Interesting & Important News & Analysis, October 15, 2019

There’s only one legitimate question. Has it been cost effective?

Critics Hit SEC Revamp of Wall Street Whistleblower Program

The SEC has collected some 26,000 tips and complaints, resulting in more than $2 billion in penalties and restitution.

More than $300 million has been distributed in roughly 50 awards to people who provided actionable information. And taxpayers don’t foot the bill because the award money comes directly from funds the SEC collects in settlements.


Alabama Hospitals Back Online 10 Days After Malware Attack

So, there are bug-bounty programs going strong. How about the government creates a malware-bounty program so that black-hat hackers and malware distributors can be “brought in” by white-hat bounty hunters who positively identify the evil hackers and malware distributors?


One Massive Blackout Is Over, Now California Braces for the Next

In the course of inspecting lines following high winds, PG&E found 50 instances of weather-related damage to its system. “There’s some vindication — that’s not the right word,” Johnson said late Friday, but the fact that the utility discovered so many safety issues that could have ignited a wildfire made the blackout well worth it, he said.


Cherry Hill school district mum on cause, scope of computer outage

Files were reportedly encrypted during the incident, which began early on Oct. 4, and computer screens displayed the word “Ryuk,” a name used by a criminal organization that demands payments to unlock affected systems.


Global Shipping Firm Pitney Bowes Affected by Ransomware Attack

Get rid of cryptocurrencies. Set up a system for bounty hunters to go after the bad guys.


I read the next one simply because the title wasn’t remotely self-explanatory.

Stalker found pop star by searching eyes’ reflections on Google Maps


Erdogan is in a fix.

Domestic politics, Idlib sway timing of Turkey’s Syrian operation


Ecuador repeals law ending fuel subsidies in deal to stop protests

This is undoubtedly a blow for him. Decree 883 was the main issue which prompted people to take to the streets in the first place and the president had repeatedly said there would be no going back on it.

The calls for his resignation have been growing louder with each protest and President Moreno has looked increasingly vulnerable – especially since a number of demonstrators were killed in clashes with riot police.


Everything You Need to Know About Co-Living. Everything?

Considering the amenities and price, co-living may satisfy as a perfect solution in a worry-free zone for the right kind of renter.


The Loop’s Clark Adams Building to become Chicago’s largest coliving project


A number of posts back and before I heard or read anyone else saying it, I said that Bernie has to fight to win and that, that means explaining how Elizabeth Warren is different and not as good for the nation as he would be. She said she’s a capitalist to the bone. Well, as I also said, she meant a mixed capitalist. Something else I mentioned was that Bernie needed to address that directly and make clear where he stands on the mixed-economy spectrum. He’s now openly stated that he is not a capitalist to his bones, but he still hasn’t said exactly where he ultimately sees the US economy in terms of mix, if any. Naturally, his plans are for a mixed economy, but is he willing to state that he’s offering incrementalism or what?

Anyway, he’s making the moves right now. Will they be enough? What else will he be rolling out to differentiate himself?

I think worker/community ownership is a good thing. I’ve always advocated it. Regular workers sitting on corporate boards can’t hurt, but how much can they really help? How long will the corporatists take before they find and implement all the loopholes?

Krystal Ball: Bernie’s finally on a winning track

Krystal Ball describes Bernie’s new plan to tackle corporate greed.


Yesterday’s “Dance Break” was with a girl of only 9. Here’s a 12-year-old for you. Amazing!

Savannah Kristich – Dream Recall

1st Overall
Age 12 Junior Contemporary Solo


Los Angeles fire began under power lines, cause not known

The utility reported to state regulators that its system was affected near the reported location and time of the fire, spokeswoman Susan Cox said.

It filed the report Friday with the California Public Utilities Commission “out of an abundance of caution,” Cox said. She did not have additional details such as the kind of system, how it was affected or what the effects were.


Interesting & Important News & Analysis, October 14, 2019

Have you ever listened to a Marxist? I’m not one, but I listen and agree and disagree.

Economic Update: A Growing U.S. Left

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS (w/timestamps):
01:20 – Updates on California events (LA Times labor union, 80,000 Kaiser workers to strike, new state public banking law);
04:22 – gross inefficiency of private car industry;
07:01 – wide global use of wealth taxes vs “conservative” claims;
11:06 – anti-left politics in US labor history;
13:57 – announcements;
15:04 – SPECIAL GUEST: Prof. Wolff interviews Michael Brooks, the host of “The Michael Brooks Show” about his podcast and the state of the state today.


Do you only read or listen to or watch the US-corporate-mainstream media? If so, you’re not aware of what the definite majority of democratic Venezuelans think on the ground in Venezuela. You’ve also been told a pack of lies from beginning to end.

Real life and resistance in Venezuela – Ben Norton reports on effects of US blockade

Pushback with Aaron Maté | Ben Norton speaks about his reporting in Venezuela, where he investigated how bipartisan US sanctions and Trump’s embargo are making lives hell for civilians.


We’ve heard from the Marxist in the first video (above) in this post. Here’s a libertarian take on Hong Kongers and “Apple/Google Bow To Chinese and Pull HK Maps App.”

Apple on Thursday removed, from its online store, a smartphone app that allowed Hong Kong activists to report police movements. The move came after an official Chinese newspaper accused the company of facilitating illegal behavior.

Why are Apple and Google siding with the Stalinists-Maoists-Xiists? Money!


The Hill? Yep.

Krystal Ball: Why the establishment smears people as Russian plants


Critical iTerm 2 Bug Patched after Mozilla-Backed Audit


Attackers Create Elaborate Crypto Trading Scheme to Install Malware

Security researcher MalwareHunterTeam discovered a scheme where an attacker has created a fake company that is offering a free cryptocurrency trading platform called JMT Trader. When this program is installed, it will also infect a victim with a backdoor Trojan.


Chris Williamson is not, and never has been, anti-Semitic.

Reality Check: Chris Williamson WON his legal challenge

8th JULY 2019 – The Guardian publishes an open letter signed by, among others, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finklestein [they are both Jews], defending Williamson against charges of racism, and claiming the accusations were “politically motivated”.

9th JULY 2019 – The Guardian takes the letter down, with no explanation. The Huffington Post wrote a piece defending the decision.


Not only is Google bad for supporting the likes of the Heartland Institute, it is just plain wrong that deregulation is a good thing right now. We and they (Google) are not, repeat, not overly regulated. In fact, the more Google pushes this way for deregulation, the more Google will end up being regulated or even broken up. That’s fine with me.

Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers

Google has defended its contributions, saying that its “collaboration” with organisations such as CEI “does not mean we endorse the organisations’ entire agenda”.

It donates to such groups, people close to the company say, to try to influence conservative lawmakers, and – most importantly – to help finance the deregulatory agenda the groups espouse.


After reading the article, I didn’t see where they were calling for a global Green New Deal but continuing efforts to cut greenhouse gasses.

The world’s mayors are calling for a Global Green New Deal


Facebook’s Libra currency abandoned by major financial companies: Dead On Arrival, I hope! I can’t overstate how much I hate the idea of Libra.


What’s the basic difference between the Syrian Kurds and the Saudis that “US to send 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia as it withdraws from Syria“? Answer: (among other things) money and oil!


California bans private prisons and immigration detention centers

Supporters of the bill have argued that private prisons are driven to maximize shareholder profits, lack proper oversight or incentives to rehabilitate inmates and have contributed to a culture of mass incarceration by making it cheaper to lock up people.

Several states, including New York, Illinois and Nevada, have adopted similar bans on private prisons, and nearly half of all states have no such facilities, said Kara Gotsch, director of strategic initiatives for the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform group.

Progressive rehabilitation is the most important thing there is concerning incarceration. It’s been known for many, many decades.


Trump EPA proposes overhaul of lead in drinking water rule, critics call plan weak

Wheeler said the proposal would ensure that more local water systems would act to prevent lead exposure especially in schools and child care facilities. The rule establishes for the first time a 10 parts per billion “trigger level” that would compel water systems to identify those actions.

“There is no safe level of lead in water and we need to remove all lead service lines in our communities to protect families and children,” said Representative Dan Kildee, a Democrat and native of Flint, Michigan, which suffered lead contamination crisis beginning in 2015.

“We need urgent action and bold investments to rebuild America’s water infrastructure, not weakened policies that fail to protect the health and safety of our citizens,” Kildee said.

Rob Hayes, a clean water associate at Environmental Advocates of New York, said the proposal is a step backward.

“Once again, the Trump administration has left public health out to dry.”


Why the upper-middle class would benefit from socialism

Let’s define socialism in rough-and-ready Karl Polanyi fashion as reforming society such that the economy is subordinated to democracy.

Well, a democratic economy is one thing, but what the author of the article, Ryan Cooper, is advocating isn’t socialism but simply a strong welfare state. It’s not even social democracy, where the commanding heights of the economy are nationalized. Why try to sell a strong welfare state as socialism? Doing that is a very bad idea. If you want to sell people on a strong welfare state, do it. Just don’t call it socialism. The People need to know what they’re voting for. They don’t need others confusing them.


Taiwan leader rejects China’s ‘one country, two systems’ offer

President Tsai Ing-wen also vowed in a National Day speech to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, saying her government would safeguard freedom and democracy ….

Democracy is a bad word to the Stalinist-totalitarian dictator, Xi.


Chicago police: 4 dead, 1 wounded in apartment shooting


This guy has to go. He’s one of the biggest liars and most corrupt “leaders” in the world.

Ecuador’s Moreno orders military-backed curfew starting in Quito


Federal judges rule against Trump in 3 cases on executive powers

The House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed the records after the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified that Trump had exaggerated his wealth when applying for loans, which is a crime.

If they can prove he did that, it could spell his end.


Fed Brings Us A Little Closer To Those Halcyon Days Of 2008 – Dealbreaker


RedfinNow launches homebuying program in Las Vegas


The EU now has rules that say household appliances must be easier to fix

However:

While manufacturers will have to make spare parts widely available under the Ecodesign Directive, they will only have to supply them to professional repairers.

Although repairs will have to be possible using readily-available tools, and without causing damage to the appliance, the European Commission says, anyone hoping they’d be able to get hands-on fixing appliances may find themselves disappointed.


10-Year Yield Jumps, Yield Curve Steepens, on Fed’s Plan to Buy $60 Billion a Month, But Only Short-Term Treasury Bills


Investors are flocking to money markets at the highest rate since the financial crisis

Investors who stayed in the market are coming off a period of huge profits and a market that could stall if the fragile levers of growth fail to move the right way.

“You’re looking at geopolitical events that are totally binary,” said Mitch Goldberg, head of ClientFirst Strategy. “I think most people in this bull market may feel like they’ve made enough money and if they miss a little upside, they’re with that, and that’s what this reflects.”


E-Commerce Driving Bigger Demand for Smaller Warehouses, CBRE Says


How lawmakers are upending the California lifestyle to fight a housing shortage

The result is a patchwork of legislation that achieves much of what those pushing for more growth in the state have long wanted, allowing as many as three homes on parcels in most single-family neighborhoods across California.

“We’re on the precipice of single-family zoning functionally not existing,” said Ben Metcalf, former director of the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

“During the Depression when we had a massive housing crisis, people converted their rooms in their houses and put in hot plates so others could live there,” said Denise Pinkston, an executive at Bay Area development firm TMG Partners and one of the driving forces behind the new laws. “They adapted their housing stock to serve the needs of the population. During this housing crisis we need to do the same thing.”

In Los Angeles, annual permit applications for backyard homes have increased more than 2,000% since the initial state laws took effect. Since 2017, the city has received almost 13,300 requests to build the units. San Francisco, spurred by recent changes to its local rules, has seen a boost of a similar percentage, weighing 639 new units in the previous 13 months alone.

… lawmakers behind the state’s new backyard home rules attempted to sidestep the politics surrounding single-family zoning. For example, the bills that passed in 2016 changed the terminology in state code from “second unit” to “accessory dwelling unit,” helping the new houses appear as part of an existing home’s footprint. And arguments for the laws have focused on allowing individual homeowners to build — not developers.

“Like Victory Gardens after World War II,” Metcalf said, “you have to really go out there and say, ‘Your civic duty as a Californian is: you’ve gotta convert your garage.’”


In Iowa, Politicians Protect Ag Industry by Making Activists Criminals

This video includes graphic images some readers may find disturbing.

The meat industry depends, more than anything else, on walls. The walls of farms and slaughterhouses prevent consumers from seeing what the production of their food really looks like. They prevent journalists and activists from exposing unethical, even criminal acts within. They enable corporations to paint happy, bucolic pictures of their operations that bear no resemblance to the reality of modern-day factory farming.

To get inside those walls, over the last two decades, dozens of activists have gone undercover, finding employment on factory farms and wearing concealed cameras, shooting hundreds of hours of footage over the course of months on the job. They have documented the routine acts of mistreatment and abuse of animals that are an inherent part of raising livestock for slaughter with maximum profit in mind.

The videos they have produced have made an enormous impact on the industry, grabbing headlines, pushing consumers away from meat, compelling retailers to pull products from shelves, and even causing government regulators to temporarily shutter some farms.

In response, the industry has pushed to criminalize undercover investigations, through legislation known informally as “ag-gag.” Ag-gag laws target activists in a variety of ways, from imposing criminal penalties on investigators for misrepresenting themselves on employment applications to outright banning the collection of footage on the premises of animal agriculture operations without the owners’ permission.

In Iowa, an ag-gag law passed in 2011 was struck down earlier this year by a federal judge. But thanks to the political power it wields in the state, the meat industry did not have to wait long to see the law resurrected. Just two months after the court’s decision, Iowa’s legislature passed a brand new ag-gag bill, and its newly elected governor, Kim Reynolds, signed it into law.

Our short documentary tells the story of one undercover investigator whose footage is at the center of Iowa’s ag-gag backlash.


Aftermath of deadly Hard Rock Hotel collapse

Something went terribly wrong during construction of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, after a huge section of the unfinished building collapsed on the adjacent street, causing at least one death, as well as injuries and damage.


I don’t agree with all things Sanders, but I agree with a great deal of his economic direction. I’ve had my extremely strong doubts from the very beginning (still do) that he can truly reform the Democratic Party establishment; but, I’ve figured if he gives it a shot and it fails, the youth will still be keen on bringing forth economic democracy.

Bernie Viral Video Creator: What the media misses about Sen. Sanders

Independent Videomaker Matt Orfalea describes his inspiration for his viral Bernie Sanders video.


Dance break: Hard to believe: Only 9 years old:

Crystal Huang – Afraid of the Dark

As the reigning 2019 Mini Best Dancer, Crystal performs her solo at the 2019/2020 NUVO Tulsa Closing Show.


Fascists backing a fellow fascist while calling it democracy:

Mercosur bloc and other South American countries condemn unrest in Ecuador

There’s nothing legit about Lenin Moreno. He ran as one thing and immediated revealed he had been grossly lying the whole time just to get elected so he could ravage the nation for purely greedy, selfish reasons.


Smart move by the SDF: It’s about time.

Syrian army to deploy along Turkish border in deal with Kurdish-led forces

I totally opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I totally opposed arming al Qaeda in Syria. I’ve been for the US bringing our troops home all along and everywhere. However, Donald Trump is so helter-skelter in his communicating and timing. A good US President could have brokered a deal with Putin, Assad, the SDF, and maybe even Erdogan, before pulling back and out. A good US President could have made the withdrawal a much more peaceful affair. Why did he wait until Erdogan was waving a sword in the air right on the border and threatening to invade whether the US pulled back or not?

Well, it won’t be easy for the Syrian troops, as they are already fighting al Qaeda and also having to put out fires set by nomadic IS fighters. Russia will really have to step up. One should think Macron would step up rather than simply talking.

I’m not for more war but for getting this one over with so Syria can be fully democratic with the civil rights of all fully protected.

The war never should have happened. Assad was never insane. He could have been worked with quite easily.

Is Trump trying to get Putin to spank Erdogan? If Putin hits the Turks invading Syria, Trump will not come to Turkey’s rescue, a NATO “ally.”

There’s more going on with Trump than Trump is willing to let on. Erdogan works much more with Iran than Trump would like, and Erdogan is much more aggressive against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.


Kurds agree to Russian-brokered plan to allow Assad into their territory

While US officials insisted America was opposed to the Turkish invasion, Mr Trump struck a laissez-faire note in a series of Sunday morning tweets.

“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” he noted. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!”

Meanwhile, sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia and put more US troops there?


California governor signs bill limiting oil, gas development

“These bills are important steps toward prioritizing California’s communities over the oil industry.” Alexander said. “In a perfect California, we wouldn’t be producing or using oil at all, and we hope to get there soon.

I hope so.