpul, a Colorado maker of ammunition magazines and other accessories, says it will relocate more than 200 workers after the state banned magazines that had more than 15 bullets. Two days before the law went into effect on July 1, Magpul organized a giveaway of 1,500 soon-to-be forbidden 30 round magazines attracting thousands to a gun rights rally in Glendale, Colorado…’


(Letters to Editor/ Frank Robinson, former museum director, N.Y. Times, August 7, 2013)

‘We claim to be moral institutions, open to all, providing the best to the most, and we all work hard to do just that. But is that really our audience? Don’t we for the most part, serve the affluent, the educated, the converted those who are on our side of the income and education gap…’


(Benjamin Weiser, N.Y. Times, August 6, 2013 )

‘In court papers, Jill R. Shellow, lawyer for Lynne F. Stewart, outspoken former defense lawyer, says that the circumstances of her clients’ imprisonment – having to use a walker to get around, now 73-years-old and dying from cancer in a prison hospital in Texas, and being placed in shackles and belly chain and hand cuffs when she is transported to an outside cancer center – are cruel, unusual and excessive punishment…’


(C.J. Chivers, N.Y. Times, August 7, 2013)

‘”We are surprised what the world is silent about the massacres. Are the Syrian children a Grade C product?” he asked. “What makes us wonder is that if this happened in Israel…what would the international reaction be then?” He was not expecting a reply. His radio was busy. Mudar returned to work.’


(Mendocino Beacon, August – compiled by Debbie L. Holmer – 125 years ago, July 21, 1888)

‘The Mansion House stage had a runaway last Sunday when coming down the Pullen Grade between Albion and Little River. The brake gave a way, and the horses being unable to hold back the heavily loaded stage, started down hill at a break next speed. A short distance down the grade was J.D. Johnson, the undertaker, and a driver with a hearse containing the body of J.J. Ward… Unable to get out of the way in time the runaway horses and stage went crashing into them…Just a short time before this accident, a carriage containing a load of people attending the funeral of J.J. Ward was tipped over a grade by a defective brake. This accident was also free of unfortunate results.’


(Anthony R. Ingraffea, N.Y. Times, Op-Ed, July 29, 2013)

‘As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped developed shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future – it’s a gangplank to more working and away from clean energy investments.’


(Mark Bittman, N.Y. Times, Op-Ed, July 26, 2013)

‘The median age of today’s fast-food worker is over 29, and many are trying to support families. One estimate claims that a family of four needs nearly $90,000 a year to get by in the Nation’s capital. That’s six minimum wage jobs. Explain to me, please, how you can be pro-family and anti-living wage simultaneously? [Many republicans in Congress seem to mange.] We can afford to pay these workers: a petition titled, Economists in Support of a $10.50 U.S. Minimum Wage, estimates that McDonald’s could recoup half the cost of such an increase simply by hiking the price of a Big Mac from $4.00 to $4.05 one item, – 1 percent.’


(Peter Buffett, N.Y. Times, Op-Ed, July 27, 2013)

‘As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundry,” – feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity. But this keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over.’


(N.Y. Times, National, August 8, 2013)

‘Last years (Florida’s attempt at unearthing non-citizens, which initially began with a pool of 2,600, those named were sent to election supervisors, who found that many were in fact citizens. Ultimately, the list of possible non-citizen voters shrank to 198. Of those, fewer than 40 had voted illegally.’


(Andrey Smith, N.Y. Times, Science section, July 23, 2013)

‘Emissions of nitrogen dioxide in homes with gas stoves exceed the environmental Protection Agency’s definition of clean air in an estimated 55% to 70% of those homes… A quarter of them have air quality worse than the worst recorded smog [nitrogen dioxide] event in London. Cooking represents one of the single largest contributors, generating four times greater than major haze events in Beijing.’

Pelican Bay photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Pelican Bay photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


(Jesse Wegman, N.Y. Times, Notebook, July 21, 2013)

‘At Pelican Bay [California’s “supermax” prison] the overwhelming majority of the men in solitary [in 8×10 windowless cell 23 of 24 hours a day] don’t even have a record of violence: they are placed in solitary [for many years usually] for their gang associations…The little hope these inmates have of leaving solitary lies mostly in what prison officials call “debriefing” or snitching on others gang members.’


Our man on the spot blogs:

Our man on the spot XIII (you are here)

Our man on the spot XII

Our man on the spot XI

Our man on the spot X

Our man on the spot IX

Our man on the spot VIII

Our man on the spot VII

Our man on the spot VI

Our man on the spot V

Our man on the spot IV

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Our man on the spot XII – by SPE


Our man on the spot – by SPE

Translation by Nikki Carter

I don’t know what I look like

Pelican Bay photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Pelican Bay photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

(Michael Montgomery, S.F. Chronicle, July 16, 2013)

‘For a quarter-century, California outlawed personal photographs for inmates held in isolation in special security housing units. Old and discolored photographs were the last pictures of the men seen by their families…At Pelican Bay security housing units…where inmates spend all their time in 8 by 10 foot cells with perforated steel doors or in small exercise pens, usually alone. There are no windows. [The photo ban’s affects] “We have family, nieces and nephews, who only knew my brother as the young man in the photograph,” said Marie Lenno…when she finally got a new photo of her brother, he was an aging bald man with graying facial hair…the federal lawsuit filed last year by a coalition of civil rights groups claims cruel and unusual punishment…and it asserts that a faulty review process has left at least 500 inmates stranded in the security units in solitary confinement for more than a decade…some men receive no visits with family or friends for years at a time, due to the prison’s remote location… in addition to the photo ban, inmates at Pelican Bay do not have mirrors in their cells…the whole system here seems to be geared at breaking down and destroying…family connections.’

American housing remains segregated

(Jeanine Bell, S.F. Chronicle, July 16, 2013)

‘More than 40 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, most housing in America remains segregated along racial lines…’

Aspirin hard on cancer

(N.Y. TimesScience, July 9, 2013)

‘The use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs significantly reduces the risk of cancer, but no one has been able to explain why.’

Illinois says OK to carry

(Ashby Jones, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2013)

‘Illinois has lifted its long-standing ban on concealed weapons, ending its distinction as the only state to prohibit its citizens from carrying fire arms outside the home.’

Weeds weeds weeds

(Science Times – July 16, 2013,)

‘Barnyard grass [which can out compete planted crops] has evolved into a master deceiver. It is known as a crop mimic because it has evolved to look just like rice. The base of the leaves has turned from pink to green, for example, and the leaves have become narrower. Blending into a rice field, the plants escape the notice of farmers trying to weed then out.’

On Wall Street a culture of greed?! [WELL, YEAH]

(Andrew Ross Sorkin, N.Y. Times, July 16, 2013)

‘”Our integrity and reputation depend on our ability to do the right thing,” says J.P. Morgan Chase. And yet a new report on industry insides says…[amongst other things] 24 % said they would ‘engage in insider trading to make $ 10 million if they thought they could get away with it.’

Inside the mind in solitary

7882453Wilbert Rideau says in his book In the Place of Justice about the excess use of solitary confinement in California prisons: “Deprived of all human contact, you lose your feeling of connectedness to the world. You lose your ability to make small talk, even with the guard who shoves your meal through the slot in the door. You live entirely in your head, for there is nothing else. You talk to yourself, answer yourself. You become paranoid, depressed sleepless. To ward off madness, you must give your mind something to do. In 1970 I counted the 355 rivets that held my steel door together over and over…I know something about solitary confinement, because I’ve been there. I spent a total of 12 years in various solitary confinement cells.”

Richer farmers bigger subsidies

(James B. Stewart, N.Y. Times – Business, July 20, 2013)

‘It’s hard to imagine a more widely reviled piece of legislation than the nearly $1 Trillion farm bill, [given] It’s widely ridiculed, handouts to wealthy farmers [Agribusiness] and preserves incentives…”The bigger picture is how can developing countries compete with our massive subsidies? Say Chris Chocola of the Club for Growth, [free market advocates] “You can talk about improving the plight of the poor in the Third World, but there’s no way they can compete with our farmers.’”

Drone killings in court!?

Target drone courtesy of Wikipedia.

Target drone courtesy of Wikipedia.

(Scott Sharp, N.Y. Times International, July 20, 2013)

‘In a lawsuit filed before Judge Rosemary M. Collyer…about the governments request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by relatives of three Americans, killed in drone strikes in Yemen in 2011…deputy assistant attorney general Brian Hauck… acknowledged that Americans targeted overseas do have rights, but he said they could not be enforced in court either before or after the Americans were killed’


Our man on the spot blogs:

Our man on the spot XIII

Our man on the spot XII (you are here)

Our man on the spot XI

Our man on the spot X

Our man on the spot IX

Our man on the spot VIII

Our man on the spot VII

Our man on the spot VI

Our man on the spot V

Our man on the spot IV


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Our man on the spot XI – by SPE


Our man on the spot – by SPE

Translation by Nikki Carter

Where is the money?

(WNYC, Jane McClearey, “Raising Expectations and Raising Hell,” July 3, 2013)

The Walton family of Wal-Mart make up [believe it or not, I read it in the papers] 40% of the entire economic wealth of American workers not in the 1%.

McClearey says, “Globalization is not the problem.  Free speech and freedom of association are, with that, American workers can form unions again. In Germany there is not the degradation of the status of workers because 50% of corporate boards include representation of the work force.”

Photo of fracking courtesy of Gaslandthemovie.com.

Photo of fracking courtesy of Gaslandthemovie.com.

Fracking continued

Josh Fox, Gasland (HBO), interviewed on NPR, stated that the oil and gas industries have resorted to using retired military psych operatives in dealing with land owners in opposition to  fracking [bringing to well-heads oil locked in deep rock formations that are fractured by pressurized insertion of chemicals and water] as they would in any military counter-insurgency campaign.

There are for instance 5,000 well sites with volatile chemicals around the headwaters of the Colorado River and that has to be made to seem OK.

After Obama’s speech supporting his “energy independent” U.S. future method of extraction the EPA has basically “folded” and for instance when the oil and gas industry vehemently opposed an investigation into the whats and where for of fracking in Wyoming, the EPA stopped that investigation and one of the companies in pursuit of leases to drill provided the state the money to have its own “independent” of the EPA, inquiry into profitability and marketability, and good clean water [even if you can set it on fire].

International corporations in oil and gas subsidiaries have leased lands to be fracked equivalent to the land mass of California and Florida combined.

Josh Fox says there is huge pressure on lawmakers like Senator James Inhofe (OK) to impede investigations.  As, for instance, the senator wanted every expense in the EPA investigation itemized, no matter how minor.

Mayor of Dish cuts and runs

The mayor of Dish, Texas (where there are 21,000 wells in the vicinity) for instance installed his own air quality measuring instruments at his house and they indicated he’d better move outside of the town, of which he is mayor, which he did.  And Josh says he better not drink the water because the witches brew is then extracted and forced into an injection well for storage where it will probably leak and further damage Texas’ decreasing water table.

But coal is no better

(Wall Street Journal, Richard Silke, July 9, 2013)

‘Air pollution from coal combustion likely cut life expectancy in parts of China by more than five years in the 1990s revealed in a joint study by Chinese and American universities. Researchers were helped by another Mao-Era government policy [The first being the free distribution of coal in the North]…restricting movement of people from one part of the country to another so most people studied had likely spent their years in the same region.’

The laws you don’t know do exist

(N.Y. Times, Editorial, July 9, 2013)

‘As outrageous as the blanket secrecy of the FISA court is, we are equally troubled by the complete absence of any adversarial process, the heart of our legal system.  The government in 2012 made 1,789 requests to conduct electronic surveillance, the court approved 1,788, (the government withdrew the other). It is possible that not a single one of theses 1,788 requests violated established law, but the public will never know since no one was allowed to make any counter argument.

Our Gal Spring Wills of Mendocino, California, hitching the Americas with no money and no Spanish & a crazy man on a bike in Queens

Spring has joined in traveling the world with nothing but a whim and a prayer, Lai Lidun, of Shunde in Guangdong Province, in China who has bicycled 31,000 miles thru four continents and 25 countries and recently arrived in Queens after biking the North American leg of his tour.  He left his home in November 2009, with the equivalent of $20 in his pocket. He travels with a portable karaoke machine, so that he can stop and belt out 1980 Chinese pop songs for donations. Spring uses a pennywhistle to perform for donations.

Questions for FBI’s next top dog

(N.Y. Times, Editorial, July 9, 2013)

‘Coleen Rowley, an FBI special agent from 1981-2004: questions should be asked of James B. Comey about privacy and security,  “…would you instruct F.B.I. agents to investigate all credible reports,” [of torture] including those involving other federal personnel…In 2002 according to a justice Department report F.B.I. agents at Guantanamo Bay created a war crimes file, to document accusations of prisoner mistreatment…but an F.B.I. official ordered that the file be closed in 2003.’

Edwin M. Stanton courtesy of Wikipedia.

Edwin M. Stanton courtesy of Wikipedia.

Lincoln’s surveillance state

(N.Y. Times, Editorial, David Mindich, July 6, 2013)

‘In 1862, after President Abraham Lincoln appointed him secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton penned a letter to the president requesting sweeping powers, which would include total control of the telegraph lines.  By rerouting those lines through his office, Stanton would keep tabs on vast amounts of communication…On the back of Stanton’s letter Lincoln scribbled his approval…As the war ended…information began to flow freely again…That is why if you are a critic of the N.S.A.’s surveillance program, it is imperative that the war on Terror reach its culmination.  In May, President Obama did declare that, “This war, like all wars, must end…” Meanwhile, unlike the handful of telegraph operators in Stanton’s office,  an estimated 483,000 government contractors had top-secret security clearances in 2012.’

Let’s make a deal about the proposed immigration bill

(N.Y. Times, Editorial, Gail Collins, July 6, 2013)

‘[After a bit of compromise]…the bill came out of the judiciary committee with a 13-year path to citizenship and 3,500  additional border protection officers.  Then it went to the full Senate where the sponsors agreed to add an another 20,000 badge agents and expand the wall-like border fence to 700 miles.  Price: $30 BILLION. The pay-off in arrests per agent in the area around El Paso is around three-and-a-half apprehensions per agent per year!’

(MSNBC, July 16, 2013)

Barry Scheck of The Innocence Project said, “Melissa Alexander who was sentenced in the same prosecutorial district in Florida as the Trayvon Martin trial, was sentenced the next day to 20 years for shooting into a wall to convince her abusive husband (twice convicted for assault) to stay back.  Florida’s Stand Your Ground law did not do her a bit of good, but then she is black.”

Barry says over criminalization is rampant in the justice system, and is curtailing the rights of poor people in particular to go to trial before anybody, much less their peers as they are forced to accept a ‘plea’ instead of taking a chance on trial and getting a draconian sentence or take weeks off from places of employment sure to fire them if they do.

Camp_x-ray_detaineesSome at Guantanamo quit hunger strike

(N.Y. Times, Charlie Savage, July 15, 2013)

‘David Remes, a defense lawyer who represents several Guantanamo detainees in habeas corpus proceedings said, “…Perhaps the authorities finally made hunger striking such a horrendous experience that some men at least, are dropping out.”‘

California prisoners go hungry too

(N.Y. Times, Jennifer Medina)

‘A widespread inmate hunger strike in protest of California’s policy of solitary confinement was approaching it’s second week…This policy allows inmates with gang associations to be held in isolation cells for decades…and a federal judge ruled that the prison was not providing adequate medical care for inmates – including basics like access to clean water.’

Nadezhda Popova – WWII ‘night witch’ dies at 91

Popova(N.Y. Times, Obituaries, Douglas Martin)

‘The Nazis called them “night witches” because of the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made… In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders (and each plane carried only one bomb). Any German pilot who downed a “witch” was awarded an iron cross…Nadezhda Popova flew 852 missions (most other allied pilots flew usually 20).’


Our man on the spot blogs:

Our man on the spot XIII

Our man on the spot XII

Our man on the spot XI (you are here)

Our man on the spot X

Our man on the spot IX

Our man on the spot VIII

Our man on the spot VII

Our man on the spot VI

Our man on the spot V

Our man on the spot IV

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Our man on the spot X – by SPE

Federal government – The National Security Statescohen50_web1

The whistle blower essential to our national security is now being threatened as a traitor with life imprisonment. The internet providers have provided the FBI according to insiders a “Back Door” (special access codes thru NSA to FBI) to all, I repeat all phone calls, text, and email and Representative Rogers, General Alexander and all spokesperson for the administration are all lying, says Steven Cohen, lawyer for whistle blowers (WNWC, June 20, 2013).

Our man on Staten Island Joe Tirone

(N.Y. Times Editorial, June 13, 2013)

Staten-Island-Joseph-TironeOur man on Staten Island Joe Tirone, realtor turned “savior” to hundreds, and this reporter’s landlord by gosh, after Super Storm Sandy who organized the government buyout program for the worst affected “…Governor Andrew Cuomo has put forward an extensive proposal to buy out homeowners on shore properties in storm – damaged areas like Oakwood Beach on Staten Island [first proposed by Joe]…If the houses there are demolished [after being bought out by the state] the area would return to natural marshlands, which help protect inland areas.”

As here the gains don’t gain for everyone

(N.Y. Times Business, June 20, 2013)

Floyd Whaley, “According to government estimates poor Filipino households are not able to earn the 5,460 pesos or $135, needed each month to eat. That amount is about the same as the price of a back row upper-level ticket to the recent Aerosmith concert in Manila, where many of the country’s wealthy could be found holding parties into the night.”

Lenders fall short of terms [of course]

(N.Y. Times Business, June 20, 2013)

“…Four of the five biggest mortgage lenders…have yet to meet their commitment to end the maze of frustrations that borrower must navigate to modify their loans…”

Don’t be so easy to find online

(N.Y. Times, June 20, 2013, Natasha Singer)

nsa-newcase-1d“The only real way to avoid data profiling would be to get off the grid…but there are ways to minimize digital footprints…lose the smartphone get a dumb-phone that lets you make calls, send text messages…smart phones are…tracking devices.  I think its common to be wary of giving out your personal information for every single server,’ says Dan Auerbach Staff Technologist of Electronic Frontier Foundation. ‘If you are going to give me a sign-up form, I am going to give you a bogus answer back…AND PAY CASH WHEN YOU CAN.’ In other words, that old counter measure by Hester Prime in The Scarlet Letter…in 1850 remains good advice even in an era of big data, ‘We must not always talk in the marketplace, Hester Pryme said, of what happens to us in the forest.’”

Clearer skies more hurricanes

(N.Y. Times, Science, June 25, 2013, Justin Gillis)

“…The up-turn in storms over the last couple of decades maybe no accident. It could, instead be at least partly a consequence of the clean- air acts that have reduced pollution around the North Atlantic basins, thus returning the storm cycles to their more natural state.”

Spring suicide rites

(Mind Times, David Dobbs, June 25, 2013)

“On average 700 Americans kill themselves each week – but in the fine-weather weeks of May and June jumps to 800…a possibility (for the spring) includes vitamin D, the low levels caused by lack of sunlight in the winter are thought to lead to inflammation…people already at risk…enter spring with vitamin D deficiencies.”

FBI shootings all good

(N.Y. Times, June 19, 2013, P.I, Savage & Schmidt)

“From 1993 to 2011 FBI agents fatally shot about 70 “subjects” and wounded 80 others and everyone of these episodes was deemed “justified”…according to internal FBI records…In most of the shooting the FBI’s internal investigation was the only official inquiry.”

Retired U.S. General accused in Iran leak

(N.Y. Times, National, June 28, 2013)

5cartwright“The former second-ranking officer in the U.S. Military, General James E. Cartwright of the Marines is a target of an investigation into the leak about American cyber attacks on Iran’s nuclear program. “Since his retirement in 2011, General Cartwright has joined the Center for Strategic and International studies and has spoken in favor of major cuts in nuclear weapons and warned of possible ‘blow back’ from the use of drone aircraft.”

“Since President Obama Took office seven government officials…have been charged under the Espionage Act…compared with three under all previous presidents.”

NYC and storm surges

(N.Y. Times, June 28, 2013, Jim Dryer about New York)

“John Boule an engineer about how to keep what is dry New York that way in future storms, We really haven’t found a good design for 11 or 12 feet of waters…that’s an incredible threat. Unfortunately, there are 500 plus entrances into the subway station at the very tip of Lower Manhattan alone…Across the harbor on Governors Island he pointed to another fort, Ft Williams, also built before the War of 1812. ‘Those fortifications worked, he said. It’s time for the country to look at defending the same piece of land from a different threat.'”

Fast food employers say forget-about-it for overtime

(N.Y. Times, June 28, 2013)

“…80% of employees in the industry in New York …experienced some form of wage theft in the past year Shenita Simon; a mother of three who works at a KFC in Brooklyn said that to avoid paying her overtime, the manger would make her clock out even though she was still working.”

REMEMBER – as Bush said to a divorced mother of three: You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”

Additional Bushisms

“We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”

“I’m the master of low expectations.”

“For NASA, space is still a high priority.”

“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous, and having said that, all options are on the table.”

“If we don’t succeed, we run the rise of failure.”

“It is clear our nation is reliant upon foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas.”

(N.Y. Times, July 1, 2013)

“For banks that are looking to recoup billions of dollars in lost income from a spate of recent limits on debit and credit card fees, issuing payroll cards (for companies that refuse to write payroll checks) can be lucrative…The lack of regulation…can potentially leave cardholders swimming in fees. Take the example of inactivity fees that penalize customers for infrequently using their cards. On some of its payroll cards, (usually issued to the poorest in the workforce) net spend (a card issuing company for various large companies) charge $ 2.25 for out of network A.T.M. withdrawals .50 cents for balance inquiries….50 cents for a purchase using the card, $5 for statement reprints, $10 to close an account… and $ 7.50 after 60 days of inactivity…”

CEO pay: the unstoppable climb

(N.Y. Times, June 30, 2013)

Executive pay report: Gretchen Morgansen, “…The median 2012 pay package (for Top 100 CEO’s ) come in at 15.1 million – a leap of 16 percent from 2011.

“So much for the idea that shareholders were finally getting through to corporate boards on the topic of reining in pay…Xerox…paid its top managers 165.7 million over five years, even though its economic profits amounted to a negative 1.65 billion.”

Losing coal

(N.Y. Times, June 28, 2013)

“It’s always important to remember that what ails the U.S. economy right now isn’t lack of productive capacity (reference of replacing coal – fired electricity plants) but lack of demand. The housing bust, the overhang of household debt and ill-timed cuts in public spending have created a situation in which nobody wants to spend: and because your spending is my income and my spending is your income, this leads to a depressed economy…”

Stop and frisk

(Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2013)

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, …he believes the NYPD stops white people too much and non-white people too little based on murder suspect descriptions.”

New York down to a murder a day

(Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2013)

“In the first quarter of this year, the number of stop-and-frisks fell 51% compared with the same period in 2012, a period in which murders also fell 30% – feeding skepticism among the tactics (stop-and-frisk) many critics that it is a major driver of crime reduction.”

War on unemployed

(N.Y. Times, Op-Ed, July 1, 2013)

“…there’s a nationwide movement underway to punish the unemployed, based on the proposition that we can cure unemployment by making the jobless even more miserable…

Consider North Carolina’s unemployment rate at 8.8 %, is among the highest in the nation… Thanks to a national environment in which there are three times as many people seeking work as there are job openings.

Nonetheless the state’s government has just sharply cut aid to the unemployed…they also reduced the average weekly benefits making the state ineligible for about 700 million in federal aid[??!! Go Figure]”

The end of car culture

(N.Y. Times, June 30, 2013, Elizabeth Rosenthal)

“A study last year found that driving by young people decreased 23% between 2001-2009. They don’t value cars and car ownership they value technology…a car is just a means of getting from a to b when BART doesn’t work.”

Germans now don’t trust

(N.Y. Times Opinion – Mark Spitz, June 30, 2013)

“In may 2010 I received a brown envelope in it was a CD with an encrypted file containing six months of metadata stored by my cell phone provider T-Mobile. This list of metadata contained 35,830 records that’s 35,830. My phone company knew if, where and when I was surfing the web, calling or texting…you can follow my travels across Germany, you can see when I went to sleep and woke up…”

Our man on the spot blogs:

Our man on the spot XIII

Our man on the spot XII

Our man on the spot XI

Our man on the spot X (you are here)

Our man on the spot IX

Our man on the spot VIII

Our man on the spot VII

Our man on the spot VI

Our man on the spot V

Our man on the spot IV

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